What the heck happened to CNET?
This site was once a trustworthy source, but this is no longer. I had trouble downloading TweetDeck, so I went to CNET to download it. In the past, I used CNET/Download.com as a trustworthy source for downloading reliable freeware applications, but they have implemented a download manager that sneaks unauthorized malware into your system.
Immediately after downloading TweetDeck (which failed to install), I got a prompt by Firefox to authorize the Lucky Leap plugin. I was alarmed knowing I had not installed anything that would use this plug in. I was in the process of installing a new computer, and this is the only app that didn’t come from a CD or had been installed this day. I searched and discovered other users with the same complaint about downloads from CNET. After installing apps from CNET, they also discovered Lucky Leap was installed. I had to uninstall it from IE, Firefox, Chrome, and from my windows application list. End of story? Nope.
A in a short time I began to get prompted to back up my computer. I got a notice that I had failed to perform my system back up. I use Norton 360, and this window looks oddly like the Norton prompt. I don’t use Norton for backups, so I went to disable the backup again. Only it was already disabled. Every 30 minutes to an hour, this prompt would pop up again. I combed through my Norton settings trying to figure out why I was getting prompted even though backup was disabled. Finally I had to chat with their support. That’s when I discovered it wasn’t Norton, but was MyPC Backup. And this stinking software wouldn’t take no for an answer.
I uninstalled the spyware, but I’m highly disappointed in the fact that CNET has gone rogue. Not one thing indicated that their download manager would be installing two unauthorized apps. It was done completely in the background as a silent install. Only the symptoms of the spyware indicated something had been installed. And it’s all a ploy to spam in advertisements and trick users into signing up for substandard backup services. Not to mention that if a company is this underhanded in getting their software onto your computer, do you really want them to host your private data?
From this point on, CNET and Download.com are on my block list. Never again will I trust either of these sights and this is a good reminder for all of us. Use caution when visiting sites. In the quest for profits, even good companies can forget the value of customers and use unethical means to take advantage of trusting people. Welcome to the modern quest for profit
It doesn’t matter whether you think Zimmerman is a racist monster or just someone defending themselves, the outcry of protest can directly affect you. Public figures are demanding that he be re-arrested and punished for killing Trevon. Multiple leaders are actively calling for the government to step in and make right what they feel the jury got wrong. One group has put a ten-thousand dollar bounty payable to anyone who can perform a citizen’s arrest or give them his location so they can. Their plan is to arrest him and turn him over to the government with the demand for justice. Other leaders have echoed similar demands. Let’s consider the weight of these demands.
To understand this, let’s look at our civil rights that guarantee us a fair trial deliberated by their peers. Professionals execute the law and legal process, but common citizens are employed to weigh the evidence and either agree with the government’s accusation or setting the accused free.
All trials consist of the government accusing citizens of being lawbreakers, and jurors evaluating the evidence to see if that accusation is valid. The burden of proof is on the accuser – not the accused. A reasonable doubt is when the jurors view the evidence and ask themselves, “Did the state prove their accusation?” They are not declaring someone innocent, but not-guilty based on the evidence presented. Or guilty if the evidence rises to the level of the definition of the law.
Even if we think someone is guilty, it must be proven by the evidence. There are times when we disagree with the verdict, but we are not looking at the evidence presented to the jury. It is better for a guilty man or woman to go free than to establish a system that does not put the burden of proof on the accuser.
Now let’s consider what is being demanded in the Zimmerman case. The jury heard the evidence on both sides. One juror stated, “We felt Zimmerman showed very poor judgment and that he should be accountable for something, but based on the law and how it is written, we had nothing that rose to the level of the law.” She stated that they all agreed, based on the evidence the state presented, that the accused was not guilty of murder. They considered manslaughter as a lesser judgment, but the law didn’t apply to any of his actions.
This means that at best, the law should be re-evaluated, but we should never consider throwing out a jury’s decision. What angry protesters are demanding is that we toss out the jury and allow the state to be the accuser, the judge, and the jury. If we reject a jury’s verdict because we disagree with it, we would then be taking the burden of proof away from the state and allowing the accuser to be the one to evaluate their own evidence. Then there would be no accountability and no rights to the accused.
This does not only deal a blow to the one we are angry toward, but it strips all of us the right to a fair trial. When someone declares that they will not accept a jury’s verdict, but will rearrest the accused and turn them back over to the state again with the demand to set the Bill of Rights aside and become their own jury, this is also a surrender of everyone’s rights. Then when the state accuses someone of breaking the law, the state has no one standing between them and the accused demanding the evidence to prove their accusation.
Consider the oppressive governments throughout history. How many people died in labor camps in the Soviet Union? How many political prisoners have sat in China’s prison under communist rule? What about North Korea, Nazi Germany, and countless other oppressive governments throughout history. The only thing standing between us and that same fate is the enforcement of our Bill of Rights. Those who are now demanding to set aside those rights in order to go after Zimmerman only show the folly of the mentality of this generation. It only shows how little value we now place on freedom. If we surrender freedom for justice, we will no longer have the right to demand our own protection. Any accused by the system will have the burden of proof on them, rather than the state having the burden. And the state will not have to accept our evidence, for there will be no jury of peers to decide whether the state has proved their accusation.
Consider these things before you protest against our jury system.
Eddie Snipes 2013
At the age of seven I made an amazing discovery. While playing with a friend, we decided to throw rocks at a target. One rock caught my attention.
I hurled it and the weight of it struck me as unusual. After a few minutes fishing through the grass, I found it. Only it wasn’t a rock. I had discovered an old Civil War relic that had been uncovered when my father plowed the garden of our new home. More than a century earlier, bored soldiers had beaten some musket balls into squares and made dice out of them. Lost in time, the die had resurfaced in my imaginary war zone.
I showed my mother the discovery and she made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. “I’ll buy it from you for a dollar.”
“A whole dollar?” I said with excitement. She pulled it out of her purse and snapped it tight with both hands to show me all its glory. To a seven year old boy in 1971, that was a princely sum. I made the trade and started imagining coke, candy, and a comic book. Yes, in 1971 a dollar could buy all of these.
A few years later I began to understand the value of that relic, and I wanted it back. I offered her a dollar for it, but she refused. I went up to five dollars, but she wouldn’t budge. I protested that it was worth more than the dollar she paid. “You took advantage of me and it’s only fair that you sell it back,” I insisted.
“You didn’t have to sell it,” she said with a shrug. All of my pleading was repelled with her final statement, “A deal is a deal. I paid you for it and I’m not selling it back.”
I felt cheated. She knew I didn’t understand the value of money and it looked like she had swindled a seven-year-old out of a valuable relic of history. I complained a few more times over the next two years, and then resigned myself to my disappointment. It was a goner. I all but forgot about the relic.
Many years passed. I left home and joined the military, finished my service, married, and eventually bought a home and started my family. One day while visiting my mother, she handed me an envelope. I opened it and saw the old lead dice. “What is this for?” I asked.
“It’s yours. I’ve been saving it until you were settled in life. I knew you would lose it, so I bought it from you,” she explained. She wouldn’t even accept a dollar for it.
The truth is that I would have lost it – or traded it. The dice would have been lost again to the secrets of the ground if it had remained in my possession. If she had explained this years ago, I wouldn’t have agreed. So she was willing to let me think negatively of her actions in order to make sure I had it later in life when it would be cared for and safe from the wandering life of my youth.
If an earthly parent can do this, how much more is this true about our Heavenly Father. How many times do we lash out at God, distrust His intentions, and insist on our way. God isn’t moved from His plan. He stays the course because in the end, we will receive all good things from His hand when we are mature enought to receive it.
Faith isn’t needed when we see the end result. Faith is believing God is good, even when our limited perspective can’t see it. When I think He is taking or withholding from me, He’s actually preserving my good, preparing me to receive it, and waiting patiently for me to mature in the faith so I can see the value of His ways. Faith looks at what is lost and believes that because God is good, He intends something better. Faith says to release all into His trust. The end is what God has in mind. God is more willing to sacrifice His reputation in my eyes than to sacrifice my good in His eyes.
Trust not in what you see, but in His love for you. It may be days, years, or decades, but the end of faith is always God’s goodness. And if we have eyes to see it, the journey toward His good is paved with His joy.
Eddie Snipes 2013
Check out this semi-official looking letter I received from a scammer.
I see where there are a lot of consumer complaints of getting ripped off. I started to toss this, but then thought it might be a good reminder for all of us to resist the temptations of well crafted scams. Of course, this isn’t well crafted, but there are many that are.
The first rule of avoiding scams is: No company wants to give something away without an expectation of gain. Companies do offer giveaways, but these are always tied to publicity. They figure the cost of the prize is worth the buzz of excitement when customers come to their site to give their email addresses, phone numbers, or share the news with their social networks. This gives them free publicity or it expands their marketing lists for others who can be emailed or called later.
No one wins a contest without entering. Companies don’t comb through the phone book to look for someone at random and offer them a free prize with no strings attached. Here are a few more scams that people fall for that simply amazes me.
King Eddie from the Republic Zandazina Coganisia has gone into exile. He is trying to smuggle money out of the country and found someone who has the exact same name – yep, it’s me. Eddie Snipes has such a strong African ring to it, I should have known that I had royal ancestors in that country. All I have to do is give my bank account and he’ll wire millions to me. For my troubles, I can keep 10%. Either that, or he’ll just take 100% of my account for being stupid enough to give him my bank account.
I’ve also won the European lottery, British Lottery, and Irish lottery. Multiple times. This is impressive since I’ve never played the lottery. Call 1-800-GULLIBLE to claim your winnings.
The FBI asset recovery division has millions waiting for me to claim what some drug dealing relative has left behind.
Scams go on and on. Some are very creative. Some look like official emails from your bank warning you that someone has tried to rip you off. Now you need to click this link to verify your info and prove you are the owner. Of course, you are clicking on a link that is designed to capture your information.
Another one that floats around is Gerber’s desire to give their money to your baby’s college fund. All you need to do is provide your child’s date of birth, full name, and Social Security Number. Can you say, “Identity theft?”
The scam I received today was supposedly from US Airlines – a bogus company. Out of the goodness of their heart, they randomly found a citizen that they could give $1,350 worth of flight vouchers to. Other than the obvious – no company is itching to give away $1360 dollars, there are a few clues that show this to be a scam.
No address. No official company letterhead would fail to have a return address on the envelope and a corporate address on the letter. The letter has grammar problems and does not use accepted corporate styles – i.e., companies don’t use ‘th’ after the date numbers. There is no fine print or disclosures that are required by law. The letter gave no reference to any contest I entered or how they selected me. There are other issues, but you get the point.
The bottom line is, don’t respond. If you email back, you confirm your email as valid. If you call, they will record your phone number and try to capture personal info or sell you something.
Scams are designed to sound appealing. They will create fear in order to get a knee-jerk response, or greed to make you want what is being offered. You’ll be offered an iPad, latest phone, money, trips, or other winnings. Anytime someone asks for personal info or they require you to pay upfront, terminate communication immediately. No company will send you a legal notice by email. No legitimate company will call you to ask for PINs or account numbers. If you are in doubt, ask for a call back number and verify who you are talking to. Call your company and verify the number you have been given.
Finally, never buy a high priced item online for impossible discounts. I’ve seen people reposting this on Facebook: This company made a mistake and I bought an iPad for $49 dollars. Act fast before they fix it.
Facebook is a scammer’s paradise. Many links on the side or posts by friends take you to sites where you are fooled into logging in and providing your email address or Facebook account to a third party. A friend signed up for information on how to get free grant money. All they had to pay was shipping. Within a few days, five or six charges showed up on their credit card from various daughter companies. It took weeks to stop the charges from coming in.
One recent scam a family member connected to gave access to invite friends to join their ‘community’ through your email. It was made to look official and all you had to do was log into your email. But you are authorizing your account to this ‘community’ and now they will spam your friends with your email.
Use caution and be suspicious of everything online – unless you are certain you are dealing with a reputable company. Don’t be scammed.
Eddie Snipes 2013