Advice from someone who does not know everything.

Category: General (Page 1 of 2)

Phone Scam Claiming to be The Mobile Shop

Update: Oct 1st 2020: I received a call back from The Mobile Shop after posting a message to them through their website. They verified this is a scam and were looking into it, but not sure if they could do anything about it. They clarified that they would never confirm identity details over the phone and you would need to physically go into their store to do so. And contrary to what the scammer will say on the phone, their stores are open.

The Scam

On September 24th, 2020, I received a call from 1-647-258-5447. I’m suspicious this is a scam situation.

Basically, they said they were with “The Mobile Shop”, the mobile phone stores inside Superstore. They stated their physical stores are closed due to Covid and they are doing promotions over the phone.

It started out suspicious in that they said they could offer promotions for all the major Canadian carriers. They then asked me info about my situation.

  • What carrier am I with?
  • How much do I pay for my plan?
  • How much data do I get with my plan?
  • What are my voice minutes and texts allowed?
  • What type of phone do I have?
  • What model of phone do I have?

It was on this last question that I was really wondering what was going on. So I didn’t answer and asked him what the deal was. He said his name was Raj and he could offer me $45/month for 8GB of data and unlimited calling and texting within Canada. No contract and no new phone purchase required. Well this was too good to be true.

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Diamond Multimedia Dock DS3900

I have been running a Microsoft Surface Pro for a few years now. I had recently purchased a large monitor for my desk workspace and wanted to get more peripherals connected to just make my life easier when I was at my desk. Anyhow, I purchased the Diamond Multimedia DS3900 and it has been a really nice experience.

Essentially it provides a variety of ports and connectivity options and the compatibility with my Surface Pro 4 has worked flawlessly.

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Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

I recently switched credit cards. I had been running the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard for almost 15 years. It worked well for the family and we used the Air Miles for short haul flights in our part of the country. However, we found we wanted some more flexibility with our rewards, similar travel perks, and I had the opportunity to have the fee covered by switching to the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card.

Essentially it is a very similar card in terms of travel features, but the rewards can be used a variety of ways. In particular I can apply the points like cash towards any purchase on my Visa that is travel related. So essentially I could always find the cheapest flight online though a travel booking site or airline itself, book with my VISA, and then I just transfer over the points to pay for it.

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AWS Glue Crawler – Multiple tables are found under location

I have been building and maintaining a data lake in AWS for the past year or so and it has been a learning experience to say the least. Recently I had an issue where a AWS Glue crawler stopped updating a table in the catalog that represented raw syslog data that was being imported in.

The error being shown was:

INFO : Multiple tables are found under location [S3 bucket and path]. Table [table name] is skipped.
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Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom – Book Review

I’m reading Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom right now. Excellent book, in my opinion. I had stopped doing any type of trading personally a couple years ago, but I have always found it interesting so decided to get active in it again.

I’m only going to “paper” trade for right now. This is “fake” trading to see how your performance is before ever risking any real money. A way to prove out a system somewhat to see how it would have done if you traded real money (though if you traded real money it would then have some “effect” on the market and may change the outcome).

“Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom” is a great book that isn’t about teaching you any specific system on how to trade, but it is more about how you evaluate the system you are using and yourself. It does briefly cover a variety of strategies and their basis. Not recommending one or the other, but discussing what is commonly used out there and why it may appeal to different individuals.

Personality

Chapter 3 has a great list of questions that you need to answer about yourself and try to gauge your capabilities. Items like:

  • How much time do you have to trade? Do you already have a full time job?
  • What is your risk tolerance? Will you lose sleep at night if you have money tied up in the markets?
  • What skills do you have? Good at math? Good with computers? Analytical?

Analyzing the System

A lot of terminology is used here but explained very clearly. Reward to Risk ratio is commonly used to guage how good your returns are compared to the risk you are taking. Position sizing is touched on. I’m only 3/4’s of the way through the book, but it has been excellent. I recommend the read to anyone thinking of getting into it.

Ford Pass Experience

I recently purchased a used 2017 F-150 XLT 302A SuperCrew truck. I jumped ahead quite a few years from my 2006 truck I was previously driving. One thing I was pleasantly surprised about was the technology Ford has in its vehicles. In particular the Ford Pass application.

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2017 F-150 XLT XTR 302A Supercrew Truck

I recently switched trucks. Went from a 2006 Dodge Quad Cab to the 2017 Ford F-150 XLT XTR 302A Supercrew Shortbox. It felt like the right time to make a change as the family was growing and having a proper crew cab for some more space in the interior seemed like the right choice. In this article I will talk about what I was looking for and why I picked this truck and some of the useful tips and tricks there are with the F-150.

Why This Truck?

I was looking for several things specific to what I wanted and I have listed them in an order that is generally more important to less important.

  • Large seating room in the back. The Supercrew F-150 has loads of room a the back and I have 3 children who are into the school age now, so piling into the back with backpacks and child seats takes up a lot of room.
  • Aluminum body. Less opportunity for rust to set in. I had this issue with my last truck. For a few reasons really. I’m not that diligent in washing my vehicle, I live in a climate where road salt is used, and I park in a heated garage where that salt can just eat away with the moisture from melting snow and ice.
  • XLT trim. This is only the 2nd lowest trim package they offer, but it is the highest trim package that still offers 6 seats (see below). It is also a lot more reasonable in price.
  • 6 seats. This is related to the XLT trim, but we occasionally use that additional seat in the front middle. When you don’t need the seat, the back rest folds down for an arm console that has a storage area with flip up lid and there are also 2 cup holders. There are an additional 2 cup holders that can be made available on the floor if you need.
  • 302A package. This is the top luxury package available on the XLT. Lots of little things such as:
    • Heated seats
    • Large console screen
    • Sync3 infotainment screen that supports Apple CarPlay
    • Remote start
    • LED lighting in the truck bed
    • 400W 110V plugin in the front
  • Shortbox. Only a 5.5′ box, but I don’t need that much room (stores occasional work supplies, load of dirt or bark mulch, and hockey gear). This kept the truck around the same length as my Dodge Quad Cab so it fits in the garage the same way.
  • Has the tailgate step as well.
  • White – I find it easier to keep clean and not show scratches compared to black.
  • Better gas mileage than before. I was driving the Dodge Hemi so gas mileage was worse, but I don’t put enough mileage on for it to really matter. I always could have found a 3.6L pentastar in a Dodge too for better mileage.
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Creating a Sun Shield for Garage Door Sensor

I have had issues with my garage door not wanting to close depending on the time of day. I have a a north facing garage door and depending on the time of year and time of day, the sun can shine on the door sensors and interfere with them.

The door sensors are the little sensors that are attached near the bottom of the door rails. They are a pair and point at each other. If anything is between the sensors, then it will block the garage door from closing. On my opener, the door won’t even try to close or if it was closing and something got between the sensors, it would go back up. The light on the garage door unit flashes three time until the issue is resolved.

One of my sensors.
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S.K. Parks Consulting – Manuscript Editing, Research Consulting, Seminars, Tutoring

My brother-in-law has recently returned from living in France for the past decade. He earned his PhD in Canada before moving abroad and working in Labs in Nice, France and Monaco. He has over 15 years of experience in scientific research, publishing & peer-review for internationally recognized journals and teaching in the Medical and Biological Sciences.

Now living in Victoria, Canada, he is has launched his own website, S.K. Parks Consulting. He provides a variety of services such as:

  • Manuscript Editing & Evaluation
  • Research Consulting
  • Guest Seminars
  • Tutoring
  • Translating Services (French & English)

Check out his site if you are interested.

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