Sunday, September 22, 2013

The people suing LinkedIn don't understand

Update October 4, 2015: If you added a LinkedIn connection between September 17, 2011 and October 31, 2014, you should have received an email titled "LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION." The deadline to submit a claim for this class-action lawsuit is December 14, 2015. I'm not authorized to include any more information about this; if you feel you should have received the legal notice and didn't, please contact LinkedIn directly.

An interesting note on the post below: LinkedIn is still asking me to connect to people using email addresses that were discontinued over 10 years ago. This shows you that, once an email address is in LinkedIn's system, they will retain it forever. I will be looking for a feature to remove all the stale email addresses and upload new ones.

Note September 15, 2014: There is new information about LinkedIn. This post needs to be replaced. Stay tuned. Brian Krebs describes a possible hack of LinkedIn, "LinkedIn Feature Exposes Email Addresses."

Original post:
According to an article in The Verge, LinkedIn has been accused of hacking users' email accounts. I think I know what's going on and why the plaintiffs don't understand what's happening.

Let's look at two people: a fictional John Doe ( and me ( John Doe is one of the plaintiffs in the the lawsuit; he claims his email account was hacked. Not at all. Here's what I think happened:

1. When I signed up with LinkedIn, I gave them one-time access to my Gmail contacts. I did this by changing my Gmail password, letting LinkedIn harvest my contacts, then changed my Gmail password again. This guaranteed that LinkedIn only had one-time access to my email contacts.

2. Let's say John Doe was in my contact list under At that time, John Doe was not a member of LinkedIn. LinkedIn doesn't contact him, it just files his email address away linked to my email address. I gave LinkedIn permission to do this.

3. Several years pass and John Doe joins LinkedIn using the email address Guess what? LinkedIn goes through their database and sees the connection between John Doe and me. So I get an email message saying that John Doe has joined LinkedIn. Would I like to send him a connection request?

4. John hears about this and thinks, "Oh my God, they've hacked my email account!" I think it's exactly the other way around: John's friends gave LinkedIn his address and there was no hacking involved.

Is there validity in the lawsuit? I'm not an attorney but I don't think so. I might suggest that LinkedIn only keep the email addresses they receive (see step 1) that don't match current LinkedIn subscribers for a year and then discard them.

Update June 6, 2014: LinkedIn filed a motion in December to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the new user (John Doe in my example) consented to sending invitation requests to other members of LinkedIn. Click here for the Bloomberg story.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Beaumont Bomber gets no love from hometown newspaper

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds hit a grand-slam home run at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. Did his hometown newspaper, the Beaumont Enterprise, even mention that he's from Beaumont? Nope, not a word. They just ran the Associated Press story of the game with no apparent additions. Sorry, Jay.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Micro USB 3.0 connector: Is this a joke?

Compare the new micro USB 3.0 connector with the Apple Lightning connector for USB 3.0. Who designed the micro USB connector? Is this a joke? Are they sure they want to make a connector that's going to be almost impossible to use in the dark?

Apple Lighting to USB 2.0 cable
The USB 3.0 cable is expected
to look the same.
Piranah USB 3.0 micro to USB 3.0 cable
Micro USB 3.0 from end

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ace Hardware advertising fail!

This popped into my email inbox at 2:12 p.m. EDT today:

The other fail: I prefer everyday low prices to silly sales.

Power of attorney

So I'm talking to a nice lady at FIA Card Services, connected to the Bank of America, about a matter involving a power of attorney.

"The power of attorney you mailed to us is incomplete," she said. "It must be signed by an attorney and notarized."

Of course, she could not actually see the power of attorney that I had mailed. I had sent them a copy, eight pages long, printed on both sides of the paper. I suspect that they scanned in one side and not the other, omitting half of the form.

"What should I do?" I asked. "We need an original copy of the power of attorney. No copies," she replied.

I thought to myself, "I have two original copies but I am sure not sending one to her."

"Okay," I said to her, avoiding being confrontational. And then the punchline: "And when you have obtained an original copy of the power of attorney, signed and notarized, please fax it to us."

Footnote: The conversation is approximately correct based on my recollection. She has a recording of it but I don't.

Update Nov. 18: I tried to fax the power of attorney to FIA Card Services five times over two days. No dice; the fax machine would not answer the phone.

For the third try to get them a power of attorney, I mailed the power of attorney by Priority® Mail which now includes tracking. Tonight, I checked the tracking and found that the address that they had given me was for a P.O. Box that was closed with no forwarding address. Here it is, returned to me!

So I called FIA Card Services and they gave me another P.O. Box address, this time in El Paso, Texas. Will that work? Will they finally be able to talk to me? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Short takes #1

Google really screwed things up today. They announced that the next version of Android would be "KitKat". Now, you may have heard of Kit Kat the candy bar and that is not a coincidence; Google licensed the name from Nestlé. Is there a problem with correctly putting a space in the name, Google? It wasn't a problem with the name of the current version, "Jelly Bean". So what's the big deal? If you're a programmer, as I am, you pay attention to spaces. A misplaced space can cause a serious bug in a program. I guess the marketing people at Google didn't consult with the programming staff.


Don't want me to eat at your restaurant? Just tell me not to take pictures of my food. I turned around and left. What are you trying to hide, BK?

Taken at about 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 4 at

7782 Dudley Drive
West Chester, OH 45069-2400
(513) 777-8323


Are you running a regional commercial on Time Warner Cable in Cincinnati? Then don't put anything important in the last second of your commercial. When TWC switches to their own commercials, they don't get the timing correct and always cut off the last second of the regional commercial.

I just saw a commercial for Jack Link's Beef Jerky on Fox Sports Ohio. Jack Link's tag line is "Feed Your Wild Side." TWC cut it off after "Feed." Of course, when they switch the signal back to the regional source, they show the last second of the last regional commercial, which is awkward the other way.

One caveat: I'm watching in standard definition, which may have different switching than high definition channels do.


Drug addicts: Don't even think of stealing this plumbing for scrap.
Yes, we know you know how to turn off the water to keep it
from making a mess when you steal it.


PC Magazine apparently doesn't understand the concept of the International Date Line. This is the lede on an article today"Apple will host a product event in China on Sept. 11, the day after a similarly themed gathering at the company's Cupertino, Calif. campus..." (italics added for emphasis). Ah, PC Magazine, when it's 10 a.m. on Sept. 10 in California, it's 1 a.m. on Sept. 11 in China so, in my world, it's really the same day. They do concede that the Beijing event, being held at 9 a.m. Beijing time, is only eight hours after the California event.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Incompetence in computer programming #1

This is 2013 but I still run into incompetent computer programming as if it were 1995 (the heyday of Microsoft and the sloppy coding practices that it both embraced and provided as a bad example to others). Here are four examples.


Minnesota Public Radio: I wanted to make a nice comment about Corky Miller on this story published in 2005. On Aug. 10, I duly filled out the information and wrote a comment but when I clicked on "Post", I got this error: "Comments are not allowed on this entry."

MPR, if you're not going to allow comments on this story, then let me know on the article page, not as an error after I try to post!


Apple: On Aug. 18, using Apple's own browser, Safari, on a Macintosh, this is what I saw at this page:

Yes, I have reported the error to Apple but no fix yet.


Employee portal error: A certain Cincinnati employer (which I am not going to name) provides a portal for its employees to show their availability to work. Recently, I saw this error:

The error, in case you can't read it, is: "The following request error has occurred: String or binary data would be truncated. The statement has been terminated." The same error occurred in three different browsers, two on Macintosh and one on Windows so I'm concluding it happened on the server. I was told later what the error should have been: "Changes to availability must be submitted before the deadline. The deadline for start date 9/8/2013 is midnight Sunday 9/1/2013."


Kenmore: This is a picture of the front of a 5,000 btu/hr. Kenmore air conditioner. The rightmost light is telling me that the filter needs to be cleaned. But the filter was cleaned several days ago and really doesn't need to be cleaned again. The incompetent computer programming: You can only reset the filter timer if the light is on. So when I pushed the button to reset the timer after cleaning the filter with the light out, nothing happened. Only now that the light is on can I reset the timer.


That's all for now. I will add more posts as I run across ICP.

Trade in my iPhone 4S? Not yet

Although I am a long-time Apple supporter (my wife's Apple //e is still in the closet), my first iPhone was an iPhone 4S on Verizon. (Part of the reason I waited is that I didn't want to leave Verizon.) With the announcement of Apple's trade-in program (which just adds to the existing trade-in options) and the expected announcement of the iPhone 5S, you might thing I would be thinking of upgrading. Nope.

I'm old school when it comes to cell phones. Back before smart phones, I would typically get a new phone every three years with a two year contract. Some of the feature phones were not built to last three years and I remember replacing my Motorola Razr before three years because the keypad wore out.

I'm looking forward to iOS 7 which will give my phone a new look along with new features.

I'm going to hang on to the 4S until Apple no longer supports it with the latest operating system OR a new iPhone comes out with a feature that I just have to have. It could be a while.