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EdTech Update





Creative spam headers

delspam.jpgI am posting this against my better judgment, but here goes anyway. Rated PG 13, I suppose.

I have to say I've been getting a huge chuckle out of checking the trap on my spam filter lately. The subject headings are getting more and more creative. Who writes these things?  Most, of course, are for male "enhancement" products, Viagra or porn. Those marketers sure know how I like to spend MY money.


Just from today. (With my comments.)

  • Huge cucumber is your riches (The LWW is a gardener so this one might have possibilities.)
  • Tired of being second best in bed? (Out of three, four?)
  • Give yourself a massive headstart (On what?)
  • Beat the odds, bed HER (Oh, they know my usual odds too!)
  • Hillari Clinton stood up for daughter (I didn't get this one at all.)
  • Huge love weapon is never too much (Love weapon an oxymoron?) 
  • Scarlett Johansson spills boobs (At least she didn't spill the beer.)
  • Now You Can Enhance Your Sex Life at the Lowest Prices (I hope somebody forwards this to Eliot Spitzer.)          
  • Massive even when flaccid (Bragging rights down at the Y, you betcha!)
  • Give her the present she deserves (What if she deserves someone who doesn't read this kind of spam?)
  • Life is unpredictable. Be prepared. (The Boy Scout Motto, if I remember. Those little pervs.)
  • Fierce and furious in bed (And fast!)
  • Enhance your wicked reputation (I'm just tickled to know I have one.)
  • Feel yourself more manly (But not in public, please.)
  • Huge tool to please your lassie (A Shillelagh? No that's Irish.)
  • Bang your way through all barriers (With your shilelagh, of course.)
  • Be the man of women's dreams (And she'll wake up screaming.)
  • No weight - no problems (Another one I don't get.)
  • Immeasurable wand of pleasure (Wasn't it Harry Potter and the Immeasurable Wand of Pleasure?)
  • Give her the time of her life (Proves Hobbs observation about life - nasty, brutish and short.)
  • She saw the fire in my eye (Which is why she threw her drink in my face - to put it out.)
  • Gain permanent gains now (Brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.)
  • Rock her socks off. (More likely rock her to sleep.)
  • Your tool is set to burst out from the toolbox. (I knew we'd gone too far with these cordless devices.)
  • failure notice (Oh, that message actually WAS from the LWW
Do you have a favorite spam subject header? Add it below - with or without commentary. Do women get the same spam as guys do?

The subversive view of copyright

It was this posting on LM_Net about downloading YouTube videos to one's hard drive that triggers this post:

This has been the subject of a lot of discussion on the Australian list because, according to the Terms and Conditions of Use, you cannot do this without the express permission of the video owner.

This is from the Terms of Use website
"You may access User Submissions solely: for your information and personal use; as intended through the normal functionality of the YouTube Service; and for Streaming. "Streaming" means a contemporaneous digital transmission of an audiovisual work via the Internet from the YouTube Service to a user's device in such a manner that the data is intended for real-time viewing and not intended to be copied, stored, permanently downloaded, or redistributed by the user. Accessing User Videos for any purpose or in any manner other than Streaming is expressly prohibited."
This was brought to our notice here when one of our members noticed that Jamie McKenzie was advocating downloading clips in an article he had written, so she wrote to him and he changed what he had written!

I have obviously been reading too many comments from people like Tom Hoffman, Peter Rock and Stephen Downes since this was my reaction...

I say go ahead and download YouTube videos regardless of what the "terms" say. Here is why:

  1. I sincerely doubt there is any case law existing that would indicate whether YouTube's statement holds any legal water. When such a condition exists, you should ask yourself if it is any harder to ask forgiveness than permission when making a decision that is questionable. If you are abiding by _most_ of the fair use indicators and it leads to a better educational experience, don't wait for permission. Just do it. (Jamie, don't be a wimp!)
  2. We should stop wasting our time fussing about this petty ante stuff. Downloading a YouTube video has about the same degree of criminality as stealing a sugar packet from a restaurant or driving 2 miles over the speed limit. Yeah, technically it may not be legal - but who really cares except those folks who never left Kohlberg's Law and Order stage of moral development. How is a kid downloading a illegal song any different from us stealing an apple from a neighbor's tree when we were young? - other than the fact we were simply mischievous and today's kids are criminals!

rant.jpgI am growing more and more convinced that we are simply tying ourselves in knots worrying about what people shouldn't be doing - especially on petty matters. (Who exactly suffers if a movie is shown in school as a reward rather than in direct F2F instruction?) Perhaps we should approach copyright to teaching people what rights they do have, about being honest when we don't know if something is legal or illegal and erring on the side of the consumer, and about using the morality of a situation rather than the legality to make a judgment. Ask me, we are genuinely in danger of creating a bunch of scofflaws out of our kids and teachers. (Read a more erudite expression of this on Joyce Valenza's blog.)

OK, have at me. Strip me of my library epaulets. Drum me out of the league of copyright cops.

But I said it and feel better for it.


What is the best site for checking hoaxes?

I really want most urban legends to be true. - from My Biases
They told me I was gullible... and I believed them.-  from Doug's t-shirt says

Tomorrow is April Fool's Day. A great time to pass along a good urban myth or two - or more likely, receive them from one's colleagues.

Where do you head first to check out whether that long circulated story about cookie recipes, Kentucky Fried Rat or a tourist photo taken from the top of the World Trade Center dated 9/11 has any basis in reality? And more importantly,  do you teach or kids and staff to verify the accuracy of those amazing factoids received by e-mail?


These are my standby sites to check hoaxes

  • Snopes - the granddaddy of urban legend checkers. Wide scope and good search engine. Very current.
  • Truth or Fiction - this is a new site for me. Concentrates on information spread via e-mail.
  • Hoaxbusters. (U.S. Department of Energy) Hmmmmm, off line today. Good site if you believe the government can be trusted.

Going to keep this short. I need to send a box of Neiman-Marcus cookies to a terminally ill boy and get my mail to see if that check from my Nigerian partner has come yet. Remember not to put your PIN number in backwards or the police will be summoned and that cell phone use causes Alzheimer's.


 Oh, check these out!

Gmail Custom Time
 Virgle: The Adventure of Many Lifetimes