Saturday, June 30, 2012

If your ISP blocks Tor

If you are located in a country where your government mandates that the ISPs operating in that country block access to the Tor Network, you need to take some additional measures to allow secure and anonymous communications.

You need to configure Tor to use a "Bridge Server":

The Vidalia help says:
Unlike other Tor relays, bridges are not listed in the same public directories as normal relays. Since there is no complete public list of them, even if your ISP is filtering connections to all the known Tor relays, they probably won't be able to block all the bridges. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Asus Super Hybrid Engine

There are places on the Internet that don't clearly explain what the Super Hybrid Engine is. Asus are too simplistic and other (review sites) are too technical

The Asus Super Hybrid Engine software provides a taskbar control enabling the overclocking and underclocking of both Intel and AMD processors and APUs.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

AO725-0684 Review

The model did not at the time of this post on the Acer website and only appeared on sites scrapping content from the FutureShop site:
  • - this is an interesting one as it looks like a legit AMD site, but references back to FutureShop.
The above links all have images that have the ConnectPro screen showing on the computer.

The model could probably be an AO722-0684 -  I own an AO722-0468 and it seems to have the identical specifications.

Since the original post an AO722 has shown up on the Best Buy website and weekly flier. This was a 2G RAM model with an AMD C-60 APU.

So, maybe it is not a misprint. I do recommend this unit as it is all you really need in a laptop. I am typing this from a very similar 11.6" Acer.


Creating a website to discredit a company or individual

Just because you may have done this it doesn't mean that if you find a website that mentions your name or company that it was created to discredit you or your company.

There are many cases where this is the case, domains such as and have existed at some time. They are probably blocked now as this is one of the aspects of impersonation  that is hotly pursued by companies that have had domains registered with names based on their company name or very close to it.

I was thinking that my website may have appeared that way if you were searching for your name or company and happened to find it. This was mainly due to the limited menu system that I was using and the fact that there was no search or way to determine the number of pages that comprised the site (however, if you made a Google Site: Search you would have seen that there were thousands of pages).

So far there are almost 1,000 posts on this blog. There were many more pages on my website. It is my intention that the relevant pages from the website are re-posted on The Technology Muse.

Registration of a Domain  Name:

Frankly the registration of a domain that is similar to the company that is targeted with just the word scam or sucks appended to it doesn't really show much thought has gone into the attack and it is obvious that the website is one that is created to discredit the original company. It is far better to choose a name that is far more subtle. In any case for an attack of this type to be successful the site needs to be promoted or else nobody will see it.

More on using the Tor Browser Package

My experiment here was to get Tor to exit in a specific country as opposed to the somewhat random nature of the default configuration. It was surprisingly easy.

This experiment was using the current Tor Browser Package (June 2012) - the target country that appears to be where the originating the access was Bosnia Herzegovina. This was chosen as I was not familiar with the flag in the TorStatus report. The IP address, or rather the exitserver name was taken from a TorStatus report.
 The page that I was testing the origin of a visit was one of my recent ones related to the use of Tor and possible Lawful Interception research by either Syria or the UAE:

Notice that the menu items for Blogger are not in English

This was done by adding a couple of lines to the torrc file. This was the file that was downloaded with the "stock" browser package. Here is it shown in my program editor:

The ExitNode chosen from the TorStatus report was CityElder

The result as seen in the Google Analytics report:

Here we see that the visit was from Bosnia and Herzegovia

This is not meant to be a step-by-step, as I saw requested in the Tor Blog, but rather an illustration that it can be done.


Commenting on a blog post with the sole purpose of promoting your own company

This post was prompted by a comment left on one of my posts related to my experience with Acer and their customer service.

It was obvious to me that the comment was placed purely as blog spam. The ressons for this conclusion are that the comment was just a link to a website that the commenter was trying to promote, both from the Blogger name and the embedded link in the comment body. In addition the visitor, who searched for "acer support + blogger", did not visit any other posts on this blog and the comment added nothing to the original post.

The visitor was from iGennie Technical Services Pvt. Ltd. Nodia, Uttar Pradesh, India 

What iGennie say about themselves:
iGennie is an autonomous online computer support provider through remote access for software, and peripherals. We have expertise in handling issues with a huge array of products of third-party companies and brands.

While I have no objection to placing links on this blog, I do object to comments that promote services in a covert manner. I have placed a link to iGennie at the foot of this post so that anyone who actually reads what I have written will see what the comment really meant. I have also re-posted the comment on the the original blog post with the links removed. I clearly state that I will do this on the comment form - another thing that iGennie did not read!

I do have a problem with on-line customer services that provide support in this way as it seems to be just a Business Opportunity. Anyone with a real computer problem is not likely to find the blog post and if they did is unlikely to follow a link made in a comment. In this case, although I have seen others that do, there was no attempt to tie the comment into any form of relevancy to the blog post itself.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blue Coat and the Syrian Government

This was brought to my attention in an article in the June Walrus magazine - "The New Cold War" - John Lorinc.

This was strange as an illegal shipment from the UAE to Syria was reported on the Blue Coat website (Dec 15 2011)

27 June 2012 I observed search activity from Syrian and Abu Dhabi that were viewing my posts on the use of Tor.

The Walrus article also mentions OpenNet which I also had seen referenced with respect to surveillance of  UK Internet users.

My thoughts on the website and forum.

My major concern with this forum is that Adult streaming video seems to be an important feature.

Whereas I do not have a problem with porn, I am not a prude or religious zealot, I think that this does not really add much to the discussion about streaming video.

I have an on-going development project in this area and I am looking for ways to use RTMP and the associated libraries to download on a general basis from web resources. I am not looking for a method of capturing a communication with an on-line webcam provider.

The useage of the RTMP/FLVStreamer module by

This is part of my investigatory work with get_iplayer.

Links related to get_iplayer on this blog:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

If you are concerned that your government is seeing what you are saying online

The use of Tor and Torbutton.

This post was prompted by a couple of visits from Damascus to my post on "Update to TorButton breaks GeoIP". The visitor did not click on the linked posts.

A little explanation of how Tor and the Torbutton works with your browser and Internet connection is in order.

First of all you do not need to use TorButton to use Vidalia Tor. Torbutton is merely an add-on that allows you to toggle your connection through the Tor Network (i.e. you can either connect through Tor or connect directly by the click of your mouse).

Tor can be used to minimize the chances of regimes such as the Assad government intercepting your communications. The fact that I have seen people looking for information on TorButton from that part of the world means, to me, that there is a requirement for citizens to make sure what they are saying to remain private.

TorButton has been shown to have problems with current or newer versions of Firefox. This does not mean that Tor cannot be used effectively. In fact, Tor can be used with any browser including Microsoft I.E., Google Chrome and Opera. It is just that the download from the Vidalia/Tor Onion Project have been pre-configured for use with Firefox. TorButton is an add-in that ONLY works (when it does) with Firefox.

The configuration of Tor for secure communications is a little more involved when you use a browser other than Firefox and I would recommend that you use Firefox if you are unfamiliar with the netwprk settings of these other browsers.

However, I would recommend that if you want to setup a secure communication system that you download the Tor Browser Package as that will require the minimum of configuration and knowledge on how things work.

Downloading the current Tor Browser package:

The version of Firefox included in the current Tor Browser package is 10.0.5 ESR. It is known that TorButton has problems with Firefox versions 11 and newer.

The version of TorButton:

There is a working verison of TorButton that works with the version of Firefox in the Tor Browser Package. Version 1.4.6

Monday, June 25, 2012

Using the RTMP library

This is part of a continuing study of the RTMP library of functions used for the distribution of streamed media over the Internet.

The "Three Strikes and your out" principle

This principle as been one that the architects of those drafting rules to control copyright and provide protection against violations.

The concept of the 3-strike principle is that you will have your access to the Internet blocked and/or face prosecution if you are caught participating in P2P downloading copyright protected material more than 3 times.

I have followed the progress of these protections for a number of years. As far as I know there are few jurisdictions that actually have legislation in place that actually enforce this. Many nations have discussed it, including the US and Canada but only some European nations, namely France and some others, have laws in place and are actively enforcing them.

I have reservations on how such provisions can be implemented. Especially in the UK as it is my understanding that there is actually competition in this market space. Unlike here in Canada where often there is only a limited choice of ISP.  I presume that a "Violators List" will also include not only past infractions but also those with other ISPs.

Banning an individual from Internet Access

Now this is a concept in itself! Shutting down a connection through an ISP is only a very small part of this. Also it is very naive in it's approach - what about those who have Internet presence from within the Internet? The Technology Muse is a case in point here, how is banning the individual who is the Muse from a point of entry going to stop the existence?

get_iplayer development on

I used to feature a lot of pages related to this topic on my website, these are in the process of being re-posted on this blog. Seeing as the website is not currently on-line (it may stage a comeback in the future) the content that was there is to be placed on this blog so that I can determine the interest in the subject.
Topics covered were my useage of get_iplayer.exe, the reasons for my finding and using it and the possible involvement in future developments.

I use get_iplayer on a daily basis along with a VPN that is based in the UK. I use to download BBC TV in Canada.

Links to posts relating to Streaming Media:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kelowna, BC

The following is from the result of the Google search for a company in the Kelowna, BC

If you are a small business, large corporation, or home user, we have your security in mind. With products that can not only help to eliminate exterior risks, but attacks from the inside as well, RAD Media Corp located in Kelowna is your one stop for computer security software.

The fact that I am curious to know what the connection here, is nothing to do with anything that someone has told me - that there is a possible connection between various individuals who are associated with said company.
The cross-reference I made was by an inadvertent revelation from an unsecured web form that happened to spill out the email addresses of the the companies in question. This was before ANY communication or blog postings were made on the subject.
All the information was found in 2009 when I was looking into the background on a product that I saw on the website of a computer supplier that I do a lot of business with.


Saturday, June 23, 2012


The RTMPDump resource page cites many projects that use the RTMP "libraries", programs or technologies.

Some links on this blog relating to the use of RTMPDump:


A Hexadecimal file browser for debugging.

With a tool such as PEBrowsePro you can inspect the contents of an executable (or binary file).

For example you can determine whether menu items and options are included in a BIOS image so that you could unlock them. There are likely to be switches that possibly can be set to allow these features to display in a computers Set Up screens. Of course, if the menu options were not there in the first place they cannot be unlocked. Similarly, if there are features that the hardware of your computer that do not appear in the Set Up Screens you may be able to enable them by editing such an image and then updating (flashing) your BIOS.

Other tools from SmidgeonSoft:
  • pebrowse64
  • pebrowsedbg64
  • pebrowse


The program editor that I use.

Multi Edit can be use for all types of file formats including hexadecimal. It can be used to inspect and modify BIOS images.

Although the version that I use is ME2008, the 2008 being the year, it is still more editor than I need. There was talk of a Linux version but that seems to have been forgotten. In any case if I were to change my operating system I think that I would also change my editor. Using gedit in Linux or a new unspecified editor under OSX (I am sure that there must be plenty)



Tool to inspect your BIOS image

Other posts on this blog related to program editors:


A tool to debug and modify binary files

Other program editors featured on this blog:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Trialware - Bloatware

This is why equipment is as cheap as it is.

The vendors of computers and those of software programs team up to pre-load "free" trial versions of their wares on to their hardware in the hope that you will eventually buy.

Symantec, the makers of Norton AV and their Security suite are the biggest participators in this practise. All the major computer vendors are also guilty of this some are worse than others!

When you purchase a new computer a lot of the set-up time is taken with the activation and configuration of such software - just to keep you safe when you connect to the Internet.

Often the completion of the installation of the operating system is interfered with by the constant "nagging" of Norton to activate your "free trial". Quite often processes hang (dialogs have popped up in the background wanting you to click 'ok' for instance) or the program is so busy updating itself the computer seems really slow - not a good thing when you are trying out a new piece of hardware and possibly a new operating system which has been reported to be slow!

When you configure a new pc for the first time, and it comes with a "free trial" of a Norton product, you will findthat there is a "race" (one that Norton often wins!)  between Norton trying to update itself and do a full system scan and Windows downloading and installing the latest updates to the OS.

As the computer is brand new - one would hope that there are no viruses on the hard drive, the necessity for a full disc scan is not required - you are far better off with letting the operating system update itself - Don't allow Norton to reboot your computer until the system updates are complete and installed. You will have to reboot then anyway!

Other Examples of bloatware

Apart from games (which some would not consider unwanted) the main contenders are:
  • Anti Virus and Security suites including Norton and McAfee
  • Norton Online Backup
Update: Removing "trialware" from my latest Acer

This was done for the second time after the computer was returned from repair after the HDD and memory had been replaced under warranty. This time, on first boot, I didn't have to go through the "Preparing your computer for fisrt use" crap. The Acer service dept had already done that for me. However, my desktop was festooned with icons from everything from games to McAfee Antivirus Suite.

In fact, it was not long before McAfee was telling me that my computer was at risk and that I should click on their dialog, presumably so that they could guide me through the resistration and update the virus defintiions. This is all very well but I had no intention of using McAfee as my virus protection in anycase. Some people may be of the view that it was free and came as a free subscription with the new computer. But, as nothijng is free in this life (when you are told that fact - you have to search out the free stuff for yourself). I intended to use Microsoft Security Essecials as my malware protection.

The first thing that I did was to uninstall McAfee using the Windows "Programs and Features" utility.

As you can see Bing Bar, Microsoft Office and eBay are still on the computer. I have no intention of using them and I am not short of disk space so I decided this time to leave them. The same with the games.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Adobe Muse

Searching for The Technology Muse I came accross an Adobe product that claims:

"..... create websites without writing code."

This really does denegrate the whole process.

Acer Customer Service - Chapter 4

I have the computer back from repair.

It arrived at around 11:30am on the day after they closed the case, Thursday. Seeing as I dropped the computer off at the FedEx depot at around 2:30 on the Monday I think that this is a pretty good turn-around. I guess the moral of the story is: Acer are not bad as far as their service, it is the communication with them that is the problem. None of the times that they said they would confirm by email, did they. I did get an email saying that the repair had been made and to expect another email with a Shipper and Tracking Number. That never came.

To monitor the progress of your repair it is essential to use the on-line status tool and not rely on them keeping you informed by the promised emails.

They replaced the HDD and the memory.

I had to remove all of the "trial-ware" that the computer came with originally. McAfee was the most problematic as is started "squawking" at me as soon as I switched the computer on. The un-install using the Windows "Programs and Features" method took a while and left me with the impression that the McAfee un-install program was in some way flawed and caused a corruption of some of the files that led to a CHKDSK needing to be run. Still, this seemed to be a one-off although I am keeping the computer under a watchful eye until I don't see the CHKDSK going on again.

Blocklists - what is the value in them?

Having read what the websites that promote these lists say I am prompted to ask the question why!

It appears to me that the compilation of a list of IP addresses that you might consider blocking as somewhat an accademic one. It may make you feel better that you are "sticking one" to the organizations that you take dispute, governments and people that actually own the things that you want for free, but blocking their access to your computer is, in my opinion, a waste of time.

Some of the things that are in some blocklists:
  • Companies or organizations who are clearly involved with trying to stop filesharing.
  • Companies which anti-p2p activity has been seen from.
  • Companies that produce or have a strong financial interest in copyrighted material.
  • Government ranges or companies that have a strong financial interest in doing work for governments.
  • Legal industry ranges.
  • IPs or ranges of ISPs from which anti-p2p activity has been observed. 
It is clear what the intent is here, but the question is that does having a list of these entities make any difference? Whatever your thoughts on file sharing maybe the use of these lists is questionable at best.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

RPi - June update

I continue to get visits from those that are trying to find out information on the Raspberry Pie computer.

I must admit that I have lost a bit of my interest in that I have moved on to other things and what I wanted to do with the RPi are not certain in their feasibility. For example, I could mock up what I am trying to do on a Linux box that I have sitting in my basement. I can configure the necessary Samba shares and I could populate the drives with media. What is stopping me is that I remain to be convinced that either Linux Samba Shares or Windows HomeGroup networking are going to do what I want to do.

I am currently of the opinion that technology has to move on from the perspective of the main-stream such that what I am trying to do becomes common-place. The solution that I have at the moment, swapping out HDDs from Media Center to another, is working well for me. The drives that I acquired for the RPi project have even been used in the manner that I started out. My dream is to have everything networked but I am highly skeptical that it has been achieved. It is a while since I have read the "home gadget press" that claims to have everything working. I know the theory behind all this, I just doubt that it works in practice.

I really should re-register on the RS Components website that I am interested in the RPI. As far as I know the boards are now freely available and all I need to do is order one. I was on the mailing list to be informed when I was eligible to purchase one but the email that I used to register had to be "canned". If, for some strange reason, you are reading this and have managed to order and receive an RPi please email me (or make a comment on this post) and tell me. It may renew my interest in the RPi.

At the present time I see the RPi as little more than an exercise in politics (on the part of the U government - w.r.t. furthering the "art of programming") and a marketing exercise by Seneca College in Toronto and the retailers RS Components and Premier Farnell. 

Acer Customer Service - Chapter 3

I am impressed - well so far I am, I have yet to see the repaired computer and see what they had done with it.

I dropped the computer off at the FedEx depot at around 2pm on a Monday and it was guaranteed delevery by noon on Tuesday. Just for fun, not expecting the status on the case to have changed I checked back on the Acer support page around mid afternoon on the Tuesday. The status had changed to "Being repaired", I didn't even have to check the FedEx tracking but it confirmed that it had been delivered and signed for, I was expecting that Acer were going to take their time and maybe have a problem with the fact that I had shipped without a battery. As it turns out, that may well be the best thing to do when returning for repair. In any case not only was it being repaired when I checked later the status had changed to "Prepared to ship" and I recieved an email saying to expect a tracking number and a shipper.

I also checked back on the Acer support page and the status confirmed the same thing. There was a place for a shipper and tracking number but that hadn't been assigned. I checked again early on Wednesday morning and it had not been updated. I expect that it will either be back on Wednesday or Thursday. This is not bad turn-around as it will have been less than a week.

I will be interested in whether the hard drive has been changed out and if any of the files that were on the computer have been recovered. I somehow doubt that especially if they have changed the drive. In fact if there are files and/or programs still on the computer I will have to open up the computer to see if the drive has been changed. I have the serial number of the original one, and as I was saying before it will be interesting to see if the drive is warranted in Canada this time.

I now suspect that the computer may have been dropped by its original owner and the HDD had been "stressed" thus causing a premature failure. The AO722 was purchased from FutureShop as an "Open Box" so I am unsure of its heritage.

7:00PM Wednesday:
No email or update on the status. It is still ready to ship back to me (aparently) but no shipper or tracking number. Of course no email.


If you think that you have information about yourself removed from the Web by Google

.... then you could be mistaken.

If you have made a complaint to Google that there is a blogger that is slandering you and your companies and the information seems to have been removed from the blog in question then you may have concluded that the emails that you sent Google have been responded to and the pages or posts that you object to, as they contain your name, have been removed by them.

You are wrong. In fact if you have asked Google to remove the content they are now well aware of the nonsense that your requests have represented. If by the reporting of your name, your business activities, your home address and email (both of which you have used for business and therefore are in the public domain), has caused you offence, then you should have thought about that before you started this charade.

It is my opinion that your antics need to be brought out into the open. I dread to think the number of other times you have tried these tactics and have
got away with it.

I could be wrong but every time I see your visits looking for posts about you I also see visits from Santa Clara. As I have said before this may well be a coincidence but Google are headquartered in Santa Clara county, Mountainview. If these are visits from Google they are in fact taking your claims seriously. However, should you try this again, with me or some other blogger or website that writes deparaging things about you, they will know your measure.

I, on the other hand, have never conducted business on the Internet. So it is my privacy that you should respect. You have had various web presences with respect to businesses and as such.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Microsoft Surface

Announced 19 June 2012

No product, no price and no real indication of when it will be available. (Well, this was the case when I made this post - )

I still have my reservations about Windows 8 and how it fits into the current and future marketplace. As I have said before, "time will tell".

What I do know though, is that a tablet remains to be a curiosity for me. I have owned iPads, a Playbook and a couple of Android tablets - they were fun (I guess) but I still return to what I was using before. I guess that is because I an "old fart".

The reference to getting ahead of oneself was in respect to all the rhetoric that ensued after yesterdays announcement by Balmer.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Acer Customer Service - Chapter 2

I shipped my Acer back to the Acer depot in Mississauga, Ontario.

I did not receive the email that they promised and as such I was not totally sure what the packaging requirements were and whether they would pick up the cost of shipping. As it is I am not holding my breath on the shipping costs.

As I had purchased the Acer in part as a spare battery and power supply I did not include that in my shipment. In any case it made the package lighter and therefore cheaper. Acer would have batteries and power supplies as do I. All I want is a new HDD and they can re-image it for me.

I still maintain that a hard drive should not have failed as soon as it did. I am not sure if I can blame Acer for this as the drive is a Western Digital, the same model as I have used on other devices. It is not as if the computer had particularly abused, it had been used in exactly the same manner as the other Acers that I have in my possession. I am further presuming that the drive could have been from a "bad batch".

The third chapter of this saga will be how long Acer take to return the computer to me and what they actually do to it. As I was saying before there was no data on the computer so I don't care if they re-format it. They would have to do that anyway as it requires a new drive. I might as well have a computer that is in warranty until April 2013.

As a side note I did check the warranty on the drive itself with WD. The serial number was recognized but it was obviously recognized as one that had been installed in an OEM installation and I am not sure if it would have been registered as being installed in Canada - it is anyone's guess where that registration was. If and when the drive is replaced (in Canada this time) it will be interesting to see if it is in warranty in Canada. Unlike the AO522 the drive and memory are particularly easy to access on the AO722.

I could have hand delivered the computer to the Acer Service depot in Mississauga but as I don't trust Acer to honour the repair and want to make sure that I have a record of its delivery back to them I decided to pay for tracked shipping. In any case the $26 was probably less that what I would have had to pay for the PSP from FutureShop. FS are all too keen to sell you these plans but it is almost impossible to find out how much the plans cost. Searching the Internet and looking on their website doesn't reveal a definitive answer. I think that it depends on the product and could be a percentage of the price paid. This will probably vary from item to item as more are likely to fail than others. Still, on a computer in the $350 range I would think that the PSP would have been at least $50 for the extra year.

Firefox 13 - is it faster?

So Firefox 13 is now with us. It certain seems to be a bit faster.

When I open a new tab I see a screen that is similar to that of I.E. As yet I have not had time to play around with customizing it.

Also I would be interested if there is a TorButton for Firefox 13 available, I am sure that there will be those that will find this blog looking for one. As I have said on other posts I am not quite sure what the attraction to this add-on is as it is really easy to toggle Tor on and off.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Canon ED-SDK v2.11

The ED-SDK Version 2.11 (with EOS-1D X, EOS 5D MarkIII and EOS 60Da support)

I have downloaded all the SDK's to date and intend do so with this version.

Canon posts on this blog:
At the time of this post the SDK was showing as available for the Asian market.

Getting Tor to exit in a specific country

I have in the past configured Vidalia Tor to exit to the Internet in a specific region. Initially it was the UK so that the BBC iPlayer programming could be accessed from outside the UK.

This technique can be particulaly useful if you want to gain access to information that is destined for a specific geographical location. This type of restriction is often called GeoIP restrictions and it is used widely by Internet content providers and ISPs to control the content that subscribers in a region have access to.

This technique, of control, can be enhanced to provide protection on a much wider scale of IP control and the mere circumvention of making your source appear to be in the desired location will be insufficient to overcome this type of control. An example of this is the use of programs such as Cleanfeed by the UK government (an imposition on various ISPs) that was initially used to control access to child abuse content and have subsequently been applied to the blocking of The Pirate Bay in the UK.

 I have subsequently determined that Tor was too slow to allow access to iPlayer programming from the UK and I now use a VPN that is based in the UK for that purpose. It is interesting to note that when I tried it just recently access to TPB was not blocked when I accessed the Internet using the VPN. Either the VPN is used one of the non-affected ISPs or the block is not yet in effect.

Back to the point of this post. I have also configured Tor to allow access in other countries. I had a personal requirement to find prices in Rupees from and Indian website and I have also attempted to assist a visitor from Sweden to access Swedish TV from the US. Again the problem with access speed proved to be too slow to allow the streaming of video although access to the desired website was gained.

Also the reason for this post is that I still see those that are looking for information on how to use Tor to access the BBC. I observed a search from Dublin today that was searching for "tor browser bbc". The search found my post on Using the Tor Browser Package - I am not sure if the visitor found anything useful on my post. I have in the past, on my website, described in great detail how I managed to do this.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Habbo Hotel and Porn

It is an observation that a lot of spam seems to be coming from Habbo.

Just recently I have seen a few emails from the Habbo Hotel. While the content has got nothing to do with the usual subjects of spam, money laundering from an African state or a penile enhancement aid, a little research reveals that their website has been identified as having problems.

The implication is that Habbo is being used by pedophiles  to make their connections.

IPv6 and the Residential Gateway

It is presumed that the latest generation of DOCSIS modems and Gateways are IPv6 ready with respect to their IPv6 address ability.

In addition, the vast increase in the number of available IP addresses should make the individual device connected to the Internet identifiable.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Dichotomy of HD and Media Availability

This is similar to the dichotomy related to the advent of MP3 (compressed audio) and High Fidelity.

In this case the fact that there is now a lot of HD material available has resulted in the availability of a lot of so-called HD program material. I say "so-called" as the quality is often pretty "low definition" and the name seems to be just a transference of the name of the source material.

Many are now capturing the media that they are subscribing to. This could be in the form of that recorded on PVRs or even direct capture from Cable, ADSL and Satellite services. In any case there is a wealth of material that is now available for download from torrent sites such as TPB and IsoHunt.

The dichotomy is that although subscribers are capable of viewing this material in true HD having purchased equipment capable of this. The providers and producers of this material are more interested than ever in protecting it. The consumers of this material seem to be content with the low quality so much for it being HD!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Another reason for moving posts from a website to a Blogger blog

Google have made changes to the way that they handle Keywords such that they are no longer made available to webmasters who use Google Analytics to shape their content.

If a visitor is not logged into a Google account the information will still be made available but as the vast number of people using Google are logged in, this makes it a moot point. The reasons given for this change was to make Google search safer. Seeing that this information was not available to those making the search I fail to see how this could be the case.

However, as Blogger is a Google product the internals of how Google seem to operate would not keep visitors away from that blog platform. At least, on the face of it.

Keyword Aggregation

Keyword Aggregation and the reason why Google have blocked keywords from showing in Analytics.

Further to my earlier post on Google saying that they were "making searches safer", I think the real reason that keywords not appear in reports for visitors that are logged into a Google account (GMail, G+ or any other product) is that this information is too valuable to release to the webmaster and it is retained by Google so that your visitors who find you when logged-in will more than likely be directed to another Google service such as G+.

If this information is available to the webmaster, or even an automatic aggregation (as seen on some WordPress blogs that I have seen), the keywords would be too great a magnet for the search engines algorithm. If they are suppressed then they cannot be added to the content of your blog or website. They are added to related, or what Google determine as related, postings. That way if an Internet user makes a similar search they will find the Google page rather than yours.

At the moment the keywords report in Google Analytics is pretty useless as most of the time it is populated with "Not Set". Google have correctly identified that the "premium user" (the ones that they would like to capture) are those that are already logged into their Google account. In addition, the Web History of these users is also being logged and is available to the Google engineers to further refine their search terms and the determination of valuable keywords that can be sold back to the webmaster.

Keywords to Adwords 

Without doubt the most valuable metric that is generated by Analytics are are keyword reports. It is from these keywords that Google can create Adwords for use in their "Sponsored Links section. There is no reason for them to give this information away for free. It does highlight another reason for moving my website postings to a Blogger Blog - it is a Google product and therefore included under the "Google Umbrella", an independent website would fall outside.


Monday, June 11, 2012

LinkedIn Password Database

This is a database of all the passwords, in encrypted form, that were hacked from the LinkedIn website.

If you can Download this file you can help in the decoding effort.

You will not find this file on this website/blog

Problem with Analytics and Keywords

There seems to be a problem with reporting on keywords in Google Analytics:


I think that this was a transitional issue as it cleared itself up. My theory is that Google were working on the Blogger or Analytics code at the time I was trying to access a specific report on Keywords.

Update August 2012:

It would now appear that Google have fundamentally changed the way that Analytics report keywords. My Analytics reports are more often than not populated with the keyword column with "Not Provided" or "Not Set".

This was due to a change that Google made where they claimed this was to make "Search more secure", I am not so sure that this was the reason.


The LimeWire Scam

It is interesting, to me, that an email related to Deep Packet Inspection has an advert for LimeWire P2P generated by GMail.

It is my suspicion that this is an example of an exploitation of the LimeWire name by another entity to cash in on the LimeWire name. It is probably nothing to do with the original LimeWire program or service and it is an attempt to fool those that do not know that LimeWire were subjected to a court injunction to take-down their service in October 2010.

This type of activity is still rife June 2012 so it is a clear indication that the measures taken by so-called "Anti P2P Organizations" are ineffectual in curtailing it.

To be fair it is not an advertising link but a "more about" link. I am not sure how Google generate these.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Determining your download requirements

Having reviewed my Internet usage on a day where I was not streaming or downloading I can see what an "average" user might require for a monthly allowance.

The usage that I logged was 650M Bytes and all I was doing was listening to BBC Radio 4 for much of the day and general web "pottering".

It is my contention that many Internet subscribers are paying for more bandwidth than they actually use. There are others that have no clue on what their requirements are and possible sign up for more than they need. There is also a lot of misconception over what the overage charges are when you exceed your bandwidth allotment.

Making search more secure

This is a review of what I had posted on my website with respect to a change that Google had announced with respect to the security of searches and the reasons they claimed that they were making the changes. I thought, as did others, that the change was more to keep the information and metrics within the Google fold, G+, rather than anything to do with security.

The change claimed that the search terms that a visitor had used to find your site would not show in Google Analytics (exact quote shown below) only that the search would be seen as "organic". This has proven to be the case as a lot of the searches that I see hitting this blog the keyword is reporting as "not set" or "not provided" (I think that it is the former that indicates that the visitor is signed in the their Google account).

The reason for this re-posting is that it seems that the reporting of keywords in Google Analytics is proving to be of less and less value. What was an excellent way of determining what visitors where looking for it now seems that the location, City -  Region - Country) is of more  use. It is also observed that the visits logged as "not set" appear as bounce rate and exit of less than 100% but no navigation history is logged in Analytics.

The trigger for this was that I was trying to determine why a visitor was interested in CRM systems but I could not see what they were searching for. This was a visitor from Nice, France - the Bounce and Exit were 100% but this was more to do with the lack of links on the page: CRM - Customer Relationship Management. This has now been fixed along with the "open the outbound links in a new window" - which should result on the visitor staying on my blog and hopefully clicking on something else, thus recording a paper trail.

What Google say about being "signed-in":

When a signed in user visits your site from an organic Google search, all web analytics services, including Google Analytics, will continue to recognize the visit as Google "organic" search, but will no longer report the query terms that the user searched on to reach your site. Keep in mind that the change will affect only a minority of your traffic. You will continue to see aggregate query data with no change, including visits from users who aren't signed in and visits from Google "cpc".

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How the Do Not Call List works

or rather how the DNCL is supposed to work.

If you do a search (Google) for a telephone number of someone who calls you, you will find many websites that will have a "forum" of respondents that have an opinion on who the caller was and what they want from you. It is clear, to me at least, that both telemarketers and the consumer (the person that gets the "cold call") do not understand what the Do Not Call List is and how it is supposed to work.

This list is one that you can sign-up for and if you are on that list a telemarketer is SUPPOSED TO CHECK that list to see if your number is on it. If it is on that list then they are breaking the law if they call.

The problems are that the telemarketers DO NOT CHECK THE LIST and there is no consequence when they don't.

If there is governmental issue here, CRTC or other agency, is that people who are on the DNC list and are continuing to be contacted by telemarketers should report the offenders to the administrators of the DNC. Is then, and only then, that anything can be done about it. Just because you are on the list it does not mean that you will not be called and the number of telemarketing  calls will decrease. YOU NEED TO REPORT THE OFFENDERS and once they have called you should point out to them that they are breaking the law and that they should check the list BEFORE they call. Tell them that you are reporting them.

The problem with this is that you have to get the full name of the company that called, where they are located and if you can who you are speaking to. When challenged that they should not have called as you are on the DNC you will probably be told that they will put you on their list and they will not call you again. No No No! This is not how it works! IT IS NOT THEIR LIST, if one exists, it is the official one, the one that you registered with. In any case it is doubtful that they would check that list either.

Only if these idiots are reported will the calls you continue to get diminish. I don't think that this is going to happen any time soon. In which case just have fun winding the callers up. They waste your time, waste theirs as well - this is more likely to stop their calls in future.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why Set-Top boxes are things of the past

..because they are really old technology.

A log time on the past I used to work in the cable TV industry. One of the product that the company that I worked for manufactured and installed set-top boxes. These were mainly for premium pay-tv programming (porn mostly) for the North American hotel industry. This was a long time ago and before digital.

My job was working on TV satellite receivers and the programming was protected by digital encryption of what was essentially analog TV signals. Again, old technology. The subscriber model for this required viewers to have a set-top terminal with a "smart card" that would allow them access to the premium programming, HBO, Showtime and of course the Playboy Channel. The was a big indsutry that sprang up with those that provided means to circumvent these restrictions. A lot of this was Canadians wanting to access US TV programming as Canada was way behind in providing this.

Today, 2012, a lot of the program material is capable of being transmitted over IP. TV's going forward will have computers built into them. Many already have. This could be disguised as something else and the TVs may be called "Smart TVs" the main characteristic of these devices is a "10 foot GUI" (or in other words a method of controlling them from your armchair - a big clunky Graphical User Interface - this is mainly because TV viewers have no concept of files and directories)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Has your LinkedIn password been hacked?

This seems to be pretty typical of the way that LinkedIn is run in the first place.

Schadenfreude for the users of such networks I think is in order.

Here are a few links:

6 Million passwords published on-line. Just think what a hacker can do if they have access to your account. I hope that you haven't pissed anyone off!

Has YouView missed the boat?

I know that this is a UK based service, but I can do all this already from here in Canada!

The debate whether a new TV will have a broadband connection built-in seems to be beside the point. I guess it could be that I am a teenager and I can find anything I what on-line already.   

I also do not believe the promise of the availability of a "backlog" of previously broadcast material.

Having a single service that combines iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD etc does not really add anything if you can access all of these services in any case. I think that most people can if they want to now, those that are located in the UK at least. Those that can't will find YouView too complicated.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Rebuilding a notebook with AMD Radeon 6290 graphics

As I have stated on another post, I have archived the drivers for the AMD HD 6290 graphics processor unit (GPU) that forms part of an AMD Brazos APU.

My experience in the past is that when a fresh copy of Windows is installed on a computer with a configuration such as this, there is a problem with obtaining the correct drivers. The consequence of this is that the newly configured computer will be restricted to a Standard VGA video adapter. This means that the maximum resolution of the computer is only 800 by 600 pixels (regardless of the capabilities of the display).

In addition this combination of APU, in this case an AMD C-60 with Radeon HD 6290 and Atheros AR5B125 Wireless Adapter, there were other problems in getting the wireless adapter to connect to the Internet. This is particularly important when a fresh install is performed as it is my experience that most systems will connect to the Internet even though the most up-to-date driver is being used. This initial connectivity is extremely important as it is the primary method that current drivers are found.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Using the Tor Browser package

The Vidalia Tor package can be used to obscure your location and identity. Your reasons for doing this may vary. The normal use of this package is for secure and anonymous communications in regimes where there is oppression. Tor should not be used to circumvent copyright restrictions.

When you download the Tor/Vidalia package, as opposed to a separate download of the Tor program that can be configured to your specifications, it will install a pre-configured "private" browser (Firefox) that can be used to surf the Internet anonymously.  The proxy settings are automatically set, and at least the version that I was using, the browser has TorButton configured allowing you to toggle its operation.

The install will be made to a directory on your computer that will contain a short-cut to the "private browser" that when run will load Vidalia, selecting an appropriate exit server and then load Firefox allowing you to browse without your identity being revealed. You have the option of selecting a different identity and carry on with your anonymous browsing.

I have used this package and also the Tor bundle on its own and have configured it to exit in specific countries.

The Tor package is not entirely secure on its own, to ensure complete anonymity Vidalia provide a means by which a "bridge server" is used. These "bridge" servers are not listed on any of the references to the active Tor servers on the network. To configure the Tor package to use a "bridge" you have to first select a "bridge server" and then tell Vidalia to use it. The instructions for this can be found on the Vidalia Onion website

 You need to use a "bridge" in situations where your ISP blocks known Tor servers. This would be the case in a repressive regime such as Communist China.

In addition to your IPv4 address being revealed (your IPv6 address may also be able to be determined) the IPv6 (DOCSIS) world will probably allow the determination of in individual devices that are behind a Network Address Translation device such as a router or firewall.