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Topics - The Gorn

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1
Discussions - Public / Adventures in Phone Number Porting
« on: December 16, 2017, 08:44:30 PM »
I hereby declare myself a phone number porting ninja. I just rearranged my cell numbers and in the process resolved a long standing pain in the ass issue with my main business number I've had increasingly for several years.

I did everything I set out to do. But I found as a by-product that website information from random nobodies is often complete misleading horse shit.

First of all, my cell phone setup looked like this for the last year and a half:

- Business phone number on a BLU HD 6 smart phone, which is an increasingly wheezy and slow 2014 design running Android 5.0. No path to upgrades. And (since I didn't know what I was doing when I bought it) extremely skimpy 8 GB memory for apps, which turned out to only be 5.6 GB available after the OS's needs. I constantly ran out of room to install apps and I was constantly chasing memory use with a memory optimizer. (on that version of Android you can't transparently use an SD card as part of system memory, and when apps upgrade themselves they always move back into the limited phone memory.) I had had this phone number since 2000 when the line it was on was a Sprint line that was part of a dual ISDN data pair. After I got rid of ISDN I kept the number as a landline, I had it ported to Time Warner cable a few years ago, and then onto a Straight Talk cell account.  The BLU phone is extremely awkward to use for normal calls because of its size, so I always had to use an earpiece which worked OK but was one more piece of junk.

- Personal cell number, on a cheap $13 Verizon prepaid flip phone. 300 min or texts/mo for $15+tax, which was all I needed. I had the cell number since 2012 and several people in my life have the number.

Here's the deal with the two phone numbers. I had placed my business number on my websites for years, and also the phone number had started life as a land line. So in the last couple of years I would easily get 10+ spam calls a day on that line. Constantly: business loans, payday loans, marble mouthed Indian scammers, scammers with "arrest you if you do not respond" scam calls, electric providers, etc.

My business line was almost unusable for incoming calls because I never took any rings seriously due to the spam. And the existing apps I found did not do a great job of handling or detecting spam calls. Example: Should I Answer? app. It worked OK but got in the way every time a legitimate call came in.

My personal cell line has always been extremely quiet and only very rarely did it receive spam - usually misdialed calls. I've never publicized that number, ever, and only a few individuals have it.

I recently also upgraded my smart phone to a Moto G5 which has been exceptional, and is much easier to handle and carry and much better battery life and performance than the BLU HD. I realized after using it for a couple of weeks that I was not using the flip phone any. But I still had that suck business number on the nice new smartphone.
I want to keep the business number because it's registered with credits cards and with tax agencies as a point of contact. But it had gotten useless for incoming calls.

Here was my idea:

1) Move the business number off of Straight Talk onto a Google Voice account. Google charges $20 one time for porting in. This would spam proof the number, and also, GV has really good controls for things like ringing the phone only during business hours of the work week if you like.

2) With my smart phone now presumably dead with no plan, move my personal cell number from my cheap flip phone I stopped carrying, and onto the smart phone and onto a new plan.

3) My smart phone now has a *private* number with no record of spam, and I stop needing to manage two different cells. So I stop looking like a drug dealer with a burn phone, or a married man having an affair using a second cell phone.  :P >:D

That's the goal. Here's how it went.

The main issue with porting phone numbers turns out to be acquiring the account number for the existing cell service. That account number is not easy to acquire as an end user in certain situations with some providers.

If I move off of Straight Talk, I need to know the account number, plus a PIN that you set as a user in their web dashboard, in order to have a successful port. Same for any provider.

The old phone number provider won't respond if the PIN or the account number are incorrect or invalid.

So, I ordered a new Straight Talk SIM card set from Walmart ($0.99) and once it arrived (so I could port to the smart phone ASAP) I got to work.

I found some conflicting info about Straight Talk's account ID. The preponderance of information seemed to say that your account number for porting purposes is the current carrier's SIM card number (actually the last 15 digits of it.)

I went into Google Voice, paid my $20, and initiated the port using the SIM card number as the account number. This was around 1 AM.

By 9 PM the following evening my smart phone was inactive and my Google Voice account showed the ported business line. Yay! So I guessed right.

The REAL challenge was porting my phone number away from Verizon.

This is where I ran into absolute website bullshit from lying bullshitters and idiots.

The issue with Verizon Prepaid is that VZW makes it almost impossible to speak to a customer service rep as a prepaid customer. Their phone system runs you in circles with canned rote recorded bullshit. And, with prepaid you never receive a paper invoice or bill with an account number. Also, the web interface does NOT show an account number.  You need to ask one of those impossible-to-reach customer service people for your account ID.  In theory.

So I first tried to figure out the account number on my own. One idiot stated that you could open the page source of your VZQ user profile page, and your account number would appear in the source code. I found this, a 10 digit number. ALso the same idiot said you append -00001 to the end of that number.

Great, so I used that to try to port into Straight Talk from VZW.

Fail. After a day and a half my phone account on ST was showing "port in progress."

I got on chat that evening and found that my provided account number was incorrect and therefore the other carrier rejected it.

Fine. So I ran the poor guy at the other end through several account numbers. It turned out that they could re-submit the request in real time and tell me the result in a few minutes.

The other idiotic guesses I found online (which VZW all rejected) were:

The phone number (area+number).
The last four digits of the number.
I also tried the web site source code value without the -00001.

Nothing worked. And one of these tips was written by Verizon staffers on their community forum site!  >:(

Later that evening I found instructions on how to get through to a VZW prepaid wireless rep in a real phone call. You have to enter certain numbers at specific times in their "script". (Note to the board: if you want these instructions offer me something of value like a paid gig. :P I worked hard to find this, damnit!)

Once I got that number, I called, was connected in a few minutes to a nice lady, and I got the account number.

For VZW Prepaid it's a 12 character sequence with a leading alpha. Nothing in the number matches any info I found anywhere in my possession.

Clearly Verizon wants to lock in prepaid customers. Jerks.

I got on chat again with Straight Talk, and after a lengthy assed wait because of their system, provided the "good" account number.

The rep had apparently looked at my ticket and asked me "are you sure this is the right number" because of the false tries. I made it clear that I wasn't guessing this time.

They applied the number at like 2:30 in the afternoon. They said it cleared OK and that my phone should be working by 4 PM. It had a signal and I was able to make a call by 3:30.

I felt pretty good about wading through all that crap and achieving a desired result.

2
Discussions - Public / What Windows programs run in WINE with *no hassles*?
« on: November 04, 2017, 09:02:34 AM »
I've found exactly one so far: Beyond Compare by Scooter Software (an incredibly useful file compare utility.) I have one of the last revisions of the version I bought, from 2008. I just ran the installer from Wine, which completed with no errors, and BC works with NO problems.

I think I got Evernote to install on Linux a few months ago but I deinstalled it because that version was complaining about too many apps on the free account.

Most Windows applications I've tried choke in the installer because the installers usually want things like IE to be relatively current (and of course Wine has no IE look-alike.) Or the installers just exit with a cryptic error message.

I'm really kind of impressed with the integration with Linux in WINE when things do work. BC can readily see the entire hard drive and compare files outside its "C drive" space under the Linux file root.

3
Discussions - Public / Warranties not honored by successor businesses?
« on: October 19, 2017, 05:59:17 PM »
I identified two bad memory modules from my computer using MemTest86. As the gang here knows, I swapped modules until I isolated the bad apples, and I also have run an overnight test with the remaining modules and they seem solid for now.

The original kit of memory was OCZ brand, purchased in late 2009 from TigerDirect. 6 modules of 2GB each, DDR3 memory. This product:

https://www.amazon.com/OCZ-OCZ3G1333LV12GS-PC3-10666-Triple-Channel/dp/B001O0DR2I/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

It was pricey at the time ($276). The box which I kept states clearly that there is a lifetime warranty on these items.

I contacted "OCZ Support" through their Facebook page and explained this, and they told me this:

Quote
Toshiba does not provide warranty service for the former OCZ Technology group memory modules. OCZ Technology Group stopped producing memory in 2010 and filed for bankruptcy in September of 2013.

Toshiba is unable to provide any warranty support for the following legacy and end of life “OCZ Technology” products that were discontinued. Toshiba is also unable to provide any warranty support for all discontinued non-SSD category products including DRAM memory, USB drives, Power Supplies, DIY notebooks and peripherals.

I’m sorry for not being able to help you with this case.
Please let me know if you have any other questions

I think that's quite fucked. But it raises an interesting question. Don't businesses that are acquired wind up with ALL of the assets AND, AND, AND debts of the acquired business?

Well, I Googled and found this. This explains it. Yeah, the warranty is fucked (lost).

https://www.extremetech.com/computing/171784-ocz-files-for-bankruptcy-toshiba-to-acquire-assets-but-warranties-could-be-lost

Now, I'm not out much because tech stuff depreciates like crazy. Still, it's quite unethical IMO even if legal.

4
Discussions - Public / What used to be "Realrates BBS" on Yuku is now...
« on: October 02, 2017, 10:46:20 AM »
A company called TapaTalk apparently bought out Ezboard/Yuku. This is the shell of Janet Ruhl's old Realrates BBS discussion forum.

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/computerconsultants/index.php

Really kind of interesting how these things change. I just used the forgot password function and logged in as "Goddard Bolt".

5
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/09/28/doj-files-suit-against-company-for-allegedly-not-hiring-americans.html

Quote
The Department of Justice announced Thursday it has filed a lawsuit against a Colorado corporation for allegedly discriminating against U.S. workers. 

The complaint alleges that in 2016, Crop Production discriminated against at least three United States citizens by refusing to employ them as seasonal technicians in El Campo, Texas, because Crop Production preferred to hire temporary foreign workers under the H-2A visa program.

“In the spirit of President Trump’s Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American, the Department of Justice will not tolerate employers who discriminate against U.S. workers because of a desire to hire temporary foreign visa holders,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “… Where there is a job available, U.S. workers should have a chance at it before we bring in workers from abroad.”

This is the first complaint filed stemming from the “Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative,” which was launched on March 1. 

6
If you're one of those fearing being targeted in an improbable digital krystallnacht, check out this video.

As a special courtesy to those who don't want to be tracked by Youtube/Google, I'm supplying the videos as downloadable links from my FTP account.

https://www.adrive.com/public/QY4fZA/De-Google-ify%20Yourself%20%5B240p%5D.3gp (10 MB low quality)

https://www.adrive.com/public/4Ftthw/De-Google-ify%20Yourself%20%5B720p%5D.mp4 (65 MB medium quality)

The password is dog, lower case.

The guy recommends search engines, browsers, email services, and more.

7
As a social media/web development maven I see a very strong push in the design direction of "subtlety" and "not being obvious" in websites and software products. It's across the board.

This is in addition to the idea of making all devices including desktop OSs look like mobile platforms.

An example of this was the elimination of 3D rounding of buttons in Windows and on websites. After about 2005 using such appearance was deemed amateurish and totally uncool.

For example, if you have a floating UI element like a checkbox, it's just absolutely forbidden by today's design ideology to make it a distinct color like red, for easy viewing. Or, buttons don't show border boxes unless you hover over them with a pointing device.

The overall net effect is that software becomes tedious and frustrating to use, when designers get all faggoty and elegant and make stuff "subtle".

For example: I was designing a web page a few days ago using a popular WordPress theme.  I had already set a background image in one UI module. The theme recently discontinued having a text box containing the name of the image file next to the image shown in the designer. It used to be that you simply deleted out the image name by typing deletes in the file name box, and then saving the module, and the background image was gone. Well, now they have no explicit way to remove a background image. I bitched on their support forum and one guy volunteered that the background image preview now has a "X" close box in the upper right corner of the preview in design mode. You click that X close box and the image is removed.

Well lah de fucking dah!  >:D

The only problem with this "elegant" approach is that these homos tweaked up the elegance even MORE by making the close icon white and without any contrasting border lines.

I HAD A WHITE BACKGROUND IN THE IMAGE SO I COULDN'T SEE THE X. Once I was told this, I removed the image by clicking where I thought it would be and after a few clicks I got it.

So wasteful, inconsiderate and stupid.

I want software that SHOUTS the important stuff at me. To today's transgendered fairy assed software designers, software must speak to you in hushed, muted tones while sipping its chai and milk.  :D >:D

8
If you don't trust any one source of news or opinion and want some ideas for watching opinions, and some perspective on the pecking order, this page is an excellent resource.

It veers more toward conservative and alt-right channels but that's of course because the far left channels are much stupider and less trustworthy.  :P

http://nowbuzz.me/25-most-influential-youtubers/

I listen regularly to about 1/3 of the Youtube channels / authors listed on this page:

Info Wars
Black Pigeon
Prager U
Mark Dice (the guy who does street side "youtube hits" on stupid people who don't think by posing them trick questions and seeing how seriously the average idiot takes them.)
Corbert Report
Bill Still
Styxhexenhammer666 (yes)
Sargon of Akkad

Of course, I'm full of hate and should be killed.  >:D

9
Discussions - Public / Postulate on the Greater Internet as a Whole
« on: June 20, 2017, 04:38:22 PM »
Lest we forget the underpinnings of forum behavior... I think this is basic thermodynamics or something.

It certainly explains what has happened here in the past.


10
Discussions - Public / Funny SSIDs for your home wireless network
« on: May 22, 2017, 01:52:13 PM »
I have the following always-on (secured) SSIDs on our home network:

MALWAREISFUN
NSA_LISTENING_POST

I have a pocket router I took on vacation last fall. Its SSID is HILLARY_CRIMINAL. So other units in the condo would run across it when connecting to the building hot spot.

Many of my neighbors use their last names and/or street number as part or all of their SSID, which I believe is risky and foolish. I prefer to give people 1/5 of a second of entertainment and mirth.

What about you?

11
Loco Stories / Humor / Get Your Own Rare Pepe
« on: April 26, 2017, 06:07:33 PM »
There is a cottage industry of Pepe artists, creating rare Pepes and dank memes.

https://www.fiverr.com/dankboi/make-a-custom-rare-pepe-the-frog

Quote
Warning. Such Pepes have the possibility of becoming extremely RARE and sought after on dark web market. Which may lead you to either become a millionaire or the target of 4chan best Pepe thieves, you must be ready for the responsibility of owning such an unique never seen before, Pepe The Frog.

13
I belong to a Facebook page for "My County's Rummage Sale". Usually it's yard sale and larger items for sale by local residents who are members of the group.

I've seen one individual advertising the following: Fire TV Sticks, jailbroken, with Kodi and something called Mobdro installed. (Kodi is a video player streaming app, and Mobdro is something for Android that finds free video streams on the web.)


(click to magnify)

Here's the deal.

The Amazon Fire Stick is half this price. It's $39.99 everywhere from Walmart to Amazon online.

Apparently the value here is in acquiring a jailbroken device that can play free content that the stock Fire Stick cannot.

Jailbreaking or rooting most Android type devices like the Fire Stick is a matter of connecting them to a PC or another device that is running some sort of loader program, and then rebooting the device being rooted or jailbroken so that it loads its OS from the "master" connected device.

It's certainly not rocket science. I rooted an old Galaxy Tab 7.0 tablet a few months ago and it was quite easy to do so. I'm sure this thing has a similar procedure.

What I didn't show is the several dozen replies this guy got to this post asking when, where, how many can they buy, etc.

So this guy apparently makes a side income off of jailbreaking these things. He can sell each device for twice what he paid for it (maybe more - maybe he buys refurbs) - to people who don't know anything about jailbreaking or rooting devices.

I'm sure once you do this to a Fire Stick it's out of warranty. Plus he would be considered an unauthorized retailer so even if he didn't do anything to the fire sticks they would not carry a warranty when resold.

This seems like the 2017 version of guys in the 70s and 80s who fixed CB radios in their garages for side income.  Except, there's very little technical knowledge required here.

Maybe a more apt comparison would be dumbass redneck yahoos I knew of back then who sold illegal linear amplifiers for boosting CB rigs to 200+ watts of transmission power.  >:( (Which screws up TV and radio reception in the immediate area.)

This person adds value by doing something simple that nobody thinks they can do for themselves.

14
Discussions - Public / Dedicated web hosting: questions
« on: January 15, 2017, 10:08:11 PM »
I have a few questions about the realities of running a dedicated web server.

I've had a small "cloud VPS" (2 CPUs, 2 GB RAM - puny) from ovh.com for a bit over two years, but its capabilities and its physical nature definitely limits the speed and responsiveness of the websites I run on it.

I have a couple of clients coming on board in a month or two to whom I am offering hosting plans - one person's site has a membership system and a forum like ours, and I'm offering him hosting+incident time for $140/mo, and another site I have offered to host for $60/mo.

At these rates I want to offer the best possible speed for their respective sites. So I'm looking into dedicated servers.

OVH has this offer: https://www.ovh.com/us/dedicated-servers/details-servers-range-HOST-id-2016-HOST-32L.xml

$69/mo for a dedicated Intel Xeon (blade, I suppose) processor, with 32 GB and a shit ton of disk, plus backup and built in DDOS protection. This is best deal I've found from any major web host, and with OVH you're buying hosting from the actual provider so they own the box that your stuff runs on. They provide a ton of free features that are extra cost with cloud and VPS servers, such as extra IPs "free" but only paying $3 for setup for each, and free 500GB backup space.

I am prepared to manage the server - I have done well with the VPS and I manage an instance of Debian on it myself.

Here's my biggest single question:

I assume that OVH owns the hardware. I also assume that I have no liability for the hardware if it fails. And finally, I assume that if the hardware server fails, then (within what their SLA affords them to do) they will rebuild a server for me and I will be able to restore everything from the backup space that they provide as part of the hosting.

Is this a valid assumption, that they make the particular hardware server my plan runs on transparent to me?

In other words, if the server they assign me fails, I assume that my hosting plan with them doesn't just "end" at that time and that perhaps 12 hours later I have a new blank server available with the same IPs which I can now restore my backups to.

Correct?

I'm asking what you guys have found to be the most common practice with dedicated hosting providers and if my expectation is reasonable. I've gone through OVH's literature and FAQs and it's very minimal.

This question NEVER comes up with cloud or VPS or shared hosting, because those resources are software allocated and the hosting company is responsible for moving instances around to working hardware in the event of hardware failure.

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Discussions - Public / My thanks for the gift!
« on: October 19, 2016, 07:04:41 AM »
I just received a donation through Paypal for my "great work".

What, all I do is get on here, swear and act bitter.  ???

Thank you, whichever member you are.


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