Monday, April 30, 2007

Bloody Forwards.

I hate email forwards.

Here’s the deal. If you occasionally send me a forward, maybe it’s a story you found online, or a joke you know I’ll find particularly funny, that’s fine. If, however, you’re one of those people that automatically re-sends every forward you receive, to everyone in your contacts list…then you, sir or madam, are the devil and will receive a slow and painful death when the revolution comes.

So why do I have such a bug up my butt about this? Well, for one, many people don’t realize that I appear on quite a few people’s contact list, and we may share contacts in common…so we get to the point where I receive the same forward from five or six people.

Don’t you people realize that the internet is not a big truck that you can just dump things on? It’s a series of tubes, dammit!

The worst thing is the content of these forwards. Some are mildly annoying and some I know will lead me to a few hours tech support in the near future.

So, in classic WTHIGO style, here is a list of every type of forward you’re likely to receive, and why you shouldn’t pass them on…at least to me.

1) Jokes.

You know that uncle you had that was pure comic hilarity when you where five, but then suddenly became the worlds most unfunny person when you turned ten? This was partly because he told the same jokes over and over. This is what you become when you forward jokes.

You see, that hilarious joke you just sent to everyone you know was doing the rounds when the Internet was the Arpanet. Yay! A picture of a cat wearing a lime on its head, a hilarious list of the differences between men and women! Oh Joy!

There’s nothing wrong with sending the odd joke, just don’t forward everyone you receive.

2) “Inspirational” emails.

In other words, lifted directly from ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’…or as I like to call it, “Manipulative boring stories with unnecessarily sad endings for no reason.” For some reason, a short story about a cute puppy that brings the community together by getting run over by a truck isn’t what I want to see in my inbox…fifteen times a day.

3) Warnings about food poisoning/product recalls etc.

Why? Because these are 100% fake. They all follow the same pattern. “This is 100% TRUE!!! A lady in Alabama drank some Dancing Cow Farms milk, and died of a stroke fifteen minutes later!!!! Don’t drink DCF milk!!!

Bullshit. When there’s a genuine problem with something, the first thing the responsible party does not do is shout “Quickly! To the internets! Get a chain letter going!”

They usually put in the name of a person, a hospital and a state where it happened…and as we all know, this is sooo hard to fake.

This is TOTALLY TRUE! A woman called Janice Nipplegrabber (82) in Tucson fed her baby some Mother’s Scrotum brand baby formula, and it made her baby grow horns and start listening to Marylin Manson! This story was in the Tucson Examiner! It’s TRUE!!! Send this to everyone you know!

Bollocks, the point of these emails is so the original writer can see how far it gets. Not to warn you of a genuine danger.

Let me ask you another question, when was the last time you turned on the news, and the first thing the reporter said was “OMG! This is TOTALLY TRUE!”? Newspapers don’t do it either. Why? Because the only real reason to state something is true is because you’re trying to convince someone that something you’re saying, that actually is false, is true. A gazillion exclamation points is a dead giveaway as well.

4) Your computer may have a virus, check for this file!!!

This is the one that I get knowing it will be followed up by a phonecall 20 minutes later from someone asking why their computer won’t work.

It warns of a virus, and usually tells you to check your Windows/System32 folder, and to delete a ‘virus’ DLL file. Not wanting to get into too much technical detail, but a .dll file is a Dynamic Link Library file, and deleting the wrong one (or any for that matter) can cause you real problems.

This is what I like to call a ‘manual virus’. You might as well be getting an email that says “Please format your hard-drive and pour ketchup into your power supply unit. Thanks!”

Don’t do it. This is what virus checkers are for.

5) Bill Gates/Steve Jobs/Mahatma Ghandi will send you $20 if you forward this email.

This old chestnut’s been doing the rounds since the advent of email. Apparently someone is trying out an ‘email tracking program’, and you’ll get anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars for everyone you send the email to, and more for every person they forward it to.

Ok, let’s just look at the math here. If you send that email to ten people, and each one of those sends it to ten people, you’re talking exponential growth. Ten steps later that email has reached more people than there are in the world, never mind with internet access. At 20 cents an email, after ten steps, Bill Gates owes us 500 trillion dollars, and even he’s not that rich.

Again, it’s just another douchebag wanting to see how many people he can fool. Emails like this often have hidden hit counters embedded in them, so the originator can see how many people are expecting a check for forwarding an email.

6) Virus Warnings.

Do not open any emails with ‘cheesypeas’ in the subject line! It’s a virus that will destroy your computer, steal your car and get your daughter pregnant!

Ok, here’s the deal. Know what most of these emails are used for? Spreading viruses…especially when they come with a little .exe that claims to check your computer for the original (and non existent) virus.

You don’t need to worry about new viruses as long as you’re clever enough to actually run a virus checker and update it regularly. In fact, if you have half a brain, you know not to open unsolicited attachments anyway.

“But there’s a thingy at the bottom of the email that says a checker has certified it virus free! Answer that one!”

Yep, you got me. It’s soooo bloody hard to write:

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.5.446 / Virus Database: 269.4.0/759 - Release Date: 4/12/2007 7:58 PM

At the end of an email.

Forwards. Just stoppit!


Saffyre said...

Hey I think I found your teddy bear!

You threw it SO far out of the pram it made it all the way to the UK...nice going


OzzyC said...

I think I'm going to send every one of my personal email contacts a link to this email... you see how long it takes for you to get the link.

Paulius said...

A forward about not sending forwards...ironic.