Friday, July 1, 2016

Another day, another scam

This one claims to be from Telstra. And it was so well done, when it hit my inbox, I actually looked at it for a second, and thought it was real. Then I remembered that the email address it came to is not the email address I use for billing purposes.
It looks like this:
A quick google search of the email address it comes from revealed that yes, clicking on the link will infect your computer with a virus.
This is the sender address:
Clever scammers, they've managed to actually include the name of the company in the address.

As always, be careful and if you receive an email that looks like this, don't click anything. If you're really not sure, call Telstra and check your account. Stay computer safe!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Computer Virus PSA

Well, it's been about *checks wrist where a watch would be, if I wore a watch* 4 years since my last post. I am making a brief return, and bringing with me a Public Service Announcement.

You've probably heard about the Crypto Locker viruses that have been going around. You open a link, and all your files get locked. If you back up your stuff regularly, you may be fine. You can delete the locked files, and restore from your backup. If you don't the only way to get your files unlocked is to pay the bastards that sent you the link.

The current one I've seen going around in Australia claims to be from AGL. Timely, since they've been in the news lately about how they'll be raising electricity prices again. When opened the email looks like this:

And if you click those links to view your bill, or see more details, you'll infect your computer with the Crypto virus.

If you look at the sender address, you will see it has nothing to do with AGL:

Sender addresses will vary, and sometimes they do try include the name of the company they're pretending to be from, but mostly they look pretty dodgy. But for a lot of people it's not something they routinely check, if they think the email is from someone they trust, or do business with.

I have also seen emails claiming to be from Australia Post saying you have a package to collect, and from the Australian Federal Police, saying you have a fine to pay.

Anyone can be fooled, so be careful, look at the sender address, and if you think something seems a bit off, don't click or download anything. Call the company directly, or send them email at an address you know you can trust - one you find on a bill, or their official website, and check if there really is a problem or deal you need to be told about.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Faith Hill & Tim McGraw Concert

On Friday I went to the Tim McGraw & Faith Hill 2012 Australian Tour concert.

For those of you who don't know, Tim and Faith are Country singers. New Country, not old style Country & Western. Faith has had a bit of a pop crossover as well (I'm sure just about all of you have heard "This Kiss" and "Breathe". Faith and Tim met many years ago, when they were support acts on a tour. They have now been married for a lot of years and have three daughters. They have toured together in the States, but this is their first time touring together in Australia. Adelaide was their first stop, and I bought tickets the day they went on sale.

The concert was awesome.

The opening act was a band from Texas who I had never heard of, The Eli Young Band. They were really good.

As for the main event, Faith and Tim are excellent showpeople, knowing just how to play to the crowd.

Faith came out first, singing some of her old songs, plus three new ones, from an album to be released later this year. When someone requested "It Matters To Me", which wasn't on her set list, she had to see if any of her band knew it, and when the piano player was able to play the music, she sang the first verse and chorus.

At the end of her set, Tim joined her onstage for one of their duets, and as she was leaving he told us we'd all just heard the best singer in the world, his wife. And it's probably a rehearsed line that he'll say at every concert, and a lot of people won't agree, but it was still really sweet.

Tim had a lot of energy on stage, joked with the crowd, played around, sang a mix of old and new songs. He ended his set with a song Faith sings backup on, and then they sang another duet.

 After leaving the stage they returned for one encore song. The song they sang, I Need You, is actually their one duet I don't care for, but they did sing it beautifully, and they seem to really enjoy and love each other, so the concert still ended on a positive note.

Pictures and videos:
                                                                    My concert t-shirt

                                                                              Faith Hill

                                                                              Faith Hill

                                                                            Tim McGraw

                                                                            Tim McGraw

                                                                          Tim & Faith

                                                                    This Kiss - Faith Hill

                                                     The Way You Love Me - Faith Hill

                                                                     Breathe - Faith Hill

                                                 Like We Never Loved At All - Faith & Tim

                                                         Real Good Man - Tim McGraw

                                                     Something Like That - Tim McGraw

                                         Angry All The Time - Tim feat. Faith on backup vocals

                                                            It's Your Love - Faith & Tim

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Flying Squid

I know I haven't finished the other story yet, but yesterday I found out squid can fly. They propel themselves out of the water, shape their tentacles into fins, and go as far as the wind/airlift will take them. Longest recorded distance, 264 metres.
Which had me thinking, as there have already been Syfy Original movies like MegaSnake, Piranha and Sharktopus, why hasn't there been Attack of the Giant Flying Squid?
Because I'm always happy to help out in a time of need (provided I don't have to do much, and only things I enjoy), I've written an opening scene.

Attack of the Giant Flying Squid

Opening Scene
    Bright moonlight shone across the lake. A hot summer day had turned into a pleasantly warm evening, and the water was cool and inviting.
    Two girls, Molly and Eve, wearing only bikini bottoms, played in the water, laughing and splashing, while their boyfriends, John and Steve, watched from the shore, wondering how many wine coolers it would take to talk Molly and Eve into kissing each other.
    The lake surface rippled as something in the dark water started circling around the girls. Grabbing hold of her friend, Molly whispered "Are there sharks in this lake?"
    Eve hugged her tightly, for comfort, and whispered back, "Not sharks. Maybe piranhas."

    The boys watched this display with enjoyment, not realising there was anything wrong. Suddenly a giant, flying squid launched itself out of the lake and flew toward them. The squid turned in the air and wrapped it's tentacles around John's head.
     Little suckers on the inside of the tentacles opened into mouths, lined with rows of tiny sharp teeth.
     Molly and Eve shrieked in horror as the giant flying squid started tearing John's face off. Splattered with his friends blood, Steve turned and ran.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Shirtless Adventures In Mystery Land, Part 6

 Note: This story is running out of steam in my brain, so there will probably only be one more part after this one to wrap it all up.
Part 1  Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5
Joshua ran shirtlessly down the road, messenger bag bouncing against his left hip. Trying to outrun a swarm of wasp type things intent on stinging him, he noticed a river coming in to view. Desperately hoping wasps in this world hated water, he veered toward it. Throwing off his bag, he jumped shirtlessly into the water.

Spluttering to the surface, scanning for wasps, Joshua noticed the area he'd run into was all burnt grass and scorched, blackened trees.

Looking around shirtlessly, Joshua wondered what could have caused this destruction. Fire, obviously, but what started the fire? And when had it happened? The scorched trees were still ashy and the grass hadn't had a chance to start growing back.

While he was shirtlessly thinking over this situation, several tiny humanoid creatures, wearing loincloths and shrieking loudly, ran past. Suddenly the tiny creatures were engulfed in a ball of flame. As Joshua managed to tear his eyes away from this horrifying image, they landed on a huge fire-breathing dragon. A beautiful animal, scales shimmering in purples and blues. Joshua stared in shirtless wonderment.

Snapping into action, Joshua jumped out of the river, grabbed his bag and advanced on the dragon, shirtlessly brandishing his sword.

The dragon snuffed out his flame, and gazed at Joshua, looking deep into his eyes.

"Joshua," he heard a deep rumbling voice, echoing inside his head, "help me."

Joshua shirtlessly surveyed the dragon, noticing chipped scales and rivulets of blood running down the dragons chest. The dragon's thoughts in his head told him the small creatures were pixies, and they had attacked the dragon unprovoked, planning on slaughtering him, to use his scales for armor, feasting on his flesh.

"Can you fly?" Joshua shirtlessly asked the dragon.

The huge animal nodded.

"Can you carry me?"

"Yes." The dragon rumbled, lowering himself against the ground.

Joshua shirtlessly climbed on the dragon's back, avoiding obvious injuries. Together they flew in the direction of his castle.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Don't Believe In Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day again. People getting flowers and chocolates. People getting depressed because they're not getting flowers and chocolates. I don't get the hype. I don't believe in Valentine's Day.

I'm not religious, so I'm certainly not celebrating it as an actual saints day.

And I don't find it at all romantic to be given a card/bunch of flowers/box of chocolates/whatever on one particular day, because the gift giver has been told giving presents etc. on this particular day is romantic.

I'd much rather someone give me a nice cup of coffee, or a book they know I've been wanting to read, on some random day, just because they were thinking about me, and decided to get me something nice. That's romance.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

TV Stuff: Product Placement

My last TV Stuff post was about things people who are no longer enjoying a show waste their time bitching about online.
This post is about the main thing people who are still enjoying a show seem to waste their time bitching about online. Product Placement.

We've all seen it. You watch The Big Bang Theory, one of the boys opens up his laptop, and you clearly see the alien head on the cover. An Alienware computer made by Dell. Product Placement.

On Chuck, everyone had an iPhone and they frequently ate Subway sandwiches, which, when one was in a scene, they would often say what they had on their sub, or what they liked eat from Subway. Product Placement.

On Fringe, Walter eats Red Vines red liqourice, mostly from clearly marked Red Vines packets (on a couple of occasions he's had them in a glass jar, but one of those times he'd put a 'Red Vines' label on the jar.) They also show shots of the Nissan cars they drive, pulling away from curbs, at a camera angle that displays the car logo. We get inside of the car shots with the fancy dashboard showing. Product Placement.

On Warehouse 13, Myka eats Twizzlers red liquorice, from clearly marked Twizzlers packets. Claudia talks to Steve about his hybrid car, running through the car specs. We see shots of the cars as they drive down roads, car logos again on display. Product Placement.

You may not watch any of these shows. You may watch but not really notice the Product Placement. You may not notice it in the shows you do watch. It's there. And if you're not bitching about it in a forum somewhere, you probably, sensibly don't really care.

Here's the thing. I knew Product Placement existed, but until I started noticing people complaining about it so much, I didn't really pay attention to it, except in the way it was intended by the advertising companies (ohh nice Alienware computer, hey I do like Subway, I really want an iPhone, that kind of thing.)

Now that I do notice it more, I still don't get the endless complaining. As for the way it's used in the show, well, long before product placement was a thing, we would see shots of cars pulling away from curbs and driving down roads. We'd even see characters discussing their cars. It's just that now it's specific cars added for advertising purposes, instead of just to pad out scenes. Characters have always eaten food, snacks, and talked about what they're eating. Again, now it's just specific foods and snacks.

The problem so many viewers seem to have is "I don't watch a show to see ads. That's what ad breaks are for." many people are using the ad breaks to quickly flick over and see what's on another channel. How many people are using the ad breaks to go to the toilet or get a snack. How many people are recording their show, and fast-forwarding through the ads. And how many of them are downloading their shows, and not seeing any ads at all.

All the people doing all this complaining seem to conveniently forget that it's the ad money that is keeping their show on the air, and the companies paying for this want to make sure their product is seen.

I don't work in television, or in advertising, but I do like my shows. This year Fringe is on the bubble for renewel. It may not get a season 5, because it costs so much to make. So if they want to have an episode where every scene has either a Nissan car, or a pack of Red Vines, or the Fringe team in a Nissan eating Red Vines, as long as it keeps the show on the air I won't complain.

Product Placement works like any other advertising, with the bonus that you get to see people you like interacting with the product in question rather than annoying overly load music, or overly enthusiastic announcers.

And just like any other advertising sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it will make you buy something else entirely.

My product placement story (which I know you've all been waiting for): I don't drive or care about cars, so this will be about liquorice.

Right now, my two favourite shows are Fringe and Warehouse 13. They both product place red liquorice. Red Vines & Twizzlers. I'm a Red Vines girl, when I can get them. When I can't I don't have any at all. I never go for the Twizzlers. So sometimes when I'm watching Fringe, I'll see Walter eating a Red Vine, and think 'I kinda feel like Red Vines'. And then maybe the next day, I'll go buy some.
But when I'm watching Warehouse 13, and I see Myka eating Twizzlers, I usually think, 'ew Twizzlers. Red Vines are better. I kinda feel like Red Vines. I love Myka.' And the next day I'll go buy some Red Vines. So the Warehouse 13 Product Placement actually inspires me to buy a different brand.

****This post is not sponsered by Red Vines, although if they would like to give me some money, I would happily start Product Placing it into all my other posts.****

Friday, February 3, 2012

Quote Of The Week

"Socializing is as exhausting as giving blood. People assume we loners are misanthropes, just ­sitting thinking, ‘Oh, people are such a bunch of assholes,’ but it’s really not like that. We just have a smaller tolerance for what it takes to be with others. It means having to perform. I get so tired of communicating."
              --- Anneli Rufus

I read this quote today and it resonated with me immediately. This is how I am in most social situations. Sometimes I get accused of being snobby and thinking I'm too good to talk to people. I'm not and I don't. Sometimes people tell me I'm just shy and if I make more of an effort I'll have no trouble being comfortable in a crowd. I don't consider myself to be shy, because I have no trouble saying what I think needs to be said, regardless of who I might be speaking to, if I actually have something to say.

It's just that when there's people around I don't often have much to say. I find making the effort to stay engaged and interested mentally exhausting.  It's not a judgement on the people I'm around. It's me finding interacting to be a huge effort I find completely draining. It was nice to see my feelings summed up so well in one paragraph.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hola, Niñas y Niños

I've decided to start learning Spanish. I've always loved the sound of Spanish, and as much as French is supposedly considered the language of love, Spanish is the one that still sounds sexy, even when you're being yelled and/or sworn at.

I've wanted to learn Spanish for the longest time, and I always put it off, because I don't like classroom environments, and when a teacher is standing up droning on for any length of time, I get distracted and start writing stories to myself in my book margins. I learn best through reading, and then trying, not through being told. I think this ties into how much I desperately wanted to be home-schooled as a kid. I was under the impression if I were home-schooled they'd just send out a years worth of work and I could read through it all on my own and send it back when I was done. I was so disappointed to find out it didn't work that way.

My sister who has taken a Spanish course, because her sister-in-law is from Chile, has said she thinks I could teach myself from a book, and that she'd help me with pronunciation if needed.

I downloaded a book to the Kindle application on my phone, Getting Started with Spanish. It claims to be set out for use by homeschoolers, and it includes a website address to download sound clips of the words being spoken, if pronunciation is a problem.

I've read the first couple of mini lessons, and have learned how to say 'girl and boy' - 'niña y niño' 'the girl and the boy' - ''la niña y el niño'. I think one of the hardest parts may be remembering which form of 'the' to use. We only have one, they have a female 'the' - 'la' and a male 'the' - 'el'. Easy when refering to people, not so easy when talking about objects.

Still I shall persevere, and hopefully before too long I will be able to converse in Spanish.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's Award Season...

...and once again I wasn't nominated for a Golden Globe or an Oscar. I've been snubbed, y'all.

As is the case every year, when some people don't get nominated, magazines and websites everywhere start putting up slightly hysterical sounding articles outlining all the people who were 'snubbed' by whomever is choosing the nominees.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that when you snubbed someone, you deliberately excluded them with the express purpose of hurting their feelings, and then engaged in all kinds off passive-aggressive behaviours to convey the fact that they have been snubbed and they should feel bad about that.

I suppose it's possible that the people choosing the nominees are doing just that. That they each have someone they particularly hate, and now that they've successfully blocked the nomination, they are following that actor around Hollywood, laughing at them about how they could have been nominated, but they weren't, because they're not liked. I don't know exactly what goes on over there.

It just seems to me that it's far more likely, that when you only have six available spaces, and hundreds of actors submitting 'for your consideration' tapes of their work, some people are going to have to be left off the list. (Meanwhile can you imagine how hellish the Awards shows would be if everyone who submitted a tape got nominated. They're bad enough now with the six person limit.)

I wish that unless the media had actual evidence of someone not being nominated solely to hurt their feelings and make them feel left out, they'd stop saying people were snubbed. It's ridiculous.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I'm not...but...

Ever notice how often people will say "I'm not (whatever)" and follow that right up with "but (whatever)", pretty well proving they are what they say they're not.

"I'm not racist, but I don't trust Asian people." Guess what, you're racist. Not trusting an entire race makes you racist. And I don't want to hear what you're planning on saying after that opening sentence.

"I'm not homophobic, but I don't want me and my family to be around gay people. They'll probably try to convert us." You're homophobic. And I don't want to hear the rest of what you're about to say.

"I'm not trying to offend you, but you'd look so much prettier if you put on some makeup." You don't start a sentence with "I'm not trying to offend you", unless you know you're about to say something potentially offensive. Don't say it.

I don't know what kind of person you think I am, and I don't know how you got the impression that it's okay to say that stuff to me. Don't. I don't want to hear it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Buying One Should Be The First Thing You Get Fined For

Zooey Deschanel's current TV show New Girl, has something called "The Douchebag Jar". Basically if you act like a dick, you have to put money in the jar.
An American clothing company, Urban Outfitters, is now selling the jar.
And people are buying it. An empty jar, with a money slot in the top, that retails for $8. I can understand buying one of those money tins that you can't open just by twisting off the lid, because those are probably really hard to make. This is just a normal jar. For less than half the price you could buy a jar of spaghetti sauce, and after you've used it to make some delicious spaghetti, you can wash the jar, cut a money slot in the lid, and put on a sticker labelling it a 'Douchebag Jar'.

If you go to a store a buy one pre-made, your change should automatically have to go in the jar.