Tag Archive: program

Good News on Google Scams – Consumers Get Money From FTC

Google Treasure Chest Pay Back to Innocent, Duped, Scammed Consumers

FTC Issues Cheques for Google Scams

FTC Issues Cheques for People Duped by Google Scams

It was over three years ago that I first came across a scam, centred around Pacific Webworks (PWW), mainly under the Google Treasure Chest and Google Money Tree monikers.  As I delved deeper, along with other folks, we came across the true scale of the scam.  Our researches then took us into similar scams run by Jesse Willms, all using the same modus operandi of:

  • negative option marketing
  • illegal cash withdrawals from bank accounts
  • a myriad network of affiliates
  • fake or holding addresses, many in foreign countries outside the normal laws, that opened and closed rapidly allowing consumers no come-back
  • illegal medical or wealth claims
  • offshore banking, now known following the recent banking scandals to be heavily centred around the City of London

We always recommended that consumers issue a credit card charge-back against PWW and Willms.  This is the only way to stop the withdrawals and to counter the “businesses” operations at source.   And it worked!

Yesterday, the USA’s FTC issued a statement as well as money in the form of cheques to all consumers known to have been defrauded by PWW and others in the Google Treasure Chest/Money Tree scam.  Their statement is here: FTC Returns More than $2 Million to Buyers of the “Google Money Tree” Work-at-Home Scam.  They say,

Under a settlement agreement with the FTC, the defendants are banned from selling products through “negative option” transactions, in which the seller interprets consumers’ silence or inaction as permission to charge them, and are also prohibited from making misleading or unsupported claims while marketing or selling any product or service. The settlement also required the defendants to surrender cash and other assets, and these are now being used by the FTC to refund consumers who bought the “Google Money Tree,” “Google Pro,” or “Google Treasure Chest” products.

They also include instructions for people who haven’t yet claimed – so if you were conned into getting rich with Google or similar, contact them now and get at least part of your money back!  This is what they said,

The checks will be mailed by an administrator working for the FTC. Consumers who made purchases from “Google Money Tree,” “Google Pro,” or “Google Treasure Chest” will receive approximately $24.50.  Consumers who have questions, or who have not yet filed a complaint with the FTC and wish to do so, should call the Redress Administrator, Gilardi & Co. LLC, toll free, at 1-877-226-2847. Consumers seeking general information about the FTC’s redress program may visit the FTC’s refunds website.  The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information before redress checks can be cashed.

Checks will be mailed on September 11, 2012, and must be cashed on or before November 12, 2012.

So get on in there folks!


Crime Pays, But Not Always – added on 18 Sep 2012

Here’s a reminder of how crime does not pay – the Pacific Webworks share price!

PWW 5yr share history

PWW 5yr share history

Since the successive hits on PWW following our and others’ investigations their share price has languished at around a penny for about half the past year!  Their meteoric rise, right as the depression started to hit, was entirely due to conning vulnerable people in desperate times.

  1. Then folks like me started shouting!
  2. Then Google took note and sued them.
  3. Then the FTC laid charges.
  4. Then they were found to have funny-looking accounts and changed their accountants and management.
  5. Now they’ve had to pay out to the very people who were conned.

So as I just said,

Get on in there folks!


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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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Virtual Box Running 32 bit Win7 inside 64 bit Win7

Introduction

These shots are primarily for the benefit of my friend.

Virtual Box

Sun’s (now Oracle’s) VirtualBox application allows computer users to run a variety of Operating Systems (OS) on virtually any computer operating system.  This is the VirtualBox homepage.

For example:

  • Windows XP on Mac
  • Solaris on Windows XP
  • Windows 7 32-bit on Windows 7 64-bit

This latter example is actually the system that I use to connect to my remote work computing system.  (We use a Citrix client which will not upgrade to 64 bit, hence the necessity of running the Citrix program in a 32-bit environment)

The two shots below show Task Manger’s “performance” tab in the two systems.  I’m showing this to demonstrate that upping the memory to 12Gb has left Windows the opportunity of using as much memory as it feels, and by not using the pagefile (much, if at all) it’s very fluid in operation now.

This screenshot shows Task Manager in the host Win7-64 system with its 12Gb of memory and four processor cores.

Win64 Processes

Win64 Processes

This screenshot shows Task Manager in the virtual Win7-32 system running inside a VirtualBox image with the 4Gb of memory and four virtual processor cores that I allocated to it.

Win32 Processes

Win32 Processes

This screenshot below shows the view across all three screens that I use.

Windows 7 across 3 screens

Windows 7 across 3 screens

In the shot you’ll see that I’ve set the VirtualBox image to run full screen on the right-hand monitor.  I’ve chosen a different background to emphasise this.

A notable feature of VirtualBox is that I have set the mouse cursor to float seamlessly between the two environments.

Previously, I’ve tried installs of several Linux flavours into their own virtual image areas.  These are all removed now, but previously I had several running concurrently – I wish I’d taken a screenshot at that time.  To demonstrate the capabilities of VirtualBox, I once had running concurrently these various operating systems inside my Win7 64-bit host:

  • Windows 7-32 bit
  • Windows XP version one
  • Windows XP version two
  • Ubuntu 10.1
  • Mandriva 10
  • Suse 11
  • Fedora

To enable this all to run in only 4Gb of memory I assigned about 300Mb to each image.  They all worked “out of the box”!

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Windows Defrag to News 9 Today Browser Scam

Free Windows Defragmenter Search

Take this for a scam and a half way of fixing the Google search results!

Defrag Search Results

Defrag Search Results

Today I was looking for an old defrag program, but couldn’t remember the name – so I went to Google.  That’s the screenshot on the right.

The second result looked promising.  After all, the text says,

Anyone know what is currently the best defragmenter for Windows 7 x64 64 bit, and why? Does it have any problems?

News 9 Today  (news9today.org)

News9 Today

News9 Today

Unfortunately, tehparadox.com is not all it seems.  The page actually referenced is http://tehparadox.com/forum/f85/best-defragmenter-windows-7-x64-452359/, which looks kosher enough, but it has nothing at all to do with disc defragmenters, and everything to do with get rich quick schemes!! (That is a screenshot on the left).

It’s like all the other fake news sites that we’ve seen recently, except in this case, the whole meta data of the website is built to deceive the search engines!

For instance, the title stays in the browser tabs, saying,

“Best defragmenter for Windows 7 x64 64 bit?”

The whole html source code is here.  You’ll see that the meta data bit reads:

name=”keywords” content=”Best,defragmenter,Windows,7,x64,64,bit, Best defragmenter for Windows 7 x64 64 bit?, downloads,free,resources,online,sharing,community,movies,games,720p,1080p,anime,applications,music,tv shows,e-books,comic books,discussions,warez,dvdr,rapidshare,megaupload,netload,hotfile,fileserve,filesonic”

name=”description” content=”Anyone know what is currently the best defragmenter for Windows 7 x64 64 bit, and why? Does it have any problems? Or should I just use the default one that comes with Windows 7? Thanks.”

Where Does it Point?

The links all go to

https://ssl.clickbank.net/order/restricted.html?errCode=accntstate&cbhopvendor=homejonlin

which then redirects to

http://www.home-online-jobs.org/check-positions-available/?hop=maspromo

WHOIS www.home-online-jobs.org

Well, they’re hidden of course.  You should know what I think of businesses that choose to be anonymous, but to repeat, I think they’re shite.  See ‘http://whois.domaintools.com/home-online-jobs.org for their “details”.

Noticeably, they have very peculiar name servers:

Name Server:NS1.MYHOMEWEALTHSYSTEM.COM

Name Server:NS2.MYHOMEWEALTHSYSTEM.COM

MYHOMEWEALTHSYSTEM.COM

This bunch of jokers are also hidden, see ‘http://whois.domaintools.com/myhomewealthsystem.com but they Do have an actual web page promoting much the same stuff.  This has been seriously debunked by Paul at WorkAtHomeTruth here back in March 2010.  He has more red flags than the semaphore kid going on it.

The Biggest Killer Laugh of All

News9TodaySmallPrint

News9 Today Small Print

MyHomeWealthSystem at least has a web page.

Now go back to the top and examine News9Today.  Down at the bottom of their small print, they say:

Copyright 2010 © News9Today.org All Rights Reserved.

Hmm?  A website URL.  I wonder what it looks like?

Well actually, if you can recall the CNN logos at the top of the page, like so (directly from their server):

Tehparadox

As seen on CNN? Ha Ha!

After getting the link to the header image above which is sourced from http://www.news9today.org/home-job-news/index_files/features16.jpg, I back-spaced to go back to the News9 Today page – and ended up on the tehparadox page here:  http://tehparadox.com/forum/f85/best-defragmenter-windows-7-x64-452359/

You see in the screenshot that the top advert is a “Google Is Hiring” scam advert?  Where does it go?

A. Well http://www.news9today.org/home-online-job-positions/?tid=hojab6 of course!

Conclusion

Somehow the browser has been redirected from the Google search page to the header advert from the tehparadox website.  This could be SQL injection or a bug in their server or my browser setup.

Whatever, this really stinks, and it’s a new thing to be wary about.

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What is the Best Backup for Windows in a Small Home or Office?

What is the Best Backup for Windows in a Small Home or Office?

Which Windows Backup?  A History.

Over the years I’ve tried many systems for backing up crucial Windows data.  Currently for small-scale backups I use the ubiquitous and almost bullet-proof flash drives, my current one tipping the scales at 8Gb.  But for major backups, as the years have passed, I’ve used;

  1. Floppy discs – 1.4Mb
  2. Iomega Zip discs – 100Mb
  3. CDRW – 650Mb
  4. DVD-R – 4.7Gb
  5. Western Digital My Book Home Edition – 1Tb

They all had their problems and limitations.  The last one looked good with Firewire, USB2, ethernet  & eSATA connections – but it overheated and broke…..

Best Windows Backup!

My current system is from Synology and is a “DS210j – Budget-friendly 2-bay NAS server for Home and Small Business”

See: http://www.synology.com/enu/products/DS210j/index.php

I can heartily recommend the thing.  It has so much gubbins within it and far exceeds my limited expectations.  I installed two green 2Tb drives from Western Digital  in mirrored RAID for security and use the auto-backup software provided as well as Windows’ own.  This is extremely relevant for the large number of hits I’ve had to this posting where a major part of the problem is the time taken to do a backup!  In my case, the 750Gb just takes a few hours to copy across the Gigabit speed ethernet that the unit can use.

Addendum June 2011: The tool is a seriously capable bit of kit and I cannot recommend it enough. Get one!

It does everything it says on the tin, and more!  The whole thing cost me about 200 quid, plus an hour of my time to install.

Even its firewall is more configurable than any router I’ve used!  It can be used as a server for FTP or the web.  It comes with software for a host of things that mimic Flikr etc but without all the privacy or security issues inherent in off-line storage.  It’ll also run with any operating system because it itself is a mini-linux installation as it is,  and includes Windows, Apple and Linux applications.
Check it out, straight from their overview page:

Build Your Entertainment Center

Download Station 2 functions as a 24×7 BitTorrent, FTP, HTTP, eMule, and NZB download center. RapidShare and RSS download are now supported.

DLNA Compliant Media Sever ensures compatibility and interoperability between Disk Station and a wide range of DLNA-certified home devices.

iTunes Server provides an easy way to share music and videos with other iTunes clients within the local network. You can create playlists with songs that match the criteria you specified, and best of all, iTunes will update these playlists automatically as you add or delete songs.

Audio Station supports music, Internet radio stations, and iPod playback with connected USB speakers. Web-streaming mode allows your music to be shared with multiple users over the Internet.

Back Up Your Precious Data

DSM 2.2 offers comprehensive solutions for you to back up data stored on Disk Station or your desktop computer to the Disk Station.

Server backup includes two alternatives: Network Backup and Local Backup. Both allow you to back up data in the shared folders and databases. Incremental backup option and flexible schedules are available. All can be easily configured with a step-by-step wizard.

Desktop backup provides Windows PC users with the Synology Data Replicator 3 for backing up desktop data, Outlook, and Outlook Express emails to their Disk Station by choosing one of the three backup modes: Immediate, Sync, and Scheduled backup, while Mac OS X users can use Apple Time Machine backup application to back up their critical data to Disk Station.

USBCopy allows you to quickly back up your data from an USB storage device such as an USB flash or USB card reader to the Disk Station with just one single touch on the front-panel Copy button.

Enrich Your Web Presence

Photo Station 3 simplifies photo, video, and blog sharing over the Internet. The flexibility of photo theme customization, blog layout arrangement, visitor’s privilege setting, RSS feed, and the dazzling 3-dimentional photo browsing with Cooliris make Photo Station 3 your state-of-the-art lifestyle sharing center on the Internet.

Web Station with built-in PHP+MySQL allows users to publish their own websites or install numerous popular open-source programs.

Access With Your iPhone/Mobile Device

The iPhone App DS audio allows Disk Station users to stream music stored on Disk Station with their iPhone/iPod® touch where Internet access is available, while DS photo allows uploading photos from the iPhone/iPod® touch to their Disk Station.

Users with a mobile device running on Windows Mobile® 6.0, iPhone OS 2.2.1 onward, or Symbian OS 9.1 can log on their Disk Station to view photos with Mobile Photo Station and read supported file formats with Mobile File Station where Internet access is available.

Eco Friendly

Eco Friendly

Synology Disk Station is designed and developed perpetually with the concept of energy saving. Compared with average PC counterparts, Synology Disk Station consumes a relatively low amount of power and has the HDDs hibernate when not in use. This not only helps to save energy but also extends the lifespan of the hard disk.

Synology Disk Station truly earns the title of “green product” because of the unique Scheduled Power On/Off feature, and the smart fan design effectively cools down the system with minimum power consumption, yet keeps the system quiet on operation.

Finally, all Synology products are produced with RoHS compliant parts and packed with recyclable packing materials. Synology recognizes its responsibility as a global citizen and is continually working to reduce the environmental impact of the products we create.

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