Sick of Love

Computer Act!ve
Sick of Love
2006-06-05 20:05

Uri asks why – despite the technological advancements of recent years – we still remain such fools for love.

On Valentine’s Day, don’t switch on your PC – pull the leads out at the back. Use the DVD drive as a cup holder and write your memos in ink.

Love and computers don’t get along. That’s hardly surprising, since passion and programming are opposites. Computer code is all about logic : black and white, 1 or 0. Love leaves logic in the dust/ Any matchmaker knows the hardest trick is to marry two compatible people. The incompatibles can’t keep their hands off each other – Montagues fall for Capulets, presidents woo interns. But when ordinary, unattached boy meets plain, single girl, the chemistry between them fizzles out in an instant. Love isn’t logical.

The worst virus to sweep the internet, wiping out billions of gigabytes, was created by a schoolboy hacker who had a cruel insight into human weakness. : write “I LOVE YOU” in the subject line of an email and recipients will be irresistibly tempted. They’ll peek at the attachment labelled “loveletter” – and once opened, the virus activates.

The virus code inside last year’s Love Bug was nothing new but it infected the planet like a strain of Venusian influenza, virulent and incurable, because of the psychological twist. The twist was love and it tied a naughty knot in the internet once more at Christmas, when a boastful lawyer called Brad thought he could trust a saucy little secret to the internet email system at his City law firm. A girlfriend called Claire had just sent him a very friendly email, praising his – well, let’s just leave it at ‘very friendly’.

Within an hour, their very private email was public, zapping like a virus between offices across Europe, the US and Australia. Claire’s compliments went viral and the whole planet caught this bug. It’s one of the internet’s most fascinating quirks – how one site or message can become an international obsession.

Hackers and marketeers try to copy the pattern but very few email viruses or spams last more than a few hours. When things go “viral”, like, or Mahir’s lonely hearts homepage, they infect us for weeks.

The laziness of email is one reason. Most of us forward our ‘funnies’ to a preset group of friends with one keystroke – instant gossip. But the central factor is chaotic : there is no way to predict what will go viral.

If you think it’s hard to tell the next Hollywood blockbuster apart from the flops, spotting the next net sensation is even tougher. There’s one common symptom : love is usually mixed in. For that virus there’s simply no cure.


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