Earth Rotation

I had this question from a listener: Does the earth rotate clockwise or counterclockwise?  I didn't know the answer.  Can you help? - Anonymous

 

Anon:  Here's the answer . . . The sun rises in the east, which means that the Earth rotates on its axis toward the east.  As seen from the North Pole, the direction is counterclockwise.  However, when seen from the South Pole, the direction is clockwise.  The correct answer depends on your point of view of the Earth.


Eastlan Surveys

To the dude who was concerned about the validity of Arbitron data:  If you’re at all concerned, I would look into the Eastlan Survey.  I have found that their methods are much more accurate, I too feel that Arbitron is inaccurate, especially in a small market like mine. - Anonymous

 

Anon:  I’m not going to comment on your response until you provide scientific evidence backing up your statement that, “…their methods are much more accurate.…”  In addition, in scientific research, a comment such as, “…I too feel that Arbitron is inaccurate” doesn’t mean anything.  You can “feel” all you want, but in science, that type of “feeling” does not hold water.

 

I need objective scientific evidence and your note provides none.  When you provide that, I will be happy to provide a comment or two.


Eastlan Surveys - 2

Hey doc, I have to chuckle at your skeptical nature, but I will offer you an example of why I feel that Arbitron is much less accurate in a small market than Eastlan.

 

In my market, in the evening 7-Mid slot, Arbitron gives the CHR station and the Classic Rock station a 2-way tie for first place with a 25 share in the 25-54 female demo.  Every other station (there are 13 more) ties for second with a zero.  In the 18-34 breakdown, the Country station gets a 14.2 and first place, while five stations, including mine tie, for second with a 7.1. - Anonymous

 

Anon:  I’m glad you chuckled with my skepticism about Arbitron being less accurate than Eastlan in a small market.  Although I chuckle at myself quite often, I don’t share your chuckling when it comes to research.  I take research very seriously and that means I need proof for such statements as “less accurate.”

 

I agree that the examples you provide seem a bit odd, but that doesn’t mean the numbers are wrong.  I don’t know if they’re wrong because I don’t know what the correct numbers are.  In addition, you say that these Arbitron numbers are “less accurate” than Eastlan numbers, but you don’t provide the data from Eastlan for the same demos and time periods so a comparison can be made.

 

Without having additional information, my guess is that the Arbitron examples you provide are a function of sample size, probably a very small sample.  If Eastlan uses a larger sample, they might not have stations with “0” ratings, but that’s only a guess.  It may be that the “0” ratings are correct.  I don’t know.

 

You say that you “feel” Arbitron is “much less accurate” than Eastlan in a small market.  First, when it comes to research, how you “feel” about something means nothing.  I might feel that the speed of sound measurement of approximately 1,088 feet per second is wrong, but that doesn’t make it wrong.  When it comes to debates, arguments, or comments about data, what means something is an objective, scientific analysis of the situation.

 

Secondly, the words “much less accurate” cause another problem.  What is your definition of the word “accurate”?  You provide Arbitron data as examples of “less accurate” data, but how do you know the data are less accurate?  Do you have “accurate” data you can compare to the “less accurate” Arbitron numbers?

 

Now, I do understand what you’re trying to say, specifically in reference to the examples you provide.  But from my perspective, you don’t really know if the CHR and Classic Rock tie for first place in 25-54 females is wrong.  You just think the data are wrong.  But that’s not good enough in scientific research.  There must be proof.

 

As a research person who follows the scientific method, I am completely open to new findings, new methodologies, and changes in long-held beliefs based on new scientific evidence (e.g. ulcers are caused by bacteria).  And I’m open to investigating your idea that Arbitron is less accurate than Eastlan in small markets.  But in order to support your feelings about Eastlan and Arbitron, I must see valid and reliable scientific information.  That’s all there is to it.

 

I don’t work for Arbitron and I’m not blindly supporting the company’s data.  However, when it comes to statements about Arbitron (or any other research) such as the data are “less accurate,” it’s necessary to have supporting data.  Personal opinions alone aren’t valid.

 

One more thing:  Never give up your curiosity (“Hmm, seems like Arbitron is less accurate than Eastlan.  I need to verify if that’s true.”) because that’s how you learn.  Thanks for writing.


EEO/FCC Compliance

I love being in compliance.  Being in compliance means never having to say you’re sorry, or pay the fines.  What that said, can you point me in the direction of a link that explains exactly what the FCC wants as far as EOE documentation?  Forms, expected contents, any and all help is welcome.  Assume we are starting from scratch (that's just hypothetical, of course) - Anonymous

 

Anon:  First, let me set something straight.  The correct term is Equal Employment Opportunity or EEO.  It’s not EOE.  Small point, but it means a lot when you’re searching for things on the Internet and filing out forms.

 

Anyway, for the FCC’s information about EEO (Section 73.2080), click here.  If you want more information about EEO, the FCC has a specific page for that…just click here.

 

If that’s not enough information, you can see the whole list of FCC rules and regulations for broadcasters by clicking here.


eHarmony Method – How does it work?

Doc: My question is about eHarmony, the website for finding dates. On the company's website, it says: "Our patented Compatibility Matching System® pre-screens matches for you based on deep levels of compatibility." I know each person fills out a questionnaire, but do you know how the "matching" part of it works? Thanks in advance. - Anonymous

Anon: I have seen commercials for eHarmony, but didn't know anything about it until I read several things on the Internet. I want to apologize for taking a few days to answer your question, but I spent many hours reading articles about eHarmony. However, I don't consider myself as an expert on eHarmony. My comments are based only on the information I read and I'll be happy to adjust my comments upon learning additional information. On to your question . . .

So that all readers are on the same level of understanding about eHarmony, this is a statement from the company's website:

eHarmony is the first service within the online dating industry to use a scientific approach to matching highly compatible singles. eHarmony's matching is based on using its 29 DIMENSIONS® model to match couples based on features of compatibility found in thousands of successful relationships.

Introduction
One of the first things I noticed, and you included in your question, is this item on eHarmony's home page:

eHarmony Compatibility Matching System®
Protected by U.S. Pat. No. 6,735,568


The Matching System is protected by a patent? Patent for what? I put this aside for a moment and will do the same thing now. I'll get to the patent in a moment.

In order to answer your question (How does it work?), I needed to find an explanation of the methodology. What I found is that a description of the methodology is not available. Why not? Well, the founder of the company, Dr. Neil Clark Warren, a clinical psychologist, not an M.D., states in many references that the company's methodology is proprietary. As far as I know, the eHarmony methodology has not been reviewed by a competent panel of researchers ("panel of peers," as it's called) and I thought I might have a difficult time finding out how the company's procedure "works," as you ask. But I forged ahead.

With no access to a description of eHarmony's methodology, the only thing I can do is take a guess. If I were in charge of the eHarmony methodology, I would follow the guideline of Ockham's Razor, which states (paraphrase) that, "The simplest approach is always the best." With simplicity as a guide, I would probably match people using Pearson Product-Moment Correlation, known simply as "correlation," and/or Factor Analysis, a multivariate statistic that, in simple terms, places items (variables) into groups or categories called Factors. (See note at end about correlation.)

There Must be More
As I continued my reading, I thought there must be more information available about the eHarmony patent. Guess what? I found many things, and a summary of the patent claims virtually explains the eHarmony methodology. Dr. Neil Clark Warren and other people at eHarmony may consider their methodology as proprietary, but virtually all of the steps are contained in the patent summary. Anyone with an understanding of research and statistics can immediately identify the methodology from only the patent summary.

I haven't read the entire patent. Life is too short for that. However, what I found is contained in the next section.

eHarmony Methodology from the company's Patent
A website called
Patent Storm has this information:

US Patent 6735568 - Method and system for identifying people who are likely to have a successful relationship. Issued May 11, 2004

A summary of eHarmony's patent claims is shown on the Patent Storm page. A part of that summary is shown below. I include an explanation of what each claim actually means after each claim.

11. A method to be performed by a computer for operating a matching service, comprising:

receiving a plurality of surveys completed by different individuals, each survey including a plurality of inquiries into matters which are relevant to each individual forming relationships with other people, at least a portion of the inquiries having answers that are associated with a number; [What? This means that the company collects questionnaires from many (plurality) people. The questionnaire includes many (plurality) questions, reportedly 430 questions. Some of the questions ("a portion of the inquires") are used to compute a "number," which I assume is the "Satisfaction Index" mentioned later. Nothing fancy, just simple statistics and research procedures.]

performing a factor analysis on the answers to the inquiries to identify a plurality of factors, each factor corresponding to a function of one or more variables representing the inquiries; [What? This means that each questionnaire is analyzed via the multivariate statistic, factor analysis (identified later as Principal Components factor analysis) to identify the "29 Dimensions® of Compatibility" the company uses to match people. (Note: Principal Components factor analysis assumes that the factors, called dimensions by eHarmony, in the factor analysis are not related to each other—that the 29 dimensions are unique and distinct from the other factors in the analysis. One more thing...each person will have a "factor score" for each of the 29 factors (dimensions). In brief, a factor score is a summary score, where a person's score for all the variables in a factor (dimension) are added together (linear combination). In statistics, the factor scores are called eigenvalues. Nothing fancy, just a simple factor analysis.]

generating a satisfaction index that approximates the satisfaction that a first candidate has in the relationships that the first candidate forms with others; and [What? Of the 430 questions in the questionnaire, some are used to develop the "Satisfaction Index." I obviously don't know what these questions are, but I assume they relate to a person's "happiness with their current situation," or a "satisfaction with their life and job," and so on. The company simply adds together the numerical answers (ratings of some kind) for the "satisfaction questions" to produce the Satisfaction Index. Nothing fancy, just simple statistics.]

matching the first candidate to a second candidate based upon the satisfaction index and based upon differences between the value of at least one factor for the first candidate and the value of at least one factor for the second candidate. [What? The Satisfaction Index and one factor score from a person's questionnaire are compared to other people in the database. This is probably done with simple correlation. Nothing fancy, just simple statistics.]

12. The method of claim 11, wherein the factor analysis is a principal component analysis. [What? There it is. The company identifies the primary statistic used to analyze questionnaires. Nothing fancy, just a simple multivariate procedure.]

13. The method of claim 11, further comprising: selecting the factors that most highly predict satisfaction in a relationship. [What? The company uses "29 Dimensions of Compatibility" to match people, but not everyone will rate or score all the questions in each factor the same way. For example, a person's factor analysis may show that only 10 of the 29 dimensions are important. My guess is that the company probably computes a correlation between the factor scores of one person to all other people in the database. In addition, they also use linear regression, which is mentioned in the next claim. Nothing fancy, just simple statistics.]

14. The method of claim 11, wherein selecting the factors includes performing a linear regression on the factors and the satisfaction index. [What? A linear regression just compares one variable (factor scores) to another (Satisfaction Index). Nothing fancy, just simple statistics.]

15. The method of claim 11, wherein selecting the factors includes performing a correlation analysis on the factors and the satisfaction index. [What? There it is. The company uses correlation to compare the factor scores and Satisfaction Index from one person to the other people in the database. Nothing fancy, just simple statistics.]

Ah ha! My guess was correct. The eHarmony patent states that the methodology involves factor analysis, correlation, and linear regression—nothing fancy, just simple statistics. The problem I have is understanding why the company would receive a patent for this procedure. It's comparable to me receiving a patent for something called, "A Method to Compute Students' Grades in a Classroom Setting," and I go on to explain how to add together scores on tests and quizzes (and other things) to get a total score and then say something like . . .An "A" grade is designated for students who receive 90-100 total points; a "B" grade is designated for 80-89 points, a "C" grade is designated 70-79 points, and so on. The eHarmony patent seems a bit silly and it's not clear to me why the U.S. Patent Office would grant a patent for a simple statistical methodology.

eHarmony Methodology in Simple Terms
I would like to explain the ]eHarmony methodology in another way in the event some readers don't understand the statistics. From the patent information, here is what the company does:

The Questionnaire: I assume that eHarmony researchers (or whomever) followed the typical steps used in research to develop a questionnaire such as the one used to match people. Initially, the company probably tested 1,000 or more questions to determine which were good and which were bad. After a number of tests, they reduced to the number of questions to 430, most of which are used for the "29 Dimensions of Compatibility," and a few questions for the Satisfaction Index.

Assuming that the questionnaire does include 430 questions, my guess is that each of the "29 Dimensions of Compatibility" is represented by 14 questions, which means that about 24 questions are used for the Satisfaction Index. Is that clear? Try this...when a factor analysis is computed on a set of variables, the statistic identifies variables that relate to a similar concept. In the eHarmony procedure, I would imagine that the factors/dimensions are labeled something like, "Marriage," "Career," "Children," "Spending Habits," and so on.

Each of the factors, as I mentioned, is represented by about 14 questions, and about 50% would have a negative slant toward the concept ("Marriage") and 50% with a positive slant toward the concept. A person's answers to all 14 "Marriage" related questions are added together to produce the person's Factor Score (eigenvalue) for the "Marriage" concept. It would be easy, therefore, to compute a correlation between one person's factors scores for all factors/dimensions and another person's factor scores.

For readers who know something about factor analysis . . . Since eHarmony uses Principal Components factor analysis, they would more than likely use Kaiser's Normal Varimax Rotation to identify significant factors (those with eigenvalues greater than 1.0).

Note: For anyone who wants to complete the eHarmony questionnaire, you should be able to identify the 14 or so questions for each of the "29 Dimensions of Compatibility." Each factor's 14 (or so) questions may be spread randomly throughout the questionnaire, or they may follow a simple pattern. If a "Marriage" factor exists, and one of the "Marriage" questions is #1, then the other 13 marriage questions would be in positions 30, 59, 88, 177, 146, 175, 204, 233, 262, 297, 320, 349, and 378. Now, I'm not suggesting that you do this, but if you want to be consistent with your answers, make sure you answer each factor's questions in the same way—that is, answer the negatively leaned questions with a negative rating, and the positively leaned questions with a positive rating. This is cheating, but that is the way to "fool the computer" if you have a desire to do so.

So What?
From the information I read, it appears that eHarmony has probably followed the correct steps in producing a questionnaire and uses simple statistical methods to analyze the data, but this doesn't mean that the methodology is valid and reliable. However, even if the methodology is valid and reliable, it doesn't necessarily follow that the "matching" aspect of the process will be successful. My guess is that much of the success with eHarmony is based on a self-fulfilling prophecy developed by those who use the website. In other words, the people are determined to find someone, invest their time and money into the website, and are convinced the method will work.

The process of answering about 430 questions to find a soulmate or partner may overlook (or be incapable of identifying) some major differences. The 430 questions may indicate a "match" according to eHarmony's methodology, but the match does not necessarily mean that the couple will have a successful relationship, and, to eHarmony's credit, they do mention that there are no guarantees. For example, the questionnaire may indicate a match with two people, but when the two people meet, they both might sing: U-G-L-Y, you ain't got no alibi. You ugly, uh-huh, you ugly. (Sorry, I have wanted to use that "cheer" from the 2007 remake of the movie, "The Longest Yard" for a long time. However, regardless of my cynicism, compatibility on answering questions does not necessarily equate to success in a relationship.)

Now on to the most important point of the whole Internet dating process . . .

WARNING
Regardless of whether the methodology of any Internet dating website is valid and reliable, the aspect of safety overshadows any concern for the correctness of the methodology.

Once again, to eHarmony's credit, the company includes a section on its website called, "eHarmony Advice," and I think it's important to read everything there if you plan to use the site. For example, there is a section called
5 Dating Rules you Should Never Break.

In addition, you should carefully read eHarmony's
Terms of Service section. Some of the things in that area include:

1. Eligibility
a. Minimum Age. You must be at least 13 years old to use the Site (or the age of majority in your jurisdiction, if it is older), and at least 18 years old to register for the Services. By using the Singles Service, you represent and warrant that you are at least 18 years old. Other Services may have other age requirements for all or portion of such Services, and such other age requirements are stated on such Services or portions thereof.

b. Marital Status. By requesting to use, registering to use, or using the Singles Service, you represent and warrant that you are not married. If you are separated, but not yet legally divorced, you may not request to use, register to use, or use the Singles Service.

c. Criminal History. By requesting to use, registering to use, and/or using the Singles Service, you represent and warrant that you have never been convicted of a felony and are not required to register as a sex offender with any government entity. EHARMONY DOES NOT CURRENTLY CONDUCT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND SCREENINGS ON ITS MEMBERS. However, eHarmony reserves the right to conduct a criminal background check, at any time and using available public records, to confirm your compliance with this subsection.


In addition, Part D of the section titled, "Use of Site and Service," states,

Risk Assumption and Precautions. You assume all risk when using the Services, including but not limited to all of the risks associated with any online or offline interactions with others, including dating. You agree to take all necessary precautions when meeting individuals through the Singles Service. In addition, you agree to review and follow the recommendations set forth in eHarmony’s Safety Tips, which will be provided to you prior to entering the “Open Communication” phase with your matches in the Singles Service and is available at the bottom of all pages of the Singles Service. You understand that eHarmony makes no guarantees, either express or implied, regarding your ultimate compatibility with individuals you meet through the Singles Service or as to the conduct of such individuals. You further understand that eHarmony makes no guarantees as to number or frequency of matches through the Singles Service.

While the Terms of Service is several pages long. I strongly urge you to read the entire document if you intend to use eHarmony.

Conclusion
While I give credit to eHarmony and other dating websites for including precautions about using the service, I don't think the cautions are strong enough. Here is why . . .

It would be easy for any "evil" person to take advantage of any of the dating websites. For example, with the eHarmony site, a person with knowledge of questionnaire design and how to cheat on answers could easily find matches with almost anyone—just answer the questions "correctly." I know that most of the dating websites say that they have never had a problem, but that doesn't mean something won't happen in the future.

If you read some of the "Terms of Service" from eHarmony I included above, you should remember reading this (I'm repeating it because I want to make sure every reader sees it):

Criminal History. By requesting to use, registering to use, and/or using the Singles Service, you represent and warrant that you have never been convicted of a felony and are not required to register as a sex offender with any government entity. EHARMONY DOES NOT CURRENTLY CONDUCT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND SCREENINGS ON ITS MEMBERS. However, eHarmony reserves the right to conduct a criminal background check, at any time and using available public records, to confirm your compliance with this subsection.

Oh, please. AS IF a convicted felon/sex offender is going to answer that question honestly. And that's the problem . . . the people who use the dating websites in hopes of finding "Mr./Ms Right" may actually find "Mr./Ms Convicted Felon." So, if you use the dating websites, please be very cautious. There is no methodology on this planet that can guarantee that the person you are matched with is a nice/kind human being.
 

Final Opinion:

Based on the limited information about eHarmony's methodology contained in the patent summary, I don't see anything wrong with the procedures. The statistics used are very basic and there is no indication that a new statistical procedure or algorithm (formula) was developed. Correlation, linear regression, and factor analysis have been used for many decades, and this makes me wonder about how eHarmony received a patent the company received.

 

In order for me to give a 100% approval score or some form of overall "pass" grade, I would need to have access to a lot more information. However, for the time being, the methodology seems OK. What you have here is a simple methodology with an excellent marketing plan. The methodology isn't unique, but the people who designed the marketing plan know what they're doing—they have taken a simple procedure and made it into a "big deal."

 

So, while I say that the methodology is OK, I still want to emphasize the necessity to be very cautious with the service—not just eHarmony, but with every dating service on the Internet.

 

Note:
Correlation is a number from –1.00 to +1.00. A positive correlation indicates that the elements being tested are similar. A correlation of +1.00 if called a "perfect positive correlation," which means that the elements tested are essentially identical. A correlation of -1.00 if called a "perfect negative correlation," which means that the elements tested are essentially opposite. A zero correlation means that there is no relationship at all between the elements tested.

As Joe Dominick and I state in our book, Mass Media Research: An Introduction (page 321), A correlation coefficient is a pure number; it s not expressed in feet, inches, or pounds, nor is it a proportion or percentage. The Pearson r is independent of the size and units of measurement of the original data.

Just ONE More Thing
OK. That's it. Enough with all the frivolity. It's time to get serious.

After reading all the information about Internet dating, I decided that "enough is enough" and I'm tired of seeing all these companies make money just by helping people finds dates. So I created my own. It's time for me to get my share of the fun and money.


So . . . to see the latest dating site on the Internet, just Click Here.


800 Telephone Numbers

Doc:  I recently saw a TV commercial for Orkin pest control, and the ad includes an 800 number to call for more information.  The number is 1-800-800-ORKIN, which translates to 1-800-800-67546.  That's one too many numbers.  My question is: Do people actually include the last number (6) when they call?  I can't believe anyone would do that. - Anonymous

 

Anon: I don't have any research on your question, but since I have experience with millions of "average" people in research studies for more than 30 years, my guess is that many people probably do punch in the last "6" on their telephones when they call Orkin.

 

Since you asked the question the way you did, you know that the first 11 numbers are the only numbers that matter—the last number is irrelevant and does nothing.  In fact, if you call a local telephone number, such as 634-5789, the phone will connect after hitting the "9," and any number after that does nothing.  It's the same with areas that require an area code plus the 7-digit phone number—any number entered after the 10th number does nothing (or 11th number if a "1" is dialed first for long distance).

 

Why does Orkin do this?  Because it looks good.  Their advertising would seem a bit strange if they said, "Call 1-800-800 ORKI."

 

By the way, as you may know, Orkin isn't the only company that does this.  I did a search on the Internet and found these toll-free numbers:

 

1-800-Translate

1-800-Save-A-Pet

1-800-Therapist

1-800-Volunteer

1-800-US-SEARCH

1-800-Fly-Europe

1-866-Junk Be Gone

1-877-SCUBA-USA

 

I have no idea why anyone would hit the extra numbers.  Maybe these people should call:

 

 1-800-IfIOnlyHadABrain

 

One more thing . . . If you want to see if your telephone number spells anything, there are several Internet websites to help, such as Phone Spell.  Not every phone number will spell something, especially numbers that have 1s or 0s in them.


Election Policies

Can you post a link to a site where I can find the specifics on election policies for radio stations.  It’s getting to be that time and I haven’t worked in radio during an election in years...just curious as to what the specifics are.  I appreciate you. - Josh

 

Josh:  It’s nice to be appreciated.  Thanks.

 

Here are two Internet searches that will help you.  Not all of the sources are relevant, but there are many good ones:  Election Policies One and Election Policies Two.


Electricity Leaking

Doc: Is it true that if one leaves an appliance plugged in but turned off, electricity is still being used?  I think it's called "residual power" or something like that.  Is it true?  How much money could an average person save by unplugging lamps, TV sets, etc? - Anonymous
 

Anon:  You're partly correct.  First, you are correct in saying that some appliances/devices use electricity when they are turned off.  This is known as electricity leaking because the appliance/device uses electricity (energy) without performing its principal function.  For example, most TV sets that are turned off use a small amount of energy in a "stand by" mode so the set will turn on immediately when you hit the "on" button.  The same is true for many other audio and video machines.

 

Where you are incorrect is your comment about lamps (light bulbs).  Unless the lamp/light bulb is on a dimmer switch, no electricity is leaked when the bulb is turned off.  This means that unplugging a lamp would not save energy.

 

If you read some of the articles in this search, you'll find that, on average, about 5% of a typical household's electricity costs are related to electricity leaking.  That's a lot of energy wasted if you consider all the households in the United States and all other countries.

 

There are hundreds of appliances/devices that leak electricity.  Here are just a few: TV & video equipment, VCR/DVD, satellite TV system, telephone answering machine, cordless telephone, home security system, smoke detector, garage door opener, baby monitor, and a variety of home office equipment such as printers and copiers.


Email - Admissible?

How does one prove that an email is legit? I have an email from my GM where he says he won't enforce a non-compete in my contract.  Is the email admissible in a legal case? - Anonymous

 

Anon:  First, I need to say that I’m not an attorney or judge, so don’t interpret my comments as a legal opinion.  OK, with that said, here are your answers…

 

1.  You can determine if an email is legitimate (to some extent) by right-clicking on the message in your in box.  When you do that, you’ll see several options to select.  One of them should be “Options.”  When you click on that, it will show you the technical aspects of the email, such as who sent it and when.

 

2.  If you look at several sources on the Internet, you’ll find that email may or may not be admissible evidence in a legal case.  It depends on the nature of the email, how it was obtained, and how it relates to the specific case.  My guess is that your email would be admissible, but you need to contact a lawyer before you purse the matter…if that’s you intent.
 

By the way, a few people have submitted questions about the correct spelling of email.  Is it e-mail or email?  When email first became a reality, most people used a hyphen, but the convention now is to delete the hyphen and just use email.


Email Money 

I received an email from a friend. It says this . . .

 

I'm an attorney, and I know the law. This thing is for real. Rest assured AOL and Intel will follow through with their promises for fear of facing an multimillion dollar class action suit similar to the one filed by Pepsico against General Electric not too long ago. I'll be damned if we're all going to help them out with their email beta test without getting a little something for our time.

 

My brother's girlfriend got in on this a few months ago. When I went to visit him for the Baylor/UT game she showed me her check. It was for the sum of $4,324.44 and was stamped "Paid In Full." Like I said before, I know the law, and this is for real.

 

The letter then says . . .

 

This is not a joke. I am forwarding this because the person who sent it to me is a good friend and does not send me junk. Intel and AOL are now discussing a merger which would make them the largest Internet company and in an effort make sure that AOL remains the most widely used program, Intel and AOL are running an email beta test. When you forward this email to friends, Intel can and will track it (if you are a Microsoft Windows user) for a two week time period. For every person that you forward this email to, Microsoft will pay you $203.15, for every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $156.29 and for every third person that receives it, you will be paid $17.65. Within two weeks, Intel will contact you for your address and then send you a check. I thought this was a scam myself, but a friend of my good friend's Aunt Patricia, who works at Intel actually got a check for $4,543.23 by forwarding this email.

 

My question is: Is this for real? - Jim

 

Jim: This is phony and a pile of garbage. However, so I don't have to reinvent the wheel, please click here for more information.  Just keep in mind the old saying, "If it sounds too good to be true, it's a pile of Vulpes Fulva leavings." Or something like that.


Email - Microsoft

I use Outlook 2000 for my email and after I downloaded the recent patch, I can no longer send pictures in my email. I can attach them, but not insert them. I get an "Error 195: Undefined is null or not an object." Do you know what's going on? Thanks. - Anonymous

 

Anon: I have had this same problem and it's annoying. Here is what you need to do.

 

In your email program, go to Tools/Options/Security and in the "Secure Content" area in the middle of the box, change the "Zone Settings" to "Internet" from "Restricted Sites." You will be able to insert pictures. If you want to continue using the "Restricted" option, you'll need to go back and change back to the "Restricted Sites" option after you send your email with the inserted pictures.


Email Question

Sometimes I get an email from a person, especially people in radio, and I'm one of several dozen people who receive the letter. The problem is that all of the dozens of names are on the letter. If I send the same note to several people, is there a way for me to do it so the people on the list don't see all of the other names? - Anonymous

 

Anon: Yes, there is a very simple way. Send your letter to yourself and then put all of the other names on the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) line. None of the people on your list will see who received the note.


Email Sent

Doc:  Do you have any idea how many emails are sent each day? - Anonymous

 

Anon: You didn't mention where, such as the United States or the world, so I went with the world.

 

If you check the sources on the Internet, you'll find several estimates — all of which are fairly close to each other.  The estimates are: About 11 billion emails were sent each day worldwide in 2001, and about 36 billion per day in 2005.  One article predicts that in 2006, about 60 billion emails will be sent each day in the world.

 

Although you didn't ask, you may be interested to know that most estimates show that about 12 billion text messages are sent each day in the world.  That's a lot of messages.


Email Size

Doc:  I applied for a job yesterday where the ad said to keep all submittals under 2 MB.  To prove I can follow simple instructions, I made my air check 1.75 MB, my resume 100K (.1 MB) and my resume 65K (.065 MB), for a total of 1.915 MB.  Add in some text introducing myself to my potential employer, and the email size should easily fit into the "under 2MB" category, right?

 

I don't have any fancy letterhead or anything else to clutter it up.  When I sent the email though, it says that the size is 2.615 MB, or 36% LARGER than the email I intended to send and I cannot for the life of me figure out why.  Can you help?  I used MSN on my home computer, Hotmail and Gmail, and ended up with essentially (20K difference) the same results.  Thanks. - Email Extraordinaire

 

EE:  I have encountered this before, so I wasn't surprised when I read about your problem.  Here's the deal . . . When you send an email with attachments, most email software converts the attachments with "Base64 encoding" so the information can be sent faster and safer through the system.  In most situations, the Base64 encoding makes the email about 33% larger than original size (so your stuff was about average).

 

By the way, I was a bit confused with your note because you used the word "resume" twice.  Regardless, I assumed you had two unique attachments.

 

So, the problem is the Base64 encoding, and you'll have to consider that the next time you send an email where there are size limitations.  For more information about Base64 encoding, click here.


Email Sources

How do you go about finding demo specific email addresses? I would like to purchase a database for a direct email marketing campaign. Any suggestions or words of wisdom? - Moneen


Moneen: There are a few things you can do to start. First, go to a few sites like www.everythingemail.com and http://e-target.com If these aren't what you need, then you might consider doing a search.


For example, I entered "purchase+email+addresses" on Alta Vista and came up with several potential sites. I believe that you should be able to find the information you need.


Email Virus

I received an email from a friend that says, in part,

 

It was brought to my attention yesterday that a virus was on all of our computers here at work.  I do not know how long it has been on our computers, but Virus software cannot detect it.  It will not become active until June 1, 2001, at that point it will become active and will be to late.  It wipes out all files and folders on the hard drive.  This virus travels through E-mail and migrates to the ‘C\windows\command’ folder.  To find it and get rid of it, off your computer, do the following.  Go to the "START" button.  Go to "FIND" or "SEARCH."  Go to "FILES & FOLDER."  Make sure the find box is searching the "C:" drive.  Type in; SULFNBK.EXE.  Begin search.  If it finds it, highlight it.  Go to ‘File’ and delete it.  Close the find Dialog box, Open the Recycle Bin, Find the file, and delete it from the Recycle Bin.  You should be safe.

 

Do you know anything about this? - Anonymous

 

Anon: This is a complete and total hoax. For more information, click here.


Email Viruses

I am a new Internet user and I'm worried about email viruses.  What can I do to help protect from getting a virus on my computer?  Thanks. - Jennifer

 

Jennifer:  If you have been reading this column for a while, you'll know that I don't like to "reinvent the wheel" when it comes to answering questions.  I went to the McAfee Virus page located at http://dispatch.mcafee.com/virus_tips.asp?cid=1593 and found this information (I corrected a few grammatical errors):

 

Virus Detection and Prevention Tips


Email Viruses - Finding New Ones

Where's the best place to find information about new email viruses? - Anonymous

 

Anon:  Here are two suggestions: McAfee.  Click on “Newly Discovered Threats” on the left side of your screen, and Snopes.  Click on the “What’s New” icon at the upper left of the page.


Email Virus Hoax

It seems like every day I get email about a new virus, a missing child, or something stupid.  I think most of this stuff is garbage, but is there a way for me to check to see if the stuff I get is real?  - Anonymous

 

Anon:  Sure, there are several good websites to help you.  The problem with most of this garbage is that many people think the stuff is real and when they receive it, they simply forward it to all their friends without verifying the information.  In some cases, these people will include a line such as, “You HAVE to read this,” or “THIS is important,” but in most cases, they just forward the stuff, which oftentimes has several other “FWs” in the subject line.  It’s a perpetuation of ignorance.

 

Four sites for email hoax information are:

 

Symantec

McAfee

Hoax Busters

Stiller Research


 

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