Are We There Yet?

This weekend, thanks to my friend’s small child, I had a brilliant suggestion for auto makers and after market car whiz-bang installers: Stop installing DVD players in the back seat (which just perpetuate the military industrial entertainment complex) and GPS receivers in the dashboard (which lead to distracted drivers and accidents).
Instead, put the display for the GPS in the back seat. What does this accomplish?

  1. Drivers are no longer visually distracted by GPS maps. Instead, they can ask the kid in the back seat, who will be more than happy to provide navigation functions.
  2. Drivers are no longer distracted by the sound of “are we there yet? Are we there yet,” from the back seat.
  3. Kids learn the value of being helpful, which both pleases the parents and speeds the journey.

Obviously a person driving solo can’t use a GPS display in the back seat, so maybe you need two, but still, skip the DVD player.
Think about it.

Scam of the Day: Stimulus Payment, Python, Pants, and Bombing.

This one just came in via my mom. I consider myself fortunate enough to have a mom who can recognize a good scam when she sees one.
And, on that note, is anyone else reeling from astounding spike in spam over the last couple of weeks? I mean everywhere, from email to IM to Skype, to blogs and other web forms. Everything from these scams to the traditional 419 to a “python in my pants.”
Side note:

Dear Spammer, please take note: I used to handle boa constrictors and have no desire to have a python in my pants.

Thought of the day: can we route the military to do something useful, like bombing spammers? Thanks.

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From: "Internal Revenue Service"<[email protected]>
Subject: Stimulus Payment form it's ready for you to submit
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2009 19:32:47 -0000
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After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that
you are eligible to receive a Stimulus Payment.
Please submit the Stimulus Payment Online Form in order to process it.
A Stimulus Payment can be delayed for a variety of reasons.
For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.
To submit your Stimulus Payment form, please download the document attached to
your email.
Note: If filing or preparation fees were deducted from your 2007 Refund or you
received a refund anticipation loan, you will be receiving a check instead of a
direct deposit.
Internal Revenue Service

Information Disclosure: A Real World Example (non-IT)

A friend of mine collapsed on New Year’s Eve (no, not from drinking) and was admitted to the regional hospital. I called last night to ask when visiting hours were. I gave his name and was transferred to the department where he was (in the ICU). The gentleman I spoke with there told me to come by after 8AM to visit my friend. I told him I preferred to call ahead, since I live about an hour away, and he said that made sense.
This morning, I called to see if I could visit. However, I specifically asked if he was admitted. (Now, I’m not sure exactly why I didn’t say “My friend was admitted, can I come visit” instead, but that’s just the way the words came out of my mouth). I was asked for my friend’s name. I gave it, and was told “that patient hasn’t given permission to give out his status.”
I pointed out to the person on the phone that she had just confirmed to me that he was admitted, which was my original question. She replied “Okay…” I thanked her and hung up.
What conclusions do you draw from this?