Saturday, September 13, 2008

Presidential SPAMPAIGN 2008

Presidential Spampaign 2008

It turns out that the volume and character of spam can offer a kind of twisted view into the zeitgeist of this election season.

Using the qi-fense phishing-net service that combs through over 17 million emails every day, I took a look at the spam traffic for the week of September 6th.

That week was notable for a number of reasons. First, both presidential candidates hit the road with their newly anointed VP nominees. Second, both parties paused and then re-ignited their campaigns as part of their observance of 911. What can peering into the SPAMiverse tell us about all of this?
Is Biden irrelevant?

Of the roughly 40 thousand pieces of spam that referenced one or more of the nominees during the week of September 6th, only 4% of the traffic referenced Biden in any way. Whether the email was genuinely political in nature, positive or negative, or simply tried to hijack their name recognition to push a casino or a knock-off watch, 96% of the spam made no mention of Biden (as compared to Palin who was mentioned 5 times more often!).

McCain and Palin get equal billing?

McCain barely gets more attention than his running mate, Palin. Palin got over 10 thousand spams that userped her name - McCain just broke 11 thousand.

Obama is no celebrity

While Obama gets the lion’s share of spammers’ attention, the combined republican ticket gets 43% more references than their democratic rivals Obama and Biden compbined.

Political Campaigns dominate political spam

While there are plenty of sleazy spammers trying to capitalize on the election season, there is one trend that is hard to ascribe to typical spammers pushing casinos and mail order prescriptions – let's call it the 911 pause.

The 911 pause

A breakout of the volume of spam by day shows a curious pattern between September 9th and September 12th.

On September 11th, spam email for each of the candidates plummeted by between 36% and as much as 57% (for Palin). This is unlikely to be a coincidence, because the email blasts rebounded on the 12th again with spammer references more than making up for the one day pause.

It may be notable that McCain has somehow won an extended grace period – his spam volume only climbed 9% after the 11th versus Palin who spiked by over 100% on Sept 12.

So when the political parties claim to be completely removed from the email smears that clutter your email – don’t believe it. McCain and Obama gave a cease and desist order for 911 and their campaigns listened – even those elements that they deny as their own.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The soul of a new application

Are some applications inherently good or evil - can that really be in their DNA?

Can exposure to toxins during an application's gestation cause defects? Are QA teams like pediatricians?

What about an application's environment? Can a good application go bad?

If so, can applications be rehabilitated or must they simply be quarantined or euthanized?

Can the company an application keeps be a good (or bad) influence on its behavior? Its 10PM - do you know where your application is?

What about diet? Do you know the appetite (for data) required to keep your application at its prime? What happens if your application eats too much – can an application get fat on content? Does it have a coronary or just get slow and lazy? Do your applications have built in restraint or are they fundamentally gluttonous?

What about corrective surgery? Are you against adding limbs post-partum (instrumentation)? Perhaps if it is for health reasons and not just for aesthetics? Are UI facelifts superficial – or do we treat pretty applications nicer than the ugly ones? If so, what’s wrong with a little nip and tuck as an application gets along in years? Would we tolerate the eccentricities of the iPhone if it looked like a motorola razor?