Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Porn Police, Spam Scams, Ignorance, and Your Alias

Awhile back a neighbor left a message on my phone.  She said that Microsoft had contacted her about the porn server that she was running on her computer and that she is now having to pay over $400 to have it removed.  Well I just laughed and thought, someone is going to straighten her out on this I thought, as it was so wrong that I didn’t even know where to begin to explain how impossible this was (I’ll explain that in a moment).  That is, I didn’t know were to begin to try to explain to someone like this who could not understand enough logic to fall for a scam like that.

It’s My Fault I Suppose
Her main concern for calling me in the first place is because I work with the local Internet ISP and service our local relay.  So she is thinking that it is one of our neighbors that is running this porn server.  The confusion just kept coming.  You see, they convinced her that this “porn server” it was not only on her computer but her router, her phone, and apparently someone close by was doing it.  And she bought what they told her.  She probably thought, and told everyone, that it was likely me running this porn server.  I mentioned earlier that it was impossible that this was going on here because I monitor and graph the local relay data, so I knew no one around here was running a server to any degree.

As Time Goes By
It turned out, as I found, that not only did her family and friends not set her straight on this but that they even thought it was legit.  They told me that this “Microsoft” had shown here the site she was hosting and after she paid them handsomely they showed her that it had been taken down.  Wow!  Again, I don’t even know where to begin to explain to these people that they are falling for a scam.

What’s Wrong Here
First, Microsoft is not the Porn Police.  They do not care if you are hosting pornography.  It happens.
Second, pornography is not illegal unless it’s child porn, then Microsoft does not email you about it — the FBI comes knocking on your door for that!  (As they should)
It needs also to be noted, if you haven’t realized yet, that this “Microsoft” is not the real Microsoft.   These are criminals scamming people.

The True Crime
By the time I did talk with her about this and told her that it is a scam and they are going to keep coming back to you in a few months because they got her to install a back-door for them to play with her computer (and because they have a sucker on the line).  She told me that they already have come back and that she, at that point, has paid them over $1500… for nothing but a scam.  I’m in the wrong business I thought.  This is child’s play to give someone the impression that they are running a porn server (or whatever) and give them an IP address for them to view it at to “prove it”.  Then just take down what you have put up in the first place — after they pay you.  This is the crime, not some porn server.

How Does This Work
Fear and intimidation my friends.  With a dash of embarrassment thrown in for good measure.  These leaches fish for people that will bite at their bait.  They bait you with something that you fear, or something that you are passionate about.  A nice housewife doesn’t want to be running a porn server does she?  Why she would pay good money to get that taken care of.  In ignorance and fear we act in haste.  She could have replaced all of the supposedly infected devices with new ones for less money then she paid these scam artists to supposedly remove the “problem”.  They come to you in sheep’s clothing, they appear as legitimate corporations, institutions, or businesses.  This one posed as Microsoft.  You gotta trust Microsoft right?  But they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Meanwhile
While I’m still not sure she believes me that she has been scammed.  It has made me aware of the vast ignorance of things Internet and how technology works.  Meanwhile those of us who understand that this “thing” that happened to her is not possible (in her case) and not probable in most cases.  Even if you were doing what they said, what is that to them?  After all, maybe you ARE running a porn server.  There are people doing that sort of thing on the Internet — so I’ve heard.

What To Do
First, do nothing.  Second, quit opening spam emails.  Third, get off the Internet.
If you’re not smart enough to know if you’re doing something or not, of if it’s even possible, then you should not even be on a computer or the Internet.

Okay, if you’re going to stay online then at least do these things.

     1) Create a pen name.  Spam and scams are the main reason I advise everyone to never use your real name on the Internet.  Only your online banking and very important stuff like that should know who you really are. 
     2) Get another email address to use with that pen name and use that for everything aside from your critical transactions like banking.  This way when you get seemingly important emails from your bank but they are not using your banking email or your real name, then you know it’s a scam.  It makes it simple.

Got It?
One of the first things you should do in these cases is to contact your local ISP (Internet service provider) and ask them if they know anything about it, or if it is even possible that it is going on.
Any questions?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Stop Using Internet Explorer (IE) !!!

Why are people still using IE?  I’ve said this before.  I’ve said it for years…  Quit using IE!

If you’re using IE stop now!  If you do not have another Browser - that’s the thing your using now to view this page (I feel have to say that because I’m finding that too many people do not know basic terminology as to what they are doing today).

I’d also tell you what to do and where to go to download and install another browser but there again if you’re using IE you’re not likely to understand what I’m talking about.  Fear not.  I will provide you some links (the orange colored text below) that you can click on and will take you to where you can download a safe and usable browser.

Safe - because IE is known to be to porthole for viruses and many nasty things off the Internets.

Usable - because any (real) web designer knows that IE (Internet Explorer) is THE browser that does not render pages correctly and your code has to be ’tweaked’ to make it look somewhat like you intended it to, and what every other browser shows correctly.

You design in FireFox or Chrome, then you check it in IE to see how much work you have to do to fix it, or just care less because no sane web surfer would be using IE anyway.  When you find sites that only look correct in IE it is because the web designer does not know what they are doing and was using IE.  Go sit in the corner!

Chrome - Click on the blue button in the middle.
FireFox - Click on the green button that says Windows.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Internet Is Broken — Should We Fix It?

There is too much data moving across the ether toady.  So much that it is overloading the entire system.  Bottle necking.  You’ve seen it.  You know you have.  Things are loading slower.  You know it’s true but you do not want to admit it.  Else all your pet sites could be out of your reach.  Ahhhh!

Working with an ISP we have clients that will tell us that something is wrong with “our” Internet because they cannot load some file, "It's been stuck at 15% for an hour."  Meanwhile they are streaming videos or playing games online.  Logic, which I have come to the conclusion is nonexistent today, never enters their picture.  They are using megabytes of data over this ‘Internet connection’ but because they cannot get a simple 115kb file then something is wrong with their connection.  I don't even know how to respond to them anymore.  If your logic cannot sort that, what can I possibly say that can make them understand.

How did we get here?  Was it texting that took away our ability to hold real conversations with real people?  Was it reality TV that dumbed us down to believe that is reality and that we are not as dumb as those people?  (Yet we are the ones still watching them)


The Internet Isn’t Broke — We Are

No don’t fix the Internet, just walk away from it.  It has broke us.  We are paying the price everyday — mentally and physically.  The added stress and consumed hours that we spend online doing things that we do not need to do.  Things that 15 years ago were unheard of.  Are we any better of today?  Personally, computers have stolen more time and productivity from me in the last 15 years then I care to think about.  I was far more productive when there were fewer options.  

"Then why don't you go back to that" I hear you saying.  I'm working on it.  Unfortunately, like many of you, what we have employed ourselves in has demanded that we are 'connected', and thus chained to our masters that promised us more time to do what we want, more productivity, and on.  Now that they have us in their grasp we find that they lied to us.  We power them, we give them energy — not just electrically but physically and mentally.  Yet we do not turn them on, the power switch is no longer ours — they turn us on.  They are our masters now, and we bow down to them.  After all, here we are.  Both you and I, on the Internet, on some computing device.  Sacrificing the time of our lives.

Toast on a stick anyone?

I suppose I should ramble tonight about the Flavor Wave Oven.


After burning almost everything I put my hands to, *keep that fire alarm plugged in*. I’ve got too many things to do, so I’m always multi-tasking, and when I cook I run off to do other things … but then I forget I was cooking … and … opps, toast again.

Today I found hiding in a closet, like are many thing that Mom bought and never got around to using, or bought for backups, (she had enough Christmas gifts stashed away for years to come), *ahem*, I found a “Flavor Wave Oven”. It’s a convection oven, the first model no doubt (#20007). This oven has a TIMER on it, *joy*, that’s what I need. Something to stop the burning process that I begun and forgot about.

But I found no manual for it, and wasn’t sure if I was operating it correctly. Naturally I can push enough buttons to figure anything out, but how they though it would be operated and how I’m deciphering it, might be separate realities. So I looks for a manual in the great ether of knowledge, and Shazzam, I find Thane who now markets it. Mine was made by Hearthware (TM) Home Products, but remember mine is the original *lightning, thunder, echo* “Flavor Wave Oven”. (Oven, not Onion, I keep wanting to say onion. I must still be hungry)

I found the Thane site here. And they actually have their manuals available for download here.

So now I’ve found a great Oven to do my burning for me :-) I can set it and if I forget, it shuts down, unlike my stove and oven. I really like convection ovens anyway. I hate microwaves, I don’t use them! Microwaves are for radio communications, not for mounting in your kitchen. Dangerous on your health, and on your food. Try watering a plant from microwaved water (cooled back down) and see if it lives.

Perhaps I’ll let you know how this all works out. Cheers.
Let the flames begin.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

NBC's Super Long Bowl

NBC wins the longest Super Bowl award.


Wow, they turned Super Bowl XLIII (43) into an 11 hour and 40 minute event.

Was I the only one in the tIme wARp on this one?

Starting at 12pm ET with the pre-game going on for hours,I check online to see when it's officially to get under way. As NBC fails to let us know, or give a countdown. So, online I find it to start at about 3:30pm ET. Ok... So what was it, 630pm when we finally got the coin toss? Now I realize most people that follow the Super Bowl know this, but you'd have thought that was something easy to find for the rest of us geeks, and to find it CORRECTLY online should not be an issue. Obviously not.

Without going into details or grips about the rulings I was rooting for the underdog Arizona Cardinals. It would have been such a Cinderella story. They almost pulled it off. Good plays from the Steelers.

Final = Pittsburgh Steelers 27 - Arizona Cardinals 23

Springsteen’s Halftime Show
Sorry E Street fans, I've never been one. Don't care for his music or style. But I do give him honors for longevity. Bruce & Max Weinberg move too much like robots for me. I do like Max, but his drumming style drives me crazy. But that's just my opinion now isn't it. Obviously he has many fans, I'm just not one. So don't fault me for that. I know there are some people that don't like the Beatles, not many of them are musicians though (or good ones anyway), so I understand that all of us don't have good taste :P