You are currently browsing the Obsessivity weblog archives for April, 2008.

23 Apr 2008

I R Spammer!

General

There’s no security in email. In particular, there’s no way to prevent forging anyone’s identity. It seems fairly obvious when you think about how the technology works, but that thought process requires a little technical insight. Basically, I could claim my email address is president@whitehouse.gov and send email to anyone appearing to be from King George. There’s no way contested email should ever hold up in court. Of course, you can trace the headers and wonder why the President would be sending mail from a small town ISP in Texas, but that’s beyond the capability of most email recipients and even the header trail can be fooled.

Anyway, a lot of spam software picks legitimate email addresses to stuff in a message’s From: line. It helps the message get through one line of spam detection (needing a legitimate domain, though the user name portion doesn’t need to be valid). So a lot of the spam that’s sent appears to come from a real individual at a real address – although he or she had nothing to do with it.

Well, my turn came up this week. Apparently one of the botnet spammers picked up one of my email addresses, and thousands – likely tens or hundreds of thousands – of spam messages have gone out signed by iain@aint.com. I know this, not because I’ve seen the messages, but because I’ve seen hundreds of bounce messages from stupidly configured mail transfer agents. “Your message was unable to be delivered.” Usually with the reason that the server had determined that it was spam. Hell, if it’s spam, why compound the problem by returning it, you idiot?

So right now there are probably several thousand people reading email from me saying “Buy herbal Viagra!” or “Hi, sexy, I’m Suzanne, let’s talk.”

If this is my fifteen minutes, I’m not impressed.

22 Apr 2008

An Update

Games, Writing

I’ve been promising Candace an update for… god, it must be a year, or close to it.

The truth is exactly what I set this blog up to document (and in part, I guess, to prevent) – I got sucked back into playing World of Warcraft.

Since that happened, all thoughts of keeping up with anime, with writing, and even with maintaining this blog, have gone out of the window. I played, pretty much obessively, until a few months ago.

In a way, nothing changed. I had really hit a brick wall with The Book. Even now I’m not sure that I want to continue with it. And I think, partly, avoiding thinking about The Book fueled my gaming obsession. Playing WoW made it easy not to stop and think.

I’ve really enjoyed playing again. Well, there was some ugly guild drama that upset me for a while, but mostly I did. I’ve gotten three characters to 70, and a fourth almost there… but then the game fizzled, as it always seems to. So for the last couple of months, I’ve been back in EQ2 and gradually reducing the commitment even to that…

I’m not sure how much it will help, when it comes to The Book. I definitely plan to revisit the short story that I’ve been submitting. I think that one truly has potential. But I just feel like the plot complications have overwhelmed the excitement I felt while writing. And I feel that I’m too obsessive to be able to back away and rework the plot.

Well, I have a couple of other ideas, too. I’ll let them percolate as I try to unstick myself from games.

One idea I had was for a contemporary fantasy. I started working on ideas for it well before WoW intruded. Mostly as a humorous concept, then. About that time, The Dresden Files started showing, and some of its background seemed very like what I wanted to do. The series wasn’t that great, but after reading a lot of comments on IMDB about how much better the books were, and wanting to know just how large the overlap was between the real Dresden Files and my thinking, I started to read the series.

It is excellent. It’s really, really good. Very readable, very credible, first-class noir-style detective thrillers with believable, scary magic and constant intense action. The cover blurb of the latest book on Jim Butcher’s site covers it quite well:

No one’s tried to kill Harry Dresden for almost an entire year, and his life finally seems to be calming down. For once, the future looks fairly bright. But the past casts one hell of a long shadow.

Reading a Harry Dresden book can be exhausting, because they are so relentless. And that’s brought up more thoughts about trying to continue writing.

I don’t have a problem with the ideas in the Dresden Files. There is some overlap between them and the original concepts I’d worked on, but not enough that I’d have to work to avoid Jim Butcher’s mythology. But what I realize is I just don’t have the imagination to create the constant pressure that he does. And it works so well, that I think I’d be very disappointed that I can’t.

I’ve been reading other contemporary fantasy, and a fair bit does seem to be of the noir / high action type. It’s either that or horror, and I don’t have any interest in writing horror. Dark, yes, and my intention now, if I do act on it, is to create something much darker than I’d originally planed, but not horror. And if I can’t match a thriller’s pace, then maybe I have nothing to offer.

And of course, at that point, I give up thinking and log back in to EQ2…