Category Archives: The Life Quotient

Real Life outside the computer. Personal issues and events.

Looks like the police is unable to catch a scammer for the past 10 years

More than 9 years ago, I posted that the one scam artists that I fell victim to (because of good fucking heart) was still at large. I just found out that he’s been going around unmolested in Europe ever since and there’s a huge thread about that one guy by now in a French forum.

He changes names and nationalities constantly, so any information I provided about him is way obsolete by now, but his face and sob story should remain approximately the same.

Meh

So…yeah

The janky mods of the Anarcho-Communism group in Facebook decided to ban me because I vented against U.S. Imperialism in a thread venting against cis people, in the same style the OP did. They piled-on me trying to prove that privilege-don’t-real if you’re poor, and deflected criticism by pointing out they’re not U.S. citizens themselves. Eventually I pissed one of them enough by applying the same logic to my arguments, that they muted me and asked one of their buddies to ban me.

Unfortunately this is par for the course for anarchist organizing on shit platforms like Facebook and that group had just devolved into the anarchist version of purge-bait. Here, I’ll give you a sample of the daily quality of posts:

“All people not in my oppressed class are crap!”

You now have seen 90% of the “content” posted in this group.

Unfortunately in too many public anarchist spaces, this kind of venting (that should normally be reserved for your affinity group) is par for the course, and then mods fall on top of each other trying to prove who is the best ally by banning whoever tries to use this as a springboard for discussion.

It’s all just immature fucking posturing by immature people who just discovered anarchism. Followed then by more posturing by the resident in-group who has 5% more power than the rest and wants a reason to exercise it. This shit is what passes for activism for many, and the reason why I have lost a lot of interest in trying to contribute as much as I used to in /r/anarchism.

The funny thing is how the people who are ban-happy when they think they’re on the right, cry foul when they end up on the opposite side, like a mod in reddit who whined about me oppressing them for reverting their deletion of a post1.

Now to be clear, there is nothing inherently wrong with banning or venting online, and neither of these acts, nor being a ban-happy fuckhead is isolated to anarchists, in fact right-wingers seems to be naturally more complacent and glad to fall in-step to a leader-figure. However there is something wrong when most online discourse on this subject is dominated by immature anarchists trying to prove how radical they are. Even more frustrating when they are stumped that they go digging into your profile and attempt to start an oppression olympics with you as a silencing tactic.

It had gotten so ridiculous at times that I managed to avoid getting banned for the longest time because I am Greek (and therefore “non-white” somehow? Dunno how that works, but whatevs) and could speak with some experience about U.S. imperialism. But someone from mainland U.S.A. making the same arguments would be banned without a second thought if they didn’t “win” at the oppression olympics at some other area. I.e. it stops being about what you say, and rather about who you are.

So, meh. Probably for the best as the group had just devolved into people daily calling each other “trash” and high-fiving each other about it in a group-masturbatory celebration of how progressive they are.

  1. It was nothing reactionary but rather a silly anarchism-related game they didn’t personally like []

The day I believed in Karmic Justice

Have I ever written the story of how a high-school “friend” of mine performed the most absurdly underhanded act I’ve seen? No? Story time!

When I moved to a new area in Athens in 1992, I started in a new Gymnasium (what would be called “Middle-school” I think for U.S. Americans.), and I had to make all new friends from scratch. As I was a very awkward kid (shy and geeky but feisty as well) I started getting into a lot of fights and became a bit of a pariah to my classmates.

I did make some friends, but I also made a lot of enemies. A lot of those enemies were content to simply torment me daily with new nicknames, spitballs in my hair during class, attempts at bullying etc, while others were very happy to simply goad the rest into keeping this up, or attempting to keep me as a social outcast. One of the latter was a kid we’ll call “Dewie” for this story.

So this kid was very very slimy. Always trying to get people to start shit with me, telling people lies or secrets about me etc. To my face though, he tried to be friendly and even to befriend me. To an extent, it worked, since I didn’t have a lot of people to hang out with; but since I also wasn’t completely oblivious, this relationship became a friend/nemesis situation. I.e. some weeks we’d be on just speaking terms, some others we’d be friends (e.g. I’d invite him home to play video games etc), some others we’d be bitter enemies, fist-fighting in the yard, or randomly on the street etc. It was a weird situation caused in part by my own character type. I’m very difficult to anger and very easy to forgive and trust people.

What didn’t help matters is that I had found some other people who I was friends with, and he managed to insert himself into that group as well. At that point this pissed me off because they knew we did not get along at the time and they nevertheless allowed him in. This further complicated things but this situation kept going on for 3 years.

Some of the things I remember Dewie did:

  • We got into a fight. I wrestled him to the floor and he conceded. I got up to leave and he sucker-punched me in the face with all his strength.
  • I borrowed him a PC game I loved which came on 3 CD and I had bought original with all my savings. After he returned it I tried to play it, but for some reason I couldn’t load the 3rd stage (2nd CD). When I asked him about it, he said it was working fine for him. A common friend later told me he laughed to him about destroying the back of the CD with a screwdriver so that I wouldn’t be able to play anymore.
  • I got into a verbal fight on the street with a Roma boy (I can’t remember why). Without me knowing, he gathered his friends and went looking to beat me up. They couldn’t find me as I had already gone home but somehow Dewie got involved. He then not only led them to my apartment, but he rang my doorbell, and told me he had a surprise for me (At that point we were on speaking terms again). I lived on the 8th floor, so imagine my surprise when I open the door and see 3 Roma boys come out of the elevator and jump me! Dewie was sitting next to the elevator laughing his ass off. Fortunately another friend of mine was at my place at the time for video games so I screamed for support and with his and (iirc) my sister’s help we managed to drive them back (the kids were I think 1-3 years younger than us). Dewie escaped and somehow thought this was something to brag about.

Even though all of that, my common group of friends would just no drop him from the circle, to the point that I would have to avoid hanging out with them when he was around, eventually causing me to be almost completely alone except 2 very closer friends. And even them I almost lost during this time.

But there was one thing that not just Broke the Camel’s back, but pile-dived into a pyramid of Camels. The act so low and stupid that it still stupefies me.

When I was 15, my mother died. At that point I was almost completely alone, friend-wise. Silver lining to that event was that people started talking to me again, even some people who had been my mortal enemies during all my high-school year. There was an outpouring of compassion during those first few weeks/months and the classes at my age-group decided to make a fund-drive to get me some economic support (I was completely orphaned at that point). Dewie, at the time happened to be the class accountant, so naturally he gathered the money for everyone to transfer to my family bank account. It was not a lot, but it was a symbolic amount (I think it would have been something like 100-200 Eur now).

Next day, Dewie is missing from school. Apparently he had to go urgently to the hospital. We were all wondering what happens, and then a common friend, Alex, drops this bombshell:

On the previous day, he run into Dewie on the street. Dewie was on the other side a small avenue, and as soon as he notices Alex, he raises a couple of Heavy Metal CDs and shouts to him something like “look what I got!”, and runs over to show him. At that point a motorcycle run blazing past and smacks straight onto Dewie who is dragged on the group with his face for a couple of meters.

In case you didn’t get it, Dewie has used the money my class-mates had gathered out of support for my dead mother to buy himself music CDs…

And Karmic Justice struck him down like a clay pigeon!

I don’t remember how Alex knew this. I think Dewie might have bragged about it already (he was notoriously stupid at times). Whatever the reason, news quickly spread out in school about this dastardly deed, and for half a year or so, the world turned a bit on its head and I was the liked-kid, while Dewie was the social pariah.

Unfortunately, due to my inherent awkwardness and Dewies inherent slimyness, this didn’t last. Within a year, things were back how they were, with Dewie still involved my group of friends and me being the outcast.

But at least that act was so heinous that I could never forgive him for it, and would avoid him like the plague from then on.

Patronize me

Patreon is a new service that has recently come to my attention. It attempts to implement the concept of crowdfunded patrons for artists, which is how I always thought the content creation in the digital age is meant to evolve. When your audience is not limted by geographical location and you do not need gatekeepers publishers, it makes a great deal of sense to take control into your own hands.It immediately sounded like a great way to gauge how many people are interested in my efforts to provide the best experience on the games I develop on OCTGN, and I know for sure that there’s a lot of people who’ve been meaning to support my work all this time.

 

So I decided to run a patreon campaign and see how it goes. Unfortunately I’m not a huge video maker and I don’t have any special camera equipment to speak of, so I haven’t made an intro video as requested, but I plan to cook something up as soon as I get some time available. I probably won’t show my ugly face so you’re likely to end up simply listening to my sexy Greek accent while watching some OCTGN footage in the background šŸ™‚

 

If all this sound exciting, take a look at my patreon campaign and please make some suggestions for improvement if you have them. Specifically I have no idea what to put in for future goals in a project such as this. I could also use some more potential rewards for my backers, so if you’ve got any ideas for either of these, let me know.

 

Alternatively I could also take some suggestion on page formatting, better pictures, videos and so on. If you think I should be doing something differently, again, all ideas are welcome.

 

Stranded student scammer unveiled!?

Ivo De Bach. ScammerYou remember the conman going by the name of Denis Janson? The guy who has been extremely active all over Europe for the past 5 years, scamming helpful people out of hundreds of euros for wanting to do a good deed? Well, as it happens, people have been leaving comments on my site in the meantime, and it seems like some reporter has finally uncovered the real identity of the perpetrator; A guy going by the (facebook) name of Ivo De Bach!

I have no idea how that reporter tracked him down, but the photos match perfectly. Same haggard face, same chipped tooth. Go look at the photos I and others have taken in my previous posts. It’s almost certainly him.

If you know this person, be aware that he’s a very active scammer and a brilliant liar. I can’t tell you what to do this information, but if you help bring justice, I’d appreciate if you could let me know.

Ahaha, oh I'm almost a bingo card >_

h/t to the Shevilempire

I don’t know if I should be glad or not that I don’t hit a bingo here. I hit 8 of the above including the center, but no 5 in a row.

I should probably be ashamed that I’m in the same bingo card with MRAs and Randroids, but to my defense, I don’t wear it all that often and I bought it to fit more into the gothic scene at the time šŸ™‚

Oh Yeah!

I will take solace in the fact that the ones I’m hitting make me just typical, and not a shitlord >_<

My first Android Tablet.

Asus Transformer PrimeSo my wife’s netbook’s screen died, and since she was already fed up with the performance of the thing, she decided to abandon it and try out a tablet. Due to her inexperience with the platform, the decision fell on me.

After some looking around, I decided to go with the Asus Transformer Infinite which just came out this month, and is the first (AFAIK) tablet to sport a true HD 10′ display. I was also considering the more budget oriented TF300T Asus Transformer, but after discussing with some iPad 3 owners around here, they informed of the pros and cons of a higher resolution which has to do more with reading on the tablet, than about watching movies and so on.

So given that the wifey is more likely to be using it for reading and writing than anything else, we went with the more expensive model. Yesterday we received it and I got to play with it a bit, and I must say that I’m very impressed with it. It makes my Samsung Galaxy S phone look ancient and ugly. Here’s the promotional vid.

So the thing comes with Android 4.0.3 which is the latest and greatest of the OS. It has very little other bloatware (comparatively to Samsung at least) and is very responsive. However I still needed to root the thing in order to install some basic apps like Adfree. Other than that though, she’s going to primarily use it as her home workstation so I’m trying to figure out what kind of apps and setup I should be installing. Also another significant issue is how to import her previous emails from thunderbird which I don’t even know if it’s possible. With Ubuntu these kind of things were fairly easy to figure out (even when migrating from Evolution to Thunderbird) but with the current OS it gets more tricky.

Issues I still need to consider

  • How to import emails/mailboxes from thunderbird to Android’s email client.
  • She likes to save stuff like images she sees online, locally. What’s the best way to handle that. Should we try to send those in the cloud instead?
  • What is the best office suite to use for a tablet. In the laptop she used Libre Office so it needs to be able to handle .odt and .ods files.
  • Should I even bother to install Flash on it?
  • What kind of thing is a tablet best used for? What kind of apps do you recommend?

Yet more tooth ache

It seems I just can’t get any respite. Just 2-3 days ago, one of my front teeth started being increasingly sensitive to cold. The sensitivity increased day by day, until we reached today, where it leveled up in pain, and has now started hurting by itself, and also by pressure as well, making it increasingly difficult for me to eat.

Fortunately painkillers still seem to work, but I have no idea why this particular tooth started aching all of a sudden. It’s nowhere near the one that got extracted last week and I never had problems with it. And yet, now it’s hurting as if it also has a fracture.

Goddamnit!

Another tooth bites the dust

So, a few hours ago, I got back from the university dentist clinic…with one tooth less. Finally my odyssey in finding why I’ve been in having pains when chewing with this tooth and lately simply constant extreme pain on it and around its area, are at and end.

You see, this particular molar had been torturing me for years, IĀ  initially noticed a few years ago, shortly after I got my wisdom teeth removed, chewing particular foods with it, (especially “chewy” ones like rump steaks and the like) sometimes caused extreme pangs of pain, but it was infrequent enough that I could dismiss it. Unfortunately it wouldn’t dismiss me.

The pains started getting more frequent and later on affecting other kinds of food as well. I mentioned this multiple times to my dentist when I visited for my regular check-ups, but every time he looked at it and said that it doesn’t lookĀ  as anything more than pressure from my grinding issue. With alarm I kept mentioning that the pain was growing in frequency and intensity as time passed but nothing else came of it.

Eventually, one week ago, things came to a head, ad this tooth simply started hurting constantly one day. It started as a weak pulsing pain but day by day it increased to annoying, then distracting, then intense, then “the painkillers, they do nothing!” to “Gawds please kill me quickly” kind of pain. At around the point where it was just “intense” I decided to get a second opinion, since my regular dentist couldn’t find anything wrong with it (“But it’s a perfectly healthy tooth!” were his words – granted this was before the pain become a constant experience, rather than only present when chewing on this tooth). Frustratingly, this second doctor made the same exact remarks and thought it was simply pressure as well and gave me a small drilling to alleviate it. However to his credit, he did passingly suspect the true cause and said that I should return if the pain persists.

However after the pain didn’t dissipate and one particularly painful night, and a suggestion by liriel and my mother-in-law, I decided to go for the ultimate investigation and visited the university clinic. Unfortunately I didn’t know the correct time, so I ended up in the emergency care, after roughly 3 hours of waiting around, I got to sit on the dentist chair, and the doctor that checked it, announced that I have aggressive periodontitis. She did some cleaning and said that I should visit the clinic again during daylight hours and go see the Periodontology experts.

Fortunately, the cleaning she did seemed to stop the general pain all around the area (until then, the pain was a “throbbing” kind that seemed to move from tooth to tooth, and even reached my ear), which allowed me to sleep easier. Unfortunately, it focused all that pain into the problematic tooth itself which made the pain constant, rather than throbbing and made it so that even the slightest touch hurt like a motherfucker.

So into the periodontology clinic I went, and after significant waiting again, I got looked at by a certain long-haired expert who announced that I definitely do not have aggressive periodontitis. Dismayed I asked “Then what do I have doctor” who then, to my frustration announced “I have no idea, but it looks very healthy, albeit suspicious”. Fortunately he had the good grace to say that a healthy tooth shouldn’t be hurting like this, so he would refer me to some other experts who would drill in to check the nerve itself…next day. I went into the clinic at 1pm and left at 5:30 so they were about closing at that time and I had to practically run to an arranged meeting I had for Mage Knight (Note to self: Not a good idea to try to explain very complex board games while having intense tooth-ache).

Anyway, so next day (i.e. today) I started quite early on and went for a visit to those other experts. Fortunately the waiting time was much less and soon I was in to figure out what the problem was. After a few tests on how alive my tooth was, where I didn’t even neither cold nor electrical shots to it, they declared that I had…aggressive periodontitis. Their suggestion was they should simply clean the area and make me come back next week. Fortunately I managed to convince them that this was definitely not a good idea with the amount of pain I was in, and that they should go and consult with the Periodontology expert who said that I don’t have periodontitis. More specifically, I asked them to look for the long-haired blond dude1 and see what he thinks because I damn well was not going home without a definite diagnosis today.

Fortunately the guy was still available so they went to fetch him. After a while however, rather than him, I saw yet another dentist come in, in a rush, wordlessly grab his utensils and start banging on my teeth once more. Once I made it clear that the molar really really fucking hurts when he’s banging on it, he discussed a bit with the others and then got to the anesthetics. At around the time, the long-haired dentist (by now I knew he was dr. Roellke) arrived as well and he got to see them drilling it to figure out what the hell was wrong with it. Fortunately, they suspected correctly this time (I must have got the drilling expert this time) and they saw my tooth had a small fracture right down the middle…vertically.

This kind of fracture was positioned in such a novel way2 as to make it invisible to x-rays as well as to the naked eye, which is why my regular dentist as well as everyone else couldn’t see anything wrong with the tooth and announced it as perfectly healthy. Unfortunately, all this time, the fracture as deepening until it eventually reached the nerve area, which allowed germs to pass through and wreak merry hell on my pain receptors. I suspected something was horribly wrong with the tooth for years now, and perhaps if we had caught the fracture when it was still beginning, we might have saved the tooth, but everyone was so focused on my grinding problem that they didn’t believe me that this tooth has a special kind of pain.

Unfortunately this meant that the tooth was unsalvageable, so this time dr. Roellke himself took me to the surgeons who would extract it. 3 different anesthetics and some serious pulling later, I had the bad tooth lying in front of me, looking all ashamed for its act. However, I really don’t care. Testing my teeth now, I finally bit down without any pain, which is something I haven’t had for years no, so one bad tooth is a small price to pay for this.

Time for my first golden tooth methinks!

  1. I am so fucking lucky he was distinctive like that and I could make them figure out who he was, without remembering his name []
  2. seriously, they came and took pictures to teach other students about it []

Alice DSL support is atrocious.

Rant time children.

For the last few weeks my DSL connection to the internet has been having some pretty annoying problems. Very specifically, the WAN (The connection from my home to their servers) is dropping intermittently and comes back again after a minute or so. How often it will drop varies. I’ve seen it do it 3 times in 10 minutes and I’ve seen if happen once a day. I do know it’s the WAN specifically because I have a router with DD-WRT which can show me exactly what the connection is doing. I also know because I’ve had this exact same problem 2 years or so ago, and after a lengthy investigation back then, they eventually realized the problem was on their end. The problem back then was resolved after 3 months and a dozen support calls or so.

The nature of this problem is likely to be almost invisible to the average user, but for someone who likes playing games online, this is a show stopper. I can tolerate being disconnected once from the game, but once it happens 3 times in 15 minutes, I give up in frustration usually.

So you can imagine my dismay when the same exact issue cropped up a few weeks ago, becauseĀ  I remember last time getting Alice DSL (My ISP) to fix this took an enormous amount of effort on my part, just to convince them to look in the right direction. The reason for this is because their first and second line support is atrocious and it becomes even worse when one does not speak good German.

The first problem one encounters is that they will actually refuse to speak english on their standard tech support line. It’s not like you happen to always fall on the odd person who hasn’t learned a word in english. It seems to be a company policy not to speak to customersĀ  in english. After speaking to at least 12 people in their first line support, I find it impossible that not one of them knew even bad english, especially given that every other german I’ve met does, and that all Ggermans learn them at school. There can be no other explanation than that they’ve been instructed not to speak english at first line support.

This is obviously very discouraging for their non-german customers which brings me to my main suspicion that Alice DSL does not care about solving your problems, but primarily about getting rid of you. If they can do that quicker by fixing your problem, all the better, but if they can get rid of you by not allowing you to even report your problem, fine as well. Btw, if you mention that you do not speak german, then your only option is to have some of their english tech support people call you within 1-2 hours via phone appointment (and I think, only during business hours). Good luck if you have stuff to do in that time. Better drop everything and wait for the call.

But even broken german is usually not enough. Much of the time I can somehow speak well enough to make my point andĀ  get someone to look into it, but then they will start using some fairly complex words I’m not familiar with and half the time at least, I’ll have to ask my wife to take over.

If you somehow manage to get past the hurdle of language, then you still have to deal with them not knowing what the hell they’re doing.

So as I said, I’ve got a problem on the WAN. This is the first thing I mention, as well as the fact that I’ve had this exact same issue before and it was on their end back then. I also mention that I’ve called before and we’ve gone through basic and advanced troubleshooting. Much of the time, they don’t care so back to basic troubleshooting we go.

Basic troubleshooting of course means that you’d better not be running anything other than MS Windows and Alice-approved hardware. Anything and everything else is absolutely not supported. GNU/Linux? Not supported. Third party router after their modem? Not supported. It doesn’t matter that the problem might be entirely unrelated to the hardware or the desktop, if you have anything that is not MS Windows connected to your network, your Alice support is liable to be revoked. So before you even think of calling Alice support, reboot to windows (reinstall if you don’t have any) and connect their modem directly to your computer and run their crappy installation disk. Otherwise, no support for you.

One time, at my 4th or 5th call to Alice support in 2 weeks or so, after I’ve already replaced modem and had some backend troubleshooting done by them, I called to report the issue persisting and got transferred to second line support again. There was a guy who refused to speak a word of English (of course) and demanded to know if I have a direct connection from my PC to the Alice modem. I told him that it didn’t matter because the connection was working just fine until now and I had already tried connecting directly to the model without success. He insisted in learning if I had anything connected and I said I had my own third party router. After some back and forth in German that I couldn’t really understand well, I passed to my wife to talk to him. He had her go look at the router, which I’d already told him is third-party, and tell him if it had “Alice” written on it. After that, he denied helping us further until we disconnected everything and connected only Alice hardware. And of course then we’d have to call Alice again and get a different technician…

Not all support techs are like that, but there are enough that are, and what inflames the issue is that Alice support refuses to open a ticket to track the progress. I’ve asked multiple times for a ticket number or something so that I don’t have to explain the same thing again and again, or go through the same basic troubleshooting steps every time, but they tell me it’s not necessary. Rather, I would call, and if I managed to get to someone who realized the problem was on the WAN connection, they would do “something” (They wouldn’t tell me exactly what. Usually they mentioned “restarting this connection” or “initializing that line”) and then call them back if the problem happened again. The problem would happen again, I would call, and then there was a high probability I would end up with a tech who just didn’t want to work that day, and start looking for excuses to avoid looking at my problem.

The latest of such excuses was that I was running Windows 7 English. I had my wife on the phone and the tech had her go on my workstation to check the windows settings. This is after we explained that this is the 9th time we called and we’ve already checked all that. Due to there not being a ticket open of course, he could just choose not to believe it, and rather have us check the same basic things again. Unfortunately, the settings the technician wanted to check on my workstation were in English and he couldn’t give my wife the correct instructions. His solution? “Call us back when you’ve had Windows 7 German installed”. At this point my wife hang up the phone in frustration after telling them that we’d rather switch ISP first.

To add to that, apparently the tech support was extremely patronizing to my wife, as if talking to an idiot, so there’s that as well.

And if you think that’s a one-off case, I will note that I’ve had the same exact troubles 2 years ago. Back then, they even sent a tech to my home who finally acknowledged that the issue was on their end. This after replacing virtually all Alice DSL hardware and making me run through hoops with my LAN.Ā  After that, finally the problem was fixed (and I got a ticket number), but this time I couldn’t even get this far.

After 9 calls to Alice with no success to even to get them to listen to the issue, we’ve had enough. All those “call us back if the problem persists” wouldn’t be as bad if we didn’t have to explain the same thing again and again every time, and then still get a few techs that insist on taking us through basic troubleshooting in order to find an excuse to deny service. I should also note that calling Alice support is a charged extra (Yes, you pay them to have them fix their own problems) by the minute and the minimum wait on hold is 5 minutes.

Aaargh.

So I’m still with the same shitty issue. My wife refuses to speak to Alice DSL support anymore (and I don’t blame her) and would rather switch providers altogether. And after 9 calls to support, I doubt we can get Alice DSL to even look at the issue.

The problem is that we don’t know what ISP to go for. I’m excluded some obvious bad choices such as Telekom, but there’s still a lot of options left. So if anyone is in Germany, perhaps you can offer some advice. I’ve been thinking of checking out Cablesurf.de which is a small provider that seems to have the highest speeds and rating on Speedtest.net but my wife is not liking this idea because their small size might mean even worse support from Alice (doubtful but who knows).

If anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear them.

And any other fellow expat: if you’re not a good german speaker, stay the hell away from Alice DSL.