Avoiding road rage

Rush hour on the main road going through Tel Aviv? You have to be kidding! That's why I'm leaving while the birds, and even the milkman, are still asleep.

By DAVID SHAMAH
February 15, 2006 09:13
4 minute read.
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5:30. Crack o'dawn. Yawn. But this is the time to leave. I'm due for an early morning meeting in Haifa, and to get there, I'm going to need to take (gulp) the Ayalon. Rush hour on the main road going through Tel Aviv? You have to be kidding! That's why I'm leaving while the birds, and even the milkman, are still asleep. Hopefully I can get past Herzliya before the hi-tech hotshots head for their cubicles. From what I hear, if you're out of Tel Aviv by 6 a.m., you're in good shape. And just to be sure, I'm checking that little on-line Matchbox map of the road (http://www.ayalonhw.co.il); the road is green, which means it's clear sailing ahead! 6:00 a.m. Arlosoroff Interchange. Crap. I guess "they" were wrong about beating the traffic if you leave early enough; or maybe you just can't leave too early! Regardless, here I am stuck in the mother of all traffic jams! Forget about an "early morning meeting," I'll be lucky to get there by the afternoon! This is so frustrating. What outlet do you have in this kind of situation, anyway? Honking all around, useless prattle on the radio, cars on the left and right moving at three kph swooping into my lane to get half a meter ahead. Grrr! As we all know, "road rage" is endemic to the Israeli lifestyle. Too many cars and too few roads make for an ugly mix of frustration, poor driving habits, nasty attitudes and, in too many cases, unsafe maneuvers. Bad drivers aren't born, they're made; and unfortunately, many people have no choice but to face the same traffic jams, day in and day out - an environment in which the desire to do something dangerous, born of frustration, becomes the norm. I've got an idea, though - one that may help people feel a little less powerless when dealing with the plagues of modern life, like traffic jams. When the urge to slam on the horn - or kick the cat, for that matter - comes upon you, don't do it; instead, save up your anger and redirect it toward cads who really deserve it - spammers! Think about it; these slime who hide behind unidentifiable e-mail addresses hawking their financial scams, health boosting drugs or mortgage refinancing schemes are invading your privacy, gumming up your e-mail box, and spreading e-disease and vermin. They are the ones responsible for the wild spread of computer viruses; because of them, you have had to spend hour after countless hour reformatting and reinstalling - or work countless hours to earn money to pay someone else to do it. These people (and I use the term loosely) are criminals - and they deserve to be punished! Angry yet? Good! Don't take your frustrations out on your fellow drivers, who, like you, are just trying to get from point A to point B, on time and in one piece. Take it out on the spammers who get away with digital murder. Redirect all that road rage, roll it up into a little ball - and throw it right in spammers' faces! How? I'm glad you asked! One good way to get back at spammers is to complain about them - to their Internet service providers, or, in some cases, their employers, depending on where the spam is being sent from. If there's one thing an ISP hates it's being considered a locus for spam; it's bad for business because it clogs up the servers and it opens them up to legal action, both government and class-action. And some spammers use their employers' computer systems to send out their junk mail - without the boss's knowledge, of course. In the past, many of us have been discouraged from complaining about spam because of the difficulty of locating the responsible party. Who and where are these ISPs? Only the intrepid usually bother looking up the relevant information. But with Abuse (http://spam-abuse.sourceforge.net), a new program that can be the big sword you use to cut down spammers, getting revenge is a matter of dragging and clicking. When you open Abuse's main window, you are presented with an empty field, into which you copy an e-mail, with its header (details about who sent it) information. Doing this in Outlook Express is simple - you just drag an e-mail from your OE window in Abuse. Click on the Analysis button, give Abuse a few minutes - and it will tell you exactly who is responsible for the particular nuisance note you've presented it with. For example, one message I analyzed, all about the wonders of discount drugs, was sent from, if you can believe it, the China Railway Telecommunications Center, Beijing, China! Think the boss knew? Well, thanks to Abuse, he does now! Once Abuse has uncovered the details, you can instruct it, with one click, to send a "LART" (a "Loser Attitude Readjustment Tool"), essentially a spam e-mail of your own, describing the junk mail you got from them! How does this help stop spam? Well, if the sender is a responsible ISP or government corporation (as I assume China Railways is), it's likely the culprit, when discovered, will get into big trouble; and if they're not too responsible, you can have lots of fun sending out LARTs, gumming up their servers with your spam! Truthfully, I'd pay to have that kind of fun, imagining the poor schnook who gets it for his spam activities - but since Abuse is free, I don't have to! Now who's laughing, spammers? Ha! And remember - laughter, as they say, is the best revenge! ds@newzgeek.com

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