First Meeting 2011

The first Pennswoods Classifieds meetup for this year will be in North East, PA on October 21. Contrary to its name, North East is actually in the north western portion of Pennsylvania. I’ll be posting more details shortly, but if you live in that area, or are going to be around there on October 20, please consider stopping by to say hello.

Last year our focus was on letting people know that while we were now working under the umbrella of Atlantic Broadband, we were still providing the same online services as ever. This year the focus will be on identifying online fraud, and how to stay safe while buying, selling, and trading online.

Chris

Mother Earth News Fair 2011

No, not a men’s fair, MEN Fair 2011. Mother Earth News Fair 2011. Vaughn (a long time fellow Pennswoods.net engineer) and I just finished setting up the booth at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs resort this afternoon. I was there with one of the Atlantic Broadband techno-people last year and it was a good time. Don’t be put off by its name. There are barely any tree hugging earth worshipers there at all. There is a lot of good tech, literature, and back to the earth learning to be had there, as well as a lot of newer solar systems, wind energy, and other technologies.

Look for us directly behind the herb stage in the middle of the interior booths. Don’t forget to wander around outside as well, as some of the best simpler living seminars are conducted out side.

Chris

Cookport Fair 2011

I’ve been at the Cookport fair all this week. Today is the last day for it, and I’ll be tehre again this afternoon and evening, until they close the doors and shoo me out. The deep fried oreos are really much better than you might expect, except for their impact on your cholesterol and sugar levels of course. If you’ve never been there, it is well worth the $4 entry fee (kids 12 and under free). The price is less than Cambria and Indiana county fairs, the entertainment at least equal, and it is a good time.

Chris

September 11th

On September 11, 2001 I was employed by Concurrent Technologies Corporation in Johnstown, PA. That morning we all heard that the twin towers had been struck by an airplane. It was sad, but it wasn’t the first time a plane had collided with a building, and we got on with our morning.

A short while later we heard that a second plane had crashed into the other tower. Now something fishy was up, but we didn’t know what yet. Televsions were rounded up and we started waiting for more news.

I went to a doctor’s appointment elsewhere in Johnstown. When I arrived back my supervisor, Allan Hobernay, met me in the parking lot and told me not to bother going back inside. The plane crashes were terrorist attacks, and another plane was believed somewhere over Somerset or Cambria county. Everyone was going home, and the town was being shut down.

I raced home barely ahead of where they were shutting down 219. In fact to get onto 219 and get home I had to take some back roads past the airport. I’m told that the airport roads were closed down a few minutes after I went through.

A lot of stories and rumors circulate about what happened that day. One thing I know for certain is that we are blessed to live in a country where events like this are noteworthy for their rarity.

I think there are a number of reasons for this. An impressively strong military, with soldiers dedicated to protecting our freedom, our way of life, at any cost is one of the most important reasons. The individuals who, day in and day out, put themselves between us and our enemies deserve more recognition than just the occasional day of memorial.

Likewise the police who remain ever vigilant, routing terrorists before they can even launch their plans deserve greater recognition. The fire fighters, rescue workers, and emergency personnel who put their day to day lives on the second tier of importance so that they can stand ready to intervene in both small and large emergencies deserve greater recognition. Their ability to mitigate damage and save lives makes the efforts of our enemies so much more futile, and brings comfort to so many.

I believe that the the average American, with our strong faith in God, and our willingness to fight back, keeps each of us safer. We Americans do not make soft targets. Charlie Daniel wrote in “In America” the words:
“And we might have done a little bit of fightin’ amongst ourselves,
But you outside people best leave us alone
Cause we’ll all stick together and you can take that to the bank,
That’s the Cowboys, and the Hippies, and Rebels, and the Yanks,
You just lay your hands on a Pittsburgh Steeler’s fan,
And I think you’re gonna finally understand.”

Looking back across those 10 years, we may still have some problems in this country, but we also have each other, and that’s a lot to be thankful for.

Chris

A Few Random Things

Cambria County Fair has been pretty wet, damp, and slow this year. I’ll be there again this evening, so if you get a chance, stop by and visit, building #3. We’re having a drawing for $75 worth of advertising, so drop a business card in the box at the booth.

The Pennswoods.net Classifieds has a lot of animals for sale on it, and some for free. Enough so that I even provide hotlinks in the bottom right of the front page to find free dogs, and free horses. Currently I see 7 ads for free horses, at least one ad is offering more than 1 free horse. I’m estimating something near 50 ads giving away free dogs. One of the dogs shows a sandy brown dog that looks like it might have some terrier and lab in it. It reminds me of Dusty, my best friend when I was 5. I have some pretty strong feelings about animals, which I mostly keep to myself. However I recently shared how I feel about giving away animals for free on the AIR Network, a joint project between Pennswoods.net and Banks Media Group. And yes, I expect to receive some hate mail for having shared my opinions.

A few days ago I saw a copy of the Johnstown Tribune Democrat. I don’t read many newspapers, and I freely confess that I almost never look at any classified ads except for Pennswoods.net Classifieds. It does give me a bit of a tunnel vision, and sometimes I’m taken rather by surprise. The Tribune Democrat’s front page had wording to the effect of “out of work?!? check our classifieds, 43 job listings!”.
Well my professional curiosity had me right there. I had to look. Almost all of them were print versions sourced from monster.com, a site known far and wide to computer geeks as a head hunter play ground. That is to say most of the ads you will respond to will actually be a recruited looking to broker you into the actual employer.

I checked Pennswoods.net Classifieds, and we had 65 ‘Now Hiring’ ads. I removed 4 that were not actually looking to hire. Yes, if you post AmWay or Avon or similar recruitment ads in ‘Now Hiring’ I will generally remove the ads. If you are persistent I may well remove all of your ads or close out your account. The economy is not good, and I don’t appreciate this web site being used to take advantage of people who need a job right now.

Anyway, I found it interesting that we had 50% more ads, and the ads were direct from local businesses looking to hire now. This morning I see 56 ads looking to hire. Oh, and you can place your ad for free here. Call your local newspaper and ask them how many free classifieds they print.

Thanks for using Pennswoods.net Classifieds!
Chris

Cambria County Fair

Last week at the Indiana County Fair I was blessed with the opportunity to meet many of you in the area. This week I’m at the Cambria County Fair. Unfortunately with the wet weather and the early closing of the fair grounds yesterday I haven’t had the opportunity to meet as many of you as I might have liked. I’m still there for the rest of the week, building #3 near the grandstands.

Chris

More Scammers

PW Classifieds doesn’t permit email addresses in ads, as a safety feature. Lately scammers have been posting their emails in pictures. Several people have lost money to these people. Please remember that buying large ticket items sight unseen is always carries some risk. If you see any ads like this:

Image posted by a scammer.

Image posted by a scammer

Please report it. I’m sure that they will change their approach slightly now that I am exposing them, but you should consider any ad with an email posted in it to be a potential scam, and report it as such. Please, please don’t lose money to these criminals.
Incidentally I’m confident that the name in the email is NOT the criminal’s’ real name.

Chris

Indiana County Fair

I’m sitting here at the Indiana County Fair tonight. It has been a pleasure to meet those who’ve stopped by to say hello. I’ll be here in the evenings this week, so stop in and see me sometime this week if you get a chance.

Chris

Hacking Perspectives

Every once in a while I get someone who claims their email has been hacked. It is an infrequent thing, maybe a couple of times per year. Invariably the victim had a really poor choice of passwords, and some agent out there guessed it. For the record, ‘123456’ and ‘password’ are probably the two worst possible passwords to choose. Sooner or later someone WILL be using your account. If that means that they use the account to post scams on PW Classifieds, I tend to lack compassion and understanding.

Anyway, in June 20111 the CIA’s public website was claimed to have been “hacked”. Here is a comic on the difference in perceptions of what “hacked” means to various people.

Point being that someone guessing a poor password is not equivalent to someone hacking a website.

Thanks,
Chris