Author Archives: pablovilas13

About pablovilas13

I'm a retired systems analyst. I enjoy wilderness sports like hiking, XC skiing and kayaking. And I'm a letter-writer and story-teller. Born 1948, male, married with children.

Blinded by Night Sight HD glasses

When I saw the order-form page of the Elite Savings Club website, I knew I would have to post about it.

  • You can’t buy just one pair of glasses.
  • You can’t pay with PayPal.  So there’s no way to keep the vendor from getting and perhaps abusing your credit-card data.
  • The browser’s back-button is disabled.  The only way to escape the order form is to close the tab.

Contact information:

9187 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
Suite 6 #584 San Diego, CA 92123, United States
Phone: 1-866-398-3798
Email: support@elitesavings.club

August 17, 2017: There may be nothing illegal or wrong with the following business practices. But they suggest that the seller is not to be trusted. I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true (bad), +1 means false (good), and 0 means undetermined. I penalize the seller for statements made by shills.

Ridiculous claims: -1.  “Night Sight HD is voted the #1 solution for safe driving in the evening and night …”  By whom?

Suspicious location: -1.  9187 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Suite 6 #584 San Diego, CA 92123 is a mailbox.  hq

Onerous terms: -1

  • They charge a 30% restocking fee on all warranty and satisfaction returns.
  • They don’t guarantee that the glasses are suitable for any use; nor that anything they say is true.
  • You can’t sue them, join a class-action suit, or join a group arbitration.

Ads, spam, robocalls: -1

  • They’ll beam ads at you and spam you; you can opt out.
  • They’ll share your data with other companies that will do the same.
  • If they sell their company, your data is part of the deal.

Lying and deception: -1

  • The Night Sight HD fits easily over prescription lenses and designed to be overlay on glasses while driving.”  Anybody who wears prescription glasses knows that putting on a second pair of glasses is uncomfortable.  Clip-ons that fasten to the front of prescription frames are tolerable, but not a complete second pair.
  • Enhanced clarity guaranteed.”  But, in the Terms And Conditions I find:
Elite Savings Club … EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OR NON-INFRINGEMENT.

eachObfuscation: -1.  Are they going to charge $29.95 each ($59.90 total) for two pair?  Or $29.95 for the first pair and nothing for the second pair?

Phony reviews: -1.  Testimonials by people with no last names.

Crummy product: 0.  Unknown.  I do like polarized lenses.

Overpriced: 0.  Depends on whether Elite Savings Club is charging $15 or $30 per pair; see “Obfuscation” above.  All I can tell for sure about NightSight HD glasses is that they are polarized.  Amazon has several offerings in this price range; in particular, polarized clip-ons for $9.

75% discount: +1.  False.

Total score; -6

Unauthorized charges: I found no reports of this.  Elite Savings Club doesn’t accept PayPal.

Advice: AllAboutVision.com advises regular eye exams for older drivers, in particular if they have diabetes.

Conclusion: Buy some polarized glasses at your pharmacy.  There you can try them on, buy just one pair, and easily return them if you don’t like them.

Soul eaten by RadSpeed Detector Pro

scamometer 3Hill, 26, an Afghanistan war veteran, was killed March 9 at his apartment complex outside Atlanta,” reports CNN.  And then, bizarrely, RadSpeed Detector Pro ripped off Anthony Hill’s picture and used it as “Jimmy B.” of North Carolina in a testimonial.

 

Contact information:

RadSpeed Detector Pro
Office: 585 Bryant St. San Francisco, CA 94107
Returns: 10024 N Taryne St., Hayden, ID 83835
Website: BuyRadSpeedPro.com
Email: support@radspeedpro.com
Phone: (415) 329-0337

August 16, 2017; There may be nothing illegal or wrong with the following business practices. But they suggest that the seller is not to be trusted. I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true (bad), +1 means false (good), and 0 means undetermined. I penalize the seller for statements made by shills.

Ridiculous claims: +1.  None found.

Suspicious location: +1.  585 Bryant St., San Francisco, CA 94107 isn’t pretty, but it’s a real building.  Marina Auto Body (now closed, says Yelp) and Secureway Auto Body and Glass also work out of this address.hq

Onerous terms: +1.  None found.

Ads, spam, robocalls: +1.  You can opt in to receive emailed advertising, and opt out.

Lying and deception: +1.  None found.

Obfuscation: -1.  Messages about other people buying detectors keep popping up on top of the web page.

Phony reviews: -1.  In addition to the sad abuse of Anthony Hill’s photo, two more fake testimonials by made-up people feature pictures lifted from the web.

Crummy product: 0.  I couldn’t find any unbiased reviews.

Overpriced: +1.  RadSpeed Detector Pro is asking $105.  Amazon doesn’t handle RadSpeed, but offers radar detectors from $30 to over $600.

75% discount: -1.  True.

Total score; 3

Unauthorized charges: I found no reports of this.  RadSpeed doesn’t accept PayPal.

Photo misuse:  I think nobody would deliberately do this.  I think that either RadSpeed hired an incompetent web designer or their web site has been vandalized.  I emailed the company on July 29 (18 days before posting this) pointing out that they’re misusing a murder victim’s picture; I received no reply.  Does this indicate the kind of service a customer would receive?

Conclusion: This seems like an okay business, but it has serious sensitivity and responsiveness issues.

 

 

 

Dislocated by Virtue Shop ToePro bunion corrector

    Product 😦 saddened by it broke away after 1 hours

This from AliExpress shopper “TR.”  (Virtue Shop used the same photo as did AliExpress, so I assume it’s the same bunion corrector.)  On August 13, 2017 let’s stick Virtue Shop’s lower extremity in the Scam-O-Meter and see how it measures up.  Contact information:

contactvirtueshop@gmail.com

There may be nothing illegal or wrong with the following business practices. But they suggest that the seller is not to be trusted. I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true (bad), +1 means false (good), and 0 means undetermined. I penalize the seller for statements made by shills.

Ridiculous claims: -1

  • If not treated, the condition can lead to severe health complications.”  According to the Mayo Clinic, possible complications are bursitis, hammertoe and metatarsalgia.  Unpleasant, certainly; but severe?
  • 60% off?  (35 – 24 ) / 35 = 31% off.

Carmen_SandiegoSuspicious location: -1.  Virtue Shop’s web site doesn’t reveal its location.  ScamAdvisor says “Site is Canada-based, but real location is being hidden,” listing an anonymous Privacy Inc. client identifier number as Virtue Shop’s owner.  The Terms of Service say that the governing law is that of Dublin, Ireland.

Onerous terms: -1

  • For a refund, you have to return the product within 14 days from your ordernot from the date you receive it.  Virtue Shop advises, “Allow up to 3 – 4 weeks for delivery.”
  • For a refund, you have to return the product unused in its original package.
  • Some(?) health and personal care items can’t be returned.
  • Marked-down items can’t be returned.  Notice that the product is marked down.
  • You have to pay the shipping on items you return.  (Maybe to Ireland!)
  • They don’t guarantee that the product will meet your expectations; nor that anything they say is true.

Ads, spam, robocalls: +1.  If you opt in, they’ll email you advertising.  You can opt out.

Lying and deception: -1

Virtue Shop lies

 

Obfuscation: -1.  Random chunks of Latin are sprinkled around the web page, like “Donec eros tellus, scelerisque nec, rhoncus eget, laoreet sit amet, nunc. Ut sit amet turpis.”  They don’t mean anything; they’re just window-dressing.

Phony reviews: -1.  They claim a rating of 4.9 stars based on 30 votes. But there’s no way to vote.

Crummy product: +1.  This seems like an adequate product as a first effort for temporary relief.  AliExpress carries a 4.7 star rating based on 63 reviews.  134 Amazon reviewers gave a quite similar item 3.9 stars.

Overpriced: -1.  Virtue Shop is asking $24.  Amazon offers what sure looks like the same product for $10.  AliExpress is selling them for $0.55.  They operate out of China, but at least you know their location.

75% discount: +1.  False.

Total score; -4

Unauthorized charges: I found no reports of this.  The “Guaranteed Safe Checkout” omits PayPal as an accepted form of payment.

Conclusion: Good; buy this on Amazon.  Better; go to your local pharmacy and ask them for advice.  Best; see your doctor.


Bloopers:laughbloopers

Busted! Inferno Lighter 2017

It will help you in times when you need it most when you are on picnic or lost in wild remote areas, it will help you find your way in some of the craziest nights.

So HealthyUSA extolls the Inferno Lighter.  I posted an article about them a year ago.  Today I noticed their ad on Facebook; so I guess it’s time to take another look.  Has anything changed?  And, after over a year of blogging about web scams, will I see anything new?  Contact information:

Inferno Lighter
8894 Towne Centre Dr. #105-553
San Diego, CA 92122
support@infernolighter.com
1-844-756-0640

August 8, 2017: There may be nothing illegal or wrong with the following business practices. But they suggest that the seller is not to be trusted. I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true (bad), +1 means false (good), and 0 means undetermined. I penalize the seller for statements made by shills.

Ridiculous claims: -1.  

  • Made, and designed by a team of engineers” Good to know it wasn’t a team of baristas or a rugby team.
  • “Did you know that recent studies have also proved butane can also be the cause of cancer?”  Hmm, something to think about as you inhale that tobacco smoke.

Suspicious location: -1.  8894 Towne Centre Dr. #105-553, San Diego, CA 92122 is a mailbox.  This address is shared by La Creme Skin Care; ScamGuard lists 23 complaints against La Creme, roundly criticized for unauthorized charges.  hq

Onerous terms: -1

  • They’ll take your money when you order a lighter, but they won’t “accept” your order until they ship it.
  • If you want a refund, you “may” need to return your unused lighter within 30 days from your order — not from the day you received it.
  • Reversing their charge on your credit card is “theft.”
  • They don’t guarantee that their products are any good, nor that anything they say is true.
  • You can’t sue them, join a class action that’s suing them, or join a group arbitration.

Ads, spam, robocalls: -1  

  • They’ll beam ads at you and spam you.  You can opt out.
  • They’ll share your data with other companies that will do the same.
  • If they sell their company, your data is part of the deal.

Lying and deception: -1.  These guys have Photoshop, and they know how to use it.

cover

row-2-model copy

Obfuscation: -1 

  • Careful with the order form; it’s pre-filled for five lighters ($145).
  • The Terms And Conditions are unnecessarily long and legal.

Phony reviews: -1.  Clicking the testimonials just leads to the order form.  Web publisher reviews of the Inferno Lighter such as BoldSurvivalist and PreppingPros are really advertising.

Crummy product: 0.  Five Amazon customers rated it 3.9 stars, but some of the reviews look fake.  I liked this one-star review; “Cool concept, got shocked twice though. Makes very annoying high pitched sound.”  Keep in mind that a scam can involve a good product.

Overpriced: -1.  Inferno is asking $56 for one lighter.  Amazon carries Inferno Lighters for $20.  Other electric lighters on Amazon run from $15 to $29.

75% discount: -1.  True.

Total score; -9

Unauthorized charges: The Better Business Bureau rates Inferno Lighters B+, with two resolved complaints.  Inferno Lighter doesn’t accept PayPal.  I found no complaints of credit card fraud, but the association with La Creme is troubling.

Electrical hazard: As I pointed out in 2016, users of similar lighters have reported that if you touch the “flame” you’ll get a powerful shock.

Conclusion: If you like to show off gadgets, you might enjoy buying this type of lighter on Amazon.


laughBloopers: HealthyUSA shills Inferno as a “Tactical” lighter.  After the apocalypse, how will you recharge it?  “Just imagine you are stuck in jungle and you need to light any substance immediately and all you are left with is a single match stick either you give your best shot or bear with the misery, horrible, isn’t it?

What changed in a year?  In 2016 the order form disabled my browser’s back button; now it doesn’t.  Wise move; taking over peoples’ computers doesn’t gain any trust.

Dumbfounded by IntelligenceRX

These pills are supposed to make you smart.  But the sellers don’t seem to be taking them?

IntelligenceRX doesn’t look like a major threat to online consumers, but it does look like it would be entertaining to look at it some more.  Contact information:

Intelligencerx
PO Box 41542
St.Petersburg FL 33710
Email: support@IntelligenceRX.com
Phone: 888-285-2795

August 5, 2017; There may be nothing illegal or wrong with the following business practices. But they suggest that the seller is not to be trusted. I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true (bad), +1 means false (good), and 0 means undetermined. I penalize the seller for statements made by shills.

Ridiculous claims: -1

  • Get a leg up on your co-workers with the IntelligenceRX Brain Pill today!” … “Imagine how impressed your boss will be with your when you outperform all your slower-thinking co-workers.
  • Stop the decrease in cognitive functioning that comes with age for good!

Suspicious location: -1.   PO Box 41542, St.Petersburg FL 33710 is a post office box.  What else is going on here:

… okay you get the picture.

Onerous terms: -1

  • guaranteeTo get a refund, you have to return the product within 30 days from your order — not from the day you receive it.
  • You have to return the product unused and unopened.  This will make trying it “for free” rather difficult.
  • They charge a $15 per bottle restocking fee.
  • You pay the shipping.
  • If you reverse their charge on your credit card, that’s fraud.
  • They don’t guarantee that anything they say is true.

Ads, spam, robocalls: 0.  Despite having way more lawyer-babble than a typical Privacy Policy, IntelligenceRX’s Privacy Policy says less.  The only sentence that matters; “We will not sell, share, or rent your personal information to any third party or use your e-mail address for unsolicited mail. Any emails sent by this Company will only be in connection with the provision of agreed services and products.”  But what does “Agreed” mean?

Lying and deception: -1

  • Clinically proven to improve focus and energy.”  IntelligenceRX cites four sources in the small print at the bottom of the second page:
  1. A summary of a proposed method for figuring out whether new drugs are any good.
  2. An experiment that involved rats but not IntelligenceRX.
  3. A summary of stuff we think we know about traditional Indian berbs.
  4. Another experiment that involved rats but not IntelligenceRX.
  • For a limited time, you can try IntelligenceRX for free!”  Dictionary.com defines “For free” as “Without charge.”  See “Onerous Terms” above.

Obfuscation: -1

  • In order to find out the price, you have to give your personal information.
  • Hurry!  Only 250 bottles sent per day.”  “As of <date> we currently have the product in stock.”  “10 people are viewing this product right now.”  “We cannot guarantee supply.”  etc.

Phony reviews:  -1.  Web publishers are shilling for IntelligenceRX and embarrassing themselves.

  • laughFrom GenuixTrial.com: “If you are willing to use this supplement, visit online and check the offers or deals on its official website.  Hurry up and get its bottle, until the stock lasts.  Go for it right now.
  • PRFree.org says: “To prevent complaints from your sidekick toss around a IntelligenceRx. It is new. This column will take a look at why IntelligenceRx shopping is so difficult. It might be IntelligenceRx biggest example. That will change your life.
  • Focus Nutra seems enthusiastic, but confused.  “… this formula will help prevent the cause of Alzheimer’s it is not the cure to this disease.

Testimonials with photos make it easy to spot the fraud.  This one was lifted from OffshoreEnergyToday.com .

ceo

Crummy product: 0.  I couldn’t find an unbiased review.  Keep in mind that a scam can involve a good product.

Overpriced: 0.  IntelligenceRX wants $54 for a bottle of pills; I couldn’t figure out how many pills it contains, nor the recommended dosage.  Amazon carries it for $50, they don’t show the pill count either.

75% discount: +1.  False.

Total score; -5

Unauthorized charges: CREDIT CARD RISK ALERT.

  • The Better Business Bureau rates sister company Revival Beauty “F” with 91 complaints.  They run a free-sample / auto-ship racket.  Complaints concern samples not received, repeated unauthorized charges, fake tracking numbers. etc.  The company’s response to many of them is that the customer’s problem is really with some other company.  “We received your BBB complaint by Mistake. Hashtag Fulfillment is a third party logistics company, who manages inventory and ships product for our clients. Unfortunately, that is the extent of our relationship with our clients. We do not manage billing between our clients and their customers.”  Hashtag Fulfillment uses the same post office box as do Revival Beauty and IntelligenceRX.
  • I’ve found the statements “Rush my trial!” “IntelligenceRX free trial” “Accept offer” and “Claim your bottles today!” on the web site.  They imply that a free-trial / auto-ship scam may be underway that could lead to repeated unauthorized charges.  But the terms say nothing about a subscription or auto-ship.

IntelligenceRX does not accept PayPal.

Conclusion: I’ve found that frequent vigorous exercise makes me feel smart and energetic.

Bloopers: This whole site is a blooper.  But as an encore here is the ingredient list: “IntelligenceRX Proprietary Blend: Standardized 80% IntelligenceRX 1000mg.

 

Gouged by Garcinia Cambogia weight-loss pills

Hmm, where to start?  There are so many Garcinia scams.

NutritionForest.com looks like a particularly sleazy web site, so I’ll do them.  Contact information:

16192 Coastal Highway, Lewes, DE 19958
support@nutritionforest.com
718 618 9649

There may be nothing illegal or wrong with the following business practices. But they suggest that the seller is not to be trusted. I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true (bad), +1 means false (good), and 0 means undetermined. I penalize the seller for statements made by shills.

Ridiculous claims: +1.  None found.

Suspicious location: -1.  16192 Coastal Highway, Lewes, DE 19958 is a real building.   But it’s not the building pictured in Nutrition Forest’s website.  That building is a First Inland Logistics industrial warehouse in Moreno Valley, CA.  hq

What a crowded little house this must be.  Other businesses here include:

  • DelawareInc.com
  • Harvard Business Services
  • Nativx
  • CloudBees
  • Wenton Packaging
  • AM Projects
  • Alignable
  • Digital Altitude Advertising
  • Amenfis
  • BuyGreen
  • Duffy Ventures
  • John Snow Labs
  • Firstchoice Group America
  • Teksun IT Solutions

Onerous terms: -1

  • guaranteeThe “100% satisfaction guarantee” applies only if you buy two or more bottles of the same product.  If you only buy one bottle, you can’t return it.
  • You have to return the bottle in “Saleable condition,” which seems to imply that you can’t have opened it.
  • Your refund won’t include the shipping charge.
  • They don’t guarantee that the pills are fit for any use; nor that anything they say is true.

Ads, spam, robocalls: 0.  Nutrition Forest’s Privacy Policy is circuitous and incomplete.  Nutrition Forest will beam ads at you.  But you have to opt in to get their newsletter.  Reading between the lines, it seems that they’ll share your personal information with “affiliated” companies.  (See “Suspicious location” section above.)

Lying and deception: -1

Nutrition Forest arranged for Google search results to include the claim that Garcinia Cambogia is FDA approved.  It isn’t.  “Dietary supplements are not FDA-approved,” says the FDA.

fda

On their web site, they dance around this claim, stating that their Garcinia laboratory is registered with and inspected by the FDA.  They use the FDA logo, then in the small-type disclaimers admit that the product is not FDA-approved.fda2

Obfuscation: +1.  None found.

Phony reviews: +1.  None found.

Crummy product: -1.  The FDA says:

And if you’re about to take what you think of as “natural” dietary supplements, such as bee pollen or Garcinia cambogia, you should be aware that FDA has found some of these products also contain hidden active ingredients contained in prescription drugs.

“The only natural way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in,” says James P. Smith, M.D. That means a combination of healthful eating and physical activity.

Overpriced: -1.  Nutrition Forest prices a 60-capsule bottle at $39, or about $0.65 per capsule.  Amazon offers a different brand of Garcinia Cambogia for $16 for a 180-capsule bottle.  That’s about $0.09 per capsule — 86% less than Nutrition Forest.  Nutrition Forest claims that only their product is pure; remember their fake office building picture as you consider whether to believe them.

75% discount: +1.  False.

Total score; -1

Unauthorized charges: Nutrition Forest doesn’t have an “auto-ship” service; so there’s no danger of getting duped into a subscription.  Nutrition Forest accepts PayPal.

Conclusion: I agree with the FDA.  To lose weight, eat less and exercise more.

Bloopers:

laughI particularly enjoyed “About Us:” “We believe that health is very important for any individual. When people are physically fit, they are always full of beans. They always enjoy their life and love to do things that they like to do but when they are not healthy or down, they become gloomy and get disappointed with their life. Their all spirits and enthusiasm vanish. …”

Why clipping a lens to your phone can’t turn it into a great camera

Clip-on phone lenses are the bait for a lot of web scams.  Here’s why you shouldn’t bite.

  • It’s risky to get involved with a web scammer.  Also, regardless of their sales pitch, the lenses they offer aren’t very good.
  • A camera (even the one in your smart phone) has several parts whose quality is crucial to catching a high-quality image.  The lens is just one of these parts.  
  • Getting a great camera (including magically turning your phone into a great camera) won’t make you a great photographer.  Just as buying a master’s palette and brushes wouldn’t make you a great painter.  Photography is an art.

Beware of phone lens web scams

A scammer is someone who takes your money by trickery or theft.  Keep in mind that the scam is not in the product; it’s in the way it’s sold.  A good product can be the bait in a scam; however, I’ve yet to see an online phone lens offering in which the lens was better than mediocre.  Getting involved with a web scammer poses a risk of theft from your credit card account.  Here are some phone lens scams that I’ve researched:

How a digital camera (even the one in your phone) works

(Real photographers, please forgive me for my limited mastery of camera technology.). I found this nice diagram of a SLR (single-lens reflex) camera on ScenicFramer.com .  The camera in your phone works basically the same way.

camera-diagram

What’s going on here:

  1. Some light from the subject of the photograph enters from the left.  The light is focused by lens elements.  Also, the aperture (an adjustable “valve” built into the lens) positions and throttles the light beam.
  2. The light beam is diverted to a viewfinder by a mirror and prism arrangement.  Some high-end cameras have a mirrorless design.  Your phone solves the problem of both putting up an image on the viewfinder (the phone’s screen) and saving it by forwarding the image from the sensor to the screen.
  3. When the photographer presses the shutter button, the mirror lifts out of the way; the shutter opens for a brief moment to let the light beam shine on the sensor.  Then the shutter closes and the mirror moves back into place.  In the case of a phone, an electrical shutter function controls the exposure of the sensor to the light.
  4. The sensor is the digital equivalent of film; its job is to capture the image.  Then the camera copies the image to memory, such as an SD memory card.

Clipping a lens to your phone doesn’t have much effect on how its camera works

Imagine clipping an external lens to the outside of the lens barrel at the left end of the diagram.  Hopefully this thought will stimulate suspicion of the scammers’ claims about making a phone outperform a $4,000 DSLR (digital SLR).  Let’s take a closer look at some of these parts.

  1. If you clip an external lens over the camera’s lens, the light beam goes thru both lenses.  So, the added lens has no effect on the quality of the built-in lens.  Nor does it affect the built-in lens’ aperture.  So you can’t improve the camera’s low-light performance by clipping on a lens.
  2. Clipping a lens to the camera doesn’t affect the way it shares the light beam between the viewfinder and the sensor.
  3. The shutter is a crucial part of the camera.  The faster it can open and close, the sharper the captured image.  The shutter must also expose every part of the sensor to exactly the same amount of light throughout its cycle of opening and closing.  Clipping on a lens doesn’t affect the quality of your camera’s shutter.
  4. The sensor is also a crucial part of the camera.  The larger and more sophisticated the sensor is, the more precise and detailed the captured image can be.  Another measure of camera quality is the speed with which it can copy a captured image from the sensor to memory, because you can’t take another picture while this is going on.  Clipping on a lens doesn’t affect the quality of your camera’s sensor.

Okay, now for the good news.  Modern smart-phones already have lenses, shutters and sensors that are about the quality of an entry-level camera — quite good enough to take pictures you’ll be proud to show off, and to enable you to learn about the art of photography.

Taken with an unmodified iPhone 6.

Getting a better camera won’t make you a better photographer

A good photographer has mastery of his camera’s features and functions, skill in image composition, some degree of control over lighting, and the dedication to create or go to interesting subjects.  Clipping on a lens doesn’t affect any of these attributes.

Certainly, adding a good quality lens to a phone can give a photographer more flexibility over his composition.  And it can be a fun thing for anybody to do.  But a good quality phone lens costs about as much as an entry-level camera that will probably give better results.  If you still want to try a phone lens, TechRadar has posted a review of the best ones available.

Instead, consider taking some photography classes at your local community college.  (Borrowing a real camera for these would be a good idea.). If you have a camera that you don’t know how to use, a one-day hands-on class in camera basics will pierce the mystery.   From there you’ll see the way to go as far in the art of photography as you want to go.