July 2009

What do you call emails which are not spam — because one did, technically, ask for them when you signed up for some mailing list or other — but which one nevertheless deletes without reading?

As in, “My inbox is half full of spam and half full of ________.”

It seems like a word that we should have.


When I find a map on the web and I want to take it with me, I take a pen and copy the map onto scrap paper, because I have zero trust that the map would print out correctly.

I use the default font for everything, because I have zero trust that any font I choose would be reproduced correctly by the time my words reach the reader’s screen.

I don’t use bold text in email, because I have zero trust that it would show up right in the recipient’s email client.

I don’t take pictures with my phone, because I have zero trust that I’ll ever be able to get at those pictures in a usable form.

Is it just me, or does the behavior of computer systems rarely inspire trust?