Monthly Archives July 2012

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Has Facebook hijacked your email?

By M Davies   /     Jul 21, 2012  /     Technology Hates Me  /     0 Comment

At the end of June, Facebook users started to notice that their email addresses on their profile had changed from whatever their default was to their Facebook username @facebook.com and there was much complaining.  Boo!  Of course, the Mark Zuckerberg conspiracy theorists already were drawing conclusions such as “Facebook is going to start forcing you into using their email address.” and the like.  You can read the full Mashable article about it here.

 

After further investigation, Facebook stated that the email address issue was caused by a bug in it’s mobile applications.  When contacts were synced from the application to your phone, something triggered the primary email address in your profile to change to the @facebook.com address.  The glitch supposedly has been corrected.

 

You may want to double check your profile page on Twitter to be sure you have the correct email address.  You can do this very easily.  First login to Facebook as you would normally.

 

Then click onto the link for your profile page.

 

 

Look for the “About” link under your profile picture, click on it.

 

 

Next, scroll down to the “Contact Info” section and take note of the email addresses listed…

 

 

If they are correct you don’t need to change anything.  If they are not correct or a @facebook.com email address is showing, click on the edit button to change it.

 

 

After clicking edit, you can add or remove emails from your list (using the links at the bottom), or choose to show or hide them on your timeline with the circle drop down box on the right hand side.  If you only want certain groups of people in your friends list to see your emails, you can use the drop down box with the heads to pick who can see it.

 

See!  Easy peasey!  I just wish Facebook would work on improving their mobile app so things like this don’t happen in the future.

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Biggest Harriet Carter WTFs

By M Davies   /     Jul 15, 2012  /     Hilarity, The WTF File  /     2 Comments

Someone sick person in my extended family thinks its fun to sign me up for catalogs in their spare time.  I’m not sure who exactly it is, but I have a pretty good idea.  Well, I’m pretty sure it’s my family anyway.  It could be an angry neighbor who enjoys watching me flip out when I open my mailbox.  Make no mistake about it, when I find out who the perpetrator is, they will be signed up for every catalog known to man and subscribed to the Nickelback email list to boot.

 

Some of the catalogs I have recently received include:

 

  • Allergic Living
  • Finger Hut (the equivalent of layaway, but in catalog form)
  • Lands End
  • Collections Etc.
  • One Step Ahead (I don’t plan on having any more babies, thankyouverymuch!)
  • Cabellas
  • The Pyramid Collection
  • Oriental Trading
  • Quadratec
  • Crutchfield
  • Harriet Carter

 

I’m sure there are more that I’m missing, but I usually burn them or toss them in the trash as soon as I receive them.  I rarely (if ever) order from catalogs.  I do not trust blindly ordering clothes or shoes without trying them on first and if I wanted to order anything bad enough, I’d go online.  Getting 2-3 catalogs a week gets old really fast and seems wasteful.

 

After arriving home from work on Saturday morning, I walked to the end of my road to get the mail and of course there was a wonderful catalog waiting for me.  <sarcasm>  Yay!  </sarcasm>  Harriet Carter “wanted me to get a first look at her new and exciting gift possibilities”.  Her words, not mine.  Ok, I’ll play along.  It had been a while since I received a Harriet Carter catalog anyway.  I thought she lost my scent when I moved from Hanover Township to Sweet Valley and stopped sending the catalogs, but I was wrong.  That bitch has us all microchipped.

 

Before I go any further, I have to ask, WHO BUYS THIS JUNK?  You can buy any of this crap in your local Wal-Mart or in the “As Seen On TV” section of Boscovs, so why would you buy it from a catalog?  I wouldn’t buy it from here, I would not buy from there.  I would not buy this junk from anywhere, Sam I Am.

 

Harriet Carter is a pervert.  This much I can tell you.  She likes big butts and she cannot lie, you other catalog shoppers can’t deny.  How do I know?  See below.  Side note:  Why do they both have to break wind?  I have enough hot air flying around in my house, I don’t need any more.

 

       

 

Looking at plastic asses is considered a sin in God’s eyes.  Lucky for us, Harriet Carter has already thought about this.  All God fearing Christians can repent their sins by purchasing the below books and reading a few scriptures.

 

    

 

Because I suspect you are classier than the average catalog shopper, you’ll want to protect your Bible book assets.  Might I recommend a personalized leather carrying case?  Not just any leather…GENUINE LEATHER.  That makes all of the difference.  Your initials can be engraved right on the front.

 

 

So you are an avid reader, huh?  I recommend these choice selections.  They would make a wonderful addition to your home library.

 

    

 

You are going to need to read the Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick before the Biggest Ever Bathroom Reader because you’ll find that the people who never get sick are the ones that don’t read in the bathroom.

 

Also, for those technology challenged people….

 

 

If you need a 400 page book to tell you how to operate a computer, you probably should just probably just quit while you are ahead.  This thing will confuse you more then help.  The best way to learn a computer is by trial and error hands-on, NOT by reading a book.

 

 

My brain asplode.  Is not the point of typing on a keyboard to do it without looking?  HARRIET CARTER, YOU ARE AN ENABLER!

 

 

Harriet Carter must be a mind reader because I was just thinking to myself the other day “Self, I really have the need for a pocket notepad with pen included.  No, I don’t want to go to the dollar or grocery store to get it either.  Screw modern convenience, I can wait the 4-6 weeks to get one in the mail!  Bonus:  $7.98 is a steal and I can get it in pink.”

 

 

I cannot wait until the Urine Gone people come out with “Blood Stain Gone!” (Muderers Edition) and “Vomit Gone!” (Anorexic Edition).  Hell, while they are at at it, maybe they can also come up with “Stupid Person Gone!”, “Extended Family Holiday Dinner Earplugs!” and “Nickelback Music Video Eyebleach!” as well.

 

 

Who hasn’t wanted to talk around in the nude from the waist down in plain sight of neighbors?  Well NOW YOU CAN with this handy dandy privacy net.

 

 

Too cheap to afford a screen door?  WE HAVE THE SOLUTION FOR YOU.  Just duct tape this chicken wire to the outside of your trailer door, and you can keep the bugs out of your living room/bedroom/kitchen.  Note:  Marisa Burke 1980s doppelganger not included.

 

 

Chicken wire too white-trashy for you?  You must know good taste when you see it.  Turn your living room/bedroom/kitchen into an oasis with this life size fake scenery blanket.  If you hang it up at just the right angle, you’ll forget all about Cletus and BillyBob using your backyard for a makeshift shooting range.

 

     

 

For those that are too lazy to shower daily, never heard of a Q-Tip, and are too oblivious to care about how stupid they look.

 

 

VCRs take up so much room, and you know me and my VHS tapes.  I can’t get enough of them.  When I seen this picture, I had to hop on the opportunity to buy one.  I just wish they made a model that would fit my Laserdisc reader, VHS rewinder and Betamax all in one unit.  DVDs, schmeevds. Although it isn’t mentioned, I secretly hope that TV comes with the stand.

 

 

In the rare occassion that I eat a hot dog (read:  never), I like to imagine that I’m not eating a hot dog.  Everything but the kitchen sink is in one which grosses me the hell out.  I don’t need a hot dog slicer in the shape of a dog to remind me that there may be dog in this mystery meat too.

 

 

Feeling down on your luck?  A lucky lotto scratcher may just be what the doctor ordered.  Now you can piss your life savings away buying scratch off lotto tickets without getting those annoying silver flecks all over your hands.

 

One thing is for sure folks, the people who buy from the Harriet Carter catalog are very paranoid about security, and who can blame them?  When buying a load of invaluable junk, you’ll want to secure it.  You wouldn’t want your jealous friends trying to steal it away.  I recommend these two items to help you out.

 

    

 

Incidentally, if I suspect that you are shopping from the Harriet Carter catalog, I’m going to check to see if the camera is real before looting your closet.

 

Seriously.  If you buy this crap, we can’t be friends.  Any more.

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She’s dead, Jim

By M Davies   /     Jul 11, 2012  /     Annoyances, The WTF File  /     3 Comments

And thus begins the great car hunt of 2012…..

 

The Versa was dead to begin with.  There was no doubt about that.  The old Versa was deader than a door nail. — From the novel “A Versa Carol” by Charles Dickens

 

I purchased my Nissan Versa used in 2010 from Gray Chevrolet in Stroudburg.  It’s a 2009 model.  It was working beautifully up until my accident last year.  The day before my birthday…I swerved to avoid a deer on Old Route 115 in Lehman.  I hit a patch of ice and my car went off road.  I was able to re-correct it and avoid slamming into a telephone pole, but it was already too late.  All of the rock and underbrush from the shoulder damaged the right front passenger-side tire and other crap underneath my engine.  I was barely able to get my car home that evening and it was towed to Quality Collision in Dallas the day after my birthday (New Years Day).  What a way to start a new year.  By the way, this area of Old Route 115 is notorious for water run off.  A person was killed in an accident in the same area I ran off the road back in March.  You can read that story online at wnep.com right here.

 

I’m not convinced that incident didn’t have something to do with why my car is dead.

 

I started to notice my car had an issue right after the Fourth of July.  Before work on Saturday morning, I started up my car ahead of loading up all of my crap needed for my shift (purse, water, laptop bag, charging cables, etc) and as I was doing that I noticed it was “puttering”.  Like it was shaking slightly and making this “put put put put put” noise.  That was abnormal, but it seemed fine otherwise.  I drove it in with no issues, except for the moth that I let in when loading my car.  Saturday was hot and so was Sunday.  I had the AC on a lot both days, so I figured the puttering may have had something to do with overtaxing the engine.  Sunday I noticed the same thing, except worse.  Something did not seem right.  It started bucking and shaking violently whenever I was stopped.  I can’t say that I’ve ever ridden a bucking bronco or have suffered from shaken baby syndrome, but if I had, I would imagine it would feel like how my car drove on Sunday morning on my way home from work.  Monday was more of the same, with one exception….when I took my car out to grab lunch, I noticed that the “Service Engine Soon” light on my car’s dashboard appeared.  WTF?

 

 

Oh that other light?  The exclamation point?  Yeah, that’s also always on.  Normally, when it is on, it means that the tire pressure is low, but I recently purchased 4 new tires, and the Nissan OEM valve stems were replaced with generic ones.  When that happens, the stupid sensor freaks out because it cannot get a reading on the tire pressure.  I’m sorry, but I’m not paying 90 dollars a tire to have it replaced x4 tires.

 

When I was ready to leave work finally around 6pm, there was a major traffic back-up on 81 South, some accident happened near the Dupont exit and Lifeflight was called in.  I decided to wait a bit until the traffic cleared up before attempting to leave.  My car was bucking and shaking when sitting idle and I was afraid that I would have stalled out or broken down right on the Interstate.  Around 6:30, things seemed clear, so I left.  Everything was peachy keen until I got to the road that my house is on.  I was preparing to make a left turn onto my road from Route 29, but there were 6 or so cars coming up the hill from the opposite direction.  I had to wait until they passed before I could turn….and wouldn’t you know it, that was just enough time for my car to stall out.  Luckily, I was able to negotiate the turn onto the road, but all of my steering, breaks and other controls were dead and there were a million alarm lights lit up.  I pulled the car off onto a side dirt road and shut off the engine.  I waited about 2-3 minutes and attempted to turn it back over.  IT STARTED.  Thank god.  I was about a mile from my house, I could have walked home, but I wouldn’t have felt comfortable leaving my car unattended.  I drove it home safely and then my husband took it for a ride to my brother in laws.

 

The two of them looked at the car and engine and determined that there was 0 quarts of oil in my car.  They immediately went and got oil and dumped it in the engine.  It seemed to be behaving slightly better.  They took it for a ride again and noticed the bucking, shaking and lack of power.  They determined that a rod in my engine, or multiple rods are damaged due to the lack of oil.  Here’s the ass kicker though, my “check oil” light never came on.  It only lit up after my car had stalled out.  Don’t you think it should have warned me before there was…oh I don’t know….say NO OIL inside of the engine?!  Nah.  Why should things make sense?  We thought that perhaps when my car was in the accident earlier this year, that something got messed up with the oil pan or oil sensors, but who knows.

 

After doing a KBB on my car, we determined it’s only worth 5k.  A new engine would be 3k.  It does not make sense to put a new engine in it.  Time to start car shopping.  Yippee fucking skippee.

 

I went to Wyoming Valley Motors, Ertley Motor World and then back to Wyoming Valley Motors today.  I was on my way to a Fiat dealer when I hit construction traffic on 81.  Afraid I’d get stuck, I got off on the first exit and went back home.  I did put down a deposit on an absolutely gorgeous VW Jetta this afternoon, and got a fairly decent deal on it, but the hubs is not convinced about making this commitment.  I don’t really know what other options I have.  My credit is kind of terrible right now because of these assholes and the situation they put me in.  That 1500 dollars could sure come in handy now.

 

I’m still not sure what I’m going to do.  I may try to stop at the stupid Fiat dealer tomorrow to see if  I can get a better deal.  I’m pretty much screwed anyway I look at it right now, and hopefully my car won’t blow up before I can trade it in.  However, once it’s in the dealer’s hands….good luck chuck.  That thing could burst into flames for all I care.

 

As bad as this whole ordeal has been, I guess I am lucky to be alive.  Around 10:30 I’d say, I heard a bunch of sirens and my head did a 360 assuming the noise was coming from the TV.  It wasn’t the TV, it was coming from outside.  For a minute, I had a flashback to living in Hanover Township…I headed outside to see what the commotion was about.  I couldn’t really see too well, but there were a bunch of fire, police and ambulances lining my road.  I, of course, assumed that one of the trailers across the street was busted for a meth lab (several very shady people over there), but it wasn’t.  I walked to the end of my dirt road and it turns out someone crashed head on into a tree narrowly missing a trailer across the street.  People have been known to fly up and down the road that I live off of, and right before that it had rained.  Combined with the poor lighting, I’m sure this person was driving fast, on perhaps bald tires and drove right off the road.  I wish people would realize THIS IS NOT THE INTERSTATE AND CHILDREN LIVE ON THIS ROAD.  As you can see below, if this happened during the day, there may have been kids on the swingset.

 

 

The Lifeflight helicopter landed soon after and took 1, perhaps 2 people to a nearby hospital.

 

No matter how bad my car situation is….at least I’m not that guy.

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Just another Malware Monday

By M Davies   /     Jul 08, 2012  /     Technology Hates Me  /     1 Comment

If you don’t have Internet access on Monday morning, your first instinct may be to call your ISP and complain about their service being down.  STOP.  NO!  Bad netizen!  Put down that phone.  You may be infected with the DNSChanger trojan horse/malware.

 

What is DNSChanger?  According to the DNS Changer Working Group:

 

On November 8, the FBI, the NASA-OIG and Estonian police arrested several cyber criminals in “Operation Ghost Click”. The criminals operated under the company name “Rove Digital”, and distributed DNS changing viruses, variously known as TDSS, Alureon, TidServ and TDL4 viruses.

 

Why is it such a big deal now?  From Wired Magazine and PC Magazine:

 

Due to concerns by the FBI that users still infected by DNSChanger would lose internet access if the rogue DNS servers were shut down entirely, the FBI obtained a temporary court order to allow the Internet Systems Consortium to operate replacement servers to serve DNS requests from those who had not yet removed the infection, and to collect information on those still infected in order to promptly notify them about the malware.  While the court order was set to expire on March 8, 2012, an extension was granted until July 9, 2012, due to concerns that there were still many infected computers.

 

Your first clue to infection may appear when you go to Google or Facebook.  They are warning users of their infection so that they can take care of it ahead of Monday.  Here is what the warning messages look like:

 

(Google)

 

(Facebook)

 

If you don’t use the Google search engine and do not have a Facebook account, you can also check your DNS entries using this handy dandy DNS Changer Check-up Page:  http://www.dns-ok.us.  If the image comes back green, you are clean.  If the image comes back red, your internet is as good as dead (in the water).  I’m such a crappy rhymer, hence why I work with computers and am not a rapper.  Anyway….

 

If you are inclined to, you can also check your DNS manually for the “bad” entries.

 

According the DCWG, these are the bad entries:

 

Starting IP Ending IP CIDR
85.255.112.0 85.255.127.255 85.255.112.0/20
67.210.0.0 67.210.15.255 67.210.0.0/20
93.188.160.0 93.188.167.255 93.188.160.0/21
77.67.83.0 77.67.83.255 77.67.83.0/24
213.109.64.0 213.109.79.255 213.109.64.0/20
64.28.176.0 64.28.191.255 64.28.176.0/20

 

To check for the bad entries, in Windows you need to pull up an MS-DOS prompt on your computer.

 

Windows XP:  Go to Start -> Run -> Type “cmd” (without the quotes) and click ok or press enter.

 

Windows Vista & 7:  Click on the Windows Circle (Start Menu) -> in the search box type in “cmd” (without the quotes) and press enter.

 

Once you load the MS-DOS window, type in ipconfig /all and check the area that says “DNS Servers”.  If one of the above server addresses is listed, you are infected.  If not, then you are clean.

 

 

And here’s a surprising factoid:  Macs are not immune to this trojan.  Do not assume because you have a mac, you are safe.  There are an increasing amount of viruses and trojans that now can affect macs, and this is one of them!

 

How to check a Mac’s DNS:

 

Click on the Apple Menu -> System Preferences -> Click Network

 

Check the DNS Server line to make sure the addresses above are not listed.

 

 

If you find the rogue DNS settings on your computer, there are several removal utilities you can use to get rid of the infection.

 

Name of the Tool URL
Hitman Pro (32bit and 64bit versions) http://www.surfright.nl/en/products/
Kaspersky Labs TDSSKiller http://support.kaspersky.com/faq/?qid=208283363
McAfee Stinger http://www.mcafee.com/us/downloads/free-tools/stinger.aspx
Microsoft Windows Defender Offline http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/what-is-windows-defender-offline
Microsoft Safety Scanner http://www.microsoft.com/security/scanner/en-us/default.aspx
Norton Power Eraser http://security.symantec.com/nbrt/npe.aspx
Trend Micro Housecall http://housecall.trendmicro.com
MacScan http://macscan.securemac.com/
Avira http://www.avira.com/en/support-for-home-knowledgebase-detail/kbid/1199 Avira’s DNS Repair-Tool

 

I have used both the Microsoft Safety Scanner and the Kaspersky Labs TDSSKiller utilities and they work really well to get rid of all types of Scumware.  I also recommend ComboFix which was not listed on the DCWG’s website.  You can download it from http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/combofix/how-to-use-combofix

 

I do not believe that these utilities will correct your DNS settings, however, you will have to fix those manually.  You can get your correct DNS server settings from your ISP, or you can use Google’s…or both….  Google’s DNS server addresses are very easy to remember.  8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.  Your ISPs DNS server addresses will depend on who you are using.  It is recommended that you check out their tech support webpage or contact them by phone to get the addresses.  DSL Reports has a guide on how to change your DNS server addresses for Windows machines.  If you have Mac OSX, use the same steps as above to get to the DNS settings and then you can change them right there.

 

Hopefully, you are not infected.  If your internet connection is still down after all of that, congratulations.  I grant you permission to call your ISP and pitch a fit.

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Blogging bigshots distraught about cybersquat

By M Davies   /     Jul 06, 2012  /     Technology Hates Me  /     3 Comments

A few weeks ago, a survey question was posted in our NEPA Bloggers Facebook group asking our bloggers their opinion about the value of owning their own domain name.

 

 

The vast majority of the people that responded (13) voted for “Super important for branding and SEO”.  2 people responded “I just blog for fun, I’m not paying for that.”  No one responded with “How do you do that? I would like to know.”  However, what I found interesting were the 40 comments that followed.  A few people were reluctant to register a domain because they didn’t know what name they’d choose.  Some people were concerned with the legality of having your own domain name.  Meanwhile others (specifically my blogging cohort Harold) were afraid of cybersquatting and hacking.  This baffled (and still baffles) me.

 

 

?????????  This is just silly.

 

I just surfed over to Network Solutions WHOIS and checked my domain name.  I’ve owned it since 2002 and haven’t had a single issue with cybersquatting.

 

 Registered through: GoDaddy.com, LLC (http://www.godaddy.com)
   Domain Name: MHRYVNAK.NET
      Created on: 14-May-02
      Expires on: 14-May-13
      Last Updated on: 24-Feb-12

I think it is time to set the record straight about Cybersquatting.  First of all, what exactly is Cybersquatting?  From Webopedia:  Cybersquatting is the act of registering a popular Internet address–usually a company name–with the intent of selling it to its rightful owner.

 

Cybersquatters have several tactics that they use to find a domain they want to squat.  (From TechTarget)

1)  Many cybersquatters reserve common English words, reasoning that sooner or later someone will want to use one for their Web site.

2)  Another target is mis-typed spellings of popular web sites.

3)  Cybersquatters will also regularly comb lists of recently expired domain names, hoping to sell back the domain name to a registrant who inadvertently let his domain name expire.

4)  Since there is an initial and yearly fee for owning a domain name, some cybersquatters reserve a long list of names and defer paying for them until forced to – preempting their use by others at no cost to themselves

 

If cybersquatting is a concern for you, you can register your domain name for several years in advance.  GoDaddy is my registrar (and I know several people have issues with them, YOU DON’T HAVE TO USE GODADDY), and they will allow you to choose how many years in advance you’d like to register.  The minimum you can register is 1 year and then you can bump up in year increments with 10 years being the maximum.  Registering a domain for 10 years vs. 1 year is obviously more expensive, but it is certainly a route you can take if needed.  Also, in my case, GoDaddy sends out registration notices 6 months ahead of your domain name expiring.  You have 6 months to come up with the money to keep the registration going (which is usually cheap anyway) for the next year increment of time.  If you are a responsible webmaster, you will not let your domain expire in the first place.  And if you are letting it expire, chances are there is a reason behind it, and if it is cybersquatted it won’t matter anyway.

 

Yes, there is a likelyhood that your blog could be cybersquatted, but it is rare.  Most cybersquatters are looking to earn big bucks by scamming corporations.

 

If you find yourself in the situation that your domain is cybersquatted, you have a few routes to take to get your domain back.  According to Cybersquatting.com (a online resource dedicated specifically to the law of cybersquatting):

Victims of cybersquatting have several options they can choose from to stop a cybersquatter’s misconduct and recover their domain names. Initially, a trademark holder may simply wish to send a cease-and-desist letter to the cybersquatter, demanding that the cybersquatter return the domain name immediately.  Such a cease-and-desist letter may state that if the cybersquatter does not comply with the letter, the trademark holder will file a lawsuit, which could result in serious consequences to the cybersquatter. The cease-and-desist letter is an inexpensive approach, which can often bring positive results.

Once a cybersquatting victim decides that he or she needs to adopt a more aggressive approach, there are two primary domain name rules providing legal channels for recovering a domain name: the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (“ACPA”) and ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”).

The ACPA allows trademark holders to file lawsuits against cybersquatters in the United States federal courts, and allows for the recovery of up to $100,000 per domain name in damages from the cybersquatter, plus costs and fees. The ACPA also addresses situations where the cybersquatter is located in a foreign country, or where the cybersquatter cannot be identified at all. In such situations, the ACPA enables the cybersquatting victim to recover his or her domain name, but does not allow for the recovery of damages. This process is referred to as an in rem action. The ACPA is set forth in the United States Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. §1125(d)), which is the comprehensive federal law on the topic of trademark infringement.

ICANN, the nonprofit organization that oversees the domain name registration system, has also promulgated rules governing domain name disputes. When anyone registers a domain name, that person is required to submit to binding arbitration in the event of a dispute concerning that domain name, including an allegation of cybersquatting. This binding arbitration is conducted according to ICANN’s Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”). UDRP proceedings are intended to offer an efficient process, where the issues are decided without a trial or oral hearing. Unlike a lawsuit brought under ACPA, however, UDRP does not allow for the recovery of damages, costs, or fees.

 

I find that a lot of complaints about technology come from the users fear behind learning/utilizing it and are not valid.  This is just one example of many that I can think of.

 

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” — Wayne Gretzky

 

“You also miss 100% of the traffic you could have if you had a top level domain name with the proper SEO.” — Me and my $.02

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