Friday, July 23, 2004

Ladybee777 “odd behavior cry for help”

Woke up Tuesday to an alarming email from Aunt Margaret.  (Apparently, so did quite  few of you, as evidenced by the many "I think your aunt has completely lost it" messages I received.) 

It took several hours to finally get a hold of Aunt M on the phone.  Before I could say a word about the "odd behavior cry for help," she had her own email question for me:

Did I have any idea why all of her Hotmail would disappear overnight? 

I logged in as ladybee777 to check out the damage.  Old password worked fine. But no mail in any of the folders…?  Weird.  (Where was the concerned reply I had sent her that morning?)

Wrote a quick test message and sent it off to myself.  Nothing shows up in my gmail inbox.  Try again, this time to an older account.  Check there: Nothing.  Again.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Nothing.  Like a little Maxwell's Demon siphoning off all ingoing and outgoing messages.  (And apparently sending out its own.)

So Aunt Margaret's email appears to have gone the way of the China countdown.  Hijacked.  Repurposed. 

My first instinct: ask Hotmail to kill the account entirely.  But then someone calling him (her?) self "xnbomb" sent me a very persuasive email that made me rethink things.  Read for yourself:

It seems that snippets of various emails that have been sent to you by my colleagues have been reassembled and sent back, apparently originating from your aunt's hotmail address.  I'm not really sure what it means at this point.  But it tells us that we can communicate with these entities using email.  In the absence of having a clear idea of just what is going on, the first priority is to communicate, that is how we can learn more.  It's at least possible that we've stumbled across something extraordinary here, and our first priority must be to learn all that we can about it.
It's for that reason that I'm going to suggest that you take no further action that interferes with what's going on at  There's another reason too, one slightly more disturbing.  Consider this passage from the end of the tale hidden in the images:
"The day will break and the sun will rise when the Queen returns to rule, and further let it be known that retribution on any who hinder the return of the Queen will be swift and terrible.

This is a significant warning, namely that any interference with that process will be regarded as a hostile act, and will be responded to accordingly.  I don't know what the SPDR is capable of, but I'm not sure I want to find out.It's for this reason that I suggest that you don't do anything else to get in the way of this business.  If your aunt's business needs a functioning web site immediately, purchase her a new and similarly named domain and get her web site going there.  But let this follow its course… while it could just be some hackers being jerks, there is at least a chance that this is something unique and important and wonderful, a window on a world that we may have never seen before, nor will ever see again.

Optimistic and curious, yet with the good sense to be terrified.  This seems like a pretty good fix on the situation — thanks, xnbomb. 

I am, of course, wildly nervous about letting the bug(s) continue wreaking havoc entirely unimpeded.  But nothing, and I mean nothing, I was doing on the tech side seemed to make a damn bit of difference anyway.  So it seems like a good plan to switch gears from active damage control to... well, what? 


P.S. Have decided to try to shield Aunt M from the latest development, so for now I'm telling her it’s a widespread Hotmail glitch.  I hope I'm doing the right thing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

August 24

Aug 24, 1995   Microsoft inflicts Windows 95 on an unsuspecting world.
I went hiking in Claremont Canyon yesterday to clear my head.  Three hours, six miles, and 1000 ft elevation change later, I was sweaty, sunburnt and still fixated on the bug and its countdown.  While up there, didn't pay enough attention to the trail... scratched my palms slipping on loose gravel, more than once.  Now it hurts to type.
Aug 24, 1456  Printing completed on the Gutenberg Bible.
You know the special dates that mean something to you, but not everyone else?  (For me, March 21 will always be the day I got called to the Vice Principal's office for cutting 8th-grade chorus.  I think it's because I have a permanently ingrained mental image of the yellow hall pass that was sent from the VP’s office to collect me.) 
Aug 24, 79 AD  Mt. Vesuvius erupts for the first time, destroying Pompei.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
(tries to stop thinking about it)
Time for some updates:
Aunt Margaret wants you to know how touched she is by the flood of support we've gotten on this blog and via email.  So touched that she wants to mix a new flavor of her honey in honor of you guys — a black button sage variety, but I'm not sure she knows what to call it yet.
Warm fuzzies aside... the hijacked countdown has definitely gotten under Aunt M's skin.  "Strong intrusive inclination" gives her the "heeby jeebies" (her words).  She asked me if "the medium will metastasize" means that her computer is going to explode.  I'm pretty sure it doesn't, but unfortunately for now, I don't have a more optimistic interpretation to offer her. 
I hate that Aunt M is losing sleep over this.
Or that I am, for that matter. (checks timestamp.  Sigh.)
I’d feel a lot more comfortable if I understood its motives better…
At least I now know from Marc (first of several) that the image glitches are caused by embedded texts of origins unknown.  Not sure how they fit together.
I'm guessing from the some of the emails I've received that at least a handful of you are chewing on this problem in real-time somewhere...?  Is there a channel I can direct other people to, so they can sync up with you?
P.S. A lot of you have sent emails asking for personal information that might be relevant to the problems at I Love Bees.  To be honest, I'm still figuring out how much I feel comfortable sharing at this point.  I hope you can be patient with me.