NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Spam filters fall off cliff, RIAA sues a stiff

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Spam filters fall off cliff, RIAA sues a stiff

Another Valentine's Day, another inbox full of heart-shaped spam. Memo to junk emailers: I did not want to "name a star" for my honey or order a dozen gourmet chocolate-dipped strawberries, thanks. My V-Day plans were simpler: I curled up with a bottle of paint thinner and watched Desperate Housewives on TiVo.

Filter this: Spam may be annoying, but spam filters may prove a bigger problem. Dozens of readers have contributed terms to the list of things that make anti-spam software freak out. My faves: "b*tt welds" (mechanical engineering), "sn*tch block" (construction equipment), and "bifurcated hermaphroditic pins" (electrical connectors). (Forgive the asterisks - I'm afraid this column itself might get filtered.) One Cringester said he can't get emails containing the word "special*st" because "cial*s" (male impotence drug) is embedded inside it. Finally, a Cringe informant who works for a major credit card company said that in his industry, multinational banks are commonly referred to as "l*rge m*mbers." As I've always suspected, size does count - at least when it comes to bank accounts.

Not grateful, just dead: In January, the Recording Industry Association of America sued an 83-year-old former citizen of West Virginia, even though a copy of her death certificate was sent to the RIAA a week before it filed suit.

I'm assuming the RIAA will dismiss the suit once she stops sharing files illegally from the great beyond (I hear Knockin' on Heaven's Door is a particular favourite up there).

Free shipping for all orders over $US100,000: Eagle-eyed reader Tony H was browsing Amazon when he noticed an Apple PowerBook for the low, low price of $US99,999.99 (not including the $30 discount for using an Amazon Visa). The price has since returned to $US2699, disappointing Apple shareholders everywhere.

The bitter end: Reader Porter C noted that a surfeit of references to hindquarters have cropped up in my column lately. The reason? I'm just trying to see if my editor is sitting down on the job. (Editor's note: Don't be an a**.)

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