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Missed Words, Different Meanings

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on March 19, 2016 in Immoral Conversations |

When you see it… Let’s be honest, the spellchecker would not have caught this one. A grammar checker would undoubtedly have let it slip through and, clearly, an editor is not at work here. So we have a wonderful little piece where someone forgets a single, little, two-letter word, and the whole meaning of a Tweet, of a news story, changes dramatically.

Reuters India: Not What They Meant

Screenshot Source: Reuters India / Twitter

Nothing lost in the translation here, I am sure!

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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Guns And Nipples: The American Way Of Life

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on March 18, 2016 in News & Opinion |

I don’t know when I first gave up on north American society and its values, but it was probably about the same time as I discovered that Europe is not the Old World with Old World Values some politicians have claimed it to be. And now I look back at the values of the north Americans, of those living in my country of birth and wonder what went wrong and, above all, why no one can see that it has all gone wrong.

Take this little incident, for example:

Madonna and Nipples

Screenshot Source: Guardian US / Twitter

No, it didn’t take place in the USA: can you imagine the furor if it had? Of course you can, because we’ve seen it all before. Nipples are bad, Nipples must be banned. And if you’re actually using your nipples to feed a child, well, you can be banned from all public places and even threatened with an overnighter in the local jail.

This, however, is fine:

Kurt Cobain's Gun

Screenshot Source: Guardian / Twitter

And still the question, why? Why is there such a fascination with weaponry, and especially with weaponry linked to a death, to a murder, to a prominent suicide? And why this weapon after so much time? What is the point of bringing it out now?

There are things in the USA which desperately need attention, and society is drooling over weapons, complaining about women’s bodies while, elsewhere in the USA these things are happening:

Religious Politics

Screenshot Source: Huffington Post / Twitter

A real heterosexual-in-extreme man-to-man hug here. I wonder if the man in the background is holding a ruler to ensure they don’t get too close?

Separation of State and Religion. Freedoms and Rights for all. Wasn’t that the thing a few hundred years ago? Where did the ideal go to die?

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Twitter: But It’s ‘My’ Timeline

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on March 15, 2016 in Internet |

Let me get this right: when I come to certain social media web sites and networks, I can arrange things the way that I wish, according to my own desires. I can follow those I wish to follow, befriend those who are already (honest!) friends in Real Life, and generally act as if the whole thing is mine and not a possession of someone else I am only borrowing. That’s the way it works, right?

Twitter Announcement

Screenshot Source: Twitter

So, can someone please tell me why Twitter has decided to tell me what is interesting in my timeline – in MY timeline – and what I should see first? How do they, the machine, know what I am going to find interesting at any particular moment in time? Can they read my emotions, from Real Life, or assess my needs?

Now, I can understand certain online stores making suggestions based on what I have already bought or what I look at and mark to watch; there is an understandable system here and it makes sense. But Tweets? Interesting based on what? What is the base index Twitter plans on using?

No, thanks Twitter machine, but just no.

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Bacon: The Truth Can Finally Be Revealed

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on March 12, 2016 in Immoral Conversations |

I believe I have finally solved the problem of why so many people, especially when I go to buy breakfast rolls, do not know that things like ham and bacon are meat. You will undoubtedly recall my attempting to buy a cheese roll, or at least something vegetarian, and being offered ham at a certain gas station, and the many other times when people have tried to convince me with the salesman smiles that what they are offering is what I want.

You see, I was always under the impression that bacon was cut from dead pigs. I’m sorry to be so brutal about this – should I have put an age warning on here somewhere? – but that is what I honestly believed. It seems as if I am the only one – aside from a few crazies who adopt the missionary position when it comes to eating dead bodies, or wearing bits of carcasses – who doesn’t really like eating corpses because they are dead bodies. It also seems like I was the only one who believed that bacon came from pigs, dead or otherwise. And now I can understand why.

The Source of all Bacon

Image Source: Unknown

I must admit, I’ve never looked at it like that, never realized that the bacon source is far closer to hand than most are willing to admit. And now I understand why so many North Americans love their bit of bacon at all times of the day: it’s the only way to get around the bans in – is it still eighteen States? – so many areas of the USA.

No need to worry about someone going down on you, young man, there’s always bacon!

I wonder if the Christian Right knows about this, or do they believe that bacon comes from pigs too?

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Cellphone Users: You’re Missing The World

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on March 11, 2016 in Immoral Conversations |

Have you seen those people who believe that they are so important they must be reachable at all times of the day and night? You know the ones: they have a gadget permanently stuck in their ear; they sit in art galleries looking into the laps; they hold up traffic on the freeway; they walk into a coffee shop with friends, order, and sit in silence, looking at the small screen.

We are growing into a society, at least as far as the younger generations are concerned, of people who no longer look up. We have a small communications device in our hands which is constantly on so that, since we are so important and the world needs us, we can be reached immediately. Even the famous Batman had to wait for a cloudy day in Gotham before he could be called out, unless he happened to be at home and the Batphone rang.

Baseball Father

Screenshot Source: NPR / Twitter

Important people do not wander through life with a gadget stuck in their ear so that other important people can reach them for important decisions. They have people who do all that for them. People who wander through life with a gadget stuck in their ear, who hold up the traffic, who do not see works of art in a museum because they’re checking out the Instagram photos of beautiful works of art in a museum are missing life.

It’s like going to watch a baseball game and then, sitting in the best seats, watching the game on a small screen or, even worse, doing something else. You deserve a smack in the face with a baseball bat to wake you up and bring you back to the real world right in front of your eyes. Of course, even that isn’t going to happen, as we know from experience; someone will protect you from the reality and then, surprised, you can check out Twitter to see what you missed and why you’re suddenly a – very short-lived – celebrity.

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Spam: Attention Seekers Stating The Obvious

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on March 10, 2016 in Internet |

As every day I went through my collection of caught spam this afternoon, just in case Akismet had rejected something which should have been allowed. As usual, there was nothing which I wanted to read or have published here which supports the following:

Spam Success Rate

Photo Source: Will Lion under a Creative Commons license.

Admittedly, I haven’t got to the twelve million hit rate as yet, but I’m nearing the six hundred thousand rejected spam comments, which is a good rate, I think.

Reading through, though, I came across a few new lines which I haven’t had before; clearly designed to get around the normal spam filters with their diversity, but just as unsuccessful as all the normal trash. Still, I thought I might share a few with you, just for a laugh, if you can find anything to laugh about when it comes to spam and spammers.

Not having the glass implode may prevent a variety of injuries to those close to the window.

Seems clear to me, but I am very grateful for the information, not having thought about such obvious problems before.

Nearly all homes have electricity available already, so it is a convenient heat source for both indoor and outdoor saunas.

Well, yes and no. Someone with more technical knowledge will probably correct me, but I was under the impression that electricity, when it comes to a sauna, is not the heat source, merely the means by which heat can be generated. It is good to know, however, that nearly all homes have electricity in our day and age. I guess those without will have to go back to the old methods of burning fuel, unless they can’t afford electricity in the first place and then, why would they want a sauna?

If, in the process of having your basement finished, the contractor found mold, you may have already addressed the issue.

I’m not sure what the issue is, but clearly it hasn’t been addressed if the mold is still there. Unless, that is, mold is what you wanted, then the spammer is clearly on the right track with this one.

About The Author Olivia Filipetto is publisher of bedroom furniture.

I assume this is some sort of book? Otherwise I would have thought that our dear Olivia is a carpenter…

Still a long way to go, spammers, and we’re still far ahead of you.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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WordPress: Is The Software Becoming Bloated?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on March 7, 2016 in Internet |

I was looking through some of the software which powers WordPress this morning, not because I necessarily want to change anything, but more because I want to understand what everything is and how it all works. It is fine having something which works and, in the case of WordPress, works well, but also good to know what is what and why and how and all those other little bits and pieces which satisfy the curious mind. And I came across something which intrigued me and, at the same time, which I found annoying.

We all know that Microsoft – pick a version, any version – is bloated with a vast amount of rubbish which is no longer needed to run the system, or which has been added just so that one or another software engineer can have their name or sign hidden everywhere in plain sight. We all know that there are these packages which help other people – mainly those working for large, secretive organizations which only use initials for their name – gain access through backdoors and little loopholes. But WordPress? WordPress is perfect: it is constantly being updated; the updates are neither going to stop nor slow down; there is a new update – version 4.5 – almost ready for release.

That being the case, what is this?

/**
 * Used to be the page which displayed the registration form.
 *
 * This file is no longer used in WordPress and is
 * deprecated.
 *
 * @package WordPress
 * @deprecated Use wp_register() to create a registration link instead
 */

and this

<?php
/**
 * Deprecated. No longer needed.
 *
 * @package WordPress
 */
_deprecated_file( basename(__FILE__), '3.1', null, __( 'This file no longer needs to be included.' ) );

and, above all, this

<?php
/**
 * Deprecated functions from past WordPress versions. You shouldn't use these
 * functions and look for the alternatives instead. The functions will be
 * removed in a later version.
 *
 * @package WordPress
 * @subpackage Deprecated
 */

/*
 * Deprecated functions come here to die.
 */

/**
 * Entire Post data.
 *
 * @since 0.71
 * @deprecated 1.5.1 Use get_post()
 * @see get_post()
 *
 * @param int $postid
 * @return array
 */

The first is from the file wp-register, the second just registration and the third, well, it has a name which could create dreams: deprecated, and is full of all sorts of file names from files which are no longer used and which, as the text suggests, come to die and be removed later.

The thing is, some of these deprecated files, which serve no purpose whatsoever, have been included with every single update since the earliest days. I mean, take just the one line from a very long list of deprecated files:

* @deprecated 1.5.1

didn’t I mention that we’re on version 4.5 this year?

So why are they all there, bodies being carried around, dead weight, ghosts in the system? Why hasn’t someone taken them out, or removed the memories? What is the point of having a data file on my system which fulfills one function: to tell me that it no longer fulfills any useful function? And, almost to add insult to injury, the first – called wp-register tells me to use wp-register instead!

These may well be small files, but small added to small, and then to small again, quickly becomes big and big, as we all know, when it’s useless, moribund, unwanted, is bloated.

I have no problems with new functions, with making the software better, with improvements to security and looks. But can we get rid of some of the old baggage? I don’t want to be carrying useless history with me wherever I go, virtual or otherwise.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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Scams: What’s In A (Registered) Name?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on March 6, 2016 in Internet |

I haven’t come across this scam too often, but it does the rounds now and then so it’s also worth mentioning. It consists of a mail, such as the one below, appearing to come from a private company concerned with registering domain names, company names, trademarks and similar and is always in China. Since everyone knows how good the Chinese are at forgeries, at producing fake products which are an almost exact imitation of the real thing, this should come as no surprise.

Dear Sir or Madam,

This is a confirmation letter regarding registration of your company name “viktoriamichaelis”, please read it carefully. Today, Our center received an application from SuTap Int’l LTD and they apply to register “viktoriamichaelis” as their brand name and some top-level domain names(.CN .HK etc). We found the main body of domain names is same as your company name. I am not sure about the relationship between you and them. Please tell me whether or not your company authorizes them to register names.

We are dealing with the application and we need to confirm whether you have authorized them? If you don’t authorize them, please reply me an e-mail. Looking forward to your reply.

Best Regards
Jo Lu
Senior Adviser
Tel:+86-551-6349 1191
Fax:+86-551-6349 1192

Address:No.145,QianShan Road,Hefei City,Anhui Province

The idea is simple: contact whoever appears to be in charge of a web site and tell them that their company or registered name is going to be used by someone else. For most people this should be no problem, since hardly anyone registers their web domain name as a trademark. You need to be a fairly big business with worldwide interests for it to be a problem and then, as you can imagine, they’ve got all bases covered anyway.

I suspect that these people are hoping for contact to gain information either about the company applying to register the name, or about stopping them from registering. A reply would be that the information can be given out, or that the registration can be stopped, providing certain conditions are met, and meeting these conditions means paying out money. You’ll need to register the name yourself to prove ownership rights or to prevent someone else usurping it, and you needn’t imagine that a registration through these scammers is going to be a dollar a month.

The address in China is registered to SO East Solutions Ltd who, they claim, are concerned with intellectual property rights and are registered with ICANN to allocate domain names. They are also involved in domain name disputes, which is where this scam arises:

Transfer dispute resolution fees can be substantial. It is critical that Registrars fully understand the fees that must be paid, which party is responsible for paying those fees and when and how those fees must be paid.

By falsifying a dispute, creating a fake domain name or implying that someone else is about to register the name, they can demand fees for solving the dispute they have created themselves. The company SuTap does not exist in China, suggesting that this is a fake to provoke a dispute and gain dispute resolution fees.

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Truth In Journalism

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on March 5, 2016 in News & Opinion |

One of our local newspaper groups has decided it is time for a completely new look. The newspapers they produce haven’t changed in several decades, aside from the art of production, so they need to draw some attention to themselves, remind potential customers that they are there and, of course, protect their place in the market. The result is a newspaper with exactly the same content, smaller type and more white space.

What is interesting in this change is not so much the manner in which it has been done, nor the results, but an explanation which appeared on the front page of at least one edition today:

Gedacht ist natürlich auch an die Anzeigen-Kunden, die den blickpunkt zu einem der führenden und reichweitenstärksten Titel der regional Medienbranche geformt haben. Die Annonce in einem attraktiven Umfeld noch mehr in den Blick fallen zu lassen, das ist eines der wichtigsten Ziele, das mit der Layout-Umstellung meinher geht. Schließlich sollen die Angebote so stark wie möglich wahrgenommen werden, sollen Umsätze gesteigert und damit nicht zuletzt Arbeitsplätze nachhaltig und langfristig gersichert werden.

Which, quickly translated, says that the new layout is designed to ensure that the advertising, which has made the newspaper one of the strongest in the region – it is a free paper, distributed on Sundays to everyone – is easier to see, grabs the reader’s attention so that profit can be raised, jobs secured.

Anyone who only read the first paragraph of this article could have been fooled into thinking that the changes were for the reader’s benefit. There it said:

Alles ist heller, schöner, moderner and klarer gegliedert. Und das nur aus einem einzigen Grunde: Ihnen, liebe Leser, die Sonntags-Lektüre noch angenehmer zu gestalten

or: the only reason we’ve made our newspaper easier to read, is for the reader.

The second, of course, negates the first but, at the very least and taking into account that there are some people who really do read more than the first paragraph, at least it is the truth. The newspaper is there to make money and it makes money by selling advertising. If the consumer doesn’t react to the advertisements, why should businesses waste their money on supporting a newspaper?

Now all they need to do is find interesting articles to print – most are reprinted from the daily newspaper and not original works – and find someone who can, at the very least, spell.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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Spam: Fooling Around With Reality

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on March 3, 2016 in Immoral Conversations |

We have been warned. It’s fair to say that the warnings have been almost continuous throughout the history of the Internet, and probably even longer. Scams, fraud, things that are almost too good to be true, bridges for sale, lotteries we didn’t enter and still won, millions of dollars hidden in bank accounts in Nigeria. We’ve had them all, and we’ve been warned that they really are a scam, that we will not win anything, will not profit, will end up losing our hard-earned cash to the scammers.

And then this:

Spam Winner

Screenshot Source: The Times of London / Twitter

Now, I haven’t read the entire article since it is behind a paywall – not that you’d know from the Tweet, since The Times of London – formerly just The Times – doesn’t happen to mention there is a cost. A cheap clickbait, you could say, and I don’t think you’d be too far off the truth.

Regardless, after years of warnings, including several here, comes a story of a mail sent out where there is money at the end of the rainbow. Admittedly not millions, but cash, cold and hard and, theoretically, for nothing. Exactly the sort of cash everyone is looking for.

Now wait until your spam folder / inbox fills up with mails offering exactly the same deal – if it was in The Times (of London) it must be real, you can trust The Times (of London). The difference is, all these follow-up mails will be fakes, and with no money let alone a rainbow.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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