On Forced Registration

May 29, 2005 12:04 AM

Music thing is doing a pretty cool series on the origins of various little sounds that are played every day: they've covered the THX "deep note", the Macintosh startup sound, the Brian Eno Windows 95 sound and the Intel Inside notes.

To hear the Channel 4 Jingle (notable because it earned its creator £3.50 every time it was played, or approximately £1000 a week over ten years -- not bad for four notes!), it seemed I would have to download RealPlayer.

Credit where credit is due, Real finally include on their homepage a prominent, obvious link to download the free version of the player. That said, I still don't feel well enough disposed towards this company to trust them with my email address. So when prompted for the necessary registration, I type in goober@example.com. (By using example.com, you ensure there's no chance any poor innocent bystander will be spammed).

real.com's response was immediate:

So it seems not only am I not alone in having a serious mistrust of Real's address-harvesting policies, I'm sufficiently not alone that my utterly lame random address has been used before.

(Picking a slightly more random @example.com address worked fine, so it wasn't just a blanket block on the domain.)

There's possibly a lesson in this, somewhere.


Coincidentally, I also had to download real the other day (usually I can get away with mplayer, using the real codecs). The first email address I tried was realsucks@mailinator.com. However, that was taken. The next I tried was realreallysucks@mailinator.com. Also taken. In an act of desperation I mashed the keyboard with my hand and appended @mailinator.com. That did the trick.

The solution is to go through a select RealPlayer partner. You won't get prompted to enter a email address, ever.


...uh, unless you use something other than Mac OS X. Sorry.

I find it's getting harder and harder to use someone@somewhere.com, because more and more often it's already taken. Which leads to someoneelse@somewhere.com, anyone@anywhere.com, noone@nowhere.com, etc...

Back in the "good-old-days" I used to use barney@rubble.com or fred@flintstone.com. No doubt those have been used to death by now also.

Indeed, as I observed a while back.

Sadly, I think it was me who originally registered fuck@you.com. No imagination.

Personally, I like to go for a somewhat entertaining angle with my fake addresses -- you know, "123 Man-I'm-Hungry Street, Is It Lunch Time Yet, Canada, R2D2 C3".

Or something. Have you guys seen PookMail.com? If you're ever in a forced registration situation that demands a valid address, just enter whatever-the-heck-you-want@pookmail.com. Then, you can just go to PookMail.com, enter the address you gave out, and see what's been sent to it. Very handy.

God bless the BBC, they at least let you download the player without giving any sort of personal information;


God bless the BBC, they at least let you download the player without giving any sort of personal information;


of course you could always just bookmark this link. (this only appears to work in Safari, but I'm sure a firefox version is possible with some slight modifications)


I lost a lot of respect for real player one summer. I had my computer unhooked from the internet for about a month, and suddenly I started gettting a "message from real center" that my version was out of date. How was I receiving a real message when I wasn't connected to the Internet, and I had not been for a while?

Knowing that the message was bogus, I ignored it. Oddly enough about another month later, real player wouldn't start. If you ran the program, it wouldn't crash, it looked like it just exited quickly. Because of that I refuse to use real player anymore.

If I have a file that needs real player, I use VLC http://www.videolan.org/vlc/. My brother uses Real Player in Linux. It's actually pretty nice and doesn't do the same registration crap. I guess when there's an open source real player (https://player.helixcommunity.org/), people just don't put up with the same crap. I'd like to see it ported back to Windows.

Btw, in the future for nontracable email addresses, you should use sneakemail (http://www.sneakemail.com/). I bought the premium service just because I like what they do so much. The free version did everything I wanted already.

What it does is let you create a bunch of randomly generated email addresses, but you don't have to check each one. All those email addresses actually forward to your normal email address. When you receive email through one of them, you can trace back which email address it was sent to. When you create the email address, they have a nice form where you can enter in who you're creating for (the website). If you used that feature, when you get spam you can trace back who sold your email address to spammers. If it becomes a problem, you can deactivate that specific sneakemail address.

I've been using this for about a year. I probably have 30 sneakemail addresses now. Everytime I buy something online, I use a sneakemail. Unfortunately, I haven't caught any spammers with it yet. Asside from one or two emails, I just don't get any spam through it. I wonder if spammers are smart enough to know that its worthless to spam a sneakemail address.

Another great service is shortMail.net
Its gives you a few options to get around required registrations by having anonymous email accounts that are always open.

re: real player

SE for "Real Alternative". Although you might have been alluding to it in your mplayer codec reference. However if you use linux as it appears you may be paddle-challenged. So then MPC is right out as well. On the upside you might be able to install TMDA.net ;) You might still be able to grab a dot be domain for free. A mod'd xbox will play anything!

re: emails

I use both SneakEmail.com and SpamGourmet.com just alot. The latter has several levels of geek protection, but is easy enough to use if you're able to signup for a yahoo webmail on your own. So it may not be the thing for grandma. When I don't plan on returning to a site I use spam.la or spammotel.com over spam.la. A great service was e4ward.com .. until I registered about a dozen third level domains for e4 and he locked that feature out :( Now you have to email him on a per account level.

re: gnomes

There seem to be less and less around these days. Methinks they're planning something.

Previously: The Blogging Backfire

Next: Things I Learned Watching Revenge of the Sith