Archive for the ‘Things That Irritate Me’ Category

Search Yourself On Google – What You Find Will Scare You

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Privacy is big business, and your privacy is waning by the day. Basically, you, me, your friend next door or the cubicle over, have no privacy.  Not from your employer, not from your neighbor or just about anyone wanting to snoop into your business. Identity theft is also a big business and you don’t want to be a customer.

If you have a common last name, say Johnson, Nguyen or Sanchez, you can likely fly under a lot of radar, unless you have a bizarre first name like Moon Unit or LeBron. If, however, you have a surname that isn’t overly taken, good luck keeping any sort or anonymity.

Do a Google search of yourself, putting parenthesis around your first and last name, and chances are you will be shocked at what you find – likely several pages of links to other websites that have everything from your home address and UNLISTED phone number, to your unpublished cell phone number, your employers for as long as you’ve been gainfully employed, and oh so much more.

A recent search of myself turned up my recent car purchase including the vehicle’s VIN number. The only places that have the VIN on file are the California DMV, my insurance company and the car dealer. Only my car dealer has worked on the car, so there are no fly-by-night garages that did an oil change. I don’t have any tickets – parking or moving violations, so law enforcement didn’t leak the data.  CarFax surely has the VIN in its database, but it isn’t tied to me.

So, where did this private information come from and become public?  No idea, but I am trying to find out and plug the leak.

Social networks like LinkedIn are great platforms for professional business connections and seeking new employment, however unless you make your profile private, everything in your profile is indexed by Google and Bing, meaning all your jobs, schools and city of residence are easily found by anyone in seconds.

Posting pictures on Facebook can tell anyone with a modest amount of tech skills where you’ve been and where you live by checking the source of the photos you post.

“Checking In” on FourSquare tells people you aren’t home, and when your account is linked to Twitter and Facebook, you are broadcasting the fact you and the family are having pizza the next town over tonight.

Ancestry.com is a scary place if you are even slightly paranoid of being hacked. There is a good chance the Mormon Church, which owns the website, has your marriage date, your spouse’s name and the names and ages of your kids on file.

There are literally dozens of sites that data mine your personal information for profit. Most, however, will remove you from their files if you make a written request – assuming the website posts contact information so you can actually reach an administrator.

Don’t take this lightly – when a website you’ve never heard of has your car’s VIN, there’s no telling what else is floating out there.  Search, locate and remove. Do it now!

Add to Del.cio.us RSS Feed Add to Technorati Favorites Stumble It! Digg It!
    www.sajithmr.com

Tattoos

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Tattoos seem to be everywhere these days.  Some say  they are socially acceptable. Celebrities have them, but they don’t need to find a job. Truck drivers, mechanics, tattoo artists, plumbers and janitors have tattoos.  I suppose there are some accountants, architects, computer executives, stock brokers and bank executives that also have tattoos, but I would hedge to guess the number is less than the previous group. Can’t imagine getting past a PWC interview with THUG LIFE across your knuckles.

I, personally, do not like tattoos. I could never take a girl seriously in a dating scenario, if she had a tattoo. I think it looks cheap.

My personal opinion, please note.

It seems most ex-cons have tattoos.

Starbucks makes their employees who have tattoos cover them. Good for them.

I’ve told my daughter that if she ever has a visible tattoo the best job she will ever get is that of a waitress at Denny’s.

I don’t like tattoos, can you tell?

Add to Del.cio.us RSS Feed Add to Technorati Favorites Stumble It! Digg It!
    www.sajithmr.com

Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Monday, September 19th, 2011

An interesting tidbit that I just came across: 29-percent of new entrepreneurs in the United States are immigrants.

Truly the land of opportunity, and I see it all day and every day in Silicon Valley.  Why is it that other parts of the country cannot get on the bandwagon instead of waiting for Obama-care to take care of them with temp jobs that lead nowhere?

In Silicon Valley we aren’t afraid of failure; it’s a badge of valor – it means you tried.  Take your lumps and go for another. Companies fail all the time out here, and there are layoffs as well.  Guess where so many of the new brilliant ideas ferment – yes, from laid-off tech geeks.

Add to Del.cio.us RSS Feed Add to Technorati Favorites Stumble It! Digg It!
    www.sajithmr.com

Grocery Store Plastic Bag Ban

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Politicians have nothing else to do. Never mind the budget overruns, out of whack pensions for public employees or transit systems that are terminally broken. None of these matter as much as stopping me from having my milk put into a bag made from plastic at the grocery store.  It started in San Francisco, likely the most dysfunctional city in America, and has filtered south to San Jose, a city where bootleg DVDs and handbags can be found in a dozen ethnic shopping malls around town without a second glance from city hall.

Years ago stores phased out paper bags because they killed trees and plastic was cheaper. Now plastic is evil and paper is coming back, or to some stores, such as Ikea, bags have been eliminated, period. We are supposed to bring a re-usable bags. A bag I am supposed to buy.

Never mind the inconvenience or how I will get 4 gallons of milk upstairs from the garage, plus my groceries. Never mind the cans of green beans rolling around my trunk. Never mind that I now have to buy trash bags – plastic trash bags. Today, I reuse these bags for garbage and recycling, but that is probably evil, too.

grocery-store-plastic-bags-banned

grocery-store-plastic-bags-banned

The micro-management of our elected politicians is getting more and more bizarre, and we as a population seem to tolerate this behavior. The silent majority needs to take a stand to the so-called “correct left” and say enough is enough: do something useful like eliminating all government pensions for those who don’t teach our children or risk their life on our behalf so we can stop living in a deficit world.

Add to Del.cio.us RSS Feed Add to Technorati Favorites Stumble It! Digg It!
    www.sajithmr.com

1-800-Flowers Class Action Lawsuit Is A Joke

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Not a month goes by without my mailbox or email box receiving a notice that I am part of class-action lawsuit or settlement.  Some of them are downright ridiculous, asking for information from a decade ago that was discarded or is now lost. And some are like this that was received yesterday from-1-800-Flowers.

I, like many people buy flowers for family or friends and have them delivered in far-away places from companies like FTD.com or the company mentioned above.  Apparently they overcharged people, and someone decided to get their 15-minutes of fame and sued, making a lawyer a boatload of cash.

They sued and “we” won, getting a voucher for a future purchase.  Here is what really irks me, the “settlement” calls for the company to issue a “voucher” on a purchase – but that purchase cannot be in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.  Some deal.  Let’s also not forget that they are still getting a sale!  This settlement is essentially an advertisement for the company and we get a coupon with limitations.

Here is the email they sent me:

Dear 1-800-Flowers.com Customer:

Because you purchased products between March 1, 2006 and February 5, 2008 from the www.1-800-Flowers.com website, when a “shipping charge” was noted on the website and the products were delivered by a local florist, you are a Class Member.  Under a proposed class action settlement, upon final Court approval, you are entitled to a Gift Voucher of $10 for each order that you placed at www.1-800-Flowers.com between March 1, 2006 and February 5, 2008.  Simply visit www.1-800-Flowers.com, choose any bouquet, gift basket or other product, and then enter your Gift Code Number at time of check out.  Your Gift Code Number or Numbers are NJGZIY.

Each Gift Voucher is valid for a single Internet order during the six month period following final Court approval (the “Redemption Period”) and is not valid for redemption or delivery of products during the one-week period (7 days) prior to Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.  Complete details, along with dates of the Redemption Period, can be found at www.molnarsettlement.com.  Please check the www.molnarsettlement.com website after March 29, 2010 to determine whether and when Final Approval has been granted and the exact dates of the Redemption Period.

Add to Del.cio.us RSS Feed Add to Technorati Favorites Stumble It! Digg It!
    www.sajithmr.com

Spam Costs Us Billions Each Year

Monday, January 11th, 2010

This is not a political issue though it could (should) be, as it wastes a monumental amount of our time, and costs us money, lots of money.  I am not speaking of government pensions, lazy DMV workers or pothole crews that stand around drinking coffee instead of filling potholes.  No, I am talking about SPAM.  Spam cost Americans roughly $42 Billion in 2009 in lost productivity.

It’s not the pork shoulder and ham concoction that comes is in a blue can from Hormel, is a favorite in the Hawaiian Islands and contains more salt than a lake in Utah.  No, it’s the irritating emails we all get each and every day trying to sell us something, try something at no cost, or help us get rich, really quick.

A can of Hormel Spam

A can of Hormel Spam

Spammers are not content trying to get me to buy surplus land in Arkansas or get a free sample of paper towels.  Nope, now since I am officially a blogger, they now spam my Comments section each and every day trying valiantly to get a cherished link from The Logical Republican!

Today I log in to check my emails (fortunately all comments must be approved before they appear), and what do I see: 19 Comments Awaiting Approval.  Nine of them are in Russian characters, which I cannot read, so they get deleted right away.  Another five are listing where you can get Viagra and Cialis online without a prescription.  Then here are the funny ones – they write a semi-appropriate comment that somewhat addresses the blog topic, but, when I look closely, they have embedded a link to some company’s website trying to get a stealth link.  Tricky, those Spammers.

Comments are a very valuable part of any blog, as it gives the readers a voice in what I write, and allows me to see things from another angle.  The Spam is irritating, and other than filters that often do not work, there isn’t much we or I can do about this other than grin and have another slice.  I like my Spam with steamed rice, a sunny-side-up egg and a dash of soy sauce!

Add to Del.cio.us RSS Feed Add to Technorati Favorites Stumble It! Digg It!
    www.sajithmr.com

High School Student Suspended for Dressing as Santa Claus

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Let me begin by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, and now for the Scrooge and Grinch of the Season award.

A kid, Michael Hance at Strath Haven High School in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia, told his principal that he was going to wear a Santa suit to school and hand out candy.  She said no, but he did it anyway.  They grabbed him and suspended him for defying her.

Strath Haven High School Prinipal MaryJo Yannacone Contact Information

The Strath Haven High School principal’s name is MaryJo Yannacone and her email is myannacone@wssd.org

Outside of this being ridiculous, absurd and downright dumb, let me know if you are in agreement that we should drop MaryJo Yannacone a note and let her know just how we feel, and if you happen to have one of those 11 year-old fruitcakes from Aunt Louise, here is her address:

Strath Haven High School

MaryJo Yannacone

205 S. Providence Road

Wallingford, PA 19086.

Add to Del.cio.us RSS Feed Add to Technorati Favorites Stumble It! Digg It!
    www.sajithmr.com

Tipping – When Should We Tip And Whom Should We Tip

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

‘Tis the season to be jolly, the song goes, so we often reach a bit deeper into our pockets and drop some coins or bills into the Salvation Army red bucket outside the post office, or other worthy causes this time of year.  Some of us also may slip an extra buck or two to the waiter or waitress for great service or going out of their way for us. It’s the Christmas Spirit.

This brings up the question of when to tip, how much should we tip, and who deserves a tip.  I was in New York City this past week on business, and while not as bad as Chicago service workers for always having their hand out, service people in Manhattan seem to expect something for doing very little.

Cab drivers help you calculate the tip when the ride is over with a screen that shows how much 15%, 20% and 25% would amount to, on top of the fare.  Dinner for four at the Roxy Deli on Broadway and 47th totaled $95.00, and the restaurant was considerate enough to add 18% on the bill as a tip regardless of how shoddy the service was.  I had no choice in the matter.

The Roxy Delicatessen on Broadway in New York

The Roxy Delicatessen on Broadway in New York

Saturday morning when I was checking out of my hotel, a nice boutique hotel right off 49th and Broadway in the Theater District called The Time, the doorman who I had seen for the last few days opened the door for me and asked if I needed a cab.  This doorman, other than greeting me when I walked in and out, really didn’t serve a purpose other than offering a presence at the front door, but I knew he expected a tip and I ran out of small bills.  I immediately apologized, telling him, “hey, I’m really sorry…I ran out of cash…”  He smiled and said it wasn’t a problem.

The Time Hotel Doorman Shakes Down The New York Taxi Driver

As we walked out into the morning cold I looked down the block at a line of taxis that were waiting for people like me who were headed to the airport, as he tried to sell me on the Lincoln Towne Car for $65.00.  I told him that due to a previous experience, I prefer a yellow cab – a real taxi, and he proceeded to flag down one for me.

As the car pulled up and I put my bags into the trunk and settled into the back seat, the previously friendly doorman began shaking down the cab driver.  It went something like this:

Doorman: Hey, you gonna take care of me?

Cabby: Huh, what do you mean?

Doorman: You know what I mean, you gotta take care of me if you sit in front of my hotel.  That’s how it works.

Cabby: That’s not right…

Doorman: C’mon…(as he rubs his fingers together)

Cabby: (handing over a couple of dollars and quickly pulling away) That’s wrong…

I wound up covering the few dollars the doorman extorted from the cab driver, and I am not sure if he did this to cover for the $2 he didn’t get from me, or if he does this to every taxi driver, but it doesn’t leave a very good taste in the mouth of the hotel guest as he or she heads back home.  I would stay at the hotel again, I just won’t trust the hotel’s staff.

Add to Del.cio.us RSS Feed Add to Technorati Favorites Stumble It! Digg It!
    www.sajithmr.com

Did An Illegal Alien Steal My Car Registration Tags?

Monday, December 7th, 2009

I noticed yesterday that someone stole the registration tags off the license plates of one of our cars.  The car is 8 years old and had stickers dating back to the early 2000’s with the latest being 2010.

I went to open the trunk of the car and looked down to see someone has scraped off the stack of stickers to get the latest.  These stickers are nearly impossible to get off quickly when there is just one on a plate, but after they pile up over the years, I would imagine a screw driver or butter knife could be used to pry them off.

Outside of the inconvenience of having to report the theft to cover my own butt in case I get pulled over, I need to report the theft to the DMV, and oh how the Department of Motor Vehicles is a joy to deal with.  I am hoping to avoid waiting in line and see if the process can be handled with a phone call.

Let’s jump ahead and think about who would steal a registration tag?  Two types of people fall into this category:

1)      Someone who for whatever reason cannot afford to register their car and to avoid being pulled over for expired tags, steals a legitimate set and places it on their own car.

2)      An illegal alien, illegal immigrant, a criminal alien, an undocumented person – I am covering all grounds here to categorize a border jumper who drives a car without holding a driver’s license, possessing insurance and knowledge of basic traffic laws.  Since this person cannot legally own or drive a car, they cannot register a car they may have purchased so they steal a legitimate registration tag to place on their plates so they don’t draw attention.

I spoke with a police officer I ran into at the Starbucks parking lot near my home, and he told me that they do not track registration tags – meaning that even if this person is caught, next to nothing can happen to them.

Add to Del.cio.us RSS Feed Add to Technorati Favorites Stumble It! Digg It!
    www.sajithmr.com

Why Unions Are Ruining America – Part 1

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Unions had a place in America, once upon a time.  Workers were used and abused and tossed aside by unscrupulous employers who had more people to choose from than there were jobs, so the ball was in his court.

Labor laws were enacted so overtime wages must be paid if more than 40-hours in a given week were exceeded, and children were no longer eligible to contract black lung disease next to their fathers in a coal mine.

Then the United Auto Workers took hold of the car industry and killed the golden goose, and other unions drove manual labor overseas by demanding ridiculous wages, benefits and threatening companies with the S-WORD – Strike. Essentially saying, “If we don’t get our way, we will go on strike and do our best to strangle you, the company that feeds our family.”

This is why Nike makes their shoes in Vietnam and my Polo shirt was stitched in Guatemala – they don’t have to deal with your union crap.

Bay Area Nurses Will Go On Strike October 30, 2009

But some things cannot be outsourced.  I can’t call Bulgaria for a plumber.  Nurses are another perfect example.  Hospitals cannot operate without a stable of nurses, and people will die if a hospital has no nurses.  But that doesn’t matter to the California Nurse’s Association who has called for a one-day strike on October 30th at two-dozen Bay Area hospitals, including O’Connor in San Jose and Seton Medical Center in Daly City, just outside San Francisco.  It appears they are upset their contract negotiations are not going as planned.

According to Catholic Healthcare West, the hospital group that is being held for ransom, the average nurse earns $100-large, plus has health benefits for the nurse AND their family fully paid for.  They are striking over a change in their health care package from a PPO to an HMO.

Welcome to the real world, Miss or Mister RN.  I have to pay for my family’s coverage.  Yes, it’s pre-tax, but it’s still $800 per month, and most people who are not in a hostage-taking union have to deal with this reality.  Companies grow and fold; times are good and we have recessions; we have hiring booms and layoffs.  Markets change and maybe if nurses didn’t make idle threats, just maybe the hospitals wouldn’t need to find less expensive health care for their nurses.  Just a thought.

Oh, and don’t get sick or hurt or have a life-threatening ailment on October 30th if you are in the Bay Area…you might die because a nurse is pissed she has to settle for an HMO.

Add to Del.cio.us RSS Feed Add to Technorati Favorites Stumble It! Digg It!
    www.sajithmr.com