KAT Elite Mod

The Pirate and the PayPal Robocop

465 views    47 comments    posted:    
Well, perhaps I should say, Two Pirates, a Robocop and Optimus Prime! I have a tale to tell you, and it's a true story, about what happens when big corporations put technology to the test and replace their real customer service cops with technological marvels, and when modern day pirates lose their Black Pearl in a "shuck and jive" with a Middle Eastern/Oriental pirate with more chutzpah than a gorilla dude in the mating season!

By now, I think some of you know about my unfortunate encounter with another giant of industry here in the US, the United Parcel Services company, which graciously offered to ship my ailing computer to California, so that my son could repair it. Basically, my computer disappeared in the hold of their massive trucking fortress, and is now enjoying a new life in one of their pirate's little cove. Needless to say, they also got all my booty! Over 9K in books, 3 TB worth of data (books, movies, music, stupid jokes, funny pictures, questionable pirate trinkets). Everything. I have to chalk that one up to Pirate Karma. I'm still recovering from it, begging people daily for replacement copies of my precious books.

But that's really just the Preface to this Tale! My son replaced my lost computer for Valentine's Day, and Mama's got a brand new bag! My Black Pearl was replaced with a White Swan, and she was on the water, flags flying on Tuesday morning, February 16th. And that's when the pirate princess encountered the pirate from the far seas... or rather, his Trojan, who slid down the ropes into my Hold while I was trying to bring on a cute little app that makes pretty pictures on my Windows Media Player. I had even PAID for that app last year sometime... I was just getting a replacement copy for it by email. The foreign invader just slid in with the friend I invited, set up shop and proceeded to destroy my Windows 10 OS. It was very effective - my boat sank in about 10 minutes.

Okay, that's not the end of the tale! The Trojan put a Ransom Note up on my screen as my computer lay dying. It even came with a verbal announcement. The pirate was demanding that I call an (800) number and talk to a Microsoft Tech IMMEDIATELY because my IP had been compromised, and my bank records, all my data and my underwear were all compromised. The (800) was provided, of course... and being as my underwear is important to me, to say nothing of my White Swan...I called that damn number. LOW AND BEHELD! I got a Chinese (he sounded oriental) guy on the line, who lied like a rug and said he was with Microsoft, who said he could help fix up my PC... which by then was already going down, with water rising over the gunwhales... and he proceeded to give me a salesman's pitch about what the Trojan had done to my OS (he certainly knew that well), and how much it was going to cost to save it. He wanted $299.95 to restore my OS and raise my boat from Davy Jones Locker!

I put a halt to that in 5 seconds, but I was also desparate.. my PC was done for... I was lost. He talked me into allowing him to connect with my PC, and then HE connected my PC to PayPal on the Internet using Teamviewer... while my boat was bubbling at the bottom of the waves. Well, I didn't have 10 cents to my name at that point.. midway into the mizzens during a short month with nothing but a cheesy government pension check (long gone). But I let him TRY to charge me $20 American - he said he would take HALF ... he wanted at least $40!

And into my world peers the PayPal Laviathan...a robocop with the power to grant "mercy" to the likes of me. Voila! Pirate Vita Wangdopple from the Far Seas of.. I'm guessing, India? gets what he thinks is $20 American to "fix my computer", my fair White Dove, which he'd just sunk beneath the waves!

Well... he spent the whole day, literally, trying to do that - but he did such a good job of blowing a hole in my hold that he couldn't raise her! Eventually, I had to call the computer manufacturer to get help. I had a Windows 10 Reapir Disk.. but I couldn't get the computer to run the disk in the DVD drive! It had a Magic Access Code! OMG.. the boat builder put a magic spell on the OS repair disk! There's wizards in this story too! But I tell you this - I got the Master Wizard on the phone! He talked me through that damn magic spell - and all I had to do was press the space bar ONCE to get my dying computer DOS to grab that DVD and fire up that Windows 10 OS repair. 15 minutes later, my boat came flying out of the water, birds singing on the mast arms, rainbows bursting from the sea... and I was GOLDEN!

And there was the PayPal Robocop, grinning like he did something.... but what he did was to pay that friggin pirate from Gazonga the $20 that I didn't have to pay him to go away. And after that, it was time for war. I spent the last week dueling with PayPal's autopilot "Customer Service" over a dispute about the payment... but Optimus Prime backed me up.

My credit union defended me, blocked PayPal from getting the $20 from my bank, blocked the other pirate from getting anything from my bank, and they gave me a new booty bag (a new VISA debit card), and finally a new bank account. They also lectured me on the foolhardiness of sailing in foreign waters without protection, blah blah blah - and told me I better never do it again.

But the end of this tale is better than the start of it! I had filed a dispute with Paypal over this fight, and I had to deal with their Robocop threats and admonishments because I didn't have the $20 to give that blithering Chinese/East Indian pirate - and all the robot cared about was getting their $20 back. But since I had tweaked the hinny of the high-n-mighty PayPal, I got the attention of some real human beings over there, and my repeated insults to their robot about the $20, and who is the REAL VICTIM in this duel with the devil, they figured ut that they were NOT gonna get their $20 back from ME, cuz Optimus Prime was standing right behind me with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face. AND THEY BACKED DOWN! Paypal agreed to "refund" my $20 (remove the $20 charge from my completely empty PayPal account, and put away their Robocop!

My White Swan is up and sailing, my arsh is out of their gun sight crosshairs, and that smart-arse Trojan Pirate from over yonder didn't get a DIME for his efforts! And THAT is the fairytale end of the story!

Why do you engage in piracy? Why indeed! Seems we do a lot of soul searching on this

1267 views    143 comments    posted:    
Well, here's my answer...

Let's look at this question closely, shall we?
First, what IS piracy? Well, that depends on who's doing the talking, partly, and also who is defining the term.
By definition, "piracy" is theft. Internet piracy is the theft of intellectual property.

What does piracy cause to happen? A LOT of grief, for those whose property has been stolen...and a good deal of resentment & anger for those who have lost what is theirs.
The unspoken element in this kind of transaction is the 3rd.. the reason that people decide to engage in the risky business of piracy. The WHY....

Now THAT is a complex question, involving moral judgments, as well as practical considerations.

Historically, the incidence of piracy as a social phenomenon tends to rise during periods of great inequality among peoples. When the large majority of people are able to find work for pay, and get adequate pay to meet their living needs with something left over for "wants", then piracy is not as popular. But when governments engage in practices that force people out of work, force more of us into impoverished conditions, or simply miserable conditions, we become angry and we take action to improve our lot in life by means that are not sanctioned or appreciated by those who hold the power to rule, or the monetary power to buy whatever they want and live as well as they like.

Piracy is a defining statement of the extent to which our societies have become polarized between the "Haves" and the "Have-Nots" ... between the "rich", and all the rest of us.

Piracy is a declaration of war against institutions and societies which engage in willful oppression of the Common People through political and economics systems that deny decent people the chance to survive, and to live well... and to meet our needs in ways that are sanctioned by our society & our government. Basically, if "they" will not allow us to earn our way in life and to live decently, respectably, to engage in sanctioned barter for the goods in our lives, then eventually "we the people" must resort to piracy to get what we need, to have the life we are denied, the "Good Life" - by the arrogant few who are holding the majority of the world's wealth.

YES, piracy robs the starving artists, the writers, the performing artists the wages they deserve to receive for their efforts. But piracy is merely a fraction of what is being stolen from them by the governments which oppress us, and the societies which are set to function as discriminating centers of privilege and inequality.
So Ultimately, the shoe must fall on the other foot.

Everyone knows the "old saw," "Which came first, the burglar or the law man?" I think we all need to recognize that laws, and lawmen, are the products of governments, and societies, which promote, maintain and abuse the common people to their own benefit, and to our suffering and our loss. So it it NOT just the artists, the performers, and the writers who are suffering from the conditions which result from piracy, from theivery, from rebellion against the "rich".

No man gets into Heaven, but on the arms of a Brother.. and we all suffer.. ALL OF US, from the conditions which cause piracy. And those conditions originate in the halls of our Congresses, and our Palaces. When my brother sits down to dine at his feast, while all his cousins, nephews, and common folks outside his doors have no bread to eat, and no warmth from the winter chill, then the conditions have been set for anarchy and rebellion.

Piracy is, essentially, a declaration of war against the unfairness and inequality of our societies, where the Rich Get Richer, and the Poor can go to Hell. And THAT is why most of us do not feel the least bit guilty about engaging in it!

So, I want to watch the latest Star Wars video on my new HD TV... but....

861 views    43 comments    posted:    
Well, first (of course) the newest Star Wars film won't be out in retail HD DVD (Blu-ray) until April or May, so patience is a virtue. I'm glad that I got to see it in the theatre during Christmas week. Nothing beats a real theatre experience, at least for me. But as I was checking out the retail options for a version that I can watch on my new monitor, I hit a snag.

I do not yet own a Blu-Ray video player. I've got my old DVD player, but never had the funds or the need to upgrade to Blu-Ray, and now it looks like I'll have to have one to play the DVD version, unless I can download it here when it becomes available. I've downloaded a couple HD TV 1080 films from here, and I know I've watched a couple on that new monitor. But I'm nervous about this new Star Wars film. I'm concerned that it will be so huge that I won't be able to use my PLEX app to view it from my hard drive. So now I'm thinking about buying a Blu-ray player from Best Buy, or someplace on the Internet. I was checking prices yesterday, and I discovered that there are some available for $100 to $200. That's a lot better than the $350 to $500 that was the norm a few years ago. Maybe I can get one this spring, before Star Wars VII comes out in retail. (Crossing my fingers!)

My New Year Resolution .... I Solemnly Swear to be More Careful

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Much of my life, I've not had much in the way of material comforts. I have always been the kind of person is more interested in experiencing life by going places and doing things, learning about the world's history and cultures, and when not doing that, I've had my nose buried in one book or another. I've learned a lot, and despite my relative poverty, have seen quite a bit. Of course, that is not to say that I've been all over the world, or gone sky diving or deep sea diving either. Being born into relative poverty didn't give me many options to explore my potential.

But here I am, approaching my Event Horizon, and in the glimmer of the setting sun, who should show up in my little corner but my son, home to visit for the first time in a decade or more. He stayed for a week, visiting with my youngest daughter and me, and with her kids & their boyfriends (she has 3, ages 21, 17 and 10). So .. 2 boyfriends, and a smart aleck grandson I have, but we had a family reunion that was wonderful. He brought his youngest daughter with him for this visit.

However, in addition to all that, my son decided to give me a Christmas gift - whatever it might be that I want. (I think he may have thought I would ask for a new computer, since I'm often complaining about needing repairs on it). But what I wanted most was a GOOD TV... an HD wide-screen "smart TV" monitor. And so.... That is what he got me! Hurrah! I can't believe it... Oh dear, now I need to lock my front door when I go to the store, and I can't just throw the box for it outside with the trash... in full view of everybody who drives by my place here.... to announce what I have inside that would make it worth somebody's time to break & enter, and rob me of my funky ole PC and my dazzling new HD monitor!

So, today I was reading "The Spirit Level - Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger" by Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett... and I've been reading Mark Howard's "Mr. Nice" - the autobiography of a kingpin dealer of "magickal herbs and nature's weeds" who spent 10 years of his life in a maximum security prison, and also reading some of Terry Eagleton's "On Evil". You know... keep up with current social trends...

Nobody could claim that my home country is the warm and loving "brotherhood-of-Man" that we were "Back in the Day"... we've become a people living in fear, not trusting one another, and not taking care of one another the way we did back in the 1950s & 60s, or before that. Because we have become a society that is rife with inequalities, where the "rich get richer", and the poor get poorer, where the Middle Class is disappearing into it's own navel, all of us are afraid of losing what we have to someone else here who doesn't have as much as we do. Like that quote from American film, "The Fly" (the phrase originated in the 1986 horror film The Fly), "Be afraid, be very afraid," we're all of us becoming afraid of one another...we don't trust our neighbors anymore. That's what a society buried in economic and social inequality becomes - paranoid and mean.

So now, I have to start being a lot more careful, because now I have something to lose (not much... one HD TV monitor and one old computer is hardly a bonanze, but still...). I was responding to someone's concerns here today about now living in the USA, and being concerned about downloading movies, books, and music from here... "Is it SAFE to do that?" he asked. HELL NO it isn't safe, not here in the USA, where the government is, apparently, (if Mark Howard's assessment of our penal system and our government's treatment of it's prisoners ...some of which may be political prisoners and not simply criminals... is to be believed. Shudder.... Life in America, ya gotta love it! Right? We gotta love it.. we "Goldurn better love it, or ELSE!" EEP!!!

My Older Torrents - RE-UPLOADS and Torrent Deletions

308 views    13 comments    posted:    
I've been getting a few requests here lately to RESEED some of my old Christmas music torrents -- I'm talking about torrents that I uploaded here at KAT 3 or 4 years ago! Okay, so I am RE-UPLOADING those torrents. I am NOT attempting to "re-seed" a torrent that is 3 or 4 years old (or more).

I may not be very talented at making an old torrent work as well as it did when it was first uploaded. I've tried various ways to get an old torrent to work in my utorrent client, and somehow they never seed. They start over as a download, instead, which means that nobody gets the music, including me. SO.... PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT AS I respond to requests for reseeds on OLD torrents, I am uploading NEW torrents to replace them. As I do this, I am DELETING THE OLD TORRENTS, so we don't see 2, 3, 4 copies of the same torrent files up here when we go "shopping". IF YOU ARE WAITING FOR A RESEED ON ONE OF MY OLD TORRENTS, PLEASE LOOK IN THE NEW MUSIC OR BOOKS TORRENT LISTING FOR IT.

Please do NOT complain to me that I have deleted the torrent you are trying to get a reseed for! I delete the old torrent AFTER I re-upload it for you. (And thanks for your patience!)

Digital Music for Christmas - Cover Art and Sound Spectrum Visuals - What a Joy!

311 views    30 comments    posted:    
I love looking at new album art! I use Windows Media Player still, because I can watch each new album cover pop up on the screen as the album plays.... and I can look at ALL the album art for all my songs on the Media Player database display. Album art can be so awesome... sometimes it's awful, of course, but mostly, it's just awesome.

A few days ago, I acquired a new skill! I learned how to put the album art into every song file! I use a program for that... "Tag & Rename" .. but I can also do it from inside my Streaming Audio Recorder app, which lets me add the album cover to each song as it records them. Then I can choose a cover for the album as a whole (if I'm doing a whole album). Digital heaven! Every song pops its cover in Windows Media Player as it plays. Love it!

But right NOW, my newest toy for the Media Player is the Sound Spectrum "Winter Wonder 2015" Visualization program! It's made to run with Windows Media Player, but it will run solo on my desktop too, if I want.. with a strip down one or both sides of my monitor running the visuals. Sound Spectrum runs their audiovisual programs from their computers, so it has to connect to their website (no sweat), but the visuals are computer generated, using algorithm-based digital variations. I know y'all know about that stuff... it's been around awhile, but I think it's still the most amazing thing to watch. This season's "Winter Wonders 2015" app generated a great variety of visual scenes, some whimsical, but most of them just plain beautiful to watch... some with photos of snowy mountain scenery and snow falling, some with ethereal Christmas trees with a star on top.. all kinds of stuff. The program was inexpensive to buy (and I can't imagine bootlegging it, frankly, cuz it has to run thru Sound Spectrum's server, so I don't think you can get the "handshake" for that without the license). But anyway, it's great fun to watch, and I just love the Album Art popping over it for a minute. Fun fun fun!

I can feel the Spirit ! Suddenly this morning... uploading Music Box Nutcracker Suite, and...

187 views    12 comments    posted:    
It hit like a snowball in the face this morning.

It's cold ... real cold here... and we've had snow on several days lately, the mountains are covered. (ok, that's "relative".. I am feeling the cold .. but I am sure some of you would think I'm a whiner)

I've received a "Reseed request" for my Porter Music Box "Sounds of Christmas" torrent this morning, so I uploaded the Porter Music Box "Nutcracker Suite" album, as well as restarting the "Sounds of Christmas" torrent. But to do that, I had to look up information on Tchicovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" history... and BOOM ... the "spirit" just came in with a rush. ***sigh***

SO.. we now have 2 music box collections for the holidays up, before long, we'll have Windham Hill's "Thanksgiving" album ... a classic that I was able to buy NEW from Amazon yesterday. I'm waiting for that to arrive around November 30th. I'll upload it soon as I get it. I was pulling together all my Windham Hills music albums yesterday, to see what I got, and I discovered that I now have 25 Windham Hills albums. I tried downloading the Windham Hills Chill (2 CD) album from KAT yesterday, but it's a dead torrent, so I went to Amazon, and "Amazing Grace !!!" they have the CD (used). I'll hve that one soon here, and I will re-upload that album here to replace that defunct torrent.

But what I'm really excited about is uploading my entire Windham Hill collection. I think I'll upload that today separately from the Thanksgiving and winter "Chill" albums. Can't wait for those to arrive, but since they won't be here for a week or so, I'll share what I have for the moment..... Oh! And many thanks to SirSeeds for sharing with me his Windham Hills First Ten Years (2 CD) album - that I discovered 2 days ago (but he uploaded it back in January). I'm a little slow sometimes here.

Coping with my VPN - a new lesson in Torrent Design (or.. "NOT AGAIN!")

1023 views    62 comments    posted:    
Okay, so I've been around and around on this weird little problem with torrent corruption... you know.. where you create a nice torrent to share, then you upload it to KAT, and then you discover it got corrupted going from A to B?... Then 15 minutes later you start getting complaints, and requests to Reseed?

Well, I have sorted the issue out! I use PIA VPN... like most of us here, I suspect. Sugar, let me share a little secret with you about Private Internet Access VPN. It's a good VPN service. No complaints there... but I think they are overwhelmed by SO MUCH interest from the KAT community...

VPN can't keep up with the traffic well when I upload a LARGE... (we are talking BIG here) collection of books (not sure what they do about music, videos, etc.).... repeatedly here lately, I've discovered my torrent corrupted, books dropped... Go figure! Also, I've had some complaints about my torrents uploading at "snail speed". I have a fast ISP... when the VPN is turned OFF, it works like a charm! (My security and safety from the Inet Copyright Pol Hounds is non-existent, but my torrents upload like rockets). Sigh.... moving right along, I can't go without the VPN (for which I am paying every month *grrrr*). SO... I have found a solution to this issue.

I DON'T create book torrents from INSIDE my Calibre database files! And I don't create large scale torrents anymore. I do more work, and I put the torrent file (meaning the file with the books in it) ON my DESKTOP. I'm not certain how much faster my uploads may be with the VPN in between Points A and B, but I am hoping that my torrent flow is better now... and MOST importantly, that my torrents are not being corrupted by the VPN. Waiting to see how it goes from here. PRIVATE INTERNET ACCESS needs to deal with their servers, or their network protocols, or something~ to improve their traffic handling!

Knowing when to quit - The heartache of "hoarding"

777 views    70 comments    posted:    
Here lately, I'm feeling the chill a lot more than I used to, when I was young and vibrant. I think that the problem is I'm too sedentary... need to get up and go do stuff.. get the blood circulating. But it's hard to get motivated sometimes.

Here lately, I've come to the realization that I just have way too many books, way too much music, and not enough time in what's left of my life to ever read them all, listen to them all, or even manage all the stuff I've got in my PC hard drives.

It's awesome to be able to find so much that looks interesting here at KAT. I've loved tons of it. But after all the issue I went through with Blue Screen crashes here lately, I realize that having all the stuff on my PC that I have doesn't mean I will be able to get into it, actually read it or listen to it - especially if the PC fails. I can't save everything to DVDs or CDs - that would just move all the stuff from one box to many in my house. Time to make some tough decisions, and delete some stuff. For the last few days, I've been going thru all my ebooks (and MAN do I have a lot of them) - deleting duplicates (triplicates, multiples). I've sure made a lot of work for myself. I'm having to give some serious thought to what I really want to read here lately. And the same applies to music. Gonna toss all those trance albums. I'm way to old for Trance & Dance music. LOL Sigh... Is SO easy to become an "info hoarder". (I'd like to think I'm NOT a "hoarder personality," but as it turns out, I have an addiction here that I have to deal with. I'm not in favor of addictions. They are a bain of existance, I think - a sign of something wrong somewhere in one's spirit that needs attention, and fixing.

Fall is my favorite season - I love Halloween, and Thanksgiving

195 views    36 comments    posted:    
I wish I could say the same for Christmas ... I certainly used to love Christmas, but over the years (lots of years), as my family faded away into the distance, and I don't see them during the holidays because their lives are too "full" with "important activities, and important people".... I have become lonely at the Christmas season. Here lately, I've stopped putting up a tree, or doing anything for the day, except that I still pray, and thank God for my life. Yes, I am still Christian, no I don't think you need tinsel and presents to be thankful for all the joys you've had in life, and some of the sorrows (not all tears are for losses).

Anyway, Fall is the season when we can go outside comfortably in light jackets and sweaters... the flies and mosquitoes are gone (mostly)! And the trees are turning glorious shades of red, orange, yellow... gold! Halloween candy is everywhere.... and if you like cooking, there's caramel popcorn balls, and candied apples, and chocolate candy.. all kinds of great stuff! If you're into dressing up weird, or funny, or sexy, or whatever, you can even get away with that in public view (once in awhile). And it doesn't require your whole family to be there with you. You can celebrate anywhere, with anyone. So I love Halloween. And Thanksgiving here in the USA is the season of family love (supposedly), and even mutual positive regard at work... Great food, great get-togethers. Sigh.... who doesn't like that!
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