From One Spring to Another

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It was a little over a year ago when I spoke about Formspring.me.

 

At that time, the newly reborn spring.me site seemed to work without problems.

 

That was until the last couple of months, when the site started having a lot of glitches.  Among the problems were webpage errors and duplicating questions and answers.  It also had problems connecting to Facebook.

 

However, all those problems seem to be over as the site appears to be dead.  Even though it seems to be an operating site, nobody has posted there since last Friday.  Apparently the site shut down while still looking like it was up and running.

 

When I posted a question, why there were no questions in my inbox in 4 days, one lone follower explained that the site was shut down and many had fled to another site.  Also, the spring.me site links pointed to a dating application.

 

Welcome to retrospring.net.

 

I joined this site on Monday and while it seems somewhat like the old spring.me site, it seemed closer to the now-defunct youreply.net.  While I have found some of the old followers from the old site so far, most are still missing.  I hope to go through my followers list to get some back.  So far there are a little less than 5000 users on the site, but as time goes on I expect this to grow quickly.

 

While the site seems fairly polished, it still lacks some features that spring.me had.  Since I didn’t use any of those features, I don’t have a list of those missing features, but this site seems fairly complete.

 

Being a new user of this site, I don’t have a lot of details of this site, but I encourage anyone to join this site if you want to have some fun asking questions.

 

You can find me at https://retrospring.net/louisbrownusa.  Hope to see you there.  Just a note:  I will follow anyone who follows me at least for now.

 

Hopefully, this site will live longer than the last 2 did.

 

 

 

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Good to Be Dead?

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Sometimes it is good to be dead or maybe to appear to be dead.

 

However, if you are a website this could be either a good thing or a bad thing.

 

Almost a year ago, I discussed the website youreply.net.

 

However, in the last couple of days, a new message appears on the site that says “closed for now”.  Unfortunately this site has not seen any real activity since the first of the year with the last question being back in December.  Personally, I never received any followers which added to my lack of desire to the site.

 

On the other hand, the new Formspring.me seems to be alive and well.  I have over 300 followers now there.  I am amazed at the growth in the past few months of this revamped site.  If you want to join me on the site, go to http://spring.me/louisbrownusa and follow me.

 

The other dead site (or nearing its death) is logmein.com.  If you have never heard of this site, it is a remote computing site that allows one computer to see exactly what is on the screen of another computer and take control of it.

 

I have used the free version regularly since I signed up a couple of years ago and it has worked really well between my laptop and desktop.  I would have recommended this program highly.

 

But, now, logmein.com is discontinuing the use of the free version and wants me to pay to use their pro version.  While I understand that you can’t make money from free, I still believe that the free version should still be available for those people for personal use.

 

So I will be looking at getting a new program over the coming couple of weeks.  If I find anything that I like, I will report on it here.  I hate giving up on this great program, but I refuse to give into the paid version which is more than I ever need.

 

Overall, being dead can be a good thing or a bad thing.

 

It just depends if you rely on the dead.

 

 

 

 

 

Google+ Not a Plus

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As I mentioned in the past, I have had much problem when using Gmail.

 

To refresh your memory, I keep getting email that doesn’t belong to me.

 

Not just an occasional email, but at least one or two per day.

 

It seems that I am always cancelling some Twitter account, a Facebook account, or some adult web site.  Sometimes I even get emails from persons exposing personal information not intended for me.

 

Certainly anybody should be bothered by this.

 

After all, in the wrong hands, identity theft could not only happen but run rampant.

 

The worse thing about this is that the companies that I have contacted stating this is identity theft seems not the least bit concerned that it is even an issue.

 

Have I pricked up your eyes yet to a very bad problem?

 

I should have and the worse thing about it when I contacted Google about it, all I got was an automated message pointing me to how email accounts are handled.

 

This was no help at all and I have been unable to get a REAL PERSON to answer my complaint.

 

We should all be concerned about this as anybody could be affected at any time by emails that don’t belong to them.

 

Now there is another app from Google that we should be worried about and that is Google+.

 

For those who don’t know what Google+ is, it is sort of like Facebook only on a much smaller scale.

 

However, it is on a much scarier scale.

 

While Facebook allows you to have approve friends or allow followers if you want (I don’t allow followers by the way), Google+ allows for friends and acquaintances.

 

The acquaintances better known as circles can be problematic.  These circles are Google’s version of followers.

 

While you can set up notifications to find out when somebody new puts you into their circle, you don’t have the option of deleting them from seeing your life on Google+.  It appears that the only option one has is to either add them to your circle or do nothing.

 

If you haven’t figured this out yet, this could be a MAJOR problem especially if someone puts you into circle that you don’t want to belong.  This is bothersome if someone from your past or currently is a stalker and could possible cause harm to someone.

 

Enter me.

 

Last week, I got an email notification that someone who I knew many years ago (I believe going back to early high school years) has entered me into their circle.  What is bad about this person is that this person is one who once was part of a group back in high school whose only purpose was to perform physical harm to me.

 

Yes, consider this a former bully has returned.  They may not be a bully anymore (I hope), but the mere presence of their name makes me cringe.

 

This is especially true given that their profile is somewhat offensive to me in how they present themselves.

 

But now here is the problem.

 

How can I get rid of this person that I don’t want to see what I post?

 

As far as I can tell, there is absolutely NO way to get rid of somebody or to report the person to be removed for being offensive.

 

I have not contacted Google about this because I know that I will probably get some automated message that has nothing to do with problem and would not offer a solution.

 

So for now, I try not to use Google+ very much as I don’t want this person to know much about me.  Even many years later, this person still scares me especially given that this person still lives less than 20 miles from me.

 

I hope that others take caution from this and be aware that Google+ is not a safe social site and can invite stalkers and bullies into your life.

 

Maybe at some point, Google may change their setup and allow for blocking of inappropriate people or at least the reporting of them.

 

My hope is that Google+ doesn’t become a site for bullying as the other social sites have become especially that this could be avoided there if Google changed their site.

 

For now, take caution if using Google+.

 

As for me, I have more Gmail emails to respond to.

 

Will Google ever get anything right ever?

 

Oh yeah, they do have that search thing that nobody ever uses.

Favorite Q & A sites

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When wanting to ask questions of me or anybody else, there are 3 places that I use and to some extent recommend.  However each of them have their caveats as I will discuss here.

 

First up is formspring.me .

 

This is one of the oldest of the Q & A websites out there.  Recently it was almost shut down, but it was saved by a new owner who claims they want to improve it.  However, I have seen really no improvement in the last month.  Occasionally, I will get a question in my inbox, but it is extremely rare now.  This site doesn’t seem to get as much action as it used to, but is occasionally fun.  You can follow me at http://www.formspring.me/louisbrownusa

 

Next is youreply.net

 

This site claims to be the new Formspring; at least that was their original slogan.  While this site is not nearly as pretty as Formspring, it is functional to an extent.  Instead of asking questions on a more private level, this site allows for public questions.  Unfortunately, this list of questions is long with a long list of answers following each one.  It would be best if the questions were somehow grouped together by a date lookup.  Only plus side to this is that if somebody replies to your answer, you get a notification.  Since signing up, I am following about 2 people and have really no followers of my own.  However if you want to change that go to http://youreply.net/user/LouisBrown and follow me.  I really would appreciate it.

 

Lastly is meetme.com

 

This site was originally called the less meaningful name of myyearbook.com.  It should be obvious that this was not in any way a yearbook site.  However, this site seems to be home to more creepiness than any of the other sites.  While this site has a Q & A section where I have received some of the oddest questions, it also has a secret admirer section and even creepier profile viewer section that others can view your profile and then you receive an email showing you the person.  So far, it seems that the only thing I have attracted here are older women and gay men, neither of which I am interested in becoming socially intimate with.  Certainly this site has a lot to offer, but like Facebook has some very dangerous parts as well if one is not careful.  You can follow me here at http://www.meetme.com/member/30320477

 

So how do I rate all of these sites?  Unfortunately none are perfect and all have serious flaws.  I will give each of them a grade of 7 with a caution as all of them have serious issues that keep them from being perfect.

 

Stay safe on these sites and have fun.

Is Technology Bringing Fear to America?

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Editor’s Note:  I am putting this post in all my blogs this week as I feel it is important for all to read.

 

Yesterday I was asked on one of the social media sites that I belong to the following question:  Could you live without my cellphone?

My answer was that I didn’t have one nor will I ever will.

Almost immediately after that I received a comment from someone who I never knew who gave the one word response “lame”.  At this point I realized that this person was being offensive and showing their obsession with the technology all in one word.  I decided to delete this comment without any further thought about it.

This brings me to the point of this post:  Is technology bringing the fear to America?

I believe the answer is simply “yes”.  I have a few examples in the last week that proves this idea.

 

Point # 1:

I believe that if people were paying more attention last week during the Boston Marathon somebody, anybody would have seen the two guys drop their knapsacks near the garbage cans.  I think people were so obsessed with either using their phones to film the people that nobody ever looked around to see what was happening behind them.  All these people seemed so obsessed with what was going on in front of them that they were not paying attention to what was happening around them.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, people on cellphones don’t pay attention period.  This is part of the reason why I don’t own one.  I want to pay attention to what is around me.  I want to experience the world and not just keeping people posted on my doings on Twitter and Facebook.

It seems that the only camera that caught the criminals in the act was a store surveillance camera or at least that is all the FBI is saying they have used.

 

Point # 2

The stock exchange experienced a minor flash crash last week after a posting from Twitter of an attack on the White House.  This was posted from a hacked AP account.  Of course, nobody checked any other sources to verify this information and took it as fact and the stock market dropped by 150 points in less than 5 minutes.  This leads to the point of should people rely on one place like Twitter to receive their news when there are many other reputable sources of information.  Did anyone not think of checking at least one other source?  It is sad to think that so many people rely on only source. It is funny how technology can do so much damage so fast.

 

Point # 3

Last week Congress rejected the expansion of the background checks for gun purchases.  What are they afraid of?  Being rejected by a system which would prove them incompetent of owning a gun or do they just want to make the NRA happy while causing anger to those who have lost family members especially at Sandy Hook.  A system that should be used to protect people is being ignored and not expanded is not the way to go.  The NRA is just allowing those who shouldn’t own guns to purchase them under the table with no oversight.

 

Point # 4

Going job hunting?  Filling out that job application now is basically a futile attempt online by dealing with a process that is usually less than satisfying.  Since more and more companies are going this route, the application process gets longer and longer and seems to be more of a personality test than a job application.  What is worse about this is that many times rejection happens instantaneously and sometimes a few hours/days go by before that rejection happens.  Nonetheless the rejection usually happens if you don’t meet company criteria to the letter.  Never an interview and never anybody ever sees the application.  Only the computer sees your application and they are not the best judge of your character.

 

In conclusion, people are obsessed with their phones and not paying attention to the real world therefore allowing those that can create harm to do their duty with nobody looking.

 

People trust unreliable sources thus causing panic when it should not exist.  Double checking information with someplace else would alleviate this problem.

 

Fear of somebody’s past should not be the basis to reject expanding background checks or prevent somebody from getting a job.  Sadly it seems that a deeper background check is done on potential employees than is done on gun sales.  Does this mean that we can trust people with a gun, but we can’t trust them with our money?  Sounds like misplaced priorities to me.

 

Overall, the fear in America is created by the technology that controls our lives.  We should control it and not have it control us.  Now is the time for people to put down their phones and look at the reality around them.  Otherwise the fear will grow worse and much deeper.

 

 

 

Bullying – A Story of a Survivor

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Please Note:  The following special blog post is being posted on all my blogs this week as I feel it is important enough to be heard on all my blogs.  By far, this is the most difficult post I have ever done.  Thank you.

 

I am a victim.

 

There I said it.

 

I am a victim of bullying.

 

Not just once, but at least twice during my years of public schooling.

 

The first time was when I was in kindergarten.  I was knocked to the ground by another kid who was about twice my size.  He knocked me down in such a way that my face scraped up against the bricks of the school building.  I could not have been bleeding more from my face at the time.  I must have cried so much as my mother, the principal and teacher cleaned the blood off my face.  This was happening as others around gathered with some laughing at me.

 

It took me a few days to return to school as if I really wanted to return to school in the first place.  The principal and teacher told my mother that I had tripped, when I knew in reality that I was pushed to the ground.  The problem was that both the principal and teacher were in denial of what really had happened.  The reason was that they really didn’t know how to handle a bully.

 

Unfortunately, when I did return I continued to be bullied by this kid and it continued on for a couple of years until he was finally sent away to juvenile facility and was never heard from ever again.  I thought that I could continue my public education without any further incidences.

 

This just would not be the case.  During my senior year in high school, I was bullied again.  This time by another kid who apparently was on drugs and seemingly only goal was to make me miserable.  He would destroy my personal property and have his ‘friends’ attack me at his will.

 

For as many times I reported these incidences to the principal and with plenty of witnesses, the principal did absolutely NOTHING!

 

Is this the way the education system is so supposed to work?  In both cases, nothing was done to end the bullying even though it continued for a long time.  It got so bad during my senior year, that I actually prayed to God that something bad would happen to him.  Eventually it did.  He died in a motorcycle accident just after senior year, which he never graduated.  A life wasted, but a life saved as well.

 

It seems that now many school departments are stepping up and actually being more proactive toward bullying.  For me, it was too late, but at least I am still alive.  I wish I could say the same for all the others who have committed suicide because of their bullying.  Certainly the physical scars remain and sometimes the emotional ones return as well.

 

I am a victim.

 

There I said it.

 

I am a victim of cyber bullying.

 

Over the last year, one of what I thought was one of my high school friends, has become extremely critical of everything I write in these blogs and questioned my beliefs on anything that I discussed.  On the website, formspring.me it got so bad that some of the questions that were being asked were being flagged as potentially dangerous to answer.  Anybody who followed me on that site last summer witnessed this entire thing happen.  Since this whole thing started on Facebook, it came down to having to block this person once and for all.  I had no choice as I had to save what sanity I had and protect myself and fellow readers from this idiot.  I probably will never unblock him and probably will never be friends with him ever again.

 

What I believe is so interesting about this is that this somebody who was my friend during most of my early life and suddenly he changed in a way as to be offensive for everything I do.  Seriously who really needs a friend like this in the first place?  The bad thing about all this is that there really is NO place to turn to when one is cyber bullied especially if the person does not live locally.  They are able to get away with it and there seems to be nothing to stop them except blocking them.  It seems that this bullying problem has been solved, for now.

 

Up to this point, help doesn’t come easy as there doesn’t seem to be anyplace to turn when bullying happens.  Oh sure, we can say that we can stand up against it, but unless the bully is somehow put down, the trouble will continue.

 

I am a victim.

 

There I said it.

 

I am a victim of workplace bullying.

 

Call it harassment, but I call it bullying.

 

During my last 6 months of employment with the hellish lying company Staples, the store manager Shawn Nichols (I am using his name as to embarrass him), harassed me on almost a daily basis.

 

The biggest harassment came with me using a stool to sit on when there were no customers around.  I had a doctor’s note giving me permission to use the stool, but according to Nichols this was not good enough.  He harassed me as to when I would stop needing the stool almost constantly and even requested that I get a MONTHLY note from my doctor to use it.  I was even given an approximate 20 page form for my doctor to complete regarding my leg problem of which I was still recovering from.

 

Since I was still under the doctor’s care, he thought that this paperwork was stupid, but filled it out anyway.  He even thought that the monthly note was absurd as well.

 

One night while I was bored, I looked on the system computer regarding employee policies and NOWHERE did I find any of the ‘policies’ that Nichols was trying to implement on me.  It was apparent that Nichols only had his radar set on getting rid of me no matter what.

 

What made this worse was that a couple of employees were witnesses to this and were surprised by the actions of Nichols.

 

Eventually in a short 6 month time, Nichols was able to fire me because the quality of my work had declined to the point that to him that I was no longer a valued employee.  Of course, who could do any quality of work if they were being lied to everyday and harassed at every turn they made?

 

What made this worse is that since the only human resources that the company offers is the store management themselves.  So how can you complain to them about problems that you have with them?  The only solution is for Staples to get a REAL human resource department in each of their stores and handle problems appropriately.  I think they will be out of business well before anything like that ever happens.

 

At the time that I made my grievance report to the State of Maine, Staples had produced a different reason for my termination and it kept changing with every bit of paperwork that they submitted to me and to the state.  Apparently, Staples has no idea why I got fired either.  Follow my Staples blog here for my ongoing story of my employment history with them.

 

The bullying from Staples has not ended even as it has been 4 years since my employment with them as I am still unemployed.  The physical scars on my legs are just reminders of just how bad Staples was and my health is still not great and I still have to sit a lot of the time because my legs still hurt when standing for a long period of time.  I wish their bullying would end so I could go on with my life, but as long as they lie about me, it is still bullying.

 

So let us review everything here:

 

I am a victim of bullying

I am a victim of cyber bullying.

I am a victim of workplace bullying.

 

Two of the three have been solved.  One bully got put away.  One died.  One continues on in its quest of my destruction.  Two out of three isn’t bad, but isn’t perfect especially when many people especially the young are committing suicide every day because of the bullying they receive.  Something needs to be done and we can no longer afford to just look away.  Everybody needs to do their part in reporting it because sometimes the victim can’t do it alone.  I really wish that I had more support when I really needed it in two of the three scenarios.  The only one that nothing could be assisted in was the online one as nobody could step up on that one.

 

If I have inspired at least one person in what I wrote here, then I feel I served my purpose.  If ever I had a purpose that is.  I am a survivor not a victim of what could have happened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product Review: Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 (Release Candidate 1)

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Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 doesn’t seem quite up to par yet.  After installing the release candidate a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a couple of websites that I use regularly don’t quite work properly.  Amongst the problems:

  • Formspring.me:  This Q&A site keeps popping up a dialog box of ‘null” whenever I try to answer a question.  What this is telling me is quite unknown, but doesn’t sound good no matter what.
  • Facebook.com:   The popular site doesn’t allow me to like anything, post comments, or even right comments.  Maybe it doesn’t want me on Facebook to begin with.
  • Twitter.com:  This site has trouble with tweets being written on occasion.  I guess it don’t want me there either.

 

The only plus side of installing this version to Windows 7 is that you can kiss the separate versions of IE for the 32bit and 64bit systems goodbye.  This version seems to roll both versions into one allowing a couple of my toolbars to finally function properly under a “64bit IE”.  My recommendation is to download this new version, but be aware of the problems.  For most all of my Internet usage, I use Chrome or Firefox instead.  Just keep in mind that this program could be updated at anytime, but since its release I have yet to see an update in nearly a month of usage.  Be prepared for the occasional weird things as I have mentioned above to happen if any of the above sites are used.

My score:  7.  It is worth the time and seems pretty stable except the problems mentioned above.

 

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