Pass this to everyone you know!!1!!

Seriously, do.

Here is something you need to do at least every few months or so. Go to this website:
https://haveibeenpwned.com/

Enter in your email address and click the PWND button. The search result will let you know if your email address was involved in any of the hacks, breaches, breaks, whatever from any of the online sites that report it.

If you get results, then go to the site(s) listed and change your password.

I now view all my email on my phone and online. I no longer download it. I was checking the spam folder of one of my accounts and saw I had sent myself an email. Usually this is a spoof or whatever but this one had the subject line that included an old password. And three of my websites have been hit with big login attacks. Added together, I took the safe road and with my webhost who confirmed it is a spam.

In addition to telling me to check out the pwnd site, they directed me to this article:
https://krebsonsecurity.com/2018/07/sextortion-scam-uses-recipients-hacked-passwords/

It is likely that this improved sextortion attempt is at least semi-automated: My guess is that the perpetrator has created some kind of script that draws directly from the usernames and passwords from a given data breach at a popular Web site that happened more than a decade ago, and that every victim who had their password compromised as part of that breach is getting this same email at the address used to sign up at that hacked Web site.

I suspect that as this scam gets refined even more, perpetrators will begin using more recent and relevant passwords — and perhaps other personal data that can be found online — to convince people that the hacking threat is real. That’s because there are a number of shady password lookup services online that index billions of usernames (i.e. email addresses) and passwords stolen in some of the biggest data breaches to date.

For the record, I don’t visit porn sites, I don’t have a webcam (that works), and lawd help them if they record me sitting here (if they could, that is). What I do have is a cool program called 1Password. It not only keeps track of them for me, it creates new passwords, lets me know if there are any too similar, and some other cool stuff. LastPass and Dashlane are two others. I found Dashlane to be rather intrusive in what it wanted to install on my computer, though. Do a Google search for ‘password manager’ and check them out. PCMag has a good review article as does CNET.

So, go to the Have I Been Pwned site, check your passwords, and put a piece of tape over your webcam.

*For those who don’t know, pwned is gamer shorthand for “pawned” and means to be really beaten (paper airplane meets flame kind of beaten).

DRM and Calibre

I recently really really wanted a book but the only place I could find it was on Amazon.com. I can’t stand buying books from them. But I really really wanted this one. So I bought it. Problem is it wasn’t downloadable but only available through their “cloud”. I had to use their app or use a Kindle. I didn’t want either one. I wanted the book I paid money for. I tried several methods of getting the book onto my PC but, when that failed, I requested a refund.

Then someone on Facebook found it for me over on the Kobo website and I bought it there. Now the problem was although it was in the epub format, it had the Adobe DRM on it. This is what I did to remove that so I could read it where ever I wanted. Since, ya know, I paid for it.

So, go buy an ebook from Kobo. Go through the purchase process. They’ll send you a confirmation email. But you can also just go back to the page of the book and click the “View in My Books” link to the left. This will take you to a list of the books you’ve bought there. Right click the three dots to the right of the book. Select “download”.

Continue reading

How to Get Your Nook Books

We don’t do Kindle. Never have. Never will. Instead we get epub formats since they are quite universal. Nearly any ereader can view them with little to no converting. Which is why I dislike Kindle. And why I disliked Lorna’s Nook. When Barnes and Noble (B&N) dropped the Nook, we kept it alive for as long as possible. I even spent big bucks on chargers and cords since both were proprietary. Then it started dying and I couldn’t fix it. I got her a tablet, used Calibre to upload all her books, and she was happy. Then B&N got rid of the “download” button on their website. The only way to get your books was through a Nook or a Nook app.

I by-passed that by using Nook Study. It was designed for students to download textbooks and for years, it has worked. She bought her books, I used it to download them, then used Calibre to upload them to her tablet. Done.

Except today when she bought a book, Nook Study wouldn’t work. It tried to download and said they were “experiencing errors, try later” or something like that. Right. I knew the Nook Study was on the way out anyway because I tried to install it on her computer last year and it wouldn’t. They’d discovered the loop hole. And now they have tightened the noose.

Fine.

Lorna got the Nook app on her Android tablet and it automatically downloaded the book. It also downloaded a book I had bought several months ago that was not on her tablet. I went to the “Library” and long pressed her new book (when in doubt on an Android device, long press). Ta freakin’ da. It let me move it to the SD card. I located it on the SD card and “shared” it via email to my desktop. I then put it through Calibre (which removes the DRM) and uploaded it to her tablet. Now she can read it in the app of HER choice, not theirs.

Take that, B&N idiots.

In the Nook app, go to the Library.
Long press the book’s cover. Select “Move to SD card”

A: use the My Files and go to the SD Card, then Android, then Data.

1: Scroll down to find com.nook.app.
2: Open Files then Download.
3: Long press the book you want to send.
4: Tap Share.

Once you know where the book is, you can also send it to your desktop via whatever file sharing method you usually use. AirDroid, usb, or taking the card out and putting it into your computer.

To make Nook epubs viewable in a reading app other than their own (bastids), you’ll need Calibre and the plugin to decrypt it. The user manual is quite extensive but all information on how to remove the encryption is left up to the plugins. Apprentice Alf has the one you need and this post has the instructions for Calibre.

If you have any questions, let me know.

Medicare and Medicaid Idiocy in NC

(the below is based on my understanding of how this all works)

[rant]

Medicare is a federal thing, granted to people over 65 (or 67?) and to the disabled (and some others). To receive Medicare as a person with a disability (PWD), one must be declared “disabled” by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA determines the declaration on the person’s ability to obtain and maintain “gainful employment”. SSA is completely employment based. PWDs who gain the declaration from SSA receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). The amount paid is based on how much the person paid into the program while working. If a person was self-employed and did not pay into the program, they are not eligible for SSDI nor Medicare.

Medicaid is a state thing. Most states base the eligibility on income although there are other criteria.

A person can have one and not the other or they can have both. I have both. I have Medicare because I applied for and was granted SSDI about ten years ago. Since I cannot be on Lorna’s insurance even if we were married (DOMA), I have both medical and prescription coverage under Medicare. I have Medicaid since they only consider my income and, including royalties and SSDI, I only earn about 11K a year. Because Lorna and I are not married, she is seen as a housemate. Even though we support each other financially, her income is not taken into account.

Like most states, North Carolina is losing money. And like most state governments the first place they discuss cutting is Medicaid. NC has a new Republican governor, Pat McCrory who from the beginning is proving to have his head up his ass, one hand on the Bible, and the other hand doing a circle jerk with the other Republicans and the corporations who own them. One of his first moves was to threaten closing several liberal art state college programs, primarily any gender studies. Even though hundreds if not thousands of businesses (including rape crisis and victim advocates) use these educational programs, McCrory believes they are wasting tax money.

Now McCrory wants to “privatize” Medicaid. His idea is to have 3-4 groups hand out the money in the form of physicians having only X amount of dollars to spend on each Medicaid patient.

Let that sink in a minute.

Several years ago, Medicaid tried to limit how many physical therapy visits a patient could have. I can’t remember the amount but it was ridiculously low. So low that many patients with chronic conditions would have run out of their yearly allotment in less than 6 months. I was one of those people. I could probably go to PT twice a week and have something legitimate to work on. We had to teach me the steps, have me do it at home, then come back in two weeks to discuss and learn the next. It was tricky because I had to make sure I was doing it right, had to make up materials and equipment, etc etc etc. It was a pain in the ass for me and the PTist. She actually used me as a case study to present to the state board as she and other PTist began their “Are you fucking nuts?!” discussions. Other problems were because I didn’t fit into any single box in terms of medical definitions. I didn’t have paraplegia so I wasn’t eligible for certain things even though I needed it. I didn’t have MS so I wasn’t eligible for other things. We did a lot of headbanging for about two years until it was “fixed”.

And what McCrory wants to do is worse. This would limit not just my PT, but everything from blood work to equipment to tests to surgery. What happens if my doc runs out of my funds and I get ill? Or what if I am healthy and don’t use my allotment? Do I then have less the next year?

Hey, McCrory, you want to save the state money? How about taking a pay cut like everyone else has? No? How about looking at the money the state pays each year for those idiots to build their big houses on sand and expect the state to rescue their asses year after year when hurricanes come? No? Still stuck on chasing pennies while hundreds blow in the wind? Okay, then take a look at how much the state is paying for medical equipment. The 24v gel cell deep cycle batteries for my chair cost the state $500 each. My chair uses 2 of them. The state “rents” my CPAP for 13 months then buys it for me. In that 13 months, you could have bought me about 3 machines of much better quality than the dumb doorstop I got. You won’t pay for my $50 a year dental check up but you will pay the $14K dentures I will soon need. Shall I go on?

Better yet, allow Lorna and I to marry so I am no longer eligible for Medicaid! Wouldn’t that be so simple? Wouldn’t that save the state a ton of money since I’m sure we’re not the only lesbian/gay couple with this situation?

[/rant] (for now)

http://www.mountainx.com/article/49611/State-officials-to-visit-Asheville-will-discuss-Gov.-McCrorys-Medicaid-proposal

Migraine Mania

“Ah, a good day,” she said as she slumped in her seat, eyes closed, her hand rubbing her temple.

I got up this morning with a slight headache. Usual stuff. I was intent on eating a good breakfast and getting some work done. Ha.

I have headaches and migraines. Yay. Today I first tried drinking a Coke and took Tylenol and ibruprfen (my “cocktail”). Often, that’s all I need to nip it before it grows but it didn’t work and I ‘sploded. I also took a cool shower (needed one anyway, ya know?). The sensation of the water on my head feels sooo good during a migraine.

Fun fact: touch sensation travels faster to the brain than pain sensation. It is why we rub our elbow or knee or whatever when we bump against something. So the pounding of the water on my head drowns out the pain. Neat, huh?

After that, I went straight for the Big Gun (Relpax), ate some Ritz, drank water, and tried another Coke. It didn’t stop it. By this time, Lorna was home and we discussed options. I took Bacolfen and Skelaxin (muscle stuff since it is definitely neck related) and some more of the cocktail (minus the Coke). Two hours later, I took a second Relpax. Then I tried a decongestant as my eyeballs are sore. The second Relpax made me goofy (well, worse than usual). I tilted back in my chair, put on some Robin Bullock music, and chilled out.

Finally, after umpteen pills, 12hrs after it started, it is finally backing off. My eyes hurt like someone is pressing in with their thumbs and it feels like someone else is behind me pressing against the base of my skull. And a third person (getting crowded in here) is squeezing my head in a vise. Yeah, need some schizophrenia meds, too, eh?

I see the Headache Doc in a few weeks. I take amitriptyline to prevent the every day just because I am Me headaches. It seemed to be working at first but the last several months they are coming back. We added Baclofen to try and get my neck (and the rest of me) to loosen up. Then we added the Relpax to stop the Big Kahuna ones (yes, I name everything. Have to. Else it gets too heavy).

And that was just today.

I’ve tried some homeopathic remedies in the past but could never seem to find the right one. The headaches are related to my neck issues. They won’t do surgery because my arms don’t have any loss of sensation. I have several neck braces but I hate them all for vanity reasons mostly. The Headmaster Collar is the one I go to the most. Still hate it though.

So…if anyone has any ideas, I am open to suggestions. And no, Lorna won’t let me cut my head off. I’ve asked. She’s so picky.

Bullies

I visit a website/blog called “Crumbs from the Communion Table“. It is an awesome source of inspiration and demonstrates that there is a middle ground where we can all meet and discuss each others side of the story.

Today he posted a video featuring a news anchor somewhere. Doesn’t matter where she is, but what does matter is the message she has to give.

It is so true. Kids repeat what they see and hear.

When my niece and nephew visit us, what they see and hear are some road rage ranting (use your turn signal, gas is on the right, and get off the damn phone); some parking rules (stupidity is not a disability entitling you to that handicap parking spot nor does ‘I’m only going in for a minute’ mean you can park in the hash marks); and how two lesbians’ lives are not that much different from any one else (I don’t know, hon, what do you want to do?). I hope that I do not teach them that calling people names (other than idiot, hang up the damn phone and drive) is a good thing.

No One Can Answer

No one can answer the question I posed the other day. I’m still waiting.

I found myself questioning my faith but I believe I have pulled my self out of that. I was deeply depressed. I respected Mr. Graham tremendously and considered him very knowledgeable on the Bible. Not any more. If he believes, as he says, that the Bible actually defines marriage at all, then he must be losing his mind. I had briefly hoped that it was Franklin Graham who was releasing the statement in his father’s name (oh how ironic that line is) but others say it cannot be due to the way it is worded.

“Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern,” said Graham, 93, who lives near Asheville. “I believe the home and marriage is the foundation of our society and must be protected.”

You’re right, sir, the home and marriage is one of the foundations of our society. Yet, you wish to deny me both. Why? You honestly believe that keeping me and others like me from marrying will automatically strengthen others? Please, sir, I wish to know. I can’t marry in this state anyway. The failing of this amendment won’t change that. So what is its purpose? Why are you so for it that you step outside of your long policy of staying out of politics? Why put down the people you say are such sinners? You aren’t bringing us closer to God by doing this. Instead, you are pushing us further away. If your God–I often wonder if I worship a different deity than you and others like you worship–considers me a sinner simply because who I choose to love, then I do not want to follow that god. Thank you, sir, for pointing this out to me. Thank you, sir, for tossing another stone.

****

Some news linkages about Mr. Billy Graham (I have decided to drop his Reverend title).

BibliFact Brief: Billy Graham and Marriage in the Biblical Sense

With all due respect to Reverend Graham, who has tended to avoid engaging in political debates about homosexuality and gay marriage, the Bible does not clearly define marriage. Nor is the Bible clear that God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. Nor is the Bible straightforwardly applicable to any of the current policy debates about gay marriage, civil unions, and homosexuality.

Billy Graham and Amendment 1: A Tarnished Legacy

The fact that the 93-year-old Graham, who was born during the final days of World War I, supports marriage discrimination is not, in and of itself, surprising, when one considers both his age and his evangelicalism. What is rather surprising, however, is the fact that he’s made such a public anti-gay pronouncement at all. After all, the man has been essentially in retirement since 2007. Since that time, he’s left most of the right-wing craziness to his son, Franklin “President Obama may or may not be a ‘son of Islam'” Graham, and his daughter, Anne “9/11 was God’s way of getting back into the government and our schools” Graham Lotz.

Billy Graham backs North Carolina amendment to ban gay marriage

Graham’s newspaper ad will say: “The Bible is clear–God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. I want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote for the marriage amendment on Tuesday, May 8. God bless you as you vote.”

The bill proposing the amendment says only a simple majority of votes is needed for the amendment to pass.

Supporters of the amendment hailed Graham’s endorsement.

“Reverend Graham understands that we as North Carolinians have a duty to preserve God’s first institution–marriage,” said Tami Fitzgerald, Chairwoman of Vote FOR Marriage NC, a group supporting the measure, in a statement. “We cannot be silent as activists work to radically redefine marriage–an institution that has been fundamental to our civilization for thousands of years.”

Opponents of the amendment lamented the move.

“While we were disappointed to see his endorsement it doesn’t change much,” said Paul Guequierre a spokesman for the Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families. The coalition, which includes pastors from across the theological spectrum, opposes the amendment. “We have respect for (Graham) but we will continue to work with our clergy on this.”