Is this Spam?

I received an email this morning through the contact form on my online portfolio. At first glance it seemed like a nice compliment…

MESSAGE 1: Paul, I have spent the last hour pouring over all of your work, and it is fantastic. Certainly, I am studying for a degree in Graphic Design and Mass Media and, after graduation, hope to land a job as a Multimedia Designer.  Finding you and seeing what you have all been involved in makes me very excited about this field of study. If you don t mind, and if you have time, I was wondering if you could answer just a few questions I have about what you do and how you do it. They won’t be too tough and shouldn t take much time to answer, I promise! If you are willing please let me know.”

My first thought was cool, I guess I can spare a little time to help someone out who wants to break into this industry. But, as I continued going through my morning email I came across this one, also from the contact form on my portfolio site…

MESSAGE 2: hello,im xiau here,can knw more about you? cause i have to write a report about mutimedia designer… Insite my report,my content must have,designer’s introduction,background profile,portfolio,style of act work and achievement. Can you be my multimedia designer’s target? hope to hear from you soon…”

At this point, I’m thinking… that’s odd, a second email regarding questions about being a Multimedia Designer, except this one doesn’t look quite right. Now, I suppose it’s possible that there is some kind of class assignment somewhere, and my site was passed around (to a foreign exchange student who doesn’t speak much english), but the second email looks a lot like spam to me. But, I didn’t think about this too much. I continued going through my email, until I saw a third one, this time from the contact form on this site (One Digital life)…

MESSAGE 3: Hi, doing some it coursework calld Dance o clock and was wondering if i could use a pic, this is not be seen by anyone exept the examiner and i will only use the pic for this course work Thanks If you dont reply with in 1 day i will take it as a yes (Sorry have to say that, teachers orders)”

This last one is a fair amount different in that it doesn’t mention Multimedia. But, it is odd that all 3 relate to education is some way, and I received them all in one night.

So, what do you think… do I have 3 legitimate emails, 3 spams, or some of each with an odd coincidence in timiing?

Australia Joins China In Censoring The Internet

“The Australian Government has announced that they will be joining China as one of the few countries globally that broadly censor the internet.”

Read More on TechCrunch

Apparently this was originally proposed as an opt-in policy meant to protect children from questionable material, but at the last minute they decided to implement it for everyone. You can opt-out, but you may end up on a list somewhere.

I’m all for protecting children, but I strongly disagree with policies being applied with such broad strokes.

via Thomas Hawk

CompUSA is closing its doors forever

CompUSA Logo

If you haven’t already heard, compUSA is closing it’s doors forever. Apparently they’ve been losing money for years, and were finally sold to an investment firm which will be liquidating their assets.As of now there is no hard date for closing all 103 stores. They will remain open at least through the holidays. Supposedly they’ll have some pretty steep sales, so you may want to keep an eye on your local store if you’re in the market for electronics on the cheap. Just hope you don’t have to return something.

Media Temple issues credit to (gs) customers

If you’re using Media Temple’s Grid Service (gs), you probably already know that they’ve had a few hiccups with the service over the last few months. For me, it hasn’t been anything too terrible, but it has been fairly annoying at times.

This morning, Media Temple CEO, Demian Sellfors, made a public apology on the company’s blog. And, he announced that they would be giving all (gs) customers a two month credit for their troubles.

The credit should automatically show up in the billing section of you MT Account Center. As of this afternoon, mine hadn’t been posted, so I left a comment on their blog post about it. Shortly after leaving my comment, they posted the credit to my account, and emailed me to let me know it was there (Thanks guys!). If you’re a (gs) customer, you may want to check your Account Center to make sure you got the credit.

Although I haven’t been very happy with the downtime Media Temple has had lately, I still think they’re a good company. I’m willing to stick with them for a while longer. And, I would even still recommend them. Sometimes, shit just happens. It’s how the company deals with that shit that determines their commitment to their customers.

There is one side-note to this that I think is a little strange. I subscribe to the rss feed for Media Temple’s blog so I can keep track of any incidents they post. There has been a continual stream of posts coming in over the last few days about some trouble they were having with upgrades, which ultimately lead to the apology I mentioned. But, as far as I can tell, when you visit the blog in your browser, none of those posts are shown. They appear to only be available via the feed. Maybe I’m missing something, but this seems strange to me.

If you’re a Media Temple customer, you may want to subscribe to their feed, and not just visit the blog. Otherwise you may not get the whole story.

It’s been a month since I blogged?

Holy Crap! It’s been a month since I last posted anything here. I really have been a slacker, haven’t I. I haven’t been very good about blogging (for several months now), but in this case I really did think it had only been a couple of weeks. I was shocked when I realized the truth.

The last thing I wrote about was the $200 price drop on the iPhone. I actually had a lot more to say about that, including why I think Apple did what they did, but I’m going to go ahead and let it drop. Too much time has passed now.

New posts will be coming shortly.

Media Temple’s iPhone Account Center

Media Temple Account Center on iPhone

If you use Media Temple as your web host, you’ve probably already heard about this. But, just incase you haven’t, Media Temple has announced a version of their account center formatted specifically for the iPhone.

It’s not as full-featured as the regular account center, but it’s still pretty cool. You can find more info here.

Pictures of Collapsed Bridge in Minneapolis

Collapsed bridge over Mississippi River in Minneapolis
Photo: Allen Brisson-Smith for The New York Times

On the radio yesterday I heard about the bridge over the Mississippi River, in Minneapolis, that collapsed. I didn’t realize the scope until I saw it on the news last night. It’s pretty horrendous. If you haven’t seen it, check out the photo gallery on the New York Times site.

Upgrading One Digital Life

A while back I wrote about how I had plans for this site that would involve changing the format a bit. Tonight I took the first (baby) step towards that goal. I updated my ancient install of WordPress to the current version (2.2.1).

You may have noticed that the site looks a fair amount different now too. This theme isn’t actually one that I made. It’s called Blog oh Blog, by Bob Jiwakacau. Although I’ve said it before, at some point I actually will make my own theme, but in the meantime I needed to ditch the one that I had been using. It was so old, and had so much legacy junk in it that it was basically being held together with duct tape and rubber bands. I didn’t think it could hold up to upgrading WordPress (and I was just sick of looking at it). Although this theme is quite a bit different than anything I’ve used before, I like it (with a little tweaking).