Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Got a little moto, always sees me through...

When you're good to Citybeat, Citybeat's good to you...

Went out last night. A local magazine, CityBeat, had a posting for a free advanced-screening passes to the film The Illusionist. Both Mandy and I responded to the ad, hoping to up our chances of scoring the tickets. We ended up both getting accepted. The film company sent us each three passes (good for two entrances) to the 7:30PM showing. We invited the dear Kleiner-One-Niner and a couple people we've met through the glorious forum Craig's List. The meeting went well, everyone seemed very laid back and into probing the little knooks and crannies of the Big Cin, so I'm sure we'll all find ourselves puttin' on the Ritz in short order.

The film was good. Beyond that lame and untelling word, you'll have to read my review on MindSplint, which, at this point, does not exist. Keep checking back. I'm sure it only be a matter of months or years before it finds its way out there.

The main thrust of this post isn't the film, new friends, or even cleverly reworded lyrics from the musical "Chicago." No. It's about a strange phenomenon that happened just today. A phenomenon that I haven't witnessed in about 3 years. At the time printing, I couldn't find a technical term for it on any of the myriad collections, indexes, and glossaries scattered through the 'net. So, for lack of a better term, I'm dubbing it, "DistroBombing" and it really is cyber-living proof of how spammers make money by sending out incredible amounts of email. The reason I haven't seen it in years is due to the fact that it's effects can only be seen in a network environment that is both A) Large enough to have large distribution lists filled with non tech-savvy people and B) Mail administrators that are inept enough to leave corporate-wide distribution lists open to anyone who wants to send a message. It goes like this:

1. Bob sends a legit email (Message A) to another person in the company, while accidentally CC'ing the message to a distribution list that contains every person in the company.
2. A copy of Message A appears in the inbox of everyone in the company because everyone was on the distribution list that Bob accidentally sent his message to.
3. Everyone in the company opens the email, realizes that they have no idea what Bob is talking about, and click "Reply to All" to let him know. They click the send button, transmitting their reply to Bob and everyone in the company again, because the corporate-wide distribution list is listed as a recipient.
4. The process repeats over and over. Every time anyone replies to the message, everyone in the company receives the reply and starts responding.

In the past, I've seen this DistroBombs go one for months. People would return from a long vacation, see a 200 messages in their inbox, and reply to it saying, "What is this all about, Bob?" Then everyone would start replying with the message, "Stop replying to the message!" which everyone receives ad nausum.

What intrigues me about the whole scenario is how effective it is. One person sends out a message with a large distribution list on it and soon, everyone in the company is getting messages, inboxes fill up with alarming speed, mail servers crash, and geeks like me spin in our chairs placing bets on how many messages will circulate before the chain stops. Total pandemonium, in other words. The effectiveness is not a defect of the mail system. It behaves just as it should, sending mail to the inboxes the user has designated. The whole bombing process only succeeds because of the users inability to understand what is happening. Even after several emails containing a subject and body that only reads, "DO NOT REPLY TO THESE MESSAGES" people will still reply asking, "What message?" or "Please stop this Bob! I'm trying to work!"

I guess I shouldn't be amazed that professionals working for a large company do not possess the basic skills necessary to prevent something like this from happening. Haven't worked for a company where my sole responsibility was convincing grown adults who had paid hundreds of dollars to own their own ecommerce "business" that yes, indeed, their keyboard came equipped with a num-lock key. But still...

Anyway, if anyone knows what the technical term for the scenario above actually is, let me know. If there isn't one, I'm going to create an entry in the Urban Dictionary for it.

And last but not least, the second in my continuing series of "The Funniest Picture Thingies Evah'!!!"

("AHHHH!!!! BURGER!!!!"


dolemite said...

i swear i couldn't remember what klein looked like, but when i clicked on the link it all came rushing back. aces to you matty matt matt!

AdamK said...

Ted Stevens, the greatest mind behind regulating the Internet, once said that the Internet is not a big truck. I don’t know whether he is correct or not in that assessment. What I do know is that the Internet is a series of tubes that can sometimes get clogged. You should remind your coworkers in the company that replying to the distro list can clog up the internal company tubes rendering the entire network unusable.

dolemite said...

the next big thing?

Matt said...

Holy monkeys, that's some funny shite. We are thinking of fitting our cats with some phat bling. They'd dig it, daddyo.