One-Ring Scams

The FCC details a common phone scam strategy, the one-ring scam.

One-ring calls may appear to be from phone numbers somewhere in the United States, including three initial digits that resemble U.S. area codes. But savvy scammers often use international numbers from regions that also begin with three-digit codes – for example, “649” goes to the Turks and Caicos and “809” goes to the Dominican Republic.

If you call any such number, you risk being connected to a phone number outside the U.S. As a result, you may wind up being charged a fee for connecting, along with significant per-minute fees for as long as they can keep you on the phone. These charges may show up on your bill as premium services.

The current administration is fine with this being the best you hear about one-ring scams. In fact, I’m surprised the FCC (which still has many people who do good work, and want to help people, but have been hampered from doing so) has released this much information on the scam and how to avoid it.

Long story short – in this age of VOIP services and cell phones, if you don’t recognize a number, don’t answer it. If they don’t leave a voicemail, don’t call them back. If you do, you may want to disable international calling on your service.

As long as phone service providers make money, they have little incentive stop these scams without government intervention and regulation.

Hilma af Klint Show  is the Guggenheim’s Most-Visited Exhibition Ever

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Af Klint’s lush, cryptic paintings have been almost universally praised by critics as a breath of fresh air. And, at a time when personal narrative is more important than ever in terms of how audiences engage with art, she also has a compelling biography (though the timeline of her life is, in truth, still filled with enigmas). Born in 1862, af Klint turned to spiritualism after the loss of her sister. Working with a group of women called the Five, she committed herself in near-secret to an epic cycle of mediumistically inspired abstract paintings—only to be nearly forgotten and then discovered by a new generation.

Source: Here’s How the Hilma af Klint Show Played Perfectly Into the Current Zeitgeist to Become the Guggenheim’s Most-Visited Exhibition Ever | artnet News

Loved by museumgoers and critics alike, the popular exhibition has drawn 600,000 to the Guggenheim since it opened on October 12. More than 30,000 catalogues for the exhibition were sold, surpassing the last record set by a Kandinsky catalogue in 2009

Source: Hilma af Klint Breaks Records at the Guggenheim Museum

Those were the words of profession art writers and critics, here are my own:

The reason this exhibit is so well visited is simple: It is phenomenal work, so far ahead of its time unseen and unknown by most until this year. I had the pleasure of visiting the museum earlier this year, and if you are in New York and have the means to do so, I highly encourage you to brave the crowds and see these works.

All of the images are my own.

How the SNL Portrait Became Its Own Art Form

The show’s official photographer runs us through 11 of her favorite shots.

Source: How the SNL Portrait Became Its Own Art Form

Kindness != Jackpot

The person even allowed a fellow customer to get in front of the line at the store to make a Mega Millions lottery ticket purchase, according to a commission statement. “A simple act of kindness led to an amazing outcome.”

by David K. Li

That’s not how this works. If the person didn’t get in front of them, it isn’t like the person behind them would have received their number. pseudorandom number generators don’t work like that. In fact, even if all of this took place, but the attendant hit the button to generate a new ticket a second later it probably wouldn’t come up with the same number.

The article is associating kindness with winning a lottery. That isn’t how kindness works, and it certainly isn’t how lotteries work.

Apple blocks Facebook from running its internal iOS apps

The shutdown comes in response to news that Facebook has been using Apple’s program for internal app distribution to track teenage customers with a “research” app

Source: Apple blocks Facebook from running its internal iOS apps – The Verge

This doesn’t surprise me. Facebook as a company is trying every tactic to learn about everybody, even those it isn’t allowed to track, even if it is completely unethical. They haven’t learned, but proven that apologizing afterwards and doing nothing to change their actions is acceptable in our society.

Expert level off-season speculation in /r/baseball today

Mike Trout was worth 9.8 fWAR for the Angels in 2018. He’s the standout star of a team that only won 80 games last year. In theory, if Mike Trout didn’t play for the Angels and was replaced with a replacement level outfielder worth 0 fWar, they’d only win 70 games.But what if Mike Trout could influence his teams’ performance in other ways?What if Mike Trout quit baseball to become the greatest meteorologist of all time?A meteorologist so talented that his weather predictions are always true… no matter when he makes them or how outlandish they may seem.In fact, had Mike Trout become this type of supernatural meteorologist, he would’ve been worth exactly as much to his team as he was when he finished the season with a 1.088 OPS and 39 home runs.

Is any of this necessary? No. Is this a complete and utter waste of your time? Possibly.

Source: Reddit /r/baseball

Microsoft is making big changes from its past: Cortana and Windows Phone

Microsoft is limiting Cortana instead of competing with Google and Alexa, it will work with them

“Cortana needs to be that skill for anybody who’s a Microsoft 365 subscriber,” explains Nadella, referencing Microsoft’s new consumer subscription push. “You should be able to use it on Google Assistant, you should be able to use it on Alexa, just like how you use our apps on Android and iOS so that’s at least how we want to think about where it’ll go.”

Source: Microsoft no longer sees Cortana as an Alexa or Google Assistant competitor – The Verge

 

Microsoft is also recommending customers move to iOS or Android from Windows Phone

With support for the now-discontinued Windows 10 Mobile devices set to end on December 10, 2019, Microsoft is recommending that its current Windowa 10 Mobile customers move to an Android or iOS device instead.

Microsoft made the recommendation in a Windows 10 Mobile support document (via Thurrott) explaining its plans to stop offering security updates and patches for Windows 10 Mobile.

Source: Microsoft Suggests Windows 10 Mobile Users Switch to iOS or Android as Support Winds Down – Macrumors

 

I honestly didn’t know Windows Phone was still supported, so I’m sure this isn’t going to come as a surprise to anybody.

Less is more

The first stories of the iPhone XS battery cases all immediately looked at the mAh capacity of the battery. I assumed Apple put a smaller battery in the case because the battery in the phone was larger, thus needing less weight in the case to more than make up the total charge time. Turns out, I was wrong.

Apple cases have the lowest mAh rating, at 1,369mAh. But that’s because instead of using a single large cell (like the iPhone 7 battery case’s 2,365mAh battery or the iPhone 6 case’s 1,877mAh), Apple is using two battery cells wired in series, which keeps the net amperage the same but lets it boost the voltage to 8.7V, dramatically higher than the estimated 3.8V that the older cases output power at.

Shannon Liao and Chaim Gartenberg go on to say Wh is the correct method of measuring these batteries, which tops out over 10Wh versus 7.13Wh of the iPhone 6 battery case

Source: Apple’s new battery cases are its most powerful ones yet – The Verge

System has four stars and a planet-forming disk oriented vertically

A solar system has been identified with two sets of binary stars.

the two binary systems have stars that orbit their mutual centers of gravity at a distance about the same as the Earth’s distance from the Sun. The two binary systems are separated by about 54 times that distance, or about 1.8 times the Sun-Neptune distance.

If that weren’t enough, there is a ring orbiting on the polar axis that is primed to produce a planet

the material in the disk appears to have condensed into dust particles, a key early step that enables planet formation. So, at some point in the future, there may be planets orbiting the system graced with two suns and two very bright, very nearby stars.

Insert Yelp! review ratings joke somewhere in here…

Source: System has four stars and a planet-forming disk oriented vertically | Ars Technica

2,630-Calorie Meal

His former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski wrote, in “Let Trump Be Trump,” his book chronicling the campaign, that “on Trump Force One there were four major food groups: McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza, and Diet Coke,” and that his boss’s go-to McDonald’s order was two Big Macs, two Filet-o-Fishes, and a chocolate milkshake.

That’s a lot of food for one sitting.

Source: The Pure American Banality of Donald Trump’s White House Fast-Food Buffet | The New Yorker