See you all in 2010!

I’m taking another mini-vacation to enjoy my wife, unpack some of the neverending pile of boxes in our new home, and generally kick back and relax a little!

I’ll be back Monday the 4th of 2010!

My sincere wishes that everyone has a fun and memorable new years’ eve celebration!

2009 end of year music mashup from DJ Earworm

It’s the final hours of 2009! And to send it off, here’s a great mashup of the 2009 hits from DJ Earworm… “United State of Pop 2009 (Blame It on the Pop) – Mashup of Top 25 Billboard Hits”

This goes to show you how prevalent that autotune voice correction junk is nowadays. But it’s nothing new. Since I was younger, only a handful of musicians could actually sing. The rest relied on gimmicks or stage theatrics. The autotune is just the lazy performer’s stage makeup.

FBI’s Los Angeles Cybersquad

OK… I’m really, really hoping this is a fake screengrab.

It looks like Fox News interviewed Jason Smolanoff, a member of the Los Angeles FBI Cybersquad.

This is the screengrab that was posted online…

LAs FBI Cybersquad

LA's FBI Cybersquad

Tell me that’s not Windows XP in the background.

Tell me that’s not Windows XP using the Welcome screen as the login security.

Tell me that’s not a 10 year old “Matrix” green-rain screensaver running on that big beautiful monitor.

Tell me that’s not a two inch speaker hiding behind that big beautiful monitor.

Tell me that’s not a ps/2 keyboard and a “ball” mouse.

Come on FBI! I’ve got more modern tech in my garage sale pile! Spend some money! Put some FBI-worthy security and screensavers in place! Buy your Cybersquad agents some tech that was at least manufactured in 2008!!

My sincere sympathies, agent Smolanoff.

Mark the Spot application – small problem

I downloaded the “Mark The Spot” application on the iTunes store so I could report problems with AT&Ts’ rotten service from my iPhone.

The application is pretty straightforward. You click on the problem, how often it happens, and hit submit.

AT&T iPhone Error Reporting 1

AT&T iPhone Error Reporting 1

There’s one small problem with this error reporting application. If you’re trying to tell AT&T there’s no coverage in the area you’re in, the application apparently does not retain the information for a delayed submission. Instead you will see…

AT&T iPhone Error Reporting 2

AT&T iPhone Error Reporting 2

So how am I supposed to tell AT&T there’s no coverage in an area if the application doesn’t save any data to submit later? How is this helping these idiots make their network any better?

Christmas Valentine’s?!

So there I was at the local HEB (a major southern grocery store for those of ya’ll up North). Just getting some cereal and milk. When I saw this…

Christmas Valentines 1

Christmas Valentine's 1

The Christmas trees were not pulled down yet. Wreaths were still stacked high in the front of the store. The poinsettias were still bright red and fragrant. It wasn’t even New Years’ eve’s eve’s eve yet

And there’s Cupid, already being pimped out.

Christmas Valentines 2

Christmas Valentine's 2

That’s just slightly ridiculous.

And think about this… you know they already had the chocolate hearts in stock around mid December if they are able to put the display out now. So you know those chocolates are going to be nice and tasty-fresh by February 14th.

Criminals posing as FDA agents warning

OK, this really sounds like common sense, but as my Aunt Petunia used to say, “Common Sense Ain’t So Common!”

If someone calls you on the phone and says they’re with the FDA and that you need to send money to the Dominican Republic, the answer should be something along the lines of “hell” and “no”.

Apparently there are some ballsy criminals that are posing as FDA special agents as part of an “international extortion scam.”

What happens is “…the criminals call the victims — who in most cases previously purchased drugs over the Internet or via “telepharmacies” — and identify themselves as FDA special agents or other law enforcement officials. The criminals inform the victims that purchasing drugs over the Internet or the telephone is illegal, and that law enforcement action will be pursued unless a fine or fee ranging from $100 to $250,000 is paid…. The criminals always request the money be sent by wire transfer to a designated location, usually in the Dominican Republic. If victims refuse to send money, they are often threatened with a search of their property, arrest, deportation, physical harm, and or incarceration.”


And the really sad thing is that this scam works!

These poozers are also pretending to be with the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Customs Service, and some kind of U.S. or Dominican prosecutors and judges.

If you get a call like this…. first of all, take a moment and reflect on why  you are buying meds off the internet. And quit that foolishness.

Second, tell the caller you need a minute to get the money together and you need their number to call them back in 10 minutes. Then take that number and call the local police department (or FBI or even the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations at (800) 521-5783) to report the crime.

Here’s the link to the FDA warning article.

FDA and DOJ tag team Spectranetics Corporation

The following is a textbook example of why you don’t want to cross the FDA. Not only are they the most underrated heavyweights around, they’re also best buddies with The Justice Department. And together, they can bring the pain. Big time.

Spectranetics Corporation, a Colorado Springs medical device manufacturer, allegedly “…illegally imported unapproved medical devices and provided them to physicians for use in patients, conducted a clinical study in a manner that failed to comply with federal regulations and promoted certain products for procedures for which the company had not received Food and Drug Administration approval or clearance.”

It apparently wasn’t small level stuff like gauze or bandages that were illegally brought over, either.

“The company manufactures, distributes and sells certain medical lasers and peripheral devices for those lasers, such as lead wires that guide the lasers through vascular tissue and catheters that carry and contain the lasers inside the veins, including, specifically, the CVX-300 Medical Laser and the CliRpath Turbo Laser Catheter, the TURBO Elite Laser Ablation Catheter, and the TURBO-Booster Laser Guide Catheter.”


So now after a quick tag-team match with the DOJ and FDA, Spectranetics now “…has agreed to pay the United States $4.9 million in civil damages plus a $100,000 forfeiture to resolve claims against the company.”

There were no criminal charges filed against Spectranetics, even though they “caused false claims to be submitted to the Medicare Program during portions of the time period from 2003 to 2008.”

And as part of the no criminal charges deal, “Spectranetics has accepted responsibility for its conduct, has instituted remedial measures to prevent this conduct in the future, and will continue to cooperate in the ongoing criminal investigation.”

Here’s the link to the DOJ article.

Recall : The entire “Thermoflect” product line used in MR environments

The Encompass Group announced they are voluntarily recalling the entire Thermoflect product line. This product was used in MR (Magnetic Resonance) environments, but is being pulled back for “relabeling”.

Encompass Group Corporate Compliance Officer Jea R. Gackowski said “”We are requesting that the Thermoflect blankets and other products not be used in MR conditional or MR compatible environments. We are in the process of sending labels to our customers to be attached per instructions to remind the hospitals that the product line should not be used in the MR environment.”

Wait… what? Thermoflect blankets and covers were used in MR (Magnetic Resonance) environments before, and now they’re suddenly not?

Gackowski said that in the past they stated their Thermoflect product was indeed OK to use in MR environments, and their product is still great for treating hypothermia, but “…we have been advised by the FDA that a report has been filed of an injury to an (MRI) patient.  Several items are under consideration, including all of the blankets used in the MRI environment, of which Thermoflect is one.  There is no evidence that the Thermoflect blanket caused the injury but as a precautionary measure we are voluntarily recalling the product line for relabeling.”

Yikes. I smell a lawsuit. A big, nasty one too. And the Encompass Group is implementing plan “CYA”.

Here’s the link to the FDA notice.