Just one geek's opinions and epiphanies

Facebook Olive Garden Scam

So you are probably seeing a lot of people posting something about liking Olive Garden and how they are getting a $100 Gift Card from Olive Garden for simply following a few steps on a site called "http://eat-for-free-at-og.com/"

Now here's the thing, it's not actually a scam, but it certainly is NOT free. Why do I say it isn't free? Because I can read, and here are the details as they actually work out.

First you are told there are three easy steps:

  1. Click the "Like" button
  2. Click the "Share" button
  3. Click the "Claim" button

This is when the "free" part of this whole deal breaks down. You have already done the most damage at this point because you have announced to all of Facebook that you are easily duped because you don't read the fine print as poorly designed sites like http://eat-for-free-at-og.com/

So here is what happens when you click on the "Claim" button you are sent to "amazingfreerewards.com" which is a great name since there is NOTHING free on their site. Ever.

Amazingfreerewards.com is a spam house that dupes you into either buying junk for a "free" prize, or (and more likely) gathering your email information so they can sell it to third parties to advertise and fill your inbox with junk mail (that isn't technically spam because you have given full permission for them and anyone they choose to use your email address for advertising purposes).

Let's look at the fine print shall we:

You must participate in and satisfy a total of 8 Sponsor Offers as follows: Page 1: 2 offers Page 2: 2 offers Page 3: 4 offers To satisfy the requirements for the Free $100 Olive Garden Gift Card, you must participate in the above-stated number of offers for each page (participating in offers in excess of those stated above for a given page does not reduce the number of offers in which you must participate on the other pages), and you must complete each of the Sponsor Offers pages listed above. Please note Sponsor offers may require you to sample and/or purchase products of interest and/or take other actions such as applying for or obtaining a loan or extension of credit (including credit cards), transferring a balance, or similar steps. In order to remain eligible for your gift, you must complete all of the sponsor offers that require you to sample and purchase products of interest within 180 days of signing up for our service.

It couldn't be more straight forward than that. You must satisfy 2 of the offers on Page 1. Let's see what they are:

  • Netflix (free-ish)
  • Miracle Whites Trial - your credit card will be charged only $1.00 plus $3.95 S&P (non-refundable) -- Then the auto renew your "membership" at a price of $69.22/month (good luck canceling)
  • Absolute Green Tea -- Free Trial with $4.95 S&H -- (buried on another Terms and Conditions page) If you do not cancel by calling 1-866-762-0945 within the Trial Period, the credit card you provided at signup will be charged $79.93 for the Product you received during the Trial Period.

I think you get the picture. To complete any two of those offers you are looking at at least $70/month if not more! Not worth a $100 Olive Garden card.

So let's all agree to not partake in this scam, and maybe instead let's call the owner of the site, a one Rachel Johnson who is registered for the domain at 121 6Th Ave Apt2, Altoona, PA 16602 -- You can call her at (814) 201-2184... I think to be fair we should all call late at night, just so she knows we really hate these sorts of scams.

Enjoy your weekend!

Beginning Silverlight 2

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="125" caption="Beginning Silverlight 2: From Novice to Professional"]Beginning Silverlight 2: From Novice to Professional[/caption]

In web development, it's important to keep current on new and updated technologies to avoid falling behind in the field. As a designer-turned-coder, I enjoy reading about and following up on the latest tools available for design and interface programming. Having designed and programmed in Flash for almost 10 years now, I was excited to read this book and see how Microsoft was tackling Rich Internet/Interactive Applications.

The author, Robert Lair, starts out the book with an introduction to Silverlight and the benefits of building interactive applications using Silverlight and its related tools. After the brief introduction, the real work begins and the reader is quickly involved in writing Silverlight applications. Robert does a great job walking the reader through the various tools available while building each application, and each example builds on or incorporates the previous examples, effectively 'stair-stepping' the reader up to building their own Silverlight applications.

Robert suggests that the reader be prepared with some knowledge of C#, JavaScript, and XML, but still keeps the code and examples simple enough to follow quickly and open enough to continue building as the reader's knowledge expands. Possibly the only break from this learning curve flow is the final chapter, where Robert describes and builds a custom control for Silverlight, a button with an extra 'cool down' function that isn't possible using just the predefined Silverlight controls. This is definitely one of the most exciting areas in Silverlight, and while it seems a bit abrupt to dive right into coding a custom control, there isn't a great way to teach such a high-level process without hitting it head-on. Robert handles that extremely well by walking through the code in steps and giving detailed explanations on each piece of the control.

Following the book from beginning to end, the reader will certainly have the tools and enough starting experience to create and deploy Silverlight applications. As with most design and interface tools, the only limit is the imagination and creativity of the person behind the tools. This book provides an excellent starting point for anyone interested in learning about Silverlight and its capabilities.

As I finished the book, I found myself even more excited about Silverlight applications. While I'm not prepared to run around shouting 'Flash is dead!', I am thrilled to see a contender to Adobe's Flash and Flex. It's also good to see an option for the .NET developers to build the Rich Internet Applications while using the programming language and tools they are accustomed to. This book will put those developers on the fast track to rivaling even the best Flash/Flex applications available today.

You can pick up Apress's Beginning Silverlight 2: From Novice to Professional from Apress.com or Amazon.com.