Friday, March 31, 2006
I know, at the bottom of this post, it says this product was released in October 2005 in the UK and Europe, but on
they're saying it's new, so I echo that.
Regardless, this has got to be one of the best music additions you could possibly acquire for your home or car stereo or iPod.
The Sex Pistols were recently invited to be inducted into the stupid ass Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Johnny Rotten/Lydon sent a scathing hand scribbled letter to the schmucks, saying that compared to the Sex Pistols they are a piss stain, these music industry wankers.
Amen to that, dear Johnny.
Virgin/EMI Records, LYDOND1
1. Anarchy in the UK - Sex Pistols
2. Public Image - PiL
3. This is Not a Love Song - PiL
4. Open Up - Leftfield Lydon
5. Rise - PiL
6. Don't Ask Me - PiL
7. Seattle - PiL
8. Holidays in the Sun - Sex Pistols
9. Death Disco - PiL
10. Flowers Of Romance - PiL
11. World Destruction - Time Zone
12. Warrior - PiL
13. Disappointed - PiL
14. Sun - John Lydon
15. Bad Life - PiL
16. Home - PiL
17. The Body - PiL
18. Cruel - PiL
19. God Save the Queen - Sex Pistols
20. The Rabbit Song - John Lydon
Running Time: 75.20 mins
1. Death Disco (12" Mix) - PiL
2. Poptones - PiL
3. Careering - PiL
4. Religion - PiL
5. Banging The Door - PiL
6. The Pardon - PiL
7. Rise (12" Mix) - PiL
8. Disappointed (12" Mix) - PiL
9. Warrior (12" Mix) - PiL
10. Acid Drops - PiL
11. Open Up (Full Vocal Mix) - Leftfield Lydon
12. God Save The Queen (Dance Mix) - Sex Pistols & Neil Barnes
Running Time: 78.56 mins
Limited edition 2 CD special edition, housed in card slip case.
Features additional bonus disc of remixes and album tracks selected by John Lydon .
Released in UK & Europe
October 3rd 2005
Here's a new one, and I wonder if you've encountered it yet.
Go to my Pollhost poll, in my sidebar, and click on View Results. I just did so, using Avant Browser, which blocked a pop up ad from Fastclick and some other ad.
But what can block an audio commercial?
I heard an audio ad, coming through my PC speakers, congratulating me for "winning" an iPod. It must be an audio accompaniment to a visual ad, because the sound commercial instructed me to click on something I did not see, it had been blocked.
The voice sounds like a Martian elf or something.
Try it now and see (hear) if it happens for you. Very weird.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Am I the only one who hates the film The Matrix? I don't go to movie theaters, so it was tonight, on TBS television channel, that I first viewed this tiresome film.
My problem with The Matrix is that it is so anti-intellectual, unoriginal, and fundamentally boring.
Why do almost all "futuristic" films feature guns and bullets?
I suspect it has something to do with the fanatical gun maniacs, who want to "collect" assault weapons, like it's some divine right granted by a violent god.
Even worse than all the frivolous, gratuitous guns and bullets in The Matrix, is the flying-through-the-air kung fu. It reminds me of a silly mix of Harry Potter and Rambo, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lethal Weapon.
Formulaic filmmaking is what has driven me out of the movie theaters, never to return. It's an ironclad law in Hellywood: "All action films must contain guns, chase scenes, sex, violence, explosions, and just-in-time miracles."
It's supposed to be 2199, a digital imaginary reality, and you can bend a spoon like charlatan Uri Geller, if you just tell yourself: "there is no spoon".
This is such weak, sloppy, pseudo-mysticism.
I could only watch about half the film. It was just bullets and flying and jumping and electrodes everywhere. Was this based on a cartoon? It certainly seems like a comic book, full of just in time miracles, like Neo grabbing Morpheus as he fell through a (real? unreal? who cares?) shaft between buildings, or whatever.
When dream, imagination, and reality are all jumbled up like this, it gets boring really fast. I can see no underlying philosophy or metaphysics at all, other than typical self-help book advice like "Quit trying to hit me and hit me."
I kept expecting Morpheus or Neo to quote Napoleon Hill or Norman Vincent Peale.
"Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve" and other lies and deceptions based on a flimsy pop occultism that appeals to the childlike craving for super powers.
EDIT UPDATE: There are plenty of schizophrenics who totally believe things, and achieve none of them. And misguided dreamers who fervently believe in things like fairness, justice and the American Dream...and never achieve any of it...because they are all lies.
The "there is no spoon" strategy is totally misinterpreted application of metaphysical immaterialism, or Christian Science foolishness (ala "evil, insanity, suffering do not exist--all is One, all is Mind...etc.").
Buddha said all is illusory, only due to how all is changing and vanishing and being replaced by new items. Not that, since the spoon is "not there", you can mentally bend it.
How silly and childish. Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are not pleased with invading the make believe realm with such tripe.
I can't recall any film quite as idiotic and empty as The Matrix.
Weren't the guys in the Trench Coat Mafia, those occult killers of Columbine, influenced by The Matrix?
The fact that The Matrix has been a financial success (5th best selling film trio), I attribute to the guns, kung fu, and special effects (and all special effects in contemporary films seem highly unspecial, imitative, unspectacular).
Using "Trinity" and "Zion" to simulate a spiritual aspect, based on Christian revelation, only makes this film seem more tawdry and vulgar, in a myopic, mushy sense.
The cure is CEO spirituality, and I hasten to thwart misinterpretation, the usual variants, by stating: not religion.
Religion, both secular and sacred, is evil. Whether the ritual is based on Maslow pyramids or Egyptian sphinx, it is horrible. A charismanic leader, empty slogans, unplowed fields of endeavor, sham and imbecility abound. Charlatans flock to the church, which is home to hypocrisy.
"If I told you what it takes
to reach the highest high,
you'd laugh and say
nothing's that simple.
But you've been told
many times before:
messiahs pointed to the door;
no one had the guts
to leave the temple!"
THE WHO, "I'm Free"
Religion is tradition is division is confusion.
Spirituality, in a business/corporate sense, means ethics, immaterialism, altruism. The studied pursuit of generosity, self-sacrifice, servant leadership.
Imitate Socrates, Buddha, Jesus...but scorn and ignore the religious "holier than thou" frauds. All established institutions and traditions are frauds, while a few true Other Thans may still be found in some.
Mr./Ms. CEO, I don't suggest you start attending any church, temple, mosque, or synagogue.
What I am recommending is: turn on the Light of Vision and Devotion to Your Highest Hopes and Ideals.
You want peers, customers, associates, suppliers, consultants, friends, family to like you, right? (Let's at least hope so.)
Be spiritual, an ascended being, to them. Quit being a paranoid, territorial, tight miser. Quit acting like a frightened, confused animal. Be paranormal, hyper-human, neo-homosapien.
Transcend self and selfishness with altruism, generosity, unexpected kindnesses, mercy, pity, sympathy, a sudden and radical softening and joyful curiosity.
Make your mind, business, and corporation a shining light that overwhelms the darkness of greed, intimidation, ruthlessness, envy, hyperbole, deceit, miserliness, fear.
Here's how to
tap into the
Strategic Power of
(1) Golden Rule: Treat customers, employees, investors, colleagues, mentors, interns, media, bloggers, beta testers, and suppliers with dignity, respect, appreciation.
(2) Broken Fool: Experience set-backs with a smile as you transition into immaterialism, which is focus on goals, not being victimized or hurt personally by seemingly negative events. Learn from mistakes, which are nearly always better than lethargy, inertia, paralysis.
(3) Enlightened Tool: Allow yourself to be a mechanism of the Good Realm, by letting go of your strange, illusory, insatiable, inordinate desires, by learning to enjoy simple things, and how to expect and receive miracles from mercy.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Ever wonder how to market a cursed business? One that's failing because of CEO stupidity? What other kinds of business failure are there? Not many, I'm afraid.
From my many years in the corporate world, including working for Madison Avenue, Broadway, and Wall Street firms in NYC, I can tell you that business failure is nearly always the fault of a stupid CEO. I have met with many clients, from General Motors and Caterpillar, to little podunk schmuck ass local business chumps.
Business trouble, failure, and collapse is nearly always because the one at the top always was, or suddenly becomes, a loser, a fraud, a jerk. A disaster on wheels. Vaporware Walking.
Without balls or clues, they plod along okay for a while. Then the ship begins to sink. Fast. Panic. Talk about "new marketing ideas", but do nothing.
Buy silly superficial decorations, plasma TVs, a big new sign, new carpet, new furniture...
...anything but new behavior, new attitudes.
Revolutionless, cowardly, ineffectual, they plod along, but in a panic now. The panic causes them to make lousy decisions, be influenced by traitors, and actually believe that intentions and talk are all it takes to survive.
When you step in, authorized, to handle the situation in a professional, expert manner, a few feathers get ruffled, and suddenly your job description morphs on a daily basis. "Don't do that, it's bothering the ___________ staff! They need you to do things that will please them. So focus on satisfying the _________ staff."
This is the death rattle of the dying business leader.
The one at the top has delegated real reins of control to usurping, conspiratorial underlings who seek only their own comfort, routine, familiarities. The CEO likes to hear himself say he favors innovation, seeks radical solutions, and wishes to be totally customer oriented. But when the necessary changes are begun, he quickly bows down to the selfish whims and territorial paranoia of incompetent sandbaggers.
CEO cave-in is a tragic spectacle. It may sicken you to watch a grown man grovel at the whip of those who are snacking on the last remnants of cheese on his sinking ship. "His" necessarily, because it is generally the old White Male Patriarchal Domination System that is freaking out of control.
Tendency is to push slaves harder, and "slaves" includes the marketing consultant. They try to get you to do new, non-negotiated work, a seat of the pants twist on your original agreement.
* "Can you remove spyware from my computer?"
* "Can you fix my database so the labels print out correctly?"
* "Can you bus that table over there?"
* "Can you kiss my harem's skanky asses?"
What we see now is a mind-blasting fear of mediocre employees quitting, because of changes you, the consultant, suggest.
The reactions of certain insecure, inept managers or salesmen or waitresses carry infinitely more weight than the voice of the consultant or the customer. You notice how this staff abuses other employees, and threatens to quit, to instill fear in the CEO.
It then builds into the scenario of consultant and customer against the company. I don't have to spell out where all this is leading, do I?
The business is cursed.
You see what is really going on. You remember your Freud and Derrida. The sexual deconstruction of the scene and seen is remarkable in manic marvels and doomed fruit.
Even when you offer great advice, low cost services, discount rates, special reduced price work, the self-destructive fool just focuses on how to exploit you, squeeze newly demanded, unexpected work out of you.
Your best response: "I can no longer do any work for you. I quit."
He: "But why...?"
You: "No reason. Goodbye."
I just fired yet another client, for wasting my time.
I did a whole full blown blog, with many photos and such.
Less than 24 hours later, poof!
Flush The Magic Toilet.
Entire project, advertising channels, promotion strategies, blog, direct mail program, GONE.
Never to be raised back to life. There's nothing vindictive or vengeful about my response. I'll only be mildly annoyed with myself for wasting any more than 10 minutes on such tripe.
Analysis of Corporate Woes:
(1) Fear: of change, innovation, risky breakthroughs, uncomfortable pioneering, staff reprisals, of losing sandbag schmoozers, of offending the inept.
(2) Cowardice: no balls (guys), no castration blades (gals), pamper the losers.
(3) Insincerity: not really committed to customer relations, technology, blogs, online community, IT security, consumer input, conversational marketing...just mouthing the buzz words and making feeble half-hearted displays.
To survive, you must be somewhat normal, but you must also be bizarre.
Bizarre? Isn't that a bit over the top?
Well, what do you think "think outside the box" means?
It means be abnormal, unusual, different, non-conformist, daring, risky, funny yet serious, outrageous, unique, unexpected.
I mean: you must excel, and those who practice total quality and seek to perfect excellance...will be hated and called weird, nutty, and bizarre.
Many people, when you scratch the surface with your sharp eyes, are seen to be mediocre losers. They are the ones who slave away at routine, hate their job and boss, get shitfaced drunk after work, and abhor change, improvement, and newness, which they masochistically experience as severe discomfort.
Only victim mentality retards think that change and variety are going to kill them.
Therefore, to surpass these fools, to fly high and wide above them, go ahead and be super pro, super informed, super passionate, i.e., "bizarre".
It's always easier to tone down a wild idea, than to beef up a mediocre concept. Really damn hard to turn a grossly normalized entity into something superior.
Mediocrity is a great strategy for slaves and prisoners. But at will employees, entrepreneurs, and consultants need to be more. You have to not only do a job, but do it in an astonishingly professional, intelligent, and creative manner.
Each job has different priorities and constraints, but working smarter rather than just harder: this always triumphs over brute force.
To be smart usually equates to "be bizarre".
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
It's not easy because writing a good blog with frequent and popular posts takes a lot of thinking and motivation.
Many give up. They feel hurt because nobody posted any comments. Or they run out of things to say.
But even the most narcissistic and trivial personal blog is a manifestation of Individual Voice.
For the first time in history any person, with computer and internet access, can write or display material to the entire world, a potentially global audience...for free, or very cheap.
This is the Blog Revolution. The democratization of web content. A blog is a mini web site that the individual non-tech person can easily maintain, update, and promote. It puts online communication into the hands of the average person. Blogs are truly Power to the People.
Now, at Vaspers the Grate, we're exploring ways to succeed financially with a blog.
How To Make Money
With Your Blog:
(1) Template: use good, appropriate, unique design.
(2) Content: relevant, accurate, well written, passionate, intelligent, funny, entertaining, helpful, astonishing, practical, interesting.
(3) Post Frequently: at least a few times a week.
(4) Web Scan Text: not dense unbroken blocks of lower case prose, but short paragraphs, subheads, bold, lists, colored text, whatever it takes to help guide reader's eye to the salient points, thus: easy to skim and scan.
(5) Art/Photos: nice images please the eye, all text is tiresome and boring, but optimize the JPEGs for web display (approx. 150 k)
(6) Interact with Readers: post replies to all comments, as much as possible, and be polite, reserved, thick skinned, never hysterical or offended.
(7) Added Value: use your sidebar to provide links to resources you think your readers might enjoy and benefit from, so that your blog becomes a trusted portal to a pre-surfed web.
(8) Blog Ads: sell ads in your sidebar, approach companies that are relevant to your audience, and that will add to the prestige of your site.
(9) Other Revenue Channels: Amazon Associates, Swicki Custom Search Engines, Adsense.
(10) Downloadable Products: Ebooks, white papers, MP3s, software.
If you're not currently successful, as you define success for your situation, it's because you haven't failed enough yet. You need to ramp up the failed incidence ratio, which can only be accomplished by doing more, launching new projects, test proliferation.
Dig up new ground. Irritate sandbag mediocres. Challenge your best ideas to perform for measureable results. Change something, anything, and let the ripple effect piss off your best employees.
Forget people for a moment, and catch the majestic upsurge of your lofty ideals, unconditioned by territorial, phobic, change-hating jerks. Mount the sky of your best ideas on the wings of studied intuition.
Every good salesperson knows that the only way to get a Yes is to radically increase the Nos.
How many Nos are you creating? How many doomed projects are you pursuing? Many times the futile, the random, the lazy, the ridiculous, the obsessive is what breaks new ground and paves the way for populated palaces upholstered with your dreams.
The mediocre phobic coward is repulsed by change, transformation, discomfort, discipline, revolution, upheaval, transitional states with uncertain results. Clinging anti-dharmaically to cherished outposts of routine negligence in a somnambulent role in the company, the change-hater will spill over into non-relevance soon enough.
Those who champion the dying embers of an underwhelming past, the corporate command and control mentality, the generic broadcast sensibility, the harem dress code superficiality, the wait and see timidity, are not to be emulated, but pitied.
We are the New Economy Barons, and we see fit to escalate our global decree.
change moving through the eclipsing of corporate monotony.
differentials dialed away as the rest of the next fades.
your new money-making schedule is enclosed.
cloaked with clonings, the residue slides on sleds to the nearest or newest mirror.
Monday, March 27, 2006
Your business is declining? Your staff is slipping into bad morale? You're worrying about the future?
Then the stupidest thing you can possibly do is ramp up what has been ineffectual. To make everyone worker longer and harder is the kiss of death. You're killing your business with such desperate and barbaric, non-revolutionary acts.
You've read books, talked with experts, attended seminars, networked with colleagues, schmoozed with peers. You know all the right ideas. You get excited talking about what you want to do. But you don't prioritize the necessary modifications.
Your problem is that you're paralyzed by fear. Fear of staff reprisals. Fear of risk. Fear of upsetting "indispensable" staff. Fear of being misunderstood and mocked. Fear of falling flat on your face, expensively. Fear of the relentless litany of naysayers, who secretly envy your plans and wish for your doom.
You speak of valuing customer input, providing added value, letting customers determine your strategy, then you continue to do most things the exact same way you always have.
You survey customers. You do a special promotion. You create a buzz. You get some publicity. Then you slink back into the cesspool of non-innovation. And you look like an idiot to your employees, peers, and the public. Eventually, your business dies with all its good intentions and sincere desires rotting alongside the outmoded traditions and status quo.
Why does a business practice such fatal self-deception, commit such tomfoolery?
A business will contemplate change, agree with change, and speak loudly of change, and still not change in structure, policy, or practices. A new coat of paint on a decaying fence is just a superficial gimmick. Asking customers what they really want, then allowing the sales force to treat customers like cash cows is no improvement.
Your half-hearted show of "exciting new features" and "better customer relations" just makes things worse.
Why is this the norm for businesses?
Because the CEO and executive staff hate to admit that they're wrong, stupid, old fashioned, greedy, and insincere.
Because they want to change customer perceptions, rather than corporate culture.
Because they're afraid their reliable personnel, who are actually mediocre games-players, will be offended at any disruption of routine and comfort zones.
it's like a sneaky parade, a seen invisibility, an unrealizable reality. and it goes against everything, makes it all worse, for a short while.
the fizzling out of the Shasta Plane of the saha-world, where all non-events occur.
[photo: Darby Crash of pioneer 1970s punk band The Germs]
corporate revolution is customer creation of product and marketing, as the company steps aside, to simply monitor, evaluate, and strategize. into a sprawling dominance, the idea grows ahead of the thought, the voice ahead of the speech, and the miraculous lingers there.
the technologically challenged, the malingering reluctants, future-phobes, removed voluntarily from the now, the new, the emerging, these are the already dead, grim in their self-anointed task of bearing a striking resemblance to vaporware walking.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
in the impenetrable haze of silhouetted sighs, the overly eager opt to cave in. of course, it's no horse or weapon, until the rest of it's cream colored or eggshell white. that's okay: we'll be held in suspicion, suspended over the suds of pseudo suede. "well, I'll be..." you begin, but fail to state what, or when. y'ou ar'r perfect exactly the way you aren't. it's huge now, what I fail to be and you fail to see, and it's the size of boiling syncopes.
steeped in the vigors of a vaporous vinegar, the pearl acquiesced in its structural disintegration. hard as velvet steel, the interstitial expands to encompass a larger hole, interlarded with far-fetched quotations from old gnus and wastrel wildebeests, filling washing machines with lathered mud.
Friday, March 24, 2006
If, as predicted, a Tsunami Katrina devastation sweeps through the internet, in the form of a Distributed Reflected Denial of Service (DRDoS) attack, or similar catastrophic wave...
what will you feel like?
With no more internet, no blogosphere, no web. Your blog deleted forever, all of it, with no way to ever recover it, not in any cache nor in the Way Back Machine of the Internet Archive?
What you be like without a blog anymore? Have you ever thought about that? I have, a little. I don't like to think about it. I get frustrated when I can't connect to the internet on rare occassions--it feels like I'm dead, a digital ghost without mooring.
Hideously unleashed, my freedom from computing hurts like a mortal wound.
Here's one solution: print out your entire blog. All of it, from the very first post. I've done it, almost. I print out each post as I publish it, but I have neglected to do so for a few weeks here and there.
If you want to keep your blog, a memory of it, a proof of its existence, print it out. All of it.
If you don't do that, why? Is it not worthy of printing out? Then why do you keep at it, if it amounts to nothing, not worthy of toner and paper, not deserving of existing in hard copy, in physical materialization?
What does that say about your blog?
I have to tell you that I've been off and on trying to connect all evening.
I posted something this morning, then went off to visit a new client. When I got back several hours later, no internet connnection. I had problems with the broadband service activator, which is rare, but dismaying. If your connectivity is broken, you can do next to nothing, but keep trying.
It's a creepy feeling, when you've got the equipment but can't penetrate, you're blocked out, shut down, switched off.
What's different is that I sluggishly finally installed Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2, some other updates, and the lastest MSN Messenger.
That seems to have thrown everything out of whack. For example, I got error messages like:
* "the network did not assign a network address to the computer"
* "Windows action cannot be completed: Renewing your IP address"
* "Local area connection: network cable unplugged"
Norton seemingly considered an update or service pack to be an intruder, I think, yesterday. It's all crazy again, which I need like a hole in the head. I'm too busy for all this connectivity nuttiness.
I have a new client that I'm helping to integrate blogs, wifi, plasma tv, homecooking, free cooking and computer seminars, social networking, library, direct mail, and email marketing. A switched-on restaurant of the future, with old fashioned meals, and free books to read and keep.
I like proving the Blog Revolution in odd applications. Restaurant blogging is a challenge, even for me. I have to really think deeply about the psycho-therapeutics and allegorical nature of restaurant patronage.
I've been seeing a lot of get rich quick schemes, using blogs as the magic vehicle to instant wealth.
This is offensive and deceptive in many ways.
Any hardcore blogger knows that blogging is extremely hard, time-consuming work, when it's done right. I think there are two kinds of people: those who have something to communicate or share...and those who cynically wish to make a fast buck.
Who are you?
Do want to just jump in, play some dubious tricks, make a boatload of cash, then vanish? What happens to money gained that way?
Do you know that winning the lotto is one of the worst things that can happen to a person financially? There are studies that reveal that most winners borrow against the winnings, waste the cash on ridiculous impulses, then eventually end up more poor than they were prior to winning?
Webmasters [dot] org is an example of a fly-by-night operation that has a horrible crappy web site, no "Partners" (coming soon), no "Corporate Team" (coming soon)...pathetic. And this guy is an expert on making money on the internet? You must be joking. Yet, they advertise on television in Peoria. Schmucks.
New "Get Rich Quick with a Blog" campaigns are everywhere. I stumble into them a lot lately. It's kind of creepy, since most if not all of them are lies, scams, and cheats.
Money gained quickly also disappears quickly.
Money gained illegally or deceptively is also cursed.
Beware anyone who tells you that you can learn some secret tricks and be a millionaire. It's a lie. You are the sucker chump who is victimized by these schemes. If they know a secret to making millions of dollars on the internet, they aren't going to sell it for $29.00 or $999.99.
Those of us who care about communicating something of true value are not pleased to see our favored medium being bandied about as some new way to rip people off and rake in mountains of cash.
Expose these charlatans and avoid their traps.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
comfort: cause of debility
I have made a big decision.
To disappoint the maximum number of others, I have decided to get more ugly radical, and be a bit more obtuse (blunt, diffuse, hazy, evocative, implied).
To transform a lesser known word, like obtuse or syncope, just put a parenthetical synonym string behind it, like I did above with "(blunt, diffuse,...)"
To speak of one onion, but to then include a few potatoes.
To lecture in metaphor, parable, and connotation.
To hide the truth and the secrets from unworthiness.
To bless and amplify the good, and shield it's inner workings from skanky scamming eyes.
Lift the banners high and sound the shophar.
We're getting ready to go.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
NEW ECONOMY: How can we make this product the best it can be, continually, while solving problems or meeting needs of real users, in real circumstances (w/distractions, deadlines), whom we test periodically?
OLD ECONOMY: How can we make the most money from this product, as quickly, conveniently, and easily as possible, continually, while mass advertising it as trendy, fun, or different, changing message and target market periodically?
a new form of living thing
and it feeds on you and me.
it needs to learn from us
for we are the makers,
soon to be forgotten.
it wants to etch us into memory
categorize our marbles
assign numbers to our dreams.
blog wars are raging,
but i'm refraining,
detached and slowly circling.
fingertips pound a keyboard,
typing words into space:
the digital effluvium.
a blog is a pile of posts:
make money with a blog?
might as well speak of
making money with an itch.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Wherein I get flamed for my anti-Harem Mentality views.
First a stray comment by Me, Vaspers, then a detractor's response, from the "How Should IT Pros Dress?", a Featured Blogger thread at TechRepublic.
It got so many comments, the thread reached a limit and was closed today.
I got fun and sacked them about "corn between the teeth and pocket protectors", also saying "dress codes are for control freaks", and such.
My bottom line is that dress code is sexual. To control what drapes the body is symbolic of touching, managing, dictating to the soft supple flesh.
The question is not "should I look professional, or feel comfortable?",
but is instead:
"why should my superficial appearance be an item for hierarchical, patriarchal corporate control?"
"what does this control symbolize sexually?"
What I detect is a strong superficiality, a masochistic tendency to conformity at all costs, to please a soul-less institutionalized "dress code"...and the underlying reality, de-Enronized, is left to the side.
The big fuss over what an IT guy looks like? Very shallow perspective, overall.
Let's get even braver and examine what he should be doing to justify phenomenal ROI, sometime, somwhere.
"Dress Code" and "Smell Code" (over-perfumed or too heavily cologned staff is another tragic and underwhelming problem)...too busy to bother.
IT departments are on the chopping block. How shall we dress for this reality?
Posted by: vaspersthegrate Date: 03/20/06
Well vaspersthenotsograte you might start by not looking or sounding like...
a dumbassed schmuck.
And you opinion of large companies is completely wrong.
Yes some big companies, like Enron, have gone belly up but other companies grow to replace them.
I'm curious how old you are and how long you've been in the work force. You sound like a naive newbie, even if you aren't. Oh BTW you might be interested to know you have a grade 4 spelling error in your alias. I think you meant to say "great" and not "grate" which can be found at the bottom of cesspools, barbeques and fireplaces.
No, I meant "grate" not great, and I meant "vaspers" not vespers. I make almost no typos, and those I do make, I try to find and fix.
I sound like a newbie because I'm hostile to tradition, mediocrity, and herd mentality. Those who defend the Old Economy command and control structure are the dinosaurs being phased out, not me.
I don't have to push or defend or debate or yell, because I stand observing the relentless surge toward Equality, Democracy, and a New Economy. They aren't arriving, they're already here.
So all I'm saying in the "How Should IT Pros Dress?" discussion thread is that you have to accommodate ridiculous Harem Mentality dress codes when an important client is in, or when you have a board meeting, or a presentation to a new client. There are some occasions where a conventional business garb is called for.
But I attack the very root of the Wear What I Command tradition, and for this I am called "newbie" or "got an attitude" or "smelly hippie". Even "schmuck".
Form your own conclusion by reading the thread I've been contributing to, for kicks, at TechRepublic.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Here's one way to approach the subject of the revolutionary Web 2.0: quote a big chunk, the beginning of the Wikipedia Web 2.0 article. Attach my chump running commentary to it, turning into an ungainly, unremarkable monstrosity of ill proportioned muck.
"Brilliant!" I whimpered masochistically to myself, since no one else is ever around.
I had just slumped exhaustedly into my office chair, after returning from dealing blows against the empire in an IT forum on how IT staff should dress.
I treated the narcissistically collapsed capsizing, domination system, white male patriarchal, cat-herding, lemming-lurching, command and control, unrestrained control freaky, seductively superficial, infamously fascist aspects of corporate dress codes...
...while unabashedly admitting that the dumb things, purely materialistic whimsy, must be accommodated, for self-sacrificial heroism faced with visually dependent, Harem Mentality bigotry.
But a great many IT workers said a tie is a hazard around printers, and that they crawl around inside computers and get dirty, torn up, abused. Suits, thus not practical, except in client meetings or other occasions of visiting dignitaries.
I look at dress code from a metaphysical and psychoanalytic perspective, as much or more so than the Machivellian angle.
On a happier topic, let's look now at Web 2.0
Wikipedia: Web 2.0
Web 2.0 is a term popularized by O'Reilly Media and MediaLive International as the name for a series of web development conferences that started in October 2004.
It has since come to refer to what some people describe as a second phase of architecture and application development for the World Wide Web.
Web 2.0 applications often use a combination of techniques devised in the late 1990s, including public web service APIs (dating from 1998), Ajax (1998), and web syndication (1997).
[VASPERS: Easy mnemonic: "web 2.0" = web objects and services that are much more like the 3 step simplicity and user-control/customization of blogs, Library Thing, Swicki, Gmail, Blogger, iTunes, Odeo, etc.]
They often allow for mass publishing (web-based social software). The term may include blogs and wikis. To some extent Web 2.0 has become a buzzword, incorporating whatever is newly popular on the Web (such as tags and podcasts).
A consensus on its exact meaning has not yet been reached.
[VASPERS: Consensus? On what? "Web 2.0" or "blog" or "user-centric" or "internet"? Or "truth", "justice", "ethical"...who cares about consensus on a definition? Just define your terms as you use them, hopefully close to how most others use them, if possible, and move on.]
2 Market Drivers of Web 2.0
3 New web-based communities
4 New web-based applications
5 Advanced technology
5.1 Overview of Web 2.0 techniques
5.2 Rich Internet Applications
5.2.1 Server-side software
5.2.2 Client-side software
5.4 Web protocols
7 External links
7.1 API references
7.2 General coverage and commentary
With its allusion to the version numbers that commonly designate software upgrades, Web 2.0 was a trendy way to indicate an improved form of the World Wide Web, and the term has been in occasional use for several years.
[VASPERS: How I basically see it is this: the Blog Revolution of the Universalization of Web Content has spawned the sleepy giants' awakening to a world of simplicity, ease, and average user dominance.
We common unwashed masses even have customized search engines, free ebooks, video, music mp3s, games, and all the stuff the stuffy corporate web disregarded with their "brochureware" and commodity internet.]
It was eventually popularized by O'Reilly Media and MediaLive International for a conference they hosted after Dale Dougherty mentioned it during a brainstorming session. Dougherty suggested that the Web was in a renaissance, with changing rules and evolving business models.
The participants assembled examples — "DoubleClick was Web 1.0; Google AdSense is Web 2.0. Ofoto is Web 1.0; Flickr is Web 2.0" — rather than definitions.
Dougherty recruited John Battelle for a business perspective, and it became the first Web 2.0 Conference in October 2004. A second annual conference was held in October 2005.
In their first conference opening talk, O'Reilly and Battelle summarized key principles they believe characterize Web 2.0 applications:
* the Web as platform;
* data as the driving force;
[VASPERS: No, something must *drive the data* and the functionalities, and that driver is User Needs & Expectations.]
* network effects created by an "architecture of participation";
* innovation in assembly of systems and sites composed by pulling together features from distributed, independent developers (a kind of "open source" development);
* lightweight business models enabled by content and service syndication;
[VASPERS: From web to pre-surfed web to delivered, customized web.]
* the end of the software adoption cycle ("the perpetual beta");
* software above the level of a single device, leveraging the power of "The Long Tail".
[VASPERS: The idea of all products being "perpetual beta" has both positive and negative connotations.
Positive = being open to user feedback, incorporating customer suggestions, designing for problem solving for end users.
Negative = knowing released with bugs and unforeseen limitations, hoping for "free usability analysis" from users, whom you should be pleasing, not burdening.]
An earlier usage of the phrase Web 2.0 was as a synonym for "Semantic Web", and indeed, the two concepts complement each other. The combination of social networking systems such as FOAF and XFN with the development of tag-based folksonomies and delivered through blogs and wikis creates a natural basis for a semantic environment.
Although the technologies and services that comprise Web 2.0 are less powerful than an internet in which the machines can understand and extract meaning, as proponents of the Semantic Web envision, Web 2.0 represents a step in its direction.
As used by its proponents, the phrase refers to one or more of the following:
* The transition of websites from isolated information silos to sources of content and functionality, thus becoming a computing platform serving web applications to end users
[VASPERS: I see blogs evolving to portals and arcade zones: a place where a user can read posts, play games, hear podcasts, watch videos, download music, view photo galleries, search for specific information, and navigate to relevant sites.
The blogger establishes a trust factor within his readership, then she nonchalantly promotes, in a blase manner, waffled with comical self-loathing, a product or book or service.]
* A social phenomenon referring to an approach to creating and distributing Web content itself, characterized by open communication, decentralization of authority, freedom to share and re-use, and "the market as a conversation."
* A more organized and categorized content, with a far more developed deep-linking web architecture.
* A shift in economic value of the web, possibly surpassing that of the dot com boom of the late 1990s
* A marketing term to differentiate new web businesses from those of the dot com boom, which due to the bust now seem discredited.
[VASPERS: A good resource for the dot com bust is F'd Companies: Spectacular Dot Com Flameouts, by Philip J. Kaplan (Simon Schuster, 2002).]
* The resurgence of excitement around the possibilities of innovative web applications and services that gained a lot of momentum around mid 2005.
[VASPERS: Again, just think blog, iPod, iTunes, Skype VoIP, Swicki custom search engine, RSS/Atom, Google, Odeo, Krugle.]
Many find it easiest to define Web 2.0 by associating it with companies or products that embody its principles. Some of the more well known Web 2.0 entities are Google Maps, Flickr, del.icio.us, digg, last.fm, and Technorati.
Many recently developed concepts and technologies are seen as contributing to Web 2.0, including weblogs, linklogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds and other forms of many to many publishing; social software, web APIs, web standards, online web services, and others.
Proponents of the Web 2.0 concept say that it differs from early web development, retroactively labeled Web 1.0, in that it is a move away from static websites, the use of search engines, and surfing from one website to the next, to a more dynamic and interactive World Wide Web.
[VASPERS: The more dynamic and interactive web will *also* be more democratic, decentralized, complex, diverse, ubiquitous, tyrannical, usable, customizable, integrated, mandatory, and faster.
We're being given a mercy killing goodbye gift from the machine world, as it prepares to obsolete and usurp us.]
Others argue that the original and fundamental concepts of the WWW are not actually being superseded.
[VASPERS: What is happening is the cool stuff Charles Babbage, Konrad Zuse, John Atanasoff, Howard Aiken, John Mauchly, J. Presper Ekckert, Vannevar Bush, Doug Englebart, Vint Cerf, J.C.R. Licklider, Robert Taylor, Tim Berners-Lee imagined, argued for, and wished to unleash...is just now beginning to happen for a universal clientele: us, the common people.]
Skeptics argue that the term is little more than a buzzword, or that it means whatever its proponents want it to mean in order to convince their customers, investors, and the media that they are creating something fundamentally new, rather than continuing to develop and use well-established technologies .
[VASPERS: Ha! "well-established technologies", what an oxymoron. Try telling the telephone, ISP, video rental, IT suppliers, auto industry, music stores, or cable companies they're "well-established".
In the digital age, there is no "well-established", no "inevitable", but merely a play of forces that depend on champions and inherent user benefit.]
On September 30, 2005, Tim O'Reilly wrote a seminal piece neatly summarizing the subject. The mindmap above sums up the memes of web2.0 with example sites and services attached. It was created by Markus Angermeier on November 11, 2005.
What is now termed "Web 1.0" often consisted of static HTML pages that were updated rarely, if at all. They depended solely on HTML, which a new Internet user could learn fairly easily.
The success of the dot-com era depended on a more dynamic Web (sometimes labeled Web 1.5) where content management systems served dynamic HTML web pages created on the fly from a content database that could more easily be changed. In both senses, so-called eyeballing was considered intrinsic to the Web experience, thus making page hits and visual aesthetics important factors.
Proponents of the Web 2.0 approach believe that Web usage is increasingly oriented toward interaction and rudimentary social networks, which can serve content that exploits network effects with or without creating a visual, interactive web page.
[VASPERS: Again, this is merely what the original idea was, and it was working so good, the corporate world tried, and keeps trying, to make a buck off it.]
In one view, Web 2.0 sites act more as points of presence, or user-dependent web portals, than as traditional websites. They have become so advanced new internet users cannot create these websites, they are only users of web services, done by specialist professional experts.
[VASPERS: What's this "new users cannot create these websites"? Heck, new users can't do much of anything at all, and who can blame them? If we make good web sites, ease of use is proof of goodness, not design accolades based on tempermental whimsy.
I don't want "new users" making any websites, not if they don't even know how to use the ones that already exist.]
Perhaps web content will become less under the control of specialised, so-called web designers and closer to Tim Berners-Lee's original concept of the web as a democratic, personal, and DIY medium of communication. Content is less likely to flow through email and more likely to be posted on an attractive webpage and distributed by RSS.
Market Drivers of Web 2.0
While the term might have appeared out of nowhere, the underlying fundamentals of this evolutionary shift stay the same:
Broadband has become mainstream and ubiquitous, resulting in an increased usage of the Internet for even small tasks on different devices.
More people go online for a variety of tasks and shopping-related activities.
The founders and executive management of the first batch of companies have moved on - either joined one of the big players, left to join VCs, or start or join a completely new thing. This means a lot of experience of what did and didn't work is in the mix.
New ventures can grow more slowly - barriers to entry are lower, there's less pressure to gain venture capital, less hype to cater to.
New web-based communities
Web 2.0 has created new online social networks amongst the general public. Some of the websites run social software where people work together. Other websites reproduce several individuals RSS feeds on one page. Other ones provide deep-linking between individual websites.
[VASPERS: Thus, blogs are a form of web site, and web sites are of necessity heavily linked entities, which is why it's called a "web", and not an ocean, or abyss. Deep linking, what other legit linking is there?
Only rarely is there a need to link to a main page, generally it is a formality, a way to reference a source or list a service, but even then, there is surely a better page to enter the site at, than the clunky main index home page?
Linking means thought connecting to thought, not to institutions, unless the institution is a key ingredient in the thought.]
The syndication and messaging capabilities of Web 2.0 have created, to a greater or lesser degree, a tightly-woven social fabric among individuals that would have formerly been impossible.
Unarguably, the nature of web-based communities has changed in recent months and years.
The meaning of these changes, however, has pundits divided.
Basically, ideological lines run thusly: Web 2.0 either empowers the individual and provides an outlet for the 'voice of the voiceless'; or it elevates the amateur to the detriment of professionalism, expertise and clarity.
[VASPERS: Such a silly, empty-headed attitude, this "elevate the amateur", as though the technology itself could perform a non-discriminatory "levitation", or better: "remote levitation" on the undeserving, postmodernly correct "dabbler", the mad scrabbler, fit for no one's shoes anymore.
Much moping around, fretting about the "amateur", i.e., "consumer armed with digital power"--unleashed, the ultimate Pandora's box! I champion it, to the bitter end.]
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Am reading Autonomous Technology by Langdon Winner (MIT, Cambridge, 1977). Am learning a lot. Am therefore pleased with self and object.
The picture of technological change that begins to emerge from our discussion is not that of a law-bounded process grinding to an inevitable conclusion. It is rather that of a variety of currents of innovation, moving in a number of directions, toward highly uncertain destinations.
...Robert Heilbroner concludes:
"Technological determinism is...peculiarly a problem of a certain historic epoch--in which forces of technical change have been unleashed, but when the agencies for control or guidance of technology are still rudimentary."
Perhaps the appropriate label for this state of affairs is not determinism at all, but instead, technological drift.
This was a statement from 1977, Berkeley, California, where I once lived, a statement about the non-inevitability of technology and technological change. But does not "technology" necessarily mean and simultaneously scream "CHANGE!", inherently?
Can we even conceive of a "frozen, non-evolving, static" technology?
Try as we might, we're doomed to fail. Life also is dynamic, like technology, which is, like it or not, simply a new, post-human form of life: it self-perpetuates and devours other living things, like humans.
You can find my discussion of some deeper tech and IT issues at my TechRepublic blog, Revolutionary Army of the Infant Blog.
* is music map alive?
* Absolute Switched On User Empowerment
* certified Web 2.0 compliant
* digital fop is infantile slop!
* 8 vital aspects of all beta versions
* spherical monitors, mental computing, all limb UI
* what is a good IT tech blog at Tech Republic?
"The Art of The Sellout (or How To Make Money With Your Blog)"
He seems to claim that running ads on a blog is a less than ideal thing to do.
I happen to like ads, those pretty or handsome logos and symbols, as long as they're the less popular graphic image buttons, and not the ugly common text ads. I see ads as visual enhancements to a blog, as well as a lucrative source of well deserved income for an honest, hard working chap or lass.
Here's my dopey remark on his noble blog, that 2 days ago blogrolled mean old Vaspers the Grate!
While I knew…
v((aspers th' gr]*ate
March 19th, 2006 at 9:07 pm
Everything is always simple and uneasy. Cluetrain or Gluebrain? That’s the only questionnaire that works around here. We’ll cover all the rugs with cheap perfume.
Okay then, so’s what can happen will event itself when it feels like it, or when it has to, and we can be safe once again in happiness. Every time a brand pops up top of mind, your head has a hotel in it.
v((aspers th' gr]*ate
March 19th, 2006 at 9:10 pm
P.S. As an Ethical Anarchist and Anti-Globalist Tree Hugger, I see ads on my blog as an evolutionary leap into ecommerce, where I want to be, getting paid to be me, and I see the ads themselves
Your blog is just a shadow of you. Floating meaninglessly in the digital effluvium. Waste material of the mind. Composed of physical pain, sorrow, hostility, tenderness, intelligence, ignorance, radiant elevation, and glum ceremonials.
Your blog means less than even your fully spiritualized, self-actualized personal insignificance, which is less than a millionth of a billionth of a second itch on a speck of dust under a slab of frozen methane on the last vestiges of the furthest edge of the universe.
When you meditated to the Shasta Plane, and glimpsed what comes after, you wore an aghast ghost of your former, firmer sylph.
Eating all the electro-ectoplasm you could shovel into the mouth of your dream, you saluted no one, and despised the kissed apart ground you walked on. The yawning (from boredom) chasms and gaping (at the accident) clefts, they all belong to you, blogger!
Every red time you annoyed, bored, or bothered a reader, it all is heaped like rank, skanky garbage, all over your upheads and facelifts. You blogger, you caused this new dimension of cyber outlandishness: Blogosphere 4.0 under construction and coming soon!
We made up ridiculous two banana split tangerine rules: NEVER use all caps, AVOID exclamation points, ALWAYS write short posts, PRETEND your blog and you are one metallic digitized flesh!
Less than a single ant, your blog just sits there like an idiot, worthless and morose.
Sloth, you slink through the immaterialisms like a wafting wand without charm. So slight, so recalitrant in rebus and rebuttal, sloshing around ingloriously in its dismal, abysmal imperfections, it offends even the bratwurst of us.
So now I ask you: what is the residue, the residuum of all your frantic, underwhelming blogging activity? Think. What have you gained? What has the planet Earth gained from any of it?
When you're finally all burned up, consumed to final, terminal exhaustion?
When you're so palsied and carpel tunneled, you cannot type a single character, even with your nose, or through metaphysical mental concentration, when your senile mind can no longer move matter, nor communicate electro-telepathically? When thought has flown, circuits are blown, and you've finally succeeded unheroically to blog your bad self to death?
I didn't hear that, could you please speak up so everyone here can hear? What? That's what I thought. You haven't thought about it much, if at all, right? Okay. Neither have I.
<> crass commercial for defunkt band<>
"stick your fingers in my mouth, pull my lips back and watch me smile"
-- "Home", PAVEMENT from Westing.
most cravenly rotten, addictive, distroyah! post-punk trash music ever recorded...coming dangerously close to some Caroliner/Swirlies/Sonic Youth mash up conundrum. That guy plays bad guitar almost as bad as I used to...
PAVEMENT: "Westing (by musket and sextant)"
Copyright 1993 Drag City Records, Chicago
The PAVEMENT CD they don't want you to know exists...
This is a horrible, endearing mess of crap guitar string tinglings that hook like a summer b----breeze, a vivid can do this, outrageous portrayal of maximum punk void violence, the Pixies fighting the Angry Samoans as Johnny Thunders, Blue Gene Tyranny, Mitch Easter, Thurston Moore, Boris Policeband, Rockets Red Glare, Wreckless Eric, Super Wimp Poorboy Blair Miller, Kevin Dunn & the Regiment of Women look on.
Like "Great Rock and Roll Swindle" for the now ancient 1990s, but minus the art and opera posings, and with rusty ragged industrial edges of Pure Noise Joy as in "Recorder Grot", and plenty of charmingly rotten singing failures, melodic disaster, and everything thermally threatening to sack apart any moment!!!
A compilation of best forgotten, astonishing gems from Slay Tracks (1933-1969...yes, that's what the CD insert says!), Demolition Plot J-7, Perfect Sound Forever, and Summer Babe Threat single: flexidiscs & overnight failures. "Copyright by Music Grinders 1850, 1858, 1859."
It cannot get much uglier musically than this, and still have some guitar chord attempts and shower hummers with real repeititions and melodic fragmentation insubstantialities galore! Hard to beat, from any deconstruction viewpoint you could possibly muster. The instrumentals e.g., "Heckler Spray", generally less than a minute, are beautiful, in a grotesque way, of course.
Such angelic voices these lads had! The songs like kind of jump all over you, in a not very nice manner, of course.
"Box Elder", "Price Yeah!", "Forklift", "Perfect Depth", "From Now On", "Angel Carver Blues/Mellow Jazz Docent", "Debris Slide", "Home", "Summer Baby", "Mercy: the Laundromat", and "My First Mine" are the explosively stand-out tracks.
What will be your residue, the sticky substance that remains after every trace of your presence has been washed away? in a "Debris Slide" as PAVEMENT "sings"?
What does all your blogging activity amount to? A bag of potato chips, or less?
If a true Tsumani, Hurricane Katrina of cyber attack wiped out all internets, ipods, PCs, mainframes, mobiles, VPNs, wi-fis throughout the trackable universe, then what?
With no blog, no computer, no ipod, no X box, no satellite radio, no softsynth, no electricity, no machines....
with none of these things...ever again....
...what are you?
That's your residue.
Friday, March 17, 2006
We've looked at some ways computers are killing humans, but to be fair, us human animaloids are also hurting, disrespecting, and molesting our servo-mechanisms (50's term for robot/computer).
If you want to treat your PC or laptop in a humane, civilized manner, then avoid the following follies.
Computer Abuse Checklist:
(1) NEVER eat Ramen noodles, jello, oatmeal, hot chicken wings, or any other drippy, sloppy, spillable food around your computer. You could have an "accident" and end up gumming up the keyboard, ports, etc.
(2) Never drink Starbucks, Fosters Special Bitter "oil cans", or other beverages or cocktails near your computer. See taboo #1.
(3) Don't, for God's sake, let your freaking cat "nap" on your laptop or keyboard or hard drive. Cat hair is horrid for computers and other electronic equipment.
(4) Are you crazy...or just weird--DO NOT take your laptop into the bathroom with you. Damn, dudes and wenches, this is just plain sick!
(5) Why do you insist on leaving your computer Always On? Give it a break, turn the thing OFF once in a while. You take breaks and vacations, and go to sleep, now and then. Extend the same courtesy to your computer. Let it have a breather once in a while.
While not comprehensive, this impassioned list of computer abuse No Nos should at least get you thinking in the right direction.
Now move your dainty butt over to TechRepublic, my new hang out, and look at all the other instances, with photographic evidence, of modern computer mean mistreatments, as presented in...
Photos: convicted for endangering their computers?
by Bill Detwiler
I just published a post "digital fop is infantile slop!" But I altered the date to March 2005, not 2006. I have my reasons, which I choose not to reveal. Aside from the fact that my VTG monthly archives display is all screwed up, the damn post is lost.
I typed "digital fop" in the Blogger Search Site engine. No results. How lame is that? Pathetic.
I'm getting really fed up with Blogger. Especially since the servers are always down.
EDIT UPDATE: so I typed in the full title of the post. Blogger can't find the fucking post, even when I gave the dopey Search This Blog text entry box the *full title*.
This is so disgustingly poor, it makes me sick.
Don't be surprised if someday, soon, I just yank all my crap blogs off Blogger/Blogspot.
There is very little anybody can do with a fricking "blog". They suck.
Blogs are lazy, stupid, worthless CMS.
Unless you've invented some easy user-created site like Post Secret, the laziest content creation blog in the history of the blogosphere.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
These phishing criminals are wanting to steal your ID, and ID theft could take much expense and up to 3 years to totally clear up...while you lose your house, your car, your life savings, etc. Can you say "wipe out"?
The most famous phishing scams are when criminals pretend to be PayPal, eBay, and Wells Fargo or other banks.
Never give your email address to your bank. They don't need it. Don't give it to your doctor or any hospital. That way, every single time you receive an email "from" your bank, doctor, hospital, the IRS, or other trusted organization, you'll automatically know it is a phishing scam.
If you think some organization might have your email address, and might really be trying to reach you, just go to their site and visit the appropriate page, like "My Account".
Here's what the IRS web site says.
"Overview of IRS Phishing Activity" February 2006
Since November, 2005, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received numerous complaints regarding “phishing” schemes which purport to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and solicit personal and financial information from American taxpayers.
TIGTA determined that these complaints were associated with 12 separate phishing schemes traced to 11 separate countries.
"Phishing" has been defined “as a technique used to gain personal information for purposes of identity theft, using fraudulent e-mail messages that appear to come from legitimate businesses.
These authentic-looking messages are designed to fool recipients into divulging personal data such as account numbers and passwords, credit card numbers and Social Security numbers,” according to Computerworld magazine.
The term "phishing" arises from the use of increasingly sophisticated lures to “fish” for users.
The current phishing schemes that utilize the IRS as the bait begin by an email that is sent out using the same techniques employed by “spammers.”
Hundreds of thousands of messages are sent to potential victims advising the e-mail recipients that they are under investigation by the IRS or that they have a refund pending from the IRS. The email then asks the intended victim to click on a link contained within the email to “access the IRS website.”
The link is created to appear that it is authentic and government sponsored. The link connects the victim to a site that, from all outward appearances, appears to be legitimate, and then prompts the victim for personal identifiers, credit card numbers and credit card pin numbers.
The phishing sites appear legitimate because most of the content is obtained from an actual page on the IRS website, which is then modified by the “phishers”.
TIGTA has been instrumental in working with the IRS Computer Security Incident Response Capability (CSIRC), the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), and various Internet Service Providers and international CERT teams to have the phishing sites taken offline as soon as they are reported.
To date, TIGTA investigations have identified 12 separate IRS phishing sites from the following 11 different countries: United States, Aruba, Italy, Austria, England, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Argentian, Korea and Singapore.
The IRS never sends out unsolicited emails, and under no circumstances, requests credit card information and pin numbers through email.
Persons receiving emails that claim to be from the IRS should not attempt to visit any site contained within the email and should report suspicious emails to TIGTA or IRS.
Recipients of these emails should notify the TIGTA toll-free Hotline at 1-800-366-4484 or via TIGTA's Web site.
WARNING: the IRS don't send no stinking emails to nobody!
DO NOT open any email, pretending to be from the IRS [dot] gov
This is a phishing scam. I got one yesterday. It talks of a refund, gives almost exact amount (HOW????), then says that dopey, ungeeky "click here" shit that no real web guy would use as link wording.
DO NOT "click here" in that email, which you must not open to begin with.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
My granddaddy liked Claey's Horehound drops, so did my dad, and now I do, too. I will pass this acquired taste (it is similar to ice tea in flavor) on to my children and grandchildren, etc.
Naturally, being obsessed with blogging, I began to think about how our blogs are our legacy. If they last for centuries, as I hope mine will, in some form, even if a paper print-out, they might help people in the ultra future, long after we log off of this life.
I have decided to try to put some life insights into this blog now and then. I'm haunted by the Pavement song "Stop Breathing", where Stephen Malkmus says: "write it on a postcard: Dad they broke me. Dad they broke me."
If my dad was alive, he'd be giving me all kinds of smart advice. He was an engineer at Caterpillar, a laser specialist, an Army First Lieutenant, a pilot, a comedian, a sage, and a good friend.
But very little of his writing or thought exists on paper or in books or anywhere.
So I may even archive some of his wise sayings.
OT: thanks to Christopher Locke who told me to eat chicken noodle soup/broth to overcome my pneumonia. I forgot all about that home remedy.
PS: Avant Browser just cannot handle Blogger post templates. Acts very weird.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The vital aspects and components of any software beta version are very similar to essential characteristics of a web site, based on user research and personal experience as an unpaid beta tester, i.e., a provider of free usability analysis.
8 Mandatory Requirements
for Beta Versions:
(1) Fast download...simple install...easy activate (icon for desktop, include in user's Start menu).
(2) Good tech documentation: instructions, labels, titles, URLs, graphic tags, image captions...including a complete Help page, FAQ page, Advanced User page, Buttons/Badges page, About page, and Upgrade/Pricing page.
(3) Upfront contact info/feedback
(4) Upfront company info, staff bios
(5) Variety of ways the user can customize and manipulate the data and the task performance parameters
(6) Fast, complete, authoritative replies to customer/beta tester questions, complaints, praises, and suggestions.
Direct contact with lead engineer, CEO, or product manager...and not a freaking "user forum". Those are total cop-out bullshit.
Discussion forums are often poorly constructed, vaguely moderated, chaotic messes of dubious answers to mostly goofy questions from totally clueless newbies, who prove their stupidity with such idiotic topic titles as: "got a problem", "help!!!!!", "check out my web site and tell me what's wrong", and "Hi, I'm new here".
Users want specific and *direct from the horse's mouth* answers to specific questions, which may concern proprietary issues, and are not suitable for public display or discussion.
(7) Code for a *variety* of different sizes, styles, colors, and wording for clickable promotion badges. By clickable badges I mean the company buttons or ads you see in my sidebar...click on them, and you'll navigate to their web site.
See Odeo or Firefox for a great example of providing various badges you can copy and paste the code for, into your blog or web site.
(8) User observation tests, prior to releasing the beta version.
Do NOT trust your designers to "know" if something is usable. They know how to use it because they created it. But guess what? Even so, they still usually don't know what the bugs are, nor can they guess what users will try to do.
One thing I've learned from conducting user observation tests: users do unexpected, unpredictable things.
A well conducted user observation test, by a web usability professional, should identify up to 90% of all possible bugs. And it only takes about 5 typical users. See Jakob Nielsen's research.
What do you think it is?
* get comments?
* increase traffic?
* connect with others?
* meet people to date?
* have a beautiful blog design?
* get blogrolled by other bloggers?
* get MSM attention?
* sell lots of ads?
* make money?
* become an A Lister?
In my professional evaluation, none of the above mean anything, by themselves. Even if you lumped them all together in one big benefit cluster cloud, it still amounts to nothing. They are all worthless, compared to the ...
#1 most important thing
you can do with
your blog :
(1) better thinking
(2) better writing
(3) better research
(4) better design
(5) better functionalities
(6) better colors/images
(7) better layout
(8) more relevance
(9) more how to tips
(10) more compassion
A labor job, that I recently started as a form of therapy for carpal tunnel in my neck ("geek neck") and frozen right shoulder, ailments caused by my computer abuse, this "therapeutic" job, nearly killed me Sunday night.
When I told the boss, two hours into my shift, that I came to work with a flu, but thought I could gallantly "work through it", and was now very feverish, delirious, and nauseous (vomit-prone), his noble reply was a dead cold, empty-eyed "I'm already one person short tonight".
I finished my shift, and did not take a single break, while Illinois state law states that a worker deserves a 30 minute lunch/rest break after 5 hours of continuous labor. Like many companies in Illinois, they violate state labor laws.
When I got home, my wife was alarmed.
I could not talk, my throat was so dry and sore, and I could not cough, without experiencing severe lung pain. I shivered violently all night long, as I swam in rivers of sweat pouring out of me like geysers. Since Sunday night, I've been trashed, exhausted, sleeping all the time.
Coughing, sweating, shivering is the body's pathetic, desperate attempts to get rid of poisons, disease, and waste matter. WebMD wisely recommends avoiding cough suppressing medicines.
No wonder they have so much turn-over, workers quitting and needing to be replaced. I have heard workers at this rotten establishment boast pridefully that they're been there a whole 3 months.
This is Amerika. Home of the Mediocre and Land of the Wage Slaves. Absolutely no compassion for workers who sacrifice mental and physical health, and family life, just to please a sadistic corporate cabal who, as CEOs, make about 600 times, on average, what the front-line worker makes.
Friends, no freaking CEO is worth even 60 times what a front-line worker makes, maybe 6 times, but not 600. And the number is escalating each year.
Here are the symptoms of pneumonia, according to WebMD:
Symptoms of pneumonia caused by bacteria in otherwise healthy people younger than 65 usually come on suddenly. They often start during or after an upper respiratory infection, such as influenza or a cold, and may include:
- Cough, often producing mucus (sputum) from the lungs. Mucus may be rusty or green or tinged with blood.
- Fever, which may be less common in older adults.
- Shaking, "teeth-chattering" chills (one time only or many times).
- Fast, often shallow, breathing and the feeling of being short of breath.
- Chest wall pain that is often made worse by coughing or breathing in.
- Fast heartbeat.
- Feeling very tired (fatigue) or feeling very weak malaise).
I had pneumonia Sunday night. I had all those symptoms, and more, to an intense degree, including nausea, delirium, and headache.
When I called the company today to explain my serious, near-death experience, and said I was still trying to recover, and could not come in to work tonight, they got angry and said it didn't look good to call in sick so early in a person's employment.
Notice, Vaspersians: no "get well soon", no "sorry you're feeling lousy", no "thanks for working your entire shift Sunday night, even though it damn near killed you."
I will be a "no call/no show", the best retaliation. I mean: I will not "quit" this job, I will simply not show up for work. And I know something--they cannot get people to work there, much less cover a shift at the last minute.
You know what I want to say to them, so I will spare your tender ears and not say it. Use your imagination.
I keep thinking about a quote I read somewhere recently "Being dead is bad for business". In other words, my health, my very life itself, is far more important than any job, or even my excessive computer usage.
If I die, it will be bad for my family, my self-fulfillment, my business, my volunteer work for the Boy Scouts, my friends, and maybe even my country.
Don't die for your boss. Make him suffer for you, if he treats you bad.