Firstly, thank you to everyone who checked their Amazon accounts to see if my paperbacks were available. Your feedback has helped me narrow down some possible answers – i.e. that the problem has something to do with my use of Ingram Spark for countries not covered by the Amazon marketplaces. I’ve sent an email off to KDP support outlining what the problem is and what we’ve ‘found’. I’ll keep you posted about the outcome.
And while I was messing around with my KDP dashboard, I came across a new, beta version of the Reports. I rarely used them in the past because they were so…useless. I’m thrilled to say that the new, beta version is MUCH better.
As I was tootling around the beta version, I discovered that I’ve earned roughly $15 AUD from sales in Australia! That really surprised me. It also made me dance with joy because it was so unexpected. I do have online friends from Australia, but I just didn’t think they’d be buying.
Okay, okay, I never think anyone is buying. That is more of my upbringing at work, and it’s not helped by the fact that Amazon US will only pay me when, or if, my total sales reach $100. So far I’ve only had one payment that passed that threshold so it’s not all my fault.
I’ve often wondered what happens to that residue if you unpublish with Amazon. Or die. Or never reach $100. Are they allowed to keep those funds, however small, forever? Hopefully one day, Amazon will change its payment system so we can be paid via Paypal or something. Ah well.
Anyway, thank you for all your help, and an extra thank you to the Aussies who’ve taken a chance on my stories. 🙂
My thanks to Anonymous who left the following comment:
sorry to say that email is not a scam firstname.lastname@example.org is a legitimate email address from one drive. Alot of people have one drive accounts as part of their ms products but have never used it. this email lets you know your account has been inactive for 2 years so they are going to delete it. if you have never used one drive it will be empty anyway
The screenshot above is taken from the Microsoft article referenced by the link. As you can see by the URL in the address bar, it’s a genuine Microsoft article and confirms that ’email@example.com’ is also genuine.
Last but not least, Microsoft advises that if you have any doubts about the email:
DO. NOT. CLICK. ANY. LINK. IN. AN. EMAIL
The hard part is knowing which email is a scam and which is not. For that reason, I stand by what I wrote in the original version of this post – don’t click ANY links in any email. It’s just not worth the pain if you get it wrong. Go to the website from your own address bar. That way you will know that you are not being sent to a scam website.
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
I found this email in my inbox last night:
I took a screenshot and deleted personal stuff so you could see what it looks like.
Firstly, how did I know this was a scam? Simple – I don’t use Microsoft OneDrive. I have NEVER used OneDrive.
Next, if you look at the email sender it says:
Not even a hint of Microsoft anywhere. ‘mail.onedrive’ is a domain that has nothing to do with Microsoft. [When you register a domain, no one else can use it. But there is nothing to stop someone from registering a domain that ‘hints’ at belonging to a well known company].
And finally, do you see the big, red ‘YOU’? I put that in to highlight the poor grammar used in the body of the email. You won’t always find poor grammar, but when you do, it’s a dead giveaway. Whoever set up this scam copied trademarked elements of the Microsoft brand and cobbled them together along with a few bits of their own.
So, what’s the point of this scam email?
The point is to get you to click any one of the links in the email. Those links will not take you to a genuine Microsoft web page. If the scammers are better than most, they will fake up a second page to soothe any lingering suspicions. Otherwise they may just give you some kind of error message. But while you’re staring at the message and wondering what to do, you could be downloading a virus or a worm or a trojan or a keylogger onto your computer.
Why is that bad? It’s bad because you could lose your privacy, your internet banking password, or find your computer is being used in a network to scam yet more people. And those are just three things off the top of my head.
Given how many people use Microsoft products, this scam could cause a hell of a lot of damage.
DO. NOT. CLICK. ANY. LINKS. IN. AN. EMAIL….especially this one.
In my last post I sent out a call for help, and my wonderful online friends answered.
This is the ‘before’ blurb:
‘Innerscape is marketed as a digital paradise where the terminally ill live out their lives in young, pain free bodies indistinguishable from the real thing. But Miira Tahn, last Lady of Dhurai, soon discovers that all is not well in paradise; an assassin is stalking the Burning Man, and nothing is what it seems. Together with friends, Kenneth Wu and Jaimie Watson, Miira becomes embroiled in a deadly game of cat and mouse where losing means death. Only by fighting back can she save herself, and those she loves.’
This is the ‘after’ blurb that will accompany the Omnibus onto the Kindle:
Innerscape: a virtual paradise where the terminally ill live out their lives in young, pain free bodies. But Miira Tahn discovers paradise is an illusion. An assassin stalks the Burning Man. Lies masquerade as truth. Together with her friends, Miira plunges into a deadly game of cat and mouse. If she loses, she loses everything. Her life – Those she loves – All of Innerscape.
The first frame of Dr John’s video is a photo of a bus in Sweden. It’s chock-a-block full, with everyone jammed up against everyone else. And no face masks either. Apparently the messaging about the virus is…laidback.
Bizarre and rather frightening. 😦
By contrast, I found the news from my state, Victoria, very heartening. It comes in a video from an Australian nurse that Dr John included in its entirety. The nurse is here in Melbourne, and she began with the news that our Premier, Daniel Andrews, is putting his foot down. Can’t tell you how happy that makes me.
You can also find the latest news about Victorian restrictions on the VicEmergency app. The app provides real time info on all threats from bushfires to storms etc. The virus info is under ‘Warnings’. If you don’t have the app. you can download it for free from the Google Playstore. Oh, and the Australian video is spliced in at around minute 11:45 of Dr John’s update:
The Offspring and I are well. In fact, we’ve been eating very well because of the need not to waste anything! The Offspring is making fruit deserts, and I’m making ‘No Knead Bread’ to reduce our dependence on outside sources. Friends and family seem to be doing much the same so I’m sure we’ll come out of this okay. I do fear for those who aren’t taking the threat seriously though. All I can say is #StayHome .
I hope all my online friends are safe and well. That means you. -hugs-
There is nothing specifically new in Dr John’s update today, yet in some ways I found it even more compelling than previous videos because he’s talking about what this virus means for us. What it means for our lives. And why our behaviour can cause the death of people we may never see.
We have to move past the…inconvenience that Covid-19 may cause us to a concern about others.
Some will think this is Care Bear stuff, but the bottom line is that no society or culture can survive if we’re all just in it for ourselves.
The compassion and integrity we show now, to others, will determine what kind of society we have when this pandemic finally ends.
One of the first things I read this morning was that the WHO have finally declared Covid-19 to be a pandemic. It’s hardly a surprise, and yet the news sent a sick shiver down my spine. I only hope that authorities all over the world finally throw away their rose coloured glasses and put their countries on a war footing.
What does that mean?
I hope it means that governments close borders, stop public events, restrict public transport, set up drive through testing stations, and triage industry so that everyone gets the necessities of life, like toilet paper. Beyond that, I hope they force industry to change production, where possible, so that critical medical supplies and equipment take priority.
Why? Because we will not be able to source these critical supplies from overseas, not once the virus really starts to bite. Sadly, we are about to learn that self-sufficiency is more important than global trade agreements.
Will it be possible to become ‘self sufficient’ in the critical things?
Maybe. I have no idea whether local companies have the capacity to build hundreds of new ventilators, but at the very least, we need to have people capable of repairing them if need be. And those people should become critical resources in their own right.
Ditto food production and transport.
Ditto food delivery to beleaguered households.
Ditto medical supplies, not just for hospitals, but for people with chronic illnesses. If they can’t get their prescriptions filled, many will die.
Ditto delivery of prescriptions.
And on and on and on. I don’t know enough about how to run a city much less a country, but someone must, and that someone or someones have to put procedures in place to deal with the logistics of supplying a country in lockdown.
Will it happen?
I don’t think so, not yet. From statements put out by state and federal governments here in Australia, it seems that most are still trying to juggle health vs the economy. An example of this is the Andrews government’s decision to allow the Grand Prix to go ahead in Melbourne. We’ve heard on the news that members of the Renault, McLaren and Haas teams have been put into self-isolation while awaiting test results. Yet the government and organisers are still saying the race will go ahead…with spectators.
Why can’t we be sensible like Bahrain and ban spectators? Or be like China and postpone the Grand Prix altogether?
Covid-19 is already loose in Melbourne. The latest victim is a teacher at Carey, a prestigious private school, who tested positive despite NOT having travelled or knowingly interacted with someone who has. That means the virus is already in the community.
I very much fear that shutting the economy down will cost less, in the long run, than letting this virus rampage through the community at the speed of light. Have a look at this graph from Dr John:
The labels are mine in case you don’t want to watch the whole video [which is here]. In Italy, the authorities were taken by surprise and the virus pretty much spread unchecked before they even realised they had a problem. That is basically the red line. The North Italian hospitals are only treating the most severe patients and they are still not coping. Translate that into people dying because there are not enough beds, ventilators and staff to keep them alive.
The blue line on the graph is what happens when governments stop people from congregating and spreading the virus. There are still infections and sick people in hospitals, but the hospitals can cope and the fatality rate goes waaaaay down.
Oh, and by the way, all those who think that Covid-19 will only kill off the ‘old and sick’, think again. The latest figures from Italy show that the median age is now 65.
Median does not mean ‘average’. Median means the middle point in a long line stretching from youngest to oldest. Or, to put it in really simple terms, there are now as many people under 65 dying of Covid-19 as above 65. Think about that.
You should also think about the positive side of this equation. The ‘draconian’ measures enforced by China to stop the spread of Covid-19 are working. The rate of new infections is slowing. That means China is coming out of the sharp red spike on the graph. Their situation is improving.
Here in Australia we are still in denial, and every day of ‘business as usual’ and ‘let’s protect the economy’ pushes us closer to the Italian nightmare.
My thanks to Don Charisma for posting the latest Dr John Campbell health video on his blog.
For those who haven’t yet heard of Dr John, he’s a retired UK nurse/teacher/researcher who is analysing the latest data about this virus and explaining it to us. He has a Youtube channel, and this is his latest video:
I strongly recommend watching the entire video because it is full of information relevant to different countries, but here are the bits of particular interest to me.
Confined spaces and aircon
There was some meticulous research done [in China] on the spread of infection in a bus. I don’t know what it is about the air conditioning in the bus, but it basically doubled the radius of infection to 4.5 metres. In simple terms, the virus from an infected passenger travelled much further than previously thought.
Note: the radius of infection is basically how far droplets containing virus will spread in the air before falling to the ground.
Virus survival on surfaces
Another thing that worried me is the information about how long the virus survives on surfaces such as metal, cloth, paper etc. It can survive – on surfaces – at 37C for days. That’s roughly 10C more than previously thought. That means this virus is hardier than we imagined. It also means that every infected person has the potential to infect people he or she is never in physical contact with.
Think about all the shopping trolley handles we touch, how many counters in shops, how many door knobs, tables, chairs… The list is endless, which means we have to be super vigilant, not just to protect ourselves, but to protect those we love. Do NOT soldier on, you could kill someone.
And finally, a word about government intervention. The countries that have been proactive about stopping the spread of Covid-19 are doing better than those which have not. We need to learn what works and do it in our own countries.
One thing which has worked particularly well in South Korea is ‘drive through testing’. You stay safe inside your car – your own little bubble of protection – and drive away without having to come in physical contact with others who may or may not be infected.
When I saw news footage of people waiting in long queues [here] to be tested, my first thought was, “well, if they didn’t have it before, they may well have it now”. Gatherings of people who may already be infected is such a bad idea…
Daniel Andrews [Premier of my state of Victoria] has declared that his government is going to take more stringent measures against the spread of Covid-19. I’m glad, but I still think that allowing Moomba and the Grand Prix to go ahead in Melbourne was a bad idea.
I understand that we do not yet have the level of community spread that triggers more ‘stringent’ measures, but we also don’t have the community awareness required to take this threat seriously. Traditional, normal public gatherings like these simply reinforce the idea that we’re ‘safe’.
We’re not safe, and we have to get used to that idea. We have to get used to taking precautions such as wearing masks and gloves, washing our hands religiously, staying away from crowds and air conditioned centres. We have to start doing these things now so that when things do get worse, they’ll get worse at a slower rate.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to slow the spread of this virus.
The following is a screenshot of a thread I read on Twitter last night. It’s from Northern Italy and describes a health care system teetering on the brink of collapse. Yet Northern Italy has a world class health system.
We have world class hospitals in Australia too, but people with the pneumonia stage of the infection need ventilators. These machines are capable of breathing for the patient until they are capable of breathing on their own again. But if everyone gets sick at once, how many are going to miss out on ventilators because there aren’t enough to go around? How many will die?
Deaths by age
Going back to the Dr John video, the stats showing the break down of deaths by age show that small children appear to be remarkably resilient:
From the age of 10 onwards, however, young people do die from Covid-19 as well. 0.2% of deaths amongst young people may not sound like much, but they are still people, real people.
Do you really want your ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to result in the death of your brother, sister, best friend, lover, wife, husband?
Or what about your parents? Aunts? Uncles? Grandparents?
We have to slow the spread of this virus, and we have to start now.
Just a very quick update to tell you that Malacoota is okay, thanks to a southerly cool change. Unfortunately, the wind change that is now pushing the fires away from the township of Malacoota is putting other small communities at risk. There have also been about twelve new ignitions in Victoria [my state] caused by lightning strikes. The battle continues.
May all the courageous people fighting these fires stay safe until we finally get enough rain to put these fires out for good.
I have my Windows 7 updates set to manual, meaning I get the notification, but the update isn’t installed automatically. If you do the same, and you haven’t already installed update KB4512506, do NOT install it:
The update is called:
2019-08 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB4512506) 285.9 MB
That 285.9 MB update size was suspicious, so I tried to get further information, but the links [on the update page] did not work. So I went online and searched for KB4512506. This is what I found on the Microsoft forum:
The critical part here is this:
Further down the Microsoft forum page you can find workarounds that may help you fix the error if it’s already happened to you.
If it hasn’t, I strongly recommend ‘hiding’ this update so Windows won’t install it. This is how:
With the update page displayed, right click update KB4512506. You should now see a small popup with just two options:
Click ‘Hide update’.
This will cause the update to be ‘greyed out’. You can now install all the other updates if you wish.
Just a bit of history about this contentious update. The size of the file makes me think it’s an updated version of an earlier update [March? April?] that I refused to install. The reason I refused to install it back then was because under the Support link it stated clearly that installing the update would lead to problems with the Network Card. Thanks but no thanks.
I still don’t know exactly what this update was meant to fix, but I continued to not install it while I waited for Microsoft to fix whatever caused the problems with the Network card. Microsoft never did, through multiple updates. Now, it appears they’ve made it even worse, all without warning ordinary users of the potential harm it can cause.
Curiously, not installing the update allowed nothing ‘bad’ to happen to my pc. I admit that might be because I have one of the best anti-virus software installed, but it does make you think, doesn’t it?
If I were a writing a novel, the cast of characters might include an unscrupulous multinational corporation that deliberately sabotaged its clients just to make them buy its latest product. Luckily, even I’m not that much of a conspiracy theorist. 🙂
I’m so excited, I don’t know what to do with myself. I finally got up the courage to ask Amazon to make Miira [book 1 of Innerscape] permafree to match B&N, Kobo et al,… and it’s happening!
So far, I’ve checked amazon.com and amazon.com.au, and the ebook is $0.00 on both! Sadly, amazon.co.uk hasn’t gone to permafree yet, but I’m sure it’s on the way. This has literally just happened, or at least I’ve only just noticed. If anyone sees Miira going permafree somewhere else, please let me know.
It’s odd, this feels like an early Christmas present. At least now I have the hope that more people will give Innerscape a try. And to celebrate, we’re getting pizza tonight.
-thinks- I might just indulge in some Cabernet Sauvignon as well. 🙂