Elliott C. Back: Internet & Technology

Microsoft’s Mistake: Vista Editions

Posted in Microsoft,Optimization by Elliott Back on March 2nd, 2008.

One of the reasons that Microsoft’s Vista operating system isn’t as successful as Windows XP (see Was Windows XP Microsoft’s last good OS?) is that it suffers from a version explosion. Where Windows XP offered a Home and Professional version which differed from each other in a simple list of features, Windows Vista comes in five versions:

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Note that visual studio actually has 8 versions…

This is in comparison to OSX, which comes in one version, and linux which comes in hundreds of versions but is at least free. Perhaps their next os, vienna, will come in a single edition at a single global price, but that’s probably too much to hope for.

Identity Theft & Mistaken Identity

Posted in Counterfeit,FBI,Law,Life,Milestones,My Blog,Spam by Elliott Back on June 16th, 2006.

Ever since my name and address became basically public information, and my blog decently read, I’ve had interesting experiences with various kinds of identity confusion. Some of it is cute, some of it is malicious, and some of it plainly scary. It’s strange that the content of blog, which sometime is just a mirror, can confuse me with otherwise notable individuals! Perhaps if I had some way of absorbing the identities, brains, and bank accounts of the people confused with me I’d like it more.

Christopher Paolini

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A beautiful photo of a dragonfruit, which looks difficult to eat

The author of award-winning children’s fantasy novels Eragon and Eldest is certainly not I, and yet a post which was supposed to clear the matter up only made it worse. Here is a small selection of the fanmail I’ve received over the years:

  • A short story titled Warriors of Lost Time. The story is obsessed with adjective razor-sharp (“… me with a scimitar and small gladiator shield that’s razor sharp all around, Drake with a razor sharp crescent blade …”), includes completely unbelievable events (“That’s when we realized that we had slept for 45 years without knowing it…”), and abuses narrative surprise (“So we went to the mountains and tried to mine but we found dwarves. Dwarves! We couldn’t believe our eyes.”).
  • Many short inquiries of the nature, “if this is christophere paolini please email me back cos i want to ask some questions and i love ure books.”
  • International fanmail, “I am 17-aged Corean girl, (do you know ‘Corea’ anyway?).”

A Wedding Photographer

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A couple being married; hopefully happy

It was interesting when I received an email asking for wedding photography services:

My wife and i are planning to have our wedding on September 27th, 2006 at St Paul’s Church Bow Common Burdett Road,. I am looking for the best photographer who will come and snapshot on the D-day and when i came across your email i was impressed.

It could have been a complicated bit of spam, but why would spam bother to ask me how much it would cost to have the photographs taken?

A Bored Housewife / Teenage Music Lover / Sickly Man

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While I love listening to music and reading…

Apparently, I’m the kind of guy who needs to test his blood sugar frequently because of diabetes, because I was signed up for telemarketing information calls about blood meters. However, one call was all it took to get my name off their list.

I was also surprised to get “Jack Black: Welcome to BMG Music Service!” in my inbox one day. I would sign up for a CD club scheme, and yet somehow someone signed me up. A quick email took care of that problem.

The most recent “I’ve been signed up for services I didn’t want” episode was today’s Home & Garden magazine bill. I ask you–do I look like I’d read H&G?

Flemming Rose

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Fire’s a bad way to die–aparently it’s quite hot.

According to the Nation, a Saudi Arabian newspaper claimed that an “Elliot Back” was the notorious editor of the “Mohammed Cartoons” and perished in a fire in his apartment. Unfortunately, neither is true. The actual culture editor of Jyllands Posten is Fleming Rose.

Various other Elliott, Elliot, Eliott, or Eliot forms

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Someday someone is bound to think that I’m Missy Elliott. w00t!

Because I’ve owned the address elliott@cornell.edu for some time, people wanting to email any of the other e(l)+io(t)+@cornell.edu have often addressed me incorrectly. Moreover, I’ve had companies interview me and send congratulations to a different elliott@ email address, which has been a big turn off. The problem with being an Elliott is that there are so many ways to spell it. And that’s even without the B├Ąck/Back/Black/Beck problem. If there’s just four ways to spell my first name and four to spell my last name, you arrive at a good fifteen ways to ruin my name.

That’s right–you’ve got a 6.25% of ever getting it right.

I-751 (Petition to Remove Greencard Conditions) Tips

Posted in Government,Law,USA by Elliott Back on May 14th, 2013.

I recently went through the successful application to remove conditions on residence (I-751) with my wife, and found there were a few things I could have done better with my initial submission.

We unfortunately received (and responded to) an RFE (Request for Evidence) due to insufficient documentation for the petition. I had included standard items, like the last joint bank statements, marriage certificate, etc, but it wasn’t enough to prove a “bona fide” marriage.

Some tips I’d suggest for anyone looking to file this on their own:

  • Consult a lawyer when preparing your filings. Yes, it will cost you $300-$600, but it can help you prevent mistakes at the onset.
  • Draft up a cover letter detailing each piece of evidence, the time span it covers, across various categories
  • Include any beneficiary information you have
  • Your evidence should span the entire period of marriage–in my RFE I submitted information from just before our marriage date, quarterly, to the present
  • Highlighting the petitioner’s name, spouse’s name, and dates on evidence will help your examiner work the case faster
  • Include a couple affidavits; it’s easy to ask your friends/colleagues to draft one, and helpful.

Note: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, just my own personal experience.

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