Facebook: Fail times 1 million

Seeing that I am about one of about 10 people in the world left without a Facebook account, I’ve done a bit of investigation into the site and found out that there are some major faults with the site, and they have to do with their "recommendations" on how to keep safe.

If you want to play along, their page on safety is here – http://www.facebook.com/safety/

Anyway, they give you these "important safety tips" when using the site, 4 of them make sense, but the fifth one, in bold, makes absolutely no sense if you think about it:

  • Never share your password with anyone
  • Adjust your privacy settings to match your level of comfort, and review them often
  • Be cautious about posting and sharing personal information, especially information that could be used to identify you or locate you offline, such as your address or telephone number
  • Report users and content that violate our Terms of Use
  • Block and report anyone that sends you unwanted or inappropriate communications

Yep, I can totally understand not posting your address and telephone number on the public web, but they say to be cautious about posting information that could locate you offline…so, doesn’t that include one thing that would automatically identify you offline: YOUR NAME?!?!?!?!

Seriously, I can’t think of anything that can’t identify you faster offline than your own bloody name. So, wouldn’t the logical step be to sign up using an alias. Yep, that would be a smart move, but they’ve also put a major FAIL sign on that:

Remember that…using fake names is a violation of the Facebook Terms of Use

So, you can’t use an alias then, can you? However, I guess it keeps someone busy, having to report all of those fake names out there, and deleting their accounts.

Maybe I should stick to just watching random videos of soccer fans singing:

Cash Gifting – If it’s too good to be true

…it probably is. Cash gifting certainly sounds like a scam. I was perusing YouTube’s most viewed videos today in the Howto & Style category, I came across the one that is now 5th most popular, “are your ready to make 10k in the next 4 weeks”, where a gentleman goes on extolling the virtues of this program where you can get money every day. Of course, missing are the details on what you’ve got to do, and everything.

However, there’s the related videos section to save us from insanity, and one of them happens to be this one, with a guy opening a Purolator courier envelope with a magazine and envelope enclosed inside of the magazine. This should be your first warning sign glowing right at you – if you have to hide what you’re sending, there’s probably something shady about it.

Inside this envelope are two things – a “gifting” form, along with a “non-solicitation” form, which, as far as I can tell, is a form that says that you weren’t solicited in any way to send this gift. Basically, it’s a form wherein you lie to someone and say that the ad you responded to wasn’t a solicitation. Yeah. Right.

A couple of years ago, working on some tips about there being a lot of scammers on Craigslist who are willing to give fake people fake jobs, I started coming across all of these ads claiming that you’ll get “Huge Profits Instantly Within Hours.” So, being naturally suspicious, I replied to one, and got an email back from the person who took out the ad with a phone number.

Fortunately, at that time, Skype had free calling to the USA and Canada, so I called him up, and was redirected to this phone call that went on for 30 minutes explaining how just a simple “cash pledge” would lead me to earning tens of thousands of dollars, just off of other people sending their first customers’ money to me. Funnily enough, the diagram that I drew out looked like…hold your hats, y’all…a pyramid!

Hands up if you’re shocked at that – I see none…good πŸ˜‰

Anyway, this brings me back to YouTube’s videos – there are slews of videos out there now with people opening up FedEx and UPS envelopes with hundreds or thousands of dollars sent to them by complete strangers. This should be another huge red flag.

What possesses someone to send money to a complete stranger in the hope that maybe they’ll receive a whole lot of money in a short amount of time?

This cash gifting deal, if you ask me, is nothing more than an elaborate scheme to take money from people who are at a great disadvantage (i.e. someone who isn’t in a job and needs the cash) and send it to someone who, at least according to one video, is able to buy a full-HD TV, a Lexus and a house.

I have some questions for those of you who may be familiar with this scheme of cash gifting (also known as a 1up system, cash cash 365, and a whole lot of other names). I’d love it if you would be willing to do an interview which I’d publish (in text) here – all you have to do is drop me a line either in the comments or in the contact form.

In other words, I’m asking you to open up and explain to my why this isn’t a scam, and why you got involved, and some other things that came to my mind when I watched these videos (from all around the world).

If you want to read more information that sheds some light into this idea, check out this article from MarketWatch, about the ‘gifting’ scheme only Ponzi could love.

Some Baseball Randomness

I’ve been doing a bit of waxing nostaligic by watching some old 8mm video tapes. Well, they’re not old, but they are from the past – 2000 to 2003 to be specific – the time I was leaving high school and going to college (in fact, some of the videos are from we were driving back from school after orientation and after my freshman year). The videos were interesting, and in one, there was talk about the Brewers.

At that time, we were still in the dregs of the seemingly never-ending streak of losing seasons (which technically ended 3 years ago with a .500 season, and was definitely done last year, with a second-place finish in the division), with the little-known Jerry Royster as the manager at the time, and with the Commissioner of baseball, Allen H. (Bud) Selig (owner of a car dealership on the side), still in charge of the club. For some reason (likely the static we were getting from the electric wires on the side of the road), we decided to flip away from the baseball to listen to music.

Now? We’d likely have stuck around and listened to the game, as it’s always fun to listen to baseball on the radio. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, this season is off to a good start for the Crew, with two wins from the first series against the Cubs, and opening day set to go off tomorrow (I’d tried getting tickets to the game and a pre-game party from a radio station, but I kept getting busy signals, so I’ve chosen to volunteer as an alternative πŸ™‚ )

As far as a prediction, I think the Brewers will get into the playoffs this year, and are likely candidates for winning the Central division this year. However, if you are to believe reports, this is likely to be Ben Sheets’ last year with the team. He took the US to gold in Sydney; can he do the same for the Brewers this year?

So, continuing on the theme of baseball, here are a couple of videos (one of which is actually from wrestling, but it’s hilarious) to honor the beginning of the season. A word of warning to Aussies, the video featuring Harry Caray uses the word root in the sporting sense. Y’know, just so you know. πŸ˜‰

The first video is of Bob Uecker at WrestleMania 4, trying to find Vanna White, but finding someone else…

This second video is a montage of Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, as was his custom (continued now by the Cubs with different celebrites every day). One thing to note is the “Real Jimmy Piersall Fan Club”. What happened to regular characters in this world? πŸ™‚ Hit it, Nancy!

You Call that a Car?

Well, here’s a shock; I got lost in the temporal vortex that is YouTube once again. It all starts with me trying to dig up a video that I’d lost due to an account being suspended, and it wound up leading me to going through my favorites list, and landing on, after some other clicking through videos (including finding out that GSN actually were allowed to air an episode of Wheel of Fortune with Chuck Woolery!), this video from The Price is Right, featuring an interesting vehicle –

According to Johnny O, the car is a Zoll Zipper – one seat, three wheels, and according to the comments, able to go 45mph with a fuel economy of 112MPG (about 2.1L/100km – btw that is one of the few things I still use Google for, quick conversions; you don’t even need to hit enter, just use Google, type in the equation you’re looking for – in this case 112 mpg in l/100km, and in suggestions, you get =2.100…L/100km). Speaking of that conversion, why is it that fuel economy in Metric countries is measured as a function of volume per fixed distance, while in the countries that still use miles (US, UK, and a couple others), it’s computed as a function of distance per fixed volume?

By the way, I’m using this post to do a test of posting using an offline editor – one that I’ll be discussing in the next copule of days. It’s a small program that uses (I would guess) a lot less system resources than Windows Live Writer. What is it? You’ll just have to tune in later and find out! πŸ˜‰

Just editing to add that this worked out perfectly, and this will be an excellent solution to someone who might not have fulltime access to the Internet (or someone, like me, who needs to turn the Internet off from time to time in order to focus! πŸ™‚ )

The end of summer and an era

Today marks the end of one season, and the end of three distinct, yet very accomplished careers. One of those careers will be known to almost all in the US, but the other two will likely be completely unknown unless you follow that particular sport.

The first is the announcement that Brett Favre is going to hang up his pads and jersey and head off on his tractor into the Mississippi sunset. Of course, that means that all the local TV channels are in full-blown breaking news mode, and have been for about an hour as I write this (though channel 58 – not surprisingly, I may add – only went into breaking news at about 9.20). In fact, since I have a TV card, here is what the TV stations are showing, in single shot per station mode, between 9 and 9.20 or so:

Montage of TV stations. Yellow border’s lovely, ain’t it? ;)

It’s also hilarious to see who all the news channels can dig out of the framework to interview – so far, I’ve heard interviews with reporters from the Biloxi Sun-Herald, a TV station in New Orleans, three radio commentators (two current, and one former ALL the way from California), even the owner of a collectible shop. So far, I think channel 12 is winning this battle with having his brother on the phone. Scratch that – channel 4 have his bro on the phone now…but 12 is the first to have someone live out in front of a stadium…the baseball stadium…

You know what? I’m hearing everyone on all the stations, because now the former commentator calling ALL the way from California is on channel 6. By the way, of course, you can weigh in on it –

Channel 4 wants your comments

However, let’s move on from this news (which accidently was released by the team website last week, but discounted as an error), and move onto news that already happened today. About 3 hours before the news broke about Brett retiring, I heard the end of the international cricket season in Australia live as it happened in Brisbane, with the Aussies trying to recover the Commonwealth Bank series from the Indians, only to be bowled out 9 runs short. With the wicket of James Hopes falling, that marked the end of the international careers of two outstanding cricketers – Adam Craig Gilchrist and George Bradley Hogg. Gilly will be going on to continue that great tradition of former international cricketers going on to make a name for themselves on the TV by signing on with Channel 9 to be a part of their rejuvinated Wide World of Sports programs, starting at the end of this month. Maybe next year, he’ll be seated next to Tony Grieg and Bill Lawry and trading barbs during a test match. πŸ˜‰

Actually, these retirements in the Aussie cricket team made me realize something about Brett’s retirement – I think this is the perfect time for him to go because the majority of people are thinking why is he going now, instead of going for even one more year and then having everyone wondering why he didn’t retire earlier. I also can appreciate how he can just say, yep, I’m ready to retire, because it’s something I’ve heard from a lot of these fellas who have retired from test cricket over the last couple of years.

Of course, this also marked the end of the 2007-08 international cricket season for the Australians, which means that this was the last day of the season of ABC radio cricket broadcasts. In a way, it’s like the end of baseball season, with the familiar voices going away, but just until next year – and you’ll still hear them through the winter because cricket commentators tend to pop up in the most unlikely places – and not unlikely places such as calling AFL games. Naturally, as it is with baseball commentators, there are the fellas who you take a liking to – for me, my favorite combination in the booth this summer has been Kerry O’Keeffe (ABC Bio) and Harsha Bhogle, though really Kerry with anyone is a great combination because he is quite the natural comedian.

The biggest thing I like about Harsha is that he always has that grin on his face, because he is (as was noted by Kerry a couple of days ago) always happy and upbeat. Also, it’s fun to listen to a different accent to ones that you are accustomed to hearing. Although a lot of the commentary was filled with laughter, you can always walk away having learnt something about the game, or about culture in general. πŸ™‚

The last match of the season wasn’t without its own action – Roy got into the action, literally by handling a streaker on his own –

With the cricket season done in Australia, that brings the rest of the international calendar – the tour to Pakistan, which looks like it will be cancelled in the end (a poor decision if you ask me – yes, there is terrorist problems in Pakistan, but remember that this is a high security thing featuring people who are admired – plus, of course, the Ashes went on after the 7/7 bombings). After that is the trip to the Carribean for a shortened test series against the Windies for the Frank Worrell Trophy. You would expect that with the poor form of the West Indies, the Aussies should be able to retain the trophy easily. After that, it’s a chance to reconnect with the ABC Cricket team as Bangladesh comes into Australia for a two-test Winter series up in Cairns and Darwin, then it’s time for the return series in India, which brings us full-circle to the start of the 2008-09 season.

However, the prospect of seeing or hearing international cricket doesn’t end with the end of the Aussie season – there’s the Test series starting up between England and New Zealand in a couple of days’ time, and I believe that those broadcasts are on Radio Sport, which has commercials, but that’s OK with me, at least I can get that, unlike Test Match Special which restricts their broadcasts to UK only. Then, we get into the English summer when New Zealand and South Africa come in for a total of 7 tests, 10 ODIs and 2 T20s, which should be available through TMS (of course, there’s also podcasts to keep track if all else fails – I do need something to listen to on the way home at night πŸ˜‰ and if I get really desperate, I can always listen to the whole summer of cricket again).

Just real quickly, I want to just give my thanks to the folks at the ABC for providing entertainment through a really cold winter, and I look forward to being able to do it again next year – I’m guessing with Bryan Waddle hopping into the commentator’s chair to fill the third slot alongside Glenn Mitchell (a/k/a Mr. Karen Tighe) and Jim Maxwell, and then possibly Neil Manthorp for the second part of the season? And, of course, all led by Princess Grace. πŸ˜‰

By the way, in the time that I’ve been writing this (I had to take a break to attend to something else), two channels have come to their senses and left the reporting for this go until at last 3 pm, but channels 4 and 6 are still in full-blown coverage mode. At least 4 is supposed to have news right now. Also, both ESPN and ESPN2 are covering the story. I’m guessing ESPNews has coverage of their own as well, but I don’t get that channel…and now at 1.30pm, only channel 6 is left (for now, but 4 is coming back at 2), and they’re showing a special from NFL films or something….

Like was said elsewhere – Brett Favre retires – no other news shall be covered for at least 36 hours