In last week’s edition, we ran an article that was based upon a notation that appeared on AARP’s website. This time around, we will return back to this non-profit organization whose mission is to respect those that are of a certain age. Mainly, those aged fifty and up.
In the current July/August issue of the AARP Bulletin, a print publication that serves as a supplement to their bimonthly magazine AARP Magazine that was once called “Modern Maturity” once published in the era when the name AARP actually stood for something, featured an article entitled The Blue Screen Of Death that was a scam alert report that dealt with outsiders hijacking one’s PC with a “freeze”, “crash”, or using the for mentioned screen color, where one’s machine would not work and thus their computer device would become “kidnapped”. These outsiders would then place a warning notice to call some phone number in order to get access to their internal files. Of course, a “ransom” would have to be paid to get the files back and have one’s PC back to normal operations.
The article went on to say that scammers would also make random phone calls, informing the call-ee that they were a representative from Microsoft informing the person they dialed that their machine was defective. They had to visit some website to download some kind of software in order to get their machine “fixed”, only to either gain access to any personal information that might be found, or to hijack their device for the usual amount of dough.
Of course, the article was targeting those of AARP’s general demographic, mostly of the older ‘first tier” Baby Boomers born between 1946 to 1955, or those of the “Silent” or “Greatest Generation”, born before 1946. Generally, this is the standard age demographic that is over the age of sixty, and became last in line in terms of getting access to post modern technology. This demographic would most likely to fall for such traps, and those on the other end of this scam are fully aware that anyone of this bracket would indeed cater to their wishes.
The reason why the AARP article is being mentioned here is the fact that once in a while, yours truly will encounter these attempts to grab hold of my computer machine for one’s advantage, either through an e-mail, through a website, or by way of a phone call received through various days and times.
This writer tends to tolerate these unsolicited calls, mostly done by robots presenting a prerecorded pitch of some sort. However, once in a while I will get a call from a live person informing me about something or another. And one of these calls comes from a “technician” from (surprise?) Microsoft informing me about something wrong with my PC.
Depending on what mood I am in when these calls arrive, I sometimes have a little fun with these folks in order to play along and to see how they will react, going along with their gag and keeping it up until I am ready to deliver the punch line.
To give an example, I received a call that consisted of a rather poor connection (internet phone call no doubt) from a person that had an accent that may be somebody from east India, or some southeast Asian nation. Anyway, this person, never asking for somebody by name, identifies himself as a tech from Microsoft informing me of something that is playing havoc with their operating system, and asked me if I was on my computer right that moment.
Of course, I could have hung up of this guy. But again, I was feeling like I can play along with this man. So I tried to disguise my voice making an attempt to imitate Maude Frickert, the little old lady character created by Jonathan Winters in the 1960’s and was part of his long running comedy routine. I even used this character as a little old lady who was just as feisty as she was in her youth, a time that was never seen but referred to in many of Winters’ skits and routines.
Although I don’t necessarily recall the phone conversation I had with this “technician” word-for-word, I’ll try to recreate it nearly as much as I can remember, perhaps making it more funnier than it really went. The conversation will read as to a radio script and will include any grammar errors as this caller’s primary language wasn’t English!
TECH: (In heavy east Indian accent) Good day, I am Michael from Microsoft Corporation, informing you that your PC may have a virus and need to have checked out.
ME: (In a third-rate sounding Maude Frickert voice) Huh? What? Speak up Sonny!
TECH: This is Michael with Microsoft Corporation informing you have a virus on your PC. Do you have your PC on right now?
ME: Do I have my what on?
TECH: Your PC. We are testing if your PC has virus.
ME: What’s a PC?
TECH: Your computer, Do you have it on?
ME: What’s wrong with my computer?
TECH: We are checking to see if your PC has a virus. It must be check out or you can’t get data access.
ME: My computer doesn’t work? I didn’t do anything!
TECH: You must turn it on so you can download software to get it working again.
ME: Oh no! How can I watch my porn sites on my machine? I need to get to my porn sites so I will know what I am missing out on! TECH: Do you have your computer on right now?
ME: I have to get to my PC because I need to see those porn sites to remind myself how hot I was back in the day! I once saw some gal with bazooms just as big as I used to have!
From this point, I was going through a routine where I was telling “Michael” about how frisky I was and how I would “do it” every day with a team of hot studs that was banging down my door. I went through this routine for around five minutes until I realized that “Michael” hung up on me! I wasted a good three minutes taking to dead air! At least the guy would have had the courtesy to tell me he was hanging up. Otherwise, I could have finished my schtick and delivered the punch line that never arrived!
As a rather savvy tech person, in spite of the fact that I do fall within AARP’s targeted audience, I never have to worry about getting my machine hijacked from afar. My old Macintosh Pro using a 10.7 operating system (I don’t need to upgrade since all of my software works fine as it is) can’t read viruses that were made for a Windows OS. When I do get a notice, it asks me if I want to download this software or to reject it. (“Duh” to that question!) I guess scammers don’t want to bother with creating viruses that conflict with Apple users. So what I did would make Steve Jobs proud, or even Jonathan Winters! (*Sigh*!)
NEWS AND REVIEWS
Normally, this writer doesn’t make it a habit to inform the public about a show or event that has since passed. This “after the fact” review could be on the same level to telling somebody about a happening that they missed out of since it was for one-time only to eventually disappear. However, this same writer will inform you about a previous event that was something worth the notice.
There is a group called The CRE Outreach (“C”reate “R”eflect “E”mpower) based in Los Angeles proper that serves as a non-profit performing arts group calling its dedication to empowering under served individuals from lower income populations focusing upon the performing arts, educational programs, and theatre as a method to enhance self esteem, encourage self expression, and to empower individuals to overcome the challenges experienced in their lives.
The CRE Outreach has established a number of groups that beckons to their objectives. One group is The Blind Dance Company that consists of dancers that have limited to no sight. As the name suggests, they are all totally blind!
On Saturday, August 12th, the BDC held their dance residual called “Emotions” that took place at The Lazarus Experience lofts in downtown Los Angeles in the fashion district. (This loft setting housed in a one-time industrial building built c.1926 now serves as a multipurpose area.) Here, a team of seven African-American dances consisting of (listed in alphabetical order), William Andrus, Ronald Chism, Barbara Ford, Natalie Gross, Christina Hognson, Kenny Lee, and Syvia Taylor, performed in a number of dance routines that ranges from contemporary style, ballroom, waltz, salsa, swing, as well as hip-hop freestyle and fusion, all without the aid of sight.
The program directed & choreographed by Hydeia Muhammad, focused upon these sightless individuals that can perform such dance moves using music rhythm, movement placement, as well as the emotional willingness and ability to perform dance steps (some rather tricky and complex when it comes to hip-hop) to guide them under a visionless environment. It was indeed a classic example of “dancing in the dark”.
To present a brief idea of these dancer’s abilities in one presentation, Natalie Gross was performing a solo contemporary dance routine when for a few seconds, the music track stopped due to a technical mishap. However, Natalie continued her dance measures in silence while the music was able to be resumed, never missing a beat in the process!
Currently, the CRE Outreach is undergoing a fund raising campaign via Kickstarter.com to build their new permanent theatre space located in the Culver City area. (The campaign will begin in September.) Until then, it’s possible to follow the progress of this group through many of the online social media portals out there in cyberspace land via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. (Links below)
http://.www.facebook.com/CreOutreach http://.www.twitter.com/CreOutreach; http://.www.youtube.com/CreOutreach;
For more information on CRE Outreach, visit http://www.CreOutreach.org
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