Tag Archive: MSN

Facts and Lies: UKIP Checking

Nobody can be bothered to check facts.

UKIP, the Lernaean Hydra of British politics

UKIP Hydra
[credit: Jon Worth, please click image ]

For months I have endured a deluge of facts and lies, all leading up to yesterday’s election. (I voted Green – there were only European elections in my area, so no local stuff).  Mostly, it’s all been around UKIP.  They really have stoked the fires, first lit by this government that wasn’t elected and that has done a raft of nasty things never included in their 2010 manifestos.  But the fires against the disadvantaged are really aflame now.

It’s UKIP wot done it guv.  It’s Suzanne Evans talking – click here to pause her waffle.

Tactics

The Chubby Elite

UKIP’s backers are some of the sharpest, wealthiest people in the land.

UKIP’s tactics however, have been to take on all crackpots of all kinds, then, when the fuckwit says something beyond the pale, they evict them.

This has the effect of being news-worthy, and as we in entertainment know, all news is good news.  The normal triumvirate of red, blue and orange have had a few gobshite moments, but UKIP beats them hands down.

The litany of UKIP’s tactics is strewn across the web, but a fairly recent summary and discourse on them can be found on Another Angry Voice (AAV).

Fact Checks #1

As Tom at AAV noted in the link above, UKIP-ers are not fond of reading anything beyond the first few lines of anything and have a raft of weird ideas all   the stuff headed up and analysed with examples, summarised neatly here:

General abuse Confirmation Bias Denial of reality Just making stuff up
Conspiracies Meta-slander Persecution complexes Marxist fearmongering
Talking in absolutes This is a “Hate group” The Censorship fallacy Fascist sentiments
Straw-manning You called us racist Humourlessness Right, I’m definitely voting UKIP now!

It’s all very “lowest common denominator” (LCD) stuff.  Confirmation Bias rules, okay!

 Fact Checks #2

Though I despise UKIP and parties like them, I do try to check facts, from all over and presented by anyone.  Even those that I support get it wrong sometimes.  Question everything!

UKIP’s Suzanne Evans on Radio 4

I heard that Evans had been quoted as saying that UKIP ” had difficulty appealing to the educated, cultured and young” with regard to the voting in London.  It was on the BBC Radio 4 “Today” programme.  You can listen to the whole thing here for the next few days.  If you do a Google search for the phrase, “difficulty appealing to the “educated, cultured and young”” a whole raft of websites, news organisations, social media and news agregation websites are all reporting this very same thing.  The search produced >1000 – here are 3.

This Reddit chat is a notable exception to the broadcast-info-with-impunity-or-checks brigade and also has a link to the interview.  They say she never said it and provide a textual view of the interview.

She Never Said It!

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Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The trouble is, she never actually said it!  This is my recording of the show, editted down to Suzanne Evans’ interview and compressed for audio clarity before MP3-ing it.

 It’s True – She Never Said It!

Ukip members wait for results of local election in Croydon

So why are all the news sites and almost every Google search result saying that she did?  ( Well almost all – a Reddit chat also says that she never said it. )  The Independent report even has a nicely forlorn UKIP blokey.

In the interview, then interviewer actually says that it was a colleague in London  (not known, not named) who, she said, UKIP “had difficulty appealing to the educated, cultured and young”

 

 Conclusion

Either:

  1. The truth of the matter is that people hardly ever check anything nowadays.
    • The deluge of information is too great.
    • Everyone expects reputable news providers to do properly journalistic background checks.
    • The BBC interviewer never checked.
  2. The truth of the matter is that all news providers are in collusion with the establishment to maintain the neoliberal status quo.
    • The UKIP freaks who commented on AAV are correct in that it is a conspiracy.
    • UKIP freaks are right in that the BBC shows anti-UKIP left-wing bias.

The trouble with #2 is that UKIP contains part of the powerful establishment elite.

  • Farage is a former banker and apart from a host of wealthy backers, the normal tory paper (Daily Telegraph – torygraph in common parlance) is now swapping sides since the tories are not right-wing enough for it’s wealthy  owners, the reclusive, island-owning, tax-avoiding, feudalistic, Sark-criticising (because it won’t allow them to set up a tax haven),  Barclay Brothers.
  • Many other establishment papers likewise share a divisive, right wing, xenophobic stance.
  • The BBC has had rafts of governement enforced right wing management changes (government plants is the phrase).
  • The BBC has given more airtime to Farage than any other panellist on “Question Time” except for Dimbleby.

This leaves #1.

Answer:

Nobody can be bothered to check facts.

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Victory! Or is it Victory? Jesse Willms Surrenders All to FTC Onslaught.

Jesse Willms Folds Following Consumer-Led Pressure on FTC and Other Law Agencies

Seal of the United States Federal Trade Commis...Willms et al to Pay $359,291,898

Jesse Willms, (the Canadian who set the legal dogs, financed by his scamduggery, onto me, for telling the truth about him on this website), has finally caved in to the FTC charges.  This is the full FTC judgement.

This is a  victory of sorts for the millions who have been scammed by him over the last few years.  However, what has actually happened has been a kind of plea bargaining, much favoured in the US. (Here’s his home-town take on it.)

Rotten Bad Smell

Hunstville 0, Willms 1

Instead of being stripped completely of his ill-gotten gains and being chucked in the slammer for a few years, he has reached a settlement whereby no admission of guilt has been made!

This is exactly what I suggested would happen, because the self-proclaimed philanthropist Jesse will do anything, absolutely anything, to stay in business.

To me this isn’t true victory.

The Return of Fu Manchu

He’s not been punished by the law which explains the lingering smell I have, possibly due to his key lawyers having previously worked at the FTC.  Maybe it is the old boy network?  Whatever.

The millions (yes, millions the FTC say) of people scammed may be temporarily amazed at the $359-million judgement, but seeing as how the original complaint was for over $450m they’ll soon realise that he’s got off with $100m!  However it’s worded, Willms has weaselled out of any admission of guilt, which means he’s still in business.

What cunning plans could now be afoot, with $100m to back them up, they’ll wonder?  It’s like The Return of Fu Manchu.

Almost 4 Million Questions

jessewillms.com-2012-02-24-12h-20m-30s

Willms’ Blog Release – notice how he promotes the $25k ‘gift’, but not his $359m settlement?

Like me, the millions scammed by him will be questioning how he isn’t, right now, being butt-plugged in Huntsville, instead of having 7 days to calmly surrender his bank accounts to prove that he can stump up the $359m negotiated, meanwhile making gratuitous comments about better business practices in future whilst still singing the praises of his $1000 philanthropic gestures.

  • True, Willms et al have to hand over all their money and have promised as much under sufferance of perjury.
  • True, they all have to notify the FTC of their whereabouts for the next 20 years and all their business proceeds.  They have to keep compliance records for 5 years.
  • True, Willms must tell the FTC his jobs, phone numbers, businesses in which he’s involved etc
  • True, Willms et al have 180 days to hand over all details of all their businesses and contacts within those businesses.
  • True, Willms for the next five years must give a copy of the FTC order (the pdf attached) to each person he does business with and that they have 30 days to sign and return it to the FTC.

True for all of that, but, Willms can still do business and who knows if any of his victims will get recompensed.  A lot of the order’s wording is to ensure that the US & Canadian Inland Revenue get their taxes from Willms et al for the last three years.  What about the little people?

This article guesses that victims won’t see any of the cash.  My guess is that only those people that actually complained to the FTC will get cash, which is why it’s so important to complain, as I’ve suggested for years.

The Return of Fu Manchu

This article thinks that he’s had to hand over everything (though I can’t see how they justify that, given what we know about business secrecy in Nicosia, Cyprus), yet it also points out that the bans that Willms has had to acquiesce to only apply to the USA!  That is, there’s nothing at all saying Willms can’t set up anywhere else, like Korea say, and hammer the world from there!

MSNBC opinionate that Jesse Willms will need to look for a new line of work…..

I, of course, beg to differ, because:

  • He settled with Microsoft, yet carried on trading as usual.
  • He settled with Symantech, yet carried on trading as usual.
  • He settled with Oprah Winfrey, yet carried on trading as usual.
  • He settled with Dr Oz, yet carried on trading as usual.
  • He settled with Google yet carried on trading as usual.
  • Now he has settled with the FTC. I’d be amazed (yet obviously pleased) if he changed the patterns of a lifetime. Only time will tell.

On top of this, Willms himself states on his blog entry (see screenshot above);

We are working to resolve issues relating to past marketing practices for products that our company no longer sells. Through this process, we have taken steps to assure(sic) that our business practices are in full compliance with the law. We are excited by the opportunity to continue giving customers access to a variety of products and services at significant savings. – n.b.  the emphasis is mine.

…..which looks to me that it’s more web business, not a change in business type.

It’s a victory, but not the one the whole world wants.  It all leaves a bad, lingering, smell…..

 Affected Businesses

Apart from Willms, Sechrist and others, the business entities that we’ve come across in our investigations here, are all in the judgement.  It writes that “Corporate Defendants” means:

  • 1021018 Alberta Ltd, also d..b.a. Just Think Media, Credit Report America, Wulongsource, and Wuyi Source;
  • 1016363 Alberta Ltd also d.b.a. eDirect Software;
  • 1524948 Alberta Ltd, also d.b.a. Terra Marketing Group, Swipe.Bids.com, and SwipeAuctions.com;
  • Circle Media Bids Limited, also d.b.a. SwipeBids.com SwipeAuctions.com, and SellofAuctions.com;
  • Coastwest Holdings Limited;
  • Farend Services Ltd;
  • JDW Media, LLC;
  • Net Soft Media, LLC, also d.b.a. SwipeBids.com;
  • Sphere Media, LLC, also d.b,a SwipeBids.com and SwipeAuctions.com;

I’ve listed these so that they appear in search engines and so that people realise the lengths of obfuscation that Willms has used in his activities.

Office Politics

I say Willms, because he is recognised in the judgement as the prime mover in the scams.  He has been pinched for hundreds of millions – the others have been collared for a few tens of thousands at most each, some, for nothing, because (how embarrassing is that for them?), they have nothing – yes really!

  • How annoying for the two Gravers that their payments are about the same as young Jesse Wilms’ fish tank!  ($30,000 in 2010 he paid for it)
  • I wonder how the Children’s Hospital Boston and the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund both realise that they’ve got less from philanthropic Jesse than he’s spent on his fish tank?  ($25k each)  I wonder how they feel now, knowing that this money was stolen from ordinary consumers, people like themselves?
  • Or how do Canadian veterans feel about Willms plugging his $1k donation to the poppy fund, while spending $5000 on a pool table?

How galling for Sechrist, Callister, and Milne.  They can pay nothing, Willms can pay $359m!  If they’re still working for him I bet that that’s fun in the office!

This is a local copy of the full FTC Judgement Against Wills et al  I suggest everyone read it – it’s riveting.

 

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Testing Windows 8 Developer Preview Version

Windows 8 Developer Preview

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

I’ve finally decided to test the next Windows edition, probably to be called Windows 8, although things like that are never certain in Microsoft-land.

Virtual Box

Win8 Dev VirtualBox Installation

Win8 Dev VirtualBox Installation

I did a Virtual Box install, which is fairly straightforward.  There are many tutorials on-line now which show how to do this, so I won’t do a walk-through. I installed the 64-bit version which I downloaded from MSDN using my licence.  You can get the installs from the Microsoft Website here, which come in ISO format.  You can also find out more from the horse’s mouth here.

You can also set aside a partition on your hard-drive and install to that.  However, Virtual Box is the safe way to go should the partition install fail and corrupt your current installation somehow.

What I will say, is to use more memory allocation to the virtual installation than recommended elsewhere or as the default,  and to use as many virtual processors as your host machine has.….. My machine is an AMD 955BE, which is quad-core running at around 3GHz.  In other words, if you don’t want it to run like treacle, give it plenty processor and memory room;  at least the recommended values for Windows 7.  You can see all of this in the VirtualBox settings screenshot above.

Fast Install (added 24/11/11))

Windows 7 vs. Windows 8 time to upgrade

Windows 7 vs. Windows 8 time to upgrade

Microsoft, on their MSDN blog, have made a big thing about the rapid installation for Windows 8, particularly for the upgrade route.  See Improving the setup experience.  I can say now that the clean install into the VirtualBox environment was very fast….

Briefly:

  1. You make a virtual machine in Virtual Box
  2. You set it’s parameters – processors, memory size, footprint size, IDE/SATA storage etc
  3. You set the downloaded ISO image to boot from in the settings.
  4. You boot by “Starting” the virtual machine.
  5. You install Windows into the filespace that you’ve previously set aside for it – I gave it a dynamic sized 50Gb.
  6. After that, let windows do it’s thing.  It took 10 minutes or so.
  7. Let it reboot.
Win8 Dev Loggged On Screen

Win8 Dev Loggged On Screen

Following this, you get a green screen from which country specifics are added, a username and finally, you enter your Live.com identity, if you have one, and if you want to!

Appearance

It’s a big green screen.  I don’t have a touchscreen, but it’s obviously designed for one.  It has massive buttons to a host of online services like weather & stocks, plus a few to your computer’s functions.

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

If you log off, you get presented with an American Rockies vista of a lonely winding road.  Essentially, the entry into Windows 8 is like a smartphone.  But what’s it like beneath the surface?

Windows 7 Legacy, and Vista Too!

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Obviously, this is a development preview release, and we can expect more of the same to come.

Win8 Dev Double Click Explorer Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Explorer Screen

But most work has gone onto the main intro screen because beneath the surface, all the various apps and settings controls are the old (current) Windows 7 interface.

Bizarrely, some screens even have vestiges of the green Vista, notably the main screen itself.

Personally, I think it’s very, very dour.  I can’t believe that two years of effort has gone into doing something that Android does on a more than twice-annual cycle….

Win8 Dev Left Corner Hover Screen

Win8 Dev Left Corner Hover Screen

Accessing the menus is the most unintuitive thing I’ve seen for ages!  Following on from the impressive Windows 7, it’s truly not just a user let-down, but somewhat infuriating as well…….    Whereas previously I just typed into the run bar to do almost anything, now I can’t even find programs or files!   No doubt there’s a way – but after Win7, it’s not intuitive and not helpful either.

I hope that’s not the end of the run box, because that feature in Windows 7 is awesome.

Control Panel

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

I haven’t checked through many apps (except a few desktop ones like the weird child-like paint thing and the weather which won’t do anywhere except California) but this is the control panel.

Win8 Dev Control Panel More Settings Screen

Win8 Dev Control Panel More Settings Screen

You then drill-down to get the old Win7 control panel on “More Settings”.

Initial Investigation Ends

Well that’s it for now.   To say I’m un-impressed by the big green monstrous front doesn’t give my opinion justice.  There doesn’t appear to be an easy way out of the front-screen apps and to have an app made for a  3-inch screen sat on a 23 inch desktop monitor really demonstrates the infantile  apps for what they are.

Way back in the nineties Microsoft tried their in-house Microsoft Network (MSN) which was a disc install that gave you a black desktop that gave dial-up access to features giving almost the same as this big green toy-town monster.

Not happy.

Watch this space as I delve more….

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Facebook, MSNBC, Jesse Willms’ Swipe Auctions and Doctored Photos

Introduction

Readers of these pages will need no introduction to Jesse Willms, self-proclaimed philanthropist and former purveyor of counterfeit software.

But in the interests of traceability into the continuing insidious nature of the on-line marketplace, here’s a run-through of how to get from Facebook or MSNBC to Jesse Willms’ SwipeAuction (formerly SwipeBids), including a few screen-dumps of the dubious methods employed.

p.s. I could equally well run through the links from any spam I get today to Fox News to BidCactus or whatever.  Okay?

(p.s. SwipeAuctions is no more, the SwipeBids domain expires soon and rumours are rife about a possible new auction site.  Watch this space.)

MSNBC to Willms

This MSNBC page that Joseph spotted http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39118941/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/ had a different set of ads when I looked.  Indeed, just like this website the ads rotate.  What was interesting is that they still went back to Willms’s based websites via fake news websites.

First, there were three ads in the bottom right when I viewed the page.  Refreshing the page shoves out two or three.  They rotate daily, but tend to stay the same on a given day.  The three images are the websites I’ve been taken to…

Site 1

Site 2

Site 3

It’s important to note the similarity between Site 2 & Site 3.

Because they both use the image of the French TV newsreader Mélissa Theuriau!

In the first she’s “Karen Simpson” and in the second she’s “Julia Miller”.

These are affiliate websites of unknown ownership.   Take a look at the car “won” by the woman in the advert.

Fake Car Auction

Car…and woman!

To save you time, this is the car and woman full size.

Now take a close look (it doesn’t need to be very close actually!) at the woman and the car mirror.  Does it seem a bit odd?  Well it does to me!

Using the TinEye plugin for Firefox allow one to trawl the web for similar images.  In this case it comes up trumps!

Because the image is obviously a composite one.  This is the TinEye search:

http://www.tineye.com/search/83bfb2d5784c45b67b0e780943a4a032bf6c4814/

Original car – no woman!

It pulls out six instances of the image used elsewhere on the web.  The URL for this one is:

http://www.leasetrader.com:80/photos/actual144203/150×112/Honda-Civic-EX-Sedan.jpeg

Car Auction Conclusion

I love to play

I love to play

Well pretty obviously it says in the image above that the woman “Samantha Warren” from Florida “won” that Honda car in one of Jesse’s “auctions”. (remember these details – they’re important for later)

(p.s. Since being written, these car pictures have been seen on even more fake news websites, all of unknown ownership.)

SwipeAuctions now have pictures on the landing page right next to his bold claim about helping 112+ children worldwide, where people say they “love to play” on the website.  See the “Anita P” screenshot from today.

(note from editor and US FTC: you can play a game, like a lottery or any other game of chance; you cannot play an auction!  The bold claim of this and many other Bid Auction websites is that it’s part ‘entertainment’, which may be so, but it’s still gambling.)

Facebook to Willms

Facebook ads this morning

Three ads were showing on the right of my Facebook page.  If you’re on Facebook, then you’ll have seen similar.

The first one was for a tips-laden army-type audio-visual that ends up wanting money to stay slim.

But one showed a woman who’d just won an iPad for £26.75.  yep.  It was  SwipeAuctions.  (p.s. these ads later disappeared to be replaced by other bid auctions sites for a time, although they’re now currently almost unseen.)

Honda Car – a co-incidence?

Another Honda? From Florida?

Another Honda? From Florida?

A neat photo from the front page shows a guy, “Pbh201”, mysteriously and co-incidentally (surely) from Florida, again winning a car.   The model?  Well Honda, of course!

Unfortunately, and for now, TinEye has not pulled out any image duplications.  But on past form, who’s to say what might pop up?  (p.s. later information has appeared which shows this Honda ‘win’ from various ‘angles’ – more later.)

Judge?

I’ve edited this post from the original following threats from Jesse Willms legal representative.   Currently there is a legal case against CTV  for showing these videos on television.  Part of the remit is that CTV misrepresented Willms’ businesses and said that 60% were his when they weren’t.

Given that the affilaites’ websites are there to promote businesses and yet are on the whole anonymous, my opinion is that the TV show displayed information in the way that “the common man” would interpret these things.  If the common man is very easily confused, then that is a problem but ultimately the person that benefits from deceptive advertising must shoulder some of the responsibility for their contractors’ behaviour, should they not?

Judge for yourself.

Click to show

Click to show

Click to show

Click to show

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Microsoft Performance in the Browser and Search Engine Wars

Introduction & History

Recently, Microsoft has reworked it’s search engine (MSN Live Search) and renamed it Bing.  This was followed even more recently, with a joint venture between itself and former search king Yahoo! into a hazily explained search and advertising combination.

Microsoft is well known for wheeling out the lawyers as backup to it’s long-running scheming that batters any competition into the ground.  I’m thinking particularly about the Netscape battle here…

Netscape, of course, although winning the final battle, lost the war and is no more.  But it’s technical expertise re-surfaced as the Phoenix browser, whose modern name is Firefox.

An advertising and search war has been extant ever since Google shot to prominence because it… er… gave better search results!  Microsoft has had umpteen attempts at catch up or smash down with the Google behemoth over the past decade.  None have had any real effect.  Likewise, Google has had umpteen attempts at rolling out profitable software to compete with Microsoft’s desktop dominance or Sun’s & HP’s mainframe business.  The only success is their own system of networked mini-computers using open-source software – so this doesn’t count!

Current Statistics

Below you’ll see the statistics globally, and also, as they hit this website, http://strangelyperfect.tv  This is for comparison.

Browsers

Global: (source: w3schools.com)
  • Firefox: 47.9%
  • IE (6 to 8): 39.4%
  • Chrome: 6.5%
  • Opera: 2.1%
StrangelyPerfect.TV (logs for August 2009 so far)
  • Firefox: 34.3%
  • IE (6 to 8): 49.7%
  • Chrome: 3.4%
  • Opera: 1.8%

Search Engine Usage

Global (source: hitslink.com)
  • Google: 78.45%
  • Yahoo!: 7.16%
  • Bing: 3.17%
StrangelyPerfect.TV (logs for August 2009 so far)
  • Google: 76.6%
  • Yahoo!: 4.2%
  • Bing: 15.4%

Conclusion

What’s clear is that the visitors to this website StrangelyPerfect.tv, have clearly different preferences to the global norm.  In fact (much to my chagrin it has to be said), there’s a clear tilt towards Microsoft products compared to global usage ratios.

  • Q.  Why?
  • A.  I don’t know!

Search

What I do know is that the Bing results following search queries that finish at this website are on a par with the Google ones!

From my analysis of my (admittedly small) sample of website hits, I can categorically say that’s there’s now no difference between Google & Bing for general searching.  I’ve proved this to myself with a few searches to corroborate this.

In this respect, Microsoft have done very well.   How they’ve done this, I don’t know.  But the similarities suggest similar logic at work on similar datasets.  Whether industrial espionage is the reason or the more likely cause of parallel evolution, only time will tell.

Browser

Microsoft’s browser has come on leaps and bounds since development stopped at IE5/6 after they’d crushed Netscape out of existence (why develop new software when there is no competition?).  Firefox has been the catalyst.  It’s security, stability and user-friendly features have pushed it’s share right up.  This forced Microsoft to react; first with the dreadfully slow IE7 and later with the much better IE8.

The in-built hysteresis of their desktop user base ensures that IE will be hard to beat.  For myself, Firefox is still streets ahead, primarily because of it’s interface – the key features are sized and placed proportionately to their importance on the screen.

It’s just, right; that’s all.

My gut feeling is that we’ve reached a balance point now that will remain for a couple of years at least.  Because the vast bulk of computer users are only just computer literate and ignorant of any alternatives,  I can’t see any browser pushing past the Microsoft desktop domination to enable the displacement of IE from the 50-50 mark.

Postscript

Weirdly, these are two battles of free against free.  Browsers are free to use – as is internet search.  It’s all about competing for advertising revenue in the end.

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