Some thoughts on hearing loss from reddit

In a recent post at /r/lifeprotips, user /u/briskyfresh posted a Life Pro Tip entitled, “LPT: Your hearing is not invincible. Please lower your volume when listening to music. Bring earplugs to concerts. Do not make the same mistake I made.”

User /u/goodhumansbad posted the following comment, which I found relevant as I have loved ones with hearing loss.

Something a lot of people, especially younger people, don’t realize about hearing loss is how much MORE there is to it than just “needing to listen to things louder when you’re old” or “some ringing” to varying degrees. My father has hearing loss which he incurred on the job – he was a radio DJ in the 60s/70s and between the sound levels at work and the sound levels at concerts he went to for reviewing purposes, he did permanent damage to his hearing. Tinnitus is one element, hearing loss of certain frequencies is another.

But the most toxic thing about his hearing loss is how it’s affected his relationships. He is increasingly isolated as time goes by; he tunes out of conversations because he can’t understand people in a crowd, so at every party we go to I look over and see him sitting there either playing on his phone or looking glazed or smiling & nodding… but he’s always the first one to want to leave somewhere, dragging my mother with him because he’s bored. So socializing has just become a chore.

It’s also affected his relationships at home; he never hears us the first time we ask a question, but he’s convinced it’s because we’re mumbling (we aren’t). So he gets really irritated, even angry, and is frankly always ready to be in a bad mood.

Imagine if every single casual question your roommate/wife/husband/sibling/child asked you filled you with annoyance-to-rage. “What would you like for dinner, Dad? Dad? Can you hear me?” “What?” (said with a cold glare). “What would you like for dinner?” “WELL I DON’T KNOW WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS.” (said with total irritation, like we’re being a huge pain in the ass). All of this rudeness, all of this anger, comes from being deaf as a post.

It would be tempting to think my dad’s just an asshole with no manners, but he isn’t – when he has functioning hearing aids and this problem is greatly reduced, his entire demeanor is different. He’s easy-going, appreciative, participates, listens. But when his hearing aids aren’t working, as they aren’t now, he’s rude, ornery, dismissive, and critically doesn’t listen anymore because he know’s it’s just too much work and he won’t hear it all anyway.

I’ve known several people who’ve lost their hearing later in life, and they’ve all experienced this anger. It pushes people away, it isolates you, and leaves you feeling miserable. My great grandfather was stone deaf by his 90s and apparently used to occasionally pick up his walking stick at the dinner table, when people were talking amongst themselves (big family) and if he couldn’t hear them he’d just straight up clear the table with the stick. Imagine how angry you’d have to be to do that? This was a man who adored his family, and was never in any way abusive or difficult before his deafness really set in.

I thought this was worth sharing for those who either experience this or have friends or family in the same situation. Naturally, no one’s situation is the same, and YMMV.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Marketing by terror

I’ve mentioned Android webjacking before, but here’s another example. Things like this are not usually “viruses” on your handheld device, but rather malicious code embedded in a legitimate website by unscrupulous advertisers.

screenshot_2017-02-16-11-04-16

 

First, this exploit makes your phone buzz like a hornet that’s just been pinched in a vise, and locks your browser. No going back. Second, vulgar sites? No, actually this popped up when I was trying to leave a comment at retailcomic.com. I trust the site not to hide exploits like this on purpose.

 

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The claims on these “warnings,” along with being written in questionable English, are absolute lies: “If the problem can not be resolved immediately , the viruses will spy your phone, and destroy your SIM card, delete all your contacts.”

Now I’m just following the trail to see who’s behind this.

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Looks like someone is hawking an app (surprise, surprise):

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A comment at the app’s site complained, and the developer responded; notice the salutation “Dear,” usually seen on Nigerian scam emails but certainly a red flag that the app developer is not a native English speaker.

 

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Despite the apology and denial of malicious intent, I would be very suspicious of apps that are advertised in this way.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Income by deception: they’re not even trying any more.

Have a look at a few screenshots from my Android a couple of days ago:

 

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Hilarious joke collection. OK, I’m always up for a new laugh or two. But beware: popup ads like this are rarely honest or ethical, and often sleazy and deceptive. Let’s see:

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Starting to smell a rat, but let’s just go down to the next level:

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Well, the joke’s on me – and anyone who clicks these links. This transcends the concept of clickbait, which usually offers some kind of content in order to get people to the pages where ads are displayed. Now they’re eliminating the middleman altogether.

And people wonder why fake news gets such traction.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Business Loan Scam

I apologize to my readers if this blog sounds like a broken record at times, but the dangers from scammers and fraudsters is real – and the more information available, the more likely that someone doing a web search will come across it and save their money or their information.

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I’ve talked often about robocalls; here’s a good article from Consumer Affairs.

“[Scammers] have raked in millions of dollars with schemes like the business loan pitch. The recorded greeting says something like “congratulations, your business has been approved for a $250,000 loan.” If you stay on the phone long enough to talk to a live person, that person will try to get information from you that can be used to steal your identity.”

Got one of these just now. I pressed “1” to find out how the scam worked, and got someone who was virtually incomprehensible; he sounded like a Dane with his mouth full of Knödel.¹ His first question, in rapid-fire Mongolian, was “What is the annual revenue of your company?” When I asked him who was offering me this loan, he hung up.

Be careful out there. If it’s a robocall, it’s almost certainly a scam.


¹ A Dane sounds like a Norwegian with his mouth full of Knödel (which is a very heavy, thick dumpling). So this gives you an idea of what I was hearing.

Don’t be fooled by work at home scams.

There are plenty of people out there who will tell you that affiliate marketing works. From what I can see, it’s possible to function in this niche in an ethical and profitable way, if you’re willing to work hard at it. Unfortunately, it’s a highly unregulated area, and where there are few regulations, there will be many willing to take advantage. Here’s an example of the worst kind.

blog-spam

This ad appears almost daily, spammed as a comment by a user who changes their name daily (most likely using a spambot) at the Dilbert™ comic website. The webmaster doesn’t seem to care, so these comments hang around forever, generating a click or two from the uninformed or the unwary.

If you click, you’re taken to this page:

farticle

This is what’s known as a “farticle” (false article) or “advertorial.” Looks real, full of bunk. Wow, you think, I can make money at home like “Kelly Richards” (not a real person, not a real story. If you click on the “get started” link, this is what you get:

home-jobs

Notice the “social validation” links above. Yes, some work-from-home opportunities may have, at some point, been featured by the entities above – but it’s a sure bet that this one is not one of them. And, you’ve given the spammers your name, email address and phone number, which is gold for them – they sell this information to others.

searching

Searching for availability? Heck, you’d be qualified if you lived in Buford, Wyoming, population 1. It’s just the scarcity principle in action.

Your next page is this:

buckaroo

Act fast, there are only 9 positions in your area. This, of course, is a blatant lie – like everything else associated with this promotion. The long, long page gives you information about an exciting opportunity to make money posting links on web pages… which is the kind of thing that leads to the blog spam I included at the top. It’s really nothing more than paying $97.00 for a basic tutorial on affiliate marketing… along with the opportunity to be upsold on various expensive “training packages” and other add-ons.

I want you to look at this disclaimer that appears in tiny, gray print at the bottom of this website, things they post to try to skirt the possibility of lawsuits:

TERMS AND CONDITIONS CAREFULLY READ AND AGREE TO PURCHASE TERMS BELOW BEFORE ORDERING:

We are not affiliated in any way with any news publication ? All trademarks on this web site whether registered or not, are the property of their respective owners. The authors of this web site are not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the third-party trade mark or third-party registered trade mark owners, and make no representations about them, their owners, their products or services.
It is important to note that this site and the comments/answers depicted above is to be used as an illustrative example of what some individuals have achieved with this/these products. This website, and any page on the website, is based loosely off a true story, but has been modified in multiple ways including, but not limited to: the story, the photos, and the comments. Thus, this page, and any page on this website, are not to be taken literally or as a non-fiction story. This page, and the results mentioned on this page, although achievable for some, are not to be construed as the results that you may achieve on the same routine. I UNDERSTAND THIS WEBSITE IS ONLY ILLUSTRATIVE OF WHAT MIGHT BE ACHIEVABLE FROM USING THIS/THESE PRODUCTS, AND THAT THE STORY/COMMENTS DEPICTED ABOVE IS NOT TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY. This page receives compensation for clicks on or purchase of products featured on this site.

IMPORTANT CONSUMER DISCLOSURE
The term “advertorial” is a combination of “advertisement” and “editorial” written in an editorial format as an independent news story, when in fact the advertisement may promote a particular product or interest. Advertorials take factual information and report it in an editorial format to allow the author, often a company marketing its products, to enhance or explain certain elements to maintain the reader’s interest. A familiar example is an airline’s in-flight magazines that provide an editorial reports about travel destinations to which the airline flies.

As an advertorial, I UNDERSTAND THIS WEBSITE IS ONLY ILLUSTRATIVE OF WHAT MIGHT BE ACHIEVABLE FROM USING THIS PROGRAM, AND THAT THE STORY DEPICTED ABOVE IS NOT TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY. This page receives compensation for clicks on or purchase of products featured on this site. This program is not a job but an educational opportunity that can help individuals learn how to earn money through their entrepreneurial efforts. Anyone who decides to buy any program about making money will not necessarily make money simply by purchasing the program. People who think “I bought these materials so I’m going to automatically make money” are wrong. As any type of education has so many variables, it is impossible to accurately state what you may expect to achieve, however, people who bought the program not only bought the program, but also undertook additional training and education, applied the principles to an area of the market that was growing, kept their commitments and continued to learn. If you do what the individuals depicted did, you may generally expect to achieve a great education in the area of your choice, but you should not expect to earn any specific amount of money. Typical users of the starter materials that don’t enroll in coaching, don’t keep their commitments and don’t implement what they learn, generally make no money. Though the success of the depicted individual is true, her picture and name have been changed to protect her identity. Consistent with the advertorial concept, the comments posted in the comment section are also representative of typical comments and experiences which have been compiled into a comment format to illustrate a dialogue, however, the comments are not actual posts to this webpage and have been compiled or generated for illustrative purposes only.

We are not affiliated in any way with CNN, WebTV, News Channel 1, ABC, NBC, CBS, U.S. News or FOX, and all such trademarks on this web site, whether registered or not, are the property of their respective owners. The authors of this web site are not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the third-party trade mark or third-party registered trade mark owners, and make no representations about them, their owners, their products or services.

In effect, you are being told: “This is not a real story. This is not a real person. We’re using the names of big media outlets fraudulently. You probably won’t make any money.” That’s a big fat red flag right there.

One of the tricks affiliate marketers use is to post multiple articles around the web that will pop up if people search for “Is Home Jobs Now a Scam?” or “Can you make money with link posting?” Invariably, two things will happen:

  1. The writer will tell you that [System X] – whatever it is – is a scam, and
  2. At the end of the article there will be a link to their affiliate marketing program. It’s a nested loop that never ends.

As I mentioned above, I’m not trashing all affiliate marketers. But be very, very careful getting sucked into paying for worthless opporunities that will cost you money rather than make money for you.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

This movie is what 3D was made for.

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As a kid in the 60s, Dr. Strange was one of my favorite characters. And it hardly needs to be said that his Grand High Excellence Mr. Cumberbatch is perfect for this rôle.

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This was the film that absolutely begged to be done in 3D, and while many films have tried with varying degrees of success to bring a new dimension to the screen, the result here was, to be blunt, breathtaking; a good summary of why is found at CinemaBlend.

I will spoil nothing, but I was desperate to see this before the 3D version left the theatres; I missed Pacific Rim that way, and I think my experience was poorer for it. Today I got my chance, and it was worth the drive to a neighboring city.

There’s a lot to love about this film; the effects, the story, the music, and a fun little fillip of anticipation at the end (oh yes, that’s the only spoiler I’ll leave here – don’t leave before the credits have rolled.)

It may not be for everyone… Strange was truly one of the stranger Marvel characters in the canonical universe. I’m powerfully pleased by what they did with this film, and look forward to more coming down the pipeline.

I’m a huge fan of Mr. Cumberbatch – I think he’s one of the most versatile and gifted actors of the present day. This film did nothing if not raise him in my estimation even farther.

If you haven’t seen Dr. Strange, see if you can find a 3D showing near you. I think you’ll find the experience was worth it.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Now it’s the “EU Business Register.”

 

To: redacted
From: EU Business Register <register@eubusinessreg.com>

Subject: Business Register 2016/2017

 Dear Madam/Sir,

In order to have your company inserted in the EU Business Register for 2016/2017, please print, complete and submit the attached form (PDF file) to the following address:

EU BUSINESS REGISTER
P.O. BOX 34
3700 AA ZEIST
THE NETHERLANDS

Fax: +31 205 248 107

You can also scan the completed form and attach it in a reply to this email.

Updating is free of charge.

The scam continues, which I referred to here and here. Making another quick reference to it for additional exposure in case people are searching the web to see if this outfit is legitimate.

It is not. It is a total scam.

Very little has changed. Their spam emails, blasted all over the world, always say “updating is free of charge.” But the small print, ah, the small print:

THE SIGNING OF THIS DOCUMENT REPRESENTS THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS AND THE CONDITIONS STATED IN “THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR INSERTION” ON THE WEB PAGE: WWW.EUBUSINESSREGISTER.EU. THE SIGNING IS LEGALLY BINDING AND GIVES YOU THE RIGHT OF AN INSERTION IN THE ONLINE DATABASE OF THE EU BUSINESS REGISTER, WHICH CAN BE ACCESSED VIA THE INTERNET, ALL IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONTRACT CONDITIONS STATED ON “THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR INSERTION” ON WEB PAGE: WWW.EUBUSINESSREGISTER.EU.THE VALIDATION TIME OF THE CONTRACT IS THREE YEARS AND STARTS ON THE EIGHTH DAY AFTER SIGNING THE CONTRACT. THE INSERTION IS GRANTED AFTER SIGNING AND RECEIVING THIS DOCUMENT BY THE SERVICE PROVIDER I HEREBY ORDER A SUBSCRIPTION WITH THE SERVICE PROVIDER EU BUSINESS SERVICES LTD. “EU BUSINESS REGISTER”. I WILL HAVE AN INSERTION INTO ITS DATABASE FOR THREE YEARS. THE PRICE PER YEAR IS EURO 995. THE SUBSCRIPTION WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY EXTENDED EVERY YEAR FOR ANOTHER YEAR, UNLESS SPECIFIC WRITTEN NOTICE IS RECEIVED BY THE SERVICE PROVIDER OR THE SUBSCRIBER TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE EXPIRATION OF THE SUBSCRIPTION. YOUR DATA WILL BE RECORDED. THE PLACE OF JURISDICTION IN ANY DISPUTE ARISING IS THE SERVICE PROVIDER’S ADDRESS. THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE SERVICE PROVIDER, EU BUSINESS SERVICES LTD AND THE SUBSCRIBER IS GOVERNED BY THE CONDITIONS STATED IN “THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR INSERTION” ON THE WEB PAGE: WWW.EUBUSINESSREGISTER.EU

So if you enter your data and send it in for what you think is a “free listing,” you’re agreeing (at least on paper) to shell out €2985 for a three-year listing, and agreeing to be billed every year forever unless you cancel in writing.

Fear not. If you get stung, just write and tell them that you’re not paying. Quoted from my previous post:

If you happen to fall for this, these things will happen:

  1. The company will ignore any attempts to contact them
  2. If you simply refuse to pay, you will begin to get aggressive and threatening communications from a “global debt collection company,” Waldberg & Hirsch. That firm does not exist – it’s just the same drones trying to frighten you into paying. They will demand payment in full for the agreed-to three years, but will settle for one year’s payment if you’re foolish enough to send it.

The solution:

  1. Just ignore them. They can’t sue you, because they are running a scam, they know it, and they don’t want to attract legal attention to themselves. Never pay these gong-farmers a cent; ultimately they’ll go away.

Again, why the Dutch authorities have not managed or taken the trouble to shut this scummy operation down is incomprehensible.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.