Available Balance
Do You Remember Bulletin Board Service?
March 23, 2017

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

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.

So Many Scams! Be Careful
March 22, 2017
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.


Instagram has huge earning potential

Instagram is a very popular photo sharing app which has millions of users worldwide. It is very popular especially among the youngsters who love to capture every moment on camera and share it on instagram.Most of us use Instagram. It’s the best photo sharing app where we share pics of our vacations, our dinners, selfies and so on. But do you know that instagram is more than just photo sharing app? This is right. It’s a marketplace where brands target the youth to spend more. And thus the pictures of this app are worth a lot of money if used rightly. Celebrities, fashion bloggers, fitness bloggers and trainers are charging money for brand promotions which can be done through posting experiences, reposting something or through a product placement in the picture.

How much an instagrammer charges depends upon the cost to reach 100 people (CPM). So if the average CPM is 10$ then an instagrammer with 10,000 followers can demand up to 100$ per post. Earning through instagram depends upon the simple logic. More the number of followers you have, more the money you earn per post. And when a celebrity is endorsing a product on instagram, he/she can charge in lakhs.

To get an idea of the earning potential at instagram, just have a look at these:

  • Danielle Bernstein charges up to $15,000 for making a single post.
  • The Kardashians are pretty popular and thus earn up to 2 crores per post.
  • Zanna Van Djik is one of the early success stories of Instagram and is much sought after.

This is in fact true of all the social network sites. If you have a substantial following on twitter, facebook or instagram then you can think of monetizing your account by doing sponsored posts. Have you ever given it a thought?

image credit: pixabay

Blogspot Has New Themes for 2017

“Express your unique style with a brand new set of Blogger themes.

From simple and sleek to fun and funky, there’s a fully customizable theme designed to fit your. Plus, they’re all built to look great on phones, computers and tablets and to load quickly. Check them out: https://goo.gl/vEPpd3


Quote source and featured image credit:

Found on Google Plus at the official Blogger social media page.


* * *


Websites, blogging (and vlogging) are an integral part of the Internet landscape. People who were “old school” who did not even want to build websites for their businesses realized that websites are just like an advertisement in the Yellow Pages. So they took the time to create a web page because it was just good business sense.


YP Walking FingersRemember the Yellow Pages? It was a huge phone directory where you could find names, addresses and phone numbers of businesses. It was a big thick book that everybody used. These days, even the Yellow Pages has a website! You can’t fight progress! 🙂


  • Business history trivia: Did you know that the “Walking Fingers” was never trademarked.


REF: “The Yellow Pages “Walking Fingers”: The Most Famous Symbol Never Trademarked.” YP United Blogs. Ed. Yellow Pages United Staff. Yellow Pages United, 9 May 2012. Web. 21 Mar. 2017.


♦ ♦ ♦ ♦


Back on point. No sooner than the business person accepts that they need a website, they usually also understand that the next step to complement and supplement their site and to enhance their online reputation and presence on the web, getting the word out to others, is to add on a blog. Why? Well because the “experts” say that the blog shows potential clients or customers that you’re good at what you do since you know how to write about it and can provide tips and advice.


For many businesses and personal bloggers, Blogger or Blogspot, the official Google platform is the preferred publishing platform. If you are a newbie blogger and you are the DIY type (Do It Yourself), Blogspot is a good platform because it provides free templates or themes, gadgets or widgets, allows affiliate advertising, allows Google Ad Sense or Ad Sense alternatives, and the Blogger Team regularly supplies “how to” tips and tricks via its blog or social media accounts.


I have been using the Blogger or Blogspot platform for my home business projects for over 5 years. No doubt the free template I use has been around much longer than that.


On March 20, 2017, the Blogger Team announced that Blogspot has brand new themes.


Whew! What a relief!


It’s a relief that Google is not abandoning its free blogging platform. For a while there was a story being circulated – unofficially – that owning and maintaining this platform did not make good business sense, it was not profitable, and Google might discontinue it.


What? Glad these rumors have not become reality. I’m not an expert but how I see it: ‘If Google can’t offer a free publishing platform for businesses and wanna be bloggers, what kind of example is that for a tech giant to set for others in the technology world. Really!”


So I spent several hours testing and trying out this new set of blog themes. These new templates are wonderful but …


But in the end, my decision was to stick with the Ethereal theme. It suits my purposes.  Would I recommend them to other aspiring bloggers?  Yes.


  • Do you have a blog?
  • Which blogging platform do you use?
  • Which theme or template did you choose?


i heart blogspot banner

Related Links:


Ways to make money online
download (1)

There are many ways to earn online. I am going to talk about some of the ways in this article. You can make money through your own content, blog or website, or by doing some work on other websites. Like marketing in field, one can do marketing online and earn good amount. There are many websites which pay for just clicking on the ads. So the ways through which you can make money online are:

  1. Affiliate Marketing: This method is popular these days, and some people claim that they are earning good income by this way. In affiliate marketing you have to promote the products of various companies online, through your website, blog or by sharing it on social media. When some one purchases the product promoted by you, the selling company will give some commission to you. In this way you can earn good money by promoting more and more products of various companies. One of the most popular company is Amazon.
  2. Working on Websites:  There are many websites which are giving money for doing different activities, like writing articles, posting comments, voting polls and many more. Just sign up with these and start earning. Few of the most popular websites are : literacybase, mylot and many more.
  3. By having own blog/website: If you have your own blog/website then also you can earn money by displaying ads on you content. This can be done in two ways, the most popular google adsense or using third party ads other than adsense. For adsense, just signup with google and apply for adsense, when approved you can place google ads on your blog/ website and earn money. You can also use third party ads other than google to increase your earning.
  4.  By uploading videos on youtube: You can earn money by uploading you own videos on youtube. Just create a youtube channel enable it for monetization, share your videos on social media. Google will show ads on your video and this way you can earn good amount.
Knowledge Transfer Sessions/Programs- effective tools for preserving and distributing critical knowledge in Information Technology Companies

What I am going to talk is something not particular or unique in an Information Technology firm. However, one needs to understand why Knowledge Transfer Sessions or Programs, which are mostly known by their acronym- KT are so key in an Information Technology company’s working.

In an IT company, employees are assigned to different clients(or accounts)or short or long term projects. This is done based on their Technical skills- e.g knowledge of a programming language like Java,C++,Python, Dot Net etc.
Or one could be an expert in some kind of a Packaged tool like SAP, Oracle ERP like SCM, HR, Financials etc.
There are also domain experts- experts in Banking/Insurance/Clinicals, or Manufacturing/Sales/Purchase etc.

We even have Engineers and Doctors in some companies.

Now, when these guys start working on a certain project, they gain knowledge- Technical, as well as how the client systems move. They also come to know of different functional aspects of how their clients work. For e.g- Someone working for a Financial client will come to know how and when banks settle certain ledgers, how Loan accounts work, what are the different transactions associated with a current account etc.

Ideally, everyone will keep on working forever in their places and jobs. However, people do change their companies and projects. Some do this suddenly, without much or almost no notice period. In such cases, one can’t do much.
However, in cases, where one is leaving a company on notice period of may be 1/2 or more months, one can plan a knowledge transfer from such an employee.
This helps gather the chunks of knowledge that apart from the basic skills of that employee; are the ones that he or she has acquired over his or her stint with that client.
If such knowledge is missed, at times, there could be potential issues.
For e.g- If in a Healthcare product, if a person has knowledge about setting certain Testing workflows in a product, and such a knowledge is missed, it could potentially cause problems later on. It could even lead to a loss of business, or customer (In Healthcare, likely to be a patient).
But if the sessions are well planned, all such knowledge can be transferred in a good manner.
It is important to also have hands on where the KT recipient gets to perform certain potential real life problems and can ask the KT giver any questions before that person leaves the company.

KT sessions can also be done in cases where one needs to have backup of certain resources. This is a good means to build expertise of certain people in certain areas as well.
Knowledge of different people also grows since one will have questions about different things, and the other person can answer or will search for suitable answers.

To summarize, Knowledge Transfer or KT sessions or Programs are something the IT firms can’t do without, and need to be successfully planned and executed.

Image source:
CC0 Public Domain
Free for commercial use
No attribution required

Your Reaction On, Sorry Your Update Has Failed.
Jumping Hurdles, Why writing sites fail (2)

I have an habit of keeping my software’s up to date so that they function properly without any glitches or breakdowns. But sometimes the updates are so time consuming and huge that its better if you ignore them. Firefox Browser has one of those updates that can make you go restless. I usually avoid updating Firefox browser because the past experience while updating it were very annoying. Now if you have software that you haven’t updated since long but suddenly decided to update it, so its quite obvious that you would get the current latest update. But with Firefox update is a little different you wont get the current update straight away, you will download all the previous updates till the current update. Means if you are on old version 25 then instead of downloading the current version which could be V.48, but the downloads would be V.33 then V.44 and later V.48 simultaneously. Now all versions are more than 40+MB in size just imagine how much time would it would take to reach the current update if you have slow connection. And that you are not guaranteed that the update wont fail in between and to your nightmare it won’t even resume from where it was interrupted. Today had decided to update my browser as it was giving me some trouble while surfing. I received one update properly but it took a long time may be because of connectivity or the update servers might be down. But when it was to download the last update it had almost made it to the finish line and only had some kbps left, the update failed. I thought it might be because of my internet service provider so gave it a second shot. Again the ship drowned when it just had made it to the shore, with huge amount of frustration again gave it a try. WOW what a luck guy I am the update again failed, almost 200MB and 1hr wasted just to see two words Update Failed.

Computer Game Addiction, Is Your Child in It?

There are so many games on computers that the young spend their time so much on. Parents are usually hopeless in taking them away from computer gadgets as they persuade them to do other things like focusing on studies instead of playing all day, some even all night!

Negative Effects of Computer Games

Some of the negative effects of computer games are as follows:

1.Children or teens failing in school. They tend to focus on computer games at home and even during breaks in school instead of studying or doing their assignments. Some schools ban children from carrying their gadgets like cellphones, tablets, i-pad, to prevent them from playing computer games, or to prevent them from using it to cheat during examinations.

2.Children spend money to play in computer shops using their daily allowance for food in school. If the child came from a poor family, this will cause hunger for him because instead of buying a snack in school, he will use it to pay for computer games in nearby computer shops. This is one of the reasons why local governments do not allow computer shops near schools.They are also banned from allowing students in entering the shop; they can tell it f the kid is wearing a school uniform. But some teens who are addicted to computer games will always find a way not to be caught; they bring extra clothes so they can easily enter the computer shops and play.

3.They tend to be addicted to games. They will ignore their parents advice to do good in school by focusing on their studies. But this is not the case when the child has his mind roaming and thinking of his favorite games while the teacher is talking about the day’s lesson. His mind is focused on what strategy he will use to get high scores or win over his opponents.

There are online games that involve winning money, and this is the worst of it when the student is already addicted to it, as he aims to win and have more money he can use to play longer hours. Computer shops usually charge a player on per hour basis. There also those that offer unlimited playing hours depending on the amount to be paid.

4.He will lack socialization skills. He will just focus on few friends who also have the same addiction to games like him; or to his online friends. This will limit his ability to mingle well with other people including his relatives because he tends to reject attending important family occasions.

5.His health is affected too. Instead of walking, getting some morning or late afternoon sunshine, he tends to sit all day in front of the computer; or to lie in bed playing on his tablet, i-pod or laptop. His muscles and bones will become weak for lack of exercise. At times, he forget to eat on time because he do not want to miss a game or when he wins and he is too engrossed on it.

These are some of the negative effects of computer games, and it is the parent’s responsibility to guide them from spending too much time on it. Schools also have a big part in guiding them so their future would not be bleak if they flunk their grades. Children should be encouraged to join sports activities in school or to join in the varsity team to make them physically busy instead of sitting all day playing online games.

Scammer in Literacybase, Beware! Scammer Using Fake Name
New_office (1)_Computers Have Taken Over Jobs of Secretaries.

This is a follow-up on my earlier article entitled :scammers-on-the-rampage-beware-dont-be-a-victim.

It was here in Literacybase where somebody with the name Alice Pena sent me a private message telling me to immediately contact her through an e-mail address she sent. She said I don’t need to tell it to anyone because it was something secret and very urgent. I asked her why, but she did not answer, and it raised my curiosity and having in mind that she/he could be a nice person because he/she is on Literacybase also.

So I replied to her e-mail, which later I found a very bad decision I made since she is a total stranger. I thought she might be telling something about Literacybase or any other writing site. Such thing happened to me when someone from another writing site sent me a message and she became my client (content writing).

She said she is a Senior Auditor at Al Rayan Bank Plc UK. She said her life was so sad and she is planning to move to another country to invest her $14.5 million which was entrusted to her by a bank customer. She said that customer died and had no family or relatives to claim the money, and she plans to invest in a company abroad.

Thinking that it could be a scam, I searched for her name and the bank she said she was employed. There I found the same letter sent to other people. It was on Scam e-mails and featured at Turbo Future. There I found the same set of photos she e-mailed me, claiming she is the woman in that photo.

It was e-mail phising, where the scammer will try to get all your necessary information, and they can use your name and photo in their illicit activities to scam other people.

From that site I learned that the name Alice Pena was fictitious, and the woman on the photo is Natalya Delieva, a Russian. Her photo could had been stolen probably from social media sites. She could had been a victim of identity theft.I hope she can clear her name, being a victim.

I hope that criminal will be caught and jailed. It pays to be cautious, to research first if someone sent you that kind of message. Maybe they are eyeing people who they think have a “bleeding heart” for the needy, or people who they think could easily bite their bait.

I asked her how come she sent me a message; was that because she read my blogs here? Maybe she had read my blog on how to help people in need.

I looked for the name Alice Pena on the Literacybase names of members, but it was not there. How come she/he was able to send me a private message here at Literacybase? I hope the admin/@Support will also look into this matter.

I posted this article to serve as a warning to all Literacybase members who could be the next target of that scammer. Another lesson I learned: do not just click the e-mail link provided by a stranger. Better research first before clicking it.