Category Archives: responses to madness - Page 2

ad targetting?

gmail scans the particular email(s) that you’re looking at and gives you text ads that are trying to be relevant to the topic you’re communicating about.

That being said, I find it hilarious that google gave me this ad in relation to an email mikey sent me containing birthdays and anniversaries of several of our mutual friends:

Famous Bipolar People
A list of famous people with bipolar disorder, past and present. …
bipolar.about.com

termination with extreme prejudice

I talked to Mike Henderson for a little while tonight, and it made me realize that I hadn’t really taken the time to blog about the reason that I actually was forced to resign from my position at Evil Inc. So, just for mental excercise, and because everyone loves a train wreck, let me wow you with the tale.

So, imagine a quiet day at the end of July: I bring up the domain root, looking for a printer that I rarely use (the phatty color laser in engineering) and what do I see but an attached drive called hr_somethingorother. So I see this drive and I wonder what’s on it. Most of the servers/drives on the domain hold useful crap (department forms, drawings, etc), so I hoped that I would find the vacation forms and would be able to directly access them instead of going through the company intranet. While I was rooting around, I ran into an excel spreadsheet that had a suspicious title. I double-click, and boom, I’m looking at a list of every employee’s name, address, phone number, date of birth, SSN, rate of pay, etc. And we’re talking 500+ employees here, everyone from the owner down to the lowliest peon (me!).

This strikes me as a bad thing. If I have access to this file, other people may also. So I went to my a co-worker and had him check to see if he could see it. He could, so he and I took it to my boss. Essentially, anyone with a network account could see the file (full access). That’s very bad, especially considering the number of times per year (and month!) that worms and hackers break into their network. I wanted a little access control put on the file. Best case, a file like that doesn’t even get kept on a networked PC, but at least protect it a little, eh?

No, that didn’t fly.

A few days later, after I thought the whole thing was over and done with, one of my coworker’s found spyware on his machine. Not the annoying kind that does popups or changes your system time. The nefarious, evil kind that logs keystrokes, takes screenshots, etc. So he told me and another coworker that he had found this.

So a few minutes after we start talking about the spyware, our computers are all shut down remotely (losing several hours of work, all told). I get called into the President’s office. He interrogates me up one side and down the other. Apparently they thought that someone had broken their way into each of the company’s servers. They thought that a laptop that I occasionally used had done it, and they also thought that it had been done from linux. That laptop happened to have a linux partition on it (one that I never used, and didn’t even remember the root password for), so that was enough proof for them. Of course, anyone can spoof a MAC address or a system name, anyone can break WEP keys to get into a network, anyone can boot up a laptop using a security oriented ISO to do things, then walk away scott free. None of those things meant anything to them though.

They also didn’t buy my tale that I had found the employee file by accident. Their feeling was that I had broken into their servers, found that file, then exposed it’s existence myself, to cover my tracks(!?!). Now don’t look for logic here, I don’t see any either. Then they accused me of playing video games at work (!). They wouldn’t say what game, from what pc, or when I played it though.

The company president said that because I hadn’t participated in the earlier voluntary health screening that the company had put on, I obviously didn’t trust the company. He also stated “if you take money from a company you don’t believe in, you’re nothing but a whore”. A whore! Imagine my suprise at being called a whore for having done my job.

He wouldn’t let me explain anything, he wouldn’t give any details or make any specific allegations. It was all just a big, onerous implication-fest. If I tried to answer his questions, I was told I was lying and twisting the truth. If I stayed quiet, I was told that I was not being cooperative. He threatened me in several ways throughout the course of the interview.

All in all, he told me to go home. That was a Wednesday afternoon. They started deducting from my personal time at that point. That Sunday, he called and told me that I could resign or be terminated. Lucky me. I chose to resign. I can’t collect un-employment, but I can say that I resigned, no matter how nominal that term is in this case.

When he asked me if I wanted to resign or be terminated, I asked him what the grounds for termination would be. He told me “there would not be any”. I think that says it all. He gave some poor analogy to marriage/divorce, and let it go at that.

So there you have it. I’m a bit tired, so I may come back and edit this later. What it boils down to though, is that I was forced to resign for being suspected of having broken into their computers, apparently. That’s the best reason I can come up with at least. There are hundreds of other details that I’m leaving out, just to keep this slightly manageable. I can say that I didn’t do anything that they accused me of – I know better than those things. Just because I know more than they do about computers doesn’t make me a criminal.

Anyway, I am close to picking a job. I have two offers, and I have to make a decision by close of business on Wednesday. Should be employed again soon! (:

greatest toy ever

Kids want me!

Black Market Movies

Melissa and I went on vacation last week. I’ll post more about that later. While I am thinking of it though, I wanted to post about an interesting situation I was made aware of.

We were visiting Melissa’s family in South Carolina. One of her aunts takes care of three boys (ages 6, 12 and 13) and one of the aunt’s sons lives with her as well. She’s a busy lady, and can’t afford to take them all to the movies. What she does do though is buy DVD’s on the so called “Black Market”. Apparently a group of black men run a bootleg DVD group. Any movie you want for $7, they say.

I have no idea what sort of technology is involved. I assume they just use kazaa or whatnot, but they may cam the movies themselves. Of the few I sampled, they were all low quality (both audio and video). Apparently it’s a big business though. Melissa’s aunt just calls a phone number with her requests, and they’ll meet her at some location with the movies.

I guess I’m just naive, because I was floored that activity like this took place in such an organized manner in the states. I know its more common than breathing in parts of Asia, but I just wasn’t aquainted with it around here. These guys are making huge profits, considering average wages for that area of South Caroline. Insane.

Another go-around with verizon

The battery in our verizon phone (an LG VX4400) has been going bad for a while now. Since we’ve had the phone for 11 months, I figured it was time to get it replaced before I had to pay for a new battery myself.

The first verizon Customer Service rep. that I talked to was Shannon Davis. He was less than helpful. He tried to tell me that it was going to cost me $30 for verizon to send me a new battery. His analogy was that car manufacturers don’t replace your tire if you get a flat. That analogy has so many holes that it hurts. For one, Verizon’s own information page about the phone says “One year warranty”. There are no qualifiers on that warranty. No “one year warranty on the phone itself”, nothing. So I pointed that out. He just kept trying to insert that “on the phone” phrase in there himself. I also pointed out that I don’t drive my phone on its battery. I’m not liable to pick up a nail in the tire, and the battery is not a wear part (not in the same sense as a tire). A properly maintained lithium ion battery should last several years. This one lasted 9-10 months. Clearly, the manufacturer has a battery issue.

Eventually, the conversation degraded into me speaking loudly at Shannon, explaining to him that he was yet another example of the putrescent (I used that word) customer service that Verizon has provided me throughout the life of my contract with them. He continued to parrot the same line. Now granted, he was probably trained to do this, so it’s only partially his fault. He never offered to let me talk with his supervisor though. He never offered to ask someone who knows if my battery was under warranty, nothing. He just continued to offer to send me a new battery for $30.

So I asked him to speak to his supervisor. She (Shaneir Brown) was very nice to me. I explained the problem, she put me on hold to inquire with technical support (or some such) about my phone and its battery. Eventually she came back and told me that I could get a free replacement at any verizon wireless store, because my battery does in fact have a 12 month warranty. Thank-you Shaneir.

w00t.

Spam’s aftertaste (step right up)

Hi everyone out there in blogland. At least one person out there seems to think that I run this blog so that they have a free place to advertise their own putrid little sites. Well, here’s news for that person: it isn’t free.

Nope, from this point (March 22, 2004, 3:36pm EST) forward, I’ll be exacting a fee of one dollar per impression per link for each link posted on this site that I deem to be spam. An impression will be defined as a line in my web server logs showing that a page containing one or more spam links was accessed. Fees will be charged whether the entity accessing the page is human or robot.

Also, if I choose to delete a particular piece of blog spam, the deletion fee will be $15 per piece.

Billing will occur monthly. Bills not paid by the first of the month following the time when access occurs will be considered late. Bills that are late more than 30 days may be turned over to a collection agency for satisfaction. If you do not agree to these terms, then do not post your spam (remember, I define what is spam) links on my website.

Thank-you and good-bye. (by the way, if you are just a normal blog reader, don’t think twice about posting a URL. This is only here to allow me to bill those who want to exploit my web site)

Freakish Dreams

In the first part of the dream I had last night, I was living in the seventh floor of a hotel. It was a bit on the dark side, and a bit gothic in the classical sense. You could see all the way down the center of the building to the main floor. Several of the floors had seating along one wall where the seats were mounted horizontally. I think people were watching movies in those. Anyway, I was able to just sort of jump of my own floor and use those chairs, various railings and statues and whatnot to arrive at the first floor in only a couple seconds. It was fun, actually.

On the first floor of the hotel was a diner. I was going to tell the woman who ran the diner about my awesome ability, so I raised my hand at her and said hello. She thought I wanted a table though, and since they were all taken, she suggested that I cash out a man who was sitting near where I was standing. This wasn’t optimal, since I didn’t want his table. I only wanted to brag. Not only that, but he wasn’t done eating anyway. She again suggested that we should both go to the cash register, so we agreed.

At that point, I walked out of the diner. There was a mall ajoining the diner/hotel, so I walked through that. I met Melissa in the mall, and we walked out a back exit and got in a bus. The bus was full when we got in, but gradually emptied out. Once it was down to just Melissa and I and a few other people, the bus suddenly lurched backwards and rolled into a dark alley. Then some thugs (very large men) appeared at the bus entrances. Not just thugs mind you, rock and roll thugs. Now in retrospect I have no idea what a rock and roll thug is, but that’s what these were and that made perfect sense in the dream. They hijacked the bus and I waited for an opportunity to hurt one of the hijackers, even though I knew they were much stronger than I. Instead, Melissa and I somehow escaped the bus back into the mall. A chase ensued at that point with the rock and roll thugs hunting down Melissa and I through the mall.

We were about halfway through the mall when Melissa’s Dad and brother showed up. We quickly told us that rock and roll thugs were chasing us. They knew immediately what to do and ran off looking for the thugs while Melissa and I continued to run away. When we got to the entrance to the mall, a friend of Melissa’s family, Tracy Clinton, was just walking in. She was thinner than in real life, but it was her. Amazingly, she was the “Queen of Rock and Roll”. We quickly related our troubles to her, and she promised to deal with hit. She being the queen, we knew we wouldn’t be having any troubles with the rock and roll thugs anymore.

It was night then, and I was walking along outside a huge stone theater, the kind they play broadway plays in. It had searchlights playing patterns outside the front of it. It was shaped a lot like the whitehouse I spose. Anyway, under cover of the night, the Russians and Japanese were using helicopters to fly buildings into the city. I guess they were going to use the airborne buildings to smash up the city. At that point, I ended up dodging a lot of flying buildings and debris.

Then, to get away, I pulled this thing out of my pocket that was a little like a hand-held vacuum cleaner, except it had tank treads on it. When the tank treads came in contact with the ground, they took off, pulling me behind. They pulled me behind them so fast that my body became airborne behind the thing. Eventually, it got going fast enough to lift off, and then it used some sort of ramjet vacuum propulsion to pull me along. It was just starting to grow a sort of amber shell from its from with the purpose of enveloping me for space travel when it malfunctioned. The amber shell started to waver, the device slowed down, and it almost got me smashed by a semi-tractor when it dumped me onto an interstate.

Then I was walking along in the city and came to an orphanage where I worked. It was apparently time for me to work, so I stood outside accepting orphans and also street people for care. A girl in a dress like the kind girls wore in Little House on the Praire brought up her aged uncle on an antique wheelchair. It was the kind that looked like a regular high-backed armchair with wheels attached. She just needed a rest from her constant care of her uncle, so she wanted to leave him with us while she did a few errands. We agreed. We wheeled him inside. Then the uncle died. He may even have been dead before he came, he didn’t say much either way. We had the Uncle sent to the morgue, but we were going to give the girl back the wheelchair since it was obvious that she would want it back. The staff had left the chair in a bit of a mess though, laying on its back and whatnot. There was huge dread in me over what the girl would think of the chair being left in that state (I didn’t seem to care that her uncle had died…) so I spent a long time getting the chair just right.

The orphanage had taken on the same sort of gothic dark/dirty feel that the hotel had seemed to have. Once I finally had the chair in a state that I thought would be acceptable to the little girl, I walked out in the hall. It was a long hall that had four right angle turns in it so that it zig-zagged back to the end of the building where the entrances was. I was almost to the entrance when I heard the little girl enter. She didn’t make any noise at all actually, but I knew she was there. I ran away as silently as I could, because as soon as she entered the building a huge sense of dread and fear took over me. I was hoping that if I got past a few of the corners in the hall, she would not see me. She just kept coming though.

I stopped running and looked at her. She had a bonnet on and her head was leaned down and forward so I could not see her face. She swung her arms and legs stiffly as if she had no joints where her elbows should be, and as though her legs were very robotic (more undead than robotic, in a way). Her dress was very billowy. It was dead and grey and gothic and ghastly all at the same time. I was terrified by her, and she was running directly at me. She was only a few feet away, running full speed at me. I was frozen in place.

At this point, Melissa woke me up. She said that I was calling out for help in my sleep and thrashing around. I’m very glad she woke me up. Comical as this whole thing is to write down for a blog, I was scared stiff by most of it while I was dreaming it. I talked with her about it and we both eventually fell asleep. That was about three in the morning.

When I fell back asleep, I had another dream. I remember it clearly, but I don’t even know where to begin describing it. It wasn’t scary, just surreal. Impossibly surreal.

So those were my dreams last night.

Burning Andrew Jackson

So it seems that when you place a new US $20 bill in the microwave, it explodes. Wonderful. The article claims that the explosion is caused by an rfid tag burning.

A quick google doesn’t turn up much info on this one way or the other. I can tell you that there is nothing to suggest that this isn’t the case. Actually, Tim tells me that the slashdot collective is surmising that this is simply a result of Andy Jackson is printed with magnetic ink. Stack up a pile of magnectic ink, inject high energy radio waves and suddenly everything you love is combustible.

Anyway, food for thought.

new template itch

So, because the most unlikely people have been updating their templates, it’s given me the urge to update my own, and offer a new, fresh look for the painted pig blog.

Anyone have any suggestions? What would look nice?

Ah, AP, how I love thee

Took a long time to get into work today, since there are 3-4 inches of snow on the ground. Average number of foolish people out on the roads. It does look beautiful out there though.

I heard the most wonderful thing on the radio. Well, actually, it was horrible, but at least they said it right. The AP news wire had a 20 second blurb about a HOMICIDE bomber who attacked a Russian train recently. Finally, someone got the verbage right. These people are criminals. It’s not important that they also die in the crime. What’s important to me is all the people who are killed by their indiscretion.