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Topics - Flapp_Jackson

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Off Topic / PSA: Request your Annual Credit Reports
« on: March 09, 2020, 05:48:45 PM »
Well, we all know how reliable credit reporting agencies can be (not!).

I needed to download a transcript of my 2018 tax return.  In order for the IRS to verify my identity, the online app asked for information based on my credit history.

After answering the questions perfectly (I have a not-too-old credit report in front of me), I failed three different times.  After 3 failed attempts, you have to wait 24 hours to try again, and there is nobody you can contact to discuss the problem.   :wtf:

After waiting a day, I tried again.  Same results.

The next night, I tried again (same behavior expecting different results  :crazy:).  Still, nada.

So, I decided to request my free credit reports for this year to make sure the verification questions still had the same answers.  Lo and behold, only Trans Union produced a report.  Both Experian and Equifax said my information didn't match their records. 

So, I followed the instructions and snail-mailed copies of my identity documentation. 

That resulted in a letter on Friday from Equifax and another today from Experian.  Equifax asked for the same exact info I sent AnnualCreditReport.   :wtf: :wtf:

Experian, though, sent a report -- with zero accounts reporting!   :wtf: :wtf: :wtf:  All it contained was my name, address, birthday, and SSAN last four.

I called Experian, and the guy I  called verified no credit accounts, open or closed, existed.  He came up with "we delete positive reports after 10 years," and "you should request your current creditors report to Experian in addition to any other agencies."  Neither suggestion was relevant. 

I called back with a 2017 Experian report in front of me that I ran in Jan that year.  With the 2017 and 2020 report numbers, the second guy actually did more than explain how it's not their problem.  After 10 minutes on hold, he said the problem is a known issue with some accounts.  It's a problem created when they upgraded and migrated their account profiles, and it should be resolved in 3-5 days (less than the 2 months the IRS would take to send my return, I'm sure).

ANYWAY, now that I know there is a problem with some number of Experian members, I thought I'd pass this along.  If you haven't taken advantage of your free reports lately, it might be a good time to make sure you are not in the same boat.

I was nervous someone had screwed with my identity and mucked up my credit history (not that my ex would ever do anything like that!   :wacko:).

Maybe I should have taken "you don't have any open accounts" as an opportunity to stop making payments?   :rofl:

I guess I'm lucky this hasn't been a Twilight Zone episode ... "According to our records, the person with this account died last month."   :shake:
Political Discussion / Rush Limbaugh receives Presidential Medal of Freedom
« on: February 05, 2020, 12:35:41 AM »
Rush Limbaugh was presented with the highest civilian honor during the State of the Union address. Milania Trump was seated next to him and helped make the presentation.

This was in part due to Rush announcing he is being treated for stage 4 lung cancer.  He made the announcement this week to give his audience the reason he may not be on the air full time as he undergoes treatment and fights the effects.

Rush has been a voice in the wilderness for conservatives for over 3 decades.  At 69, this situation doesn't offer much hope.  Having said that, this is the man who lost his hearing completely and then regained it through cochlear implants.

Never count Rush out.
Off Topic / Cats: The Movie
« on: January 03, 2020, 02:29:29 PM »
If you've been thinking of going to see the movie "Cats" at the theater, let me save you some time, money and therapy sessions.

Just watch this video.  It's free, it's more entertaining, and you won't be thinking "What the hell did I just watch???  :wtf: "

You're welcome.   :shaka:
Every month it seems like Hillary makes another vague remark that is interpreted as "Don't count me out of the 2020 election yet."

I looked at the filing deadlines for the primaries, and a few key states' deadlines have either passed or are going to pass this month:

Arizona: 12/9/2019   

California:  12/13/2019

Colorado:  12/9/2019

Michigan:  12/13/2019

New Hampshire:  11/15/2019

Ohio:  12/18/2019

Virginia:  12/12/2019

There are many states with no deadline listed, some with Jan-Feb deadlines, but most with 2019 deadlines.

Many also have minimum petition signature requirements of voters in that state, which takes a little time to complete.

I think she's too close to the deadlines in enough states that to jump in now would be a major scramble during the holidays, not to mention the total chaos it would cause among the current field.

She REALLY wants her epitaph to read "46th President of the US" instead of the one that's likely at this point:  "Ran for President twice.  Lost to Obama and Trump."
Off Topic / SPAMMING should be a capital offense!!
« on: December 10, 2019, 08:53:33 AM »
The spammers have been busy.  They figured out they can bypass most ISP SPAM filters by adding the header

<on behalf of>

which doesn't get flagged by the majority of filter programs, devices or client application settings.

Filters look at the "from" address after the "on behalf of" header, which means the filter overlooks the actual "from" address:


If you're using MS Outlook, though, you can filter for the spam "from address" strings.

Create a rule in Outlook that looks for the offending string (.pro, .promo4u, etc.) and select "ANY HEADER" and  "CONTAINS" for the filter parameters.

You'll have to add more to the list of strings to filter, and it has to be enabled on all your Outlook devices.

Hoping the ISPs get around to implementing the same for their incoming mail filters.
Bloomberg releases gun control plan

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg released an expansive gun control plan Thursday as he works to
underscore his advocacy on the hot-button issue in his new White House bid.

The plan calls for a litany of popular Democratic proposals, including bolstering background checks, removing guns
from those who may pose a danger to themselves or others, banning assault weapons and removing protections for
gun manufacturers from civil suits.

“I’ve been all in on the fight against gun violence for 15 years – and I’m just getting started,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “
As president, I will work to end the gun violence epidemic once and for all.”

“My agenda will make it harder for criminals to get guns, make families and communities more secure, and give law
enforcement the tools to save lives – and, working with Congress, I will get the job done.”

Bloomberg’s plan would strengthen background checks by requiring them for all gun sales, mandating that all gun buyers
receive permits from the Justice Department before purchases and expand checks for the purchases of kits that could be
used to make homemade firearms.

The proposal would also ensure that those convicted of domestic abuse cannot purchase a firearm even if they were not
married to their victims, support a federal “red flag” law that would allow law enforcement to remove guns from those

believed to be a danger to themselves or others and require people to be at least 21 years old before buying a firearm.

The plan goes on to call for the banning of assault weapons, funding at least $100 million annually for local violence
prevention programs and repealing the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act that gives gunmakers and gun
dealers immunity from civil lawsuits.

(includes video)

The other topic for Black Friday Deals is under Firearms and Accessories, so here's one for everything else.   :geekdanc:


If you use, or are thinking about, virtualization software to have multiple versions of operating systems on one PC or Mac, VMWare has several deals running through Dec 6th.

You can get 20-30% off Desktop versions, and save even more if you qualify for their educational student/parent/faculty discount offerings.

Now that my kids are out of college, I can't qualify for upgrades to products I bought under the educational discount program.  I must buy a new license to upgrade.  (Honestly, I'd rather pay more for a license than HPU tuition!  :rofl:)

I just bought the Mac OS Fusion Pro  license and the Workstation Pro for Windows & Linux license for a combined discount of 50%.  Total with tax: $214.84.

This is the cheapest I've seen their pricing in a really long time.  Just thought I'd share in case someone else is interested.

p.s.  I have been using the old Fusion version 8 for years.  When I upgraded my MacBook to MacOS Catalina in Oct, VMWare no longer worked (black screen in the virtual machine).

I downloaded the trial version of Fusion 11.5.  Problem solved.  Just so happens my trial license expires in two days, just in time to take advantage of the sale.
GOP:  $61.4M cash in the bank, with $0 in debt

DNC:  $8.7M cash, with $7M in debt = $1.7M net assets

Trump raised 3 times what Dems raised in Oct.
Political Discussion / Whistleblower's Lawyer: "#coup has started."
« on: November 07, 2019, 12:53:10 PM »

That tweet was in Jan 2017, when Trump was inaugurated.

No mention of the CRIMES Trump committed. 

Rebellion + Impeachment = Coup


(also coup d'état, UK  /ˌkuː.deɪˈtɑː/ US  /ˌkuː.deɪˈtɑː/ plural coups d'état)

a sudden illegal, often violent, taking of government power, especially by part of an army:
a military coup
And some on the Left (and one on this forum) still believe the political objectives of the whistleblower (and of those helping him) are not an issue when evaluating the credibility and motivations behind the complaint.

If you read this lawyer's tweets, it's crystal clear he's got full blown TDS.  I wonder how he's making a living, spending his days and nights on Twitter like he does.
Political Discussion / New Iowa Poll
« on: November 03, 2019, 10:41:32 PM »
A recent poll of Iowa voters at Siena College have:

Elizabeth "Pocahontas" Warren:  22%

Socialist Bernie "Working on my 4th House" Sanders:  19%

Mayor Pete Buttigieg:  18%

"Sleepy" Joe Biden:  17%

Most other polls still have Biden in the lead, but the margin has been slipping away ever since the Ukrainian scandal started getting traction in the press.

It'll be interesting to see who the DNC's Super Delegates crown as their nominee this time.
Off Topic / Ever wonder ... ??
« on: November 01, 2019, 11:59:40 PM »
You ever wonder why people post comments like "I don't know" or "I have no idea" in response to questions submitted by other online shoppers?

I do. 

I wonder if they think telling everyone they don't know the answer is adding to the "knowledge base".

I wonder if they think telling others they don't know is somehow cheering up the person posting the question -- letting them know there are other people out there who bought that thing and STILL don't know much about it.

I wonder if these people bought something, can't figure it out, and are checking back often in hopes that someone will give the answers to others' questions they have, too.

Maybe they feel frustrated waiting for someone who knows the answer to post it, and this is how they release that frustration.

Maybe they see an unanswered question and think, "That poor lonely person!  Everyone else has ignored them, so I'll say something."

I can honestly say, I don't know

Off Topic / Arduino
« on: September 26, 2019, 09:52:33 PM »
ren wrote:

cool experiences. I'm running Linux Mint on my HP Chromebox...kinda slow but better than having a Chrome machine.
The garage project Im working on involves UAVCast
An RC plane that streams FPV video AND control through a cellular connection. I'm not well versed as I should - I just learn things as I go  along and then I forget them.  :(

If you are comfortable with Raspberry Pi, you may want to check this out if you haven't already:

Thanks to its simple and accessible user experience, Arduino has been used in thousands of different projects and applications.
The Arduino software is easy-to-use for beginners, yet flexible enough for advanced users. It runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Teachers and students use it to build low cost scientific instruments, to prove chemistry and physics principles, or to get started
with programming and robotics. Designers and architects build interactive prototypes, musicians and artists use it for installations
and to experiment with new musical instruments. Makers, of course, use it to build many of the projects exhibited at the Maker
Faire, for example. Arduino is a key tool to learn new things. Anyone - children, hobbyists, artists, programmers - can start tinkering
just following the step by step instructions of a kit, or sharing ideas online with other members of the Arduino community.

Political Discussion / Tulsi Gabbard Qualifies for 4th Dem Debate
« on: September 25, 2019, 09:04:54 PM »
DNC plans to limit debate stage curbed as
Tulsi Gabbard qualifies for October debate

The 3rd debate (which I'm sure everyone on the forum watched  :sleeping:) was held on a single night and had 10 candidates.

The Oct debate will be on the 15th and 16th, with a total of 12 participants (that's 6 per night for those who skipped math class).

Any bets every effort will be made to ensure Gabbard and Elizabeth Warren don't wind up on the same stage?
Tulsi talks about the Democrat Party, Identity politics, firearms, the NRA, etc, etc.
Off Topic / Never forget....
« on: September 11, 2019, 10:52:56 AM »

Political Discussion / Gallop Poll: Fewer Democrats Today than 2016
« on: August 26, 2019, 11:58:13 AM »
Q:  In politics, as of today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat or an independent?

                              Republicans     Independents     Democrats
                                      %                        %                     %
2019 Jul 1-12               29                       38                    27
2016 Nov 1-6               27                       36                    31

Q: (Asked of independents) As of today, do you lean more to the Democratic Party or the Republican Party?

Figures are combined party identifiers + leaners

                              Republicans + Republican leaners               Democrats + Democratic leaners
                                                     %                                                                     %
2019 Jul 1-12                              45                                                                     44
2016 Nov 1-6                              43                                                                     46

As I read it, this shows a 2% shift away from the Democrat party and 2% to the Republican party.  That represents an almost 4% shift if they all voted in 2016 and will vote again in 2020.

Republican and Independent respondents are both up about 2%, but Democrats are DOWN more than those 2 categories combined. 

interesting.  The individual results fluctuate week-to-week, but the trend is definitely indicating a shift away from the DNC and toward Ind and GOP.
Off Topic / Amazon does some things right
« on: August 10, 2019, 01:04:29 PM »
I ordered an ABS (plastic) threaded plug for a clean-out pipe next to my pool.  I measured the one I mangled to remove, and it was 3.5".

The one I received must have been for a 3.5" inside-pipe-diameter, because the plug measures 4" across.

After wrestling with whether the $3.70 (incl. HI Tax) is worth the hassle of returning, I decided to request the refund -- mainly to see what the Amazon refund process would do.

Surprisingly, instead of making me print a label, pack it up, and take it to the local UPS drop-off, the site said:

I'm sure they have some sort of controls to prevent abuse, but imagine ordering a bunch of < $5 items and having the cost of each refunded after delivery -- just because you can keep it for free!

I'm sure your can cancel the refund if the site continues on with the return process, but just checking to see might be worth the trouble.

Stealing is bad.  Gifts are nice.  Information is power.

 :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Off Topic / AT&T Cellular Service Down?
« on: July 23, 2019, 02:24:45 PM »
Mililani Town. 

Down since 1:15PM.

Anyone else?
Off Topic / Apollo 11: What We Saw (Narrated by Bill Whittle)
« on: July 20, 2019, 11:47:24 PM »
Apollo 11: What We Saw


Full YouTube Playlist -- 4 parts + trailer:

Very well done and interesting collection of stories, facts and commentary.  He also includes commercials from his sponsors, so be prepared for ads for  Yay for capitalism!!   :thumbsup:
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