The “Title Compliance Board” Mail Scam

March 31, 2009

image I received a letter today from the “Title Compliance Board – Department of Records Retrieval”.  It looks pretty official and listed my property’s Assessor’s ID on the letter and there wasn’t any “we’re not affiliated with the government” notices on the page as required by law.  So far so good.

It said that if I wasn’t in possession of my property’s title deed, it was a critical document that I must have and I had until April 6th (1 week) to request a copy for the processing charge of $79.  Wow.  Sounds important!  How nice that they would apparently provide the service for sending a certified copy of the deed from the County Recorder’s office.

Frankly, I was pretty sure that I had this locked away in my paperwork box but I figured, this couldn’t hurt to have.  So I signed the document, slapped a stamp on the envelope and started making for my checkbook.  The problem was… something didn’t seem right.  The more I thought about it the more my Spidey senses started tingling and so I did a quick search on “Los Angeles Title Compliance Board”.

Lo and behold, look at what I turned up:

It’s an article from Tracy King, a Pasadena-based Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agent… oops.  I mean “REALTOR”.  And it points out the embarrassing fact that not only is this some sort of perverse scam going on with this “Title Compliance Board”, (which turns out to be a completely private company and in no way affiliated with the city/county) and that you can order a copy of your deed for $6 on the Internet from the LA Recorder at In fact, if you ever need your deed for a sale, your Real Estate Agent or the Title Company can get it for you.

Okay.  On one hand, I wanna pat myself on the back for at least having the presence of mind to check this thing out before I wrote a check.  On the other hand, I also wanna slap myself.  I was almost easy pickings for some predatory scam.

Thanks Tracy.  No one else bothered to write about this in all of the Internet, but you did and provided me with the warning I needed.  Good piece of sales/marketing for yourself too and as a salesperson, I salute that kind of sharp thinking.

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WEB: “10 Business Lessons From ‘Battlestar Galactica’”

March 24, 2009

image At first I thought this was a joke, then I read through it and realized someone put some serious thought into this.

This is a list written by PC World’s Robert Strohmeyer on March 20th that goes over some actual good points to consider in IT and in business.  How he came up with them… well, that took some imagination.

Oh.  And it took some serious nerdpower to crank it out too.  We’re talkin’ 100% grade A, gettin’ Robert’s geek on.  The line about “updating one’s antivirus” was a good one though.  Made me snicker. 

Well done, PC World. 

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CBS2 discovers an Office Depot that mandates the sale of warranties with laptop sales

March 23, 2009

Now this is pretty unbelievable.

CBS2 News last night discovered an unsaid store policy at Office Depot in La Cresenta, CA that basically had sales personnel tell customers that the laptop they wanted was “out of stock” if that person tries to buy it without the infamous “store warranty”.

The fact that the store manager was such a jerk… to institute a policy like this just to boost attach rates on warranties… wow. 

Click HERE for video:

Then, just when I think it can’t get any nastier:

HD Guru & Gizmodo report on a Best Buy policy that unlike the Office Depot policy… is written.  In a document.  For distribution.  Apparently, the policy is that if someone comes in and tries to price match, basically do everything in your power to refuse the price match.  To what appears to be an extreme.

This is a shame, because I admittedly like perusing Best Buy.  I’m one of those suckers that wanders around looking for things to buy while there.  The fact that I loathe Fry’s Electronics also keeps me coming back.  But to companies that do stuff like this?  Hrmmm.

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Come see Sarah Silverman and support Animal Rescues!

March 10, 2009

imageOn March 15th, “2nd Street Jazz” (366 E. 2nd Street, LA, 90012) will be holding a benefit for local Animal Rescues. 

Headlining the event will be Sarah Silverman.

2nd Street Jazz – feat. Sarah Silverman
366 E. 2nd Street, LA, 90012
(213) 680-0047

There is a$5 cover.


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The Unfortunate Demise of 97.1 Free FM in Los Angeles

March 4, 2009

image I was pretty taken aback by the demise of 97.1 FreeFM.  Carolla, Leykis, Bonaduce, Conway & Whitman… I’d tune in to hear them every so often (especially when KROQ played the overplayed “Red Hot Chili Peppers” or much HATED “System of a Down”)  Even if Frosty, Heidi, and Frank were on, I’d still listen because even they were good for a laugh or two.

It seemed that the transition to AMP Radio was one that was in the works for a while.  Which meant that things weren’t going all that well at 97.1 FM for a while.

There were straight up accusations made by Frank Kramer from the FHF Show and Adam Carolla seemed to imply the the reason for the station’s demise in his final show.  Tom in his defense stated that “CBS never approached him about taking a paycut”… however he never said anything about CBS asking for a renegotiation of his contract which semantically is an entirely different thing.

Then one day, I found this written by someone calling himself “PaidMediaAnalyst” on Tom Leykis’ own board:

As someone worked for CBS Radio (over 7+ years until FEB 13 09), I can confirm that all syndicated and non-syndicated on-air and production staff were indeed asked to re-negotiate their contracts last OCT 08. The requisite 90 days passed and all but one on-air show collective agreed to do so. I’ll let you all speculate which show that was.

Since SEPT 08, CBS Radio knew this would be a make or breaking point for the future of their business. We were all scared of what the eventual outcome would be. The bean counters in NY all knew they (CBS Radio) needed an option in case things wouldn’t align in their favor. Image packages, drops, beds, etc, were all produced are procured in late 2008. Hardware was purchased and delivered to CBS LA ENG Group for installation weeks ago. Systems were tested, on air availability of the systems were proofed and confirmed. It was then the day to morph into Vibe was quietly announced prior to FEB 18th.

I really believed we provided an upscale product within a niche no one else could service. With current economic times, it just wasn’t marketable to the extent required to support the operation and produce a profit – end of story.

A footnote; since Serious XM Satellite Radio has been on the skids, Stern’s show has also been asked to re-negotiate their contract. The entities involved with that negotiation are not faring well. Since Serious/XM dodged a bankruptcy bullet by agreeing to have Liberty Media acquire 44+ % in cash and stock, it looks like the same people who bring you DIRECTV will have a new product themselves, but it won’t obviously be a Howard Stern Show at $100 million a year for the next 22 months… not likely at all.

I have been in the radio industry, terrestrial and satellite, since 1980. I have worked in the LA market (mostly in syndication) since 1987.

So if you take this as gospel, which most of even the forum boards seem to be, I think that pretty much answers the question:  “What happened?”.  If you read between the lines, it’s would appear that Leykis’ decision to not renegotiate ultimately was the lynch pin in the station’s final change to a new format.  He was not the fundamental cause of the station’s demise – that can be squarely laid upon the station’s format and management.

But he was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  They needed to rebalance the books and their long term debt and Leykis wasn’t going to budge for better or for worse. 

RIP 97.1 Free FM.

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INFO: Net Applications reports Windows Vista adoption continues to climb

March 3, 2009

WinVistaLogo01 I’m not usually one for the rah-rah fanboyish drivel around our products but I have to say that the slant of most articles by some of the most annoyingly inaccurate news sources (I’m sure you know who they are) is so ridiculous, someone has to point out a few of the bare facts.  And today, that someone is me.

So what’s to know?  In a nutshell, this is the way end user operating system marketshare has gone in February, according to TGDaily & Net Applications, a marketshare survey company:

  • Microsoft Operating Systems increased marketshare from 88.20% to 88.42%.
    After constantly hearing how Microsoft is fighting its Waterloo with Windows Vista against Apple… after all the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Apple advertisements…  isn’t it shocking to discover that hey, whattayaknow:  With 88.42% of the market, Windows is still far and away, the most popular, well-adopted operating system on the planet in both business & consumer segments.

    Okay, not enough for ya?  Apple Operating Systems lost marketshare in February and sits at 9.61%, down .28%.  And Linux end user marketshare still lists at a minimal total of .88%, although rising.

  • Windows Vista marketshare is 22.79% worldwide, up .31% from January.
    The death of Windows Vista has apparently been greatly exaggerated, but some Internet news outlets would have you believe that no one in the known universe uses Windows Vista, with the way they report it.

    The fact remains that Windows Vista has seen good success in both the business & consumer markets and is effectively on the SAME adoption curve as Windows 2000 was back in 2002, 2 1/2 years after it’s release.  But it seems the press is infatuated with spinning adoption numbers by comparing them with the much more senior Windows XP… despite the fact that Windows XP has been on the market for 3 times as long.  Windows XP has been available for 7 years compared to Windows Vista’s 2 1/2 year life so far.


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