At the stroke of the new year, the 20 or so robocalls I was getting each day starting at 8 AM Eastern stopped. Blissful silence! I could leave my phone set to ring again!
Oh wait. This morning some text spam started going out as group texts with a huge number of recipients. Fellow victims all started clicking reply aaaaand I turned my phone off for a couple hours so it’d stop vibrating constantly and getting hot
It looks like I got about five of the messages, but each has a thread of dozens of replies!
If anyone knows who is behind the robocall bots that flood the entire 305 and 786 area codes with “Hello, this is Rachel at Card Services…”, I suggest that a DDoS of amazing proportions would be justified.
I was searching for a previous post and found that some of the earliest posts on this blog had shit links stuffed in them for sports jerseys. This was about at the same time when I had that one post get defaced…
The content isn’t lost but I’ll have to roll it back manually.
I know what posts were affected too now, since each edit somehow generated a nonsense comment email.
Boy, the clickbait “news” sites are thick as a brick nowadays. So you see a link, or maybe even clicked it – how can you tell if it’s clickbait garbage or not?
First off, take a look for the story they’re talking about by searching via Google News. Look to see if the same subject comes up in a well established source such as the New York Times, Reuters, Washington Post, etc. Huffington Post kinda doesn’t count that much anymore, sadly.
But second, well, visit the link with uBlock Origin installed and active on your browser and see what happens. Do you get bombarded with prompts asking you to disable ad blocking and/or turn on desktop notifications for that site? Yeeeah—- chances are good you’ve found bullshit clickbait. Well, unless you’ve gone to Forbes, but that’s malware spewing bullshit of a different stench. Actually, I primarily run uBlock to protect against malvertising– I don’t really mind ads so much as long as they don’t block the page content or require interaction to get them out of the way first, but the ad networks have allowed sponsors to abuse the privilege of injecting active content for years. Oh how great were the days when ads could only be a 468×60 pixel jpeg or gif??
Look at the article. Sometimes you can actually, once in a blue moon, find a good reliable source cited in clickbait, then sometimes laugh as it contradicts the clickbait article you found it from. More often than not it’ll just lead you to some cesspool like Alternet though.
And then other times you’ll find something that looks so bloody insane that you think it HAS to be clickbait and then you find it proven true by Reuters, BBC, NPR, PBS, NBC, Fox, CBS, CNN, and official White House press releases, and you lose a good chunk of your faith in humanity…. oh wait, that’s just the last week or so… and the next four years… nevermind
Boy, there are a lot of spam profiles on Facebook now. I’m getting friend requests from anywhere from one to eight of them daily, and they all meet the same odd algorithm:
Created very recently
One or two stock photos of a woman (I have yet to go reverse image search these, I’m lazy)
Spewing friend requests to people from nearby geographical locations. For whatever reason it seems like the city of Coral Springs is a … nest… for these.
First post has a very… awkward English translation of a ridiculous pickup line
If I wasn’t so lazy I’d set up a browser in a throwaway VM to see where these point, but I am so I just used Links. Links is nice in that it doesn’t support plugins, much in the way of scripting, or pretty much anything that can sneak out and bite you. Also, no images, so I won’t get BOMBARDED BY DICKS or anything. (Always nice to not have to worry about that on the web.)
The domain name pointed to by the goo.gl redirect is either the result of someone pounding on their keyboard or a Domain Generation Algorithm, and those just don’t get used on the up and up. Each profile I’ve seen actually seems to go to a unique domain with a subdomain.
Eventually after redirecting through a second site which is consistent, it lands at flirt4free (dot) com.
I’d guess both of the intermediates are just tagging affiliate links, but holy crap I can’t trust anything that got generated by a DGA or a cat walking across the keyboard. Cats are shady characters sometimes, you see.
Now there is one image from these I want to look up, because I want to know who made this awesome looking choker.
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I’ve been having fun with this AIMS Power PWRIC300012W while pretending to be productive here at the office for the last couple of days.
Franklin from IndoorGenerator sent this unit over for me to play with, and I’ve found it to be very good. The unit combines a 3000 watt modified sine wave power inverter, automatic transfer switch, and 30 amp smart charger all in one nice, compact, lightweight package.
Yesterday I beat the holy splunge out of it with various test loads including a portable air conditioner and large 1/3 horsepower AC motor, and ran it at 2.8KW output for the better part of an hour. It barely even got warm to the touch.
From my testing, I found that the inverter only has two weaknesses to it.
First, like any high frequency switching type inverter, it can sometimes run out of power and turn off suddenly while trying to start loads with a large inrush current. This includes large halogen/incandescent lights, large motors, and compressors. If you’re starting such a beast off a switching inverter, it should be the first thing to be turned on, and any other loads should be removed before attempting to restart the large motor/light.
Second, the transfer switch isn’t instantaneous. The power goes off for about a second during the transfer from battery to AC or AC to battery.
A very useful little LED meter is present on the end of the unit next to the outlets. By pressing the button next to it you can select whether to view the battery voltage, DC input amperage, or AC output wattage in Kw. While AC power is present and the unit is charging the batteries, the output Kw and DC amperage both show as zero. I would have liked to have a DC current measurement visible during charge like the Xantrex TR series provides, but I’m not gonna complain much about it.
When the inverter goes into overload, the LED display on the end shows “E01″. I also managed to get the inverter to glitch a couple of times – weird things happened like the battery voltage reading coming back as ” 0.4″, or the inverter shut down and showed “Err”. Both of these problems went away as soon as I replaced a 1 AWG battery cable in the test setup which was becoming stinky hot! Oops. Too much voltage drop!
As the inverter begins to get near maximum power output, the peak to peak voltage begins to fall a bit. The unit compensates by shortening the 0-volt pauses on each cycle to maintain 120Vrms through manipulation of the duty cycle. Lights will not change brightness, but some AC induction motors may become weak as the wave approaches being a 120V peak to peak square wave. I noticed this only after applying around 2.7KW of load. The Daewoo portable air conditioner I was running did not show any problems with this, but a large industrial fan (of doom) began to slow down a little.
The charger is rated at 30 amps output. I clocked it at 33-34. It is, interestingly, built on its own board inside the top of the unit. This is a lot different than the charge system in the Xantrex Freedom series units I’m used to refurbishing, on which the same (massive) transformer and transistors are used to convert and regulate the current for charging. The internal 3-stage charger works fine on flooded cell batteries, but the absorption voltage got too high for a gel battery. I measured 14.82VDC. This may be in range for AGM batteries, however — check your battery manufacturer’s recommendations!
Today, I popped the top off and started looking around inside.
The build quality is very nice. It appears that the lower board is in charge of converting 12VDC to 170VDC. The board at upper right contains the AC transfer circuitry, a current sense transformer, and an H-bridge to chop the 170VDC into modified sine wave. The board at upper left is the charger.
The charger board has a jumper (JP1) located on it. Removing JP1 and turning on the charger activates equalize mode (about 15.3VDC). The small green LED located near JP1 comes on when the charger is in absorption or equalize mode. Unfortunately, significant disassembly of the unit is needed to access JP1, and activating any function of the unit while it’s open like this will expose lethal voltages to the user… so let’s just say that until a switch is brought out to the end panel of the unit, this feature is not Ready For Prime Time. AIMS didn’t even know the jumper was there! I only figured this out as I tried toggling the jumper to see if it was there to reduce the voltages for use with gel batteries.
The cooling fans at the end of the unit run whenever the charger is active, and otherwise… very rarely. It barely gets warm at all while in invert. All of the transistors that have any significant amount of current across them are heatsinked to the extruded, finned alumimum chassis. This is a design borrowed from high power car audio amplifiers, which have to put up with being wedged in all sorts of weird ways into hot car trunks with little air circulation.
My final verdict: If you’re looking for a good low-cost, lightweight modified sine wave inverter/charger, this is probably just what you’re looking for. If you’re running any large motor loads, however, be prepared to go over and reset the inverter when they fail to start.
If the cost and weight aren’t that much of an issue, I’d step up the Xantrex Freedom or Xantrex TR series; they cope with starting large motor loads by just throwing everything they’ve got at it, current limited only by the inductance of the transformer. The motor makes hilarious sounds and the inverter output voltage dips during the ordeal, but it’ll start the motor, whereas a lightweight switchmode inverter like this will just go “Noooo! OVERLOAD! Now you get to come over here and reset me! HA HA!” Plus, the Freedom and TR have a much stronger charger.