2007.04.25 Tracking them down

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Junk mail seems so blasé, so yesterday, so 1998. Nowadays, it’s junk telephone calls and it’s threatening the well-being of our phones.

I just can’t hang up the phone the same way when it’s one of the robo-calls offering cut-rate health insurance or a trip to the Bahamas.

Kim in the front office said one day last week that it seemed most every call she was answering was a junk call.

I occasionally get the interesting sales call, such as the company from India that wants to print the Observer every week (But do I have to go pick it up?).

And though junk mail is somewhat of the past, I have to admit, I still get some interesting stuff now and then.

A few weeks ago a card came in the mail offering the Millennium Plus GPS system used to track down an employee named Bob.

See Bob (Bob says he’s stuck in traffic and can’t make his appointment). See Bob slack (with a map of his location). Fire Bob.

The graphic shows Bob wearing a diving mask. The map shows the location of Bob’s car, parked near the beach. Bob missed his appointment and cost the company $1,100.

For only 600 bucks, I could attach a stealth tracking device to Bob’s vehicle. But since I don’t know Bob, I could hide it on Jeff Pickell’s Saturn and when that bum says he’s off to Fayette to chase down some news, I can sit at my computer and watch his every move.

He’s parked on Main Street in Fayette, probably to drop off a few newspapers at  Beaverson’s realty office. Maybe he’ll pop into the village office to say hello.

And now the car is moving again. He’s heading south and west. He’s at Harrison Lake State Park. I’ll bet he’s wearing a diving mask. Not that you can actually see through the water, but I’m on to Pickell. He probably just lost this company $1,100 like the advertisement says.

And now it really gets fun. I can program his car so the doors will automatically stay locked. And then I can wait a while and unlock them, but then disable his starter.

Look at the net result here. I can waste the morning by watching him waste the morning.

I wonder how small this device is. It reminds me of the old computer-chip-in-the-buttock story. Some people claim to have a chip implanted and the government is watching their every move. Or aliens are watching. Or maybe it’s just their boss.

The Millennium Plus—about as thick as a D  size battery—looks like it might be a little uncomfortable to sit on, but if you want to work for me, you gotta put up with a little discomfort now and then.

This reminds me of the junk e-mail I received last week about the StealthSwitch for employees to use at work. This is where Jeff gets his revenge. Install this device on your computer and a simple shifting of feet will cover up the game you were playing or the instant message window and bring the story you were supposed to be writing back into view on your computer screen.

Now I’m not saying that anyone in my office seems to make quick keyboard commands when I walk nearby, as the StealthSwitch people write about, but why risk looking a little jumpy when this thing can be controlled by a foot, out of sight.

I thought this device was surely a joke, but I found enough references to convince me otherwise. The Desktop Cloaking Device is available for less than 30 bucks.

The company’s ad shows how to switch from card game to spreadsheet with a simple click of the foot.

I’m going to be watching your feet, Mr. Pickell.

The strangest junk mail in a long time arrived just last week. I received an offer to buy the Wireless Moose Fence, a patented moose training system.

Strange because of the likelihood that someone in southern Michigan might have the need for a moose fence. Stranger yet because the company is based in Indiana, where Hoosiers, not moose, roam free.

I should buy a set, replace the moose scent with Diet Vernors and place them out at Harrison Lake. Jeff Pickell will come around, sniff it out, get shocked on his snout and head back home to Morenci—tail tucked behind him, down around the Millennium Plus he now has implanted.

    – April 25, 2007 
  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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