If a celebrity falls in the forest…

…do they make a sound? A similar question is if today’s media giants decide not to cover somebody – will that person make the news?

It was only meant to be a weeklong ban — not the boldest of journalistic initiatives, and one, we realized, that might seem hypocritical once it ended. And it wasn’t based on a view of what the public should be focusing on — the war in Iraq, for example, or the upcoming election of the next leader of the free world, as opposed to the doings of a partygoing celebrity heiress/reality TV star most famous for a grainy sex video.

No, editors just wanted to see what would happen if we didn’t cover this media phenomenon, this creature of the Internet gossip age, for a full week. After that, we’d take it day by day. Would anyone care? Would anyone notice? And would that tell us something interesting? CNN.com

Though this is an interesting experiment, in the end, a week long ban is just that – a week long. I don’t think it will really change the news in any big way. Sure, I didn’t hear about her birthday party in Vegas or Beverly Hills… but, as her life doesn’t interest me at all, I’m sure I wouldn’t have read about it anyway. Maybe it wasn’t thrown out in all of the magazines or newspapers for the world to see, but does anybody really care?

I decided to do a Technorati search to see if there has been less blog “coverage” during the ban:

Posts that contain “Paris Hilton “ per day for the last 30 days.

Ok, so maybe there was a bit of a lull – bloggers posting less than 1000 entries per day during that week – it’ll be interesting to see how that changes over time.

Does this show that the media creates these monsters? Does it show that the world only cares about what the media feeds us? An interesting experiment… but wouldn’t we be much better served if they just stopped covering her all together?

If a celebrity falls in the forest… I don’t really care!

Ouch!

So, I checked my most recent T-Mobile bill last night, and I almost had a heart-attack! $245!? I feared that T-Mobile had figured out the glitch that gave me unlimited internet access for $5 a month, and as you can see above – those fears have been confirmed. My original plan (over 4 years ago) was $5 a month for 1mb of downloads and each additional mb would be another $10. Well, almost 3 years ago they stopped counting the data and I suddenly had an unlimited plan! Everything has worked wonderfully since! Well, this day had to come some time. OUCH! Granted that unlimited access was $19.99 a month and is now $29.99 a month – so when it comes down to it – if I had been paying the $19.99 for 3 years I would have spent $719.64 (not to mention the free internet that I got in Spain and Mexico!). I have a suspicion that these charges may have something to do with a configuration change I made on my MDA a few weeks ago (in hopes of faster internet speeds). But I’m walking on thin ice when it comes to pushing the envelope with this plan. I have set my phone back to its original settings, but if they really did start counting data – then I don’t want to overdo it this month either… as of today, according to a T-Mobile rep, I’ve used 1mb. So tomorrow I’m going to call again to confirm that fact and then use exactly 800kb of data… then, its just a waiting game…

Just what I needed

After a long day at the office followed by some much needed shopping I finally arrived at home. With a sigh of relief I dropped off the groceries and then headed into my room. The first thing I noticed was that the bed was partially unmade. This surprised me, but I figured maybe TK or Dave wanted to borrow a pillow or something. Then I noticed that my computer stand had been moved and that my laptop and docking station were missing.

Panic
set in – I had been robbed. I immediately ran into the living room and office and nothing seemed to be missing. I went back into my room and noticed that all of the drawers had been left partially open as well as the closet door. He had searched through everything. Again, panic struck as I wondered if he had found the key to my fire safe. Thankfully the safe was still tucked away and the keys had not been found. One of my pillows was missing its pillowcase – and I couldn’t understand why. Katty then stated to obvious fact that he had used my pillowcase to stash the goods.

Anger followed shortly thereafter as I realized that my digital camera had been stolen along with a ring of Katty’s. I began to jog my memory to see what important data was on the laptop… all of my school work from Northwestern, pictures that I never copied to the server, old e-mails… all gone...  Not to mention the fact that I had just purchased the docking station as well a new DVD rom drive for it. It wasn’t a lot of money – but just made it that much more frustrating.

We should never have left the key outside the apartment – no matter how hidden we thought it was. My current theory is that a delivery person saw the key out of the corner of his eye and decided to come back while nobody was around. I called the police and they wrote up a report. I don’t have renters insurance, so I don’t expect to recoup any of my money – but its not the loss of money that is so infuriating.

Its the violation of privacy, of my own personal space. To know that somebody had been in our apartment – in my room, looking through my drawers… and I’m left to wonder if he made copies of the key… and if he will come back. Later on in the evening, while I was explaining what happened to TK – a police officer showed up. She came with a fingerprinting kit hoping to find some trace of the burglar. No good prints. The best I can do is submit the serial numbers in hope that the burglar tries to sell the stuff at the pawn shop.

Resignation is all that I feel now. Numb to the fact that this happened and that I have to deal with it. I wanted to take a picture of the police officer dusting for prints, when I realized my camera was gone. I jolted out of bed last night thinking that he took my MP3 player as well, it was where I had left it. How long will this feeling last? When will I know for sure exactly what I lost? When will I feel safe again?

They are going to change the locks in the afternoon – but in the meant time the place is vacant… as much as the officer assured me that they don’t hit the same place twice.. I can’t help but to worry

Just what I needed…

Immigrants detained by ICE en route to Chicago – DISTURBING!

I received a disturbing phone call from Katty this morning. Apparently Immigration and Customs Enforcement (aka ICE) detained a number of undocumented immigrants last night. The news itself was disturbing in light of the highly political climate just weeks before mid-term elections. But even more disturbing was the manner in which the suspects were detained. ICE officers entered a Chicago bound train car – at random – and started asking those who looked Latino and African for documentation. Those who were not able to provide documentation were detained until they could provide said information. This is wrong on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin! Who of us brings our passport everywhere they go? If the ICE officers thought that I looked Latino – I would have been detained! Since when can a federal US agency get away with such blatant discrimination!? How far are we from the point that all immigrants and visitors to our country will be required to wear some sort of identifying patch?!

ARRGH!! Am I the only one so incredible frustrated with the direction this country seems to be going?!

Get your free satellite system! or dealing with SMS spam

Sent: 5/11/06 1:51 PM
From: 501

Bergman@crookedstill.com / round / You just won a complete Satalite System Call 866.704.8454 now ask for Clair

Ahh.. my first SMS spam, complete with the misspelling and everything! I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when I called and the guy barely spoke English. I asked to speak to his supervisor, who almost sounded like the first guy. He assured me that he was not the same guy – I couldn’t really tell. Anyway, I asked them where they got my phone number to send the text message, and he told me that “I was one of the lucky people selected to win a free satellite system… blah blah…” I asked him where he got my number. He told me that it was part of a list of numbers that they purchased. I hounded him for more information and it was going nowhere. He then told me that if I gave him my number he could put me on the Do Not Call list. Figuring that it would be better than nothing, I gave it to him. He then asked me for my name. I asked him why he needed my name if he never even had it to begin with. He said that was the way that DNC lists worked. I gave him a fake name… yea, good thinking Pablo! He then said with a chuckle that “somebody will be calling you from our customer service department with an offer”… I got REALLY pissed off and told him that I gave him that info so that they would take me off the list. He continued to laugh and tell me the same thing – I told him that if somebody called me I would contact the Better Business Bureau and he said “that really scares me!”. I almost lost it! I decided to stay calm and ask why he was being such a jerk. He then asked me “if I have any interest in satellite systems” to which I told him to go to hell and hung up on him. Can’t quite get the same effect as slamming the old-school phones down, ehh?

Anyway – I think I’ve shot myself in the foot with my investigative work. Now they know I got the SMS *and* which number I’m using, even if the name isn’t real. Great – I suppose I get to look forward to more of these. I did notify the owners of Crookedstill.com that somebody was using their domain name to send SMS spam – it’ll be interesting to see their response. I also called T-Mobile to see what they were doing to combat SMS spam. Their answer? NOTHING! They said that they can not control incoming text messages to my cell phone! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised! But what if I get a deluge of SMS spams and it puts me over my SMS limit? T-Mobile charges me for unsolicited messages?! Ridiculous!

Hopefully it won’t get bad… but it will only take time. The T-Mobile rep said that he could change my phone number – fan-friggin-tastic…

Anybody out there have any other ideas how to deal with this? What are my options?!
uggh…

Update!

I heard back from the people at Crookedstill.com

Hi Pablo. Thank you so much for alerting us of this problem. As you guessed, we have nothing to do with this text message and were before now, completely unaware of this issue. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We are looking into the source of this problem immediately so we can stop it from happening in the future. Again, sorry for the intrusion.

Sincerely,

Crooked Still (Corey, Aoife , Greg and Rushad)

Also found the FTC spam complaint form as well as the FCC CAN-SPAM webpage. Time to file a complaint!

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