Forever Young, Not

IMG_0520.GIF image: Boomerslife.org

There are some advantages to getting older. Albeit, not many, but maybe we can capitalize on those that do come our way.

For instance, when Eliot and I went through security at the airport in Cartagena, Columbia yesterday, the officers let us pass right through even though they were questioning everyone else about what they were doing in the country. As we walked to our gate, I remarked to Eliot that apparently the security officers thought we were too old to be terrorists. I find that kind of insulting.

Eliot and I play the old age card as much as we can. We don’t have to try too hard because most of the young folks take one look and start treating us like we are their grandparents. If we take a subway, at least a half a dozen people immediately offer us their seats. That includes pregnant women, the blind, and people on crutches. Apparently, we look more helpless than them.

We just spent the weekend with six considerably younger guys. They too treated us like we were slightly handicapped. They opened the doors, gave us the best seats, carried extra stuff, and made sure we got safely across the street. They may not have been fully aware of what they were doing, but we embraced it.

Coincidently, my brother emailed me a New York Times article today entitled, “When Did We Get So Old?” I read it hoping I was going to learn an alternative to old age. No such luck. It basically says the approximate 77 million baby boomers that are alive today feel like they are on the outside looking in. Click on the Times story to see why we might be more confused than ever about who we are and where we live.

How do you think I feel? Most of my work revolves around Internet activities where the majority of co-workers are 40 years my junior. Sometimes it gives me the creeps, other times I don’t notice it at all.

I wonder what Hillary thinks?

Hard Butter Challenge

I feel so relieved. One of life’s greatest challenges may shortly be solved. There is going to be a way to spread hard butter evenly on a piece of bread. No more tearing your bread when trying to get that even look. Or having to settle for clumps of butter in just a few places.

Seriously, biting into a piece of bread with evenly spread butter may not be your biggest concern, but it certainly got the attention of 14,000 backers who contributed over $320,000 on Kickstarter to make sure ButterUp comes to life.

The ButterUp knife features a grater to aerate and soften the butter. Its grater shape does the trick. Watch the above video.

ButterUp will cost around $12. Delivery is next March. You still have time to join the campaign.

A Day Without Internet

Today we spent the day on a private island called Gente de Mar. It was a thirty minute boat ride from Cartagena. Our friends Juan Carlos and Joao arranged for the eight of us to celebrate Eliot’s birthday being disconnected. That’s the buzzword for living without the Internet.

The manager of the Island told me he is working hard along with a group of others to “unplug” local schools. He felt that the Internet contaminated young minds. That gave us the first clue that the island didn’t offer Wi-Fi.,
So we all put our smartphones away, pulled up lounge chairs, and chilled.

It was the perfect day. Below are photos from tonight’s birthday celebration in Cartagena’s Old Town.

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Below is our day at Gente de Mar starting with the boat ride.

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Microsoft Windows Scam

IMG_0433.JPG Image by Keenandijon,com.

Below is an email I received from my friend Ben.

HI Lois! I wanted to make you aware of a big scam being perpetrated on many senior citizens. Unfortunately, my 87 year old uncle just fell prey to it. My uncle received a call from some guy claiming to be with Microsoft Windows. Microsoft had detected that his PC was being hit with a computer virus or malware. He sounded very official and my poor uncle complied with his instructions to make some specific keystrokes on his PC. He unknowingly gave the phony guy access to his PC’s MS Windows OS which was then put in a frozen state. It became non-functional.

Again, he described the problem as a virus and malware and told my uncle that he could assist him remotely. In order to fix the problem, he had to pay $200. The so-called service guy would provide him with four years of protection. This incident would never happen again. He told my uncle that he would send him an electronic invoice on his PC screen.

My uncle needed to sign it electronically and give the caller his credit card information. At this point, my uncle finally thought that something was wrong. He hung up on the scammer and frantically called me.

My uncle had the scammer’s Caller ID. It was an 800 number. I called it and the scammer answered claiming he was at at a Microsoft’s Windows customer service office. There was a lot of noise in the background as if it was some sort of a boiler room operation. When I questioned the guy he hung up. I called back and he hung up again. Then he totally blocked my number from getting through.

I then called Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, WA and was connected to their corporate security folks. I explained what had happened to my uncle. The guy at Microsoft said that they were aware of the scammers and that they were already working with the FBI on a massive investigation.

Microsoft told me that the real end game for these scammers is to get the Credit Card information from the targeted seniors and then sell that information to other criminal elements. It’s a shame that seniors are so trusting.

TTYS.

Best, Ben

Box It Up

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I want to scream every time I have to fill in one of those little boxes that requires you to copy the same letters that appear above it. It’s not that I am lazy, it’s just that there are many times I don’t get the letters correctly.

I find myself muttering “Funny, that looked like “a ‘W’.” There are times when I get so frustrated with those little boxes that I just abandon the sites that use them. I never quite understood the true purpose of the little boxes even though techies told me they were for security.

A well-known TED Talk features the creator of the little boxes, Luis von Ahn. He calls them Captcha. You really should watch the video below because it explains why the boxes were created and the truly valuable purpose they serve.

A quick explanation is that Captcha helps the site owner decipher if a computer with a possible virus was trying to enter the site versus a human.

The term CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart. It was coined in 2000 by Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas Hopper and John Langford of Carnegie Mellon University.

My “Kickstarter” Journey

IMG_0411.GIFPaolo Parente studied with Gianni Versace and Domenico Dolce of Dolce & Gabbana in Milan.

“This whole thing of aging and wishing to be younger, I just don’t understand it. Life is this long trip, and each age needs to be lived for what it is.”

Those are the words of Paolo Parente, creator of Dust: Tactics, a very successful tabletop strategy game. I am now working with this internationally-known game illustrator. Paolo and my client, Shane Samole, founder B&D Group, will be developing a video game under the name “Dust Evolution.” Much like Dust: Tactics, the video game will blend World War II history with science fiction to create an exciting and visually unique new world.

I haven’t promoted a video game in quite a while, so I wanted to take all my DigiDame readers on this journey with me. The first order of business is a Kickstarter campaign so my client can raise the funds he needs to launch big time. Kickstarter is a worldwide crowdfunding platform based in the United States. That means the public has the chance to donate money in order to help start creative projects. Wikipedia says Kickstarter has reportedly received over $1 billion in pledges from 5.7 million donors to fund 135,000 projects, which include films, music, stage shows, comics, journalism, video games, and food-related projects.

I will be giving you a close look at what it’s like to start a Crowdfunding campaign, how we raise money, how we promote it, and how we make it successful.

What does this mean to you? I will be giving you the information you need to start a new company in your senior years. Or you can pass the information on to your children and/or grandchildren.

I am here to help you. I always want to share and hope you will do the same.

Stir To Prevent Being Shaken

IMG_0404.JPG Quirky.com image

I have heard the worst stories about the so-called “date drugs” (GHB, Rohypnol, Xanax, etc.) this year. I don’t even want to repeat the ugly predicaments that a number of people have unfortunately gotten themselves into.

I was certainly happy to hear about a nail polish that is being tested that can tell women if their drink has been tampered with. All they have to do is quickly stir their drink with their polished finger. If the color changes, don’t take another sip.

Appropriately called Undercover Colors, the nail polish was created by a group of students from North Carolina State University. So far they have raised $100,000 for testing and manufacturing. They hope to complete the testing by the end of this year and have product on the market by early 2015.

The sooner, the better!

Phony Phone Calls

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Some sort of bug is hitting cells phones. If this happens, you are better off knowing about it in advance, even though there is nothing you can do to correct the situation.

A friend of mine is going through it right now. He spelled out the details for us.

Two days ago, I got off a plane, disabled the airplane mode on my cell, and suddenly discovered I had 40 plus voice messages. I didn’t recognize any of the incoming calls. Not one of the numbers were in my contacts.

“After listening to a few of the voice mails, I realized the some of the messages were similar. ‘Hey you called me? What is this about? You called? I’m calling you back. Who is this? Why did you call me?’

“It seems, even though I was 35,000 feet in the air, (with my iPhone in airplane mode) my cell phone was being used to call random people.

“I called AT&T and was told that this was indeed becoming a big problem. They didn’t know if it was a prankster or just some weird virus. The only thing they could say was that they had nothing to do with it and there was no way of stopping it. My only options were to learn to live with it or change my phone number.

“It’s been two days, and my phone keeps ringing with angry or confused callers. I changed my outgoing message to explain the problem so now I get fewer voice messages. It’s very frustrating. I love my iPhone but I feel like I am being attacked.”

The reason why I devoted space to this situation is because my friend’s phone is still making random calls. I am helping him by asking folks if they ever heard of a mishap like this one? If so, please share what you know. My friend needs a cure, quick..