Someone I know got a tech support scam popup that said their computer was being hacked. I said to bring the computer over. I wanted to see it.
I found the malicious site in the browser history–I’ll tell you how to do that after I finish my story–and pulled the page back up. The computer played an MP3 file with a scary-sounding message and urged me to call an 888 number. So I called. I got voicemail. I left a message.
Continue reading A scammer called me a fraud
A week or two ago, a stranger approached me with some advice about securing routers: move SSH off port 22.
Since arguing with strangers is what the Internet was apparently invented for, I’ll argue against the benefits of moving SSH off port 22.
Continue reading Moving SSH off port 22 doesn’t do much for security
As a landlord, I’ve dealt with some difficult tenants, and I’ve noticed they all tend to use very similar tactics. Setting boundaries is a necessity to keep things under control, and in the end keep all of your tenants happy while keeping yourself sane.
Continue reading Setting boundaries with difficult tenants
I got e-mail the other day from Turbotax saying someone had filed my taxes for me. Obviously a cause for concern, right? Here’s how I determined the message was fake in about three minutes.
Some people will tell you not to even open a message like this, but if you’re a computer professional, at some point someone is going to want you to prove the message was fake. I think this is something every e-mail administrator, desktop support professional, security professional, and frankly, every helpdesk professional ought to be able to do.
So here’s how you can get the proof. And generally speaking, Outlook 2010’s default configuration is paranoid enough that this procedure will be safe to do. If you want an extra layer of protection, make sure you have EMET installed and protecting Outlook.
Continue reading Spot phishing e-mails with Outlook 2010
A frequent question on train forums involves a particular diecast toy car, usually available for a limited time but at a good price, and asking if it’s suitable to use in a particular scale. It seems not everyone knows how to determine scale themselves.
I understand why. I’ve never seen anyone explain how to do the math to figure it out, but it’s really not hard. All you need is a search engine, a ruler, and a calculator.
Continue reading How to determine scale of an unknown toy or model
A damaged power cord doesn’t have to mean the end of life for a tool or appliance. Power cords are usually replaceable with simple tools and minimal expense. Here’s how to replace an AC power cord.
If you can open up the device, open it up, snip the bad cord off, tie a knot in the replacement cord and splice it onto what’s left of the old cord.
If you can’t open the device, snip the cord off above the defect, splice the replacement cord onto what’s left and insulate it well with heat-shrink tubing.
Continue reading How to replace an AC power cord
The Department 56 product line is rather extensive, but there are items they don’t produce and likely never will. If you want to complete your village with other items, or use Department 56 in other settings, such as a train layout, then scale might matter to you—and “Department 56 scale” is undefined. Here’s how to make sure the things you want to use together will go together, size-wise.
The answer, by Department 56’s own admission, is that it varies. But since I see the question come up again and again, I’m going to tackle it. It varies, but there’s a method to it the madness.
Continue reading Department 56 scale: The definitive guide
If you have a side business, you need to offer customer service, but it’s also perfectly reasonable to not want your phone to ring at 3 a.m. You can fix that if you set up office hours in Google Voice.
Fortunately it’s easy to set up Google Voice to allow your phone to ring during office hours and go straight to voice mail after hours. And the nice thing is, Google Voice transcribes your messages. This makes it very easy to filter out people who are calling you trying to solicit your services at 25 cents on the dollar. I can’t say for certain that people are more likely to do that at off hours. But it’s certainly more annoying to get awakened at 3 a.m. by someone wanting to lowball you. And yes, I speak from experience.
Here’s how you do it if you don’t want to be disturbed at unreasonable hours.
Continue reading How I set up office hours in Google Voice