Archive for category Oddities

Monthly Image: Terrifying Playground

The newly built Capital Region Welcome Center on the Thruway has a small playground for small children, featuring appropriately small signage:

NYS Thruway rest area playground
NYS Thruway rest area playground

Here’s the world we live in (clicky for more dots):

Playground warning sign - detail
Playground warning sign – detail

Fortunately, we lack a small child at risk of damage.

You (well, I) just can’t make this stuff up.



Money For Nothing: Bitcoin Blackmail

The spam filters on my email account snagged a message with an impressive subject:

Be sure to read this message! Your personal data is threatened!

The sender used my very own email address, sending the message from a server with a Mumbai IP address:

As you may have noticed, I sent you an email from your account.
This means that I have full access to your device.
I’ve been watching you for a few months now.
The fact is that you were infected with malware through an adult site that you visited.
If you are not familiar with this, I will explain.
Trojan Virus gives me full access and control over a computer or other device.
This means that I can see everything on your screen, turn on the camera and microphone, but you do not know about it.
I also have access to all your contacts and all your correspondence.
Why your antivirus did not detect malware?
Answer: My malware uses the driver, I update its signatures every 4 hours so that your antivirus is silent.
I made a video showing how you satisfy yourself in the left half of the screen, and in the right half you see the video that you watched.
With one click of the mouse, I can send this video to all your emails and contacts on social networks.
I can also post access to all your e-mail correspondence and messengers that you use.
If you want to prevent this, transfer the amount of $796 to my bitcoin address (if you do not know how to do this, write to Google: “Buy Bitcoin”).
My bitcoin address (BTC Wallet) is: 14tfS3 << redacted >> WH6Y
After receiving the payment, I will delete the video and you will never hear me again.
I give you 50 hours (more than 2 days) to pay.
I have a notice reading this letter, and the timer will work when you see this letter.
Filing a complaint somewhere does not make sense because this email cannot be tracked like my bitcoin address.
I do not make any mistakes.
If I find that you have shared this message with someone else, the video will be immediately distributed.
Best regards!

The threat uses Nigerian-scam grade English, evidently targeted at folks with both a guilty conscience and a tenuous grasp on how email works. I thought those same folks would have enormous difficulty converting dollars into Bitcoin.

However, feeding the wallet ID into a Block Explorer shows three transactions over the last two days, with the account now standing at 0.43069539 BTC = US$2269.44. I have no way of knowing how many emails went out, but obviously three people had sufficiently guilty consciences to (figure out how to) make a Bitcoin transaction.

I’m sure this has something to do with my recent IP camera adventures

Update: The ransom payments tapered off after five days.

Bitcoin Scam - Total
Bitcoin Scam – Total

I don’t know how many different scams came from the same source, but $6700 (at today’s market rate) says this campaign paid better than most legal occupations outside the fintech sector.


ANENG AN8008/AN8009 Current Sense Resistor

Somewhat to my surprise, Aneng AN8008/AN8009 multimeter PCBS sport what looks like a reasonably accurate current sense resistor on the 10 A input:

AN8009 10 A current shunt - top view
AN8009 10 A current shunt – top view

The legend says 0.01R and the conductor doesn’t look quite like pure copper:

AN8009 10 A current shunt - side view
AN8009 10 A current shunt – side view

The indentations look like clamp marks from the bending jig, rather than “calibration” notches made while squeezing the wire with diagonal cutters and watching the resistance on another meter.

One might quibble about the overall soldering quality, but one would also be splitting hairs. I doubt the meter leads could withstand 10 A for more than a few seconds, anyhow.

If you buy enough of something, you can buy pretty nearly anything you want, even cheap precision resistors!


Poster Boilerplate: Whoopsie

Spotted this in a lobby (clicky for more dots):

Hannaford Reusable Bags - Poster Boilerplate
Hannaford Reusable Bags – Poster Boilerplate

I know no more than you do about the situation, but I’d lay long, long odds Hannaford created the poster with a more recent version of Microsoft Word (or whatever) than the recipient organization has available, making the file essentially read-only.

Not casting shade on ’em; sometimes, you do what you gotta do.

FWIW, I’d expect LibreOffice and any Microsoft Word version other than the exact one used to create the poster to mangle the formatting differently. Been there, done that.


A Bounteous Tobacco Harvest

Spotted on a utility ride to a local shop:

Shops at South Hills - planter butt collection
Shops at South Hills – planter butt collection

We decided an employee of the adjacent “nail spa” has been making the best of a bad situation.

If it was easy to quit, there’d surely still be a few smokers …

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Dutchess Rail Trail: Access Gate Control

Five different agencies can drive through the Dutchess Rail Trail’s Overocker Rd trailhead vehicle gate:

Dutchess Rail Trail - Overocker Rd ruts
Dutchess Rail Trail – Overocker Rd ruts

Well, four of them can, because whoever snapped the barely visible small lock around the long-shackle lock (horizontal, to the right) is SOL:

Dutchess Rail Trail - Vehicle Gate Locks at Overocker Rd
Dutchess Rail Trail – Vehicle Gate Locks at Overocker Rd

Perhaps they’re from the DC W&WWA?

The last time we rode past the Diddel Rd trailhead, there were zero locks on the (unchained) vehicle gate; evidently somebody forgot to relock the gate on the way out.


Frozen Fire Hydrant

Spotted on a walk around the block:

Frozen Hydrant - Rt 376 at Sheldon
Frozen Hydrant – Rt 376 at Sheldon

Hydrant valves attach directly to the water main, far below the frost line, which means the hydrant itself should be dry when it’s not in use; the ice reveals a nasty valve leak. The corroded paint suggests a longstanding leak, but I admit to not noticing anything before now.

I uploaded the picture so I could include the URL in an email to the local fire department. I’ll take a look the next time we walk by to see what’s happened.

It’s definitely not a shapely hydrant!


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