Pro Tip #12

NOwinRAROpen letter to all European IT people respectfully sent from every IT person in the United States:

STOP EMAILING FILES COMPRESSED WITH WINRAR!

win95So 20 years ago, every Windows 95 PC in the US probably had a trial installation of WinRAR that complained about being 120 days past the 30 day trial. Americans could readily extract files compressed in the RAR format.

We also used programs like RealPlayer, WinAmp, Napster, and we used Netscape to load web pages like Web Crawler to search for crappy, static HTML 1 web pages written by college students and early digital porn pioneers.

However here in the 21st century, times have changed, software has improved, and no one in the United States uses WinRAR anymore! Every Windows PC on every desk in every business everywhere can open a standard ZIP file without the use of external software. Please take advantage of that when compressing and sending files to the United States. I would very much like to stop receiving phone calls like this:

Dave, the guys in Russia emailed me this file and I don’t know how to open it. If I email it to you, can you extract the documents and email it back to me?

My next Pro Tip will probably admonish users for emailing multiple copies of files between multiple parties, causing an avalanche of wasted data storage in mailbox databases… but not today.

Pro Tip #11

Superfluous LintA Wet/Dry shop vac makes an excellent tool to use when removing the gratuitous amounts of lint from the inner workings of your clothes dryer.

The powerful motor makes quick work of removing the ridiculous amounts of tiny, dust-like particles that used to be part of your favorite boxer shorts, shirts, towels, brassiere, loin cloth, etc…

However, it is recommended that one checks to make sure there is a filter installed in said Wet/Dry shop vac before you begin.

You’ll have to trust me on this one.

Lint Explosion

Samsung Owes Me an Hour of My Life Back

Not So Smart HubSamsung TV’s Not-so-SmartHub just cost me an hour of my life that I’ll never get back. If you have a Samsung television with SmartHub as of the moment of this writing, your Smart TV is acting pretty dumb. I got home from work and fired up the TV to entertain my daughter while I made dinner. I hit the SmartHub button and go for Netflix. The error message “Network interference occurred. Please try again later.” is all that I can get out of my TV. I start troubleshooting the network. I’m messing with the firewall. I’m pinging and trace routing and packet capturing… I’m pulling out every trick in my IT Guy playbook, and nothing makes sense. It’s own diagnostics say that the local network is good but it can’t reach the internet. I’m watching at the firewall, and it’s not even trying to reach the internet. It just flat-out refuses!

I solved the puzzle, but I had to revert to Facebook to do it. Samsung TV USA’s Facebook page (more specifically, their “posts to page” section) is rife with posts and comments of angry TV owners, all having the exact same issue as I am! A little more digging on Google, and it turns out that Samsung TV’s try to talk to their own SmartHub servers. If it can’t, then it refuses to do anything. No Netflix. No Pandora. No Hulu. Nothing. Zip. Zero. El Zilcho.

Why the hell do these things require that Samsung’s servers are in working order? Good question, but it’s one that I’ll certainly be taking into consideration when it’s time to buy my next TV. There’s no way in Hell that I’m paying for all the “Smart” features, if they have to do something so stupid as to call home to Samsung before they’ll work.

Yellow Lines Down the Middle

Yellow Lines in the Middle

I tried explaining to her that the yellow lines in the parking lot should be on either side of your car when you’re done parking. My efforts were in vain. Finally I decided to heed the old adage, If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Walking is Good Excercise

… especially when you’re pushing a 1000 lb motorcycle.

It all started when I got caught by a train on the way into work:

2014-05-21 08.57.14

I decided to shut the bike off. When I tried to start it back up… “click click click” which lead me to this:

And then I had to figure out how to get the seat off:

2014-05-21 13.30.29

And then I tried to jump start it to no avail:

2014-05-21 13.43.18

And now I’m on my way to a dealership for a new battery!

The moral of the story is, don’t ignore signs that your battery is getting weak. Someday you may decide to shut your bike off at a rail road crossing, and you’ll end up pushing it the rest of the way to work.

Heartbleed Bug

heartbleedHoly shit! So every day, you use websites encrypted using OpenSSL to order things online, do your taxes, pay your bills, etc… Well for the past 2 years, your information has been susceptible hackers by means of a vulnerability known as “The Heartbleed Bug.” The news just broke yesterday. I didn’t know anything about it until I received an email from my bank stating:

[We are] aware of the “Heartbleed” bug. We are evaluating the situation and are prepared to execute any changes, if necessary, as quickly as possible. We are committed to protecting the security and integrity of your personal information and we will continue to update you if any further action is needed.

Now I found that a little disturbing. Enough so that I decided to dig a little and find out what this Heartbleed Bug was. This is what I found published yesterday on Time Magazine’s website:

Internet security experts are scrambling to assess the extent of the breach caused by a massive bug called Heartbleed in the OpenSSL technology that runs encryption for two-thirds of the web and went unnoticed for two years until last week

Naturally, as a person who runs his own websites, I was a little disturbed to say the least. Especially when I used this site to test whether or not my servers were susceptible to the attack. Low and behold, they were. Well my Linux-loving brethren were pretty snappy about putting out a fix. I patched my server and tested again to verify that it was, indeed, fixed. Not that my web servers are host to any potentially dangerous information, but it’s the principal.

So what should you do? Chances are, you haven’t been affected. It’s not the same as someone hacking into a server to steal information. It’s more like a hacker being able to peek in occasionally, and only see a tiny snapshot of what the server was processing at that exact same moment. However, it may be prudent to protect yourself. This article has some pretty sound advice on what to do.

 

Signs of Intelligence in New Jersey

Welcome-to-New-JerseyDon’t judge a state by several morons and television producers with no moral conscious whatsoever. There are signs of intelligence in New Jersey, and remarkably enough they’re in the state legislature. Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll makes a brilliant speech regarding the lack of mental prowess required to ban “the wrong size metal box.”

This is definitely worth 6 minutes of your time to watch. I only wish more politicians actually took the time to think things through as well as this man. Thanks to my buddy Joel for sending this my way.

Ransomware Alert

MALWARE ALERT – CryptoLocker and CryptoDefense

So this is the new scam, and it’s pretty disturbing. Unless your PC is devoid of significant data or you have a spare $500 or $1000 lying around that you don’t mind parting with, you may want to give this one a read through. There is a new string of malware being released into the wild that will encrypt your data files on your computer, and then extort money from you in order decrypt them. Have a read through this newsletter that was sent to me from CyberHeist News. In particular, you’ll want to pay attention to this:

It appears that this infection initially was installed through programs that pretend to be flash updates or video players required to view an online video, and then moved on to a variety of different phishing attacks that all show an email with a zip file and ask to “open the attached document” with is supposed to have been “scanned and sent to you”.

Continue reading

Plans for Next Winter

This winter has been brutal! Since 2006, I haven’t gone more than 4 – 6 weeks without riding in the winter. It’s been so long, that I actually had to buy a battery charger for the bike this year! Never before has any motorcycle of mine sat long enough to need one until now. In fact, this winter was so bad, that the clock on my bike was still set to daylight savings time from last November!

Well, enough is enough and I’ve had enough!
Winter, you’re done. It’s my turn now.
Next winter, I’m buying heated grips and snow chains!

1st ride of 2014


**UPDATE**

2014-03-10 18.42.072014-03-10 18.43.00There was a rather anticlimactic end to an otherwise pleasant ride home. The gelatin that was my yard succumbed to the thousand pound behemoth and gave way to do its best impression of the Grand Canyon. Hmmm… ever see a Harley touring bike with knobby tires? Food for thought…

Some Things Need to Remain American

I’m all for a global market, don’t get me wrong… but there’s just some iconic things that really should remain rooted in their original habitat. The list could get pretty lengthy, but I’m going to pin it to one thing today, and that’s Bourbon.

As a connoisseur of whiskys, let me pause for a brief clarification to the benefit of the less spirit-wise. All Bourbons are whisky, but not all whiskys are Bourbon. Bourbon is a legal term requiring that the so-called spirit adhere to these standards:

  • Produced in the United States
  • made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn
  • aged in new, charred-oak barrels
  • distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80% alcohol by volume)
  • entered into the barrel for aging at no more than 125 proof (62.5% alcohol by volume)
  • bottled (like other whiskeys) at 80 proof or more (40% alcohol by volume)

MakersmarkSo why bother bringing this up? Well it just so happens that my favorite brand of Bourbon has recently been acquired by a Japanese company. Like I said, I’m all for a global market. I even work for an American steel company formerly owned by Greeks that is now owned by Russians. However, I think this is just a bit different. It would be like Samuel Adams purchasing a Scottish distillery and distributing their whisky to Scots and still calling it Scotch. That shit just ain’t right.

So the question that plagues me: Should I replace this nearly empty bottle of Maker’s Mark with another, considering that the profits from my next purchase will be sent overseas? Or shall I endeavour to find another Bourbon producer whose profits remain in this great (however misguided under the current commander in chief) nation of ours? These are the enigmas that keep me up at night.

Well fuck me, if this bottle hasn’t managed to descend into emptiness whilst I debate my dillema. I guess I’ll just have to go find another brand to replenish my shelves tomorrow. Oh, but I can’t do that in Indiana… but that’s a rant for another day.

So… any suggestions as to which brand I should invest my liquor loyalty in now?

Johnny Walker BlackFuck it… I’ll just go back to drinking Scotch. Johnnie Black, I know you’ve missed me, but I’m back! At least it’s obvious which country my profits are going to now!

I’ll toast to this all year long:

Here’s tae us;
wha’s like us?
Gey few, and they’re a’ deid.

File this under “Things That Would Have Been Good to Know Earlier”

wpid-20131231_085906.jpg

Apparently, I should have selected a alternate route.

To add insult to injury, I can’t get my damned accident report from the Schererville PD today because the records department is closed for the holidays.

I can see a news helicopter hovering overhead. If you watch closely, you might see my busted suburban on tv.

What a shitty end to the year. Fuck today. I’m ready for a drink.

Pro Tip #9

No matter how tempting it may be, do not drive underneath a moving Suburban. Not only will it cause undue stress and monetary obligations for the driver of the Suburban, but you may become seriously if not fatally injured yourself. You have been warned.

So… as much as this pro tip sounds like common sense, it was a bit of advice that a young girl could have used prior to attempting to drive under my truck last night. Another bit of common sense would be not to run red lights. Either one would have saved us both a lot of trouble and money.

I was travelling east on RT 30 and the dim-witted antagonist was driving west on RT 30, attempting to turn south onto RT 41. The red light shining down on her car must have gone unnoticed, because before I knew what the hell was going on, this car flew up under my left front tire! It takes an awful lot of force to launch the front end of a 6 thousand pound truck into the air. As for the other car, lets just say it’s hood looked like a 6 thousand pound truck drove over it.

Dec 2013 Suburban DamageThere were no injuries, fortunately. As my friend Steve once said, “stupid should hurt more.” but in this case it didn’t. No, the only casualties were 2 vehicles and the other driver’s underwear.

Come Monday morning, I need to have a sitdown with my insurance agent and figure out how to proceed from here, and to find out how much this dipshit’s negligence is going to raise my insurance rates.

Pro Tip #8

Things and their proper uses:

  • Rear View Mirror: as the name implies, it is for viewing things behind you.
  • Peripheral Vision: to alert you to things moving outside of your field of vision just in case they may be of interest.
  • White and Yellow Lines on the Road: to guide you on your way without endangering those traveling around you.
  • Rumble Strips: to aid you in finding the edge of the road during inclement weather when conditions make it difficult to determine said information visually.

see where I’m going with this?

What these things are not supposed to be used for:

  • Rumble Strips: these are not meant to be a signal to violently jerk the wheel to the left so that you can continue down the road without looking where you’re going.
  • White and Yellow Lines on the Road: these are not polite suggestions, they are necessary to prevent travelling by automobile from becoming this:Traffic in India
  • Peripheral Vision: is not useful for watching where you are going. In fact, it’s not useful for watching anything. You can’t watch things that are in your periphery. In this region, you have vague light and motion sensing capabilities at best.
  • Rear View Mirror: is not meant to be used while in motion to put on your goddamned makeup!

Open letter to all dipshit women who put on their makeup while driving:

Just recently, I happened upon a car swerving wildly across a few lanes of traffic while on my way to work. As I got closer, I saw that the rear view mirror of the car was cranked around completely facing the driver, and the driver was staring directly into it while applying her makeup. I’m not even sure that she was aware that she was driving very slowly and yet effectively occupying all lanes of traffic making it near impossible to pass her. In fact, I’m reasonably certain that awareness is not one of her strong points.

So to all you dipshit women who do this: I really don’t care that you’re going to look like Heath Ledger’s Joker portrayal in your casket. Seriously BitchIn fact, had I been driving my old ’86 Suburban instead of my ’10 Suburban, I might have been inclined to expedite the inevitable conclusion of your negligence before you had the opportunity to cause harm to someone else. What I cannot abide is the danger to others that your actions result in.

Bottom Line: Put your damned makeup on before you leave, after you arrive, or not at all.

It’s Not Yours to Close

Since when did a public memorial become the property of the government? Last I checked, the government was supposed to work for “The People.” Now if they want to stop providing grounds keeping and janitorial services for public parks, that’s all fine and dandy. But by no means should they have the authority to bar entrance to places that are “public.”

Closed due to Dumbasses

Of course the explanation is obvious. Each government program is faced with the realization that this shutdown is hardly going to make life difficult for anyone by itself. I can’t for the life of me figure out how ceasing all IRS audits is really going to make people regret letting the government shut down. So in a desperate attempt to make people notice them, much like a 3 year old throwing a temper tantrum, government agencies have gone out of their way to piss people off and blame it on the “shutdown.”

So here’s a question for you: How goddamned stupid do you have to be in order to keep trying to push your regulatory agenda upon the American Public after they’ve told you, “No, we’re not going to pay for it, even if it means shutting down everything you do!”

The simple answer is unfortunately, goddamned stupid enough to be Barack Obama.

A worse question is, “How goddamned stupid do you have to be to vote for Barack Obama?”

According to the FEC (which is shut down right now except for their website), the answer is: You must be less intelligent than 48.94% of people who voted in the 2012 Presidential Election.

I hope that the idiots comprising the 51.06% that voted for him are happy with their choice. So, if you’re reading this and wondering to yourself, “Hey, did he just call me an idiot?” the answer is an emphatic yes. Yes I did. Take some solace in the fact that you figured it out. You’re probably in the upper echelon of the idiots.