Being smart about receiving book royalties from Amazon

Let’s suppose that you have some book that is published through the Amazon publishing-on-demand platform (which very annoyingly is named “Kindle Desktop Publishing”).   And let’s suppose (keep with me on this) that you actually would like to receive your author royalties for this book.  It turns out that if you have an account with Wise Business, you can set things up to have a much better chance of actually receiving your royalties.  Continue reading “Being smart about receiving book royalties from Amazon”

Picking a trusted place to back up your smart phone

click to enlarge

Let’s imagine something that might be unlikely (stick with me on this)  namely that you have a smart phone.  Yes I realize that you may have an old-fashioned phone that is not a smart phone.  But maybe it is an Android phone (yay!) or maybe it is an iPhone (some day you will migrate away to what I think is a better kind of smart phone, but I suppose no time soon).  And in the event that you do have a smart phone, let’s suppose you like the idea of backing it up to some trusted place.  What are the absolutely worst places to back up your smart phone (hint:  probably you are right now backing it up to a place that is not a good place)?    What is an example of a smart place to back up your smart phone?  Continue reading “Picking a trusted place to back up your smart phone”

getting good use of your code-required smoke alarms

click to enlarge

If your home was constructed in the past twenty years, it almost certainly has several code-required smoke alarms.  You can see, at right, an example of this.  The home that I discuss here has half a dozen of these First Alert model 3120B smoke alarms.

The point of this blog article is to help you make some actual meaningful use of your code-required smoke alarms, above and beyond their intended function which is to permit the building inspector to grant a “certificate of occupancy” for the newly constructed home.  Continue reading “getting good use of your code-required smoke alarms”

Coyote carrying box marked “ACME”

click to enlarge

And now a moment for a smile.  It turns out that there are at least two places where you can go and be warned to be careful if you see a coyote carrying a box marked “ACME”.  These places include Juneau International Airport and Redwood City, California.

Telling twelve thousand people about four free webinars

click to enlarge

The map at right shows, in real time, our progress in letting twelve thousand people learn that they have an opportunity to attend four free-of-charge webinars about PCT forms.  As you can see, some 1600 emails have been sent (light green shading) to people in Asia and Africa and eastern and central Europe.  Just now, emails are being sent (dark green shading) to people in west Africa and parts of Greenland.  Some 11000 emails are waiting to be sent to people in North and South America.  Why did these emails not get sent all at once?  Continue reading “Telling twelve thousand people about four free webinars”

What is “card testing”? What should you do about it?

Yesterday, for the first time in the seven-year history of our OPLF shopping cart, somebody used our shopping cart for “card testing”.  A fraudster in a foreign country had purchased a bundle of stolen credit card numbers, and wanted to determine which of the cards was still valid.  Such a person will engage in “card testing”.  The person tries to make purchases with the credit card numbers, using an online commerce site.  Yesterday, the person chose our OPLF shopping cart.  By the time that we had shut out the “card testing”, the fraudster had tested about 198 credit card numbers, and had found two of the cards to be valid.  (This means the card holder had not yet canceled the stolen card number.)

The service providers Woo and Stripe performed admirably in this incident.

How did we learn that the “card testing” was happening?  What did we do in response?  What permanent harm, if any, flowed from this incident?  What protective step might we have taken earlier?  Continue reading “What is “card testing”? What should you do about it?”

Dealing with a hack

Hello loyal readers.  A couple of days ago, this blog got hacked.  Instead of the usual “Ant-Like Persistence” page, it was a mostly blank page asking the visitor to type in a password.

Several nice people dropped emails to me to let me know they had noticed the problem.

I will describe what had gone wrong and what I did to fix the hack.  Continue reading “Dealing with a hack”

Where is your EV or PHEV charging port?

I am hoping to collect some fairly comprehensive information about where the charging ports are on EVs and PHEVs that are used in the US.

At this article you can see information about charging port locations on European vehicles.  My hope is to do the same for America vehicles.

Are you in the US?  Do you have an EV or a PHEV?  If so, I would be very grateful if you could share the location of your charging port.  To respond, click here.

The questionnaire also asks if you have an EV charger at home, and whether you have any adapters for charging at other kinds of charging stations.

Thank you for helping.

Getting a US passport renewed promptly

The US State Department says that an “expedited” passport renewal by mail has a processing time of 7-9 weeks.  I recently had the good fortune to get a renewal done by mail in less than a month.   My renewal papers got delivered to the State Department on August 16, 2023, and I had my new passport in hand on September 15, 2023.   Here are things that probably helped.  Continue reading “Getting a US passport renewed promptly”