Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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september 3

woah there.

my name is justin hall,

and i just can't stop making web pages!

recent on-campus experiences

To: (swarthmore deans)
From: justin
Subject: free stuff

dear deans, et al -

today in tarble, in place of the usual t-shirt and record sales, i encountered a young man from AT&T signing students up for "AT&T Universal Cards" (credit cards).

his table was littered with promotional goods - stuffed animals, sunglasses, hats, water bottles, slinkies.

his pitch:
"have you signed up yet? you get free stuff."

the form was decorated at the top with smiling alternative student types, around a logo "WHAT U WANT."

a few students took him up on his extended clipboard, asking a few questions; his answers emphasized the lack of committment and the free stuff.

i felt strongly that there needed to be a sober presence on hand; i made some signs and spoke some, observing his chicanery, and encouraging students to treat getting a credit card as a big decision.

my signs:

free slinky for every pound of flesh

getting a credit card is a big decision

Why this card?
Why now?
Free stuff?

Choose Your Debts Wisely,
not for a hat and a water bottle.

i heard one student, as he was filling in the credit card form, ask "what's a finance charge?"

perhaps 18 year old american college students should be expected to know such things. perhaps, as some students argued to me, they were old enough to make these choices. recently, i have heard many stories from friends, and seen in the press: credit card companies are targeting people without good money management skills (ie, the young) to start them into debt earlier. this man, this company was on our campus today offering people slinkies and stuffed animals encouraging students to get credit cards.

when i asked how he had permission to be here, he reported that "AT&T has paid the college a lot of money." if that is the case, then swarthmore is taking monies indirectly from AT&T's other in-debt college students to permit AT&T to coerce swarthmore students into debt.

either way, swarthmore is condoning this crass solicitation by allowing it to continue. i urge that the school prohibit credit card companies from urging their usury on the students in such a callous fashion.

thank you for your time,
justin hall

and later, tim sends me this:

Incidentally, my roommate, who signed up for a credit card today, says the AT&T man lied to him, by telling him that the APR (17.9%) would mean a charge of $1.17 on an unpaid purchase of $100. Neither of us knows very much about finance, but that doesn't sound right to us.

one or two degrees of separation called me
i'm sworn to secrecy
they want my advice, how to make money on the net

this happens about once a year,
someone decides that i'm going to help them get rich
justin knows how to have traffic

so what do i do with my site?
the best pitch i feel is not lucricious.
think of the story you want to tell
make your site exciting for other reasons
start a magazine, give odd kids access to tools
and be their primary sponsor.
people will have pleasant associations and buy something they associate therewith.

maybe i can tell you how to have a well visited site,
or even a successful business
but don't ask me how to make money - i don't know.

what's your problem with money justin?

just because you've never had to worry about it
doesn't mean that you have a right to judge other people

i've found that it comes to me when i do other things.
talking seriously about how to get rich makes me feel ugly

it's easy to get rich quickly

exploit people, encourage desire
offer them duplicitous free gifts.

otherwise, you should work at something heartfelt for some years

"i have a year, and i want to get rich on the internet."

after talking with them for some time,
critiquing their un-unique web site for an un-unique product concept

brutally honest
that was fun
but afterwards, i felt tired and dirty,

at least i was sent here

today was more computer science,
i'm retaking circumstances i before failed
now C and Unix; useful, not LISP.

i shared the tools for thought URL with the class
it's really great computer use context

got my major ("meaning context and media") proposal back
with comments:

Justin, my inaugural comments are just that - inaugural. I note, though, that your 3 foci get only 1 pgh each, whereas your narrative of wandering gets almost 2 pp: don't let this thesis become a journal: give it structure, depth (yes, the d-word), form. Transform the personal into a sharable + more than personal (more-than-narcissistic) knowing -
darn. this is going to take work.

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