Oh, Anna, How Could You? (2/13/01)
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Another day, another several hundred email messages to sift through. As usual, the obvious spam goes right in the trash-- we don't need a low-cost merchant account, we don't want a million email addresses so we can send spam ourselves, and we've got some real college degrees that obviate the need for any cheap fakes (as tempting as a couple of PhDs from "Harvarf University" may be). Then the press releases get the once-over, the listserv mail is scanned for interesting subject lines, and each and every bit of AtAT feedback is carefully read, considered, digested, and filed. (Yes, we actually read it. Coulda fooled you, right?)

Finally, the best for last: personal and business email from known and trusted correspondents. And what's this? One of our consulting clients has sent us email with the quizzical subject heading of "Here you have, ;o)"; inside is a message that simply says "Hi: Check This!" Oh, and look, there's an attachment! Gee, a text file named "AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs." Clearly this woman has thoughtfully forwarded us a JPEG image of the attractive young tennis star, which has mysteriously morphed into a text file en route and had the Windows filename extension for a Visual Basic script tacked on at the end. Strange. Sadly, all of our efforts to rename the file, de-binhex it, change its type and creator codes, etc. still haven't yielded an actual viewable JPEG image of Anna Kournikova. This is most frustrating.

What's that? You say that CNET is reporting that this is actually a virus? Well, don't that just beat all. It's a darn good thing that we use Macs, because despite the fact that we weren't expecting any email from our client (not to mention the fact that she has a reasonable command of the English language, has never used an emoticon in her life, and is about as likely to send us a picture of a Russian tennis star as she is to ask us to reshingle her roof in the nude), we blithely opened that dangerous attachment right up in hopes of scoping out a cute Russian chick. Boy, is our collective face red. Had we been using Windows and Outlook instead of our trusty Macs, we'd be just another carrier of this dread disease that is reportedly spreading "twice as fast" as the "Love Bug" virus that wreaked such havoc last year.

So, Mac folks, if one of your Windows-using friends happens to send you something which almost looks like it should be a photo of Ms. Kournikova, don't fret, since your Mac is immune from the virus's effects (barring the use of VirtualPC, of course); by the same token, though, don't waste any time actually trying to extract a real photo, because it's all just a cruel, cruel hoax. (sob!) Given the "success" of the virus, evidently the Windows/Outlook-using community still hasn't learned its lesson about opening unsolicited attachments-- either that, or the author of this virus has discovered the fine art of "playing to one's audience." Remember, kiddies; nasty things often come in pretty packages.


 
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The above scene was taken from the 2/13/01 episode:

February 13, 2001: Apple's quarterly 10-Q filing contains the usual list of bogeymen and things that go bump in the night. Meanwhile, some twisted freak appropriates Anna Kournikova's good name for evil purposes, though Mac users are unaffected, and Apple is now telling some BTO PowerBook G4 customers that their orders won't ship until March 3rd...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2859: Bugaboos And Scary Stuff (2/13/01)   It's that time again-- time for Apple's quarterly 10-Q filing with the SEC, and thanks to the magic of the Internet (long may its light illuminate our path to new and creative forms of work avoidance!), you lucky fans get to read the whole thing online if you're so inclined...

  • 2861: Will Be Seen In Its Entirety (2/13/01)   Do you ever tune in for a beloved TV show at its regularly-scheduled time and find yourself staring at the last two minutes of a football game, instead? We do. And foolishly, we stay tuned, hoping against hope that when the game is over and the program finally comes on, the network will start the show from the beginning and just push the whole night's schedule forward to accommodate the game having run long...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

Vote Early, Vote Often!
Why did you tune in to this '90s relic of a soap opera?
Nostalgia is the next best thing to feeling alive
My name is Rip Van Winkle and I just woke up; what did I miss?
I'm trying to pretend the last 20 years never happened
I mean, if it worked for Friends, why not?
I came here looking for a receptacle in which to place the cremated remains of my deceased Java applets (think about it)

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