Saturday, June 12, 2010

Blog # 145: Our House Hacked

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Gregory da Silva, who calls himself the Eggman, smiles during a fans' party in Cape Town, one day prior to the start of the 2010 World Cup. Photo: Paul Hanna-Reuters


The Hi-Jacking of my Gmail Account


Monday, June 7. Guess what? I was eating breakfast this morning when my phone rang. It was my son Joel, who had just gotten an email from me saying that I was traveling in the UK and had my wallet stolen, and I would hate to inconvenience him, but could he please send me, three thousand dollars.


Welcome to the world of cyberscum. I immediately tried to access my gmail account, but no luck. Somebody has hijacked it, changed the password, and is busy sending out fake requests for money in my name. I can no longer get access to my own email account. And since it is also Google, I won’t be able to access my Little Eddy blog either. What to do? I filled out a Google page to reclaim your gmail account several times, but it rejected my complaint, particularly the URL for my blog, which happens to be: http://www.littlleeddy.blogspot.com/ It turned out that what the page rejected was the www, when I took it out the complaint was gone. However, for the record your favorite browser will access my page with or without the www.


Tuesday, June 8. Still locked out from my gmail account, and since all Google accounts are related, I’ll have to clear this up before Saturday, otherwise I won’t be able to update my blog. More frustration. I filled out Google’s form for resetting my password three or four more times, but the guy must have changed my question, for the way I entered it, it asked for the name of my elementary school. My elementary school had been Woodrow Wilson, but that answer came up wrong, time and time again.


However the page did ask me for an alternate email address where Google could contact me. I went back to Excite, which I had really not used since I first began using gmail in January 2007, but rather than reactivate my original eddybad@excite.com, I opened a brand new account there, combining my age with my original screen name edbad: edbad84@excite.com.


Then came lots more filling out the Google page with lots of frustration and no discernible progress. I finally gave up for the day, turning my attention to game 3 of the NBA finals between the Lakers and the Celtics, scheduled for Tuesday night at 8 on ABC. Boston put up a good fight, and got within 3 near the end, but the Lakers were too much for them that night, overpowering them down the stretch.


At any rate, have no fear. Google’s here. Google’s instruction are to leave your gmail account inactive for 24 hours, then follow the instructions to reset your password. However, this scammer has been busy alerting my entire email list that I (He) needs $3,000. Hopefully no one who knows me will fall for that line. No one I know has $3,000 to lend me, and if they did I seriously doubt that they would.


However, what to do if that doesn’t work? I decided that I will just keep googling that someone has stolen my account until I get someone’s attention. Will it work? Who knows? Just for the record I googled: “someone hijacked my gmail account,” and a page came up claiming 65,500 results, and the page listed the first ten stories, all similar to my own.


In one of the stories that I Googled the author told how he joined twitter and announced his problem, and someone from Google read of his plight and came to his aid. And so I attempted to join twitter. Everything worked out fine except my temporary email address, edbad84@excite.com was rejected because it was being used already. 84 refers to my age, and edbad was my original screen name before one of the entities I belonged to had me change it to eddybad. How could edbad84 be taken up by anybody else is beyond me, but twitter insisted that it was. Just about then the twitter servers conked out, and my twitter membership went up in electronic dust.


It is Wednesday, and I’m still locked out of my gmail account. However, perusing my brand new excite account I discover a couple of communications from Google. One of them takes me to a page where I could reset my password without having to answer that question that kept telling me I was wrong. I followed Google’s instruction, clicked on a link, and found myself at a page which would allow me to create an entirely new password. I did that, making up an entirely new password four or five characters longer than my original, and Viola! Damned if my gmail page didn’t open. For the first time since Sunday I was able to check into my gmail account with it. Gmail, oh gmail, how I had missed thee, let me count the ways.


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A villager looks over his fields while plowing for rice planting in Kob Srov, Cambodia. Photo: Heng Sinith-AP


Few Readers Means No Flack


White House correspondent icon Helen Thomas, dean of the White House correspondents, had to resign her position after saying on YouTube that Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine.” Generally speaking, if you know what’s good for you you will make no comments the least bit critical of “It can do no wrong” Israel.

Last week our lead article decried Israel’s attack on the flotilla carrying aid to the Gaza Palestinians that Israel is attempting to starve as punishment for electing Israel hating Hamas. We called the murder of eight Turks and one Turkish-American piracy on the high seas. No backlash whipped around us, as we have too few readers, and evidently the ones we do have don’t buy the Israel line.


Chris Matthews take note, it’s the Israeli mafia who really plays hardball. No criticism of Israel, no matter how arbitrary it’s actions, is allowed in the public media. Anything even hinting that the right wing Likud government is being somehow unreasonable is met by unending public ridicule.


However, there are two or more sides to every issue facing mankind. And so there is another side to the flotilla story. A side that was lucidly told by the Swedish best selling author, Henning Mankell, in his Diary of Being Aboard the Flotilla, as translated to English and published by TheDailyBeast. Henning begins by giving the reasons for his participation:


Our destination can be read in its point of departure, I think as I wait for the taxi. As instructed, I’ve limited my luggage to a rucksack weighing no more than 10 kilos. “Ship to Gaza” has a clear, and clearly defined, goal: to break the illegal blockade that Israel is imposing on the Gaza region. After the war a year ago, life has become more and more unbearable for the Palestinians who live there. There is a huge shortage of the bare necessities for living any sort of decent life.


But the aim of the voyage is of course more explicit than that. Deeds, not words, I think. It’s easy to say you support or defend or oppose this, that, and the other. But only action can provide proof of your words. The Palestinians who have been forced by the Israelis to live in this misery need to know that they are not alone, not forgotten. The surrounding world has got to be reminded of their existence. And we can do that by loading some ships with what they need most of all: medicines, desalination plants for drinking water, cement.


Henning goes on to tell his story in a straightforward manner, including telling after their captivity by the Iraelies how a man who preceded him in a line allowed himself to be photographed, but claiming he had done nothing wrong refused to allow fingerprints to be taken. According to Henning’s diary he was beaten to the ground by his Israeli captors and carried off.


When Henning was discovered to be a best selling author a man familiar with his writings was assigned to him to make sure he was not mistreated. However, he said his disgust at the treatment of the Flotilla people at the hands of the Israel is causing him to rethink having his books translated into Hebrew.


For Henning’s complete diary, which was translated into English and published in it entirety by TheDailyBeast, go here! •


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For me TheDailyBeast continues to be an online treasure. Another gem in the current edition is an interview with former Apple CEO John Scully, on why he fired Steve Jobs. Of course, Scully blamed the firing on the Apple board of directors, and with many years to think back on it, and watching Apple’s meteoric rise under Jobs stewardship since his return, Scully expressed a wish that at the time of his firing he could have talked Jobs into returning.





John Scully – Fired Steve Jobs



But this expressed wish comes well after the fact, there was no action taken by Scully at that time, and Apple continued to flounder first under Scully, then under Michael Spindler and finally under Gil Amelio. Apple turned itself around only after it’s board bought Jobs’ NeXT to form the basis for a re-worked Mac OS, and then made Jobs interim CEO at a salary of a dollar a year. Jobs has since had the i removed from his title of CEO although he still earns a dollar a year (although he seems to be putting small i’s in front of most all of its current product line.) For the full story go here! For another view of the Apple story you can check out Wikipedia’s version of the Apple saga here! •


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Frustrated with your browser?


Destroy the Web


Well, here’s what you impatient frustrated web hounds have been waiting for. Destroy the Web is a game add-on for Firefox, built specifically to take advantage of the new features introduced in Firefox 3.5. A first of its kind, the goal in the game is to destroy each and every Web page, competing for the high score against players around the world! For a list of scores around the league go here! For an example of how the game works, click the arrow below.







A Portrait in Oil





A dead crab sits in oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill on a beach in Grand Terre Island, La. Photo: Lee Celano-Reuters

Good News for Frustrated Composers


Are you a frustrated music composer? Do you have melodies running through your head, which eventually spin away into nothingness? Well, if you have a Mac there’s (to quote the iPhone) “an app for that.” The Mac application for burgeoning musicians is called Garage Band, and it allows you to make loops of drum rhythms, piano lines, etc. and have them play as a whole. Garage Band comes as a free app with all new Macs, and you can even create podcasts with the program using digital music from your record collection.


However, a new website gives pc owners the ability to make your own music. It is called Aviary, and it can be accessed here! Good luck, and have fun with it.


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And so we come to the end of Blog # 145. This was the week that was, as we lost access to our gmail account and blog for three days, while some merry hacker pretending to be me sent out messages asking for money to my entire email list. What a crock? He had me traveling in England, whereas I’m scheduled for another bone marrow scan to determine if I have chronic myeloid leukemia on July 2nd. I truly hope no one fell for that line and sent him one red cent, much less the $3,000 he was asking for. Imagine, me needing $3,000 if my wallet got stolen? Imagine anybody on my email list sucker enough to send that hacker one copper penny?


Well, as we said that was the week that was. And is no more. We are back united with our Google account once again, which you can see when Blog # 145 gets uploaded in a few minutes. Meantime, we hope you’ll come back any time after next Saturday to see what we’ve come up with by then. Meantime, bye bye, and don’t let any wooden hackers take over your password and lock you out of your email account.


The Real Little Eddy § eddybad@gmail.com

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