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Posts Tagged ‘tech support’

The BCC Option In Your Email

July 2, 2010 1 comment

This post was updated & edited to include the cartoon from The Oatmeal (seen below) on January 5, 2011.

I recently got an email from a member of my shul (Jewish word for synagogue) who didn’t have a reason to know my personal email address as I’ve never emailed them and they’ve never emailed me before. The email was about the launching of their new business. Now while that email in of itself could be considered spam its content is NOT what this post is about.

This post is about people’s seeming lack of ability to use the BCC line instead of the TO line when sending a mass email. If you do not know what BCC means allow me to translate the abbreviation. It means “Blind Carbon Copy”. What this means is that every address you put in that line/box marked BCC is hidden from every other address you put in that box. I can only assume that this person who emailed me got my address from someone else who didn’t use the BCC and that is how your address spreads around the world.

That is also how your address gets to spammers and spyware mailing lists. Let me explain how that works. If one of the +150 people who were recipients of this email decide to hit the Forward button and send it to a bunch of their friends without using the BCC box and they further don’t take the time to delete my and all the other email addresses from the list at the beginning of the forwarded message my email address just got into another untold number of people I don’t know’s address books anywhere in the world. This is especially true if some of those people decide to repeat the forwarding process in the same manner. Now my email is out there and if one of those people gets a virus or spyware or is themselves a spammer guess who just made the list of people to email? Me and every other one of those +150 recipients of the original solicitous email. (Which, remember, was essentially spam in the first place).

To quote Wikipedia: “It is common practice to use the Bcc: field when addressing a very long list of recipients, or a list of recipients that should not (necessarily) know each other, e.g. in mailing lists.” See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_carbon_copy for more as it really does explain a lot about BCCing.

Maybe the problem is that people who aren’t technologically inclined and/or weren’t brought up using email simply don’t understand what they’re doing when they don’t use the BCC line and email en masse. I will try now to further explain it using more Baby Boomer/run of the mill technological concepts (as I jokingly did in a Twitter conversation – a tweetversation? – with @r_tania_n last night):
Would you want someone to start posting your phone number and address all around the world on walls in public places? Think about the guy from Lifelock who in commercials puts his Social Security Number on a cube van sidewall and has it driven around town. The reason the commercial makes a point is because usually this is info you don’t want everyone in the world to have. The same goes for your phone number(s). Sure most of our house lines and even lots of cell phones are in the phonebook and available on the internet in numerous places but we still don’t necessarily want people to have it stored in their address books (or written in their personal phonebook like my mom has kept for as long as I can remember near one of the phones in the house). This would be especially true if you knew telemarketers has webcams set up to rove the cities looking for phone numbers for them to call. There’s a reason countries have set up National Do Not Call Lists (American DNCL Canadian DNCL).

In conclusion please, people; please learn to use the BCC line & teach others who don’t know how to use it to use it too! (Or send them to this blog to teach them & get me more traffic).

[Above Picture via The Oatmeal “If You Do This In An Email I Hate You” Post here]

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Linksys wrt160n SERIOUS Issues! And their Twitter PR people are INCOMPETENT!

March 15, 2010 6 comments
I have loved using Linksys routers (made by Cisco) for a long time now and recently we bought a new router from Linksys to replace our old wrt54g – the wrt160n version 3.
A bunch of months ago – this goes back to at least Oct. 2009 – we began to notice that every so often our wrt160n would start redirecting us to weird places – going to http://www.Twitter.com would redirect us to some random “About Me” blog on blogger (and our browser would still think we were @ twitter.com). An example of this can be seen as recently as the writing of this post when I tried to find something on Twitter and this screenshot below was my result (obviously edited for privacy reasons) notice the address in the address bar):
Then in December Linksys-Cisco released a new firmware update for the router. I was overjoyed thinking that FINALLY they were going to be fixing this issue in the new updated firmware…Alas, it was not to be.
I found out recently that I am not alone! There is in fact a 7 page thread on the Linksys by Cisco forum all about this issue. The posters also talk about how they have spoken to Linksys tech support who denied knowing anything about the issue (and these instances even happened after other people had posted on the forum talking about talking to tech support and describing the problem). For the forum thread go to http://forums.linksysbycisco.com/linksys/board/message?board.id=Wireless_Routers&thread.id=146716&view=by_date_ascending&page=1
There have also been a number of other blog posts about this issue – see the blog posting by Jacob Friedman from Jan 28, 2010 on thenextweb.com @ http://thenextweb.com/us/2010/01/28/linksys-to-customers-enjo-our-new-random-page-function/ (he also says there is the same problem with the Linksys WRT310N version 2) and a post by Bill Gerrard from Feb 9, 20190 http://www.billgerrard.com/linkSys-by-cisco-wrt160n-wireless-internet-router-dns-resolver-flaw/
Someone on the LinksysByCisco forum also posted a feed of the redirect happening to them @ http://screencast.com/t/MzgyZmVhYzgt
These blogs and on the above mentioned forum thread all have suggested answers to the problem which include loading the DD-WRT firmware (found @ www.dd-wrt.com/) or switching your computer to a Static DNS so it doesn’t use the router’s DNS (which is obviously corrupted). The problem with the solutions above is that with DD-WRT is a firmware that is made by people other than Linksys and Cisco and while I know it is often seen as being a better option I don’t think I should be forced to go download firmware not covered under my Linksys Cisco warranty to make my Linksys Cisco product work properly. To the other solution, a Static DNS, what happens when other people are trying to use our network or we take one of our netbooks or laptops out of the house? What a pain that will become on both ends. Especially living with non-tech oriented people and being their sole tech support option and being blamed for any and everything that “goes wrong” with technology in the house even if it isn’t your fault!
When I tweeted about the issue a number of times on Feb 25th one of the first tweets reading:

“Serious DNS fubar w/ linksys wrt160n v3 & cisco unresponsive! See 6pg thread@ linksys forum http://is.gd/8LlJg- @theiprgroup @LinksysCanada

as you can see I tagged both @LinksysCanada (described on their own Twitter page as – Linksys by Cisco; Location Toronto, Canada; Bio News, conversation and updates from Linksys by Cisco Canada. Find us on Facebook – Linksys by Cisco Canada. Maintained by the PR peeps at the @theiprgroup) and @theiprgroup I got this nonsensical reply from them:

“I’m sorry you are having problems. What tool bar are you using?”

…Huh? tool bar? What tool bar am I using? I was so confused by this response I replied:

“not sure I undrstnd ur questn as to “What Tool Bar” Im usin. U mean Router FirmWare Version? The latest 1! Ver 3.0.02 B”

They then gave me this sage advice:

I think the best option to fix your problem is to go to http://www.linksysbycisco.com/CA/en/support
REALLY??? Great call PR group! You suggested I go to a site I have clearly already been to…or didn’t you follow the link my first tweets and read the tweet in its entirety…tweets are only 140 characters, they do not take a long time to read! But being the nice guy I am I decided I would respond to their ‘advice’ and explain to them again that:

I have already & so have many others discussin the issue on linksys’ forums See 6pg thread@ http://is.gd/8LlJg

No response from them.

So I sent two more tweets on the topic:

c the forum thread post #30 on 01-18-2010 thru #46 on 02-17-2010 4 diff ppl had linksys phone supp deny knowledge of the prob

consider thats just 4 ppl who posted on forum AND mentioned they calld tech supp prob many more calld linksys & heard denials

And still not a word from them til this day!
Also to this day Linksys-Cisco Tech Support is still DENYING that the problem is on their end – here is one of the latest posts by Ossmo02 posted at 2010-03-15 12:37 PM on the LinksysByCisco forum in the thread linked above and @ http://forums.linksysbycisco.com/linksys/board/message?board.id=Wireless_Routers&thread.id=146716&view=by_date_ascending&page=7 if you are feeling lazy:

just got off the phone with the tech support, they had me change the laptop DNS back to automatic & reset my router, it seems to be working, but we will see for how long. They said if it happes again it could be my ISP or browser, seems that has been ruled out here though.

Tsk, tsk.
Linksys and Cisco I think it is about time that you dealt with this issue! Release an upgraded version of the firmware already! OR admit that there is a problem with these routers and issue a recall. You also might want to look into the PR group you have hired who are taking care of your online presence and the level of incompetence with which they represent your company…you guys are a tech company remember? A tech company whose business is getting people online, networking, and using the internet.
UPDATE: More examples of the Twitter.com redirect which just happened again after a router reset – yes, this is how often it happens, within HOURS.
Here is the blog I am redirected to – notice how my address bar still says I am at http://www.twitter.com
And here is the “About Me” section from that blog. Who is this person? Notice how the “My Web Page” link which I have highlighted goes to some Twitter? Blogger? account with the name “yonemans”. Weird!
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