Monday, July 28, 2008

The account saga continues ...

Only in a recommendation: if someone buys iTunes gift certificates on your credit card, just redeem them back to yourself!

Apple support suggested I open a new iTunes store account, said that I could keep it from being associated with a credit card by buying myself a gift certificate.

And then I thought: what a shame: to buy another gift certificate after punkyusa bought five on my credit card. In fact, I had already built a spreadsheet with the recipients' names and email addresses. Which I got off iTunes when I examined the electronic copies of the gift certificates. Duh!

I changed the recipient email address on the five gift certificates to my own and resent them to myself. (Although the automatically-generated email says that they were from Albert McNutt.) Thanks, Apple for the "resend" feature! Three of punkyusa's friends had not redeemed theirs yet (and now they never will, bwah-hahahahaha). Punkyusa and deathemperor had. I have called my bank (which already refunded my money) to tell them I got $200 back on my own.

I figure I can spend the $200 on gift certificates for people I know, since I don't think I'll ever spend it all on myself.

Mr. McNutt, check your credit card!

A few days ago, I checked my iTunes account again. I found that my account payment source had been changed to that of Mr. Albert L. McNutt in Columbus, TX, and that $23 more had been spent. The last four digits of the credit card listed were not mine, and my bank account showed no payments, so Albert McNutt was being defrauded this time.

I removed his credit card information from my account.

Then I looked up Albert McNutt in Columbus, TX, on and called him. I left a message explaining that he should check his credit card statement for a $23 charge. I also suggested to Apple that they contact him, but they said they didn't know how to.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Phished or cracked?

The scary part is that I just received a personal email from the person who took over my accounts last night and from whom I finally retrieved them just now.

Very Good, Lisa! You have try to get your protection, but that's useless. Anyway, this account is your property then I don't wanna have it. I just make a astonished and will make up a loss to you.
Ominous. Hannibal Lecter, anyone?

Last night I received a note from iTunes thanking me for my purchase. But I hadn't made one. So I went to the iTunes store and discovered that there had been $546 worth of purchases from my iTunes account in the past week. The first $500 was in the form of some very hefty gift certificates. I checked my bank account, and indeed there had been purchases, so I called my bank and reported it. And I reported it to Apple and changed my password.

I made a spreadsheet of the people who received the gift certificates, since I had their names and email addresses from my iTunes account record. One went by Deathemperor. Punkyusa was the one who received the biggest gift certificate, $200.

Somehow, I thought I should check my Yahoo account. Things became a blur here because they happened so quickly and confusingly. It was an unreal experience. I figured out that punkyusa was actually online and in my accounts, since I was receiving email notifications of my own account settings changing even as I logged into them myself. I found that punkyusa had made him/herself an alternate email address for my Yahoo account -- and that, for some reason, I couldn't delete that. It meant that punkyusa would receive notifications of my own password and account changes. I suspected that I hadn't received a note from iTunes for the first $500 in purchases because punkyusa was going into my account and deleting those emails.

And suddenly my Google account was no longer available to me. That was the freakiest part (well, until tonight's note). One minute I was reading an email from an ex-boyfriend, and the next I was trying to log in and couldn't get in. Punkyusa had changed my password. I imagine it was in retaliation for my, just prior to that, changing the Yahoo password and locking him/her out. It would have been a very dramatic movie with a soundtrack and quick cutting between me and punky.

My brother was on the phone, also using my logins to see how far we could get -- dividing and conquering. You'd think this whole experience would have taken like five minutes, but when you don't know what is happening it takes longer. ("Is my caps lock on? Do I know my password?") I spent a lot of time interrupting myself trying to figure out what was happening (like putting together a spreadsheet) rather than how to stop it. My natural inclination: gather more information. I googled Deathemperor and found some 2005 discussion groups where he's looking for discarded website domains on the cheap. I was up for hours.

Punkyusa has laid down his/her arms. Well, except for offering me a link to a free laptop "just for me." So not really laying down arms. But I'm not done. I know these email addresses are probably quickly used and discarded, and no one is really going to want to hunt these people down, but I am still going to report them to their domain hosts and to my bank. Punkyusa is "domain keys verified" on gmail and has sent me an actual email. Shouldn't that be enough of a trail?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Resistance is futile.

I've been handsfree on my phones for a jillion years. It just hasn't made sense to me that our ability to type or wash dishes or clean our offices should be impaired by a silly phone handset. But for most of that time I was landline handsfree. Cellular phone handsfree is an different animal: you're out there in public. I remember the first time I saw someone walking in San Francisco on a handfree hookup to his cellphone. On Market Street, passing the homeless people, I saw a well-dressed man talking to himself. The convergence of mental illnesses.

I'm so into handsfree that I can't wait until they implant something in our heads that allows us to connect with people. I believe this will happen in my lifetime.

I'm somewhat suspicious of California's handsfree cellphone law. The state is trying to be business-friendly, and, instead of doing it by changing the business tax structure or something, it's just forcing everyone to buy handsfree kits. Bluetooth headsets abound.

I arrived at a dreaded meeting called by someone who is rather arrogant and certainly interpersonally tone-deaf. He arrived with a Jawbone on his ear. A Jawbone is the one of the flashiest and most expensive of the bluetooth headsets. And he doesn't have much hair, so it wasn't at all subtle.

How do you react to that kind of thing? Was he expecting to receive a phone call in the middle of our meeting? -- How disrespectful! Was he just wearing it to show it off?

As the initial chitchat progressed, I said, "Hey, are you expecting a phone call?" He said no, he wasn't, and kept going. Didn't even take it off. So at this point it's just so he can feel important. To himself, because I've expressed through my question that it's not impressing me.

Yesterday my own bluetooth headset arrived from Amazon ($30 cheaper than Best Buy). I decided that, while I'm happy with my corded handsfree, a wireless headset would get me closer to the brain implant solution. It's tiny, a Motorola M680. (Motorola even makes a women's version of this with pretty vine squiggles!) It's so small that it's not really visible in my hair. (It is also the perfect cat toy: small and shiny with a sproingy plastic curved piece reaching out to goad.) My goal is never to be like this guy in the meeting, wearing a headset because I'm about to talk to someone more important than you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

That's why they call it playing

I may end up regretting this, but at this moment I really like Terry Francona. The Red Sox' manager, managing the American League team in the All-Star game, burst into a huge, joyous, kidlike grin when xxx was called safe at home, winning the game for the AL. He was so spontaneous, hugging Jim Leyland and genuinely seeming to enjoy the moment. I'm not used to seeing that in professional athletes and their managers. Yes, smiling at winning, but not grinning at how fun it was.

(Separately, has an article entitled, "Boss' makes visit to Yankee Stadium." I thought, "Wow, I didn't know Springsteen was a baseball fan." It's about ... Steinbrenner...?)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Woe is me

I started exploring Facebook today, setting up an account and all that.

I love how warmly I was welcomed:

A commentary on how isolated modern society can feel?