ICQ Rumors 41 - 50

  ICQ Rumor #50
I was at the ICQ homepage and they said to send a message containing the code *11A9F332C9DE* in those little starts (I asume it's a HEX thing?). It was at the http://www.mirabilis.com/index.html#rumors I really honestly saw it myself. Send this to everyone or else your UIN will be deleted. They are nearing there 9999999 user mark (highest number they can have) and need to free up inactive acounts.

If this person "really honestly saw it" on Mirabilis' page, then he/she needs to check into a rehab clinic ASAP because the hallucinations are getting "really honestly" severe.

But what about this 9999999 user mark? Well, first off the UIN fields in ICQ all appear to have enough space for another digit, so that means room for 90 million more accounts. But then, maybe not.

WARNING: Highly technical discussion to follow.

Computers don't count in decimal (ie. base ten: 0 to 9) like people do, they use binary (ie. base 2: 0 and 1). While numbers like 10, 100, 1000 and a million look significant to us, they are insignificant in a binary counting system. The ones and zeros a computer uses are called "bits." They are commonly grouped together in sets of eight, collectively called a "byte." Counting in binary looks like this:
00000000 = 0
00000001 = 1
00000010 = 2
00000011 = 3
00000100 = 4
00000101 = 5
and so on up to...
11111111 = 255
Using one byte you can represent all the numbers from 0 to 255. To count higher you need to use a second byte. With two bytes (11111111 11111111) you can count to 65,535. Since we know that UINs go much higher than that, it is safe to assume the ICQ program uses at least three bytes, which would add up to 16,777,215. So as of the time I write this, only about half the UINs have been used. And before they use all of the rest, Mirabilis can issue an update that uses a 4th byte, opening up UINs all the way to 4,294,967,295. (Gee, I finally found a use for that degree in computer science.)

The bottom line is, they are not going to recycle your UIN when there are plenty more to go around.

UPDATE: I conducted an experiment and tried to search for UIN #1, which resulted in this error message: "The field UIN is out of range (1001-2147483646)." The highest UIN appears to be 2,147,483,646, which in binary is 01111111 11111111 11111111 11111110. So they are using four bytes but reserving the first and last bits. To those people who sent e-mail to say that my binary theory was wrong, you are now welcome to "byte me." The new bottom line is, after the 9,999,999th user, there will still be room for well over TWO BILLION more.
(R50)


  ICQ Rumor #49
There is a person in ICQ posing as male. In fact, he is a male transsexual, looking to become a female lesbian.Simultaneously, he/she is spreading a destructive computer virus, that has not been detected by any Virus Scanning software.Name is Stockman and ICQ# is (number deleted).DO NOT ACCEPT ANY EVENTS FROM THIS USER.
P.S.: Please forward this to everyone in your Contact List through "Multiple Recipients"

I've read this one five times and I still can't figure it out. If "Stockman" is posing as a male, then he/she must have been a female transsexual who switched to being a guy but now wants to go back to being a female lesbian? *shaking head* I think the author of this rumor is the same person who writes the instructional pamphlets for the IRS. Oh, and they are spreading an undetectable virus? Well, if it can't be detected, then how do you know they are spreading it? (Don't answer, I'm still trying to figure out what gender they are.) The only thing the author left out was that "Stockman" is the reason ICQ wants to start charging. (I'm kidding! They are not going to start charging... blah, blah blah.)

Final comment: FAKE! If you've read this far you already know about virus rumors, so let's just leave poor "Stockman" alone, he/she has enough problems without anyone forwarding this convoluted crapola.
(R49)


  ICQ Rumor #48
WARNING: If you receive an E-mail titled "Win A Holiday" DO NOT open it. Delete it immediately. Microsoft just announced this yesterday. It is a new malicious virus that will erase your hard drive. At this time there is no remedy. Forward this to everyone immediately.

Does "Win A Holiday" look a lot like "Join The Crew?" It should, it is the same hoax with a different name and source. These false ICQ warnings are shortened forms of the e-mail that has been going around. Here is the text of the e-mail version:

Subject: FWD: VIRUS WARNING !

If you receive an email titled "WIN A HOLIDAY" DO NOT open it. It will erase everything on your hard drive. Forward this letter out to as many people as you can. This is a new, very malicious virus and not many people know about it.

This information was announced yesterday morning from Microsoft; please share it with everyone that might access the Internet. Once again, pass this along to EVERYONE in your address book so that this may be stopped.

Now compare that to the original "Join The Crew" e-mail:

VIRUS WARNING !!!!!!

If you receive an email titled "JOIN THE CREW" DO NOT open it. It will erase everything on your hard drive. Forward this letter out to as many people as you can. This is a new, very malicious virus and not many people know about it.

This information was announced yesterday morning from IBM; please
share it with everyone that might access the internet. Once again, pass this along to EVERYONE in your address book so that this may be stopped.

Not very original, eh? And not very true, either. So whether you get one of these warnings in ICQ or e-mail, be a good netizen and write back to the sender and inform them that it is a hoax. You might want to suggest that if they have already sent the warning to their entire contact list or address book, that the proper thing to do is send a retraction and inform everyone that the last message was a false rumor and should be ignored. It is really a shame that so many people are afraid to open their e-mail because of all the false information they have read. Let's all start forwarding the truth and enjoy the net instead of living in fear of these non-existent boogiemen.

For additional info about e-mail viruses, please see The Importance of File Extensions.
(R48)


  ICQ Rumor #47a
WARNING!!!!!! If you recieve an e-mail titled "JOIN THE CREW" DO NOT OPEN IT! IT WILL ERASE EVERYTHING on your hard drive! Send this letter out to as many people you can.......THIS IS A NEW VIRUS and not many people know about it! This information was received this morning, 08/09/97, from IBM, please share it with anyone you know that might access this.

And one more just like it...

  ICQ Rumor #47b
IF YOU GET AN E-MAIL THAT SAYS PENPAL GREETINGS OR JOIN THE CREW DO NOT OPEN IT IS A VIRUS...... JUST GOT THE MESSAGE FROM IBM THIS MORNING PASS IT ON TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU CAN!!!

These rumors have been on the page since it went up, but I have been getting way too much e-mail telling me that they are true... I've even been accused of spreading a lie! Hey now, those are fightin' words, so a little further comment in is order.

As stated previously, this is just another tired variation of the old "Good Times" virus hoax. You can't get a virus from opening an e-mail, only by running an attached executable file.

Now listen carefully: IBM is not sending out a message saying Join The Crew or PenPal is true. Both are variations of the original "Good Times" hoax. If you don't believe me then go see for yourself what Big Blue really says about virus hoaxes (click the link and it will open in a new window, I'll just wait here for you to come back).

http://www.research.ibm.com/antivirus/SciPapers/Gordon/HH.html#GOODTIMES

See? Did I lie to you? IBM says it's a hoax. Before you write and challenge me, do your homework. It is time to Quit The Crew and join reality.
(R47)


  ICQ Rumor #46
ICQ is now requesting a US$5.00 registration fee for each individual account. Your account will be cancelled if this fee is not received by March 30, 1998. This payment can be waived by passing this message to at least 15 users.

ICQ System Management

The only thing I have ever seen "ICQ" request is that you wake-up and smell the coffee. If Mirabilis wishes to send you a message it will be sent as a "System Message" which looks like this:


Note that the UIN of the sender is "1"... that is Mirabilis. Employees of Mirabilis have other numbers, but an official system-wide message will probably come from UIN 1. And it won't request that you forward it for the simple reason that it has already been sent to every ICQ user. See how easy it is to tell the real Mirabilis messages from the fakes? I have complete faith in your abilities... you can do it!!!
(R46)


  ICQ Rumor #45
You must forward this to stay on icq. is not a joke.
http://home.microsoft.com/

Ah ha! Now we know who starts these rumors... BILL GATES!
Seriously, why would Mirabilis kick you off ICQ if you didn't forward Microsoft's URL?
(R45)


  ICQ Rumor #44
Reference No. : 953-271-97-3

Please be informed that you have registered and misused multiple Mirabilis ICQ accounts. If you do not reply to this message within 7 days your accounts will be terminated and your Internet Access Provider will be notified.

Please complete the following information and message them back.

Full Name :
E-mail Address :
ICQ Password :

Yikes! This one is pretty good. It isn't a forwarded message like the others we've seen. Instead it is an attempt to break into your ICQ account. Whatever you do, DON'T send anyone your ICQ password. Mirabilis already knows your password, they would never have any reason to ask you for it. The same is true of all your passwords. If someone claims to be from your ISP and needs to know your pass, tell them to get lost. I've heard of this type of thing happening on AOL, now it is being done on ICQ. Don't fall for it, okay my friends? (R44)


  ICQ Rumor #43
WE CAN SEE THAT YOU ARE NOT A FRECUENT USER OF OUR SYSTEM BECAUSE YOU DID NOT PASS THE MESSAGE OF LAST MONTH. PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE IF YOU DON''T WANT TO BE DELETED FROM THE ICQ SYSTEM. FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE ON YOUR CONTACT LIST OR YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED.

WE CAN SEE THAT YOU ARE NOT A "FRECUENT" USER OF THE WRITTEN WORD. How can anyone... even the newest of the newbies who just joined AOL, possibly believe a message like that came from a reputable company like Mirabilis? All you have to do is THINK about it. How would *you* know whether or not everyone on your contact list did or did not forward a message last month? And if they did forward it, why would Mirabilis ask you to forward this message to them?

"But DB, I'm new to the net and I forwarded it because..."

Because you are an idiot who didn't stop to think about what you were doing. No more excuses. Either think about what you are forwarding or just stop forwarding everything.
(R43)


  ICQ Rumor #42
I checked it out, and it really is true It''s on Mirabilis Home Page: They are requesting a payment to each message you send. If you want to vote against it, click foward and send this message to everyone. If the number of vote is larger than 3000 then they won''t start charging. Forward this to EVERYONE (please please please)!!! remember to erase the "wrote by" section.

Does this look familiar? It should, just about everyone who is on ICQ has seen it in some form. A quick review:
1. They didn't check it out.
2. It isn't true.
3. It is not on the Mirabilis Home Page.
4. They are not requesting a payment for each message you send.
5. They are not recording your vote.

Only one person's "vote" counts, and that person is Mirabilis director Joseph Vardi. Mr. Vardi, along with a few other wealthy investors, have poured millions of dollars into Mirabilis. They pay the employee's salaries, buy the servers and cover the operating expenses. And they can do whatever they want to with the company, regardless of how many misguided users "vote." If you wrote a check for several million dollars to start a company, would you let a small group of non-paying users dictate how you should run your business? I doubt it.

So what's the deal with ICQ and payments? Well, based on what I've read, Mr. Vardi is trying to build Mirabilis into a valuable company... it is an investment. And in my humble opinion, he is doing a pretty good job of it. Perhaps one day there will be another company that wishes to purchase Mirabilis, at which time Mr. Vardi and associates could see a very handsome return on their investment. Or they could choose to sell advertising space. They might even decide to *gasp* start charging. But it is their decision, and unless your are prepared to write a very sizable check and become one of the private investors, you don't get to vote.
(R42)


  ICQ Rumor #41
On the 4th of April to the 15th of April Icq will be temporarly shutting down. We are terribly sorry for this inconvenience but when we come back we will have 10 more servers. If you do not pass this on you will not get the benifets of the new servers which could result in slower connections to icq.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST

No, no, no, no, NO! I wish the part about the new servers were true, but I just checked Mirabilis' homepage (I know what you are thinking, but I really did *g*) and there is no mention of the service being unavailable. Nor have I or anyone else received a System Message through ICQ about down time. I also can't see why the service would be down for 11 days while the new servers are installed. And even if they were adding new servers, that would probably be transparent to users and you wouldn't know they were there until you updated your ICQ server list. Finally, we know this is a false rumor because Mirabilis has a stated policy that they will never, ever ask you to forward a message from them... and they most definitely will never threaten their users with "slower connections" for not forwarding a message. So the only "benefit" you can expect from forwarding this message is the scorn and ridicule of your friends.

Update: As I write this on April 4th, ICQ is up and running great... what a surprise, eh? So the next time you see a message like this will you:

a. Remember the last one and refuse to be fooled again or...
b. Think "maybe this time it's true" and be fooled again?
(R41)

Next Up...
Meet the Nobel prize winning Harvard English professor who writes rumors (a personal favorite). How much is ICQ going to charge? 10 cents? 7 cents? $12.95 a month? Or maybe... nothing? C'mon, you know you're dying to find out, so push the button!

Click here to continue...

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