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 
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • 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).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • 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.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • 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.

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