Misc blog postings

Misc Postings

Earliest: July 28, 2003Latest: September 23, 2017Total: 102

September 23, 2017

G-Shock Car Shock Promotion

Recently I got the following strange text message from (724) 242-0422:

Text Message

I decided to check it out, and fill out the online form (which was hosted free by jotform.com). The form asked some basic questions about my car and my contact information.

A few hours later I got the following email from a gmail.com account. Not sure why it didn?t come from Casio or from a marketing company:

Subject: Re: G-Shock Promotion Mix -
From: "Sierra Shelley"
Date: Thu, September 14, 2017 4:16 pm
To: xxx...@cryan.com

Congratulations, I am happy to inform you that you have successfully been entered into the paid to drive by G-Shock Promotion Mix program. An expert, who will meet you has been allocated to install the decals on your car. You will therefore receive your payment alongside the money that will be paid to the national car Specialist(expert) in the mail. So when you get the payment, you will take out your first week pay of $500 and give the rest to the Specialist. This is to afford mutual relationship between you and the Specialist. A check of $2170 would be mailed to you to cover your money and the Specialist money. In view of this,

Please confirm the following details:

*How long do you intend to carry the advertisement on your car? One(1) month, two(2) months or three(3) months?

*Do you use your car everyday?Also reconfirm your name and address as it should be on the check, where your payment should be mailed. You are to be checking your email daily for updates and while your check will arrive in the mail.

Regards

Wait...What Did I Win?

Wow a check for $2,170? Wait a minute... what?

It's a bit weird that they would rush out a check and not schedule an appointment with the specialist. In addition at no point have I been notified of the rules of the program. I haven't signed any contract. Some thoughts came to mind if this was a legit program:

  • What happens if pieces of the sticker go missing, am I obligated to notify the company?
  • What if I was going on a long vacation or a business trip? Am I allowed to leave the car in my garage and still get paid for the week.

No rules. No Contract. So, ya something is weird.

I decided to see how far this would go. I confirmed the information and a couple of days later I got the following email:

Check in the Mail

Subject: Re: G-Shock Promotion Mix -
From: "Sierra Shelley"
Date: Tue, September 19, 2017 3:16 pm
To: xxx...@cryan.com

We like to bring to your notice that our representative have mail out payment to you and we have been informed that Payment of $2170 was send to you that will cover the decal expenses and your first week payment via USPS with the Tracking #940550...320131979711 it will deliver to you today or tomorrow.

2017 CASIO AMERICA, INC.
www.casio.com

So, I haven't signed any commitment and already I am getting paid? Oh and good luck trying to find an image of what the casio "small sticker" looks like.

 G-Shock Car Wrap
I created this mockup so other people will see what a G-Shock Car Wrap would look like.

Check Arrived!

Yes its a Cashier's Check! Wahoo! I got $2,170 in the mail. But that's all that was in the Priority Mail envelope: an 8 1/2 by 11 paper.

Fake Cashier's Check

Bank Check Fraud2

There are several things wrong with this check, here's a few observations:

  • Printed on a plan 8 1/2" x 11" paper and doesn't contain any invisible fluorescent fibers
  • Cashier's Check have the issuing bank telephone number on it. That is missing.
  • The Authorize Signature line is supposed to have a micro print. That is missing.
  • Contains a "Reorder 140-5187 Form #7200" on the bottom. Which is Avanquest Software's Business Voucher Checks ($29.19). Do you really think that Navy Credit Union would be using this paper for their Cashier's Check?

Not Over Yet!

There's more to this story. I'll update with lots more to this story. It's not over yet!

Phone Numbers Used in Scam

  • (724) 242-0422 - Original Text message to socialite the offer.
  • (813) 419-2870 - Correspondence after the letter was received

Addresses Used in this Scam

  • vanessase4@gmail.com
  • 1500 Rankin Rd, ARLINGTON Texas 76015 - Where $1,670 was to be sent

Additional Information

You can learn more about Cashier Check Scam at How to Spot Cashier's Check Fraud - Examples of Scams

September 10, 2017

QA Warning Graphics

Here are a few graphics that I put together for Slack. Feel free to use these when you feel they are appropriate.

Feel free to use the URL instead of the graphic - that way you don't use up valuable Slack storage.

Code Freeze Appears2http://www.cryan.com/images/CodeFreezeAppears2.jpg
Code Freeze is Closer than it Appears.

How About That Releasehttp://www.cryan.com/images/images/HowAboutThatRelease.jpg
"How about that Release?"

No Going Back Nowhttp://www.cryan.com/images/images/NoGoingBackNow.jpg
There?s No Going Back Now

Go Wronghttp://www.cryan.com/images/images/GoWrong.jpg
What Could Possibly go Wrong?

I archived the graphics on the QA reference page. If you're a Quality Assurance tester, frequently check out the page as new QA graphics will be put there.

August 13, 2017

Remembering Television

This weekend I was working on a fun video for a 50th birthday party. The video featured some of the television shows that we grew up watching.

It was fun trying to remember some of the classic shows that we watched. It was amazing how many of the great shows have good quality introductions on YouTube.

Here's a list of the 22 shows that we came up with. If you grew up in the 70s/80s are there any shows that you think should be on this list?

T V Shows

Shows we Grew up Watching

  • Captain Kangaroo
  • Electric Company
  • Flintstones
  • The Jetsons
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle
  • The Brady Bunch
  • Happy Days
  • Diff?rent Strokes
  • Adam 12
  • Emergency
  • Bewitched
  • I Dream of Jeannie
  • Chips
  • The Munsters
  • The Monkeys
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • That?s Incredible
  • Hawaii 5-0
  • Knight Rider
  • Alf
  • Unsolved Mysteries
  • Facts of Life

Many of the shows that we watched, such as Brady Bunch, was done while it was in syndications. We would watch the show long after it canceled off regular TV.

August 5, 2017

Netcom California

Netcom Logo

In California, Back in the mid-1990's, the way most people would access the internet was through Netcom. They had horrible service and consumers complained about the poor quality.

Netcom changed over the years, today it's now part of the Viatel group and was renamed Viatel.

There were many good parodies created around the problems that users faced with Netcom. While search my CD collection, I found this parody created by created by wotan@netcom.com on March 1996. (To the tune of "Hotel California")

Netcom California

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Burnt smell of cruisers rising up in the air
Up ahead in the distance I saw a bright neon light
My head grew heavy and my eyes grew dim
I had to stop for a byte

There she stood in the doorway, but it wasn't The Well
I was thinking to myself, this could be heaven but it looks like hell
Then she gave me an account, and she told me to go that way
There were shellers behind the counter
Saying "We wish the losers would go away."

Welcome to the Netcom, California.
What a lovely place, what a lovely face
Plenty of Bananas at the Netcom, California
Here's your bill, would you like an account with that?

So I called support, told them please fix the mail
They never responded, and now I want to bail
And still those voices are calling from far away
We drive through in the middle of the night just to hear them say...

Welcome to the Netcom California
What a lovely place, what a lovely face
Livin it up at the Netcom California
What a nice surprise, Sales Rep told you some lies

Mirrors on the ceiling, being able to log on is nice
We are all just prisoners here of our own device
Out the back in support, they gather round the beast
They stab it with their bagel knives but they just can't kill the beast

Last thing I remember I was running for the zoo
I had to find a plastic bag to throw my guts into
Stop there said the auto-biller, we are programmed to receive
We expect you to put up with all this sh*t but never to leave.

June 24, 2017

How to Report and Seek Change for Dangerous Road Conditions

The Interstate System throughout the U.S. is over 46,000 miles long. With millions of cars traveling our roadways each day, through all types of weather, it?s no surprise that our roads need upkeep from time to time.

The Interstate System is not the only collection of roads that need work, look around your community, and there are probably many neighborhood streets with potholes and even bridges that need repair.

Problematic Road

Car Hubcap

Every year, drivers hit giant potholes on the road, despite trying to avoid them. In some cases, when trying to swerve away from a pothole, a collision may occur with another motorist. Potholes and other issues in the road are not only an eyesore but cost drivers money every year. U.S. drivers, on average, spend a total of $3 billion on car repairs due to potholes and poor road conditions.

In addition to potholes, many roads have cracks, no clear lane and shoulder markings, and inadequate guardrails on overpasses and curves in the road. All of these things are potential contributors to fatal accidents.

Reporting Bad Roads

During your daily commute, it?s easy to forget about every bump you hit along the way and over time you probably pay less attention to the condition of the road. Think of our roadways as a community. If there were something wrong going on in your neighborhood, you?d report it, right?

A pothole, a visual obstruction, and even debris left on the road are worth reporting, not only for your safety but for fellow motorists. If you come across some damage, make a mental note or pull over safely to write down information or make a phone call. Don?t call anyone about the damage as you?re driving.

If you?re in an area with little to no traffic, take a picture if you can do so without interrupting traffic or compromising your safety. Take note of where the damage is, the date and time, and any other helpful details. If it?s on a city street, contact your city offices. If you?re on a highway, contact your state?s Department of Transportation (DOT).

Seek Change

Even if you report a road that?s in poor condition, it may take awhile to see any changes. Don?t be afraid to be persistent, especially after a few months have passed. It?s important to note that when you come across some road damage, don?t be silent. Don?t assume that another driver reported the issue already.

So, why are the roads in such bad shape and why does it seem to take forever to see change? Budget is a big factor. Some states, like Rhode Island, have set aside billions of dollars for a budget to fix roads and bridges. Other states don?t have the same kind of funding.

Unfortunately, lack of funding is an all too common problem across the U.S. Regardless of which state you live in, voice your concerns about road conditions. Talk and write to your state legislators. Attend meetings and events that talk about expansion and road construction in your area.

Get involved as much as you can. Even if you can?t foot the multi-million dollar bill for fixing the roads, your concerns can spark action.

June 18, 2017

Sacagawea dollar

In 2000, the United States Mint came out with a new one dollar coin called the Sacagawea dollar. This coin was unique because it was in a different color and size of the previous version. In addition, for the first time, an American coin featured a native Indian.

Golden Money

Lots of Hype

When the coin was announced, there was a lot of hype. Coin collectors went crazy grabbing the first editions.

Money Chart
Sacagawea dollar Mintage figures in Millions

Cost Per Mint

According to the Federal Reserve, it cost 5.4 cents to produce one paper dollar bill that lasts about 18 months.

It cost the US Mint 12 cents to make the Sacagawea dollar coin that last approximately 30 years.

In 2008, Congress required by law that all vending machines must accept the $1 Sacagawea dollar coin.

Vending Machines Usage by Law

48 CFR 52.237-11 - Accepting and Dispensing of $1 Coin.

This clause applies to service contracts that involve business operations conducted in U.S. coin and currency, including vending machines, on any premises owned by the United States or under the control of any agency or instrumentality of the United States. All such business operations must be compliant with the requirements in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this clause on and after January 1, 2008.

(b) All business operations conducted under this contract that involve coins or currency, including vending machines, shall be fully capable of -

(1) Accepting $1 coins in connection with such operations; and

(2) Dispensing $1 coins in connection with such operations, unless the vending machine does not receive currency denominations greater than $1.

(c) The Contractor shall ensure that signs and notices are displayed denoting the capability of accepting and dispensing $1 coins with business operations on all premises where coins or currency are accepted or dispensed, including on each vending machine.

Interesting to note that there is no specific penalty if the contractor doesn't comply with the rules.

What's your experience with the Sacagawea dollar? Have you gotten it from any purchases recently?

May 28, 2017

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Whenever we have a family gathering we usually serve an awesome Buffalo Chicken Dip. This has been very popular at my company annual Thanksgiving potluck.

Awesome Buffalo Dip

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken tenders or 2 -3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup cut shredded cheese
  • 1 block cream cheese

Simple Instructions

We cook the chicken on the grill or oven. (Whatever works for you.)

We then put in chicken in the food processor and chop up the chicken to a very fine mix.

After that we just mix everything together! We sometimes will top the mix with some extra Ranch Cheese.

Bake or microwave until heated through.

SO SIMPLE. SO YUMMY!

Lessions Learned

If you plan on serving this at a potluck, cook this ahead of time and then warm in the microwave for about 10 minutes.

If you double the recipe you'll make enough to fill up a 9 x 13 pan.

Tostitos Scoops are the perfect chips to serve with this dish. Make sure you have at least 2 10oz bags!

May 13, 2017

Flag Position on the House

In 2009, when we repainted the house, we researched if it mattered what side of the door the flag should be on the house. We were surprised to find out that it does matter.

In 1942, the federal government established the federal Flag Code detailing how to properly display and use the U.S. flag.

According to §175. Position and manner of display, section (i):

When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

This means that the flag should be positioned to the left side of the front door, not the right.

Flag Door

March 25, 2017

IJMC - The Final From Hell

I J M C Mockup

The International Junk Mail Clearinghouse (IJMC) was a popular humor mailing list. Just about every day you would get a funny story in your mailbox.

It started on March 13, 1995, and the last issue was on August 26, 2001. I subscribed on July 6, 1995.

This is a sample entry from April 9, 1997:

IJMC - The Final From Hell

I am almost certain that this is a rerun for the IJMC. But I can't find it anywhere in the archives so I'm sending it anyway. Hopefully most of you haven't seen it yet. Also, if anyone passes it, see me for a job. I don't know how I'll pay you but I know I couldn't afford not to! -dave

FINAL FROM HELL.

Biology: Create life. Estimate the difference in subsequent human culture if this form of life had developed 500 million years prior with special attention to its probable effect on the English parliamentary system. Prove your thesis.

Health: You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze, and a bottle of scotch. Remove your appendix. Do not suture until your work has been inspected.

Languages: 2,500 riot-crazed aborigines are storming the classroom. Calm them. You may use any ancient language except Latin or Greek.

Psychology: Based on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability, degree of adjustment and represented frustrations of each of the following: Alexander of Apfrodisias, Parnses II, Gregory of Micea and Hammurabi. Support your evaluation with quotes from each man's work. Translation is not necessary.

Sociology: Estimate the sociological problems which might accompany the end of the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory.

Business Policy: Define business. Define policy. How are they related and why?

Management: Create a generalized algorithm to optimize all managerial decisions. Assuming an 1130 CPU supporting 50 terminals each terminal to activate your algorithm; design the communciations interface and control programs.

Engineering: The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed on your desk, the instruction manual printed in Swahili. In 10 minutes, a hungry Bengal tiger will be admitted to the room. Take whatever action you feel appropriate.

Poli Sci: There is a red telephone on your desk. Start World War III. Report at length on it's socio-political effects, if any.

Economics: Develop a realistic plan for refinancing the national debt. Trace possible effects to the following areas: Cubism, the Donati controversy, the wave theory of light. Devise a method for preventing these effects. Criticize from all possible points of view.

Logic: Take a stand for or against the truth. Prove validity of your position.

Philosophy: Sketch the development of human thought. Estimate significance. Compare with development of any other kind of thought.

General Knowledge: Describe all you know in detail. Be both objective and specific.

Yet Another E-Mail Sent By The International Junk Mail Clearinghouse (IJMC).
Unless otherwise specified, distribute freely. All questions, comments,
submissions and requests should be directed to Dave at eatheror@netcom.com

   IJMC Mailings - email majordomo@netcom.com with "info ijmc-l" in body
                   IJMC WebPage - http://www.ijmc.com

This is Mac.                                            \\|////
He wants to travel the world.                           ( O   O )
Please add him to your .sig and help him.          ---oOOo--U--oOOo---

March 19, 2017

Irish Music Playlist

This past week I was put in charge of background music for a Saint Patrick's Day dinner and dance.

I was surprised on how difficult it was to come up with a good selection of Irish music. After some searching through Itunes and Amazon, I came up with the following playlist:

Days of Elijah Robin Mark Revival in Belfast
Ireland's Call Celtic Thunder The Very Best of Celtic Thunder
Galway Bay (Single) Bing Crosby Top O' The Morning / His Irish Collection
The Irish Rover The Irish Rovers The Best of the Irish Rovers (Remastered)
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling Bing Crosby Top O' the Morning: His Irish Collection
Orinoco Flow Celtic Woman Celtic Woman
Whiskey In the Jar The Dubliners The Best of the Dubliners
Molly Malone (feat. Ronnie Drew) The Dubliners 50 Years
A Nation Once Again The Wolfe Tones The Wolfe Tones: The Greatest Hits
The Galway Girl Celtic Thunder The Very Best of Celtic Thunder
Whiskey In the Jar The Dubliners The Best of the Dubliners
The Irish Rover The Irish Rovers The Best of the Irish Rovers (Remastered)
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling Bing Crosby Top O' the Morning: His Irish Collection
Riverdance Celtic Roots Riverdance & Lord of the Dance

Total playlist time is one hour, which is perfect for my needs. This playlist has a nice blend of classic and POP songs.

Last Year I put together some other playlists for different events: