Category: technology


I would like to thank Google for sponsoring this draw, my wife and children for their outstanding support during this overwhelming ordeal of newfound financial wealth and Director of Peoples Operations: Mr. Laszlo Bock for notifying me of my win.

“This is to inform you that you have won yourself an Award of One million Five Hundred Thousand Pounds (GBP1500,000) in the Google 11 Years Anniversary Awards as organized by the Anniversary Centre of Google Inc….”

As I performed my daily ritual of checking my email, I was somewhat surprised to receive an email from Google Management about their 11th anniversary. At least that is what the header stated. After opening it out of curiosity I soon realized it was just another elaborate scam with no value whatsoever, that is until I realized I had been inadvertently been handed a nice plum to blog about.

The intro was well done and would do well to fool the unsuspecting looking for a free windfall including the logo and official looking address, which after some quick research for curiosity sake is as I suspected, fake.

The rest was easy to spot from the bad English to the all encompassing asking for personal information and that fact Mr. Bock was the Director of the Peoples Operations, definitely not an English business term.

” The Anniversary Centre of Google Inc selected your email id as of one it’s 20 chosen fortunate winner to receive this award.” “…Send your complete personal information with your Award Ref. and File no. to us to enable us process your Prize;…”

What was also intriguing is the email addresses provided for contact based on the fact as there was no effort to conceal what was already apparent. They that was even remotely associated with Google other then the use of a Gmail address as the following shows.

Director of Peoples Operations: Mr. Laszlo Bock
E-Mail: mr.laaszloblock@ciudad.com.ar, gluckawards500@gmail.com

The first email address (ciudad.com.ar) is for a web site with the contact address in South Africa and the registration address for the site is Argentina, the second of course while at Gmail could be anywhere.

The telephone and fax numbers Tel: +44 7024 046 990, Fax: +44 704 090 1883 are intriguing as they are the same ones used in multiples of prize scams including numerous ones from Microsoft under multiple names of official contacts. The area or country code +44 is used in Great Britain, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Jersey.

Further research shows that the telephone/fax numbers in question 070240***** are part of a series owned by Magrathea Telecommunications Limited a phone number redirection service from the United Kingdom.

In closing, Mr. Bock took the time to inform me that, “After 11 years of establishment, Google Inc is worth over US$23 Billion with over 20,000 workers worldwide making it the best and most successful online search engine around the globe.”

He also requested that I “Keep your Award information confidential.” Sorry Mr. Bock but how could I even attempt to keep such good fortune a secret. Now show me the money….

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My wife is looking for a simple laptop so she does not have to share my desktop with me anymore. As she puts it and I understand, she wants a computer she can call her own. Nothing fancy, just a simple, portable unit that will allow he to check her emails and listen to her music and watch the occasional movie from the comfort of her chase.

Today we received the newest, Visions Electronic flyer, in the mail, well that got her excited when she saw the sweet deals Visions was offering…. Netbooks starting at the sale price of $198.00 and 17.3” Acer laptops for only $498.00, plus tax… Sweet deals with the savings of $150.00 off the regular price. Sweet that is until we read the fine print. Not your high-end systems but they are just what she needs and in the price range, she desires to spend.

Yes, at those prices you knew there had to be a catch, right! There was, the deal is you get a Netbook or Laptop at the advertised price, IF you subscribe for a 2 to 3 year contract with a TELUS internet connection of only $40.00 or more per month.

If you do not have internet service already then perhaps it would be a great deal, but what are the chances of that.

As it stands the $150.00 savings on the advertised Netbooks and Laptops becomes a $960.00 (plus tax and installation fees) extra on the advertised price, which is not such a great savings after all.

The moral is, not everything you see in a Visions Flyer, or any flyer for that matter, is always what it seems. Read the fine print and do your homework before you buy. As the old saying goes, “If it seems too good to be true, it most likely is!” In this case it, as I see it is just a well-defined marketing ploy to sway the wary buyer into purchasing an item they are better off paying the full price for, or better still shop around at the other dealers, we are and there are and to date I am finding far better deals.

Visions states, “Visions, Your Best Price!” in this case, they are anything but, as I see it!

With the Vancouver Olympics, just a few short weeks away and news of Al-Qaeda’s trained monkeys latest daring attack on the Afghanistan parliament I reflect on the wailing and gnashing of teeth here at home over the new body scanners.

Headlines scream out, “New Rules terrorize flyers...”, “Scanner ‘violates human dignity”, and I give my head a shake and wonder who the more stupid group is. The terrorists whose only goal is to kill innocent people because they can, or we as Canadians who think because we are Canadian we are invincible and therefore our freedom to do as we please should not be infringed upon.

While personally, I have no need to fly now I do believe we need to tighten up our airport security and if it creates an inconvenience so be it. Better to be inconvenienced and alive then to have our own way and die in the process. To long we as Canadians continue to let the criminal elements of the world dictate the rules while we, like trained monkeys, sit back and allow ourselves to continue to be dictated to by the scum of society as we wallow in chaos that now surrounds us.

I had to laugh when I heard on the Bill Good show shortly after this issue of body scanners broke, about how Micheal Vonn of the B.C. Civil Liberties Union commented that, “…the privacy concerns with these body-scan machines are very, very serious…” I thought to myself afterwards what is Vonn really concerned about as I am sure that the airport staff has better things to do then be interested in looking at her pasty white ass; it is not as if she Angelina Jolie. In fact the staff who monitor the body scans do not even know who the individual is going through and if it allows us, as passengers and or loved ones, to arrive at our destinations safely then so be it. Personally, I would go through twice each time I boarded if it ensured I was going to be safe during my flight; and I am no spring chicken with a muscular body nor am I an exhibitionist.

Personally, I think Vonn is just another lawyer trying to make mark for herself at the taxpayers’ expense.

I also question Britain’s opinion that full-body scans violate child-pornography laws. You would think that the images are being collected and sold, with full visual identification including age and ethnicity, to the highest bidder. I can just here old Bin Laden laughing about how we have become like his other fools as we terrorize ourselves with our moral stupidity at no cost to Al-Qaeda.

Now if I was a terrorist and wanted to make some great brownie points with the boss (Bin-Laden) the 2010 Olympics and the present quibbling about security when flying into this country would just make sense. All those potential victims gathered in mass numbers including international state dignitaries, not to mention all that free press coverage already established to assist in spreading the message of fear and vulnerability based on the when and where will terrorist strike again.

Give me a full body scan, heck I will strip naked and go for the full cavity search in public to ensure my friends and family would remain unharmed. (Gross, not a pretty picture but you get my point) We have become a society of sheep willingly allowing ourselves to be led to the slaughter by our own pompous inability to stand up and fight for our rights. Bring back the death penalty and stop giving the criminal elements of this world any say in what happens to them once they have committed a crime regardless of age, gender or race.

Now if you ask me do I feel the full-body scanners are the end all when it comes to air port security my answer would be no. In fact, I would say they are a great waste of money. Here we are paying, as I understand it $250,000.00 per machine for a total of eleven-(11) scanners which begs the real question, “What, if anything, are we doing to fix the real weak link in our port of entry security?”

I am talking about the under trained and as I understand in some cases underpaid airport staff who are entrusted with the lives of thousands on a daily basis. At best from my research security at Canadian airports is a joke as fear turns into pandemonium the moment something happens, especially in the USA.

Another prime example of how bad Canadian Airport security is, is the Robert Dziekansk case where everyone from airport security and other supposedly well trained staff to and including the RCMP failed miserably to assist a man whose only crime was not to have the ability to speak English was eventually tasered and died.

Send back the full-body scanners for a refund and use the money to not only increase the pay scale but also to better train our security staff, and not just at the airports but at every entry point. If someone does not meet, the correct clearance standards to continue past the checkpoint send him or her back on the next available flight from whence they came regardless what all the bleeding hearts think or feel. The safety and well-being of every Canadian, by birth right or otherwise, should be uppermost in our minds regardless what others may think.

I reflected on a well rounded article by Jon Ferry of the Province News where he noted that the father of the alleged Muslim terrorist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, had actually warned the US authorities about his sons plans and we all know how that turned out. It seems stupidity and the failure to communicate from agency to agency is in itself an even greater threat to our safety then any terrorist can dream up when it comes to airport security, as an example, and because of that, everyone suffers.

Perhaps the best example of airport security is in Israel.

According to Sela, a security consultant with Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv,’ Israeli airports rely most on direct contact with passengers and careful screening of their backgrounds… Every passenger is interviewed before going through security screening. Staff make direct eye contact with each passenger and are trained to watch for signs of stress, nervousness and other behavioural indicators. “

“I can watch people when they are going through a certain stage in the security process and I can pick out the dangerous one 99.9 times out of 100, maybe higher” says Sela.

In closing, my personal thought is that Canada and the United States should swallow their stupid pride, grow some balls, and learn from the Israelis. Then and only then will we have anything resembling true point of entry security worth expanding upon.

CancelAd's_LogoAre you willing to pay to Cancel Ad’s while surfing the internet? Profy.com thinks you may and have come up with that they perceive as the solution for both web users and marketers alike.

Presenting CancelAds, the brainchild of Svetlana Gladkova and developed by her business partner, Marcus Reimold, a German internet entrepreneur and owner of socialoyster.com and jigtweets.com.

CancelAd’s was designed to allow you, the end-user, to enjoy ad-free surfing on web sites and blogs that are part of the CancelAd’s program. For a small subscription fee per web site or blog, you can not only enjoy viewing the member site free of ads, but also have access to information non-members will not.
Personally, when Svetlana first informed me about the service I was standoffish. Being a member of the older generation I immediately perceived CancelAd’s as a frivolous attempt at generating revenue for a service that was, well, pointless. I mean, I use, Customize Google, Adblock Plus add-ons for Firefox, which serves my needs quite well along with my RSS feed reader and TinyRead.

However, as Svetlana pointed out during our correspondence in respect to CancelAd’s, “There is a difference between simple ad blocking by a plug-in for Firefox and CancelAds”, she notes, “We offer web surfers the option to avoid ads, where online publishers (bloggers like yourself or myself) still make money.” She continues by saying, “At the same time when a usual ad blocking tool is used, the publisher loses money on lost ad impressions – so it is an approach to fair ad blocking, not competition to the existing tools.”

After reading her correspondence and the complete article and doing some deep soul searching I realized I was not giving the program or the idea a fair evaluation and decided to do some personal research before making my final judgement. I wanted to ensure I was giving CancelAd’s an honest chance. With details in hand I decided to ask some members of the younger generation from age 15 to 36 of varied levels of internet usage and I admit I was surprised in the unanimous vote of both interest and appeal such a service actually has. It seems, after discussing the program with others of my age group that the older generation has a developed a higher level of patience when dealing with online spam/advertising.

Advertising is a way of life, like it or not. As a business, it is a necessity in an attempt to generate potential clients and keeping exiting ones thereby ensuring the survival of one’s company. As an individual, advertisements can be either a doorway to enlightenment or hell depending on the message and the frequency they are presented. In some cases, it is seen as a visual assault on ones senses, which can then lead to potential loss of new and or existing clientele. It then raises the question can CancelAds bring peace and harmony to both publishers/advertisers and viewers alike which comes down to wait and see and on the other hand, if Profy.com and their CancelAd program do not at least try they will never know.

As Svetlana has pointed out CancelAd’s already has a number of users signed up in an attempt to monetize their sites, many of which she notes are bloggers as well as a web service called Mloovi Twitter Translator. Svetlana goes on to point out that, the sites are not restricted to just English origin as many are also in Chinese, Spanish and even Arabic.

It should be noted that web publishers DO NOT pay any fees for being part of the CancelAd program. However, a portion of the end-user subscription fees are deducted to cover CancelAds service fees and expenses, which as Svetlana points out, is similar to what any paid service does.

As she further notes, “…I don’t think the service will help publishers attract new customers, instead it is able to help them convert their exiting readers into paying customers…”

It seems CancelAd’s, while still in its infancy is generating some buzz on the internet from the likes of, Allen Stern of CenterNetworks, Jolie O’Dell of ReadWriteWeb and Steven Finch of Crenk each well worth checking out to better allow you to define your own feelings about CancelAd’s.

For myself, while I can see both the pros and cons of CancelAd’s, even after researching it further and actually signing up to better understand it I personally do not see myself paying for the service. It is not based on the fact I would have to pay a micro amount of dollars for the service, in fact, my decision is not based on money, but rather on the fact, I am personally content with the options I have and still use for the past few years that just work for me. (Plus I am somewhat set in my ways and change takes time) That is not to say I will cancel my membership with CancelAd’s, which is free to join ( it is the end-user subscriptions that you pay for) as I may in the future find a need for its services so I am keeping the door open especially after reading one point on particular that Svetlana made to me.

“Allan, I’m afraid I can hardly agree it is fair to use any ad blocking tool because web publishers expect to make money off advertising…”

A valid point, which as a business owner myself I have to agree, it then comes down to what you the end user feel is fair for you. We all know that some, not all, advertisers go overboard in an attempt to get their message across. Some are just downright unethical such as the porn pop-ups for example. Not all advertisers are unethical and do provide a good service but sadly, the bad ones ruin it for everyone.

Remember the world needs open-minded visionaries who are willing to take chances despite all odds. In conclusion, while it is not a service I have a present need for I wish Svetlana and her business partner Marcus much success.