Monday, December 28, 2009

Rant Against Insanity Within The Evangelical Nightmare

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November 19, 2009

The conservative evangelical right, deluded and craving apocalyptic vision, and inspired by the likes of beck, bachmann, palin, are hoping to inspire truly lunatic assassins. This prodding is unpatriotic and borders on treason. I fear this will end badly as a bloody revolution is what many seem longingly desire.

The marketing of bumper stickers, hats, shirts, and even teddy bears with psalm 109:8 in reference to obama is disgustingly immoral. They're working hard to make him the "other". "That one". "Not american". "The socialist'. He is a man, he is an american, and he is doing an adequate job as a president, as opposed to operating as satan's minion... Read more from kenya, poised to eat our pets and enslave our children. The lunatics have been released from the asylum by the manipulative marketing of fear.

More disturbing is how many don't even pay attention. They have no clue what is going on in the world. Maybe they're better off that way, but someone better tell them to duck when the shit starts flying.

I write letters. I spread the facts that nobody on that side wants to hear. I speak to politicians and they hear nothing. The sound of cash is the only sound they hear, and anyone who gets in the way is expendable. Even the president.

New Non-Socialist Education Plan Proposal

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Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 2:09pm

In short, I propose we do away with our "socialist" education system and privatize all grade schools. Children will be tested before entering and education insurance will be made available to each eligible child, with pricing based on a complex statistical calculation of gender, test scores, genetics, ethnicity, and health condition. We put profit before people so that we can earn billions it denying claims for tutoring, learning disabilities, accelerated programs, and the like. A strong lobby will be well-funded to ensure congress is well-fed and doing my bidding.

---- Update 12/19/2009 ----

Sean Hannity apparently likes my idea:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My War with Facebook

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So, I've been
at "war" with Facebook lately regarding my alleged violation of their TOS and their inability to explain to me, specifically, where I went so awry that they were forced to disable my account with impunity. Below is the threaded conversation (for the most part), dated new to old from top to bottom.

I've detailed this account on Facebook as well: (


RE: Misuse of "Features"???

Friday, July 17, 2009 12:51 PM From: To:

Are you an IT person? I can't believe you don't have any real numbers on this.

I'm a software engineer. I work with numbers and logic for a living. Please give me boundaries within which to keep so that I don't inadvertently trip your algorithms again. I imagine this erroneous limitation frustrates users much more than people who post "too quickly". It seems to me you are much more interested in having people sign up for Facebook than actually use its features. Check with people on my friend's list. I'm not a spammer, I'm not selling anything - all I do is chat and share information in order to provoke thoughtful discussion. Where are the blocks for people who post streams of mindless nonsense in response to critical information?

Your IT folks have programmed your filtering and spam-detection logic with too many flaws in order to provide any feeling of confidence in using the site for which it was intended. Unfortunately, I've personally built my entire online social life within my account (meaning, I find your site completely useful even though taking advantage of it's purpose is punishable by warnings) so I hope your measures for detecting spam vastly improve before you anger more of your user base. Online blogs are FULL of this type of backlash. If Facebook wants to seriously compete with Twitter, they need to lighten up the strings a little for people who type more than 5 words a minute.

Please read. I'm one of many who desires much clearer policy.




Re: Re: Warning: Your Facebook Account

Thursday, July 16, 2009 12:49 PM From: To: Tom
Hi Tom,

Please note that you received this warning because Facebook determined that you were going too fast when writing on Walls. If you have also been blocked from writing on Walls, please note that these blocks can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Also note that this is not a glitch or bug with the site as Facebook has these limits in place to prevent behavior that others may find annoying or abusive.Unfortunately, we cannot lift the block for you. When you are allowed to resume using this feature, please proceed with caution to avoid reaching the limit again. If you have any further questions, please visit our Help Center at the following address:


User Operations


From: Tom ()
To: Facebook (
ArrayCC: (, (
Subject: Re: Warning: Your Facebook Account

And again. I am not using the site any differently than I have in the past - even less frequently in fact. Please correct this glitch in your system before I lose everything in my account due to a trigger-happy algorithm.


Call me for further questions, screen shots, even screen captures of my usage habits.


From: Facebook>
Subject: Warning: Your Facebook Account
To: "Tom"
Date: Thursday, July 16, 2009, 10:24 AM


Our systems indicate that you've been misusing certain features on the site. This email serves as a warning. Misuse of Facebook's features or violating Facebook's terms of use may result in your account being disabled. Thanks in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

Please refer to for further information.

The Facebook Team

Sunday, May 31, 2009

How to Recover Deleted Pictures from your Camera

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This article pertains to the PC Win/Dos environment.

A few days ago I ran across a post from a frantic friend asking if anyone knew if it were possible to recover files deleted from a camera. I responded that it certainly was possible, as long as the camera hadn't been used since the deletion was done.

When files are deleted from storage media (floppy disk, memory card, flash drive, hard drive, etc), the file is only marked for deletion by the file system. This makes it invisible to you when browsing files, and also tells the system that it is OK for this space of data to be overwritten by new data. Based on this, it seems logical that, if this space can be marked as ready for overwrite, this can also be reversed. And it can!
Although this process and the software involved have become much more sophisticated and easier to implement over the years (depending on your needs), data recovery software and the technique behind it has been around almost as long as magnetic storage media itself. I recall using it myself on my old XT, before the Windows operating system.

Circling back to my friend. She did tell me that they hadn't use the camera since the files were deleted, so I assured her that recovery likelihood was high. She seemed mildly surprised at this because her earlier conversation with The Geek Squad was much different. They told her flat-out that it was impossible to recover deleted files. Where the heck do they get these "geeks"?
THIS is how I felt about The Geek Squad's response.

I sent my friend a link to download recovery software and explained what to do. She wrote back that she was still having trouble and it occurred to me that she might not know to use a card reader instead of the camera itself. She popped the card out of the camera and into a card reader and was able to recover all of her deleted files. I suggested to her that she write a nice little letter to The Geek Squad, suggesting that their technicians might not even be knowledgeable enough to drive their own vehicles.

If you find yourself in a bind like my friend, here is what you can try. Please note, these instructions assume you have a rudimentary knowledge of your computer and the PC/Windows system. If not, you may want to ask someone to help you through.
  1. When you first discover you've deleted your files, do not use your camera until you've attempted to recover your pictures.

  2. Grab some well-rated recovery software. For this type of recovery, I recommend DiskDigger. It's perfect for small jobs like portable storage media. I do NOT recommend using it on large hard drives because of the amount of time it would take to find what you need to recover.

  3. Remove the memory card from your camera and insert it into a memory card reader on your computer. This could be on the front or side of your laptop, or an external USB card reader. Most digital cameras these days use SD cards, but there are many different types so make sure you know your card before inserting your card into the wrong slot, or spending money on a card reader.

  4. Install the DiskDigger software, point it to the drive letter of your memory card, and follow the instructions for recovery.
Many thanks to Erica for inspiring this blog entry.

UFO - Unidentified Flying Objects

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Looking for responses here. What do you think they are, and do you have pictures or videos you've taken of this phenomena? I welcome you to share and discuss.

Friday, May 29, 2009

15 Reasons I may either Unfollow or NOT Follow you on Twitter

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Updated to 15 on 5/29/2009, newest entries first.

As I've come to better understand the massive potential of
Twitter, I've also become more particular about whom I follow and why. Along the way many of my Followees have managed to slip under the wire as my own personal filters have been sharpening.

New to Twitter as I may be, I've been an active participant and developer on the net since before it was made available to the mainstream, and the way people communicate has changed little. Even back in the days of
Usenet and IRC, spammers, pornbots and hackers were prevalent much the same as today. Spotting the difference between a User and a Luser wasn't much different.

So, this is the short list. I could extend it to 100; maybe even much further, but starting with 15 basics is a good primer and won't harm readers who suffer from the epidemic spread of

15 Reasons I may either Unfollow or NOT Follow you on Twitter

  1. You talk partisan politics often, angrily and offensively.
    I love talking politics, whether face to face or on the web, and I'm sure Twitter is a great medium for folks to do the same. That's not my personal use for Twitter. To each their own - for me, sorry, I don't need it in my stream.

  2. You constantly refer to yourself as a social media guru, or Twitter pro.
    I remember when people started tossing around the term "Webmaster" because they'd learned a bit of HTML. Social Media in it's current forum is much too new and changeable for anyone to have been able to lock down a definitive system well enough to produce metrics for any amount of time worthy of statistical forecasting for a solid business model. Too wordy? Of course. I'm a "pro". Next!!

  3. You're selling religion.
    Be spiritual, non-invasively. If you use your own faith as weapon to judge my own, you're out.

  4. You go on about your blinged out phone, your Benz, your 7 houses in the Hills and one in the Hamptons...
    You obviously care, but no one else does.

  5. You can get me 2 billion followers in 7 days and I'll get rich off of em, just like you did!
    (Thanks to @marcmawhinney for this suggestion.) You're a liar if you think you can do THIS for me. Need I say more?

  6. Your picture hasn't been set.
    Or it's a pile of cash. Hey, maybe it is you, but look at that: you're naked. Sorry. Best of luck with all the sticky followers.

  7. Your name is comprised of words like:
    Money, cash, free, sex, porn, livecam, nude, viagra, etc. I think you catch my drift.

  8. You auto-DM me when I follow you.
    Hey, I already did you the solid of bringing you into my fold - why do you have to mess that up with such impersonal automation? OK, some auto DMs seem innocuous enough. "Hi, thanks for following!" is much better than "Thanks for following, click here to get 8 million followers in three hours."

  9. Your tweets are full of foul language.
    The occasional F-bomb I can handle. If you decide to be nauseatingly foul for no good reason, POOF!

  10. You constantly lash out at me or others.
    Be nice. People don't like to follow assholes. There, that's my one racy word for this segment :)

  11. You constantly push your own product, service or blog, and tweet about nothing else.
    'Nuff said.

  12. You're never positive. Ever.
    Nobody likes doom and gloom all the time.

  13. Your bio is empty and you live "nowhere".
    So, what are you trying to hide? Next!

  14. You haven't Tweeted in months.
    There isn't much value there, is there?

  15. You are never "Live".
    Many of us use some or other form of automation to get our tweets out there, but please stop in now and then and be human. Thank folks for their Tweets and their reTweets. People can absolutely tell the difference.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

End of Days Fear-Mongering

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Another "doomsday" link came across my path today. Please take a look. Impressed? Scared? Let's face it, it's going to happen. Maybe tomorrow. More likely in 10,000 years. So are we supposed to live each day in fear? Or pray to our god and universe to save us from this impending doom?

Bottom line: fear-mongering won't help people live better. Or longer. PLEASE do your best to enjoy life as if it will end at any second; not recklessly, but with compassion, empathy, grace, and sincerity. Just as our planet will someday cease to be able to support life as we know it, so will your own life end (everything dies), and possibly just as abruptly. Living in fear is synonymous with embracing death so DO embrace life while you have it because its preciousness can never be overvalued.


Monday, May 18, 2009

"Do Grown Ups Actually Tweet??!!"

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The PBS Facebook fan page posted a video and brief of Bill Moyers' "to Twitter or not to Twitter". The ensuing responses are far more interesting and downright entertaining than the content of the article itself (IMO). I offered my two cents as well, which is typical for me when I feel strongly about someone being way off-base about a topic; especially when they are openly welcoming commentary.

The post is here as long as both PBS and Facebook keep it available. You might have to scroll down a bit. Look for "Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS". My favorite, albeit self-serving (I have a blog, for heaven's sake) exchange follows:

Do grown ups seriously tweet?

Tom Wellborn
Grown ups can do grown up things with the Internet, sure. Personally, I've helped to build upon and even design a lot of the "cool junk" you're poking fun at adults for leveraging. The irony isn't lost on me whatsoever.

In itself, Twitter has more value as a sociocultural experiment / exploration considering its compelling, dynamic technical implementation (kind of an uber-IRC. I'll understand if you don't remember what that is).

Of course children who haven't yet learned to practice critical thought applied to practical and scalable application can certainly use Twitter to talk about hot dudes instead of the untapped social media applications, but I would recommend mySpace for that. :)

Incidentally, my *father's* generation invented the smiley.

OK, I know it's a little condescending but I'm just having fun too! You know, I'd just love to have a jovial one on one with Mr. Moyer's to discuss how many different productive directions he could have taken with this light-hearted topic.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Facebook Applications Should be Raising Big Security Concerns for Users

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A trusted friend of mine recently sent me a Quiz request. Just out of curiosity, I decided to go ahead and see if I would find any security issues with this particular quiz.

Aha, a "bonus question". Looks innocent enough, and because many of my friends have a great sense of humor, I'll bite :)

D'oh! Burned again!

Results URL:

Don't blame your friends, folks. I expect Facebook to be more vigilant than to allow unscrupulous apps to weasel their way into their system.



So, the latest rage in Facebook applications appears to be the Quiz. "What's your purpose in life?", "What are you destined to do?", "What kind of flower are you?", and on and on... they are seemingly endless in number, most likely because anyone who clicks through to take one (because they've seen another FB friend's results in their "stream"), is greeted with the option to create their own.

Nice! Now anyone can create a quiz that may or (more likely) may not be anywhere near the truth depending on how you answer. And the reason? Money of course. Not for the creator of the quiz, but for the creator of the Quiz Application platform, and for Facebook too, if that's even possible as they've had a terrible time thus far making money off of anything they've tried. See: "Facebook has no business model".

So, because of all this, I generally ignore the quizzes. HOWEVER, there is a much more important reason that avoiding these types of quizzes on Facebook may just save your hide. Observe. And FYI, I am using Mozzila Firefox 3.0.10 on Windows, with the Web of Trust (WOT) Firefox add-on.

So, here goes.

In my stream, I see a quiz a friend has taken that grabs my attention:

I click on "Take this quiz" , agree to add the application with all its disclaimers, and am presented with the first set of questions.

OK, let's go... but wait, at the bottom. What's that?

Hmmm, it seems as though one of my FB buddies has taken another quiz, and has not only scored well, but has decided to do some trash talking to get me into a little competition. Since I have a few "Mike's" on my FB, I decide to hit them up to give them a little back, all in good fun, right?

Low and behold, to my (utter lack of) surprise, not only weren't they baiting me, they had never taken any such quiz on Facebook. Ever. So... now I'm intrigued. Out of my natural curiosity for all thing people/technical, and being confident of warding off many kinds of web-related attacks, I'm all for clicking that link. And I do. And here is where WOT steps in to prevent me from stepping in someone's crap that Facebook apparently endorses (or at least tolorates).

I've unwittingly been taken to a web site with all kinds of security problems including reports of Spam, Popup Ads, Fraud, Scams, and Phishing. Please read for yourself here:

For shame, Facebook, for allowing such unscrupulous marketing to find its way into your most popular applications. I, for one, certainly won't be taking any more of your quizzes, and will be hard-pressed to install any future applications without doing some investigative research beforehand.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It takes a lot of energy to hold extended grudges over such stupid things

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All negative emotions and energies are draining. They stress and weaken the body, and shake the spirit. When you allow another person, whether knowingly or not, to drive your emotions, you've essentially given them power over you. They control you until you decide to put an end to it.

A Nigerian Scam to Scam Those Scammed by Nigerian Scams.

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I discovered this hilarious Scam attempt in my inbox this morning. Yahoo! mail had failed to send it to the spam folder. Tsk Tsk!

From: "Anti Money Laundering
Department" <>

Anti Terrorism / Money Laundering Department
Telefax: 1-206-350-0375
Date: 10th May 2009



Fraud Victims We are delegated from the United Nations to Central Bank Nigeria to pay 100 Nigerian 419 scam victims $80,000.00 each, you are listed and approved for this payments as one of the scammed victims, get back to us as soon as possible for the immediate payments of your $80,000 USD compensations funds. On this faithful recommendations, I want you to know that during the last UN meetings held at Abuja, Nigeria, it was alarmed so much by the rest of the world in the meetings on the loss of funds by various foreigners to the scams artists operating in syndicates all over the world today, in other not to dent the good image and fooster business relationship between countries.President of the Country is now paying 100 victims of this operators $80,000 each. Due to the corrupt and inefficient banking systems in Nigeria, the payments are to be paid by FBI under funding assistance by the Allfirst Bank and the Citigroup. According to the number of applicants at hand, 50 beneficiaries has been paid,of which majority of the victims are from the United States and Asia, Very few victims of not more than 30 are to be compensated $80,000 each only. Your particulars was found in the custody of one syndicates (Name Withheld) who was arrested in Lagos State Nigeria as one of the victim of the 419 scandal. You are hereby warned not to communicate or duplicate this message to him/her for any reason for whatsoever, the US secret service and the FBI is already on trace of the criminal. The FBI and United Nations Money Laundering / Anti terrorism group has also intercepted some untransferred Funds indicating you as the beneficiary from a Lottery Organization/ INHERITANCE FUNDS. We have also contacted the Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) Head Quaters Concerning this issue and they indicated to us that several Fraudulent attempts has been made on you, to extort Money from you all in the name of giving you these funds. For more vital information,please visit:

. For us to resolve this issue we would advise that you indicate to us if you are the beneficiary of these funds which you where notified via email. As soon as we receive your response we would make necessary arrangements to ensure that your funds are rightfully transferred to you without delays.We are also working hand in hand with the CIA to see to it that this imposter's are brought to book. Your response is highly required to enable us materialize the processing of these release of these funds to you as the beneficiary. Ensure that you contact us as soon as you receive this email message. Wayne KlineCoordinator (Anti Money Laundering Department)

Full Headers

Return-Path: <> Authentication-Results:; domainkeys=neutral (no sig);; dkim=neutral (no sig) Received: from (EHLO ( by with SMTP; Sun, 10 May 2009 03:36:44 -0700 Received: from nobody by with local (Exim 4.69) (envelope-from <>) id 1M369D-0007iT-5u for; Sun, 10 May 2009 03:20:43 -0700 To: Subject: SCAMMED VICTIMS: $80,000 USD COMPENSATION- REF/PAYMENTS CODE:06654 : From:

Anti Money Laundering Department <>

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fuzzy Head

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My head is somewhat fuzzy on this Monday morning, probably because it IS a Monday morning. I'll roll with that reason, accurate or not. I'm on coffee #2 and the haze hasn't begun to lift. The air here in the office is resonating its typical mustiness, and the smell of Purell is already wafting through the air. Earlier today, I offhandedly wondered if the execs at Gojo Industries are enjoying H1N1 parties in celebration of their unfounded sales numbers. Seeing as that's rather morbid, I'm hoping not.

Mood today: Hopefully changeable.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Random - Phil's Day

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Phil regarded the gun on the seat next to him with a sense of nonchalant irreverence. He hadn't cleaned it in months and couldn't be completely sure it would work if he were forced to use it. Still, that didn't matter much to him at the moment. All time seemed to have winded down around him, leaving him alone with his car, the clothes on his back, and the .38 on the cushion.

After a brief sigh, Phil searched for a parking spot. He had expected to feel anxious and twitchy during these preceding moments, but was rewarded instead with an eerie calm. His actions were mechanical; automated, and he was grateful for his mind's seemingly sudden ability to run on autopilot.

It wasn't as if he never doubted this day would come, but he had always regarded its arrival like most humans: as some mysterious place in the future that is always "then"; never now. Thus the realization that the time had finally come and left him calm and detached gave him a sense of calm; an inner peace he hadn't anticipated, and he relished it. He allowed his body to take him through the motions while his mind focused on the real task at hand. He began to go over the steps again, slowly and precisely, as he had done a thousand times over the past six months. Each step in the plan a single detailed thought, folded carefully and placed neatly in line with the next.

Phil was surprised to notice he had left the car some twenty yards back and had walked almost to the entrance to the cathedral. He stopped, briefly, as he snapped himself back to reality. A quick check confirmed the gun was tucked away in his jacket pocket. He took a deep breath and narrowed his eyes as the chilly morning air ruffled through his hair and swirled down the street.

It was time. Phil opened the door and stepped inside.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday at the House

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Sarah, Ethan and I are hanging out in the living room after a slightly gluttonous "pizza night" extravaganza. Sarah enjoyed her dance class as usual, and I enjoyed my time with Ethan in the interim. Now I sit and scan the latest Twitter trends and news headlines, knowing pretty much what to expect.

Aside from the mass avalanche of swine flu stories, the other dog is still wagging quite visibly -- the recession, of which I'm painfully aware as my wife is out tonight with soon to be ex-colleagues who are treating her to a fond (seriously) farewell party. She has become a mere statistic, wrenched from a job that she loved, and that loved her back. Again, seriously.

We'll be good for 6-8 months, depending on what expenses may or may not arise between now and then. Only a year ago, that would seem like more than enough time to take a few vacations and then find a new job, but as it is, even though she has already been networking and baiting potential opportunities, she's nervous nothing will come through and we'll be essentially toast. Tent city, baby. Sure, it could happen. There is no guarantee that I'm staying in my job even one more day.

So, we take it day by day. We basically go through the twelve steps after losing a job (yes, it IS personal, even though it's just "business"), and are then faced with either reaping the satisfaction of burning massive bridges, or eating crow by helping our new divorcee with their transition and transfer of knowledge (and all that other garbage) in the hopes that such honorable consideration on our part might somehow pave a yellow brick road back to employment within that same company, or one of its affiliates.

We play the game like good sports :/

Please don't go thinking I'm speaking solely from the perspective of my wife because I've been down this road myself. The only two differences between her situation and mine: 1) I didn't love that job, and 2) I found a better opportunity in roughly three weeks because jobs were anything but scarce at the time.

So, here's wishing you and me and Julie, and everyone else who suffered at the mass irresponsibility of the banking and large corporate industries, the luck and fighting spirit we'll need to ride out this self-inflicted recession. In contrast to the media's current fixation, the issue I've outlined here seems much more dire and I look forward to it being moved back to the front burner.

Thursday at the Office

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And so I've already become hyper-sensitive to the sounds of people coughing, sneezing and clearing their throats here at the office. As I sift through my morning to-do list, I'm offhandedly wondering whether I should be wearing a mask; not because I think this new flu strain (Swine Flu? Mexican Flu?) would kill me and damn my soul to eternal pig hell, but that it would be a major inconvenience to have any type of flu in general.

As the mainstream media (don't EVEN get me started on Twitter) chugs on with its coverage, I note the usual reporting trends that range from the responsible to the sensational. DON'T PANIC should be the letterhead atop every story covering this event. Perhaps even a smiling and confident picture of Ford Prefect to ease the concerns of hypochondriacs and the like. I've so far fought back the urge to don a mask here in the office, whether it be out of the fear of looking completely paranoid and ridiculous, or possibly even inciting a second floor panic-stricken riot, during which I would most certainly become trampled and left for dead. Those of you who have never experienced a multicultural riot involving a diverse array of geeks (programmers, statisticians, medical writers) can consider yourselves truly blessed.

I'll be sure to let you know when the first mask makes its appearance. Until then, enjoy your day. :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Oink Guilt

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Yeah, so I'm feeling slightly bad for putting a minor "fear of God" into my kids for telling them that there is a special type of flu out there that can really hurt us sometimes, therefore here are a few things you NEED to try and do, etc etc. My daughter is 7 and my son is 5. I know they're both going to take this to school and tell everyone they're going to die if they don't wash their hands. I'm bracing for Teacher Impact (which I'll just let my wife handle, hah!). I don't subscribe to the panic principle, but I also don't want my children to be clueless because that just isn't fair to them.

I can't wait to see how this plays out.


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So, everyone keeps telling me I should blog. I seem to have much to say, yet most of my thoughts come out in short spurts; not nearly blog-esque, but maybe just a wee bit more than micro-blogging (Tweets?).

I'm game. I'll see where this goes. I enjoy technology, politics and off-beat humor -- will it be possible to share both here without being too confusing? We shall see...