Thursday, October 25, 2007

Contemporary Criminal Activity

A few weeks ago, my friend JBar thought she had been the victim of the stupidest thief on the planet. Someone had apparently stolen her credit card number online, but all the stuff they had ordered with it had ended up at her house. The connection was made when she started receiving a bunch of random shipments, including a package of "colon flow" supplements, a bunch of Disney DVDs and nine bottles of wine. She was annoyed because she had to deal with getting all the charges reversed (fortunately, she didn't have to actually pay anything -- go AmEx), but we had a laugh about our incompetent constipated and alcoholic pedophile.

My brain clicked briefly with the memory that both the SOOTTAD and I had recently had our credit card numbers changed out from under us because Citibank had apparently discovered that some retailer had had their records compromised. Yeah, changing all my automatic bill-pays was fun. Anyway, I guess I figured it was going around, but other than that I didn't think much else about it.

And then the SOOTTAD got an unsolicited order of multivitamins. No idea where that came from, but she didn't have any time to deal with it, so it sat in her office for several days. And then while she was away on business earlier this week, another package of vitamins showed up. And a book order from Scholastic -- apparently she was added to some Scholastic book club.

So it looks like it wasn't an isolated incident of incompetent crime.

The SOOTTAD spent most of the morning talking to customer service representatives (arguing with some that were exceedingly more incompetent than others), calling up retailers, having charges reversed, dealing with shipping packages. In the process, she even discovered that someone apparently even created a fake gmail account with the standard FirstnameLastnameNumber@gmail format.

Just some annoying, juvenile hackers who are having a laugh? Or maybe they're manipulating the market by increasing sales of particular targeted businesses. (Or driving them to ruin by tying up their customer service or eating the costs of return shipments.) Or maybe it's just theh trial run of some more systemic attack... on the nation at large! Terr'ists!


Seems like some crazy movie plot: an underworld organization plotting to undermine the American Way of Life(tm) by disrupting our system of commerce.

But, of course, I'm only kidding. Well, half-kidding.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Playing with Twitter. You should be able to see it over on the sidebar, or you can head over directly.

It remains to be seen how much I actually play with it given that I presently only know two people who currently use it. I'm apparently hanging with the wrong demographic, whether it be socially, chronologically, geographically or some combination thereof.

Good and Bad

It's 6:28pm and I'm the last person left in the office.

Monday, October 22, 2007


...why we don't have cable and don't watch network television.

We've been following the Sox game on the radio and internet and there were several plays that we had heard described that we were hoping to see -- Ellsbury's big catch in left field in the 9th (apparently a huge diving catch). Matsusaka throwing Martinez out at first. Some of the errors.

So we turned on the tube and surfed the few local channels we could get. And what do we get? Well, we did get one highlight reel which covered all the hits and the final catch by Coco Crisp to end the game. Ok, anything else?

Well. A lot of coverage of the crowds outside the park. A lot of talking about the crowds. Police presence in riot gear keeping the crowds under control. Ok, now they're showing the players celebrating. Interviews -- those guys love the interviews. Wow, that WBZ correspondent covering the guys on the field is annoying. He just angrily shushed some guy off camera while he was interviewing Terry Francona. More talking. Lots of talking about nothing. More interviews -- players in the dressing room. More talking. Gobble, gobble, gobble.

Oh look, more shots of Kenmore square and the thinning crowds. And they're talking about the police again.

Um, could we maybe get some more highlights?

Apparently not.

UPDATE: ok, WHDH is interviewing Theo and they just showed Matsusaka's throw-out play. Point to channel 7.

UPDATE(23oct2007): It occurred to me that this is largely my own fault for being too cheap to have cable (or to have even bought an antenna) to have been able to watch the game in the first place. So, my bad. Of course, it doesn't make the local sports correspondents any less annoying.

UPDATE(23oct2007-2): Yay, Internets! (And thank you,

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Geek Sox Nation

We're not crazy sports fans, and we don't have cable, so we're "watching" the final Sox game online while listening to the play-by-play on the radio.


Ps -- Go SOX!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

F*** a Duck

So it looks like I have to buy F'ing Visio, again. That's another $500 down the Microsoft toilet for the 2007 version, and that doesn't count the $200 I sank into the bad 2003 version just a few months ago when I had to start spec writing for the contract I'm on. Joy, joy. The original website where I bought it is now an empty GoDaddy-parked husk of an apparently fly-by-night storefront.

Sucks for me.

And I'd just like to mention how annoying the Micro$oft Office info page is -- full of stupid, unnecessary, bandwidth-hungry animations and dynamic pull-downs, and apparently ...films? ...on how awesome Office is? WTF?

Friday, October 12, 2007


I did a Windows Update and I got the blue screen of death.

That's a confidence builder, I gotta tellya.

This isn't actually the first time it's happened. I'm not sure when it started, but I've noticed it the last several times I've installed the latest set of Windows updates that required a restart. Consistent behavior, actually, for the three most recent installs. It's nothing like my first experience with NT in '99 when my machine would routinely crash 2-3 times a day (usually after a few hours of unrecoverable design code), but it's still annoying.

And maybe I'm just being paranoid, but it seems like the start-up cycle is a lot more sluggish, and I don't remember the icons refreshing halfway through. And can someone tell me why my volume control taskbar icon disappears every time I reboot after a full shutdown? I'm not sure how long that's been happening since I started routinely putting the machine into standby mode. (since it took so long to boot up cold.)

I was pretty happy with XP-Pro. But I guess just about anything would be compared to my experience with XP-home -- random shutdowns, strange screen refresh behaviors, driver incompatibilities and really kludgey file structure. XP Pro seemed to be much more stable, but that seemed to be a only short term condition. I suppose this is really just what you have to expect when you take a piece of software and add layer upon layer of patches month after month. It's inevitable that the software is going to become painfully inefficient.

I really need to start getting familiar with some of the new Linux distributions. My laptop is eventually going to die and I'm going to have to replace it at some point and I'm deathly afraid of having to switch over to Vista, or any other Microsoft operating system for that matter.

In other news, we just tested out our new HD projector, an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1080. The initial assessment? It's teh awesome. (not to be confused with "awesome") So far the only downside is that we haven't gotten the real screen yet and we got to bed around 3am last night due to, um, "testing."