June 16, 2010

New Email News Service

InBoxer just hired professional journalists to write short articles every business day about email related news.  This is not PR, but real industry news.  Some of the recent stories include:

  • User hacks neighbor's computer, sends threatening emails to Vice President Joe Biden
  • Feds ask Gawker to retain documents detailing iPad email leak
  • 'Cute' email containing racist joke gets Virginia employee suspended
  • Email creates further rage for Toyota's recalls
  • Text messages the cause of fight leaving one teen with brain damage

If you are interested, you can subscribe for free by email or RSS feed at InBoxer Email News Service.Cancel anytime.

June 15, 2010

Dirty Text Messages With Underage Girls

Here is a shout out to all those parents who are protecting their daughters. 

This seems to be the week for news regarding men who send dirty text messages and photos to underage girls.  Fortunately, parents have noticed and police are paying attention.

Yesterday, news came out that Vernon Cheeks, a South Carolina high school health teacher and a coach,  was sentenced to 10 years after pleading guilty to sending explicit text messages to a 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl with the messages talking about meeting at a hotel for sex. One of the victims admitted to exchanging text messages and pictures for several months with the teacher, according to digtriad.com.

The aptly named web site, Bad Bad Teacher, reports, "Cheeks came to the attention of authorities when the parents of one of the girls discovered the alleged illicit messaging and called the sheriff’s department."

In an unrelated case, Ryan Justin Myron, a 20-year-male from Kingsland, Georgia, was apprehended after he reportedly placed inappropriate calls and send nude photos of him via text to a 13-year-old girl. The Kingsland police arrested Myron after they took the phone into their possession and retrieved the photos and messages.

Kingsland police said that they apprehended the man because of "good parenting," according to First Coast News.

June 11, 2010

Print By Email

Imagine taking a photo with your smartphone (such as an Android or iPhone) and then emailing it to your printer.  Your print can be waiting for you when you get home. 

Or, perhaps have a printed copy of the day's weather forecast, Red Sox updates (last night's scores) or news waiting for you as you walk to your printer in a robe and bunny slippers.  (Am I saying too much?)

To do this, you will have one more email address to remember if Hewlett-Packard has its way -- your printer's.  It will be a fairly one sided conversation.  You send a document to your printer's email address, which is actually hosted by HP.  The company rasterizes your document into a format that can be printed and HP then sends it directly to your HP printer.  The company says that it works with photos and documents, including PDF, JPG, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel (.doc, .docx, .xls, and .xlsx).

HP is really jumping into the long distance printing to your home business.  It announced print apps from Yahoo!, msnbc.com, Facebook, Live Nation, Crayola, Reuters, DocStoc, and Picasa Web Albums. It is even creating a service called Scheduled Delivery, which can automatically send information -- such as the weather forecast or the daily news -- to your printer at the same time each day.

Emailing to printer is pretty cool.  I am worried that one day the printer will email me back.

June 10, 2010

Emails Released in Phoebe Prince Bullying Case

Just hours before South Hadley, MA high school student Phoebe Smith committed suicide due to bullying, she was the victim of a a vicious verbal barrage at the school library that included derogatory comments and slurs in front of many witnesses. This situation was documented and put before a court by the Northwestern District Attorney in April.

However, within the 53 pages of emails released to the Boston Herald as a result of a Freedom of Information request, are sad tales of a school district overwhelmed and not knowing what to do.

Why didn't a school staff member do anything about the bullying in the library?  One released email reports:

"While the staff member was in the library proper, the staff member did not observe the bullying," high school principal Dan Smith wrote on March 31 in response to an inquiry from an Irish reporter. "There is a very big difference between those points."  

In the same e-mail, Smith wrote, "our library is quite large, including a full computer lab, book stacks, another small computer lab, etc."

The emails also show that Smith was not sure how to respond to subsequent events.  For example, Smith appears to encourage two teachers seeking his advice to ignore reporters’ interview requests, the Herald reports. “When they call my house I do not answer or call them back. I view it as an invasion of my privacy. They can’t assume guilt by no response. Your choice, however,” Smith writes April 2.

He also disclosed:

“The DA has evidence that two teachers knew of what was happening and didn’t respond,” Smith also writes March 30 in response to an e-mail from a 39-year-old man who said he was bullied as a child. The line was redacted by school officials but is still legible, the Herald reports.

In full disclosure of my commercial interest, as a response to the Smith bullying incident, my employer, InBoxer, released a new product feature designed to detect reports of bullying within email messages and released a white paper on bullying in school email.

June 09, 2010

Email Is Not Dead, Yet

A new study released today by ExactTarget found 58 percent of U.S. online consumers begin their day interacting with companies on email.  The report, entitled "Digital Morning," compared that with the 20 percent who start their day on search engines and 11 percent on Facebook.

It was not too long ago, that many articles exclaimed that social media would eclipse email as a primary form of communication.  But, the latest study shows that the day is far off.

Of course, ExactTarget is an email marketing company.  They may not be the most unbiased source.

When Public Officials Use Their Personal Email Address

Public officials need to be careful when using their personal email addresses for anything that looks like official business.  Not only can it violate state Freedom of Information Act laws, but their mail can lead to problems.

Our tale begins when Escondido, California resident Tom Albergo wrote to high school district trustee Jon Petersen and the other trustees about the district's plans to build a magnet high school  near his home. Albergo expressed concern about a planned soccer field at the school, saying that other schools with fields have created problems for neighborhoods, such as criminal activity and public urination, the North County Times reports.

Here is the problem:

  • Jon Petersen uses his cox.net personal email address for school district email
  • Albergo put his name and email address in this mail.
  • Unfortunately, he misspelled Petersen as Peterson.
  • There is also a Jon Peterson with a cox.net personal email address, but he lives in Arizona
  • Peterson, the Arizona man, must have decided to have fun with the mix-up, when he wrote back:

"Unfortunately, we are on a tight budget, and we don't feel that a little noise and inconvenience will warrant the layout of that kind of money."

"It will pretty much have to be live and let live, and the devil be damned, as they say in my hood!"

In response to Albergo's concerns about public urination, Peterson wrote: "It is really difficult to understand how there would be a problem with a little natural fertilizer now and again."

Albergo, who did not realize the mix-up, was outraged at the response and complained to the Superintendent of Schools.

Fortunately, the matter was quickly cleared up.  But, perhaps Petersen ought to use his official euhsd.k12.ca.us email address.


June 08, 2010

Email Suggests Race Connected To Intelligence

Nobody has ever claimed that the decision to send an email is linked to intelligence. But, perhaps, deciding when not to send an email should be. Unfortunately, people still tend to make statements in email that can cause a furor.

School board member Michael Kundu in Marysville, Washington sent out an email on June 3rd with the subject line, "race and achievement (please circulate)," according to the Marysville Globe. It clearly suggested that academic potential could be rooted in genetics. (The email referenced the work of professor John Philippe Rushton of the University of Western Ontario in Canada.)

"I think what is safe to draw from this is that there is a definitive factor played by racial genetics in intellectual achievement, but we, as a society, are striving to offset that foundation by increasing educational and social opportunities to 'offset' the racial achievement gap," he wrote.


As might be expected, the email generated heated debate at last night's School Board meeting, the newspaper reported. The meeting lasted 4.5 hours and generated debates involving the state Commission on Hispanic Affairs and the NAACP.

"I was offended," Board President Sherri Crenshaw was quoted by the newspaper as saying after she read the e-mail aloud. "I think it's racist. I saw it as my responsibility to speak up and let you know that people who are making decisions about your children could be this ignorant."

No other action was taken last night.

June 07, 2010

Steve Jobs Sites Email Proof To Get Girls

At today's Apple Computer annual developer conference, Steve Jobs stood in front of the throngs on enchanted attendees and told them that the iPad was "magical."  It was so magical that it could even attract girls.  His proof?  An email he received:   

"I was sitting in a café with my iPad, and it got a girl interested in me. Now that's what I call a magical device!"

December 01, 2009

The $1-Million Email Suit

John Connolly, the former coach of the Australian rugby team, the Qantas Wallabies, is suing the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and its chief executive John O'Neill for $1-million (Australian dollars) over an allegedly defamatory email sent after Australia's 2007 World Cup defeat.  He claims that he has not had a coaching job since the email, including a position with his former team, the Queensland Reds.

Connolly says ARU chief executive John O'Neill urged top officials to shun him after Australia's loss.  O'Neill accused Connolly of spreading "evil and malicious propaganda", AAP news agency said, citing documents lodged at Brisbane's Supreme Court. He told the officials to "reconsider" their contacts with Connolly, calling him "a person who adds no credit to the game", and asserting "his involvement in rugby is at an end from an ARU perspective", it said. (Rugbyweek.com

Tip of the Hat to Stefan Mehlhorn)

November 30, 2009

Is the Conference in Nigeria?

You have been invited to an important business conference.  Major industry players are speaking.  The event is coming at a well-known venue, the AXA Equitable Auditorium, a 400 seat auditorium in New York City.  And, to top it all off, your air and hotel expenses are to be paid in full.

You are honored.  You are excited.  And, you are a victim of the latest scam.

Forget wiring money to Nigeria.  This spam is so highly tailored to you, that it has a good chance of being successful.

Bob Grant, staff writer for The Scientist, writes about the details of the scam he received:

In the message, (Alyssa) Logan invited me to the "Seventh Annual International Global combine Conference on Global Economy and Human Welfare" that AWIO was hosting. The conference would take place over the course of ten days at two separate sites, the first in New York City and the second in Dakar, Senegal in Africa.

All I had to do was get in contact with the conference secretariat, one Grace Nathan, and I could be on my way to the meetings. And -- get this -- I would even get my airfare and accommodation paid for!

....

(I) discovered that they have posted an agenda for the meeting. Several prominent doctors and researchers who work in the public health field are listed as speakers on the agenda, so I decided to contact them and ask about their involvement in the conference.

"I've never heard from them," said Kevin Schulman, director of the Center for Clinical and Genetic Economics at Duke University, who was scheduled to give the opening speech on February 1 in Senegal.

The level of sophistication for the invites are quite high.

The roll call of speakers seems to have been copied directly from the agenda of an actual meeting that occurred earlier this year. Schulman, Berenson, and Steele all spoke in February at the 2009 National Health Policy Conference (NHPC), hosted by health services research center Academy Health and held in Washington, DC. Many of the other NHPC participants are listed in the fraudulent agenda for the AWIO meeting. (Even Senator Ted Kennedy, who died in August, is listed as a speaker at the upcoming conference.)

Grant tells the story of contacting the offices for the conference and receiving detailed information.  While he never got to far, we can only assume that this would follow the path of the Nigerian scam.  Perhaps they would ask for some personal data for the agenda, a credit card for a room deposit, etc.

The details are becoming very sophisticated.  They clearly took the time to target their victims and research the field.  Watch your mailbox and be very careful.

(Tip of the Hat to Kira Matus)

ABOUT AUTHOR

  • Roger Matus is Executive Vice President of Safecore, Inc. of Burlington, Mass., founder of InBoxer, and a well-known commentator on the use of email, IM, and messaging technologies.



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