No plans for candle pictures from space

Now don't take this the wrong way. All those web homages to the victims of the terrorist attacks are moving, yes. But after awhile, getting email after email about them gets, well, a little exhausting.

          Now don't take this the wrong way. All those web homages to the victims of the terrorist attacks are moving, yes. But after awhile, getting email after email about them gets, well, a little exhausting.

          Gartner has put out a paper on "email etiquette when discussing disaster." Basically, "occupational spam" (ie, employees sending missives to everybody in the company) has surged over the past few weeks. That's okay, except people are sometimes sending giant attachments: "Gartner has seen one PowerPoint presentation about the disaster nearly a megabyte in size."

          How to deal? Gartner's recommendations:

          "For their part, enterprises shouldn't legislate against such conversations or send messages such as 'Let's get back to work, folks!' which may seem insensitive. . . . Gartner recommends that enterprises create a place where people can share their feelings and opinions outside of the normal flow of business email. For example, a web discussion site on the corporate intranet would help take this conversation out of people's in-boxes yet would also acknowledge the legitimate need to discuss the tragedy." (for more from Gartner go to Network World Fusion and type the number 6150 into the "Search and DocFinder" box).

          But don't send any more email about . . .

          Nostradamus or how we're all supposed to stand outside tonight with a candle so the government can take a picture of us for posterity. Urban legends are nothing new, of course, they've been around for generations. What's different is the speed at which they spread over the internet. What's sobering is how people quickly assume they are true. Isn't that Nostradamus prediction amazing (never mind that predictions are kind of useless if nobody knows about them ahead of time)! How about that guy who "surfed" the collapsing building down from the 86th floor? The Urban Legends site now has an entire page devoted to World Trade Center urban legends (DocFinder: 6152).

          But ultimately, those are harmless. Could a clever foe use the internet to spread misinformation? What about those "news accounts" about the 4000 Jews who allegedly stayed home from their jobs at the WTC that are now spreading across online forums? In the past, terrorist groups set up websites, which were only effective in reaching people who made a point of punching in their URL. Would an online "whispering campaign" prove more effective for them?

          And in other news

          Then we have Nimda, the worm that seemed to spread a lot faster than the earlier Code Red (DocFinder: 6154). On SiliconValley.com, Dan Gilmor argues people have got to stop calling these things internet worms, though:

          "This is a Microsoft worm, and it once again gets spread through the opening of Outlook email attachments. I'm sick of this. I'm sick of Microsoft's selfish and casual attitude toward its users' safety," (DocFinder: 6155).

          Some silliness

          Go ahead, take a breather for a minute or two and call up these sites:

          Toddler on a string - It's basically a giggling toddler. Move him with your mouse to make him giggle some more. Turn up your sound (Internet Explorer only, alas) (DocFinder: 6156).

          Beer-drinking pigs - Read up on one of St. Croix's best tourist attractions. Complete with animated photos (DocFinder: 6157).

          Refurbished screw for sale - Dell has one available for five cents (via Anil Dash) (DocFinder: 6158).

          Have a refurbished washer to go with that screw? Solicitations accepted at agaf fin@nww.com.

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