a qualm...

i have a qualm with today’s traffic lights… sometimes, they are absolutely ludicrous and preposterous. you would think that with today’s sensor technology and stuff, you’d be able to drive and not wait at lights at all, especially really early in the morning or really late at night… but unfortunately, this is not the case.

one of the traffic lights very close to my house is totally insane. its at a major intersection across a railroad track. during normal hours, if you miss it, you may wait 2 and a half minutes to turn at it. if you are unlucky and a train happens to pass, you miss your next turn most of the time, therefore resulting in one having to wait about 5 minutes if not more to make a left turn at that light. consequently, people just drive to the next light and make a left and/or u-turn from there.

this morning, i waited almost 4 minutes to make a left turn, despite the fact that the road from the other 3 directions was literally empty. ugh… maybe that light either doesn’t have a sensor or has a really bad sensor installed on it?

on email spam...

in most cases, i find that i am much more effective than a spam detector in figuring out what’s spam and what’s not just by looking at the subject line (and, in extreme cases, at the sender as well). in very few cases does one have to open the email to be sure.

recently, i got this email (twice) on my y! mail account (which, by the way, will soon offer unlimited email storage). i wasn’t totally sure by just looking at the subject and sender (although the last name was pretty fake), so i opened it - i was pretty surprised at a few things in the email (a spin-off of the classic “millionaire bank account” email).

My dearest Ahmed,

May Allah bless and guide you and family for me!

I am highly compelled upon strict recommendation, to write you this very urgent and confidential letter. I do hope my letter will not embarrass you since I had no previous correspondence with you. It is because of my deepest faith in Alla and also in you as a true Islamic sibling made me stood firm to write you this email. I have been tormented, tortured, maltreated and humiliated along side with my kids for no just reason.

wow… a “true” greeting, and a prayer too… could be convincing if one didn’t know better. secondly, the leaving out of an h in “Allah” in the first paragraph… third, the playing on emotions (because you’re my “Islamic sibling” - we as muslims do consider each other brothers and sisters). interesting.

I want you to assist me acquiring and safe keeping my only remaining inheritance from a security company in London. I will send you detail of my investment plans in my next correspondence to you. I solely want to invest this money in your country with all legal backs. We are suffering under the leadership of the bad government and this is why I want to run away from my country to settle in your country for high security reasons.

so… what country is “your country” - but the typical reader may not notice.

I am sending this proposal with a broken heart and I believe that you are going to give me a sympathetic attention. I regret the inconvenience it might cause you based on the condition that we have not met before. But I so much believe that Allah is in total control.

hmm, making people sympathize and mentioning, “Allah is in total control.”

Intro:

I am Hajia . Munirat Fatima Abacha, the wife of Mohammed Abacha, son of the late head of state of Federal Republic of Nigeria - General Sani Abacha.I am contacting you in view of the fact that we will be of great assistance to each other like wise developing a cordial relationship as true Islamic families.

My husband along with his late father and top officials of their past administration has been accused of looting several Billion United States Dollars from the Nigeria Government. The current attitude of the present government towards my family has indeed made life quite unbearable and sad to us trying to leave us on empty handed. Make reference to this BBC report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2282366.stm

hey, now i have proof that her husband really did have this case, including a bbc report…

for us. Fortunately, Mohammed my Husband has Eighteen million and Six hundred thousand and United States Dollars (US$18.6 million) cash, which he intended to use for investment purposes in an Islamic nation abroad for hotel and recreation reservation centre, while part will be diverted into charity and destitute homes to assist the life of the needy and helpless. This money is kept in a private security company in London now. This money was deposited for safe keeping in the security vault of a freighting agency here by my husband preparatory to being air lifted abroad for investment purposes before his arrest leaving a clause that it could only be claimed by an expatriate partner. It is only my husband and myself that know where the money is kept with full information on documents with our trusted family lawyer.

what’s this “for us” that starts the paragraph? - there’s nothing missing above it or below it… it doesn’t make any sense to start that sentence with “for us,” but uh… okay. centre? confidential information like this sent in an email? using stolen money for charity? yeah…

Due to the current situation in the country concerning government’s vendettas towards my family, we seek your assistance to transfer this money out of London for the purpose of investment as intended by my husband. Note that my family is currently being probed by this present government for alleged involvement in misappropriation of public funds during my father-in-law’s regime. Towards this effect, an embargo restricting my family members from traveling or carrying out financial transactions without their express permission is in force.

Right now, my husband (Mohammed) is under arrest and is being detained in connection to the above and other activities of his late father. However, I have an arrangement on how to freight this money to you after receiving some assurances from you of the safety our own share and that you will only take the commission that we will offer you. This money personally belongs to my husband and he intends that it still be used for investment in Islamic nations only.

investing in islamic nations? don’t they realize that this money, which they admit is stolen and provide an article from the bbc proving it, is 7aram (unlawful) and unusable for investment in islamic countries and islamic projects?

The freighting company to be used has now been introduced to me and as soon as we receive your readiness to assist us receives this fund we shall formalize the deposit documents in your name and reach an agreement with them to air lift the consignment for your pick up in your address. Bearing in mind that your assistance is needed to transfer this fund, wepropose a commission of 15% (Fifteen Percent) of the total sum to you for the expected services and assistance. While extra 5% is mapped out for miscellaneous expenses.

heyyy! 15% cut of stolen money… no thank you!

On your positive consent, I shall expect you to contact me urgently to enable us discuss about this. Your urgent response is highly needed. I must use this opportunity to implore you to exercise utmost indulgence to keep this matter extraordinarily confidential, while I await your prompt response. I have to remind you that this information should be on a top confidential level. Best regards,

if it has to be kept confidential, its probably illegal… but do people realize this?

MRS. MUNIRAT FATIMA ABACHA

PROFILE: <http://profiles.yahoo.com/hajiafatimaabacha>

so a few interesting things… check out her profile on yahoo (link above). not very realistic that someone in royalty will set up a yahoo profile and set their homepage to be a link to a bbc article accusing their husband of stealing money from the government…

the problem is, with such types of “realistic” and “targeted” messages, many people (especially from the uncle/auntie generation and the non computer savvy people) may believe such messages, especially when they’re addressed as personally as these messages are and when they try to pull people’s help for a “humanitarian cause” and for “the sake of religion” and “doing what’s right” while at the same time presenting a partially accurate (albeit disconnected) view reflective of the recipient’s beliefs.

update (4/13/2007) - this morning, i got two new versions of this email. one to y! mail that is very similar to the other one except with an email address included, and another on gmail which is a different version that includes 1. a new url for the news url (link to cnn this time), 2. a phone number, 3. a “please email me here for security and privacy” with a link to a yahoo.fr email account (except with horrible spelling). 4. a different last name, 5. different percentage (50% rather than 15%), 6. addressing me as “my mr. ahmed” and “dear”…

this is totally ludicrous…

amazing fajr marketing

i love sheikh mohammad, the sheikh of mca. i also love his amazing marketing skills in bringing the youth to fajr. check out this picture of the t-shirt he gave me:

pray fajr at the masjid and smile

i love the “and smile” part - and i love how he signed his name at the bottom :)

some people are just fishing for trouble...

why would you ask a question like this unless you’re just asking for trouble?

blizzard's WoW armory

blizzard put up the armory for WoW character stats - i like this a lot better than allakhazam because now i don’t manually have to run a tool to update my character stats - plus the interface is much nicer :) so i updated the links on the side…

that having been said, i haven’t had much of a chance to play in the past month or so… my main is still only 60 :p

oh, and i just added a gaming category to the site too for all these WoW posts :)

popping a subset of gmail messages...

so i usually always pop my gmail mail, especially after i heard the paranoia about how google was closing accounts at random and people were losing insane amounts of email. but recently, i suffered a hard drive reformat (courtesy of windows, which attempted to format my entire hard drive rather than a partition because my hard drive was over 160 gb and win2k can’t read more than that, so it named the drive corrupt), i only had email up through the 4th of january popped from my gmail account.

however, i couldn’t find an easy way to pop the email that i had lost between january 4th to today. i tried many things - i tried resetting the pop option to allow downloading of already downloaded mail in the settings, and this worked for some subset of messages and eventually ceased to work (i got ~1100 messages the first time, ~400 the second time, then ~200, and so on, but eventually it stopped getting new ones).

finally, i found a solution - first, delete anything in your deleted folder. then, select all the messages you already have (for me, anything older than 1/4/2007) by doing a search for “before: 2007/1/4” (not sure if this only works for inbox and sent or whether it also searches the archived mail, but you can just use “show search options” and search for messages that way too just to be sure). take these messages and delete them. then goto settings, and under forwarding & pop, set gmail to download messages that have already been downloaded. now goto your email client, hit download, and you should get just the subset of messages that you didn’t trash.

you can then goto the trash can, select all conversations and move them to inbox (be careful, don’t accidentally empty the trash!) now this will cause a problem - you’ll find your chats and your sent mail that has no replies to it also in your inbox (which frustrated me). the solution? goto the inbox, do a search for label:chat - select all the messages and hit archive. then go back to the inbox, do a search for messages from: me, and mark all those as archived. then go back to the inbox one more time, do a search across all mail (including archived mail) for messages to: me, and hit “move to inbox.”

and that should do it!

ahmad tea

ahmad tea

my own tea company? nah, that’s just my distant cousin, ahmad with an a… he makes good tea though ;)

hills of san francisco

so countless times have i heard people talking about how san francisco is so hilly… when people would ask me, i’d say, “sure, its hilly” - but seriously, how was i to know? the only two places in san francisco i had visited were the airport several times and pier 39 once…

but things finally changed… this week, i made a trip into downtown san francisco. and man, when people say its hilly, its really, really hilly! while driving up and down the roads, i couldn’t help but remember roller coasters… the hills up were crazy steep, and when you got to the top, you had to keep driving a bit in order to actually see in front of you.

the other really nice thing was that every once in a while, you’d get a nice view of the bay. i think i should take my camera and take some pictures there some day, and see the golden gate bridge while i am at it.

scorpion on a plane?

this is insane - they won’t let me take my cologne on a plane because its not in a ziplock bag, but scorpions are okay?

burning crusade midnight signings

blizzard people are signing copies of burning crusade ~5 miles from my house… so very much tempted to go, but i can’t imagine waiting a day in line to get one of 4500 copies… and besides, if it takes lines from 6 am to get one of 4500 copies, it’ll be so crowded that i can’t imagine it being worth going… then again, it could be nicely ebayableshrugs

my bigger debate is, “to buy it, or not to buy it…”