Friday, July 31, 2009

Cell Phone Quick Tips

Don't have visual voice mail yet?

Did you know that all that precious time you waste waiting for the robot to ask you if you are sure that you want to delete your voice mail is there intentionally to make you pay more money? Know which button is which? Turn it off, save some cash.


1. Call your voicemail
2. At the menu, press 3 for personal options
3. Press 2 for greeting
4. Press 1 to change the greeting
5. To enable / disable the instructions, press 3


1. Call your voicemail
2. Go to personal options
3. Go to administrative options
4. Select "cut through paging"
5. Select off


1. Personal options
2. Administrative options
3. General options
4. Then you will have these three options:
* Auto Play On or Off
* Call Back Number Prompt On or Off
* Rapid Prompt or Standard Prompt

If you were real smart you would opt out of SMS/Text messaging altogether.

SMS has a word limit (160) and you are charged money for sending an SMS.
E-mail has always been free of cost and is more economical and without any word or image limit.

Highway robbery. Your beloved cellular service provider is charging you 4X the amount per byte that it costs to receive data from the Hubble Telescope! FOR NO EFFIN' REASON!


Have a nice day!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Behind the Veil - My Social Advantage Rip-off

You've seen them. Those ads on the side of the browser window on your favorite social networking site. Tempting aren't they? Free camera's, free computer's....

Well recently I read a review about a really nice camera. Small, digital, portable, durable and water resistant. Yeah, WATER RESISTANT. A pretty huge fan of amateur photography myself, I saw that ad there on Facebook and I thought...what the hell. I wanted that camera and can't afford to pony up the $300 it retails for. If I can sign-up for some junk programs and pay significantly less than $300 total then I would consider it a victory.

So come with me as I try to find out if I could ever get this company to pay up with a "free" camera.

Well the first thing I did was create an alternate e-mail address for the inevitable virtual tons of junk mail that I would be bombarded with once I start the process.

I went to GMail and I created one. It took only a few seconds and oddly enough an SMS message for verification. :S I have SMS disabled on my personal phone because people fail to understand, "Please don't send me text messages they are expensive. Please send me an e-mail instead." so I had to use another phone.

Once that was done the e-mail was ready to go. I right clicked on the advertisement and copied the url into a text file.

I closed my browser and I cleared my cache, cookies and internet history to protect from potential spyware. I opened a fresh browser window and pasted the address into the url and hit Enter. I was greeted with a surprising clean page. No pop-ups, no porn and very tidy format. A good sign.

A bad sign, several different generic sounding names for the company. On the top it says "Live Active Network." Then near the bottom I see this little name. My Social Advantage?

I did some quick research online and didn't find any warnings or complaints. I went to and searched for both. No results. That could be both good or bad.

Then I hit the jackpot, so to speak.

I searched for My Social Advantage Scam and found this thread on Facebook.

That single thread was more informative than the several different pages attributed to the many faces of My Social Advantage. On that thread one of the "associates" was promoting it and trying to be "open" and denying any "scam" was taking place. Whenever someone would make a point, such as, why the full details of the process required to obtain the objects was never disclosed on any page, he would talk around it and direct them to another page.

The page claims, "2 total offers to complete."

That is a complete lie.

One of the posters there summarized it the way My Social Advantage could not across multiple pages.

1. Register.
2. Check email for verification link.
3. Complete 2 offers.
4. Refer 1 person to Live Active
5. Earn enough reward credits

Earn enough reward credits? How does one do that. Well, I'm glad you asked because that only happens when your 3rd generation referral makes some sort of payment. That means the person or person(s) your referral referred.

Sounds like a pyramid scheme doesn't it? Well when confronted the "associate" denied this and instead directed everyone to this page which has the clear diagram below that "proves" its not a pyramid scheme.

I took the liberty of reformatting that image a little.

Oh and here's a little tidbit I found on another one of their pages here.

How long do I have to complete the promotion?
180 days.

So...just as we all suspected, it was too good to be true. I was hoping they were just fishing for spam email addresses and credit customers but its worse than that.

No camera for me, or anyone else from what I understand. This pyramid scheme was worse than others before it. NO ONE came out of it successfully.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Closet Bigots

“Racism, racism, racism, why are people always talking about racism?!?" “Racism ended 50 years ago.”

I hear those arguments every day whenever racism is brought up during a conversation. What these individuals fail to realize is that racism is alive and well. It’s not something that just “goes away.” It has simply become a part of us and changed, molded into something else. Something worse. Something much more dangerous.

I remember a self righteous teacher telling me once, with good intent of course, that racism wasn’t learned, it was taught. Later in life I saw that similar message on a T-Shirt with a bunch of happy black and white children.


Hypothetical situation; 30 children in a classroom, 29 white, 1 black. Children will, naturally, notice a difference. This difference will also naturally instigate fear, anger, hatred, curiosity and even jealousy. More so than if he/she was simply the same as them.

Why? Human nature.

This is the way we humans in all our wisdom come to grips with that which we do not understand. We classify and categorize. Perhaps not with any ill intent initially but this tradition is ingrained within our being. I wonder if it is what keeps us from going mad at all the amazing realities of our own existence and solitude in the universe.

So why has racism become even more dangerous than it was before? Well, because people don’t know they are. They act, sure of themselves, clear in their conscience that they are new age and beyond that lowly and barbaric nature of our most recent ancestors.

When I was in High School I spent many lunch hours in the classroom. I would go into a nice teacher’s class, sit and read a book or just relax. The teacher from the next classroom was not as nice as I would soon find out. I had my nose in a book and right next to me, the nice teacher and the not so nice teacher were having a conversation. I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop and at that exact moment I couldn’t tell you what they spoke of. Until I heard a few key words and the entire conversation played back in my head.

N.S.N.T. was complaining about one of his new students. N.T., a veteran teacher, was of course consoling him and urging patience and understanding. He asked N.S.N.T. to think of possible reasons why this kid was acting out the way he was and N.S.N.T. responded thus;

“Apparently Jose, or whatever his name is, suffers from the Mexican disease machismo.”

I stopped reading and thought, “Well, that sentence was not so bad and definitely not the worst thing I’ve heard coming from a teacher.” Though it did give me pause and left me reflecting on the implications of his negative sentiment towards the children he was instructing.

N.S.N.T. noticed that my gaze was no longer on my book and apparently got a little nervous. He stuttered out, “Well…I think I’ve lived in this neighborhood long enough to earn the right to say that.”

THAT instigated my response. I wasn’t going to say anything but his need and justification for defending his statement told me I should.

Slowly packing up my things, his gaze and Nice Teacher’s met mine. I said, “I’m Mexican, and I haven’t even earned the right to say something like that.” In retrospect, I know that was overly dramatic but I was 14 years old or so. That was best I could do. Most of my peers would have probably started cursing at the man.

Why was this harmless little statement of bravado dangerous? Because he thought he was right and in his right. Nothing spurs motivation like justification. This man in his heart believed what he said and probably will never acknowledge the inappropriate nature of his open complaint about a teenage child. Tagging his heritage as apparently the only suffering culture of the male chauvinism “disease.” I’m sure the French translated the word from Spanish.

Little comments and jokes like these seem harmless on the surface but they are evidence of a problem deep within. Much like fore shocks to Earthquakes, they can often be a warning of a dangerous problem with a deep fissure.

“I’m not racist; some of my best friends are __________!”

People actually say this. If you find yourself in a position where you need to defend yourself then it is possible you are not as universally accepting as you thought.

Please don’t mistake this blog post as a self righteous declaration of my superiority either. I know we ALL have this problem. Like I said before, it is human nature. Some people may choose not to describe it like that, perhaps too proud of “humanity” to blame it but I think IT is one of the reasons why we still exist today.

These virtual files and categories we created helped keep us in line, think abstractly and learn to abide by rules that don’t physically exist. We learned to survive by using our sense of judgment. Prejudice. We need to be able to identify a threat and not wait impotently for the attack first.

To this day, in certain neighborhoods, you STILL have to be on alert. Sizing people up and prepping yourself for any oncoming attack on you or your loved ones. So how to we learn to distinguish that habit of self preservation from plain old bigoted classification?

Even those with the open minds, those modern hippies that proclaim acceptance of all, tend to slant an eye towards those who work in big business or politics. Anarchy. Anyone wearing a tie is the enemy.

So today as you go about your day, stop for a second and take a breath. Think about what you will say, how you will act and what you will do when interacting with any other person. Whether they be of a different gender, race, sexual orientation or even financial bracket. Put yourself in their shoes entirely and express the utmost compassion for the individual and the family you don’t see.

But remain aware, always aware.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blurb - The Bearded Monster

I don’t recall if I have ever brought this up here but I may have mentioned it once or twice. People treat you differently when you have a beard. They are both more defensive and a lot less confrontational if those two can go together.

I can only assume that they take the beard as a sign of automatic aggression. At least on me they do. Why can’t they see me like the kind fuzzy neighbor or funny home improvement TV show sidekick?

My personality hasn’t changed, yet people walk around me and look down when I glance at them. If I turn a corner too fast they slide over to the extreme opposite side of the hallway. I actually made a temp drop all her paperwork. She picked it up quickly and skipped away in a rush before I could help her pick it up.

I don’t have tattoos and I smile and nod when I walk by folks. I hold doors open and say please and thank you. I just don’t get what all the fuss is about. When I shave it all off. It is the complete opposite. People bump my shoulder, talk down to me and are just plain old condescending.

I don’t like the fear and power that the beard comes with but the day is approaching when I will change my look again and I don’t look forward to the challenge. Do ladies get the same treatment when they don't shave their legs?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

iPhone GMail Calendar Synch. & Other Misc. Tips

More iPhone tips.

We will begin with a walk-through on setting up your GMail account with IMAP. Which is the way you want to do it. You delete it on your iPhone and it deletes it in your GMail account, like it should.

You need to be absolutely sure that you are currently running OS 3.0 or higher. If you are, let's begin.

1. Make sure you've enabled IMAP in your main GMail settings. Go to and set that up.
2. On your iPhone, or iPod touch, tap Settings.
3. Mail.
4. Add Account.
5. Other.
6. Add Mail Account.
7. Enter your account information. Be sure to use your full GMail or Google Apps e-mail address. for example.
8. Tap Save.

Then in the section titled "Incoming Mail Server."

1. The host name is
2. Your user name is your full Gmail address, including "" or your full Google Apps email address.

For the section titled "Outgoing Mail Server"

1. The host Name is ''
2. Your user name again, is your full Gmail or Google Apps e-mail address including the "" part.
3. Tap Save.

Then go to your mail account's "Advanced Settings" near the bottom.

1. Under "Mailbox Behaviors" tap on Deleted Mailbox and select Trash.
2. Under the Deleted Messages section, tap on Remove and select Never.

Now to synchronize your Google Calendar. This is great if you share appointments with someone. I LOVE using this to keep a group calendar with my wife. We share the same Google Calendar account and it keeps us synchronized with life. :)

1. Tap on Settings.
2. Open Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
3. Tap Add Account...
4. Select Microsoft Exchange.
5. In the Email field, enter your full Google account email address. If you use an address, you may see an "Unable to verify certificate" warning when you proceed to the next step.
6. Leave the Domain field blank.
7. Enter your full Google Account email address as the User name.
8. Enter your Google Account password as the Password.
9. Tap Next at the top of your screen.
10. Choose Accept if the Unable to Verify Certificate dialog appears.
11. A new Server field will appear. Enter
12. Press Next at the top of your screen again.
13. Select the Google services you want to sync. Currently only Contacts and Calendar are supported.
14. Unless you want to delete all the existing Contacts and Calendars on your phone, select the Keep on my iPhone option when prompted. This will also allow you to keep syncing with your computer via iTunes.

Now for some little tips that make things more convenient. I receive at least 100 or so messages a day from Facebook so the default settings are a nuisance. I don't want to have to open each e-mail and slowly delete them all. If I do it from the inbox, I can't really tell what I'm deleting since half of the preview is a bunch of Facebook information.

I found these nice options in the settings which I don't remember having seen before.

1. Go into Settings.
2. Tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
3. Scroll down to the "Mail" section.
4. I changed the "Show" option to 100 Recent Messages but you can increase up to 200 or decrease to 25 if you are running low on resources.
5. I increased the Preview to 3 Lines so I can now see more of the e-mail from the inbox instead of being forced to open the message to see what it is about.
6. Below that you have the Minimum Font Size which I reduced in order to fit more into that preview. The default is Medium, I selected Small.

There are a lot of nice options here like increasing the Calendar sync date, e-mail sort order and CC Label display.

I don't really hear many people talking about these options but I found them very convenient. Hope you do to. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jackson - Presley: Updated

Some news reports are claiming that they've seen the ghost of Michael Jackson at Neverland Ranch and a number of other different locations. Ridiculous, I know.

But that got me thinking. What if it IS him. No, not his ghost, but Michael Jackson himself.

It's no secret that he has always looked up to Elvis Presley. He stated before that he want to be remembered like Elvis. What is one of the most memorable things about Elvis postmortem? Well I think it's the conspiracy theory that he is still alive and Kicking. Padum-pum. *Vague Elvis dance reference.

So how did Michael do it and what led me to believe he may still be alive? Well. Seemingly out of nowhere Michael returns to the limelight just in time. His proceedings proceed more like a show than anything else. His albums and collection sales skyrocket and are promoted voraciously.

To be brutally honest, how could he not? As many strange fans have proven, replicating his "face" is not an impossible task. The years of band aids and masks led up to this.

So is Michael Jackson still alive? No one but his family will ever know for sure. I don't mean "his" children either. If his kid performs and puts out an album before the end of the suspicions will run high.

Enjoy the concert.

EDIT: Well, his son didn't perform but his "daughter" sure did.

Speaking of Presley, I recently found this old letter Lisa-Marie posted on her MySpace page. It was VERY interesting.

Friday, June 26, 2009

He Knew.

Years ago Michael and I were having a deep conversation about life in general.

I can’t recall the exact subject matter but he may have been questioning me about the circumstances of my Fathers Death.

At some point he paused, he stared at me very intensely and he stated with an almost calm certainty, “I am afraid that I am going to end up like him, the way he did.”

I promptly tried to deter him from the idea, at which point he just shrugged his shoulders and nodded almost matter of fact as if to let me know, he knew what he knew and that was kind of that.

14 years later I am sitting here watching on the news an ambulance leaves the driveway of his home, the big gates, the crowds outside the gates, the coverage, the crowds outside the hospital, the Cause of death and what may have led up to it and the memory of this conversation hit me, as did the unstoppable tears.

A predicted ending by him, by loved ones and by me, but what I didn’t predict was how much it was going to hurt when it finally happened.

The person I failed to help is being transferred right now to the LA County Coroners office for his Autopsy.

All of my indifference and detachment that I worked so hard to achieve over the years has just gone into the bowels of hell and right now I am gutted.

I am going to say now what I have never said before because I want the truth out there for once.

Our relationship was not “a sham” as is being reported in the press. It was an unusual relationship yes, where two unusual people who did not live or know a “Normal life” found a connection, perhaps with some suspect timing on his part. Nonetheless, I do believe he loved me as much as he could love anyone and I loved him very much.

I wanted to “save him” I wanted to save him from the inevitable which is what has just happened.

His family and his loved ones also wanted to save him from this as well but didn’t know how and this was 14 years ago. We all worried that this would be the outcome then.

At that time, In trying to save him, I almost lost myself.

He was an incredibly dynamic force and power that was not to be underestimated.

When he used it for something good, It was the best and when he used it for something bad, It was really, REALLY bad.

Mediocrity was not a concept that would even for a second enter Michael Jackson’s being or actions.

I became very ill and emotionally/ spiritually exhausted in my quest to save him from certain self-destructive behavior and from the awful vampires and leeches he would always manage to magnetize around him.

I was in over my head while trying.

I had my children to care for, I had to make a decision.

The hardest decision I have ever had to make, which was to walk away and let his fate have him, even though I desperately loved him and tried to stop or reverse it somehow.

After the Divorce, I spent a few years obsessing about him and what I could have done different, in regret.

Then I spent some angry years at the whole situation.

At some point, I truly became Indifferent, until now.

As I sit here overwhelmed with sadness, reflection and confusion at what was my biggest failure to date, watching on the news almost play by play The exact Scenario I saw happen on August 16th, 1977 happening again right now with Michael (A sight I never wanted to see again) just as he predicted, I am truly, truly gutted.

Any ill experience or words I have felt towards him in the past has just died inside of me along with him.

He was an amazing person and I am lucky to have gotten as close to him as I did and to have had the many experiences and years that we had together.

I desperately hope that he can be relieved from his pain, pressure and turmoil now.

He deserves to be free from all of that and I hope he is in a better place or will be.

I also hope that anyone else who feels they have failed to help him can be set free because he hopefully finally is.

The World is in shock but somehow he knew exactly how his fate would be played out some day more than anyone else knew, and he was right.

I really needed to say this right now, thanks for listening.



Some interesting things in that letter. "...found a connection, perhaps with some suspect timing on his part." So she is almost acknowledging here that she believes he courted her out of convenience for the public eye.

The one that REALLY caught my eye was this one..."He was an incredibly dynamic force and power that was not to be underestimated. When he used it for something good, It was the best and when he used it for something bad, It was really, REALLY bad."

What the hell is she talking about?

Just some stuff to think about.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Per Request - iPhone Jailbreak & Unlock

O.K. This is not my usual repertoire but I detested retyping this every time someone would ask me for instructions. If you have/want an iPhone but don't like AT&T's service plan. Do the following. Or if you want to add a wallpaper to you iPhone which Apple doesn't permit oddly enough, also, follow these instructions.

If you don't care, I don't blame you. If you have an iPhone and were afraid to do it before

*Disclaimer. I am in no way suggesting that you do this. If you choose for reasons of your own to do this you are on your own. I know it works.

First of all, update your iPhone to 3.0 using iTunes. Whatever you do though, do NOT update to 3.1.

Download whichever file applies to your phone.

iPhone 3Gs 3.0
iPhone 3G 3.0
iPhone 2G 3.0

Download redsn0w from one of the following locations.





Run redsn0w, point to the ipsw file you located and follow the instructions carefully. Just to prepare you, you will have only a few seconds to do the following.

1. Hold the power button.
2. Without letting go of the power, press the home button and hold.
3. Without letting go of the home button release the power button and wait.

If it doesn't work no worries, try again.

Once it is done, run Cydia or Icy and add custom repository

Then search for ultrasn0w.

After you install it reboot. Note: If you are on T-Mobile be sure to disable 3G. Sorry, there doesn't appear to be any solution for that.

If you install both Cydia and Icy and for some reason can't install any app. Try re-jailbreaking but don't select Icy. It will still be there and should work once you boot up again.

100% of the credit goes to the iPhone Dev Team. I just put it simply and into one location.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Curious Case of the American National Pride Endemic

The United States has what I feel is one true ally that it can rely on. England.

Yet for some reason the entire country celebrates each and every year our independence from them.

Sure they were taxing the US at ridiculous rates but isn't our own government doing that to us now? Aren't we still paying millions for Washington's retirement wages, overpriced toilet seats and elevator button pushers? Aren't the telephone companies charging us for ridiculously outdated "long distance" and "SMS" data fee's?

Where's our Tea Party?

I'll tell you where conspiracy theorists...

Its hidden in plain site behind the distractions of media coverage of celebrity lifestyles and exploding fireworks.

The war, the bee's,
financial crisis and disease,
I believe are all distractions
designed to keep us living on our knees.

I don't think our citizenship has the drive or willpower for it but if a revolution ever comes, will you have the strength to die on your feet? I'm not completely sure I do or how I feel about that.

Many of us plead for freedom and independence and protest against the military. The military super power we have all paid for has made us soft as a people. We developed a hard shell so when a few needles break through, they cause incredibly hemorrhaging damage. (9/11)

I hope you have a pleasant independence day and don't forget to thank your local Brit and let bygones be bygones.

(P.S. Ignore the Read More link. There is no more. I don't know why it is there today.)