About Pierre

Posts by Pierre :

Scammers & Spammers

We have all seemingly adapted to email spam. We set spam filters to auto move the identified spammer into a junk mail box. The spam still arrives at your computer thus the Scammers & Spammersbandwidth is used. On an ADSL account we don’t notice it but if we are using 3G receiving spam is an unnecessary expense.

Spam could merely be some unsolicited mail trying to sell you something or it could be a more serious attempt to scam money from you. It’s so bad that I assume all mail from any bank to be a scam.

Email scam and spam is not the focus of this article. Scam and spam sent to your mobile phone via SMS is the focus here.

While we can all agree that it’s unlikely we will ever eliminate this practice it is interesting to see where the money goes.

In the world of SMS scammers & spammers WASP services is the way to go.

It’s a simple matter of registering with Vodacom and becoming a WASP service provider. You can now send bulk sms’s to millions of mobile phone subscribers using a database of dubiously obtained mobile numbers. More importantly you can charge a premium rate even for simply sending the SMS.

There is an infinite number of angles to spin a SMS scam. To be safe assume all SMSes that are not from a known contact to be trouble.

Here’s a simple scam that has been pulled on many people:

  • You get an SMS telling you that you have won a prize of Rxxxxxx million. They list a mobile number for you to call to claim your prize.
  • You have not won anything but when you call the number given in the SMS the operator although¬† super friendly is not super efficient. You are put on hold for ages, asked irrelevant questions and it is clear that you wasting time here.
  • Not all premium rated numbers have to have a special prefix, they can appear as totally normal numbers.
  • You might be wasting your time but the scammer is making money! The number you dialled is a premium rated number and you could be charged any amount per second of the call.

It’s only clear that you have been scammed when your monthly Vodacom bill arrives and you see the extra charges for “premium rated services.”

This is where is becomes really interesting. Remember the money trail!

Vodacom benefits the most from all money made in this type of scam. They get 70% of the amount charged to you. The WASP provider and the registered “premium content provider” gets a mere 30%

It seems obvious to all that a crime has been committed by illicitly extorting funds from you. However, the burden of proof is now yours.

It seems unbelievable that a company as big as Vodacom can get away with this type of crime. The reality is that they do!





My character in Guilwars2: Maximo Destroyer

MMO is not an acronym that is familiar to the parent generation. It stands for massively multiplayer online gaming.

I use Guildwars2 to create common ground between me and my godson. He lives 1000s of km away from me and it’s tricky to always stay in communication and even more so to capture their attention. Lets be honest what red blooded man does not like a bit of death and destruction. That’s the main theme with most of these games. Create your character and run around killing things.

Guildwars2 is no exception to the killing spree but it is certainly not the only activity available. It allows you to gather items and then use them to craft other goods. The details of your chosen game is less important. The fact that you can team up with your kid and go on wild virtual adventures together is more relevant.

Here is the real gold nugget: it’s easy to setup a free TeamSpeak server on your PC. Using TeamSpeak and a headphone set you and your kid can talk to each other on your virtual world adventures. Most of your communication will be centred around the game play but as any parent will tell you having the common ground is invaluable. I find that it’s him teaching and leading me and this makes a interesting dynamic change from the parent always being the one that knows more about something and the parent leading the way.

Having created a platform that you can naturally talk to each other and have common goals will lead to more communication between you and your kid. On occasion he might even share some personal detail that you would not have been told had it not been for the relaxed and social environment you are now in.

TeamSpeak allows multiple connections. In one of our recent online sessions he asked if some of his buddies could join in. I could easily setup some new users and provide login passwords. I was the “cool dad” chatting and running around adventuring with my godson and his mates.



iCloud made simple

If you have more than one iDevice and/or a Mac and an iDevice you should be using iCloud.icloud logo

Check list of requirements:

  • OS 10.7.2 or later on your Mac.
  • iOS 6 or later on your iDevice

WHY should I?

  • If your iDevice or Mac is stolen or lost you can use Find my iPhone/iPad/Mac to locate it.
  • iCloud is an easy and cable free way of synchronizing data across your iDevices and your Mac.
  • Apart from boring calendar events and contacts your photos can wirelessly be synchronized using Photo Stream!
  • Previously the only way to sync data was to manually connect your iDevice with its cable to your Mac and let iTunes do its work.

Easy steps:

Apple step by step can be found at:

  • If you already have an iTunes account, then enter your username and password into the iCloud System Preferences of both your iDevice and your Mac. Your iTunes account will automatically be upgraded to your new iCloud account.
  • Your iCloud account, iTunes account and Apple ID can and should all be exactly the same thing. To have a different login for any one of these causes unnecessary confusion and hassle.
  • In the iCloud preferences panel on both Mac and iDevice tick on all the options except for document and data sharing. Don’t click Back to My Mac either. Apple are still ironing out some serious issues with this feature. (Documents and Data sharing is only used for iWork)

It’s that easy!

You can now take advantage of your notes, calendar events, contacts and pictures auto synchronizing across your devices.

How did you ever live without this amazing functionality?


IP webcam

IP webcams are not new to the market. Traditionally they were prohibitively expensive and needed to be integrated into some sophisticated system to actually give you the functionality you needed. New to the market are WIFI IP Webcams like http://www.foscamsa.co.za/products/foscam-fi8918w-wireless-ip-camera-11.htmlFoscam 1

Foscam is a well established name in the security camera market. It’s great that they have brought a product like the FI8918W Wireless IP Camera to the market. It can be wall or roof mounted. It allows remote Pan/Tilt control (Pan:270deg& Tilt:120deg) Best of all other than the power cable it’s all WIFI. The camera joins your home WIFI network. Another huge bonus feature is that you don’t need special software to view and control the camera. It’s all browser controlled. The website has a unique, secure code to access so that you don’t have to worry about the bad guys spying on your home. The website allows control and viewing of up to 9 cameras. This built in scalability is great as it soon becomes “imperative” to have one of these setup in a couple of places in the house.

Foscam also makes a WIFI outdoor IP Webcam. It’s not as clever as it’s static but has the all weather advantage. http://www.foscamsa.co.za/foscam-fi8904w-outdoor-wireless-ip-camera-3.html

Summary: Well worth a look as this is tech that was only for the big league and was prohibitively expensive. Foscam has introduced a product that immediately gives you full functionality at a price the average home owner can afford.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers