I’ve Been Upgraded

I’ve finally been upgraded to ADSL2+. My ISP has finally installed their own DSLAM’s and upgraded me from ADSL1 to ADSL2+. I live less than 80km from Sydney and in the heart of it’s nearest major city, but it has taken this long to get ADLS2+ into our region. I was so excited that I expected miracles. However, initially I saw no speed increase, other than ADSL1 speeds. I contacted the technical support team and after an hour we sorted it out. They changed their port settings, reset my user port, I reset my modem and I entered a few crucial things like my username and password and everything came to life. Fantastic.

If you live in Australia, you cannot go past Westnet for an ISP. They may charge more for their services, but their customer service and technical support far exceeds the competition. I do not get any financial benefit from promoting Westnet, so you can check them out for free.

I’m now going off to check out the internet at about nine times the speed I am used to…

Woo hoo……………..


You Know You’re Old When…

Microsoft MS-DOS is now 30 years old.

When I first started in computing, operating systems were mainframe systems and hobbyists had home-grown systems. Then along came CPM and everything seemed so much simpler. Later came the IBM PC with a cassette interface and 64Kb of memory – it booted into ROM BASIC – and set the industry back 20 years. Then the mega upgrade to a floppy disk and MS-DOS with 640Kb of memory. Bill Gates famously said “Why would anybody want more than 640Kb of memory?” My first hard disk was 5Mb, then 20Mb, then 120Mb…all at well over $1 per Megabyte. (In those days a megabyte was a megabyte – not 1,000,000 bytes*). Ah, they were fun days.

Now we have the software houses pumping out updates by the million and bombarding us with so much choice, each only lasting a few months until we have to upgrade to the latest and learn the product all over again. 3Tb drives are now the norm (but I expect that will be laughed at in 10 years time), with drives costing in the cents per Gigabyte (now everything is metricized rather than using the computer’s power of 2*).

I’m happy to have been involved in the early days of personal computing. These were times of experimentation and innovation.

But now I see a dark cloud hanging over our heads, and it is Cloud Computing. I see this as where large companies take over the internet and decide what you can do, decide what you need and decide what you should pay for the privilege. The Cloud is a push by big business to own and control the internet and to ultimately own and control the users of the internet. To give over all our data, all our information, all our being, to an unknown “cloud” without any way of knowing if the information is secure from predators is not in anybody’s interest. However, many companies see this as a cost saving measure, to reduce their IT costs and increase their bottom line. But if I owned a company (and I do), I would not want to place my company’s operations at risk by relying on a third party to provide everything I need.

My Rant for this month.

(*) I suppose when a Kilo was 1,000 and 1Kb was 1024, that wasn’t too much of a problem. But when it gets up to Gigabytes and Terabytes, the difference is significant and Marketing takes over. Therefore, everyone now claims that the metric system of measurement is the standard.


Carl Palmer vs Buddy Rich

I was over at Bill Murney’s Blog reading about Buddy Rich. The video of Buddy Rich got me thinking how similar it was to some solo performances by Carl Palmer from Emerson, Lake and Palmer. One of my favourite ELP tracks was Tank. The record (yes, vinyl) had especially wide grooves to accommodate the volume level of the drum solo. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a live video, but then I came across an even better video that actually compares the two.

Here is the first video from ELP:

Then here is the comparison:

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet worked out how to add HTML code to other people’s blogs, so I stuffed up my comment to Bill’s blog. Therefore, here it is on my blog, and hopefully, my next comment on Bill’s blog will be able to link to this post.


Fortune Learning Systems LLC. Sued by FTC

The following is a news report on an intricate set of companies that have scammed thousands of people, including me when I first started online. Luckily, I pulled the pin and saved all my data before they were shut down, but not before losing a great deal of money that I could ill afford to lose. I believe in naming and shaming those that prey on the uninitiated. They are blood-suckers who deserve to be trodden into the gutter with the rest of the filth.

Ivy Capital Inc. and 29 co-defendants including Fortune Learning Systems LLC. allegedly have taken more than $40 million from people who paid thousands of dollars believing Ivy Capital would help them develop their own Internet businesses and earn up to $10,000 per month or more.

According to the FTC’s complaint, Ivy Capital’s telemarketers asked consumers how much credit they had on their credit cards and then talked them into using a substantial portion of their available credit to purchase a business coaching program. But the promised products and services were worthless, the complaint alleged. Ivy Capital’s “expert” coaches lacked the promised knowledge and experience, its website-building software programs did not work properly, and the lawyers and accountants the defendants said would provide assistance were nonexistent. Consumers paid up to $20,000 for a business coaching program and related products and services but got very little in return.

The FTC has made it clear today that it plans to step up its ongoing campaign against scammers who falsely promise guaranteed jobs and opportunities to “be your own boss” to consumers who are struggling with unemployment and diminished incomes as a consequence of the economic downturn.

“Operation Empty Promises,” a multi-agency law enforcement initiative today announced more than 90 enforcement actions, including three new FTC cases and developments in seven other matters, 48 criminal actions by the Department of Justice (many of which involved the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service), seven additional civil actions by the Postal Inspection Service, and 28 actions by state law enforcement agencies.

In a press conference at the FTC, David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, was joined by Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice; Greg Campbell, Deputy Chief Inspector of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper; and a California consumer who had bought into a program to start his own Internet business.

“The victims of these frauds are our neighbors – people who are trying to make an honest living,” said David C. Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. ”Under pressure to make ends meet, they risked their limited financial resources in response to the promise of a job, an income – a chance at a profitable home-based business. But these turned out to be empty promises – and the people who counted on them ended up with high levels of frustration and even higher levels of debt.”

*Ivy Capital Inc. defendants – The defendants are Kyle G. Kirschbaum, John H. Harrison, Steven E. Lyman, Benjamin E. Hoskins, Christopher M. Zelig, Steven J. Sonnenberg, James G. Hanchett, Joshua F. Wickman, Ivy Capital Inc., Fortune Learning System LLC, Fortune Learning LLC, Vianet Inc., Enrich Wealth Group LLC, Business Development Division LLC, Nevada Corporate Division Inc., Nevada Corporate Division LLC, Credit Repair Division Inc., Credit Repair Division LLC, Tax Planning Division LLC, Zyzac Commerce Solutions Inc., 3 Day MBA LLC, The Shipper LLC, doing business as Wholesalematch.com, Global Finance Group LLC and Virtual Profit LLC, Dream Financial, ICI Development Inc., Ivy Capital LLC, Logic Solutions LLC, Oxford Debt Holdings LLC, Revsynergy LLC, and Sell It Vizions LLC. The relief defendants are Cherrytree Holdings LLC, Oxford Financial LLC, S&T Time LLC, Virtucon LLC, Curva LLC, Mowab Inc., Kierston Kirschbaum, Melyna Harrison, Tracy Lyman, and Leanne Hoskins.

NOTE: The Commission authorizes the filing of a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendants have actually violated the law. The consent orders are for settlement purposes only and do not constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. A consent order is subject to court approval and has the force of law when signed by the District Court judge.

Fortune Learning Systems, FLSBuilder.com, FLSDomains.com, FLS.com and numerous other websites and domain servers have since been shut down. I still had one domain name with FLSDomains.com and was not advised of the shut down. Everything just disappeared overnight.

Even as late as last month, I received a phone call from the States, telling me that the reason I couldn’t make any money from my web sites was that I didn’t have an LLC company, and for just $7,800 they would set one up for me, and for a small (undisclosed) annual fee, they would submit my tax returns in the US, even though I live in Australia. I declined their kind offer.

Is it any wonder that when I say I am an Internet Marketer, most people automatically associate me as a Scam Merchant?

The quicker we run these bastards out of town the better.


Drambuie 101

It’s cold and bleak here in the land of Oz. We are experiencing a series of antarctic wind blasts that have caused havoc in suburbia and blizzards in the higher altitudes. We have two trains stuck in the Blue Mountains due to trees falling on them but luckily no serious injuries.

The wind has been whistling past my place at great knots and the heater has been going all day.

How do I combat the climate? With Drambuie of course.

It may not cure the winter-time-blues, but after a few shots, who cares?