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Sun, Jan 26, 2014 11:40 am

Downloading Video Clips with Offliberty

If you wish to download a video clip from a website, such as a news site or YouTube, to archive it should it ever disappear from the Web, Offliberty, which provides "evidence of offline life", offers a means to download the video to your hard drive by simply putting in the URL for the webpage where it is found and then clicking on the Off button below the field where you enter the URL.

[ More Info ]

[/video/offliberty] permanent link

Sat, Jan 25, 2014 10:22 pm

Turning Off Automatic Updates in Windows 8

By default, a Windows 8 system will automatically install updates and reboot the system, if it deems it is necessary. You will be warned a few days beforehand that a reboot will be necessary within a few days, but when the time arrives, you will get only 15 minutes to save your work before the system automatically updates. If you are someone like me who tends to have a lot of windows open at once and who may be working on many tasks concurrently, 15 minutes may not be enough to save all work in progress, even if you are sitting at the computer at the 15-minute warning so have the full amount of time to save work in progress. And, if the 15-minute warning comes late at night, you may not even be awake at the time and may find when you first check the system after you have awakened that it rebooted over night and you have lost a lot of work in progress in applications that don't autosave. To download the updates, but control the timing of their installation yourself, take these steps.

[/os/windows/win8] permanent link

Sun, Jan 19, 2014 12:00 pm

Conditional Formatting in a Google Docs Spreadsheet

You can use conditional formatting in Google Docs spreadsheets to change the color of text in a cell or the background color of a cell just as you can in Microsoft Excel. E.g., if I had a cell that contained an expiration date and wanted the background color of the cell to be red if the date had been reached or had passed, I could click in the cell and take the following steps:
  1. Click on Format.
  2. Select Conditional formatting....
  3. I could then select "Date is before" in the first field and "today" in the next field. I could then check "Background" and select the color red for the background color for the cell once the date in the cell has been passed.
  4. Once you've set up the rule or rules for the cell or range of cells, clik on Save rules.

Conditional formatting for a Google spreadsheet

The cell will then have the normal color as long as the date stored in the cell is before today's date. Once the date in the cell matches today's date or is before the date of viewing, the cell background color will turn red.

Note: You can ensure that Google knows the cell contains a date by clicking on Format, selecting Number, and then More formats, which will allow you to pick a particular format you wish to use for dates, such as 2008-09-26, 9/26/08, etc.

[/network/web/services/google] permanent link

Sun, Jan 19, 2014 10:34 am

Kindle Fire Won't Power On

Yesterday, I found my Kindle Fire would not power on. I had used it a few hours earlier without seeing any message about the battery charge being low. But repeated attempts to turn it on by hitting the power button did no good. So I plugged it into a charger. Hours later when I attempted to power it on, I still was unable to do so. Following advice posted at My kindle won't turn on, I found that holding in the power button for 30 seconds then releasing the button and then tapping the power button again resulted in it powering on again. When it powered on, I saw the battery had a full charge.

[/ebook] permanent link

Sat, Jan 18, 2014 11:13 pm

Kindle App Invalid Item

I've been getting an "Invalid Item" message stating "Please remove the item from your device and go to All Items to download it again", when I try to read some books I've purchased through Amazon on my Android phone. I've tried suggestions I've found elsewhere for resolving the problem, but there are still a few books that I've been unable to download and read with the Kindle app on my phone.

[ More Info ]

[/ebook] permanent link

Tue, Jan 14, 2014 10:30 pm

Setting up a Cisco DPC3827 Router

I needed to configure a Cisco DPC3827 DOCSIS 3.0 Gateway provided by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for a home local area network (LAN) today, so I've placed some notes here on steps for configuring that router.

[/hardware/network/router/cisco] permanent link

Sun, Jan 12, 2014 12:31 pm

Using an Email Alias in Thunderbird

When I register an email address for a website, I normally create a new email alias unique to that website or the company associated with the website. Unfortuately, many companies and websites sell their email lists to other companies, ususally labelled as their "partners" in their privacy policies, seeing that as a way to make additional revenue from their customers or website visitors. Even if a company states they won't do so, most reserve the right to change their privacy policy at any time and there is also the possibility that the company will go out of business at some point and all assets, including its mailing lists, will be sold to others.

I receive an inordinate amount of spam every day and waste a lot of time purging it from my inbox, so by creating an email alias, which I can easily do, since I manage the email server that processes my email, I can simply invalidate any alias when I notice I'm receiving a lot of spam with a particular alias I created in the "to" field. E.g., if I created an alias that points to and start receiving spam to, I know that the Acme Corporation sold my email address to a spammer or had a compromise of their server holding my account information.

Since Acme_2014 is not an email address that a spammer who employs name dictionaries to distribute spam might use, I can be sure that the source of the email is using the email address I gave to the Acme Corporation. If I used an address such as abe, bill, or, I couldn't be certain, since some spammers try sending email to a domain using every name from a name dictionary. I also wouldn't use, since that is a word in an English language dictionary, so spammers using a dictionary for building email addresses might use it.

I can easily create aliases on my email server, but there are a number of online services that will allow you to create such aliases to thwart spammers. E.g., with such a service you might be able to create an alias that points to, if is the email address you normally use.

If you wanted to communicate with Acme Corporation by email, you might need to use the alias you used in the "from" field of email you send to them. To do so in Thunderbird 24.2.0, right-click on your account, which should be located at the top of the left pane of the Thunderbird window. E.g., you may see there. Select Settings, then put the alias in the Email Address field and, if needed, set the Your Name field appropriately, then click on OK. Once you have sent the email you needed to send to the Acme Corporation you can change the settings back to those you normally use.

[/network/email/clients/thunderbird] permanent link

Sat, Jan 11, 2014 4:38 pm

Disk Management Under Windows 7 from a Regular Windows Account

If you are logged into a Windows 7 system as a regular user without administrator privileges, you can still access the disk management function without logging off and on again as administrator or switching to the administrator account via the Switch User feature. To do so, take the following steps.
  1. Click on the Start button.
  2. Type cmd and hit enter to open a command prompt window.
  3. At the command prompt window, type runas /user:administrator mmc. Note: if the system is part of a Microsoft Windows domain and you wish to use the domain administrator account, put the domain name followed by a backslash after user: and before administrator. E.g., runas /user:mydomain\administrator mmc.
  4. When prompted for the administrator password, enter it.
  5. In the Console Root window that opens, click on File and select compmgmt.
  6. In the Computer Management window that opens, you will then see Disk Management under Storage.

[/os/windows/win7] permanent link

Tue, Jan 07, 2014 2:56 pm

Telemarketing or scammer call from 717-203-8889

At 2:12 PM, I received another annoying telemarketing/scammer credit card call. When I answered the phone I heard a message about reducing credit card interest rates. There was a mention that the call was from "Cardmember Services". Since there was no mention of my credit union nor bank, it was obvious that it was not a call from my bank nor credit union. I hit "1" to speak to a representative so I could ask that the calls be stopped. When I was finally connected to a person, I asked her what company she represented in a friendly tone; the person immediately hung up without answering, so I couldn't ask to be removed from any calling list used. I then used *69 to get the calling number, which was 7172038889. When I called I heard the message "Please leave a message for. That mailbox is full." There was no person or company identified after the word "for". I've received many telemarketing calls where the caller is identified as "Cardmember Services" and don't know how many telemarketing companies or credit card scammers use that identification. If it was a telemarketing number, there was not a way for me to get the actual name of the company.

As I usually do in such cases, I reported the calling number to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's National Do Not Call Registry website, since my home phone number is in that registry, thus telemarketers shouldn't be calling my number. Unfortunately, many telemarketers ignore the list, apparently feeling that nothing will be done to them if they ignore the list. Perhaps that is true; I don't know how limited the FTC's resources may be for pursuing such companies. I can only hope that if enough complaints are filed for a particular number that the FTC will investigate and at least fine a few of them, though I'd like to see such companies put out of business.

I think anyone who would answer such a call and provide a credit card number to the caller is either a fool or extremely naive, since providing credit card information to an unknown caller may provide an opportunity to a scammer to use that information to use the credit card information for nefarious purposes. But since I've frequently received such calls, apparently such telemarketers/scammers find a fair number of people willing to do so.

[/phone] permanent link

Fri, Jan 03, 2014 9:50 pm

Altering a browser's display of a webpage by zooming in and out

Many browsers, e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari, provide a feature to zoom in and out, i.e., to magnify the display of a webpage to make text and images larger or smaller through the use of Ctrl-key combinations. Ctrl-+, i.e., the Ctrl and + (plus) keys hit simultaneously, will permit you to "zoom in" to enlarge the display of text and images on a page. Hitting the Ctrl and - (minus) keys simultaneously will reverse the process allowing you to zoom back out, i.e., reduce the size of text and images. If you wish to return to the default display, use Ctrl-0, i.e., the Ctrl and zero keys struck simultaneously.

[/network/web/browser] permanent link

Thu, Jan 02, 2014 7:30 pm

Juniper VPN software not working with Safari for Mac OS X

I haven't been able to use Safari on my MacBook Pro laptop running OS X version 10.8.3, aka " Mountain Lion, to start a VPN connection from home to the office network for some time. When I attempt to establish the VPN connection, by going to the website address that worked in the past from within Safari 6.1, I am asked about running a Juniper Networks application.
Wondershare Data Recovery for Mac Download1px x 1px

Do you want to run this application?

Name: NCAppController
Publisher: Juniper Networks, Inc.

When I run it, a "Setup Control - Warning" message then appears containing the following information:

Do you want to download, install, and/or execute software from the following server?

Product Name: Network Connect
Software Name:

When I click on "Yes", I see a "[Network Connect] Error" window open stating "An error occurred while extracting one of the Network components." The only option available is "OK" and the VPN connection is not established.

According to Connections to Juniper Network Connect VPN failing in Safari 6.1 and Safari 7, this problem also occurs with Safari 7 on OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion). The author of that article states:

Based on what I’m seeing, it looks like Safari 6.1 and Safari 7 introduced a new sandbox for browser plug-ins, replacing the previous Java whitelist. At this time, it does not appear that Juniper’s software is able to work with this sandbox.

I can establish the VPN connection by going to the Applications directory in the Finder and double-click on Network Connect, which starts the Network Connect 7.4.0 application, then put in my username and password for the VPN and establish a connection by that means without a problem.

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Thu, Jan 02, 2014 11:40 am

Choosing a country for the Tor exit node

If you use the Tor Browser Bundle for web browsing, you may sometimes see "This service is not available in your location" or similar messages when you attempt to use some online services when a service is not available to residents of some countries, if the exit node, i.e., the last hop in the Tor network, for your browser session happens to be in a country for which the oline service is unavailable. You can see the location of the exit node, i.e., the IP address that websites see for your location when you visit them by visiting or similar websites that provide geolocation information.

If you wish to specify an exit node in a particular country, you can use the country code for the country established by the International Organization for Standardizaton. Two characters are used to represent the country code in an online address, e.g. us for the United States, dk for Denmark, gb for Great Britain, etc. You can find the complete list of country codes at ISO 3166-1-alpha-2 code. The country code to be used for the exit note must be placed in the torrc configuration file used by the Tor browser bundle. Look for the torrc file in the Data/Tor directory beneath the directory in which you installed the Tor Browser Bundle. You can edit it with a text editor, such as Notepad on a Microsoft Windows system. Put the following line at the end of the file where cc represents the country code:

ExitNodes {cc}

E.g., for a United States exit node, you would use:

ExitNodes {us}

To confirm the exit node location, restart the Tor browser, if it is running, and visit a site such as WhatIsMyIp. Note: if there is a problem accessing an exit node in the selected country or if you entered an invalid country code, you may find that you don't get past the "Connecting to the Tor network" window when you start the Tor browser. In that case, you may need to select a different country code. Also, some online services may block access from all known Tor exit nodes, since some people use Tor for malicious purposes rather than simply for online privacy. E.g., Wikipedia does not allow editing of articles when an editor is accessing Wikipedia via the Tor network.

Also note that the Tor Project does not recommend specifying an exit node. At Tor FAQ: Can I control which nodes (or country) are used for entry/exit? you will find:

We recommend you do not use these — they are intended for testing and may disappear in future versions. You get the best security that Tor can provide when you leave the route selection to Tor; overriding the entry / exit nodes can mess up your anonymity in ways we don't understand.

But that option is available, if you wish to use it, at least as of version 3.5 of the Tor Browser Bundle.

[/network/web/browser/tor] permanent link

Wed, Jan 01, 2014 3:45 pm

Tor reports Firefox is already running

If you install the Tor browser bundle for online privacy and see a "Close Firefox" window appear when you attempt to start the Tor browser with the message below, then you may need to change the location where you placed the Tor browser bundle:

Firefox is already running, but it is not responding. To open a new window, you must first close the existing Firefox process, or restart your system.

Close Firefox Tor error message

This message can appear even when the Firefox browser provided with the Tor browser bundle isn't running as you can see by using the Windows Task Manager to check for running processes, if the the software was placed under the C:\Program Files (x86) directory, even if you run the software from an account with administrator privileges. The software apparently needs to write to files in the directory where it has been installed, but can't do so. If you install it to the Desktop or under the Documents directory for the account from which you will be running it, you won't see the message.

[/network/web/browser/tor] permanent link

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