Long Covid

I just saw this on Twitter:
“This is both anecdotal and early, but many long covid survivors are feeling significantly better after receiving their first vaccine dose. Including me. Fascinating.”

A Tweet by @MaraGay (New York Times editorial board)

UK inequality is like a diamond

So hard that nothing shatters it…

This morning, I filmed this short video below. A few hours later, I spotted this JAW-DROPPING BIT OF BRITISH NEWS in The Guardian. Turns out that there is no pandemic, according to close to 50% of Brits. Because if you lost your job because of the pandemic, that’s on you. Nothing to do with the pandemic, these people say.

“Despite the exceptional circumstances [of Covid], Britons are more likely to think that job losses caused by the crisis are the result of personal failure than chance.”

They also say this:

One in eight Britons think lower earnings and higher unemployment among black people are due to a lack of motivation or willpower. Because most black people have “less in-born ability to learn”.

‘scuse me???!

Britain has something that no other country has. The class system. It makes people believe that they have few options and it makes them overlook opportunities. (This class system also impacted India because it used to be under British rule and it meant that the associated cronyism became applied in India.)

It makes others believe this too. It makes others believe that lower-class people and others who have little income are inherently limited in terms of skills and abilities. But not because of their poverty. These people see the poverty of others as a result of who those others are. They don’t see their poverty as a result of lack of income as a result of massive inequality which also brings low wages with it.

I too became heavily influenced by British class thinking after I moved to the UK so I know very well how heavy its burden can be. But I am still much more aware of it than Brits.

In 2019, there was a day for which I had train tickets to go to London but someone told me that it would be better not to go to London that day. I listened to that advice and did not apply my critical thinking skills.

The person who gave me that advice – I won’t name any names – is the kind of person many people turn to for advice. He is heavily influenced by class ideas and at the same time, has no idea of the extent to which poverty alone can hold people back, because of the many practical implications that poverty has. And he sees these kind of people are powerless, not as people who  seem very different people when empowered. Appearances can be so deceiving.

If I had gone to London that day, I might have returned with a boatload of paid work and if not, then I would not have wasted my train tickets – I did now – and have had a good day out. And in times of stress, such little bits of leisure are very important, particularly if they take you out of your regular environment and habits.

That I did not go to London, that’s fully on me, however.

 

In the video, I mention the CAB. I know that there is a lot of variation among the CABs but their main problem seems to be that they, too, operate with a class system mindset. They see powerlessness. Depending on where you are in the UK, there may be better advice options for you locally.

But… please, try to think from true strength as opposed to from weakness and powerlessness. Because thinking from strength will support you and carry you.

And don’t confuse admitting to feelings of insecurity or fear with weakness. See them and embrace them. Don’t fight them. If you don’t fight unpleasant feelings, they will move on. If you fight them, they will cling to you. 

When I was in my twenties, I bought a book that taught me about this stuff, that you shouldn’t focus on how poor you are – if that is your challenge – but more or less pretend that you already are where you want to be.

Stay well. Be prosperous and resourceful. You deserve it.

For all of you who still believe it’s 1985

The first bit in the first video – two years old – happened to a CRYPTOCURRENCY EXEC. Not the checkout girl around the corner or the older female adult who barely knows where to find the on/off button on a computer. (The latter would be a stereotypical assessment of me, ha ha, and my assertion that I am genuinely often dealing with hacking would typically be attributed to that plus that I “get delusional when stressed”.)

A friend/colleague of mine in the Netherlands, with PhD in math/physics/computer science, also recently got tricked TWICE, over the phone. Thankfully, other companies spotted the problem and protected her finances.

So I have been trying to tell Portsmouth City Council that currently, for example, anyone can call – or e-mail – local people, pretend to be PCC and ask people to pay, say, council tax over the phone, using their bank card. Because of the lockdown, this type of fraud is much easier at the moment.

Yes, PCC, it is possible to fake an e-mail address and it is possible to fake a phone number.

I have raised this problem with several UK electricity companies – that they have NO SECURITY on the accounts and anyone can mess with your account if so inclined, such as close it or tell them that you have a new address – and the people I spoke with had NO IDEA what I was going on about.

One snapped at me that she simply had to ask me questions because of privacy regulations. She of course knew my DOB and likely quickly made the “useless old cow” judgement. She did not GET that the answers to the questions she asked are largely all over the internet – for example because I am a Company Director – and are in various databases that are accessible to literally thousands of people.

(I hung up on that person. She was rude.)

It’s totally NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.

Below is a video that I have posted before. It is about 18 months old.

The other side of this can be that if for example you lose your Google Authenticator app because your phone quits on you and you made no backup, some accounts ask you to supply a list of all your recent transactions as well as (a list of logins with) IP number – if you don’t have a static one, this can be a pain – and take a selfie with an ID document in such a way that the ID document is legible. It can be annoying and I have once gotten really annoyed about it because my selfie with ID kept getting rejected. But it’s better than the alternative.

Speaking of ID, if you need to supply an ID document WRITE ON IT, either digitally or with pen or pencil if you scan a copy, when and to whom you are supplying it. Through the actual document, in large letters, such that it cannot be easily used by someone else to steal your ID. This is a tip given to me years ago by the local Dutch consul.

You’ll also want to watch this one.

How to hack and do stuff to someone else’s gear

Which can happen with the full cooperation of landlords, by the way. Because the gear needs to be on the network.

Ha. this may explain why I couldn’t find my phone’s MAC address yesterday when I searched for it when I wanted to tether another phone via Bluetooth.

And my HDD is being way too active again right now.

(Ah. I think that someone was desperately looking for my webcam? I’d unplugged it as I have decided to stop using it because it makes me look like I am in 1999, lol.)

My electricity account has been CLOSED YET AGAIN? Who keeps doing this?

Dammit!!! That would be the umptieth time!

(Let’s hope that it is just a technicality this time. But I am fed up with various accounts being closed and transferred all the time not to mention with so much of my postal mail disappearing. So this had better be a technicality.)

 

I am also being FLOODED with robocalls from one other electricity company.

 

Update 14 February 2021
Yes, I am now deliberately posting this relatively private information online. Do you know how annoying it is to have to start calling companies and tell one of them that they DO have your account even though they can’t find it and when they tell you about postal mail that you never got and refuse to tell you the name of the person who opened the account for you – for privacy reasons – while they do tell you that it wasn’t you?
  
The screen I get when I log in is about the same was what I got about a year ago. It was NOT what I got on my screen on the day that I signed up again, however.

 

Here is the earlier screen, from about a year ago:



I got this by e-mail, yesterday, but that kind of thing also happened, about a year ago. I continued to get e-mails from the previous provider as well as if I was still their customer. I never got any communications from the actual provider. The key had one name on it, the receipts another, but neither were supplying my energy.

Kids are suffering under the burden of the lockdown

Today, I happened to pass two children who looked really miserable. I waved at one of them and it helped a little, I noticed. (She started to smile but was not sure what to think as I was wearing my face mask and she couldn’t see me smile.)

I saw a third one knock on a door or press the doorbell and then run away fast. All three were children on their own, though one of them was accompanied by adults a few paces behind the child.

Yesterday, I signed a petition asking that children be allowed to play with a friend in spite of the lockdown. I didn’t look into it but it made sense.

Today, I was not thinking of that petition at all. I was struck by the children’s faces. And that made me remember the petition and realise that the reality behind that petition is… more pressing than I realised.

Kids are starting to feel really miserable.

Continue reading

Hacking: Tampa Bay area water system contamination

Are you going to tell me now that these people, too, simply do not know how computers work and should get with it or become delusional when under stress? Must be the pressure of the pandemic that causes that stress. They’re merely imagining it. </sarcasm>

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cyber-florida-idUSKBN2A82FV?taid=6021f604c9fa87000190e3db&utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter

Pinellas County is where I used to live. I’ve visited one of its water facilities. A different one.

The socks story

In July 2020, someone took 5 to 10 pairs of black socks with colourful accents – making them so much easier to match, hence saving time – from my dirty laundry while I was out (and apparently also dumped a bit of what looked like cigarette ash into my laundry basket; it floated when I started doing the laundry).

When I was folding my socks away a little while ago this morning, I discovered that I now have more pairs of a particular type of black sock. I used to have 4 of those socks. Two pairs. Now I have quite a few more.

Oh yeah

So I am editing categories, reorganising this site, and all of a sudden, my browser resolution blows up, forcing me to decrease the browser view from 100% because stuff won’t fit onto my screen.

Yep, that too has happened many times before. Yep, I think it’s another hacker thing, some kind of message along the lines of “see the bigger picture”. As seen through whose eyes? My views are as valid as anyone else’s. And vice versa.

But maybe I am lucky and it will turn out to be a mere technology hiccup.

Change of tack

On the one hand, I want to document the weirdness that is going on in my life so that there may be people “out there” who know that this is going on and, also, to protect myself against any potential negative side effects on my life of other people’s neurodiversity.

By the latter, I mean that while I accept people with NPD and do not blame them for having NPD, I also know – have learned – that having NPD can make a person feel very vulnerable and also very vengeful.

Locally, I have been through a large number of increasingly high-impact “set-up days”. Abroad, I know someone else who’s admitted to “always scheming”.

On the other hand, I don’t want to whine and whine and whine and whine and worry and worry. I want my life back – or at least have A life again (and that statement is totally unrelated to the lockdowns) and whining and whining and worrying is not going to accomplish that.

So I will do both. I don’t want to be dismissed locally as “a foreign older woman who gets delusional under stress” and/or “who merely imagines that she went to university but obviously never did”.

The logical thing to do with all of this is admit and accept that I am now an inclusivity, (neuro)diversity and equality maven.

Smart meters and hackers

I searched and this came up:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190606101822.htm

“Hacked meters can even cause house fires and explosions or even a widespread blackout. Unlike remote servers, smart meters can be relatively easily accessed by attackers, so each smart meter must be quite hackproof and resilient in the field.”

Security angles are hardly ever addressed with persistent targeting in mind. The same goes for locks on doors. But there is more beyond random brute force factors.