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Cool Stuff

A place I can share knowledge with the world.

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4/2014: I'm giving / 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.

 

 

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