Month: November 2019

weird identity theft?

November 29, 2019 Incoherent ramblings , , , ,

My gmail inbox was filled with “Like” emails from various guys this morning, and it appeared that somebody had created a new profile using my gmail address:

Weirder still, the identity using my email address, was that of a woman:

I don’t understand the motivation of using my email address, since I was able to use that email address to submit a password change.  At that point, I was able to see that the profile was for somebody purporting to be an Australian.

In the time between changing that passsword to lock out the originator of this profile, and switching it to ‘not visible’, the password appears to be reset again.  I’m not sure how that would be possible given that the password change confirmation emails were going to my gmail account.

This made me wonder if is populating itself with fake profiles, and they’ve now switched this one to use a different email address?  That theory seems to be substantiated by the following article about an FTC law suite against for the use of fake profiles.  Looks like their angle is getting people to purchase paid subscriptions after seeing that there was interest in the fake profiles they generated:

“According to the FTC’s complaint, Match sent emails to nonsubscribers stating that someone had expressed an interest in that consumer. Specifically, when nonsubscribers with free accounts received likes, favorites, emails, and instant messages on, they also received emailed ads from Match encouraging them to subscribe to to view the identity of the sender and the content of the communication.”

Assuming that this case is not yet resolved, it’s pretty clumsy of to continue to play the same scam.  It’s also pretty clumsy of them to use a female identity for me, but I guess my name is non-standard enough that they didn’t know what to do with it (either that, or they just take a lazy 50/50 chance when creating their fake profiles.)


EDIT: managed to re-reset the password, long enough to figure out how to shut down the identity.   Before I did so, I grabbed a screen shot of “my” profile:

I see that the “Profile Hidden” that I selected the first time I logged in was still selected.  I also tried changing the email address associated with this profile to one that I use only for spam, but won’t allow that without also knowing the birthday that they used to create the fake profile.

Clocker: A nice world clock app for the mac

November 14, 2019 mac , ,

Our company is scattered to the wind around the world, and I’m often left wondering “what time is it there, right now?”

There’s lots of world clock apps and websites available, but I’m really liking clocker for this at the moment.  Here’s my current view of the local times for my colleagues

( I often work with people in Brussels, Paris, and the UK too, but that’s all in the Zurich timezone. )


My first “nigerian scammer” email in German

November 13, 2019 Just for fun

Is this any more believable auf Deutsch?

Guten Tag,

Es tut mir leid, Sie in dieser Angelegenheit ohne Ihre vorherige Zustimmung zu kontaktieren. Es war wegen der Dringlichkeit der Angelegenheit.

Ich bin Desmond OGEGEREGE, ein Rechtsanwalt, und der persönliche Anwalt von ein verstorbener Kunde aus Ihrem Land. Ich würde gerne wissen, ob wir zusammenarbeiten können in diese Transaktion?

Seit dem Tod meines Mandanten, sein Fonds im Wert Millionen in Dollar, in der Bank meines Landes ruhend gewesen. Die Bank hat mir eine Mitteilung gemacht, um die nächsten Angehörigen für die Forderung der Fonds zu präsentieren, andernfalls werden die Gelder beschlagnahmt.

Der Verstorbene starb bei einem Autounfall mit seiner ganzen Familie. Ich schreibe Ihnen in dieser Angelegenheit, weil Sie den gleichen Familiennamen wie der Verstorbene haben, daher können Sie an die Bank als mein verstorbener Kunde nächsten Angehörigen vorgestellt werden. Mit meiner Unterstützung als der verstorbene persönliche Anwalt, können Sie von der Bank genehmigt werden und das Geld wird Ihnen freigegeben werden.

Ich freue mich auf Ihre Antwort, wenn Sie interessiert sind und ich werde Ihnen weitere Details senden.

Google translate says this is:

Good day,

I am sorry to contact you in this matter without your prior consent. It was because of the urgency of the matter.

I am Desmond OGEGEREGE, a lawyer, and the personal advocate of a deceased customer from your country. I would like to know if we can work together in this transaction?

Since the death of my client, his fund worth millions in dollars, has been resting in the bank of my country. The bank has sent me a message to present the next of kin for claiming the funds, otherwise the funds will be confiscated.

The deceased died in a car accident with his entire family. I am writing to you on this matter because you have the same surname as the deceased, therefore you can be introduced to the bank as my deceased customer next of kin. With my support as the late personal attorney, you can be approved by the bank and the money will be released to you.

I look forward to your answer, if you are interested and I will send you further details.

The little bit of German that I learned to read Euler’s books at the math library 25 years ago, aren’t enough for me to reply, but let’s see if they also speak english.

Issues with macOS catalina

November 12, 2019 mac

This is one upgrade I really wished I hadn’t done.  The system has been pestering me for a month to do it, and I made the mistake of letting the upgrade go ahead a few days ago.

  • It turns out that this “upgrade” is a massive feature breaker and removes support for all 32-bit applications.  For myself, this means I’ll probably have to pay to buy a new version of Mathematica, as Mathematica 11.2 used a 32-bit front end, that is now useless.  I suspect that this is going to cost me $150 or so, which is pretty crappy given that I’m not actively writing any Mathematica code at the moment, but would still like to be able to run my old notebooks.
  • If I try to use Microsoft Word, it seems to crash my entire system within about 1 minute (2 out of 2 times so far.)
  • Since the upgrade, my keyboard was behaving like crazy, repeating things that I’d typed.  For example, typing macbook might give me “macacbookok”.  Uninstalling the wacom drivers for my old bamboo pen, turning off system preferences->keyboard->repeat, and then installing the newest wacom drivers appear to have solved this, but now I have to press space 30 times if I want 30 spaces, so it doesn’t seem like a good nor permanent solution.
  • I had to reinstall a few other applications to get them to work, in particular, the vpn client that I need for my work.  I’d lost my notes on where to install the vpn client from, so I had to try to access our support site using firefox+x-windows+linux-ovpn to figure that out, and it cost me a 1/2 hour just to get up and running again.
  • Shell is noisy about bash being replaced by zsh.  Fix is here.  When I did this it inhibited the sourcing of my .profile, but I fixed that by adding the line to my .profile, and then move that .profile to .bash_profile

I suspect that I’ll be finding out what else is broken as I continue to use the new OS.

Celebration of “killing in the name of” day.

November 11, 2019 Incoherent ramblings , , ,

November 11th, known as “Remembrance Day” in Canada, is pretty much intolerable on social media.  We are inundated with flags and blind patriotism, pictures of veterans posing in the formations of their original invasion pictures, inane comments like “he died so I could live”, “the price for freedom” and other similar obfuscated war propaganda.

This is the day for the inhuman celebration of the killing of the unnamed enemy, forgetting that that enemy had a face.  This is a day for forgetting that the enemy was also coerced into fighting in the name of their worthless governments or country, just as the veterans of North America were.  This is a day for forgetting to do causal analysis for why the wars were fought.  This is a day for forgetting that war is actively sought for profit, and how evil political puppets of war profiteers lie their way into wars on behalf of their countries again and again, regardless of what side they are nominally on.

We’ve all been touched by the wars of the 20th centuries in many ways.  My VanaEma (grandmother) and my dad effectively lost most of their family, their homes and their heritage, and were refugees in Finland and Sweden.   Having lost his real father, my dad ended up abused and damaged by his first step father, a drunken beast who thankfully died in a fishing accident.  If there had been no world war, he would have had a home, his real father, his country and family.  Dad lived a lot of his life seeming displaced, and not fitting in.  VanaEma’s final husband was stuck mentally in his WWII experience, and talked of nothing else, reliving that trauma again and again by inflicting it on anybody around.  I think that is why my VanaEma ended up needing a hearing aid — so she could shut off her husband.  I don’t celebrate the war that led to all this trauma and displacement.

I don’t think that I personally know any North American veterans of the war, but know of three in my family circle that were made to fight on the German side of the war, all damaged mentally.  Two of those men went on to damage their family as they lived out their PTSD, initiating a cycle of abuse that still has an impact today.  The thing that we should remember is not the valor and the glory of war, but the evil of war.  This should not be a day of triumph and celebration of victory over the enemy, or flag waving, or the mindless propagation of the fable of the “Good war”.  We should remember that we had two times in the last century where millions of people fell for the propaganda and coercive conscription imposed by their governments that had them fight and die for wars that should never have been fought at all.

There is no good side in the mass mobilization of men for war, only death.