Misc blog postings

Misc Postings

Earliest: July 28, 2003Latest: July 15, 2018Total: 111

July 15, 2018

Expired Inspection Sticker

Make sure to get your car inspected on time. This is critical in Massachusetts as no only could you be severely fined $100 for a simple mistake. Did you know that you could be charge points for having an expired sticker?

Quotes About Expired Tickets

"If you're caught driving without an inspection sticker, or one that's expired, you will be cited by the police for driving an unsafe vehicle, which could also result in insurance surcharges and you could be forced to pay a fine." - Massachusetts DMV

"In Massachusetts, a ticket for an expired vehicle inspection sticker is the equivalent, in auto insurance citation points, of a moving violation. According to the MA Department of Insurance, surcharge points are incurred if you: cause an at-fault accident. are convicted of or pay a fine for a traffic law violation" - Massachusetts Auto Insurance

Inspection Sticker

Massachusetts Rules on Inspection Stickers

This is the official rule if you get caught with an expired inspection sticker:

Any person who operates and any person who owns or permits to be operated a motor vehicle or trailer that fails to meet the safety standards established by the registrar pursuant to section 7A shall be punished by a fine of $25. Any person who owns and fails to have inspected a motor vehicle owned by him, as required pursuant to section 7A or 7V of this chapter or sections 142J and 142M of chapter 111 or any person who operates or permits a motor vehicle owned by him to be operated without a certificate of inspection or a certificate of rejection displayed in accordance with the provisions of said section 7A or 7V or said sections 142J or 142M and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder shall be punished by a fine of $50. Any motor vehicle which is required to be inspected pursuant to the provisions of said section 7A and said section 142J or 142M and fails to meet the requirements of such inspection and has not been issued a certificate of waiver under the provisions of clause (b) of the first paragraph of said section 7V or said section 142M shall be subject to suspension or revocation of the certificate of registration as may be prescribed by the registrar under section 22.

New Bill Being Proposed

There is currently a bill, proposed by Bradley H. Jones, Jr., to remove an expired inspection sticker as a surchargeable incident.

Bill H.541

SECTION 1. Section 113B of chapter 175 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting, in line 227, after the word "incident" the following sentence:-

Driving a motor vehicle which has an expired inspection sticker shall not be considered a surchargeable incident.

Back in 1997, the Massachusetts DMV used to mail out reminder cards to let people know about the inspection sticker was about to expire. This ended during the budget cuts of the 2000s.

Don't take chances, check your car inspection sticker, don't let it lapse.

July 4, 2018

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day America!

In New England, some people are heading to the beaches to enjoy the warm weather, others are heading around the Charles River to mark their spot for the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular.

This is a nice poem/article that was written 42 years ago to celebrate the bicentennial celebration of the country.

Nation Graphic
Download PDF Version

I am The Nation

OTTO Whittaker "I Am the Nation," as published on the front cover of the Norfolk and Western Railway Company Magazine on January 15, 1976.

Download a PDF version of the famous article - it's been reprinted many times and each year it get's read into the congressional record.

I was born on July 4, 1776, and the Declaration of Independence is my birth certificate. The bloodlines of the world run in my veins, because I offered freedom to the oppressed. Too many things, and many people. I am the nation.

I am 213 million living souls-and the ghost of millions who have lived and died for me.

I am Nathan Hale and Paul Revere. I stood at Lexington and fired the shot heard around the world. I am Washington, Jefferson and Patrick Henry I am John Paul Jones, the Green Mountain Boys and Davy Crockett. I am Lee and Grant and Abe Lincoln.

I remember the Alamo, the Maine and Pearl Harbor. When freedom called I answered and stayed until it was over, over there. I left my heroic dead in Flanders Fields, on the rock of Corregidor, on the bleak slopes of Korea, in the steaming jungle of Vietnam, on the sands of Iraq and the hills of Afghanistan.

I am the Brooklyn Bridge, the wheat lands of Kansas and the granite hills of Vermont. I am the coalfields of the Virginias and Pennsylvania, the fertile lands of the West, the Golden Gate and the Grand Canyon. I am Independence Hall, the Monitor and the Merrimack.

I am big. I sprawl from the Atlantic to the Pacific - my arms reach out to embrace Alaska and Hawaii - 3 million square miles throbbing with industry. I am more than 5 million farms. I am forest, field, mountain, and desert. I am quiet villages-and cities that never sleep.

You can look at me and see Ben Franklin walking down the streets of Philadelphia with his bread loaf under his arm. You can see Betsy Ross with her needle. You can see the lights of Christmas, and hear the strains of "Auld Lang Syne" as the calendar turns.

I am Babe Ruth and the World Series. I am 110,000 schools and colleges, and 330,000 churches where my people worship God as they think best. I am a ballot dropped in a box, the roar of a crowd in a stadium and the voice of a choir in a cathedral. I am an editorial in a newspaper and a letter to a Congressman.

I am Eli Whitney and Stephen Foster. I am Tom Edison, Albert Einstein, and Billy Graham. I am Horace Greeley, Will Rogers, and the Wright brothers. I am George Washington Carver, Jonas Salk, and Martin Luther King.

I am Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Walt Whitman and Thomas Paine.

Yes, I am the nation, and these are the things that I am. I was conceived in freedom and, God willing, in freedom, I will spend the rest of my days. May I possess always the integrity, the courage, and the strength to keep myself unshackled, to remain a citadel of freedom and a beacon of hope to the world.

This is my wish, my goal, my prayer in this year of 1976-two hundred years after I was born.

May 13, 2018

Advanced Mac Cleaner (Fake)

If your browsing the Internet and encounter a notification that your computer has a virus. Stop and think, and don't click 'Scan Now.'

Apple Virus

Couple of Notes

  • Currently there's no way a browser can detect that your computer has a virus - it would be a browser/OS security violation.
  • The Website appears that your on Apple's website - which your not.
  • The url is disguised to make it appear that your on Apple's website.
  • Report any suspected website to the Google Safe Browsing website so others will not make the mistake.

The best advice I can give is to make sure that your browser is updated and you have the latest OS update. That should fix 90% of all possible virus and spyware.

Uninstall the Fake Advanced Mac Cleaner

Should you have accidentally installed the software, here's the simple solution to successfully uninstalling the virus off your computer:

The Real Advance Mac Cleaner

You can download the real Advanced Mac Cleaner from advancedmaccleaner.com

April 29, 2018

The Dog Treatery

If your looking for a special treat to celebrate a dog's birthday, check out The Dog Treatery. They have a variety of cakes to celebrate your dog's special day.

We recently ordered one to celebrate our dog's, Gus, first birthday. We also ordered a Customized birthday hat to celebrate the special day and some special treats for another occasion.

Gus Birthday Cake

The cake came well packed and arrived without any damage.

We gave Gus 1/2 the cake and sent the rest to the neighbor's dogs as the neighbors have helped us out whenever we need them.

Gus ate his part of the cake in 2 minutes. Afterward, he drank a lot of water. It certainly was a big hit

Gus Taking Cake
Gus taking the cake to the ground.

The next day he still went to the spot where he ate the cake sniffing for crumbs.

Cake was a Hit

Getting the cake from the The Dog Treatery. was a good idea. It was a hit and certainly make the occasion special.

March 4, 2018

Amazon Alexa/Echo Cards

If your an Amazon Alex fan, chances are you have multiple units. The problem is that you have to different "wake up" word so that your speaking to the closet unit.

If you're like us, you probably have a hard time remembering what the wake-up word for the particular unit. You usually end up saying "Echo/Alexa."

That's why I created these graphics reminders. Simply print these out and place them near the unit to remember the name of the device.

Click on image for a larger version.
Click on image for a larger version.
Click on image for a larger version.
Click on image for a larger version.

If there's any other's that you would like to see, simply leave a comment.

January 28, 2018


BluMoo is a Universal Home Entertainment Remote. It's designed to allow you to control all your entertainment devices from your smartphone. It's a great solution if you have multiple devices and don't want to mess with having all the remotes around. In fact, BluMoo is program to control 200,000 unique devices out of the box.

We had this device for a few years and never used it. We decided to use it when we couldn't find the remote for our Toshiba TV. We have been using a Comcast Xfinity remote, but are not going to be using it anymore.

Setting up the HomeBase

It was a bit confusing on how the BluMoo works with the TV. The instructions weren't really clear on how to connect the Homebase with the TV, it focuses more on the audio capabilities.

Basically the Homebase needs to have a visual of the TV. It won't work by putting it under the TV or behind it. (As I was thinking to hide it behind the wall mounted TV)

Key thing to remember: The BluMoo Homebase sends infrared signals to any device that can receive those signals.

In our situation, the Homebase is on the opposite side of the room from the TV - on the shelf where my computer is.

Blumoo Phone
Using the BlueMoo iOS App is very easy!

Using the BluMoo with the TV

Anytime I need to interact with the TV, I simply open up my iPhone and the BluMoo App, and then turn on the TV. I can then use the channel selector to change the channel.

There is a built-in TV Guide, where I can see what's going on and change the channel to the show.

I can do this any place in the room, I just need to be within 150 of the BluMoo Homebase.

Good Tool to Have

The BluMoo is a good tool to have in the event that you lose any remote to any electronic device. It's very easy to setup up and use. You can get a BluMoo at Amazon or on eBay.

December 31, 2017

2018 Calendar on a Page

Here's the 2018 Calendar - featuring the Year on a Page. This is a two-page document featuring both landscape and portrait in the same document. Each month has the previous or next month days included. This was created using InDesign CS2 using the InDesign Calendar Wizard Plug-in version 5.0.

2018 Calendar
Download the PDF File

You can easily import this into Affinity Designer to add all sorts of designs to highlight days. In addition, print out a copy and have it at your desk for a quick visual of the upcoming year.

I find this type of Calendar useful, hopefully, it helps others out.

December 24, 2017

Rules for my Son and Daughter Update

A few favorites from the book Rules for My Unborn Son.

  1. Never shake a man's hand sitting down.
  2. There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. The stairs ain't one.
  3. The man at the grill is the closest thing we have to a king.
  4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer.
  5. Act like you've been there before. Especially in the end zone.
  6. Request the late check-out.
  7. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
  8. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.
  9. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
  10. Don't fill up on bread.
  11. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look him in the eye.
  12. Don't let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.
  13. If you need music on the beach, you're missing the point.
  14. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.
  15. You marry the girl, you marry her whole family.
  16. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.
  17. Experience the serenity of traveling alone.
  18. Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room.
  19. Never turn down a breath mint.
  20. In a game of HORSE, sometimes a simple free throw will get 'em.
  21. A sport coat is worth 1000 words.
  22. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.
  23. Thank a veteran. And then make it up to him.
  24. If you want to know what makes you unique, sit for a caricature.
  25. Eat lunch with the new kid.
  26. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.
  27. Ask your mom to play. She won't let you win.
  28. See it on the big screen.
  29. Give credit. Take the blame.
  30. Write down your dreams.

*Update - It's crazy to me but this post has somehow gone viral. For clarification, this was a list I consolidated from my favorite sayings at this (Source). **Originally Posted 5 years ago

Bonus Six Rules for my six-year-old daughter

My daughter will turn seven next week - Just some random things that I thought of while looking over the Top 30 Rules for my Son.

  1. Treat everyone with respect
  2. Never settle for less than your very best every day.
  3. Save as much money as you can. Understand the power of compounding.
  4. Never be afraid to ask for help.
  5. If your not earning enough money, your not giving enough value.
  6. If life gets you down, three words - Silly Hat Day

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.

x2 Energy Drink
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.

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.


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.


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