Recently, the amount of spam email I am receiving has increased dramatically. It is not just random, but an organized effort.
The advertising (product) spam all comes from a couple dozen sources. Multiple ads for various products of no interest to me originate at the same handful of sources.
The political spam is coming from pro-Trump sources, none of which observe requests to unsubscribe me. I attribute it to either retribution to my political views or part of a widespread pre-election campaign by those trying to influence the outcome.
The amount has overwhelmed my email client’s ability to filter. I am in the process of wiping and installing a fresh copy in hopes that will help. Meanwhile, I am closing this mailbox. If you are a human and wish to reach me, please use another address. I have many.
Those who know me long enough recall this happening in the past. I stopped using my email address and switched to the current one . I am now making that switch in reverse!
Email addresses that will reach me:
(preferred for Ham radio content)
Please do not use
(will go unanswered)
(no longer active)
When things have settled down and the spam subsides, I may or may not revert back to old address. I am not deleting it and will still be able to see mail there, I am just throwing in the towel on cleaning out the spam. I won’t be looking for new email there.
I was hacked! Someone brute-forced their way into an account and did something that took the entire site down.
I had reports of a high number of failed log-in attempts, but hadn’t made it a priority to look into. So they finally got through before I looked into it.
It’s really pathetic that someone would go to all that effort to get into a site that is basically dormant and hasn’t seen an new post in months. But they use bots to do it, so they don’t care.
Usually, it is done to gain some kind of advantage in website rankings. Google and other search engines look to see how many other sites mention (link to) a site and boost the rank accordingly. So they like to hack sites to put fake links in to them to make it look like there is a lot of buzz about their page.
They also use links in comments to do the same thing. I have all comments held for approval, so they don’t show up. I cleared out several hundred spam comments yesterday.
So I got the site back up and running. They couldn’t really do much to it, but found a way to make it look like it was offline. I’ve changed passwords on every account and the one they got into no longer has any privileges. I can see what logins they try to use, so I know what they are trying. The obvious ones are gone. Let them fish.
And for what it’s worth, this page is so little used, if it becomes a problem, it will just vanish.
Sad News has not been a stranger to this blog. Once again, I have the sad task of reporting of the death of my son. Sons are supposed to outlive their father and bury him, not the other way around, but here I am for the second time. My second son, Francis, has died as the result of organ rejection after his lung transplant.
That sounds horrible, but a better way to put it is he lived five years longer because he received a transplant and they were mostly, wonderful, glorious years where he lived as if he never had a problem.
Like his brother before him, he was a Cystic Fibrosis patient and the disease had progressed to the point where his lungs were failing. Imagine life where you had to stop and breathe when you walk from the couch to the kitchen, a distance of ten feet. He had only weeks, probably to live if he had not had the transplant when he did.
The whole story is elsewhere in this blog. Go back and read it, if you are interested.
I don’t really feel like writing this, but for the sake of giving the end to the story, I am. It was a long voyage and most of it was wonderful. I got to spend a lot of time with Frank as we traveled back and forth from his Doctors in NYC.
We met up in Arizona one summer at his cousin’s wedding. He took the trip of a lifetime across country by bus, stopping to visit friends and make new ones along the way. We drove and met up out there. Spent great days at his Aunt’s and visiting the Grand Canyon. He was like a new person.
But, eventually, he caught some infection and started to reject his new lungs. Every transplant is a tightrope walk of balancing medicines between their side-effects and interactions with the body, and protecting the organs from rejection. Every change upsets the balance, and while the doctors are very good at tweaking things, it doesn’t always work.
Anyway, his new lungs were damaged and could no longer sustain his active life. He deteriorated to the point where he was bedridden. But he faced it with a great positive attitude and made the most of it. After all, it was all time he would not have had otherwise.
There is a whole other story about the group of friends that supported him throughout the whole time, and maybe I’ll tell that story later, but for now, this is about all I can write.
Well, I haven’t been posting much here lately and most of my thoughts and rants have been going on Facebook.
They make it so easy, so seductive, to just put a short couple paragraphs or just a comment on someone else’s thoughts. It becomes too easy to spend time there.
But, once again, I’m in Facebook jail.
I don’t know why. They say I posted something that violated “community standards.” They gave me no details and I don’t remember what it may have been. Just suddenly, I can’t post anything. I can’t leave a comment. I can’t even like a photo of a furry cat.
I dug around and found – with some difficulty – a reference to their deleting a post.
I can’t tell from the little thumbnails what it was, or what about it they didn’t like. I have a “Page” where I post things. Things about Trump, our government, and politics. I started the page so I could keep those things off my personal timeline and let only those who want to read them see them. I was being considerate to those who might be offended by anything critical of our illegitimate president.
And, ordinarily, I avoid anything offensive. I lean towards the ironic, humorous, or satirical commentary.
95% of what I post is graphics – cartoons, memes, photos, and articles from major news sources. I mostly “share” not “create.”
And, yes, it’s mostly anti-Trump, anti-conservative, anti-GOP, etc. because, well, how can any moral, thinking person not be?
So, I am in the corner, getting a three-day time out from Facebook. Like that is supposed to teach me a lesson, whereas not telling me what the offense is does…
My experience with these things (I have known others who have also suffered the same fate) is that you usually get these things as a response to someone’s complaint. They are either processed by some algorithm or some person who reviews hundreds per hour. No deep thought is put into it. And there is no way to get a meaningful review. You can click a box that asks them to look into it, but I have not received a response.
From the thumbnails, I can tell it was a cartoon. That’s about all. I routinely download and keep the images I post, rather than just hit share. I do that because I want to break the chain of “So and so shared so and so’s post where they shared so and so’s…” I also sometimes copy and paste commentary along with it that I think the person may not want to have attributed to them. Public figures, I quote with full attribution, I spare the average friend.
So I checked through my collected images and did not find that one. It doesn’t mean it didn’t come from me, but it’s odd that I did not keep a copy. It might be left on a different computer that I don’t normally use. I only checked my laptop and phone. You can bet, if I do find it, I will post it here!
And, I did. I could not find it on any of my computers, but a couple of them have been reworked recently and may have been erased. But with a little Google-Fu and some help from Tineye, I found it.
That’s it. That’s the “offensive” post. I vaguely remember it. It was quite a while ago, so either they dug deep, or someone is going around looking for that particular picture.
This photo was found many times on Twitter. It was on Reddit. It was on Instagram and Pinterest, so it clearly doesn’t cross any lines for most places. It was totally used to target my account. There was also a version of it with a ghostly figure, possibly Jesus, leaning over 45.
So, I supposedly “violated community standards” by posting a graphic that came from the community. Hmmm…
Looking at the timing of it, where we are in the middle of the peak of the Trump impeachment Senate hearings, one has to wonder if it isn’t part of an organized strategy to use Facebook’s’ policies against anyone openly critical of him? Right now, silencing a bunch of his critics for three days without any hearing or recourse, would be huge. You almost wonder if it’s not a new wave of Russian hackers turning to suppressing criticism instead of posting pro-Trump propaganda?
I don’t flatter myself to think that I am that important, or widely influential to garner special attention. So, the explanation of a widespread organized process makes more sense. I just got caught up in it.
So, Facebook put me and possibly many others in Facebook Jail. I’ll live. Actually a three day break will do me good. After all, it got me back to my long neglected blog…