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A Special Powful Tool

Q. I got curious e-mail from you today. The subject was "A special powful tool" and there was no text associated with it -- just a file with a format I didn't recognize. Did you really send me that? Is your computer infected with a virus?

A. Nope and nope.
I did not send you that "powful tool." (The spelling error alone should have made you suspicious!) Nor have I attempted to send you or anyone else a very funny website, a special humor game, A WinXP patch, so cool a flash, anything to do with the spice girls or something that will improve the "size of your package." I NEVER send unsolicited attachments, nor is my computer infected with a virus -- as we Mac users never tire of pointing out, we are mostly unaffected by all those wormy things you PC users must be so wary of.

While it may appear that I am the guilty culprit - it says it came from me, right? - if you use your e-mail program's tool to look at the full header, you will see that mine is but one of many addresses listed; one article I read suggests that the last address to appear in the long header is the true culprit. The worm sending these messages is called Klez and it is not slowing down. Once loose, the virus seeks out and copies e-mail identities stored in the computer user's programs... hackers call this "spoofing." In many cases the recipient's anti-virus software sends out an auto-response warning of infection, and that goes to the wrong person too. The result of all this is a ton of useless e-mail clogging up the system and causing much hand-wringing and finger-pointing. But pretty much all you can do is throw the offending messages and their attachments away as soon as you get them.

Bottom line - don't try to open that weird attachment - even if it appears to be coming from someone as up-front and trustworthy as myself ;-)

Q. I have decided that this is the summer I learn how to build a better sand castle. Are you guys offering the regularly-scheduled discount lessons again this year? Do I need to bring anything?

A. Yes indeedy. Right about the time other educational institutions are shutting down operations, the Sons of the Beach (SoB) Sand Castle Wizards are shifting into high gear in our on-going effort to help more people have more fun on the beach.

Discount classes are currently scheduled for Saturdays at Boomerang Billy's (at the Surf Motel) starting a 1 PM and Mondays at Wanna Wanna (at the Island Inn) starting at 2 PM. Tickets may be purchased in advance at either location, as well as at Deb and Dunehead's Hole in the Wall Diner at Kelly's, for just $10 a pop.... making an SoB sand castle experience one of the least-expensive ways to have fun on SPI. (Kids 5 and under are free; kids 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult.)

Your instructor will be a highly qualified and trained SoB who will show up fully equipped with all the necessary tools... so you don't have to bring anything but your enthusiasm (and maybe some sunblock). Lessons usually run about an hour, during which you can expect to learn how to build soaring towers, staircase walls and free-standing arches -- as well as how to find/make/use some simple but effective carving tools for detailing your structures. It's a great way to enjoy the beach with friends and family, not to mention a tried and tested method for getting your mind off computer viruses and other daily annoyances.

For more info and updated schedule, please visit www.sonsofthebeach.com.

There are five (5) ways to submit your questions/comments for future Ask Sandy columns: In person; by phone (761-6222) or fax (761-8930); the US Postal System (box 2694,spi,78597) and E-mail: (sandyfeet@unlitter.com). Visit my web-site (http://spionline.com/) for tips on sandcastling, contest info, recent Ask Sandy columns, and my reviews of local businesses.

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