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2/2022: A Two-fer this month! I put some cycles into a couple of articles that were almost ready for publication and here they are!

First, a data rescue off 30+ year old floppy disks. Can I recover what nobody else has been able to recover? You can read that here.

My public IP address was landing on a particlar block list - what was causing it, how to trace it down in a NATted network when all the blocking service sees is your public IP address, and a host of other things that help you track down strange problems can be read about here.

1/2022: Sorry for the big gap between articles. In October of 2019 I took on a "short term 1 to 6 month contract we can cancel at any time" - their words, not mine - with an aerospace company out near Seattle Washington. Renewal after renewal, I came home occasionally and in the summer of 2021 came back home to Michigan for all but one week a month. The project completely consumed me while I was there leaving little time for writing articles I thought you would find interesting.

I started this article about How To Get Better WiFi at home over a year ago. Right now it is a work in progress - you'll see where I left off and all my notes-to-self on things to complete it. But most of the juicy bits are already there - you can read that preliminary article here.

4/2019: Password reset emails never arrive, client (falsely) blamed, what is the end user to do? I'll get geeky and walk you through it all here.

9/2018: A client's Samsung Printer / Copier is continuously rebooting and nobody can print to it. The factory trained printer tech couldn't find why it was rebooting other than "when it is plugged into the network it reboots, so I'll leave it unplugged." I'll show you how to diagnose which computer is causing all the problems! You can read that article here.

7/2018: A Comcast Business Cable Internet at a local business seems to be intermittent. I've discovered some strange things about the modem / router installed and it is causing problems - those will be documented here.

1/2018: I've talked more times than I can count about pictures and sending them over the internet ... and having to explain over and over again how to not lose quality. If you want to know how to send / receive a picture without it looking like complete crap, then you need to read the article right here!

3/2017: I'm investigating various manufacturers that clone Canon EOS camera batteries models LP-E6 and LP-E6N in order to decide who makes good ones. So far I'm seeing a LOT of crap being sold and mis-advertised - I'm going to expose them all right here!

3/2017: Microsoft's March 2017 "Patch Tuesday" turned my main Windows 7 laptop into a black screen mouse cursor only unusable broken system. Only one window with Explorer.exe and "The application was unable to start correctly (0xc0000022). Click OK to close the application." was visible. What happened, how to diagnose the problem, and the fix are documented here.

2/2017: I received a system that was encrypted with the current version of Cerber Ransomware - a detailed analysis of what the ransomware did with whatever forensic analysis I could perform after the encryption was done can be found here, along with some hints at recovery possibilities.

5/2016: If you are still on the fence about Windows 10's free upgrade, here is how you can make the decision to upgrade after July 29 2016's free upgrade end date and still get your upgrade for free.

4/2016: How important is the hard drive write cache in your HP, IBM, Dell, or other server's performance? In getting ready for adding servers to an existing rack, I had to improve a backup performance job and this article demonstrates how important the write cache is to disk performance.

4/2016: Information on what drives cause HP Proliant Servers like the DL380 G6 and G7 to think they have overheating drives when they are just fine can be found here! If you want to use way cheaper non-HP brand drives, this article can save you a whole lot of headaches.

3/2016: Access 2010 Wizards giving you an error message saying they are not installed or in a bad state? The fix just might be here!

3/2016: I was re-installing Windows 7 SP1 from factory restore disks onto a couple of laptop comptuers and Windows Update failed to update. The answer to making Windows Update work again can be found here!

3/2016: I was recently challenged by a client that claimed I was using an old, broken SSL connection instead of a newer, stronger TLS connection. How can you prove what security level your computer is talking at? A tutorial on how you can find that answer is here!

5/2015: Another BSOD loop - this one because of a Microsoft Update that killed my (and other people's) systems. That solution can be found here!

4/2015: How to get servers that meet your needs for a fraction of what the big vendors charge - read about that here!

4/2015: VPN Connection problems got you frustrated? Are you not wishing any goodness back to Microsoft with Windows 8 or 8.1's upgrade? Things that used to work fine are now broken? If you are getting "Error 691" when trying to connect your VPN to your workplace, don't worry because I've got your answer right here.

3/2015: If you don't configure your systems to report problems, then a failure will often go unnoticed. Here are some examples of how to configure system to prevent good days from turning extremely bad - and most all these configuration are free!

3/2015: I have a client receiving "501 Connection Rejected By Policy [7.7]..." email bounce messages. What is happening and a work around can be found here.

2/2015: If you've been experiencing jerky stuttering mouse movement after your system has been on for awhile or even the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), the answer might just be explained here.

11/2014: The evil people trying to socially engineer me called back! I've updated the details of what they did and wanted - and I've updated the 8/2014 article with new information which you can read here.

9/2014: Have you seen error R6016 - "Not Enough Space For Thread Data"? If you are a software developer, your answer might be found here.

8/2014: Evil people tried to socially engineer me into thinking I've got an infected system. Read how they showed I had system problems and wanted to help me fix my PC here.

4/2014: I gave a "Computer security for normal people - not geeks" presentation at the Microsoft Store in Troy, MI. This link will have materials related to that presentation for anyone that is interested.

1/2014: Are you upgrading or replacing an old system? If so, you need to make sure your personal data doesn't fall into evil hands. Here is how you can kill two birds with one stone - easy DIY data destruction and harvest some very powerful magnets in the process. All for free! That article is right here!

12/2013: Working on a project that requires a fresh install of Windows Server 2003 and Windows Update is broken before it can do its first update! Searching the net, nothing I found fixed the problem. On a hunch, I went through my previous article documenting how Windows Update was broken on a fresh install of Windows XP and found a slight change to the same procedure fixed my Server 2003 update problems as well! This is how to fix it!

11/2013: It has been awhile and I've got lots cooking ... I've done a couple of crashed drive recoveries and have a cool video of one of them, I've done stuff with Nas4Free and the bigger 4K sector drives with ZFS and encryption and all kinds of coolness ... but I'm swamped with projects, so the articles take a back seat.

For now, I'm getting a lot of questions about "how can you keep things that run under Windows XP operating past Windows XP's end of support date?" That article (still a work in progress) can be found here.

4/2013: If your IT folks can't sniff networks, then simple problems can drag on for months instead of just working like they are supposed to. Here is a great example of the power of the network sniffer.

4/2013: Recurring AT&T Microcell issues - and proof via network sniffing that an issue is not your networks fault but AT&T's. Once again, the power of the network sniffer is demonstrated here.

2/2013: I was at a client with some really flakey network things happening. You can read one of the more interesting diagnostic stories and paths I've come across recently right here.

2/2013: If you want your PC to last a long time, here are a few tips.

1/2013: A deep look behind the scenes of a data recovery,  rescuing data off a dead hard drive. Read about it here!

1/2013: How about all those offers you see flying across Facebook, like the one for a free Costco $500 gift card! What happens with your email - how to get less SPAM - can be read about here!

12/2012: iPhone battery life too short? Happened to me, big time. The details of my issue, how it was isolated, and fixed are answered here!

11/2012: So your CEO just read an article on moving services into the cloud and wants you to do it. Here are some things the article probably didn't say, and some thing that you really should think about.

10/2012: Server services that sometimes don't start right or can't communicate. Researched, found, and answered here!

4/2012: If you need a cheap long term data logging DMM, I'm writing software to do just that! You can find details here.

4/2012: Canon EOS Batteries - how to tell which of yours are good and which aren't? And how do the eBay and aftermarket batteries compare to Genuine Canon batteries? That article is here.

4/2012: So you have a Canon EOS camera - what you can do to squeeze the most life out of each charge of your batteries. That article is here.

3/2012: Here is an analysis of a commercially sold utility to tune up your PC and make its performance better. Is it snake oil or not? You be the judge - that article is here.

10/2011: The very easy guide to putting ads up on your web site and making money with it via Google AdSense! That article can be found here!

9/2011: How to create dynamic SQL queries using simple Excel formulas that can reach out, query a database, and return results right into Excel. That article can be found here!

8/2011: When re-installing a couple of XP systems from scratch and applying Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3), Windows Update appears broken. This is how to fix it!

1/2011: An application I wrote that ran fine in Windows XP now looks bad when run under Windows 7 if the "Make it easier to read what's on your screen" control panel dialogue box is set to 125%. What to do to fix this problem is described here.

11/2010: I'm involved with a client that is currently under attack by a DDoS Botnet. The story, details, how we defended, and how we were thwarted from defending will be detailed here. Hopefully this will help you & your company if you become a victim of a DDoS attack.

4/2010: If you are trying to install software for your Canon EOS digital camera from the Canon support website and can't find your original EOS software disk, then this article will give you what you need!

12/2009: Thinking of changing your track or pendant lights to LEDs? I want a cable lighting system and need it LED driven, but can't get comparable specifications. So I'm ordering a whole bunch of 12V LEDs that mount in MR11, MR16, and GU5.3 fixtures and am measuring their characteristics. See the LED lighting test report here!

11/2009: If you are having problems getting other operating systems running in Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Virtual Server, the answer might be here!

6/2009: The current trend of the day on the web are mouse-over pop-up ads. I HATE THEM! They bug me so much, one particularly annoying site that had them all over the place and my mission in life (or at least for the next 15 minutes) became making all those ads disappear forever. It was easy, and I'll show you how you can do it too! Right here! Kill those mouse over pop up ads forever!

Another hot item I've recently completed -- you've got a Microsoft Access database (.mdb) file and it runs very fast on your workstation. But when you copy it onto a network share and use it there, it runs slower than molasses. Perhaps it didn't use to be that way. I know why this happens! Read My Database runs fine on workstation and slow on the network.

4/2009 - A Dell PowerEdge SC420 server doing the BSOD shuffle every half hour. What is happening and hopefully what can be done about it.

4/2009 - Are you getting errors with volume shadow copy, trying to run NTBackup, or other errors? Your fix might well be here!

3/2009 - A guide on how to be safer online and minimize your cost to recover from any malware infection

9/2008 - A guide on how to recover your system from a particular collection of malware and other problems it causes.

7/2008 - Anatomy of a Botnet. I sent in a story to Windows IT Pro, which was turned into an article you can read here. What got published was very high level and lacked the technical meat you would need to recognize or repair such a problem in your organization.

Here is my version of the identifying and cleaning a botnet article giving all the details and steps taken. It is a draft, something I just threw together one day. I hope it helps you!

3/2008 - Here is a how-to on getting Server 2003 installed on a non-server system board.

3/2008 & 8/2008 - How-To recover a system from continuous blue screens of death

4/29/2007 - Microsoft Webcast on the Art of Debugging Information - The webcast I did for Microsoft is on using a network sniffer to diagnose common network and isolate systems / application issues. The webcast can be found on Microsoft's site, and I have a link to it in the above article. If you want to become an expert in network troubleshooting, this is a must-watch webcast!

2/8/2007: Anatomy of an eBay Phishing site! Come see how the bad guys steal your information! Click here to see it!

Most of the projects I've done are for companies and the property belongs to them. However, being in love with the craft I take on some just because they are there. Kind of like some people climb mountains.

In 1987 seeing a program for the HP41C calculator that took the last 5 or so digits of your Illinois Drivers License and told you your sex and birth date, I was curious about the algorithm.

So I did some research and found the whole algorithm, then  wrote a program to encode your name, birth date, and sex into your Illinois Drivers License number. Over the years I've heard from numerous folks how much they like it -- mostly people in law enforcement or private investigators -- and a copy can be downloaded here:  ILLDL.EXE


Back in high school, we played a game called Trek73 which was originally written in HP2000 time shared Basic. I've ported the game to the PC, and the program and documentation can be downloaded here:  TREK73.EXE    TREK73.DOC


I did a major data recovery operation on a hard drive that worked fine if you shook it just right. The video of this most bizarre data recovery can be downloaded here


Totally non-computer related, but this was as good a place as any to make this available. Listen to Doyle Brunson's interview given at Barge 2009. Audio was taken with an iPhone sitting on the table and minimal post processing to level the volume. As good as I could do on short notice with what I had in hand, but it is better than nothing. Right click here and save-as to your local drive.

Same comments apply - Barry Tannenbaum's Barge 2010 talk can be found here.