Wednesday, February 04, 2009

These are the guys preventing identity theft?

My bank apparently sent me an e-mail advertising identity theft insurance. It contained a link to log in to my account on the web site (which brings up the main login page). I sent them this reply.

Please see the e-mail below which I received from a phishing con artist, trying to harvest my bank account number and password. The e-mail contains a link to a page which appears to allow me to log in to my bank account. Undoubtedly this link leads to a spoofed web site which will take my log in and password information and then use it to steal money from my account.

Thankfully, I have learned over the years to never click on such a link, as legitimate organizations would never send out unsolicited e-mails asking clueless users to log on to their site using a link. It is so easy to spoof a web page and even the link that is displayed in the address bar (not that your average user pays attention to that anyway). I thought it was a particularly nice touch on the part of these crooks that the e-mail supposedly comes from the identity theft department. Surely anyone who works in identity theft prevention would have more sense than to encourage users to click on login links in unsolicited e-mails.

Thank you for taking care of this matter. I hope you catch the guys who sent this e-mail. They should be shot!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Won't be fooled again

I was duped. I saw the e-mail, the enticing headline. The words "Kerry" and "tasered" in the same sentence got my hopes up for a second. And then I clicked on the link. I watched the video, helping to contribute to the number of views it received, launching it into the upper echelons of YouTube stardom. It would appear that YouTube stardom was exactly what Andrew Meyer was hoping for.

This guy seems to have made a career of sorts out of heckling celebrities. Read on his web sit about how he heckled Ken Griffey Jr. I mean, who heckles Ken Griffey Jr?

Anyway, if you read the police report, some interesting details resolve. Like the fact that once he was in the squad car out of view of the cameras, he started laughing and joking around. Or the fact that before the video started, they announced that the question and answer period was over and he pushed his way up to the mic and started making such an ass out of himself that they decided to let him speak.

Then there's the little details that nevertheless speak volumes about the guy. Like the fact that he didn't have his wallet or driver's license on him, but he had business cards with his picture on them and the URL of his web site "". Or the fact that it appears that he was begging to be arrested. He had already started shouting "These officers are going to arrest me" long before any of them made any move. And of course, the video? It came from his camera that he handed to a girl he met so that she could tape the whole thing.

Interestingly, the man who pulled the plug on his mic and told the cops to remove him was the organizer of the event, Accent Director, Max Tyroler. Now I don't know what the political affiliation of this Accent group actually is, but I'm guessing that it wasn't the campus Republicans who invited Kerry to speak.

So the guy wanted to make a huge stink, wanted to get the video up on YouTube, probably wanted to get arrested. I don't think that he was counting on getting tasered but after he forced all of those people who wanted to hear a serious political discussion to sit through his tirade he probably deserved it. Maybe tasering was a bit much. But a good old fashioned MoB beat down was definitely in order. Oh, no, wait, that's worse.

The big question is why did he do it? Just a tragic cry for attention? Maybe he thought it would be funny? Here's a theory. Could this have been part of a viral media campaign to promote the book "Armed Madhouse"? Palast responded to the event almost immediately with an e-mail which used the incident to promote his book. Naw, he couldn't be that clever could he? Then again does anybody know what Rove's been up to lately?

So I feel like I've been hoodwinked, snookered, bamboozled, used. This guy wanted my attention and he was willing to manufacture an incident in order to get it. It's kind of like one of those ads that say "A virus was detected on your computer. Click here to remove it." I should have realized it was a sham, but he got me.


Monday, August 27, 2007

It sounds so simple when you put it that way

Scott Ott's summary of the Gonzales scandal puts the whole thing into perspective.

Mr. Gonzales, who has devoted the last year to fending off allegations that he fired eight political appointees for political reasons
I know that there are people who will think it's just a joke. Well, come to think of it the whole thing is just a joke. It's remarkable, really, how many people don't seem to get it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What's Andrew been up to lately?

I used to read Andrew Sullivan regularly, but I lost interest around the time he took his rather hysterical turn against the war in Iraq. Today I ran across his site by chance and decided to check back in just for fun.

Well, it was more fun than I expected. I really should start reading him again. Apparently he's given up on opinion blogging and has instead devoted himself to making fun of Andrew Sullivan.

Two recent entries stand out. In this one, he takes Victor Davis Hanson to task for changing his mind about the war! Another post links to spoof site which is part of a viral marketing campaign for the movie Shoot 'Em Up. "Not a joke, apparently." I guess the joke is on Andrew Sullivan critics who tar the man as gullible.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Oppressive British Laws

Holy crow! That must be some oppressive law they got there in Britain. I mean these women don't even blink an eye at religious laws requiring that they swaddle themselves tip to toe in heavy brown sheets leaving only tiny slits from which they can peer out upon the world. What law could possibly be so oppressive that it actually has their dander up?

Friday, June 08, 2007

MICHAEL S. MALONE writes an interesting article on working from home.

As a post-doc I worked from home on Fridays. I had a newborn son and thought that this would be a great opportunity for me to spend some more time at home with my family. It turned out that while I thought I was getting Fridays at home what really happened was my employers were now getting Saturdays and Sundays from me.

Now that is the kind of dedication and work load that is expected of post-doctoral fellows so I didn't grumble too much. But it did make me aware of the trade offs.

My current workplace does not support working from home and I have been reticent to push the issue for this reason.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Happiest Place on Earth

James Lileks is writing about Disney World. He took a trip there recently. As it turns out, this is exactly the sort of thing to revive me from my recent slumber. It just happens that I am a big Disney fan. Although living in Southern California, I'm a little bit of a Disney purist. I mean seriously, Disney Land is so much more authentic than Disney World. Right??? Right??!!

We are on the rotation plan. Disney Land season passes every other year. Why? Well the inner scrooge McDuck in me won't let me go to an amusement park in Southern California without season passes. Seriously, I am such a miser that even my kids start to complain. "Disneyland again? We just went there last Thursday." "Shut up wastrels. We are approaching the point where we have paid for the season passes 20 times over. It's a land mark. It's as close to Nirvana as I can come." Excuse me while I clean up the mess. And we do it every other year so that we can stagger the dates by a few months each year, slowly progressing around the calendar. 12 months on, 15 months off. Eventually we wind up saving a whole years worth of seasons passes over the course of 8 years. Right? Right??!! Well in any case I know it's right because my son and I calculated it out one evening.

But Disney (Land or World) holds a special place in my heart. And this is where I depart from Jim. He seems to hate the crowds. I on the other hand love the crowds. I see the crowds as another opportunity to exert my Disney superiority. Crowds put extra pressure on the fanatic to squeeze every last ounce out of the Disney experience. If this means switching over from Disneyland to California Adventure at 1:00 because that is when the crowds in Disneyland become unbearable, then so be it. If this means knowing the perfect spot to view the parade, even if you don't get there until 5 minutes before it begins, then that's my specialty. But my biggest ace in the hole? The one thing that I can hold over all others is...

My kids are weird. Seriously, they don't like the same things that most kids do. So when all the other kids are rushing off to Indiana Jones and the Haunted Mansion, mine are perfectly happy to spend the afternoon on Tom Sawyer Island. While others are waiting in 3 hour long lines to catch a fleeting glimpse of Captain Jack Sparrow, we are having in depth, philosophical discussions with Huck Finn, or laughing at Billy Hill in the Golden Horseshoe. They have off beat tastes and that means that even when the lines are long, we can always find something that we love to do.

And I guess somewhere inside there is a lesson for life. Lighten up a little. Sit back and enjoy the little patch of the universe you currently occupy. I'm sure the Hiltons wouldn't approve, but at least that's the way I see it.