Another slight variation

And for accessibility (without the character manipulation):

i am aware ******** one of your passphrases. Lets get directly to point. absolutely no one has paid me to investigate you. You don’t know me and you are most likely wondering why you’re getting this email?

i placed a malware on the xxx vids (porno) website and there’s more, you visited this site to have fun (you know what i mean). When you were viewing videos, your internet browser started out working as a Remote Desktop having a key logger which provided me with accessibility to your display and also web camera. Just after that, my software collected your complete contacts from your Messenger, social networks, and emailaccount. after that I created a double video. First part displays the video you were viewing (you have a fine taste lmao), and next part displays the recording of your web cam, and its you.

You get not one but two options. We will understand these options in aspects:

First alternative is to neglect this email. in this situation, i will send out your actual video clip to just about all of your contacts and thus visualize concerning the humiliation you experience. and definitely if you happen to be in a relationship, exactly how this will affect?

2nd alternative will be to pay me $1979. Let us refer to it as a donation. Subsequently, i most certainly will right away remove your videotape. You can go on your daily routine like this never happened and you will not hear back from me.

You will make the payment by Bitcoin (if you do not know this, search ‘how to buy bitcoin’ in Google search engine).

BTC address:

[QR code that translates to 15HjorJv19mpYKMP7Jjj59wPPPC882FAfF]

Scan the QR code with mobile to get the address.

if you may be making plans for going to the law, very well, this mail can not be traced back to me. i have dealt with my actions. i am just not attempting to charge a fee very much, i simply prefer to be paid. You now have two days in order to make the payment. i have a special pixel within this e-mail, and now i know that you have read this email. if i do not get the BitCoins, i will definitely send out your video to all of your contacts including close relatives, co-workers, and so on. Nevertheless, if i receive the payment, ill destroy the recording immediately. This is a non-negotiable offer therefore do not waste my time and yours by replying to this mail. if you really want proof, reply with Yup! & i will certainly send your video to your 10 friends.

So, yeah.

DotTune for a Sigma lens

Tuning the autofocus is one of the major benefits to owning a Sigma lens. My camera is a D7200, and it allows for AF fine tuning in the body. Calibrating the lens to the camera is important for sharp and accurate auto-focus.

The reason for this is simple: there are two autofocus sensors on your DSLR. One is used by the viewfinder, and the other is your camera’s sensor. (This is where mirrorless cameras have the obvious advantage.) Fine tuning the autofocus on cameras that allow it is about bringing those two sensors as close to parity as possible. If the viewfinder sensor isn’t calibrated to match the camera sensor, you’ll end up with pictures that may look sharp enough, if they look sharp at all, but not as sharp as they could be.

So how do you bring them into parity?

The “DotTune” method I’ve found to be the fastest method for doing this. But in my initial attempt with it, I was having a hell of a time and getting some wild values. Why? In large part because I was actually trying to measure the distance to target using a tape measure to the sensor-plane indicator on the camera body. And, it turns out, the distance scale on the lens isn’t… entirely accurate. (Insert ID4 meme.)

So while DotTune works great, it doesn’t work when you need to rely on a specific focus distance according to the lens. Instead, the method requires some… tuning. Specifically to step 2 of the process: “Establish critical focus in Live View”.

Remember that tuning your autofocus is about bringing your viewfinder’s sensor into parity with the camera’s main sensor. Why this has to happen with each lens is beyond me, and why Sigma and Tamron’s lenses require it at multiple points on the lens is also beyond me, but…. moving on. Live View let’s you determine at what point the camera says you’re in focus for a particular distance. So when establishing critical focus using Live View, you need to check the distance scale on the lens.

Then it’s just a matter of adjusting the distance, closer or farther back, engaging the autofocus each time, until the the distance marker lines up to what you need. In the above picture, I was lining up for 0.7m. As you can see, I’m a little too far back, so I needed to steadily move the camera closer to the target until the autofocus set the lens to about as exactly on 0.7m as I could get.

Note: when you adjust the camera distance, make sure to move the lens focus ring to infinity, and if you’re adjusting for infinity, move it to <1m. This way you’ll know that you’re at the right distance when you engage the autofocus in Live View.

Since this was now “critical focus” for that focus distance, the rest of the DotTune steps followed from here, using the “AF fine tune” to determine the tuning value for this focus distance.

After I confirmed values for the needed focus distances (not really worrying about infinity at this moment), I programmed the lens using the Sigma software with the determined values and delete the “AF fine tune” value saved for this lens.

Then it was a matter of repeating steps 2 to 4 to confirm the programmed values and adjust accordingly, dialing in the values if needed until a half-press of the shutter on step 4 produces an instant, solid dot at each focus distance.

One thing to note, obviously, is that Sigma’s numbers for tuning and Nikon/Canon’s numbers aren’t equivalent, so the numbers from the camera should only be used as a starting point for dialing in further. But it should get you in the ballpark. In my instance, the numbers for 0.4m and 0.7m were close enough that the half-press gave an instant, solid dot confirming the adjustment. Doesn’t mean that’s the optimal setting, and I could dial it in further if I really wanted. However the 1.5m number I initially set (+15) was too high according to the viewfinder sensor, so I pulled it down to the number you see above and that worked.

Taking some test shots afterward worked great as well, and that’s ultimately what matters.

Can’t wait to try this on my 150mm-600mm!!! (Yes, that’s sarcasm…)

Worthless endeavors

Recently I received the below from a guy named “Bryan”. I’m willing to bet he won’t see this, since I highly doubt he’s actually seen this site, or looked up statistics for it in any venue, or he would’ve known the fruitlessness of his request before even making it.

Hi,

I am writing to you as we are trying to build up our connection and network with other top websites in the industry like yours.

We would like to pay for a link placement on one of your existing pages.

It would be a great help to be a part of your site! If you are interested it would be great to hear from you with a thought on price.

I can arrange payment to you ASAP.

Hope to hear from you.

Definitely sounds like a form letter. I feel like sending a snarky response asking for $10,000 or some silly number that’ll easily get him questioning whether I’m serious, but I’ll just ignore this one again like most of the rest. He’ll probably send a follow-up in a few days asking if I’ve seen his e-mail, in which case I may send a snarky response back. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve told off someone whose come knocking like this.

As I’ve said several times, there is no point in anyone asking me for any kind of advertising or paid content. This blog on average gets about 100 hits per day and has never gotten more than a thousand hits in a day across the entire 10+ years it’s been around. I don’t make any money with this blog – all hosting costs are offset but not overtaken significantly by the Amazon Associates and eBay Partner Network programs (see required disclosure to the right). And I don’t have any intention of making money with this blog either.

Which is why I always find it hilarious when I receive form-letter solicitations for it.

Disputing a debt won’t make it go away

Of all things regarding “debt relief” that piss me off, none do so more than false advertising and demonstrably false claims. I’ve addressed a lot of claims from “debt relief” programs in the past and the false claims they make, such as “you have a right to settle your debt for a fraction of what you owe”.

So let’s tackle this one from “American Debt Enders” and their “Debt Dispute” program. I just saw an ad for it today, but looking at Archive.org, this appears to have been around since October 2014, first called their “Credit Shield Program” (or “Alternative Debt Relief”) before changing the name to “Debt Dispute” in March 2016. The latest incarnation of the program (as of this writing) says this:

This approach to debt relief requires debt collectors to provide proof that a debt is 100% Legal, Collectable, Valid and Verified, or Cease Collection Efforts!

Debt Dispute is not a “Debt Settlement” program, modification, or negotiation.

At least they removed the claim about their program being “FTC Approved” (yes, they actually claimed that), but kept the idea that their program “requires debt collectors to prove that a debt is 100% legal, collectable, valid and verified”.

So you sign up, hand them notices from debt collectors, and they’ll make those debts go away or you owe them nothing? Yeah, no. As we’ll see going through the fanciful claims they make, they are promising a lot that just isn’t possible, making demonstrably false and wildly misleading claims.

* * * * *

So I spent a little time going through their website to figure out how this program works. Up front it’s apparent this program is only for debts that have only just fallen into collections and for which you are still within 30 days from receiving first communication from the collection agency:1

When a consumer enrolls in the Dispute Program, they give authorization for a representative to communicate on their behalf… Because the client has appointed the authorized representative to do so, the representative will put together a dispute under various laws that pertain to the collection of debt. The authorized representative will serve it as a notice on the debt collector within the 30 day dispute time frame as stipulated in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

So… basically they’re just sending a letter to the creditor within the 30-day time frame. Okay… So if you’re outside the 30-day statutory time frame, I guess you’re out of luck with this program. But do you really need to hire a firm like this to dispute your debts with your creditors? No. It just takes understanding your rights plus a little initiative, and keeping your expectations in check.

The dispute is witnessed by a notary and sent to the debt collector registered U.S. Mail return receipt requested, also done by a notary, to ensure proper record of the dispute by a state official. This process is known as a notary presentment. The entire process takes between 18 and 24 months to complete. The cost is about half of the cost of any debt settlement program.

Notaries aren’t state officials, for one. And notary presentment is unnecessary here. It is added expense with zero additional benefit. USPS Certified Mail® with Return Receipt is what’s generally recommended and all you need. In other words, you can easily do on your own what they’re going through a notary to do.

And just given that they say this program is available only for those still within the 30-day statutory time period, has anyone actually taken advantage of this program? I’m very much doubting that.

* * * * *

American Debt Enders explains their dispute program through a two-part article series. Before going into those articles, there’s something I want to point out. The two articles were written in May 2016. About 18 months after they first started offering their “Debt Dispute” program. Keep that in mind given the wild claims they make in those articles.

The first of the two parts doesn’t really provide any elaboration on the program, though at the end they do say this:

The following information must appear on all notices for collection sent to a consumer. “…unless you dispute this debt within 30 days of receipt of this letter, we’ll assume the debt is valid.” Please notice the word Assume. If all debts were valid without assumption than their [sic] would be no need for any laws governing the rules for dispute.

Federal law is what allows them to assume the debt is valid if you don’t dispute it within the 30-day statutory period.2 Federal law also provides that the failure to dispute the debt cannot be construed as an admission of liability.3

This implies a burden of proof and who has it. If you dispute the debt within the 30-day period, Federal law puts the onus on the debt collector to demonstrate the debt is valid and the amount claimed is correct, while also declaring they must cease all collection activities while attempting to validate the debt. After that 30-day statutory period, the burden of proof falls to the debtor to demonstrate that the debt is not valid (paid off, forgiven, wrong person, etc.) or the amount claimed to be owed is not correct. But the debt collector no longer has a statutory obligation to stop collection activities.

This is why it’s important to get a debt dispute to the debt collector within the statutory time period. It puts the burden of proof on the debt collector, and keeps your options open for further disputing the debt even after they’ve returned validation.

Moving on.

Can I get harassing creditor phone calls to stop. The answer is yes. Again, a well crafted dispute program will have this aspect as part of the program. However, we can tell little Johny to play nice in the sandbox and even punish him if he does not, but he still may not listen. Some people actually benefit in cash and large sums of it, if the creditor continues to call after you have followed the law and told them to stop. Again, a well crafted dispute program will have this as part of its program.

It’s actually a simple written letter you need to get them to stop calling you. You don’t need a “well crafted debt dispute program” to invoke that. Indeed my letter template includes it. Now while it’s possible they’ll ignore your written request, they open themselves up to liability doing that, under both Federal and State law. And debt collectors have time and again been successfully held liable through the Court.

Bear in mind that such liability does not erase the debt they’re trying to collect.

What happens if the debt collector simply says go jump in a lake, and ignores your requests for verification? This is an excellent question and one which is often asked. If the creditor does not respond, they have in fact violated your rights and invalidated the debt themselves. This is a home run for you.

If the debt collector does not respond to validation, they have not violated your rights in the least unless they attempt to continue collection while there is an unresolved debt dispute in play.

It’ll also be rare that a debt collector will not return validation. Bear in mind as well that there is no statutory time limit to how long they have to return validation. So they haven’t “invalidated the debt themselves”. The law only requires they cease collection activities while the dispute has yet to be resolved.

And it is possible the validation request will cause a debt collector to not bother. It’s most likely to happen with debt accounts that have been passed between several debt buyers, since that increases the likelihood even the original creditor no longer has record of it. It actually happened with one account I had a long while ago. Where instead of validating the debt, the debt buyer sold it off to someone else – yes, they can do that under the law.

And it hopped between a couple debt buyers, each one not returning validation when I disputed, before one of the buyers actually bought back the account and initiated communication on it as if they had never seen it before. So I had to remind them in writing that I’d already disputed the debt. Never heard from them again. And I don’t believe the account went anywhere after that either as I don’t recall ever receiving any communication from them or anyone else about it.

But if you’re talking about a debt that has newly fallen into collections, expect them to return validation.

What happens if the debt collector provides proof of the debt, and their right to collect it? While this is a rare occurrence, you are not charged any fee for the work done on your behalf for that debt, and your assigned attorney will come to a settlement on that debt.

Rare, my ass. It’s happened nearly every time I’ve exercised validation.

Do not delude your readers and prospects into thinking that sending a §1692g validation request will almost always result in never hearing from the debt collector again. To say such is absolute bullshit and may qualify as fraud given the services you offer, even despite your “100% guarantee”.

What Happens If I get sued? Sometimes debt collectors do not respond and they may even be as bold as to file a lawsuit against you. Because this action and many other actions against you are violations of federal law, we have an organization that will assist you in holding the debt collector responsible which usually results in the suit being dropped and the alleged debt forgiven. The aforementioned process is done outside of court through notification and negotiation.

The lawsuit or any other collection activity is a violation of Federal law only if it interferes with a debtor’s statutory right to debt validation. But once they file a lawsuit and the debtor is served with the summons and complaint, everything to dispose of that lawsuit must occur through the Court, contrary to your assertions.

There are a few details here that many don’t realize. First the lawsuit to enforce the debt will be filed with your creditor as the plaintiff, not the debt collector – e.g. Capitol One Bank v. Kenneth Ballard4. This means if you believe the debt collector violated your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you must file that lawsuit separately naming the debt collector specifically as the defendant. Your answer to the lawsuit cannot allege Federal or State law violations by the debt collector since the debt collector is not the plaintiff.

Many are quick to dismiss, or flat out ignore, that the debt collector and the creditor they represent also have rights under the law, including the right to the Court to enforce the debt. And FDCPA violations by a debt collector do not bar a lawsuit by or on behalf of the creditor to enforce the debt. Too many think otherwise. And too many articles say otherwise, in one way or another, with it all generally boiling down to FDCPA violations voiding debts. One article I encountered even said that a “small clerical error is enough to get your debt completely erased.” No it isn’t.

Now is it possible to get a judgment against a debt collector that surpasses the amount attempting to be collected? Yes. But don’t bank on it. It typically requires some rather egregious conduct.

On top of any actual damages (demonstrable losses such as lost wages, reimbursements for injuries such as “psychological distress”, etc.)5, statutory damages are capped at $1,0006, depending on some details about the violation(s) in question7. You’re not getting anything at all if the alleged violation was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error8 regardless of any losses or injuries sustained, or was conduct performed in good faith based on any advisory opinion or publication by the CFPB9. And even if there is a pattern of misconduct for which a United States District Court awards damages, those damages are unlikely to be enough to overtake the debt, and your lawyer is more likely to win out on it than you, since plaintiffs aren’t supposed to profit through a lawsuit.

So this means if a debt collector does turn around and sue you rather than responding to the dispute, you’re entitled to reimbursement of all losses associated with that, which does not include the amount the debt collector alleged is owed, which can get rather costly for them. But that doesn’t stop the lawsuit from continuing. And, again, you’re entitled to nothing if the debt collector can show their actions were the result of a bona fide error.

And if the debtor has someone representing them to the debt collectors, violations of the FDCPA actionable through the Court are unlikely to occur since they shouldn’t be talking to the debtor directly. That is, unless whomever is representing the debtor tries to stonewall discussions, in which case the debt collector has every right under the law to seek them out.10

As such, I very highly doubt “the suit being dropped and the alleged debt forgiven” is a common outcome. I’d be surprised, actually, if it’s happened at all.

Bear in mind, too, that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in 2017 that the statutory definition of “debt collector” does not apply to debt buyers, and so debt buyers are immune to most (if not all) of the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. And you have one calendar year from the date of the alleged FDCPA violation to file a lawsuit.1112

* * * * *

Time to inject some reality back into this. So what happens when an account falls into collections?

The collection firm will initiate contact with you. They may try calling you first, but you will always receive notice in the mail pursuant to 15 USC § 1692g(a). Once you receive that written notice, you have 30 calendar days to exercise your statutory right of debt validation. Note: 30 calendar days to postmark the dispute letter. This is your chance to dispute the debt either in part or in full. And you should always dispute the entirety of the debt initially. You can always dispute the exact amount further. Send the dispute letter via USPS Certified Mail with a Return Receipt.

After they receive the dispute, they must cease collection efforts until they resolve the dispute by providing documentation that proves the debt is real and the amount claimed (or some portion thereof) is valid. And what they must provide to validate the debt isn’t much and has already been clarified by United States District13 and Circuit14 Courts.

There are three outcomes possible from a validation request:

  1. you never hear from the collector again,
  2. the collector provides documentation showing the entire originally-claimed amount is valid, or
  3. the collector provides documentation showing only part of the originally-claimed amount is valid.

Again, there is no statutory time limit to how long the debt collector has to return validation. And how quickly they return with validation will depend on several factors.

If they come back with (2), then you can negotiate payments on the amount, or decide to try to dispute the amount further, countering with any documentation you have. And, again, contrary to what American Debt Enders falsely asserts, it isn’t “rare” this happens.

But what if they come back with (3)?

Obviously the debt collector may only collect what they’ve validated. But American Debt Enders implies they cannot collect any of it – “provide proof that a debt is 100% Legal, Collectable, Valid and Verified, or Cease Collection Efforts!”. That they must validate the entire originally-claimed amount and cannot collect any lesser portion thereof even if they can show the lesser amount is valid.

And that is not true.

* * * * *

If you fail to dispute the debt within the statutory time frame, the debt collector can take that as reason to believe the entire claimed amount is valid and they have found and contacted the right person. So if you’ve fallen outside the statutory time limit and want to dispute the debt, can you still do so? Absolutely. What you lose, however, is the statutory obligations the debt collector return validation and cease collection activities while validating the debt.

Now if you believe the amount the debt collector claims you owe is higher than the amount you actually owe, then you can certainly try to dispute the amount further by providing documentation to that effect. After all, you should never pay more on a debt than what you actually owe according to the contract.

But if the amount the debt collector original claims isn’t correct, is the collector now barred from collecting any of the amount claimed? Absolutely not. The amount that is demonstrated to be owed is the amount they will attempt to collect.

And that is where American Debt Enders strays into false advertising.

A debt collector is not required to cease collection efforts on the entire debt if they cannot demonstrate the validity of 100% of the amount originally claimed. They must cease collection efforts on what cannot be validated, but can continue collection efforts on the remainder. This is why it’s important to dispute the debt in its entirety up front as noted above. But disputing the debt in its entirety does not mean the debt collector must then validate the entire amount or none of it is in play.

* * * * *

American Debt Enders also seems to gloss over is the fact a debt collector always has the right to take you to Court.

Well they don’t entirely gloss over it. They do get the terms horribly wrong, though: “Provision for an Attorney in your State to answer a subpoena if you are served one from any of your creditors.”

Where they say “subpoena”, they clearly mean a “summons” or “lawsuit”. Now it isn’t uncommon for lawsuits to be improperly served. But contrary to what they claim in another article on their website,

First, the [summons or lawsuit] problem. Not to worry. Did you know that most [summons or lawsuits] can be discharged without you ever going to court! Yes, because most are improperly served it is an easy matter to discharge them. So, you can solve this problem by making a free phone call to a consumer advocate who is knowledgeable in this area.

there is no way to get rid of that without going to Court.

Since, for starters, “going to Court” doesn’t mean just being in front of a judge. There’s a lot more that occurs at Court that doesn’t involve a judge and courtroom. In fact, most of what happens at Court doesn’t involved a judge and courtroom.

Second, you can’t get rid of anything from the Court served to you, whether a subpoena or summons, without you or someone representing you going to the Court to provide some kind of answer to it. When I was demonstrably improperly served in a case of mistaken identity for a foreclosure, an “affidavit of identity” was my “answer” to the summons.

Once your creditor takes you to Court, your options shrink dramatically. The only way you’re getting away from that lawsuit is if you don’t actually owe the alleged debt. You can certainly dispute the validity of the debt, especially if you’ve failed to get them to accept documentation showing you owe only part of what is claimed. But whatever part is shown to be valid and still outstanding is what you’ll ultimately owe, including Court costs and attorneys fees, with a Court judgment backing it up.

* * * * *

So how to wrap this up…

Let me put it this way: anyone who tries to sell you on a program that promises to just magically make your debts go away is lying to you. As such, American Debt Enders is lying to you. That they once claimed their program is “FTC Approved” shows they are not above making fraudulent claims to reel people in.

Their “debt dispute” program won’t do what they claim. That the program is only available to those still within the 30-day statutory time frame dictated by Federal law also makes me wonder if anyone has actually taken advantage of that program. Since by the time most are seeking out debt relief programs, they’re likely well beyond that statutory time period.

So, yeah… If you have actually been through their “debt dispute” program, I’d love to hear from you. But be prepared to provide documentation as I’m not going to accept mere assertion. Since given everything I know about debt collections and the laws governing it, along with my own experience with debt collectors, there is no possible way the claims that American Debt Enders makes can come to fruition.

Going through their “debt dispute” program, or any debt relief program, won’t result in your debts just magically disappearing. And anyone who tries to tell you that theirs will is selling snake oil.

References   [ + ]

1. Credit Restoration and Debt Dispute – American Debt Enders
2. 15 USC § 1692g(a)(3) – “a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector;”
3. 15 USC § 1692g(c) – “The failure of a consumer to dispute the validity of a debt under this section may not be construed by any court as an admission of liability by the consumer.”
4. Case No. 09CY-CV13306, Missouri 7th Judicial District (2009). This was when one of my creditors sued me.
5. 15 USC §1692k(a)(1) – “any actual damage sustained by such person as a result of such failure [to comply with the FDCPA]”
6. 15 USC §1692k(a)(2)(A) – “in the case of any action by an individual, such additional damages as the court may allow, but not exceeding $1,000”
7. 15 USC §1692k(b)(1) – “the frequency and persistence of noncompliance by the debt collector, the nature of such noncompliance, and the extent to which such noncompliance was intentional”
8. 15 USC § 1692k(c) – “A debt collector may not be held liable in any action brought under this subchapter if the debt collector shows by a preponderance of evidence that the violation was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adapted to avoid any such error.”
9. 15 USC §1692k(e) – “No provision of this section imposing any liability shall apply to any act done or omitted in good faith in conformity with any advisory opinion of the Bureau, notwithstanding that after such act or omission has occurred, such opinion is amended, rescinded, or determined by judicial or other authority to be invalid for any reason.”
10. 15 USC §1692c(a)(2) – “if the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney with respect to such debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s name and address, unless the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable period of time to a communication from the debt collector or unless the attorney consents to direct communication with the consumer;”
11. 15 USC § 1692k(d) – “An action to enforce any liability created by this subchapter may be brought…within one year from the date on which the violation occurs.”
12. “That language [of §1692k(d)] unambiguously sets the date of the violation as the event that starts the one-year limitations period.”, Rotkiske v. Klemm, 589 US ____ (2019)
13. “No provision of the FDCPA has been found which would require a debt collector independently to investigate the merit of the debt, except to obtain verification, or to investigate the accounting principles of the creditor, or to keep detailed files.” —Azar v. Hayter, 874 F.Supp. 1314 at 1317 (N.D. Florida, 1995)
14. “[V]erification of a debt involves nothing more than the debt collector confirming in writing that the amount being demanded is what the creditor is claiming is owed; the debt collector is not required to keep detailed files of the alleged debt. Consistent with the legislative history, verification is only intended to “eliminate the … problem of debt collectors dunning the wrong person or attempting to collect debts which the consumer has already paid.” There is no concomitant obligation to forward copies of bills or other detailed evidence of the debt.” (internal citations removed) —Chaudhry v. Gallerizzo, 174 F. 3d 394 at 406 (4th Cir., 1999)

Same scam, different day

This one came to me with the subject line of a password obtained from a data breach.

And written out so this can be indexed by search engines, without all the changed text:

FINAL WARNING

Do you really think it was some kind of joke or that you can ignore me?

I can see what you are doing.

Stop shopping and fucking around, your time is almost over. Yea, I know what you were doing past couple of days. I have been observing you.

Btw. nice car you have got there.. I wonder how it will look with pics of your dick and face…

Because you think you are smarter and can disregard me, I am posting the videos I recorded with you masturbating to the porn right now. I will upload the videos I acquired along with some of your details to the online forum. I amsure they will love to see you in action, and you will soon discover what is going to happen to you.

If you do not fund this bitcoin address with $1500 within the next 2 days, I will contact your relatives and everybody on your contact lists and show them your recordings.

====================================

Send 0.2 bitcoin (i.e. approx $1500)

to this Bitcoin address:

[QR code – Translates to: 1JQymC63oneHdXbKtdcDqgS1Jjm2eTZoxy]

Scan the QR code with mobile to get the address.

====================================

There are many places you can buy bitcoin like Bitstamp, Coinbase, Krakenetc. Register, validate your account.

If you want to save yourself – better act fast, because right now you are fucked. We will not leave you alone, and there are many people on the groups that will make your life really bad.

So same scam, different day.

Contributed content

There are two things about this site I’d hope were obvious to anyone who’s actually looked at it: 1. It’s a personal blog that 2. is pretty heavy with political and opinion content. Which means that I can readily tell in most situations that someone sending me a solicitation has not actually looked at my site, despite always claiming to have done so.

So being that this is, again, a personal blog where yours truly posts opinions (and personal projects), it should be quite obvious that soliciting me to actually write for this suite is fruitless. But I guess something being obvious isn’t always obvious enough. Such as with Rebecca Schmidt: (site link not in original e-mail)

Hello Kenneth,

My name is Rebecca and I’m writing because I’d like to contribute something to your site.

I currently write for Her Aspiration, where we put out information to help and give people relationship advice and dating advice.

Based on what I’ve seen of your site, I think it could be valuable to your readers. It would also give you a boost to your audience, since I’m certain my followers would come to your site and start a conversation there. This could work out for both of us and lead to exciting opportunities down the road. I would like to check if you do link placements into existing articles as well? As I am open to get more articles and link placements with you as we go along.

If this sounds appealing to you, I’d love to have a conversation about how we could make it work. Look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,
Rebecca

“Based on what I’ve seen of your site”? Probably none of it.

Especially since, I’ve already explicitly said I won’t post content contributed from others since it would go against the title and modus operandi of this site, not to mention the domain name. So now I’ll make it explicit again: I will never post content to this site contributed by someone else.

Still trying

This one has an interesting twist:

The entire e-mail is just one large image. And this one plays on the data leaked passwords I’ve seen previously, hence the redaction. But otherwise it’s more or less the same idea behind it.

Now it’s stupid easy to generate text in this fashion, so don’t think this tactic grants the e-mail any level of legitimacy. This isn’t the first such e-mail I’ve encountered. But the mix of letters with accents did make it impossible to OCR. So bravo to the scammers for that. If I feel like it, I may try to type out the thing later.

Makes me wonder how many of these e-mails end up in front of blind individuals, since if any OCR I’ve tried is messing up, any text to speech can’t be having fun with these either.

Should you avoid full-frame lenses on APS-C cameras? Yes and no.

It seems there’s been this back and forth over whether it’s better to use full-frame glass on APS-C (crop sensor) cameras. Obviously the answer is No. Where you have the option, use APS-C glass. That’s why they make glass specific for APS-C cameras.

But there needs to be a lot of emphasis on “where you have the option”. Because the options are a lot thinner than many seem to realize. Let me explain.

I have a Nikon D7200, which is a DX (APS-C) camera. And if you look at Nikon’s website at what lenses are available, the DX selection is paltry. Only four (4) primes are listed:

  • 10.5mm f/2.8
  • 35mm f/1.8
  • 40mm f/2.8
  • 85mm f/3.5

There’s a LOT missing from this list, starting with the 50mm prime, which is a popular lens. So your only option is a 50mm FX prime lens – equivalent to a 75mm focal length on a Nikon DX. And I own the 50mm f/1.8 FX lens and recently acquired the f/1.4. And if you wanted a faster aperture than f/3.5 on the 85mm prime (and who wouldn’t?), you need to go FX to get the f/1.8, which is nearly 2-stops faster, or even all the way to an f/1.4. (Nikon makes an 85mm f/2.8, but it’s manual focus only.)

Canon has only 1 APS-C DSLR prime that isn’t a macro lens: 24mm f/2.8.

Third party isn’t much better. Sigma makes only two APS-C primes: 4.5mm f/2.8 fish-eye and 30mm f/1.4 “Art”. Tamron doesn’t make any APS-C primes at all. Same with Yongnuo. Samyang makes a handful, but they’re all very short focal lengths.

The picture is better for zooms. Somewhat. You have more options, but those options aren’t great. And the better options are all, you guessed it, full-frame glass.

The typical Nikon DX kit lenses are the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3. There’s also the 55-200mm f/4-5.6 and 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6, and other 18-Xmm zooms at f/3.5-5.6. The only options faster than f/3.5 are the 16-80mm f/2.8-4 (shy of 1100 USD) and 17-55mm f/2.8 (~1500 USD). Canon’s APS-C zoom lens selection is similar to Nikon’s, though Nikon has a few more options. Third party provides better options for Canon, but similar options for Nikon to what is already available from Nikon.

The ever-popular 70-200mm f/2.8 isn’t available in APS-C. Same with the 24-70mm f/2.8, another very popular lens.

So to get better apertures (faster glass is typically better glass), FX/full-frame is your only option. Same if you want to zoom out further than 300mm, with the exception of Tamron’s 18-400mm “one lens to rule them all” APS-C zoom. I have a Sigma 150-600mm “C” for wildlife photography (I don’t photograph sports all that much). You won’t find APS-C glass at those focal ranges.

So I don’t really understand why this topic keeps coming up.

Obviously where DX/APS-C options are available, go that route as you’ll get better images with an APS-C body, provided you’re willing to live with the limitations – primarily in apertures. But don’t limit yourself to only APS-C options or you’ll limit your options substantially.

Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, you can get sharp results with full-frame glass on an APS-C body. My 50mm FX prime is my favorite lens. But where you have a similar APS-C option available, such as the aforementioned Nikon 35mm f/1.8, you’ll get better results compared to trying to use the full-frame option. But where you don’t have the option (again, Nikon 50mm f/1.8), or the full-frame option provides better apertures (35mm f/1.4 or 70-200mm f/2.8), don’t lose sleep over it or think you’re going to end up getting terrible results.

And, if we’re being honest, that’s the unintended implication of saying to not use full-frame glass on APS-C bodies. That doing so will lead to bad results despite the fact that APS-C options are actually relatively few, and getting better glass almost-always means going with full-frame glass even with an APS-C body.

Stop screwing over your regulars

For nearly the last 4 years, I’ve been a consistent regular patron at Fazoli’s, specifically the location off Shawnee Mission and Quivira in the Kansas City metro. Going with that, I’ve participated in the Fazoli’s reward program since they introduced it in 2017.

The original reward program was simple. 1 point for every dollar spent (before tax). Every 50 points earned you a $5 redemption code for $5 off (before tax) your ticket, regardless of what you bought. Occasionally there were additional rewards as well – e.g. free brownie or $2 off $15 or more. It wasn’t unusual for me to bank the points to take $10 off less frequently instead of redeeming the $5 whenever that was available.

Today, November 23, 2019, Fazoli’s introduced a revamp to the program. And it’s not an improvement. Indeed it actually makes things worse, and shows that Fazoli’s is not above screwing over their regulars. Points now earn you free items off the menu. And all the points are set to that Fazoli’s comes out ahead.

  • 25 points – Free small soft drink (normally $1.99)
  • 75 points – Free spaghetti with meat sauce (normally $6.49)
  • 100 points – Free chicken fettuccine (normally $7.99)

Previously I would’ve been able to spend $50 in store to get $5 off the spaghetti or fettuccine, or $100 to take $10 off my combined lunch/dinner ticket with my wife.

Also it would’ve been nice to have the option to redeem points the I had BEFORE the change the same way as previous. I had 110 points banked, and I would’ve been redeeming that for $10 off on my next lunch or dinner visit to the restaurant. Now I can only redeem part of that for either free spaghetti (provided it’ll still apply for marinara sauce since my wife doesn’t like the meat sauce) or chicken fettuccine.

I wonder how many other regulars were similarly screwed over, also losing banked up points in similar fashion.

If Fazoli’s was losing money with their previous rewards program, they could’ve downgraded it from $1 per point to something like $2 per point. And I would’ve understood if they put out a public statement to that effect.

Instead they’ve chosen to screw over their regulars by devaluing the points we’ve earned on the previous rewards program.

Whomever came up with the idea to revamp their rewards program in this fashion needs to lose their job.

On Jeffrey Epstein

I’ll say this up front: I don’t believe Jeffrey Epstein was murdered.

When Epstein’s death was announced, a lot of people presumed he had been. And they had a lot of reasonable factors leading to that conclusion.

  • He allegedly had “dirt” on some very high-profile people
  • He was a convicted, registered sex offender
  • The circumstances around his death are filled with a lot of gaps

And when I first learned of his death, I readily assumed he was killed in prison due to his sex offender status. A lot of people would’ve probably loved to have gotten their hands on him. Then the reports clarified that it appeared Epstein committed suicide.

There seems to be a massive failure of logic around all of this. I observed such on Facebook when I wrote this comment:

The one thing that kind of pisses me off about this whole ordeal is how everyone is saying there is no possible way Epstein committed suicide *because* he had dirt on high-profile individuals. It’s as if everyone has just cast basic logic to the wind…

That he had dirt on high-profile individuals says nothing about whether his death was suicide or homicide. But everyone is treating it as if suicide is impossible with this individual.

What actual evidence is there he was murdered to the exclusion of the conclusion he committed suicide? If one is being honest, right now there isn’t any. I’ve yet to see anything conclusive offered that excludes suicide.

Many point to the fractures in Epstein’s neck and the assertions that such fractures mean he was killed. Except as others have pointed out, that doesn’t exclude suicide. And the pathologist saying it is does was hired by Epstein’s attorneys to oversee the autopsy. That the pathologist also said he’d never seen neck fractures in any suicide by hanging doesn’t mean Epstein didn’t kill himself. It means only he’d never seen neck fractures in a suicide by hanging.

The medical examiner said it was suicide. But that isn’t the only reason to believe it to be suicide. His prior suicide attempt adds to this. The idea that Epstein didn’t look suicidal is also immaterial.

And the reason many say he couldn’t have killed himself I believe is also yet another reason he actually did: he was a marked man. Basically he was dead regardless. Whether he was killed in prison for being a sex offender, assassinated before he could spill whatever beans he allegedly had, or he committed suicide, he was likely not going to live much longer.

Then there’s also the fact he likely knew he was never again leaving prison this time except as a corpse. So hastening that was likely on his mind when he made his first suicide attempt.

This isn’t as unfathomable as many seem to believe. Suicide attempts and completed suicides among the prison population are also alarmingly common compared to the general population, also lending credence to his death being a suicide.

His death being convenient to those on whom he allegedly had dirt does not rule out suicide.

What rules out suicide and rules in homicide is evidence demonstrating that someone else killed Epstein. Not insinuation or assertion. And so far, all I’ve seen is just the assertion that he didn’t kill himself, that suicide is impossible because he allegedly had dirt on some high profile individuals.

To be sure, it absolutely is possible he was murdered. But without conclusive evidence, I believe it to be more likely he committed suicide.