Showing posts from August, 2011

Someone Stole My Dad's Phone And Rang Up A Huge Bill

My first instinct is to file a John Doe suit then subpoena the payer information for all of the phone numbers he called and received until I figure out who it is. There are a few phone numbers that he called many times and which called him back many times, so they definitely know who it is. But is there another way to figure this out?

Angry Birds.

Why must you be so fun?

Manhattan Automobile Company: Bad Customer Service Or Worst Customer Service?

I am on the market for a new car. I want to buy America to support our economy, and Ford seems to have nice cars. So I make up my mind. I want a blue 2011 Ford Fusion SE, with the Sync package and reverse sensing system. I decide to use the Internet because I'm a modern guy. TrueCar provides a quote of $22,199 along with three local dealers who would honor that price. Manhattan Automobile Company was one of the dealers. They're the closest, so I send off an email to Ali Mahidashti since his contact info was provided. Then everything falls apart when he delegates the job to one of his subordinates.

Love Song To Our Economy.

By Katy Perry.

S&P In The Garden Of Good And Evil

God: *voice booms* "I am the Lord, your God! I am all-knowing, ever-present and all powerful. Mine powers are infinite! I am the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords! Worship me, and thou shalt be saved!" Devil: *slithers up in an absurdly flash y sharkskin suit* "ssssssss...I'm a SNAKE! We can collateralize the debt obligations of many HUMANS, (*flicks forked tongue at God*) working Joes, and get huge insurance companies to insure them with CDSsssssssesssss. You're much better off diversifying your counter-party risk portfolio than putting all of your eggs in one bassssssket." *coils languidly* S&P: *downgrades God* "Just because You can shape this world of Your Creation to Your bidding doesn't mean that you'd actually do it. *looks at snake* "So tell me more about these collateralized debt obligations..."

Protect Your Email: Use Google Authenticator

The Google Account has gotten more important in recent days. Not only does it hold email, it now holds your calendar, pictures, and documents. Google provides two-factor authentication to make sure only someone with access to your phone can log in to your account. It provides an app called Google Authenticator that turns your smartphone into a security key don. This prevents most brute force attacks. Also, if you lose a mobile device, you can revoke the passwords linked with that device to prevent ongoing data loss. There is really no reason to use it if you value your Google Account. While you're at it, if you use Google Apps, set up SPF and DKIM to prevent hackers from spoofing email as falsely coming from your domain.

Easy VOIP: Obihai Obitalk

Until recently, choices for VOIP adapters were limited. Most service providers used the Linksys PAP2T, which is an old adapter based on Sipura technology. That has changed with the Obi family of adapters from Obihai, which not only serves as a VOIP adapter but also works with Google Voice. I have been using an Obihai Obi 100 for the last few months. Set up was dead simple. Plug the Obi into the Internet, the outlet, and a phone. Register an account online at, which is used to set up the Obi software. Type in your Google Voice info (or VOIP info) and you are set. Voice quality is superb. (But I have a super-high speed Fios connection so your mileage may vary.) I can conference call and forward calls easily. The only wrinkle is that chatting may not work with the Google account linked with the Obi but I haven't run into that problem. It is definitely worth the forty dollars to try for anyone who wants a landline without paying through the nose.

When Will We Stop Starving The Beast?

Republicans from Reagan to Palin have advocated starving the beast, which means cutting tax revenues to induce a deficit so that government spending has (in this theory) has to drop. But obviously, that doesn't work because we can just borrow money indefinitely and run up a huge national debt, which is what we have done. But more perniciously, starving the beast encourages over-spending. This policy discouples spending and cost, with predictable results. If we can buy a war now without paying for it now, and in fact enjoy a tax cut at the same time, then we will over-consume wars. But if we had to raise taxes to pay for invasions, our zeal for war would drop. But why not a balanced budget amendment? Well, there are times when running a debt is necessary such as during a recession. But maybe we should put a CARD Act disclaimer on our tax returns: "making only minimum payments will cost X and take 100 years to pay back." In short, raising taxes will make consumers of gov