Monday, February 15, 2010

What Went Wrong?

Lionel Richie (yes, Nicole Richie's adopted father) and Michael Jackson (that recently passed star) teamed up in the mid '80s to write an instant classic tune to help fight world hunger.  Proceeds from sales of the single We Are The World were given to assist Farm Aid in its time of desperation and famines. 

     This beautiful song was broadcast far and wide.  It was also seen on all televisions stations and played in heavy rotation on MTV, which was at that time, still playing music videos.  It featured a varied cast of wonderfully talented singers in a time before auto-tune.

     The world watched in horror as Haiti suffered from one earthquake, then others. Buildings collapsed, people died.  Rescue efforts began immediately as neighbor, injured and scared, helped neighbor.  Rescue workers poured in.  People gave what they could, did what they could to help out those unfortunate souls.  Someone had the bright idea to recreate that once famous song.

    Offers to help poured in.  A cadre of musicians gathered and created what can only be described as the worst produced relief single ever created.  The sound engineer either did a ridiculous job of recording these artists, the artists were singing horribly because of the hurried job necessary to hold that much star power together for even a small amount of time, or T-Pain was brought in to AutoTune everyone except Macy Gray.  

   I was looking forward to the talent that would be showcased in what was to be a tremendous outpouring of love and affection in a collaborative work.  I couldn't even finish watching/listening to the video.  How does this help?   You would think they would have at least practiced the song on the way over.  I'm sure a few of them did... I HOPE they did.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

New Online Scam...
Offline, on your PHONE!

I find it interesting that during my tenure at the Beaumont Enterprise, I would feed story ideas with documenting evidence to the editorial department on numerous occasions. Occasionally, a story would be centered around emerging technologies and/or technological fraud.

One of the many examples I can bring to mind is that of the English Bulldog scam. I, like most of my Enterprise constituents, had our email addresses listed prominently on the website. Being a popular online destination, enjoying high Google search engine dominance, Enterprise employees are inundated with high-quality junk mail everyday.

You may ask yourself why a company of such magnitude (it is a Hearst corporation company) would fail at filtering crap emails, and I would say that they did seem to manage to catch the majority of porn. I simply received offers to enlarge my manhood, apply for lucrative sales jobs, can receive a windfall from a Nigerian diplomat, and interesting classified ads. Among these was an ad requesting to place a classified ad for an adorable English Bulldog puppy.

The email supplied only a name (presumably fake), email address (which the 'respond to' address and the 'classified contact' email address were never the same), and puppy descriptions. Look it up.

My point is simply this.

Recently, I have moved into the online world as has my roommate. I am quite aware that several sites may make my phone number (such as a website address registering site like available because it is public information.

I have been receiving strange phone calls from "telemarketing" firms with recorded messages, blocked phone numbers, and/or nonreturnable phone numbers (faked). I am under the understanding that it is possible to display a fake phone number to caller ID systems so the caller is led to believe the call originates from a particular region in the U.S. (This may be possible in other countries but I live in a bubble.... not literally, though). With a system setup like this, the caller could be ANYWHERE there is a high-speed connection (and the U.S. DOES NOT have the fastest internet connection) and can call both home AND cell! Freaky, huh?

The benefit of doing something like this would quite obviously to lead unsuspecting people to give out their personal information to a supposed "trusted" source. Instead of an obvious con, I believe, it must be quite easier to get financial information from someone for a product or service than it would be using the 'now old' Nigerian diplomat money transfer scam.'veReceivedaNigerianLetter-WhatDo-I-Do.htm

Criminals are patient people. The really smart ones realize they may need days, weeks, months, or even years to successfully pull off a grand scam. Working telemarketers may not even know they are being used as pawns to obtain sensitive information like address, phone numbers, and credit card numbers. To what ends they can use this information, I'm unsure of. All I know is that in the wrong hands, this information can be quite lucrative.

The thing that worries me the most is that in the world of an almost global economy, it will continually seem easier to pretend to be someone from somewhere else residing somewhere new that no one knows. I hope that makes sense.

In closing, be vigilant in all you do. The mail can be exploited. Our phone lines are not perfect and are only as good as the flow of data they receive. In this millennium, con artist don't even need to go through your garbage. They can just give you a call and be as friendly as possible. "Thank you very much for your order, and you should be receiving it soon." And then you wonder why the number they called you from says 'This number does not exist. Try your call again,' when you try and redial it.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cop On The Web

Cheesy? Yeah, I know. Despite being tied to the bathroom all day with a digestional issue, I still had to write about this.

I know we as Americans really like to voice our opinions. It is, after all, one of the best freedoms we have. No matter what you think of America as a whole, the president, or anything else you care to gripe about, our freedom of speech is a powerful tool.

In communist China, this freedom continues to elude them. It is totally amazing that a contingent of people such as theirs with their intelligence fails to realize the power they have as a people. Our country did that hundreds of years ago. Man should be ruled only by himself and God. Man has the right to make laws, but these should never be an absolute. Even Christianity itself is distorted because of the views of men that have infiltrated it. But, I digress.

Beijing police recently announced plans to remind citizens that they are actively patrolling the web to catch anyone engaged in civil disobedience (my words, not theirs. They actually state the alerts "remind them that authorities closely monitor Web activity."). The way they plan to do this is by having cute little police men and women avatars randomly (every 30 minutes, according to the report) scroll across user's screens in a car, on bike, or on foot and remind them they are being watched & monitored!

Scary stuff, huh? Looks like Big Brother has REALLY happened in China. Let's make sure it never happens here. I'll DEFINATELY be in jail. I just can't keep my big mouth shut!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Put Down That Soda & LOSE WEIGHT!

Apparently, scientists have now discovered what millions of thin people already know.... It seems that sodas can make you fat! Who knew?

Well, I did. I've been telling people that for years. There is a reason I drink water, lemon sweetened tea, or 100% juice. I don't want to be fat.

I don't care what your momma done tole you. I don't care what advertisers want you to think. Fat IS NOT SEXY!

Don't you find it kind of strange when they show those weight loss commercials and the customer goes from an overweight, out-of-shape, can't climb two flights of stairs without sweating profusely tub-of-lard to a svelte, toned, hard-bodied beauty? I don't. In shape is SEXY!

Overeating is not a disease. Its a lack of self-control. Eating too many sugary things is not good for your body or your teeth. Change your diet today, and perhaps you won't have to have a limb amputated and be confined to a motorized wheelchair when you get older because you caused yourself to have diabetes.

Remember, proteins like steak, chicken & pork turn into muscle. Soft squishy things like cupcakes and sugary drinks turns you into the blob (see below). Do the right thing. Put down the Twinky.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Let Me Talk To A PERSON!!!

Are you tired of the ENDLESS phone tree systems that seem only designed to waste your time keeping you from talking to a real live person?

I know I am!

There's good news on the horizon!

Someone with more time to waste than you, has put together a list (that MAY or MAY NOT be correct) of the numbers you will have to press just to be able to speak to a live person.

You know how sometimes those phone trees like to tell you, "Please listen carefully, as our menu options have changed." ? It's probably because of websites like this.

I hope the numbers work for you. I don't know how long its been since this list was updated. The website itself, also lets readers rate individual companies, although I'm not sure how well this feature works or what in particular you are rating. You may never use it, but now at least you know!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Blob!!!

Science Fiction becomes Science Fact

Okay, so I'm still keeping with the Simpson's thing. Cut me a little slack.

This little tidbit comes to us from the hallowed halls of <<TRUMPETS - da da dah DAHH!>> THE ANNALS OF SCIENCE!

Apparently, those CRAZY scientist are still up to their old tricks. Seems like they're trying to prove that they can create their own "synthetic" life by manipulating genetics sequences to form new organisms that can be used in a unique and different way.

I think I've seen this one...
B movie... remade several times... funny in black & white....

Scary to think we could be on the cusp of.... <<TRUMPETS - da da dah DAHH!>> The BLOB 2.0!

I may just have an overactive imagination, but am I alone when I think this isn't necessarily a good idea. Isn't it kind of cocky to think that if God ain't got it right, that WE CAN?!? WTF!?!?

C'mon people! Just because we CAN, doesn't mean we SHOULD! I CAN shoot someone. SHOULD I?


When that mutant virus created in Wyoming escapes its glass enclosure and starts growing astronomically after it eats a few people, don't come crying to me! I already voiced my opinion on the subject. Doubt it'll do any good, though.

Just like you can't stop people from being a jerk, you can't take away other's rights to screw everything up for the rest of us.

Thanks guys! (that's in advance)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Skater Slam '08!

If you haven't seen this yet, let me prepare you... This is almost a little disturbing. Let me assure you that he does get up and appears to be quite all right.

That said, NEVER try this at home (of course if you can build something this monstrously cool, then ignore my advise).

(Apparently this was removed from YouTube... Sorry... Go find it yourself.)