Misc

Alright, something needs to be said here. What the hell is up with Sears lately? A company that has, for the most part, stayed out of the news has suddenly found itself in a lot of hot water.

Awful Marketing released a story today indicating that Sears has shut down the part of Manage My Home.com that allowed anyone to gain information about the purchase history of virtually any person who had shopped at the store.

However, it looks like it might have been a little too late. According to the Washington Post blog a class action lawsuit was brought against the retail giant in response to their huge oversight of their own privacy policies.

Here is the response that Sears had:

“We take our customers’ privacy concerns very seriously. As a result, we have turned off the ability to view a customer’s purchase history on Manage My Home until we can implement a validation process that will restrict access by unauthorized third parties.”

“Turned off the ability … until we can implement a validation process”? Something smells like male bovine feces to me.

As a web developer, I look at this statement and the first thing that comes to mind is: they wanted it cheap, quick, and now. Handling login and registration processes to keep information secure is a huge part of creating an interactive website. My gut feeling is that somewhere along the way one of the developers probably suggested that they create a secure way to access the information available. Including a sign-in or maybe even a registration (*gasp*). However, somewhere along the way, someone said to that developer: “Well, yea, that’d be great. But how much longer will that take us and how much will it cost?”

Ultimately, the bottom line was the victor for Sears. They could push their website out the door and show people just how cool it was to be able to access information about their previous purchases. I can almost see one of the executives of Sears sitting there in Hoffman Estates sipping on a $250.00 glass of single malt scotch in their $10,000 leather chair guffawing to himself because they got their new website out so quickly and with so little cost.

Well Sears, people are starting to pay attention. This is evident by the current downward slope of their stocks that has occurred as a result of these privacy hacks.

The worst part is: this isn’t the only thing that Sears has done to destroy its reputation in the realm of consumer privacy. Within the past week or two, Sears has also been in the news for the spyware installation that occurs when joining the Sears/K-Mart community. This includes, but is not limited to the transmission of bank logins, browsing history, and so on. More information about this can be found in the CA Security Advisor Research Blog.

Although it may just be a case of coincidence, this writer finds it hard to ignore that these blatant ill practices in terms of their consumer privacy policies come just days after the former head of the company, Edward Brennan passed away. Could it be possible that this person, whose family had worked for Sears for generations, was holding the beast back from chomping on the privacy of its consumers?

Or, has Sears really just decided that they no longer care about the consumer and jumped on the bandwagon of money before people, always?

In either case, I have decided that there are too many other stores out there just like Sears, and frankly, they deserve my business more.

List

If you’ve read any of my posts prior to this one then you probably know that my girlfriend Bonnie is a big fan of UFC, especially the fighter Chuck Liddell. I myself am a fan of mixed martial arts fighting and just fighting in general. While browsing an online fight video site that I frequent, I came across a vicious fight (the last listed one) between a man and a woman. This reminded me of a few other flicks that I had seen online.

Before you go all getting bent out of shape and tell me that it is horrible to see a man fighting a woman, please know that I did not organize these fights. I just think that watching them is interesting. In fact, I think that anything which challenges stereotypes and makes you step outside your normal boundaries is a good thing. Also, these are not videos of “women being beat up by men.” These are women who are willingly and consciously fighting against a male opponent. With all that being said: I bring you, without further ado:

The Top 5 Men VS Women Fighting Videos Online

DISCLAIMER: these videos contain real footage of actual human combat. As such, they may be unsuitable for some viewers and possibly NSFW (depending on where you work I guess).

  • Irma Verhoef vs Marc Gefferie
    This particular video includes an enthusiastic introduction for both fighters in, what looks to be, a pretty packed arena in the Netherlands. The fight itself is impressive with a lot of evident Muay Thai striking with some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu style ground work.
  • Lucia Rijker VS Somchai Jaidee
    You may recognize Lucia Rijker as Billie ‘The Blue Bear’ from the 2004 hit movie Million Dollar Baby. This is a Muay Thai style fight with excellent foot and feet work from both contenders.
  • Blonde Woman VS The Mustached Man
    This looks to be an amateur cage fight with kickboxing rules. Once the fight starts the action starts and doesn’t even take a breather until the fight is over.
  • Stefan Raab vs. Regina Halmich
    This one first caught my attention as the original link I found said that it was Chuck Liddell, who my girlfriend adores, fighting a woman. Indeed, the blurry version of this video with the audio from another fight (link) did look a tad bit like Chuck. But I knew this couldn’t be so. After a bit of digging my suspicion was confirmed. In true Andy Kauffman style, it turns out it is German T.V. personality Stefan Raab in a rematch against the amazingly talented boxing champion Regina Halmich. She broke his nose in 2001. You’ll have to watch the video to see how this rematch in 2007 turned out.
  • Green Shirted Woman VS Bald Man
    This is the intense fight I spoke of earlier which originally sparked this post. This particular video is from Rio Heroes. Rio Heroes has quickly gained popularity with its brutal, live, online fights. The rules are vale tudo style which means that anything goes. This is an intense fight from start to finish and includes striking, grappling, and submission attempts.
  • Well there you have it! The top 5 online videos of men fighting women.

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Relationships

With 2007 now behind us, we can now look back at what the year before brought us. This may bring sadness and frustration to the eyes of many. For some, however, this can be a joy.

Either way, if you are reading this now, then you are moving into the new year with everyone else in the world. While browsing around the internet to see what kind of things have been dug up about the new year, I came across a very interesting post from Financial Hack. The post is entitled Lessons from The Marathon Monks – How to Achieve the Impossible and it is quite amazing. The post illustrates the life of a certain group of Japanese Buddhist monks.

Quite frankly, I have never heard of a more dedicated lifestyle in my life. I started doing a bit of research and the quest these people go on is amazing. I think that anyone could learn a great deal about the limits of being human from such a disciplined and rigorous task. Here is the gist of it:

The Hieizan Sennichi Kaihogyo (Mt. Hiei 1000 Day Journey) – 7 years of testing and training with the “Marathon Monks

First some information:

  • Must spend 1000 days on the road in all seasons – in hand-made straw sandals
  • The path is strewn with jagged rocks, poisonous snakes and uneven ground
  • The monk must carry a knife and rope with them at all times so that if they fail, they can hang and/or disembowel themselves
  • Once a year, the marathon monks and their attendants venture deep into the mountains for a special retreat. It’s very different to the restrained, aesthetic world the men usually inhabit. The founder of the sect discovered God by jumping into a waterfall. His followers imitate the leap of faith. This is a select gathering. The Kaihogyo is so grueling only 46 men have completed it in the last four centuries.

Now the quest:
(keep in mind that the sources for this were limited so there was some contradictory information)

  1. Years 1 – 3: starting at 1:30am and ending at 9:00am, the monk must run approximately 18 miles per day for 100 straight days.
  2. Years 4 – 5: at the same time in the morning, the monk must travel the same route but this time for 200 straight days.
  3. End of Year 5 (or 6): the Doiri – 7 (or 9) days and nights without food or water.
  4. Gyosho Uehara, a senior monk on Mt Hiei where the quest takes place offered the following description for the doiri:

    “The Doiri is not about controlling worldly desires but denying them. This is why some marathon monks are able to hear the sound of ash falling from an incense stick or smell food being prepared at the foot of the mountain. It is as if they are visiting the world of the dead.”

  5. Final Year: the monk changes his route. His trail bends from the mountain into the city where he passes by villagers and geisha houses every day.

After reading that people are capable of achieving such a feat, it makes the smaller things in life seem much more obtainable.

It also reminds us that the struggles we face in life are not what define us, but the way we overcome those struggles which reflects who we truly are. As the new year brings a new throng of struggles and difficulties, remember that perseverance, dedication, and commitment make all of us capable of anything.

Remember that next time you’re ready to give up.