Nov 30

SCAM for real estate agents

I received an email, slightly off my business field. By starting with “Hello Mr. Steven Mak”, I though that he may have sent emails to another person previously then he copy-paste forgetting to change name. Scammers never address by names. Scammers send mass mails with empty TO: field, his email had at TO: my Yahoo email address. So I replied. His 3rd email looked suspicious as he used word TRUST excessively, and bad english, and at 4th email he said that will give me 20% of his 22 million dollars, I realized that is a SCAM. Most likely he was going to ask me to open a bank account in his country to wire the promised funds, but ask several fees in advance.

This reminds me of another suspicious email, which most likely was a serious buyer but the way he addressed me sounded a SCAM and I replied wrongly.

His email: vetranbellavia@diplomats.com
Date: 10 October 2016

 


Scammer:

Hello Mr. Steven Mak,
My name is David Bellavia, a retired commander in US Army, I am interested in investing in property in Hong Kong. Please i need a response from you to know how to go about the process, i look forward to hear from you asap.
Regards,
David Bellavia.

 


Me:

I have some knowledge about Hong Kong housing… let me know how I can help?

 


Scammer:

Yes,,, great to hear that, and to hear back from you. I am interested in investing in real estate property business in Hong Kong, If you may give me a call, and we can get down the ideas and were to start from. My home phone number in Florida United State is: +1 (305) 320 – 2537
I will be expecting your call.
Regards
David Bellavia

 


Me:

I am not good in talking via phone, but if you want a live communication visit my website and click the LIVE CHAT bar in lower-left corner.
BTW, I am not agent but researcher and architectural designer so I don’t sell properties but I can help you with advices regarding Hong Kong properties.

 


Scammer:

That is fine as long as we can still communicate in writing so it is fine by me, because i need someone i can trust and reliable. As a researcher and an achitect in proffesion must be someone i can relly and trust doing business with. In that case, i will send you an e mail where by explaines it all and i believe we can do business together and in the near furture, if i can really trust you and as an achitect, you can help me secure some properties in Hong Kong, so you tell me what we can do and if you are really a serious business man, then let’s work. Please send me your full name and contact cell phone and your land phone, i know you said you’r not good on phone speaking English i guess, but that does not restarin us from working together. I will just need the phone number just in case and record purpose. I will be expecting your reply so i will send you an email that explaines how and all i want to do with the funds by investing in Hong Kong real estate business.
Regards.

 


Me:

Send me that email explaining in detail… I just don’t want to make phone number public. Work together? I will get any reward? so far I was providing consultation for FREE to visitors of my website.

 


Scammer:

Thank Teo,
I am an American Iraq war veteran, but presently retired from the Army and now into politics in the Western New York State. You might be surprise why have i contacted you and how. I got your email through your work place website as I was furiously searching for a trust broker or a financial manager outside the states, as i am sure this is a business opportunity for both of us. Some years back when i was in Iraq in the war, me and my co team went for a special operation in north of Bagdad to kill a foremost Islamist Militant who’s name is (Abu Musab al-Zarqawi). After the mission was successful, We later went for a mop up of the area where the terrorist where killed during the course of the operation, I went to a room and i discover that there was a wooden box hidden by a corner, so we broke it and when it opened, it was a huge sum of money, in US Dollars and I made sure i kept the box safe buried under the ground where no one could ever find it . All this happened 9 years ago,
I was able to transfer the money into the country here in the United states in January, but my financial broker and lawyer has advised me that I have to move the whole funds out of the United States, as my present political personality in the country and I am presently in Hillary Clintons Campaign team, as the pressure of Donald Trumps is threatening taxation. Last week we finally conclude with my lawyer and banker in charge of the funds, I told him to help me find a broker or someone we can trust outside the country but close by who I we can transfer the money to his or her name and he agreed and introduce someone to me in Belize, but been greedy and demanded an unbearable slice of percentage, and she said reason is, she maintained and run the account under a company name and she has inform her contact in the bank here in Belize, so I disagreed so I’m writing to you if your service can be of assistance in where to move the funds to asap. I need you to help me receive this funds in your name, as my plan with the whole money at this point, is to invest it all in buying properties abroad. I am assuring you it won’t be a problem by accepting my offer, all I need is you agreeing to help me move the funds to your account and we can finalize this transaction successfully.
The money I’m talking about is ( $ 22,000,000.00) Twenty Two Million Dollars, but $ 21.000.000 will be transferred in your name to your account, as I’m compensating my lawyer and the broker the sum of $ 1.000.000.00 usd One Million Dollars. If you agree to help me through moving the funds, I’m willing to give 20% of the total funds . I am sure you understand everything better as i await for your prompt response

Sincerely,
David Bellavia.

 


Me:

“I’m willing to give 20% of the total funds ” = GO FUCK YOURSELF nigerian scammer!

The way you addressed me looked suspicious from start, guess why? Because I am from Singapore and you asked about investing in Hong Kong. I was questioning if you have seen my website where I have 3 articles about Hong Kong and 20+ articles about Singapore, thus decided to email about Hong Kong, or is a coincidence as you found my email elsewhere. Also, the first row in your first email “Hello Mr. Steven Mak” = who the fuck is Steven Mak ?

Nov 19

Mobile phone numbers… is this possible?

I feel weird when someone ask me for a database of mobile phone NUMBERS. Tell me how do you EXPECT to be able to collect people’s numbers which is private info? Moreover creating and selling such database would be illegal. I post this page to inform people about this fact.

I made a database of mobile phones as products, NOT numbers, and a visitor of that page sent the following email:

Customer:
Hi Alida!
I’m looking for phone lists to market some products. Any chance we can work together?


Teoalida:
I already have phone database and I guess that you saw it since you sent this email. But I can also work for you if you want to change something in database or make new databases!


Customer:
Yes! I saw a couple samples on your site. Im looking for mobile phone databases of people interested in real estate or looking to buy real estate. Do you have them?


Teoalida:
I create database in many fields but phones and real estate cannot mix… what do you mean???
May I know which pages of my website have you opened?


Customer:
I went through the list of your databases. What i am interested in is a list of mobile phone numbers of people living in a certain area. Or really just mobile phone numbers of any group of people in Singapore. Would this be data that you keep?


Teoalida:
LOL…. so you’re from Singapore?
Mobile Phone database is about phones as products sold worldwide and not phone numbers in certain area. You’re 3rd person I think who ask about phone numbers (other 2 asking about flat owners and car owners), may I know how do you EXPECT someone to be able to collect them and if is LEGAL what we are doing?


 

Another one:

 


Customer:
Hi there, I am wondering whether do you have serangoon hdb database (in term of contacts) thank you Merry xmas and Happy new year


Teoalida:
I have all towns in HDB blocks databases and you can buy each town individually or whole Singapore with discount… what do you mean “in terms of contacts” ????


Customer:
Hi ,
Sorry I mean their handphone no..
Thanks


Teoalida:
Let me guess… you want to spam SMS to promote your agent services?
I have phone numbers of my local friends, few dozens of them… if I give you these numbers does it helps you? Also do you think that is legal to give friends phone number without their permission?
Tell me HOW DO YOU THINK that I would be able to collect phone numbers of large amount of people?


Customer:
Hi,
Thank you for your prompt reply.
Wish you happy new year!
God bless.


I sent him 1 more message and he never replied, never answered my questions. Probably ashamed of his request.
Few months earlier I told to someone about people looking for mobile phone numbers and he told me that is ILLEGAL

(3:53:52 PM) Visitor 41318597: By the way, I was from a very big company.. **************.. So I believe my words does carry it’s weight..
(3:54:15 PM) Visitor 41318597: Anyway.. The main purpose of any company is to make money..
(3:54:47 PM) Visitor 41318597: and the main purpose of their R&D department is to help give the company some edge that would make it more money..
(3:55:17 PM) Visitor 41318597: Usually the first step is data collection… Which is what you are doing..
(3:55:26 PM) Teoalida: but what kind of data do you collect?
(3:55:33 PM) Teoalida: have you seen how I wrote in About me…. “data mining”
(3:56:15 PM) Teoalida: someone asked me for a database of flat owners’ phone numbers… is this possible?
(3:56:15 PM) Visitor 41318597: I have not yet gone through your whole website, so unfortunately I have not read that yet.. But will do soon..
(3:56:51 PM) Visitor 41318597: Hmmm.. Database of flat owner’s phone number is a bit tricky..
(3:58:00 PM) Visitor 41318597: This is because:
1) I’m not sure where you’re going to get them
2) Phone numbers are kind of private information that you could only have if the owner gave it to you.. Else, you should not be selling such information. May get into trouble..
(3:58:21 PM) Visitor 41318597: They are protected by the PDPA.. (Personal Data Protection Act)
(3:58:46 PM) Teoalida: I told him that even if can be collected, would be illegal to sell
(3:58:59 PM) Visitor 41318597: Even if you have such data.. Maybe your friend’s number or such, you cannot sell or distribute without their permission.
(3:59:07 PM) Visitor 41318597: You’re right.. That is illegal..

Not-so-legal ways to get mobile phone numbers database

If you are a long-time internet user you may have seen on various websites some ads “you won an iPhone” who ask you to take a simple quiz, then ask you to input your phone number to enter in a draw (most likely a fake contest where nobody wins anything). Other websites offer a “free IQ test” and after you answer all questions, it ask you to input your phone number to receive the results, I don’t know if you actually receive results because didn’t tried. These websites do collect phone numbers of naive people and eventually sell them. If you are looking to buy a mobile phone numbers database, you can contact this type of websites.

Oct 14

Hackers on my website

On 5 October 2014 I noticed that my website is loading slower than usual, I logged into Control Panel and saw a high server load over last 10 hours, and in visitor logs I saw that some IP is accessing wp-login.php page hundred times per minute, causing high server load (as seen in the following screenshot) and “508 Resource Limit is Reached” error to innocent people.

Hacking is a sport for some idiots, what they do is using an automatic program writing common used passwords until guess my login password, then what they usually intend to do is to add a propaganda message, or replace my index.php with their own index.php that looks like THIS, to show to the world that they exists and that sites can be vulnerable.

But having a password with a mix of letters and numbers, and a low-power server limited to 600 hits (page loads) per 5 minutes, hacking attempt FAILED. All what the idiot did was to make my website loading slower and occasional “508 Resource limit is reached”. Number of visitors was max 5% lower than average for that day of week. As soon I logged into Control Panel and saw them, I banned the attacking IP and restored website back to normal. Hacker IPs: 91.212.182.186 located in United Kingdom and 213.128.67.90 located in Turkey.

The attack repeated next month (this time attack started during my daytime so I noticed and banned IP in less than 1 hour, compared with 10 hour case of first hacking attempt.), but it repeated 3 more times until end of 2014, and again in 2015, from various IPs around the globe. Most likely is the same hacker using various servers.

FUCK THE HACKERS!
What these no-lifers have against my little website?

Sep 02

Map of Singapore in AutoCAD

Anyone interested in an AutoCAD map of Singapore,
contact me and tell your requirements!

Please do not ask about completion status or what is included on the current map… most likely I have to trash it and start over designing a new map according your requirements.
Do you need axis line of all streets in Singapore? I am glad to do this.
Do you need building outlines? Theoretically is possible to draw them over satellite photo, but will take too much time considering how complex are shaped the HDB blocks.
Do you need anything else that do not come in my mind? Tell me…

Singapore AutoCAD map AutoCAD map of Singapore

The hobby for designing maps have a long history. When I was 5 years old I was drawing roads on paper and coloured them in various colors.

Between 2005 and 2007 I designed voluntarily maps for a small city in Europe which did not had any commercial available quality and detailed map. I used AutoCAD to draw street and buildings outlines, then Paint to add colors and building numbers. The maps were childish-looking, good for orientation, not accurate enough to take measurements. Many people appreciated the maps, including companies offering me money, but because the maps was not intended for professional use, I was not able to customize them for customer needs.

In 2009 I started drawing a map of Singapore in AutoCAD over the Google Maps, in the same time with making the Database of HDB blocks with estimated number of units. I was drawing street axis as well as planning area borders and coastal outline. Purpose: personal research, measuring area of various land parcels and estimate housing density in selected estates and use the results in designing own apartments.

Both the map and database were made for voluntarily for my personal research, with NO intention to publish or give to anyone else. I have NOT draw street axis in non-HDB estates, not even in all HDB estates, as this was out of the scope of my research for studying housing density.

I ended my research in 2011, leaving the map looking like above photos.

I published the incomplete HDB database for first time in 2012, resumed working in 2014 and finalized the database in 2015. I did not published also the map, because I believed that it is totally USELESS. I published the map in January 2016 to show you that I can design maps too, to see if anyone is interested, and how such AutoCAD map could be used. If there is sufficient demand from multiple people I will finalize the map and offer as paid download.

In June 2017 someone asked me to design a map with street axis, border and colors that indicate land use (HDB, private, educational, industrial, park, water, etc). This remind me of the childish maps designed in 2005-2007. See a SAMPLE:

Coloured map of Singapore

Problems

My idea is to design a map in AutoCAD and allow anyone to purchase DWG or PDF file at an affordable price. Price may rise once I add more details. Due to rounding and simplification making curves from straight lines, all roads are few or more meters off their real position. Such map should be used for orientation and NOT to take measurements. At what accuracy level I should design to make YOU happy?

Maps like www.onemap.sg and www.streetdirectory.com are pretty detailed having block numbers and a lot of places of interest, they are good for orientation making my map almost useless, but they do not have option to download map, nevermind editable DWG format. URA do have very detailed maps in DWG format available for purchase by professionals (at high price), and a map designed by 1-person in AutoCAD will never compete with the official maps done by government authority.

So does worth my effort to design myself a map in AutoCAD editable like URA map but not so accurate?

If there are enough people interested, I can go further and offer personalized maps service for companies, for example if you are a retail shop send your logo and I will add it on map in locations where you have shops, sell you PDF that you can print on large paper and hang it on wall.

Aug 18

Mobile phones database

Due to passion for making databases and statistics, I created an Excel database with mobile phones sourcing data from GSM Arena website, for my personal research of how mobile devices evolved along history, and I am publishing it here because other people may be interested too.

Looking for digital cameras, laptops, or other kind of electronics? Please recommend me a website similar with www.gsmarena.com and I will create more databases!

Download SAMPLE: Mobile Phones Database.xls.
LITE version include 7 columns: Brand, Phone, Notes, Image URL, Technology, Announced, Status.

Buy FULL database + 1 year of FREE monthly updates:

Buy & download

Price in Singapore Dollar (1 SGD = 0.7 USD)

Mobile phones specifications database

Mobile phone database coverage & list of updates

The mobile phone specification database include classic phones and smartphones, tablets and smartwatches, from 108 phone brands that are commonly seen in the western world. There may be missing brands especially from China which have a lot of brands not known at all outside their domestic market.

Earliest models included are Ericsson phones launched in 1994, but I guess that some early phone models are missing, as number of phones launched per year is significant only after 2003.

8191 phone models – August 2016, database created from personal interest.
8281 phone models – 6 October 2016, first sale done so I updated database for first time.
8419 phone models – 2 January 2017, new update after 2 more sales.
8464 phone models – 24 January 2017, a customer suggested adding one extra column: image URL, by this way I done a new update.
8554 phone models – 8 April 2017 – a customer requested update.
8600 phone models – 26 May 2017.
8641 phone models – 7 July 2017.
8724 phone models – 2 September 2017.
8806 phone models – 7 October 2017.
8836 phone models – 1 November 2017. Due to rising number of sales I think that I can update monthly on 1st day, instead of in the day someone ask for an update.

Mobile phone brands included

Acer, alcatel, Allview, Amazon, Amoi, Apple, Archos, Asus, AT&T, Benefon, BenQ, BenQ-Siemens, Bird, BlackBerry, BLU, Bosch, BQ, Casio, Cat, Celkon, Chea, Coolpad, Dell, Emporia, Energizer, Ericsson, Eten, Fujitsu Siemens, Garmin-Asus, Gigabyte, Gionee, Google, Haier, HP, HTC, Huawei, i-mate, i-mobile, Icemobile, Innostream, iNQ, Intex, Jolla, Karbonn, Kyocera, Lava, LeEco, Lenovo, LG, Maxon, Maxwest, Meizu, Micromax, Microsoft, Mitac, Mitsubishi, Modu, Motorola, MWg, NEC, Neonode, NIU, Nokia, Nvidia, O2, OnePlus, Oppo, Orange, Palm, Panasonic, Pantech, Parla, Philips, Plum, Posh, Prestigio, QMobile, Qtek, Sagem, Samsung, Sendo, Sewon, Sharp, Siemens, Sonim, Sony, Sony Ericsson, Spice, T-Mobile, Tel.Me., Telit, Thuraya, Toshiba, Unnecto, Vertu, verykool, vivo, VK Mobile, Vodafone, Wiko, WND, XCute, Xiaomi, XOLO, Yezz, Yota, YU, ZTE.

Mobile phone specifications included

FULL version include 71 columns, each field having the following completion percentages:

Naming: Brand 100.00%, Phone 100.00%, Notes 29.83%, Image URL 92.62%.
Network: Technology 100.00%, 2G bands 100.00%, 3G bands 56.49%, 4G bands 18.83%, Speed 56.80%, GPRS 99.63%, Edge 99.73%.
Launch: Announced 99.83%, Status 100.00%.
Body: Dimensions 99.78%, Weight 98.95%, Build 0.96%, Keyboard 8.15%, SIM 99.99%, Other 99.78%.
Display: Type 99.95%, Size 86.11%, Resolution 99.46%, Multitouch 47.96%, Protection 16.03%, Other 99.95%.
Platform: OS 57.05%, Chipset 42.98%, CPU 56.22%, GPU 40.64%.
Memory: Card slot 100.00%, Phonebook 42.31%, Internal 79.92%, Call records 41.35%.
Camera: Primary 86.36%, Features 48.77%, Video 85.49%, Secondary 86.00%, Other 100.00%.
Sound: Alert types 99.95%, Loudspeaker 100.00%, 3.5mm jack 99.21%, unnamed 99.95%.
Comms: WLAN 99.95%, Bluetooth 99.78%, GPS 99.66%, NFC 9.22%, Radio 98.91%, USB 89.70%.
Features: Sensors 53.39%, Messaging 99.99%, Browser 96.99%, Clock 5.44%, Alarm 5.44%, Games 42.30%, Languages 3.12%, Java 99.27%, Other 99.99%.
Battery: Battery 99.98%, Stand by 76.70%, Talk time 80.73%, Music play 85.49%.
Misc: Colors 93.08%, SAR US 22.73%, SAR EU 26.44%, Price group 58.11%.
Tests: Performance 3.44%, Display 5.45%, Camera 7.01%, Loudspeaker 8.58%, Audio quality 7.82%, Battery life 5.08%.

Percentages as 7 July 2017.

How the Excel phone database can be used

Filter the mobile phone database and get a list of mobile phones having specific features.
Filter the mobile phone table by year and make list of features introduced in each year of history.
Analyze data and make statistics what are the best phones in each price range.
Convert Excel spreadsheet to CSV or MySQL and create your own phone comparison website or mobile app.
Etc…

Actually I do not recommend using this database in making websites. Feel free to use it for research and analysis purposes. I am NOT responsible for any copyright troubles you may face if you use their data commercially, making own website, etc. This is NOT an original database “Made by Teoalida”, but rather a database showcasing abilities of data scraping, and the data belongs to www.gsmarena.com. Please consider the price a fee for data scraping service from website rather than author of data.

Jul 06

How to NOT make money online: the Paid-To-Click (BUX) sites

Paid-To-Click sites, also known as BUX, are one of easiest (but stupidest) way of making money using internet. With just few minutes per day you can earn… FEW CENTS! This was popular along teenagers looking to make money online.

www.bux.to was one of most popular sites, started in 2007 and still running although not paying members after 2008. Lots of other sites named www.something-bux.xyz appeared in 2007-2009.

I personally used BUX websites in 2007-2008 and earned few dozens dollars, nothing significant compared with money earned by working for people, webdesign and AutoCAD design services.

How the BUX sites pretend to be working

You sign up and get paid usually 1 cent to view 30-second ads, which can be viewed once per day. If you refer friends to sign up you earn usually 0.5 cents for the ads they view. Site is selling ad space for $15 per 1000 visits, meaning that advertisers pay 1.5 cents per visit and you earn 1 + 0.5 cents per ad viewed.

Once you earn minimum payout, usually $5-10, you can request earnings to be paid to your PayPal or AlertPay account. Some BUX sites say in Terms of Service that pay you max in 7 days, others that pays in 30 days. You should never take in serious their TOS.

Sounds a good business? Actually very few sponsors are buying ad space on BUX sites, and most such sites run with self-sponsored ads, and their primary source of income is people themselves who invest in buying referrals (buy people who signed up without being anyone’s referral).

How the BUX sites are actually working (and scamming you)

All BUX sites are actually a fraud. The site admin starts a BUX site and spend few dozens dollars advertising it on other BUX sites and surf sites, people looking to make easy money join the site, some people investing few dollars in buying referrals.

People start requesting payouts and site admin pays few of them usually in few hours, who are posting proof of payments on various forums, and more people gain trust in BUX site and join it.

Soon, more and more people start requesting payouts, which exceed the money people invested in buying referrals, site admin run out of funds, he say in forum that payments will be done in max 30 days because he got sick, PayPal account locked, or other excuse. He is waiting for more people investing in referrals, but meantime so many people request payouts, and he need to stop all payments.

People announce on forums that the site went bankrupt / SCAM, but who is unaware of this continue to invest in referrals, leaving site admin in profit. Profit depends by how well the site was promoted and how payments were slowed down without giving impression of bankrupt.

You are advised to NOT invest in any BUX site, because by investing you encourage the fraud, more people investing means more people paid which leads to even more people investing who will eventually lose money when the site admin stop payments.

NeoBux: biggest Paid-To-Click SCAM

www.NeoBux.com was born in 2008, it was the first Paid-To-Click site which offered automatic payouts, and as 2016 it continue to pay, however personally I still define it a SCAM. Actually NeoBux is the biggest fraud of Paid-To-Click industry. The secret of longevity is the referrals they sell.

NeoBux offer 4 or more ads which can be clicked once in 24 hours, each worth 0.5 cents, additionally you get 50% of referral earnings, you can recycle inactive referrals or you can set automatic recycling if they do not click any ad for 3 days. A real person would click all 4 ads each day, or may not click any ad today because forgot to click or don’t have time. The referrals they sell you click daily 1-2 ads, and slow down once you buy more referrals, this proving that they are actually robots programmed to leave you in loss. With other words, you invest $10 and earn back $12, then you invest $100 and earn back $80.

My personal experience in Paid-To-Click websites

I start signing up on BUX sites in 2007, being unaware how fast the BUX sites go into bankrupt, I signed on about 10 sites and clicked ads without having any referral, earning theoretically one dollar per day, but took in average 2 months to reach minimum payout, enough for the sites to go into bankrupt thus I was never receiving the money earned. Then joined a forum and promoted my referral links, got few referrals but still rarely receiving money earned.

Then, I found on forums that some people offer to pay you back what they earn from you if you sign up as their referral. In some cases paying referrals weekly instead of when they receive payout. By this way, in 2008 I made few dozens dollars, being paid not by BUX site, but by members of the BUX site, and sooner or later these members realized that the site went bankrupt and tell us to stop clicking, usually putting themselves in loss, and me in win.

By late 2008 so many BUX sites appeared and they were going into bankrupt so fast, that nobody was bearing anymore the risk of paying back their referrals. I have not made any more money from BUX sites after this.

Other money-making programs

Other money-making programs are the surf websites, they are not designed for making money but as far I see on forums, many people use them with interest of making money. The money you earn is usually less than cost of power bill required to keep computer running and surf websites. For example www.easyhits4u.com guide says “Please note that EasyHits4U is not a moneymaking machine. The site is designed as a traffic exchange, and the bonus that members receive for surfing is simply an added benefit. The site is not designed to encourage people to work full time to make money.

I personally used EasyHits4U in 2009-2010 to get more traffic on my website hoping to increase Google ranking, then realized that traffic from surf sites have no impact. Did not cared about money.

Jun 08

People hate chat pop-up

I use a chat widget on my website since January 2012. In average 8-10 people message me every day, 3000 per year, I helped lots of people thanks to this chat widget, and in a day of 2014 someone thinks that the chat widget invade his privacy… probably he will never visit my website again!


Chat started on Monday, June 16, 2014 1:37:05 PM
Country: Singapore
Page URL: http://www.teoalida.com/

(1:37:05 PM) *** Visitor has joined the chat ***
(1:37:09 PM) chat support @ teoalida.com: Hello from website admin! If you need any help or just wanna chat, drop here a message!
(1:38:16 PM) Visitor: what is this ? invading internet privacy ?
(1:38:34 PM) Teoalida: LOL?
(1:38:34 PM) *** Teoalida has joined the chat ***
(1:38:53 PM) Visitor: how to remove this chat window out of my screen please ?
(1:38:54 PM) Teoalida: This is the way for admins to talk with visitors
(1:39:04 PM) Teoalida: for companies to talk with customers
(1:39:12 PM) Visitor: visitors do no like to be disturbed.
(1:39:22 PM) Teoalida: You never visited any website with chat box before?!
(1:39:32 PM) Visitor: this is terrible
(1:39:56 PM) *** Visitor has left ***
(1:40:02 PM) Teoalida: Some visitors may need my help, some are really interested in my services, this is why I greet everyone. Just ignore the chat window if you don’t need my help
(1:40:02 PM) *** You are not in a chat ***


Chat started on Sunday, May 15, 2016 7:36:19 PM
Country: France
Page URL: http://www.teoalida.com/games/caesar3/

(7:36:19 PM) *** Visitor has joined the chat ***
(7:36:21 PM) teoalida: Hello from website admin! If you need any help or just wanna chat, drop here a message!
(7:36:51 PM) Visitor: could you shut your trap and let me naviguate in peace ?
(7:36:59 PM) Visitor: please
(7:37:10 PM) *** Teoalida has joined the chat ***
(7:37:16 PM) Teoalida: just minimize the chat if you don’t need me
(7:37:25 PM) Teoalida: it it configured to pop-up at everyone
(7:37:29 PM) Teoalida: can’t stop it just for you
(7:38:06 PM) *** Visitor has left ***

May 22

Comparison: MSN Live vs Yahoo Messenger vs Gtalk

The best is to use what your friends use. In some countries Yahoo got popular, in others MSN / Live messenger is more used.

Yahoo and MSN Live messenger are semi-compatible, you can send messages to people using other one, but cannot send files, call or webcam. No problem for me.
Both are overloaded with games and “fun” features, such as BUZZ and auditibles, that are annoying and disturbing.

Google Talk is the worst in terms of features, lacking necessary features: AFK time to set the idle status (it is pre-configured at 5 min), lack of organizing the friends list using groups, lack of video chat, but being simple, it have none or very few bugs.
It is suitable for serious people like me. But too few of my real-life friends are using it.

I have MSN aka Live Messenger account, it is comparable with Yahoo in terms of features, but I do not used it enough to make a detailed review. MSN do not disconnect you if you are connected from multiple places, I am not sure if this good or bad feature, do you?

I never want to use Skype because it is based on voice call. You can text on it, but it lacks normal messenger features, can’t leave offline messages, etc.

Yahoo Messenger is fully loaded with bugs and vulnerabilities. Since ~feb 2012 if I send a file or a message containing www or http to a friend, some times he do not receive them, but I receive if he send same thing. Next days is my turn to not receive such things from same person. In any given day the bug happen randomly just with certain friends.
Since 2008 or 2009 appeared detectors of Yahoo invisible status, I asked my foreign friends if they know any MSN invisible detector, but soon I realized that detectors are in fact a Yahoo vulnerability, the detector sends you a script and your stupid messenger client return your status to the detector. The admins of such websites collect hundred IDs per day and can sell them for several $ to spammers. No wonder why I receive 50 SPAM emails every day.

Yahoo Mail sucks too, I have no idea how the SPAM guard works but while exchanging emails with someone, got several of them in SPAM and the rest in Inbox, despite that I did not touched the Report as spam / No spam buttons. I constantly get enquirers or service request from website visitors, I reply to every email, but in a period less than 25% replied back, most likely because my emails goes to their SPAM folder and they check only Inbox.

The single reason for which I kept using this fucking Yahoo Messenger is that in my country nobody use MSN, however due to this website I got a number of foreign friends, some of them using MSN, but I keep talking with them from my Yahoo. Beside this I use Gtalk, but I have very few friends in it.

May 21

Comparison: Imageshack vs Photobucket vs Picasa

Let’s say that you are posting images on forums or you have a free website and you need a third-party site to host images to save bandwidth and CPU usage (like my case). Which is the best image hosting?

Imageshack.us have unlimited storage 500 photos storage and lots of bandwidth (100 MB per hour for each photo), unlimited image resolution, 5 MB max image size, but it is slowest of all 3, and unreliable.

For some moments, several images were not loading, also over time images are lost . They are still in My Images but are not displayed (I see a blank image). Out of 400 images uploaded during 2009-2011, I in 2012 about 50 of them are gone.(I am talking about images constantly accessed via my website, not about inactive images, which are deleted from My Images too if were not accessed at least once per several months).

I had to upload 3 times the floorplan of Sharpback Small (in Apartment Design page) because after every several months it was deleted for unknown reason, is my design so never mind of claiming for copyright by another person.

I hate Imageshack also because it removes any non alphanumerical characters from filenames, and there’s no way to create albums and organize photos.

It generate unique URL for each image, so is impossible to fix the missing images without editing the links (which is not always possible, especially in forums).

Update: A visitor told me in august 2012 that you can upload max 500 photos. Personally I accumulated about 400 photos in 3 years and was never aware that I am close to a limit.

Photobucket.com had limited storage but got unlimited bandwidth since early 2012, from March 2013 bandwidth is again limited to 10 GB per month, which until late 2011, was enough for my small website.

I love Photobucket because is easiest to use and I can organize my images. I can make albums, but most important, it preserve file name URLs so I can delete photos and reupload them without no need to update links (my photos can be linked in other websites too, where I cannot update links), or this saves a lot of time if I have photos named like Apartment-1.png, Apartment-2.png, Narrow-House-1.png, Narrow-House- 2.png, etc, when I code the website, I only need to se find/replace to change the “House” into “Narrow-House”.

What I hate is the maximum resolution of 1024×768 and small 10 GB monthly bandwidth. The 1024×768 is default limit but you can change it up to 2048×1536, and the limited bandwidth.

Update: in September 2012 Photobucket added a feature of scrambling file names, to prevent photo URL guessing, useful for people using it for sharing private photos. But this is annoying for who use it to host public photos on websites. Fortunately, it can be disabled, but took me a while to find it, was in Upload options, by this way I found that I can change resolution to max 2048×1536.

Picasa Web Albums, I found in march 2012 that may be a better choice. It offers 1 GB of storage and probably unlimited bandwidth. Image resolution is unlimited for storage but images cannot be displayed on websites at resolution higher than 1600×1600.
It do not truncate hyphens from file names, so they are easily to read, but sadly, it generate unique link for each image so I cannot reupload an image on same link or save time when upload many images with file name template.

Conclusion

All 3 Imageshack, Photobucket and Picasa can be the best but also the worst in some cases.

I assume that most people use them for small images, for sharing images with friends, or having small websites without high traffic. For them, Photobucket would be the best.

If do you have a blog or do you post images on forums where you can’t edit posts once posted (and you want the images to stay visible for long time) you should stay away from Imageshack due to reliability problems, if the blog/forum gets high traffic, you may want to stay away rom Photobucket too due to limited bandwidth. In this case Picasa may be the best.

If you need to share for moment a high-resolution image with online friends, and you don’t care about possible loss of images over time, then Imageshack is the best.

For what do you need an image hosting service?

My personal choice

Originally, when I started this website in 2009, I uploaded all website photos on Imageshack. But now as 2012, I use Photobucket as much is possible, for all photos in The Sims 2 and Caesar 3 pages, for personal photos (I made all at 1024×768) and for floorplans in Singapore page, while for my AutoCAD Designs I keep using Imageshack, because I render all 3D images in high-resolution (2048×1536), and some apartment block floorplans are even larger, for example Linear Large S-16 (3072×2048).

During early 2012, due to rising traffic on website, I have got 3 times warnings that I am approaching Photobucket bandwidth (using 70+% of bandwidth), 3rd time I even reached 100% bandwidth and got all images suspended, luckily this happened just few hours before bandwidth reset date.

I may move some or most of my photos on Picasa, especially the big images, because I risk to exceed photobucket bandwidth due to increasing popularity of Singapore page… undecided yet.
Not necessary anymore, Photobucket got unlimited bandwidth! But not for long! (read below)

Funny-stupid Photobucket case

We all know, Photobucket offer UNLIMITED bandwidth since early 2012.

On 28 February 2013 I had a SUPRISE! Some of my images are no longer displayed. I got this email “You’re approaching the free bandwidth limit! Get unlimited with Photobucket Plus” which normally is given when you reach 70% of bandwidth, but when I logged in Photobucket I said WTF! 17.1 GB used of 10 GB allowed.

How the fuck I have exceeded with 170% without getting any warning? and now I got the warning that I am approaching, anyway, after 30 min I got the email “You’ve hit your free bandwidth limit! Get unlimited with Photobucket Plus” given for reaching 100% of bandwidth.

Next bandwidth reset date was 9 March, could not wait 10 days, so instead of neglecting my daily responsibilities to quickly move 1000+ images on another image hosting, I decided to PAY Premium for 1 month to get unlimited bandwidth, I also submitted a RUDE ticket to Photobucket staff.

Even after payment, the images were not restored. Next day they put a notification that they experience a BUG, if we are Premium and images are not displayed, to submit a ticket and our accounts will be fixed manually. I wrote a second ticket… and images were restored! Finally! My website was text-only for 3 days.

Then, the idiots explained me that the Photobucket NO longer offer unlimited bandwidth, aka the 10 GB limit was set again without any warning, and this bullshit happened because some accounts, were already using more than 10 GB at the moment the limit was set.

For inconvenience caused, they awarded me with 3 months of Premium account FREE of charge. What I should do after these 3 months?

I am no longer using third-party image hosting services

Some people warned me that having images on third-party websites give an unprofessional look. So… I decided to gradually move the images on same paid server where I am hosting the website.

As May 2013 I hosted on own server all images from www.teoalida.com/singapore/hdbfloorplans/ as well as www.teoalida.com/design/ sections of my website, which gets 90% of total website traffic thus eating most bandwidth. The rest of sections such as www.teoalida.com/thesims and www.teoalida.com/fun/ will have images moved over next months.

After premium account expired, I monitored bandwidth and was shocked to see how it is growing at an alarming rate of 2 GB per day. Conclusion: 80% of Photobucket bandwidth was consumed not by my website but by people who hotlinked my images on various forums (in forums you cannot host images so you need to upload on a third-party website or link them from where they are already uploaded).

I had to delete the Singapore HDB floor plans images from my Photobucket account to save the bandwidth and prevent all images to be disabled… lots of images in forums, that people linked from me, will appear now as “Image has been moved or deleted“. I am sorry for that but can’t edit the links that are not on my website.

Mar 20

Screen size calculator – we hate widescreens!

I was thinking to buy a new monitor, so I made the following Excel table to calculate monitor dimensions (width and height) in mm, screen area, pixels size, etc. I posted it there on my website because I guess that other people may find it useful too.
I made to display all monitor sizes from 14 to 40 inch. You can write your own numbers.

Download: Monitor size & screen resolution calculator .XLS

History

During 2000s, most computer monitors were 1024×768 (4:3) and 1280×1024 (5:4).

Widescreens (16:10) appeared in 2004 originally for laptops (1280×800), next year also as stand-alone monitors (1440×900, 1680×1050, 1920×1200).

The TV industry adopted 16:9 standard in 2008, so computer monitors like 1366×768, 1600×900 1920×1080 spread quickly, because is cheaper to produce both monitors and TV in same aspect ratio. The 1366×768 resolution was born because some software need minimum 1024×768 to run. It is considered the worst resolution ever as its width is not even divisible by 8, so a 1360×768 was also born.

Note: few 16:9 monitors existed long time before being adopted by TV in 2008, compared with popular belief 1366×768 did not appeared in 2008, HD TVs with 1366×768 capable to display 720p video but also output 1024×768 from computers, existed in 2000s.

Carmack coded Quake on a 1920×1080 16:9 CRT monitor in 1995. Iincredible but true, considering that widescreens (re)appeared in 2004 with 16:10 both CRT and LCD. Does anyone know the history of 16:9 aspect ratio, who and when invented this shit?

The SAD part is that cheaper 16:9 monitors leaded to extinction of 4:3, 5:4 and 16:10 monitors around 2011. The stores bought what was the cheapest and the population was forced to buy what the stores sell, giving to manufacturers a false impression that nobody like 4:3 anymore.

Many people around formus are asking “Where I can buy a 4:3 monitor?” and people replying them that bigger is better, wide monitor are better, 24″ 1920×1200 better than 20″ 1600×1200, 27″ 2560×1440 better than 24″ 1920×1440, etc. But these big monitors are expensive and additional space in sides give NO benefits in certain applications.

Some people complain that 16:9 means loss of space, downgrade, etc. This is NOT TRUE if we take price and time in consideration.

21.5″ 1920×1080 monitors are today cheap like 17″ 1280×1024 and 19″ 1440×900, the popular sizes in late 2000s, for most people buying a 1920-1080 is a cheap upgrade.

24″ 1920×1200 was very expensive and never got more than 2-3% marketshare. If you paid $1000+ for a 24″ 1920×1200 in late 2000s then you can easily afford a 27″ 2560×1440 today.

You should compare like this:
17″ 1280×1024 (910 cm², 1310720 pixels) vs 19″ 1440×900 (1047 cm² 1296000 pixels)
20″ 1600×1200 (1239 cm², 1920000 pixels) vs 21.5″ 1920×1080 (1274 cm², 2073600 pixels)
These monitors are similar in area and pixels and similar in price too at some time in history, which one do you prefer and why?

I hate widescreens! Maybe gamers and movie maniacs would like 16:10 and 16:9, but many people use computers for professional things, personally I am working most of time in AutoCAD, Word and Excel, I prefer 4:3 aspect ratio. For certain projects I rotate monitor in portrait mode. A widescreen may give more vertical space in portrait mode, but its narrowness would be unacceptable. Many TV stations and videos are still in 4:3 format. Photo cameras are again 4:3.

If I could influence computer manufacturers I would produce 5 monitor types only: 17″ 1280×960, 20″ 1600×1200 and wide 20″ 1600×1000, 24″ 1920×1200, 30″ 2560×1600 and 3 laptop types: 12″ 1024×768, 14″ 1280×800, 17″ 1600×1000 (both 4:3 and 16:10, so people could choose what they wants, no 16:9 bullshit).

(Dis)advantages of widescreen monitors

Widescreen are close to golden ratio (1.618), match human vision, and can display 2 pages in Word.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? When running Microsoft Word 2010 on Windows 7, subtracting taskbar, menus, toolbars, etc, the 1366×768 screen provide an actual working area of 1335×529 pixels (2.52 ratio, very uncomfortable), while a 4:3 1280×960 screen provide 1249×721 actual working area (1.73 ratio) which fits two A4 pages better but still not enough (1.50 ratio is needed). Actually, in most software having more vertical space give you more pleasure than having golden ratio.

Widescreens give you ability to have 2 windows side by side
ANY monitor can display 2 windows side by side, top by bottom, etc, but in most offices we work in a single software at time. “Wide” but less than ~1000 pixels vertical give me claustrophobic feeling. For hardcore multitasking you should get a widescreen of at least 1920 pixels horizontal.

Widescreens match HD movie formats
How often do we watch movies on computer? At office probably never, at home I can plug in my 40″ plasma TV which is widescreen anyway. Letterboxing is not a problem for watching just few movies on computer.

Widescreens give you better field of vision in games.
This is true. But not every computer is used for gaming.

Note: above myths are based on conversations with my friends.

Most common screen resolution

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