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Report Fraud

Each and every time you encounter someone trying to defraud you make sure you report it.

Phishing scams, money scams, premium SMS message, suspicious phone calls, un-authorized phone charges, un-authorized credit card charges, etc — go ahead and visit the IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center; a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI], the National White Collar Crime Center [NW3C], and the Bureau of Justice Assistance [BJA]) and file a report.

Take action and let the law enforcement community decide what’s a threat and what’s not – but DO NOT remain silent or these problems will continue.

http://www.ic3.gov/

 

NOTE:  If you have an un-authorized charge on any of your bills you will also want to contact your billing company and dispute the charge with them; the IC3 will not do this for you.

Originally posted 2008-10-24 13:00:38.

Hyper-V

I started to switch my virtualization hosts over to Server 2008 about two weeks ago; and I’ll give you some feedback on my experience.

The first thing you’re going to find with Hyper-V is that migrating your old virtual machines to Hyper-V isn’t particularly easy unless you want to purchase Microsoft’s virtual management server — quite a large expense for most users.

You can download a tool called VMC2HV (that converts Virtual Server / Virtual PC VMC files to Hyper-V format) and that will make it fairly easy for you, but there are still some things you need to watch for.

Before I talk about VMC2HV, there are some setting in Hyper-V you’ll want to change right off.

  • Set the path for your virtual machine configuration files.
  • Set the path for your virtual disks.
  • Setup a virtual network (you may need more than one depending on your configuration).

When using VMC2HV:

  • Make sure you tell VMC2HV where you want your Hyper-V files (and how you want to organize them).
  • Decide where you want to store your virtual disks (don’t store them under the virtual machine directory, put them in a separate tree.
  • Make sure you check the “swap SCSI 0 with IDE 0” box; if you used SCSI drives on Virtual Server, you need to remember you can’t boot from anything but IDE on Hyper-V; any additional disks you have can (and should) be SCSI.
  • Correct the virtual disk paths (and file names) if you’ve changed the location of the files.

I found that VMC2HV worked well… but it was far from perfect.

After you finish with VMC2HV you’ll need to setup the virtual network manually, and you’ll probably want to check all the setting.

VMC2HV certainly made it easy for me to jump start, but then I found that just recreating the virtual machines under Hyper-V was just about as easy.  The only “difficult” thing with the Hyper-V interface I’ve found is that getting it to put the configuration files where you want them is a little tedious, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it.

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I’m running Hyper-V on machines with: Intel Q6600 (Quad Core2 65nm) with 8GB of DDR2 memory (Corsair DHX) on Intel DG33TL motherboards and hardware RAID5 (fifteen spindles or eight spindles — I’ve two machines with each configuration).

I find that giving each virtual machine two processors makes them much more responsive, and even running far more cores than I actually have doesn’t swamp the host processor (most of the time my virtual machines are IO bound, waiting on network responses or dealing with disks).

Most likely for a home (or small office) virtualization server you’ll find what I’ve shown several of my clients — invest in memory and spindles.

  • If you can avoid any paging in the virtual machines you’ll see much better performance (so don’t give the machines more memory than they need and you have, and don’t create a paging file).
  • For any virtual machine that reads and writes the disks heavily the more spindles that make up the host volume the more current IO you will have, and that mean you’ll be able to sustain a higher IO rate.  And if you use RAID5 you get fault tolerance on your virtualization store.

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Installing the Hyper-V integration files is also a bit of a pain.  The Microsoft Virtual Machine Manager will do it automatically, but for those who don’t want to spend the money on something that is probably far more than you need you’ll have to do it by hand.

First you have to remove the old VMadditions that were put there by Virtual Server or Virtual PC.  If you do that before you move the files off your old machine it’s easier (you won’t have a mouse or network under Hyper-V until you complete the installation of the integration files).

Second you will upgrade the HAL, which is done automatically the first time you try to install the integration file (once you do this, there’s no easy way to go back to Virtual Server or Virtual PC, so save a copy of your boot VHD if you’re not sure).

Third you will install the integration files (which install the Windows Driver Foundation; and that’s the only problem I saw — apparently if the temporary directory doesn’t get created before WDF install runs, it fails — check you log files for more information, and just create the temporary directory by hand and re-run the setup for the integration files).

When you have the integration files install and reboot the machine should be working perfectly.

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I’m seeing a rather dramatic speed increase in my virtual machines using Hyper-V; which is really surprising since IO on the boot drive should be slower (since it uses IDE) than it was with Virtual Server (which used SCSI — highly para-virtualized).

I suspect that overall the way Hyper-V is built (you can read white papers on Hyper-V if you’re interested; you’ll also notice that Hyper-V and Xen conceptually share a similar architecture) is responsible for the speed increases; and the fact that you can allocate up to the number of physical cores you have to a guest machine or run 64-bit operating systems and software under Hyper-V you can really build out a virtual infrastructure which has great performance.

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Overall I’m pleased with Hyper-V, and have found it much easier to use on Server 2008 than trying to start with a Hyper-V Server (Microsoft gives away a version of Server 2008 which can only be used as a virtulization host; unfortunately you have to remotely administer it, and that isn’t as easy as it should be — it does work, but the learning curve is a little steep).

My feeling is that there will be a significant update to Hyper-V soon, adding more device support (and para-virtualization).  And the real question is:  Why isn’t there Hyper-V for Vista?  The two operating systems derive from a common code base, and certainly for developers having Hyper-V on a Vista workstation makes more sense, and since Microsoft gives away Hyper-V server they can’t argue that it will cannibalize sales!

Originally posted 2009-02-03 01:00:13.

All the World’s a Stage

All the World’s a Stage
by William Shakespeare

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Originally posted 2017-01-30 12:00:35.

Alzheimer’s Followup

My post the other day generated quite a few inquires about Alzheimer’s and anything else on Gary Arendash research professor at the University of South Florida.

A selection of reference links on Alzheimer’s:

News media coverage of Gary Arendash:

And an article by Scott Mendelson, MD (author of Beyond Alzheimer’s) titled Your Cell Phone Will NOT Protect You From Alzheimer’s Disease published on 12 January 2010 by the Huffinton Post which rejects Gary Arendash’s conclusions.

Read up, educate yourself — I personally find that most doctors know far less than they purport.

NOTE: I’ve updated some of the links on this page to keep it a little more current.

Originally posted 2010-01-15 02:00:13.

Another moron in office…

Florida State Representative Greg Evers (a conservative Republican made the following statement relating to the Arizona immigration law:

Shame on the federal government and activist federal judges for failing to protect American workers and our border states – if it weren’t for the lack of leadership in Washington, Arizona and other states would not have to take matters into their own hands.

As a sponsor of immigration legislation in Florida, identical to the Arizona law, I am deeply disappointed in the federal court’s decision today to throw out key provisions.

Today, American workers received a bad decision and American workers will continue to suffer if this continues to happen. It literally has become a matter of public welfare and public safety.

I wonder if he was so quick to question the Federal courts when George W Bush stole the Presidential Election?

Probably not.

What morons like this fail to understand is that the judicial system in the United States is charged with insuring that laws are Constitutional — and if he understands too little about the Constitution of the United States to realize that immigration is a Federal not State issue perhaps it’s time he went back to farming and prayed that someone with a clue be elected in his place.

INCUMBENTS

Originally posted 2010-08-10 02:00:37.

HTC Touch Pro

I’ve admired HTC cellular (PDA) phones for a very long time… their cost, though, has always made me choose an alternate.

With the release of the very popular Touch Diamond and Touch Pro (Windows Mobile 6.1) phones has come the opportunity to buy one at an aggressive price ($200 with no contract if you shop wisely on Craigslist).

Most all of the HTC phones are hackable, and there’s a large community preparing custom ROM sets for them.

You’ve never seen a HTC phone?  Well, you may not have seen HTC’s phones, but you’ve probably seen a derivative of their Touch Flow 3D interface… whether they’d like to admit it on not a company in Cupertino popularized that type of interface on a phone they sell in the US through AT&T.

You can check out HTC’s site (URL below) for a list of all the various handsets they make (and not all of them are Windows Mobile — you might notice they also make the Android based G1).

I purchased the Touch Pro because it has both a touch screen and a keyboard… it’s a little thicker than the Diamond Touch, but I’m just not willing to give up on the keyboard yet — but I wanted a touch screen to make browsing the web a little less tedious.  And with Windows Mobile 6.1 you can internet connection sharing built in (so you can tether you notebook very easily without paying any additional fees).

One of the first things you’ll want to do (even if you’re not changing phone carries on the handset you get) is unlock your phone… primarily so that you can flash a custom ROM in that matches your own tastes (you can even customize many of the ROMs yourself).

Touch Flow 3D is wizzy and cool… and will amaze your friends, but let’s face it — isn’t battery life and functionality more important?  And simplicity goes a long way in making the phone more practical for everyday use (after all, you’re probably going to use it as a phone most of the time… or not).

At the moment I’ve got Mighty ROM loaded in my handset; it’s fairly clean, fairly light-weight; and works… I’ll consider upgrading to a Mobile 6.5 versions once those are more stable, and I might consider customizing my own ROM to remove a lot of the apps I don’t every intend to use.

By-the-way, one of the things you may find you no longer need if you go to this phone is a GPS… you can run Google Maps on it, but that requires you have an active internet connection (and that doesn’t always happen in many places), I also loaded Garmin XT on my handset, so I basically have a Garmin GPS with access to Garmin Live (weather and gas prices, I think you can pay a monthly fee for traffic, but there’s no traffic in my area).

All I can say is it’s a GREAT phone, and a wonderful PDA… and my feeling is HTC has gone a long way towards providing us with a convergent device.  Microsoft is rumored to be working on their own handset; let’s hope they’ve studies HTC and will leverage off their design.

The only negatives are battery life (always an issue with a PDA phone, but far less of an issue when you can Touchflow 3D), and radio quality (I suspect that has to do with the way they designed the radio — it’s certainly adequate when cell coverage is reasonable, but you might not get good reception in fringe areas).

http://www.htc.com/us/

Originally posted 2009-06-10 11:00:22.

Re-Usable Shopping Bags

Rather than throw away bags that stores provide to you, why not consider purchasing some re-usable shopping bags?

Reduce, reuse, recycle…

You’re reducing the number of plastic (or paper) bags that need to be produced and recycled (or otherwise disposed of).

You’re reusing the same bag over and over.

You’re recycling, since almost every reusable shopping bag is made from 100% post consumer recycled material.

I know most vendors seem to want to charge around $1 each for these (and that’s ridiculous — and unconscionable to try and gouge a profit on people who are trying to do the right thing), but watch the sales at Walgreen’s, they put regularly advertise their smaller bag (which is perfect for most shopping) at 3 for $1 (with coupon in their advertising circular — look NOW).

Originally posted 2010-04-23 02:00:46.

Critial Microsoft Patch — DO IT NOW

Microsoft has released an out of cycle patch (they only release patches on Tuesdays), this was released today (Thursday), which means it’s an important patch for you to install now.  Get details below and use the Microsoft Update facility to download and install — don’t be part of the problem, take pre-emptive action.

Remember, in general it’s a good idea to check for updates often and install them unless you have a good reason not to.

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS08-067.mspx

Originally posted 2008-10-23 08:00:56.

Bush-bashing

Generally I feel it’s bad form to pick low hanging fruit… that’s a clever way of saying you shouldn’t take easy shots… but when it comes to taking shots at George W Bush — I’m all for it.

Mainly that’s because so few criticized him during his eight year Reich.

And current President Barrack Obama is taking every opportunity he can to remind US voters that the current Republican ideas don’t substantially differ from those of the Bush administration — the administration who’s credited with sinking the American economy to the lowest level since the Great Depression.

While my feeling is that it’s a Democratic administration (Clinton) who laid the ground work for the economic blight, certainly the Bush administration did nothing to mitigate it, and likely fueled it with the irresponsible polices, and massive military spending.

But mainly the reason I think George W Bush is fair game for any and all criticism is the way in which he apparently had a free reign to lie to the Congress and American people.

I only hope that I live long enough to see how history reflects on George W Bush…

My feeling is that professional politician have no place in America — vote them all out, and keep voting them all out.

INCUMBENTS

Originally posted 2010-08-09 02:00:06.

The Sky Is Falling!

Don’t you love all the horrendous predictions of cataclysmic apotheosis marking the end of the world?

It seems the general public is always ready for a good scare; and no one seems to remember the big nothing that was Y2K.

21 December 2012, or is that 23 December 2012 — at least Y2K had a consistent date to fear.

Across the world people are making movies, writing news stories, blogging, praying, partying, and generally believing that the Mayans have fore told the end of the world.

Couldn’t it be they just ran out of ink and or paper (OK — chisels and stone) and took a break from filing out the calendar, and then got wiped off the face of the Earth by a Spanish conquistador they didn’t fore tell?

Here’s the translation of the text at Mayan ruins in Mexico called the “Tortuguero Site” that’s being used as “evidence” to support this claim:

The Thirteenth [b’ak’tun] will end (on) 4 Ajaw, the 3rd of Uniiw [3 K’ank’in]. Black … will occur. (It will be) the descent(?) of Bolon Yookte’ K’uh to the great (or red?)

Seems like the experts haven’t quit figured out exactly what the inscription means yet; partially due to the lack of Mayans around to help with the translation, no doubt.

Besides, the end of the world is kind of a Judeo-Christian belief (gotta love religions steeped in drama); there’s no references to any such world ending event in any other Mayan text, and there are plenty of references to events wells beyond this alleged end of the world.

Doubtful that the Mayan calendar fore tells the end of the world; galactic alignment isn’t going to happen in 2012 (besides it’s already happened many times); planet Nibiru (aka planet X) would probably be in sight if it were bearing down on Earth (whoops, that’s a Sumerian prediction — a contributor to drama in many modern religions); major solar activity (actually predicted for 2012-2014) probably won’t destroy the Earth; the sun isn’t scheduled to explode for several million more years; an asteroid could hit the Earth (if it were coming from an oblique angle it might not be noticed quite yet), but unlikely the Mayan’s would have had insight into that; green house gases probably won’t accumulate enough by then; tectonic activity probably won’t increase enough in two years to destroy the Earth…

OK, I’m out of possibilities… other than people just needing something to believe in (read that as fear) I just don’t see anything “real” about any of these predictions… I suspect in the end it will be just like poor hysterical Chicken Little (Chicken Licken / Henny Penny if you prefer the non-Disney version [which doesn’t rhyme]– or just go all the way back to Aesop’s Fables or the Daddabha Jataka).

Originally posted 2010-04-01 02:00:15.