Is a bad attempt an attempt?

Yesterday this email arrived

Bäste Göteborgs universitet webmail Ägare,
Det här meddelandet är från Göteborgs universitet meddelande Meddelanden Center till alla Göteborgs universitet webmail owners.We för närvarande uppgradera vår
databas och e-post center.We vill ta bort alla oanvända Göteborgs universitet webbmail för att skapa mer utrymme för nya one.To förhindra att ditt konto från stängning
måste du uppdatera den nedan så att vi vet att det är en
närvarande används konto.
Bekräfta din e-postadress nedan
Webbmejladress ……..
Användarnamn :…………………..
lösenord ……………
Födelsedatum: ……………..
Land eller område: ……….
Varning! E-ägare som vägrar att uppdatera sin
E-post, inom sju dagar efter mottagandet av denna varning kommer att förlora sin
webmail permanent.
Göteborgs universitet Team.

For those of you who do not read Swedish – don’t worry! The writers of the email could not write Swedish. The email was sent to most (all?) employees’ email accounts at Göteborg University. It is so badly written, it contains a mix of Swedish and English and cultural clues to it’s falseness – not to mention that the reply-to address was @hotmail !!

Despite this the IT department sent a warning this morning that we should not reply to these emails – did anyone, even for a second believe this email?

So is this an attempted phishing attack? Is this an attempt at identity theft?

Since the email is so badly written the “attempt” is bound to fail. Does an attempt to steal someones password need to at least be in the realm of possibly succeeding to be a criminal act?

Rolling with punches

I am not short. Not really tall – but I suppose that all this is a matter of perspective. But perspectives and realities of length change and shift after years of riding a desk and huddling over a laptop, standing tall is something I need to remind myself of.

Then there are times when the blows come too fast, too effectively, striking the weaknesses we work so hide to protect. In times like these the urge to curl into a protective ball physically and metaphorically appears to be the only viable option.

It is here where the impulse to run, hide and forget – to lose oneself in fantasy, dreams or the narcotic (from the Greek “to make numb”) substance of choice. My own inclinations lean towards unhealthy food and enough red wine to float a rhino, to which pop psychology deduces deep-rooted insecurity. But I will rebut, if I had the energy, that easy answers mean that you are asking the wrong questions. Never mind that – focus.

Booze and calories are a brief narcotic bringing short lived relief and a nasty aftertaste (hangover would be a cheap pun) of additional guilt, anxiety and the beginnings of a wicked downward spiral of self-loathing.

But the pain I try to avoid is artificial, brought about by false dependencies and a lack of personal moral independence. No matter how real I make it feel.

And yet it is here in the depths of self-created misery that growth occurs. Failure is the true manure of growth. Success and love relaxes and breeds complacency. So it is important to recognize this as the shitty bottom a learning curve. No place to go but up. As the window of self-loathing closes I pull myself up and stand tall to disguise my made-up pain and bring this self-deception of defeat to its knees.

My therapeutic act is to write this in a public place making those who I know read this space and the casual visitors part of my recovery.

Undone by success

There is a growing trend in Facebook bashing (a type of conservatism claiming that the original versions of Facebook were best), Facebook criticism (Facebook would be better if only one detail or another were changed), Facebook denial (Facebook is never going to be useful/important/worthwhile), Facebook disbelivers (what is Facebook good for) and anti-Facebook purists (Never used, never will use FB).

Whether you are a FB believer or happy user or belong to a basher group it is difficult to ignore the fact that FB is being used to an amazing degree.

Some bashers, for example, Cory Doctorow: How Your Creepy Ex-Co-Workers Will Kill Facebook“. (Nov 2007) explain that FB will collapse because eventually you will have to accept people you dislike to be your FB friends. Cory writes:

For every long-lost chum who reaches out to me on Facebook, there’s a guy who beat me up on a weekly basis through the whole seventh grade but now wants to be my buddy; or the crazy person who was fun in college but is now kind of sad; or the creepy ex-co-worker who I’d cross the street to avoid but who now wants to know, “Am I your friend?” yes or no, this instant, please. ”

So I agree with these types of criticism eventually someone, or several someones, will demand to be added. We are back in the seventh grade playground and you are (once again?) no longer the center of your own world – which was the promise of a FB centric world.

My problem, and subsequently my form of FB bashing, is that it is not that the creepy people that concern me but rather all the nice, harmless, friendly, acquaintances that want to be my friends. At present I have just under 200 friends on FB, but the strange thing is that most of my “offline” friends don’t have FB accounts. In reality, and this may be a sad admission, I don’t have almost 200 friends. Many of the people who have befriended my on FB are acquintances (which is ok), online contacts (which is ok) but many are people whom I do not know – which is almost creepy.

Therefore to me the reason FB will fail is that it will never actually do anything. It’s goal, and measure of success is the amount of friends – but achieving this goal is not difficult if you do not care who you add as friends.

But I guess this argument rests on the foundation that Facebook has a point. If it is pointless then I don’t know.