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Google Suggests Reporting Their Charges as Fraud

In short I tried to cancel a commercial app service for my business but they claim unable to do so.

We had an account with Google which provided a few apps for us. Then that same functionality was moved in house and the use dropped to zero. The account sat there for about two years collecting the monthly charge with no use.

At one point I decided to cancel the service, which is when it got interesting. First I screwed up on how I canceled the service and in effect only killed the admin account. Then forgot about the whole thing while busy with some new and exciting things. After a while I did notice that the charge was still coming through from Google so I attempted to have them close it.

However they told me that the only way I could stop them from taking my money each month would be to login as that admin. Problem is I have a lot of different accounts and that one was cleaned up and deleted, a long time ago. There’s no way for me to recover that information.

However Google obviously have records of transactions and should be able to ask questions that would verify my identity and then stop taking my money for the service I don’t use. Not so, even after escalation to a supervisor, they still said they could not cancel the service.

Google does have a pretty good security record and maybe they only allow a very select few access to data that could authenticate me. But the idea that a company could not stop putting through a charge for a service I’m not using is, let’s be nice and call it odd.

In the end I was told to go to my bank and tell them the charges are fraudulent so the bank would no longer pay Google. That is supposed to lead to the account being suspended and stop the charges. Of course once I told the bank they simply don’t accept the charge anymore, solving my problem. I found the whole thing is pretty unusual. There must be a ton of people that made the same mistake and could not get out of it in a simpler way.

Mess After Duke Energy Fixed Downed Wires

Of little interest to anyone but me and my neighbors was how electricity was cut on Thursday around midnight. A cracking sound not unlike a transformer failure was followed by the light and sound of nothing as all things electrical went dead.

When the outside temperature has dropped to around 45 degrees (F) it is not an optimum time to be without electricity. 🙂 My neighbors and I each called in and were all told nobody had reported any issues and that each one of us were the first to do so.

Around 5 am I was awoken by the sound of a chainsaw and went to investigate. The crew had shown up and were shining lights up my neighbor’s tree trunk to where the top part of it was hanging on the electrical cables.

Someplace around 8 am on Friday morning the first crew had cut down the trunk hanging on the cables and been replaced by a new crew who in turn had replaced the wires between the poles. Electricity was back on.

Seven days later I’m wondering why I’m left with my neighbor’s tree trunks on my lawn. Is there a third crew who are supposed to come by and clean up after the first, or did they just leave it for me?

I can understand how their messaging system reported first-to-call to each of us, which is not really a problem. But why did not somebody leave a simple message on my door explaining what’s going on? Why is the trunk and all the branches off it still on my lawn?

It was a windy night but not any worse than not being able to tear away my pool tarp. Plus the tree is looks to be in pretty poor condition. I can’t imagine there being so many other emergencies that they could not clean up after themselves. And even so leaving a message would have been good manners. Something like “Sorry we have not picked up everything but we’ll return on such and such a date.”

This is not the first time I’ve been faced with this from Duke Energy. Last time they came out and decided to work off my lawn I had to run down a foreman to get them to come back onto my backyard and clean up.

I find that for Duke Energy to be so sloppy is plenty reason to complain as they are far to experienced to be so unprofessional.

They eventually came out and said that the “brush is due to non-preventative tree failure. Duke will not pick up.”

The fact that Duke brought my neighbors tree onto my lawn and then left it is poor to say the least.

Interestingly they also say that “All pruning is conducted with consideration for the health of the tree while allowing for proper electrical line clearance.” and “Our pruning program adopts the latest standards of the American National Standards Institute and pruning recommendations of the National Arborist Association.”

Looking at the damage they left I cannot imagine how ANSI and NAA have such poor standards as to leave this gaping wound:

IMG_20140106_125050-top

Again this is moot since it was Duke that dragged the trunk onto my property. If it had simply fallen straight down it would have landed either in the right of way or my neighbor’s side. Which is the whole contention here. I let them in to access the tree from my property thinking they would act responsibly

The right to work and school shootings

What I find interesting is that in ancient Rome a child between 12 and 14 would get some sort of position that they could hold and in effect were made part of society as an active contributor. What is more interesting is that they did not have any juvenile delinquency.

If you look back, or look at a young person, they are quite able at that age. Now we have labor laws that forbid the same young person from holding a position. You apprenticed under someone. Today you are not allowed to partake in society even though you are quite able to. What’s a person to do who is not allowed to be part of the group? They create their own group with their own ideas, which often becomes a nuisance or menace to themselves and others.

To top it off, we have psychotropic drugs being handed out as some sort of solution to this inhibition placed on young people. And normal symptoms from restlessness and desire to create and produce is now considered a mental disease and treated with psychotropic drugs that carry black label warnings because it makes people suicidal.

The same drugs that are found in more than a dozen of the school shooters…

Behind Most School Shootings

What have 12 school shooters going back to 1998 have in common?
They Were Under The Influence Of Psychiatric Drugs!

Stats:

Wounded: 109
Dead: 57

1. Kauhajoki, Finland — September 23, 2008: 22-year-old culinary student Matti Saari shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.

2. Dekalb, Illinois — February 14, 2008: 27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium.

According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amount of Xanax in his system.

3. Jokela, Finland — November 7, 2007: 18-year-old Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School in southern Finland, then committed suicide.

4. Cleveland, Ohio — October 10, 2007: 14-year-old Asa Coon stormed through his school with a gun in each hand, shooting and wounding four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon had been placed on the antidepressant Trazodone.

5. Red Lake, Minnesota — March 2005: 16-year-old Jeff Weise, on Prozac, shot and killed his grandparents, then went to his school on the Red Lake Indian Reservation where he shot dead 7 students and a teacher, and wounded 7 before killing himself.

6. Greenbush, New York — February 2004: 16-year-old Jon Romano strolled into his high school in east Greenbush and opened fire with a shotgun. Special education teacher Michael Bennett was hit in the leg. Romano had been taking “medication for depression”.

7. El Cajon, California — March 22, 2001: 18-year-old Jason Hoffman, on the antidepressants Celexa and Effexor, opened fire on his classmates, wounding three students and two teachers at Granite Hills High School.

8. Williamsport, Pennsylvania — March 7, 2001: 14-year-old Elizabeth Bush was taking the antidepressant Prozac when she shot at fellow students, wounding one.

9. Conyers, Georgia — May 20, 1999: 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with antidepressants when he opened fire on and wounded six of his classmates.

10. Columbine, Colorado — April 20, 1999: 18-year-old Eric Harris and his accomplice, Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves. Harris was on the antidepressant Luvox. Klebold’s medical records remain sealed.

11. Notus, Idaho — April 16, 1999: 15-year-old Shawn Cooper fired two shotgun rounds in his school, narrowly missing students. He was taking a prescribed SSRI antidepressant and Ritalin.

12. Springfield, Oregon — May 21, 1998: 15-year-old Kip Kinkel murdered his parents and then proceeded to school where he opened fire on students in the cafeteria, killing two and wounding 25. Kinkel had been taking the antidepressant Prozac.

Confirmed German Shooter on Anti-Depressants

How to Spam Facebook, or How to Protect Yourself

A fascinating and eye opening article on Tech Crunch (techcrunsh.com) about how spammers abuse Facebook and other social networking sites, ripping people off and making good money. Written by one of the top spammers himself.

An excerpt:

“Did you know how Mark Zuckerberg supported Facebook in the early days, before he got venture funding? Casino ads. And how about those advertisers who were making over $100,000 a day selling Acai Berry and other weight loss products – they are friends of mine, pioneers of new advertising channels. You see those ads saying “Inbox (5). Nick, someone in San Francisco has a crush on you!” (with your name, profile picture, and city in the ad). I generated millions of dollars from these offers on Facebook – I am not proud of it, but it was very lucrative.

“I will walk you through how these online scams work on Facebook and other social networks – the mechanics of how the money is made, some of the people involved, and who is actually clicking on ads. If you’re reading this article, there is a good chance that you are not the type of person actually clicking on these spam ads, but are you curious as to who actually is?

Here is the link for the whole article.

There is a long list of comments to which I thought it best to make some clarifications:

@James, Interesting how some people think that you can be honorable without being ethical.

Honor comes from being true to yourself, and last time I looked being true to yourself had nothing to do with what you feel like doing for the moment. You stand up for for right against wrong and do unselfish deeds.

Man is basically good and wants to help his fellow man, this is the area to look in when you search for being true to yourself. Justifying ones actions is only done because deep inside you want to like yourself and your actions.

Morals is limited to what is best for a specific group, may it be the mafia or police. Whilst ethics deals with best survival for all, where all win.

Fortunately you can do all sorts of bad things and change your mind and become a good honorable person. But it has to include this step of making up for the damage on the same order of magnitude as one has created.

A honorable person can make a mistake in the heat of things, committing some unethical action, but will have to figure out how to stop and make it right again. Or his actions will make him loose his honor in an instant.

Honor can be expensive to have. In a world where money is more important than honor, it’s challenging to interact with people without getting in trouble, honor wise.

The rewards for being honorable is mostly something that you know yourself, and maybe some people notice. The reward is how you feel about yourself, which interestingly makes for great internal peace where you really respect yourself. For some reason luck also seem to follow honor. 🙂

@Dennis, I don’t know you from a hole in the wall, or your motivations, but your action here certainly is giving people a chance to be more aware of what is really going on. Giving them a better chance to protect themselves. That sounds like a good start on making up for the damage. Keep it up!

Luciano Pavarotti passing

Growing up I never had much interest in opera. As much as I loved music and dancing, it never did anything for me, except turn me off from it. Yes, I know it was a bit narrow minded, but alas, how I felt.

Then one day I caught a program about tenor voices and what made them different. It was a very technical study of their unique voices. Being an engineer I could easily follow and appreciate this approach to music.

I was immediately struck by the beauty in these tenors voices, especially Pavarotti!

Not long after there was a program about Pavarotti and I paid very close attention to his singing and before I knew it I had fallen in love with opera. Pavarotti was not just a voice, as PJ (of Groklaw fame) and others have pointed out. He clearly was in love with opera and people.

By now I eagerly followed everything that I noticed which included Pavarotti. Observing him on stage and interacting with the audience I noticed something else. He was singing _to_ people. Of course you may say, every singer does. Which is actually not entirely true. If you pay close attention, you can see how many sing to their piano, or some point immediately in front of them. I had seen another top artist do just this, and as seasoned as he was (a 30 year hit maker) he sang to his piano. But not Pavarotti, he was so much in communication with people around him you could not but feel included.

Pavarotti clearly loved singing, but he clearly also loved people. Much like Pope John Paul II he was on a mission to bring people together. Some months ago he had announced his world wide farewell tour. In spite of bad health and the trouble he had traveling, it was going to be his thank you to all his fans. As usual he was thinking more of others than himself.

For all of you who wish to find out more about this great man, I suggest getting Three Tenor. You get to see three great tenors interact and give you an insight into this man doing what he did best — Make you feel good!

With all my love,

Thank you, Luciano Pavarotti!

Steve Szmidt