Monthly Archives: February 2015

Security: Watch That Email!

Got a very convincing email this weekend, seemingly from my registrar for one of my many domain names. The message was stating that the DNS was about to be changed on that domain, to point to another location. They wanted me to click on an enclosed link to prevent it.

But I wasn’t born yesterday!

Listen folks, there ways to ensure an email, is actually from who it says it’s from.

First of all,do NOT allow html email! Had I been using html in my email reader, I would not have seen that the link that was showing as my registrar, actually was going to somewhere completely different!

Also, you should actually look at the email headers. In this case, the header information almost looked legitimate, but careful examination found that the email was actually coming out of an IP address in South America!

Also, be aware that some bad guys will hide the actual email address that you’re clicking on, by masking it as an encoded string.

An example is a url that looks like this:  http://%6C%6E%78%67%6F%61%74

Which is actually this url:

Also, if the address is pointing directly to an IP address like: as an example, run away fast!

Yes, you see, but that’s not where you will end up!

Your inbox, is a dangeroud place. Use it with care!




Rant: Obama Care – What Security?

It’s bad enough that my wife’s health insurance, that she’d had for years and years was cancelled because it didn’t meet the new rules like no pregnancy benefits (duh, no womb!) and a dozen other stupid requirements that do not even apply to her needs…

… after she signed up for a new policy, at a cost of 600% higher per month than she was paying. *(Oh and for FAR LESS coverage!)…

She started getting dozens and dozens of spam emails directly related to her signing up. Hey government idiots, you selling our personal info for a profit? This taxpayer is not happy with this nonsense.

Lesson Learned: Use a throw-away email address when you sign up for Obamacare!




Software: When Updates Fail

I was planning on using today’s post to show how easy it was to upgrade my ownCloud server from version 7, to version 8.

We love ownCloud here on the farm, and rely on it constantly for many tasks. Having a farm-wide, unified calendar, shopping lists, instant photo uploads from our phones and more, make it a valuable tool.

So when ownCloud server version 8 was released, we were anxious to get the latest and greatest running!

Finding the update available in my Package Manager, I did the normal routine of turning off 3rd party plugins, backing everything up, both the www directory and database files, and then attempting to run the update.

Oh good, the update is available!

Oh good, the update is available!

When I clicked to upgrade to ownCloud 8 however, I was presented with the following:

Errors everywhere

Errors everywhere

My previous updates between major versions had never given me any problem, but this update sure did!

Heading over to the ownCloud Forums and doing some digging, I found this lengthy post about some known issues when upgrading.

There is an entire forum devoted to the new server version, and it can be found HERE

And after reading some of the many issues, I guess I’ll wait until all the bugs are ironed out before I risk what could be a disaster if the update goes wrong.


Software: Fine Tuning Your Ears For Music

I’m surprised it’s taken me so long to write about his piece of software, as music is something that’s very important to me. I’m a woodwind player, with my primary instrument being the flute, but I get by just fine on the sax, clarinet, and about any other reeded instrument I can get my hands on.

It doesn’t matter if you play classical music like I do, or heavy metal, jazz, or anything else. Knowledge of the basics of music is always the key to playing better.

Today’s software is called Solfege, and it takes it’s name directly from the French music education system by the same name, Solfège

What Solfege does, is help teach a student about the basics of music theory.  With it, you will be given examples of various notes, melodic intervals, chords, rhythms, harmonic progressions, etcetera, and then quizzed on what you hear.

Installation is simple, just head over to your Software Manager and search for Solfege,

Once installed, you can launch the program from the Education tab in your main Menu.

Solfege Start menu and settings

Solfege Start menu and settings

I’d recommend you start with Major Scale and its modes to get a feel how the program works. I use a quality pair of studio headphones when using this software, but a good pair of reference monitors will do just fine as well. I would not recommend trying to run this software with the cheap, plastic speakers that come with most computers, as they can product unwanted harmonics that will defeat the purpose!

Solfege Major Scale and modes

Solfege Major Scale and modes

Next, you can start to learn the names of different rhythms in music:

Identifying a rhythm

Identifying a rhythm

And or course, cord progressions as shown below:

Solfege - testing your knowledge of diminished and augmented chords

Solfege – testing your knowledge of diminished and augmented chords

So give the Solfrege software and learning method a try, and  become as familiar with music and its many components as you can. This will help make you a better musician!




Software: Desktop Friend To Amuse and Annoy

I was poking around the Package Manager over the weekend and found a cute little program that really doesn’t do much other than bounce around your screen, getting in the way.

The software is called AMOR, which stands for Amusing Misuse Of Resources

Package Manager

Package Manager

Once installed, you’ll find it, in the Games section of your Menu.

Once launched, all it does, is bounce around the screen, sitting on top of open windows, while making silly faces. There are several characters to choose from in the Options menu, that you get to by Right Clicking on it.

As the program was written for KDE Linux, the Tool tips function will not work because those libraries are not installed in Gnome based distributions. Everything else runs fine of course.

AMOR setup menu

AMOR setup menu

And here’s what it looks like running:

Tux on my task bar

Tux on my task bar


I of course, chose Tux, the Linux penguin. Tux pops around the screen, sitting on top of windows and generally making a nuisance  of himself, but it’s mindless fun.