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The French Trade Office in San Francisco has announced the beginning of the French Tech Tour (FTT). The week long mission will introduce 11 French technology startups to the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley. The 11 finalists were selected from over 24 applicants by 9 supporting companies including AT&T, Cisco, Ebay, Google, HP, Intel Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and Symantec. Backed by UBIFRANCE, the FTT focuses on bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and Paris. The week of workshops and one-on-one interviews will also include a mini-conference on May 21st called Valley Talk: Make It or Break It where both French and U.S. startups will learn strategies for business success.

In its second year, the FTT has quickly gained recognition in both the U.S. and France. Referred to as the home of some of the best high tech clusters in Europe, French companies continue to raise the technology bar for their U.S. counterparts. Participation in this tour furthers the collaboration between the two countries. This year’s startup companies include:

Bobex – a leading B2B e-marketplace, active in 6 countries, makes markets more transparent by matching local buyers and suppliers for non strategic products & services.

Exaprotect – a provider of regulatory and audit compliance log monitoring, event management for threat detection, and change management to allow business policy based network configuration change.

DELCREA – the inspirer in resolving the challenges of email from both diagnostic to efficiency solutions for individuals to large companies. Their software brings an innovative approach to control, organize and secure email faster and easier while reducing time building knowledge bases from existing content, and eliminating all risk of compromising internal and external business sensitive data.

myERP.com – a complete web-based ERP solution using Google technology (GWT & Google Apps) and covering all functional fields of company management around a single database: CRM, Commercial Management, Logistics, Points of sale, Finance & Accounting, Purchases, Production, Quality.

Maeglin – a mobile phone software company specialized in peer-to-peer exchanges. At Maeglin, we free people’s mobile, with Pleex a Mobile social networking software that allows content back up & sharing.

Momindum – the technology leader in the creation of rich media presentation. Our software generates, from recorded speech, professional presentations using synchronized documents and indexed video; our rich media are capitalized in a base with deep-tagging technology.

Newscape Technology – the top innovator in software graphical engines on mobile devices to enable the development of new applications using massive 2D / 3D vector data, textures, Content / Advertising and topography.

Sinequa – a search specialist created with the vision that corporate information is complex, heterogeneous and poorly organized. Sinequa has built a corporate search solution that can access to all sources and applications, managing security, using linguistic and semantic algorithms to add context to information and to offer intuitive navigation combined with efficient search.

STG Interactive – has invented a way for everybody on the planet to create their own secure and user-friendly mini-site, called a “frogans,” located on the Internet via its frogans address. STG Interactive provides developers and Internet users with free standard technology for authoring and browsing frogans, and is the directory provider of frogans addresses.

TellMeWhere – the first local search engine where relevancy of results are guided by recommendations of people you can choose and where content can be enriched and corrected by end-users, provides a better alternative to current local search engines or directories.

Twinsoft – an actor in Enterprise Mashups whose flagship product, Convertigo Enterprise Mashup Server helps companies reuse their existing assets to build new and exciting WEB 2.0 composite applications for a fraction of the cost and time needed to complete software rewrites or traditional development.

Each company will hold one-on-one meetings with supporting companies’ corporate development teams, as well as interviews with media, training for presenting and demoing at conferences in the U.S. and introductions with some of the valley’s fast-growing startups.

The Valley Talk mini-conference will host keynote speaker Eric Benhamou CEO of Benhamou Global Ventures, Chairman of 3Com and former CEO of Palm. The show will include an in-depth talk with leading editor’s and analyst from CNET, Fortune, GuideWire Group and VentureBeat. Along with demonstrations from each company the event will conclude with a panel of leading executive in business development from sponsoring companies outlining what they are looking for in partnerships as well as potential acquisitions.

“Our goal is to build deeper relationships between the tech communities here in Silicon Valley and in France,” said Aymeril Hoang, Director, Information & Communications Technology, Embassy of France in the U.S. Trade Office. “By bridging this gap we can open the door to new opportunities for both countries. It’s as much about introducing Silicon Valley to the technology leadership in France as vice versa. Hopefully we are fostering and growing the big companies and partnerships of the future.”

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Cyberbullying, using the Internet, cell phones, or another type of communication technology to hurt or embarrass others, is an increasingly common problem among today’s youth. In a recent study conducted by the National Crime Prevention Council and Harris Interactive Inc., more than 43% of teens ages 13-17 have experienced cyberbullying within the past year.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 93% of teens use social media Web sites, and 55% of online teens have created a profile through social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. These sites allow teens to express their feelings online for the cyber world to view. Often motivated by anger, frustration or boredom, cyberbullies harass individuals by posting negative comments and pictures.

Victims of cyberbullying usually feel a wide range of emotions, including indifference, anger and embarrassment. According to a study conducted by Fight Crime, only 35% of teens have told a parent about being cyberbullied; 16% have told no one.

Parents need to be aware of cyberbullying by monitoring their teen’s online activity. If a cyberbully harasses your teen, the California Association Marriage and Family Therapists offers the following tips for parents:

  • Encourage your teen not to respond to the bullying.
  • Save pictures and messages as evidence.
  • Contact your teen’s school to report the cyberbullying.
  • Closely monitor your teen’s computer use.
  • Try to identify the individual doing the bullying.
  • If possible, block the cyberbully from future contact.
  • Try to contact the cyberbully’s parents, if possible.
  • Contact the police or an attorney if cyberbullying becomes violent.

Cyberbullying should not be taken lightly. If your child is seriously troubled by a cyberbully and it affects his or her emotional or mental behavior, consider seeking professional help.

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Businesses today face a greater than ever need to differentiate themselves, often on a global scale. So how can they harness the acceleration of technology innovation instead of focusing solely on productivity tools for their employee’s desktops? One of the most common approaches is to seek out tailored business solutions capable of addressing complex business challenges. Today, Microsoft is focusing on those customer needs by addressing the way it serves its largest customers and delivers the value they need and expect.

Austen Mulinder, Microsoft Worldwide Enterprise Sales Vice President.As former head of Fujitsu Transaction Solutions, Austen Mulinder is bringing CEO leadership experience to his role as Microsoft’s vice president of Worldwide Enterprise Sales. His goal: Increase the velocity of the transition from the traditional product sales approach to one delivering increased business value built on deep customer relationships.

The foundation of this strategy includes three sales programs designed to counsel and support Microsoft’s largest customers as they solve real-world business challenges through IT. Microsoft’s PP recently met with Mulinder to learn how the Worldwide Enterprise Sales team is building its programs and talent to enable new opportunities for customers, partners and Microsoft.

  • You have the unique distinction of having been a CEO, as well as a customer and partner of Microsoft. How are those experiences influencing your strategy?

From my previous experience outside the company, I’ve been able to observe the journey Microsoft has taken over the past several years. Microsoft has gone from being primarily a desktop company to being a serious player in the enterprise. I’ve seen the company move away from a product focus and become more solution centric. I’ve watched the good advancements and the stumbles along the way. Microsoft has come a long way, and we now have the opportunity to provide deep strategic counsel to the world’s biggest global companies.

We aspire to be the industry benchmark for sales excellence and to attain “trusted advisor” status with all of our customers, but we recognize this is a journey. We have some of the smartest sales people I’ve ever come across, and a lot of strong tools supporting them. Now our focus is increasingly around building relationships that encourage deeper customer dialogues and greater transparency and sharing of information. This enables us to partner with our customers to jointly explore how to leverage technology for differentiated business value.

Our best (customer) account leaders, and we are fortunate to have many role models, have achieved trusted advisor status with their customers. We’re working hard to achieve that status with all of our customers.

  • Who sets the sales priorities, and how do those priorities translate to the sales resources you deploy?

A huge element of our effectiveness is being close enough to our major customers at the right levels to really understand their priorities and respond effectively. If we’re getting it right, customers will set the priorities.

Having said that, we have the Sales, Marketing and Services Group (SMSG) led by Kevin Turner, and he is ultimately responsible for driving the organization to be effective for customers, while at the same time delivering business results for our shareholders. In the enterprise space, part of Kevin’s team is Simon Witts, who runs the Worldwide Enterprise and Partner Group. We also have two verticals, Public Sector led by Gerri Elliott and the Communications Sector led by Martha Bejar. They all have a tremendous influence on our sales priorities.

To carry out the broad strategies set by the leadership team, we want as many of our sales assets to be as close to the customer as possible, and so the vast majority of our customer-facing people report to the field, not to headquarters. We also have some major sales groups that make sense to lead from Redmond on behalf of Microsoft globally-the Incubation, Category and Specialist Sales team, the Global and Multinational Account Sales team, and the Sales Escalation team, with the vast majority of their team members based in the field.

  • Let’s talk about global accounts and multi-national companies. How does Microsoft engage with these customers?

The Global and Multinational Accounts program is currently focused on 50 of the largest corporations in the world, and we plan to double that over the next couple of years. The 50 global accounts are headquartered in 12 countries, and they have subsidiaries in another 90. We manage them globally, and each has a dedicated global business manager. The 50 accounts actually include support for some 850 companies, including downstream subsidiaries.

We give these accounts a heightened level of support because we see them as the ultimate proving ground for solutions that deliver real business value on a global scale. Within these accounts we are working to build a stronger strategic business relationship. We also increase their access to our product teams and senior executives at Microsoft.

Since I joined Microsoft in June of last year, I have talked extensively with many of the leaders of these global customers. What they want from Microsoft is to partner successfully to deliver solutions that drive real business value, whether that’s helping them innovate to differentiate themselves in the market, or reducing the total cost of ownership for IT

  • How do you incorporate newly acquired technologies, or those that haven’t reached the critical mass of flagship Microsoft solutions?

That is the job of our Incubation, Category and Specialist sales teams. The incubation program exists because our business groups are making huge investments in both new and acquired products. In the early lifecycle of these products, we typically don’t have enough resources for the field to deploy them on day one.

Incubation is a dedicated set of sales resources that we manage centrally in partnership with the field. Their focus is to develop the sales strategy and drive the adoption of these products so that we can achieve real critical mass and develop our expertise in servicing these customers.

When we’ve grown an incubation product to a large enough volume and level of capability, it moves under the Category sales team for strategic and operational leadership. We then move those resources directly into the field, where they are managed locally. We continue to work closely with the business groups and the field to take those products into the mainstream.

A great example of this process would be our acquisition of Softricity and their SoftGrid product – which we now call MDOP, the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack. Before the acquisition, Softricity, in several years of existence, had sold about 250,000 seats of Softgrid. Within 13 months using the Microsoft incubation sales capability model we sold more than five million seats.

  • How are you working with customers to sell, integrate and deploy specific solutions or products?

Historically the sales approach has been about selling and licensing products to customers, and enabling them to work out the deployment via the partner ecosystem. Now we are aligning our sales priorities with solutions, and bringing real expertise to bear against that goal. We have Specialist Team Units in the Incubation, Category and Specialist Sales team, who are sales resources with deep technical knowledge. We also have a Sales Escalation team, which is a group of highly technical consultants who can dive deeply into specific customer scenarios. We also partner closely with Microsoft’s product groups and business units to drive solutions that create real business value.

Ford Sync is an example where that broad partnership paid off for the customer. The account team who orchestrated the dialogue, together with the business groups, partnered with Ford to look at how they could differentiate themselves in the market for cars. Ford Sync took advantage of Microsoft’s mobile technology and voice recognition technology to create a unique offering. Today cars that are Sync-enabled far outsell those without that capability. So that’s a tremendous example of a solution we built with a customer, to help them serve their customers’ needs, and that delivered true business value.

  • How does your team address competing technologies?

To be effective advisors, considering the breadth of products that Microsoft sells and the number of markets we’re in, we need people with deep expertise in myriad technologies. This is where the Sales Escalation team comes in.

The Sales Escalation team contains many of the strongest technical resources in the company. Typically they’ve been hired from outside as experts in technologies that we interoperate with and compete with.

We manage over 3,000 escalations for our field each year, supporting them in competitive situations. Our subject matter experts help customers make the right buying decision based on factual comparisons of technical capability, total cost, and risk. These experts play a strong role in helping customers understand the full value of existing and new solutions. As part of these field engagements we also gather important customer feedback which we use to report back to Business Groups and product engineering teams to ensure that our products and partners constantly improve and become more compelling in the market.

This group is also highly sought after in our Executive Briefing Centers (EBCs), which are facilities we manage around the world to host enterprise customer meetings. Executive Briefings help Microsoft to go more deeply into a customer’s business needs and examine how technology can solve the challenges they face.

  • How does the enterprise sales group work with industry partners to enhance the overall value delivered to customers?

One of Microsoft’s biggest strengths in the marketplace over the past 25 years has been its broad and vibrant partner ecosystem. We have one of the largest partner channels in the industry, with thousands of partners worldwide deploying millions of IT, marketing, and sales professionals that carry Microsoft’s products to market.

The only way we can realize the full potential of the R&D we spend across industries is to ensure we have a healthy partner ecosystem that understands our product set and is skilled in deploying it. This has always been a cornerstone of our business.

Our account teams orchestrate the combination of service delivery by Microsoft and partners from the ecosystem. Many times the partner will take the lead, and we’ll support that. It’s key to understand that we drive a high percentage of our sales through and with our partner community, and that is not going to change.

As we move forward to evolve the software plus services model, Microsoft is defining new opportunities for the partner community to deliver value to customers. There will still be opportunities to resell, refer, add value through professional services, package with customized capabilities, and realize business growth through annuities and subscriptions, but there will also be abundant new opportunities for innovative, value-added services and customization as these hosted products roll out.

  • How does Redmond’s involvement in enterprise sales impact the enterprise customer experience?

In an ideal world, the field has major competency in all of our products and solutions, and doesn’t require support from Redmond. But in the real world , we’re forever evolving the overall value proposition and the product elements that make up that value proposition. Having key technical resources and key leadership from Redmond engaged in important customer opportunities brings benefits all around. The customers appreciate the access, the insight they gain from it, and the opportunity to influence our direction. The Redmond resources benefit from the connection to the real world of our customers and their experience with, and leverage of our products.

One of the ways we embed this connection into our way of doing business is through the Executive Sponsorship program that connects our most strategic customers and their Microsoft Account teams with Microsoft Executives. I am fortunate to be Executive Sponsor to a number of our Accounts and it is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my role. I know many of my peers feel the same way.

Our team works to provide that bridge. If we’re getting the sales model right, we will get a good mix of field leadership and Redmond involvement for the biggest accounts, so they feel they’re getting the best of all worlds from Microsoft. To that end there are a number of strategies, like those outlined here, that are being driven to create a more customer and sales centric environment in Redmond, and thus create a better platform to enable success in the field.

  • How else does Microsoft connect with customers at the enterprise level?

One of the things that impressed me the most as a partner and customer of Microsoft is the investment the company makes in connecting with customer executive teams. I knew that if I came to Microsoft seeking insight and information, the facilities would be first class, the content would be excellent, the quality of the people would be very high, and my team would leave with a better view of our overall technology and business strategy. Microsoft does an amazing job of that.

We had 20,000 visitors come to our eight EBCs globally last year, nearly half of them to the EBC in Redmond. Recently we expanded our Redmond capability with a 50 percent increase in capacity. This year we expect to host some 15,000 visitors in Redmond, representing about 2,000 discrete customers. That is a tremendous advantage in that it gives us the opportunity to deploy our A-team across many more customers than we could if they had to visit customer sites. If you look at the utilization and the feedback we get for our EBCs, we really leverage them to the hilt. The EBCs are one of our most strategic sales tools.

Additionally, we have 16 Microsoft Technology Centers around the world – which provide facilities, technology experts and a virtual deployment site for customer solutions – and we manage nearly 3,500 engagements annually in those centers. The success rate of when we prove out a customer solution in one of the MTCs is extremely high.

Microsoft is also known for running tremendous executive events. Every year we run the CEO Summit, the Global CIO Summit and the Global Account Summit, to name a few. These exclusive events bring together top business leaders with Microsoft executives and external thought leaders for unique business and technology discussions.

Through all of these venues, we create value for the customer, both now and in the future, with how we evolve our relationship and our understanding – by listening and engaging in deep discussions with them on a range of topics.

There are a huge number of assets that Microsoft Account teams can leverage to add value to our customers and build deeper relationships in the process. I have been very impressed with how fully utilized these capabilities are. It is a good indicator of the ever increasing level of customer centricity in how we do business, and as someone who enjoys customer connection more than any other aspect of my role; it is great to be part of this team.

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Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and college and high school graduations are right around the corner. If mom, dad or grads in the family unwrap a new Verizon Wireless phone this spring, there’s a simple solution for what to do with the old wireless phone: recycle it with Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine(R) program and help make a difference for the environment and domestic violence victims.

Verizon Wireless' National Recycling Program, Verizon Wireless HopeLine, Phone Collection.HopeLine, Verizon Wireless’ exclusive phone recycling and reuse program, accepts wireless phones and accessories in any condition from any manufacturer or service provider at any of the company’s Communications Stores nationwide. Phones are refurbished for reuse, or recycled in an environmentally sound way. Proceeds from the HopeLine program benefit survivors of domestic violence and non-profit advocacy agencies, providing essential communication tools through wireless phones and services and financial grants.

Verizon Wireless has HopeLine collection bins at all store locations where customers can drop off their no-longer-used phones. Customers can also send their old wireless phones and accessories to:

Verizon Wireless HopeLine
c/o ReCellular Inc.
2555 Bishop Circle W.
Dexter, MI 48130

Verizon Wireless HopeLine Logo.Since the October 2001 launch of Verizon Wireless’ national recycling program, the company has collected more than 4.5 million no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories, and provided nearly $5 million in cash donations to local domestic violence agencies nationwide. In addition, HopeLine has donated more than 60,000 wireless phones and 180 million minutes of wireless service to agencies across the country for use with clients.

For more information about Verizon Wireless and the HopeLine program, visit http://www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless Logo.Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 67.2 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 69,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: http://www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at http://www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

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Martin Dawes Systems, an international provider of solutions for the convergent communications market, announced the appointment of Sir Julian Horn-Smith to its board as a non-executive director. As a senior figure in global telecommunications, Sir Julian will have an influential role in assisting the company to advance its international development.

A pioneer and thought leader in the mobile communications arena, Sir Julian was one of the founding members of Vodafone Group Plc and played a leading role in building Vodafone into a successful international brand and business. He retired from the Vodafone board in July 2006 when he held the title Deputy Chief Executive Officer.

Welcoming Sir Julian to the board, the Chairman, Martin Dawes, said: “Sir Julian and I have worked closely together on many occasions since the launch of Vodafone’s UK network in 1985, when he appointed Martin Dawes Communications to be one of the first, and most successful, service providers to the new mobile network. He has unrivalled knowledge and experience of the global telecommunications industry and I am delighted that he has accepted the challenge of working with us as we continue to grow and develop our business as a global provider of choice to the telecoms sector and beyond.”

Commenting on his appointment, Sir Julian said: “I am pleased to be joining the board at such a significant time for the company and the industry in general. Martin Dawes Systems is already a leader in this space and I am excited to be part of this company as it continues to make significant strides in a dynamic and exciting global market.”

In addition to his role at Martin Dawes, Sir Julian Horn-Smith is a member of the board of Digicel Limited, the Caribbean and Pacific mobile telecoms operator, and a member of the advisory boards of The Company Agency and Altimo, the telecoms arm of Alfa Group, which has extensive investments, notably in Russia and Ukraine.

He is also a senior adviser to UBS Investment Bank, in London, and a non-executive director of the board of Lloyds TSB Group Plc.

About Martin Dawes Systems

Martin Dawes Systems is a leading software and services vendor specialising in billing and subscriber management solutions for the convergent communications market. Combining an informed and inspired approach with robust and proven systems, Martin Dawes Systems offers service providers attractive propositions that build customer loyalty and increase ARPU. Employing the latest technology and solutions, Martin Dawes Systems helps its customers drive revenues up while keeping operational costs to a minimum. Its company philosophy is one of partnership to promote enduring business relationships and mutual opportunities for growth. Headquartered in the UK, Martin Dawes Systems operates internationally from offices in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.

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The HHS Office of HIV/AIDS Policy announced today that the Web site AIDS.gov, a gateway to all federal domestic HIV /AIDS information and resources, now has an innovative look and feel that incorporates a blog, podcasts, and other new media tools.

AIDS.gov Home Page MessageThe blog, one of AIDS.gov’s latest features, focuses on using new media – interactive forms of communication based on the Internet – in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The blog addresses topics such as podcasts, social networks (e.g. MySpace and Facebook), mobile phone text messaging, and Web site usability and accessibility.

HHS, which hosts AIDS.gov, developed the site with input from public health experts, representatives of HIV/AIDS service organizations, federal employees, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the general public. AIDS.gov was first launched on Dec. 1, 2006, which is World AIDS Day.

“As we approach the 27th year of this epidemic, new media tools are an effective and interactive way to deliver information to and engage with AIDS service providers, health departments, federal partners, community partners, and the general public,” said Miguel Gomez, director of AIDS.gov.

Visitors to AIDS.gov can listen to and view a monthly podcast series, Conversations on AIDS.gov, directly on the site, as well as download episodes. Each episode features a brief interview with a government official about topics impacting the lives of people living with, or at risk for, HIV/AIDS. The address is http://www.aids.gov/podcast/aids_podcast.html.

One of AIDS.gov’s other added features is that visitors can subscribe to an RSS feed to receive updates when new information is added to thesite. This enables subscribers to have information delivered to them, instead of having to constantly check the site for it.

AIDS.gov’s new design helps visitors navigate through a wealth of HIV/AIDS resources. The site includes the latest HIV/AIDS news, basic HIV/AIDS information, information on prevention, education, treatment, and care resources.

Many HHS agencies collaborate to make AIDS.gov a user-friendly, accessible, and helpful source of information. Non-HHS partners include the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, and the State Department’s Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.”

AIDS.gov is a key source for federal domestic HIV/AIDS information. The site’s new look and feel, and improved navigation, enhances our ability to reach the country with critical HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and research messages and resources,” said Christopher H. Bates, acting director of HHS’ Office of HIV/AIDS Policy. To learn more, visit: http://www.AIDS.gov.

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Happy Birthday Spam; e-Weapon of Destruction turns 30.The first spam email is attributed to a creative marketer’s idea, dating back to 1978, 30 years ago this month. Inviting several hundred individuals to a product demonstration, Gary Thuerk used email because it was less expensive and faster than hundreds of letters or phone calls.

Three decades later, spam comprises up to 95 percent of all email, and up to 120 billion spam messages are sent each day according to various studies.

No mere annoyance, spam routinely launches viruses and worms that can wreak havoc in unprotected networks, compromise employee and customer personal data, and cost organizations millions of dollars. In fact, the FBI estimates that cyber crime costs U.S. businesses more than $67.2 billion annually. The Federal Trade Commission has declared spam to be a significant global tool in the propagation of financial crimes, and phishing email tops the Internal Revenue Service list of the 12 most serious tax scams.

Junk Mail.But this kinky, genderless, destructive personality, who turns 30 this week, is still absconding, and at large. Such finesse in it’s execution that we’re unable to get hold of this fellow, though he pops in each day, everyday.

Happy Birthday Spam! You owe me a piece of Chocolate Cake and $456.92 cents, PERIOD!

Brad Templeton has the word-to-word copy of the FIRST SPAM.

Courtesy: SECNAP Network Security and Brad Templeton.

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