e-Talk Radio: Daughtrey, Taz, 31 October 2000


was curious. There are some stories floating around that maybe Bill Gates and Walt Disney, Jr. want you to send an email to ten of your friends, sort of a chain letter sort of thing. The bottom line is that they're going to pay you by giving you some money or a trip to DisneyWorld or something of the sort. And I think a lot of people have sort of been bamboozled into that. Or similar things that sound plausible. There have always been hoaxes about someone who is going to try to set the world record for the most get-well cards. Well, you send these get-well cards to someone who maybe doesn't even exist, and if they're physical cards they wind up in shoeboxes someplace, or the post office gets bags and bags of them. What's happened more recently is people have had hoaxes about email. There's some sick child in England somewhere who wants to set a world's record, and so millions and millions of people send emails. At least they don't fill up a shoebox. They might fill up a hard drive someplace. But it's just such a multiplier effect, that someone with a seemingly plausible story can spread it around the world in an instant. And interestingly, a lot of the viruses, the supposed viruses that we've been warned about are not real viruses. People have been led to believe that there are all sorts of things that can go wrong with their computer. And they rightly should be concerned about opening an email attachment from someone you don't know, or responding in a way that might be harmful. But there are a lot of false alarms. And again, people have wasted lots of time. I've had people in my own office forward email notifications of viruses that just weren't true, to the point that you really almost have to have someone who knows enough about this technical specialty to say, now, that's a legitimate concern versus all these other things that are just hoaxes, false alarms. And well-meaning people are sending the information out, but it's just not true. And the multiplier effect of having the Internet, you can scare millions of people around the world in an instant.

Carol: I had one come from a colleague of mine that said Warning about a Virus, and it had the virus attached! That was the most stunning one.

Taz: I've always wondered if that might be a really sneaky ploy for somebody to use to seemingly give you a virus alert, or even a virus fighting tool, and do something like that. But there's just so much perversity around there too. I think a lot of people have too much time on their hands, and they're out there trying to find some ways to use the technology…

Carol: I think it's very daunting to anybody who doesn't have a technical background. It kind of reminds me of when you go to the doctor, and the doctor tells you something. And you just have to have blind faith. When you go in to Radio Shack or Comp USA, and even if, you know, I've got a technical background, but when I walk in there, they'll throw the words around, and I just kind of think, "Oh, gee, I should have known all those words." And I have no clue.

Taz: You need to educate yourself. I used to teach high school physics, and one of the sessions we had was on, at that time, the high technology was in sound systems. Stereo, hi-fi systems. I guess they

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