Desktop: The other side of Purim

Purim is, among other things, about getting back at the bad guys, right?

kids 88 purim (photo credit: )
kids 88 purim
(photo credit: )
Purim is, among other things, about getting back at the bad guys, right? Well, I've decided to make my own little list of offenders who think they can traipse around, invading your privacy, nudging, cajoling and intimidating you into doing what they want you to do. It's payback time, baby! Not that we want to lose focus of the other aspects of Purim - like hamantashen, costumes and the over-consumption of junk food. But there's no getting around it; the Megila tells us that the Jews of Ahasuerus's empire exercised a little "street justice" to put the anti-Semites in their place. Don't get me wrong; the scourges of modern life - telemarketers, spammers, bad drivers, etc., cannot be compared to the potential genocide the Jews of Mordecai and Esther's day were facing. And, of course, these nudniks don't deserve what the bad guys in Shushan got - they're just trying to get by, like the rest of us. But that doesn't give them the excuse to invade our space and lower the quality of our lives. It's not about revenge; it's about "tough love" and achieving some peace and quiet. Here, for example, is an effective way to get back at telemarketers, who have a knack for calling at precisely the wrong moment. In Israel, telemarketers usually call you seeking donations or selling insurance, as opposed to the time shares or satellite systems they sell in America or Britain. No matter; the technique laid out at is guaranteed to shock the offender so much that s/he will probably flee the office in terror, never to return. At, you'll find a most interesting and useful document - the counter-telemarketer script. Telemarketers, as those who have done it for a living know, work from a script that is supposed to cover all permutations of the call, from acceptance to rejection, The counter script does the same thing, guiding the conversation the same way the salesperson's script does - allowing you to take control of the conversation, or get off the phone post-haste. Unlike telemarketing, the language of spam is international; the characters in the e-mail come in all sorts of languages, but they all utilize the same techniques, basically overloading your e-mail box with nonsense messages that take up space, bandwidth and your valuable time. There are filters and assassins to prevent spam from reaching your mailbox, but somehow the spammers always seem to beat the filters, requiring you to keep dedicating time you don't have to deal with a problem that just won't go away. Although there's almost no hope of stopping this scourge, you can still enjoy the thrill of victory, knowing you did at least something to turn the spam tide. Check out, for example, the small program called Spam Revenge (, which will give spammers a taste of their own medicine. The program is built on the theory that what's good for the goose is good for the gander; if normal, decent people spam the spammers enough by inundating them with return messages, their ISPs may throw them off the system, if only because their servers slow down due to the flood of revenge spam. Spitting in the wind? Maybe, but real satisfying - and since the unfortunate demise of Blue Frog (, Spam Revenge is one of the few free proactive anti-spam tools out there. And according to, you can sue spammers - and win. Although not necessarily computer related, you can use your PC to do something about bad and dangerous drivers that endanger the lives of all us, geek or not. At, you can at least vent; if you've written down the license plate and "report" them to the site, where they will be forever branded in cyberspace as a menace to society. Ditto for parking: encourages users to take photos of bad parking jobs, which they will post for all the world to see. It's all well and good to vent - but how do you stop these drivers? Technically, if you see a bad driver on the road, you're supposed to call the police (100), who theoretically will dispatch someone to the scene. But, with police often hard to come by on the road, you're more or less on your own when it comes to avoiding trouble on the road. Sites like and have all the info you need on how to drive defensively, but in Israel, with its special road rules, the best thing you can do is stick to the right ("slow") lane and hope for the best. In the case of getting back at bad drivers, the expression "living (well) is the best revenge" says it all.