Misc blog postings
|Earliest: July 28, 2003||Latest: December 10, 2017||Total: 104|
|December 10, 2017|
XS Energy Magnet Scam
They are back! Fresh off of the Casio Campaign, the scammers are now promoting XS Energy Drink magnets. Read the previous blog post: G-Shock Car Shock Promotion.
Not the real magnet.
You just loose money, you don't get any product.
The full text of the promotion (Cut/Paste the unedited text):
XS ENERGY DRINK announces the availability of the MRGG2000HT-1A a new special edition timepiece demonstrating the best in Japanese innovation and craftsmanship that was unveiled at Basel world will be available in select stores this October . With 500 pieces available worldwide, the first-ever Bluetooth® connected XS is handcrafted using a traditional Japanese hammer tone technique with colors inspired by a Japanese cloud dragon. The MRGG2000HT-1A timepiece features three-way time sync capabilities made possible via Bluetooth Connectivity and XS ENERGY DRINK?s GPS Atomic Solar Hybrid technology, accurately measuring time and location from anywhere on earth.
We are currently seeking to employ individual?s Nationwide, Regular citizens, Professional drivers to go about their normal routine as they usually do, only with a big advert for "XS ENERGY DRINK" plastered on your Bike/Car/Truck/Boat/Lorry/Cart. The advert are typically vinyl decals that almost seem to be painted on the vehicle, and which will cover any portion of your Bike/Car/Truck/Boat/Lorry/Cart's exterior surface.
What does the company get out of this type of ad strategy ? We get lots of exposure and awareness from doing this. The adverts tend to be colorful, eye-catching and attract lots of attention which people who are stuck in traffic can't avoid seeing the wrapped Bike/Car/Truck/Boat/Lorry/Cart alongside them. Plus, it's a form of advertising with a captive audience. This program will last for 16 weeks and the minimum you can participate is 10 weeks.
Compensation/Reward : You will be compensated with $500 per week which is essentially a "RENTAL" payment for letting our company use the space & no fee is required from you. XS ENERGY DRINK shall provide specialist that will handle the advert placing on your car. You will receive an up front payment inform of check via courier service for accepting to carry this advert on your car.
It?s a Scam
Don?t fall for this scam. Think about it? Why would someone pay you $500 per week to put an advertisement on a Bike or Cart?
The text message came from 724 519-7939. The number is registered to an Emily Matthews in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (I am sure the text number is spoofed.
|November 26, 2017|
QA Text Graphics
Here are some QA graphic images that are perfect for that moment in Slack or other IM chat:
|September 23, 2017|
G-Shock Car Shock Promotion
Recently I got the following strange text message from (724) 242-0422:
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
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.
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
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.
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.
I created this mockup so other people will see what a G-Shock Car Wrap would look like.
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
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
- 1500 Rankin Rd, ARLINGTON Texas 76015 - Where $1,670 was to be sent
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.
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|
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?
Shows we Grew up Watching
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|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org on March 1996. (To the tune of "Hotel 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.
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).
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|
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.
Lots of Hype
When the coin was announced, there was a lot of hype. Coin collectors went crazy grabbing the first editions.
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.
- 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
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!
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.