ArcoJedi's Holocron

Who is ArcoJedi? A life-journeying Christian, ecstatic husband, proud father of four, web guru, all-around geek and Star Wars fanatic. Read these thoughts that he felt were worthwhile. Then wonder why he thought that way.


No Child Left Behind - Broken From the Beginning (Facebook)

Back in 2010 or so, I created a Facebook Group specifically for bitching about and spreading information on the negative effects of the No Child Left Behind Act. This was a terrible policy and law brought to us by the George W. Bush White House, and it needed to be repealed or heavily overhauled. This did happen in 2015, when NCLB was replaced by the Every Student Succeeds Act.

My main complaint about the NCLB was that while it had a laudable goal of improving schools, the actual method seemed to be draconian in nature. For any schools or school systems that struggled, the method seemed to be to restrict or narrow their budget. Reduce federal or state funding for any school that didn't improve. But that's not really how education works. If a school system is struggling, they need MORE money and support instead of less.

I had forgotten about the group I created, as it didn't really go very far. I'm archiving some of the links I posted here just for my recollection. Most of them were to similar groups with similar goals.

That was fun, if I recall. It was short-lived and I closed the group shortly thereafter. This probably marked my first foray into getting heavily political on Facebook. Perhaps I just needed to do something more than rant.

Hey wait... Why am I back on Facebook? More about this later...


Hosting Karaoke

So, I'm hosting a weekly karaoke night now. And getting paid for it! Let me explain.

Through working with Zyi Li, I've met a whole network of musicians, venues and new friends. One of the places that MO ECHO played last year was a Mexican place called Padrinos. I think the story was that Zyi knew the owners and hosted a regular weekly open mic / karaoke night there. After a few months of establishing that, Zyi gave it over to some friends from MO BRAVO, two of the folks I knew the best from that band. They were singer Erica Soulstice who handled karaoke on Fridays and guitarist Michael Marciano, who handled open mic on Thursdays and sometimes booked bands for Saturdays. Well, at the time that was going well, Zyi made sure to pass my name along as someone that could substitute for them at various times.

Erica showed me the works with the karaoke set up at Padrinos first. They have their own PA system and all the mics and stands needed. All I needed was to show up with a laptop and a subscription to Karafun. And I started substituting for her whenever that was possible. And I really loved it. I've also subbed for Mike on a Thursday once and that was a great time too.

Fast forward to this past month. Erica has gotten an opportunity for something out in California, so 7/21 was her last event. I took over permanently on 7/28 and will be hosting karaoke at Padrinos every Friday from 9pm until midnight. It's my own weekly musical event and it's such a great time every time.

Anyhow, if you are reading this then you are invited to come on out and enjoy a fun evening. Sign up and sing or just sit back, enjoy a margarita and listen to the music.

Bonus: Check out MO BRAVO in this video from last year, playing a variety from Padrino's humble stage.

And here's MO ECHO from a different night.


All Things Local STL: Zyi Li Music & Entertainment

Check out my buddy and bandmate Zyi Li giving a summary and introduction of what he's been doing for the last few years with his music networking organization.

I may have mentioned this before, but Zyi is a powerhouse at bringing people together and making things happen. I have found that being in a band, the most important piece for success is organization and Zyi has been so good at keeping MO ECHO Brass Band organized. It's honestly very inspiring.


No, There Are No Litter Boxes in the Bathrooms at Your Local High School

People will really believe anything. It's honestly very sad. But just in case you've innocently fallen victim to this bigoted hoax, here is some more information.

How did we get here? Well John Oliver has the scoop:

See more about Transgender Rights on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

There are no litter boxes in local schools or ANY school anywhere in the USA. This was all just a lie to make transgender kids look bad. And give open cause for violence or bigotry against them. The rumor started because it came from an edited video of a teacher talking about how fucked up the US school system is, because she was given a bucket and litter for use in case a kid had to go to the bathroom during an active shooter situation.


There's No Such Thing as a Good Billionaire

There was a short period of time where I was an Elon Musk fan, but that ended quickly after learning more about him. And over the last few years, I've become convinced that the uber-rich are inherently evil. And I do mean all of them.

I've been arguing with folks on twitter about the value and worthiness of the billionaires of the world. I could expand on these ideas, but I'll just let Adam Conover explain it here:

This isn't the first time Adam's talked about this. Here's an episode of Adam Ruins Everything from years ago:

Tax the rich.


For a Developer, What Does Identity Theft Look Like?

I love the Internet, I really do. deep breath But...

It does by it's nature allow a certain kind of terrible identity theft to take place. Please read through the following blog post and collection of investigative material. For clarity, the "me" in the headline is not referring to me personally.

Someone is pretending to be me.

-Source: hackernews

The commonly understood version of identity theft as far as I'm aware of it, is that someone gets your personal information, like your address, birthdate and social security details and signs up for accounts or credit in your name. This steals money from the creditors and steals (or ruins) credit reputation for the victim. The goal is usually short-term and monetary.

However, the story described in the linked post seems much more insidious. In this era of remote development work that has been around since well before the pandemic, there have been many a developer or coder that has worked for a company and never actually met any of the stakeholders face-to-face. Online portfolio websites, online resumés, and public LinkedIn profiles have created an option for some nefarious actors to entirely pretend to be someone else specifically for the sole purpose of soliciting development work based on the reputation of the victim. The specific victim in the blog post linked above was luckily warned by a potential accomplice that was refused to be roped in.

Long story short, a supposed freelance development company (the bad actors here), were attempting to hire a developer named Andrew (the accomplice) to interview and interface with potential clients (so far, so good), all while pretending (uh-oh) to be a developer named Connor (the victim). Once Andrew got the full picture of what was going on, he backed out and contacted Connor directly to warn him. Connor was lucky.

So I previewed the document and it was scary. It was a document intended for someone to have a cheat sheet for an interview on how to act as me.

  • It included a subset of my personal information.
  • It included my education history.
  • It included my employment history.
  • It included my certifications.
  • It included a fake cover letter.
  • It included a fake email/address that was "near" mine.
  • It included information about the company interviewing for.

Connor was very lucky, and smart enough to follow up and investigate all the possible details of the bad actors, and put them on blast. It's a good job of shaming them publicly. But ultimately the criminals in this case can simply move on, rebrand and start working on gathering work on the reputation of the next victim. Ultimately, the independent developer victims lose money because they aren't really the ones getting hired, and their reputations are most likely hurt given that the work is shoddy.

This is very scary. The only way to combat this is to raise awareness of the existence of this scam. I don't exactly have a big reputation or portfolio footprint at this exact moment so it's unlikely I'd be a target. But it's important me and professionals like me to be aware. It's also important for corporations large and small to be aware and do a proper investigation of who it is they are hiring. Since the bad actors are getting hired as "independent contractors" there's no HR investigation or other due diligence, no verifications. Here's more from Connor...

So it seemed like I was starting to understand the picture now.

  • A person/company sets up fake Upwork profiles of real people.
  • They apply to jobs in hopes to get an interview using that fake profile.
  • They find suspecting victims on GitHub who are willing to go along with this.
  • That person uses the identity of someone else to land the job.

Connor's blog post was only first published a few weeks ago, and updated 9 days ago, so this is all very new and continues to develop. He will likely update the post as more details become available. Everyone be careful out there.


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