Identity and Heart Theft

I read this story  about Albert Lovato, a soldier who was stationed in Afghanistan. While he was away someone stole his identity and catfished women.   A person pretended to be him and had at least 30 women fall in love with him. That person swindled cash out of these women. Using the old trick, “My children are sick and I don’t have enough money.”  Naturally these women wanted to help.

It breaks my heart to know that a person would be that cruel to take advantage of vulnerable women. I does bother me that people are so gullible to trust a blind date. But people are so hungry to have someone they will believe lies. And when people are saying nice things about you, we let our guard down.

So these poor women are in love with him but he never contacted them. They have contacted him now and he can’t bring closure to their lives. Unfortunately their dream man was just a dream and a bad one at that.

Do you know someone who has been taken this way?


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A Montana Hello, and a Mess of Technology

Finally, some green grass and blue skies. I could never live on a Mars colony. No offense to anyone here. This is a side view of our house and shed.

Thank you to Ten Cents for allowing me on the site. I saw a lot of familiar handles “liking” and posting, so I decided to sign up. Life has been extra rich and busy. Partly what makes it frenzied is that my attention is splintered among five or so devices. I tried to simplify, and my effort backfired.

It started when my iPhone 5C, a pre-owned gift to me, failed. All it would do was show the Apple logo.  I had dropped it several weeks previously during my San Diego visit, right outside Scripps Aquarium. The screen was shattered in the corner, and I just kept using it because I didn’t want to pay $80 to fix it.  That could have caused it to fail–I don’t know. But I was going on a trip to Helena, and I needed some way to communicate with my daughter when she was at her band event there.

On a local FB marketplace, I found an iPhone with one damaged camera for a hundred bucks.  Then after communicating with that seller, I saw a brand new flip phone for forty. Wouldn’t I save a pile of money and be a lot less distracted with a flip phone? The idea was so appealing that I did a lot of driving before my trip to meet the seller and race breathless into our local phone store to get it activated. Which took twenty minutes of waiting  after closing time, cost a fee, plus required an immediate new $17 plan payment overlapping with the old plan.

I had some qualms when I got it home.  First, the original seller, when I told him my final decision, messaged that he questioned why I would choose a flip phone over a Smartphone. I said I questioned it a bit, too. (I didn’t tell him that while under time pressure to purchase a phone, his terse communication style didn’t draw me to his product. I had felt distrustful of him as a seller, but probably his phone would have been fine.)

I kept reasoning that this sleek little flip phone with the bright display would be good for making and receiving phone calls. Which it was. What a novel concept. And I could still receive texts at home on my new iPad, couldn’t I? I didn’t need to text in town, anyway.

The phone was perfect for the Helena trip. It would have been tricky to coordinate our activities without it. But while trying to take a photo of a stunning historical building, I found that the camera stinks. But I would be content with the thing, because I didn’t need all the fancy stuff. I did fine without Apple’s bells and whistles before my sister started gifting me with phones each time she upgraded.

After the trip, it didn’t take me long to realize that companies have not been laboring around the clock to improve flip phones since I last owned one. The device’s workings are still opaque to the average user, and it’s odd to me that this is what older folks tend to purchase, because its functions are not self evident. Its capabilities are layered under a standard keypad and a few other buttons. You have to fool around with it quite a bit to even get to the basics of what it does, let alone access updates they claim to have made involving Bluetooth. It’s hard to figure out how to turn the sound up, how to turn the ringer off, how to access messages.  The screen shows only a piece of the message at a time.  If someone leaves a voicemail, the phone doesn’t record the incoming number.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband updated his iTunes so that somehow my broken iPhone’s iOS could be accessed. He brought the thing back to life, and it felt good to have it back in my hands. It’s efficient for casual Web browsing and checking e-mail. Just because sleek flip phones with built-in cameras were the most amazing item you could buy eighteen years ago doesn’t mean the smartphone isn’t superior, a class by itself.  Its user-friendliness alone makes its features far more accessible than those of the old models. But I didn’t need to tell any of you that. I had to learn from experience.

Now it’s like this: some stray texts and voicemail go to my flip phone. Nothing with photos comes across, and then a few are received only when I drive down the road and cross some mysterious barrier. And then it’s painfully difficult to text back on that cramped keyboard besides a “K.”  Some texts and all FB Messenger notes appear on my wifi-connected, cracked-screen iPhone. And then, as far as I know, my iPad catches texts the others leave out. We installed Google Voice and a Google phone number on my iPad, too, where a few chats have taken place. I have a computer and an old Kindle Fire as well, for an exercise app and nighttime reading. I can Facetime on multiple devices, check Messenger and e-mail in three places, and so on.  I noticed that I’ve been feeling spread thin, and finally identified the source: having too much of a good thing.

My older daughter bought herself a new smartphone this week, a non Apple brand, that cost her forty dollars with a twenty dollar a month plan. The display looks crisp and attractive, and I’m sure it works fine. In my hurried search for a replacement phone before the trip, I’d had no idea that was an option. I eyed it enviously and immediately began plotting about how I could throw over that limited little flip phone for a pretty option like hers. Maybe there’s a charity that would gladly accept the donation of a basic phone, and I could start over. Time, energy, money–this downgrade has been an expensive bargain.

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My Sayonara Message to Ricochet’s Happy Warriors Group

Sayonara to all:
This is my last full day at Ricochet. Tomorrow morning is the end of my subscription.
Thanks to all of you who have gone through all of the travails and joys and discoveries that Ricochet has brought into our lives. Ricochet is a great experiment and I wish it and you all well.
I think the biggest single problem that I see here is the tone deafness of the management regarding the stakes we are facing as a country. I’ve written a lot about the ineptness and the incompetence of the major leaders in the conservative movement. I think that this is the result of the success of libertarianism’s influence on the conservative and traditional elements in America.
The early relationship of Ricochet with National Review seems to be where the problem was born and where it lies now. There’s a cabal here that is determined to insist that: “Winning isn’t everything, you know.”
Second on the list is the way that moderators are used here. From TKC’s dismissal to MJBubba’s to Robert MacReynolds’ I watched these ridiculous and immature and too personal attacks go badly awry. I especially hated seeing them dismissed for what ended up being process crimes during the back and forth.
And finally, I think it’s the old absentee landlords’ problem of getting a strong leader in the day to day work — the COO, so to speak. Sorry to say this but this place needs a strong editor and one with a vision, clearly expressed. But, these types are busy elsewhere and I doubt they would move here to be in what is effectively a middle management slot with hard limits on what can be said and done.
Thanks again and God bless you all. I hope to meet many of you over the years in real life.

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TOTD 2018-06-01: Is Finland the Texas of Europe?

I am sick as a dog, still having chills shaking me like a leaf.  But I made a promise, and I intend to keep it.  Sorry if this is silly.

Continue reading “TOTD 2018-06-01: Is Finland the Texas of Europe?”


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FBI v Russian hackers

In other words, average consumers have the ability to stop Russia’s latest cyber attack by rebooting their routers, which will now reach out to the FBI instead of Russian intelligence. According to the court filings, the FBI is collecting the Internet IP addresses of every compromised router that phones home to the address, so agents can use the information to clean up the global infection.

The paragraph above is from an article about the FBI seizing control of a server for a Russian malware botnet.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/exclusive-fbi-seizes-control-of-russian-botnet?ref=scroll


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Scott Adams – thinks that computers will control humans more and more

Scott Adams has an interesting notion. It’s here on his periscope session: https://www.periscope.tv/ScottAdamsSays/1OyJANrjrpwxb

He says that initially humans control computers in almost everything but as things move along that we will get our instructions from computers. Here’s his reasoning in one example: Alexa (or Siri) gets a question that it can’t answer (and if this same question gets repeated, I assume) it is turned over to humans to resolve the complicated bits and an answer is supplied. Eventually, he’s saying, humans will be online ready to handle the unanswerable queries, they will do the research (or from their own knowledge) and supply Alexa with the answer in real time and she will provide the answer to whoever wants to know.

I started thinking that this is a bit paranoid but really it does make sense that a lot of decision making at the corporate level and government level might be put into an AI application that sends out tasks to us humans. It all comes down to the domain of possible decisions being implemented that are not highly nuanced (most are) but need a large amount of information to be able to decide. Computers might do this better eventually. The point is that we might just get an email from the AI system that will launch us on a special task.

The movie, “The Matrix” was stupid to take a wonderful idea and go so ridiculously dystopian in its plot that the humans were only there to provide energy.

I’m sure that some of you geeks are better informed on this subject but I find I’m intrigued by this and I don’t think it’s such a bad thing to happen. Probably things will be better if this happens.

I’m an Arthur C. Clarke devotee and a Steven Spielberg fan about science. I have always been upset with the fact that most SF movies are actually recast horror movies.


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How do I figure out what Apple computer to buy?

Is there a book I can read or something? My current apple computer is too old to update to Sierra so I assume that it will slowly die. I can’t play EVE online and I can barely listen to youtube while writing stuff on Ratburger or the other site.

I know what a Gigahertz is but I got 2.66 GHz on an Intel Core 2 Duo and it seems like an updated Intel Core matters more than GHz but I still don’t really know what’s going on.

My Oath

How’d we get here?

I am currently re-negotiating my homeOwner’s Insurance (old carrier upped my premiun $2,000 for the coming year, despite never, ever having filed a claim even after last year’s hurricane season.

So, I spoke with my insurance agent, he did some work.  Yesterday he advised he found a good deal with a company admitted in Florida, A rated by AmBest’s, premium $2,000 lower than currrent carrier.  He was to email the application to me this morning.

Pause for background info.  My email address is a BellSouth.net account (one of the baby Bells that got separated from momma AT&T long go).  Then, more recently the family got back together, however, my email address domain (?) remained BellSouth.net.   Somewhere in time, BellSouth/AT&T gave/sold their email service to Yahoo!, but my email address domain remained Bellsouth.net.

Back to the present.   This morning, I turn on the computer, go to Bellsouth.net,  attempt to sign into my Bellsouth.net email account and was greeted with a disclosure that I must ‘agree to’ before being allowed to get into my email account and read MY email.   Geez, pain in the buttocks.  But OK,  no biggy, just click ‘Agree’ —  then I stop, I notice the disclosure is not from Bellsouth.net or Yahoo!, it’s from ‘Oath, Inc.’???   Who the h3ll is Oath, Inc.?

Don’t know, but it seems Yahoo! (remember they now have the bellsouth.net email addresses) is now a ‘brand’ of Oath, Inc. As is Huffpo, Tumblr, Flickr, AOL and others.  What?   Huffpo?   Huffpo is now a sibling?  How’d that happened?

And, just who is ‘Oath, Inc.’?   I want names.   They have offices worldwide:  China, Israel, Sweden, USA, India, South America — seriously just about every country on the planet, and still I ask:  Who is Oath?  What kind of a corporate name is ‘Oath’?   Copyright on name is 2018 — so, a new entity in the last three months now ‘owns’ ‘me’?

I feel like I was ‘taken’ by lefty types in the dark of night without my consent and while I was asleep!

I feel like a victim of online ‘trafficking’?  Was I just sold?  How much did they get for ‘me’?  Or was I just, subsumed?

Who is Oath?   I still haven’t been able to find out.  Anyone know anything about ‘Oath, Inc.’

P.S.  Looking for a new email account.  Any suggestions?  Thanks.


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TOTD 2018-4-6: Mint Penguin Puppies

Linux PenguinI am a fairly experienced computer user, but for years I only used Windows versions.  However, a friend had been using Linux for some time, and suggested that I try it.   I was a bit hesitant, given what I had heard from people – it was a pain to install, only for high end applications like running a server, etc.   However, I pressed on, and went to obtain a copy of Linux – but wait, which one?

Continue reading “TOTD 2018-4-6: Mint Penguin Puppies”


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