Rumour & Humour: Spam rage strikes Silicon Valley

In one of the first documented cases of spam rage, Silicon Valley computer programmer Charles Booker, 44, was reportedly arrested recently for threatening the staff of an unnamed Canadian company. Why? Because he blames the firm for bombarding his computer with Web ads promising to enlarge his penis.


to prosecutors, Booker threatened to send a “”package full of Anthrax spores”” to the company, to “”disable”” an employee with a bullet and torture him with a power drill and ice pick, and to hunt down and castrate the employees unless they removed him from their e-mail list. The question is, did he trying using the “magic” word?

Booker, of Sunnyvale, Calif., now faces up to five years in prison and a US$250,000 fine. He said he did not actually own any guns or have access to anthrax, adding that the problem stemmed from a program he mistakenly downloaded from the Internet that brought a continuous stream of advertising to his computer. Booker identified the object of his rage as Albion Medical, which claims to produce the “”Only Reliable, Medically Approved Penis Enhancement.””

Another Canadian firm does the country proud.

This incident comes just as the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on a measure to outlaw most Internet spam. Lawmakers hope to pass an U.S. anti-spam bill before a much tougher California state law goes into effect on Jan. 1.

Too late, it would seem, for poor Mr. Booker.

Now in LA-LA land

In another story from the Left Coast, Los Angeles officials have reportedly asked that manufacturers, suppliers and contractors stop using the terms “master” and “slave” on computer equipment, saying such terms are unacceptable and offensive.

The request – which has some suppliers furious and others busy relabeling components – came after an unidentified worker spotted a videotape machine carrying devices labeled “master” and “slave” and filed a discrimination complaint with the county’s Office of Affirmative Action Compliance.

A good stocking-stuffer for VARs this year: Label-makers.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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