Just call me Baked Potato?

Go into the world of song lyrics and you will find a lot of artists giving hints about to what to call them. Paul Simon from the Graceland Album has one of the more well known ones – ‘ You can call me Al’ , well that is if you are in the over 40’s age group.

For those of a younger musical generation, I can offer ‘Call me Maybe’ from Carly Rae Jepsen ….and probably many others if I put my mind to it. Perhaps another time……………..

This name calling seems to have extended to the world of internet fraudsters ‘phishing’ for my personal details. Like many people I have ended up with a few e-mail addresses, mostly from when I have had to register myself on-line and create an account for something and have either got caught in a loop of where they say they already have me, and I can’t reuse the same address (…but I can’t find the password!) or sometimes when I have been so reluctant to give them my routine address, I have created a new one just for them and other questionable organisations to share.

Typically these alternate e-mail addresses I have created bear no relation to my name and depending on my mood at the time of having to quickly create a new one, may be a bit off the wall. bakedpotato@myisp.com was one of my favoured choices at the time, but it seems somebody had got there before me so I couldn’t register it.

Anyway it therefore  becomes very obvious when I get the e-mails from fraudsters addressed to these as though it was my first name telling me that I have got a income tax refund (I wish…!) or my EE mobile account is about to expire (….funny, I don’t have an account with them) or my campervan vehicle duty is unpaid, and if it isn’t paid immediately it will be crushed. Or was it that I will be crushed? Anyway, I don’t have one of those either…and having quite a dislike of them (with all due respect to people who love them….), I would be quite delighted for any campervan to be recycled into food packaging . Dear Baked Potato , we regret to inform you that your vehicle will become Heinz Baked Bean tins must have a certain irony to it.

The world is generally full of good people, but the bad guys and girls are out there trying to cheat our friends, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and so on via these scams…I think for those of us who are tech savvy and scam savvy,  it is  our duty to always to remind those who are not,  of these people and the methods used to steal data. Anyway to help me remain aware, I have decided on a new address (assuming its available) of pleasejustignorethisemailitsascam@gmail.com and look forward to my first e-mail addressed to Dear PleaseJustIgnoreThisemailItsAScam it appears you have not paid for your TV Licence etc.

Those of us of a certain age in the early days of e-mail will all have had the communications from the very polite man in Nigeria explaining that his family millions rightly owned by him need transferring safely out of the country away from corrupt officials, banks and car park attendants and he just needs a little help from me as I am known as honest and trustworthy person. If I could just send him 100 dollars this will pay for a bank transfer fee and then 100,000 dollars  will be in my account which he and his honourable family will gladly share with me.

Ah…those were the days, I wonder how that man is now? Is he happy and well and living in Suburban Surrey and did he ever transfer his millions….

I have become (well) connected….

I have been researching part of my family tree on and off for quite a few months now using one of the many on-line services for doing this.

In some ways it’s a bit of a combination of detective work, guesswork and trying to remember family conversations that went on around you when you were a child.

For those of us who are now orphans … and I use the term slightly jokingly as although my father died when I was just sixteen, my mother lived into her eighties and my sister and I were blessed to have her well into our middle age. But of course like so many people we have the regret of why didn’t we ask more about aunties, uncles, cousins etc. rather than researching their death notices!

But we can’t turn the clock back and have to rely on our research and intuition now.

To be fair the family tree apps are very good and will give hints and suggestions that often help filling in the gaps. I also did one of the genealogy DNA tests that not only tells you your ethnicity but will from time to time will send you suggestions of possible family members based on DNA matches.

Well I think I have had quite a few of these e-mailed to me over the past year, and I generally just file these for investigation in due course.

However one arrived last week suggesting I was very well connected….Bill Gates from USA. Now I know the sensationally wealthy founder of Microsoft has very sensibly planned to leave not much of his multi-millions to his children to keep them grounded and will instead leave most to his charitable foundation and other causes. And I commend (cousin!) Bill for this!

However I don’t recall though seeing any plans as to what he has intended for his 3rd Cousins…………

Anyway…bubble now burst, looking at the age, perhaps not the same Bill Gates.

Who needs a free Windows 10 upgrade anyway?

What’s in a name?

My parents generation, probably like all generations, would from time to time have a bit of a moan about things. Actually, lets be careful here as we all find ourselves turning into our parents in various ways whether it is looks, temperament, idiosyncrasies , dress senses or driving habits!

Anyway my father would from time to time comment about how the world was becoming very depersonalised – small shops being swamped by large supermarkets, characterless motorways with no landmarks and so on. He did have a point here…I recall finding myself driving along a motorway on a work business trip that was one of many trips over a short period of time and gazing out of the car window (I hasten to add I was not the driver!) and having a mind-blanking moment about where on earth in the country are we? For those not so familiar with our UK motorways , they often have high grass banks and you see nothing of where you are passing for miles at a time – exit signs are the only clue!

Things have moved on (although obviously not on the motorways) in that the clever marketing people now want us to feel warm and fuzzy and upfront and personal about everything. I have a parcel delivery due later today and the courier company reassured me with a message that John Higgins would be with me between 17.32pm and 18.32pm. I am assuming he will be delivering the parcel and they are not just sending one of their employees round for a welfare visit?

I have recently been having a rant with my credit card provider and all the conversations, at least from their side(!) are very first name and friendly – sincere Steven from Customer Care has called twice, Michael from ‘escalations’ team and level headed Laura whose job it seemed was to call me about my complaints about the lack of service from sincere Steven and escalation Mike and re-assure me that she was on my case.

She told me more or less on our last call that her life has no higher or more important priorities than me and my banking needs at the moment. This concerns me slightly as her household may be expecting some contribution from her in terms of Christmas shopping, tree decoration or mince pie making or whatever her role normally is in such festivities and to me I think these are of greater need for focus in her life rather than an erroneous charge on my account.

And then of course there is Starbucks…it is impossible to order a coffee or hot chocolate with anonymity…I am not a huge customer of them normally and it is usually more when I am in the US for work related travel that I frequent them. When asked my name I always say , my best House of Windsor accent ….’Prince Charles’..there is never really any reaction from the order taker…other than mutters how , how will all this fit on the side of the cup? But when it gets shouted out to a crowded coffee shop, that is when the fun starts!

Enjoying this blog? …you know its just written for you ‘insert name here’

…oh and finally an update on the parcel, John hasn’t made it yet but I have been told of his exact co-ordinates. I have noted these in case things deteriorate and I need to give the info to the local mountain rescue team.