Oakwood files bogus DMCA takedown notice

I sympathize with neighborhood listserver moderators. I know what they deal with, having moderated a handful of East Raleigh neighborhood lists for several years. It’s not easy keeping certain topics from exposing strong opinions and blowing up into a major snit. This is especially true with the listserver of a nearby neighborhood, Historic Oakwood, full of very passionate citizens.

Recently it came to light that someone was reposting snippets from this neighborhood’s listserver onto a Twitter called OakwoodListserv. The listserver moderator complained that the account violated the listserver’s terms of use and so the account should be removed. These terms, adopted in October 2013, prohibit reposting list content in other forums without the author’s permission.

These rules are prudent and understandable. Listserver moderators have the right to regulate what goes on on their lists and to expect list members to abide by certain standards. I get that because I’ve done it myself for years. I’ve regretfully had to kick certain members off my lists because they couldn’t behave.

It’s what I didn’t know until today that gives me pause. On March 4th, someone representing the neighborhood filed a DMCA complaint against the mocking Twitter account, claiming copyright infringement. Twitter subsequently deleted the account and there would be no trace of it today save for the DMCA abuse-tracking website Chilling Effects. Here’s the complaint as posted by Chilling Effects:

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Translating Time Warner Cable’s excuse for hiking rates

In my latest cable bill, Time Warner Cable included a letter that justified its recent attempt to raise the cost of my Earthlink Internet service by 38%. Let’s take a look at it, shall we?


Important information about your account.

Thank you for being a Time Warner Cable customer. We appreciate your business and hope you’ve been enjoying your services.

Oh, I’m sure you appreciate my business. If there’s one thing in my life that gives me warm fuzzies, it’s the cable company!
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in Rant | 458 Words

Chase expired my credit card without warning

As MT.Net readers are aware, Target recently suffered a massive security breach when hackers stole millions of credit card records. Banks dutifully responded by issuing new credit cards to their customers.

I was surprised to get new credit cards in the mail recently as we’ve not seen any fraud with our account. Kelly mentioned a friend’s replacement cards coming with a warning that her friend’s old card would expire in 30 days. We both groaned at the thought of updating all of the automatic payments that are linked to our old card. It would take great effort to track them down and update them.

“Well, we don’t seem to have any expiration on our old card,” I said after thoroughly reading the letter that came with our replacement cards. It seemed we had some time to shift our accounts over after all.

We used our old cards every day since then until today when the card stopped working. I called up Chase, the issuer of our card, to figure out what was up. After wading through a voicemail menu that is maddeningly frustrating, a rep named David Norris came on the line.

“The old account number you had is no longer a valid card, sir,” he answered.
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Time Warner Cable raising Internet rates 40%

As a customer of Earthlink’s cable modem service, I’ve been happy being relatively immune to the frequent and outrageous price hikes imposed by Time Warner Cable on its customers. I’ve heard grumblings recently from my friends unfortunate enough to still be Time Warner Cable customers that their Internet rates were going up. Thinking I was once again free from this nonsense, I chirped at how my rates weren’t rising.

Then a friend pointed out the insert in this month’s bill, clearly stating that, yes, my rates would be going up. How much, you say? By thirty-eight percent!

That’s right: Internet service that has been $41.95 per month would now be $57.99, an almost 40% jump in one month.
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Coca-cola ad causes some heads to explode

I didn’t watch the Superbowl yesterday because professional football kind of bores me. Last night’s blowout of Denver by Seattle makes my choice seem justified. Plus, what does it say when all anyone wants to talk about is the Super Bowl TV commercials?

Apparently Coca-cola struck a nerve in some when they had the audacity to air a commercial with brown-skinned people singing America the Beautiful. Yes, even this patriotic song by Katherine Lee Bates and Samuel A. Ward is causing some conservatives to flip out. Why? Who the hell knows?

I’ve been seeing responses on the Desert Storm Veterans Facebook page that just make me want to smack my head.

Here’s one pic from Facebook that’s been making the rounds:
"Hey Coke! No American Solider [sic] has ever served his Country so that we could hear America the Beautiful in another language during our Superbowl! Big Mistake.. big, big Mistake!"
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No, dogs are NOT people

This is not a person

This is not a person

At a dog adoption event last weekend, the governor’s wife, Ann McCrory, explained her philosophy about training dogs. She said “consistency is key.”

“It’s no different from raising children,” she said, “making sure they eat properly and don’t go into the kitchen like my husband and take chocolate chip cookies by the handful.”

Now, I have a lot of sympathy for Mrs. McCrory; it can’t be easy being an introvert in such a high-profile position not of your choosing. I also know this might have made sense in its particular context. Yet with all due respect for Mrs. McCrory, she has no experience with raising children and has no real idea what she’s talking about.

Back during a May public hearing on Raleigh’s dogs-in-parks problem, one speaker ended her statement with this gem. Whatever points she had just made in her statement flew completely out of my mind:

“Remember, all dogs are people in innocent little fur coats.”

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Shutdown leaves poor hungry

Yesterday, Ligon Middle School’s PTA sent an email to parents titled “Donations needed:”

About 40 of our students who receive free lunch have fallen through a Federal crack and have lost their lunches for about a week. If anyone would like to donate, Mrs. Avery in student services is collecting money to cover their lunch.

Out of all the train wrecks this federal shutdown has caused, it’s this one that makes me the angriest. The morons in charge of the House of Representatives are playing a political game while kids who depend on the government for their lunches are going hungry. Oh, and the NSA contractors are still getting their $200k salaries, drone strikes are continuing, and some of our … uh, enlightened Congressional representatives refuse to give up their pay.

Real people are being hurt by this stunt and many more real people will be hurt if those who have held our government hostage succeed in pushing the United States to default. Voters will not forget this. I know I won’t.

Update 10:26: Ligon parents have done what House Republicans can’t do and paid for the kids’ lunches. Hooray!

We would like to thank everyone for their generous contributions to the lunch money fund. Ligon families are the best. We currently have enough money to cover the needed lunches.

Distracted driving day

As if to prove yesterday’s point about distracted driving, on my way home from work I had the unfortunate luck to be driving next to a young woman busy texting. Her car was weaving over both sides of her lane, on Wade Avenue, nontheless, where opposing traffic whizzes by only a foot or two away. I honked the time she nearly nudged me off the road and spent the rest of my drive glowering at her in my rear-view mirror, hoping she had enough sense to notice if I stopped.

I have never before called the cops on anyone texting while driving but I swear that drivers doing this might as well be driving drunk. The next dumbshit driver that weaves into my lane, hunched over his or her phone, is going to be promptly referred to authorities. I don’t feel like playing Russian Roulette on the roads anymore.

Warner Herzog created a short, powerful film that addresses this texting problem. I’m going to make sure our kids see it.

Tigo no go


I plan to post a follow up to my solar PV post with a few more things you probably didn’t know about solar but that’s not this post. Instead, I want to rant if I may on one particular piece of my solar setup that annoys me.

It should seem pretty obvious that shade is the enemy of a Solar PV installation. That’s fine, you might say, but what if my panels are only partially shaded? Well, in an array of panels a few shaded cells can muck up the power supply far more drastically than it would at first seem. This paper sums up what happens:

In a series connected solar photovoltaic module, performance is adversely affected if all its cells are not equally illuminated. All the cells in a series array are forced to carry the same current even though a few cells under shade produce less photon current. The shaded cells may get reverse biased, acting as loads, draining power from fully illuminated cells. If the system is not appropriately protected, hot-spot problem can arise and in several cases, the system can be irreversibly damaged.

Irreversible damage? To my expensive solar installation? Yikes! What can we do?
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Hertz rips me off again

At the end of our recent vacation to Wisconsin we dropped off our Hertz rental car at the Minneapolis airport and gathered our belongings. The Hertz attendant smiled as he approached.

“Good afternoon, sir,” he said. “Our receipt print-out takes a while. If you want you can get a receipt at the desk.”

“Ok,” I responded and let him do his inspection, thinking nothing of it. We left the city without a receipt for our Hotwire-paid car.

I should have known better. Hertz socked us with a gas bill of over $90, in spite of filling up the car only minutes before.

This is the second time Hertz has ripped me off by charging me for a phantom tank of gas. Hertz is a lying, dishonest company and I won’t be giving them any of my money ever again.