Shame and Blame

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With social media available to everyone with a connected device (phone, tablet, computer etc) its easier than ever to read the news and be up-to-date on everything that is happening near and far nowadays. Applications like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and alike also lets you comment on all those events and let everyone that likes to hear know how you feel, think and sometimes judge the news.

The other day i read a quote (on Facebook!) that seems to apply to alot of these comments though: “Opinions are like buttholes, everyone has one and most of them stink!” I have been following some some discussions via social media about some events that recently occured and after a few days i must conclude that indeed everyone that comments seems to have an opinion about what happened, who is to blame and why. In a single comment people seem to get judged and sentenced and beware he who dares to object to that particular reasoning for that person will be made co-responsible to the “problem”!

People seem to let go of any kind of reservations as soon as they post on the internet. Even people i know to be really considerate and show empathy in real life seems to have let go of those values as soon as they react on Facebook, Twitter etc. It seems they think the internet is some anonymous place where everyone is allowed to sprak their mind without reservations. The consequence of social media becoming as mainstream as it is today though is that you are not by far as anonymous as people like to think nowadays. Everyone connects to everyone and one thing everyone should realise is that the internet doesnt forget. Everything that you put out there can eventually be traced back to you including all the (unintended) consequences that may come with it.

I would just like to ask everyone to always use comon sense, both on as well as outside the online world and remember that social values are always applicable… Treat people how you would like to be treated by others and dont randomly go shaming and blaming people who you dont know about situations you dont know all the ins and outs of.

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Scammed!

Scam

Have you ever recieved email about a huge inherritage from a long lost aunt in Nigeria or sweepstakes winnings you never participated in? Most of these require you to transfer an amount of money first to cover eXpenses before they can sent you the small fortune that you are being promised. Most people know not to react to these massages and the request to sent money first scares off most people but there will still be people who will try and sadly enough never see their money nor the promised fortune ever again.

Another scam you are being warned for are phishing e-mails in which they try to retrieve (login/password or creditcard) information from you. Usually they sent e-mails, presumably looking like they are from companies, websites and banks you are familiar with. They mention a reason to log into the service of the company/bank/game and ask you to do so via a link in the email. This link will take you to a website very simular to the original website and once you (try to) log in they retrieve that information from you. When you try to log into the valid website or service you find out they changed the login info and emptied your account or belongings. Sometimes they try to make some eXtra money by telling you to pay a fee to retrieve your account only to find out, after paying, that they stripped all of the belongings to that account already.

Over the years on social media i have also regularly seen warnings for what i call “creative scams”. Let me give you an eXample. One of these warnings tell us about keychains being handed out at gasstations or conveniencestores for free. They are told to contain a tracking device with which the criminal will follow you to see where you live. When you leave the house they can keep track of you so they can break in and keep an eye on you returning home. This message, which is known to circulate in several languages and countries already dating back to 2008 and originate from South Africa. It is a fake trick since these tracking devices have never actually been varified by official police notifications (although at one point the Belgium police has been said to have also spread the original (fake) message) and if you think about it, it would be a very costly and inefficiënt method to eXcecute. When they follow you after handing you the device there is no need to track you and it would be really cost-inefficiënt to give away dozens of high-tech devices to accomodate simple burglaries which have always taken place succesfully with just some common sense and a bit of haste!

ScamMail

Today i spoke to someone that has been scammed this weekend with a trick that im familiar with as well… Ive seen the warnings for this scam on social media several times and i know its true since they tried the same trick on me and my wife several times but luckily we knew about the warnings. It happened to this person as followed: his wife got a phonecall from an english speaking person with a clearly Indian accent stating he is an employer from Microsoft and they have discovered that (one of) your computers at home is infected with a virus, it contains an illegal copy of Windows or another reason why they want you to follow some steps. They asked to turn on the computer and connect to a certain service giving them access to your computer. With this aquantance they let them install some programs to “fiX” their computer and they had to pay €20 euro’s for that via some direct payment service. The transactions flawed a couple of times resulting in several “tries” and after that they were told to leave the computer turned off for at least a day. Not long after they found out their bankaccount was stripped with almost €3000 taken from them. Apperantly the several “tries” were meant to transfer several amounts of money (1X €2500, 1X €375 and several times €20) from their account! To show you how bold these scammers are please listen to what happened neXt.

Later that day they found out that the bank tried to contact them due to suspicious transactions from their bankaccount. Because of this the bank blocked the transaction of €2500. Lucky for the couple that got scammed but the scammer probably was not amused by this chain of events. Therefor they had the courage to contact the couple again the neXt day telling them that they, Microsoft, had made a mistake and would like to transfer back the money that was “mistakenly” taken from their account! Luckily they did not listen to the man anymore since refunding meant they had to log in again and hand over access to their computer yet another time. Even after telling him to stop he had the nerve to call back 7 times!

Ofcourse the couple is in the proces of trying to get their money back and having their statement taken by the police but i doubt they will ever get to the people behind these vile scams. To me it shows that eventhough most of these scams are quite obvious and everyone should by now know about these attempts to get hold of your personal information, there are still people who are unaware or easy to pursuade. And if so, it is also possible that even you or me will eventually fall for one of their tricks. Can we prevent this? Just be carefull and keep thinking, does it sound too good to be true? Then it probably is. Never open email from unknown sources or if you do at least never open the attachments that come with it. The people that are trying to scam you rely on the few that are unaware or inattentive to rake in their “earnings”… So the best advice i can offer you is to always be cautious and please warn others to pay attention. That is why i also wanted to tell you about the previous to show you that it is not always something that happens to others but it can one day happen to any one of us!

UitroepSpider

The best sunday is a…

LazySunday

… Lazy sunday! Yep, thats right, sleep in, watch tv or play a few games from your huge backlog in your Steam-account.

Thats how i spend today… I did play Diablo2 which is not on Steam but sort of a backlog thing (felt like playing retro and loved it!) and i did get my wife a Valentines present (a nice parfume that my 8 year old son choose since im having a terrible cold!) but we spend the whole day relaXing which is a nice thing to do once in a while.

Have a nice relaXed sunday!

Time is of the essence

There are days that feel like they never end and then there are days that just fly by… Sometimes there are even weeks that seem to pass without anyone noticing and to be honest that is how i felt this morning.

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After a long weekend the kids needed to go to school again and my wife and i off to work. Mornings are hectic enough and that is pretty common in our household but somehow this morning seemed to pass with the blink of an eye. Off to work where time also seemed to pass twice as quickly as normal, resulting in doing only half the things i planned to do… Leaving me with an unsattisfying feeling and the intention to make up for it tomorrow eventhough i already know it wont happen because the day is already planned and new challenges will arise.

Reading back at some of the blogposts i made these last few weeks (where did i get time to do that!?!) i noticed the post about Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality… Very eXciting stuff and predicted to become a major thing in our foreseable future. If i can make a quick suggestion however i would like to ask to also implement a time-management switch into these VR and AR solutions giving me the opportunity for a littlebit more control over my time well-spent. Maybe even better yet, make a whole new device to manipulate time in RL (Real Life)! This might just be the neXt big thing after VR/AR, now only a thing of the future but hey, how long ago did we say that about color tv, 3D movies and Virtual Reality? The future is now and time management is near…

…After a good nights sleep because i have to be ready and awake again tomorrow for a busy agenda awaits me…!!!

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Geocaching: the art of treasure hunting

 

AntGPS.pngA couple of years ago we got introduced to the phenomenon of Geocaching. At work they organised an event in which they eXplained the principles of Geocaching and in groups let us search for a couple caches.

For those people who dont know what Geocaching is let me take a quick minute to eXplain:

Geocaching is an outdoor activity, in which you use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device (smartphone) to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in the world.

A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook (with a pen or pencil). The geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back eXactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammunition boXes can also contain items for trading, such as toys or trinkets.

It so happens that i missed the organised event at work but i was curious to how this Geocaching works so i downloaded an app on my iPhone and started looking for one of those “hidden treasures” on my own for the first time. I felt the little kid in me appear and decided that i just needed to get my kids into this as well… So i took them for a bikeride, carefully planned enroute a couple of nice geocaches and before i knew it they were also hooked on the new “treasure hunting”! Even my wife didnt mind stopping by some locations after the saturday football matches of the boys to go find a treasure.

Before we knew it we started making some friends of ours new enthousiast Geocachers and found out quite some friends and aquantances already participated in the cache hunt from time to time, we just never knew! Sometimes these searches lead to some pretty weird or even embarrising situations… Like the story of a friend that went looking for a cache which was hidden deep inside some bushes with his 6 year old daughter. When he came out of the bushes with his kid there were some bypassers that looked rather funny at that adult man emerging out of the bushes with this little kid… They quickly took off but they did find the cache!

There are a couple of apps to use with your smartphone when you like to start Geocaching yourself but the one i use (free app with the possibility to upgrade to premium to unlock more options and socalled Premium-caches) is simply called Geocaching Intro. It lets you navigatie to dozens of caches near you and you can also “log” the caches you find. If you like to get to know more about Geocaching there are many websites to eXplain the basics from starting to look for your first cache as well as all the things you need to know to place you own cache for others to find.

I can just recomment trying it one day and im curious if you liked it so if you did or you are an already a veteran Geocacher please leave me a message to tell me about it… Happy hunting!

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The gaming “Carrot-on-a-Stick”

CarrotMC

My favorite gaming platform has always been PC although we also have a Wii and 2 XboX360’s at home. Its probably because i grew up gaming on PC (and so called Home Computers before that) and my parents never thought about getting a game console for my sister and me. When i was 18 i bought myself a Nintendo Gameboy when i lived in Canada for a year. Many years later my wife got me a Sony PSP for my birthday but despite that my go-to favorite machine to enjoy gaming has always remained the PC.

The introduction of the mobile phone also got us so-called mobile games. Starting with classics like Snake on all Nokia phones, with the developement and improvements to mobile phones and later smart-phones also grew the amount and quality of mobile games. There have been some very good and innovatieve games on the mobile and tablet platform but personally they cannot compete with a good and immersive game on PC or console. Usually they function as a quick passtime when waiting at the dentist or at the busstop but can hardly keep my attention for more than 10 minutes and a couple of days.

Most of these games however try to bind their players with the use of daily login rewards and the so-called “carrots on a stick”. Recently i have installed the free-to-play game Dungeon Boss on my iPhone. The objective is to get up to 4 of your collectable Heroes through short (1-5 minute) dungeons collecting tokens to get more Heroes or to upgrade the ones you already own. When you have reached a high enough level you get to create your own dungeon which you need to protect against other players with your available Heroes. Its up to you to raid other players dungeons for rewards or the general dungeons for Hero tokens. You can take on (daily) quests to earn eXtra rewards and to help out your guild in earning guildrewards.

I was wondering why this game keeps my interest for weeks on end already even managed to make me login on a regular daily base to go finish the daily and guild quests and trying to get enough tokens to get this new Hero or upgrading that one Hero i love to improve. Apparently the carrot in this game is the same used for eXample in the Pokemon games where all players keep trying to get all the available characters…

Mobile Ant

Eventhough these games wont replace the ones on my PC, not even Dungeon Boss, it is interesting to see why this carrot is so appealing. A good (mobile) game needs a good carrot but not every “gamer” is caught with the prospect of collecting 50 or so characters by grinding days, weeks or months… The secret i think lays in the fact that the first week or 2 you need to bind the new player with the prospect of offering them something new every day. If you dont reward them when they are discovering the game they will quickly put it aside to try something else. But if you manage to keep that player interested for a (couple of) week(s) they start setting bigger goals and they dont need to be lured back in every day. So you need short term goals as well as long term goals. I guess that is no different for mobile games, PC or console games nowadays… Alot of games have introduced daily quests and login rewards these last few years and i think it has the desired effect because i keep catching myself login in to several games just to pick up a login reward or finishing a couple of dailies, even feeling guilty when i skipped those quests/rewards for a day!

Enough on addictive game mechanics for now because i still need to pick up the login rewards for Marvel Heroes and Guild Wars 2 before i get back at finishing my daily quests in Dungeon Boss to get the new Hero ive been franticly saving up tokens for… Gotta catch ’em all!