Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Caller ID; or, Wireless Caller my butt

I've got this telemarketer calling me and they won't stop. Different number each time, different name in the Caller ID, vague about their company name, and continuing to call despite being asked at least 3 times now to add me to their Do Not Call list.  For that matter, they are ignoring the National Do Not Call Registry.

And here's the rub: I pay for Caller ID precisely so I can not interrupt my work to deal with this crap.

Meanwhile, the Telco I pay is letting disreputable callers spoof the system I pay for. It hasn't, after all, escaped me that the caller ID is reporting pretty unlikely names. This morning is "Wireless Caller". Tell me, since when has a telemarketer clearly in a call center (lots of background voices) used cellphones for the calls?

And I'm starting to wonder why I pay, and why others pay.  Class action refund, anyone?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Greece as a condo corporation

Is is possible to draw an analogy between an EU country and a condo corporation?

I read this morning that Greek treasury debt rates are in excess of 23%.  It seems obvious that they must somehow increase their revenue to service that debt. How?

A start is to increase their tax rates and/or get serious about collection. No more of this "Only a fool would pay taxes" attitude many Greek (non-)taxpayers are said to have.  That can lead to two things: one, property owners are forced to focus on revenue from their properties, leading many of them to move and rent their homes to comparatively rich Germans and Brits; or two, homeowners flee to a cheaper EU country and/or the government repossesses their property out from under them and turns it into vacation rentals.

The government becomes a vacation timeshare operator.

And if they don't, or otherwise don't make enough net to pay their debt obligations, the Greek government could and perhaps should be viewed more like a condo corporation and the taxpayers like homeowners. Government debt is held on behalf of the citizens (homeowners), and paid for in revenues derived from the citizens (condo fees). If the the condo corp goes bankrupt, it is repossessed for its assets, and the new owner can liquidate or operate to recoup their investment.

Who can repossess Greece?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Facebook captcha extortion

I started using Facebook recently, and quite frankly, they are annoying me.Here's one way.

I press the Like button on something, and am presented with the common captcha dialog whose usual purpose is to verify that I am human and not some sort of robot or screen scraping program. I pressed Like on several items yesterday, from the same browser window each time, and had to figure out an unreadable string like this one more times that I cared to.  It seems strange to me that Facebook believes a robot had taken over the connection I had already verified as having a human operator.

Whatever. Facebook seems to understand that this gets really old really fast, and the first text in the captcha dialog is "Sick of these?" Clicking that link opens this window where one is encouraged to supply a mobile phone number so they can text a confirmation code.

I have two complaints with this.  First is, I don't text, and don't have a text plan on my phone. I'm suppose I'll get a text if they send it. Probably. And my provider will be happy to charge me for that.

More interesting, though, is that any one-time text to my phone will do nothing to meet the useful goal of the captcha - which is to very that I am not a robot that pressed Like. For this to have that value, they would need to text me a confirmation every time I press Like, just as they are presenting the captcha every single time. I hope they're not planning to text me that often - as I mentioned above, I don't have a text plan.

I've confirmed with another Facebook user that she doesn't get confirmation texts with every post, so FB clearly don't feel the need to verify a human every time.  Why, then, do they present a captcha every time, other than to maximize pain and further incent me to give up my cell#?