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Everyday A Little Older

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 1, 2016 in Immoral Conversations |

I have no wise, philosophical thoughts for today, it is much the same as any other. The weather is bad; it isn’t the weekend (yet); I haven’t checked my post; She is working. And I am looking forward to another normal day with my nose in my books, my pen scribbling countless notes, my mind full of ideas. This, I guess, is the way it should be.

Birthday

Photo Source: RomelCreative Commons

Except that I have set myself a new target and that involves putting the notes I’m making into a final form and getting this last task out of the way so that I can concentrate on new-old things. Coming back here and writing regularly is one of those things, getting out and seeing the world again another.

It’s going to be a good day.

Love and Kisses, Viki.

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404s And The Bad Guys

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on June 11, 2016 in Internet |

So, here I am, sitting in front of the computer again, going through the logs to see who has been where and try to make some sense of it all. It’s something that I do regularly, not just to see what other people are looking at, but also to see what some people are trying to find and break in to. It’s all very well looking at a pretty blog from the front and checking the figures in the back, but you need to see where the weaknesses are as much as the strengths. And that goes for your writing as much as for security.

If you’ve done it right and your security is in place and working, all you get to see is a batch of 404s.

Even security, though, can have its problems. Nothing is 100% secure, otherwise we wouldn’t have so many security updates to download and install. As they say, make something idiot proof, and someone else will make a better idiot. The same for security.

Error 404

Image Source: Fabrizio Van MarcianoCreative Commons

One of the programs that I use is 404 Redirected, and this piece of software, while fine for checking facts and figures, is starting to become something of a worry for me. The program isn’t working as it should, and that despite a couple of updates in the last week. Nothing serious, as far as security is concerned, but not clean. By clean I mean that it doesn’t do the full job as advertised: clearing out all the logs is a no-go at the moment. So I have forty-nine pages of logs showing where people – or bots – have not found what they were looking for, and each page has twenty-five entries. Not many, by some standards, but more than I want. I’ve cleared all of them already, checked them through, blocked the attackers, tried to delete the records.

What do you do when there is a clear problem? Contact those people who make the application and give them a bug report. Except.

Except that I’ve done that, and there has been no reply, no change. No improvement. The problem is still there, and the software has been updated twice. Perhaps drawing attention t it through a more open, public notice will bring about change. I hope so, because the program is good, when it works.

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The Most Hated Man In America?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on June 7, 2016 in Immoral Conversations |

We all have our own ideas about who is the most hated person in the USA, and for many reasons. For some it is those who have been convicted of crimes – especially rape and murder of children, or bankers – or who have been let off by the courts. For others it is politicians, regardless of color. Despite the heading to this post, I’m not going to follow this path and detail why one person should or could be more hated than another, tempting as it may be.

The Most Hated Man in America?

Screenshot Source: Salon / Twitter

Nor am I going to bring any comparisons to former world leaders – European or otherwise – as some people already have. Such comparisons are, in my mind, worthless. Rather, I’d like you to look at these two photographs. One is outright called The Most Hated Man, the other could well be in time to come.

Just look at the photographs.

The Most Hated Man in America?

Screenshot Source: Independent US / Twitter

Compare their arrogant smiles, and you will understand where I draw my similarities from.

Undoubtedly there are many others, but such a title can only be given once in a lifetime, and it is a difficult choice. Let us hope that the one, who has already committed crimes he is now answering for in front of the judiciary, is not replaced by the potential actions of the other, who could be in such a position next year that his crimes – depending on your point of view – far surpass those of the other. At the moment we only have words. Hopefully they will never, ever, be put into practise.

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But Reading Is Still Sexy

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

Reading a book, at least as far as I am concerned, is one of the sexiest, most enticing attractions imaginable. I will often see someone reading, before I look at the person themselves. My interest is awoken by the site of a certain level of intellectual achievement: I mean, who reads books in public today? Those who know that they don’t need to worry about their looks – whether they are ugly or beautiful – but want to concentrate on themselves, on their inner person.

What happens, though, when you’ve just finished that latest work on Sartre (Sarah Bakewell’s excellent work comes to mind here), and there’s no chance of getting a new book? How can other people know that reading is your thing? Clearly you need to make a different fashion statement – and books are as much of a statement as you can get since they are rarely ‘fashion’ but a permanent feature of a well-ordered and intelligent world – and clothing, one of the other things people look at first, is one solution. Bookish fashion? Well…

Reading Is Sexy

Screenshot Source: Buyolympia

I suppose some might drop down so far that they consider buying a Reading Is Sexy shirt. Fine by me, we all make choices, good or bad. Except…

Here it is, the original shirt as featured on The Gilmore Girls.

This particular style of shirt is no longer available (they don’t make the cap-sleeved version anymore) so we have none left.

Unfortunately, we aren’t able to make the shirt in this particular color and style anymore. So we’ve completely sold out of it.

This item is no longer available for purchase.

Hopes were so high, only to be beaten down… back to my books.

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The Monster Under The Bed

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on June 5, 2016 in Immoral Conversations |

A short story I read recently made me think back to my childhood and the monster under my bed. Or perhaps it was in the cupboard, behind the chair, in the shadows of my room. I almost felt the need to check under my bed, right then and there, just to make sure that there is nothing more than a speck of dust, and not some fat nightmare waiting to infect my dreams. Silly, of course, since nothing wider than six inches or so can get under the bed, and only the Slender Man would fit. And perhaps he would be too long, too tall, so that his feet stick out at the end.

A childish thought, perhaps, but one which even adults plague.

Monsters Under The Bed

Photo Source: Sarah LavalCreative Commons

The story was very simple: a small child tells its father that sleep is no respite because of the monster and the father, concerned, looks. He sees a small child under the bed who tells him he cannot sleep, because of the monster in the bed.

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Rail Carriages For Women Only

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 28, 2016 in News & Opinion |

There has been some comment about new carriages for women only on German trains – I may well have mentioned it earlier in another post – and the suggestion that this has come about exclusively because of the number of refugees arriving in Germany over the last year or so. The exclusive carriages have caused those with less information to jump on the refugee problem and claim that there have been countless attacks on women, because of the manner in which they dress and act in the West, and this change is to protect them. Some have even gone so far as to claim that all German trains now have exclusive carriages.

Those with less information, I write, and with good reason: it is often the case that people jump on a band wagon or take a news headline and construct their own agenda, especially in a matter as delicate as integration, multiculturalism and immigration. It is a good point for those fighting to prevent immigration and immigrants, especially in an election period.

Women's Carriages

Screenshot Source: Rajendra B. Aklelar / Twitter

For those who haven’t managed to further their low level of facts yet, increase their knowledge or even bothered to read what they have written and said in the light of reliable sources: there are women only carriages on some local rail services in Germany. The ones which came into the news recently were in Leipzig, and clearly the rail company involved didn’t do too good a job of explaining why they are there.

The above image is from a women only carriage in India. I wonder, just as an aside, whether India has the same immigration level Germany does, or the USA and UK fear.

In the USA there are so-called quiet carriages. Did these come about because of immigrants? Perhaps it was the shrill laughter and antics of gays and transgender? Or perhaps because there are some people who wish to sit in peace and quiet during their train journey without all the normal hectic and noise of, say, a minor politician with his entire entourage shouting into a cell phone or a local football team’s fans celebrating a match. Perhaps those in Germany came about so that women could simply sit in peace and quiet, or with their children, and enjoy their journey too, bearing in mind that the problem, regardless of whether sexual or otherwise, is not the immigrant, but the man, no matter where he may have been born.

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Gender: Let Books Be Sexist

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 16, 2016 in Publishing |

Books are good, and we should promote them for children as much as for adults, of that there can be no doubt. They help educate us, tell us about society – not only our own – and can form our lives as much as take us into other worlds.

Coloring books are, apparently, a thing at the moment. There are special ones for adults being produced which have, apparently, topped the bestseller lists in some countries. Why not? There is no need to confine subject areas to one small group, and who doesn’t remember the fun we had as children…

Brilliant Boys and Girls

Screenshot Source: Let Toys Be Toys / Twitter

But is there a separation between what is right for a male child as opposed to what is right for a female child? Are some titles, and their contents, furthering the gender gap between male and female?

Without a shadow of a doubt there are also beautiful boys out there and, I am sure all will agree, many, many brilliant girls. Perhaps the publishers of these two titles, shown above, will be bringing them out in their next wave of publications.

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Photography: Here’s Looking At You…

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 15, 2016 in Photography |

How many generations have been told to learn about themselves before they start mixing in the lives of others? How many times have we, and our forefathers, been told that we need to look inside our own hearts to find an answer to something which is bothering us, or to place ourselves in another person’s shoes?

I, Lucy Snowe

Photo Source: Caroline RCreative Commons

I ask these fairly simply questions, which I believe everyone can answer, in an effort to combat the continued condemnation of those who photograph themselves. Not that I am claiming shooting selfies is a way of finding your inner child, but it is definitely a method of looking at yourself, of seeing how other people see you, at least on the surface. What you see, they say, is what you get.

Me and you and everyone we know

Photo Source: Ale AleCreative Commons

Although this is, of course, untrue. What you see on the surface is just that: a surface; an outer shell, not the core of a person, not their inner worth, their thoughts or emotions. True, the emotions can be shown in a person’s face, in their reactions, in their habits and outward beliefs, but it is not the person themselves.

I have no idea

Photo Source: Jamelah ECreative Commons

Perhaps the art of taking self-portraits is simply one means of learning more about yourself, about beginning the journey inwards. If I can see what other people see of me, then I can begin to understand what I represent to them, how I come across to them and the reason why they react in a certain manner when I do or say something.

My grandma just told me...

Photo Source: MahnoorrajaCreative Commons

Self portraits are hardly something new: who hasn’t stood before van Gogh’s self-portrait and wondered about the artist himself? Who hasn’t asked themselves what it was that made him self-harm? Who, talking to someone they know, hasn’t wondered why their reaction to our words is not what we had expected, but influenced by what they see in our facial expression or body language?

I put a spell on you

Photo Source: DjulietCreative Commons

Of course, with the ease with which we can shoot these self portraits and upload them to the Internet, it is possible to say we are overdoing the self-exploration, or that it is really not search for the inner child simply because only the outer shell is shown. Is that a reason to condemn it, though? Just because we can produce these self portraits at a greater rate than van Gogh, because we can reach a far wider audience and that almost immediately?

And these self portraits are far more than just a narcissistic capturing of our outward appearance; they are memories of who we are and where we have been. The photographer no longer stands unseen behind the camera, but is a part of the whole. I was there, and this is me. They may not last as long as a van Gogh, but can say just as much about us as any masterpiece. And perhaps, one day, they will lead us on to considering our true feelings, our reactions in certain circumstances, our inner selves.

One thing is for certain: self portraits as selfies are here to stay, because everyone is fascinated by themselves, whether they like what they see or not.

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The Perfect Way To Start An Email

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 14, 2016 in Internet |

Never a truer Tweet was written: for those of us, and I belong to a small group who are almost fanatical about such things, a mail is not the way to go. Letter writing is the thing: real letters, on paper, through the post, from one person to another.

Twitter

Screenshot Source: Independent / Twitter

Admittedly it is not always possible in our hectic business world, but for some things you really should take the time and do it properly. Sit down, away from your computer, take a pen in hand, and write the thoughts you wish to express with care and attention. Then, unlike with the Independent’s Tweet, you won’t need to worry about deleting it – or not being able to delete it once it’s gone out – but can correct any mistakes.

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Increase Your Sales Tenfold!

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 14, 2016 in Internet |

My mail spam filter is good. Despite having to set it up again when I moved from one computer to another, since few software companies have yet come up with a sync program or a means to transfer such information from one computer to the next – unlike Firefox and some aspects of Android. Even so, the filter works and I did not receive the first two – of three – spam mails I am going to make fun of today.

They all come from an Internet company which claims it can, through an advertising program, increase your sales tenfold. A wonderful idea which probably appeals to many business people, until the cost of such a program is taken into account. My dealings with this company, however, didn’t get to the cost stage at all, and for good reasons.

Hi Webmaster,

I was on viktoriamichaelis.com today and we’re very interested in pursuing an advertising partnership with you.  Are you free for a phone call sometime this week?

Best,

Larissa

Most people will be able to see the problem at once, especially when it comes to working with this website.

Call Center

Photo Source: GreyweedCreative Commons

Larissa, if that is really the spammer’s name, calls me Webmaster. Now, I do not have a problem with being called such, but do not think that anyone who is in the business of marketing themselves or their product should use it. Why not? Because it shows clearly that no research has been done. My name is very clear, on every single post and, of course, in the site name too. It can’t be that hard to put two and two together, especially if someone really was on the site. Since there is also no request for a telephone number, I should be able to assume that the person writing to me has done their research and has the number already; perhaps from a business registry? In this case, however, everyone who knows anything about me, and it has been mentioned many times over the years, also knows that I do not answer the telephone, and that for very good reasons. So, clearly no research, a Cold Call Mail.

Hello Webmaster,

Last month, over 100 [redacted] partners earned 10X their previous revenue and tracked a 40% increase of site engagement.

We last left the discussion on how implementing our technology on your site can help you earn more revenue.

You can also learn more about at [redacted]

Cheers,
Larissa

Here we go with the figures, but still not addressed to a person by name. No research. And we last left the discussion? I don’t think so. Discussion implies that several people are actually talking one with another, and that is certainly not the case here. There was also nothing in the first spam mail about implementing technology. So, a non-discussion with no content.

Hello Webmaster,

I haven’t heard back from you and that tells me one of three things:

1. You’re already making so much money that making more does not interest you – and if that’s the case please let me know so I can stop bothering you.
2. You’re still interested but haven’t had time to get back to me yet.
3. You’ve fallen and can’t get up – in that case, let me know and I’ll call 911.

Please let me know which one it is because I’m starting to worry. Thanks in advance and looking forward to hearing from you.

Cheers,
Larissa

This final mail attempts to put a more personal, humorous slant on the whole, and goes so far as to include the first two mails which I had not replied to, or seen. If we really were in some form of conversation then it would fit fine, we might almost have formed a business relationship, which would make such comments more appropriate. However.

Am I making so much money that I don’t need to make any more? Let’s do the Math. This is a non-commercial site with no advertising and creates an income of nothing. Ten times that income would hardly be a staggering increase in revenue.

Am I still interested? I wasn’t interested in the first place.

And the humor. Yes, fine, if we knew one another the little joke about calling 911 might border upon acceptable. The most basic of research, however, would show that I am in Germany, and the number for the appropriate services is 112.

Spammers have a long way to go before they reach the dizzy depths of telemarketers, who at least have a telephone number and a name to go with it. But my spam filter is a little like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors, and we all know what it said.

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