Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thank goodness English is hard to master

I took a moment the other day to clean out my email spam folder and was amazed again at some of the crap that is out there and circulating. Frankly I pity the mums and dads, grandmas and grandpas who are still getting a handle on internet communications and are forced to wade through the mountains of spam content that spews from lowlife individuals trying to gain a dishonest buck.
No I don't want $US1,000,000 dollars deposited into my bank account from the estate of some poor soul who's only crime was to die in an African country that I've never heard of before and whose name I can't pronounce. I don't want to increase the size of my ... (and frankly I'm offended at the suggestion that I need any further augmentation), and I'm not in any way your acquaintance so don't address me as "Dear Friend".
But as good as my spam filter is, and as thankful as I am for it performing the job of raking through the rubbish that skates across the internet, I'm actually most thankful that English is a difficult language to master. It is that fact that provides us with the single biggest identifier of spam emails and allows us to differentiate them from their legitimate counterparts. Take this latest email as an example:

Dear Friend
I am Mr Ailudiko Razak working with Islamic Development Bank(ISDB)Ouagadougou Burkina Faso. I want to inquire from you if you can handle this transaction for mutual benefits/life opportunity for you and me.The transaction is about seeking your consent to present you as the next of kin/ beneficiary To our late customer over his fund US$25,Million dollars.
He died with his family during their vacation journey. I am waiting for your response for more details. The fund is going to be share at the ratio of 60/30.30% for you and 60% for i and my family which we are going to use for investment.and 10% for outstanding expenses.
Mr Ailudiko Razak

What self-respecting bank would ever communicate using such a poor command of the English language? Even if my spam filter had allowed this one to slip through the cracks, I'd have every opportunity to detect its stench simply from the malformed sentence structures and incorrect use of words.
So while the English language is the bastard child of centuries of conquerors arriving on the shores of the UK, it is now the greatest asset I have to protect me against cyber criminals.


  1. Dear Dr Marty Hauff,


    I am an junior engineer and it is more than 2 years that I am working with Altium Designer. I have a question and do not know where I can ask my question from Altium professionals. So please accept my apologies if I am in wrong position asking question from you !

    In PCB, when I move every components, the error markers will be on. even only I touch a component. not doing more than a touch , it will have error, and the type of error in violation is " Room definition between component on top layer and rule on top layer "

    I do not know how I can remove this error.
    I will appreciate if you help me or introduce me a helpful source.

    Thanks for your kindly cooperatiom

  2. Hi Nima,

    In future, for technical questions relating to Altium, the best option is to contact me at Altium - marty (dot) hauff (at) altium (dot) com

    Rooms are created (by default) automatically when you compile the design and transfer it from the schematic into the PCB. Take a look at the Project options >> Class Generation tab. There are a couple of check boxes in there that automatically create rooms for you. Turn them off if you aren't using the room settings.
    Alternatively, take a look at: http://wiki.altium.com/display/ADOH/Room to get a further explanation about rooms and how they work.


  3. Dear Dr Marty Hauff,

    Thank you so much! it works now !

    Best regards

  4. Marty, can we really contact you via the e-mail you posted above? That would be awesome if we can shoot questions directly to you. Just very simple "bug-report" type of questions, nothing that should cause you concern :)

    For example, we found out that the SMD to Corner rule (http://wiki.altium.com/display/ADOH/SMD+to+Corner) in Summer09 is not functioning properly when interactively routing. When we manually start design rule check, altium catches the errors, but when routing interactively, the rule is not enforced. (There is in fact a video about this, which shows that everything is functioning properly, but in reality, it doesn't. Maybe the video is captured using a different version?)


  5. Hi,
    The point I was making about posting to me directly is that it is a far better option to post me directly than to scatter Altium Designer questions as comments to blog posts. But in saying that, an even better option is to post to the forums on AltiumLive. These forums are monitored by Altium developers and while there is only one of me, there are many more Altium developers and users who can probably get back to you faster than I can.
    Furthermore, it just so happens that I'm travelling over the next 2 weeks so that will impact on my ability to answer questions too.