Spam Call To Work And Cell

| by Ken | in Really? No Comments »

New experience for me regarding spam phone calls.  My cell and my work number rang at the same time both reported from the same caller ID.  Normally when somebody connects more than one of my numbers, they are somebody that knows me well.  Apparently not the case any more.  That’s a disturbing new development – at least my awareness of it is new.

How did I know it was a spam call?  I didn’t answer either since it was an 866 number I didn’t recognize.  The caller left a message on the work line but not the cell.  Here’s the transcription of the message provided by my voice mail transcription service:

“Hello this call is officially a final notice from IRS Internal Revenue Service. The reason of this call is to inform you that IRS is filing a lawsuit on your name because you had tried to do a fraud with the IRS Internal Revenue Service and we are taking legal action and we are issuing an arrest warrant on your name to get more information regarding this case file. Just call us back on our department number 866-553-6069. I will repeat it 866-553-6069. Thank you.”

Oh, and it is also strange that the caller ID matches the desired callback number.  And that the phone number is associated with what appears to be a legit business.  Not one that I have done business with or would do business with, but it doesn’t look like a completely fraudulent business either.  So it’s really strange that they are looking for people to call them back on that number.

As for how do I know I am no really in trouble with the IRS…  I have never attempted to “do a fraud with the IRS”.  And if the IRS were to file a lawsuit regarding something I did, I don’t think they were be filing a lawsuit “on” my name.

I have an old computer that I had been using as a subversion server. Before the computer fully fails, I decided to move the subversion repository off the computer. Rather than putting it on another computer, though, I wondered if I still needed a server for source control at all.  As a small business, having less hardware to maintain/manage is better for me.

At first I wondered if I could use an NAS or similar device to function as a source control server. I found some reports indicating that you could hack an NAS to add in subversion server capability. But that’s not what I had in mind. I was wondering if my laptop could effectively be not only the computer that I use to write code but also the computer responsible for storing code. Now I didn’t want to make it a server, per se, where other computers could theoretically use it as a server. But I thought the computer might be able to handle storing files to a repository, like an NAS, on its own.

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RAVPower FileHub RP-WD03 Seabird

| by Ken | in Technology No Comments »

I’m pretty excited about this little black box I got recently.  It’s a RAVPower FileHub.  The codename is “Seabird” and the model number is RP-WD03.  “FileHub” isn’t quite descriptive enough, though.  Primarily, I got it to be a hub of files, that is true, but it’s got a lot more going for it.

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Less than a year ago, I figured out how to export TV from MythTV to write to an SD card for taking TV on the go.  I did eventually get things to work but even after all my effort there, I wasn’t getting the video compressed at all.  Also, it took a long time just to write the video to the SD card.  I wanted to improve the overall process.

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My advice for Liberals after the first week of President Trump:  I think it’s time to lay off the pressure a bit.  Dial down the hysteria.  It’s time to see how things play out.  I know these statements seem strange for people who know me.  But I think this is the best way to simultaneously battle against Trump and set the stage for 2018 elections.

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Static Solution for Desk

| by Ken | in House & Home, Technology No Comments »

I recently moved my office in the house to a room that’s going to work better for me.  I spent a lot of time working out the desk area and planning the desk surface and the chair area.  It’s worth it to plan because my butt spends so much time parked here.  The room was already carpeted and I didn’t really want to pull up the carpet – at least not at this time.  I kind of like the sound deadening that comes with the carpet and the floor underneath is nothing great.  But that meant I needed some sort of solution to having the chair roll around.  I tried just on the carpet and as expected, the chair squished in.  It was hard to move the chair and I was pretty certain the carpet would be wrecked within a few weeks.

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We all remember Rick Perry’s “oops” moment from his 2012 campaign.  He famously forgot the third governmental department he intended to get rid of, the Department Of Energy.  Now, 5 years later, Trump is looking for people to fill cabinet positions and he seems to be using the method Michael Che describes as “You know what would be hilarious”.   In Trump’s view, the best person for the Secretary of the Department of Energy is the person who wanted to eliminate the department and then couldn’t remember it.

Earlier this week, we learned that when Rick Perry accepted Trump’s offer to be Energy Secretary, he was under the impression that the job would entail being an ambassador for the oil and gas industry.  It was only in the days following his accepting that he learned the Energy department is primarily responsible for the management of nuclear weapons and nuclear waste.  During his confirmation hearing this week, Perry made a statement saying that he regrets the suggestion to eliminate the department:

“My past statements, made over five years ago, about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking.  In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.”

Let’s recap.  In 2011 Rick Perry recommended eliminating a department whose primary purpose, he has now admitted, he didn’t understand until just this week.  A few weeks ago when Trump asked Perry to lead the department, Perry accepted while still not understanding the Department’s mission and still believing that it was unnecessary and Trump asked somebody to lead the Department who has no understanding of the Department.  And now that Perry is educated about what the Department does, he regrets his plan 5 years ago to eliminate it.

That neatly sums up the early days of the Trump Presidency, and indeed, the current state of Republican politicians.  All too happy to make a political decision based on what they believe – until they are educated about the facts and then are inclined to think differently.  Good for Perry for being able to come around, even though it was initially only motivated by getting a job.  Now if all of the Republicans in office could follow Perry’s lead and learn the facts behind all matters being considered, we’d have much more productive debates.

(Note that this revelation about Perry’s recent education about what the DoE does changing his prior view, where apparently he didn’t know reinforces my point in my prior post about how Conservatives make decisions based on some personal faith rather than on facts.  In this case, it was Perry’s belief in small government that helped him reach that decision to eliminate without ever learning the facts.)

The Political Divide Explained

| by Ken | in Politics, Soapbox No Comments »

Time for some blunt talk about politics.  Some are certain to be offended but I’m just really frustrated about how people keep talking about how polarized the country is and how it is a matter of some people feeling one way while others feel another.  The typical discussion about the polarized country describes the situation without reaching any conclusions as to why it is like that.

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Recent Dell Optiplex “mini tower” models have a space below the optical bays and behind the front panel USB ports for something to be installed.  I’m not sure the original intent but there is a bracket that will fit a typical hard drive, although the mounting holes may not match up.  These mini tower systems like the Optiplex 9020 or XE2 have two optical bays and two hard drive bays.  But they have no specific SSD bays.  You could get an adapter to fit an SSD in a hard drive bay or an optical bay.  But why sacrifice one of those bays when you can put an SSD or two in this found space?

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Today is the day that the Electoral College “votes” for our next President. I’ve long said the Electoral College is stupid. I had not previously realized, however, that the electors could actually choose to vote for somebody other than the individual that “won” the state. I only began reading about this as a potential hail-mary to keep Trump from getting elected. And why is it possible for an elector to do that? Apparently, the people who created the Electoral College had the sense that from time to time, the voting populace could be duped by a charlatan and that it would be smart to add a layer of protection between said populace and the Presidency. (Also, there’s likely a slavery aspect to the Electoral College too.)

To review, we’ve had a nonsensical way of choosing a President for over 200 years and for all of that time, we have not exercised this protection option.  The people who are electors don’t seem to have had cause to stray from the voting populace in the past.  But if ever there was a time when the voting populace needs to be protected from itself, now is the time.  In the weeks since Trump was elected we’ve seen him back down from promises he made during the campaign all but stating for the record that much of what he said during the election was merely to get elected.  And we’ve learned that Russia’s hacking extended to both political parties but only information that would be damaging to Clinton was leaked for the express purpose of putting a thumb on the scale for Trump.  All this has been happening while the vote tally for Clinton continues to increase her “win” over Trump.

Just today at the bank, I overheard a customer saying to a bank teller who was reluctantly engaging in conversation that he was a Trump supporter and even owned “a few Make America Great Again hats” but is now starting to question Trump.  He seemed surprised.  I’m sure this is a typical sentiment among Trump voters.  It seems to me that there was an instant in time when Trump could have won the electoral votes and that instant was voting day.

Assuming that the Electoral College does not change the expected outcome, there’s no question any more that the Electoral College is dumb and needs to go.  The only reason it wouldn’t is because for it to disappear, the people who benefited from it would need to advocate for it to be destroyed.  One thing we know about elected politicians is that they like power and anything that would reduce that power is a nonstarter.

So, Electoral College, prove your worth.  Show that you are not an irrelevant extra layer of bureaucracy.  This is your chance.  Miss your chance and the world will know the pointlessness to your existence and that you only serve the politicians that you elect, not the nation and it’s people.

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