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Fri, Mar 30, 2012 3:29 pm

National Do Not Call Registry

If you, like me, don't like receiving telemarketing calls and live in the U.S., the federal government maintains a "National Do Not Call Registry" that telemarketers are supposed to refer to before calling phone numbers. If a telephone number is on the list, the telemarketer is not supposed to call the number. You can add your phone number to the list by pointing your web browser to the National Do Not Call Registry website.

Unfortunately, some telemarketers ignore the list. If they do, you can file a complaint at the complaints page. You will be asked to provide the number that was called, the approximate time of the call, and the calling number, which you may be able to get by Caller ID or by hitting *69 on your phone immediately after the call has ended to get the time of the last incoming call. You will also be asked to provide the name of the company, if you know it.

I received an automated call today telling me I hadn't responded to prior offers to reduce my credit card rate and this would be my last chance. I hit "1" on the phone to speak to someone. When I asked for the name of the company I was told it was "Branch Card Services", which is probably not the real name of the company for which the telemarketer or scam artist I spoke to works. When I asked where the company was located, he immediately hung up. I hit *69 on my phone and found the number from which he was calling was 971-220-1771. I then went to the National Do Not Call Registry website and filed a complaint, since my phone numbers have been on that list for years. A company that ignores the list is subject to being fined by the government for ignoring the "do not call" list.

When I looked up the number on the Intelius reverse phone number lookup site, I found the location for 971-220-1771 listed as Gresham, Oregon. Of course, such companies can employ Caller ID spoofing techniques to hide the true number from which they are calling, so the number you obtain from Caller ID or *69 isn't guaranteed to be the number from which the call was placed.

You might wonder who would be foolish enough to provide a credit card to someone who calls when you have no means of verifying the caller's identity and no way of knowing if he isn't just a scam artist collecting credit card numbers to sell to others or use himself. Obviously, such calls must work, though, since I often receive them. I can usually get the person on the other end of the line to give me a company name, all of which have sounded rather dubious. Sometimes, I can even get the person to give me the location from which he or she is calling. In one instance, when I told the person that I shouldn't be getting such calls because I'm on the "do not call" list, she asked me how she could get on the list; I told her to go to

[/phone] permanent link

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 5:37 pm

Redirecting a Local Drive with Remote Desktop

The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a protocol developed by Microsoft that allows one to remotely manage a Microsoft Windows system. E.g., you could remotely manage a Microsoft Windows XP PC, Windows Server 2003 system, etc. from another Microsoft Windows system. There are also RDP clients that run on Linux, Solaris, and Mac OS X systems that will allow you to manage a Microsoft Windows system from a system running one of those operating systems.

A program that can be run on one of those operating systems is rdesktop. If you have a Linux system, you may find that it is already installed. If not you can download and install it for free.

You can determine if rdesktop is already installed by using the command which rdesktop.

$ which rdesktop

Rdesktop allows you not only to remotely manage a Microsoft Windows system, but also map a directory on the system running rdesktop to what appears to be a shared network drive on the Microsoft Windows system.

$ rdesktop -0 -r 'disk:Linux=/home/jdoe/Documents/' -u administrator

I used the following options with the rdesktop command issued on a Ubuntu Linux system:


The -0 option allows you to attach to the console of the server (requires Windows Server 2003 or newer), which would be akin to sitting down at the system to which you are logging on, i.e., it doesn't establish a session separate from the login session you would get when sitting at the system. So, if you were already logged into the system locally, when you connect remotely via rdesktop, you will see all of the open programs and files.

-r disk:<sharename>=<path>,...

Redirects a path to the share \\tsclient\<sharename> on the server (requires Windows XP or newer). The share name is limited to 8 characters.

In this case I used -r 'disk:Linux=/home/jdoe/Documents/'. I picked "Linux" for the sharename, but you can use whatever name you like. The name you select is the name the Microsoft Windows system will see for a shared network drive. The /home/jdoe/Documents/ means that if, from the Microsoft Windows system, I use the Explorer or an application to browse to the shared network drive named Linux it is really pointing to /home/jdoe/Documents on the Linux system. So I can place a file in /home/jdoe/Documents/ on the Linux system and access it from the Microsoft Windows system. Or I can save a file with an application on the Microsoft Windows system to the directory /home/jdoe/Documents on the Linux system.

-u <username>

The -u option allows you to spcify the Username for authentication on the Microsoft Windows system to which you wish to logon. In this case, I'm logging in as the administrator.

The is the IP address of the Microsoft Windows system to which I wish to connect. You can also use a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) as well, e.g.,

[/os/windows/software/remote-control/rdp] permanent link

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