Gnosis

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Archive for February 2010

Contests

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So this month there was a contest being held by the company that I purchase my gold and silver bullion from called APMEX. The idea was to create a two minute or less video on why you love APMEX before today and they will judge them and give out prizes and whatnot. So I submitted one and have my fingers crossed that I win something…but even if I don’t I am happy to have made a video and had the chance to use Movie Maker a little more and gain some more experience with it.

 

 

 

 

I originally wanted this to be in Old timey style black and white with graininess…but sadly the video looked like crap when it was generated that way. Maybe the next time I make a video I will use Sepia tone or grayscaling directly from the camera to accomplish it. The muscial score is Beethoven and doesn’t violate any copywriting dealys. Still all in all a good accomplishment that took about two hours to create over a period of two days. If I wanted to, I could have really made this thing much better. This being my first real attempt at video editing…I still say I did a damn fine job of it. Next time will be much much cooler. No pun intended.

Written by Josecito

February 14, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Spoofing, Spyware, Viruses, and the Hatred of Millions

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virus detected

 

One of the most annoying features of the internet today is spoofing. What is spoofing and why am I writing about it? Well spoofing is when someone sends an email to people…but the return address says it is from you and you never gave them permission for it! I am writing this because I am a victim of spoofing and of an address book theft online. Apparently for about a month now there have been emails sent from my email address to other people in my contacts list that contain links to pages that will either give you a virus, steal information from you like email addresses and passwords, or some combination of malfeasance. Immediately I changed by passwords.

 

It all started a little over a month ago when I checked my email and received a returned mail for a sender that no longer exists (my friend closed email account but I never deleted it from my address book). When I checked the email…it showed that an email was sent to a bunch of people in my contacts list the night before at an hour when I was nowhere near a PC! Curious as I was to why I have email being sent…I looked at the contents of the email and it was an adware link to another outside and very suspicious website. So I did what any normal person would do: I checked my Sent Messages to see if it was sent from my email account (which it was not). With that information…I knew that it could only be a virus that I may have been infected. So..I did the next step: I ran Virus scanners, and being that I am an obsessive compulsive person…I ran 5 of them. They all came up empty. Nada, Zilch, Zippo. Goose-Egg. Ok I said…its not a virus…maybe its spyware or adware…so I ran, three antispyware and anti-adware programs. All Came up empty as well! I was perplexed to say the least. Where were these phantom emails being sent from??

That is when I did some research and found out about Spoofing. The term means that an email is sent by you….to someone you may or may not know….from another location without your permission or knowledge. And it’s common and there was nothing I really could do about it other then what I had been doing. So now a bunch of people, businesses, and possibly job application places, get email from me to open up some stupid website link…so that they may become infected, or so that their emails get spoofed. Bravo moron who created this crap…you’ve succeeded in pissing me off and accomplishing nothing of productivity. And now that my email address is known as well as the address book (thank you…I suspect Hotmail was hacked since my computer was clean). There is strong likelihood that my name and other’s will be showing up on emails for the next few weeks as those addresses get passed around the international malware market.

So if you get any email from me or someone you know in the future or do not know…do the sensible thing…write the person you know a separate email asking them if they really sent it…or as a precaution delete it as most of these spoofing methods really do not show up in virus scans!

Written by Josecito

February 14, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Dekad and Lost Art of Simple Design

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I bought a clock about a month ago. I owned this clock before but it broke due to being overwound and since I have no knowledge of clock repair (and the price was so cheap it could just be repurchased) I decided to throw it out. The clock I refer to is the DEKAD alarm clock from IKEA. Why am I writing an article about this clock you ask? It is because I admire something in it that was lost in the modern world about sixty or seventy years ago: Elegance in the Design of Simplicity.

Dekad Alarm Clock

          Take one look at this simple piece of engineering and if you are anything like me you will understand exactly what I am referring to when I say the words Elegance, Simplicity, and Design. The clock takes you back to a world without the hustle and bustle of electricity, of emails, of phone calls, and especially…of the neon glowing poor performing radio alarm clocks of today, or the built in cell phone alarms that have you scrambling to shoot someone the moment it goes off! No batteries, no speakers, no electricity required. Just wind her up once a day and listen to her rhythmic ticking, slow and steady and without worry of what weather nor calamity may befall your grid or internet connection. Heck…this machine doesn’t even have a second hand or the ability to set the alarm to the exact minute! This clock could actually be said to mock the very modern world by showing you that you do not need to be connected and continuously paying for the power…only for the ability to wake up in the morning! The Dekad is a really cheap clock… I paid about $8 for it here in Philadelphia and she has served me loyally for many days now, and I… keep her wound up, clean and on display prominently next to my bed. She serves me constantly as a useful clock and as a reminder that the world does not, and should not be obsessed with seconds, minutes and the rush of needless busywork. The Dekad tells me in not so many words that we can build a better place that focuses on quality of work, craftsmanship and meaningful careers.

For most of us, the world we live in has us getting up and running around, slaves to the exact minute at work, slaves to a constant stream of electricity, advertising, phone calls, artificial lighting and many things in this modern world that first started as a good idea only to be morphed into something horribly antihuman in execution or use. This little clock shows me that some technology will never be outdated, nor will the concepts that created her be antiquated. She exists because someone said that there was always a better, simpler and less complicated way of doing something that could and should last longer then the lifespan of the person who thought it up. A wind up clock is and does exactly that. The designs and systems engineered to make a clock have been around for hundreds of years, and if you include water clocks and sundials…thousands. That in itself proves the design, that if this clock were frozen in time and transported another four hundred years…she could still do the job required of her. Show me a phone from even one hundred years ago that is now still compatible with the phone company? Could you plug her into the wall without some expert to assist you?? I doubt it very much. How about televisions? Not even close.

That is why I love this. It is a masterpiece of Zen engineering. It has a purpose: to tell time and to wake you up. And it adds nor needs to add, anything external for it to be functional. Her instructions take little to understand and are intuitive. On many levels….even if the world fell apart, someone could open her up if she broke and repair her in short time. I know of almost no modern day material possessions that could say the same.. How many people could fix a television or laptop or cell phone without special equipment? Not too many. Granted…a clock can and does often need some special equipment…but the internal components are mechanical and you can see them move if you open her up…you can see what parts go where and which may be damaged. How many circuit boards can you open up? How many people can tell if a resistor or capacitor is damaged without a potentiometer?

We need more things and people to create more things like this clock again. Imagine a car that most people could figure out and fix without more then a handful of equipment, which could be included in the trunk? Imagine sneakers and shoes being designed again to be made longer lasting and repairable? Every little bit that we take back, that makes us less dependant on other systems will make us a more resilient culture. If the power goes out for a week….will you be able to wake up and get to work when all your clocks, computers, televisions, radios, cell phones and watches lose power? Will your business be able to ring up a cash sale without electricity for a customer?? Independence is not just about being able to survive without the modern world…it means being able to thrive in it and being happier that your world doesn’t need those things to function. We need to make the world easier to exist in with less complex systems. We need more Zen.

Written by Josecito

February 14, 2010 at 7:38 pm

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February and After

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Well the month of January passed us quickly….too quickly if you ask me. Seems to be that the older you get, the faster time passes by. I can remember hours when I was 7 years old playing in the grass outside the house and it lasting forever but for some off reason the last five years passed in a second and the last ten years feel like a minute has passed by. Somehow I think that a better understanding of why that happens would do more to advance humanity then any amount of social welfare schemes…

 

Well so far I am still on track for my goals. I did the BIAM and hated it. It was a poor quality system and I feel my work suffered from it. Not to be ignored is that it is my first time writing in a long long time, and the very first time that I tried to write anything substantial and planned. My main idea is that I will delete this work and start anew when my creative juices flow once more. This was my exercise in learning the skill set to write a book. Obviously this would not have been a Great American Novel, nor even something passable as publishable so I am not going to rehash the story or reedit the chapters all for the sake of saying that : “I am published”. No way. I know of enough people that half-ass books, reports, and creations only for the sake of saying they created something and that they should be acknowledged for it. I am not going to be one of those people. I have self merit and enough class to realize when my own works sucks rather then to pass it to others without the sake of major edits, reworks or the possibility that it sucked. Sorry folks…this Opus will not be released for public reading at all. You will have to wait for my next book attempt before being given the opportunity of constructive criticism.

My dating life is happily nonexistent. I have no interest in seeing anyone and this past month has been great because of it! I have kept myself out of the drama of girlfriends, sex, alcohol and needless stress for enough time now to be happy and to enjoy the concept of not caring that it is Valentines Day month. Interestingly enough, I always notice that women have this desperate need to be in a relationship starting the second week of January and cresting around the week before Valentine’s Day. My theory is that they make a resolution to not spend that holiday single so they start hunting any and every guy available in the hopes of gaining something…which validates my earlier premise: Never date a woman until after Valentine’s Day…ever. That way if she lasts the next 11 months…the next V-Day will actually mean something and not be her desperate ruse for affection because she is one year older, fatter, bitter and pathetic. Remember men, women age faster then we do….keep it in your pants and wait till a woman acts like a woman instead of a drunken obnoxious street whore and you’ll bag something worth dating instead of a one night stand. Ladies: If you stop randomly hooking up with men, the one’s that want a relationship will find you. Don’t dress like whores, don’t act like a bitch and if you allow a guy to talk to you outside of a bar….you’d have better chances at meeting better men.

Other then that, according to my resolution I wanted to have a job that pays before the month of January ran out. Well the month end came and went and no job. However I have an interview that is very promising in Center City this Tuesday and I hope that the job is offered so that I can start working. In the meantime I am here doing piecemeal computer work and general Mr. Fix-it solutions for friends and family to make some things possible like gas money, parking and whatnots. On top of the job interview, this is the month that I want to gain my A+ Certification or at least study and prepare myself for it. So…Guess what types of books I’ll be reading? Yes, I know, I have wanted to get certification for years in this field and it seems like every time I try to study for these exams…Something always interrupts me or causes me to lose concentration….not quite sure why that is…probably inborn procrastination making other things seem more important then my education since I really enjoy learning and classes. Oh well…in time that should fade.

Written by Josecito

February 5, 2010 at 11:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized