Archive for November, 2011

Our very own 1 Percenters conniving to foist us with yet one more CiC from their ranks

It is not power that corrupts but fear. The fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it, and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it. – Aung San Suu Kyi

Besides the noise and rancour being generated by the attempt to move the election date in contravention of the new constitution, this in itself occasioned by the fact our so called leaders have simply pulled down their masks and are openly asking to be allowed a few more weeks of sucking at the tit of public monies, there’s a lot else that can be said of the 2012 polls, especially the presidential polls.

For obvious reasons, jokers will have to think twice before running for president because there’s no fallback to parliament in the event of a loss, so really who should and who shouldn’t bother running?

A casual look at our past presidents: Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki;  shows that the majority of Kenyans always go for the quiet (at first), sneaky and dumb/or pretending to be dumb, but ruthless and deep pocketed chief executive.

The hot headed and populist types like Jaramogi, Mboya, JM Kariuki, Ouko, Raila, Ruto, Karua, Kenneth, and even Kalonzo, never stood/don’t stand a chance of leading this banana republic since they just don’t fit the mould, they are not part of the top 1% who actually call the shots and would not have firebrands take the reigns of power.

This I explain using Russell’s observation: “Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man.”
and Plutarch’s ancient advice: “Imbalance between rich and poor” is the “oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” (of course in Kenya you have to have the money, loads of money, to buy votes, it’s that simple)

Watch out for the wealthy, quiet and aloof types like Mudavadi, or perhaps even Uhuru, they are the kind of “leader” our risk averse, money grabbing voters prefer. That is the reality of politics in this country.


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Guerrilla Marketing: Using premium rate numbers to steal your airtime is the new frontier.

All frauds, like the wall daubed with untempered mortar … always tend to the decay of what they are devised to support. – Richard Whately

I know times are hard and if you don’t have a huge marketing budget and name recognition then it can be almost impossible to have anyone visit your website, let alone subscribe to services you intend to bill for. It is no wonder start-ups are getting ever more creative and fraudulent in trying to reel in unsuspecting users of mobile phones in order that they can silently siphon their airtime through premium rate numbers.

One such company promises free sms for a daily fee (Oh I know the irony of offering free sms when the ubiquitous gmail already does) and are using guerilla marketing tactics and outright arm twisting to achieve their ends. This is how they do it: You receive a text message on your mobile having a link from a premium number 5772, the message goes: “You’ve been sent a photo. Click to open: “. If you fall for the bait and click on the link it takes you to an obscure and bland website that sends you another text with another link for you to click on. Well you don’t get to see any photo anybody sent you because in reality the links are nothing but shortened URLs, the first link has your phone number appended at the end and leads to you unwittingly signing up to a website, the second link seems to be a confirmation of you joining the said providers list of subscribers, all this is of course done without you realizing it.

What happens next is that you start to receive useless messages from a premium number 5881 asking you to visit their website, and the icing on the cake is that each of this messages sent to you daily will subtract Sh 25 from your credit. I have visited the website on desktop and it might be legit, but the fact they have to trick people into joining them is very upsetting and points to people who might be nothing more than a bunch of shysters.

Unsubscribing using one’s phone doesn’t seem to work, and indeed you have to “SMS stop to 5892” which is yet another premium number. Unsubscribing on their webpage doesn’t stop the texts coming in and the billing continuing. Basically these folk make it easy for you to get inadvertently subscribed to their billed text services and then make it damn near impossible to leave when you realize the scam. Calls to their Help lines 0719786143/ 0712212600/ 0734488668 go unanswered, and if you persist on redialing their phones are simply switched off. I have had to contact Safaricom to ask them to deactivate this service and they’ve told me the people behind this are called “Mobile Zone Wireless”

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