Feb. 18th, 2018


[info]megpie71

Fanfiction Recommendations - Final Fantasy VII Time Travel Stories

Final Fantasy VII has a long tradition (going back about twenty years now) of time-travel fix-it fics. These are some of the examples of the genre I've found, and enjoyed to the point of re-reading. (This isn't a comprehensive list, just a few favourites; and I'm leaving off works in progress).

Eir's Tomorrow by Jukeboxhound

This one is a serious version of the trope. Cloud Strife watches the world end, and is hauled back by the Planet to do it all over again from the very beginning. Be warned: this one gets very gritty and dark in places - there are warnings for torture, sexual assault, blood, gore, and psychological horror. Read the warnings first before you start the story, and have the tissue box handy if you choose to continue - this one keeps kicking you in the feels.

Deus Ex Machina by Guede Mazaka

Described by the author as a "Crackfic time-travel satire AU", with BDSM overtones and an NC-17 rating. This one is pretty much what you get after Cloud Strife has been travelling the time-stream repeatedly from AU to AU to AU for something like twenty or thirty years, and he's finally got "fixing the world's problems" down to the point of being a fine art. As well as reaching the point of exasperation with the whole thing.

Rock Bottom by esama

A forty-year-old Cloud Strife is pulled back to his fifteen-year-old self by the Planet, and decides "sod that for a game of SOLDIERs" when faced with the idea of doing everything over again. Then he and Aerith go on to save the world in the most fabulous fashion (in every sense of the term) possible. Pure crack!fic which always makes me laugh.

The Fifth Act by Sinnatious

Cloud Strife post-Advent Children has an accident with a Time materia in the Midgar wastes, and finds himself back in the Crisis Core era. A lovely exercise in how small things make big changes in the end. Be warned: there's a lot of angsting in this one, some fairly realistic corporate reactions to perceived suicidal behaviours, and a lot of non-consensual experimentation. Another one where you might want to keep the tissue box within reach for some parts.

The Little Guy by TokiMirage

Cloud Strife wakes up as a cadet, and decides, after failing out of SOLDIER, he's going to avoid the military altogether. He becomes a janitor for Shinra, which should have been the end of it. But fate is a tricksy bitch who will not be denied, and who also has a good line in broken appliances in a certain general's office. One of the rare dominant!Cloud fics in the fandom, so if you're wedded to the notion of Cloud Strife as uke, it possibly won't be to your taste; also there are some identity issues and such (related to known canon issues, so be warned).

If anyone else has any recommendations for FFVII time travel stories, drop them in the comments.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/113288.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Feb. 15th, 2018


[info]megpie71

Ethical Living and the Signalling of Economic Virtue

The Guardian here in Australia has a new series of articles (Life Swaps) they've started about "how to live more sustainably". So far there's been two articles published, one on better food choices, and one on fashion choices. They're pretty much what you'd expect of this sort of thing - largely about how to spend more money in the pursuit of a better lifestyle, and they're an excellent example of the genre of article I've come to think of as "middle class left-wing virtue signalling".

Essay under fold )

The next article in this series is due out on Saturday. I'll be interested to see what it's about, and how it tackles the subject. I'm willing to bet there's going to be at least one on transport, which will recommend buying an electric car rather than a petrol-driven one as the "sustainable" choice; recommend cycling as the "do-it-yourself" alternative, and which may mention public transport in the "gentrification" option, but will probably be more likely to recommend the real-estate version of "gentrification" instead - getting yourself a nice place in a near-inner-city suburb which is close to your workplace.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/112976.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Feb. 14th, 2018


[info]megpie71

Oh Goody, the Scammers Are Back! - Fake Telstra Billing Confirmation email

Well, it's been a while since a scam hit my in-box, but it seems like one slipped through the spam filter at the ISP. This one purports to be a billing contact email from Telstra. So, let's start pulling it apart for scam-sign, shall we?

From: BILLING@s16071902.onlinehome-server.info
From: CONFIRMATION@s16071902.onlinehome-server.info
From: comfermation-telestra@localmail-web.com

We're starting to see scam-sign very early on here: none of these are from the domain of the company whose logo is on the email - the nearest we get is the final one, complete with careful misspellings.

Text of the email: Text below the fold )

There are two links in the article - one under "Click here" and one under "_telstra.com". Both of them point to the same site - https://www.paylessgrocer.com.au/n101/

Again, nothing linking things back to the company who is purportedly sending this.

Following the link given throws you over to a pass-through page, which sends you to this one: https://www.paylessgrocer.com.au/media/adlink/-/Aust/Billing-229/sue/a26531d0505c519c3d4277d14d9cc06d/

This turns out to be a copy of the Telstra login page. Needless to say I didn't bother following through and "updating" my personal details (although I am somewhat tempted to hand over a bunch of details for a fictional character or three).

The initial content of the email was a bit suspect to begin with - red flag number one. But if you are being contacted by a utility company to check their records are up to date, they're almost certainly going to be sending the email from their own servers (red flag number two) and with their own domain name (red flag number three) on the email. They're also going to have links pointing to their own domain (red flag number four) and those links aren't likely to include a leading space in the link text anywhere (red flag number five).

So, this is a scam; it's a phishing scam; and it's designed to ensure you hand over a bunch of your personal details - probably including things like credit card numbers and such, but almost certainly including your name, address, telephone number and so on.

How to protect yourself against these? Well, to start with, utility suppliers tend to be fairly lax when it comes to chasing information. My own experience is they tend to consider things like a change of address, or a change of credit card number, to be something you're going to tell them about as part of the business relationship if you're continuing to purchase their product (and some of them tend to be a bit slow to act on updates anyway - as anyone who's been billed by a utility for power or gas charges at an address they know you no longer occupy can testify to).

Also, if you've given a utility company a physical address, they're far more likely to send you paper mail to confirm things rather than email. But again, they're not going to be chasing this information unless there's a reason to do so: if you've been paying your bills regularly, you probably won't hear anything from them except "here's your next bill, please pay X amount on Y date via these various convenient methods".

If you receive something via email from a utility company saying they need you to log in somewhere to update your details, it's probably a good idea to phone them and confirm this is the case - at worst, you'll have spent a little time being over-cautious. At best, you'll have saved yourself from giving details to phishing scammers and identity thieves.

ETA: Dreamwidth is being hlepy and turning the two URLs for the scam-site into links. Please do not follow the links to the scam site.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/112695.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Feb. 11th, 2018


[info]megpie71

Locking Down Commenting

As you may have noticed, we have an epidemic of comment spammers showing up here.

Given they're persistent little blowflies, and I'm gearing up for another semester at uni, I've switched the commenting in this journal to allow comments from registered users only. If you don't have an InsaneJournal account, you'll need to go over to my Dreamwidth account and comment on the post there.

Anonymous commenting is screened, and posts selling something (or posts in languages other than English) are deleted as spam.

If you want to sell something online, you need to find yourself a website and pay for hosting yourself. Or alternatively, contact me and I'll let you know my rates for hosting your damn ad. I'm certainly not allowing you to do the equivalent of posting bills on my space for free.
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Feb. 8th, 2018


[info]megpie71

Spammer IPs

Hi all.

I've been getting some comment spam on this account, and while I've been deleting it (no, I don't provide this for spammers to get free posting space - open your own damn account if you want that) I've been noting the IP addresses being used. So here's the first ten. Feel free to add them to blacklists, complain to the admins or whatever you fancy.

(IP - Owner, country; type of host; domain [if known]).

185.36.102.114 - Disk Group Ltd., Netherlands; Data Center/Web Hosting/Transit; go4cloud.com
77.120.125.23 - Kyivski Telekomunikatsiyni Merezhi LLC, Ukraine; Fixed Line ISP; 23.125.120.77.colo.static.dcvolia.com
91.204.14.238 - Hivelocity Ventures Corp (owns the entire 91.204.14.x block)
146.185.223.111 - Sazonhost Net, Russia; Commercial; turochi.com
93.120.172.189 - Rostelecom, Russia; Network for OJSC VolgaTelecom; 93-120-172-189.dynamic.mts-nn.ru
93.188.39.169 - PJSC Industrial Media Network, Ukraine; Commercial; ip.net.ua (x2 days worth of comment spamming)
82.140.247.236 - [apparently unlisted, possibly spoofed]
179.43.160.165 - Vatlin Mihail, Switzerland; Data Center/Web Hosting/Transit; populartechniques.tech
178.120.7.130 - Republican Unitary Enterprise BELTELECOM, Belarus; BYFLY(tm) dynamic pools; ?
188.68.202.118 - RIPE, apparently Russia; RIPE Network Coordination Centre (RIPE); (owns the whole 188.x.x.x block)
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