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Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Miscellany: Wi-Fi, Econ., Signs, and Spam

That is, municipal wi-fi, economics vs. politics, campaign signs, and e-mail spam.

Here are a few quick items on various subjects.

Municipal wi-fi differs from American Fork's AFCNet in that the latter is a wired network. Still, the ongoing saga of major cities struggling to achieve free or nearly-free wireless Internet service is of some local interest. Alert reader Jon Rodeback sent a link to a recent Slate article by Tim Wu, "Where's My Free Wi-Fi?"

Campaign signs are starting to pop up in American Fork. Councilman Shirl LeBaron had some up last week, for example, and I've seen one from Councilman Storrs. I had to drive about three miles through American Fork's residential areas today on an errand, and I counted the signs as I drove on streets I hadn't driven for a while. I saw one for City Council candidate Jason Porter (the first of his I've seen), four supporting Referendum 1 (vouchers), and one opposing Referendum 1. My sample is not even remotely scientific, so I'm not drawing any conclusions -- except to note that in 2005 at this time there were many, many more signs.

Basic economics is not a subject at which our political leaders or our voters tend to be adept. Here's an excellent, fairly long Bryan Caplan article from Reason on four basic myths in defiance of economics. The title doesn't pull any punches, as you will see.

E-mail spam increasingly is a fact of life. Here's an interesting, relatively brief Jonathan Koomey piece from eWeek, describing a three-fold approaching to stopping it in the long run. Even if you're not feeling like enough of a geek to read an article, you might appreciate my parting thought on the subject of spam . . .

What's in a name? (More on spam.) For some weeks now I've had a flood of e-mail messages saying, "Hello! I am bored tonight. I am nice girl that would like to chat with you," and so forth. Then there's a link, where I supposedly can see photos -- which link I've never clicked on, and you shouldn't, either. What I have done is noted is the first name in each message's "From" line. Often it's a legitimate female name, or one of those names that could go either way, gender-wise, like Kelly or Mickey. But often the "nice girl" is apparently a guy. I've been keeping a list: Luis, Alberto, Steven, Mohamed, Leon, Craig, Howard, Winston, Will, Gary, Otto. (You'll think I have too much time on my hands, which, perhaps, I do, in three-second increments on occasion. I actually kept the list for your amusement, or in other words to amuse myself by reporting it to you. I'll probably stop keeping it now.) Doesn't anybody proofread any more? Or is it that nobody actually stopped to think that real guys might not want to have anything to do with strange "girls" named Steve, even if they are (allegedly) nice?

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