Christian Biggins Design, Technology, SEO, General Ramblings. Something for everybody.


Facebook is taking over the internet

And we, as internet users, are gladly giving it everything it needs to achieve this.

I have argued for years about the laziness of developers and site owners who supply only a 'login with Facebook' option on their sites. Forcing people to use Facebook, only because they couldn't be bothered providing an alternative option. There can be no other reason for people to force you to use FB, right? Its only gone public recently, so they likely have no vested interest in it, surely? I can hardly blame them for doing this, FB makes it easy to implement the login action, devs do less work and they can cater for 80% of their traffic.

What I find odd is that it took so, so long, for people to start building sites that do not work on a decade-old browser like IE6 because some IE6'ers may not be able to use the site, but they will quickly adapt a membership option that immediately filters some users. Strange, lazy and very poor.

But, the latest thing that I find odd, is that people have started using Facebook Pages as their business website, or as their latest marketing idea. Advertising on behalf of Facebook so that their Page is easily found and used! Amazing! Again, we immediately drop a bunch of our traffic because they dont have Facebook accounts, but you are handing ownership of all your content and its membership base, and your traffic (that sweet, sweet traffic) straight to Facebook! And, for what reason? Clearly, its just laziness.

We all know people who spend lots of their own (and their employers) time on Facebook and these are the people that these marketing/business Pages are hoping to hook, because they will quite easily stumble across the Page in their endless clicking and liking. Thats fine, I have no problem with companies trying to hook these users, but where is the non Facebook option?

The idea of building a site, marketing it, optimising its pages for Google, maybe building a membership base can be daunting, but thats how to create a product, or site, or marketing mini-site the proper way! You then own the traffic, you own the content, it only makes sense.

As an industry, we are putting everything that we have worked so hard for, for so long, on a silver plate and handing it over to a corporation that only gives you an easy option to do so, in return. It is unfathomable that we do this on such a broad scale and we do it, seemingly, with no regard for the consequences.

Facebook gets bigger, Your company gets some 'Likes,' and everybody is happy! Yeah, not really.

Keep your content, keep your traffic, build the site properly using multiple membership options and Facebook can stay as a social network and not he be-all and end-all of the internet.


Very poor scam attempt

On Tuesday night, I put my bike up for sale on Within an hour of it going live, I get an email from;

Hi mate is the BIKE still available for sale? if yes what is the condition and your lowest price?

Sweet. I was happy to have an early enquiry, so I replied that it was available and advised that they make an offer. I soon received an email from 'Adams Dixon'... Adams? Yes Adams;

ok no problem i will be paying you $9,500 with my PayPal account because it's
attached to my bank account and its safe and very secure way to make
payment. If my mode of payment is accepted just send me your paypal
email address,(Paypal ID) or send me paypal payment request so i can
pay in right away. Make sure you get back to me so that i can make the
payment. I have a private courier agent that will handle the shipping
after payments has been made, so no shipping included.
And if you dont have a paypal account, you can easily go to and sign up. its very easy. i will call you later
I await your reply asap.

Due to the nature of my job and my location i will not be able to come
for inspection am a very busy type as i work long hours everyday,i
don't really think i need to come for a look, because i have gone
through your advertisement and i am satisfied with it so i will call
you when am chanced from work but as of now we can be chatting online
or sending emails.
And can you please confirm to me again that the item is very good
with no fault?

Was Adams trying to sell me a Paypal account? Immediately my ears pricked up and my spider sense started tingling. At this point I was unsure of what the scam was, so I held off passing over my Paypal address;

Hi Adam,

I do have a Paypal account, yes. I'm happy to accept Paypal.
The bike is in fantastic condition, seriously, like brand new.

If you'd like to call me, that'd be great - 0000 000 000.

In hindsight, giving him my mobile number was probably not the greatest thing to do. I soon received another response;

yes i can call you but i think its late now, so i will call you in the
morning but you can as well send me the paypal email address so that i
can make the payment for you tonight and call you in the morning after

At this point, I had done a fair bit of research into Adams' potential scam and was well aware of his intentions. The idea is, that they 'pay' you an additional $1000 (advised only through an email) and you are required to forward on the extra $1000 to their 'shipping agent'. I emailed him my Paypal address.

A day went by and no Adams.

This morning, Thursday, I check my mail when I get in and notice a couple of emails from 'Paypal'. The first is hilarious. Subject is 'IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM PAYPAL' and the email is written in comic sans (maybe? my font-fu is not great,) the greatest part is that at the top of the email, Gmail has advised that 'Images are not displayed' and would I like to display images from '' - A security feature with several benefits. I have screen shot it to give you the full effect.

I had also received another email too, an 'Instant Payment Notification' from 'Paypal'. This email was interesting as it advised;

This is to inform you that you are required to send a sum of $900.00 AUD to the address below via western union money transfer and get back to us with the relevant information which you will be provided with after the money has been sent, you are requested to email us the Mtcn (Money Transfer Control Number) , sender's name and address used to make the transfer and the secret question and answer.As soon as we have received these information from you, we will credit a sum of $10,500.00 AUD to your PayPalaccount.Below is the address where the money is to be sent to using western union money transfer.

Agent's Info: David Williams,
7 Iship Yard Building,
Oval Road,
SE1 5EL.
United Kingdom.

There's the money shot, right there. There was more about the requirements on me to make this payment to David Williams in the email, but that was the killer.

There was also a couple of emails from my mate Adams;

I was just about to make the payment when i had this little problem
with the picking up, I got an email from my private courier agent..i
taught i included that in my previous email.he said he won't come and
pick up the item unless i pay him the agent commission fee first in
order to be able to schedule a pick up time ,and my private courier
head quarters is in the United Kingdom and all commission payments
made for pick up, from anywhere in the world is sent to their head
quarters in the U.k and the only form of payments they accept is
western union money transfer and i tried to pay online but i will need
a credit card which i dont use and there is no post office(there is
usually a western union section in most post offices) or any western
union agent offshore! so i have to ask you to help me with the pick up
fees, i will include the $900 they charged to pick it up to the
payments i will send through paypal to you now so i will need you to
help me send the $900 to my courier agent through western union money
transfer. The western union money transfer can be made at a post
office near to you, there is always a western union agent in most post
offices or online at I will be making the
payments shortly and will email you as soon as it has been done...

And this one;

I just want to inform you that i have just completed the payment and i
hope you must have been notified in your email about the payment i
made through PayPal, you can check your e-mail for confirmation of
payment, I have just made the payment of $10,500.,i have decided to
add the amount of $1,000 which i paid through paypal, So please i will
like you to help me wire the sum of $900 to my agent via western union
so he can be able to come for the pick up and also paypal said they
won't release the funds until they get the western union information
from you due to the fact that i emailed them about the excess payment
i made.i will need you to send the $900 to my pick up agent
Headquarters where they normally confirm any commission payment to via
western union money transfer(this can be done from the post office,or
online at as they usually have a western union
agent there) , i added extra $100 to cover the western union charges
which shouldn't be more that $60-75 but just to be sure i added $100,
Here is my pick up agent Headquarter info needed to get the money sent
through western union money transfer

David Williams,
7 Iship Yard Building,
Oval Road,
SE1 5EL.
United Kingdom.

Please kindly email the necessary details to paypal :the mtcn which
you will be given at the western union after the $900 has been sent as
well as the sender's name and address used to send the money through
western union,so i can forward it to paypal or better still you can
email it to paypal directly.

When doing a WHOIS on the IP address from which the 'PayPal' emails were sent, I found that Adams lives in Mauritius and was sending through Yahoo servers. I sent an email to Adams;

Oh Adam, I was hoping you would make more of an attempt than this....
I knew from email number 1 that you were scamming me, but I was hoping
you would try to make it seem even slightly legitimate ... The email
from 'Paypal' is a terrible forgery, the 'agent' in London? Oh please

From: "" <> ? Surely you can do better than that.

Not to mention using Yahoo servers.... Terrible. I expected more.

I was hoping I could send him something, so I could attempt to get him as well as the dudes from got their scammer; The Powerbook Prank

The thing that concerns me about this is how many innocent people do get taken by these people.

Lessons to be learned;

  1. Dont trust anybody. Ever.
  2. Contact Paypal if you are ever unsure. Their support are hard to get hold of but take security very seriously and will advise you of any issues they can see.
  3. Dont send money to people in another country unless you are buying something from them.
  4. Dont trust anybody.
  5. Ever.

UPDATE (19/04/2010)

I received an email from 'PayPal' yesterday...


One of the benefits of using PayPal is that we make every effort to alert you to potentially problematic transactions. Our goal is to help you make sound business decisions.

A review of recent transactions indicates that you entered into an agreement with Adams Dixon by requesting money through PayPal, which shows that the PayPal account holder have authorized the payment you received.

We would like you to learn more about this transaction. It is important we know the status of the item bought concerning the information we requested from you, otherwise LEGAL ACTION may be taken against you since you have not replied to the confirmation of payment made to your account by her over time.

However the buyer has already contacted us in other to make report about your non response. We are ensuring to make PayPal a safer place, therefore we need to set confidence on our users. We use proprietary technology - and constantly innovation - to help ensure every transactions are safe.

We strongly advice you to send the money through western union money transfer and send the proof from WESTERN UNION by sending us the MTCN number and also a scanned copy of the paper receipt given to you at the post office or online to prove that the money has been sent in less than 24hours so that we can credit your account by releasing the PENDING payment or you face the consequences of LEGAL ACTION.

We have placed a temporary hold on the funds until the verification is complete.

------------------------------ -----
Transaction Details
------------------------------ -----
Case Number          :    PP-304-718-247
Transaction ID         :   0TR19308DU070732T
Response deadline   :     18/04/2010
PayPal Team
PayPal Email ID PP943

Again, the email was sent from ''. Things to note;

  1. Why, oh why, would Paypal be forcing me to use Western Union?
  2. "We strongly advice you to send the money" - Surely Paypal have english staff who can construct sentences better than this... ?
  3. Why would the response deadline be the same day that the email came through? Ooooh, seems Paypal doesn't get the 'timezone' thing (Sydney is +10, so ahead of almost all other countries.)
  4. "We have placed a temporary hold on the funds until the verification is complete." - Hold away, I sold the bike to somebody else.


The old man

About 7 months ago I took a new job in Pyrmont which means that I ride my bike through Mosman every day.

After a few weeks of riding in, I started noticing an old man with a cap and walking stick standing or sitting in a bus shelter in Mosman in the afternoons. He was there almost everyday and after a while he started watching me ride past. The thing was, he wasn't watching my bike, he was looking at me. Immediately I thought 'sour old bastard glaring at us young motorbike riders' and I started glaring back at him (almost impossible to see beneath my helmet and sunglasses.)

A few weeks more went past and one day in an uncharacteristically good mood (doesn't occur often when battling Sydney traffic), I nodded at him. He nodded back. Holy crap, he wasn't glaring at me, he was just watching me. The next day, I nodded. He nodded back.

So this went on quite regularly. One week he wasn't there and I remember saying to Bec "Oh man, I hope he's ok". But he returned after a few days and we continued where we'd left off.

Another few weeks went by like this until about 3 weeks ago when he would start taking his hand out of his pocket to wave at me. So, I have started waving at him now as I go past. I try to watch other riders who go past too to see if they too say 'gday' as they make their daily commute. None have.

So yesterday we progressed again. I stopped at traffic lights about 30 metres from where he was and he started hurrying towards me. I started freaking out! What does he want? He got pretty close before the lights went green.

So, on reflection last night, I started thinking .. What if I have offered this old man something that I can't deliver? What if he wants a relationship with me? What if he only goes to the bus stop to wait for me every day? This became a nice, friendly 'hello' but now I'm scared of what I may have done inadvertently.

Either way, why should I be scared? What is there to be scared of? This is how I want the world to be, more smiles and waves and less frowns and growls. But now I don't know how to handle it. I have thought before about stopping and taking him for a coffee, but now I don't know.

Ergh, what an odd thing to be concerned about.


That damn insulation scheme!

For the non Aussie readers (heh, see how I used a plural?) our Government (namely Peter Garret) introduced a scheme last year to pay for people's houses to be insulated.

This had multiple benefits;

  1. People weren't cold... Or hot. So less Air Con and Heating used.
  2. Industry stimulus. More work
  3. Made the government look good

This also had a few drawbacks;

  1. Shonky traders
  2. Poorly trained workers

Now, one of the options for insulation is foil. Basically, this giant roll of foil sheeting gets rolled out over your ceiling in the roof cavity. Its the cheapest form of insulation and this worked well for the shonky traders as it meant they could install cheap crap and bill the government for whatever they wanted.

Now, my family got the insulation from the government. We opted for green insulation which is biodegradable and non flammable. We got this because we were asked what kind of insulation we wanted. We had a nice guy to deal with. Unfortunately the people who didn't care what insulation they got and had not-so-nice guys to deal with were given the foil insulation.

The government was advised this and they took actions towards training and education of the installers but apparently it was not enough. If you lay foil over a live electrical wire (supplying a light, for instance) and then staple through the live wire, the foil becomes a conductor and anything touching it (say, an untrained teenage installers arm) becomes live. Or, electrocuted.

4 people died, a few of them were teenagers within this insulation scheme's lifetime. A few houses have also since burned down.

Now, the opposition and the unions and multiple other people, associations and pets, have called for Peter Garrets resignation over the 'foiled' scheme as he knew about the risks and was advised against the scheme and several other reasons. Apparently its all his fault.

I want to know, given the inflated industry at the time, how many (trained or not) people have died as a result of foil insulation in the past, prior to the scheme? The media doesn't report on these figures. Also, I want to know, how many of these traders would opt to use the cheapest insulation when they were trying to sell their products? What tradie would say 'nah, don't use the expensive, heavily marked up product, go with the cheapie that I don't make as much money on' ? Yeah not many I reckon. So, likely, prior to the scheme, less foil was used and fewer untrained installers died installing the stuff.

With all this in mind, how can anybody with any brains conclude that the deaths are the sole responsibility of our Environment Minister, Peter Garret? I simple cannot comprehend why he needs to take the fall for greedy tradies in a bloated industry? These were kids that died, not union members or life long industry people, these were 15 - 22 year old kids. Kids preyed on by insulation folk to be paid a minimum wage to do a mediocre job so the boss can bill the government while drinking his VB (beer) beside his pool.

What a joke. What an absolute sham. As usual, I blame the media as much as anybody else. They created so much unnecessary hype from this bullshit.

Please also read John Watson's article 'Insulation fire risk was worse before rebate'.


Nothing to be proud of


Tomorrow is Invasion Day.

In August 1770, Captain James Cook discovered Australia and claimed in 'No Mans Land,' dispite the existence of the indiginous people, the Aboriginals.

On the 26th of January 1788, Governor Arthur Philip arrived leading the First Fleet and 'settled' Australia.

Now, at this stage, the white settlers would have you believe that they just arrived and set up and we became an amazing country, just like that.

In actual fact, the 26th of January was the start of hundreds of years of oppression, mis treatment, murder, stolen babies, stolen land and more. Hence the title 'Invasion Day' and not 'Australia Day'.

In Australia, at any given time, you will see cars driving around sporting an Australian flag, or the Southern Cross somewhere on it... Either in the form of flags, or a sticker. Guys walk around topless with their Southern Cross tattoo's on their torsos or arms or where ever.

The level of patriotism in this country is super high, in fact as high as I have ever seen. I haven't seen people do this in other countries (apart from the states.) What on earth do we have to be proud of? I see nothing at all. We live on stolen ground with a tainted history. We do nothing special as a country. Ever.

As a side note, if I was not born in this country but were now living here, I would be offended by the flags on all the cars and feel as though this country could never be shared with people not born here. It sends a very strong 'this is MY country' message that cannot be ignored.

Why do people feel so strongly about the country they live in? Its a block of land in the middle of the ocean. You're not saying 'Yay Australia,' you're saying 'Yay our oppressive and overly aggressive governments.'

I love my rugby team. The Wallabys are just my team, I read about them in the off-season and I dont miss a game in the on-season. Its the only aspect of 'Australia' that I like, as a whole. Don't get me wrong, I am talking of Australian representatives, idols that demand respect. Not individuals, businesses, etc.

I am semi ranting again in this post. I am just cranky at people feeling proud of this country and what it has 'achieved.' Also, I used the Aboriginal flag in this post as I refuse to use the Australian flag. Ever.


Weekly Tweets

  • Seriously awesome tech wiki for developers. Using it atm to learn Ruby. #
  • Anesi picked at fullback for Tahs trial I love that they say "Former All Black" he played once 5 years ago in a B team. #
  • Victorian roadtoll at 17 already... So awful. #
  • WSJ Photographers Document Chaos in Haiti: January 20, 2010 - Photo Journal - WSJ #
  • UPDATE: Is Wyclef Jean's Charity the Best One to Help Haiti? - Wyclef Jean - Gawker [Not new, but worth knowing] #
  • Drunk driver crashes outside crash victim's funeral - ABC News [I love the last sentence. Stupid Media] #
  • Authors receive stamp honours | So happy Tim Winton is in this list #
  • Making sure you only have one instance of a script running | Fliquid Studios #
  • While Haiti is a tragedy of unthinkable magnitude. I think the avoidable deaths in Haiti since then (health & security) is just so awful. #
  • I am getting so excited about the start of the Super 14 season! #rugby #super14 #
  • WSJ Photographers Document Chaos in Haiti: January 18, 2010 - Photo Journal - WSJ #
  • WSJ Photographers Document Chaos in Haiti: January 17, 2010 - Photo Journal - WSJ #
  • Solid-Color Backgrounds Cause 30-Second Login Delay in Windows 7 - Lifehacker #
  • U.S. Military Weapons Inscribed With Secret 'Jesus' Bible Codes - ABC News #
  • The ickiness of a media managed miracle baby rescue – Crikey [This makes me sick. I hate the media!] #
  • @TheNDM Meh, you could always just have Hot Cross Foun'n'Twenties. :) in reply to TheNDM #
  • @TheNDM Oh I see! Sunday made us have Hot Cross Buns for lunch. in reply to TheNDM #
  • I still have no idea what service is auto DM'ing my followers. I have revoked almost all my connections but I fear it is not in there. #
  • @TheNDM What the crap is wrong with home brand party pies? I'd live on those sucka's if my wife would let me. in reply to TheNDM #
  • @stinginthetail Ah yes, but they're not Australian, so we shouldn't care as much. Yaaaaaay media!!! in reply to stinginthetail #

Tagged as: No Comments

Weekly Tweets

  • World News Australia - Web users turn to Twitter for Haiti news #
  • RT @4zzznews: Australian Medical Association’s misleading spin on homebirth deaths exposed by @hoydenabouttown blog #
  • @kissability Don't you mean Ailartsua is so backwards? in reply to kissability #
  • @zlot No 'results' as yet, still early days. SO rewarding. Helped a young lebanese bloke set up a motorbike mechanical repair biz. in reply to zlot #
  • I have started using twitters web interface again instead of Tweetdeck because I dont have the spare memory for it anymore. :( #
  • @zlot I am into Kiva, and yep, I have lent about $150 now I think. in reply to zlot #
  • @zlot Its a lot more than just an aggregator, its a filter, a collector, a parser. You name it. in reply to zlot #
  • The family was informed there wasn't enough space in the morgue and that they would be transporting the deceased #
  • Was asked today what the name of the glaciers in NZ are named. I replied 'Julio' (or, for okka aussies "hooley-o"). Say it aloud. #
  • I really love Yahoo Pipes, but I cant dedicate the time to it that it deserves. #
  • Westerners get such a sculpted image of the middle east. Its not actually all desert and camels and dudes with guns. #
  • I *love* that my google ads in gmail are advertising cannabis seeds from holland. Thanks google! #
  • Whats a good sport for people with zero fitness and no free time? #
  • Why I'd rather be punched in the testicles than call customer service - The Oatmeal #
  • Video of my 2 year old daughter reading the latest @amnestyOz magazine #
  • Will Aussies pay for Murdoch’s news? – Crikey #
  • I dont care how important the email is, if its addressed to 'Cassi' I am going to delete it, unread. Hrmph. #
  • Rod Macqueen and Damian Hill to coach Melbourne Rebels - I can't wait to see them play, what an awesome coach! #
  • Dang. I want to turn off my auto DM to new followers, but I cant remember where I set it up and its not in my Twitter Connections settings.. #
  • I love this site - Aussies Living Simply #
  • Terri Psiakis on breastfeeding in public #
  • Tony Abbott - the worlds most spineless polititian - on whaling.. #

Tagged as: No Comments

Weekly Tweets

Tagged as: No Comments


About three weeks ago, I turned 30. It was a hard milestone for me, I had hoped to achieve more in my life than I have.

It arrived quickly, suspiciously quickly. I wasn't entirely convinced that 3 decades had indeed passed since I was born... But alas, it was correct and I enjoyed a few beers and some bloody red meat with friends and family at my house. The way everybody should see in 30.

I am my own biggest critic. I give myself a hard time for everything, I seriously cannot be happy with myself, so when I realised that I had made a lot of plans that I had wanted to have done by this age and that none of them had been accomplished, I got really down on myself. I wont go into what they are, mainly because they'll seem silly and people will say "but what about all these other things you've done .... " and its not for other people to comment on.

A few other things struck me when I turned 30...

  • Its been 11 1/2 years since I have seen my mum. She passed in 1998 after battling cancer for 12 years.
  • Its been 12 years since I had the accident. I lost three fingers on my right hand and spent a lot of time in hospital having a lot of different procedures that still make me feel like a scar-covered freak.
  • Its been 13 years since I met my beautiful wife and the backbone of my life. Yes, I was 17, we were only together 8 months before my accident and 13 months before my mum died. She is my everything (well, her and Abbey.)
  • Its been 19 years since my parents split. This is a big one, I couldn't believe it had been that long.

While I may occasionally be guilty of wallowing in my own misfortune while having a glass of wine and listening to nostalgia provoking music, I am not one to want or tolerate peoples pity of me. Others in the world are more deserving of that and I don't write posts like this in an attempt to go 'fishing' for comments. I write them because I feel better when I put my feelings into words.

I dont feel thirty. I sometimes hear my voice and think I sound like a 13 year old. I don't feel like I should be old enough for a mortgage, children, married life.... Its a hard feeling to describe. I'm not saying 30 is old, I'm saying I don't feel 30... Or old... whatever.

I'm a seriously lucky guy, I have a beautiful healthy family, I live in a great city within an even greater country. I am the ultimate optimist, I hate negativity, the glass is *always* half full and I sometimes fear I haven't entirely grasped the situation when I am positively moving forward while others seem to be going mad in their stress.

I created an email address for Abbey the other day so I can email her my thoughts and feelings (yes, I know she is 2) and I will hand over the login details for her when she is 16. I tried to keep a book for her, but I never had it on me when I had something to add into it. I also started a new site just for her... - somewhere for me to log her amazing adventure through speech.

Buenos Noches friends, I hope you'll be here when I post about my 40th.


Weekly Tweets

  • Its amazing how many 'unsubscribe' links are broken or the page is not functional in some way. How convenient. #
  • Thats It! I've had it! Unsubscribing from all mailing lists, deleting and filtering all my emails... Will achieve inbox Zero by 31/01/10. #
  • I think I am going to start smoking again. Or pretending too. They get so many breaks during the day! #
  • CRIME: Murder In Miniature {@time article from 1994) #
  • Spent so much time with my little girl over the break. Was so nice, but hard to be away from her today. Barely spent anytime on the laptop. #
  • @tekchic Ok, it didn't take much, but you've twisted my arm. :) in reply to tekchic #
  • One of my resolutions is to learn Ruby. But now I am thinking it should be Python. Is it too late to change my resolution? Maybe both? #
  • Now that I am 30, I am convinced I will never captain the Wallabies. It's heart breaking. #
  • Bought iconoclasm for my iPhone. But looks like it won't let me place icons anywhere. $3 wasted. #
  • @zlot I'm a big Civ fan, played them all. in reply to zlot #
  • I am stunned that people still try to get drugs into Bali - you'd have to be mentally challenged. #

Tagged as: No Comments