Dan's Data letters #148Publication date: 27-July-2005.
Last modified 03-Dec-2011.
Apparently the nice people at crocinazillion.com have found the cure for pretty much everything. (Yes, that includes cancer and HIV! ;)
Just thought you might enjoy reading their "Facts" & "Testimonials" (complete with really dumb... I mean totally believable scientific tests). I mean, I've seen some snake oil vendors, but this is just amazing.
These revolting oxygen thieves have been selling their worthless "Antidote" long enough that it's achieved a certain notoriety. They've been told to stop by the FDA, and have taken no notice whatsoever, continuing their various carbon copy Web sites and heavy spamvertising.
This is a pretty safe course of action for them, since the anti-quackery divisions of most of the world's governments are severely overworked. You can often sell snake oil for a long time without even being served with a summons.
Since these people promote their product as the cure for pretty much everything, to the exclusion of all other medicines, and since such claims frequently lead gullible people to give up essential medicine in favour of something useless (or to leave it way, way too late before turning to real medicine), I don't think it would be at all excessive if those responsible for "The Antidote" were to be punished by being slowly eaten by rats.
Mark T. here from snap n pop the complete computer speed system for windows Xp!
Check out my software site http://www.snapnpopdragon.com if your interested In sharing to your list I will supply you with a review of my software!
Our conversion is a steady 5%! Let me Know.
Regards Mark Tuosto Snp owner
He'll supply me with a review? OK, I suppose Mark meant a review copy; it would appear that clarity of expression ain't his strong suit.
I didn't actually reply to Mark, but I'm going to put this answer here as a public service, because I doubt it'll take much for this page to beat any of Marky-boy's own pages in the Google rankings, and it may therefore do some good.
Lengthy pages promoting SOOPER SEKRIT ULTRA GREAT SOFTWAREZ FOR TO MAKE YOUR WINDOWZ BETTER are a special subset of the above. Unless you can find at least a few proper reviews of the software on the Web somewhere - which, in my experience, you never can - they're always rubbish.
As, generally speaking, is anything that's promoted to Web site owners like me with e-mails like this one, that tell us pretty much nothing about what the software actually is, and emphasise the amount of money we can allegedly make by joining the affiliate program. That's what the "conversion" part in Mark's e-mail is about; he's saying that 5% of people who click through to his site go on to buy the software.
This claim is extremely questionable, but it's on par for this sort of spiel. Often, these e-mails cut to the chase and tell the recipients that they could be making some outrageous amount of money per month, just like various other un-named affiliates.
For a less egregious example, check out PC Powerscan (mentioned here), which used to have another five mile Web page but has since shortened it. But which still, wouldn't you know it, suffers from the same bizarre paucity of reviews.
Getting to the specific claims made for, um, Snap n'Pop Dragon (where the heck did that name come from, anyway?); "$277 worth of value for only $49.95" is the kind of thing that PC aficionados are used to hearing from the fine corporate citizens that sell clapped-out Pentium II boxes to welfare recipients for three times the computers' eBay value.
What you're actually getting is the value of the Snap n'Whatever package, plus about $0 "worth of value", for $49.95. I'll bet you a kidney that the bundled shovelware is all either worthless, or can be had for free on the Web (this, for instance, is part of the extra "value"). If you're looking for good free software of all kinds and don't have a friend to ask, Pricelessware is a great place to start.
So, on to the main application.
Whaddaya know, that's close to worthless too.
Snap n'Crackle n'Pop Iguana has a grand total of one actual review online that I could find; it got a "Gold Award" from this schmuck. His review gives a handy listing of what the software does - damn close to nothing. Giving it an honest rating of one out of ten (it doesn't seem to be utterly without function) wouldn't do much for his affiliate clickthroughs, though.
Mark's site contains a fairly entertaining video clip (here) in which Mark, using a microPhone with no PoP shield and a very silly mouse pointer, demonstrates how a Windows XP computer normally works, and claims that it does so because of his software. Which, uh, "keeps your system from freezing and ultimately overpowering your memory, which automatically makes it crash".
Oh, and he calls an Athlon XP 2500+ an "Athalon two point five".
There are various utilities out there that're meant to free up memory on your computer. Generally speaking, they do this either by shutting down stuff you don't need (which Snap 'n' Pop apparently does, in a rudimentary way), or by pushing more data into the swap file.
You don't want that second thing to happen. The swap file is the computing equivalent of those vacuum-pack Space Bag things; sure, you'll have more room in your wardrobe if you put all of your clothes in Space Bags, but then you won't be able to get at them easily.
Only data that isn't going to be needed for a while should be swapped out. It's impossible to tell exactly when most data will be needed, of course, but Windows these days does a pretty good job of guessing.
The best thing you can do to actually improve the memory management of a fully patched and polished WinXP PC with a decent amount of RAM - one or two gigabytes is perfectly affordable these days - is increase the desktop heap setting. Snap n'Whatever may do that (or it may not), but you don't need to pay a penny to do it yourself.
There's a market for tosh like Snap n'Pop Dragon, of course. Not only the innocently ignorant, but also the chronically gullible. Plenty of people in Iceland believe in elves, plenty of people in Korea believe in "fan death", and if you hunt around long enough, you'll probably be able to find someone who still thinks glass harmonicas drive you mad. I imagine people who're interested in activating their etheric DNA also find Mark Tuosto's spiel very persuasive.
Please don't be one of those people.
If it wasn't for the fact that their page actually works, IE. you can buy stuff from them, then I would have thought this was a joke.
But reading their description is just painful.
And then, there's this [PDF link].
As regards the knob for knobs; been there, seen that, bought the T-shirt.
But the Furutech RD-2 Disc Demagnetizer, for demagnetising various things that cannot be magnetised, plus one thing that'll stop working if you demagnetise it, was a new one on me.
Here's the manufacturer's page, which would appear to be down at the moment (not-very-useful archived version here). As I recall, the Furutech site contained code that worketh not in Firefox; IE was OK.
Considering how much you enjoy venting about audiophool stuff, I thought that [yep, that darn $US485 wooden knob again] would be of interest.
I'm trying to figure out just how the hell these things improve the audio quality, and all I can think of is that the purchaser has his brain telekinetically removed during the purchase process, thereby rendering any audio glitches a matter of no concern to him.
Weep for humanity. Weep for us all.
Then there's the Silver Rock Potentiometer, "Starting at $3780".
I'm struggling to figure out if they're serious, or if it's just an elaborate mocking of the crowd that would buy a power cable at $2,000 a foot.
Somebody shoot me. I can't take much more of this.
I hadn't seen the volume control transformer before. In my wanderings, though, I found a review of the abovementioned Furutech gadget, plus another invaluable device.
I sent the URL to Stuart, along with this one.
Sugar pills in the gas tank
Not sure if you've seen this around, but I just noticed something on Today Tonight that seems to be right up your alley. It's called the Fitch Fuel Catalyst (alarm bells), and it's supposed to improve your car's fuel efficiency (alarm bells number 2) by doing various things to the structure of the fuel, as well as somehow suppressing bacterial growth in it, all combining to produce a cleaner, better fuel (by this stage the alarm bells had broken from ringing so much).
I'd be interested to know your opinion. Their web site is at fitchfuelcatalyst.com, and their technical info section includes some lovely pictures of scientists and hydrocarbons, which appear to be 5-butyldecane and 2,3-methylhexane, though they may not be the official IUPAC names - I've only done six months of first-year chemistry at this stage.
Time for another rule of thumb: Any Amazing Story No (Parent/Motorist/Sentient Fungus) Should Miss that appears on either of Australia's two popular tabloid current affairs shows, Today Tonight and A Current Affair, is in my opinion likely to be profoundly misleading, at best.
TT and ACA are roughly neck and neck in the journalistic turpitude stakes. Both shows say things that're true from time to time, but they are perfectly happy to lie if necessary to fill air time. This isn't news, of course; it's just tabloid TV. Viewers are supposed to be sophisticated enough to know the difference between this stuff and actual journalism. Though they often, of course, aren't.
The Fitch catalyst is fairly well known. It "works" by the same placebo effect as various other useless items.
As usual, this thing'd be a multi-billion dollar invention, if it worked. And yet, after years on the market, it's still being pimped on crappy current affairs shows.
(Because, of course, the oil company conspiracy keeps such things off the market. You know, like it did with fuel injection, and engine control computers, and improved aerodynamics, and lightweight materials, and low rolling resistance tyres...)
The punch line: Yes, you guessed it, A Current Affair did a piece on the same Catalyst in 2002.
Since these shows shamelessly recycle material (including, occasionally, the same interviewees UNDER DIFFERENT NAMES...), I surmised that these may not have been the only appearances of the Catalyst on Australian crap-TV. And, indeed, they weren't! Luke got back to me to point out that according to Today Tonight, they "discovered" the Fuel Catalyst four years ago, and have done various stories on it and other fuel savers over the years.
That darn oil company conspiracy seems to still be keeping 'em all down, though.
But wait - there's more! Click here to go to page 2 of this letters column!