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SCAM! Expire Warning: IMMEDIATE Renewal Required

Domain SEO Service Registration Corp Scam 2021

Our old friends at Domain SEO Service Registration Corp are back with a different, but the same scam, this time instead of SEO, its certificates, I assume SSL certificates, although the email does not mention SSL, I just cannot think of any other certificate that would apply to domain name registrations.

Here’s the full email I received, sans personal information;

This message is to communicate to you that your bill number f0319016c3794645851d2a754abc2e6b due on 2021-06-19 is SUSPENDED. Please make sure that you make payment AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to prevent any TERMINATION of service to [REDACTED].COM certificate.

Do take note that if no payment is made in the next 3 business days, your data will be purged and deleted.

https://aedomainwebmgno.ga/?xid=[REDACTED]

The domain administrator currently on file is [REDACTED].

Disclaimer statement: We can’t be held legally liable for any claims, damages or losses that you may incur because of the cancellation of [REDACTED].COM. Any such damages may include but are not solely restricted to: monetary losses, deleted data without saved backups, loss of SEO positions, lost appointments, undeliverable e-mails or any other service, technical or business damages that you may incur. to learn more please refer to section 7. a7 of our Terms of Service.

This is the final renewal notification that we are required to send out about the expiration of [REDACTED].COM certificate.

https://aedomainwebmgno.ga/?xid=[REDACTED]

All online services will be restored automatically on [REDACTED].COM upon receipt of payment. We thank you for your attention and continued business.

The first thing that raised alarm bells is the .ga domain link, which is a top-level domain for the central African nation of Gabon. I copied and pasted the link into my Linux virtual machine and the link itself is safe, from what I can see, it just takes you to a payment page; see screenshot below.

Domain SEO Service Corp Scam Checkout Page

Another big red flag other than the Domain SEO Service Registration Corp emblazoned on the footer, is the fact that when you click the Contact Us link at the top of the page, the address shown is “1000 Fifth Street, Suite 200, Miami Beach, FL 33139”, whereas the footer shows “707 SW Washington St, STE 1100, Portland, OR 97205, US”. Finally, none of the links in the footer work, they didn’t even bother to change the text select cursor to a hand cursor in CSS, to at least make it appear to be a genuine link.

But wait, there’s more, if you remove the “xid=abc123” from the link, to go to the root of the domain at aedomainwebmgno.ga, i.e. what should be the home page simply shows a white page with “Site Name not found”, genuine companies will have a homepage for their business. And, the domain, ironcladecertifications.com, from which the email was sent, also results in a white page with no content.

I write this blog in the hope that people find it and not get scammed by these people. it’s a variation on a theme, but this tack is new, and I cannot find anything specifically related to this Email on Google, don’t get scammed, if you receive such an email, please delete it, don’t give them your credit card info.


Working for Free! A Bone of Contention Between Wifey and I!

Giving Away Photography Services For Free

Back in the day, I used to be a soft touch, helping out people, even if it cost me financially, helping out with IT/computer-related things. But, I stopped and changed my attitude, as said people who I had done favors for, started expecting me to be at their beck and call, and when I said I would be charging them in the future, they threw a fit and broke off contact with me. This is fine, good riddance, I don’t need people like this in my life. I only ever help out immediate family now, for cost, which could be nothing, or if tools or components are required, I expect them to pay for it, I’m not going to be out of pocket myself.

A few weeks ago, I did a real estate shoot for a friend of a family member, for which I charged $75. There was an issue with payment, the person who I did the shoot for, mistakenly wrote “James Lewis” on the check. which I obviously cannot cash. I contacted the person and explained what had happened and she said she would send out another check with the correct name on it. I went out to the mailbox today to see if the check had been received, and it had not, I mentioned to my wife, Erin, what had happened, and she said “if the roles were reversed, you’d be on my ass about it”, her exact words, and I pointed out that she continued to give away her photography services for free, so it’s not the same situation. And it’s not like I have just said, oh well, I lost that money, I have been working to resolve the payment issue.

This caused an argument, and the crux of Erin’s argument is that she is helping out people who cannot afford professional photos. My take is if these people cannot afford professional photos, they will have to take photos on their smartphone, and be happy with that. The over $7,000 worth of camera gear is not free, nor is the computer I built for Erin to do photo editing, nor is the fuel used to get to the location. This was supposed to be a business, which has failed; and if Erin had set up an LLC, and gotten a business loan for the camera gear, she would not have had a camera to use, as it would have been liquidated as part of the company being wound up, but I bankrolled it with my inheritance from my father.

I said that Erin would have to pay me back for the camera gear, or sell it and give all the funds from the sale to me. Of course, I’m not going to do that, I said that to make a point. It’s supposed to be a business, where the object is to make a profit, not a charity for poor people to get professional photos. In four years, Erin has made less than $600, 17% of the cost of her Canon EOS 5D MkIV camera body.

We have invested a further $2,500 in lenses and another $1,000 in lighting over the years. And I’m sick of it, using our personal finances, which are not in the greatest shape, to bankroll her business ideas. Erin now has another business idea of running a website selling alternative/pagan products, for which we have sunk another $400 into from our personal finances, setting up an LLC and paying for hosting fees. I keep on telling her to get a business plan together, get a bank loan, and set up a business bank account, which she has not done, expecting personal finances to bankroll her idea until it’s profitable.

Erin is convinced that there won’t be a problem with intermingling personal and business finances until a business is profitable. My understanding is that if you use personal finances to fund a business, that leaves you open to creditors coming after you personally if the business fails. I can understand paying for the setup of the LLC from your personal finances, as you cannot get a business bank account without LLC formation documentation, but beyond that, I fear we are leaving ourselves open to losing everything should the business fail, with personal assets like our cars, computers, etc being subject to liquidation.

Anyway, back to the photography ‘business’, Erin is in poor health, often when she gets back from a free photoshoot, she is in serious pain and needs to lay down for hours to recover. Due to her health issues, Erin has asked me to come along to help as she cannot get into the positions necessary to get the shots she wants. So in addition to the financial costs, there are physical costs associated, which confuses me, and I worry about Erin’s health. Doing these free shoots often leave her incapacitated. If it was a paid gig, I could understand it, but not free shoots when it has a negative effect on her physically and us financially.

I, personally refuse to work for free, my time is valuable, and my logic is simple, if I pass on a shoot because they want a ‘free sample’, I have made nothing, but doing the shoot also makes me zero dollars, so I have not lost anything. Realtors would not waive their commission, so why should I waive my fee?

Am I being a douchbag for not supporting Erin doing all this ‘charity’ work? If it was at no cost to us, I wouldn’t be so annoyed, but, like I said before, the camera gear is not free, electricity is not free, fuel is not free, the costs per shoot may be minimal, but when you do dozens of shoots, those costs mount up.


Spider Bite!

Spider Bite!

After almost 45 years of life, I received my first ever spider bite and it was a doozy, causing a $2,774 Emergency Room visit, and a week of pain and limited movement of my left arm due to inflammation around the bite. Even now, 12 days later, it still has not fully healed, albeit much better than a week ago.

Back to when the bite occurred, it was Friday, May 28 at around 1 o’clock in the afternoon while taking real estate photos at one of my employer’s units. As I like to prepare the unit to look the best it can, on occasion I will move lightbulbs from one room to another, if some bulbs are burnt out, which is what I was doing when I was bitten by a brown recluse. As I was taking down the glass dome, a spider’s nest fell from the dome, brushing against my arm, clearly, this is when the bite occurred, even if I didn’t feel it.

As I didn’t immediately realize that I had been bitten, I continued about my day, visiting another property before heading back to my office to process the photos. I even had my weekly Skype chat and game of Snooker Nation with my good friend James (Copper Ice), before finally realizing something was wrong about 11pm when I settled down for bed, and I felt some extreme chills and pain in my arm, this is when I realized I had been bitten. I should have immediately gone to the Emergency Room but hoped it would clear up of its own accord, as I knew it would be expensive, even with medical insurance.

Fast forward 48 hours and my left hand is starting to go numb in addition to a nasty looking infection developing on my arm, so I stopped being a stubborn [expletive] and let my wife, Erin take me to the Emergency Room. Where after a 20-minute wait I was escorted back to a cubicle, and the on-duty doctor looked at my arm, confirmed it was a spider bite, and said she would prescribe me a course of antibiotics, the rest of my visit was giving my life story and billing information, before being discharged.

Erin and I picked up my prescription at a 24 hour Walgreens, and I took the first of the 20 horse pills prescribed as soon as we got home. I really did not see too much improvement until a week after the bite when the pain finally started to subside, although the redness and inflammation were still prevalent. As I write this, with just two antibiotic pills remaining, it feels much better, and the inflammation is reducing.

As this was a workplace incident, I have started the process of claiming workers’ compensation, in the hope that I can get reimbursed for medical bills incurred. Which, despite my Aetna medical insurance not covering a penny, Aetna’s ‘in network’ discount did reduce the billed amount to $620.82, which is more manageable, but more than I can afford to pay, being a single income family at the moment. I have done my part, it’s now down to whether workers’ compensation insurance is going to fight me or not.


KEH.com – my first experience of buying used camera gear

My first experience of buying used camera gear

In my previous blog, I wrote about my issues with spending money on myself, eluding to the purchase of a used Sigma 12-24mm f/4 Art lens from KEH. Today, I write about my experience of buying used camera gear from KEH, something I had previously shied away from, fearing ending up with non-working gear.

I had been lusting after this lens for some time to improve my real estate photography work, I have felt for a while that my Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L was holding me back, I wanted a little more of a wide-angle lens to get the shots I really wanted. So, when I saw the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 Art lens for $885, a whopping $715 off the new price, I took the plunge and ordered the lens from KEH, still fearing I’d end up with junk, due to previous bad experiences with buying non-camera gear on the used market.

The buying process was simple, just like buying from Amazon or any other web store, but I had some reservations, the biggest being the disclaimer “Item pictured for illustrative purposes only, actual item not pictured.” being posted on the product page. My first thought was “why are they not showing the actual lens?”, especially when paying 45% less than the MSRP, wondering if it’s too good to be true?

The lens arrived on the date promised, but do note that if you order on the weekend, the item does not ship until Monday, I paid for 2-day shipping, but unlike Amazon, those two days do not include weekends. Unfortunately, they shipped it by FedEx, who I cannot stand, because they just drop the item outside your door, and run, they do not ring the doorbell, or knock on the door. The only way I know it’s arrived is because I signed up to FedEx.com, and they send me a text when it has been delivered. And on this occasion, the FedEx delivery driver left my $885 package six feet from my front door, in plain view of the whole street, and out in the open, on an intermittently rainy day, rather than on my covered porch.

I brought the package inside, with great anticipation, hoping that my new lens is in good condition and functional. I opened the box, which was well packaged with bubble wrap, and found the lens case, which I unzipped to find the lens, with the back of the lens facing me, sending alarm bells ringing in my head, as the back cap was very scuffed up. I proceeded to pull the lens from the case, and looked at the front cap, which had significant scuffs on it, further fueling my paranoia. The lens itself was in excellent condition, which according to KEH is 80-89% of the new condition, with only one minor scratch on the side of the lens, with the glass elements front and back being in flawless condition, leaving me a happy chappie.

Of course, the next step was to test it to make sure it’s fully functional. I attached my new SIgma lens to my Canon EOS 6D MkII, and everything worked as expected, auto-focus functioned quickly and accurately, with no issues on the photos taken, other than some dust on the lens, which was quickly fixed with a wipe of a cleaning cloth. Leaving me satisfied with my purchase, given the much-reduced price I paid.

Based upon the grading standards that KEH uses and displays on their website, from my single experience, I think they are honest about the condition of their products. Although I do wish they took photos of the product you receive, so potential buyers can make a decision before buying it. That said, I would recommend KEH, and would certainly purchase again from, as a source of good quality used gear.


Why do I have such a hard time spending money on myself?

Why do I have such a hard time spending money on myself?

I have a real problem buying things for myself, that I just want, even if I have the cash on hand to pay for it. I guess you could say I am the exact opposite of an impulse buyer. The process I go through to purchase something for myself is crazy, literally verging on a obsessive, compulsive illness.

I start with a vague idea of what I want to buy, then go searching online, I compare items and costs, then create a shortlist, and I research and compare items on my shortlist, watching 3 or 4 video or written reviews to help me choose the best item based upon features, performance and price.

Now I know what I want to buy, and I search online for the best price for my chosen product. So far, you’d think that these are reasonable steps to take when making a purchase, and I’d agree, but… I will literally add the item to the cart, and start the checkout process, sometimes filling out all the details, and then have doubts, and instead of clicking order, I will go back to the cart and delete the items from the cart.

Quite often I will go back and forth, adding to the cart, starting the check out process, only to go back and remove the items from the cart. I have gone as far as ordering the item, and regret it, cancelling the order immediately afterwards, and walk away from my computer, only to think about the purchase again later.

This issue has always been a problem for me, probably related to growing up poor, where non-essential purchases were never made, as we needed every penny for essentials like rent, utilities and groceries. But, since having a family of my own, the issue has gotten much worse, every purchase has to be 100% justified, buying something just because I want it is never a consideration, even if I desperately want it.

So, here is what triggered this blog, I’ve been lusting after a new lens for my DSLR setup, a Sigma 12-24mm F/4 Art, but have been put off my it’s $1,600 price tag, despite being in a position to purchase this lens over the past 2 years, I always pulled back. Today, thanks to re-targeting ads on Facebook, the lens was shoved into my face again, so I started searching and I found it used on KEH.com for just under $900, listed as in excellent condition. I did the process outlined above, talked in circles with my wife about it, and she got fed up with my self doubt about the purchase and basically told me to just order it.

I did finally pull the trigger, as I’m unlikely to find such a great deal again, at least not without the 180 day warranty that KEH offers. Even now, about an hour after I clicked on order, I am considering canceling the order, justifying this thought with, the lens you have has worked fine for the past 3 years, you don’t need a new one. No-one has complained about the photos from your current, Canon 16-35mm F/4 L lens.

Which, of course are true facts, but I feel limited my my current Canon lens, sometimes, as a real estate photographer, I cannot get the shot I really want as I need to get a little wider than 16mm. The 12mm that the Sigma lens offers allows me to feel better about my own work, allowing me to get the framing a want. For example, sometimes I have to cut a window off, as 16mm is not quite wide enough, A 12mm lens will allow me to get the whole window, and a little wall in frame to create a better photograph.

The big reason I pulled the trigger is that I can sell my Canon 16-35mm to KEH for $500, as it will be redundant if the new (to me) Sigma lens works out, and I have another lens a Canon EF-S 10-18mm, that has been sat in a drawer for many years, which KEH preliminarily offered $120 for, bringing the net cost of my new purchase to about $300, a bargain basement price for a lens with a MSRP of $1,600.

I really wonder why I struggle to buy things for myself, having to justify every purchase, even if it’s something for just $50? I am obsessive about finances, to the point of making myself physically sick, affecting my state of mind, especially affecting my relationships when money is tight.


A Mixed Bag Life Update VIII

Life Update

It’s been five months since the last mixed bag life update, and we are still slowly making our way towards being debt-free. There have been some big chunks of debt eliminated, mainly thanks to President Joe Biden’s $5,600 stimulus check. We used the stimulus to pay off my wife Erin’s car payment, my Best Buy credit card, Google credit card for Erin and I’s Pixel phones, and the Ford Quick Lane credit card, cutting over $400 in monthly payments. But, of course, there have been a few financial setbacks as well.

Kansas Department of Labor has been super incompetent, repeatedly denying Erin her unemployment, claiming she had not submitted the required information for her part-time student status. I can assure you that she did submit form K-BEN 317 repeatedly, we have Email and Fax confirmations to prove it. Erin appealed their decision to deny her unemployment, and we have a hearing later in May to dispute their claims that Erin did not submit the required information in a timely manner. Reading comments on the Internet, Erin is far from the only person being screwed out of their unemployment entitlement.

If we are successful, the backdated unemployment benefits will be over $2,500, as Erin has not received anything in 2021, which will further help pay down our debts, but I won’t be holding my breath that KDOL will find in our favor, the whole system is broken and corrupt, the Kansas Republican legislature has been underfunding KDOL for decades, leaving it understaffed using legacy IT systems that are not capable of handling the level of unemployment requests created by the global Coronavirus pandemic.

Necessary, but unexpected costs have come up, paying the out-of-pocket expenses for our son, Conner’s Invisalign, which came to over $1,200, and another $750 as our cat, B’Elanna needed some veterinary care. These were installment payments, which was adding $120 to the balance of my American Express card, monthly. So, in an effort to control rising monthly debt payments, I paid off these balances in full on the AMEX card, before taking out a consolidation loan of $18,500 from Marcus by Goldman Sachs.

I opted for a 39-month term, with a payment of $557 per month, at a 9.9% interest rate, which will cost us $3,244 in interest over the loan period, although, I hope to be able to pay down the loan faster to reduce that interest amount, of course, this will only be possible if no more unexpected costs arise. This new consolidation loan does not really reduce our debt payments, but it does reduce it to a single payment, also significantly reducing the interest rate, from an average of 19—20%, cutting it in half.

Money has been a constant bone of contention between Erin and me; I feel she is being financially irresponsible, for example, 2 weeks ago, we had $225 in our checking account, which had to last us another six days. I asked her to watch her spending, and literally the next day, she went to the woman’s fair and started swiping her debit card, to the tune of $230, putting us overdrawn, forcing me to transfer the remaining $7 from our savings account to avoid ISF fees. This has been a fairly consistent issue in the last couple of years, where I log in to online banking to find our checking account in the red.

My wife has a mentality that debt is a necessary evil in the United States of America; I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement, before moving to the US and getting married, I never had any debt, other than a small authorized £250 overdraft, and I never missed a rent payment or bill payment. For me, unstructured credit card debt is a terrible thing that can get out of control real quick. I like store cards like my Best Buy card as I can spread the cost of something I want over 6, 12, or 24 months depending on price, and pay the same as cash, as long as the balance is paid before the promotional period ends. But, that is only if we are able to make the required monthly payment, if not, I don’t make the purchase.

I believe that credit cards should be for emergency use only, or maybe use for cash back on things like groceries, immediately paying off the balance before the next statement date. With having such a high monthly loan payment of $557, roughly 22% of my net income, if credit card balances start to rise again, with Erin being out of work, with no unemployment, and due to health issues will be unlikely to hold down, even a part-time job, we will have to default on something, there is simply not enough money.

Erin applied for and was approved for a PayPal credit card, which she, of course, is entitled to do, but adding me as an authorized user, without permission is not acceptable. Despite me not being responsible for any debt she occurs, it does affect my credit, just being added dinged my score by 14 points, so if she defaults, that affects me too, which basically puts me on the hook as a default on my credit reports would be disastrous for my score, affecting my chances of future successful applications for credit.

Our financial issues have done massive damage to our relationship, we argue frequently about money, which has become a circular argument, leaving me feeling angry and resentful.  I feel like my depression is spiraling out of control, I throw myself into my work to try to avoid thinking about our financial situation. I dearly love my wife, but there are days when I seriously think it would be better for us to separate, but then I think that I cannot leave her, because of her health issues, she would be unable to manage a home and two kids, I have really become a full-time employee, parent, and carer for my wife.

Erin wants to launch an online store selling new-age items in partnership with her friend from Texas, which seems to have dissolved recently. I have been very angry with this partnership, as we have paid out of our own finances to set up an LLC, while Erin’s friend has paid nothing, and done next to no work in regard to setting up the business. The LLC has been in existence for four months and a business plan has not been made, nor a business loan secured, and I am unwilling to put any more personal finances into her business. Over the years, we have put approximately $12,000 of our personal finances into her business ideas, as a real estate agent, and photographer with a significant negative return on investment.

On the photography front, this is another bone of contention, Erin keeps on giving away her services for free, which costs us money, even if it’s just the cost of gas to travel to the shoot location, cost of electricity to charge batteries, and processing photos, in addition, to wear and tear on the camera, even the most expensive camera gear has a finite life. If she works for free, no one will ever take her seriously, and as soon as she does ask for a fee, it’ll be no thanks. I do not work for free, EVER, I try to market myself every now and again as a real estate photographer, and often I get, “can you do one shoot for free, so I can see the quality of your work”. I have a massive portfolio already, I don’t need the exposure, GTFO!

Sorry about the negativity, but this has been my mindset over the past five months since the last update.


Knownhost, Cpanel, WHM causing email forwarders to be blocked!

Cpanel & WHM blocking Email forwarders

On Thursday, I noticed that, after 3 hours, I was suddenly getting next to no emails on my work email address, which is extremely unusual, if I go five minutes without an email coming, that’s unusual. I work in rental home marketing, so I have forwarding email addresses for new leads, which forwards to me, for marketing effectiveness reasons, and the property manager, to follow up on the lead.

At the same time, I also saw a bunch of messages bouncing with a response saying; “Remote Server returned ‘550 5.7.520 Access denied, Your organization does not allow external forwarding. Please contact your administrator for further assistance. AS(7555)” on my Office 365 based email, so I started thinking that Google, who provides our email, was blocking auto-forwarded emails. I have my Microsoft-based email forwarding to my Google-based email, so I wouldn’t have to check two email accounts.

I later found that the above error message is a result of a change to the security settings in Office 365 and nothing to do with my issue. Nonetheless, this sent me down the wrong troubleshooting path.

I logged into my Cpanel and checked Email -> Track Delivery logs and found that all my forwarded email was being blocked and discarded by RBL (remote block list), Spamhaus. After doing some research I found how to disable the RBL checking, by logging in to WHM and going to Exim Configuration Manager -> RBLs tab, where you can disable spamcop.net and spamhaus.org RBLs.

This solved half of my issues, I was still having issues with not receiving some email, notably Craigslist post confirmations. So back into Cpanel I went and clicked about in the Email section until I clicked on Configure Greylisting, where I found that all our domains were set to enable Greylisting, I disable this anti-spam feature on all domains and everything returned to, in fact, better than normal.

Knownhost is our VPS provider, I’m not sure if they were the cause of these issues with their VPS configurations, or whether this is the way WHM/CPanel comes. I think it might be the former, as I noticed in WHM -> Exim Configuration Manager -> RBLs that the default setting was off for RBL: bl.spamcop.net and RBL: zen.spamhaus.org, but both were enabled, and I was not the person who changed it to on.

I’m not trying to apportion blame, I wrote this article in the hope that it might help others with the same issue. But it does have me wondering how many emails were discarded over the past seven years? were these options already turned on when I purchased the VPS plan or was it enabled on Thursday morning when I noticed that there was an issue, suffice to say, I really hope it was the latter option.


Heart Attack Averted! Thankfully My GPU Is Not Dying!

I was panicking for a moment, but, it's not dead

With GPU’s being very costly in 2021 due to a massive shortage of silicon due to COVID—19 and other factors, when both my screens started turning black and powering off before recovering and coming back on, only to do it again every few minutes, I’m starting to panic, as this is my work rig, how I make a living.

So, I started troubleshooting, I started by removing my Asus ROG Strix RX580, cleaning it off, specifically, making sure the PCI-E contacts are clean, before reinstalling. This did not fix the issue; as within a few minutes of booting the system, it was power cycling my monitors, which are incidentally connected by two different connection methods, my main monitor is connected by DP, the second connected via DVI-D.

The next step was uninstalling the AMD Radeon drivers using DDU (Display Driver Uninstaller) in safe mode, which is a pain in the ass to get into from Windows 10. I could not get the Shift-click restart from the shutdown menu, which was Google’s first suggestion, to work, so I had to try Google again, and found I could do it from Settings > Recovery > Advanced Startup, why did Microsoft remove F8 safe mode boot?

But, I digress, it seemingly did not fix the issue, even without anything other than the basic windows driver, it still power cycled my monitors. But, after a couple more monitor power cycles, Windows popped up a message which said something about changes have been made to my system and that I needed to restart. I guess it must have been installing an AMD driver from Microsoft, causing the screen cycling.

After the reboot, I used the AMD Auto Detect software to find the best driver for my devices, it downloaded the 21.3.1 driver (dated 3/10/2021), and also some other drivers for my Ryzen 1800X CPU; and after some more monitor power cycles, and computer reboots, everything looks to be good again, so it looks like there was some sort of driver corruption during the last PC shut down as it was absolutely fine before that. To be clear, I had not updated my GPU driver for several weeks, so it wasn’t a bad update.

Finally; this is not related to my issue, but the AMD Upgrade Advisor makes me laugh; despite the hardware I have, it assumes I want to upgrade to an RX 6900 XT, and an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, which of course is their top of the range products. Not to mention unobtainable for MSRP, the RX 6900 XT was selling on Amazon for $2,200+, which is more than double the MSRP. You see why I was starting to panic, I don’t have double MSRP money to buy a new GPU when my current card performs fine for my needs.

While searching for an image of my current Asus ROG Strix RX580 GPU for my featured image for this blog, I noticed that some people are trying to flog it used on eBay for $700, I bought it brand new in 2017 for $274.99. I really hope that people are not paying 2.5 times the MSRP for a four-year-old GPU!


4 Days, 2 Computer Builds

TUF Gaming B450-Plus II, MAD Ryzen 3600X, Vengeance LPX

This week, I have built two PCs, one is an upgrade of motherboard, CPU, and RAM, the second being a computer built from the parts I upgraded from, and an SSD and case that I had knocking about.

Starting with my wife’s upgraded machine; back in 2016; I built her a machine for real estate work, but over the past couple of years, my wife has been getting into photography; and the Intel G4400 with 8GB of RAM system was not cutting it; being a dual-core processor without hyperthreading. So, I used my new Amazon store card, to buy my wife an AMD Ryzen 3600X CPU, Asus TUF Gaming B450-PLUS II motherboard, and 16 GB 3600mhz Corsair Vengeance RAM, which is a rather large boost in performance.

Out of interest, I ran Cinebench R23; and I was surprised by the performance of the 3rd generation Ryzen 5. Despite having two fewer cores than my 1st generation Ryzen 7, it outperformed my top-spec 1st gen Ryzen 7 significantly.  The 3rd gen Ryzen 5 in my wife’s upgraded computer scored 1,165 more points than my Ryzen 7 1800X, a 13% uplift. I understand why; my wife has a 600Mhz speed boost on the RAM, 3,600Mhz vs 3,000Mhz; and despite having two fewer cores, the 3600X boost clock is higher and it is an all-core boost to 4.4Ghz, where their first generation Ryzen chips only boost on a single core to 4Ghz.

Suffice to say that my wife is very happy with the new motherboard, CPU, and RAM combo.

After the upgrade of my wife’s computer, I found myself with motherboard, CPU, and RAM without a purpose; and I’m all about repurposing hardware rather than putting it away in the closet, collecting dust. I did it when I replaced my PC in 2017, upgrading from an AMD FX 8350 based system to the aforementioned Ryzen 7 1800X, using my former FX-based system as a PLEX media and file storage server.

I had a spare case, SSD, and power supply in my closet; so I thought that I’d make good use of this complete set of components; but sadly, the 350w power supply, which came out of an Asus pre-built, was not up to the job of powering the Gigabyte H110M-A, Intel Pentium G4400 combo, it would power on for 1/2 second, before powering off again. Rather than letting perfectly good components sit unused, I purchased a cheap, but reliable power supply, a Corsair CX550M 550 Watt unit for $65, and now I have a fully functional media center PC in my living room, even if the Ultra XBlaster Mid-Tower V2 case is very dated, from a time where cable management wasn’t important, it literally has zero cable management.

Seeing the performance of a mid-range chip like the Ryzen 3600X, compared to the first generation flagship chip, has me thinking maybe it’s time for an upgrade for myself. One option would be a simple swap of the Ryzen 1800X to the Ryzen 3950X, 8 core to a 16 core chip on the same motherboard, as I spent the extra for the Asus ROG Crosshair VI Hero X370 board, meaning Zen 2 (Ryzen 3000) chips work with a firmware update. Or, as my system still meets my needs, I might look into a whole new platform change, with whatever comes from AMD after the 5000 series, which will probably arrive in 2022.


Is Craigslist just for scammers and spammers in 2021?

Craigslist 2021, Is Craigslist just for scammers and spammers in 2021?

As a rental property marketer; I have worked with Craigslist for a long, long time, more than 8 years at this point; and from a marketers perspective, 2021 marks a new low point in working with Craigslist.

In recent months, I have seen my legitimate listings for apartments and houses being deleted en masse; for example, I logged in this morning to find that 70% of my listings had been deleted. At least in the past; Craigslist ghosted my posts; i.e. showing it as live to me, but not showing it to anyone else, now they just delete my post, sometimes within minutes of me clicking post, making me feel like I’m wasting my time.

Over the past two years, I have noticed a lot more spam, people posting the same advert a dozen or more times, which does breach the Craigslist TOS, yet, those posts don’t seem to get deleted. I have also had issues with scammers taking my copy, my photos, and changing a few details like Email addresses and phone numbers, and reposting my property to Craigslist, usually at a much reduced rental rate. I have flagged and had my colleagues flag these fraudulent listings, and Craigslist seemingly ignores the flags.

To be clear, I try to follow the terms of service; I post one advert per rental unit in the correct Craigslist area. Sometimes I post in two Craigslist areas for cities like McPherson, which is halfway between Wichita and Salina, so I post to both Wichita and Salina Craigslist areas, other than that, I follow the Craigslist TOS. I’m not interested in spamming dozens of adverts for a single unit or cheating the system.

I do use a template system, which I developed myself, using a bullet point type of listing, with sections for contact, apartment features, community features, pricing, and finally company information, which creates very similar looking posts, but each is unique information wise. All the deleted posts were using this template, so I am guessing this is the reason why the Craigslist AI went on a cull of my postings.

At this point, I’m questioning whether Craigslist is worth the time and effort? Craigslist does not seem to be the big lead generator these days. Zillow, Hotpads, Zumper, Costar (Apartments.com) seems to be the big lead generators in recent years; and I have to put in much less work on those platforms. Time is money; which means Craigslist offers poor ROI in terms of time, spending 1/4 of my day messing with it.

Fortunately, I live and market in an area where fraudulent listings are not a massive problem, like bigger cities. I find one of my listings fraudulently listed maybe 4 – 5 times a year. However, I am very frustrated with the current state of Craigslist, after spending the past 10 hours recreating my listings on Craigslist after seeing 70% of my adverts highlighted in pink, i.e. deleted when I logged in this morning.

/end rant