Ooma Just Blew My Mind

I’ve been on the hold with Time Warner’s CableCARD activation self-help line for about a half hour, waiting for someone to answer.  (I hope they do before they close at 11 Eastern Time!)

And the ooma telo handset I was holding ran out of batteries.  Line dead.  Oh noes!!!

Sadly, I went out to the kitchen to pick up another ooma.

I hit talk and was about to dial when I heard the hold music playing.  Holy crap!  It kept my line on hold and I’m back without losing my place in queue.  Wowzers.

NAS: Drobo vs. FreeNAS vs. Synology

I’ve been psyched for Drobo ever since the first time I saw their video years ago where the guy played back a movie while pulling out and putting back in drives.  Wicked awesome.

But they haven’t kept up, imo, with the times.  They still have some really cool underlying tech, but the apps aren’t there.  And just like Windows Phone vs. iPhone, if the apps aren’t there, it’s not such a great platform.

So anyway, last night I was setting up a new AsRock Vision 3D Media Center with Windows 7, and I noticed that it wasn’t seeing the Drobo S that I had plugged in via eSATA.  I went to the closet with the Drobo and noticed its lights were occasionally blinking on for about 50ms, but nothing else.  Drives weren’t spinning, etc.  I tried unplugging, replugging, using another outlet, disconnecting eSATA, etc.  No luck.  I noticed that the light on the external power supply was relatively dim and varying in intensity, so my conclusion is that the power supply is dying.

This is when I decided to switch away from Drobo.  I realized that if I wanted my data back, I only really had 3 options:

  1. Buy a new drobo and stick the drives in it
  2. Buy a new power supply for this Drobo and hope it works
  3. Try to use data recovery software to cobble together the data from the pieces.

#3 is obviously a horrifyingly time consuming prospect.  #1 isn’t much better.  I’m trying #2, but so far Drobo customer support isn’t super fast.  If this were truly mission critical stuff, I’d be pwned.

It was at this point I decided to get a non-Drobo NAS appliance.

I narrowed in on the Synology DS2411+ being what I wanted pretty quickly.  It’s quiet, can hold 12 drives, can accept external expansion, and can connect to IP cameras.  The applications that run on it seem quite good.  Sadly, Amazon said the DS2411+ was “usually available in 1-4 weeks”.

That just won’t do.  So I’m having a Synology DS1511+, which is identical except that it can only hold 5 drives rather than 12, delivered to me tomorrow.

I considered FreeNAS, an open DIY NAS built on FreeBSD, and the hacker in me was really intrigued…   but in the end realized I could click buy it now on Amazon and have a Synology DS1511+ delivered to my house tomorrow for something like a $6 delivery fee.  And that’s awesome.

Plus, just because I have the Synology doesn’t mean I can’t try a FreeNAS as well… It’s free after all.

I’ll update with how the Synology works and whether the Drobo (with all my ripped DVDs, and tons of important documents) is resurrected or not.

Setting Up A New Mac

When Apple released new revs of the MacBook Air and the Mac Mini, I decided to go for it and get one of each.  As I find migrating my old stuff to a new computer distasteful and somehow unclean, I set them up from scratch.  Here’s a rough description of what I did, pretty unedited, and mostly so I can remember what to do next time.

First, there are a bunch of settings in control panels that I had to change:

Language & Text Preferences

  • Switch my keyboard layout to Dvorak, leaving qwerty as an option for games, etc.

Mouse Preferences

  • Switch off “Move content in the direction of finger movement when scrolling or navigating.”  Yeesh!
  • Bump up  the tracking speed quite a bit.  30″ is too big for that slow speed.


  • Turn on screen sharing, file sharing, and remote login (sshd)

Energy Saver

  • Start up automatically after  power failure
  • Restart automatically if the computer freezes


  • sign in, click sync automatically.  Check Bookmarks and Contacts, enable Back to my Mac and move on.  Say replace information on this computer when asked.  Boom.

Mail, Contacts & Calendars

  • This new control panel makes it pretty easy to set up sync for these accounts, but Add my mobile me account for calendar and mail here, then add my gmail accounts for mail and chat…  Doh!  First snag.  “Mail couldn’t discover the account settings for the Mail server “hudson-trading.com”.  Fail!  It popped open Mail.app and needs me to enter settings manually.  Sigh.  Tried imap.google.com, but I guess that was wrong…   Ah ha.  imap.gmail.com.  Ok fine.   Done.  Wasted about 3 minutes on that foolishness.
  • One other detail here is that I want to have my tripit calendar sync, so I have to actually open up iCal to set this up.  I wish I could pair it to my mobile me account or something, but that’s not available.


  • Home network was easy to set up during initial setup.
  • Set up work VPN.


  • Turn on remote  login (sshd) and screen sharing.


  • Turn on tap to click and secondary click with two fingers in the point & click pane
  • Turn off Scroll direction: natural in the scroll & zoom pane
  • In the more gestures pane, turn on app exposé

As an aside, regarding Mission Control, I am really not a fan so far.  It takes too much power away.  No vertical spaces?  Dumb.  I’m not on a fracking iPad.  I can use the up and down arrow keys, thanks.

Anyway, at this point run Software Update to get system updates and run App Store to get updates for preinstalled apps.  Then open mail to start syncing.  It’ll take a while to get my whole account.


So now I’ve got my mail, calendars, and contacts.  Everything is syncing nicely.  I’m on the home network.  Next step is to get my essential apps:

First, the ones that aren’t in the App Store and are therefore a pain to get:

Dropbox is completely essential to my computer use nowadays.  I store all kinds of stuff, sync, app state, store my 1Password info.  Yet I still use the free account.  If i need more space I’ll sign up for the pay version, but so far it hasn’t been a problem.  When I installed it, I got a weird error that said “URLs with the type ‘nwnode:’ are not supported.” but everything still seems to be working fine, so no big deal.

I use Dropbox to sync my papers for Papers2, my 1Password data, my Delicious Library content, scans of important documents.  Various files for projects I’m working on.  Important images like copies of my passport and license, etc.  It’s great.  Sometimes to sync an app’s content you need to use some symbolic link action.  Like for Delicious Library 2, I’ve got a ~/Dropbox/AppSync/Delicious Library folder and I use a symbolic link to point Delicious Library 2 at the right spot.

ie: ln -s "~/Dropbox/AppSync/Delicious Library" "~/Library/Application Support/Delicious Library 2"
I really couldn't get online without 1Password.  My passwords are too complicated to remember and they're all stored in here.  So are my credit cards and all kinds of other important information.  It's a great app and makes all my info available on my iPhone, Macs, Windows boxes -- everywhere.  However, I can't really start using it until my data syncs down from Dropbox, since that's where all my encrypted info is maintained.  And, that's going to take a few hours to sync.

At this point I opened the Mac Mini box about 1 hour ago, just to keep track of how long all this is taking.

Sonos Desktop Controller — I’ve got Sonos all over my house.  It’s fantastic.  Get it.  My computer audio goes through the Sonos in my office, so this is necessary for me to get sound turned on.

PandoraJam — Great app if you listen to Pandora.

Papers2 (and Open In Papers Safari extension) — When I find a journal article I want to read or a spec I need to keep track of, or even an Intel manual, I stuff them into Papers 2, which is kept in sync with my iPad whenever I remember.  I sync the papers between my Macs using Dropbox.

Mathematica — I don’t install this everywhere.  Just laptop & home.  But it’s totally sweet.  However, it seems to be a bit of a pain to move from one machine to another, copy-protection wise.

R — I’m just learning to use this, but it seems pretty killer for analysis of large datasets.

VirusBarrier —  All those dimwits that say Macs are totally safe and only Windows users need to fear are living in a fairy land.  Malware is going to hit Macs hard and when it does, people are going to be totally caught by surprise.  Anyway, VirusBarrier seems to be the best of the lot and, what I particularly like is that it claims to try to prevent ssh attacks.  I’m not 100% sure I believe it yet, but at least it’s trying.

Rosetta Stone — I mean to learn French & Italian at some point… Maybe Mandarin?

ScanSnap software — I’ve got a ScanSnap 500.  It’s critical.  I scan bills, documents, prescriptions, reports.  All kinds of stuff. Indispensable.


Ok.  That’s it for non app-store apps.

Now the apps that are in the App Store and are super incredibly easy to install:

Xcode — Hm.  It says “In order to continue installation, please close the following application: iTunes”.  But iTunes isn’t running.  iTunesHelper was running, but I killed that, too and it still didn’t continue.  So I tried killing the alertAll window directly.  That let the install continue to completion.  Crazy.  Did they test this OS at all?  This would never have gotten past a Windows Beta cycle.  Anyway, it all worked out. (Update: They’ve fixed this with a new release of the Xcode installer.)

Evernote — Syncs and has notes.  Easy and good.

Reeder — Great for reading your google reader blogs.

Kindle — I use this to look up stuff in technical books on my compy.

MarsEdit — I’m using thsi to help write this blog.  It’s not really that great, but it seems like there isn’t any decent mac blogging application.  Nothing to compare with the superb Windows Live Writer for PC.  I almost want to install Windows in parallels just for that.

Coda — Great for web page editing.  I don’t use it much, though.  Mostly just to upload the 1st version of WordPress I put on.  But now WordPress has update right from the webpage.

LimeChat — Best Mac irc client.

Scrivener — Amazing for working on big text research projects or, perhaps someday, a novel.

Things — My personal todo list.  I tried briefly to use Wunderlist, but it just wasn’t up to the task (it is basically a prettied up Fisher Price My First Todo List App — no contexts, no tags, no recurring tasks.  Bah.).  And now that Things has cloud sync in beta, I don’t think I’ll suffer too long before everything is syncing around with Things.  I use taskwarrior at work since I spend so much time at the command line.  But I use Things for my personal todos.

Day One — A diary app.  On 1st run sees that I’ve got my journal in my Dropbox, and everything is ready to go.

Delicious Library 2 — I actually didn’t buy this on the App Store, but the App Store is so convenient that I purchased it again via the App Store, just so I can install it all around without worrying about serial numbers and licenses and such nonsense.  This program is great for keeping track of my books, movies and games.  I wish it did something with comic books and barcodes, but it doesn’t.  I’ve got the bluetooth infra-red barcode scanner and that makes entering books a breeze.



And now the super nerdy command line things — these need to wait, really, until Xcode is installed.

Homebrew + brews:

git — Looks like this comes ready to go!  No need to do anything.

zsh — Lion comes with zsh 4.3.11, but the latest is 4.3.12 (from 5/31/2011) and it has some fixes I want, especially for syntax highlighting at the command line, so I’ll get it with brew.

macvim — Not quite as necessary as it was with Snow Leopard, since Lion comes with 7.3, but it’s compiled without python support, ruby support, etc.  And I want those.  So with brew again!  The brew automatically gets perl, python, ruby, tcl interpreters, sets features=huge, etc.  But it doesn’t come with cscope support automatically, and I want that.  (Speaking of which, Lion keeps trying to autocorrect cscope –> scope, which is annoying as hell.)

So I’m going to run: brew install macvim –custom-icons –with-cscope –with-envycoder –override-system-vim –enable-clipboard

ack — Soooooooo much better than grep.

auto jump — Sooooooo much better than cd.


My dotfiles First, I need to get github ssh keys set up on this new machine.   Here’s a fun tip to get it to your system clipboard ready for pasting with no fuss.

cat .ssh/id_rsa.pub | pbcopy
mighty:~ john$ git clone git@github.com:jsholmes/vimwiki
mighty:~ john$ cd .dotfiles
mighty:.dotfiles john$ rake install
mighty:.dotfiles john$ git submodule update --init


then I also have to update my oh-my-zsh submodules.  I’m not yet 100% great at git.  I’ll say that.  But I’ve got a pretty cool setup.

mighty:oh-my-zsh john$ git submodule update --init

Edit /etc/shells to add my newly installed zsh in /usr/local/bin/zsh

I’ll write a separate post about my dotfiles in their entirety and why I uses certain vim plugins, zsh settings, etc.



Optional stuff (ie: only on some computers)

Prey — Only on the MacBook Air.  If someone steals my computer, I can do all kinds of cool stuff to track them down with Prey.  I’ve never had to use it, but I almost want to leave an old mac somewhere just to see it in action.

Isolator — Only at work.  It’s a productivity tool that blanks out everything but the frontmost window.  I’ve found it useful for focusing on a single app / window.

Vitamin R — another productivity aid.  Keeps track of what I’m currently working on and for how long.

Time Sink — again, just at work.  Keeps track of what you’re doing so you can see where you spend your time

Skim — pdf reader

Microsoft Office

Parallels — VM where I can run windows 7 (or windows 95 maybe for Atomic Bomberman??)

MondoMouse Zooom/2 — lets you move & resize windows more easily (MondoMouse wasn’t compatible with Lion and it turns out Zooom/2 is just as good if not better)


Other thoughts

Flash MacOS 10.7 (Lion) really shows Apple’s distaste for Adobe Flash.  When you see a webpage that has a flash plugin, it’s much harder to tell than on previous MacOS versions or in Windows.  And it’s much more annoying to install now as well.  Oh well.  You can’t really get away from it, so I need to install it.  Wow.  Worse than I thought — you have to close Safari to install it.  Good grief!

Online backup — right now I use time machine for all my macs at home to one destination or another.  But having an online backup solution would be really great.  I’ve been using Arq, but am thinking of switching over to Backblaze.



Other content I need to sync over still:

  • Photos – will discuss in a future post
  • Music – will discuss in a future post


What I still need to do / get:

  • screen capture software for this blogging thing
  • secure sshd and harden the mac otherwise
  • remove my secure data from the old mac mini since it’s now the gatekeeper for the home network


Things I left on the old box:

ShareTool I access my home network from work using this.  I mean to set up a VPN using my dd-wrt router, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.

SecuritySpy I look at my home security cameras with this.

Drobo An old drobo used for long term stable storage of old files.

New Gaming PC

It’s been a long, long, long time since I’ve bought a new gaming PC, but I finally took the plunge a month and a half ago. Every previous gaming machine I’ve bought, except one Alienware, have been built by me from components. I’m too busy for that now and, honestly, I’ve got enough money that the couple hundred more for a professionally built system is well worth it for the quality. So, on November 9, 2009, I ordered a Mainear Shift windows 7 gaming monster: http://maingear.com/custom/desktops/shift/

I specced it out thusly:

  • 1.2KW Silverstone Zeus Modular Power Supply (so far I’ve only played some Dragon Age on it, but it hasn’t exceeded 450W that I’ve noticed on my Kill-A-Watt, but this should give me room for more expandability)
  • 2x ATI HD 5870 2GB
  • EVGA X58 SLI Classified Mobo
  • Intel Core i7-960 3.2GHz proc, oc’d (by Maingear) to 3.78
  • Asetek X120 Liquid Cooling
  • 12GB Kingston HyperX Triple-Channel DDR3-1600 RAM
  • 128GB Kingston V-Series SSD for C:
  • 2x 2TB Western Digital RE4-GP, 2TB drives in RAID-0 for D:
  • All-in-One integrated USB 2.0 Flash Card Reader
  • 8x Lite-On Blu-ray Reader / DVD Lightscribe Combo Drive
  • Dual On-board Gigabit Ethernet
  • 8-channel high definition surround sound

It was a long wait, but finally on Christmas Eve, I received it.  I’ve been toodling around with it as much as I have been able to since then.

Anyway, here are my thoughts:

Unboxing went smoothly, though the computer is big and heavy (and so therefore is the box it comes in). Seriously, though.  The thing is gigantic.  Here’s a picture of it next to a normal computer so you get an idea. It’s just really large and imposing.

The first thing that’s interesting about the Shift case is that the motherboard is rotated 90 degrees so that the ports (usb, DVI, ethernet, etc.) are all located on the top of the case.  This way, the hot components (such as the graphics cards) can all have air flow along them and out the top, using convection for some assistance with cooling.  One thing I thought was slightly suboptimal about the case construction was that to access these ports, you have to unscrew a cage on top of the case, but Maingear did not use thumbscrews for the screws, nor did they indicate in the manual that you are expected to unscrew anything. So I wasted a few minutes trying to find some way to pop the top open without unscrewing, to no avail. The manual, by the way, still says to plug things in to the back.  I don’t think it’s been updated for the Shift just yet. The screws also make it a pain to get to the USB ports. I’m going to add a hub on my desk so I don’t have to deal with that.

Anyway, that all done, I got everything set up and booted into Windows 7 Ultimate.  It was a nice, relatively stock install with just two crapware icons on the desktop – a nondescript FreeAntivirus and a FreeOfficeSuite.  I don’t know what either of these were, and deleted them without delay. It would have been nice to either have these be more identifiable, or not have them there at all.

My username was set to John as an Administrator, with no password. I added a password so I could feel better about enabling remote desktop, etc.

There were 31.8GB used on C:.  10GB of it is a hiberfil.sys and 13GB is a pagefile.sys. So in that sense, 23GB of it is wasted. I don’t expect with 12GB of physical memory I’ll be paging too much, so I’m planning to move the page file to my D:.  Also, I never hibernate, so I’ll move that to D: as well. This will free up a good bit of space. It would be nice for maingear to have done this, or offered to do it, for me, but that is a good bit of trouble to go to, I understand.

The thing takes about 38s to cold boot – 16s of these are in the bios and hard disk / RAID config stuff waiting to get to Windows, so Windows is only taking about 22s to start, which is pretty great imo.

The thing is definitely audible. It’s about 41dB at my ear level from under my desk when doing some light web surfing. I haven’t measured it when playing a game, but it’s not onerous by any means. Right by the box under the same circumstances it’s about 48dB. Under heavy cpu only load (primes) that only goes up to about 50dB. I live in New York. This might be more noticeable if you live somewhere quieter.

The cpu runs at about 52C when not under load, but gets up to nearly 70 when playing Dragon Age (the only game I’ve installed so far – putting City of Heroes and Champions Online on it as I type this). This definitely seems hot to me, but I guess that’s what you get for overclocking.

My overall reaction is that this is the best computer I’ve ever bought.  It’s fast as hell, plays games fluidly and without breaking a sweat, even hooked to my 30” monitor at full res, and is well and solidly built.

The 128GB I got for C: is too small, I think. I’m going to buy another 128, RAID-0 them up, and see how that goes.

More soon, including pics!

Previously, On For Awesome…

I had been pretty remiss in updating my old blog, so even though the majority of people that will ever read this are the very ones who BillG_Appreciation_Party_160_MS_06_2008already know all that I’m about to write here, I’m going to do it anyway.  You know — for the kids in the hospital.

Finished my job with Bill

Right.  Here we go.  June 30th was Bill Gates’s last day at Microsoft,  and mine, too.  It was a great job and a tremendous opportunity.  I learned a ton about Microsoft and technology.  I was exposed to so many different technologies and subjects. It was great. Plus I have some fun Bill stories.

Moved to New York

So, the reason I left Microsoft is that I took a new job in New York.  imageHeather and I moved at the end of July to the Lower East Side of Manhattan and I work down in the financial district.  Heather came out a month or so before we moved, stayed for a week with our friends Mike and Mia, and after a grueling hunt through more than 40 different apartments, found us a a great place to live: The Ludlow.  The apartment is great, our view is awesome, the neighborhood is perfect, and my commute is way better than it was in Seattle. All in all a big win!  The only downside is the rent — it’s not small.

Started my new job with HRT

image The new job I started is really a journey back to my coding roots.  I’m a programmer at Hudson River Trading.  It’s a great place and I’m enjoying this more than I any previous job I can recall.  Don’t get me wrong, Microsoft was fun, but I was beginning to feel comfortable, like I was going soft — it was time for a move.  At HRT, I’m writing more code than I ever have since my early days on the MSN Messenger team.  w00t!

Anyway, that’s the quick update.  I’m sure I’ll go into more detail on our house, our neighborhood, how Faust is doing, etc.  Maybe I’ll even post some pictures.  But now you should be ready for the new season.

Oh, and if you don’t get the title of my blog, "For Awesome", check out this email.

We got FiOS on Saturday

Review Summary: get FiOS.

This past Saturday, Verizon installed FiOS TV and internet in our apartment, replacing the Time Warner cable and internet we had. It rocks, and if you can get it, you should. Here are our speed test results.

The download is more than 2x faster, which is great, but the upload is a full order of magnitude faster. Good lord! This makes a huge difference, let me tell you.

So FiOS internet is great. The included wireless router has a decent management interface, but only supports 802.11g, so I turned off its wireless features and am using our Airport Extreme in bridge mode to get 802.11n.

Where FiOS really impressed me is with TV. The HD picture is noticeably crisper and more defined than it was with Comcast in Seattle or Time Warner here in New York. It was a bit annoying to get the Tivo set up, since it did not list Verizon as a provider for 10002. But there was a workaround mentioned on some of the online forums to use something like 10923, which is somewhere in New Jersey, and worked pretty well.

There is no macroblocking, the picture never breaks up, the sound never drops out, and it just looks amazing.

The user interface for the set top box is actually pretty good to boot. We’re using the Tivo primarily, but I think if we didn’t already have a series 3 Tivo, I might be able to deal with just using Verizon’s DVR interface. It’s pretty snappy and actually modern looking, which is way better than the old and busted Comcast and Time Warner interfaces.

New Blog

I decided to switch my blog from its old location on Windows Live Spaces to a dedicated blog site. So I signed up for for IX web hosting, used this domain that I had lying around, installed WordPress, and here I am.

Anyway, I hope to post more on this one than I did on my previous blog over the last couple of years. I expect during the first few days there may be a flurry of topics, since I’ve got a fair bit to report.

My Blog Has Moved

After being on Windows Live Spaces since it started, the time has come to move my blog to a dedicated blog platform.  I chose WordPress, signed up with a web host, and used a domain I registered for a while back: forawesome.net.  So check out my new blog and let me know what you think.  I think it will encourage me to post more, hack around more, and in general be a bit more active.

That said, I’m still using Windows Live Writer to post the entries.  Even on my Mac.  It’s just too good.  I wish there were a Mac blog program this sweet.

Craigslist, Scams, and Windows Live Mail vs Gmail

I’ve been craigslisting some stuff recently in order to clear out the basement.  For the most part, it’s going pretty well.  The Audi has been slow going and still isn’t sold yet, but I probably just need to lower the price.  The 27" Sony TV, 32" Sony TV, PC Sound Card, Zune 30GB, etc. have sold quickly, and I’ve got someone interested in my Yamaha receiver, etc.

But what’s funny is that the 12" PowerBook G4 that I listed has so far attracted 2 scams.  They’re hilarious.

The first one came from an "Elizabeth Moses":

From: Elizabeth Moses <dhlee88@msn.com>
Date: Fri, Apr 11, 2008 at 9:03PM
Subject: RE: 12" PowerBook G4 – $400
To: John Holmes

Dear seller,
    I have made the payment for your item and i just got a mail from
PayPal customer service that the money has already been
deducted from my account..And i know PayPal would have send
the confirmation to you also.So, kindly get the item ship
immediately you receive confirmation mail from PayPal Via
8-10days Global Express International Mail(EMS)
and get back to
me with the proof of shipping.Thanks.Nice doing business with
Here is the shipping address once again.

From: Elizabeth Moses <dhlee88@msn.com>
Date: Fri, Apr 11, 2008 at 8:22 PM
Subject: RE: 12" PowerBook G4 – $400
To: John Holmes

Thanks for your quick respond am located in Maryland but presently am out state , am in  spain as election observer agent
i will made the payment now

From: John Holmes
To: dhlee88@msn.com
Subject: Re: 12" PowerBook G4 – $400
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2008 19:56:55 -0700

Hi.  Where is your daughter located?
The account I’m sending this mail from works for paypal.

On Apr 11, 2008, at 7:54 PM, Elizabeth Moses wrote:

Dear seller,
    Thanks for getting back to me.Just get back to me
with your PayPal Email id for the instant payment and
i will include $200 for the shipping cost down to my daughter
schooling oversea as a BIRTHDAY Gift because this is
what she want as her birthday gift and I would have
love to receive the item by my self but am also out of
state.and i will prefer you shipping this item to my daughter
Via 8-10 Days Global Express International Mail (EMS) so get
back to me now so i can make the Instant Payment Via PayPal
to your account.

From: John Holmes
To: dhlee88@msn.com
Subject: Re: 12" PowerBook G4 – $400
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2008 19:28:31 -0700
Yep.  It’s still available.

On Apr 11, 2008, at 6:37 PM, Elizabeth Moses wrote:

** Avoid:
wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware:
cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
** More Info: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams.html

I just browse through your item and like know to maybe is
still available. Please get back to me………….

Separately, I got this pretty weak attempt at paypal spoofing (notice the oh so tricky email address in the from field):

From: service@paypal.com®shipment.info_hepline@consultant.com
Date: Fri, Apr 11, 2008 at 8:55 PM
Subject: ‘Elizabeth Moses” has sent you an Auction Payment with PayPal (Routing Code: C840-L001-Q999-T5365)
To: John Holmes

Dear John Holmes ,
      You have an Instant Payment of  $600.00 USD from Elizabeth Moses (dhlee88@msn.com)

Payment Details
Transaction ID: 5KN40511FK640701J
Item Number Not Specify
Item Title 12" PowerBook G4
Quantity 1
Price $ 400.00USD
Subtotal $600.00USD
Postage & Packing via Global  International Mail(EMS)
(includes any seller packing fees)
   $ 200.00
Postage Insurance (not offered):
Total: $600.00 USD

Delivery Information

Address Status:

The payment made by " Elizabeth Moses" has been APPROVED but the funds can only be credited into your account immediately we confirm that you have ship the Item to the Buyers specify address.

      We therefore implore you to dispatch the item and provide the Customer Service section at  shipment.info_hepline@consultant.com an evidence of (Postage Receipt or Tracking number and the Courier Service used). Then you will then be sent a URL that will link you into your account. This is to secure both the Buyer and the Seller. Sorry for any inconveniences.

                                                        **PLEASE NOTE**
Once the shipment is confirmed, your funds will become operational in your account  and you will receive a " CONFIRMATION "email from PayPal informing you that the Money has been credited.
Thank you for using PayPal.
The PayPal Team.

Copyright © 1999-2008 PayPal. All rights reserved. PayPal (USA AND CANADA) Limited is authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the United States as an electronic money institution. PayPal FSA Register Number: 226056.

Gmail, by the way, didn’t catch any of this even slightly.  No phishing indicator, nothing to say that an email address with "®" in it is a bit suspicious.  Nothing.  I went over to my live.com account and saw this:

Way to go, Live!

Anyway, I responded to Elizabeth Moses with "LOL.  Nice Try."

But then I got another attempt at scamming this PowerBook, which is in progress even now:

From: John Holmes
Date: Mon, Apr 14, 2008 at 12:31 PM
Subject: Re: get back to me asap
To: tonia brown <ladytonnia@hotmail.com>

Hi Tonia.  I would rather use PayPal, since I have not heard of AlertPay, but use PayPal frequently.  You can paypal the address I’m sending this from: jsholme@alum.mit.edu.

From: tonia brown <ladytonnia@hotmail.com>
Date: Mon, Apr 14, 2008 at 12:31 PM
Subject: Re: get back to me asap
To: John Holmes

Hello thanks for your reply,
           I will be needing this item for my son
before the ending of the month,therefore i will be needing it as soon as possible.he is located at ohio and I am ok with the specs and will like to make an immediate payment,i will be paying you through AlertPay dispatch payment which is very clear,easy and safe method of an online payment,the money will be delivered to you at your doorstep in cash immediately the payment is made and and shiping which would handle with my shiping account has been confirmed by alertpay, reciept of confirmation would be sent to you via mail by the AlertPay,therefore you dont need to signup before getting paid.I will be offering you $500 for the item  to hasten the transaction and also get the posting off craiglist.I will be needing your full name and address and also your phone number to make the payment on your personal information as the recipient.Do mail me back with payment information if you accept my offer.Thank you and Best Regards.

Once again, Live blocked the mail and Gmail set it sail on through.

So if you’re worried about internet safety and getting scammed, you might want to think about that before switching to Gmail.

Amazon Upgrade

Related to my last post about the Kindle, Amazon apparently has a service called Amazon Upgrade, whereby you can pay an additional charge on top of the fee you pay for the physical copy of the book to get a digital copy that you can access from "any Internet-connected computer."

But this doesn’t work with Kindle.  WTF!!!!@!#!  And not only that, but all the titles available for Kindle aren’t available via Amazon Upgrade.

Come on, guys.  You’re so close to having exactly what I want.  Close the deal!

How you should use your powers