Your “Oeuvre” lovingly fondled by Maria?
No such Number, no such Zone
M: If you want to contact us—I can’t think why—then send your comments, thoughts, or philosophical speculations on the origins of life to the following address:
but only after replacing “returntosender” by “tamjgp” and “addressunknown” by “nerdshack”.
If you’re an unintelligent robot prowling these pages in order to harvest email addresses so that your lord-and-master can send us spam, then we must advise you that your efforts will be in vain, and your spam-master’s emails will disappear down that great, big black-hole that lies at the centre of cyberspace—not that you will understand any of this, of course. If, on the other hand, you’re an intelligent robot, then, “Have a nice day!”
Maria: I’ve just met a girl called … Ouch!
M: JG has his own custom, deluxe, anti-spam filter, a stunning piece of software—one which I, unfortunately, am never allowed to get my hands on! Ouch! She’s JG’s factotum, and her name’s Maria! She trashes any incoming spam with great gusto, and discretely disposes of emails from persons even “weirder than we”—they do exist! Maria will—or at least so JG informs us—forward a sample of the “interesting” emails for our attention. So, if you have something worthwhile to say, Maria might just send your email on its way, metamorphosing as it passes through an infinite chain of “nym” remailers, being temporarily reabsorbed into the vacuum state as it jumps across innumerable quantum bridges, and being squashed to nothingness as it slithers through a quorum of worm holes that provide hyperspace links through universes unknown. Of course, by far the biggest obstacle to a successful delivery is that Maria might forget to press “Send” if she’s late for her aerobics class—you know how women are!
T: But don’t send us any “brickbats”. Why? Well, Maria has strict instructions from JG to file anything negative in that small, round filing cabinet in the corner of her screen—the one marked “Trash”. You see, Morpheus—like all men—has a very delicate ego, and we must shelter the poor dears from too much negativity. Of course, we women are made of sterner stuff!
M: Ha! Another feminist fantasy! Apologies, if we don’t have time to reply personally. But we’ll blog on the feedback we receive every now and then. So, if you say something very profound or very witty then you just might find yourself blogged about!
Want to be a Lab Rat?
T: Now “paid-for” email systems are in the pipeline. These systems involve one big business charging another big business for the privilege of disabling your spam filter and allowing reams of spam into your in-box—we gather the internal AOL memo read, “Strategic Planning: How to reduce our Customer Base.”
This proposal set us thinking that if anyone should be paid for receiving spam, it should be “you”, the person who receives it. So we’ve invented our own version of “paid-for” email. We call our hypothetical system “you-pay-me-mail”, which is what you say to all those spammers out there. Now a generic “you-pay-me-mail” system would admittedly require some infrastructure. But, in special cases—for example, where you wish to post your email address on your web site or on a newsgroup that accepts HTML and not be deluged with spam—the existing e-currency micropayment systems can be used.
Unvetted by Maria!
T: We’ve constructed a prototype system below using e-gold, in which it costs 50 cents (USD) to send us a plain text email of up to about 4000 characters. For a very small amount of work, e-gold (and the other e-currency issuers) could remove the size limitation and add a facility to include attachments (with, of course, a corresponding adjustment to their commissions for lengthy emails). We’ll write a blog entry on how to code it sometime (but for those of you familiar with the e-gold payment interface it’s trivial—just one long “baggage” field to hold the message text; feel free to lift our code and modify it as you wish).
Anyway, if you want to be a “lab rat” and be part of our experiment you can try out our “Heath Robinson” version by following the instructions below. As a bonus, Maria has promised to pass on “paid-for” emails unvetted, so you can be certain we’ll get to read whatever it is you’ve written!
You-Pay-Me-Mail – Delivery Guaranteed
M: You'll need an e-gold account with the equivalent of at least 50 cents (USD) in it.
Enter your message in the text-area below. The limit is about 130 lines, but that should suffice—after all, no matter how creative you are, there are still only a limited number of ways in which you can say, “You Suck Big Time.” Then press the “Send Mail” button.
When the payment order screen appears, check that the details following “Pay” are “3038638 (Nearly Perfect Privacy)” and that the “Amount” is “0.5 US Dollars”—just in case someone has hacked into www.blogger.com and changed the account and the amount; or, even more likely, just in case Tiffy has decided she just must have that pair of silk undies! Enter your e-gold account number in the “From” field, your passphrase in the “Passphrase” field, and, enter the verification number displayed on the screen in the “Turing Number” field—assuming, that is, your neural net can extract it from the mangled image on the bottom right. Then press the “Preview” button.
When the verification screen appears check that it contains the same information as its predecessor and then—provided you’re really, really sure you can’t think of a better way to spend your 50 cents—press the “Confirm” button.
A payment confirmation screen will appear to announce that it’s now too late to change your mind. And you’ll kick yourself for not spending your money more wisely by making a donation to Tor or by contributing towards an “EFL class” for “Dear George”. But, alas, it’s no use contemplating what might have been. Just press “Continue” and you’ll be taken back to our fireside, where we’ll say something profound…such as…“A fool and his gold are easily parted!”
That pair of…hint, hint!
T: Our email filter—when we get it working—will automatically flush any emails that have forged headers or don’t have a payment for at least the correct amount into the bit bucket. Fingers crossed, it’ll mean no spam, and a reduction in emails from people with nothing worthwhile to say! Now that, you must admit, makes for a welcome change! And, of course, when my birthday next comes around there just might be enough money in the kitty for Morpheus to buy me that pair of…hint, hint!
We can guarantee that your comments will be appreciated irrespective of which route you take: after all, a “paid-for brickbat” is as welcome as a “free bouquet”. Of course, a “paid-for bouquet” would be ever so much nicer!
For the Attention of Big Brother
M: If, perchance, you’re filtering these witterings into your ever growing database, then don’t contact us, we’ll contact you: somewhere out there in the far reaches of cyberspace is an IP packet with your name on it!
T: And please remember, there are two “f”s in Tiffany!
Our PGP Public Key
Cut and paste the entire contents of the following display box into a text editor, such as “Notepad”. Save it to a file, and then import that file into your keyring using your PGP software.
-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Version: GnuPG v126.96.36.199 (MingW32)
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----