So much SPAM!

I was curious as to how much spam I actually get in a day, so rather than delete it as it came in, I just let it accumulate for a day.  There were 90, most of which came in dribs and drabs steadily throughout the "business day", none at all overnight.  This tells me that they are being sourced through a zombie network of infected computers.

Most of these have headers useless for tracing, at least with the tools I have at my disposal since I am not an actual computer security or forensics expert, but they do follow a general pattern that confirms that they come from a zombie network.

The days of "Oh, I don't need antivirus software" are long gone.  While the virus/trojan/whatever that is installing the spambots on your computers are likely otherwise harmless, they are sucking up your computer's resources, your network bandwidth, your neighbor's bandwidth, and generally making the online life of everyone less enjoyable because we are receiving the crap that you do not know your computer is spewing out.

There are many reputable antivirus software packages out there, and many that are actaully malware themselves.  Personally, I wouldn't touch Symantec or McAfee's home products with a ten foot USB cable, but their business software is good.  And there are other alternatives, some you can buy off the shelf at Best Buy, some online, some both, and some that is freeware.  Personaly, I use the freeware version of Avast!, and I also periodically spot-check with the freeware version of MalwareBytes (do not have two antivrus packages in always-on realtime mode, or trouble will result, but you can have one always-on and one for on-demand scans).

Now that you've installed your antivirus software, something that is even more important:  DO NOT OPEN THOSE MYSTERY EMAIL ATTACHMENTS!  You did not just win the national lottery, the defense minister of that African nation is not asking you to help smuggle $50 million US dollars out of the country, and FedEx is not trying to deliver a package to you via email.

Other things you can do to prevent problems is to not use Internet Explorer.  While many applications use Internet Explorer as a back-end display engine (because many software engineers are lazy and Internet Explorer is preinstalled on every Windows machine on the planet), that does not mean that you have to use it for web browsing.  There are three common and better alternatives, and several less common ones including Apple Safari (I'm talking about Windows users, not Mac users).  The three are, in my order of preference: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera.   Why?  Because unlike Internet Explorer, these other browsers either have built-in or the ability to install add-ons that make your web use safer and more enjoyable by blocking the annoying ads.  And on "some" sites (like porn and pirate software sites), you don't even have to directly interact with the ads for their malware payloads to be installed on your computer, merely visiting these sites can do that.

Voter fraud? What voter fraud? Ohhh… The fraud that you are committing

Technically old news by now, but it never hit the mainstream media, so far as I know.

According to Salon.com, a group fronted by the Republicsn ultra-Right Wing faction "The Tea Party", in an attempt to combat the non-existsnt voter fraud in Democratic leaning minority neighborhoods has, in fact, committed voter fraud by forging signatures on forms requesting the service of their "observers".

Here's the article:  Anti-voter fraud group barred for possible fraud - Salon.com.

Romney staffers stranded when campaign killed credit cards on election night | The Raw Story

Romney staffers stranded when campaign killed credit cards on election night | The Raw Story.

Interesting proof that Mitt Romney apparently does not care one whit about people who are of no direct service to himself.  But then again, we already knew that when he made that comment about not caring about 47% of Americans.

These people were people that believed in him and his candidacy, who were actively helping him in the election.  The article doesn't say, but it's likely that many of them were otherwise volunteers, not paid staffers.  And when Romney lost the election, they were discarded like used toilet paper, now forced to pay out of their own pockets expenses that Romney's campaign should have paid for.  I'm not usually one to applaud lawsuits, but I think this deserves one.

Go out and vote!

Tomorrow is election day in the United States.  There are a lot of people who do not vote even if they are registered voters for various reasons.  If you know me, you probably know who I'm going to vote for, but in this post I am not going to urge you to vote for or against a specific candidate or issue, either we agree on those or we don't and if we don't, I will not be able to change your mind, as anything I care enough about is a polarizing issue.

Rather, I just want to urge you to go out and vote.  Regardless of who or what you are voting for or against.  Why?  For a number of reasons.

If you don't vote, you have no legitimate basis to complain that the wrong person got elected, or that your preferred person is screwing up.

If you don't vote, you have no legitimate basis to complain that a yes/no issue went in the other direction.

If you are not voting because you think they both suck or are bad choices, vote for the least bad.  Or better yet, get involved earlier in the process to try to get someone who is actually good elected!

While some may say that our Democracy has been bought by greedy businessmen (and to some extent "they" may be right, do not forget that your right to vote at all was bought and paid for by the sweat and blood of true patriots, many of which paid with their lives, at various times going all the way back to the 1700s.  So go out and vote!

Job hunt continues

My contract at Liberty Mutual's IT Help Desk ended on October 12, 2012 and I've been on an active job hunt since before then as I knew it was coming.  But, as "they" say, job hunting is a full time job itself, so I wasn't very productive in that before the 12th.  On the 15th, I applied for Unemployment Compensation.

So far, even though I do not yet have a job offer, I am having more success in the job hunt than I am with the New Hampshire Employment Security.

My job search log has 49 entries since October 12.  Granted, some of them are repeats such as contacting some temp agencies once a week, and a few of them are call-backs from potential employers to setup interviews, and I'm also logging the interviews themselves.  Partly because the NHES requires all job search activities to be logged and provided, but also so I can keep track of what I've already done.  Speaking of interviews, I've had interviews with five six potential employers so far with another scheduled for Monday two more on Tuesday.  Of these, there have been two so far that I really want, and the others I applied to more because I'm qualified and I need a job.  (No, I am not going to identify them, in case the hiring managers find this.)

As for NHES, it's been two weeks since I started the filing process.  Late last week, I got a determination that I am eligible for monetary benefits, but the amount is so low, it won't even cover my rent.  I figure that if it takes that long, I have until the end of December, maybe January if I'm lucky, before I'm forced to vacate.  And I have not yet received my first unemployment compensation check.

At least the job hunt is yielding more applications and interviews faster than it did last time.