Scam Alert

I have been getting some calls this week from someone who is attempting to contact me with regard to possible legal action. The caller had a heavy Indian/ SW Asian accent and the wording on the script was very stilted. I did some research (first thing is look up the phone number) and found someone who was able to decipher most of it.   It looks like they go to great pains to NOT identify themselves. I can assume that by keeping it murky they can avoid someone calling that agency and checking. I also think that the wording is vague so that in the event they are caught they might be able to avoid charges of impersonating a Federal Agent (which may carry stiffer penalties than mere fraud). That said, I think that this scam could be very effective against the elderly and the naïve  as the wording is very menacing and they are persistent.   (See below)  but rest assured this is a total scam. … -Telephone-Scam

“Hi, this message is intended to contact you. my name is (Insert bogus name) and I am calling regarding affirmative (?) actions executed by US Treasury intending your serious attention. Ignoring this will be an intention second attempt to award initial appearance before a Magistrate judge or a grand jury for a Federal Criminal offense. My number is 760-298-7641. I would love you to cooperate with us to help us to help you”

Here is a partial recording of the actual call.  (FYI I never answer my phone unless I know who it is and if you are calling my landline (yes I still have one) then it’s a good bet you are scammer/telemarketer/survey company. 😉

Now a while back I used to frequent a site called 419 Eater and these guys specialize in scambaiting. (Usually of the variety of Nigerian Prince/Lawyer/Govt official who has money trapped in in an account and needs YOU to help them get it out).  So the temptation to call these guys back to try to scambait them is huge. But I am kinda lazy nowadays and scambaiting takes awhile to really get going. I have participated in few (It’s fun!) but the scammers got wise to me so I was never able to get any Trophies. I also understand that these particular scammers are very persistent on getting payment RIGHT THEN AND THERE and will just hang up if they think you are pulling their leg.  Anyways beware and always check and verify.  If it sounds fishy it probably is.  Use Bing or Google to look up the Phone numbers and if you can get the wording right search on that.  NEVER EVER give them you personal information or bank account or pay them!


Plato’s 808

(This is not a review of the TR-8 there’s plenty of those go Bing/Google it if that’s what you want.)
The TR-8, that is Roland’s latest drum machine and probably one of their best in recent memory. I love mine and have been playing with it almost every day. OK well not every day but a lot. (Still not as much as I think I should be but that’s fodder for another post). The title of this post though hearkens back to your old Philosophy class and Plato’s “Forms”   (quick abstract from Wikipedia “asserts that non-material abstract (but substantial) forms (or ideas), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality”)

In plain English, it means that if you hold a cube in your hand it’s not a “real” cube,  it is merely a representation of the “True” cube which exists in a perfect higher reality.   So Mr. Philosophy 101, what the fuck does that have to do with a cool Drum machine? Well it’s all about comments and reviews of the machine where a lot of folks Pooh-pooh the sound saying things like OMG Digital bad, analog good, It’s close but not the real thing hurr hurr. Man what a bunch of whiney babies. All these choads (Usually it seems, the same types that buy “oxygen free” speaker cables.) laughing puppets want an Honest to God analog 808 Drum machine and conveniently forget about the limitations of the original (yo 16 steps is all you got). Then they go on and on and on about “the Sound” and how ACB still doesn’t capture the nuance.  This may or may not be true, I did not own the 808, I had 606 but I played with quite a few back in the day, so I have more than a passing familiarity.  But I don’t think it really matters, in light that if you ever pick up an music tech magazine you will never find a drum sound  regardless where it came from that has not been layered, compressed and processed to the point where it doesn’t matter if it’s the real thing (that almost no- one has or a sample).  Now consider that due to the nature of analog components no two  808’s sound the same, and more than a few folks have heavily modded their to get more bass, decay etc. So now it’s gotten to point that the 808 has been elevated to the realm of Plato’s forms. There is an ideal 808 out there, but YOU  can never have it.  But I’ll tell you what, the TR-8 more than fills the bill , and for 499 retail I’m sure it will become  a new classic.


Giorgio Moroder and edm

OK this guy practically invented edm (small letters intentional).  His dance tunes will probably be around, sampled and remixed long after people have forgotten what a Deadmause is. Not a knock on DM, just a fact of the velocity of culture. (I just made that up, I think) He’s had the luxury of time and pre-internet society to help cement his legendary status while the internet and “Velocity of Culture” serve to create and forget today’s stars in the blink of a news/fashion cycle. (edm is here to stay EDM -not so much methinks)

The Precience of Cortana and Jack the Ripper

Ok Windows Phone,  Cortana either she has some serious ESP/prediction algorithms going on or coincidence is creepy. Last night, Sophia and I were watching Tuesday night’s episode of ABC’s “Forever” when the Teaser for next weeks episode came on. I said out loud “Oh it looks like they are doing a “Jack the Ripper” episode. My teenage daughter asks me “Who is Jack the Ripper?”  I explained that he was an infamous serial killer in London in the 1800’s who was never caught. She then asked “How many people did he kill?” I said “I don’t know let me check.” I whipped out my trusty Lumia 625 and started to type. How many victims..
Cortana finished the question with ” of Jack the Ripper were there?, then second choice of How many people did Jack the Ripper Kill”

Creepy OK? I mean of all the ways to finish that question:
How many victims of…
John Wayne Gacy
Ted Bundy
Domestic Violence
9/11, Etc Etc pick a tragedy with victims
but Cortana (Bing) knew EXACTLY what I was asking before I even finished typing it.
Bing Search
Is that REALLY the most popular question on Bing?  (and the timing is mere coincidence?)
How did Bing’s Search algorithm pick that question at that time? I wasn’t watching the Show at it’s normal time slot (with the implication that I if we were, then other people were watching at the same time and asked the same question so Bing picked the most common Question being asked) and I wasn’t watching on Xbox (assume some data sharing and inference like above.) I tested Google and got a different query completion, I also typed it in to BING on the Desktop and got the same result, but since I had already asked the question on Bing and it knows what I asked for (because I’m logged in) I’m not surprised that I got the same result.