Thursday, 15 March 2012

08:22 - Okay, this is simply bizarre. Widespread theft of one particular brand of laundry detergent? The cops in various cities setting up task forces (!) to deal with it? Bootleg Tide? Geez. Of course, it’s bogus, a Faux News story, so to speak. Or at least Snopes says so.


I spent some time yesterday putting together a directory structure that includes nearly all of the image files in the biology book in full resolution, renaming the image files to correspond to the figure numbers in the text. I have some more work to do on it, but once it’s done I’ll burn it to discs and include those discs in the biology kits. Although high-res image files aren’t a perfect substitute for viewing actual slides, many kit buyers won’t want to spend $200 or more on 100+ prepared slides, and this set of uncompressed 6 and 12 megapixel JPEG image files gives them an inexpensive alternative.


16:15 - Will someone please, PLEASE, track down where “Cardholder Services” is, visit the site, slaughter everyone there, blow up the building, and plow it into the earth. It wouldn’t hurt to sow a little salt while you’re at it.

The sons of bitches knowingly violate the Do-Not-Call regulations. IIRC, they’ve been fined by the FTC, more than once. I just got a call from them, again. The fourth or fifth call in the last couple days. Fining them doesn’t work. The only thing that will work is actually killing them, which would be justifiable homicide. So, will someone please do that? I’d do it, but I’m too busy right now.

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36 Responses to Thursday, 15 March 2012

  1. Stu Nicol says:

    I saw that item yesterday and thought it real strange. Then reading the comment above about it being a ruse, I tended to agree. However, I then went through our local paper:
    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/amormino-344438-officials-trend.html?pic=1
    Hard to believe that stolen Tide was not found in the crashed vehicle and that this is our local portion of the hoax.
    I did note the error in the photo.

      

  2. SteveF says:

    I gotta say, Bob, I’m impressed with how decent you’re being to your customers. Even if I weren’t already planning on buying one of your kits for Son#2 for this summer, I’d be tempted to buy one and donate it to someone just to support you. (He’s currently leaning toward the chemistry kit, but that changes every other week. No problem; either is fine, so long as he supplements his not-great high school science classes. And at the end of summer I’ll give the kit to one of several not-exactly-wealthy home schooling families I know. Presumably it wouldn’t cost too much to top off any needed chemicals.)

    And now I have to wash my mouth of the unaccustomed taste of saying something nice to someone. Hmm… I’ll write a pornographic story about Nancy Pelosi. That should do it. Vomit covers up most other tastes.

      

  3. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Thanks, but I merely treat my customers as I’d want someone to treat me.

      

  4. Raymond Thompson says:

    I’ll write a pornographic story about Nancy Pelosi.

    Well that left a bad vision in my brain. You’re an evil man Mr. Steve to do that to others.

      

  5. Chuck Waggoner says:

    I’m hot! It’s nearly 80°F here in Tiny Town. Only a few more degrees to go to be a record for this date. No relief in site. Guess I had better change the filters in the central air.

      

  6. Chuck Waggoner says:

    What, pray tell, could this Facebook page possibly be about? No description, only 37 members — what’s more, if it is a fan page about women who sell real estate, why no pics?

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Immobilienkauffrau/121739421169721

      

  7. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Arrrgh! Above should be “in sight”, not “in site”. Have I mentioned I miss editing?

      

  8. ech says:

    These things run in cycles. Many drug stores were keeping Pepcid and Pepcid Complete under lock and key, or putting “Sold by CVS” stickers on them due to theft. I was told that they were getting lots of it stolen and finding vendors with it on sale at local flea markets for about half retail. Now it’s Tide, I guess.

    And Tide is more expensive than other brands, but seems to clean clothes better and with less wear on them.

      

  9. SteveF says:

    What’s that? A throng of rambunctious readers demands the story? Well, all right then.

    Nancy Pelosi and Janet Napolitano were driving along a back road one rainy night, looking for a party with drunken frat boys. “It’s been so long since I got any,” Janet whined. “I’ve got an itch that needs to be scratched!”

    As one might expect, their beater of a car broke down in the middle of nowhere. “Oh, I knew we should have taken a jet and had the taxpayers pay for it,” Nancy said. “Now what will we do?”

    Two broken-down cabins were visible in the frightening lightning flashes. One had a sign: “Deranged Chainsaw Murderer”. The other was labeled “Half-blind Australian Wacko Who Thinks Hillary is teh Hawtness”.

    Stuck between two alternatives, each worse than the other, the two babes did the only sensible thing: they retreated to their car and had Happy Naked Time in the back seat. They sent cell phone pictures to all their friends and everyone lived happily ever after.

      

  10. Jim Cooley says:

    Whew! Thank god for happy ending. For a moment there I thought the Trunk Monkey® was going to make an appearance.

      

  11. Miles_Teg says:

    Ray, Steve meant to say that it would be about Pelosi 40 years ago, before she was a feminist liberal Democrat.

      

  12. eristicist says:

    Oh, Steve, how could you fall so low as to write Democrat fanfiction?

    :P

      

  13. OFD says:

    Man, I would have so turned that story into a tale of fantastic bloodshed and horror…borrowing heavily from urban legends…like they wake up and hear rain on the windshield in the morning…but it ain’t rain…etc., you get the picture.

    And by the way, thanks a lot, SteveF, for those visuals. Does the term ‘payback’ ring a bell with you?

      

  14. SteveF says:

    OFD, I don’t live that far from you. Maybe we can meet up some time and you can barf all over my leg.

    Urban legends. Hmm…

    The next morning, in the steam on the inside of the window, Nancy saw some odd squiggles. Squinting her eyes as well as she could after her latest face lift, she made out letters.

    “Candyman. Candyman? Candyman?”

    “Candyman?” inquired Janet. She might not be the sharpest tool in the fallen-down shed, but she could repeat one-word sentences almost as well as a brain-damaged four-year-old.

    “Candyman,” affirmed Nancy.

      

  15. BGrigg says:

    No nodding this time, just turn and run like hell!

      

  16. OFD says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgbdVihagWg

    From that sorta creepy movie that Gene Wilder made long ago…

      

  17. Raymond Thompson says:

    Will someone please, PLEASE, track down where “Cardholder Services” is, visit the site, slaughter everyone there, blow up the building, and plow it into the earth.

    I waited on the phone until someone answered. I listened to their scripted talking than said I was on the do not call list and they…..that is as far as I got before they hung up. I then called the number back and was greeted with a message that the mailbox is full. I contacted Verizon and had the phone number blocked. Two months later same thing but with a different number.

    I think they get stopped by the government and then find a new phone number. They are a moving target. The feds are too lazy to actually visit their business location, if there is any. Perhaps they are overseas and using internet phone service to gain access to US phone numbers.

    Whatever, I will glady participate in such a venture. You have to make the explosive as my chemistry sucks.

    Ray, Steve meant to say that it would be about Pelosi 40 years ago, before she was a feminist liberal Democrat.

    Still doesn’t help. And then Mr. F had to go and add Janet to the mix. The one eyed wonder worm may never come out for daylight again.

      

  18. Miles_Teg says:

    SteveF wrote:

    “Two broken-down cabins were visible in the frightening lightning flashes. One had a sign: “Deranged Chainsaw Murderer”. The other was labeled “Highly Intelligent, Cultured Australian With Excellent Taste In Female Homo Sapiens Who Thinks Hillary Is Highly Attractive By Ordinary Standards And Outrageously Beautiful By Democrat Standards”.”

    There Steve, fixed that for you. You really shouldn’t write posts under the influence of crack.

      

  19. OFD says:

    I will also be glad to help out in such a happy venture, and have a little expertise still in various weapons and tactics, despite my ancient decrepitude.

    Will someone fly down to Oz this week and help a certain semi-cultured (yeah, if his swimming pool is filled with yogurt) denizen of same and show him the way, the truth and the light, i.e., that he himself needs to get off the crack pipe and put away his collection of images taken from Google of that fugly little troll, The Heroine of Tripoli? We can take up a collection for the ticket…and maybe Bob will donate a bit of his vast book royalties…some of which date back, I think, to Windows NT and TCP/IP…if memory serves…which it often does not anymore…

      

  20. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, Windows NT TCP/IP Administration was (IIRC) the second book I wrote, after Windows NT Server for NetWare Administrators. The TCP book was with Craig Hunt, and was the first time I worked with a co-author, although before I did the first one with my name on the front I’d written major parts of another book or two on a work-for-hire basis.

      

  21. Miles_Teg says:

    RBT wrote:

    “The sons of bitches knowingly violate the Do-Not-Call regulations.”

    Do you answer the phone when it rings? I gave up on that long ago, I just screen. Most calls I get at home on the landline are, I suspect, marketing type calls. But I don’t know that because they practically never leave messages, which leads me to think the callers are marketing. I am on our DNC register but I still get these calls. I think exceptions are allowed for charities, religious organisations and politicians.

    I remember that 30 or so years ago the advice in the ‘phone book was too keep a whistle near the phone, and if you got a crank call to grab it and blow it as hard as you can in such cases. But I’m sure there’d be legal liability issues doing that now. An alternative might be “Could you hold on a second please, I just need to turn off the kettle, I’ll be right back.” Half an hour later you could hang up the phone.

      

  22. Miles_Teg says:

    RBT wrote:

    “Yeah, Windows NT TCP/IP Administration was (IIRC) the second book I wrote, after Windows NT Server for NetWare Administrators.”

    Ahh yes, I almost forgot about your dark past as a Windows specialist.

      

  23. OFD says:

    When I worked for EDS, now ‘owned’ by HP, like DEC before it, where I also had worked, I was a VAX/VMS, OpenVMS sys admin, but also the sole sys admin for Windows NT and 300 users. Back then we could have run NT, Red Hat Linux or VMS on an AlphaServer. But the Alphas are gone now, for the most part, and VMS is still out there. NT was developed when Microsoft stole Dave Cutler from DEC, where he’d led the team that developed VMS, so in effect, NT and the Windows iterations that have followed, came originally from VMS, and I have it on good authority that some lines of code in Windows are still in it from those days of the old VAXen lines of boxen. Mr. Cutler, last I knew, was heading up the Azure project for M$.

    And speaking of dinosaurs and suchlike, I am also given to understand that at the IBM site up here there are still multiple running instances of OS/2.

    OFD started out with the DEC Rainbow PC and the PDP-11, moving up to the VAXen shortly thereafter. The Bronze Age.

    And today I got to hear a presentation via Lotus Live about Linux and AIX clusters now running petabytes of storage and terabytes of RAM, and new chips and wafers that are at the level of science fiction in their speeds and capabilities. Damned if I don’t soon get to work with it all, too. Amazing, what a long strange trip it’s been, as the song goes…

      

  24. Miles_Teg says:

    Getting back to answering the phone…

    I used to work with a chap who *never* returned messages left on his voice mail. He figured that if it was important the caller would keep trying until they caught him at his desk.

    Well, he was a bit idiosyncratic. He got a PhD in atomic physics in the Fifties and went to work for one of Australia’s premier scientific organisations, CSIRO. He went straight into the brand new Division of Computing Research, and never used his PhD knowledge overtly. He was pretty brilliant, he could read and interpret machine code from all sorts of obscure devices, and wasn’t bad personally, for such an egghead.

    So, I took a leaf out of his book. At home I don’t answer the phone unless someone speaks about something that seems legitimate, then I pick up. If they don’t leave a message then either it was marketing or not important.

      

  25. Miles_Teg says:

    OFD wrote:

    “When I worked for EDS, now ‘owned’ by HP…”

    Ahh, EDS. Or Evil Doers in Suits as I call them. My organisation outsourced its IT infrastructure to them in 1999. They were cheapskates, slave drivers, kitten killers… Umm, scrub that last, that would have been a redeeming feature.

    My favourite story was that soon after they took over one of our staff rang their help desk and said “I want to do a database unload.” The help desk drone asked “Which car park are you in?” Yeah right.

    “VMS is still out there. NT was developed when Microsoft stole Dave Cutler from DEC, where he’d led the team that developed VMS, so in effect, NT and the Windows iterations that have followed, came originally from VMS, and I have it on good authority that some lines of code in Windows are still in it from those days of the old VAXen lines of boxen.”

    I’d just finished my computer science degree in 1979 at Adelaide Uni, when they were introducing VAX 11-780s, so I never really got to use VAX/VMS. They kept the CDC Cyber 173 (may blessings and peace be upon it) for heavy duty research and users. Have I ever mentioned how much I liked CDC, Seymour Crey, Cybers and so forth?One of the cleanest designs ever.

    When I started work at the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1980 they had just started phasing out most of their CDC gear in favour of an IBM compatible Fujitsu mainframe. It ran OSIV/F4, a MVS clone. IBM sued them for breach of copyright, as OSIV/F4 was pretty much lifted from MVS. (I heard a story that the F4 code still had IBM copyright notices in it.)

    “OFD started out with the DEC Rainbow PC and the PDP-11, moving up to the VAXen shortly thereafter. The Golden, Heroic. ”

    There, I fixed that for you. In the Eighties I hated IBM with passion, I’ve mellowed now, but I still think a lot of the people who ran IBM in the Fifties to Eighties should be hung, drawn and quartered.

      

  26. brad says:

    I found this article about Rachel from Cardholder Services. It’s from 2009, but if its accurate, credit card companies do not have to respect the DNC list. Along with “informational messages, politicians, charities and nonprofits, banks and telephone companies”. Great.

    In any case, Cardholder Services is apparently an elusive fish – no one seems to know who is actually behind it. Which is odd, since someone, somewhere must have been dumb enough to agree to whatever scheme they’re selling.

      

  27. Dave B. says:

    In any case, Cardholder Services is apparently an elusive fish – no one seems to know who is actually behind it. Which is odd, since someone, somewhere must have been dumb enough to agree to whatever scheme they’re selling.

    I suspect that behind “Cardholder Services” there are actually a bunch of separate operations doing the same thing. Let’s say one of the operations gets shut down. The former employees of the operation go out and start two or three new operations to take the old one’s place.

      

  28. Roy Harvey says:

    The only interest “Cardholder Services” has in your credit cards is getting their hands on the information necessary to use them to rip you off – their “Service”. It is phishing-by-phone.

      

  29. Dave B. says:

    And here is a link that offers confirmation of Roy’s point.

    http://ago.mo.gov/newsreleases/2009/Phising_scam_via_phone_warns_Koster/

      

  30. Raymond Thompson says:

    <An alternative might be “Could you hold on a second please, I just need to turn off the kettle, I’ll be right back.”

    Or when the person asks how you are you start describing a festering, puss engorged, wound that will not heal. Describe in extremely gross detail about the steps you have taken to resolve the issue with details about the hourly puss discharge the must be disposed of as hazardous waste. Don’t let up. The will hang up and take you off their list.

    As for blowing a loud whistle, let them sue you. At least then you know who they are and can take them to court for violating the DNC list.

    Ahh, EDS. Or Evil Doers in Suits as I call them.

    I was one of them for a year in 1980. Actually liked the organization. I worked for an office in San Antonio and would make weekly trips to the great temple in Dallas. A couple of flights I sat next to Mr. Ross himself. He was a egotistical, never wrong, jerk.

    That aside the company did take of their people. All medical, precriptions and dental was paid 100%, no deductible or copays. Bonuses were generous if a project was brought in under budget. In exchange you were required to adhere to certain dress codes and personal appearance. Having just gotten out of the military such codes were no big deal.

    But after the project I was hired for was finished I was going to have to learn to speak IBM, JCL, RACF, CICS, VTAM and all manner of foreign languages. I was a Burroughs trained killer and could crawl around the software innards of the machine with my eyes closed. Even wrote some routines that I patched into the operating system.

    I wanted to continue in that venue so I changed jobs and went to work for Burroughs with one large commercial bank holding company and some medium banks as part of my client support list. For those customers I would assist with configuration issues, write custom code to help with problems and a lot of feel good hand holding. I enjoyed the job.

    Then the large commercial bank holding company offered me a job I could not refuse. Salary jumped dramatically, I was going back to coding, and would be at a single site. That was my best job for many years. Until the oil market collapsed in the late 80′s. IT of the bank was sold to MTech, who was bought by EDS, who was bought by GM. I left before EDS took over as I saw the handwriting on the wall, the main bank of the holding company was going down the tubes and jobs were going to be lost.

    Plus MTech wanted to convert a couple thousand teller terminals and CRT’s that were Burroughs to work on an IBM system and software. There were significant issues that could not be overcome, especially with screen attributes, which IBM handled totally differently than Burroughs. A really bad idea of which I informed management but was overruled.

    I did start my career in 1969 working on an IBM 1401. Had a whopping 8K of memory, no tape, a card reader and punch, and a printer. Fun little machine. From that I migrated to the Burroughs equipment.

    For trivia purposes the Burroughs machine was the only machine in existance that could multiple two 100 digit (not bits) integer numbers and get a 200 digit result accurate to the last digit in a single instruction. You could also divide a 100 digit number by a 50 digit number and get a 50 digit result accurate to the last digit. A little scaling and you had a system that could calculate daily interest to 35 decimal places, accurately. The best IBM could do was 18 digits and that was using floating point so the last digit was rarely correct. That is why banks liked Burroughs machines.

      

  31. SteveF says:

    I haven’t received telemarketing calls in ages, probably because we don’t have a landline. However, back when I did get junk calls fairly often, I made a game of it.

    Tactic 1: Swear at or insult the caller until he hangs up. Obviously this doesn’t work with robocallers (which I think were illegal way back then; hardly a modern improvement), but it was pretty effective on people. One time, after the first telescum hung up I got another call from her supervisor. “Sir, we’re just trying to do our job and we don’t appreciate…” I let her have it with both barrels. Unrelenting polyglot obscenity blasted at full volume. At least back then, at least in New York, if someone called you, it was legal for you to say anything you wanted to at them (except for always-illegal statements such as threatening the Prez). If they’d filed a complaint for me harassing them on the phone, they wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on.

    Tactic 2 (preferred): Smooth-talk the caller. “No, I’m not interested in aluminum siding, but you have a really sexy voice. Why don’t you keep telling me about siding, and don’t worry if I moan or grunt while you’re talking. What are you wearing?” As above, you win only if you can get them to hang up on you. I was always successful at this except when one of the kids was around; I didn’t feel it appropriate to chat up someone on the phone with a three-year-old standing in the doorway. Usually the caller got pissed off at me but one young man realized what I was doing, laughed, and said “You have a nice day, sir.”

      

  32. BGrigg says:

    Call display. If you aren’t on my list or I don’t recognize the number, I don’t answer. I can, however, hear the person leaving the message and can pickup whenever I want. Before call display, everything was screened through the answering machine.

    Before I had an answering machine, I tried the swearing, the come-on (though I only did this with women, in retrospect MUCH more effective to switch hit, though I doubt the teenage me would have pulled it off without screaming.), and the one that worked the best was to say “You want to talk to my dad, just a sec…” and I would put the phone down and hang it up “later”.

    Starting to get telemarketers on my cell line, and in text form. There will be no escaping them, and the government isn’t going to help. They’re in league with them.

      

  33. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I really miss having a phone system at home. Back in 1991, I installed a PBX (well, a KSU for those of you who know the difference) with an automated attendant: “Press 1 for Robert, 2 for Barbara …”. I used an inexpensive BigmOuth card, which was the only thing affordable that supported supervised transfers (i.e., transfer the caller to an extension; if busy or ring-no-answer, recover the caller and continue branching through the action tree.) Come to think of it, I also installed a home network in 1991, which must have been one of the very first residential networks.

    The PBX/AA worked perfectly for several years. We never got a single spam phone call. When someone called Barbara, it rang on her phone and if she wasn’t available it transferred to her voice mail. Same for me. But then one night we had a horrible lightning storm, which wiped out the KSU and several of our key phones. I never got around to replacing it. I may still do that when I get a round tuit, except that I’m seriously considering dropping our landline (VoIP) service anyway.

      

  34. MrAtoz says:

    I always give out my ooma number when a number is required. I got the “Lifetime Premier” package when ooma first started. They let us life-timers upgrade our equipment at cost a year ago for $99. Other than that, hasn’t cost a dime in 5 years since I bought in for $199. Plus I get every new service they offer for free. That includes about 80 worldwide minutes a month. They are probably waiting for me to die. I get the free second number so the kids have their own number with ringtone, vm, etc. If I don’t recognized the caller ID, I just let it go to vm which is emailed to me. It also rings on my cell so I can answer while out.

      

  35. brad says:

    They are probably waiting for me to die.

    Sounds like my wife. She took out a lifetime subscription to National Geographic when she was a teenager. She periodically gets these letters that politely try to find out if she is actually still alive…

      

  36. pcb_duffer says:

    I generally ask such vermin if they are on the Do Not Kill list. Sometimes I’m polite enough to ask them first why I should have any consideration for them & their cause when they don’t have enough consideration for me to conform to the Do Not Call list.

      

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