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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Debian Sid... Spread the Word

I'm upgrading a friend's laptop to Debian Sid, as I write this. It's so much more fun to upgrade somebody else's machine instead of your own.

I did check the bug reports first, though.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Fischer and Anti-semitism

My pointing out Bobby Fischer's home page, below, does not mean that I condone his views, especially those pertaining to his anti-semitic tirades that are, at best, tiring. Fischer is a tragic figure, more to be pitied than hated. His views may be offensive, but he is basically harmless and should be remembered for his chess rather than his outbursts in later years.

The same cannot be said of Mr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, who has publicly, and repeatedly, claimed that the Holocaust is a "myth". The only thing tragic in his case is that he was elected in the first place. And, I suppose, that many innocent people could die if he is allowed to continue.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Best US Promotions Are At It Again

The travel lottery scam I wrote about is picking up speed here in Sweden. Another wave of phone calls from the Haifa area in Israel hit us and at least one lady was relieved from about 8,000 SEK in "travel taxes" from her VISA card, according to Swedish morning paper GP.

If you want to call Best US Promotions and tell them how you feel about travel scams, the number is +9724900000.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bobby Fischer in 17 Boxes

Chess-related items belonging to former chess world champion Bobby Fischer are up for sale in an eBay auction, with bids starting at $15,000. How the collection ended up on eBay isn't entirely clear but Fischer's version is on his home page. The page is rather large so search for "Ellsworth", about halfway down.

I'd urge anyone interested in chess and with the necessary cash to buy the items and return them to Fischer.

Fischer is now a resident of Iceland, after a year-long detention in Japan.

My Swedish Blog

I'm Swedish, as those of you who've read my profile may have noted. Therefore, I also write a Swedish blog, where I usually focus on matters of interest in, you guessed it, Sweden, and have thus added a link there.

So how's your Swedish?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Criminal Law

What's criminal about it? Now, there's an amusing phrase.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Fighting Terrorism, Part Two

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

Fighting Terrorism

What good does it do in the war against terrorism to kidnap innocent people outside your own jurisdiction, against local, international, and US laws? How does it help to transport them across the globe to torture then in secret prisons, in a supposedly "liberated" third country?

I was kind of hoping that the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would have at least some answers, but unfortunately, her European PR tour has given preciously few answers so far. See, some of us stupid, backwards Europeans think that people, even suspected terrorists, are innocent until proven guilty. Many of our laws build on that assumption. We think it's important, a cornerstone of what we think is fair and just.

I guess what I'd really like to say is f*** you, Ms Rice (and Mr Bush, now that I think of it), but this is a family-oriented blog, thank you very much, so I won't.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Too Good to Be True?

A nice lady who called herself Ashley rang me today. Ashley, who claimed to work for a Florida company called Best US Promotions (please have a look at our web site at www.bestusvacations.com, sir), informed me that I'd just won a free Bahamas cruise!

She talked fast and the phone line was pretty bad, but basically I was the lucky winner of not only a free Bahamas cruise (3 days), but also a week at Disney World, 2 days in Daytona, and another 2 in Fort Laudardale. With all, or at least most, expenses paid (the exact terms of my dream vacation escape me for the moment; like I said, the phone line was bad and she talked fast). The whole thing really sounded too good to be true.

And it was. After a description of my up-and-coming vacation (with my family, of course), I was switched to another nice lady who wanted my name, address, phone number, and... VISA card number.

I told her that this I didn't like, but she assured me that it was OK. I was protected, they'd tape the conversation (sic), and she fully understood my scepticism. She would react in the same way. Oh good, I said. Would she send me a detailed agreement with all the necessary information through snail mail? No sir, that is not possible. We only have three cruises left and there are others who will surely accept the terms without this kind of complication. And anyway, I'm insured through VISA, don't I know that?

That's funny, I told her. VISA's quite explicit about this kind of thing. You must never reveal your credit card number through a phone line. Never. And so I won't do it, free cruise or not.

She became upset. If you don't know the terms of your international credit card, sir, she said, you shouldn't be allowed to use one. Again, I said thanks but no thanks, so she hung up on me.

After telling my wife that I just said no to a free Bahamas cruise, I checked Ahley & Co's phone number (I have one of those thingies that log incoming phone numbers), and sure enough, the call was from Israel, not Florida:

(00) 9724900000

If you get a call from them, hang up.

The web site, I found out, was registered by Domains by Proxy, Inc., a Scottsdale, Arizona company that helps domain owners conceal their identities from the public by registering their domains in the name of Domains by Proxy. They've helped quite a few, from fake talent hunters to, well, fake travel lotteries.

A Google search (scam+travel+US+Promotions) also explained how this kind of scam works. It's a shame, though; I could have used a vacation.