Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Analyzing A YouTube Emergency (and some Friday Fun too)

YouTube notified me by email this morning that I had an emergency situation (shown below).

Fortunately for me, there were several clues that quickly allowed me to calm my panic, and get back to breathing normally again.

1) The first clue was that “YouTube Service” had also sent me two other – much happier – messages. (Imagine how proud and joyous I was to learn I was in the Top 10!!!! People pay big money to get their videos up that high, and it’s an elite club to belong to.)

2) The second clue was the fact that I simply am one of those few, extremely rare people who have never, ever, “uploaded” home movies to YouTube for the whole world to see. (Because I am a dinosaur.)

So let’s put on our thinking caps, and dissect what is going on here, and why these three emails are addressed to me. Please humor me and play along. It’s kind of important, and I’ll try not to speak Geek.

How did this happen and what’s going on?

* The first step in the chain of events is some skuzbucket used a program to cull the Internet for email addresses, and generated a “mailing list”. Which he/she uses as targets for their email scams, and which he/she sold to other skuzbuckets on the underground skuzball blackmarket for a quick dollar or two (more like 5¢).

* Next, this skuzbucket sat down and thought long and hard about composing a “letter” to send to all the people on his/her list — and here is where their knowledge of human psychology comes into play. The first thing one does when composing a scam letter to be sent to strangers is try to think of some way to get the recipient to even open the letter — and for this you need a COMPELLING subject line! (aka “the bait“)

History teaches that: “You Have Won Huge Money!” (aka “greed”) works well, as does “There Is A Problem” (curiosity, fear), and “I Saw Your Photo” (sex) type things often work too.

* Now all the skuzbucket has to do is email their compelling scam letter to the thousands and thousands and thousands of email addresses on their list, and hope that one or two-dozen recipients will be stupid and naive enough to REACT to the psychologically compelling Subject line, and open the email, AND hope that of those two-dozen or so stupid and naive people, one or two will be SO stupid and naive that they will respond to the scam.
Are there one or two people THAT stupid and naive?
Um.. let me answer this way: how many scam emails have you seen?

* Fortunately for the skuzbucket, mass-mailing millions of emails is not a problem or a challenge. See, there are other skuzbuckets whose full time job is to write viruses, and set up special websites to distribute these viruses, which creates a vast network of infected machines that they can control without the real owners’ knowledge, and do what they want with them — like mail out a million scam emails. (These skuzballs are called “bot masters” or “bot herders” by us Über Geeks.)
So the “spammer” skuzbucket contracts a “mailing” from the “bot master” skuzball. For, like, 5¢ per million emails.


1) The reason we are seeing those psychologically compelling scam emails is the result of a Skuzbucket Conspiracy.

2) That conspiracy is carefully constructed and crafted to leverage basic human characteristics into finding the stupid and naive.

3) This conspiracy is effective and PROFITABLE. Why else would scam emails make up 90% of all Internet “traffic” and do so for decades.

4) The name of this money game is “phishing”.

(For two reasons: one, it’s really Geeky to spell “f” sounds with a “ph”; and, two, the skuzball(s) is “casting a net”, hoping to “catch” (aka “hook”) a sucker/rube/victim (aka “stupid and naive person”). Just like fishing, but for sucker fish.)

The best defense: Why, it’s simple! And odds are you have heard it before! Never Open Email From Strangers. (And don’t really trust those saying they came from someone you know/are related to either. The skuzballs know how to make email look like it came from people you know, too [called “address spoofing“].)

I hope you have enjoyed today’s Friday Fun. I gotta run. TGIF! (If you’re looking for a video, see the Comment section [below]).

Today’s quote:Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” ~ William Shakespeare

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

October 5, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, Internet, Internet scam, Phishing, security | , , , , | 11 Comments

Winners, Top Downloads, and Friday Fun

Here it is, Friday again. My, how time flies, doesn’t it?

Today I will do something a wee bit different. Yes, there is a video… it is “a very basic introduction”, and I hope you will enjoy (and maybe learn something you didn’t know). Also, a second video you downloaders and lovers of freebies will wanna see.

This week I again had the privilege and pleasure of handing out $500 worth of software licenses – ten licenses for a 5-star data backup program. Even better news, it seems every Tech – for Everyone reader already has a backup solution in place, protecting their important documents and images from disappearing forever in some digital disaster. Yay!
(This is quite different then my experience as a technician.. where, in all my years, I have only encountered 4 clients who had a recent backup of their files…)

Well.. every reader except for the 8 who entered the drawing, I guess…

Winners announced: If you entered my Backup4all License Giveaway Drawing, look for an email with the subject Backup4all License Winner in your Inbox (and/or, maybe, check your Junk folder).

… it is probable that this utter lack of interest and participation spells the end of license giveaways. (Though I have never received so many requests for reviews from vendors as I have this week.. Weird, ironic, dichotomy.) And, I’m glad to give up the job. These product testing+review/contests are time consuming work, so, yay for me!

Congratulations to the winners, and my sincere thanks to the folks at Softland for making the Giveaway possible!

Today’s quotable quote:
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

Top 5 back to school downloads

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The weekend is almost here.. yay!

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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August 19, 2011 Posted by | computers, free software, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

How to Transfer Videos to the iPhone…

I am the last guy in America who hasn’t turned his phone into a pocket movie theater.”

I have a certain kind of fun reading other tech websites, because I watch them for hype and “pack journalism”.. of which there is plenty. Part of that is due to how search engines (Google, Bing) operate, and the hopes that by using “hot keywords“, readership numbers will be better.

Movies-on-the-iPhoneHot keywords seem to be: iPad, iPhone, Android, download, smart phone, movies, videos, YouTube, and latest. So.. the “smart” tech sites will on Monday have an article “Download Movies To Your iPhone”; and on Tuesday, “iPhone Basics: How to Transfer Videos to the iPhone“, and on Wednesday, “Android And YouTube videos: Meant For Each Other”. Almost every tech site will mention the YouTube downloader app (“which supports iPhone, iPod, PSP, cell phone..!)

Now.. I look at the 1.75″ x 1.5” screen on my phone, and I think, “Don’t be ridiculous. No way am I going to try to watch Pirates of the Caribbean 4 on that.” And I wouldn’t even if my whole phone was a screen (like an iPhone)(the more you mention these “hot” keywords, the more readers you’ll get)(Android)(iPad)(iPhone).
I wondered if I was alone in this? From the sounds of the tech sites, I am the last guy in America who hasn’t turned his phone into a pocket movie theater.

A little while ago, I conducted a casual reader survey — my thanks to all who participated. Well, the survey results suggested that I wasn’t alone at all, with almost two thirds of respondents saying they had never watched a video on their phone. The other third: “a few times a month”. And one person, a “few times a week”. (To the one person who responded “everyday”, may I suggest, shouldn’t you be studying?)
To me, such a never-to-very rarely score makes me think these tech websites are hyping a non-function to sell more gadgets.. But I am a bit cynical. I could be wrong.

Now, I am sure that this website’s demographics play a significant role; and I know that the yuppie-gotta-have-the-latest-iGadget-types gravitate to other sites. There are – such as the article referenced in today’s title (above) – websites dedicated just to smart phones; and I admit, sometimes I think I should talk about smart phones more. They are becoming miniature PC’s after all. (And, camcorders..) And, WordPress (host of this site) will let me post articles, written on my phone, directly to the ‘net. Isn’t that cool?!

All I have to do is learn how to squint, and type with my thumbs.

** Software License Giveaway Drawing Ends Tonight**

Put plain and simply, Sandboxie gives me a secure feeling when traveling around the Internet, and I feel ‘naked’ without it. For the details (such as how to enter), click here.

Sandboxie’s creator, Ronen Tzur, has graciously and generously donated five licenses to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank him for that. So I am going to do a random drawing contest from folks who “enter” my drawing. The contest will end midnight Thursday, July 15th, and the winners announced Friday the 16th.
A “registration” license is “lifetime” and can be used on as many computers as you own.

Act now! Deadline nears… Midnight, tonight (Pacific).

Today’s reading: More people are losing their jobs due to online missteps
It’s the kind of story that those who use Facebook and Twitter don’t like to hear. Despite warnings from career experts around the globe, employees persist in posting personal and sometimes inappropriate information on their personal online accounts.

Today’s free download: Large Scale Giveaway of PDFtoWord
Get it while you can – AnyBizSoft PDF to Word Converter 3.0.0 (worth $29.95) for FREE.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.

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July 15, 2010 Posted by | Apple, cellular, digital Video, gadgets, hardware, mobile, Portable Computing, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

How To Remove Your Name From Search Engines and Social Networking Sites

Your Private Information Made Public

Folks, sometimes it is best to not reinvent the wheel; so today I am going to refer you to three excellent resources for the methods you need to know about if you are concerned about your personal information, and how websites (and the Gov’t) are collecting – and posting – it on the Internet.

If you are serious about protecting your identity and personal security, you should take actions now to block your personal information from public viewing.

Remove Your information from People Search Databases, Social Networks, and Search Engine ResultsJessicaM

Do you know what kind of personal information about you can be found from Internet? Do you know how to remove your name, address, phone number, pictures, bad comments and negative reviews from Google and other search engine results? Do you know how to delete your personal information from online people search database records?

I am putting this one first as it is comprehensive and well researched. It is four pages long, and packed with good info.

How To Permanently Delete Your Account on Popular Websites — Cameron Chapman

What we often don’t realize when signing up for all these accounts, though, is how difficult it can be to permanently delete our accounts when we’ve had enough. Some require complicated, multi-step processes that can stretch over the course of days (or weeks). Others take less time, but still require multiple steps by the user.

This article outlines the steps for removing your account/profile on:
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google, Ebay, Wikipedia, Flickr/Yahoo!, Windows Live, StumbleUpon, WordPress, Amazon, YouTube, and PayPal.

If you want to stay inconspicuous while online, here are some products, services, and best practices to put to use.
How to Stay Anonymous Online — Erik Griffith

Some might say that the Internet was built on anonymity. Without it, the Internet might not have become what it is today—a place where free speech reigns supreme (maybe to a fault). However, as social networks prevail—and über-companies like Google do all they can to market to you more effectively—your privacy on the Web comes into question. The good news is that you can take back control of what others see and know of you online. Here’s how.

Subtopics: Safe Surfing, Anonymous E-mail, Social (Network) Security

The article contains links to programs and tools you may be interested in.. if your privacy is a concern to you.

Update: Here is another resource, brought to my attention by Rick Robinette:

I came across a really cool site that, if anything, is a real education about online accounts and profiling. The site is called AccountKiller.

AccountKiller – Do you care about your personal data? We provide instructions to remove your account or public profile on most popular websites, including Skype, Facebook, Windows Live, Hotmail / Live, Twitter, MSN / Messenger, Google and many more. Want to create an account somewhere? Check our Blacklist first to see if it’s even possible to remove your profile!

What AccountKiller specializes in is collecting direct links and deleting instructions to make account termination an easier process.Read more..

*     *     *

Bonus: additional recommended reading: Does a Blogger’s Opinion Really Matter?

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.

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June 15, 2010 Posted by | computers, how to, Internet, privacy, security | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

The new Generation Gap

These kids today! They’re illiterate (how else do you explain ‘texting’?). They have no sense of shame (they post their diary, and their phone numbers, for the world to see). They all want to be famous.. just like Paris Hilton. They “hook up” by answering anonymous, texted come-ons, blue-toothed from across the room. Everyone under the age of 25 has at least one online “profile” — an All About Me webpage — and are proud of the number of their virtual friends. They aren’t in the slightest bit bothered by the fact that there’s surveillance cameras everywhere, but seem to relish the idea of “being on TV”.
And these kids have the attention span of a flea.

Ah! Don’t you just love blanket-statement generalizations?!
But seriously– there is a difference between those of us ‘older’ folks (say.. older than 27) and the younger set (the “kids today”).. a true Generation Gap.

Sure, us ‘older’ folks are on the Web, and we spend a fair amount of time there. But we (generally speaking) use it like a public library, and because e-mail is a lot cheaper than snail-mail, we use the Internet to send letters. Here’s a test:
* Do you have a Profile on Facebook and do you update it several times a week? If you answered “no”, the odds are good you’re 26 or older (or, you’re younger, but Facebook is so ‘yesterday’ that you’ve moved on to a trendier site).
* Have you ever shunned a website because it was getting flamed on all the right blogs? (There’s a hidden test in there.. don’t know what ‘flamed’ is?)
* Did you have to stop and think what ROTFLOL means?
* Are you concerned about your privacy? (or, more accurately, do you still think it exists?)
* Do you enjoy “reality” television?

I think the defining factor that determines which side of the gap you’re on is– how old were you when you  first used a computer.
I am an absolute dinosaur. I was already out of High School when the first truly popular personal computer (Apple’s Macintosh, 1984) hit the scene. When I was in my formative years, there simply weren’t traffic cams on every corner (or anywhere else); girls guarded their diaries with their lives; people wrote in complete sentences, and looked upon those of us with poor grammar skills as “low-bred”; Authority had no idea who I was unless they talked to me (or me to them); if you called someone a friend, you (probably) had been inside their home…
It was a different world… a pre-Internet world.

For those born after 1984, you have probably always had a computer in your home; and by the time you were old enough to appreciate telephones, you could carry one in your pocket. About that same time, everyone had the Internet, and Yahoo had made it simple. You were probably typing before you made your first letter with a crayon.
You realize privacy is an illusion, so you’ve taken control. All the world’s your stage.

…I don’t really know where I’m going with all this: to say, “the Internet has changed everything” is, well, um, stating the obvious. I guess, maybe, I’m just puzzled by some of what I see (and, maybe, I just woke up feeling “old” today…). I lament the erosion of privacy that technology has wrought (hey, I admitted I was a dinosaur!), and cameras everywhere bothers me; the chips (digital snitches) in my car bothers me; the fact that someone can use the information posted on the Web to assume someone else’s identity bothers me..
Sorry. I’ll feel better soon.

Today’s free link: There’s an article by Emily Nussbaum; Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy (subtitled “Say Everything”) that I came across that takes a real look at this.. phenomenon. An excellent example of real reporting, and a good read. Take a look-see, and let me know what you think.

***Folks, the little Search window on this site is not how you ask me questions (it searches past articles for the keywords you enter). Use the the Comments link at the bottom of this page. It is found next to the “Categories” and “Tags” (and usually says, “No comments”).

[Update 3/22: Newsweek just published a good article on this that is worth a read– The Look at Me Generation.]

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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March 3, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, kids and the Internet, PC, privacy, tech, Web 2.0 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments