February 13th, 2014


Hero To Goat

More sure winners, top athletes and return gold medalists... fail. Sure, there's more kvetching about the ice, the snow, the halfpipe. There always is. But the winners are still setting Olympic records and topping the competition. You can't always win them all.

Defending gold medalist American Shani Davis started fast in his speed skate, but slowed and slowed, finishing out of the medals in the men's 1500 m. The gold went to the Dutch. I guess Shani still has the 5000 m, which he has silvered in before.

Women's downhill, timed to within the hundredth of a second -- tied for gold. Switzerland and Slovakia, maybe? And the Russians came back to claim 13 of the last 14 pairs figure skating gold medals, "avenging" the loss in Vancouver.

Of course my heart is broken. Eve Muirhead's Scottish curling team, which crushed the Americans on Tuesday, lost to Canada on Wednesday. The American women are 0-4. However the American men won, so all hope is not lost.

An American women won luge. Then they commented we would see her in the team relay new event starting tomorrow. Team Relay LUGE? Now surely there's a logical explanation for this event, but we couldn't resist thinking of the options of a luge relay...

-- One luge goes down and the next on the team goes as soon as the previous finishes?

-- Two luges go down at the same time? Drafting? One guy's boots on the other's helmet?

-- Or maybe it's like pursuit cycling and one luge has to pass the other. One goes high and one goes low in an 85 mph curve?

-- Do they pass a baton?

-- Or form a centipede-like train of multiple luges down the track?

Alas, it will be none of these. Thank goodness.

And in case you were wondering...
The 2018 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXIII Olympic Winter Games (French: Les XXIIIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver), is a winter multi-sport event scheduled to take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, between 9 and 25 February 2018.
You're welcome.

More anon.

Dr. Phil

That's Not A Real Sport...

I can't tell you how many times this week I've seen complaints that X is not a sport.

-- Ski Jumping isn't a sport because it involves judges.

-- Ditto for figure skating, ice dancing, snowboarding, moguls, etc.

-- Biathlon isn't a sport because it's just cold weather basic training.

-- Short track speed skating isn't a sport because the winner is determined in the final sprint and staying clear of accidents.

-- Doubles luge isn't a sport you just stack two guys on a sled.

-- Four man bobsled isn't a sport because two of the guys are just there for ballast.

-- Ice dancing isn't a sport, because, well, DANCING.

-- X isn't a sport because it's all about the technology.

And the last straw...

-- Curling is not a sport. If curling is a sport, then so should billiards. Or so this person said on Facebook.

Now, the distinction between a sport and an Olympic sport is a political distinction. But I have to say that although I've been skeptical of some of the sports added to the Games, I've come around on most of them, including all those X-Games offshoots. I've been more annoyed at those sports that the Olympics have eliminated, like baseball in the summer games.

The idea that anything judged or partially judged isn't a sport I think is more of a dig at the judges than the athletes who have trained for years only to get flattened by the mythical East German judge. And I was accused of trolling by trying to point out that their example of a real sport, football, is also determined by the officials. No, you're wrong -- it's not like the official can decide to award 9 points instead of 6. Really? And judging whether or not a knee is down before the ball breaks the plane CAN'T affect the outcome of a game? At best it's a gray area.

Do judges sometimes get it wrong? Sure. So do officials. So do athletes. It's not like we're talking about a beauty pageant like the Westminster Dog Show as a sport.

And curling has all kinds of strategy, finesse and physical ability. Just because it's not as fast paced as hockey or ice dancing, doesn't make curling less than a sport.

Some people take all the fun out of everything.

Dr. Phil

Facebook -- You Have A Monumental Security Problem

To All on Facebook: over half a dozen people so far have reported getting Friend requests from an imposter account with my name. Working on getting it dealt with. Meanwhile, I have not unFriended any of you, so you should NOT be getting a spurious Friend request from me. As the real me. Dr. Phil
I drive on the road for most of two hours. I work out with my Physical Therapist, practicing better standing on one leg, come home and take a nap... And all hell breaks out.

Seems my Facebook friends are getting Friend requests... from me? Apparently it's not so unusual -- sometimes people have to reset everything and re-Friend everybody. But still, it's suspicious.

I wasn't hacked. I was imposterized.

Some genius decided to create an account with my name and go through my Friends list and see who bites.

Of course when I looked at the private messages queued up, they look suspicious because they're all the same canned form response:
Hey Philip, it looks like this person is pretending to be you. You should report them for impersonation if you think they are.
Followed by a link to report the offending imposter.

So I click the link. Check the box saying this person is pretending to me. Mind you, there's no information about this imposter account, I am going on the assumption that my friends are right. Or that I am not reporting my own account and about to delete it. Since it has the same name and all.

Now it wants my password. Perfectly reasonable, though the thought crosses my mind that if Facebook itself was hacked, this would be a great phishing lure (ironic-grin), but of course the Kindle logs me in automatically, so I had to look up my password.

Then the kicker.

Please enter a mobile phone number into your Timeline. Say what? You can change who can see your contact information on your Timeline later? Are you fucking kidding me? This in a system designed to deal with lax security on Facebook and you want me to expose my cellphone number? I opened a new tab and went and set the blank phone number fields to let no one read them, entered my number. Now it wants to confirm with a text or voice message. This involves asking Mrs. Dr. Phil to get up and get my phone, which is normally off, and turn it on. Select voice. Phone rings a few seconds later and they give me a four digit confirmation code to input. I do. It's in.

Of course, I had short circuited the previous tab's imposter reporting program, which had asked for my then unsecured phone number. The reporting box was gone and when I tried it again, the imposter reporting system is giving me the message:
Something went wrong. We're working on getting it fixed as soon as we can. Okay?
NO. It's NOT okay. Okay? And what's with ONE choice marked Okay?

I wrote a couple of notes to people and the FB post at the top of this blog post. Now the link to report the offending imposter has changed to the message:
This attachment may have been removed or the person who shared it may not have permission to share it with you.
Attachment? Share? We were talking about a link to a Facebook security system, not some sparkly kitty picture.

This looks like an error. It doesn't inspire confidence.

Meanwhile, another writer and programmer had posted an open comment to FB, asking if they needed help coding a real security system. One which could recognize that Newly Created Name X making Friend requests to everyone on the Same Name X Friends list might be a scam -- and request verification from the original person. That these scams try to get money from people. And that a high profile case on the news could damage the brand and send people to another social media site. I wrote
Exactly. This isn't about annoyance, it's about security of the whole operation. Dr. Phil
What pisses me off the most about my Facebook scammer, who may be deleted now, is NOT ONE WORD FROM FACEBOOK.

Facebook Fail. Big time.

Be careful of friend requests from friends...

Dr. Phil

PS -- On a completely different note, just had Mrs. Dr. Phil get me a new stylus from a 3-pack we'd gotten. The tip on the old one was just starting to wear through. But the new one feels SO much better. (grin)