Saturday, January 31, 2009

Obama Snaps At Wall Street

Filed Under Common Sense?

President Obama declared it shameful that while Wall Street cried for federal aid, they were paying out $18 BILLION in bonuses.

Obama called for some future restraint, discipline and repsonsibility from the greedy Wall Street types.

Change is definitely coming!

If You Believe In Something

Here's an interesting bit: Cash donors who were in support of opposing CA's Prop-8 want to remain anonymous for some reason.

A group tried to make it happen, but a judge squashed the idea and said the law is there to protect the public.

My take? They should have thought of this one before they stuck their foot in our business! I have to wonder what they're worried about? Losing 1/2 their business once their beliefs are found out?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Satellite Radio Doomed To Fade?

Satellite Radio Tidbits
According to Business Week, Sirius XM will end 2008 with 19.1 million subscribers and a mere 7.9% growth anticipated for 2009.

Did you know that the enemy of Satellite radio is the MP3 format? It was first developed in 1987 and became a viable market in 1999 through an entity called SubPop.

iPod Time
In 2001 Steve Jobs introduced the iPod. Then iTunes followed to sell licensed music to the consumer.

Apple has sold 174 million iPods. iPods and other MP3 players are the device of choice today for music listening.

The expansion of the iPod/MP3 player market into phones, plug in systems to play at home, cars with jacks built in, etc. means that iPods and generic MP3 players will be the hardware format for sound in the future. Music, news, features, etc. RIP, Sirius XM. It's only a matter of time.

Source: Podcasting Killed the Satellite Star, by David L. Smith. Media Post Publications

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Welcome to CA, Now Gimme Your Money

It was announced tonight on the news that CA will not be giving back tax refunds.  This was bound to happen sooner or later the way the state has been going over the last few years, and this economic ping was the straw that broke the camels back.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bowling: How To Improve Your Game - Pt 1: Your Target

by Bruce Simmons
PBA member since 1995

This short informational tutorial is directed at mid to entry level bowlers who average up to around 150 or 160.

So you hit an all time high in your average but you feel stuck.  You just can't get past that damn average mark you seem to be stuck with?  What's up?  Well, let's break it down to a few components on what it takes to knock some pins down.

Bowling Ball
That's a given.  Right?  Do you have the bowling ball (gear) best suited for you?  Is it the latest and greatest on the market?  Don't you dare tell me it's a house ball!  Having the newest ball is not critical.  I've seen someone with tons of talent use 10 year old gear to dust the league in average.

A decent pair of bowling shoes will last forever and really make a difference in the long run.  Good shoes are, well, good to have and last so much longer than the "affordable" ones.

Do you have a consistent approach?  Does it incorporate balance in the equation?  I've seen all kinds of different approaches in the PBA.  As long as it's consistent, you're fine.

Are you generating sufficient power?  Power can help at the pocket, but usually when people try to generate power they think it means throwing the ball harder.  Nope.  Throwing harder pulls your shot off and makes for an inconsistent shot.  Power comes from a combination of factors.

Does everything come out at the time it is supposed to come out?  A consistent release helps predictability, and can actually help in generating power, but not in the way you think it does.

Follow Through
Is your follow through consistent?  Yes, what you do after you let go of the ball can be beneficial to your game.

Reading The Lane Oil:
Are you playing the correct part of the lane?  Most days, proprietors want you to come back, so they set up pretty easy lane conditions.  Still, if you're playing the wrong area, that won't matter.

Hitting The Pocket:
Did your ball hit the pocket decently enough?  Getting to the pocket is important, but can you get there every time?

Can you pick up those spares?  Spares are pretty important in this game.  Getting all spare games can get you in the 190 average range.  An occasional strike in those all spare games can push you over a 200 average, easy.

Hitting Your Target:  <-
Despite everything else, can you hit your target?  Do you approach it consistently?  Roll over it consistently?

If you can't hit your target every time, or most every time, then all of the other things above are completely moot.
That is the principal we need to think about today.  How do we hit the target consistently.  Once you master hitting your target, everything else can be developed off of that. 

Hitting your target comes from a decent approach, smooth release, decent follow through and believe it or not, some grace and balance on your part!

That's what I have for you today.  A principal.  Everything noted above comes together over the target.  If you can't hit your target, you won't be consistent in your spare game.  You won't have a shot at the intermittent of semi-common strike we all covet.

There is also luck in the game.  Of all my 300's, I can't say I've hit the target every time in each game, but being there on the target area definitely helps.  Being consistent helps, big time.

Next time around, I'll touch on just how to get to your target in a consistent fashion.

Thanks for coming by.  Feel free to leave questions or comments.

Monday, January 26, 2009

GM Full of Nasty Liars?

The auto makers went to the feds begging for money so they would not fail. 

Now GM is letting 2,000 people go?  1,200 in Lansing MI.  Feds, take back your money. 

yahoo news,

Computer: Internet Censorship and Whole Governments

It seems some governments wish to control certain aspects of online exposure these days.

According to a report I've come across, 26 of 40 countries that were surveyed utilize some degree of software filtering.

China, Iran, Syria, Tunisia, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Morocco, and Singapore were mentioned as countries actively filtering its citizens.

The study found that many of the Middle Eastern countries mainly filtered international news while Saudi Arabia censored political sites, pornography and gambling. Tunisia censors pornography, human rights and political opposition to the government. South Korea enabled filters to eliminate North Korean web sites.

I personally know someone who had a dickens of a time accessing sites because they were blocked while he was in China, covering the Olympics.

For more details, see the article.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Blog Social Traffic Spikes And The Fun Of It

Darren Rowse wrote about how one of his blogs had a 250k spike in traffic from some decent StumbleUpon and Digg awareness for a DPS post on Long Exposure Photography.

He wrote about the traffic zoom on ProBlogger and just dissected the day and how it developed to the point of tapering off.

There were a few things he touched on, and a few things the visitors commented touched on and what I had to say!  The post had the usual number of shameless or spammy comments and a few good comments.  See!  I do read the comments because if you have a good following, the comments help extend or add to the subject at hand.  I added my 1.5 cents to the fray also!

I've had good Digg and StumbleUpon traffic on occasion and it's kind of fun to follow and then the let down comes as the excitement dwindles, but you're left with the appreciation of how someone saw fit to submit your post, and then further appreciation as others followed suit for whatever reason.

Darren touched on the spike in Ad Revenue and the potential 1-2% conversion to permanent readers.  The ad revenue will go back to normal but he did hit on a solid, static number of converted permanent readers with that 1-2% conversion estimation.

I can attest to that percentage number.  I spent some years in sales and this will support how cold calling and email spamming works.  In the day, about every 100 contacts, whether it be via phone or email converted usually into at least 1 interested buyer.  Usually, after about 50 interested buyers chatted me up, 1 to 2 of them converted into a transaction.

On the almost down side of getting a spike in traffic, you best have a good hosting plan with your provider!  I suspect Darren purchased sufficient services to hold up, but a lot of folk can only afford what sustains them and this kind of traffic spurt tends to hurt their bandwidth and they go dark until they have at least a one time resolution with their provider.  Unless you have money to spare and already have a decent traffic rate for your services.

Any day of the week, a blogger would love to see spikes in traffic.  Sometimes it confounds me, but I am still, always appreciative, and hopeful!  Me?  I gave up on "building" my blog and now, I just speak my mind and let the cards fall where they may.  I also us my blog as a kind of bookmark service for myself.  LOL.  That makes me more picky what I bookmark, and keeps the important stuff right where I know it is, no matter what computer I am on, but internet bookmarks?  That's a topic for another day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wanna Be A Nemesis?

A buddy of mine pointed me to an interesting CraigsList post from Toronto, Canada from a man who's looking for a "nemesis" who will "keep him on his toes".

Someone who on occasion spill his coffee, trip him, etc..  He says complacency will be the death of him.  Too bad I don't live up near him.  This sounds right up my alley.

Check out his request at Craigslist.  Anyone in Canada can make themselves a quick $700.

AOL Announces New Web Email Interface - Oh Goody

I've done nothing but complain about AOL email.  With my issues, I come from a few perspectives:  I want email I can trust & not be inundated with ads.  Yet I can't say that about AOL email.  First, let me present to you the press release from Time Warner, the parent company of AOL:

AOL's Products and Technologies Group today announced the launch of an enhanced version of AOL Web Mail that offers users one-click access to Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and a variety of third-party sites and destinations directly from the AOL Web Mail page, Over the past year, AOL has added more than 30 new features and a variety of new functionality to Web Mail in an effort to make it more open to third-party content and to offer more monetization opportunities to advertisers. The new version is being released globally, making it available in more than 38 countries and locales around the world.

Back to my rant:

I've experienced email that's been actively blocked, even from my spam folders.  That's happened numerous times in the last few months.  They're usually confirmation emails, that both Yahoo and Gmail receive within seconds of signing up.  Hmm.

I also don't want to be bothered with AIM or dragging my personal information into AOL itself.  Yet it keeps taking up 1/3 of my email screen everytime I login. 

There's a reason I have different providers and a reason I use and maintain a password schedule.  Having AOL be my central point for "all things email" just sounds like an interesting way to consolidate your competition into one spot and try to slide customers your way.  It reminds me of bloggers who quote content from other popular blogs to try and generate their own traffic based ad revenue off the same subject matter.  They are called scrappers.  AOL a scrapper?

I like my security, I like my privacy.  That's why I don't share my info, why I don't let online services "remember" my passwords and what not.  Yet my woes and my own personal concerns may be just that, something only I have an issue with.

Time Warner further reported that with 48 million users, their email service was the 2nd most popular free e-mail service.  They clumped that statistic from all of AOL proprietary email, AOL.COM Mail and AIM Mail users.  Interesting padding.  Don't you love how you tweak numbers to make you look good.  I can say I'm the No. 2 ranked Alexa site!  Or more accurately, Google is ranked No. 2, and the services I use, and hence provide to you, of theirs are an extension of them. 

So maybe my web woes are just my own.  Maybe you aren't so critical of missing email.  Or why I prefer Gmail now a days. And maybe I'm too hyper-sensitive about paying for AOL e-mail services and still suffer the advertising footers.  Am I too picky about my daily error message from AOL? (web woes).  Or that I didn't like how it SEEMED I had no options when it came to upgrading AOLVR.  (See my prefer Gmail link above.)  Actually that post is from October.  That's how long I've seen these error message.

Well, maybe this is my last AOL rant.  (I've said that before, haven't I?)  But then again, I keep getting errors.  Maybe they've seen my rants and that's why I get error messages.  Who knows.  If you've happened upon this article and say, I know what he's talking about, well then, you're not alone.

source: time warner press release

Thursday, January 22, 2009

PetSmart Dog Snack Recall

Excerpts from PetSmart Website:

With the recent FDA announcement of a salmonella investigation involving peanut butter products distributed through the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), ......  we are conducting a voluntary recall as a precautionary measure and have removed these products from our shelves and website.

Effective January 20, 2009, PetSmart® is conducting a voluntary recall of seven of our Grreat Choice dog biscuits (peanut butter and assorted flavors). The recall affects U.S. stores only. We initiated the recall after determining these products sold between August 21, 2008 and January 19, 2009 contain peanut butter product linked to the salmonella recall announced by the FDA.

See the details on PetSmarts recall webpage.  (It loads slow because we dog owners are ALL looking at it!)

AOL Web Email Woes - Error Code: C0FE1700

You would think that after several months, AOL would actually try and fix their internet E-Mail interface. But that's just me.

Maybe they are quietly trying to coerce you to install their software? I don't know, but that's something I will never ever do again. It has behavior that I don't like, so I play it safe a keep their hands out of my stuff.

Every single day I see this the first time I log into AOL. Subsequent logins are fine. I suspect it's because I minimize the AOL services running in the background.

If you look at their suggestions, they want you to clear your cookies, clear your cache, clear your head... whatever. I've been encountering this on 4 different computers, and on FireFox and Internet Explorer both for months now, but they don't seem to motivated to make this issue go away.

I'm also tired of the new side panes where they're trying to shove AIM down my throat or try to get me to add all my different email login accounts to their service. Are you NUTS! The last time I played with AOL software, (AOLVR) when I got done installing it, it had, without asking, snatched all my email contacts and what not from my address books on my computer. No-No! My computer is my personal zone. Keep out AOL.

Sigh... it's not even good for junk mail anymore since they block emails at THEIR source now instead of send 100% of your email to your inbox. Sigh. That's OK... it's like fire. As long as you know it will burn you, knowing how to handle it still makes it a useful tool!

I've got on email address that's perfect for me. I've restricted it to only receiving email from 5 different email accounts and that's it. Flawless, in a restrictive sense.

Thank you for letting me vent!

Related Links

AOL is Blocking Email For You And Why I Like Gmail or Yahoo

Reduction of Services From AOL - The Beginning of the End?

AOL is Blocking Email for You...

AOL Email Footers - Paid or Not

Red Light Cams Are Money Makers

In the Dec 22nd edition of the Daily Post (Nor Cal, Bay Area, Peninsula based paper) they put out some numbers that seemed pretty interesting about those traffic light cameras that are popping up all over the place here.

In San Mateo County, they're raking in $50k a month from those things. That's from only 3 of them.

The camera are managed by an Australian company called Redflex and each intersection with cameras cost $6k per month to maintain. In other intersections, these cams are taking just under 500 pics a month. At just under $400 a ticket, that's a nice profit if you twiddle with the math.

Menlo Park slapped 3 cameras in and received over $35k in fines in 5 1/2 months since their installations.

There's a quirky catch though.

Some say the cameras aren't fair. I don't know how that is. If you run the light, you get an Effing ticket. Seems fair to me. In fact, to help make it fair, quit gunning it from 1/4 block back when the light turns yellow. Oh! There's a thought. But I guess you're in too much of a rush, for some unnamed reason that even you can't come up with, huh driver?

In Menlo Park I watched when they installed these intersection cameras. There was definitely a ramp up time. At first they would go off when no one was in the intersection. Then I'd noticed that they were going off even when people are not breaking the law. (It's easy to figure it out when you're sitting on your bicycle at 6:00 AM in the morning and there's only 2 cars at the intersection.) Heck it went off once when I was alone on my bicycle!

I myself got my picture taken in my vehicle and I wasn't doing anything wrong. I got my left turn arrow, heading S on El Camino Real, turning left onto Ravenswood. Light (arrow) turned green and as I started to go, I got the camera flash. Hmm.

A few days later I called the Menlo Park PD to inquire about the accuracy of the things. It seems they're taking so many pictures that they hired an extra staff member to review the associated video tape what is taken with the picture snapping to make sure they're good pics.

The reason I called was there was an article in the paper on how one man had spent over 15 hours fighting a red light cam that was wrong. The system itself seems stacked in making it a challenge to fight the electronic photographers.

In Ca, if you fight a traffic ticket, you forfeit your right to attend traffic school. Basically, CA will get money from you one way or the other. Either in the ticket, or in the traffic school. If not, you spend near equivalent in your time. But that is still better than paying for it in your auto insurance.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A thought on ProBlogger Comments

I love Darren's ProBlogger site.  It's got tons of great insight.  What I can't stand is how disjointed the comment section is.

I've been to sites where the commentators actually communicate with each other and it's a great community effort...  I'm not talking bulletin boards, I'm talking comments section.

But wow, from what I've seen, and tried, no one reads the comments.  They hit the post and then head straight to leaving a comment, with of course, their website as their signature, or linked to their sig.

I've tested the comments section and left some fascinating remarks that should have pissed someone off, but nah.  You're safe to leave whatever you want.  No one cares about what is said.  They just think they're getting themselves traffic by spamming the posts.  Come on people, "Another good post" is such a useless statement and it is obvious what you are doing.

They don't realize that they aren't being seen and that unless specifically set, WordPress doesn't add to your SEO.  In fact it blocks it actively as a default.  I like leaving comments and signing up for the comments that come later, but I stopped subscribing to the comments on ProBlogger.  The visitors are useless there.  Heck, why do I even try leaving something worthwhile for anyone to read.  Hmm.  Good point.

Me done.  But it is a great site with great intuitive articles.  Or as some say, "Great insightful post that i will apply to my very own blog".

Chasing A Live Obama Feed, The Inaugauration

This was fun.

8:50 AM: I got online around 8:50 am... thought I'd prepare ahead of time. I went to ABC news at first. It's where I usually go.

ABC kept giving me an Audi Ad... and the spinning arrow saying the live feed was loading... after 15 minutes I moved on to CNN since I'm missing the beginning.

9:05 AM: At CNN, I had a "Place in line". Because the Leader of the Band, ABC stalled me, I'm now on the outside looking in at video queues... thanks to ABC and their sponsor, Audi for that.

9:12 AM: Now I'm checking out C-Span. Hot dog... I hear cheering! It's intermittent but it's closer than I've gotten to so far. I feel hope, yet all I have is sound.

9:15 AM: Let's check MSNBC... see if that's any better. Another Audi ad. I have to wait for an ad to see a live stream. Nice. And now my IE explorer croaked. Nice. Now I have nothing!

9:18 AM: I went back to CNN and now I have to upgrade something... Flash. But now my Flash needs a plugin... Octoshape... LOL... I'm coming!!!

9:22 AM: And now... now it's frozen. Once I got CNN up, I now had to endure another ad. This one from NEXTEL Direct. I would think that you do not want your ad stalling internet travellers from seeing what they want to see live, but that's just me.

9:24 AM. I AM IN and watching. Woo hoo. I get to see Obama talk. Finally! Sigh.. 9:26, he's done.

9:40 AM: National Anthem, and the parties leave the stage. GOOD BYE bush.

9:43 AM: The live feed has an ad or two before they return.

Wow, Barack Obama has his hands full, that's for sure. How'd you like to start a job where almost everything about it is upside down and effed.

With that, all parties concerned leave for their day jobs

The old and the new watches.

After watching history, the crowd disbands.

The Bush's leave.

Well, I had a blast chasing my own tail at least. This is what is called Bruce's World! Big time!

Onward. I'll have to go find one of the many millions of videos out there. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How Many Cell Phones???

Did you know that there are 3 billion cell phone subscriptions right now and that by 2011 it's predicted that there will be 5 billion!  I don't think the cell phone companies are doing too badly, so feel free to squeeze them for everything they're worth and get yourself the good deals!!

[Informa Telecoms & Media's Global Mobile Forcasts]

Prices Came Down, So Why Didn't Prices Come Down?

So when fuel prices jumped, the commercial sector raised prices to compensate. That was understandable, considering how our products are transportation based.

For instance, my fuel prices are way down from $5 a gallon here in the Bay Area to just around $2 a gallon.

Now that fuels costs are back down, why haven't our commercial goods prices coming down too? They used fuel prices as their reason for raising their prices. That's no longer an issue... for now. Maybe they should adjust accordingly.

Of course this then brings to mind a quote, purportedly by Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747–1813):

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years."

Which reminded me of when I saw this recession coming in late 2005 when I was in the real estate industry. Home owners being greedy, real estate agents being greedy, lenders being just as greedy... No one was putting up a hand of caution to anyone else because the bottom line drives folks to stay within their own sphere of financial survival. Most can only see what they can hold in their own hand. It was a wonderful cycle to watch and I lept from the plane before it imploded completely, as it has.

Is that the tip of the iceberg? I hope not, but come on. Some things are inevitable. Once gravity takes hold, there is only so much one can do while falling, and falling up isn't one of them.

[quote from]

Monday, January 19, 2009

Be Aware of the Latest Virus / Worm

The software is known as Conficker, Downadup, or Kido is out there and infiltrating computers worldwide. To date, this worm nailed over 3 million machines.

This one has been known to rename itself with every install and also connecting to random online servers.

According to Switched, it has the power to do whatever it likes, including steal your passwords and private information.

What does this mean to you? Update your Anti-Virus software with the latest definitions, make sure your AV software itself is up-to-date. Out dated (old) software may not always be smart enough to capture the newest technology.

Also, don't click on unsolicited links or attachments. Heck, you should even verify anything anyone you know has sent you to make sure they actually did send it.

Computer: Tidbits About Google

In January of 2007, more than half of all web queries went through Google, Yahoo with less than 1/2 of those.

Google can be used in a myriad of ways which makes it pretty snazzy to use, but there are other options out there, if indeed you are looking for such.

  • Yahoo,
  • Microsoft Live Search,
  • AlltheWeb,
  • AltaVista,

Then there are smaller search engines (Or I should say, less known) like
  • Blogdigger,
  • Picsearch &
  • TubeSurf.
(This list was compiled at the time I wrote this about a year ago.)

There's also
  • &
to search for people. (But I can also find the same or similar results using Google. I get tired of the sponsored results in Superpages and Whitepages.. but every now and then, I do get that extra result from them.)

If you want to look for blogs, Google, Sphere & Blogdigger seem to be the favored sites.

Google and Yahoo are reported to have the edge on movie searches.

For displaying RELATED information to your searches, is noted to be your site.

For image searching, Google ranked on top.

For news searches, Google.

For mobile searches, Microsoft Live Search for Mobile offered the most accurate local results, but only by a small margin over Google Maps, Yahoo Local, Ask City, and

Google maintains a comprehensive index for it's search results that gets refreshed on a daily basis. Many of the smaller search engines license their indices from larger players and then massage the results with their own home-brewed algorithms, or via human indexing, a technique pioneered by but now used by several search services. The Yahoo-owned AlltheWeb and AltaVista, for instance, each use their parent company's index, while Lycos hooks into, and AOL Search is really Google in disguise.

The edge for smaller sites is personal preferences of the users who may enjoy the interface better. IE: Yahoo search site is overjammed with all kinds of stuff, while the Google search page is a simple text imput window. (Simple and effective is my favorite approach these days.)

The article I've based this report on is at

Then again, at times, when I need to see variety of results from multiple search engines, I like to use and copernic agent, which is a desktop application that I love to use and when all else fails, copernic has saved my butt a few times.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How does TinyURL Actually Work?

I am totally fascinated by the fact that I can go to and create a link to a site that could have hundreds of characters and convert it to a link that only has a few. Zoinks!

What TinyURL does is store the link you give them into a database and associate with a generated redirect link they retain. At the moment, they use 6 alpha-numeric characters to generate a link at the end of their redirect.

This isn't the best example, but I took and converted it to

This one is a tiny (no pun, really) bit better: is now

I am being shameless in using my own sites for examples but I think you get the point. The combinations are almost endless... sort of. I've seen some of the earliest tiny urls just have one digit, so that was pretty early on. At some point, they will run out of possible combinations and then they will have to expand to a 7 digit combination of reference letters.

At the moment, the home page says they've made 100 million+ links.

I think with their present system, they can create 2,176,782,336 links... Each character space has a possible 36 different alpha-numeric possibilities. I then did 36 to the 6th, if that's correct.

So they have a few to go. If they ever expand to a 7 digit reference system, they'd expand their potential link collection to 78,364,164,096 links. Unless, for some reason they go out of business, so to speak, we're OK for now.

Different Applications
A fairly decent argument for using TinyURL is for email. I've had too many emails come to me with links that wrap around and don't get transcribed properly. TinyURL can definitely help with that little flaw.

The site also suggests hiding affiliate URL's with their redirect, but for me, that's not kosher. I'll stick with being up front about things.

They would seem to exist via Paypal donations and link off to a few other of their own sites like and others.

Things to ponder: I've created a few of my own shortened links and keep them in a private document that I can use to distribute if and when needed. That way I'm not wasting space or redoing any "work".

It's a cool service and invaluable to services like on Twitter (My Thoughts Twitter account and my CinemaStatic Twitter account - sorry, more shamelessness). Twitter is a social service. The beauty of it is that it forces you to create messages (Make your point ) in under 140 characters in their message window.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Snopes Warning on Obama Video

There are emails going around trying to convince you to click on a link to watch a video.  Don't fall for it.  It's a trap.  (Snopes Warning)  If you feel compelled to pursue the subject at hand, close your email, go to YouTube and search for it yourself.  So much safer.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Computer: Internet Auction Fraud

Internet auction fraud remains the most frequently reported online crime. Auction fraud complaints made up about 45 percent of the complaints received by the IC3 in 2006.

Complaints for non-delivery of merchandise represented 19 percent of complaints & the median dollar loss reported per complaint was $724, according to the FBI.

Founded in 2000, the IC3 is a clearing house for all kinds of cyber-crime complaints designed to track the prevalence of Internet fraud in the U.S. It is run in partnership with the National White Collar Crime Center.

I only use Ebay, and I only deal with sellers who have a 99% or greater positive review mix. (Unless they've sold thousands of items, then I look for 100%) I also use PayPal as a buffer between myself and the seller AND I ALWAYS use my PO or UPS box for deliveries. ((I'm just generally paranoid.))


Friday, January 9, 2009

UFO Destroys Windmill - Our Imaginations Are Sparked Again!

The Sun tabloid over in the UK has reported that strange lights (balls of flame) crashed into a windmill, ripping one blade off and damaging another. They report that the missing blade is nowhere to be found, so the mystery is abound. Or is it?

UFO experts are all agog about this latest event of the para-scientific event.

I don't blame them. This seems pretty exciting.

Of course, if you don't work for the Sun, you actually might report the actual event that occurred.

The National Wind Watch website reports that the windmill had a catastrophic failure due to icing. Furthermore, the "missing blade" actually fell to the ground,, damaging the base of the windmill and rolled into an adjacent field. So much for missing.

The lights that everyone seems to mention were actually seen previous to the accident and not during. What are people then saying they saw, if they did indeed see balls of light with tendrils reaching to the ground? Will-O-Wisps? Ball lightning? There are some reports of fireworks in the area so this amount of excitement is nothing but that, much to do about nothing.

Again, the romantic idea that we are not alone is very appealing. Worse case scenario: There are aliens. Then we can destroy their financial infrastructure too!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Fascianting Cell Phone Precaution

The Potential Problem
The legend has it that a woman gets her purse and cell phone stolen. A few minutes later her husband gets a text message "from her", asking for their PIN number to their ATM.


True or not, no clue in this day and age of "Internet expression", but it makes for a great example. Actually, it's probably not quite true or it's a bit embellished. The tale went on to say their bank account was emptied and that's not entirely possible these days from an ATM or in person at the bank or the bank would be seriously liable. But it makes an interesting point to ponder.

A Potential Answer
In your cell phone, don't disclose your relationships of the people in your contact / phone book list. In the above example, the crooks knew who the husband was from how he was ID'd in the phone and played him hard.

The warning goes on in further detail: If you get text messages from friends or family to meet you somewhere, you should call back via voice connection to confirm. Just to be safe.

Maybe I'll just append all my contacts with the word "cop".

Monday, January 5, 2009

Some December UFO's Finally Explained

Northern England had a few UFO sightings over the holidays.  Some folk saw floating lights that just up and vanished after a bit of time.

In some of the cases from December 27th, one woman called in stating that the sightings might have been her doing when her wedding guests had released 50 orange, candle-lit Chinese lanterns into the sky.  They rose in the air and burned for 10 to 20 minutes, she said, adding that "they are biodegradable so they tend to just disappear after a while."

(Bruce:  I would they disappear and not burn down a house somewhere!! Eesh!)

You know what this means now?  UFO researchers are going to have to over all their sightings and check for wedding events and other party functions around their sightings now.  As if they weren't muddled enough with all their fact checking...  oh, wait, it would seem only a small percent ever try to verify while the rest just toot horns, and jump and shout and run about.

You can check out the article on AOL NEWS.

Computer: If You Haven't Upgraded To The Latest OS Yet

If you're one of the die hard dig ins who doesn't upgrade because like me, you think "If it ain't broke, no need to fix it.", there are some things to ponder if for some reason you do decide to upgrade to whatever OS on your favorite computer platform.

Literally, do your research.

I for one don't jump on board because I refuse to be a public guinea pig for a company that should have done more thorough beta testing... but that's a whole different thing.

The software you have installed on your system may not be Vista or whatever compatible and there may or may not be updates for it to be... more to the point, Vista may not run your software.

So before jumping in with the sharks on the biggest, brightest, and newest always check with your software manufacturer to make sure that your software will work with the newest OS. If you don't, you might get bit and find out you have to buy a whole new version of your software if you want it to work.

Of course, as time goes on, things are worked out but it can never hurt to make sure because if you upgrade, find out it doesn't work for you, it's such a pain to "seamlessly" go back to whatever set up you had previously that sometimes, trying to go back makes the upgrade seem better.

Food for thought.

Friday, January 2, 2009

UFO's Spark Our Imagination

So when life gets you down, the premise of UFO's can make you feel better thinking there's something more out there than what we have here, but in the end, it's probably just us.

Take for example, the newest wave of interest over a UFO sighting that took place in mid 2007, and for some reason, is just starting to get some internet press now.

It's called the California Drone and this is one of a few photos of it out there, spotted over Capitola, CA.

A man going be the name Raji1977 posted some photographs then after some debate, closed his email account.

There are other pics of the flying thing, this being the more interesting one:

(Screen shots of the online photos.. not the actual photos files.)

Debunker groups who live to dis all UFO reports, or so it seems, say it's an altered digital photo while fervent supporters say it's real and there are photos of ten other 'drones' that have been spotted, with the premise we are being watched. (Great, more people watching us!)

The L.A. Times published an article about the pics which has kept the debate going.

A UFO group has hired a few private detectives to figure out if the pics are real or not, but they're not making a ton of head way.

It just keeps on going, and then folks like me redirect our readers to the sights, because you need to either see it, know it, or rebuke it, adding to the raging debate of it's non-existence.

Me personally, I'd like to believe, but until whole cities of people report seeing things in the sky or I personally interact with aliens, I'm the skeptic. I've seen odd things in the sky, but after my initial reaction, I can usually apply some logical interpretation to the sighting.

That's my take. A fun subject, cool underlying theme for movies and weak rated tv shows, but so far, the government hasn't admitted to anything either, so there we stand. It's us, just us here on this slowly dying planet that we are quietly killing.

Source article, LA Times article.
Write up on some conversations with the supposed original photog.
Flickr Pics, More Photos of 'the drone', FULL size photos,

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Nothing Says Happy New Year Like A Hooping Cough!

Yea, I don't know who I got this from but egads it is no fun.

I caught some fretfully entertaining germ. Whenever I move, I drain all the energy out my body and my like noodles.

My chest is on fire from all the coughing I've done and all the unique sounds that come from that endeavor.

Never mind some of the medicines that make the mucal invader the lesser of two evils.

Ahh, 2009. Welcome. *hack*... happy new *hack* year every *hack hack* one! I didn't bring it in with a bang. I brought 2009 in with decongestants! What a wonderful way to spend the holiday breaks. Sigh.