Monday, August 3, 2015

A Google Courtesy Has Saved Me From Breaking A European Union Cookie Law

Several days ago when logging into my various blogs I found myself greeted with the message from Google you see here, contained in the yellow box.

The message in its entirety...

European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent.

As a courtesy, we have added a notice on your blog to explain Google's use of certain Blogger and Google cookies, including use of Google Analytics and AdSense cookies. 

You are responsible for confirming this notice actually works for your blog, and that it displays. If you employ other cookies, for example by adding third party features, this notice may not work for you. Learn more about this notice and your responsibilities.

What fresh hell is this, I read and wondered?

Why would the European Union get itself all worked up over blog cookies? I clicked on the "learn more" link to learn more about my responsibilities regarding this serious issue. And to make sure the Google notice actually works.

Well, you click on "learn more" to learn that one needs to go to the Euro versions of ones blog to check on the Google notice, the examples given by Google were for France and the UK. So, I checked on and and found no notice added as a courtesy by Google.

I decided not to worry about it, except for a concern deep in the recesses of my imagination that the EU version of the FBI might soon be after me.

And then this morning I checked once again and was pleased to discover that Google has now added the courteous notice Google said they would  add as a courtesy...

All is now well with the world, with me no longer worried about a knock on the door be the EU FBI. Or Interpol...

Friday, February 20, 2015

Microsoft Changed Windows 8.1 Login Without Permission Causing User Lockout Frustration

This morning there was a knock on my door. Opening the door I found Big Ed holding his laptop, flipped open and on.

What fresh hell is this I wondered?

Well, apparently yesterday Big Ed was attempting to create an Instagram account. To do so somehow he was led to believe he needed some Microsoft app from the Google Play store.

To get the Microsoft app Big Ed needed to create a Microsoft Account, along with a Hotmail email address. This was sounding so ridiculous I have no idea why Big Ed did not bail at the Hotmail point of the process.

After creating the Microsoft Account I assume all was hunkydory with Instagram.

What had Big Ed knocking on my door was the fact that this morning when he turned on his computer the login had changed to being the Microsoft Account login he had created the day before.

However, the password did not work, Big Ed could not login to his computer.

Googling "Microsoft Account Login Not Working" soon indicated a lot of users have had the same problem, with it being a Windows 8.1 problem. The fixes were varied and some seemed absurdly drastic.

However, the suggest to hold down the shift key while restarting, causing the computer to go into troubleshoot mode where one could access System Restore, seemed like it should fix the problem. Simply restore the computer to a point before Microsoft mucked it up.

However, to access System Restore Windows was asking for the same login/password info that did not work.

Eventually I came to the Microsoft webpage you see screencapped above. Clicking on "Can't access your account?" had me going step by step to resetting Big Ed's password. A new password was generated, Microsoft then sent a validation code to a Big Ed gmail address I quickly set up on my computer. Microsoft indicated all was well, so I entered the new password at Big Ed's login and soon his Windows were back open.

I forgot to mention, Big Ed has very poor eyesight, thus needed help.

Now, why would Microsoft do this to users? Why, without asking, or warning, would creating a Microsoft Account, in order to acquire a program, cause Microsoft to overwrite the login on a user's computer? Microsoft changed Big Ed's login name from "Ed" to the Hotmail email address created the day before.

I tell you, I have never had a virus muck up a computer as badly as Microsoft has at  times.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

AT & T Fraudulently Changes Its Bill Due Date Without Notice & Then Charges A Late Fee

Looking for an image to illustrate my disgust at an AT & T likely illegal billing practice I soon saw I was not alone in my contempt for AT & T.

Didn't AT & T recently get fined for some sort of fraudulent practice?

Well. I think AT & T is in need of another fine, along with some sort of refund to the customers who AT & T's racketeering type billing defrauded of funds.

What triggers a federal RICO racketeering investigation? Let me describe AT & T's sleazy scheme and see what you think.

The bill due date for my AT & T U Verse Internet account had been the 13th of the month, ever since I signed on to the service. A few months ago the due date was advanced a day, with no notice or explanation.

Then the due date was advanced another day. I paid that month's bill a day late due to the bill due date being arbitrarily changed. No "late fee" was charged, that time.

But, when I went to pay this month's bill I found the due date had been advanced again, now with the bill due date being the 8th of the month.

Plus a $9.95 overdue fee had been added to the previous month's bill, which I had paid a day after that month's changed bill due date.

Yesterday I contacted AT & T's customer service chat line. After about 20 minutes someone came online. I explained the problem. The AT & T customer service person said the bill due dates had been changed for uniformity within their system. This sounded ridiculous to me, and so I said so.

I also questioned the legality. The customer service person removed the overdue fee and changed the bill due date back to original.

Now, here is where the racketeering fraud comes in.

How many customers has AT & T done this to? How many customers have paid this bogus "late" fee without a complaint?

How many millions of dollars has AT & T defrauded its customers of, with this clearly fraudulent billing practice?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

For October Google AdSense Payment in Progress is Stuck in Limbo

To the left you are looking at a screencap from my Google AdSense account. Note that on Oct. 21 Automatic payment was in progress.

That payment was direct deposited in my bank by the morning of Oct. 23.

And yet it is now Oct. 26 and my AdSense account is still indicating the Automatic payment is in progress.

That and the account has not been updated with the new Current Balance and the new Most Recent Payment.

Plus if you look at a report for today, or the month, you find that Estimated Earnings, Page Views, Clicks, Page CTR, CPC, Page RPM  are all N/A, as in Not Available.

One can send feedback to Google, but one gets no feedback back.

It can be frustrating. Like when Google "Updated" AdSense with a new, supposed, improved account view. With that we lost easy access to the current day's stats. We lost easily seeing the month's total revenue. Instead we get stats like "Last 7 days" and "Last 28 days".

There is a Google Adsense Payments Forum which is very useful, with Google Adsense users from all over the world sharing their experience. From that forum I learned that PIP (Payment in Progress) being currently stuck is a world-wide issue.

When Google makes a payment they also send an email informing that a payment has been made. That has also been missing this month.

I wish the Google AdSense operation were more transparent and that there was a way to more directly contact some sort of support system.

It will be interesting to see how this current confusion plays out. And if we ever get a Google explanation for that which is perplexing AdSense publishers across the globe....

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Getting a New Samsung Phone from Metro PCS was a Painless Process Compared to Dealing with AT & T

Up til last August I got my AT & T cell phone service through a Fort Worth agent called Hawk Electronics. In 2013 Hawk Electronics went bankrupt. During the bankruptcy process I was told my cell phone service would smoothly transition to being handled directly by AT & T.

That proved to be un-true. I did not like the way AT & T handled, or mishandled the transition, so I transitioned out of having AT & T being my cell phone service provider.

For several months a Google phone was my phone option. This is not a mobile option. Unless one wants to haul ones laptop from its home location to some other wi-fi connection from which one can make a call.

By February of 2014 I was tired of the Google phone and not being mobile, so I walked across the street to a Metro PCS store which I'd long noticed and which recently was advertising Smart Phones for $29.99. And $40 a month for unlimited talk, text and data.

My last experience with getting a new phone had been at Hawk Electronics, a very bad experience which took a couple hours. It was bizarre. I was not shocked when I learned Hawk Electronics had gone bankrupt.

With Hawk Electronics being my previous phone acquisition experience I sort of dreaded what type of time suck nightmare Metro PCS would be.


Totally opposite of my Hawk Electronics experience. No wait. I walked in the store and within seconds I was in the getting a new phone process. About ten minutes later I walked out with my new phone. The process would have been even shorter had I not been having fun talking to the Metro PCS sales lady.

One of the things I did not like about Hawk Electronics and AT & T was the billing and payment method. Once a month I'd log into my account to view the bill. Often there would be charges which made no sense which I would have to hassle over to get removed. The bill would fluctuate for no explicable reason. The bill had a long list of charges, surcharges, taxes and fees.

So, I logged into my online account to pay my first Metro PCS bill to find there really was no bill. Just fill in credit card info and pay $40.00. I did so. The next month I got a text message advising me that my bill  was due and that I could pay it by texting "PAY 40.00". I did so and instantly got a text message thanking me.

Like I already said, Metro PCS has been dead opposite of the phone experience I had for years with Hawk Electronics and AT & T.

As for learning to use a Smart Phone. I'd never used my previous phone to send a text message. I may have received a text message or two. With the Smart Phone I was pleasantly surprised to find out both how easy it is to text message, and how useful it turns out to be.

I had no idea, til using one, that a Smart Phone is basically a very small, very powerful computer that can pretty much do anything I can do on my laptop. Except blog. The Blogger app for the Smart Phone does not seem usable to me. Maybe I need to give it a longer try, because blogging on the go would be fun....

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Samsung's Galaxy Gear Smartwatch Coming Soon to Earth in the Milky Way Galaxy

This week Samsung unveiled the world's first smartwatch simultaneously at Germany's IFA consumer electronics show and at New York City's Time Square.

Sony also showed off its smartwatch, called SmartWatch2, at the IFA show. Microsoft, Google, Sharp and Apple are expected to be unveiling their smartwatch versions soon.

Samsung's smartwatch is called the Galaxy Gear. The Galaxy Gear works as an extension of your smartphone, with your smartphone sending incoming messages to your wrist.

You can make a phone call using the Galaxy Gear in total Dick Tracy mode. You can use the Galaxy Gear to browse the Internet.

The Galaxy Gear has a 1.9 megapixel camera which can take photos and 10 second videos.

My question about the smartwatch concept is, is this something people are actually going to want?

Why would anyone want to browse the Internet via a little screen attached to their wrist?

I have not had a wristwatch in years. If I need to know the time I look at my non-smart cell phone.

When out and about in a crowd it is now quite common to see people looking as if they are talking to themselves, due to using some little microphone device to talk into their phone.

Are we now going to be seeing people walking along talking to their wrist?

Am I becoming an old fuddy duddy?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Miley Cyrus MTV VMA Twerking Caused Me To Learn A New Word & Dance Move

Miley Cyrus Twerking Robin Thicke
I had not heard the technical term "twerking" til Monday morning when the world was abuzz over Miley Cyrus "twerking" throughout a raunchy display at the MTV VMA (Video Music Awards) Show.

The Oxford Dictionary added "twerk" to their online dictionary after the Miley Cyrus headline provoking brouhaha amped up the use of the "twerk" word to the point that many, like myself, were Googling to find out what "twerk" is.

The Urban Dictionary definition of Twerk...

The rhythmic gyrating of the lower fleshy extremities in a lascivious manner with the intent to elicit sexual arousal or laughter in ones intended audience.

From what I've read and seen I think the Miley Cryus MTV VMA twerking elicited a lot of jaw dropping, a little laughter, but not a lot of arousing.

The Wikipedia Twerking article further elaborates on the serious twerking issue....

Twerking is a dance move that involves a person, usually a woman, shaking her hips in an up-and-down bouncing motion, causing the dancer to shake, "wobble" and "jiggle."

The Oxford Dictionary Online definition of twerking...

To twerk is "to dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance." Twerking carries both gendered and racialized connotations.

Has any "twerk" expert confirmed that that bizarre stuff Miley Cyrus was doing at the VMA's was actually twerking?

If you have a strong desire to learn how to twerk, the video below provides a useful lesson in the art...