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Best Ebay Spoof Yet

I've just received the most authentic looking e-bay spoof I've seen so far. Only my supergeek slashdot style paranoia saved me from this one. It's worth being aware of the technique.

You have added phoneseller@yahoo.com as a new email address for your eBay account.

If you did not authorize this change or if you need assistance with your account, please contact eBay customer service at:

Thank you for using eBay!
The PayPal Team

Please do not reply to this e-mail. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered. For assistance, log in to your eBay account and choose the
"Help" link in the header of any page.


NEVER give your password to anyone and ONLY log in at http://scgi.ebay.com/verify_id=ebay. Protect yourself against fraudulent websites by opening a new web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer or Netscape) and typing in the eBay URL every time you log in to your account.


eBay Email ID PP007

Of course I hadn't authorised any new e-mail addresses on my eBay account and so this email is an immediate call to action to find out what's going on with the account.

This spoof was masquerading as a plain-text mail. It was actually an HTML piece of mail with it's style set to

style="FONT-SIZE: x-small; FONT-FAMILY:'couriernew',monospace"

Thus it mimiks exactly the style used by my email client for plain text mail. It's easy to assume then that the links are legitimate because they are plain text and Outlook normally makes plain text links clickable. There's no reason to think that underneath the hyperlink is actually,


Holy cow! I don't want to give my ebay password to some zombie machine in Pakistan with a dynamic IP address. Ebay have a special address to forward these to - spoof@ebay.com, and that's where that went.

Posted by Alexander on May 25, 2005 | Best Ebay Spoof Yet | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Two updates

I've updated two previous posts. One update to the flashvars writeFlash method with a correction that allows it to be better used with FSCommand. The other correction is to do with sending quiz results back through the SCORM api.

Posted by Alexander on May 21, 2005 | Two updates | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blogging Guidelines

I had promised myself that I wouldn't write about blogging on my blog. It's a bit like reading a novel about an author with writer's block or a newspaper article about what's it's like to be a newspaper journalist. Well that's probably interesting to journalists, but not to me.

The realisation that I've had is that blogs are mainly being read by other bloggers. I don't know if that will change as the medium matures, but it's certainly true at the moment and bloggers love to read about blogging so here's my perspectives on blogging in the short time I've been doing it.

First up are boring comments. I was reading Scoble on this and he seems to suggest that he won't delete comments no matter how objectionable or boring. Well I think reading comments is part of the blog experience. Hateful and boring comments can seriously impact on that experience. I'd advocate using the same standard as Joel Spolsky uses for discussion forums.

I don't have too many comments to delete, but I did get one today from a casino website owner who found my post to be very insightful and kindly included a link to his casino. Bless.

Second is the calendar widget. I really don't understand these. It's a little calendar, usually in the top right hand corner of the page which includes a tiny link to each day on which a post has been made. So the links are very small and fiddly to click on and why would anyone click on them? You might click on a link that includes the title of a previous post, because the title sounds interesting, but there's no reason to suppose that the articles from the 3rd of May will be more interesting than the 6th of May.

Third is off-topic posts. My feeling is that blogs should have a topic, even a wide or a broad one and stick to it. This is one of my more off-topic posts, but most of my readers are bloggers so I hope it will be of some interest. Yahoo's Jeremy Zawodny's has a blog and has plenty of interesting posts but he writes a lot about his flying too. I happen to find those posts really boring. They're categorised, so if I go to some effort, I can avoid them, but it would just be a whole lot better if he just got a different blog for them.

So I've just seen that IBM has issued some blogger guidelines. I wonder if they'll be the same as mine.

Posted by Alexander on May 16, 2005 | Blogging Guidelines | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Here's something I put together some time ago. Topalov is a Jenga style 3d block stacking game. I'm not sure I ever got the user interface polished enough to ensure great playability, but I still enjoy knocking the tower over and watching the blocks topple over each other using the Shockwave Havok Xtra to simulate the physics. This reminds me of the power of Director shockwave. Adobe, listen up - in my enduringly humble opinion, the Havok Xtra alone provides enough reason to keep Director around. You just can't do this kind of thing on the web with any other technology.

Posted by Alexander on May 10, 2005 | Topalov | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Navigating the Rapids

What do you mean by 'Rapid e-Learning'? It's a phrase that is used more and more - this articles argues for qualification. I agree. Without qualification, I'd understand the term to mean 'content that can be digested quickly'. On it's own, that can be a useless term. Learning speed depends much more on the learner and the quality of the material presented than on whether the material it is delivered electronically or not. Indeed, simply moving material from the page to the screen may actually slow the user down - the preference of most users when reading static material is to read it from the page.

The key to improving the learning speed is in adding interactivity - or 'learning by doing'. E-learning materials can invite the user to try out what he has just learnt and he can get feedback on whether he can really apply that knowledge. Typically, creating these kind of interactions requires a programmer and a lot time will go into development and testing. However, I'm hoping that with the launch of Question Writer, it will become a lot easier to create this kind of interactive learning material - Rapid e-Learning Development that supports Rapid e-Learning material.

Posted by Alexander on May 10, 2005 | Navigating the Rapids | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fontographer Sold

So it's nearly a tuesday and there's some interesting news - Macromedia has sold Fontographer. I haven't used this product but I know a lot of people like it but were unhappy that Macromedia wasn't improving it. Maybe it will have a new lease of life now.

In the context of the Adobe acquisition, I looks like maybe this sale is intended to further reduce competition in the market space. Fontlab already makes it's own font editor software and now it has a whole lot less competition, so while Fontographer might get better, it will get pricier too.

Posted by Alexander on May 09, 2005 | Fontographer Sold | Comments (0) | TrackBack