Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Mighty Semi-Colon

So slender. Often overlooked. Misused. Or not used at all.

The semi-colon is typically regarded "only" as a mark of punctuation that indicates a degree of separation that is greater than that of a comma but less than that of a period.

In the world of email, however, it wields a much greater power.

It seems that many Jewish organizations were hit by what is referred to as a "reverse non-delivery report (NDR) attack." This is not a virus and would not have been detectable by any type of virus scanning etc., as it is an exploitation of one's email server's normal design and operation. As a result, the mail server at work was overloaded on 10/5/05 sometime during the early afternoon. In other words, this NDR overloaded our server with over 300,000 messages before stopping. It clogged things up for everyone, but I was one of the lucky three who were actually on the recipient list. If you ever see 13,000 emails in your inbox, chances are that you are not actually popular. Just that you were hit with an NDR.

While I was waiting for our awesome IT guy to clean out my queue, I took a look at the other addressees on the list. I saw that my dad was included on the list -- however, he was saved from the onslaught because the sender had inadvertantly left out the semi-colon that Outlook requires to separate email addresses.

We should all pay homage to the mighty semi-colon!!

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