The funniest thing I've read today.
June 11, 2001 2:34 PM   Subscribe

The funniest thing I've read today. Spoofing the recent sulfnbk.exe virus hoax, a fake advisory on Joke-a-Day advised readers to delete the insidious virus file AOL.exe. The result? "Only one AOL person contacted me," Owens said. "Maybe that's because all the others can't get online anymore."
posted by Tubes (22 comments total)
The nice thing about green tea is, it doesn't really hurt when you laugh it out through your nose in a thunderous spray.
posted by dong_resin at 2:46 PM on June 11, 2001

I've heard lots of variations on the "AOL/MS/etc virus" joke, so this isn't funny enough to justify how mean it is. It's not a crime to be a non-geek, people.
posted by lbergstr at 2:52 PM on June 11, 2001

Hooo...there's a conversation killer.
posted by frykitty at 3:21 PM on June 11, 2001

I'll try to add something to it, though. I thought it was fantastically humorous. Cruel? Yeah, pretty darned close. But it was on a joke of the day site, people.
posted by hijinx at 3:28 PM on June 11, 2001

Well, I'm a geek, but more for 16th century mathemeticans and chaos theory that computers. I tolerate them, but I don't really know them very well. However, even I would think twice before deleting AOL.exe from my machine. I mean, it's even named AOL.exe so I think a few seconds of thinking about it would have been in order.

I'm not saying we should laugh and point at these people, though. Last year, I may well have fallen for it. So I don't throw stones from my glass house.
posted by Ezrael at 3:31 PM on June 11, 2001

This could be a problem for all of us with non-geek family and friends. I get enough "What's wrong with my computer" calls...I don't need them making it worse.
posted by Wicker at 3:33 PM on June 11, 2001


if it keeps them from forwarding fake virus warnings in the future, it is a good thing. It isn't like an AOL disk isn't hard to come by, good thing he didn't recommend something drastic like cutting off their mouse-hand. Joke of the day indeed.
posted by th3ph17 at 3:36 PM on June 11, 2001

Actually the joke message on the Joke A Day website contains phrases such as

"failure to remove this file will keep your "upper memory management" module of your intelligence quotient (IQ over 85) blocked. deleting aol.exe will free your IQ to go above 85!!! "
"deleting this file will allow you to spell correctly and use the english language properly. "

I would think that even a computer novice would sense the sarcasm and understand the joke. I thought it was hilarious.
posted by bluefly at 4:40 PM on June 11, 2001

Oh my Gawd.... that was too fucking funny!!!!
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 4:54 PM on June 11, 2001

LMAO! The funniest thing is, AOL is like a virus, the way the most recent versions take over your WinSock and network settings...
posted by SpecialK at 5:25 PM on June 11, 2001

I thought it was funny too, but I was turned off by the fact that to get to the funny part I had to wade through all the pats-on-the-back from people who linked to him that he insisted on posting. Bad taste, just like laughing at your own joke harder than your audience is.
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 5:39 PM on June 11, 2001

pretty goddamn funny. even if it worked on one person, that means the average IQ of the 'net just went up a point.

give till it hurts people! give till it hurts!
posted by jcterminal at 7:06 PM on June 11, 2001

I wonder if Earthlink has considered this as a strategy to increase market share.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:31 PM on June 11, 2001

'It's not a crime to be a non-geek' - would that be a double negative?

It oughta be a crime to be this pedantic.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:30 PM on June 11, 2001

"Its the same infantile mentality that the average script kiddie employs."

actually, i'd say lower, especially since the virus hoax came with an OBVIOUS qualifier.


"failure to remove this file will keep your "upper memory management" module of your intelligence quotient (IQ over 85) blocked. deleting aol.exe will free your IQ to go above 85!!! "
"deleting this file will allow you to spell correctly and use the english language properly. "

in case you missed what bluefly said.

anyone who erased their software got what they deserved, and they probably couldn't find their ass tech support number with both hands and a hunting dog.
posted by jcterminal at 10:37 PM on June 11, 2001

What dire straits to put someone in! Wherever will they find a CD with AOL on it?
posted by dhartung at 12:22 AM on June 12, 2001

yes, we are all computer literate and can laugh hard at this; HA-HA-HA! No, wait, my mom just called and can't get on the internet...

whatever happened to taking on someone your own size, huh? This illustrates just too well what is wrong with us: infantile, stuck-up, arrogant morons, that's what we are..

sheesh what a cheap joke.
posted by pixelate at 2:54 AM on June 12, 2001

> 'It's not a crime to be a non-geek' - would that be
> a double negative?

It is not (and it would not be) a double negative.

There are two negative terms in the sentence, but both are necessary to the intended meaning. A double negative is a phrase in which two negatives are used to express a single negation. I think it's clear that lbergstr meant to negate two separate words or ideas, geek and crime. To test this, remove either negation and see how the statement's meaning changes.

More to the point:

• The joke was stupid, as is almost all supposed humor forwarded about the Internet. People who forward jokes, destructive or not, are lame.

• Installation programs should be able to install their own dummy file protection -- "Warning: If you remove this file, you will not be able to run [product name]. If you are removing this file on the advice of an anonymous e-mail message, think again." -- to help prevent such accidental deletions of necessary files.

• A kid's virus is one thing; letting businesses be similarly dishonest to make a buck off the innocent is another. I am thinking of the "Warning: Your hard drive is not properly optimized" sort of advertising messages disguised as Windows pop-up warning messages. These slimy ads are supported by the companies selling the ad space, and the slime rubs off.
posted by pracowity at 3:10 AM on June 12, 2001

This reminds me of my favorite virus warning parody:


There is a very dangerous virus going around and it is propogated through
the email system. If you get an email message with the subject: "VIRUS
ALERT!" do not open the mail message. If you do, the virus scrambles the
second half of every text file on your system.

VERY IMPORTANT: If you do get this virus, the first thing dlkfjaid dfdjas
nairb gfdq40wt yaj asdfsdg dluog av da[agj asdfajpg as dflasidffnm asd
difvu asdfa vgoiae vdsofj we dasdf 9efm sd dag0 g adf as dg 0vbwe ads
gwefawe ads vewerwe dsf!
posted by crog at 5:38 AM on June 12, 2001

sheesh what a cheap joke.

Joke A Day has been belittling AOL users almost since the very beginning of their existence. This is just an escalation, probably because Ray got another couple dozen e-mail messages saying "UNSCIBE ME DAMIT! I DO NOT WANT UR DAM JOKS!"
posted by kindall at 9:28 AM on June 12, 2001

> Never tried to delete a .exe file in Windows, have you?

Yes, I have, plenty of times.

I mean let the installer go beyond the generic stuff, and into as much detail as the software company wants. It would just require a pointer to a text file full of messages. The messages could be one sentence or one page. No change in file structure needed, just an extra (optional) step in the Explorer that send every delete request to a little app that checks for and displays any such messages.

If you want everyone's granny and her dog to be able to use networked computers, such things are necessary.
posted by pracowity at 11:04 PM on June 12, 2001

What stops a trojan horse program from also displaying the same warning message?
posted by gyc at 1:15 AM on June 13, 2001

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