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WWW still in infancy

The World Wide Web is still only in its infancy, its British inventor said Wednesday, on the 15th anniversary of the web's effective launch.

Tim Berners-Lee told the BBC that the web, which started life in the CERN physics laboratory on the Franco-Swiss border in the early 1990s, could develop in unimaginable directions but above all should be a force for good.

"What's exciting is that people are building new social systems, new systems of review, new systems of governance," he said.

"My hope is that those will produce... new ways of working together effectively and fairly which we can use globally to manage ourselves as a planet."

The comments came on the anniversary of the announcement by CERN on April 30, 1993 that the World Wide Web could be used by everyone, after Berners-Lee and a colleague persuaded their bosses to provide the programme code for free.

spam - 30 years old and still growing

Ah yes, what would we do without spam, you know, apart from lead much happier lives? The man to shake your fists at this weekend is Gary Thuerk who, in 1978, sent an e-mail out to 393 Arpanet Network users as marketing manager of Digital Equipment Corp and was given a good talking to by the network admin team for abusing the system.

Around 80% of e-mails today are thought to be spam and personally I blame Arpanet. Had they come down on Thuerk like a tonne of bricks - chucked him off the network or got him banged up for a while to think about what a naughty boy he'd been - we wouldn't be in the pink, homogenised meat mess we're in today.

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Amazing that spam (and I mean UBE/UCE, not the red stuff) is twice the age of the Internet. At least the spam I get is much less than 80% and I'm not sure of the reason (SpamCop maybe, and others like it?) Anyway much more "desired" mail from bugzilla.mozilla.org (which I read, act upon if needed, then throw away) than "undesired" spam (which I report to SC if I see it before it's 9 hours old) finds its way to my "Trash" mailbox. I wonder how those 80% were arrived at.

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Amazing that spam (and I mean UBE/UCE, not the red stuff) is twice the age of the Internet.

Most folks today think only of e-mail spam ... back to that most Internet users today don't know much of anything about newsgroups, a number of ISPs no longer carry them ....

At least the spam I get is much less than 80% and I'm not sure of the reason (SpamCop maybe, and others like it?) ...... I wonder how those 80% were arrived at.

If you setup your own e-mail server or got to administer one that actually sets on the net 'directly' .. the 80% number is believable, perhaps understated in some realities.

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I think 80% is small. We receive 1 good email for every 700-800 blocked on our servers. It is totally out of control.

I guess I'm lucky; and yet I use legit email addresses wherever I post (including the Vim mailing lists, the Mozilla newsgroups, bug comments at bugzilla.mozilla.org, one Usenet group, ... The address I use most is [at]gmail.com, which does some pre-filtering but by diverting, not by dropping, so I can see that there anyway, there is less spam than legit mail: Periodically I check the Gmail "trash" folder, containing the mail I've read by POP, for false negatives, then the "spam" folder, containing what Gmail held back, for false positives (and after checking I clear them both): there are always fewer "conversations" (usually single-email) in spam than there are (and usually with several emails each) in Trash. I'd guess that all in all, and including Gmail, my spam turns around maybe 30% to 40% of my total mail. Quite few errors, BTW: I suspect Gmail uses Bayesian filters, which I dutifully train by "reporting spam" on false negatives and setting "not a spam" on false positives.

The above is not meant as advertising for a competitor (of [at]spamcop.net and [at]cesmail.net): Gmail is far from perfect, especially if you use a Mozilla browser without "Firefox" in its name as shown in the user-agent string, e.g. SeaMonkey, or one of BonEcho (Firefox 2 nightlies), GranParadiso (Firefox 3 beta releases) or Minefield (Firefox 3 nightlies). It is also better to close its tab when you're (temporarily) done with the webmail interface.

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Someone at Yahoo has posted the complete text of the famous Gary Thuerk DEC spam from 1978. Here, then is the body of spam Zero. Please do not touch the display case and do not use flash photography.

DIGITAL WILL BE GIVING A PRODUCT PRESENTATION OF THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY; THE DECSYSTEM-2020, 2020T, 2060, AND 2060T. THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY OF COMPUTERS HAS EVOLVED FROM THE TENEX OPERATING SYSTEM AND THE DECSYSTEM-10 COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE. BOTH THE DECSYSTEM-2060T AND 2020T OFFER FULL ARPANET SUPPORT UNDER THE TOPS-20 OPERATING SYSTEM. THE DECSYSTEM-2060 IS AN UPWARD EXTENSION OF THE CURRENT DECSYSTEM 2040 AND 2050 FAMILY. THE DECSYSTEM-2020 IS A NEW LOW END MEMBER OF THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY AND FULLY SOFTWARE COMPATIBLE WITH ALL OF THE OTHER DECSYSTEM-20 MODELS.

WE INVITE YOU TO COME SEE THE 2020 AND HEAR ABOUT THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY AT THE TWO PRODUCT PRESENTATIONS WE WILL BE GIVING IN CALIFORNIA THIS MONTH. THE LOCATIONS WILL BE:

TUESDAY, MAY 9, 1978 - 2 PM

HYATT HOUSE (NEAR THE L.A. AIRPORT)

LOS ANGELES, CA

THURSDAY, MAY 11, 1978 - 2 PM

DUNFEY'S ROYAL COACH

SAN MATEO, CA

(4 MILES SOUTH OF S.F. AIRPORT AT BAYSHORE, RT 101 AND RT 92)

A 2020 WILL BE THERE FOR YOU TO VIEW. ALSO TERMINALS ON-LINE TO OTHER DECSYSTEM-20 SYSTEMS THROUGH THE ARPANET. IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT THE NEAREST DEC OFFICE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE EXCITING DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY.

Pretty tame stuff, eh? Not a blue pill nor gold-wash watch in sight. Thuerk was accused of "harvesting" addresses that were presumed to be in Southern California area, and targeting the message to them. He got hammered by ARPANET users, including the original BOFH in charge (a certain Major Czahor at DARPA).

-- rick

Edited by rconner
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[...]

Pretty tame stuff, eh? Not a blue pill nor gold-wash watch in sight. [...]

Not even that indeed, and even less a forgotten "gold" pile to inherit or a stash of young models' "artistic" portraits.

Just plain commercial, I'd say — not "make-believe" commercial (but actually a swindle) as so many spams are nowadays. Yet that's still UCE, and considering the number of addressees, I'd say it's UBE too — spam every way you define it. :)

Notice the all caps — but considering the date, and the printers I used on mainframes around that time, I suppose lowercase letters weren't yet in common use...

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