Hello, Copenhagen!

We thought we were being clever when we rigged a Guitar Hero axe through GarageBand so Silent Creative Partner could play it live during his stage show. We now realize we have embarrassingly modest technical ambitions.

[via Sully]

Update: If you wanna play the home game…

Christmas Light Hero is using 7 light controllers from Light-O-Rama built from kits to control 21,268 lights and LEDs. Each controller has 16 outputs and 2-3 TTL level control inputs that are used by the game system to fire different programmed light sequences depending on what happens in the game. It relies on the fact that the game sequence is very consistent. If the game and the lighting sequences start together, they will stay in very good sync through the length of the song. The light program allows branching and overlays for fail, star power and “ready.” I have some ideas to automate the initial show/game sync, but for now you have to push doorbell buttons at the right moments.

Well, that’s easy. We’re sure we have some controllers and 21,268 lights in the back of the closet.

Christmas light hero [Make]

[TJ] I missed this on Sunday, but looks like Jim Harbaugh contracted up at the Farm. YAY!

(Of course, the deal was done a year ago, and they just got around to announcing it now. Intriguing.)

Also threadjacking here…

Someone used my credit card number to buy nearly $800 worth of crap at a Wal-Mart in Las Vegas. I don’t know why that amuses me, but it does.

@mellbell: That happened to me last year. They bought $400 in gift cards and $50 in gas at a Wal-Mart in Beaumont, Texas.

Good luck dealing with your credit card company, especially if the first four letters of their name are CITI. Total fucking clusterfuck for me. Make sure to keep a log of every phone call you have with them, get the name of the customer service person AND their extension, and be prepared to be accused of giving the number out.

@mellbell: MB, make sure the next phone call you kill the card account is to the police to make out a police report. As soon as it is filed, request a copy. Then get the credit bureaus on the phone TU, Experian and Equifax and lock your credit file so the clowns who jacked your cards won’t be able to apply for a new one on your ID – if they have more data on you. The police report is key because some outfits and some states will require it. It may be advisable to kill all your cards and have them reissued. It’s almost a drill now because of all the credit card fraud afoot these days.

@FlyingChainSaw: Perfect advice, this is my area of expertise, have a fraud alert placed on your credit with all three credit reportingg agencies. Take no shit from your credit card company, if your state is like mine, the maximum amount you are liable for is $50.00. Make sure you document that you alerted them to fraud, and tell them outright that if they make a negative report to any credit reporting agency you will sue them under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, just for fun. Insist that the cops write a report, its a very useful piece of evidence you will be able to use to beat up your credit card company and the credit bureaus.

FlyingChainSaw: Check on that — get on one of the websites — Equifax / Experian / Trans Union — and throw an initial fraud alert on the system. That way, if anybody tries to obtain credit on your name, they have to call you first (make sure you check that particular box) for the next ninety days. Then make put up a separate fraud report on the website. Print out all of the pages and keep them for your records.

Don’t do anything by phone. If you have a paper record, you can show you did what you could, when you could. Mail? Use certified mail and keep a copy of everything.

And the police report thing, too. Do that, pronto.

@mellbell: Yes, amen to what FCS said. Part of my problem according to Citibank was that I didn’t file a police report with the SFPD (ha!) or the Beaumont police and just called the credit card company. I go on line and check my accounts every other day after Mr. SFL had his identity stolen and someone racked up more than $10,000 in unpaid cell phone purchases/usage in his name. Turned out they were all to an address belonging to a known drug dealer. (GREAT!)
We only found out when Mr. SFL, for shits and giggles, requested a credit report (you can request a free credit report once a year from one of the three bureaus). In that case, we did call the police but it was another clusterfuck b/c the cops on the east coast where we were living didn’t want to take a police report, the purchases were made in SF, and Mr. SFL and I were living in Silicon Valley when it actually happened. All three possible law enforcement entities said “not it” when it came to making a report. Finally got the east coast one where we were living to agree to take a report so we could use it with the credit companies and with Verizon. If you contact one of the three credit rating companies and you can go on line and do it, freeze your account with a fraud notification, they will automatically notify the other 2 companies. you can set it up so that they can’t even release the most basic of info to companies trying to get your info, let alone issue a new card.

Don’t fall for the credit card company offering you the “service” to protect your identity for $9.99/month. Do everything FCS said and monitor for the next six to nine months and you should be okay.

SanFranLefty: Remember: it’s AnnualCreditReport.com. “FreeCreditReport.com” are those nimrods who dress up like pirates and push a non-free credit report on you.

@Promnight: The $50 limit is Reg E – Federal Reserve regulation regarding liability limits and protocols for handling losses in electronic funds transfer. Same in every state for retail customers like MB. (Commercial customers are on their own. BofA made the huge mistake of telling a small business owner in Miami whose PC got jacked by crimeware a couple of years back and his account emptied of all $80,000 that his commercial account wasn’t covered by Reg E so fuck off – even though in use case scenario it was exactly like a retail account with a DBA. He sued in the 9th district which is pretty savvy about these kinds of cases. Haven’t checked on it lately but I hope he is taking a savage crap on BofA’s face.

I pay $300 for my credit card with Amex and their fraud prevention is as good as it gets. The one time it was being jacked, they hunted me down through two voice mail forwards to ask for a confirmation – I was traveling overseas at the time. It was a real fraud attempt. They killed the card, Fedexed a new one to the home office and I used the business Visa for the duration of the trip. New card was waiting for me when I got back.

My bank is USAA, so they were totally cool about it. New card is in the mail. And I actually already have free credit monitoring from the big three because some unspecified retailer (Target? Amazon?) lost millions of numbers, possibly including mine, last year, so I’ll check in with them. I think what amuses me about it is that the last time I was in a Wal-Mart I was too young to even have a credit card.

where has baked been. I have been wanting to ask how last nights Dexter finale was received.

@mellbell: OK, does the credit monitoring package also include locking and (after six months or whatever period it lasts) relocking your file? It’s insane that people have to pay for services that will continually relock these files. They should be locked by default and opened by consumer request. Obama needs to kick the banks to fucking death and rewrite the banking laws for human beings.

@FlyingChainSaw: Is this your field? Assisting lenders in FCRA, ECOA, TILA, Reg Z, Reg M, Privacy Rule, Safeguards Rule, and Red Flags Rule compliance is my bread and butter. I work with small retail lenders who don’t have a compliance staff. I am just now, today, working on a project, to work with a software developer to come up with a comprehensive compliance program which will work like Turbo-Tax, and assist them in producing all required compliance documentation.

@FlyingChainSaw: What I have learned from deep knowlege of all the regulations in this area, is that the industry uses its influence with the regulators to insist on opt-outs, and requirements for a periodic opt-out, so that the big financial institutions can rely on the customers tendency to ignore the periodic opt-out requirements.

The Courts assist in this, a recent major case held that one of these credit protection services may not assist consumers by sending the required periodic repeated requests for these fraud and privacy protections. The court held the customer has to do it.

The system is totally controlled by big finance, all consumer finance regulations, ostensibly protecting the consumer, have this feature of required annual re-elections by the consumer. Who pays attention to the annual notice from their bank or credit card company which requires them to sign and return an opt-out form, every year, to re-affirm their privacy opt-out?

Its as corrupt and rigged as a system can be, and thats why I derive no satisfaction from working in it, working with it, even if I am working for good, its pissing in the wind, big finance gets what it wants, its all a corrupt game, and I know, I am deeply involved in manipulating the shit rules, every day of my life, and it makes me sick.

I’ve compiled this identity theft advice and emailed it to myself. Thanks, Stinquers.

@Dodgerblue: The FTC has a fantastic website, filled with great info, which the sophisticated consumers can access, and it gives great, easily understood, instructions on what to do. What help it gives to the average consumer is probably negligable, but its a great resource for a lawyer advising someone in this situation. Just google FTC ID theft, tons of great info.

@Promnight: Many thanks. Hasn’t happened to me yet (knocks on wood) but it seems to be all around.

I’m jacking the thread back to amusing xmas videos. Have you kids seen this one of the dogs decorating a tree?

PS: Sorry about your credit card getting hijacked, mellbell. Hope it works out.

@mellbell: Oh, you mean that announcement about the identity theft that was given to the media the day before the Presidential Election.

I heart USAA too, I was excited to learn last month I can finally become a member because they will now count my dad’s years in the Air Force stateside during Vietnam as military service, and everyone I know who has USAA has nothing but good things to say about them. That said: don’t be complacent, listen to FCS and Prommie.

Oh, and good luck getting a DC cop to take a report on this. Given my experiences with them when I or loved ones or random dude walking by my house getting jacked and stabbed were victims of violent crime, I doubt they’ll give you a report. You’d probably have better luck with the Las Vegas PD fraud department unit…which given the casinos is probably a fairly decent-sized unit with competent people in it.

i just want to add that investing in a shredder is the best protection against identity theft. this happened to me. it’s a NIGHTMARE. we are guessing that someone acquired the info from bills and such that were just thrown away and not shredded. i filed a police report and reported to 3 credit agencies, which is necessary. (you would think they talk to each other-they don’t) i told the cop i felt like i was mugged…he said, you would have been better off if you had been.
the wind up was we have closed all accounts, been issued new credit cards and i still have to request every 6 months to keep the flag on my credit accounts. luckily, they only got a couple thousand dollars from cell phones, tv’s and some other crap, including a shopping spree at the gap!

HOWDY…i missed it! damn, tivo has ruined me for life. so what happened?

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