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Ron Obvious

Profile Information

Name: Ron
Gender: Male
Home country: Middle Earth
Current location: Seattle
Member since: Tue Dec 13, 2011, 10:37 PM
Number of posts: 6,102

About Me

I got the nickname Ron Obvious because -- in addition to being a huge Python fan -- my name really is Ron and I used to start sentences with \"Obviously\" a lot. Obviously, that\'s no longer a problem.

Journal Archives

Multilevel Marketing Scams Expose Capitalism's Foundational Lie

I heard about this company (Lula Roe) a few weeks ago on WBUR's On Point podcast on Multi-Level-Marketing scams. I've never been involved with any of them, but a friend got suckered in the Amway cult some years back and everything I read here and heard about on the On Point podcast really rang true to me. Read On:

Pyramid schemes aren’t a corruption of capitalism — they’re a microcosm of how the class system arbitrarily creates winners and losers while falsely promising opportunity for all.

Back in high school, a friend of mine somehow got looped into attending a seminar concerned with spreading the good word about an exciting — though notably nonspecific — job opportunity. In retrospect, everything about the initial experience was less a series of red flags than it was a proverbial flotilla of giant crimson banners emblazoned with the words “obvious scam.” Adding to the aforementioned lack of specificity (just what the hell was this “opportunity”?), the event itself was to be held in a bleak-looking conference room at an airport motel — the kind of vaguely sinister and transitory location one associates with ugly carpets, mandatory office retreats, marital infidelity, and small-time hucksterism.

In retrospect, I don’t think the actual nature of the gig (such as even existed) was ever really made clear. From what I gathered at the time, attendees were shown a series of peppy, Tim and Eric–esque videos featuring would-be salt-of-the-earth types who had supposedly transformed their lives overnight using the One Weird Trick bequeathed to them by whatever shady LLC was hosting the affair. (My friend, to their credit, left after ten or fifteen minutes.) Were I a betting man, though, I’d put all my chips down on saying this was a multilevel marketing (MLM) scheme of one kind or another — perhaps a notch or two away from being downright illegal, but doubtless powered by a mix of sleaze, credulity, and human desperation.

https://jacobinmag.com/2021/10/multilevel-marketing-scam-lularoe-pyramid-scheme-capitalism-myth

Just got a call from "State Farm"

From someone called Haley or Ashley "about the claim on your car".

They left a message a week ago and i then called our local agent who confirmed there is no such claim. It did indeed say "State Farm" on the caller id, but there were a number of red flags, not least of which was the fact that she called me on a Sunday. Also the oddly non-specific language.

Anyone else get such a call lately? I'm not saying it's absolutely a scam, but I'd not give out any information just in case and call back instead.

ETA: Should've mentioned that we do indeed have car insurance with State Farm. I imagine that's something they can look up in a public database.

Amazon's Alexa Collects More of Your Data Than Any Other Smart Assistant

Our smart devices are listening. Whether it's personally identifiable information, location data, voice recordings, or shopping habits, our smart assistants know far more than we realize.

A survey on smart assistant usage conducted by Reviews.org showed that 56% of respondents are concerned over data collection. After analyzing the terms and conditions of Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Bixby, and Cortana, though, it was clear that some degree of data collection is ultimately inescapable.

All five services collect your name, phone number, device location, and IP address; the names and numbers of your contacts; your interaction history; and the apps you use. If you don't like that information being stored, you probably shouldn't use a voice assistant.

https://uk.pcmag.com/smart-home/136455/amazons-alexa-collects-more-of-your-data-than-any-other-smart-assistant


I never did like these things and don't want one in the house. I'm always amazed how utterly minor the benefits of these things are. "Alexa, dim the lights". Is it really that hard to get up and hit a switch, look things up on the computer yourself, turn the heat up, etc?

They're connected to the internet and they're listening 24/7. What could go wrong by having one of these bugs listening in to your life, you wonder?

This math teacher puts calculus lessons on Pornhub

Posted without comment other than to say that I was always aroused by mathematics myself.

It's safe to assume that few Pornhub visitors are looking for hour-long calculus videos (by a fully-clothed instructor), but Taiwanese math teacher Changhsu puts them there anyway. His channel is filled with over 200 decidedly unsexy chalkboard lessons about topics like differential equations (link NSFW). The 34-year-old math tutor found the YouTube market for math explainers to be saturated, so he decided to expand his reach into Pornhub (link NSFW). He told Mel Magazine that he wants to reach a new market of mathematics learners.

"Since very few people teach math on adult video platforms, and since there are so many people who watch videos on them, I thought that if I uploaded my videos there, a lot of people would see them."

MEL MAGAZINE
This logic seems perfectly reasonable to me. You know what they say: location, location, location!

https://boingboing.net/2021/10/22/this-math-teacher-puts-calculus-lessons-on-pornhub.html

Windows 10 tried to warn me about installing Youtube Downloader-HD

This is a new one. I've installed previous versions with no issues, but I got a warning this time.

WTF, Microsoft? Who do you work for exactly? Do you have to make it so obvious that it isn't me?

I first noticed this disturbing trend when one of the anti-virus/malware scanners flagged Bittorrent as "unwanted software". Unwanted by whom? I, the person who owns the computer, didn't consider it unwanted.
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