Sunday, October 23, 2011

SCAM, SCAM and more SCAMs

With the increase of technology/sharing of information is is even easier to SCAM someone. No matter how smart you think you are, there may be weaknesses that even you may fall for on your best day.

Yes, even I was approached by someone that wanted to buy my house. For someone to contact me via email about this was unheard of in the real world in 2007 (that was my first hint).

Criminals can gather all kinds of information and details - photos, addresses, names of family members, names and addresses of neighbors (past and present), current location of relatives, and more - via the internet.

They may say that they are a family member, even sound like them, or send photos of actual family members. Be sure to verify as many details as possible, and verify with others(if possible) before making a quick decision.

In these situations - you are the weakest link. Questions are your weapons. Get all the details you can - and write them down. Get the number to call them back - or have them hold for however long you need, review the details, discuss with others, then make a decision.

Don't panic. Don't act quickly - unless you can confirm that you know the person. One of the best things you can do in any situation is ask questions. Dont be afraid to look dumb, in fact - that may be one of the best things to think about. Maybe even pretend to be hard of hearing. Ask the most basic questions - Can you repeat that please? Can you spell that for me? What is the address? Who am I speaking to again? Can you spell your name?

Always ask questions. Get more information. The more information you have will help determine whether or not the information being presented may be false.

There is no protection when using Western Union, you have to protect yourself.

Research the internet for similar scams or be aware of the various scams:

>> Call for help turns out to be a scam
>> "It's Me!"- Relative in Distress, Grandchild in Trouble, Seeking Emergency Bail Money
>> Woman loses $2,000 to Facebook scam
>> Several Recent Telephone Money Scams Affect Local Residents
>> Understanding Payment/Package Processing Scams
>> Fake Lottery winning, AFF 4-1-9
>> Good general info on a range of scams

Thursday, June 09, 2011


What I see next on the horizon is pay per use services. I think we are already down that path but I think the pricing structure will continue to get even smaller. Whether that is a pay per phonecall, pay per 15mins of internet usage, or pay per half hour to use applications.

I know that some of us can remember the convenience of pay phones. Phone booths that were located at almost every gas station, diner, restaurant and more. That device may be almost absent from todays landscape, but its concept of pay per phonecall may be what we are returning to.

Technology is making services cheaper to provide. Which may also lead us towards the end of the TV format as we know it. I would say less than 5 years left on its lifespan. Various web services are now integrated into the TV(if you still want to call it that), or provided via XBOX or similar device.
I see the push of LIVE TV programming of sports games and American Idol as the marketing of that content with an illusion of an expiration date or happen to be more relevant closer to the original broadcast date. However, content is only as popular as we make it - as we vote/choose with our money.

Could wifi routers, cellphone become part of the network (the repeaters) and share the connection? And would that make for better coverage?

>>TV or Web Video? Now, Finally, We’re Starting To Choose

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

baby steps... (for ideas/plans)

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase. - Martin Luther King Jr.

I stumbled across this website this morning, and it got me thinking further.
I have been daydreaming about taking one of my ideas and running with it. And Im sure that many others have a similar feeling. 

There's also a new website that potentially takes your idea, and turns it into reality:
I've already commented on an idea here. Whats weird is that there looks to be 2 versions of the website? There looks to be a hot or not version of idea ranking, then there is a forum version via Im confused...

>>From the SocialBeat article:
The money made from the product or licensing deal is then split among Ahhha users based on a set terms. The idea originator gets 1 percent, then the remaining 99 percent is divided among Ahhha and the other contributors, depending on how much the users actually did.
Of course, 1 percent of a licensing deal might seem like an awfully small payment for your idea, but founder and chief executive Matthew Crowe likes to repeat the common Silicon Valley wisdom that ideas are cheap, while execution is what counts. Or, as Thomas Edison put it, genius is “1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” After all, 1 percent of a real product is better than 100 percent of a daydream that doesn’t go anywhere.

FYI - My current side projects are tinkering with a rain barrel system, and researching wind generators.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

iPhone 4.2.1 jailbreak, unlock, apps, accessories

At around $130 (used), I still think the iphone 3G may be the best phone on the market for the money. I have been using it for $15 a month, unlimited texting only (I can make/receive calls for 10¢ min), no contract with T-Mobile for over 6 months now. However, you can easily do that with an AT&T go phone SIM, or Simple Mobile to help keep costs per month, much lower than the average iphone user ($90 month?!?).
I recommend the Otterbox case for the clumsy folks (bulky but best protection Ive seen). My favorite is the rubberized slim Speck case. But I think both of those are way to expensive. Im currently using a $4 hard shell candy case from Amazon.
>>DreamBoard: Advanced Theming Platform For iOS Devices
>>Battery Issues? : 01 | 02 | 03 (4.2.1)

>>AppSync: backup cracked apps
>>AptBackup: for cydia apps
>>AppBackup: for apps settings

I am curious about testing/getting a decent android phone, but I dont know if I could get one for as low as $130. What are your recommended apps?

Monday, March 21, 2011

KILL the Commercial. Embrace embedded Advertising.

Im actually surprised that there are still so many commercials intertwined with tv programming. I wouldve thought that they would taken a cue from the internet, and that the advertising and sponsors are positioned on the edges of the content (around the for the most part). Some blogs are taking it a step further in incorporating the product/service into the article - which may be the best place for it.
I think that advertisers need to work towards incorporating their products/services deeper into the actual program. It could show the value of their product/service in relation to the content being presented. It could also educate the consumer ways to use the product.
Im currently watching an episode of Man VS Wild, and I can totally see the opportunity for various sponsors: he often uses a knife, rope, backpack, clothing (shoes, outfit), fire starter. But I can envision a quick shot of him saying a couple of things while he is: putting on his NORTHFACE shirt/pants, backpack, REI socks, NIKE boots, getting on a plane to the country on DELTA AIRLINES, BP fuel truck in background, eating some CLIF BARS, getting a shot/physical/blood pressure measurement with KAISER PERMANENTE logo in the background, putting on OAKLEY shades, taken to the location via a new JEEP, closeup of MICHELIN tires, as he gets out and begins his adventure.
What advertisers need to understand is, that people do not like commercials for the most part, whether its on TV or Radio, or in the videos that we watch on YOUTUBE

Friday, March 18, 2011

NEED A JOB? Or - where do we go from here

A friend of mine in the graphics field (same as me) recently got laid off from his job of 10 years. This was my email response back to him:

First off, I do think its a good idea to take some time, get some exercise and fresh air, and think hard about what you want to do next. However, do try and use the time wisely, because friends and family may watch you more closely and be more quick to judge you when you are not part of "the system". Its also a really good idea to try to do all the chores/menial tasks that you can to help around the house to help others that are still "doing the daily". It may also make them long for those days when you didnt have a job and were helping out so much.

Lots of people are using LinkedIN to find new jobs/opportunities. I think that is a great way to help put the word out on the street that you are looking for a new direction, and show your skillset. PLAXO is another (similar to LinkedIN)
I would also create a note on facebook and put all that info in it to - to help get the word out. I think reaching out to your friends first can really help "spread the net" for you to catch your next job.

Here is my online resume - makes it easy for me to update and keep track of.
Here is my Google Profile. Has a lot for others to see more about me.

Also - use this time to really dig deep in what you might be interested in for the next 10 years (in a job). Whether that is starting your own biz, doing some small jobs or - until you get a better grasp on what you want to do.

When I got laid off in June of last year - Joy and I really thought we were going to Costa Rica. And we started working towards that goal. Then my friend Kris Sheets said that he needed help at his company - but it doesnt pay well - $32K. I was burnt out on the graphics thing - and was curious about the technology - so I was working there after a 2 week hiatus. That company got bought by a bigger company and I have been at the new digs since late January (near IBM off Windy Hill). Lots of red tape, so change is slow here and frustrating, and right now Im daydreaming about doing something else, something more worthwhile - or more important. Keeps me going...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

installing/uninstalling games

A friends sons Acer Aspire One Netbook AO532h would boot only to a black screen. And from what I could see, it wasnt the full screen, and all I could access is the web browser. The error on the screen was “Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: system32hal.dll. Please re-install a copy of the above file.”
I think the problem is that some of the games that my buddy Ethan was having trouble with is that the games that he installed, then deleted, may have deleted some components that the system needed.
From where I stood at the time, the best option for me was to create a bootable Windows7 USB and do a clean install. It turned out to be the right choice.

These are some of the links that I looked at for help:

>> Missing system32 dll file

>> BIOS Recovery by Crisis Disk (not an option for me)
>> Acer Support Downloads & Support Documents (didnt see anything to help me with this problem)
>> Acer Aspire One BIOS Recovery (didnt try this)

I have had problems with an Acer product that I bought as a gift for my mom (Acer 24" LCD, Model #X223W Version X223W bd, Serial # ETLAP 08024841057DF4200) but I do think that Acer does have some good products.

Windows HD troubles? Look to LINUX (uBuntu)

I recently found myself trying to find more space on a 20GB HD for a client. The PC was returning "insufficient system resources existing to complete the API. Just did the basics to give it room to breathe, but within several days, it would not get past that error. I went to take a look for myself, and there was nothing I could do. I took the HD home, tried to mount it via USB, but Windows7 said not enough space (to even view files on the HD). Ouch. I had not seen this problem before. There had to be another way. I could see the HD was mounted, but I couldnt think of anything further I could do with it. Then I thought of uBuntu. I had played around with it before and I knew it even worked with corrupted windows HDs in the past. So I booted the CD from 2007 I had of it, and there was the HD. I could easily delete the pagefile sys, movie maker, outlook, frontpage and more. I just hoped that Windows recognized the delete from uBuntu upon trying to mount it on my Windows7 machine again. It did, but I saw that those files were in the trash. I emptied the trash, and the space on the HD was now at approx 15GB! I put it back in their machine and they were back in biz. Just one more reason why LINUX is better than Windows.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

clouds in my head...

Thoughts from 121910
What may not be explained or expressed as clearly or as importantly as it should be is that - how our behavior/decisions/thoughts is the root of the way we have chosen to live our lives, affects the decisions and choices that we are faced with -or have to make.
Maybe the struggle is that is harder to think good thoughts, to be good, to do the right thing -in everything that we do. And that it is easier to be bad.
What is strange to me is how we can trick ourselves into thinking/feeling that being bad - makes us feel good -or happy (the current popularity of reality shows that show humanity in a bad light, and make us feel better). The same can be said for our body, and how it seems to crave or want bad things (after we have had them). Like food that is bad for us (junk food, candy, sodas), alcohol or other drugs, cigarettes, etc?

-the things that we find funny (sarcasm?)
-problems with the paths we have taken, as a society: wiping our butts with trees(toilet paper), and flushing drinkable water down the commode with our excrement, while poorer countries need clean water desperately (we need to work towards sustainability)
-A big factor that can have an affect on us is our environment. Where we live, how rich/poor we percieve ourselves/others around us. And the company we keep, or are surrounded by.
-Writing or saying what I feel to be something important in a way (choosing the right words) that makes it really clear for others isnt easy.

Monday, February 14, 2011

is there a place for a middle man?

Could Google, Apple or some other company negotiate a cheaper per minute call agreement with all/any of the other carriers? That way, no matter what device I had (device independent would be a key feature here), I would have an APP with an account with this new service (no contract?), which would then place the call out via their connections - for the cheapest rate for the dialed #.

See my previous blog post - which lead me into this thought.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

the Battle over your Cellphone

The lines in the WAR over your cellphone are beginning to appear. Nokia has the fear and already chosen a wealthy battle teammate - Microsoft. Googles Android is BFF with almost every carrier. While Facebook does the hokey pokey. But the fan favorite - Apple has just begun to make friends with its second carrier, AT&T and now Verizon. What will they do next to expand their market share even further? My friend Ed brought me to another realization. T-Mobile is ripe for a merger, and who better to do that than Apple?

>> Nokia, Microsoft Must Move Fast to Catch Up to Apple, Android: Analysts

>> Plenty of Sprint + TMobile rumors in the past

>> Apple Working on Cheaper, More Versatile IPhone Models

>> Could Apple Be Your Next Phone Company?

>> iPhone Nano Rumor Reborn: 1/3rd Smaller, Older Components, $200 With No Contract

>> How Apple and Google will kill the password

>> Exclusive Video Of INQ's Facebook Phone

>> Prediction: Apple will be the #1 global smartphone vendor in six months

>> What does a $200 Pay as you go iPhone look like?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Flaming Lips @ The Tabernacle, 5/19/11

Performing their 1999 album, The Soft Bulletin - from start to finish. Thursday, May 19th. $39.50 plus applicable service fees.

This is an all ages, general admission show. Doors open at at 8:00pm.  Tickets on-sale Friday, February 11th and available at all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at (800)745-3000 at the Tabernacle box office on show night or to purchase on-line here.

>> Listen to the album here
>> wikipedia info on the album
>> a review of the album
>> Tabernacle 152 Luckie St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Nexus S SIP Configuration for FreePBX

Android, Droid, Nexus S SIP Configuration
Once installed, make sure NAT = no, IP Configuration = Public IP, and at the bottom of that module add: realm = 

Gingerbread's native SIP client has a strict implementation of digest authentication which is used to authenticate your out bound call. The problem is by default Asterisk (and most likely SIP Sorcery as well) uses the authentication realm of 'asterisk'. Your average client ignores this realm and authenticates against it with whatever credentials you have used.

From one of our customers:
In my case, my extension was but my asterisks realm was 'asterisk' by default. When I changed my realm in Asterisk to '' so it matched my SIP host configuration it all works as expected. Generally the configuration in Asterisk to accomplish this is in sip.conf:

>> wikipedia Nexus S
>> engadget review