My Thinkpad Has A Brain Slug!

April 17, 2019

My refurbished Thinkpad X230 looks perfectly normal from the front. But when you look at the back of the screen, it’s got a whole different thing going on! What the frig is that bright red blob that looks kinda like some sort of alien sucker?

It’s actually an external, 256 GB SSD device connected via USB which arrived in the mail just four days back. And attached to the back with a tiny square of Velcro. Half of it is dedicated to whatever Linux distro I’m playing with at the moment…allowing my system to dual boot without messing with the main drive, which is 128 GB (also SSD) and installed with Windows 10 pro. The other half is formatted as FAT32, which I use for downloading torrents and Youtube videos with either operating system, as well as sharing documents and notes between Windows and Linux.

In case you’re curious about my entire setup, there is a second, 22-inch monitor to the left, connected via the docking station. Also attached to the docking station are: two USB HDDs (one 500 GB, the other 1 TB), USB mini-dongle for a solar powered external keyboard, and another dongle for an infrared mouse. There is a 64 GB SDHC card inserted into my laptop, where all my personal data is stored and secured with Bitlocker. (FYI all my important files and data are backed up to the larger external drive, as well as to the Google cloud.)

For superior sound, I use a pair of sturdy Logitech speakers also connected via the docking port. They are situated below my system, since it rests on a riser atop the desk…so that I can stand up while working, playing, or just browsing the ‘net. Thanks to the larger, second screen, I can also kick back in bed and watch any of my recently downloaded movies, TV shows or Youtube videos. And finally:

While lounging in my penguin PJs, the infrared mouse doubles as a remote. Voila!


Fed Up with FedEx

July 30, 2017

Created at:Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 5:45 AM (Delivered after 0 seconds)
From: US Micro Corp – Amazon Marketplace
To: Zeke Krahlin
Subject:
RE: Order delivery inquiry from Amazon customer Ezekiel Krahlin (Order: 113-9357168-9361006)

————- Customer message:

FedEx is giving me a hard time.

On Friday, they attempted their second delivery. I was home to receive the item, but they did not buzz my apartment number. I went downstairs to get some air, to discover they left a receipt! So I contacted FedEx’s customer service, asking them to send it instead to a local FedEx office. They said the only way they could do this, is if the seller indicated the changed address. I don’t get it, as I have proof that I am the intended recipient. I don’t know how you arrange change of shipment address, I’ve never been a seller.

————- Reply message:

We would be happy to assist you with this. Please call us for further assistance as that is the quickest way to address any issues with an order/item. Our customer support team would be happy to help you when you call. We can be reached at 855-876-4276 Monday – Friday 8A-4P EST. Please call us during these hours and we would be happy to assist you. We look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you,
US Micro Corp


Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:18:16
Subject:
Re: Fwd: Order delivery inquiry from Amazon customer Ezekiel Krahlin (Order: 113-9357168-9361006)
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

On Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 12:32 PM, Eleanor Cooney wrote:

{{ Jesus. You’d think the FedEx delivery person could PHONE you and say, “Come on down.” I mean, they always ask for your phone number. Why not use it?? }}

The dirty little secret about these major delivery services, is they
really don’t want to bother with residential customers…their profits
are mostly from businesses that always have someone there, to receive the package. This happened to me once before, three years ago. The item’s value was $59. The delivery person never bothered to buzz me, after the first attempt. I wasted two whole days staying in my little SRO!

It got shipped back, so the seller reimbursed me…but I never got my money refunded. Because they go through Amazon…which sent me an email about a week later, saying that I have received my refund in full. Yet /no/ deposit showed up in my bank account records. And there is no link, no forum, no recourse whatsoever, to inform Amazon that they did /not/ reimburse my loss.

So they talk a big talk over how well they protect the customer, but
when push comes to shove, they do /not/.

I went to a FedEx office downtown, and told them I’m afraid I won’t get my package, so I’d like to have them leave it at a local branch, for me to pick up. They guy was nice enough, told me to call their 1-800 number, and they’ll arrange it. So I thanked him and stepped out…four blocks distant, it hit me:

“Why didn’t he just offer to set things up for me, right there…it
/is/ a FedEx outlet after all!”

I called customer service when I got home, but it was all automated voice recognition, which options did not apply to my dilemma…and I could not come up with any combination of words to reach an authentic, non-replicant human being. Yet somehow, some way, just before I was about to hang up, a real live agent spoke (or at least I think so, you never know these days):

“Hello, this is Enrico, how may I help you?”

He explained that to make this change of address, I’d need to get the seller’s signed permission first. What? They don’t just keep the package at a local station for a few days or so, that the customer may get it there? That’s what the USPS does. (Besides, this is /not/ really a COA request.) So here’s how it’s probably gonna go down:

I’ll call the seller, and they’ll offer to reimburse me. But I’ll say:
“Then I may as well kiss my $188 goodbye!” And explain to them that
this happened to me once before, and the refund never arrived, in
spite of Amazon’s claim that it did. And I had no recourse to register
my complaint.

I doubt they’ll offer to reship via USPS, even though I’m willing
to pay the fee. Because it all goes through Amazon, and they have
things semi-automated re. which delivery service they use. They can’t
step outside of the Amazon circle, to accommodate any customer.

And I’ll also be out of another $35 for the extra battery I ordered,
and the keyboard skin.

Well, online purchasing is a rich person’s game, and these services
never expect to deal with low income people. I shoulda learned my
lesson the first time around, and stopped buying through the Internet
when Amazon stole my $59. But I have gotten excellent deals on
computers and accessories online, that I can’t possibly find here in
SF. And not having a car, I can’t drive out to stores like Fry’s in
the East Bay, and other hi-tech outlets that offer excellent bargains.
Taking public transit is out of the question…I tried it once, and I
have to transfer twice, then walk almost a mile. Takes all friggin’
day, and carrying a package that announces “laptop” all over it, makes
me vulnerable to getting mugged. Standing around in unfamiliar
territory, waiting for a bus that may or may not come, does not suit
me.

I also found great gifts to get Larkin and my other friends, online.
This really sucks!


Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:27:35
Subject:
Re: Fwd: Order delivery inquiry from Amazon customer Ezekiel Krahlin (Order: 113-9357168-9361006)
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

Furthermore:

They were supposed to make a third (and final) delivery attempt on Saturday. But since I didn’t wanna hang out god-knows-how-long in my room, not knowing if they’ll buzz me or not, I ignored it and went to my usual coffeehouses to get online. Once I got home, there was no receipt showing delivery attempt in the lobby, nor was there any message on my answering machine! (AT&T will have to pry that land line out of my cold, dead fingers, FYI.)

Oh, and their receipt doesn’t provide a space to check off to just leave
it in the lobby. I went to their web site and registered, in hopes I can do something there. Well, you can’t change the delivery address unless you’re the seller! There is /nothing/ provided to clear up the situation they put me in…and I’m sure I’m not the first person this has happened to. Now they have my debit card number. What BS. I’m gonna unsubscribe now.

As for ordering online elsewhere: fuggedaboudit. I’d have to see
whether or not they use FedEx, blah blah blah. I’m pissed.


Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:31:03
Subject:
Re: Fwd: Order delivery inquiry from Amazon customer Ezekiel Krahlin (Order: 113-9357168-9361006)
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

On Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 1:26 PM, Eleanor Cooney wrote:

{{ They’re also getting famous for just leaving packages on doorsteps, etc. They can get away with that up here, but in the city, POOF! It’s ripped off. }}

Our building manager told me they sometimes /do/ leave packages
sitting right outside the front gate. Can you believe that…smack dab in the middle of a highly trafficked artery! But I don’t think any of these
major delivery outfits are any good. I’ve had headaches with USPS and
UPS, too.

Amazon is run by right-wingers and libertarians, so it’s just as well.
Good riddance to ’em all!


Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 19:35:49
Subject:
A happy ending!
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

Listen with your own ears: click here.

(Answering machine message from FedEx headquarters in San Mateo basically says they have my package, and offered to ship it to a local branch for pick-up.)


Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2017 22:06:27
Subject:
Unbelievable! They forgot to include the power supply.
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

Love my new refurbished system, but…

Now I gotta deal with FedEx delivery BS all over again. So it’ll be at
least a week (prolly 10 days) before I can even use the Lenovo x230.
This is torture, I should report the incident to Homoland Security.


Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2017 22:49:54
Subject:
Re: Unbelievable! They forgot to include the power supply.
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

On Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 10:09 PM, Eleanor Cooney wrote:

{{ Oh, fer chrissake. }}

Checking out that FedEx station near my SRO residency, while browsing the web, I was glad to learn they’re open until 11 PM. (Hurrah! I would not have to wait until tomorrow morning!) So I waited until 8:30, to avoid a long line. Wondering along the way if it will actually be there, or if I’ll have to go through more bullshit…maybe they shipped it back to the seller instead.

“Dammit,” I grumbled through the opposing flow of pedestrians, “That’s supposed to be the laptop I’ll be using when I skyrocket to fame!”

Once I stepped inside 1967 Market, I was pleased to see only one other customer, already closing his transaction with the Gyro-Gearloose-looking cashier. But then he started asking generalized information about their other services, after the employee handed him back his ID card, with the receipt. This went on for several minutes, during which time I grew impatient, and a little voice in my head echoed:

“You should start pounding your chest and screaming your lungs raw, for god’s sake!”

But I sensibly thought better of it, now that I was so close to (possibly? probably?) receiving My Elusive Holy Grail X230. The inconsiderate customer (whom I was glaring at like a gypsy’s evil eye) finally picked up his items and waddled into the gray twilight. My own transaction went smooth as a greased baby’s bum on a downsloping monorail track.

I was tickled pink to receive the carton, and opened it to insert the
notebook in my backpack, then departed with the box. As I marched
back hovel, it struck me square in the balls:

“Hey wait a minute, I didn’t see the AC adapter!”

Then I started to chuckle:

“C’mon, Zeke, you’re just suffering residual anxiety from this FedEx fiasco. It’s most likely somewhere in this box, taped to a cardboard flap or something. You’ll find it when you get home, no point in stopping now to check it out.”

I figured that’s indeed the case, thinking how absurd it would be to throw such a monkey wrench into the works at this point. Tossing the now-lightweight carton onto my bed, I removed my jacket and hat, peed down the hallway, then returned to reopen the package. I was in disbelief to discover the adapter was nowhere to be found. I felt like a sucker.

Somewhere in hell, a devil is laughing.


Created at: Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 7:18 AM (Delivered after 1 seconds)
From: US Micro Corp – Amazon Marketplace
To: Zeke Krahlin
Subject:
RE: Inquiry from Amazon customer Ezekiel Krahlin (Order: 113-9357168-9361006)

————- Customer message:

NO POWER SUPPLY! Finally, after much wrangling with FedEx (who claimed to have made 3 delivery attempts, but never bothered to buzz my apartment whenever they showed up), I got the item today, July 27. Very very nice, but sadly, you neglected to include the power supply!

————- Reply message:

Good Morning. We apologize for any inconvenience. We can either create an order to have one shipped to you or refund you $20.00 and you can purchase one from a local computer supply store. Please let us know how you wish to proceed.
Thank you,
US Micro Corp


Created at: Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 12:54 PM (Delivered after 0 seconds)
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: US Micro Corp – Amazon Marketplace
Subject:
Re: Inquiry from Amazon customer Ezekiel Krahlin (Order: 113-9357168-9361006)

Oh, just ship it please. It isn’t the end of the world…you sent me a
superb refurbished notebook, and I’ll just worship it on a makeshift
altar with flowers and candles, until the adapter finally arrives.


Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2017 23:06:52
Subject:
Rubbing it in my face
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

Got this printout in the USPS mail today, from FedEx. See attachment.

Dear Ezekiel Krahlin:

Thank you for registering for FedEx Delivery Manager. Customized delivery options are now in your hands.

With FedEx Delivery Manager, you get packages your way. You can:

– Manage when, where and how your packages are delivered.
– Get notifications through the delivery process.
– View all your incoming and outgoing packages in calendar or list formats.
– Request changes to delivery instructions while your package is in transit.

And, that’s just the beginning. Check out these features and many more at fedex.com/delivery.



PC Matic Paddock

August 14, 2014

In reference to PC Pitstop’s article dated July 31, 2014: PC Matic Breaks Virus Detection Record on VB100’s RAP Test

[ Koinoniac Reader: let me cut to the chase and exclude everyone else’s comments, to share with you my own three cents. It always pays to get snockered up a bit, before participating in Tech Talk with a bunch of dweebs. I am referring here to my final repartee.]


August 12, 2014 at 9:22 am
Zeke Krahlin says:

What, no version for Vista? Softpedia doesn’t include that OS. And PC Matic has a poor rating of just two stars. See for yourself:

http://www.softpedia.com/get/Antivirus/PC-Matic-Home-Security.shtml

#

August 12, 2014 at 5:06 pm
PC Matic Support Team says:

@Zeke Krahlin:

Zeke: PC Matic works with Vista.

We hope you consider reviews posted by actual PC Matic users at other sites like amazon.com, download.com, pcmatic.com/testimonials.

#

August 12, 2014 at 8:06 pm
Zeke Krahlin says:

Okay, I just did. 3.9 stars out of 5. 190 customer reviews, 39 gave it just one star, four gave it two, and one gave it three. So I’m not impressed. When I duckduckgo’d “pc matic reviews” A slew of angry users on the first result page, alone. It may run on Vista, but I do not want to go there, now that I’m better informed. I’m totally pleased with my jerry-rigged suite of /free/ protection: MSE, PC Threatfire and Malwarebytes. Rarely do I catch a virus or other bad thing…but when it happens, it’s always nipped in the bud. And I mess around a /lot/ with torrent sites and freeware. I have two laptops, one runs Vista, another 7. Then a lovely android tablet.

#

August 13, 2014 at 2:52 am
PC Pitstop says:

@Zeke Krahlin:

Just to clarify – there are 2 Amazon listings for PC Matic.

100 Reviews – 4.3 out of 5

http://www.amazon.com/PC-Matic-5-PCs-Download/dp/B004KPKSRQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407898262&sr=8-1&keywords=pcmatic

#

August 12, 2014 at 8:15 pm
Zeke Krahlin says:

A blogging geek gave this review of PC Matic, and was not impressed. User comments below, not all unhappy with your software.

http://michaeljkarg.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-pc-matic-experience.html

#

August 13, 2014 at 2:50 am
PC Pitstop says:

@Zeke Krahlin:

Thanks for sharing. We hope Mr Karg updates his review that is now 3 years old.

Find attached a great example of a reviewer who took the time to revisit PC Matic:

http://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/blog/11185802/blog-re-visiting-pc-matic

#

August 13, 2014 at 7:13 am
Zeke Krahlin says:

I just read the article /and/ the additional Amazon reviews, and have to say I am not as impressed as I’d like to be. But your company is definitely on the right track. However, when the reviews are bad, they are /very/ bad…often resulting in a totally crippled system solely because they installed and ran PC Matic. I have a very secure and safe system by using those three programs I mentioned in an earlier comment. But also with Ccleaner. I am talking about /free/ versions only. PC Matic seems to be a fusion of those four applications…with the severe disadvantage of great harm to a significant percentage of users. You don’t know me, but I’ve been around PC’s and cyberspace for quite a number of years. And have even contributed some applications and uniquely creative entertainment never accomplished before, or since.

I’ve been part of the computer underground since the early years (mid-80’s), and have assisted many new users on how to facilitate one’s access to cyberspace in order to improve their minds and livelihood. But my calling is on the application of global networks to enlighten people on the urgency of ending homophobia…mostly through tales, essays, emails, newsgroup articles, blogs, discussion boards and web pages. Were it not for my dedication to that particular cause, I could easily become one of your most valued contributors to matters of online security, especially when it comes to guiding the average netizen in the right direction for best results w/o risk.

Freeware security programs abound that in combination can exceed PC Matic’s level of security and privacy, minus any risk. In fact, I originated the concept of antivirus methodology by proposing the use of three major algorithms originally intended to secure the integrity of file transfers. I was extensively quoted in the now-defunct computer magazine Micro Cornucopeia, on just this subject. That was back in 1988. I’ve scanned that article years ago, which you can still read here:

http://gay-bible.org/truetales/micro-cornucopia.htm

Naturally, that link provides the gateway to all my other good works via cyberactivism…as the domain name is as plain as the nose on your face. The home page gives access to my WordPress blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account as well. So keep up the good work: more dedication and less snake oil, please. But even at this point of PC Matic’s astounding evolution, I can still direct users to totally free applications that do the same thing on a much better, and safer, scale. After such a scathing critique, it is only fair of me to add:

PC Pitstop’s newsletter rocks…one of the very best out there!

Most sincerely (and with a dash of CyberHumor):

Ezekiel J. Krahlin
Jehovah’s Queer Witness and long term hacker advocate (I am the founder of Berkeley Unix User Group born in January Y2K)


“A government is only as good as its operating system.” – Mighty Mouse Virus

Security Matters & Anti-Matters (or The Mighty Mouse Virus)
http://gay-bible.org/write/3_security.htm


I hope I made your day. We are all brothers in the electronic noosphere.


Homophobia in the Hacker Ranks

January 14, 2013

On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 2:39 AM, Zeke Krahlin wrote:

I have seen over and over, among the hacker-type forums, anti-gay expletives (usually “f*ggot”) in the forums of Torrent Freak, Slashdot and the like. Usually implying that “f*ggot” is the worst possible label to place on those anti-pirate and anti-freedom spokespeople. Yet, I sincerely doubt you allow a term like “n*gger” to filter through.

It is a disgusting realization that homophobia is allowed to run rampant among such freedom-loving groups. As if many gay people have nothing to do with Internet privacy rights and freedom (including P2P advocates). It is a most hateful and bigoted word to use, and perpetrates hatred against sexual minorities.

Goddess forbid that you and other overseers of Internet freedom, shouldn’t allow anti-gay attitudes to proliferate. It is quite possible that Aaron Swartz was gay. But what the fuk do you care?

I certainly don’t expect influential folks like you, to establish a policy where anti-gay epithets are forbidden. Because you’re just too hetero-fukked-up yourself!

– Zeke Krahlin
gay-bible.org


On 1/14/13, Ernesto wrote:

{{ I’m as much against using terms like these as you. However, censoring is not always the right option. }}

It certainly is the right option when it comes to discussions about killing Jews and blacks. I don’t see that going on. Or using expletives like “n*gger”.

{{ Certainly not for a word that has multiple meanings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faggot }}

Bullshit. A copout if I ever heard one. Eveyone’s /always/ making some sort of “perfect” excuse to keep vilifying gays, though they don’t allow it to happen against other minorities.

{{ If I censored the term in my email client I would have never gotten your message. }}

Oh, please, enough of your BS. The word could have been replaced with “********”. Or I could have posted you “f*ggot” in the subject header.

{{ Let me know which comments are offending and I’m happy to do something about it. }}

I already made that clear: any time someone uses anti-gay expletives, like “f*ggot” and “c*cksucker”. They can be processed by your discussion board into asterisks.

Whatever. I’ll remove Slashdot from my daily reading. Buh-bye.

{{ Cheers, Ernesto }}

Cheers, my arse!

– Zeke Krahlin


UPDATE

On Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 11:24 AM, Carl wrote:

{{ http://m.guardiannews.com/commentisfree/2013/jan/16/ortiz-heymann-swartz-accountability-abuse }}

Thanks for this article, Carl. Remember in that homophobia-among-hackers essay, I suggested that Aaron Swartz might’ve been gay. Well guess what:

My newest street friend, Max, stayed over my place two nights ago, along with his cute little jet-black doggie. Great company all around. Well, Max brings up Mr. Swartz, was shocked when he saw his pic in the newspapers.

Because he had sex with him almost 10 years ago. No joke. And I never once brought up the topic of Aaron Swartz, before he mentioned this!

<3 always,

Zeke

===

Dear Reader: just as I suspected: Aaron was gay…or to be more precise: bisexual. (Something I just discovered via a web search for “aaron swartz gay“.) Unfortunately, his essay “Why I am Not Gay” only serves to diminish the Queer Struggle by playing the “I hate labels” game. Often, gays claim to be bisexual because such a declaration is a lot “safer” than it is to declare yourself homosexual, in a society rife with virulent prejudice against those brave enough to fully come out.

Ironically, his “I’m not gay” rant only serves to prove my suspicion about his sexual preference and, sadly, his own insecurities over total honesty. It is therefore important to consider that Aaron’s suicide may very well have been triggered (at least in part) by society’s ongoing terrorism towards sexual minorities.

BTW, Towleroad did a piece on his sexuality, with many excellent comments. Entitled: “In His Short Life, Aaron Swartz Refused To Be Categorized.”

So you idiotic hetero-supremacist hackers have gay blood on your own hands, though care not to admit. Many of your own heroes are gay…such as Adrian Lamo (the Homeless Hacker) and John Draper (Cap’n Crunch). Both of whom I’ve had the immense pleasure of befriending not too many years ago. In fact, to watch a video of Draper interviewing Lamo, please click here.

Ironically, you “freedom fighters” of cyberspace continue to post anti-gay expletives like “f*ggot” and “fudge packer” against the enemies of freedom. And in so doing, you are as implicit as these enemies, for perpetrating terror and death against an innocent minority. Yet by the same token, you enjoy the riches of our gay hacker contributions, for your own breeder-thug selfish intent.


My E-mail to Masked Lizard

January 28, 2012


Pepper Spray Prattle

November 19, 2011


click map

Click here to view offending image.

Accusatory's web page

Offending blog entry.




Original and Offending Image:

Replaced with:


I’d Sooner Buy Hitler A Pony

April 29, 2011

Sometimes I get a little mischievous with Youtube comments. Just look for my handle “pewterbot9” at the bottom of a post, to find a particular declaration by yours truly…33 all told. (If my handle appears above a comment, it indicates someone responding back to me.) Please note this is an image of the comment page, so you can’t jump-search my handle or click on any links…you can only scroll either up or down.

Though to simplify your perusal, I’ve marked each of my posts with a red arrow “<,” so they’re hard to miss.

To view the actual video, or to add your own comment, click here, or anywhere on the comment page below.



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