Category: Internet


Brave Unknown

It doesn’t hurt that part of my freelance work involves Twitter and I’ve gotten hooked reading about current events and posts about politics on the micro-blogger platform since I quit Facebook last year. One day my curiosity brought me to unfamiliar territory and even though part of me felt I wasted so much time that day, I did take away a valuable lesson about cyberbullies.

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Image courtesy of: Thoughtrepostrepository

What surprised me clicking through various Twitter profiles was how it became clearer that all of the notorious basher accounts do not have display pictures on their profile that’s uniquely theirs, i.e., their own profile picture. I don’t have a problem with critical thinkers hiding behind a different identity but what gives me pause is their intention to malign. Does this kind of anonymity make them feel entitled to lambaste known personalities? It sure does seem that way to me.

My hat goes off to a number of people I follow that are brave enough to critique presidents and other government officials and still show their authentic faces via their display picture. On the other end of the spectrum are faceless users with copied avatars spreading negativity. It’s one thing to criticize, it’s another to malign. Some cyberbullies I encountered that day feel braver with the latter.

King of Wands

I just need to get this off my chest. Perhaps to be clearer I ought to post the events in chronological order.

Around late August or early September 2012 a random guy from a popular online dating site initiated a conversation with me. I had mentioned a name of an esoteric branch I am affiliated with on my profile and he had inquired which specific group I belonged to.  Despite the interesting yet unusual nature of our short exchange of messages and the fact that he was a kindred spirit, I did not feel compelled to check out his profile or read what he had to say about himself. I believe what contributed to the ambivalence was the first impressions I had formed from looking at his thumbnail profile picture – he seemed one overconfident (read: bordering on cockiness) and ambitious alpha male that’s way out of my league. It’s probably not true and I’m not in a position to confirm that because I don’t know him at all. When we had stopped chatting, it was I who had asked him a question about which body of esoteric teachings he resonated well with. He had not replied then and it was okay with me since we all have the freedom not to write back. I do admit I also have a record of not writing back. If I don’t like to reply, I just ignore and everyone moves on happily.

On October 18, 2013, I woke up at around 6 a.m. from a very disturbing dream. In a nutshell, this was the sequence: a local investigating agency gives a free seminar to civilians, I saw not more than 10 snakes which did not pose any threat at all as I had not been bitten, I saw centuries-old buildings crumble in an earthquake but I was no casualty, I saw the sky and clouds alternating between blue and violet hues which made me so scared to declare it was already the apocalypse and lastly, it felt like martial law all over again. I did not like the overall feeling in the dream – I had panicked and I felt it signified imminent life changes that might shake the core of my being despite getting out of it unscathed.

I got around to checking my mail at around 8 or 9 a.m. To my surprise the kindred spirit from last year had sent another message and it kinda took me close to 5 minutes to try to recall who he was or what we had talked about the last time. I had not visited the online dating site for about a year. I read the preview of the message and didn’t click through until probably an hour later, which was too long a procrastination. He said he was sorry we lost touch, that he MIGHT be coming to my neck of the woods soon and that it would be good to meet some kindred spirits here. He divulged his first name and e-mail address in case I was interested to correspond.

Okay. I don’t know why he would message me back with the possibility of meeting in person. I really didn’t think I had made a lasting impression and someone from a state in the US in their right mind would not go through the hassle of visiting a small city in the Philippines to meet some kindred spirits.

I finally found out his last name from the first e-mail correspondence. Because people who slowly get curious instinctively go to Google to do a little searching, that’s eventually what I did. Wow. He has an IMDb profile. That was unexpected and kinda intimidating at the same time and he, I reiterate, does seem out of my league. He had a few US TV appearances and had uncredited roles in some big Hollywood films. He seems to know a lot about esoteric stuff more than I do. Oh well I have got to cut myself some slack as I only really have 3 years of study in the esoteric group I’m in. His years of study is probably a decade more than mine. Heck, maybe even more.

I asked him whether or not his trip had to do with business. He replied he was going to one Asian country for a business trip for the first time but was thinking of visiting the Philippines as he had not been to both Asian countries. He asked me which part of the country I was in. After the second correspondence I had not gotten any reply. This was kinda annoying because you either go or you don’t. If you are set to go and have everything in place, that’s when you tell others of your set plan. I get annoyed with the use of MIGHT and SOON. Needless to say, I don’t really believe him.

Apparently inactive members who log in again to the site get their profiles bumped up to the top of the list, they suddenly get more profile visibility and possibly get few messages from newer members. That’s what happened to me when I logged on to the site again after a year. A few days ago I got a message from another member and I clicked through to at least give him a courteous reply. Someone buzzed in on my IM window and unexpectedly it was Mr. I’m-Sorry-We-Lost-Touch . He typed, “Hey there. I see I probably lured you back in here.”

Instead of pretending that I did not know he was insinuating about the fact that he had not written back, I pretended I did not read his IM. I shut down his presumptuous assumption by not replying and then closing the IM window. Where does he get that confidence to assume that I was following him there? Tsk tsk.

This person seemed to have brought seemingly uncontrollable internal chaos into my life on the second point of contact. I have a weird feeling about it. I can’t explain it. On the other hand I have no right to pass on judgment to someone I don’t know personally.

But everything’s cool yet having seen his communication pattern with me, I don’t think I’d want to talk to this person again.

A few months back I was researching for online sites that offer Twitter followers for a fee. I had to do some assignments which required the number of my Twitter Followers to be at least twice the number of those I follow on Twitter.

The lowest price I found for buying 500 Twitter followers was $5. I was following around 150 people then and could even sacrifice unfollowing some Twitter users if only there were reliable sites that allow a purchase of 250 followers. Of course I had to extensively read reviews on sites regarding buying Twitter followers because, let’s face it, a huge percentage of the followers you get are bots. At last I went for the service which had a 5 star rating from its members and clicked on Purchase 1,000 followers for $10 on the Buy Real Marketing site.

What really impressed me was the fact that Buy Real Marketing has a chat feature on their website so potential buyers can probe more about what they are buying. The customer service agent was helpful in answering my queries and he did not give me the disillusion that I was going to get 100% legit Twitter followers.

The purchase was easy – I did it using my PayPal account and within 3 days I saw they had gradually started delivering my additional Twitter followers. Delivery of 1,000 followers was completed in 4 days as promised. I received a confirmation e-mail, too.

A day after my order was completed I was disappointed to see the number of my Twitter followers dropping about 4 times in a day. I noticed the same thing on the second and third day and the week ended by leaving me only 700+ followers. I was beginning to doubt the best service I found could not give me my money’s worth. Meanwhile I could still do my Twitter assignments, the real reason why I bought 1,000 followers.

Buy Real Marketing has a 60-day refund policy. Within 60 days they will review your Twitter account and if the followers drop, they can always re-deliver. They did re-deliver the Twitter followers I missed because of Twitter’s API change and I even got 700 followers more.  My Twitter followers came up to 2,200 two months ago. I still notice a drop, but it’s only a slight drop – within two months I still have 2,100.

**This article was originally published in RedGage, TheEmpress. 

For two weeks I’ve been mentioning to my sister and cousin about a Power Point file which was once provided to me by my boss back in 2005 during my first call center stint. I told them that training material contained tips on how to pronounce some of United Kingdom’s towns and cities. I once heard my cousin pronounce a place in the UK incorrectly and I corrected him and cited that Power Point training material. I know very well it was still in my Hotmail account and I was hoping I could still retrieve my account there after over a year or so of dormancy.

Strangely for myself I only ever got the urge to try to open my Hotmail account today. I had to go through the proverbial password resetting and secondary e-mail verification. I did find the Power Point file in less than 5 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised with Hotmail/Live inbox’s new makeover. It’s much more cleaner and much more organized. I had 1,800+ emails 98% of which were notifications from old Friendster, and a high school Yahoo! Group. I didn’t bother sifting through each of them, of course, though I did get a few curious e-mails from two friends. Apparently Hotmail had been sending spam links to most of my Hotmail contacts. I hope the new Outlook has improved spam/junk mail detection just like GMail.

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It did feel weird responding to 1-year-old e-mails, even more awkward because I had to apologize for the spam links for which Hotmail was the culprit. However, the new Outlook definitely looks more encouraging to engage in.

 

**This post was originally published in RedGage, TheEmpress. 

Dazzling Mermaid Online Game

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I broke out into laughter yesterday afternoon while my 4-year-old niece was playing with a game on Y8 on a laptop. At first I wasn’t sure what she was doing, if she was watching or playing an online game. I was sitting with my back to her while waiting for my friends’ text message to confirm what time they would arrive because there were forms they wanted me to sign.

It was the monotonous flash player sound of the game that caught my attention. I glanced over my shoulder at what she was doing and saw an animation with a green-haired pretty girl. Next to the green-haired girl were color palettes to choose from. I noticed she was clicking on one palette and then pointing the cursor to the eyebrows of the pretty girl.

She always plays those kinds of games online so there was nothing new about it. But when I caught her scrolling down the page, the green-haired pretty girl turned out to be a mermaid. I found out the title of the game was Dazzling Mermaid. That’s when I broke out into laughter and told my niece that I was so amused at the idea that a mermaid was putting on makeup while she’s underwater.

Kids’ games are funny. There’s no limit to what the imagination can come up.

 

LR

This is the reason why I like GMail a lot – it has an intelligent spam filtering system. Despite that, I still check my Spam folder just in case some of my important e-mails were redirected to that folder by mistake. Last night I found one phishing e-mail legitimately disguised to look like it’s coming from Liberty Reserve.

If you have ever received the same kind of e-mail and it landed in your main inbox, never click on that link. I’m glad GMail never gave me reason to debate myself on the e-mail’s credibility by giving me the warning message which goes like this:

“Be careful with this message. It contains a suspicious link that was used to steal people’s personal information. Unless you trust the sender, don’t click links or reply with personal information. Learn more.”

I have to give mad props for the creator of this phishing e-mail. Assuming themselves as Liberty Reserve and subtly convincing registered members that their account will be suspended if they do not click through the suspicious link for the Liberty Reserve Terms of Service Update is utterly brilliant. If only they would redirect their energies towards something more productive than simple black hat methods.

Google Password Change Security

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It’s so pathetic of me to be advised by Google that my “password was changed 10 days ago”. I have been getting that reminder in red for 10 days. It would jolt me out of a state resembling a narcoleptic lethargy. So foolish of me to forget a recently changed password but short term memory recall is so persistent.

I had to change my GMail account password because two weeks ago some kind of virus sent a spam link to 14 contacts in my list, including my other two GMail accounts. I ignored it and didn’t know how serious it was until a few days after when I received this notification from Google:

Someone recently tried to use an application to sign in to your Google Account -******@gmail.com. We prevented the sign-in attempt in case this was a hijacker trying to access your account. Please review the details of the sign-in attempt:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 6:06:08 PM UTC
IP Address: 166.137.120.68
Location: Alvarado, TX, USA

One thing I noticed is that only my three GMail accounts received that spam link. I don’t know any entity from Alvarado, TX. I didn’t want to risk getting my account compromised again by some third party application so I had to change my password. Yet every day I try to log in via a laptop, my fingers would automatically type the old password. I thought that I kept forgetting it because it was so entirely different from the old one. I attempted a second password modification by appending 3 new characters to the old password but 45 hours after my stubborn fingers were at it again.

Google comes to the rescue by alerting me with another verification feature via a mobile phone verification code.

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I hope the above image will be the first and last verification from Google I will encounter this year.

Engaging With RedGage

I’ve been invited by a good friend of mine to join RedGage. I signed up at a time when I had been looking for opportunities to earn a bit of money from uploading pictures.

If you don’t know what RedGage is yet, you can go to their website and see this introductory message: “RedGage is a website which pays you for your content and monetizes your social activity.” You can upload your own original photos, your blog, your link, a document or note or/and your video.

What I like about RedGage is it will show you the unique views and the earning each of your uploads garnered. There is no limit to the number of uploads you can make.

To earn more in RedGage, it is advisable that you socialize and make more friends within RedGage. If you have less friends, you will get noticed if you comment on Featured uploads by other members. Social media sharing is also encouraged. Each upload has a Share This button which has Digg, Delicious, Facebook, Twitter, and Friend Feed. If your friends aren’t on RedGage yet, it’s the best idea to invite them. Not only will they earn by sharing their uploads, they will also expand their social network online. I could see a lot of artistic photographers in RedGage in my few days with the site.

Posting pictures that weren’t taken by you is not advisable. You have to post your own content.

The problem I’ve encountered with RedGage which I’ve already contacted their Support about is regarding the Invite Friends tool. I tried my Gmail address and even though I provided the correct username and password by re-checking and re-entering them, it still gives me an error.

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I got an e-mail from Gmail regarding authorizing a third-party application login. I followed the  instructions but to no avail. I still haven’t received a response from Support regarding the issue.

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Another difficulty I encountered this afternoon was my recent photo uploads seemed to be duplicated to the earlier uploaded photos once it appears on my feed. You can see in the photo that even though all three have different captions, they have the same picture of the starfish which was the third picture I uploaded. It seems that the two previous photos I uploaded assumes the picture of the most recently uploaded photo which is very very frustrating. In annoyance I contacted Support again.

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I have yet to get a reply from them. Despite these problems, I still recommend you check out RedGage for yourself if you’re not yet a member. Maybe I just have a sucky internet connection on my end.

Internet tomfoolery such as the Nigerian Advanced Fee Fraud Email Scams and Email Lottery Scams is not only found in Spam folders. We can encounter quite similar antics bordering on voyeurism in chat messengers, too.

One not-so-busy working day in November I felt this urge to go online on Yahoo! Messenger to chat with my best friend. The power of telepathy played out well that day – she tried to buzz me on Yahoo! Messenger less than a minute after I was logged in. She asked me excitedly if I liked the idea of a virtual astrologer/palm reader. She made a new online friend from Singapore who she claims to be an expert at palmistry and astrology. It appears like this virtual astrologer who did her free palm reading via webcam and free birth chart reading has really impressed my friend.

You read that right – free. I don’t believe you can easily get something for free these days. I constantly receive email offers from Astrology sites and I know that they charge a fee for a comprehensive birth chart reading.

Another thing that set the alarm bells ringing in my head was her claim that this virtual astrologer can even tell you about the specifics of your love life – your short-term or long-term relationships, the nationality and even the physical attributes of your potential partner – by reading the lines of the so-called mount of Venus. My friend claimed the latter is optional and one could choose not to proceed if they feel uncomfortable showing the lines of their bare chest on webcam. For an internet voyeur he sure pretends to be modest. Since when did the Mount of Venus in palmistry have a pornographic connotation?

In palmistry, the Mount of Venus is that fleshy protrusion just below your thumb. It is supposedly indicative of love and romance issues in your life. I could feel the tone of naïveté in my friend’s words when she told me the reason why she didn’t proceed with the Mount of Venus reading was because she’d rather not know about what’s in store for her in the relationship department…(READ MORE…)

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