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 would be filing a lawsuit “on” my name.

I’ve got an old Weber gas grill that has served me well for a decade.  I’ve had to replace the cast iron grates a couple of times because, it seems, their covers, while keeping the grill look pretty, trap moisture inside.  There was one time when I had friends over and the grill didn’t get up to cooking temperature but it was just one time.

Until recently.  When it started happening more often.  There a couple of times when the burgers just sat on the cooking grate looking grey and annoyed rather than actually cooking.  The temp probe showed the interior temp only got to something like 250F or maybe 300F if the wind was light.  I thought maybe it was because I was low on gas so I refilled the propane tank and the next time it worked fine.  Problem solved, I thought.  But then it happened again with the full tank.  Something weird is going on.

It’s a tough thing to Google, but I did eventually find exactly what I was looking for at Weber’s site.  It turns out that you can end up with the grill in “bypass mode” where the regulator limits the amount of gas that can get out of the tank.  The mode is intended as a protection if something has gone wrong with the grill.  But you can inadvertently trigger bypass mode if you don’t turn on the gas the right way.  For some reason, I had apparently been turning on the gas the right way for years and recently, have been doing it the wrong way about half the time!  Or maybe there’s something about the valves and tank and regulator that make the setup more sensitive to bypass mode as they get older.

So the simple solution is to wait a couple of seconds after opening the valve on the propane tank before you turn on any burners.  That’s it.  I did that as a test today and sure enough, the grill ramped right up to 500F.

Wisdom of the Ancients

| by Ken | in Really? 1 Comment »

Hyperloop Unveiled

| by Ken | in Really?, Technology 1 Comment »

Elon Musk is applying his smarts now to transportation infrastructure – a topic sorely in need of some brilliance and out-of-the-box thinking.  And it is hard to argue with his basic premise that his suggestion, something he calls Hyperloop, would be orders of magnitude cheaper than the currently planned rail link between LA and San Francisco.  But is it logistically practical and are the technical conclusions his team has reached realistic?  I don’t have an answer – that’s what I want to know!!

See the full description at Spacex.com.

Arthur meets Queensryche?

| by Ken | in Really? 1 Comment »

The kids were watching Arthur last night.  Arthur is an animated aardvark on PBS.  The show is pretty blah for an adult (unlike some other kids shows that I actually enjoy watching, but that’s another post!) so I wasn’t paying close attention to the show.  I wasn’t that is, until Buster visited somebody in the hospital and in the background, you could hear the hospital paging “Dr. Blair, Dr. Blair; Dr. J. Hamilton, Dr. J Hamilton”.  I needed to replay that to be sure I heard correctly.  What?  Yep, that’s right, same paging audio as in the Queensryche intro track on Operation: Mindcrime.  I even immediately switched over the MythTV from Arthur to play the Queensryche track to confirm it and I was right!  Arthur is definitely newer so maybe the people who make the show stole the audio clip from Queensryche?  Or maybe there is some sort of clip library out there for recording professionals and both Queensryche and the Arthur creators happened to choose the same clip for background audio?  Weird.

Here are the clips and the time that you can jump the pointer to so you can hear the same audio.

18 seconds in:

10 minutes and 53 seconds in:

Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza Best Clip

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Here’s what I think is the best clip from the whole run of Drew Carey’s Improv-a-ganza. Amazing volunteers – where do you find a kid that knows the theme from The Good The Bad and The Ugly!? Go Cooper!




Phone Survey to win a Cruise in Bahamas?

| by Ken | in Really? 4 Comments »

I got a call today with a caller ID of 213.550.3111 saying that I had been selected to take a political survey and if I did the survey, I’d win a free cruise to the Bahamas. Was this one of those pretend surveys that had an ulterior motive? Was it a real survey? And why was I, a Massachusetts resident, of any interest to any survey company? I was too curious to just hang up. So I pushed “1” to take the survey. First question was about the economy and seemed like a neutrally worded question, so so far so good. Second question was about political parties and it was also neutral. Sill good. Third question was about approval of current president which was still neutrally worded. And then the automated voice thanks me and says “please hold to be connected to a travel reservation specialist for your free cruise to the Bahams”. Three easy questions and I win a free cruise? In a blink, I decided it would have to be a scam and that it must be a clever way to harvest people’s personal information and/or credit card info so I hung up. But I’m curious if anybody else has gotten the same call and how they may have gone or maybe if anyone knows of where the scam is.

Duran Duran’s Girl Panic

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Duran Duran’s new video for Girl Panic. Good song and great video – love the wit and production values are top notch. Not to mention getting all the supers together is a feat in itself. If you are like me, watch it a second time once you get what’s going on. Oh, and Nick really rocks that bellman’s cap.

Quantum Levitation

| by Ken | in Really? No Comments »

I think I get the gist of this – you can lock the spatial relationship of two objects such that if you move one, you move the other. And that only part of the spatial relationship can be locked so that objects can move along a predefined axis. Definitely amazing technology. A couple things I don’t get – like how expensive is the prototype and why does it need to be so cold? And maybe most importantly, why do the fingers in the video get to move the disc but then it stays were the fingers left it? But as with any new technology, I know it’s a long way from being put to practical use, so cool to see it in its early form.

Entrepreneur Test

| by Ken | in Really? No Comments »

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? This article will help you figure that out! (And it’s a fun read too.) Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

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