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Small update on the eBay scammer. I reported them to the eBay fraud & abuse contact-system. Then I found out that if you've reported an account, eBay locks you out of the ability to leave negative (public) feedback on them. This is obviously another way for the fraudster to skirt the system; if I report, I can't warn others. I *don't* know if I leave the feedback first whether I'm also blocked from reporting them; the deeper problem is that eBay doesn't communicate this to you in advance.
Consarnit I spent nearly 20 minutes trying to figure out why I couldn't connect to this pocket router I wanted to flash OpenWrt onto.
Gave up and 12 hours later noticed that I already had an entry for it in my password manager, so it has been running OpenWrt for like a year now. Except not running, because I'd left it sitting in the "to do" hardware box on the shelf.
But missing documentation bugs the most when I see someone ask a reasonable question online, and the "correct" answer to their issue is to set up some third package (usually system-level) or make some low-level config change, such as standing up a reverse web proxy.
It happens a ton in the "smart home"/"cloud-service replacement" space. It crosses into false advertizing, IMHO. "Oh, PackageFoo can do that. You just need to set up the routing rules & install the git HEAD version of python_bar."
I gripe a lot about documentation, but in reality there's a lot I can figure out on my own. It just takes longer. I'm trying to empathize with people who don't have the privilege of 1.5 decades of working with FOSS under their belts.
I'm also quite privileged to have spent years getting to know core FOSS developers, so I have an unfair advantage wherein I can shoot messages to knowlegable hackers and even maintainers and they'll reply.
Free Software Smarthome Life, volume infinity:
- SyncThing: sounds like a good design; can't run on a sever that has no GUI. Can't be started automatically.
- Home Assistant: looks nearly comprehensive in terms of features; has no Android app but does have iOS. 98% of integrations are about 25% complete; weekly releases break everything; configuration architecture is tangled ball of spaghetti YAML.
- TVHeadend: documentation 15% complete; forums are a wasteland of unanswered basic questions.
eBay also now allows you to create listings for known products that use stock photos that eBay *provides*, negating the need to rip off the original auction's pictures. And you can use the "sell one like this" feature to pre-fill all of the details, so eBay itself essentially offers a built-in "clone someone else's auction" toolkit.
I presume that anyone doing this at scale is also sophisticated enough to maintain several accounts, and even to cross eBay with Amazon & other marketplaces.
I did have some protections in place to block these parasites; they've just, naturally, gotten more sophisticated over the years. For example, eBay apparently now lets you make certain auctions as "private" so that, after the fact, no one can see the listing details or the bidders/winners. Which makes it hard for me to locate the scammer's parasite listing. Also, they have apparently found ways to gamify the "verified address" process of Paypal, which is real troubling. It's an arms race.
So one of the people who bought something from me on eBay has, upon further research, turned out to clearly be one of thoe scammy drop-shipper parasites. I still got paid, but they're ripping off somebody downstream.
Fortunately for downstream I decided it was worth the schadenfreude to print up documentation of the whole thing and mail it separately to the person getting (more) ripped off, with a suggestion of how to report it to eBay. We'll see what happens. Happy Holidays!
So I dimly recall there being a local 'missing person' story in the news last week. Went and searched "missing person" on Google News. It's hard not to notice the filter that exists between missing-person stories on local news sources versus the missing-person stories that make the cut for national reporting. Let's just say that if you're going to go missing, there's only one demographic that will get your story out there, so think it over before you vanish.
One from the #irony department. Either Whalebird or GNOME (or both) cannot correctly handle mixing RTL and LTR text in notifications ... on my post about someone looking for an RTL-experienced text developer....
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