Archive for the 'cyberstuff' Category

Dumping Norton Antivirus

norton.pngOur subscription for Norton (Symantec) Antivirus Protection will expire in 30 days or so. Today, I saw a charge on our credit card initiated by Norton for automatic renewal of our antivirus protection package.

We have been Norton customers forever, but due to their recent rejection of the NRA, we previously decided to seek internet cyber-protection elsewhere. Besides, the renewal rate was twice what we paid for it the last time we renewed.

I got on their website with my sign-in credentials and requested a refund of the credit card charge. Of course, it wasn’t going to be that simple. They required me to engage in a “chat” with one of their operatives to process the request.

Follows an excerpt of the chat:

Rahul: May I ask why you would like a refund of your Norton product?
Minstrel: I no longer wish to do business with Norton.
Rahul: Could you please tell me the issue. So that I can solve that. We do not want to lose customers like you.
Minstrel: Norton cut its ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA) of which I am a member. I will not do business with anyone who is against my right to self defense.
Rahul: I am sorry for the hassle caused to you. We are still in discussion with NRA team, so if you want to continue, you can still continue with Norton. I can definitely refund your order; however, if you like I can also offer you a 50% refund of the automatic renewal price, and you can continue to use your Norton Product for the next year. Is this something you might be interested in?
Minstrel: No I want to immediately discontinue my subscription.

The bottom line is that they will still charge my credit card for the automatic renewal but will issue a refund for the charge in 7-10 days. Good riddance to bad garbage.

We still have some other issues to resolve with companies that have shown their anti-2A bias. Again, I won’t hesitate to let them know why they are losing our business. I hope y’all are doing the same.

Who, other than Norton, provides good internet security for our Windows 7 and 10 machines? Any suggestions will be helpful.

Technology Upgrade

Samsung Galaxy Oontz Speakerphone

We have been procrastinating upgrading from our outdated “flip phones” to the current technology for a while now, since everything was “working” and didn’t need to be “fixed.” Well, earlier this week, I went to the local wireless outlet and switched my flip phone for a new Samsung Galaxy smart phone. I have had it several days now, and I am pleased with it, although I am still on the steep part of the learning curve.

The Better Half kept her flip phone until she sees some value in jumping onto the steep learning curve herself. We even considered a tablet device for her instead of a phone which she seldom uses. We shall see how she likes my smartphone before proceeding. She currently uses a Kindle but only for downloading and reading e-books.

The other gadget pictured in the (clickable) image on the right above, is the diminutive Oontz Curve Bluetooth Speakerphone. It offers a hands-free option for the smartphone and sounds as good as any speakerphone I ever used in the office before retirement. It is quite small: 2 ½” height and 3″ diameter. I am impressed with the dynamic range of the audio and reports from those called say the little Oontz microphone has as good a range as they have heard.

I have “paired” the Bluetooth function in the phone with my Garmin GPS, The Oontz Speakerphone and the phone function in my F-150 Ford pickup for hands-free calling in the Motorhome, the office and in the truck. I almost regret not having done this a couple of years back.



Presented without comment other than to mention that I found this demotivational poster on FecesBook™. Clickable image for a slightly enlarged view.

Computer Glitch


The blog has been silent for a few days. On Friday last, I had an accidental spillage of my beverage at the workstation, some of the liquid getting into the laptop keyboard. The Better Half quickly got me a towel to start mopping up. I did the best I could cleaning up the desk and the outside of the computer, but unable to get inside the keyboard area. I disconnected the laptop from external devices and placed it on a dry towel with the keyboard pointing down.

The next morning, I hooked everything up again and booted the computer up. I was able to sign on with my password, but once I was into the applications (browser, file manager, etc.) the keyboard would do weird things, popping up dialogs and who knows what else. The mouse worked fine, and the display worked as well.

TBH and I had talked about upgrading the computers before something crapped out, so I decided that the time had come because of my malfunctioning keyboard. Unfortunately, I would be unable to upgrade and migrate the applications beforehand. I drove to Walmart and bought two new Hewlett Packard HP 15 touch-screen laptops, one for each of us. Walmart had a good deal on these as they were being closed out.

Back home, I opened up one of the computer boxes and began the process of getting it set-up. Since I had to go on to the old computer for reference, it was at this time that I discovered that tapping with a little force on the CTRL and other keys cleared up the keyboard problem I had been having. My original laptop was working normally.

The new laptop has Windows 8.1 operating system and since we are both using Windows 7, there was going to be a transition period for us to get used to the changes and to customize the computer with our applications, etc. I decided to upgrade The Better Half and return the second computer I bought since my laptop is again alive and well. I will upgrade when it is practical to do so.

When TBH’s upgrade takes place I will have already installed Windows 10 on her machine and get her a 20 to 23-inch HDTV monitor to replace the old VGA external display she uses. The new computers have an HDMI interface, but no VGA.

Supporting Charity While Shopping


We shop at Amazon a lot, since there are no major chain stores in town. When we need entertainment (DVDs) or any other small purchase which we’re not likely to find in town, we turn to on-line vending like Amazon. For about a year now, we have been taking advantage of the utility to support a charity of our choice while shopping. The service adds nothing to the purchase price, but some funds are diverted to the charity we selected. In our case, we support The Second Amendment Foundation.

Yes the SAF is a gun-rights organization which is also a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible charity. Using Smile.Amazon isn’t tax deductible, per se, but as you see from the banner the Amazon website puts up once in a while, there are significant funds going to SAF.

Of course, we donate directly to SAF and our other favorite conservative charities, so we can claim the deductions at tax time. We enjoy knowing that SAF is benefiting from our purchases through Amazon.

Throwback Thursday - Five Years Ago Today

Jim and Bob

It’s hard to believe it’s been that long, but on this date five years ago, we finally met with DrJim of Every Blade of Grass for an eyeball QSO in San Pedro at the K6AA Field Day site at Fort MacArthur topside. Jim was setting up the satellite station to be able to communicate through the several Amateur Radio Satellites available. We posted about our meeting at the time.

When we think about it, there have been a lot of changes for both of our families in the interim to include marriage, retirement, relocation, health events and a host of things that you would expect of active people. Those changes in our lives have been chronicled in postings on our blogs.

DrJim will again be setting up his satellite station, but this year it will be aboard the Iowa, currently moored in Los Angeles Harbor. It sounds from his postings about the setup and plans that he will be in a position to hand out a lot of Field Day points to other amateur satellite stations from the historic decks of Battleship Iowa.

Click Bait

clickbait.gifThe title of this post could also be concatenated into “clickbait,” as frequently seen on the web. Everyone has seen the technique of posting a teaser statement or headline just to get you to open an article which usually results in a disappointment to the reader. You know, “Wait until you see what the baby giraffe does to a monkey! Click here.” When you click, you see some inane monkey-giraffe interaction along with ads and pop-ups.

From Wikipedia:

Clickbait is a pejorative term describing web content that is aimed at generating online advertising revenue, especially at the expense of quality or accuracy, relying on sensationalist headlines to attract click-throughs and to encourage forwarding of the material over online social networks. Clickbait headlines typically aim to exploit the “curiosity gap”, providing just enough information to make the reader curious, but not enough to satisfy their curiosity without clicking through to the linked content.

By 2014, the ubiquity of clickbait on the Internet had begun to lead to a backlash against its use. Satirical newspaper The Onion launched a new website, ClickHole, that parodied clickbait websites such as Upworthy and Buzzfeed, and in August 2014, Facebook announced that it was taking technical measures to reduce the impact of clickbait on its social network, using, among other cues, the time spent by the user on visiting the linked page as a way of distinguishing clickbait from other content.

As a Fecesbook™ user, I haven’t noticed ANY reduction in clicktease content, even among the conservative media content. There is always the ubiquitous half-of-the-story headline posted. I usually don’t waste time clicking through. I find that my other reading of blogs and news sites will usually keep me informed of the mysterious “behind-the-green-door” content.

We link references, but usually tell the complete story without the reader having to click on anything. Nobody would read this weblog if we did.

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