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Things to do when affiliated with the Strangelove and Kraft Occult Museum: I've never seen a demon before
I had encountered Valentine, the current leader of Larva's Disciples, at the group's gathering. submitted by girl_from_the_crypt to CrypticPark [link] [comments]
When he asked to shake my hand, the one with my wedding ring, I reluctantly but obediently placed it in his and he squeezed it. I felt him press against my wedding band. I wondered if he could somehow sense it wasn't normal. He held my hand for just a few seconds too long, enough to make me feel fairly uncomfortable, before releasing it.
"Did your husband make it?" he asked, looking around in the room.
"Yes, but… he's in the car. He was feeling a bit sick and there's painkillers in there," I lied.
I couldn't tell if he believed me or not. "I hope he'll get better soon. I was so looking forward to meeting him. Although I think getting to know you might be nice as well. I'm sure you have a lot of stories there."
I shrugged. "I guess. Strangelove does tell me a lot. But I think some things would better be discussed in person."
"Of course." He smiled. "So what's there to know about you?"
"I have a feeling you already know quite a bit."
"Please, I'm not a stalker. I'm sorry I snooped around, didn't mean to make it weird."
"How'd you even know our address? That was pretty disconcerting," I admitted.
"I'm sorry," he said. Taking another look at his watch, he took a deep, hissing breath. "Oops. Looks like we have to speed things up a little. About time to get started." He sighed. "I do hope your husband will come back in in time. I wanted him to see this so bad."
"What is it you're going to do?" I asked.
He gave me a little wink and reached out to place his hands on my shoulders. I instinctively tried to wriggle out of his grasp but found that it was quite firm. The smile on his face never wavered though.
"It was very nice to meet you. Please give Strangelove my greetings."
He walked off and waved over two masked people, a man and a woman. I couldn't hear what he told them, but he pointed at the door Clarence had disappeared through. I felt my stomach drop and quickly reached for my phone. "Hide, someone's coming."
I could see that he read it immediately, and just seconds later, he replied. "It's a storage room. I'm hiding in a locker. Tell me when it's safe to get out." "Will do. What's in there?"
This time, it took him almost half a minute of typing before sending a response. "Found candles. Also a pig's head in a plastic bag and a canister filled with blood. Hope it's that of the pig. What's going on out there?"
I watched the two masked ones approach the door. The woman opened it and the man followed her inside. "You're getting company. Best turn off your phone."
I waited for an agonizing few minutes. I barely even noticed Jenna and Elias coming up behind me. "Where were you two?" I asked.
"I stayed with the three guys from before until Eli came back," Jenna told me.
"I tried to talk with everyone here. Didn't get an audience with the king though," her boyfriend added. "Most people here don't come off as your typical weirdos. Think they're just doing this 'cause they're bored and need some action. I haven't talked to many people who practice demon worship before. They're pretty different, some are pretty friendly and open about it and some others avoid talking about it at all cost. If it's the latter, you know you have more reason to worry."
"So since these people here are open about it, that means it's alright?" I frowned. "I don't really think that's…"
"Me neither. These folks here are super nice but I kinda doubt they know what they've signed up for. Then again, neither do we."
I looked back to the door. The two masked people were just coming back out. The man was carrying a heavy-looking black plastic bag and a can while the woman held the door open for him before following him with another bag. They sat it all down in front of the stage. "They're busy here now. I think you can come out,"
I texted Clarence. "Give me another minute,"
I frowned. "I don't like him staying in there," I told Elias. He simply shook his head. "Tell him to come out then," he muttered frantically.
"Wait," Jenna hissed. She leaned over my shoulder and pointed to Valentine and his two helpers. The man had gone up on the stage and was in the process of spreading the blood from the canister on its floor using a paintbrush. He seemed to be painting a pentagram. The woman was helping Valentine out of his shirt.
"Where the hell are they going with this?" I heard Jenna ask.
I looked down at my cell phone again to send Clarence another message. "Something's about to happen."
The moment Valentine climbed on top of the stage, careful not to mess up the lines, the door was opened and I could see my husband peek out before quickly slipping through the small crack. He spotted us almost instantly and came walking towards us while the masked people were occupied elsewhere. I grabbed his hand and he squeezed it.
We stood there and watched the stage for a few minutes. Neither of us said a word. The masked man pulled a large pig head out from his plastic bag and tossed it over to Valentine, who to my surprise caught it mid-air. He placed it right between his feet, then gave him a thumbs-up, followed by him running off to dim the lights. The lady began to place the candles on the pointed ends of the pentagram and when she was done, she pulled out a box of matches and went about lighting them up.
As the room grew darker, the other guests began pushing past us and gathered around the stage. Valentine ran his hands through his hair and shook his arms, apparently trying to loosen up. Clarence was watching him with a grim look on his face and I could see him clench his jaw. Jenna was holding her breath and I could hear Elias mutter something in obvious uncomfort as he reached out to pat her arm.
Valentine looked down at his supporters from atop the stage, a smile beginning to grow on his lips. It wavered shyly before he threw back his head and laughed.
"I'm sorry guys, I'm a little nervous," he told us.
Sympathetic chuckles rippled through the crowd as one by one, Larva's Disciples began to undress. Then the whispering started. At first, I looked around frantically, trying to understand what they were saying, until I realized that none of the attendants were actually moving their lips. My heart was pounding in my chest and my grip around Clarence's arm tightened. When I glanced up at him however, he was staring at Valentine, a deep frown on his face.
"What's happening?" Jenna uttered breathlessly.
Then, all at once, the tiny flames dancing atop the candles flared up before completely dying down, leaving the stage in partial darkness. A thud was to be heard and I could make out Valentine's body on the ground. Now however, there was someone else standing above him. Or something
, rather. It was hard making out its shape as its outlines flickered and changed, as if it were made of fog.
The whispering was joined by the voices of the Disciples and grew into chanting, although I was still unable to tell what they were saying. I heard my husband curse. He quickly but gently shook me off and began to fumble around with his shirt.
"What are you doing?" Elias asked, his voice a frightened hiss.
Suddenly, a bright light burning up right next to me caught my eye and I spun around. I found that it stemmed from a torch; one held by a familiar woman. She was standing right beside me, looking at me with her stern, calm expression. I quickly backed off, stumbling against Clarence but not breaking her gaze. I stared at her with bated breath. She then slowly turned to look at the stage. Her torch illuminated more of the misty white figure standing on top of it. It was moving around now, raising its arms to get a look at them. It looked like its shape was growing more steady and firm now. The fog was getting denser.
Without another glance at me, the winged woman lurched forward. She was moving so fast it looked like she was flying across the floor, closing the distance between her and the other entity in an instant. It stumbled back, its outlines once again beginning to waver wildly. She swung her torch at it, then once again right through its middle, causing a rift in the fog. Its figure parted before dissolving, leaving behind nothing but light smoke.
The winged woman turned back around to look at us. She gave us a curt nod before slowly climbing down from the stage and walking off. I turned to look after her when she passed us, only to lose sight of her once she was out the door. I whirled around to face Clarence. I began fumbling for words, pointing at both the stage and the door before eventually falling silent. He gave me an exhausted smile.
"That was a bit of a close call," he confessed. It was then that my eyes fell onto his exposed chest. The tattoo of the white snake was gone from his skin.
"Guys, I think we should get out of here," Elias remarked, gesturing around at the people still gathered around the room. They all seemed to be dazed and were just blankly staring at the ground or the stage in front of them. The four of us quickly made our way out of the hall and back to the car. We weren't certain we wanted to be there once the Disciples were at their senses again. Who knew how they would react to what had just happened.
Elias climbed into the driver seat and Jenna got in beside him, leaving the backseat for my husband and me. Once we were at a safe distance, Clarence sighed. "I can't believe it took me so long to catch on. Larva is smart, apparently. Weak, but clever. Possessing a human probably took all of his strength already, but to take advantage of this backwards little cult that had formed around him is a good move. He disguised himself so well too."
"So he really just had them do rituals and stuff to make him more powerful?" Jenna asked.
"Yeah. They didn't even know what was happening. Well, you guys saw him tonight. He was pretty close to gaining a physical form outside of his human vessel. I guess that's what he wanted."
"Was he a demon then?" I inquired.
Clarence shook his head. "I don't think so. Not yet at least. I believe he was just a malevolent spirit of some other kind. Those are a thing too, they're a lot weaker than what you'd call a demon though."
"Why did he want us to be there though?"
"I think he meant it. The things he said in the letter. I guess he was just vain and wanted us to see."
"And that lady. What about her?" I added.
My husband smiled. "That was an old friend of mine. We haven't seen each other in a long time but I remembered she still owed me a favor. There was a time in which we talked quite a lot. I used to wear that snake ink all the time back then. Snakes are sort of her thing. Those and torches and scrolls. She marked me with a white snake because she thought it fit me. She basically referred to me by that thing and when I had it on me, she could find me anytime. She took it when I told her I wanted to stop being so close to her."
"What he's saying is that he used to be a demon worshipper," Elias chimed in.
"You're saying that as if it's a bad thing. Not all demons are evil. Some are more like deities even. Vanth is a harbinger of death and sickness, not their bringer. She guides the souls of the departed through the underworld. That's why I came to her in the first place. She taught me a lot," Clarence explained.
He nodded. "That's her name. It was nice to meet her again after all those years. Must have been three decades at least. She was very eager to help, granted I follow her usual conditions. Wear the ink, don't talk about her or say her name when I'm under her protection. She says it makes her lose power. I'm not so sure about that but she knows best." He turned to me, tilting his head. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, sure. Just wondering when you would have told me you can cash in favors from a demon."
I raised a brow. "Excuse me?"
"I was close to Vanth and she was the one I liked communicating with most but… she's not exactly the only one." He sounded a bit nervous. "I stopped ages ago though. I figured that with my life possibly coming to an end, I should clear my record. Don't wanna get in trouble, you know?"
"I don't, to be honest. But I don't really think I have to understand everything either," I muttered.
"Are you mad at me?"
"What? No…" I paused. "I'm just a bit overwhelmed. And tired." I leaned against him a little. "So how many… demons
" – it felt odd saying it out loud – "did you use to be in contact with?"
Clarence hummed and wrapped his arm around me. "I, uh… I'll make you a list when we get home." x
BIG SURPRISE! Phone hacking & surveillance are being further enabled by the great Covid 19 panic of 2020 [RESEARCH]
Research; Remote manipulation & blocking of audio/visual recording devices on smartphones submitted by w4rdr0b3 to conspiracy [link] [comments]
; How to Hack Someone’s Phone Camera
Is It Possible to Hack Someone’s Phone Camera?
Yes, it is absolutely possible to hack someone’s phone camera. There are several tools that can be used for this purpose. For example, RAT (Remote Accessing/Administration Tools) can be used to monitor the target’s phone camera.
By hacking the camera you can also use it to take pictures of your surroundings. This is a great way to know where the target is at a specific point in time. You can also get to know who he/she is with and where. This is, therefore, a powerful feature indeed. However, RAT tools can be complex to use.
Phone-hacking device used by police sells on eBay for $100
The FBI is among the agencies which reportedly use the Cellebrite tool.
A phone-hacking device that law enforcement officials use to extract data from phones is popping up on eBay for as little as $100. Federal agencies in the US and elsewhere, including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, typically spend up to $15,000 on current models of Cellebrite's Universal Forensic Extraction Device, though older versions are available on the secondary market. https://www.engadget.com/2019-02-28-ios-android-hacking-device-ebay.html
"Apple" patented a technology that blocks the iPhone’s camera feature.
The new software, which hasn’t been officially introduced by Apple, would reportedly allow venues to use an infrared beam to disable a mobile phone’s camera, preventing users from taking videos and photos."
“An infrared emitter can be located in areas where picture or video capture is prohibited,” the patent reads. “An electronic device can then receive the infrared signals, decode the data and temporarily disable the device’s recording function based on the command.”
How Cell Phones Are Tracked
The options for crowd surveillance are numerous. Stingrays and other IMSI catchers are controversial devices that have been used by local and federal law enforcement. These devices can trick your cell phone into connecting with it, instead of a cell tower, and intercept information (like SMS messages) without you necessarily realizing it. They can also extract identifying information from your phone and track your movements.
Agencies Spending Millions on 'Crossbow' Spy Tech, an Upgraded Stingray
"the Crossbow is an IMSI-catcher, a device that pretends to be a cellphone tower and tricks phones into connecting to it. From here, the device can capture a SIM card's unique identifier—the IMSI—and some models can intercept text messages and phone calls. It can also be used to track the physical location of a device, and by extension, its owner.
The devices can indiscriminately sweep up personal information of innocent people who happen to be in the vicinity of the device, and IMSI-catchers can also interfere with devices' abilities to make emergency 911 calls.
Crossbow is a compact, multi-transmit, cellular transceiver platform for 2G, 3G, and 4G. kit includes: crossbow main unit, cabling, antennas, laptop, laptop battery pack, charger, external usb drive, external band selector, and software. https://www.parttarget.com/5825-01-628-3210_5825016283210_CROSSBOW-CTP-01.html/-E5258788-57BC-4FA4-BED7-495DC067CE00
phone detection software
Sophisticated software automatically detects if a driver is handling a phone. Filtered images are then checked by a human eye by NSW authorities before a fine is issued.
Discarded images are deleted from digital files within an hour. https://www.caradvice.com.au/811236/mobile-phone-detection-cameras-roll-out-across-australia-heres-everything-you-need-to-know/
Police 'considered' using
The San Diego Police Department considered using a hacking tool that would have given them remote access to a person's smartphone messages, contacts, photos, and more.
The hacking tool, called Phantom, promised an 'intelligence gold mine' for the 'investigative and special support offices' of the SDPD.
The tool could also be used to turn on the phone's microphone without the user knowing, covertly take pictures through its camera app, and even intercept calls - all while leaving 'no trace whatsoever on the device.'
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ KASHOGGI MURDER
In August 2016, a Westbridge employee emailed the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) offering more information on Phantom, "a mobile intelligence system that would be a great addition to your investigative and special support offices." After remotely hacking the phone, Phantom can siphon a target's emails, text messages, and contact list, as well track their location, turn on the device's microphone and take photos with its camera, according to the brochure.
A former NSO employee told Motherboard that Phantom was "a brand name for U.S. territory," but the "same Pegasus," referring to NSO's phone hacking tool that the company has sold to multiple countries including the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia for millions of dollars. Infamously, Saudi Arabia used the software to surveil associates of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
WESTBRIDGE PHANTOM BROCHURE
[VIA VICE ARTICLE ABOVE]
Pegasus = NSO Group = Israeli Mossad ?
WhatsApp confirms: Israeli spyware was used to snoop on Indian journalists, activists
It is learnt that at least two dozen academics, lawyers, Dalit activists and journalists in India were contacted and alerted by WhatsApp that their phones had been under state-of-the-art surveillance for a two-week period until May 2019.
Cue the Bond music; 'Fleming' system
“Fleming” is a new program developed by Israeli cyber intelligence firm NSO that uses cell phone and public health data to identify where people with coronavirus are and who they come in contact with. As tech companies work to create contact tracing tools, experts say location tracking can present serious privacy concerns.
Israel-based private security firm NSO Group, known for making mobile hacking tools, is leading one of Israel’s contact-tracing efforts.
Security researcher Bob Diachenko discovered one of NSO’s contact-tracing systems on the internet, unprotected and without a password, for anyone to access. After he contacted the company, NSO pulled the unprotected database offline. Diachenko said he believes the database contains dummy data.
NSO told TechCrunch that the system was only for demonstrating its technology and denied it was exposed because of a security lapse. NSO is still waiting for the Israeli government’s approval to feed cell records into the system. But experts say the system should not have been open to begin with, and that centralized databases of citizens’ location data pose a security and privacy risk.
The unprotected database was hosted on an Amazon Web Services server in Frankfurt, where the data protection regime is one of the strictest in the world.
It contained about six weeks of location data, spanning around March 10 to April 23. It also included specific dates, times and the location of a “target” — a term that NSO used in the database to describe people — that may have come into contact with a potentially infected person.
"According to Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harringon, officials there have been using what they describe, without going into much detail, as contact-tracing in order to build out a picture of protestor affiliations — a process that officials in the state say has led them to conclude that much of the protest activity there is being fueled by people from outside coming in." https://massprivatei.blogspot.com/2020/06/police-use-contact-tracing-and-big-tech.html
"The tracking, known as geoharvesting, is when data is gathered from a smartphone app on a device connected to the internet. That data contains geolocation information that can be queried to show movement on a map."
"The cellphone users remained anonymous and their locations were instead culled from the publishers of the opt-in apps they were using, said McEwan, CEO of the Austin-based startup Datum that is the parent company under which VoteMap falls. People gauging cellphone locations the day of the April 30 protest and the day after would not be able to see to whom the phone belonged," she said
I almost got scammed during my job search on Indeed during COVID-19; here's how to avoid the same situation
submitted by Tarot-Card to Advice [link] [comments]
So yeah. We're all in the same boat pretty much, due to coronavirus it's been significantly harder for me to find a job because I'm essentially competing against 13.3% of the USA's population in a grim job market that's worse than it was in The Great Depression. I have been picking up new skills and retouched my resume, only applied to jobs that actually matched my skill set, that good shit.
2 days later I'd received a message from one of the jobs that I had applied to, letting me know that due to my resume, I was being suggested for a different position for Admin/Office Assistant,
and that I had to write a short cover letter to someone named Melissa - who probably doesn't exist by the way. I was excited and no obvious red flags had gone off yet. Maybe this was because at this point I was desperate to just find something so I didn't have to worry about possibly starving and or being homeless anymore (due to medical conditions, right now working would basically be consenting to my own, early death). So yeah, everything's going smoothly. I type up a pretty solid cover letter and send it.
There's no interview, nothing. At this point I get notified that hey I'm hiring you but I'm not going to be in the country so I can't meet srry :(.
Hello and thanks for your response, After the review and consideration of your answers to the questionnaire your application is successful and you have been accepted to work as my personal assistant/CSR Personnel, I would have loved to meet you before we start but I'm currently out of town for an important business in Toronto Canada and i won't be back until 2 weeks but i currently have work for you to take care of, so i want you to start immediately and when I'm back, We will setup a meeting so as to discuss further on briefings and your tax documents.
The real kicker
NOTE: You are not required to spend your personal money to make this purchases, I will also provide you with the funds to handle the shipping/cost of the above equipment. Working for me with the provided equipment is very necessary because there is a wide range of software installed on the system to protect data, ease duty, also enhance speed and accuracy of any work you're doing on it, The special features also calculate the number of hours you work daily so that i can ascertain the bonuses that will be given to you at the end of every month.
Please provide answers to the following schedule.
- How many hours are you willing to Work per day?
IMPORTANT : Kindly RE-CONFIRM your Name, Address & Phone number the funds should be issued to in other to handle the shipping/cost of the equipment and your sign on bonus.
- What time range? If you wish to work more than 5 Hours per Day, then let me know.
- What is your phone network carrier?
- Payroll Interval? (Weekly or Bi-weekly)
- Payroll Method ? (Check or Transfer)
- What Bank Do you? Operate with?(Not Your Bank Details, Just Name Of The Bank You Bank With.)
- Address/ Apt No...
- Zip Code....
- Phone # home....
- Cell #....
Okay, weird. At that point I was thinking to myself that something definitely isn't right. I had checked out the company website and it appeared to be legit, the build could've been better though. I then checked their BBB ratings and that's pretty much when shit started getting really janky. The fucked up part is the fact that to my knowledge, this is
a legitimate moving company. Pretty much all of the reviews were complaining that there was either an issue with billing or the actual products.
The worst part is I did search indeed.com
job scams, and unfortunately apparently this one isn't new, someone encountered the same scam with the same job position being offered, same pay, same stories, just different company and people. Scrolling down that thread it became very evident that other people had either almost fallen victim to or ended up actually getting scammed. The issue with this is that to the unsuspecting person, this is worded well enough to the point that it won't come across as a possible scam until they're giving you the job offer without an interview. Either that or maybe I'm just really fucking stupid.
Its scary because these people are literally preying on others in their most desperate moments.
So yeah TL;DR if shit seems too good to be true it probably is. Always make sure to research a company, if it feels like a scam it's probably a scam. I know times are really hard right now but please, please don't send these people your personal identifying information in the hopes that it's not a scam. Shits hard right now but it'd be a hell of a lot harder if you got your identity stolen, phone number sold, bank account hacked, etc.
Edited to include: Phone carrier: This is a huge red flag and a scam tactic that scammers will use to find out what phone carrier you're using - look up phone carrier scam/fraud, its pretty scary. No legit hiring company will ever ask which phone carrier you're using as part of the onboarding process. In case you don't want to Google; basically what they do is use personally identifying information and pretend to be you, when contacting your phone carrier they request a new Sim card, or act like they want to switch. Even though they didn't directly ask for my banking info, they did ask for just the name alone as well as potentially identifying info that they could use to call and have my password, phone number, email, address, etc reset. My guess is that they probably would have had me fill out a fake tax document in order to get my SSN, or ask for my SSN up front so they could fill it out on my behalf. Last edit is I've watched too many kitboga and Jim Browning videos to not recognize that format in asking for identifying information. If you don't know who they are and like watching scammers getting scammed their videos are pretty entertaining, although Jim Browning's are more in depth.
Also when I say research, I mean actually research. I'm questioning now if this company is even real/did they just create a website, or are they doing a common tactic where they pretend to be affiliated with or employees/employers of said company? I'm 76% sure that this company is probably a scam due to the fact that there are multiple BBB complaints with billing issues, on their site they say they were founded in 1994, but then their yelp description states this:
Established in 2002.
Since 1994, our movers have provided over 20,000+ relocations worldwide and maintained a A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. We're a successful family owned and operated moving and storage company that is located in the Metro Detroit area and has moving trucks all over Michigan. Whether your searching for local movers or long distance movers specializing in direct express moving services for our customers moving out of state and moving to IL Illinois, IN Indiana, KY Kentucky, MI Michigan, MO Missouri, NY New York, OH Ohio, PA Pennsylvania, TN Tennessee, WI Wisconsin. Our reputable moving company in Michigan can provide you an award winning moving and storage service that affordable and a convenience in a sometimes hectic life that we live in today.
Not to mention multiple Yelp reviews of people saying that yes, they did show up but they either literally robbed them, damaged their property, or grossly inflated the original price. So yikes.
Covid-19 update Saturday 11th April
submitted by Fwoggie2 to supplychain [link] [comments]
Good evening from the UK. The sun was out on what turned out to be a perfect day weather wise with temperatures soaring above our average of 15C to hit a giddy 23C (76F), just below the temperature threshold at which our print media seems to begin to call the weather a “heatwave”. Unfortunately, we need to continue to stay at home. How many will do so when faced with such pleasant (and rare) weather is unknown across a 4 day weekend; fingers crossed it’s as many as humanly possible.
Virus news in depth ‘I’m Sorry I Can’t Kiss You’—Coronavirus Victims Are Dying Alone -
Her father was 83 years old, sweating and gasping for breath. Nancy Hopkins leaned down and rubbed his arm just before paramedics put him into an ambulance. “I’ll be with you every step of the way,” Ms. Hopkins promised him. That was as close as she would ever again get to her dad. When she arrived at the nearby hospital in Conway, S.C., that evening in mid-March, she learned she could not go in because of visitor restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic. She sat alone in her car in the hospital parking lot for hours, crying when she finally drove off. Her father, Robert McCord, a retired livestock dealer, was sick with the coronavirus and lay for 14 days in an isolation room on the top floor of Conway Medical Center. When he neared death on April 1, Ms. Hopkins said goodbye through a phone, placed in a plastic bag and held to his ear by a nurse. “It has been the biggest challenge of my life, knowing I couldn’t be there,” says Ms. Hopkins, who is 59 and a schoolteacher. “Because my father depended on me.” The Wall Street Journal offers some personal stories of the victims of the virus and the family they leave behind
(not behind their paywall).
The role of the WHO is continuing to become more and more politically controversial
- Today’s Guardian live blog (link below) says that Taiwan has accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of playing word games in a dispute over details it sought in an email querying if the new coronavirus could be transmitted between people. Taiwan is not a WHO member, because of objections from China, which claims the island as its own and deems it to have no right to membership of international bodies. Such an approach, Taiwan says, deprived it of timely information to fight the virus, and it accused the WHO of having ignored its communications early in the pandemic, which has infected 1.6 million people and killed 100,000 worldwide. Last month, Taiwan said it had received no reply from the WHO to a 31 December query for information on the outbreak in China’s central city of Wuhan, including whether it could be transmitted between people. The WHO has said the email it received made no mention of human-to-human transmission. In Taipei on Saturday, the health minister, Chen Shih-chung, quoted the text of the email written in English that the government sent to the WHO.
Will we all need to sign up to a digital tracking app to speed up the reopening of our countries?
- There is increasing chatter on social media and in some parts of mainstream media about whether the general public in each country will need to sign up to some kind of tracking app (a system that’s in widespread use in China already
says CNN). Andy Slavitt ran a poll asking whether people would sign up to it here
; at time of writing it was 53.6% in favour with another 34% in favour with caveats and only 12.5% flatly rejecting it. Dr Farzard Mostashari, formally an Epidemiological Intelligence Service officer with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and also formally a national health IT coordinator has written a twitter thread
where he says it’ll be feasible, usable and hopefully acceptable from a privacy stance - but it’ll only work if a large proportion of the population sign up to it. For now though, Apple and Google are teaming up to begin work on a solution
Vox news: I’ve read the plans to reopen the US economy. They’re scary. -
Vox news has written an article suggesting that the only options to reopen the economy all involve significant changes from societal norms. “Over the past few days, I’ve been reading the major plans for what comes after social distancing. You can read them, too. There’s one from the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, the left-leaning Center for American Progress, Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer. I thought, perhaps naively, that reading them would be a comfort — at least then I’d be able to imagine the path back to normal. But it wasn’t. In different ways, all these plans say the same thing: Even if you can imagine the herculean political, social, and economic changes necessary to manage our way through this crisis effectively, there is no normal for the foreseeable future. Until there’s a vaccine, the United States either needs economically ruinous levels of social distancing, a digital surveillance state of shocking size and scope, or a mass testing apparatus of even more shocking size and intrusiveness”. The article goes into more detail: “While similar efforts have borne fruit in Singapore and South Korea, the US is a very different country, with a more mistrustful, individualistic culture. Already, polling shows that 70 percent of Republicans, and 46 percent of Democrats, strongly oppose using cellphone data to enforce quarantine orders.” There’s more on the topic here: (link
Virus news in brief
Source: Today’s Guardian live blog
unless otherwise stated
- The International Monetary Fund is warning that the world now faces the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression in the early 1930s.
- PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) continues to be in short supply across the world. In the UK, the leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer said it was “insulting” to suggest health careworkers were “wasting” personal protective equipment. His comments come after the health secretary, Matt Hancock, reminded NHS workers not to “overuse” PPE and to follow the guidelines for its correct use. Starmer tweeted: “It is quite frankly insulting to imply frontline staff are wasting PPE. There are horrific stories of NHS staff and care workers not having the equipment they need to keep them safe. The government must act to ensure supplies are delivered.”
- Britain has not yet reached the Covid-19 peak which would allow for an easing of tight restrictions of movement, health minister Matt Hancock said on Saturday. The death toll in British hospitals has reached almost 9,000, with 980 more deaths reported on Friday, a figure which exceeded the deadliest day so far in Italy, the country worst hit by the virus.
- South Korean officials said stricter controls are required because some of the 57,000 people who are under orders to stay home have slipped out by leaving behind smartphones with tracking apps. The authorities are threatening to place wristbands on people that need to self quarantine to be able to track them (Personal note: Like other countries we use the same technology in the UK to track convicted criminals who must stay at home due to imposed curfews).
- The Philippines has temporarily banned health workers from leaving for overseas jobs in an attempt to strengthen its own health systems.
- The Thai New Year is about to start which usually triggers boisterous parties but they’re banned this year as are alcohol sales temporarily; a 10-day ban on the sale of wine, beer and spirits in the capital Bangkok went into effect on Friday. Some 47 of Thailand’s 77 provinces have implemented bans to April 15 or until the end of the month, the interior ministry said in a statement.
- The prices of key staples, barring cereals, have surged nearly three times from a month ago because of a noticeable supply shock amid the three-week nationwide lockdown to fight the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, according to official and market data reviewed by Hindustan Times.
- The US has become the first country in the world to record more than 2,000 coronavirus deaths in a single day.
- Also USA, Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Friday "most of the country" will not be able to reopen by May 1, despite suggestions from some Trump administration officials that next month may be a time to revisit strict social distancing guidelines (USA Today).
- Also USA; The NY Times reports that a study shows that the Black and Latino death rate from Coronavirus is much higher than from white victims (link, subscription required). The disparity reflected longstanding and persistent economic inequalities and differences in access to health care, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday morning. “There are clear inequalities, clear disparities in how this disease is affecting the people of our city,” Mr. de Blasio said. “The truth is that in so many ways the negative effects of coronavirus — the pain it’s causing, the death it’s causing — tracks with other profound health care disparities that we have seen for years and decades.
- Whilst on the topic of minority groups in the US being significantly affected by the Covid-19 spread, Robert Reich (US Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997) points out that on the Navajo Nation reservation, COVID has killed more people than in the entire state of New Mexico, which has a population 13 times larger (twitter).
- If you’re not into Andy Slavitt’s twitter feed (he’s worth following at u/ASlavitt), yesterday’s (10th April his time) feed was about vulnerable members of society such as care homes, jails and people with disabilites. The TLDR; Care home staff are infected but not being tested, many staff are still doing rounds from home to home (they are not being tested either), many staff have no available PPE, hospitals are refusing to take care home patients, care homes are not permitting access to physicians to come in and assess patients, the staff are overburdened, residents are very lonely, family members cannot visit the residents. As for the veterans association, it has 3,000 reported infections of which ⅓ are staff, they too have insufficient PPE, there appears to be a lack of central management to react to the crisis. Prisoners and people with disabilities are in an even worse situation. See here for much more.
- Italy has extended its lockdown for another 3 weeks.
- Singapore has suspended the use of video-conferencing tool Zoom by teachers after “very serious incidents” in the first week of a coronavirus lockdown that has seen schools move to home-based learning, Reuters has reported. One incident involved obscene images appearing on screens and male strangers making lewd comments during the streaming of a geography lesson with teenage girls, media reports said. Taiwan and Germany have already curbed use of Zoom, while Google banned the desktop version from corporate laptops this week (Personal note: I can’t find any information whether the UK cabinet will continue to use it, they have been before). Concerns have grown over Zoom’s lack of end-to-end encryption of meeting sessions, routing of traffic through China and “zoombombing”, when uninvited guests crash meetings. Zoom also faces a class-action lawsuit. More on that story here.
- When might we be able to travel again asks the LA Times - the answer being that it depends on who you ask, where you’re travelling from and where you’re going to.
- Boeing debates bailout, and explores layoffs, credit, other measures - Business Insider reports (subscription required) that Boeing is still deciding whether to apply for up to $17 billion in loans from the federal government, part of the coronavirus bailout package, or the CARES Act. The company, which has about $15 billion in liquidity available, may need to raise as much as $20 billion more this year in order to survive the COVID-19 crisis but is reluctant to accept the federal aid due to the strings attached. Signs over the past week have suggested that Boeing is seeking other options, including private loans, cost reductions through layoffs, and seeking available cash through forward payments.
Supply chain news in depth
Two more significant companies in the US trucking and transportation field have implemented layoffs and furloughs -
that Echo Global Logistics they had a “small reduction” in staff this week that constitutes less than 5% of the company’s workforce. “A large portion of these were furloughs and will come back as business conditions dictate,” (the CEO) wrote. Of those who were not furloughed but dismissed from the company, they were provided with severance, according to Waggoner. At less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier Saia, the President and Chief Operating Officer told FreightWaves in an email that the company “temporarily re-aligned some sales functions, which included a furloughing of a small number of sales personnel.” Saia has the “intention of bringing them back as business levels warrant.” No numbers on the size of the staff impacted was provided.
Supply chain news in brief
- Since mid-March, sales have fallen an average of 85% on California’s 225 flower and foliage farms, while the labor force has dropped by a similar proportion, according to the California Cut Flower Commission, a state agency that promotes the industry. That could spell the end of many farms in California’s $360-million cut-flower industry. “This is our busiest and most profitable time of the year,” (a wholesaler) said. “So, it’s absolutely the worst time for something like this to happen.” The LA Times has more.
- Floridians - farmers are starting to sell direct to consumer because their business to business (b2b) markets have dried up. If you live there and can support them, see a list of farmers here
- Toronto food wholesalers are following a trend in many countries and starting to sell to the general public. If you’re a Torontonian, see here for more info.
- Defense news is warning that 2nd and 3rd tier suppliers are starting to experience adverse impacts from the Covid-19 outbreak which raises the risk of being unable to fulfil ongoing deliverable requirements to the Pentagon. “The whole supply chain is a mess right now,” said an employee of one electronics manufacturer that provides components for both commercial and defense products. The source, whose name and company affiliation Defense News is withholding to protect the individual from reprisal, described challenges with working from home and retaining workers on the production line. Some colleagues, the source said, are choosing to take paid leave or voluntary layoffs rather than risk exposure to COVID-19. “We are at 20 percent capability,” the source said.
- U.S. aero parts maker Triumph Group Inc said it was furloughing about 2,300 employees across its U.S. and European plants for two to four weeks to cut capacity linked to Boeing commercial aircraft programs amid the coronavirus outbreak. The company will give one week of pay and will cover the employee share of medical premiums during the furlough period, it said in a statement on Friday. Triumph Group also said it will cut about 200 full-time positions due to fall in demand, adding that the reductions will be completed by May 1. Reuters has more (link).
- Boeing today delivered the first set (2,300) of reusable 3D-printed face shields to support healthcare professionals working to stop the spread of COVID-19. Boeing is set to produce thousands more face shields per week, gradually increasing production output to meet the growing need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the United States. Distribution of additional face shields will be coordinated with HHS and FEMA based on immediate needs. Airlive.net has more on the story. In a related story CNN is reporting that fake masks are starting to infiltrate established supply chains (more on that one here).
- Boeing to restart some work on jets in Washington as early as Monday says the Seattle Times - before clarifying it’s only 2,500 staff (out of the 30,000 who work at Boeing’s HQ). Those called back will be deployed at company defense programs — including the Navy’s P-8 anti-submarine plane built in Renton and the Air Force KC-46 tanker built in Everett — as well as maintenance operations at Moses Lake in support of the grounded 737 MAXs stored there.
- USA: As more citizens become aware of the importance of supply chains, there’s been an outpouring of appreciation for truckers during the crisis. Freightwaves explores whether it may spur lasting change for the appreciation of the hard work of truckers across the country as well as an increase in truck driver recruitment rates.
- Airline stats - for anyone interested in passenger aviation statistics in the US, try here.
- The Polar Air owned 747 freighter registration N451PA has been busy this week; freight Radar 24 reports in the past few days it flew around the world; Cincinnati to Leipzig to Bahrain to Incheon (Seoul) to Shenzhen to Tokyo Narita to Anchorage and back to Cincinnati.
- Seafreight: CMA CGM details delay in transit global offering - Splash247 reports that CMA CGM, the world’s fourth largest containerline, has outlined details of its new business continuity pack, a range of solutions to adapt and protect the supply chains of its customers during the coronavirus. Among new services, like rival MSC, CMA CGM is launching a delay in transit offering, allowing clients to temporarily store containers in a dedicated hub as demand at end destinations remains dormant. “With this new solution, clients can control and reduce costs related to warehousing and storage, as well as other expenses that can add up while their cargo is being transported,” CMA CGM stated in a release.
- Seafreight: MSC (major container ship operator) says it’s been the victim of a cyber attack says Splash247 (link)
- Seafreight: Recently I’ve flagged that vessel crew swaps is problematic in many countries; today Splash247 reports that the European Commission is attempting to designate ports where fast-track crew changes can take place (link). (Personal note: this is welcome news and badly needed to get exhausted crews off and replacement crews - many in need of salaries to support families back home in lower income countries - on board).
- Seafreight: Indian port congestion is starting to clear says Port Technology (link). The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and the Port of Chennai, the first and third biggest ports in India respectively, have reported that their operations are beginning to return to normal.
- The lithium ion battery industry is braced for a demand decline of 15-25% in 2020 following the evaporation of electric vehicle (EV) demand in the last month due to the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. Benchmark Mineral Intelligence says that Tier 1 cell producers in Asia are preparing for a minimum decrease in shipments of 15% in 2020 as producers adjust their medium term business plans to the fluid situation that has the potential to change on a weekly basis. There’s more here.
- In the UK, the illegal drugs markets are getting negatively affected by the virus too. Party drug demand is down substantially whilst the price of 1 oz marajuana (circa 28g) has risen by 50%. Vice has more on the topic here.
Several asked if they can send me $/£/€ via Patreon (in some cases because I've saved them time or money, others for no reason at all). I don't need the cash (that's lovely though) but food bank charities are getting really hit hard with all this panic buying. Please consider giving whatever you'd have given me to a foodbank charity instead:
Thanks in advance for any donations you give. If there's foodbank charities in your country and it's not listed above, please suggest it and I will include it going forward.
I ran out of time to also do the stats, sorry. No post tomorrow (Sunday), Monday's (if I manage to make time) is highly likely to be posted evening UK time. Apologies for any inconvenience caused to anyone.
Here's how you win business from Realtors: No spamming.
submitted by joeyda3rd to realtors [link] [comments]
I answered this for a photographer in another thread
, I thought you might be able to use this as a guide and Realtors here can add their $0.02.
First off, never flat out ask for business. It will turn people off in a second. I can't stand that and I go out of my way NOT to hire a pushy person. Maybe that's just me. Unless you have something everyone wants but no one else has, you're going to have to network.
Advertising can work if it's effective and not spammy, but I typically ignore ads unless my colleagues are raving about you. Social media is not likely going to work on it's own for the most part, so don't try messaging us out of the blue. There are too many inspectors, photographers, loan officers, title companies, etc. looking for our business. We only want to work with the ones that we like and trust, and the only way to be that is to get to know us on a personal level. We are people, just like you, we're not just a paycheck.
So here's a recipe for success with networking. Step 1. Meet us in person, individually.
If you have the mindset of "I'm going to get business from this person" when you're talking to me, you won't be successful. You need to have the mindset of getting to know me and learning from me. You should be charming and helpful. If you're trying to set up a consultation or ask me if I need your services the first time I meet you, I'm going to find an excuse to walk away and never talk to you again if I can help it.
There's two main ways to meet us FtF. - In the wild:
If you go to a place where we are already congregating, this is the easiest way to get our ear. Find where we are in your community. Most places in the US have a local Realtor association. Join as an affiliate member and become an active participant for a year. It's not that expensive. Go to the socials and just be present, volunteer for a large committee, donate to causes, but don't be a salesman. Pass out cards to those that show interest, but don't force it or try to make sales at these things. Don't give them your card unless they ask. Don't offer up what you do, but you can wear a name tag. Ask everyone you can get a conversation with questions to get them to reciprocate to find out what you do. "What company do you work for?" "Do you have a specialty?" "What areas do you mainly work in?" Get them excited about talking about themselves and then let them ask a question, they'll ask about you. - Invite us to meet individually:
The simple example is to just call and ask me to coffee, but you figure out your method. They're going to know you're just wanting to sell to them and you'll need to tell them why you want to sit down with them. It's fine to say you "Just want to get to make a business connection and are willing to buy me coffee for my time." but in better words. This is much easier to do once you've met us in the wild. You'll get a few contacts calling us blindly, but it's a numbers game. If you're charming on the phone and have some sort of a connection to them (name drop a Realtor they are friends with), you'll have more success. Be prepared for like a 99% rejection rate. We get solicitation calls A LOT! Every day it seems. When you get them to sit down, ask tons of questions about their business
. What process they go through, etc. You can give them a few marketing pieces, but after you've learned about them and relate it to how you can help. Don't take longer than 30 minutes or an hour at the most if the conversation is going good. Guess what? If you joined the association, they'll give you a list of our cell numbers and emails if you request it. Step 2. Engage.
Follow up with who you've met on social media. If you met one in the wild, getting that card helps you remember, but don't ask for it to obviously spam them. Make it a natural request. They said something interesting and you want to know more about them. Like, share, and comment on a lot of their social media. Try to interact with as many of their posts as you can, but don't be crazy about it. Meanwhile post your work and make a blog and post content. Talk about being a [insert professional title here] and show off your skills. Be fun. The algorithm will put your content in front of them because it thinks you are friends. Never ask for business unless it feels right, but it should almost never feel right. Let us come to you, but make it apparent you are the right one to come to. We've already met you in person, so it will be much easier to request information. Engage with us each individually off social media also, I don't mind an occasional phone call or text, but you better not be trying to sell me something. If you have a special going on, email it or post it on your social media. I don't care if you tag me, but you better not call me to sell me something. Call to set up a time for coffee now that I feel more comfortable seeing you engage with me and helping me on social media. Step 3. Become the expert and grow your network.
Find a way in to the office or trade association through who you've met and who likes and trusts you. One way into the office is to offer education that really shows you know your stuff and attracts the people. If you can offer continuing education credit through the state, even better. You probably can't just walk in off the street and be able to get a commitment to do a class, you're going to need to know someone that can vouch for you. Keep working on those relationships and try to become the resource for them. Give them something they can use that will remind them of you or they can use to help sell a property. Think travel mugs or property flyers. Agents are in their cars a lot. I love my magnetic phone dash mount, just a tip. You're trying to show that you are the professional and the expert. Another way in is to ask to drop off treats. Bigger budget? Rent a movie theater for a kids movie and invite Realtors and their kids for free, hand out free popcorn with your pamphlet. Or once you complete a job and they are obviously satisfied, ask "Which Realtors at the office can use a skilled [professional title]? Do you think you could refer me to them? Yes? Great! Can I call them and tell them that you told me to call?" Step 4. Get referred naturally. Think service.
All while you are working for the client think of ways to make their lives easier and your product better. For an example, I'll use photographers: Offer to call to set up the shoot, send the client instructions on how to get the most from their shoot, offer a flyer design, bring snacks to the shoot, know stagers to call when needed, give the kids of the seller a small toy to play with to keep them busy, offer same or next day delivery. Just keep separating yourself, find a new way to excel at each job. Make it clear somewhere on your website what you charge and if we ask about your service be willing to talk to us on the phone ASAP. We likely don't have much time to make a decision. This will make it easier for us to refer you if you can separate yourself somehow from everyone else.
It's not hard to get realtor clients, but you CAN NOT SPAM US
. We get that ALL THE DAMN TIME!! Don't be that guy.
Groupon Merchant Using My Cellphone Number
Hi all! So I’ve been receiving nonstop phone calls from people who have purchased a Groupon deal for pest control and I am in no way affiliated with the company. I did just buy a new phone and got a new cell phone number and I can only assume the number use to belong to the pest control company. I have attempted contacting Groupon’s customer support and they keep telling me I need to contact Groupon’s Merchant Support, however, the problem is you have to BE the merchant to even reach out to the Groupon Merchants customer service. I looked up the company on Google to try and contact them about removing my number from their Groupon and they do not have a website and the number listed on google is my number. I tried making an edit through Google and have had no luck. Is there any way I can get the number removed so I can stop receiving all of these calls or is the best route to change my number yet again? Thanks! submitted by AninSacul to Advice [link] [comments]
My Opinion about the Pinephone, Librem 5 and Software
submitted by bloggerdan to tuxphones [link] [comments]
Warning: This is a long post. The down and dirty summary is this: Right now there are a few Linux projects focusing on bringing open hardware, software, and a usable phone for all of us Linux enthusiasts with 3 being Pine64 and UBPorts and Purism. At this point Pine64 and UBPorts have developed a very close to finished products and are shipping a final device within weeks. Purism, on the other hand, has had more time yet still hasn't made much progress and their device is still in an Alpha state according to many reviews. This begs the question, why all of the blog posts and videos promoting this device as being nearly finished when it clearly isn't? Read on to see all of the evidence why it seems clear that Purism hasn't been up front with their customers.
Privacy, security, peace of mind. These are the things that most everyone wants in their life and especially from their technology. For years now we have all heard the phrase ‘you’re the product, not the consumer’ and this is somewhat true. “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” by Shoshana Zuboff is a monster of a book but well worth the read. It lays out in great detail the end game for the surveillance capitalists, and it’s not pretty. Sensors in our clothing that tells the capitalists where we are and what we’re doing much like the accelerometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes in our mobile devices send signals to advertisers and other capitalists our movements and positions. These technologies will eventually be woven into our clothing, which will be an even greater privacy invasion, unless you just start walking around naked. These, and other means, with which surveillance capitalists will be created to take our personal data and monetize it on an ever increasing level and there are only two ways to keep this from happening. 1) Legislation to stop the collection at its source or 2) Stop using the technologies that allow this data collection to take place.
Many people opt for 2 including me. I love using open source and Linux and one major data collection device has been for years the smart phone. Facebook, Google, Apple, and countless advertisers and data brokers collect and/or buy our extracted information and sell it to advertisers through these devices.
One platform seeks to stop all of this: GNU/Linux and the free and open source community with the many cell phone projects by Purism, UBPorts, KDE, Pine64, and a few others. As of late, it seems that the two best contenders are the Pinephone and the Librem 5 and it seems clear to me (and most everyone else) that the Pinephone and Ubuntu Touch are the pair to beat at this moment in time.
There has been a lot of discouraging news out of Purism lately and many people are speculating about how open and honest the company has been with the public about the actual progress of their phone.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about this so I’m going to go over my own comparisons of these two companies and their phones along with the software and hardware progress of each.
Pine64 and Pinephone / UBPorts and Ubuntu Touch
The Pinephone developer edition (dubbed Braveheart) was completed and shipped to backers on January 17, 2020. The Ubuntu Touch edition of the phone, a close to, if not final version of the device, is scheduled to be shipped at the end of May 2020, barring any delays because of Covid-19.
Throughout the development cycle, Pine64 has provided numerous Twitter posts and YouTube videos. Through these platforms people can ask them questions or offer suggestions about the development of the phone. If you scroll through their Twitter feed you will find many videos and updates about the progress they are making on the Pinephone.
UBPorts has a monthly update streamed live on Youtube, along with lots of updates on their Twitter feed and their blog. You can also contact them on Matrix clients for live chat and other platforms if you have any questions.
Since I’ll be talking about specs next I might as well include the Librem 5’s along side too, rather than keeping it in the next section. For reference you can check out https://tuxphones.com/yet-another-librem-5-and-pinephone-linux-smartphone-comparison/
Going through the specs and hardware I don’t really see a lot of major differences, other than storage space, with the Pinephone having 16GB and Librem having 32GB. But with both phones supporting SD cards up to 2TB in size this really doesn’t seem to matter to me.
The kill switches on both phones are implemented differently, and here is where I’d give the edge to Librem 5. The Librem 5’s kill switches are conveniently located on the side of the phone which makes them very easy to get to. In the Pinephone you have to remove the back cover and most likely use a tool to move the very tiny pins. While not convenient at least the functionality is there.
For my needs and in my opinion, I don’t need immediate access to kill switches because I’d likely keep the wifi off most of the time anyway, and with the Pinephone running straight up Linux I know that apps aren’t going to be relaying my location to any third parties. But if this is important to you, it will no doubt be a huge pain in the ass.
The memory is pretty much even, with the Librem 5 having 3GD of LPDD4 memory and Pinephone having 2GB of a bit slower LPDDR3 memory. The difference in daily usage I’d say is mostly negligible: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5MFpuDTiJU
Another large difference will be the cameras that come with each. The Pinephone’s front facing camera is listed as 5MP while the Librem 5 will have 13 MP, which likely means the Librem 5 will have a much better camera. Unfortunately, no one has been able to use the camera on the Librem 5 to see just how good it is yet since no software is available to take pictures as of this writing.
Onto the software. I’ve been using Ubuntu Touch on a Nexus 5 for about a week. I’ve been trying to use it as my daily driver and so far it’s been working great. Better than I expected. But it is suffering from short battery life. If I use it moderately to heavy (with chats, texting, and web browsing with Tor) the battery will last about 5-7 hours. I’m hoping the Pinephone’s newer battery and further software tweaks will help the battery life. That is really the only discouraging thing I’m not very pleased with about this phone. There are a few software hiccups on occasion but the phone is highly usable. Sometimes an app stops responding so I close it and open it right back up and it works fine again. Sometimes the keyboard feels like it needs some tweaks but overall works very well.
Librem 5 and Purism
The Librem 5 development models were shipped at or around December 18, 2018 (https://puri.sm/posts/2018-devkits-are-shipping/https://www.slashgear.com/purism-librem-5-dev-kits-ship-bodes-well-for-linux-phone-20558700/
) and on September 5, 2019 it was announced an iterative shipping schedule with each batch of phones being shipping over the coming months.
) The only problem is that the phones never came after this announcement. It was later revealed that the first batch of phones were only given to employees to test because of some issues with them. (https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2019/11/the-librem-5-has-been-shipping-for-a-month-but-not-to-backers/
) But this was never told to the customers. This first batch was called Aspen. When you go back to look at their original post linked above on the shipping batches it’s been edited to include in parenthesis next to the Aspen batch “(internal batch).” Huh??? This wasn’t there when this was first posted. (https://web.archive.org/web/20190905160222/https://puri.sm/posts/librem-5-shipping-announcement/
Next to the Birtch batch in the revised shipping post it says “(delivered on time),” the same with Chestnut. It seems to me like Purism is trying to rewrite history. It was never announced that Aspen would be an “internal” batch at all.
And this is where the problems begin with Purism. When you read their blog posts they talk about all of the software and hardware progress they’re making but when you read the many reviews of those who have been able to get their hands on a device the reviews have been less than great: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/librem-5-review-the-linux-based-smartphone-is-not-close-to-consumer-ready/ https://linuxreviews.org/Librem_5 https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/01/librem-5-phone-hands-on-a-proof-of-concept-for-the-open-source-smartphone/ https://www.techradar.com/nz/reviews/librem-5 https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/librem-5-review/
This last review has been getting quite a bit of buzz…
The reviewer sums up the device he got with,
“Like many others, I really want this phone to shape the future of smartphones and mobile technology. On this showing, it’s at least five years out of step. Purism’s good intentions are clear, but the Librem 5 is a far cry from the quality of its laptops. More worryingly for Purism, there’s a strong chance its efforts could be overshadowed by the PinePhone, another Linux project that is far more affordable.”
Remember how I mentioned that Purism’s problem was being up front with its customers? Well, these reviews cast a lot of doubt about the alleged progress Purism has made on the phone. With this latest review from Make Use Of it definitely seems Purism has much much work ahead of itself. And presumably this reviewer got a more recent batch of the Librem 5, which was supposed to have a lot of functionality.
And this is at its core the main gripe I have with Purism. I am one of the backers of the Librem 5 and I have been excited about this phone for a long time ever since reading about it a few years ago. After reading their blog posts on their progress and reading other sources it seemed like the project was definitely a go and it was safe for me to plop down $700 for this device. Unfortunately it looks like either the phone I will be getting won’t work very well or I won’t get one at all.
It’s been long suspected that Purism is in financial trouble and is merely blogging away trying to convince people who don’t know any better to part ways with hundreds of dollars in an attempt to gain more revenue and maybe – eventually - ship something to those who paid for the device.
This revealing review really puts all of these events into perspective. It is with the former CTO of Purism Zlatan Todoric. (https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Zlatan-Todoric-Interview
From the interview:
“I saw that Reddit exploded around revolt inside Purism and a lot of my name in it - I was not part of that group as I already have left before that but yes, they raised concerns and they all got fired. Purism is a not in a good shape and it was already in bad internally at the time I left. One example is inflating the numbers of Librem One campaign which I think Alan Pope noticed and called them out.”
According to this person it seems that the issue is the CEO Todd:
“From there on we added sales person, support person, a sysadmin and started to look more serious while getting some traction with shipping. This was big deal, because Purism was almost two years behind shipping devices to most of customers and people were getting angry, totally understandable. We worked day and night but Todd's partner (the company in South San Francisco that assembles Librems and also is man in the middle for China were all parts get produced and then shipped to California) were being mostly silent to us. Even with this disadvantage we somehow managed in getting financial surplus for months so we added a wordsmith, a wizard with words to make our website more clear, less false and inline with our true nature (at least what we believed was). He also had this friend which I interviewed and he ended up doing the famous Coreboot port which brought big plus in PR for us. Our salaries started raising, we added couple of more people and things started to look good. We even talked to Todd and became Social Purpose Corporation. Yay the good times.
During this exact same time, Todd was mostly silent, hardly anyone would have contact with him but he was hiring and firing, mostly financial people, on weekly basis. So Purism at the time of Coreboot dev hire, was only built by people who I hired and myself. That was the first time that things felt smelly, but hey, we were developing great things here, the atmosphere was great and people were happy. We even started to gather and foster some community around us.
Around this time Todd started to get more engaged and started to micromanage people with a lot of meetings, a lot of talking on his side but they were and probably still are very one-sided and unrealistic. "We will announce this and that, we must maintain this growth and grow even bigger because we need investments etc" on which we pushed back regularly saying this things are not only unrealistic but also will harm our relations with public because we can't keep such promises. The end results was we were always trying to do damage control and things became stressful. Couple of more people joined but then it started to go down.
Todd talked about phone project, I did a year earlier research on it (with the help of community) and we came with possible hardware direction but I also laid out financial and time plans for such project. Entire group was on board with this (which was "no, we are not ready"), except Todd who just said that we are doing it in a month and we are starting one way or another that phone campaign.
This was very stressful time. Entire paychecks were cut during campaign for several people (including me, though later repaid us and kept promises on bonuses) and the campaign was going bad (as most of us predict) but then [Klumpp] and I talked about getting KDE community involved as they had Plasma Mobile which was pragmatic way to look at as phone OS base and Todd agreed that we contact them and make deal with them. There needs to be noted that Todd was for Plasma Mobile at that time, but then maybe and then seemingly not in the end. Anyway, this was a good decision and we gained traction, and on wings of that Todd went getting more PR momentum with GNOME, later also Matrix and Monero. THE MOAR THE BETTER! :)
I did ask several times how he got to that specific number ($1.5mil bucks for phone project) and that we can do it in such short time. There was never a single answer that made sense and only one answer actually ever "it will be $300 per device and some company said they would do it even if we hit only 5000 devices". You need to realize this was before we even knew what materials we will use, how the phone will look and so on. So vapor all the way. Counting the investments and that it is already almost a year behind the schedule, I hate to say it really but "I was right". I am truly sad with all this.
The campaign ended inside the goal, I gave up my bonus to be split between two employees with lowest salaries and we got people to create a phone team. From here on, there was basically two Purism groups, the old ones with me and the phone group who had almost no interactions with us and this was done on purpose. Things became more stressful on daily basis and tensions started to rise up...Coreboot developer left and in next week or two they were changing even more the contracts and the pressure was higher and higher (my salary was halved already for half year as well to put more pressure) so I made to myself clear - while I really do my best to help phone project, I very much disagree with it on many levels and the stress was just piling on all sides (I was basically working 18 hours a day for almost 3 years to make Purism what it is) so I gave my resignation.”
This seems to be the exact same pattern. Todd just jumps into things without thinking about or planning anything and then he just “blogs into oblivion” with – essentially - propaganda:
“Q: What are your views on how the Librem 5 has come about as of the current "Aspen" batch with the information that is publicly available?
A: The information from Purism is just bonkers regarding this project. Todd's tactic is too just blog into oblivion when you are not ready for something so you put spotlight somewhere else. The phone is not remotely ready, it will have proprietary blobs (otherwise it will not be ready for another decade) but, maybe this will be weird to some, I still have hopes that hardware wise it will be okayish maybe next year. The true questions is, will there be Purism next year. Regarding software, I am a GNOME users, but going GTK is just wrong decision, it is not on pair with Qt in this space and how Purism ended choosing this is even more sad story but for some other day. So much mixed feelings here to be honest but I will let users to decide what they want to gamble on.”
“Q: What were some of the biggest issues being the "under-dog" organization in the competitive laptop/hardware space?
A: Not having leverage in China. Quantities matter there and getting only dozen or couple of hundred orders per month doesn't really help. That said, the Librems are heavily overpriced but that is because Purism seemingly never tried to get better deal and the South San Francisco partner abused this so that is why Purism Librems are double the price they should be. I believe that if we had more realistic prices, it would be much better for Purism not only financially but also more talking about it, more of it in wild which in turn means much more orders, more happy customers etc. The innovation is not really that hard in this space because big players don't try to really innovate as they have strong positions, so it wouldn't be that hard to be good or better then most of big players even, but quantity leverage is hard to pass by.”
When confronted with these facts Purism fanboys spam critics and make the most absurd arguments and excuses. It’s really interesting to watch the psychology of it all. It’s like sports teams or religion. They’ve staked their position and they’re not budging even if their arguments are contradictory and are not in line with the facts.
Take one prominent Purism fanboy who I’ve seen reply to many criticisms of Purism and Librem 5 on the YouTube page of that Make Use Of video review (https://youtu.be/NV0RnWorPpQ
) and many, many comments on Reddit. His own review of the Librem 5 and Pinephone can be found here: https://amosbbatto.wordpress.com/2019/12/01/decide-pinephone-vs-librem-5/
His review is what inspired me to write mine.
One of the myths that seems to be continually repeated about the Pinephone is that it’s not as open as the Librem 5, but isn’t true. For example.
“There is also no way to separately cut the circuit to the GNSS while using the cellular modem, so the proprietary firmware for the modem potentially has access to geolocation data. The Pinephone will likely be more secure than 99% of Android phones on the market, but if security and privacy is your highest priority, then the Librem 5 is probably the phone that you want to buy.”
If you read Pine64’s blog on the openness of their device they state
“The LTE modem on the PinePhone is a ‘black box’, and runs its own Linux system internally. This includes all the proprietary modules (blobs) needed to run the actual cellular radios. However, this system is almost entirely isolated from the main system running on the A64 SoC. The only data contacts between A64 and modem are USB connection for data and I2S connection for audio. All data going in or out of the modem must go over these connections.”
To further illustrate the mindless fanboyishness (is that even a word?) of many in the Librem camp someone named William Karlsson made the comment: “Another reason to pick librem is simply because pine has only community support. In other words, no support”
I’m sorry but my first thought is: what the hell?! What is this person talking about? Linux and open source is ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY and that community HELPING ONE ANOTHER! If you want to look at how absurd this comment is just think about this. UBPorts is a community effort as is the Pinephone. Purism doesn’t seem to engage with the community nearly as much… and look at the progress of both by comparison! I’ll tell you right now I’ve gotten more help from the Linux community within the 5 years I’ve been using Linux with the 15 years that I was using Windows. I even had a tech support guy hang up on me when I only asked him a simple question about my Windows computer! The Linux community is by and large a wonderful and helpful bunch.
I’m confused by Amos’s comment about software development between the Librem 5 and other Linux on phone projects:
“The PinePhone will offer the choice of many operating systems and interfaces, since it works with many different communities to port their software to the device….One of the goals of PINE64 is to be a “community platform” that works with open source communities to provide hardware for their software projects….
The upside of this approach is that PINE64 doesn’t have to develop the software, so it can save on the cost of developing the phone and it can pass those savings onto consumers. The downside to this approach is that PINE64 doesn’t have as many programmers on staff as Purism to resolve hard software bugs and provide the same kind of customization and polish to its software.
On the other hand, UBports, KDE Plasma Mobile and the Android Open Source Project used by Replicant already have very good interfaces, whereas Purism is having to create its mobile interface for Wayland + GTK from scratch. In the short term, the software that Purism is developing in Phosh, Phoc, libhandy, Squeekboard, Chats, Calls, etc. probably will be cruder and require more work than the software available on the PinePhone. However, in the long term, we can expect the software to be better customized for the Librem 5 than for the PinePhone.”
Amos makes it sound as if the reason Purism’s Librem 5 costs so much is because of the hard work being done on the software front, but as the interview with Zlatan Todoric noted it was the lack of planning that caused the Librem 5’s to cost “double the price they should be.”
“On a practical level, it can be argued that there isn’t much difference between the PinePhone which only has one binary blob for the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth in the /lib/firmware directory, and the Librem 5 which has one binary blob for the DDR PHY stored in a separate memory chip. However, Purism is going out and finding hardware manufacturers that are willing to work with Purism so their components can run on free software.”
No, there isn’t much difference at all between the Librem 5 and Pinephone regarding the openness of the hardware. They both use blobs for the modem, however, it looks like Purism got around to getting open hardware for their Bluetooth and Wifi.
In this next section Amos contradicts himself:
“Purism has received a lot of criticism from the community for not being transparent. Purism has opened itself up to this criticism because it says “we have decided to bring our community and customers along with us for the Librem 5 journey, and have been transparent about our progress from the beginning.” Purism is more transparent than most other hardware companies. Purism employees regularly answer questions on the company’s forum and the ongoing work can be checked by going to source.puri.sm and by readings its public bug reports. Purism posts monthly updates about its upstream commits to the Linux kernel, wlroots, GTK and GNOME applications. The schematics files for the Dev Kit can be downloaded and opened in KiCAD. It is easy to keep tabs on Purism’s work by downloading its images for the Librem 5 and running them on your PC in Qemu to check its progress in the software.
However, Purism hasn’t always been very transparent about giving its backers a realistic timeline when the phone will be ready and informing them about the current problems in the phone. Purism was heavily criticized online when it posted on October 16 that its Aspen batch of the Librem 5 was shipping and “in the wild”, but nobody in the community received the phone. Six days later, Purism tooted on October 22 that it had only sent the Aspen batch to its employees and people affiliated with the company due to the bugs that it had encountered. I frankly think that the critics on Reddit’s Purism
are blowing this incident wildly out of proportion with their accusations that Purism was deliberately trying to deceive to them. Nonetheless, Purism does deserve a fair amount of criticism for leading many of its backers to believe that the phone would be ready in Q3 of 2019, when it knew that the phone wouldn’t be ready to ship to the general public until Q2 of 2020.”
First he tells you that Purism “has opened itself up to this criticism because it says ‘we have decided to bring our community and customers along with us for the Librem 5 journey, and have been transparent about our progress from the beginning.’ Purism is more transparent than most other hardware companies.”
But then in the next paragraph explains how Purism “hasn’t always been very transparent about giving its backers a realistic timeline when the phone will be ready and informing them about the current problems in the phone.”
Well, which is it? Have they been super open, taking their customers on this “journey,” telling them everything that’s going on with the development with the phone? No, obviously not, and Amos even admits as such! What the….???
Take a look at Purism’s blog posts, their YouTube channel, and Twitter. A lot of what you see are pleas to buy their phone (which doesn’t seem to be nearly ready to be used by anyone yet) or you get puff pieces that show you a few seconds of the phone in action without really showing it to you. It’s like a magician’s trick. Here is an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzFLygkwWXM
But if you look at all of the reviews of the software and hardware they all will tell you that this is pretty much in an Alpha state at the moment, but by just reading what Pursm tells you you’ll never know that. That’s deceptive. And Purism has been deceptive from the beginning. It was from reading their blogs about their progress that made me want to put so much money down for an open phone that I have wanted so badly for so long. Unfortunately it looks like either it won’t happen or it will but not for a lot longer than Purism tells its customers. I finally decided to ask for a refund once it seemed clear that the phone wasn’t going to be ready when they said. I figured I could buy the phone again once it was completely finished at a later date. But I was refused a refund based on what sounds like nonsense about my order needing to be ready to ship before I can get a refund.
I remember reading that their refund policy stated that they will issue full refunds for any order not yet shipped. It said that on their website, but they have since changed it.: https://web.archive.org/web/20200104172759/https://puri.sm/policies/
- If, for any reason, you want to cancel your order before it was shipped, we will issue a full refund.
- If there is a defective hardware component, we’ll send you a replacement part or a new product unit free of charge (see Warranty #2 and #3).
- If you want to return a product that doesn’t have any hardware issues, we’ll charge a 10% restocking fee. We accept these returns within 30 days of delivery
(dated January 4, 2020)
Their new policy states:
- If, for any reason, you want to cancel your order before it was shipped, we will issue a full refund.
- If you want to cancel an order for products that are in the process of crowdfunding or pre-order, we will issue a full refund once the crowdfunding/pre-order of the product is completed and all pre-orders are shipped.
- If there is a defective hardware component, we will send you a replacement part or a new product unit free of charge (see Warranty #2 and #3).
Many people are wondering if they are short on cash and don’t have the ability right now to offer refunds so they are “closing the gates” so to speak because I have seen on Reddit others having the same issue: https://www.reddit.com/Purism/comments/fgvvsn/purism_is_now_refusing_to_issue_librem_5_preorde
In the following link (https://www.reddit.com/Purism/comments/gbc4fi/risking_your_privacy_is_more_fun_than_the_librem_5/
) Amos pretty much spams the thread giving some absurd excuse about batches when the Make Use of Librem 5 review is discussed:
“This reviewer seems to be totally unaware that he is reviewing the Chestnut development batch, and the general public will be getting the Evergreen batch which isn't scheduled to start shipping until mid-August. It is ridiculous to do a review of a development version of a phone as if it is the final product, which is what this reviewer did.”
I’m sorry, but Purism has been working on this phone for over a year and during that time they said that each batch would get closer and closer to a finished device but there doesn’t seem to be much improvement at all. The next major batch due out is supposed to be the Dogwood batch and then Evergreen, the final finished version of the device. But with the issues they are having how can they possibly have Evergreen ready when they say? I highly doubt even their pushed back date of mid-August it will be ready. In Purim’s original blog post about the improvements of each batch they said that Chestnut would have “Birch + final setup, improved web browsing, improved power management.” With Dogwood: “Chestnut + core apps improved, additional applications, refined graphical PureOS Store.”
This is yet to be seen on any device. More applications? I haven’t seen any, other than the standard ones for the phone, like calls, texts, browsing, etc. Where are the improvements that are said to be seen in each batch?
I know I haven’t gone easy on Purism. I know that there are a lot of hard working people earnestly working on this device and are doing their best to get it ready for the Linux community, but in all honesty they are just shooting themselves in the foot sending out these prototype phones to be reviewed, when they say in their press reports about how much progress they’re making. It just doesn’t add up. And that frustrates me. I sincerely want Purism to succeed with the Librem 5 but it frustrates me to no end with the continuous deceptive behavior of this company.
“Purism gets criticized in part because it sets very ambitious goals, and then can’t meet those goals in the time frame that it has set with the resources that it has. Because the company isn’t always forthcoming when it can’t meet its deadlines, it gets a lot of public criticism. As a programmer, I am amazed by what Purism has managed to do with such a small development team, but the scope of what the company is trying to do and its lack of experience make delays inevitable. The fundamental question to ask is whether you agree with the company’s mission and have the luxury of helping to finance that mission.”
Purism should rightly be criticized for it’s deceptive marketing and not being fully open as they should be given their status as a SPC. Plus their very name: Purism. Their actions betray every principle that they stand for. And as paying customers its our right and duty to hold them accountable. It shouldn't be any other way. What astounds me are fan boys like Amos here, who continually defend this company for lying to their customers and what they are paying for. That’s disgusting.
I know and totally understand Amos’s and everyone who wants Purism to succeed. I want them to succeed and have a great product. But I also want them to be up front and honest with their paying customers. After all, if it weren’t for us they would have gone under a long time ago…. And yet despite all that loyalty how are their customers treated? Think about that!
There is nothing wrong with coming clean and letting everyone know what problems there are. The delays aren’t the problem. I and everyone else just want Purism to be up front with us. That’s all. And as a self proclaimed Social Purpose Corporation one would think that would be a requirement.
I am very much looking forward to getting my Linux phone, the Pinephone, here in a few months. Only time will tell if Purism will deliver and the final quality of the device. I am rooting for them, but I won’t be giving any more money to them until I see a totally finished product.
The one thread about cell phone service in Japan.
submitted by tokidoki_carneasada to japanlife [link] [comments]
It seems like every day of the week there are people asking the same questions about getting cell phone service in Japan, and instead of having separate threads I think that one megathread should cover most of people's needs altogether. Hopefully some other people agree with me on this.
Disclaimer: I am neither affiliated nor do I have acquaintances with anyone in the telecom industry. I don't get paid at all for this post. This is not an advertisement or endorsement for any particular provider at all. Read all the fine prints before you sign any contract.
Just stating what I think is more relevant at the beginning.
初期費用: initial fees. Usually contains 契約料 (see below) along with a SIMカード発行料 (SIM card issuance fee) of ~400 yen if it's a MVNO.
契約料: activation fee. This is almost a flat 3000 yen + tax for most providers out there, save special cases like Sakura Mobile. If you go to a physical store to sign up for a contract, you are almost always required to pay this. Amazon.co.jp offers a variety of "start-up" MVNO packages with activation fee waivers, so it may be worthwhile to check it out.
料金プラン: your monthly plan. Have fun.
契約解除料、解約金、違約金: contract cancellation fees; early termination fee (ETF) for the American folks. The rest of English-speaking countries, you're on your own. As of October 2019, telecoms are required to limit the ETF to at most 1,000 yen for new contracts, but this does not include ETFs for secondary contracts like those alluring cashback bonuses or free iPhone Ultrasonic Dragula MAX XXXIV deals offered by box superstores.
Do note that if you purchase a phone through a provider on a payment plan, you will still have to continue paying for the phone since most payment plans can be 24 to 36 months.
契約更新期間、契約更新月: this is the time when you're allowed to cancel or haggle for better terms on your cell phone contract without incurring an ETF. Once this period is up, your contract may be automatically renewed. Be sure to cancel your contract within this period or you may see a drastic increase in cost starting with your next bill (since your initial deals have already expired and you're consenting to renewing a contract without discounts).
The Big Three
These guys have their own cellular network and usually subcontract some of their capacity to MVNOs. They also have the most number of retail stores in Japan. Docomo is red, Softbank has that white oto-san Hokkaido-inu, and au has those weird commercials. They also offer a variety of other services like landline internet, home security and cashless payment services, so there are bundle discount possibilities.
And yes, they are more expensive but are usually more reliable. And because they own the network, they almost always have the fastest speeds at all times of the day, save for congestion like during rush hours and lunch break hours.
Just going to list the Big Three here: leaving research to you as an exercise.
Okay, fine, I lied. There is a fourth player in the Big Three League. Rakuten just annouced a few days ago that their own network buildout has reached a stage where they're going to start trial service in early April this year. Rakuten Mobile will have native coverage in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya with au backup in the rest of the country. There is only one plan: 2980 yen/month, unlimited data and voice with global data roaming up to 2GB. Unlimited data only covers data carried by Rakuten's own network; transmissions over the partner work are capped at 2GB a month before your speeds get throttled. Rakuten is still operating as a MVNO until their own network goes live, and does have a one-year free promotion for the first 3 million subscribers at the time of writing.
Payment options: domestic credit card or bank account. You may also be able to pay at convenience stores if you're willing to pony up additional transaction fees (IIRC Softbank will charge you a service fee of 500 yen per month and they will issue you a payment slip in snail mail).
This isn't a replacement for the Wiki, so I'm going to be brief. Besides the Big Three, everyone else is, well, everyone else. They're virtual telecoms piggybacking on the Big Three's network. I am going to roughly divide them into three categories: W, X, and Y. Not ABC or 123 because that sort of implies I have some sort of bias in ranking those.
A good place to see how fast a provider is is over at みんなのネット回線速度
Category W: fast and expensive
This category contains MVNOs that are direct subsidiaries of the Big Three. Speed-wise, they have almost always consistently been benchmarked to be the absolute front of the pack. Cost-wise, they are also pretty much the front of the pack. UQ
: KDDI's own MVNO. Aside from LTE service, they also have WiMax. Will accept a domestic bank account in lieu of a credit card. Y! Mobile
: SoftBank's own MVNO. Can pay with bank account transfers as well. OCN
is part of the NTT group, although speed-wise it’s apparently not always in the same tier as UQ or Y! Mobile; however one distinct feature is that its speeds tend to be consistent and they apparently do not enforce a speed restriction (速度制限) if you manage to use up more than a certain amount of bandwidth within a short period of time (a typical example is Softbank’s 1 GB/3 day limit). Biglobe Mobile
is a little different from UQ. While it's a KDDI subsidiary, I think the parent company is not 100% connected to au (Biglobe is a landline internet provider themselves). Speed-wise BM is generally slower than UQ, and their prices align more with Cat X'ers.
Category X: your everyday provider
For the lack of a better term: this is basically everyone else. Most MVNO's fall into this category. Most of X piggyback off NTT Docomo's network, but there are a few on other networks (回線) too, such as mineo
, Line Mobile
Category Y: specialty guys
This is really part of Category X, but because I am tired of seeing blind recommendations for them left and right I've decided to just put them out in a different category and address them separately here.
If you speak no Japanese and have no patience to do your own research, ask a colleague, take a trip down to Yodobashi/Bic Camera/Yamada Denki/that other electronic box superstore run and overrun by tourists from a certain country, the following three carriers offer English webpages and customer service: Sakura Mobile Mobal GTN Mobile
IIRC Sakura Mobile runs off NTT Docomo, and Mobal and GTN are Softbank. These companies are more expensive in their plans, but they offer English customer service as their go-to feature. Sakura Mobile, for example, has a standard activation fee of 15,000 yen when everyone else is 3000, and have a higher starting price tier than most others. GTN Mobile has a higher-than-average calling rate (25 yen/30 seconds instead of 20/30). Mobal's monthly plan is 4500 yen. The plus? They'll accept foreign credit cards and offer you English customer service.
Quick Q and A's
Q: How much should I expect to pay for a basic cell phone plan with, say, 3GB of data?
A: 3GB tends to be the starting tier for most MVNOs, and typically are 1500 to 1800 yen a month with pay-as-you-go voice at a typical rate of 20 yen per 30-second block. Voice buckets are typically available as options at < 1000 yen. The Big Three will cost a bit more than these prices for a comparable plan, however.
Q: Can I go without voice service?
A: Yes you can. Most MVNOs have such an option.
Q: I don't have a Japanese credit card! What do I do?
A: The Big Three will accept bank payments, as do UQ and Y! Mobile. Line Mobile allows you to bill their service to Line Pay, the cashless payment system they operate. Some others may allow foreign credit cards, so please search the comments section to see which ones people have had experience with.
Q: What do I need to sign up for a contract?
A: You need to have your address registered at your local municipality office (市役所、区役所) if you have just arrived in Japan. Your zairyu card (在留カード) is usually enough, but some MVNOs like Line require a jyuminhyo (住民票) as well. If you sign up online most will ask you to upload photos of these ID's.
Q: Who should I sign up with?
A: Go ask your mother. Or your landlord. Or your colleague. Or your friends. Or the ojiisan who is always seen sitting on the steps to your local shrine and fanning his nether region with a uchiwa. They should know your local network coverage better than randos on the intarweb.
Q: Will my phone purchased overseas work?
Q: I’m not staying in Japan that long so I don’t want a contract. What do?
A: NTT Docomo in some cases does not levy an ETF. MVNOs like UQ and OCN do not have an ETF either. Some provider, for instance mineo, may choose to charge you a more expensive MNP (number porting) fee if you decide to leave with your current number before the contract is up for renewal.
Q: What if I just want a Japanese number and will never make calls, text or need internet?
A: SoftBank Simple Style
Q: Why do you seem to have an issue against Category Y?
A: I don't; they exist to serve an arguably niche market and I am okay with that. I however have an issue with people recommending them as the end-all-be-all solution to the cell phone problem. It’s silly not to consider coverage first, despite how well built out Japan’s cellular network may be; even with the Big Three there will be dead spots somewhere. You don’t speak Japanese and want English service? Guess what, b-mobile and IIJmio also provide some degree of English service as well. Or head down to Bic or Yodobashi Camera where cheery salesclerks will try to bend over backwards and exhaust all of the words they know in English to accommodate you. The Big Three also have English-speaking agents at some of their bigger stores with lots of foot traffic. Price-wise a lot of these specialty providers are also not so competitive. Sure, Sakura’s 3GB plan had a voice minute bucket, but so do most MVNOs as options, meaning that if you don’t need a lot of voice, you have a choice whether you want to tack one on. Not to mention that for some bizarre reason Sakura Mobile actually caps their network speed at 20 Mbps (this is buried in their T&C fineprint under Rate Plans
), whereas MVNOs routinely break that speed limit. GTN is another one of those. Like Sakura, they bundle in a calling option into their base, charge a higher per-half-minute rate, and requires a separate 150 yen/month for text messages. While most other MVNOs offer to let you roll your unused data over to the next month for free, GTN does not.
Feel free to leave questions and comments below, and hopefully someone will try to help you. よろしくお願いします。
Edit: Added information on GTN Mobile into Cat Y. And thank you, kind stranger, for the award.
EIDL Contract Terms Discussion - Text Enclosed
I'm trying to make sense of the EIDL terms, especially for me as a sole proprietor. Many here are waiting for their loans so may be curious to see this. Let's discuss what it means: submitted by Pppconfuzion to EIDL [link] [comments]
If the loan is > $25k then collateral is required:
"all interest, other fees and expenses (all hereinafter called “Obligations”). The Collateral includes the following property that Borrower now owns or shall acquire or create immediately upon the acquisition or creation thereof: all tangible and intangible personal property, including, but not limited to: (a) inventory, (b) equipment, (c) instruments, including promissory notes (d) chattel paper, including tangible chattel paper and electronic chattel paper, (e) documents, (f) letter of credit rights, (g) accounts, including health-care insurance receivables and credit card receivables, (h) deposit accounts, (i) commercial tort claims, (j) general intangibles, including payment intangibles and software and (k) as-extracted collateral as such termsmay from time to time be defined in the Uniform Commercial Code. The security interest Borrower grantsincludes all accessions, attachments, accessories, parts, supplies and replacements for the Collateral, all products, proceeds and collections thereof and all records and data relating thereto."
I create confidential work client "documents" for clients, and that is included as point E. Would the SBA have authority to review and seize these? I assume the purpose of the collatoral is to auction off to make good on the debt, so if the documents have no value, they likely won't want it.
"Deposit Accounts" as a sole proprietor worries me. I had the EIDL deposited into my personal checking account which I have historically co-mingled my assets with. Because I don't have a sole proprietorship checking account, never saw the need before this. I immediately opened up a separate MMF at my bank and transfered the entirety of the EIDL into that separate "personal" MMF in entirety and plan to disperse it from there.
I use my personal laptop for work. Is that a seizable collatoralized business asset? Should I create some kind of business inventory to keep track of what I purchase on a Schedule C and write off, and list that on the inventory to make it clear what is mine and what is the "sole proprietorship"?
"Borrower will not sell or transfer any collateral (except normal inventory turnover in the ordinary course of business) described in the "Collateral" paragraph hereof without the prior written consent of SBA."
Suppose I purchase a new laptop, not using EIDL funds, in 2 years from now. It's business inventory. And in 3 years after that, I decide to sell it to buy a new laptop. Do I need the SBA's permission to do that? Seems ridiculous.
"Use of Loan Proceeds: Borrower will use all the proceeds of this Loan solely as working capital to alleviate economic injury caused by disaster occurring in the month of January 31, 2020 and continuing thereafter"
It sounds like there is no time frame for this. What if my business is permanently disrupted by a small percentage for the rest of my life? Because this will leave a permanent mark on our generation. The term "thereafter" doesn't seem to have definitive time lines. Can I keep the entire EIDL in my MMF and not touch it for 30 years and just pay the monthly payments as owed, and maybe MMF interest rates will exceed 3.75% for the end portion of the loan and I use this loan as a hedge against inflation? JPOW's money printer goes BRRRR.
According to a separate SBA document written in the past, working capital could be defined for the purpose of increasing liquidity. This means to me, just keeping it in the MMF for 30 years and never spending it, is increasing my liquidity.
The big unknown to me, that I've seen asked in several threads is "what is working capital for a sole proprietor?" The only thing I can think of that might be applicable is if I travel to a customer site and the airfare, hotel, rental car, gas, food per diem, could count as working capital, since without the travel, I can't "work" so fronting the cost of the travel is the capital required to perform work as a consultant.
"Borrower will obtain and itemize receipts (paid receipts, paid invoices or cancelled checks) and contracts for all Loan funds spent and retain these receipts for 3 years from the date of the final disbursement. Prior to each subsequent disbursement (if any) and whenever requested by SBA, Borrower will submit to SBA such itemization together with copies of the receipts."
This sounds like I could sit on the entire EIDL loan for 3 years in my MMF, and if they ask me for receipts, I tell them I didn't use the money yet. And then in years 4 to 30, there's no required audit trail for my receipts? I suppose, if what I purchase with the money winds up on a Schedule C a business expense, the IRS will want me to maintain records of that.
"Borrower will not use, directly or indirectly, any portion of the proceeds of this Loan to relocate without the prior written permission of SBA. The law prohibits the use of any portion of the proceeds of this Loan for voluntary relocation from the business area in which the disaster occurred. To request SBA's prior written permission to relocate, Borrower will present to SBA the reasons therefore and a description or address of the relocation site. Determinations of (1) whether a relocation is voluntary or otherwise, and (2) whether any site other than the disaster-affected location is within the business area in which the disaster occurred, will be made solely by SBA."
This doesn't apply to me but it may to others.
"Borrower will, to the extent feasible, purchase only American-made equipment and products with the proceeds of this Loan."
The term equipment is used here, so that codifies the term working capital to mean equipment purchases. So I should be able to buy laptops and cell phones with the funding. Or hand tools which I occasionally use.
"Duty to Maintain Hazard Insurance: Within 12 months from the date of this Loan Authorization and Agreement the Borrower will provide proof of an active and in effect hazard insurance policy including fire, lightning, and extended coverage on all items used to secure this loan to at least 80% of the insurable value. Borrower will not cancel such coverage and will maintain such coverage throughout the entire term of this Loan. BORROWER MAY NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR EITHER ANY FUTURE DISASTER ASSISTANCE OR SBA FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IF THIS INSURANCE IS NOT MAINTAINED AS STIPULATED HEREIN THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE TERM OF THIS LOAN. Please submit proof of insurance to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Disaster Assistance, 14925 Kingsport Rd, Fort Worth, TX. 76155."
This one seems confusing to me. If I had a laptop before I got the EIDL, does it become collatoral and thus require I get AppleCare on it for either the full 30 year period or possibly until the computer becomes non-functional? Or is this just boiler plate from other SBA 7A loans that doesn't apply to EIDL because none of us submitted an itemized list of collatoral that was appraised uniquely to our loan?
Also, the wording makes it sound like it's a slap on the wrist. I won't go to prison for not maintaining AppleCare on my laptop, I just "may" not be eligible for future disaster loans. Although elsewhere in this document I read something about the term 'technical default' if you fail to comply with all terms.
"Borrower will maintain current and proper books of account in a manner satisfactory to SBA for the most recent 5 years until 3 years after the date of maturity, including extensions, or the date this Loan is paid in full, whichever occurs first. Such books will include Borrower's financial and operating statements, insurance policies, tax returns and related filings, records of earnings distributed and dividends paid and records of compensation to officers, directors, holders of 10% or more of Borrower's capital stock, members, partners and proprietors."
The term proprietor is listed in here. I'm not sure if that means even if I use the EIDL solely for computers/phones over 30 years and travel expenses to clients, that by "distributing my earnings" to me each year, I will wind up becoming personally liable? Can't be, since they specifically say we aren't personally liable, but there's also the possibility of fraud claims, that I misused the funds and then defaulted?
"Borrower will furnish to SBA, not later than 3 months following the expiration of Borrower's fiscal year and in such form as SBA may require, Borrower's financial statements."
Do they want all 250k+ EIDL loan holders to send them annual financial statements for the next 30 years?
"Borrower will not, without the prior written consent of SBA, make any distribution of Borrower’s assets, or give any preferential treatment, make any advance, directly or indirectly, by way of loan, gift, bonus, or otherwise, to any owner or partner or any of its employees, or to any company directly or indirectly controlling or affiliated with or controlled by Borrower, or any other company."
Sounds like some words to invoke fraud claims if the money isn't used properly.
"Whoever wrongfully misapplies the proceeds of an SBA disaster loan shall be civilly liable to the Administrator in an amount equal to one-and-one half times the original principal amount of the loan under 15 U.S.C. 636(b). In addition, any false statement or misrepresentation to SBA may result in criminal, civil or administrative sanctions including, but not limited to: 1) fines, imprisonment or both, under 15 U.S.C. 645, 18 U.S.C. 1001, 18 U.S.C. 1014, 18 U.S.C. 1040, 18 U.S.C. 3571, and any other applicable laws; 2) treble damages and civil penalties under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729; 3) double damages and civil penalties under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, 31 U.S.C. 3802; and 4) suspension and/or debarment from all Federal procurement and non-procurement transactions. Statutory fines may increase if amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015."
Sounds like a way to give the fraud legal teeth.
"If Borrower violates any of the terms or conditions of this Loan Authorization and Agreement, the Loan will be in default and SBA may declare all or any part of the indebtedness immediately due and payable. SBA's failure to exercise its rights under this paragraph will not constitute a waiver."
This is the wording about technical default. So by the letter of this document, it sounds like if you don't submit your annual financial paperwork to the SBA each year, then the loan is in default, even if the SBA doesn't specifically state it, and you must repay the entire loan immediately. But the term "SBA may declare" implies the SBA must tell you. I'm glad I didn't go to law school.
"Under penalty of perjury of the United States of America, I hereby certify that I am authorized to apply for and obtain a disaster loan on behalf of Borrower, in connection with the effects of the COVID-19 emergency."
One final potential gotcha. Seems fairly straight forward.
This isn't the entire document, half of it is not worth discussing IMHO, because it's just nonsense that doesn't really apply like how many days the SBA has to disperse this to you, etc.
I'm not going to stress too much about this right now because I fully except the SBA to come out and say "Any EIDL Loans under $200k will not be audited or scruntized except in the cases of reported fraud" similar to what they said about $2M PPP Loans. I mention the $200k mark for EIDL because that's the threshold level where a personal guarantee is required.
I also wouldn't be surprised if Congress comes out and says all EIDL loans under $200k are forgiven eventually. Just like I wouldn't be surprised if we get universal healthcare, cancelled student loan debts, or universal basic income. Not counting on it, but it's possible. Same as how I think Congress may come out and forgive all PPPs under $100k or so without any paperwork required.
My sticking points are around the definition of working capital as a sole proprietor. There's no terminology about early repayment penalties that I saw, so worst case scenario, guidance comes out that says I can't really use it and I repay it and am only out the $100 processing fee and probably that's all since I don't think interest kicks in for 12 months.
My second unknown is how will they collect on the collatoral if I default? 30 years is a long time and maybe I "close" my sole prop and get a W2 job in 5 years. I'm not personally liable, and as long as I used the money properly, tracked things as defined in the loan sheet, and offer to give them any "collatoral" then maybe I'm off the hook of the balance? Unsure if I must pay income taxes on the defaulted debt because it counts as income? If so, that sucks because then I'd have to come up with maybe 1/3 of the defaulted amount to give to the IRS. Out of pocket because the business can't close in tax debt, I don't think, since it's a sole prop.
Easy, cheap and reliable mobile/cellular top-up/load (especially useful for overseas recipients) - Ding
Mods - I was hoping this would serve to be useful/helpful to those wanting to offer some help to friends, family or strangers alike. I hope it doesn't breach any rules but if so, my apologies. Disclaimer - I have no affiliation with the company Ding whatsoever, I am simply a customer who has used it with great success. submitted by adayinconfusion to Assistance [link] [comments]
Ding.com is a web based platform that allows a person to send mobile/cell phone credit (top-ups/loads/whatever your region knows them as) to virtually any mobile phone number in the world (certain countries will have restrictions).
I've used this service about a dozen times now to send top-ups to a friend in Venezuela and one additional transaction for a friend in Turkey with absolutely no issues whatsoever. The app (and website) are very easy to navigate. Pricing is extremely competitive (I can't find any other sites offering better) and the company is well established and offers excellent customer support also.
This might be helpful for anyone who wishes to offer some assistance to someone out there in need (especially at this time) for what should be a basic right of access in this day and age - being able to communicate and to get online with a phone. And without actually sending someone cash - which is certainly a concern of mine.
Hope this helps.
Iliad x2 (SF)
My skin cracked as the dreary cold substance climbed up the surface of my arm, it dug down to my veins as it spread from my left hand to the remainder of my body. It searched for my warm heart in its journey to silence any sign of true life within me, it weaved and snaked through my veins to my brain, dulling my senses and preventing me from seeing the light of day. As my chest cracked and fell to the freezing poison I awoke from a deep sleep and the dream that haunted it. For the last 7 months these nightmares plagued my unconscious mind with delusions and dangers that were barely reachable in a conscious reality, let alone a realistic stressor. And yet here I was, sweating gallons, awake at 3 am, basked in the pale moonlight that covered me and my fiancé each night in the tall mountains we chose to live. submitted by Fizzleboiii to shortstories [link] [comments]
I pulled myself out of bed and walked over to the standing shower for the best part of what had become a nearly religious occurrence, I shut the door behind me and turned on the bathroom scone lights that hung sturdy above our mirror. I stared at myself in the mirror, inspecting myself for the slightest clue that the spine chilling dream had followed me out of my near comatose state. The only evidence left behind which after so much time had become part of my life was the deep red lines surrounding my pupils, each blood stream cascading along the surface letting me know my ocular companions hadn't rested alongside the body they belonged to. I rifled through my fiancé Nyla''s drawers looking for her saline drops and began to get frustrated as they seemed to be completely gone. I searched the counter top and my eyes feel upon a light yellow sticky note stuck to a large unopened bottle of the relieving solution, I picked up the hefty container and read the note "I hope you won't need this forever...but it seems to be a constant for now, so I got the biggest bottle they had, I love you Iliad" the note brought a smile to my face as I dripped the ichor like solution into my eyes and blinked the dryness away.
I Stowed the bottle in the drawer and placed the note on the counter before drifting into the shower and setting the water as warm as it would go. I let the comforting steam release me of my dream as I spent the next hour trying to recover from the constant horrors that hung over my head like an anvil. I was a soldier when I was young, not like any soldier alive today, I was a machine, a legitimate one, when I was only 12 years old I allowed a man who masqueraded as my father to replace each and every one of my mobile limbs with bionics. covered in a thing layer of jet back rubber they were grafted to my flesh using star like heat. What came next was year after year of new horrors, initially I was used to clear terrorist cells but when one monster enters the world, volleying parties must retaliate. by the time I was 16 I was far from the only beast walking the earth, each and every country had their own type of modern marvel to leer at. Canada created a bear, deer hybrid, it moved swiftly and killed efficiently, Mexico used their rather advanced occult storage to create various monsters that would cross the border and slaughter civilians like chupacabras.
Around the time things in Europe started to go haywire the United Nations announced it would be revoking access from any country who publicly owned a marvel, and using various peaceful individuals from all over the globe, they receded from public eye and stationed in the middle of the pacific. a beautiful flourishing city that almost no-one was given entry to, it had its own crops, its own citizens, eventually its own language, but with territory and resources like that, they soon found out they'd need their own beast.
The UN now ultimate nation dubbed themselves above biological and bionic warfare and instead stated they had found a beast that was entirely native to the planet itself to protect their waters, but they didn't show anyone what they had recovered. Some people assumed they had figured out a way to weaponize larger sea mammals and had them patrolling alongside submarines, a rumor spread out of china that the UN had armored a large swarm of flying fish that would circle the city using sonic direction. When I was stationed with other soldiers they told me their rendition, a most likely story, that the UN had captured what lived beneath the Bermuda Triangle, and that it was right beneath the floating city.
It wasn't long before the United States came to their senses and sent me out to investigate, soldiers around the world knew my name and knew the suit I would arrive places in, but in terms of going incognito my prosthetics weren't visually very different then the average bionics that floated around and commonly accompanied civilians. Due to my lack of affiliation with any specific nation and some very cunning paperwork provided by the US state department, I was allowed entry into the city on a basis of scientific development, I would be providing assistance to a Dr.Keegan Levias, one of the UN's resident bio-analysts. His job on the city was to analyze various species of plankton that they had begun using as a sort of wireless hamster wheel to power the city.
The day I was scheduled to leave my father insisted I accompany him for dinner with his wife, a young Czech women with bright blue hair. We sat down to eat at a small restaurant on the outskirts of the Florida keys, not more than 5 miles to the southernmost point. I remember sitting down with them in silence waiting for some type of response to what id started the dinner with. id started the dinner by telling my father I would not be coming back from the city, that id report back what I had found and that I would then either stay there or leave. Initially my father pulled out his phone to try and turn off my neural reception chips, and then I informed him that not only had I drained his mobile operations account of the 200,000 united nation credits that sat inside it, but that id also removed every console restriction in the net code of my prosthetics. when they took our entrees and delivered us a final round of drinks, coke for me of course, my father spoke up. you are free to do as you like, but without me your prosthesis will eventually grow outdated and you'll fail at anything you do following that moment, and you'll be alone. hearing this drove me mad and eventually I grew tired of the conversation, so I put the most on point period I could possibly put down last year a field officer told me about advanced genetics, things like recessive genes, genetic similarity, and most importantly he told me about gene matching, I read like I do and I know you're not my father, I know where you came from, I know where I came from and I know that if you try to follow me, kidnap me, de emancipate me or ex communicate me from the services I currently use, I will bury you in the cayman prison you crawled out of.
my father walked away from the table leaving several American hundreds to cover the bill and a taxi service, I took a car to the deployment point and sat down with the on site briefing officer. okay your name is 42257? I looked down as he stated my designation yes sir, 42257 he laughed to himself for a second hey kid I hate designations and well be spending the next 6 months working side by side in this new environment and through comms, your arms and legs are the icarus model 4B sets, now I hate to be a nosy man but what can I say im a spy. Your dinner was monitored and we heard your whole spiel, so here's what were doing.
The officer handed me a folder with several papers, in the stack was a large laminated sheet with some official looking stamps, a checklist for the equipment id been issued, a payment stub for 235,000 USD split between me and the guy I had dinner with and finally...a birth certificate, July 4th 2000 Manhattan general hospital, it probably wasn't my real birthday but it worked. then at the bottom was a receipt for my implants that had been issues and updated since my birth, all issued from the Iliad corporation, and right at the top of the backside of the sheet...was a name, my name. Iliad vigor Iliad. weird they used the company's name for my first and last name, but everyones gonna use my first name anyway.
The 276 Questions to Answer Before Getting Married
submitted by Delicious-Scholar to FemaleDatingStrategy [link] [comments]
Hi FDS Community,
I originally came across this exhaustive list on Quora, though I’m sure it’s from elsewhere. It’s a list of 276 questions that should be asked to and answered by your partner before settling into the ultimate commitment. The idea is to thoroughly vet your partner for compatibility before meshing your lives. I’ve learned over the years that compatibility and chemistry are to totally different things, and while both are needed, I would say compatibility should be weighted more.
I do think some of these questions are invasive/personal, but it’s your
life. And choosing your partner for a life commitment is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. At least that’s what I’ve heard.
- Are you working in your chosen field?
- How many hours a week do you work?
- What does your job entail? (For examp le, do you often travel for business, work at home, performs dangerous tasks?)
- What is your dream job?
- Have you ever been called a workaholic?
- What is your retirement plan? What do you plan to do when you stop working?
- Have you ever been fired?
- Have you ever quit a job suddenly? Have you changed jobs a lot?
- Do you consider your work a career or just a job?
- Has your work ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
- Do you prefer urban, suburban, or rural settings?
- Is it important to have your own private home, or do you prefer apartment or condo living, with a management company responsible for the maintenance? Are you a do-it yourselfer, or would you rather hire professionals? Do you prefer to clean your own home or hire a housekeeper?
- Do you think of your home as a cocoon, or is your door always open? What do you need to feel energized and inspired in your home?
- Is quiet important in your home, or do you prefer having music or some background noise most of the time? Is it important to have a TV in the bedroom? Living room? Kitchen? Do you like to sleep with the TV or radio on?
- How important is it for you to have a space in your home that is yours alone?
- Have differences about home style ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- If you had unlimited resources, how would you live?
- How important is it for you to make a lot of money?
- What is your annual income?
- Do you pay alimony or child support?
22 Do you believe in prenuptial agreements? Under what circumstances?
- Do you believe in establishing a family budget?
- Should individuals within a marriage have separate bank accounts in addition to joint accounts? Do you feel that bills should be divided based on a percentage of each person’s salary?
- Who should handle the finances in your family?
- Do you have significant debts?
- Do you gamble?
- Did you have a paying job when you were in high school? Before high school?
- Have you ever been called cheap or stingy?
- Do you believe that a certain amount of money should be set aside for pleasure, even if you�re on a tight budget?
- Have you ever used money as a way of controlling a relationship? Has anyone ever tried to control you with money?
- Has money ever been a factor for you in the breakup of a relationship?
- Have you ever felt deeply insecure in a relationship? Were you able to name your fear?
- When was the first time you felt that you were in love with another person? What happened in that relationship, and how have you come to terms with it?
- What is the longest relationship you have ever had prior to this one? Why did it end, and what lesson did you learn?
- Have you ever been married? If so, are you divorced or widowed? How do you think you handled the loss?
- If you have a current partner, do they know of behaviors that you exhibited in your previous relationship that you�re not proud of?
- Do you believe that past relationships should be left in the past and not talked about in your current relationship?
- Do you tend to judge current partners on past relationships?
- Have you ever sought marriage counseling? What did the experience teach you?
- Do you have children from previous marriages or non-marital relationships? What is your relationship with them? How do you see your relationship with them in the future?
- Have you ever been engaged to be married but didn�t go through with the wedding?
- Have you ever had a live-in partner? Why did you choose to live together instead of marrying? What did your experience teach you about the importance of marriage and about commitment?
- Do you harbor fears that the person you love might reject you or fail out of love with you?
- What sexual activities do you enjoy the most? Are there specific sexual acts that make you uncomfortable? Be specific! This is no time to hedge.
- Do you feel comfortable initiating sex? If yes, why? If no, why?
- What do you need in order to be in the mood for sex?
- Have you ever been sexually abused or assaulted?
- What was the attitude toward sex in your family? Was it talked about? Who taught you about sex?
- Do you use sex to self-medicate? If something upsets you, do you use sex to try and help you feel better?
- Have you ever felt forced to have sex to �keep the peace�? Have you ever forced someone or been told that you forced someone to have sex with you to �keep the peace�?
- Is sexual fidelity an absolute necessity in a good marriage?
- Do you enjoy viewing pornography?
- How often do you need or expect sex?
- Have you ever a sexual relationship with a person of the same sex?
- Has sexual dissatisfaction ever been a factor for you in the breakup of a relationship?
- How would you describe the current state of your health?
- Have you ever had a serious illness? Have you ever had surgery?
- Do you believe it is a sacred responsibility to take care of yourself? Do you believe that taking care of your physical and mental health is a part of honoring your marriage vows?
- Are there genetic diseases in your family or a history of cancer, heart disease, or chronic illness?
- Do you have health insurance? Dental insurance?
- Do you belong to a gym? If so, how much time do you spend at the gym every week?
- Do you play sports or take exercise classes?
- Have you ever been in a physically or emotionally abusive relationship?
- Have you ever suffered from an eating disorder?
- Have you ever been in a serious accident?
- Do you take medication?
- Have you ever had a sexually transmitted disease?
P.. Have you ever been treated for a mental disorder?
- Do you see a therapist?
- Do you smoke, or have you ever smoked?
- Do you consider yourself an addictive personality, and have you ever suffered from an addiction? Have you ever been told you have an addiction problem, even though you might disagree?
- How much alcohol do you drink every week?
- Do you use recreational drugs?
- Do you have a medical problem that impacts your ability to have a satisfying sex life (for example, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, vaginal dryness, drug/alcohol addiction, etc)?
- Have any of these health problems ever been a factor for you in the breakup of a relationship?
- How important is it that you always look your best?
- How important is your spouse�s appearance? Do you have strong preferences about being with a particular physical �type�?
- Are there cosmetic procedures that you regularly undergo?
- Is weight control important to you? Is your spouse�s weight important to you? What would your reaction be if your partner were to gain a significant amount of weight?
- How much money do you spend on clothing every year?
- Do you worry about getting old? Do you worry about losing your looks?
- What do you like and dislike about your appearance? When you were a child, were you often complimented or shamed about your looks?
- What would your reaction be if your spouse lost a limb? A breast? How would you handle this loss?
- Do you feel that you can have good chemistry with someone who is moderately physically attractive to you, or is a strong physical attraction necessary? Has physical appearance or �chemistry� ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- Do you want children? When? How many? Are you unable to have children?
- Would you feel unfulfilled if you were unable to have children?
- Who is responsible for birth control? What would you do if there were an accidental pregnancy before you planned to have children?
- What is your view of fertility treatments? Adoption? Would you adopt if you were unable to have a child naturally?
- What is your view of abortion? Should a husband have an equal say in whether his wife has an abortion? Have you ever had an abortion?
- Have you ever given birth to a child or fathered a child who was put up for adoption?
- How important is it to you that your children are raised near your extended family?
- Do you believe that a good mother will want to breast-feed her baby? Do you believe a mother or father should stay at home with a child during the first six months of life? The first year? Longer?
- Do you believe in spanking a child? What type of discipline do you believe in (time-out, standing in the corner, taking away privileges, etc.)?
- Do you believe that children have rights? Do you feel that a child�s opinion should be considered when making family and life decisions, such as moving or changing schools?
- Do you believe that children should be raised with some religious or spiritual foundation?
- Should boys be treated the same as girls? Should they have the same rules for conduct? Should you have the same expectations for their sexual behavior?
- Would you put your teenage daughter on birth control if you knew that she was sexually active?
- How would you handle it if you didn�t like your child�s friends?
- Would you put your teenage daughter on birth control if you knew that she was sexually active?
- How would you handle it if you didn’t like your child’s friends?
- In a blended family; should birth parents be in charge of making decisions for their own children?
- Would you ever consider getting a vasectomy or having your tubes tied? Do you believe it�s your choice, or does your partner have a say?
- Have differences concerning conception or child-raising ever been a factor for you in the breakup of a relationship?
- Are you close to your family?
- Are you or have you ever been alienated from your family?
- Do you have a difficult time setting limits with family?
- Have you identified the childhood wound that may have sabotaged your relationships in the past�the deeply imprinted fear that made you want to escape? How were you most hurt in your family; and who hurt you?
- How important is it that you and your partner be on good terms with each other�s families?
- How did your parents settle conflicts when you were a child? Do people in your family carry long-term grudges?
- How much influence do your parents still have over your decisions?
- Have unresolved or ongoing family issues ever been a factor for you in the breakup of a relationship?
- Do you have a �best friend�?
- Do you see a close friend or friends at least once a week? Do you speak to any of your friends on the phone every day?
- Are your friendships as Important to you as your life partner is?
- If your friends need you, are you there for them?
- Is it important to you for your partner to accept and like your friends?
- Is it important that you and your partner have friends in common?
- Do you have a difficult time setting limits with friends?
- Has a partner ever been responsible for breaking up a friendship? Have friends ever been a factor for you in the breakup of a relationship?
- Are you an animal lover?
- Do you have a dog, cat, or other beloved pet?
- Is your attitude �Love me, love my dog [cat; potbellied pig]?�
- Have you ever been physically aggressive with an animal? Have you deliberately hurt an animal?
- Do you believe a person should give up his or her pet if it interferes with the relationship?
- Do you consider pets members of your family?
- Have you ever been jealous of a partner�s relationship with a pet?
- Have disagreements about pets ever been a factor for you in the breakup of a relationship?
- Do you consider yourself liberal, moderate, or conservatives, or do you reject political labels? What was the attitude in your family about political involvement and social action?
- Do you belong to a political party? Are you actively involved?
- Did you vote in the last presidential election? Congressional election? Local election?
- Do you believe that two people of differing political ideologies can have a successful marriage?
- Do you believe that the political system is skewed against people of color, poor people, and the disenfranchised?
- Which political issues do you care about? (For example, equality national security, privacy, the environment, the budget; women�s rights, gay rights, human rights, etc.).
- Has politics ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- Is it important for you to be involved in your local community?
- Do you like having a close relationship with your neighbors? For example, would you give a neighbor a spare key to your home?
- Do you regularly participate in community projects?
- Do you believe that good fences make good neighbors?
- Have you ever had a serious dispute with a neighbor?
- Do you take pains to be considerate of your neighbors (for example, keeping a lid on loud music, barking dogs, etc.)?
- How important is it to you to contribute time or money to charity?
- Which kind of charities do you like to support? How much of your annual income do you donate to charity?
- Do you feel that it is the responsibility of the �haves� of the world to help the �have-nots�?
- Have attitudes about charitable contributions ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- Have you served in the military?
- Have your parents or other relatives served in the military?
- Would you want your children to serve in the military?
- Do you personally identify more with a nonviolent approach, or with making change through military force and action?
- Has military service or attitudes about military service ever been a factor for you in the breakup of a relationship?
- Do you consider yourself a law-abiding person?
- Have you ever committed a crime? If yes, what was it?
- Have you ever been arrested? If yes, for what?
- Have you ever been in jail? If yes, why?
- Have you ever been involved in a legal action or lawsuit? If yes, what were the circumstances?
- Have you ever been the victim of a violent crime? If yes, describe what happened.
- Do you believe it�s important to be rigorously honest when you pay taxes?
- Have you ever failed to pay child support? If so, why?
- Have legal or criminal issues ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- Where do you get your news (for example, TV news programs, radio, newspapers, newsmagazines, the Internet, friends)?
- Do you believe what you read and see in the news, or do you question where information is coming from and what the true agenda is?
- Do you seek out media with diverse perspectives on the news?
- Have media differences ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- Do you believe in God? What does that mean to you?
- Do you have a current religious affiliation? Is it a big part of your life?
- When you were growing up, did your family belong to a church, synagogue, temple, or mosque?
- Do you currently practice a different religion from the one in which you were raised?
- Do you believe in life after death?
- Does your religion impose any behavioral restrictions (dietary, social, familial, sexual) that would affect your partner?
- Do you consider yourself a religious person? A spiritual person?
- Do you engage in spiritual practices outside of organized religion?
- How important is it to you for your partner to share your religious beliefs?
- How important is it to you for your children to be raised in your religion?
- Is spirituality a part of your daily life and practice?
- Has religion or spiritual practice ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- Does popular culture have an important impact on your life?
- Do you spend time reading about, watching, or discussing actors, musicians, models, or other celebrities?
- Do you think most celebrities have a better, more exciting life than you do? (By the way, if they do, maybe it’s because they are living their lives, while you are watching them live their lives. Are you wasting the opportunity and gift to live your own life?)
- Do you regularly go to the movies, or do you prefer to rent movies and watch them at home?
- What is your favorite style of music?
- Do you attend concerts featuring your favorite musicians?
- Do you enjoy going to museums or art shows?
- Do you like to dance?
- Do you like to watch TV for entertainment?
- Have attitudes or behaviors around popular culture ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- What is your idea of a fun day?
- Do you have a hobby that�s important to you?
- Do you enjoy spectator sports?
- Are certain seasons off-limits for other activities because of football, baseball, basketball, or other sports?
- What activities do you enjoy that don�t involve your partner? How important is it to you that you and your partner enjoy the same leisure activities?
- How much money do you regularly spend on leisure activities?
- Do you enjoy activities that might make your partner uncomfortable, such as hanging out in bars drinking, going to strip clubs, or gambling?
- Have leisure time issues ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- Do you enjoy entertaining, or do you worry that you�ll do something wrong or people won�t have a good time?
- Is it important for you to attend social events regularly, or does the prospect rarely appeal to you?
- Do you look forward to at least one night out every week, or do you prefer to enjoy yourself at home?
- Does your work involve attending social functions? If so, are these occasions a burden or a pleasure? Do you expect your spouse to be present, or do you prefer that your spouse not be present?
- Do you socialize primarily with people from work, or with people from the same ethnic/racial/religious/ socioeconomic background? Or do you socialize with a diverse mix of people?
- Are you usually the �life of the party,” or do you dislike being singled out for attention?
- Have you or a partner ever had an argument caused by one or the other�s behavior at a social function?
- Have differences about socializing ever been a factor for you in the breakup of a relationship?
HOLIDAY AND BIRTHDAYS
- Which (if any holidays do you believe are the most important to celebrate?
- Do you maintain a family tradition around certain holidays?
- How important are birthday celebrations to you? Anniversaries?
- Have differences about holidays/birthdays ever been a factor for you in the breakup of a relationship?
TRAVEL / VACATIONS
- Do you enjoy traveling, or are you a homebody?
- Are vacation getaways an important part of your yearly planning?
- How much of your annual income do you designate for vacation and travel expenses?
- Do you have favorite vacation destinations? Do you believe it’s wasteful to spend money on vacations to distant places?
- Do you think it’s important to have a passport? To speak a foreign language?
- Have disputes about travel and vacation ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- What is your level of formal education? Is your education a source of pride or shame?
- Do you regularly sign up for courses that interest you, or enroll in advanced-learning programs that will help you in your career or profession?
- Do you think that college graduates are smarter than people who didn�t attend college? Have disparities in education ever been a source of tension for you in a relationship, or ended a relationship?
- How do you feel about private school education for children? Do you have a limit on how much you would be willing to invest in private school education?
- Have education levels or priorities ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- Do you own or lease a car? Would you ever consider not having a car?
- Is the year, make, and model of the car you drive important to you? Is your car your �castle�?
- Are fuel efficiency and environmental protection factors when you choose a car?
- Given the availability of reliable public transportation, would you prefer not to drive a car at all?
- How much time do you spend maintaining and caring for your vehicle? Are you reluctant to let others drive your car?
- How long is your daily commute? Is it by bus, train, car, or carpool?
- Do you consider yourself a good driver? Have you ever received a speeding ticket?
- Have cars or driving ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- How much time do you spend on the phone every day?
- Do you have a cell phone? A BlackBerry?
- Do you belong to any Internet chat groups? Do you spend significant time each day writing c-mails?
- Do you have an unlisted telephone number? If yes, why?
- Do you consider yourself a communicator or a private person?
- What are the circumstances under which you would not answer the telephone, cell phone, or BlackBerry?
- Has modem communication ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- Do you like to eat most of your meals sitting at the table, or do you tend to eat on the run?
- Do you love to cook? Do you love to eat? 232. When you were growing up, was it important that everybody be present for dinner?
- Do you follow a specific diet regimen that limits your food choices? Do you expect others in your household to adhere to certain dietary restrictions?
- In your family is food ever used as a bribe or a proof of love?
- Has eating ever been a source of shame for you?
- Have eating and food ever been a source of tension and stress in a relationship? Have they ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
- Are there household responsibilities you believe to be the sole domain of a man or a woman? Why do you believe this?
- Do you believe that marriages are stronger if a woman defers to her husband in most areas? Do you need to feel either in control or taken care of?
- How important is equality in a marriage? Define what you mean by �equality.�
- Do you believe that roles in your family should be filled by the person best equipped for the job, even if it is an unconventional arrangement?
- How did your family view the roles of girls and boys, men and women? In your family; could anyone do any job as long as it got done well?
- Have different ideas about gender roles ever been a source of tension for you in a relationship, or the cause of a breakup?
RACE, ETHNICITY, AND DIFFERENCES
- What did you learn about race and ethnic differences as a child?
- Which of those beliefs from childhood do you still carry; and which have you shed?
- Does your work environment look more like the United Nations, or like a mirror of yourself? How about your personal life?
- How would you feel if your child dated someone of a different race or ethnicity? The same gender? How would you feel if he or she married this person?
- Are you aware of your own biases regarding race and ethnicity? What are they? Where did they come from? (We aren�t born biased, we learn it, and it�s important to trace where it was learned.)
- Have race, ethnicity, and differences ever been a source of tension and stress for you in a relationship?
- What were your family�s views of race, ethnicity, and difference?
- Is it important to you that your partner shares your vision of race, ethnicity, and difference?
- Have different ideas about race, ethnicity~ and difference ever been a factor in the breakup of a relationship?
LIVING EVERY DAY
- Would you consider yourself a morning person or a night person?
- Do you judge people who have a different waking and sleeping clock than you?
254 Are you a physically affectionate person?
- What is your favorite season of the year?
- When you disagree with your partner, do you tend to fight or withdraw?
- What is your idea of a fair division of labor in your household?
- Do you consider yourself an easygoing person, or are you most comfortable with a firm plan of action?
- How much sleep do you need every night?
- Do you like to be freshly showered and wearing clean clothes every day, even on weekends or vacations?
- What is your idea of perfect relaxation?
- What makes you really angry? What do you do when you�re really angry?
- What makes you most joyful? What do you do when you are joyful?
- What makes you most insecure? How do you handle your insecurities?
- What makes you most secure?
- Do you fight fair? How do you know?
- How do you celebrate when something great happens? How do you mourn when something tragic happens?
- What is your greatest limitation?
- What is your greatest strength?
- What most stands in the way of your creating a passionate and caring marriage?
- What do you need to do today to move toward making your dream marriage a reality?
- What makes you most afraid?
- What drains you of your joy and passion?
- What replenishes your mind, body, and spirit?
- What makes your heart smile in tough times?
- What makes you feel the most alive?
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