Daily Archives: January 11, 2007

Evidently, we’re still learning to use email

We live in a flat. The flat is in a block that is managed by a housing association. We do stuff like pay them management fees. They do stuff like getting the lawns cut and keeping the window frames and hallways decorated in a nice way.

Yesterday, I received an email from them, asking me to send them feedback on a survey form.

Nothing weird or wrong in that, until I took a closer look. The To: header of the email contained a large number of addresses. So many, in fact, that I assume that the list is constituted of the addresses of everyone who lives in a block managed by this same company (of which I believe there are many). There are some interesting ones too, like people who appear to work for banks and major retailers in London, as well as the usual array of hotmail and btinternet accounts.

I was a little bit upset about my email address being shared with this many people, so I sent a polite note to the man who had originally sent it, reminding him to use a mailing list of some kind, or the Bcc: header, to avoid this kind of thing in future.

Today, I received an advertisement for some cosmetics. My spam filter didn’t cut it out. Why would it? The email wasn’t particularly “spammy” in content (not a Nigerian scam, not offensive, no offer of pills to improve my performance). It was addressed directly to me, and carried genuine headers.

Interestingly, the Cc: list corresponded directly with the To: list from yesterday. I spotted the same great and good companies in the list of addresses.

I replied to the lady in question, and copied the man from the housing association. I explained that not only was this a violation of my privacy, but the further use of the information (when clearly the list of addresses was revealed in error) was totally unacceptable.

I hope that some people get a clue as a result of this. I’ll be interested to see whether I get an apology from either of the parties involved. I just hope that some joker doesn’t do a “reply to all”…


Mobile phone annoyance


For the second or possibly the third time, my venerable Sony Ericsson T630 has “forgotten” all of the words I taught it for predictive texting. Since half of my family is Polish, there are quite a few words that we use often that are not in the phone’s standard repertoire.

Moments after finding that it no longer knew a particular word, it hung up completely, and couldn’t be switched off without removing the battery. When I switched it back on, it was OK again, but still with no memory of its previously-extended vocabulary.

Oh well.

XSLT book, mark 2

One of my minor claims to fame is that you can find my name in the acknowledgements of the first edition of Doug Tidwell’s book on XSLT, as published by O’Reilly.

I attended some of Doug’s excellent sessions at the WebSphere conference in Las Vegas waaaay back in 2001 (actually a number of months before I joined IBM). I subsequently emailed him a couple of times, and ended up being invited to be a technical reviewer of the manuscript. It’s a great reference book, and has some excellent examples. I’d also say that Doug’s writing style makes it very easy to follow.

Since I subscribe to Doug’s developerWorks blog, I noticed that a second edition is due out, now updated for XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0. You can pre-order it already (Amazon UK | Amazon US). I’m sure this is going to be a worthy follow-up. If you work with XML technologies, go put it on your wish list.

Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with the new edition. I wouldn’t claim to know much about XSLT 2.0. Learn from someone who does 🙂