Google, What if I Don’t Have a Mobile Phone?

Dear Google,

You obviously don’t want to hear from me. Just trying to find a way to contact Google is time consuming and mostly a waste of that time. Even when you get email from Google they make it plain that Google is all “no reply” all day, all the time. See below, the return address is:

Google wants you to shut up and leave them alone

 

I only got this far after an hour of looking for some way to contact Google for help. In the past I have left notes for Google on their Twitter account, on their Google Plus accounts (more than one of them) and I have tried over and over and over to find a way to get help from Google about the problem of not having a mobile phone and not wanting to get one just to McHappy Google.

no mobile phone no googleFor at least two months Google Plus has offered me (to the point of nagging each time I open my G+ account) the option to have a custom URL. It is misleading. In fact, if you don’t have a mobile phone you can not have a custom URL. Of course, it does not mention the mobile phone requirement in the eligibility for having a custom URL. It should. In over two months I have tried various suggestions and ideas of my own and from other people and nothing has worked.

As frustrating as this is, the bigger issue is how long before you can’t access your Gmail (Google mail account) without verifying yourself with your mobile phone? I’ve been using Gmail since it began. I will be pretty aggravated the day I have to change all my email to something else just because I don’t want to spend upwards of $50 a month for a mobile phone I never wanted and won’t be using.

A lot of people do have a cell/ mobile phone. Not everyone. Personally, I’m not fond of the phone at all. I keep the landline out of obligation. Now and then family or friends phone. Mostly it’s sales calls so I just let them all go and listen to messages when I see the light blinking. Did you know computers are now leaving phone messages, long ones even! Incredible how marketing and sales are being allowed so much leeway.

Anyway, I am really frustrated with Google over this custom URL which they offer but don’t deliver. I’m concerned about the future even more. The latest thing with two way verification for accounts is all about the mobile phone. What happens if I don’t want a mobile phone? Google won’t answer. I know because I’ve been asking them for months and all I ever get are form emails with no-reply addresses.

Scream for help all you want – no one at Google wants to hear you.

On top of that. I just realized the irony of having set up the two way verification with my landline for my Google account (not the custom URL, just the access to my Google account itself). The irony of now having two way verification on my Google account is that I can only use it from my home computer. If I am out somewhere my account will be inaccessible. How is that for ultimate irony? My Google account is now immobile!!! 

 

Use CAPTCHA and Word Verification to Make Art

6975320_f260Next time you’re stuck trying to read the lines of word verification (CAPTCHA) somewhere think of a way to turn those words into something funny. Add an illustration. Make the word verification part of a cartoon.

I’ve done it. I did cheat a bit. I refreshed a Blogger blog until I felt inspired by the word verification that came up. Then I cut and pasted the letters, added my own text and my own art. I used a simple graphic program, nothing fancy.

It’s not terribly funny, the CAPTCHA art I created. I’ve found much funnier and far more clever art created with word verification on various sites online. But, I did it myself. Sometimes that’s kind of nice in itself.

CAPTCHA Art

The CAPTCHA Protest

word verification

I’m not a big fan of CAPTCHA and/ or word verification. It annoys me frequently. Many times I have chosen not to leave a comment on a site rather than deal with their word verification. It’s like going to visit someone’s house and being attacked by their dog at the door. Makes you feel unwelcome.

However, it’s not just blog comments that require word verification and CAPTCHAs now. If you register for a site, or sign up for an account you get stuck with verifying you are human too. (That’s the original purpose of CAPTCHAs and word verification). Well, as a human, I find I’d like a machine that could read and type in the word verification for me – cause I’m tired of trying to prove I’m a human.

word verificationI doubt anyone is ever glad to see word verification. But, we have come to see it as the standard pest we are forced to deal with. That’s fine when it’s simple, easy enough to read and understand. But, some sites really want you to jump through hoops.

I’ve had some ask me to do math. I dislike math and avoid it when I can.

Another asked me to do word verification, TWICE!.

Some sites will ask you to register – I never (or very rarely) do this. Why register for a site you have only visited once and may never come back to read again? Meanwhile, you give them your email address and any other information they expect from you. They can now take that information and sell it. Registering for one site to leave one comment can leave you getting a lot of spam in your email.

Other sites stick you with word verification and even then they hold your comment back until someone moderates it and actually lets it post. That is a bit much. Pick one! Either moderate your comments or leave on the auto pilot. I’m a bit insulted at your laziness in moderating the comments to your blog. Be assured, I won’t be leaving another comment cause I probably won’t read your site after that.

The latest trend I’ve noticed is the double word. Two words in one word verification. Now, it would be some small help if the two words made sense together. You might be able to use them to figure out what you need to type in. But, they almost never do. They are two random squiggly words instead of just one.

The irony of people relying on word verification is that it stopped working awhile ago. Comment spammers and others who want to post junk on your site have found ways to do so. They can get past word verification. Some use newer technology and others pay real people (they hardly pay them in reality) to type in the CAPTCHAS so the spam computer can leave comment spam. So the whole thing is a lost cause.

  • Petty Revenge for Annoying Word Verification | Word Grrls
    “…that gave me the idea of telling every blogger what their word verification says. If they want to inflict the thing upon me I will give them updates about how it is working.”
  • The Official CAPTCHA Site
  • CAPTCHA – Wikipedia

Alternatives to CAPTCHA

Writing Well

Originally posted to SuiteU, part of Suite101. SuiteU is being removed from the site. I wanted to save the ecourses so this resource would not disappear.

Writing Well

By Katherine Swarts

Introduction

Professional authors hear it on a regular basis: “I could write a book, too, if I had the time.” Obvious implication: writing is easy. Well, maybe writing is easy. But writing well definitely isn’t. Think back to your earliest school reports. Remember how your teacher insisted on seeing a rough draft before the final copy? And remember how you grumbled, “Why should I do all that extra work?”

Because writing is work. Authors know that. Other people tend to forget after graduating from research papers.

Okay, but you’re not an author, and you don’t care if your byline ever graces so much as a letter to the editor. So why should you bother improving your writing skills?

Because you still have to write: Friendly e-mails/Thank-you notes/Letters of complaint/Office memos/Business reports/You name it.

Read more

Linguistics and Semantics

From SuiteU. Saved before it disappears. More pages of links were included back to the course writer’s topic on Suite101 but all of those links were 404 so I have not tried to include them.

Linguistics & Semantics
By Antonella Sartor

Introduction

Have you never asked yourself what is the real meaning of ‘language’? (linguistics) Why the words change? (the semantic change) Why one word is pronounced in this way? (phonetic/phonology) What differentiate the languages of world, for example, English from Italian or English from French etc? (phonological rules) Which rules are necessary for word formation or sentence formation? (morphology and syntax) What rules govern people’s behaviour? (pragmatics and speech acts) How can we analyse a poem, a critical essay, a piece of narrative passage?(textual analysis) Which rhetorical figures are the most important? (metaphor, metonymy, connotation, denotation, simile etc)

Read more

What NOT to Do

Sometimes people do things they haven’t really thought through. I’m not immune to it. But, we should learn from the mistakes of others, especially the really bad mistakes.

Here are two I’ve come across recently:

I get a lot of these. The irony being that my contact form states pretty clearly that I don’t want guest posts. The reasons I don’t want guest posts are illustrated pretty clearly in this (above) image cut and pasted from my email account. Would you be interested in a guest post from this person?

Not only are there errors which spellcheck would have caught, but, this email is a duplicate to countless others I have received. They can’t read my note about guest posts – or choose to ignore it. They can’t write or spell. They do seem to love sending duplicate content however. So, I think this is a pretty glaring example of what NOT to do when asking to guest post.

Maybe it’s time to rethink your support plan when you give people a link claiming to be support but make it “noreply”. I do like the PHP Link Directory software and I want to consider doing more with it, but… this email promoting their new version wasn’t too smart. Yes, they give me links to follow but… I don’t want to follow links, I want to email someone. Unfortunately, not being able to email someone makes me feel they are very hands-off when it comes to support. This IS a BIG problem for me.

I don’t want customer support that sends me links to watch videos, or links to create a support ticket and get in line to wait for the auto rely… I want a human being to answer my email. I don’t mind if they take a few days to get back to me. However, in this case, there is no support. This is another example of what NOT to do when providing customer support.

The End Has Come and Gone

It’s ironic that they call it “She passed away” when someone has died. It’s not until the next week, the next month… that they really pass away, fall into the past.

It’s coming up to a month since Julie died. Today I heard that my cousin Jonathon died in December too, a week after Julie. Jonathon died on my birthday.

I’ve got a new calendar up, it started with January. December is gone. Julie and Jonathon are on the old calendar, the one I took down. At the end of your life you gradually become the past.

What are other terms people use to say someone has passed on? Do you find irony or some kind of dark humour in any of those, or something else you have heard?

The Week Behind

We had no furnace for almost a week. A chilly adventure. It’s fixed now, the house didn’t even take very long to warm up. The men were here most of the work day installing a new furnace and the new hot water tank which was required because the old one wouldn’t work with the new furnace. (I blame it on computer software).

Then, when it all seemed OK and the men had left in their  truck, the thermostat wouldn’t work. The heat started going down again and I could not turn it up. So, some phone calls, then one of the men came back. He looked it over and installed a new simple thermostat which doesn’t have PeakSaver (the fatal flaw which kept it from heating up the house). So a bit of complications, construction and now the house feels like a place fit for human habitation again.

I didn’t feel much like writing when my hands were frozen and the rest of me was cowering under blankets. But, I did sew. There’s some irony in there, somewhere. I’ve set myself to make seven Christmas stockings. I want to get them done in time. I also want them to look nice, maybe even clever.

So that’s how my week has been going.

What would you write about your own week, if you were to write a short note about your week on impulse and without any planning ahead?

If You’re so Smart, Why are you Pissing Off your Readers?

These are things that REALLY bug me about blogs I go to read for the first (and likely only) time. The irony is, these are polished and professional looking blogs by people who want to give me advice about how to blog. Maybe they should rethink that!

Video posts – I don’t want to wait for them to load. I don’t want to listen to someone talk when I could read about it and take my time to understand what they are saying. Also, since I changed from Windows to Linux I have no sound on my computer. Someday I will fix that. But, I like a silent computer so I’m hardly in any rush. I’m not the only one who can’t see or hear your video for various reasons that may have nothing to do with a disability, being deaf or blind. Some people may be at work, others may be at home with small children napping, there are all kinds of reasons your video posts may be an unfortunate means of expression.

Comment Moderation – Any type of comment moderation that requires me to do anything beyond typing in my name and email (blog link is my choice) bugs me. The more I have to do the more annoyed and angry I get. I DO NOT want to sign up or register for ANYTHING. I won’t give out my email address to any comment service just so I can leave a comment on a blog I am not likely to visit again.

Comment Moderation (Word Verification and CAPTCHAs) – There should be a special place in hell for people who use this nonsense. It is outdated! Spambots have figured out work around and can leave comments on your blog. The only real comment moderation is to do it yourself. Choose the comments you will post and delete the rest. It’s that simple AND I don’t have to try reading some distorted text in order to comment on your blog.

Pop Ups – I know many of you were not around for the war against pop ups years ago. So, I try to take that into consideration. However, I really do get impatient and sometimes quite annoyed when I come to a blog for the first time and I am bombarded with a pop up telling me to subscribe to your blog, buy your ebook, etc BEFORE I have even read a single post on your blog. Back off! Do you really need to look this desperate? Let me find out who you are and what you have to say. How else will I know if I want to hear more?

Flash and other bloated scripts – People who use this must want to drive away readers. Are you assuming everyone buys a new computer each year or that we all want to sit here 10 minutes doing nothing or are you just an evil minion sent here to cause my computer to freeze up? Either way, piss off (to be perfectly blunt).

Doing any one or a combination of these things does not make you look very smart to me.

I do not write this to be nasty but at the time of writing this I am really pissed off with a blog that broke three of these reasons/ rules and caused me to sit here with my computer frozen for 15 minutes while I waited for the script in her pop up window to let me kill her damned video post which opened automatically when I came to her site.

Lava Doesn’t Care if it Hurts Your Feelings

Sometimes odd phrases just pop into my head. They don’t make sense in a logical way, but they reflect my sense of irony and personal logic. Today I’ve been watching a marathon of TV shows about geography of the planet.

Chances are people assume geography is about knowing where places are, like towns and countries. That’s only a small part. Geography is as vast as our planet, it is the study of our planet, the elements that create our planet and continue to change it. I love the science of geography. Everyone should take a moment to think about geography once a day, it keeps you humble to know we mean nothing to the planet we live on. That must be why “lava doesn’t care if it hurts your feelings” popped into my head this afternoon and made me laugh.

Geography (Definition from Dictionary.com) –

the science dealing with the areal differentiation of the earth’s surface, as shown in the character, arrangement, and interrelations over the world of such elements as climate, elevation, soil, vegetation, population, land use, industries, or states, and of the unit areas formed by the complex of these individual elements.

Draw the globe, the world with it’s land masses, as correct as you can by memory. Start without looking at anything, just to see what you can do. Do you remember what the world looks like?