Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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August 2010
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Arthur Anderson in Conversation with Bob Edwards

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 9:14 am

This coming Thursday, 2 September, my friend Arthur Anderson will be in conversation with my friend Bob Edwards on his XM Satellite Radio show. (Geez, dude, namedrop much?) From the show’s promo:

In the film Me and Orson Welles, Zac Efron plays a young actor who stumbles into the role of Lucius in the 1937 Broadway production of Julius Caesar. The young man actually cast in the role was Arthur Anderson. Now eighty-eight years old, Anderson went on to have a long career in radio and television, probably best-known as the voice of the Lucky Charms leprechaun. Anderson is the author of Let’s Pretend and the Golden Age of Radio, and most recently, An Actor’s Odyssey: Orson Welles to Lucky the Leprechaun.

Air times for the show are, in eastern daylight time, 8 am, 9 am, 10 am, 3 pm, 8 pm, 10 pm, and Friday 4 am and 9 pm.

If you aren’t a subscriber to XM Satellite Radio or Sirius Satellite Radio with the Best of XM package, you can still hear The Bob Edwards Show on the on-line service (better sound quality than from the satellites anyway) by signing up for a free trial.

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Spam sent to the Digest by…Subscribers?

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 1:28 pm

There is an issue that is becoming more acute every day, it seems…the OTR Digest, and other addresses on our server, are being spammed by - no, seriously - actual subscribers.

These users, generally with Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN/Hotmail addresses, have had their accounts hijacked by spammers primarily because of easily-guessed passwords. But the results are seriously bothersome; email coming directly from the subscribers’ accounts, what the server assumes are legitimate messages but are actually mails with spam links in them, are entering the Digest and other mailing lists with alarming regularity. I have been struggling with how to handle this, trying first to alert the users with information on the hijack and suggestions to fix, but I found this more and more work every week. Yet I need to protect the mailing lists from this garbage…even though the real subscriber is technically innocent, their account is being used to send multiple spam emails into our machines targeted to our lists.

So I am currently taking a more draconian approach. First, the user’s address is removed from the Digest subscriber list as soon as the first spam email is found (I say “first” because until the problem is fixed the hijackers continue to send spam out of the account to all addresses in the user’s address book) - hopefully, after not receiving an issue or three the subscriber will realize something is amiss…could be the subscriber’s friends will be alerting him or her to the spam as well. I am also blocking that user from sending any mail into our server, with a rejection note that reads something like:

Fix your AOL problem then contact me via web form

This protects other lists on the server from running spam emails. If you receive this, you will not be able to contact me via email; you need to use one of the web-based forms available on,,,, etc., etc. - you’ll see one right here if you click that “Contact the Webmaster” button over on the left sidebar.

If you receive this mail, the situation is serious (the bad guys have access to your address book and your email!), so please contact your provider (AOL, Yahoo!, whoever) for instructions on how to reset your password to something that bad guys can’t easily guess and cannot be hit with a dictionary attack…after your account is secure, then and only after the issue is resolved contact me via one of the web forms and I will remove the block on your email address.

I know this sounds harsh, but I need to protect the mailing lists from receiving this spam while not spending more and more of my own time manually dealing with it. I am, of course, always open to suggestions on a better way of dealing with this; post a comment here, or contact me privately via email (addresses are all in the footer of every Digest issue).

I’m only sorry the slimeball scammers have forced me into such a thing.

P.S. While I’m at it, please don’t add the Digest address to any social-networking “friends” list…the Digest isn’t going to join Facebook, Feed Share, or any other networking service (it’s a computer, after all), but it does require additional work for me to remove/block/deal with the requests. This isn’t happening often, but it does happen sometimes, and I’d like to prevent it from getting any worse.

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Retargeting Ads Follow Surfers to Other Sites

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 8:06 am

From The New York Times: Retargeting Ads Follow Surfers to Other Sites

This is my favorite quote from the article: “‘I don’t think that exposing all this detailed information you have about the customer is necessary,’ said Alan Pearlstein, chief executive of Cross Pixel Media, a digital marketing agency. Mr. Pearlstein says he supports retargeting, but with more subtle ads that, for instance, could offer consumers a discount coupon if they return to an online store. ‘What is the benefit of freaking customers out?’”

Note that Mr. Pearlstein isn’t suggesting the media companies shouldn’t be maintaining detailed information about the web surfer, only that they shouldn’t let the surfer know they are tracking such detail! Any wonder folks who understand what they are up to really hate the advertising industry?

Still, this is so painfully simple to eliminate…simply don’t accept cookies from marketers, or if you must (when shopping at on-line stores, for example), save cookies only per session and not persistantly; the next time you open your browser, the cookies are gone, and the marketers can no longer associate you with your last browsing session. The Firefox browser, along with add-ons like BetterPrivacy, Cookie Monster, NoScript, and others gives you extremely fine-grained control over what these slimeballs can track about your browsing habits, if you are willing to spend a little time actually setting-up and controlling your cookies.

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Copy Protection Makes Dozens of Blu-ray Titles Unplayable

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 4:44 pm

From NewTeeVee: Copy Protection Makes Dozens of Blu-ray Titles Unplayable

From the article: “Samsung recently updated the firmware of its devices, and now users are reporting that a large number of Blu-ray titles from Warner Bros. and Universal don’t play anymore.”

This is yet another example where pirates who illegally copied the affected films have no problem at all viewing them in high-def, where legitimate purchasers are locked-out. DRM (Digital Rights Management) is universally evil, and I promise we will continue to see stories like this so long as it is accepted, and so long as people spend their monies where DRM is used.

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Google unveils Internet phone service to compete with Skype

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 12:09 pm

From CNN: Google unveils Internet phone service to compete with Skype

From the article: “Google announced Wednesday that it will allow users to make phone calls over the Internet through its Gmail service, encroaching on territory that has thus far been dominated by Skype.”

Great…now Google will not only monitor what websites you visit and who you email and IM, but also who you telephone. How creepy is that?

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F.C.C. Chief Opposes Fees for Internet Priority

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 8:26 pm

From The New York Times: F.C.C. Chief Opposes Fees for Internet Priority

From the article: “‘Any outcome, any deal that doesn’t preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet for consumers and entrepreneurs will be unacceptable,’ Julius Genachowski, the F.C.C. chairman, told reporters on Thursday.”

I rarely agree with the FCC (which has a history of catering to media conglomerates and allowing the consumer to be royally screwed), but this time they are dead-on. Verizon and Google make a deal, I may be looking at other alternatives for my phone and Internet broadband.

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Google and Verizon in Talks on Selling Internet Priority

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 10:29 pm

From The New York Times: Google and Verizon in Talks on Selling Internet Priority

More like selling out the consumer. From the article: “Google and Verizon, two leading players in Internet service and content, are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege.”

It also means you and I will end up paying more for Internet access, just like cable rates have risen to ridiculous heights over the years, because channel owners pay cable systems to launch channels, then force the consumer to pay for that channel whether they watch it or not.

Net neutrality will be a distant memory if this nonsense is allowed to happen.

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Privacy issues hit Facebook again

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 2:42 pm

From the Christian Science Monitor: Privacy issues hit Facebook again

From the article: “Privacy concerns swirled around Facebook again after an employee of a firm called Skull Security compiled and released personal data on more than 100 million Facebook users, about a fifth of the site’s membership.”

Facebook is the Internet for people too lazy to set up their own pages (easily accomplished by almost every ISP around) and too confused to set privacy settings. Me, I’ll stick to publishing only what I wish here on my own corner of the Web, and protecting my readers and friends by not allowing data to flow from them without their expressed permission - only those who choose to post comments are exposed, and only what they wish to post.

Oh, yeah, and there’s only one small advertisement on this page, too, instead of boatloads that link to your private information. Facebook is just too creepy for my tastes.

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