Good News! Cheap Oil! Bad News! Cheap Oil!

Cheap Oil

This cover of Time appeard on April 14, 1996. The lead article started off,

The epic oil plunge of the 1980s started out slowly and a bit remotely. To most people, it was just a downward-sloping diagram on the financial page, an abstract reminder of the mysterious world of desert oil wells, filthy-rich Arabs and the irritating antics of OPEC. But suddenly oil’s new situation is hitting home with the wallop of a 42-gal. oil barrel dropped on the front porch. Last week consumers, businessmen and traders around the world watched in awe as the price of crude dipped below $10 per bbl. for the first time in almost a decade. Oil, which as recently… [subscribe to read full article]

Interestingly enough, the same article by Stephen Koepp (which you can read in full) appeared on 24 June, 2001:

The epic oil plunge of the 1980s started out slowly and a bit remotely. To most people, it was just a downward-sloping diagram on the financial page, an abstract reminder of the mysterious world of desert oil wells, filthy-rich Arabs and the irritating antics of OPEC. But suddenly oil’s new situation is hitting home with the wallop of a 42-gal. oil barrel dropped on the front porch. Last week consumers, businessmen and traders around the world watched in awe as the price of crude dipped below $10 per bbl. for the first time in almost a decade. Oil, which as recently as January was selling for $26 per bbl., was on a breathtaking–and dangerous–ride down a slippery slope.

Not being a subscriber to Time, I’d be interested to know if the oil price mentioned was changed to reflect the current situation, or if the article was sheer copypasta.

At any rate, tracking the historical price of oil online is fraught with difficulty. One chart from Mactrotrends (click through for the interesting interactive version) shows oil dropping at its lowest recent point to $16.28 per barrel in 1998 – I remember that around that time, the price of gas on the street dropped below $1.00 for the first time in ages.

oil prices

The problem with a lot of charts on the web is that they show prices adjusted for inflation rather than the price actually paid:


This article, from whicht the chart above was gathered, mentions crude oil prices plummeting to below $10.00 per barrel, but that doesn’t agree with the previous data from Macrotrends, unless one looks at the “Nominal” price rather than the price in 2010 dollars.

Interesting to note are the actual prices on the street for gasoline over time.

Texas Gas

This chart of Texas prices shows gas dipping below $1.00 for almost a full year in 1995-1996, but the trend now is decidedly downward, and even this chart is out of date – as of January 29, 2016, gas is selling for $1.39 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Given what oil prices are doing lately, we are marching amazingly close to that $1.00 boundary, and I will be interested to see what the next few months bring. The 5-year chart from GasBuddy shown below gives you an idea of the trend:


Yesterday I paid $1.75 in Lewiston, Maine, at BJ’s (a shopping club like Costco), but I noticed that many places were pushing that price anyway.

What’s of interest to me is that gas station owners (while they appreciate lower prices of wholesale stock because it does translate into higher profits, haven’t seen a major improvement in their bottom line as a result of fuel sales in over half a century:


Notice that the 20¢ price of gas leaves only 4¢ profit for the station owner in 1955, whereas CBS Money Watch (worth reading) reported in 2014:

“…you should know that after all the ups and downs in a year, gas stations do not make much money from selling gasoline. After credit card fees and other operating costs, net profit for gasoline sales averages 3 cents a gallon, according the National Association of Convenience Stores.”

That means that profit margins on gasoline sales have remained historically paper-thin.

Jack at Shell Station with Dog

My wife’s father at his Shell station in the 50s. He could have been selling gas at these prices.

As of January 2016, taxes in Maine look like this:

State Excise Tax: 30¢
Other Taxes and Fees: .01¢
Total State Taxes and Fees: 30.01¢
Federal Excise Taxes: 18.40¢
Grand total: 48.41¢

Factor in wholesale costs and other operating costs and fees, and it’s easy to see why a gas station that depended solely on fuel sales would be out of business in a week, much like movie theaters depending on concession sales to stay afloat.

Oil prices dropping again. and only the good Lord knows when the trend will reverse itself. Still, in the changing production landscape which differs from that of 1996 with fracking and oil shale and all sorts of other sources going on, there are winners and losers – this New York Times article outlines the current situation in terms that can be understood by someone other than the late John Nash. The Times predicts that prices are not likely to rise any time soon.

Naturally, for travelers and for those who heat their homes with oil (like me,) this is a boon. If you want to take a cross-country trip, the time is definitely now. On the other hand, the loss to the losers may ultimately be significant enough that drastic measures will be take to raise prices, which will once again curtail supply.

What’s clear to me is that as a nation we need to wean ourselves off dependence on oil, both domestic and foreign. (This is said realizing that for the foreseeable future, oil cannot be completely replaced in our economy.) Trends are encouraging, with efficient electric and self-driving vehicles on the visible horizon, as well as a growing green-energy sector. This is not even factoring in the impact of oil-combustion emissions on global climate change. Anything that can be done to swap as many kilowatts of electricity as possible from oil (and coal) to renewable sources will be a good thing.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


Wind power? I’m a big fan.

Amhaeng-eosa: The Secret Shopper of the 16th Century

Around about the time my wife was 11 years old, her mother acquired a set of what she referred to as “brass coasters.” There were five of them, but over the course of years since 1967, and through many moves, all but one was lost.


Each coaster had a different number of horses, from one to five. My wife told me that she’d really love to have the complete set again, and so I put it out there to my Facebook community, and as fortune would have it, one of my long-time friends – and one intimately acquainted with Korea – recognized it. He wrote to me:

“It’s called a Map’ae (馬牌); it was issued to undercover government inspectors during Korea’s Yi Dynasty. [Note: the Jeoseon dynasty was founded by Yi Seonggye]. These secret inspectors were charged with roaming the countryside to ferret out corrupt officials. The number of horses imprinted on the Map’ae equaled the number of horses the inspector was authorized to commandeer from state stables located throughout the country. A 5-horse inspector was a powerful man and could pronounce death sentences on high provincial officials (high government officials in the central government had to be tried by a specially convened tribunal).”

With this, I was able to find out that in English these are called “Horse Warrants,” and through a wonderful bit of synchronic serendipity, I located a single set for sale on eBay:


My wife was, as can be expected, surprised and delighted that I had been able to find something that for her had great sentimental value, and indeed, so quickly.

A bit of research gave me a lot more information about these curiosities. From Wikipedia:

The secret royal inspector, or Amhaeng-eosa (암행어사, 暗行御史, Ombudsman) was a temporary position unique to Joseon Dynasty, in which an undercover official directly appointed by the king was sent to local provinces to monitor government officials and look after the populace while traveling incognito. Unlike regular inspectors whose activities under Office of Inspector General were official and public, the appointment and activities of secret royal inspectors were kept strictly secret throughout the mission.

My friend outlined for me the structure of the script on the back:

The Chinese characters read, from right to left, the name of the ministry to which the secret inspectors were attached; the top two characters of the second column are the name of the holder, followed by the character for name. The next three characters specify that the medallion is a three horse medallion. The final column indicate that the medallion was struck in March of 1623 (note that the Koreans used the Ming reign date to designate the year–a common practice in Yi Dynasty Korea) To the far left, of course, is the royal seal.

Position Description

The royal inspectors were sent out with letters of appointment (bongseo, 봉서), a description of their destination and mission (samok, 사목), and “horse requisition tablet” called mapae(마패), which they used to requisite horses and men from a local station run by the central government. The would carry out their inspection in secret, and then reveal themselves with bongseo or map’ae and perform an audit, the results of which were reported back to the king.

This was an extremely dangerous job, with – according to some historians – a survival rate of only around 30%. They often fell victim to assassins sent by corrupt officials, bandits, or wild animals – and they had to pay their own expenses before being reimbursed by the king. Young men were generally selected, along the lines of the apocryphal advertisement for the Pony Express: “Orphans preferred.”


Originals of these Map’ei are worth thousands of dollars and clearly belong in museums, but I’m pleased that through a happy confluence of circumstances I was able to restore one of my wife’s early memories, and learn an intriguing tidbit about Korean history at the same time.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The Internet Doesn’t Have Everything Yet

I have written before about things I’ve lost over time, seen in a magazine or a book or elsewhere, and my efforts to re-locate them. As time goes on, more and more material gets uploaded to the Internet, but despite some successes, there are many lacunes.

I remember a great advertisement that appeared at the end of the 90s or thereabouts – it was, if I’m not mistaken, for the Sony Nightshot video camera, and showed – taken in infrared light – a cat and a dog surprised in a compromising position on the couch. The caption was something like “You’ll be surprised at what you can discover when you come home unexpectedly.”

I know that ad existed, because I can see it in my mind’s eye as plainly as could be desired, but thus far I have found no hint of it in the course of as many searches as I know how to do. It appears to have vanished without a trace. Now that may be the result of an unfortunate urban legend which sprung up around the time of the Nightshot’s introduction, specifically that you could see through clothing with it – but I’m surprised I can’t locate this particular ad copy, because it was funny.

I guess some things are either lost forever, or I’ll just have to keep waiting until someone finds it.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Here’s why you do external backups


The BotNet distributing the original Cryptolocker was taken down (I’ve mentioned this malware multiple times), and many people were able to get their data back – but there are still many malicious clones of this supremely evil malware floating around out there.

Per this article (in Norwegian, but you can use Google Translate to get a good gist of its meaning in English), if your files have been encrypted, you’re pretty well screwed. Your only options are to pay the ransom (which does not guarantee that you will get a decryption key) or bring your files back from a non-connected, external backup – this because the encrypting malware can affect cloud storage as well either directly or indirectly.

To protect yourself from this sort of data horror:

  1. Back up your files to an unconnected external drive regularly
  2. Never open email attachments from unknown people, no matter how legitimate they may look

Hell is going to be a busy place. Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

18th Century Language Map of Asia

1741 Language Map

(Full-size image available here.)

This intriguing linguistic map of Asia by Gottfried Hensel (Asia Poly-Glotta Linguarum Genealogiam, 1741) was found at Maps on the Web.

“The map presents the Lords Prayer in Asian languages and attempts to trace each back to Hebrew as was common at the time. Some interesting items are the scripts of Japan, Siberia, Mesopotamia, and eastern Anatolia. Also Southeast Asia using the Arabic script and Uzbeks using Chinese logographs is a unique sight.”

Now, I’m no linguist, but… oh, wait, I *am* a linguist… that “Japanese” script looks like sheer garbage. The only clue is the Latin inscription below it, which reads “these are written using the Brachmann method.” I have found no modern references to this. It could be some sort of phonetic transcription, which is odd given that various Chinese scripts are represented and the author of the map is no stranger to ideographic writing.

Recognizable are old variants of Hindi (again, a “Brachmann” version), Dravidian script (called “Malabar” here), Hebrew, Arabic, Chaldaic, Chinese, Georgian, Syriac, Farsi, and Armenian.

Fascinating in any case.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The “Not Weird Al” Page

Resurrecting this page from the Internet Archive for easier access (not everyone knows how to find the Wayback Machine, or that it even exists.)

This list of songs wrongly attributed to Weird Al Yankovic was written and maintained by Charles Ulrich and went offline on November 21, 2010. It is presented here as last seen, with one small edit for “Cat’s in the Kettle,” which is the original reason I fell down this rabbit hole. The original copyright statement has been preserved.

Songs Not Written by Weird Al Yankovic

artist confirmedartist unconfirmedartist unknown

12 Pains of Christmas Bob Rivers
50 Ways to Get Bin Laden Dean and Rog
All I’m Gonna Do Paul Shanklin
American Pie (Bill Clinton version)  
Another Brick in the Wall (Newt Gingrich)  
Answering Machine (Friends parody)  
A Salute to Breasts  
A**hole Son Bob Rivers
Baby Got Jack MC Sampler & White Honkey
Baby Got No Back  
Back That A** Up South Park, Big Gay Al
Ball Star Johnny Crass
Barney’s on Fire None of the Above
Beer Polka  
Bi Bi Bi  
Bimbo Number 5 The Morning Show @ Z100 Portland
Bomb Iraq Capitol Steps
Bong Song  
Born in East L.A. Cheech Marin
Burning Down the Church Bob Rivers
Cat’s in the Kettle Manic Larry
Baker (originally performed for American Comedy Network by Bob Rivers
Chewbacca, What a Wookie Supernova
Combo Number 5 David Brody @ Z100FM New York
Cows With Guns Dana Lyons
Darth Maul  
Dirty Deeds (Done with Sheep) Bob Rivers
Don’t Shoot Mr. Postman Bob Rivers
Don’t Touch That Laszlo & Gary
Elmo’s Got a Gun Tommy And Rumble
Eskimo Corky and the Juice Pigs
Freeballin’ Bob Rivers
F*** the Macarena MC Rage
Furby Prank Call  
Gettin’ Sticky With It  
Gilligan’s Titanic Island  
Gonorrhea (Macarena Parody)  
Goin Huntin The Arrogant Worms
Grandpa Got Run Over by a Beer Truck Da Yoopers
Heart Attack #5 John Mammoser
Hello, I Love You (Let’s get Tested for AIDS) Bob Rivers
Hooker on the Corner  
I Did it All for the Wookie  
If You Want To Be My Intern  
In A Gadda Da Vida Polka Scott Chapin
In A Gadda Da Vida Polka * Loose Bruce Kerr
Internet Sandman Johnny Crass
I Ran Over the Taco Bell Dog *  
Isle of Survivor My Hairy Brother
Istanbul (Not Constantinople) They Might Be Giants
I Wanna be a Stormtrooper The Anarchy Steering Committee
Kill the Wabbit Ozzy Fudd (Mark McCollum)
Killing My Software  
Last Vote for Al Gore Robomusic
Late Night With Letterman Robomusic
Let’s Go Smoke Some Pot Dash Rip Rock
Livin’ La Vida Homo R.J. from the Fishheads
Livin’ La Vida Yoda* Todd Downing
Make my Boobies One More Size David Brody @ Z100FM New York
McDonald’s Girl The Blenders (Cover)
Men in Brown  
Microsoft! (Bloatware) David Pogue
Microsoft Christmas  
Minimum Wage Bob Rivers
Mo Booty Mo Problems  
My DNA  
My Fart Will Go On  
My Girlfriend Died Tom Green
My Girlfriend is Inflatable John Mammoser
My Name is… Darth Vader  
Nine Coronas John Mammoser
Nine Inch Claws None of the Above
No Hoochies  
Oops I Farted Again * Bob Rivers
Oops I’m Pregnant Again  
Oops I S*** in my Pants  
Osama bin Laden Dead or Alive  
Parody of Another Brick in the Wall  
Pet Names for Genitalia Tom Green
Please Don’t Wear That Thong  
Rice, Rice, Baby Gary Thomas & Mark Jonathan Davis
Saddam Hussein (Chumbawumba parody)  
Secret Asian Man Da Vinci’s Notebook
She Gotta Pee  
SmokaBowla TechnoHippies
Star Trek Rhapsody Hillman Morning Show
Star Trekkin’ The Firm
Star Wars Cantina Mark Jonathan Davis
Star Wars Gangsta Rap Bentframe
Star Wars (disco medley) Meco Monardo
Thank God I’m a Pubic Hair John Valby
The AOL Song Bob Rivers
The Beer Song Trey Parker & Matt Stone
The Bill Gates Song  
The Devil Went Down to Jamaica David Allen Coe
The Devil Went Down to Jamaica Travis Meyer
The Friends Song Parody  
The Microsoft Empire Strikes Back  
The Real Slim Santa Kevin & Bean @ 106.7 KROQ Los Angeles
The Taliban Can  
Thong Song  
Three Inch Tool Bob Rivers
Toast * Heywood Banks
Ugly Girl  
Ukrainian Woman  
Uncle F***er The South Park Movie Soundtrack
Vagina* Pig Vomit
What if God Smoked Cannabis Bob Rivers
Walk with an Erection* J.B.O.
Walking ‘Round in Women’s Underwear Bob Rivers
WarCraft Rap Quency
Weenie in a Bottle Hawaiian Ryan
Which Backstreet Boy is Gay The Morning Show @ Z100 Portland
Who Let the Cows Out The Waking Crew @ KYGO 98.5 Denver
Who Wants a Recount? Shamus and Brad @ KFTZ 103.3 Blackfoot
Will the Real Slim Shady Please Shut Up* Emily Ellis @ KLUC 98.5 Las Vegas
Will the Real Slim Shady Please Shut Up* (Male Vocalist)
With Legs Wide Open  
Windows 95 Sucks Bob Rivers
Wonderbra Bob Ricci
Wrong Foot Amputated Bob Rivers
Y.O.D.A. The Great Luke Ski
Yoda Sunscreen Mix 99.9FM Toronto
You’re a Porn Star (Parody of All-Star)  
Zelda* The Rabbit Joint


In A Gadda Da Vida Polka:

Susan Carter tells me that the In A Gadda Da Vida Polka
performed by Scott Chapin is not the same as the one floating around the net.
If you want to be sure, you can download Scott Chapin’s version (linked above)
for free and compare it to what you have on your hard drive. UPDATE:
Susan appeared to be quite right. You see, Ellen Koenig alerted me
that the polka in question that has been floating around is by none other than
Loose Bruce Kerr, who apparently had (or maybe still has) an informal
working relationship with Dr. Demento and Weird Al. Another
mystery solved! This one is
reportedly the one being swapped around on the file sharing networks. It
features the artist playing an accordian solo while singing to the tune.
UPDATE: Steve also adds: Here’s how to determine which is
which. Scott Chapin’s (from the CD “Poseur of Polka”) is a direct
cover, with same melody and some parody lyrics. Bruce Kerr’s is a
parody of Livin’ La Vida Loca.

I Ran Over the Taco Bell Dog

Many folks have written in to say that this song was performed by Adam
. Unfortunately, those folks are mistaken. I did at one point
have him listed as the artist of the song, and shortly after I received
a flood of emails from Sandler fans telling me that it was all a lie.
So far, there is not a shred of evidence that can link Sandler to this
song, and as such, it shall remain artistless for the time being.

Livin’ La Vida Yoda:

Jay Ward noted that there are two versions of this song. One version
is by Jimmy Fallon from a Saturday Night Live episode and the other,
reportedly more popular, version by Todd Downing. This
has some unofficial lyrics for the interested.

Oops I Farted Again:

There was, for a significant amount of time, some confusion as to who
wrote this. Some people said Bob Rivers,
others said the artists at
were the ones who created it. But now the truth shall be known! Patty
reports that the Bob Rivers version of the song is the same as that
used in the shockwave animation.


I’ve been receiving conflicting reports on the actual authors for this song.
I first attributed it to The Longpigs, who have their discography online.
Then, I get an email from Bastiaan Huisman who tells me that it’s
not, in fact, by The Longpigs, The Bloodhound Gang, or
Monty Python. (Being that they have a Penis Song, but not a
Vagina Song.) Justin Petrosek wrote in recently to let me know
that this song is probably Three Point One Four by The Bloodhound
because the song itself deals extensively with vaginas, but the song
title does not reflect so. If anyone has more evidence regarding this, please
send it on in. UPDATE: Adrian Mettler wrote with proof
saying that the version of the song he has is NOT by The Bloodhound Gang.
I’m listing this song as Artist Unknown until there some real proof on this one.
UPDATE: I received another email today, (which I accidently
deleted, sorry!) suggesting it may be by NOFX but I checked and that is
not the case either. UPDATE: YES! YES! YES! Confirmation at last!
Seth Christenfeld wrote in to say that he had to endure multiple playings
of this song by his camp-mates and even provided actual proof of THE REAL
ARTISTS OF THIS SONG, Pig Vomit. What a cozy name!


Toast was a skit done live on the Bob & Tom national morning show. Although the artist / musician / clinically
insane guy behind the microphone sure sounds a lot like Al, it is not.
MP3 sharees often label this as an “extremely rare” Al recording. Well, I
guess it would be rather rare if he never performed it. Only recently was
Al a guest on the Bob & Tom show, but it was a satellite interview and he
performed no songs. The actual artist of this tune is Heywood Banks, a funny guy in his own

Walk With an Erection

There has always been a certain amount of controversy surrounding this song. I would
get loads of emails claiming that WWAE was by The Swinging Erudites, but the
evidence just kept pointing to J.B.O. Finally, the German
proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that J.B.O. did the song because it had a sound clip
of WWAE, which appeared on their Explizite Lyrik album and this clip matched up
perfectly with the one that’s being shared under Al’s name. And so I thought the
mystery was solved until
Greg Urbaitis, member of The Swinging Erudites emailed me. He argued, of course,
that the Swinging E’s were the ones who did the song, and I wanted to be
well-armed for my rebuttal, so I dug a little deeper into the history of the song until
I ran across a web page that stated that the Swinging Erudites were the ones who
originally wrote and performed the song, which was then covered by Carson Sage,
which was in turn covered (and presumably translated) by J.B.O., making the
version appearing on this page a cover of a cover. Case closed. I hope.

Will the Real Slim Shady Please Shut Up:

Previously I had Christina Aguilera attributed to this one. I had her name
in mind as the artist of this song not only due to the many erroneous song
listings, but from at least one overheard conversation as well.
Jeremy set me straight: “The female version of Will the Real Slim Shady Please Shut Up
was recorded by Emily Ellis for KLUC 98.5FM, Las Vegas, NV. The
intent was to make people think it was Christina Aguilera
singing, and apparently it worked.”
Perhaps someone should start a
Not-Christina Page?

Will the Real Slim Shady Please Shut Up (Male Vocalist):

I’ve been getting reports that there is definitely a version of this sung by a
male vocalist being traded under Weird Al’s name. I see that it’s also attributed to
Cletus T. Judd, but I can not yet find any solid evidence that he’s the true
artist.. UPDATE: Hmm. Nope, I was wrong. There are apparently *two*
(at least) entirely different versions of this song by a male vocalist. Fun, fun,
and more fun.


As cleverly shown in the Not-Al cross reference table below, this song is
often mistitled as The Legend of Zelda or Zelda Nintendo Theme.
It is neither of those, nor was it ever performed by System of a
. You might say the guy in the song sounds like the lead vocalist from
SoaD, but personally I don’t see the resemblence except that they both like to
scream a lot. UPDATE: This song is performed by The Rabbit
. Case closed, it seems.

Song Title Cross References:

This list is a cross-reference for song titles that aren’t the actual title
for Weird Al songs. The column on the left shows the unofficial (wrong) name
and the one on the right is the reference to the actual (right) song title.

Al Songs

Wrong Title Right Title
Achy Breaky Heart Achy Breaky Song
Anakin Guy The Saga Begins
Batman Returns Cavity Search
Bohemian Rap City Bohemian Polka
Constipated A Complicated Song
I’m Fat Fat
Jedi Knight The Saga Begins
Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Headline News
Numb Me, Drill Me, Floss Me, Bill Me Cavity Search
Offspring Rendition Pretty Fly for a Rabbi
The Jedi Song The Saga Begins
There’s Something Weird in the Fridge Today Livin’ in the Fridge
Yabba Dabba Doo Bedrock Anthem

This list is a cross-reference of incorrect and correct titles for songs
not written by Al. The column on the left shows the unofficial (wrong)
name and the one on the right is the reference to the actual (right) song
title. To see the artists of these songs, look up the correct title
above in The List.

Not Al Songs

Wrong Title Right Title
All I Wanna Do (Bill Clinton) All I’m Gonna Do
I Like Small Butts Baby Got Jack
Bitchney Spears Make My Boobies One More Size
Hooker in a Bottle Hooker on the Corner
Let’s Bomb Iraq Bomb Iraq
I Like Big Butts Baby Got Jack
I Hate Big Butts Baby Got Jack
I’m the Only Gay Eskimo Eskimo
Metallica Against Napster Internet Sandman
Napster Land Internet Sandman
Star Wars Disco Star Wars: Title Theme (Disco Medly)
Survivor Parody Isle of Survivor
The Legend of Zelda Zelda
The Vagina Song Vagina
Zelda Nintendo Theme Zelda
Page design, content ©2002-2005 Charles Ulrich. All song titles are copyrighted by their respective holders.

The Old Wolf has spoken, with gratitude to Charles Ulrich.

Scam: The Blue Screen of Death

Yesterday while visiting her mother, my wife did a search at YouTube. For some inexplicable reason (I wasn’t there to observe what exactly went down,) this website was accessed:


Overlaid on this screen was a scary-looking popup:


The page is especially nasty: it disables the back button, the close button, and any other Chrome windows you happen to have open. The only way out is to kill Chrome via the task manager, or by doing that hard reset that the message tells you should not be done.

This would be very unsettling for someone like my mother-in-law who is not terribly computer-savvy (although she’s quite good with email and Facebook) and the deal here is that if you call the number – definitely not Microsoft – you get some agent in an Indian or Pakistani boiler-room who will convince you that they are from Microsoft, fling all sorts of nonsense technobabble at you, talk you through the process of installing TeamViewer or some other such remote-control software, and then upload malware to your machine.

The scam is very similar to what I described in Don’t Help the Scammers (item no. 4); a good comprehensive writeup of this type of scam is also found at MalwareBytes Unpacked.

Please be careful out there, and if you have friends or relations, particularly the elderly, who could be taken in by this jiggery-pokery, please help them to stay safe.

The Old Wolf has spoken.