Twitter Treasure

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Twitter logo transparent

Twitter is a good invention. It’s easy and fun. Much less demanding and intrusive than Facebook. So much so that many millions of people, from the famous to ordinary people like you and I, use it every day.

On the back of that success the Twitter company is doing very well. But recently it did even better when its shares jumped four per cent in a matter of minutes.

It all happened after a buyout story appeared on the internet that claimed that Twitter had received a significant offer. It started off, “Twitter is working closely with bankers after receiving an offer to be bought out for $31 billion…”

fake-twitter-story

Investors piled in. And not just the amateurs, lots of the ‘professional’ Wall Street guys too.

The trouble was, however, that the internet story was on a bogus web site and was completely fake. The site was called “bloomberg.market”. It was not “Bloomberg.com” the official name of the web presence for the Bloomberg financial organization.

“Bloomberg.market” was what they call a ‘mirror’ of the genuine “Bloomberg.com” website. Whoever designed “bloomberg.market” set it up to look like “Bloomberg.com”. They copied real headlines and linked them back to the real dot-com website. With one exception: the fake Twitter story, which was dressed up to look like a legitimate webpage.

The spike in the Twitter share price only lasted about 15 minutes before Bloomberg denounced the story as fake and the share price dropped back to its previous level. But 15 minutes is a long time in the world of finance and plenty of time for someone to profit substantially from the scam.

spike in the Twitter share price

No one yet knows who owns the dot-market domain – except the people who own it, of course –  but it was registered just days before the scam message, using a proxy service called “WhoisGuard”, based in Panama, that protects registrant details by offering its own address and contact numbers. But the details of “WhoisGuard” on its own website at “WhoisGuard.com” also appear to be fake, listing a telephone number that is disconnected. Emails to their contact address have not received a response either.

The significance of this incident is not that some greedy and stupid people lost money rushing to buy Twitter shares on the back of this fake announcement.

The problem is that so many new dot word domains have recently been allowed – hundreds of them in fact – that the whole internet is becoming bloated and confusing. And expensive.

If you are a company that wants to protect your online identity and integrity it could now cost you tens of thousands of dollars to cover all the permutations. Not many companies, even huge affairs like Bloomberg, will choose to do that.

That leaves the way wide open for cyber criminals to take advantage of gullible internet users.

I am certain they will.

Like the Twitter announcement, it’s just too good a deal to refuse.

online-scam_gullible-investor-cartoon

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I’ve Heard Of A Plane Going Missing – But An Entire Airport???

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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lost

Bureaucrats lose things because they are incompetent and stupid.

We all know that.

My posts on the debacle at the US government’s Office of Personnel Management, where they lost over 21 million records of government employees and those who had applied for government jobs, was a good example.

I though at the time I read about this and did my blog posts that this would be a tough one to beat as regards stupidity and incompetence.

I was wrong.

Shannon-airport-building-2008

 

Enter the Irish.

Irish bureaucrats have lost an entire airport.

And it only cost them €27 million  to do it.

A bargain one might think in terms of bureaucratic faux pas.

Up until last week you could find Ireland’s Shannon Airport, in Shannon, County Clare.

Sounds logical enough. If I was looking for Shannon Airport, Shannon is the first place I would look for it. They have had an airport there for over seventy years.

Now, however, after the introduction of Ireland’s new €27 million postcode system, the ‘Eircode’, you can now find Shannon Airport in – wait for it – a different county, County Limerick.

mapofcountiesofireland

If that isn’t funny enough, the system also has a ‘mapping’ option which the bureaucrats say can identify the exact latitude and longitude of 2.2 million individual addresses. They’ll most likely be in the wrong latitude and longitude, but at least you know exactly how wrong the location is.

Naturally there are other problems with the ‘Eircode’ postcode system, ranging from other incorrect addresses to data protection concerns, but the airport one is the star of the show.

In typical bureaucratic fashion, despite the fact that the whole thing is an almighty mess, Communications Minister Alex White defended the new national system.

He even claimed it would make postal deliveries much easier in the long run – the ‘long run’ presumably referring to the distance traveled by your mail going to the wrong delivery address and confused users of the system going to all the wrong places.

Communications Minister Alex White

Not only do the bewildered Irish users of this new system get wrong addresses for their €27 million, but they are only allowed a miserable fifteen searches per day, meaning you would need to persevere with it for more than a week if you were organizing a big event, like a wedding or anniversary do.

There is an option to search for more wrong addresses but the fee for that dubious privilege is between €60 and €180 a year, depending on the number of searches performed.

Good luck with selling that too!

Now where did I put the milk for my coffee?

Ah yes, in the garage next door.

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What Do Creflo Dollar And Me Have In Common?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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creflo dollar

I hope there aren’t too many things that Creflo Dollar and I have in common. But the one thing that I am sure of that we do have in common is that neither of us own a $65 million private jet. (We’d probably both like to but that’s a whole different story.)

Creflo, if you don’t know already, is one of those despicable TV preachers who spend 99.9 percent of their time trying to swindle money out of gullible and stupid people who think he is really a ‘man of God’.

This pastor’s latest attempt to enrich himself at the expense of his congregation was just as blatant piece of greed and fraud as I’ve come across.

He wanted $65 million.

Nothing wrong with that, if he was going to spend it building a hospital wing, feeding the poor, housing the homeless, or some other equally good works.

But Creflo wanted the $65 million to buy himself a private jet, and a pretty swanky one come to that.

creflo-dollar-airplane

I know what you’re thinking.

I thought the same.

But it turns out that Creflo didn’t want the jet for personal gain, although he would end up owning it and using it.

Oh, dear me no, not at all.

Creflo just wanted to use the private jet to transport food to the starving peoples of the world. Oh yes, and to save the lives of Christians being persecuted in the Middle east.

Personally, if these were indeed the reasons for wanting an airplane, I’d have set my sights on something a little more modest and of the cargo, rather than the luxury passenger, variety. You can pack a heck of a lot more boxes of food into an empty cargo fuselage than you can into one crammed with plush leather reclining seats, plama TV screens, beds, drinks cabinets and all the other luxury fittings you can find in a bespoke Gulfstream private jet.

It didn’t work of course. Thankfully.

It transpired that not even the type of gullible Americans who watch this kind of TV trash fell for Creflo’s obvious display of greed and self-agrandisement. After disappointing results and adverse publicity the web page soliciting donations for the private jet disappeared – and so did Creflo.

For a while, that is.

But he came back and when he did he had the usual religious scammer’s excuses all lined up. The reason for his disappearance was because he was “talking with God” – not the real one of course, but his own personal version, the one who only told him what he wanted to hear.

And his fake god told Creflo that his scam to get himself a private jet had failed because the ‘forces of evil’ had interfered with his plans and set out to discredit him.

one of Creflo Dollar's cribs
one of Creflo Dollar’s modest little cribs

 

It’s a pity they hadn’t got to work on Creflo before now. Before he was able to scam his supporters out of enough money to buy him a million dollar home in Atlanta, another $2.5 million home in Manhattan, a Rolls-Royce motor car, and just enough money to buy one private jet back in 1999.

I wish we had heard the last from people like Creflo.

But somehow I doubt it.

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Would You Buy An Expensive Lock If Someone Else Had The Key?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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encryption-lock

 

Apple and Google recently enabled full-device encryption by default on their mobile operating systems – and big brother doesn’t like it – not one bit. As always he talks about things like ‘National Security’, ‘terrorist threats’, etc., and that there will be total chaos in the streets if ordinary citizens are allowed their right to privacy.

Some of the stuff that has hit the media has been ridiculous and would be laughable except these idiots are actually intent on total control.

For example, the head of the FBI has issued dire warnings of children dying if ordinary people are allowed their privacy via encryption programs. The secretary of Homeland Security used the deaths of the 168 people killed in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing as ‘proof’ that, while privacy was important, encryption should not be allowed to stymie US law enforcement.

Big Brother wants to stick his nose into EVERYTHING. Anything that makes that harder to do frustrates the hell out of him.

big brother is watching poster

 

So he continues with the stupid excuse that the necessity to snoop on law abiding people is because criminals and terrorists might use encryption tools as well.

It’s a bit like saying that no one should be allowed to drive a car because someone, somewhere, sometime, might get drunk and cause a fatal accident.

Then there’s the EnnEssEhh director who wants mandatory “front doors” to be built into all cryptographic technology used in the U.S., so that you can’t have secrets it can’t spy on. His idea is for all encrypted software and hardware used in the U.S. to have one encryption key for the user (you) and another that would be made available to the government bureaucrat spooks any time they wanted it.

This is complete nonsense. And they know it. But still they persist.

They have already got the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which removed the right of a purchaser to use their goods as they see fit. This legislation means that digital products continue to be the property of the seller – not (you) the buyer who paid for them. And it makes it illegal for buyers of digital goods to circumvent any features that allow snooping.

Going back to my car analogy, that is like a car dealer selling you a car on the condition that you never open the hood to see how it works, or perform your own modifications.

In practical terms this means that if you buy a new phone or computer, the manufacturer can have a spy device pre-installed in its hard components or its software and you would be forbidden by law from finding out about it or fixing it.

If Big Brother thinks he can enforce stupidity like this then he is even crazier than I think he is – and I think he is completely crazy already!

Big Brother can legislate all he wants, but we all know that the only people who will abide by these new laws will be the law abiding people. The criminals and terrorists will find ways round it, through it, over it, or under it.

It’s the same flawed logic as in the continued cry from liberals to take legally registered guns away from law abiding people so that only the criminals are armed.

Neighbor Wants Guns Banned

 

Then there is, not the probability – but the FACT – that if a government spook friendly encryption system was created, it would immediately be attacked by hackers – including hackers employed by foreign governments, some of them friends of the terrorists that the legislation is supposed to be there to defeat.

And what about the practical commercial aspect to it all? When you think about it, who in their right mind is going to pay good money for an encryptiuon system that they know can be broken?

Would you buy an expensive lock if someone else had the key?

I think not.

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General Confusion And Major Disaster.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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British General Election 2015

No, today’s post is not about matters military, although the term ‘SNAFU’ would be rather appropriate.

This one is about the General Election in Britain in May 2015 that will decide who will run the country for the next five years and who will be Prime Minister. This is a crucial election for voters because there is no real front runner. One party is as bad as the other. So a few votes here and there could make a crucial difference. Sounds a bit like Florida!

It may even end up with another coalition government in Britain, although I don’t know if the Conservatives could stomach another five years of being tied to the Liberals – but what am I talking about, of course they could, if it meant clinging on to power.

The election might be even closer than it should be because millions of people may be unable to vote. The secretive Whitehall department of stupid bureaucrats responsible for – wait for the irony, “efficiency” – refused to heed warnings from its own pilot programs that showed it had major problems with data matching.

data matching

It is very similar to the way the nerds at Microsoft didn’t believe their testers when they told them Windows 8 was a pile of doo-doo.

The bureaucrats first of all created new legal requirements for voter registration requiring them to verify information that was previously taken on trust.

The only thing is, about five and a half million voters went missing from the Electoral Register. The tests they carried out told them this was likely to happen, but they didn’t listen. Bureaucrats never do until it is too late.

According to government sources, “The digital service allows anyone to register to vote online, from any device connected to the web. It’s incredibly quick and simple – it takes less than five minutes.”

They forgot to add the crucial line that – it doesn’t work.

The problems became apparent as soon as the web service went live. The Electoral Register was a lot shorter than it had been. Not only that but strange things also began to happen.

cartoon boy

For example, a five-year-old boy in Crewe had been given the vote – but he couldn’t get off the Electoral Register, because he was not able to produce his National Insurance number, which of course he didn’t have – because he was only five. Duhh!!!

In another case a woman, who had been an eligible voter on the Electoral Roll for twenty years, failed to get on to the new one because her National Insurance number was in her maiden name which did not match with her married name which the system insisted she use now.

The whole thing has turned into a government-created mess. People are now filling in the registration form thinking that means they are registered to vote, but actually they haven’t. All they have managed to do is submit an application to register to vote.

It’s bit like filling in a form so that you are eligible to fill in a form. A bureaucrat’s dream!

So it’s looking like general confusion and major disaster for the election. Just more proof that government bureaucrats and computer systems just don’t belong together.

bureaucrats and computer systems

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April Fools Day, So Let’s Have A Look At Some Fools!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It’s April Fool’s Day and what more appropriate post than to have our final look (for now) at the fools who need warning labels on everything and the fools who write the warnings.

Enjoy the stupidity.

warning exp

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“Remove the plastic wrapper.”

The first instruction on a

bag of microwave popcorn;

BUT to see the instructions,

one first has to remove the plastic

wrapper and unfold the pouch.

 popcornbag

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“Take one capsule by mouth

three times daily until gone.”

On a box of pills.

 box of pills

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“Open packet. Eat contents.”

Instructions on a packet of airline peanuts.

 packet of airline peanuts

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“Remove wrapper,

open mouth,

insert muffin,

eat.”

Instructions on the packaging

for a muffin at a 7-11.

 packaging for a muffin

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“Use like regular soap.”

On a bar of Dial soap.

 bar of Dial soap

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“Instructions: usage known.”

Instructions on a can of black pepper.

 black pepper

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“Serving suggestion: Defrost.”

On a Swann frozen dinner.

 swan-to-go

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“Simply pour the biscuits into a bowl and

allow the cat to eat when it wants.”

On a bag of cat biscuits.

 bag of cat biscuits

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“In order to get out of car,

open door, get out, lock doors,

and then close doors.”

In a car manual.

 car manual

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“The appliance is switched on by setting

the on/off switch to the ‘on’ position.”

Instructions for an espresso kettle.

 Bialetti - moka pot 10

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Warning: Read Carefully, More Stupid Signs Ahead!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Heed the warning in the title, another selection of warning signs written for the chronically stupid follows.

That these have to be written is a tragedy in itself. That most of them seem to be written by they very people they are aimed at is one of those mysteries that may take years to solve.

In the meantime, enjoy.

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pointing left keep right sign

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“Malfunction: Too less water.”

A notice left on a coffee machine.

 malfunction

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“Prescriptions cannot be filled by phone.”

On a form in a clinic.

 phone

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“You could be a winner!

No purchase necessary.

Details inside.”

On a bag of Fritos.

 bag of Fritos

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“Fits one head.”

On a hotel-provided shower cap box.

 shower cap box

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“Payment is due by the due date.”

On a credit card statement.

 credit card statement

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“No small children.”

On a laundromat triple washer.

 laundromat triple washer

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“Warning: Ramp Ends In Stairs.”

A sign, correctly describing the end of a

concrete ramp intended for handicap access to a bridge.

 Warning Ramp Ends In Stairs

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“Take care: new non-slip surface.”

On a sign in front of a newly renovated ramp

that led to the entrance of a building.

 Take care new non-slip surface

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“In case of flood, proceed uphill.

In case of flash flood, proceed uphill quickly.”

One of the emergency safety procedures at a summer camp.

 summer camp

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“Ingredients: Artificially bleached flour, sugar,

vegetable fat, yeast, salt, gluten, soya flour,

emulsifier 472 (E) & 481, flour treatment agents,

enzymes, water.

May contain ……….fruit.”

The ingredients list on a package of fruit buns.

 package of fruit buns

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“100% pure yarn.”

On a sweater.

 sweater

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“Some materials may irritate sensitive skin.

Please look at the materials if you believe this may be the case.

Materials:

Covering: 100% Unknown.

Stuffing: 100% Unknown.”

On a pillow.

pillow

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