SPAM is a pain. OK, that wasn’t the most earth-shattering observation, but there it is, SPAM is a pain. As an internet host with plenty of public IPs and domains, spammers don’t have a very hard time finding me and all my online personas, and as a result, I collect a fair amount of SPAM.
These days I’m running about 12,000+ UCE (unsolicited commercial emails) a month or roughly one every 3-4 minutes … all day and night long.
(Somewhat off-topic, but my email’s spam client claims 99% effectiveness. They think that’s pretty good, but I think it’s ~120 spam emails that show up in my IN box every month. Or worse, 120 good emails that get flagged as spam and dispatched to email purgatory.)
But recently, and probably for the last week, half of the incoming SPAM is from a Mehmet Oz … Or someone trying to impersonate Mehmet Oz.I’m guessing he’s the next Oprah because she used to be a favorite of the spammers. (Click the picture.)
Guess I’ll need to Google the guy, but I’ll bet he peddles hope on TV and that’s why the spammers have latched on to his brand …
Earlier today, the following phone conversation took place between me and the local UPS office …
Me: “Waybill XXX requiring a signature is scheduled to be delivered on Thursday and no one will be home to sign for it that day. Could it be delivered Friday when someone will be home?”
UPS Brain Surgeon (UBS): “Sure, let me get all the details.”
There was a minute or so of verifying addresses, identities and such and then she came back with …
UBS: “How would you like to pay for it?”
UBS: “There’s a five dollar redelivery fee.”
Me: “Let me understand … If I give you the courtesy of saving you a trip, I get charged a $5 fee. But if I don’t say anything and your driver wastes time on Thursday because I’m not home, and then he has to come back a second time on Friday, it doesn’t cost me anything?
UBS: “That’s correct, sir!”
Me: “Uh, OK. Never mind. Have a nice day!”
UBS: ” Thank you. Is there anything else UPS can do for you today.”
Me: “No” and then a click.
Pretty amazing that she kept the spiel going all the way up to the end …
I love people who don’t understand privacy. “I have nothing to hide” they proclaim loudly. They don’t complain when the home addresses of contributors to a controversial bill or amendment are published in the local newspaper. They don’t complain when published lists of sex offenders appear online. They have nothing to hide – It’s in the public domain so go ahead and publish it!
But when a local paper publishes a list of home addresses of gun owners (White Plains Journal News, Dec 24, 2013), or the sex offender site shows there’s a sex offender across the street and his home value just dropped to zilch, then the story changes.
The reality is all of us have secrets we’d rather not get out. And we trust others to keep them secret – Whether it’s where you drive in your car, how many texts you send every month, what phone numbers you dial most frequently, or even how much Metamucil you buy at your local grocery store. Would you really want that in your local newspaper?
So I love EFF’s list of “Who has your back?” (link)
No surprise that Comcast would fink on you about your surfing habits. And Facebook is in the habit of sharing secrets. But some of the others who collects lots of personal information like Amazon, Apple and Yahoo scare me. And I’m glad I don’t use AT&T or Verizon for my phone. Wow!
And here’s the list of the 46 cowards who voted against background checks for gun owners:
Lamar Alexander R TN
Kelly Ayotte R NH
John Barrasso R WY
Max Baucus D MT
Mark Begich D AK
Roy Blunt R MO
John Boozman R AR
Richard M. Burr R NC
Saxby Chambliss R GA
Daniel Coats R IN
Tom Coburn R OK
Thad Cochran R MS
Bob Corker R TN
John Cornyn R TX
Michael D. Crapo R ID
Ted Cruz R TX
Michael B. Enzi R WY
Deb Fischer R NE
Jeff Flake R AZ
Lindsey Graham R SC
Charles E. Grassley R IA
Orrin G. Hatch R UT
Heidi Heitkamp D ND
Dean Heller R NV
John Hoeven R ND
James M. Inhofe R OK
Johnny Isakson R GA
Mike Johanns R NE
Ron Johnson R WI
Mike Lee R UT
Mitch McConnell R KY
Jerry Moran R KS
Lisa Murkowski R AK
Rand Paul R KY
Rob Portman R OH
Mark Pryor D AR
Harry Reid D NV
Jim Risch R ID
Pat Roberts R KS
Marco Rubio R FL
Tim Scott R SC
Jeff Sessions R AL
Richard C. Shelby R AL
John Thune R SD
David Vitter R LA
Roger Wicker R MS
In the beginning, internet addresses had one of six possible TLDs (top-level domain) – .com, .net, .org, .mil, .gov and .edu. Then came ccTLDs (Country Code TLD) like .de or .fr or .au. And somewhere along the line came gTLDs (General TLD) that we see becoming more popular. Domains ending with .info or .tv aren’t that uncommon any longer. Matter of fact, there are now 329 approved TLDs – The entire list is at the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. Note that not all TLDs use Roman alphabet characters.
So, why bother? Well, there was another period to submit nTLDs (New TLD) which was supposed to end last June but was extended to this April. There are 1930 (!) in the application process – Some have been withdrawn and several others are being contested, but the shear number is amazing. Looking at the list, the first three pages contain no TLDs made up of Roman alphabet characters. And Amazon (yes, that Amazon) is sponsoring, quite a few – I see .play and .buy right on page 4. Walmart is sponsoring .samsclub and others are sponsoring .party, .mormon and .wedding.
Oh, what an interesting internet this will turn out to be!
After seeing this story on the “CBS Evening News,” the chancellor of Texas Tech University called Franklin High School student Jonathon Montanez to offer him a scholarship to the university. Later, the NCAA invited both Mitchell Marcus and Jonathon Montanez, along with their teams and coaches, to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games in Dallas, where they will be be recognized.
Not a fan … Most of the ones I’m familiar with require you to carry a Safeway card, Marshall’s card, a CVS card, a Best Buy card and so on. I remember carrying a briefcase of club cards back when Kansas and Texas were dry and I really don’t want to go back to the 70s and 80s.
Matter of fact, when I shop at CVS, I always turn to the person behind me and ask them if they want my sale on their CVS card. That’s how bad I don’t want to carry another card.
Then there’s the privacy issue – Do you really want the CVS database to be recording that you repeatedly purchase extra-small condoms?
But a couple local stores let you use your own 10-digit phone number in lieu of a physical card. And while I’m still not a fan of loyalty programs, I have availed myself at the local grocery store. Their program started a little over three months ago and sends out loyalty coupons every three months. Mine arrived yesterday.
The coupon was for 1% of the last three months purchases. Not a huge amount but enough to smile about. Intriguing was five more coupons for items I had purchased repeatedly – The exact brand of lettuce, the exact brand of apples, the exact brand of cereal and so on. Wow, they had profiled me to a tee. Glad I hadn’t been purchasing large quantities of extra-small condoms!
Buyer, beware. None of these “free” programs are truly free. They all cost something, either your money or your marketable information.
Every OS installation includes a number of images that can be used as Desktop, and some even provide a handful of demo audio files.
One such audio file played after the successful install of Windows XP, but since many computers came with Windows XP preinstalled, or worse, the audio drivers hadn’t been installed yet, most Windows XP users never heard this 5 minute Brian Eno tune:
(Note: If you’re still running an XP system, look deep into c:\windows\system32\oobe\images\title.wma to find that audio file.)
When Apple released OSX, it came with a great set of desktop images, one of which became my favorite. After installing 10.7 (Lion?), I found my favorite desktop image had been replaced. A little digging around the old 10.6 DVD found all my old favorites at \Library\Desktop Pictures.
All sorts of great OS nuggets are out there if you look around. Although there’s probably a limit to how far back you can go looking for images. Old Win95 desktops were a measly 800x600px and wouldn’t look good on today’s higher resolution monitors.
Me? I liked that old Brian Eno tune. Glad it was salvageable.
I happen to live in one of the most Republican-leaning counties in Democratic-leaning California, so I’m rarely surprised by verbal or written pejorative cast in the direction of our current president. Like most everything political, it’s more hyperbole than truth, but that’s politics for you.
So when I leave my right-leaning county and head to left-leaning San Francisco, I expect some of the fact distortion and embellishment to die down.
Not today! Right in the middle of Union Square during the busy holiday shopping season … Caricatures of Obama with a “Hitler” mustache and “Impeach Obama” signs.