Yup, they think we're stupid

04/05/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

In my mailbox today was a letter postmarked from Spain, Madrid to be precise. I don't actually know anyone in Spain so gave it a look. Inside was -- oh, I can hardly contain myself -- a notice that I had a winning ticket in the "El-Gordo Sweepstake Lottery" and won $815,950.71. This was my "notfication" of winning from the "International Lotto Corporation" courtesy of "Eurolinks Securities Madrid." And better still, I could still win the $1.3 billion international lottery. Man, I could make more money than most countries here!

However:

Due to mixed up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award from public notice

Oh, my, what a good idea. Wouldn't want anyone else getting in on this.

Of course the fact that the wonderfully named "notfication" completely excluded any personal information and is a somewhat askew colour photocopy shouldn't raise any issues; the lack of a real contact address is surely just a minor omission and of no consequence.

My cynicism could be due to me winning this a few months ago too. Same cover letter with a few details changed and that's about it. They didn't even stretch to buying a nice little watermarker or perhaps one of those cool stamps of incorporation that engineers get. Nope, just one poorly duplicated sheet of paper. I mean, if they're going to defraud me, at least try to make it a bit convincing.

You might have thought that if I didn't bite the first time around I might just not possibly the second. Yup, they think we're stupid. That's all there is to it.

Addendum: "Eurolinks Securities" makes a quite amusing appearance over at a href="http://escam.blogspot.com/" Scamblog.

Update: Removed the Scamblog link as it's apparently become some sort of adblog site and lost all of the original content.

 

Alienating business plans

04/04/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Whining

I've been using DataViz's "Documents To Go" for years now on my Palm Tungsten. When I bought my Macintosh, I was delighted that they offered a OSX version as that made switching platforms easier. When v9 came out late last year, I paid the upgrade fee quite happily. Recently DataViz released v10 of the program. Around the same time they made a few little adjustments to their business practices.

Full story »

 

Those whacky, whacky searches (again)

03/30/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Time for another installment!

Full story »

 

Creative answers to technical questions

03/30/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/5107/They-didnt-study

Yes, you've probably seen all of these before. I think they're funny and worth repeating.

(Via Daring Fireball)

 

Want a lot of hits of your name in Google? Write an Amazon review

03/27/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly

Or better still, don't.

Every now and again I do the vanity search thing on Google. Typically a search on my full name brings up a couple of pages, mostly associated with other people who share it. This time a slew of pages appeared which is a trifle unusual. Almost all of them had the same review for an album on Amazon.

What was a little surprising was that although I had actually written those words, I'd never posted them to anywhere other than my old personal website. Someone had copied them (and kindly cited the source!) on to his own Amazon music reviews page. From there they propagated to what feels like every music search and retail operation on the internet.

I'm not going to link to the review or album since it's not terribly important, but it's a fascinating example of the flow of information on the internet. Alas, it seems that my principle contribution to the internet's font of knowledge is to be the guy who gets a "[sic]" as he misspelled a specific musical style!

 

Filing taxes electronically

03/27/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Canadian

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2007/03/27/laytontaxfile.html

Last year I decided that I'd had enough of paying quite a lot of money to an accountant to do my taxes. I'm less than convinced about the "Tax Experts" of H&R Block, and thought that that yearly purchase of a package like QuickTax or UFile seemed like a bit of a waste. So, in the end I went with one of the online systems as suggested by Revenue Canada. For some people with more complex returns, I can see that any of the above make sense, but mine tend to be a T4, a couple of charitable deductions, maybe an RRSP contribution if I got around to it, but that's about it. Anyway, the one I chose worked just fine and took me marginally less time than filling out the paper equivalent. I plan to do the same again this year.

Full story »

 

VoIP patent reaffirmed

03/25/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/23/AR2007032300986.html?nav=rss_business

Like to use Skype to talk to people who use POTS (the plain ol' telephone system) rather than a computer? Maybe Vonage's equivalent? Be prepared to say bye-bye to it. In the linked-to article, Vonage has been found guilty of infringing on three VoIP patents belonging to Verizon. Two of them aren't mentioned further, but the third is to do with how a gateway between traditional phone systems and VoIP systems are constructed.

Full story »

 

Fewer seats on the LRT

03/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri, Calgary

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2007/02/27/lrt-transit.html?ref=rss

One of the issues that's hit Calgary what with all the growth an' all is that the public transit system is overloaded. In particular, the LRT is horrible for hours around rush hour due to incredible density of usage.

Full story »

 

The visible hand of the marketplace, et, traffic circle

03/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.bitforms.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=29&Itemid=58&lang=en#id=83&num=2

Link is to an exhibit in New York where one of the presentations is a Korean artist's video of a hand overlayed on a traffic scene. It's quite effective.

(Via PopGadget)

 

"Magic Man Done It"

03/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, YouTube

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdocQHsPCNM&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fscienceblogs%2Ecom%2Fpharyngula%2F2007%2F03%2Fthe%5Fhistory%5Fof%5Fcreationist%5Ftho%2Ephp

Very funny riff on creationist thought. Posted since Ritchie appears to have taken a long holiday somewhere and I think we're dropping below our monthly quota of rationalism and snark.

(Via (where else?) Pharyngula)

 

"Ship It"

03/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh

Link: http://blogs.msdn.com/macmojo/archive/2007/03/15/ship-it.aspx

The MacMojo blog over at the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit (or MacBU for short) has quite a good post on the problem of corralling in developers' enthusiasm for new and better features during the implementation cycle.

 

Interesting job perks

03/10/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/10/technology/10google.html?ex=1331182800&en=272d04d67d29e1f4&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

This New York Times article covers a perk of working for Google that I wasn't aware of: free bus shuttle rides to and from work.

Now that's a cool bonus for anyone living in a sprawling city.

(Via Daring Fireball)

 

Musical Plagiarism

02/28/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://www.gramophone.co.uk/newsMainTemplate.asp?storyID=2765&newssectionID=1

One of the more interesting stories to come out of the world of classical music recently is that of the recordings of the late British pianist, Joyce Hatto. She retired from the public eye for a few years to fight and recover from cancer. At some point she started recording again, and put out a large number of CDs on her husband's small label. From what I've read, these were well received as this review from the Boston Globe attests.

Full story »

 

Oh, darnit!

02/26/07 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh

Link: http://fire.sourceforge.net/

My preferred Macintosh multi-system IM client, Fire, has just been discontinued. On the upside a number of the developers for it have moved over to Adium which is pretty similar and quite good too.

(Via Daring Fireball)

 

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