Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

10/19/2018

Scamming Scammers

Filed under: Fun,Geek Work,The Day Job — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

There’s a special place in hell for scammers that take advantage of the technologically weak.

Okay, yes, in some sense, my entire career is based on being more tech savy than pretty much everyone around me, but I’m pretty open about what I’m doing. Also, I’m actually trying to help and, frankly, it’s what I get paid to do. I mean, I make a deal with someone to actually help them with technology for money. What I don’t do is create a problem before I help solve it. That is both unethical and, for the most part, illegal.
Two plus years ago, when I was looking for work, I actually got a call from someone claiming to be from the “Windows department” and trying to convince me that I needed to let them on my computer so they could fix a Windows problem for me. I’m afraid that my twenty-five year and change of IT experience and having to fix the problems caused by these bastards led me to really hammer this scammer hard. I mean, to the point of calling him back and literally yelling at him over the phone about how he was a terrible human-being for trying to take advantage of people who are afraid of technology on which they rely. And, my own mother, who is in the scammer’s favorite category; older, retired, and with at least some disposable income, has stories of dealing with scammers like this trying to get her to give up her credit card information. Thankfully, I’ve trained her better than that and she didn’t fall for it.

Now, I know that these scammers aren’t limited to tech-related issues. They’ll come at you trying to convince you that they have cheaper airfare for you, or some other “too good to be true” deal. My mother and I have both been know to play with scammers like this, I suppose because we have a similar sense of both humor and justice. But, guess what? There are people who have elevated this to a real art. Or, maybe a sport. In any case, they’re brilliant and some of them have recorded their exploits for our entertainment. You can finally see and hear some of these scum-sucking bottom-feeding scammers get what’s coming to them at the hands of some scam-baiting artists over at Engadget’s blog post Making A Living Scamming The Scammers. Some of these go on for quite a bit, but it’s terribly fun to watch these scam-baiters messing around with terrible, heartless scammers.
Besides, how are you going to waste time on a Friday?

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

7/27/2018

Making Neon Signs

Filed under: Art,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

As promised, I’ve got fun videos for you this week.

I’ve always loved those “how did they make that?” shows and videos. Even the most mundane things in our modern world can seem miraculous when you can see the incredible way that they’re made. As a survivor of a Marketing education, I am still interested in advertising and signage. And, in my opinion, the most magical signage is still the venerable neon sign. Even in science-fiction movies, like Blade Runner, neon signs still show up to give us that sense of gritty reality and solid commerce that underlies whatever environment they inhabit. All of which is preface to say, “Hey, look! Cool videos about how neon signs are made!”.
The link I’m sharing is to the blog post Watch this short film on the art of making neon signs on Boing Boing. But, don’t be fooled, there’s more there than one short film. And, more than that, all the films of artisans creating the most amazing and gorgeous neon artwork are fascinating to watch. At least, they were to me.
I hope you enjoy them!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

7/20/2018

The Greatest Time To Be Alive

Filed under: Fun,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

In many ways, the world is actually improving.

I know this isn’t my usual Friday Fun Link fare, but, frankly, with terribly depressing news media and the horrible sense of that everything good is long behind us, not to mention the dumpster fire that is U.S. politics these days, it just seemed like maybe it was time to share something that was more positive. Sure, I could have given you another simple distraction, like videos about chocolate production or the fascinating science behind flatulence, but it seemed like maybe sharing some good things that are a bit more meaningful was appropriate this week. So, here are just five ways that the world is actually showing some improvement.

1. Over the last 20 years, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has almost been cut in half.

2. The share of homes that had electricity in 1870 was exactly zero. Today the proportion of people with electricity is 85%.  I, personally, have known two people who were born before electricity in homes was normal or common and they both said it was life-changing in ways we can’t imagine.

3. In 1800, among all babies who were ever born, roughly half died during their childhood. Life expectancy was just 30 years and no country had a life expectancy above 40. Life expectancy at birth was only 45 years in 1870. The average life expectancy around the world today is 72.

4. The violent crime rate has been on a downward trend since 1990 in the U.S. Just under 14.5 million crimes were reported in 1990. By 2016 that figure was well under 9.5 million.

5. Retirement is still is a relatively new concept. In the past most people simply worked until they died. In the year 1870, for those who lived past age 65, the labor force participation ratio for males was close to 90%. Today it’s less than 20%.

You can read 45 more ways the world is getting better at the same place I got these; 50 Ways the World Is Getting Better, by Ben Carlson.
So, this weekend, when someone starts in on how terrible things are in the world, remind them that, actually, things have gotten better in the last 100 years or so.
Next week? Back to the videos.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

7/6/2018

Industrial Accident Game

Filed under: Art,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Industrial accidents are no joke, but they can be a fun theme for a game.

At least, I recently played a game on the web about an industrial accident that was, in fact fun.
The game was called, not surprisingly, Industrial Accident. The setting is an automated factory, where you play an artificial intelligence worker who experiences a little difficulty. And, it’s best if I don’t say any more, because it might spoil the fun. Seriously, I know it just seems like I’m being a lazy blogger during a holiday week, but knowing no more than what I’ve told you will make the game a bit more fun.
Also, keep in mind that it’s free and a pretty short game, so, even if you have a lot of work due to the short week, you have more than enough time to play.

Enjoy! And, help keep the workplace safe from malfunctioning AI!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

4/10/2015

Fast Workouts

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Fun,Life Goals,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, seriously, modern science has given us a workout that can be done in 7 minutes.

Loyal readers will know that my weight has gone up and down several times over the years.  The heaviest I ever remember being is 238, which was just before I lost my job in 2001 and ended up being out of work for a year.  I took the weight off pretty quickly then, which was made easier by stress and fear and the occasional lack…
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Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate."
   --Thomas Jones


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