Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Intellegent Life

Yesterday a group of people interested in AI got together at Massey University at the E-Centre to kick off a AI interest group. This is not limited to Auckland. This is being done under the umbrella of the NZCS, but you don't have to be a member to attend.

A group has started on Feel free to join there.

It is very bright today, probably the excess sunshine has put me in a sensitive mood because I found myself a little annoyed at an email telling me Your email program is unable to display the HTML content of this message correctly... Hello: unable?? Excuse me but I have deliberately switched that capability off for security reasons. HTML and RTF emails are a major vector for distributing malware - just opening an email can activate an exploit and install malware to your computer without you knowing. It is only responsible to turn this off. My objection is the implied slur on my abilities. The message could easily have read: "This email contains HTML content which can be viewed at this address." But even then - doesn't it sound like a phishing scam?

A better solution is to write a short version of your content above the html header in the email (this can be automated for businesses - just prepend the message body) or, better yet, do not send html emails.

Most of these emails come from people who hope to sell me stuff, I can block them but I've asked because occasionally they have something I want to know about. Traditional marketers don't like plain text ads because they look drab alongside the full-colour animations et al of the others - what they do not realise is that the net-savvy do not look at these fancy things and are practised seeking the text on a page. Google Adsence folk tell me that plain text ads are the most effective. They are in a position to know.

Whatever - to protect yourself and others, it is strongly advised to send and receive plain text emails only. If you use Outlook, here is how. Other browsers usually have a "security" tab in their Edit > Preferences menu - ther'll be a setting in that.

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