Available Balance
The Trumpies Seem to Fall Silent
March 23, 2017
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Although some people see hope, as if brains are being grown by the mindless Trumpies who cheer ever tweet their Massa makes,  I don’t.

I don’t because I had a very peculiar experiences some years ago.

Imagine a woman of sixty who tells you a story she absolutely believes.   You happen to know the events, the environment.   You prove to her that the events she described could not have happened.   She fell silent.  Then, as you wait, she ‘reboots’ and returns with the same foolishness plus she is not speaking to you any more.

It has been proven, beyond doubt, that Paul Manafort was the political advisor for a previous Ukraine President.   It has been proven, beyond a doubt that shell company was used to collect money for Manafort.

Any spin you want to put on the story, go ahead.  But it is true.  It happened.

Now how does a person, running for President, hire a man who has tight links with the Pro-Russian deposed President of the Ukraine as his campaign manager?    How does he do it?

Trump knows he can play the American people like a piccolo.  He’s already gotten them under his mind control. He started early by doing the ‘Five Lights’ trick.   For those that don’t remember it, Captain Picard was being tortured.   Four lights were shined on him and he was asked; ‘how many lights?’   He said Four and was zapped.  He was told there were Five lights.

This Five Light trick comes from 1984, the dystopian novel by George Orwell.   In it, people were to say, 2 + 2 = 5.   This was the ‘double think’ which allowed their brains to be controlled by ‘Big Brother’.

Trump began playing with the minds of Americans from the day of inauguration with the Crowd trick, then focused on ‘Fake News’;  that is all the most respectable news services in the world were Fake News, and the twisted biased second rate right wing rubbish was ‘real’.

Everything Trump has done has been a game with the brains of Americans.    He had idiots from Syria supporting him, yet sent their relatives back to Syria.  He’s had Blacks running behind him, while Black lives cease to matter and the over 200 murders by the police don’t even get a sentence in the newspapers.

Despite the various alerts of the connection between the Kremlin and Trump’s campaign, they’ve been slapped away as mosquitoes.   But this one can’t be slapped away.   This one can’t be explained away.

So the Trumpies. like that woman I mention, fall silent so as to reboot and come back with the same rubbish they’ve been vomiting since the election.

Do You Remember Bulletin Board Service?
March 23, 2017
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In a previous item I mentioned Bulletin Board System (or Servers), (BBS) as if they were on every street corner.   I realise that many of you who came into Cyberspace in the 1990s or 2000s, might have never encountered this connectivity.

A Bulletin Board System/Server was a computer one connected to with the use of a modem and a telephone line.  One would have the computer dial the number and then there would be a set of sounds called ‘handshaking’ and then one was connected, (if lucky).

On the server was a ‘bulletin board’ where people could communicate.  There would also be games and forums to discuss issues.   On some there was a way to connect to another server, elsewhere.

On your first visit you’d pick a name and a password.   Many people used their own name or their nicknames.  And for a password, people picked something quick and easy they didn’t have to write down.

Often a password was four characters but one could have three, as there was no particular restriction.

As the BBS was located in your area you would meet people on it that you could have coffee with.  So you could spend all day talking to Forge and Bladerunner on the BBS and meet them for pizza in the evening.

If someone came along to hack or cause trouble you didn’t have much difficulty in finding out who they were.  They called from a number, you could find out to whom that number belonged, and arrive at their doorstep.

One High School boy, for example, liked to annoy people  The police reached his door and took away his computer.

The significance of BBS was that it exposed you, in baby steps to what would become the Internet.   You learned little things; not to have too easy a password, for example.

You met trolls and learned how to deal with them in a fairly ‘safe’ space.  After all, you could call Roger, who ran CSS or Dyno from Colis, and complain.  Roger would check, get the number, and either block it or tell you who it belonged to.

It always belonged to a high school kid, in our example.   When we got onto the great Cyber Highway many of the Trolls were older men or younger losers, and one learned how to play them.

As we had our ‘safe space’ once we got on the Internet we could share information on the BBS and we learned a lot about people.   We found a lot of Americans prejudiced.   They thought we, Jamaicans, were fools and not worth talking to.   When we used American nicknames and claimed to live in one of the states, we were treated with respect.

We learned how to hack into various systems but often we’d ‘guess’ a password.  ” 1234″ was obvious.

In a very serious way, having experienced BBS we learned to protect ourselves online.

What Happens When You lose Your Copyright
March 22, 2017
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This is not a fiction story.   This happened on a writing site.   A real site.   A site which holds competitions for fiction writing.

There was a contest and I didn’t participate.  I was a member, I had a vote, but the plot of the article I was to write was out of my ambit.   I didn’t write crime stories at the time, so read other people’s work and voted.

A woman, I’ll call her Mary, had written a clever piece, I liked it a lot, but it didn’t win.

Some time later, Mary posted the following;

“I was watching one of my favourite crime programs on the telly when suddenly I realised that it was MY work that was being portrayed.   That was my story!   I had some quirks which were still there, and there was no way anyone could have just made it up.”

“I contacted the writing site to ‘alert’ them.”

“I received a response from the administrator telling me that it was my story and that they had sold it to the television production team.   They indicated that when I joined the site I ticked “I agree” to the Terms of Service which gave the site the absolute copyright to my work.   They owned my article.  They owned it and could do what they wanted with it.”

“I couldn’t believe it.   They never paid me, they never gave me anything for it, but they owned it.  And when I read the Terms of Service it clearly stated that all items published on that site belonged to the site.  That the site could do anything it wanted with the submissions.”

“I gave away my copyright.”

We all commiserated with her, and looked over the Terms of Service we agreed to, without reading.  A lot of people took down their stuff.   The site posted a long explanation and a lot of legal terms, showing they had a lawyer.   They made it look that simply being able to see our work on screen was enough payment for us.

Yes, I read the Terms of Service before I join.

Recently, I stopped by a site called Seekyt I had belonged to years ago.   It was still up.   It didn’t pay.  It didn’t pay one cent for anything, yet, demanded everyone give away their copyright.

Every single item on that site belongs to the site.

If you join Seekyt, they will take your work and pay you nothing.

Read the Terms of Service.

Avoiding Crazy People On line
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it doesn’t take long for you to get in the radar of some kind of Evangelist.   These could be Christian or Atheist. But they are anxious to shove their opinions down your throat.

In Real Life, these people avoid me.   As soon as they see me, they realise I’m not their ‘type’ and usually keep going.   Once every other blue moon there will be some whack job who I will be impelled to insult,  in the nicest way.  Most times,  they keep moving.

In Cyberspace, where they can’t see me,  they can only assume I’m one of them   That I am as brainless and gullible as they are.

I don’t argue with these people as there is no sense in arguing with an idiot.   That is because  the longer you go on with it, the more difficult it is to know which one is the idiot.

Secondly, these people have no change to change.   Their minds are sealed.  If somehow they believe this road leads to to town, they will follow it.   No matter how many times you warn them, they don’t listen.  They will keep walking until they come to the edge of a mountain.  They might even keep going.

Thirdly, they are obsessed. Stay away from obsessed people.

When a person is obsessed their brain has been shut off and they are operating on coast. They need psychiatric assistance.

I’ll give you an example.

On a site, a gal calling herself ‘Rabbit’,  was madly in love with an actor.  He was not even an A list actor but some guy who was a co co star in a long forgotten show.

She joined one of those fan sites devoted to him.  She posted until her fingers bled.  Anyone on that site who said anything unfavourable about her beloved actor was subject to her attack.

She began to send malware to the members,  hack into their accounts, on and on, breaking the law. Just because someone wrote something about an actor she was obsessed with.  She worshiped him.

If that is how far a person can go when dealing with some actor, think of how far another will go when dealing with a religious figure?

If you ever become a victim of these kinds of attacks, don’t argue, block them.

So Many Scams! Be Careful
March 22, 2017
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The Birth, Death, Rebirth of a Scam Site

I just read an item about a scam that was right here on Literacybase.   Seems a ‘user’ sent an email to a member saying it was urgent.

I have been in Cyberspace before Jamaica got Commercial Internet Connection in 1995.  America and 1st World nations were connected in 1990.   For those five years (1990-1995) we were on BBS, Bulletin Board Servers, one of which had a kind of connection to the Web.

There were scammers on BBS, and we learned how to find them, and arrive at their door.    We learned about passwords.   For example, Banker used to use Bank as his password.  This wasn’t a problem until someone hacked his account.

We learned to use ‘characters’ instead of letters.   So Banker changed his password to B&nk or used something unconnected; like [email protected]

We knew how to capture passwords, ‘social engineering‘ so that when the Internet became commercially available and we were all allowed one free hour a day, we got the password of the guy in charge of the provider, and used that to give us extra time.

We were alert to malware, and many of us used Linux instead of Windows so that we were unhackable.

We knew we didn’t ‘Win’ any contest we hadn’t entered, we knew no one left us money, we weren’t going to help loot the Nigerian treasury,  and because we used non-determinate nick names, no one knew if we were a man or a woman.   And certainly not that we were in Jamaica.

In short, we early hackers knew how to hack, and would warn various agencies.

One day a fourteen year old called us.   He’d gone into a bank and created an account, “Mickey Mouse”.   He took 1c from every single account for Mickey Mouse, then after we all saw it, sent back the 1c to every account, and deleted Mickey Mouse.

The next day I passed by the bank as I sort of knew one of the ‘I.T.’ guys there.

Let me stick a pin.   The majority of I.T. (Internet Technicians)  knew nothing in those days.  They are better adapt at the Windows ‘Help’ key then most people.

So I asked him about the system and he smugly told me that everything was fine.  No problems.

Suffice it to say that Bank no longer exists.

One of the things we know, and pass on, is to Never use your Real name or address.   Never to believe anything you get in an email.   If you receive one from a ‘friend’ (someone you can have coffee with) which doesn’t sound right, you don’t respond by email.   If you can’t phone them, wait.   If it is real they will get in touch with you again and you can test if they are real, as many people will hack an email account,  read the names of contacts and write them.   If you never put anything too personal or descriptive… in other ways;

My friends know the kind of motorcycle I ride because they know me, they’ve seen me.   If Scammer learns I have a motorcycle and writes something, (even using my friend’s account) because it doesn’t sound right, I’ll lie about the brand.   Scammer won’t know, so will continue. My friends will, hence I know the account was hacked and can ring up my friend.

If you get some kind of email which seems ‘important’ from some government, don’t open it.   Sure, if you wrote to the government and this is in response, fine.  If you didn’t, then this is likely to be a scam.  You don’t open the mail, and see what happens.   In 99.99999% of the cases, nothing.  The letter was a scam.

If you’ve been on a site and communicating with someone, you send them a PM, (private message) why ask them to email you?  Why email them?   This is a scam.

If someone leaves a comment at the end of your item which begs you to contact them, alert the Mods.  This is a scam.

Assume everything is a scam until proven wrong.

 

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave…
March 22, 2017
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Donald Trump’s ex-campaign chair, Paul Manafort,  had links to former pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.   The evidence seems unarguable.

A document found in a safe in Kiev (the Capital of the Ukraine) has exposed that Manafort had tried to mask payments sent to him from Yanukovych’s party.
The American FBI announced to the House Intelligence Committee that it is officially investigating whether there was a connection between Trump’s campaign team and Russia.

Apparently, there is a six-page document which has Manafort’s signature.  This document is a contract and invoice for assorted computer equipment.  The payment for such ‘equipments’  was $750,000.

Manafort, as any born Trumpie, denies it.  He says he doesn’t  recognize the document and that the signature was not his.
But, there is a real connection between this Trumpie and Russia.
The document mentioned has the date October 14, 2009.  This is  when Manafort worked for Yanukovych as a political consultant in Kiev.

The date and the sum of $750,000  match details in an off-the-books ledger,  reported on by the New York Times.  This ledger contains the secret payments which were made by Yanukovych’s party which are being investigated.
Manafort’s name appears twenty two  times as the recipient of payments which added together equal $12.7 million dollars.

A spokesman for Manafort, denied all the allegations.
When the ledger appeared in the middle of Trump’s campaign for President,  Manafort denied all allegations of corruption.  He claimed he never received any cash payments off the book and that his work in Ukraine was perfectly legal.
The FBI is investigating this ‘consulting work’ Manafort did in the Ukraine.
The contract and invoice seem to be between the Ukrainian office of Davis-Manafort ( a company Manafort partly owns) and something called Neocom Systems Ltd.

Neocoms’s address as 1 Mapp St Belize City. This address is used by a number of offshore companies, including many named in the infamous Panama Papers.
Neocom was dissolved in 2014 and was no longer a legal entity in Belize.   It was a shady ‘off-shore’ company with no details.
Interestingly,  Neocom has bank accounts in Kyrgyzstan and Germany.

Deniers of Russian involvement in the Trump campaign are falling silent.
A New More Accurate Map
March 22, 2017
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We all know the ‘Mercator’ map.   It’s used world wide.   We can probably visualise it in our minds, because it is seen every where.  That the map of the Earth.  Right?   That’s what the Earth looks like, Right?

Wrong.

The Mercator Map is not accurate and never was.

The way it was created tended to make the top and bottom continents seem bigger than those in the middle.  Now a  new map called the Gall-Peters projection  is being used.  It displays countries according to their actual size.

Mercator shrinks Africa and South America, making Europe and North America appear much larger than they really are.  This might be a colonial mentality on the part of the map maker which no longer is of much value.

The move to replace the Mercator is beginning in Boston public schools where it is said they are going to “decolonise the curriculum.” Europe will no longer be the centre of the world.

The Mercator map was created in 1569 by cartographer Gerardus Mercator and quickly became the standard.  No one questioned it for hundreds of years.

However, considering the views from space the fact it is inaccurate and offers a Eurocentric portrayal of the world’s landmasses has brought it into question.

If you look at the Mercator map you’ll see that Greenland is larger than Africa despite being 14 times smaller and  Alaska  seems larger than Mexico, although it is much smaller and can fit inside of it.

Europe is always in the middle of the map on the Mercator projection, making North America and Europe larger than South America and Africa.

This is inaccurate and ought not be used as the standard.

The Gall-Peters projection map was created in 1974 by Arno Peters, using a projection made by cartographer James Gall.   It removes the distortions of the Mercator projection and more accurately portrays the world.

The image featured here is of that Gall-Peters Map

Notes From a Corporate Trouble Shooter
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Any one involved in any form of business consulting knows a basic problems  is ‘Over Staffing’.  Governments, primarily those in 3rd and 4th World Countries are famous for this.   It isn’t limited, for course to failed or failing nations, it also effect many companies.

The Standard Business model of 1890 has survived.   It persist until virtual bankruptcy, take overs, or when they owners (gasp) actually listen to the Trouble Shooters.

The overstaffing is instantly obvious to the new pair of eyes which belongs to the Consultant.

Many entities do not take advantage of technology.   As some bosses love an army of  workers in eye shot, to make them feel important, or have a number of useless positions, (for example, too many managers) the cumbersome nature of the business or agency becomes obvious.

When a company is in trouble, (outside of someone running off with the assets) it is likely this is caused simply by too many employees.

Voluntary Redundancy — A Very Bad choice

Every company which has implemented a Voluntary Redundancy Exercise, (VRE) it is the best employees who  have shot out of the building as if it were on fire.

This is because;
a) the best employees have usually rebuffed offers from other companies. And regretted it.
b) they can create their own businesses
c) they are bright enough to take a life boat from a company they see as the Titanic.

In every company that has implemented a VRE it is the very worst employees who remain.

This is because;
a) no one wants them
b) they couldn’t run a lemonade stand
c) they don’t see that the ship is sinking

Never implement a VRE until after you have recontracted the best workers.   Once you have them under lock and sealed contracts, then you can make the offer.   But don’t expect the worst employees to take it.

Further, expect the best employees to not recontract if there are alternatives, for they can smell the failings of the company and will, as soon as they see the warnings, jump.

If you create a VRE go through the staff, one by one.    Those who chose to leave although you desire them to stay, those who you want to leave, but don’t want to go, are now known.

The advance notice of ‘one month’ gives you time to clear out the office, replacing those you need to, and cleaning up the mess the others have left.

Once the staff has been culled,  you have one month to reorganise, to find replacements.   When someone seems irreplacable,  pay them more, give them more perqs and sign them for six months, so that you have a better chance of replacement.

To warn you how dangerous a VRE is, in one Cell Phone Company an entire department grabbed it and the
company tried fruitlessly to keep a few.  The Company had not a hint at how dissatisfied its staff was.

It may take some finesse to get rid of the undesired and maintain the desired employees.   One can always create a ‘branch office’ somewhere else, ship those they don’t want to that location, then, terminate them over there.

How to know who to get rid of?

Phone Tests and Other Tips

A large company needed to get rid of 1/3rd of its work force to survive.  What was done seems ridiculous, but ten years later has proven its merit.

Trouble Shooters arrived and visited all four stories of the business.  Armed with a seating plan, identified each employee and watched their phone behaviour.

They discounted business calls, focusing on personal calls; whether via land land or cell. All those on personal calls were ticked.

A few hours later they  returned to each floor. Those found having personal calls were ticked. Where there were two ticks, that employee was discharged.

Simply put, people who can’t differentiate between work and not work don’t need to work here. People who have long conversations on the phone which are not business related don’t need to work here.

That ‘downsizing exercise’ has served the Company well.

File Tracking is another test.

One file jacket of a different colour is placed on each desk.  The time for that file to move to the ‘Out’ tray is measured.

When the Coloured File sits in the ‘In’ box for X amount of time, and the work in the Outbox does not substantially increase, that employee is ‘unworking’ and can be let go. Where an employee seems to get through ten files in an hour, (and those files are checked to insure that work was accomplished) that worker stays.

Do You Really Need So Many Managers?

Many businesses are so top heavy you think it’s a comedy.

At this supermarket there is the Manager, supported by two Assistant Managers. There are six Supervisors, each with an assistant, but only six cashiers.

Shoppers are lined up to the far wall, and some have walked out in disgust.

This is a failing business.  It may survive by being the only Supermarket in five miles. It may survive because it ‘owns’ the plaza and the rentals are keeping it afloat.  But it is failing.

Customers will shop elsewhere and only use this supermarket as one would a corner shop, that is, if they need a jar of jerk seasoning or a loaf of bread. But the major weekly or monthly purchases are done elsewhere.

Many businesses think by making a worker a ‘staff’ member they save on ‘overtime’  but they can save on salaries by stripping their staff to the bone, making sure everyone is actually working.

There should be only one manager, one supervisor, and an assistant, and all three should be active, not sitting in the office unless they are actually doing accounts, or handling complaints, processing cheques, etc.

Going from the top down in a downsizing exercise is how it should be done.

Employee Dissatisfaction

You can’t tell, in most cases, by simply looking at the Staff that they hate their job. Many people are working here because they have no choice, at the moment.

As soon as they get choice or can’t take another minute from the Boss from Hell they are going through the Door.

They don’t trumpet their discomfort or hatred or annoyance. They go day to day until they reach their limit.

As most bosses don’t realise this, the second there’s the chance for a VRE everyone races to the exit.

To locate a Boss From Hell, one hires a troubleshooter.   That person takes a job, seems like everyone else, but is really a spy.   This person gets the vibration of the office, how a manager is despised, how certain regulations are too constricting, etc.

Having a spy on the floor, (unknown to the staff) gives a fantastic insight into a business.

Sometimes getting rid of one manager makes all the difference.

Attention Whores; Why Some People Need Notice
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Odette is very ugly.  Outside as well as inside.  There is no attractive part of her.   Ignoring her is the best method because she is uglier inside than outside.   But Odette wants attention.

She will see you working and start singing, (or what she things is singing).   If you are behind a closed door, she will stand outside of it and sing or talk to herself.   She wants you to look at her.

Adasa is the same.   She’s short and pudgy, very loud and has clumsy ways.  She can’t do anything quietly.  Everything must make a lot of noise because she wants attention.

These are not unique people.   You will find them everywhere.   People who draw attention to themselves for no reason.

It is not that chap who is arguing with the cashier so everyone looks, it is not that guy telling a joke to his friends and laughing loudly, nor that woman who is recounting an interesting event and people eavesdrop.

It is always some ugly person who can not stand their own company. An ugly person who has internalised their physical repulsiveness to create a repulsive personality.

There are many people who can not stand to be alone.  This because they don’t like themselves.  They want others around them, others to notice them.   They can’t get attention by clever conversation, because they have no ability to speak intelligently.

They can’t get attention by acts of kindness because they are unkind miserable examples of human beings.

They get attention by trying to annoy people.

Anything they do must be noisy.  Whether moving a frying pan or opening a door.   Whether walking or talking, they must be overly loud and annoying.   For them, annoying people is what is for others ‘attention’.

Where a normal person can walk into a room and speak nicely to people and hold conversations, these Attention whores must slam and bang into room, speaking loudly and unpleasantly, so that everyone is some what nauseated.

For them, all attention is good.

This is why they makes such a repulsive spectacle of themselves.

When You Realise You are The Scorn
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Every organisation, whether religious, political, professional or social has various elected or appointed offices.  There may be a President or a Chairman.   There may be a Secretary or Treasurer.   And of course, depending on the nature of the group, specified officers for the specific areas.

These are all listed somewhere so you can ask; “Who is the Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee?” or “Who is the Legal Affairs Officer?”   and someone can look it up.

But there is a very important position which is not listed, not mentioned, only inferred.  That is the post of ‘Scorn’.

The Scorn is the person no one listens to.  In fact, no one ever asks the Scorn for his or her advice.  It doesn’t matter what role the Scorn plays in real life; in this group, s/he is the Scorn.

Now no one joins an organisation with the expectation s/he will be made the Scorn.   The newbie will join, pay the dues, (if required) and participate as any other member.   It may take a few meetings, it may take a few years of membership before the Scorn recognises his or her ‘post’.

Sad to say, some Scorns never realise they are no more than a mixture of comic relief and the ‘other side’.  That is, whatever the Scorn suggests, the other side is taken.   The Scorn’s policy might save the organisation money, might move the organisation forward, might be the best possible choice; But!   As it came out of the mouth of the Scorn, the instant response is ‘No!”

The Scorn may not realise that his or her presence is desired at the meeting to become the punching bag or the outlet for the two minutes hate.   The Scorn may not appreciate that the organisation prefers to lose thousands of dollars than accept the idea.

However, most Scorns do realise that they are the Scorn.

Maybe it comes after finally being recognised, stating a position and then having it trashed, only to be repeated by another member and be accepted.

Maybe it comes after being left out of deliberations, or being told a seat is taken.

When a Scorn realises this, it is very sad and the Scorn might simply walk away.   If the Scorn does, people will ring up the Scorn almost begging a return because without that object of hate, meetings are boring.

If you realise you are the Scorn, stop paying dues.   That’s your first act.  Simply let your membership lapse and wait for someone to ask you about it.  In some cases, no one will because they rather pay your way to keep you there then let you go.

After that, start arriving late and leaving early.   If there are refreshments, refresh.  If not,  arrive late and then leave.

Skip a meeting.

Say nothing when you show up, have no opinion, abstain when voting comes around.  Keep to yourself.  In some cases people will try to pull you into the discussion, in some cases people will watch you in expectation.

Skip another meeting.

Show up whenever there is some sort of event where there is free food.  If there isn’t, just stop coming.  Say nothing.

Someone will ask you why you aren’t coming.   Don’t admit you know you are the Scorn, simply say you had to go (wherever it is).

Then, simply stop attending, stop paying attention to the meetings.

If done right, everyone will just forget you without any fanfare.