CKL's HotSheet
What Non-Aardvarks are Pondering

By Curtis C. Chen

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May 1, 2000

You Don't Know Jack

The techno-parable you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

PROLOGUE

  • The ###### Corporation (a Fortune 500 company) is running an internal service trial, code named "JACK" (an acronym for something or other). The JACK administrators have set up a mailing list for subscribers to the service. Several dozen people, including high-level managers and executives, are on this list.
  • Some e-mail programs have auto-complete features to help the user address his or her messages. If, for example, the user types "jack" in the "To:" input field, the program will search the user's address book and return what it believes to be the closest match. In this case, it might be "Jack Ryan", "The Jackal", "Wolfman Jack", or something even more obtuse.

CHAPTER ONE

One fine spring morning, this message appeared in the mailbox of every JACK subscriber in the ###### Corporation...

From: ######@######.com
Sent: ... 8:04 AM
To: jack_subscribers@######.com
Subject: Stock Tip

Jack- you might want to invest your stock money -

>From time to time, I speak with pharmaceutical sales
> rep's who use our medical library.  The other day a
> Glaxo rep told me of a drug that her company has under
> development.  This drug sounds so promising that I
> want to suggest to all of my friends that they are
> consider buying stock in the company.  The drug is called
> "Gingko Viagra", and its function is to help you
> remember what the fuck you are doing.
>

CHAPTER TWO

A few hours later...

From: ######@######.com
Sent: ... 10:56 AM
To: jack_subscribers@######.com
Subject: Apology

I apologize for sending the earlier note.  It was sent in error.

I am very sorry.

EPILOGUE

Spinning the Wheel of Morality is left as an exercise for the reader.

THE END


CKL

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