Kijiji Spam

This morning I woke up to find eight (8) emails (and growing) in my inbox regarding some type of trade that people want to make with me regarding vehicles. To clarify, I do not own any cars, vans, trucks, or jet-skis. Even if I did I wouldn't want to trade them on Kijiji after seeing this kind of security breach.

When going to the main Kijiji site to see if these fraudulent messages can be stopped; it was impossible. Impossible because the account doesn't exist. The e-mails appear to come from Kijiji and it is because they do. Kijiji allows any random person out there to send a message using your e-mail address. Normally this would be flagged by spam filters since it doesn't come from Google's servers, but not for Kijiji. I guess Kijiji is on a list of trusted vendors so my only recourse is to post this and hope that the techs at Kijiji can pinpoint to origin IP address of the user impersonating me.

I definitely can't send out the 'Cyber Police' (See Jessi Slaughter). I can report the incidents and find out location information and which ISP the person had used to send out the messages. Then tell them to stop, in person, where they live. Or not.

I have been reporting the event to Google and to Kijiji. Don't trade vehicles, especially when you cannot verify the identity of the person you are trading with.

Hockey: Boston Wins and Vancouver Riots

Riots are always bad for a major city. Usually riots are the result of some social, political, or religious tension. The Vancouver riot may seem like the result of the 'Religion of Hockey', although I disagree. It is more likely the mob mentality among a group of very bored people. Think of it as a planned repeat of the 1994 riot, which was genuine and the result of shortsighted and angry hockey fans.

In Welland there were no riots reported. In fact there were celebrations because the Stanley Cup could visit the newly refitted arena. This could also encourage local parents to justify the expenditure to get their children into league hockey. It couldn't have come at a better time.

The catch? In recent years I've seen much less hockey in Welland, including unorganized street hockey. I've seen 'Street Tennis', that should demonstrate the condition of hockey in a community with great sports facilities. So if you see people playing Street Tennis in Welland, encourage them to put the ball down and hit it with a stick. It'll make sense in the long run.

Solution, Resolution, and Reduction

Many of the people and organizations that I work with are familiar with my problem solving technique, and 'Problem Solved!' exclamations, and there are some important details to cover about linear though and planning that are often less visible. So this will be a step-by-step problem solving guide.

1) 'One problem at a time' - Identify and categorize the problems.
Yes, the online time management gurus are currently in favour of unitasking, and that doesn't really mean do only one thing - it means take care of one problem at a time. In the flat tire example this means before you run to a mechanic you will need to make a temporary fix to your vehicle. To make a temporary fix you will need the equipment. Hope you planned ahead. The rundown:

Equip your vehicle (done); Tire is flat (yes); Bring spare tire, jack, and tire iron to flat (you are here); Jack vehicle; loosen nuts; Etc. (Actually you may want to see if you are supposed to lightly loosen some of the nuts before lifting the vehicle, read the manual)

2) 'One Man, One Mission' - Identify the leader and potential solutions.
Only one solution will work, the others could have but only one can be implemented. Without a clearly defined leader there may be disagreement, which reduces the number of solutions coming in. Sometimes the leader is not the expert, they are often the person that you'd ask 'is this a good idea'. Their response defines your course of action.

More solutions are welcome until the group or leader is certain. Dissent may still appear, but unless they can prove that the current solution isn't going to work they really just need to help or get out of the way.

3) 'The Fail Train' - Problems arising from last solution.
Remember that person in your group that said 'that's not going to work', sometimes they're right and it's too late for gloating because you have to start problem solving from a new point of view. Typically you get three strikes, if the solution creates more problems by the third round it is time to stop and seek out an expert. If you think you are the expert then its time to get a grant and start your research. Don't forget to publish your results 'expert'.

Stop the fail train through reduction. If the car doesn't work then find a way to live without it, or get rid of the old one that is unfixable. So many people are looking for the additive solution (eat this to stop being fat), when the solution is to reduce (put down the 'metabodonut' it's not working).

4) 'Problem Solved!' - It is important to track progress and document results.
Documentation helps to make sure this problem doesn't happen again, usually you're repeating someone elses fix. You do not need to post your tire changing guide, but you do need to run down your checklist. Your checklist is where the paperwork starts. That list will get longer, and your successes will grow in number.

I don't know about all of the problems, only the ones that people bring to me. Your problems are going to be different. If you want to be happier though it is a good idea to take things step by step, one problem at a time, lead your mission, and avoid the fail train. Then you will be happier and the world will be a better place because of that.

Summer Outreach Boost and HAM Project

I've got good news, the Twitter, CanadaHelps, and Facebook integration is working for my non-profit partners. Which hopefully helps them to do what they need to by spreading the word about their services and their needs. Right now OPIRGBrock.org is starting their "Save the InfoShop" fundraising. They need donors to continue to serve downtown St.Catharines. Their website details their efforts in greater detail, check out http://OPIRGBrock.org.

I've also been working on a frequency monitoring system for the local HAM repeaters. This would allow SWLs and traveling HAMs to listen in online. Compression is the biggest issue, because even with a couple users bandwidth costs could get expensive. There is the idea of compressing all of the days transmissions into a torrent of an ogg file that gets posted automatically each night. I'd have to find some kind of VOX style record function for Ubuntu though. This shouldn't be complicated for users.

Sorry if I bridged from an update into a brainstorming session, there is plenty left to do. I'm going to get back to that.

Update: After talking with some other HAMs about monitoring frequencies it became clear that is more of a private tool than a public one. Even then, who would want to monitor all Niagara repeaters?

Canadian Spring and You

I'd like to preface this by saying that Brigette DePape Marcelle (The Protesting Page) is a welcome political leader in Welland. This is someone in the government (the real government) willing to take a stand. While I've heard from others that that wasn't the time or place - I disagree.

As a supporter of the Single Transferable Voting system I don't believe we have a democratically elected government representing the majority of Canadians. Even with the majority the heavy handed approach of this new political party (Conservative Party) has been devastating to Young Canadians. Even more so in Welland, where the decline of manufacturing has been so rapid that the adult and youth workforce competes for the few available jobs.

I am in the youth 'underemployed' category, where due to the local jobs shortage I don't even qualify for EI programs designed to get people back into the workforce. Want to join a mentorship program? Not going to happen. The option I do have would have been to apply for the summer student business grant - back when I was still a student.

What should the government do? Manage scarcity and find a better way to connect this generation with employment. The indirect approach isn't working there are too many people wasting too much time looking for work. The looking part isn't the problem - it's connecting youth with employers. We are capable, and probably better, and know the promotion isn't coming.

Employment isn't the only issue, digital rights and culture is also an important factor. It's treated as an alien concept that people should have free access to information. Of course, pay for bandwidth but don't tell people what to use it for. Radio frequencies are scarce.

More problems with the last generation? Going paperfree is alien. They don't believe that they need to join the rest of society online. They don't volunteer as much as we do, yet encourage us to volunteer more (Exceptions in the WW2 Generation). They think the government should be doing more or less than managing scarcities based on our current technology (Scarcities currently include transportation, healthcare, radio frequencies, natural resources, energy, and employment). They don't avoid what hurts them, like alcoholism, overeating, and smoking. They watch too much TV, and pay too much for it. They don't understand why the telephone is a bad choice to deliver important news.

While there are some of those traits present in younger people, those are typically a by-product of their community. Like smoking in Tillsonburg, or telephones in suburbia.

What can you do? If you're older, get out of the way and let some of us succeed. If you're younger, graduating, learning, or just fed up with the grey haired menace holding back your ability to participate in the economy then join in. Get vocal. Get fired. Strike. Take over. Inherit. Don't panic. Be better. Demonstrate. Send the bill. Pick and stick to your true community, not just the local area. Good luck.

Quick Fix: Starting automatic crash report generation [Fail]

Something must have went wrong with Apport (the crash report app). Some users are left unable to boot in Ubuntu 11.04. This is the quick fix:

1) When it stalls at the Ubuntu load screen press [CTRL][ALT][F2] and get to a terminal.
2) Sign in (username, then password - Must be a SUDOer)
3) Run the following command 'sudo gdm' (Enter your password again)
4) Enjoy your session.

An update should be available soon with the permanent fix, and now you'll have a GUI to do it in. Remember this is a 'duct tape' solution and you will need to update.

(Update: If you're really tired of bugs like this on end-user systems consider Hexxeh's Chromium OS builds, and if you're tired of problems like this on server systems then learn about how your system works or try Debian - you can take your MySQL databases with you.)

(Update 2: If the problem persists just remove apport after using this quick fix, I also removed the plymouth-theme-* packages because I just don't need the boot time confusion.)

(Update 3: After receiving more user input it seems some users are seeing the message erroneously. If you've been messing around with GDM and X11 settings. getting the old org.gnome.DisplayManager problem if you don't sudo? try this. "sudo nano /etc/X11/default-display-manager" Does it say /usr/bin/gdm and if so is your GDM in usr/bin or /usr/sbin - because all of you with it in sbin will need to add that missing S. Then press Ctrl-o to save and ctrl-x to exit nano. Reboot and enjoy.)

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