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Archive for the ‘I.T.’ Category

I Was A Victim of Microsoft’s Attempt to Fix Meltdown and Spectre

Posted by robkraft on April 15, 2018

If you’ve come here hoping for a rant against Microsoft, prepare to be disappointed.  Microsoft released a patch on January 5th, 2018 to attempt to fix Meltdown/Spectre problems.  That patch prevented one of my computers from booting after it was applied.  I am not upset with Microsoft for causing this problem while attempting to fix another program because I understand that fixing some problems are really difficult, and what works on one CPU may not work on another.  Fortunately for me, the computer affected by this patch was a computer I do not use often.

Unfortunately, this is a problem that would cause most people, anyone that does not consider themselves pretty good at fixing computer problems, from using the computer until they took it to someone else for repair.

Today I sat down to fix the computer.  The computer runs Windows 7.  The computer failed to boot on January 11th, 2018.  I discovered the boot failure a few weeks later and then discovered that I could not even enter Windows Safe Mode after rebooting the PC.  Knowing it would take some time to resolve the problem and that I might have a corrupt hard drive and never be able to resolve it, I put an attempt at resolution on hold.

Until today.

I used a Windows 10 bootable jump drive I already owned.  My HP machine allows me to press the ESC key to get to the “Boot Menu” and from there I could select the Jump Drive.  I chose to go to the command prompt.  From there, I found my C: drive (which was named E: in this boot) and found that all my backup files still existed.  I breathed a small sigh of relief then searched (dir /od) looking to find when the PC last successfully booted (which was January 11th), and I looked for an explanation of the problem by looking for what last happened on the machine.  I saw that Windows Update had activity just prior to the failure.  I then searched the Internet from another computer and quickly found the exact article I needed to fix the problem.

https://www.sevenforums.com/general-discussion/412283-windows-7-wont-start-after-update-5-jan-2018-a-2.html?s=059ef7f74b20ace7ea26687e027217b2

I used the information in the January 8th post by Wolfie1307 to run the following command and the command told me it succeeded (meaning that it successfully rolled back the attempted Windows Update).

dism /image:E:\ /remove-package /packagename:Package_for_RollupFix~31bf3856ad364e35~x86~~7601.24002.1.4(or whatever you copied) /norestart

It did not work for me on my first attempt because I was lazy and used the exact package name that Wolfie1307 provided in his/her post.  I needed to change the package name to include x86 instead of amd64 for mine to succeed, and I found the name of that package in the WindowsUpdate.log

I rebooted my computer and it is working again!

 

 

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Posted in Home Tech, I.T. | Leave a Comment »

Ending Net Neutrality Will Cost You!

Posted by robkraft on December 3, 2017

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Posted in I.T. | Leave a Comment »

iTunes 12.7 Problem – Podcasts missing from Library

Posted by robkraft on October 22, 2017

It seems that most iTunes Upgrades either cause problems or remove features I use for managing the podcasts I listen to and 12.7 was no different.  This one took me an hour to resolve.  Unfortunately Apple has no information about this on their site and it is not easy to submit or get responses to support requests.  But I found the answer on another blog: https://appletoolbox.com/2017/09/apple-releases-new-itunes-12-7-what-you-should-know/#Where_Are_My_Podcasts

I am reposting the resolution on my blog in case I need to again, and maybe to reduce the time it takes for others to resolve the problem.

Posted in Home Tech, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Is 2016 the Year to Stop Bundling Javascript and CSS?

Posted by robkraft on December 13, 2015

If you don’t stop bundling your javascript and CSS in 2016, you will probably do so in 2017 or 2018 and the reason for this is the implementation of HTTP2. HTTP2 is a new spec to replace HTTP and requires changes in both browsers and the web servers they connect to. Once each side of the communication supports HTTP2, the improved communications can begin using the new spec. Going into 2016, most major browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Edge support it; but I am not sure about IE11.

HTTP2 is not a rewrite of HTTP, but an alteration of a few features. One of the most notable is the ability for the browser to bundle multiple requests together to send them to the server. This is why developers should consider ending the use of bundling javascript and CSS on the server, as it may provide worse performance to clients running HTTP2. For a good podcast about the impact of HTTP2, I recommend show 1224 of .Net Rocks: http://www.dotnetrocks.com/?show=1224

Developers should keep the following in mind regarding HTTP2:

  • Bundling of javascript and CSS may provide worse performance than not bundling for clients using HTTP2.
  • Communications that are not using HTTP2 will still benefit from bundling.
  • Some browsers, notably Chrome and Firefox, may only support HTTP2 when the connection uses TLS/SSL.
  • Proxies in between the client and the server that don’t support HTTP2 may also affect the improvements HTTP2 would otherwise provide.

For a little more about the spec, I recommend this concise post from Akamai: https://http2.akamai.com/. And don’t overlook their awesome demo example of the improvements HTTP2 can provide: https://http2.akamai.com/demo.

Posted in Coding, Dev Environment, I.T., Uncategorized, Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

The AntiVirus Software from AVG is Itself a Virus

Posted by robkraft on November 8, 2014

I’ve been personally trying different anti-virus packages for Windows 8.1 and I must report deep disappointment with the free version of AVG anti-virus.  I have two complaints:

  1. When I apply an upgrade of the software it changes my browser homepage to their own URL.  I did not ask it to do this and did not even see any option where I could prevent it.  But the default behavior of an upgrade should not be to make changes that I don’t want to my computer.  That is the definition of a virus, software that changes my computers in ways I don’t like to benefit the writers of the software.
  2. The second problem I had was that my settings in the browser telling Internet Explorer 11 what to do when I open a new tab would not stick.  Every time I rebooted the computer they changed back to the default settings, a blank tab.  It took me a while to track down the cause and the cause was an addin that AVG Antivirus installed in my browser.  I don’t mind the addin, but I do mind that it kept changing my IE settings.

I guess it is time to try a different package.  Microsoft Essentials does not do anything unexpected and can be trusted, but it also has the reputation as being the poorest at catching viruses.

Posted in Home Tech, I.T. | Leave a Comment »

How I Figured Out Why I Could Not Get To My WebSite Hosted at Arvixe.com, But Others Could

Posted by robkraft on April 19, 2014

I encountered an unusual problem last night when I attempted to view one of my web sites (http://www.KraftSoftware.com).  I could not get to the web site.  Fiddler showed me a 502 response.  My site is hosted at arvixe.com and I use the name cp.violet.arvixe.com to connect to and manage my web site, but I also could not even connect to cp.violet.arvixe.com.  I scanned twitter for arvixe but found no one else complaining about outages.  Maybe others had not realized the problem yet.  Fortunately I was able to get to support.arvixe.com to chat with a technician.  He said there was no problem, that both sites were accessible and ended our chat.  That did not please me.  I opened a chat with a better technician at arvixe.

He told me that they could access the site, and we bounced some ideas back and forth.  I sent him the result of my traceroute, then I went to bed.

Tracing route to stats.violet.arvixe.com [198.252.79.4]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1     1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  192.168.1.1
2    36 ms    28 ms    30 ms  cpe-65-28-0-1.kc.res.rr.com [65.28.0.1]
3    16 ms    15 ms    12 ms  tge7-2.lesmmo11-cer1.kc.rr.com [65.28.16.138]
4    13 ms    17 ms    13 ms  tge0-9-0-7.ksczmogn01r.kc.rr.com [98.156.42.246]
5    39 ms    27 ms    27 ms  ae30.dllatxl3-cr01.kc.rr.com [98.156.42.0]
6    28 ms    27 ms    27 ms  107.14.19.92
7    25 ms    24 ms    24 ms  ae-3-0.pr0.dfw10.tbone.rr.com [66.109.6.209]
8    24 ms    50 ms    34 ms  po21.bbr02.eq01.dal01.networklayer.com [66.109.9.222]
9    29 ms    28 ms    24 ms  ae5.dar01.sr01.dal05.networklayer.com [173.192.18.215]
10    24 ms     *       52 ms  po1.fcr03.sr03.dal05.networklayer.com [173.192.118.143]
11     *        *        *     Request timed out.
12     *        *        *     Request timed out.
13     *        *        *     Request timed out.
14     *        *        *     Request timed out.
15     *        *        *     Request timed out.
16     *        *        *     Request timed out.
17     *        *        *     Request timed out.
18     *        *        *     Request timed out.
19     *        *        *     Request timed out.
20     *        *        *     Request timed out.
21     *        *        *     Request timed out.
22     *        *        *     Request timed out.
23     *        *        *     Request timed out.
24     *        *        *     Request timed out.
25     *        *        *     Request timed out.
26     *        *        *     Request timed out.
27     *        *        *     Request timed out.
28     *        *        *     Request timed out.
29     *        *        *     Request timed out.
30     *        *        *     Request timed out.

Trace complete.

The next morning an Arvixe tech had sent me an email asking me for my IP address.   I supplied it to them 6 hours ago but have not heard another response from them yet.  So I started doing some more research.

After disabling the wireless on my phone (so that my phone would not be going to the Internet over the same connection as my home PC), I went to my web site and it was working from my phone.  I then went to www.pingwebsite.com and pinged my server web IP (192.252.79.4) and only 4 of the 10 hosts were able to get a response.

I emails to ‘admin@dnstinations.com’ and ‘dnsadmin@us.ibm.com’ because they were the apparent owners of the last node the tracert reached successfully (po1.fcr03.sr03.dal05.networklayer.com [173.192.118.143] ).  It is a Saturday, and I have no response from them yet.

I then considered that my IP address had been blacklisted.  I went to http://whatismyipaddress.com/blacklist-check and entered my IP Address for my server 198.252.79.4 and it showed that my site was blacklisted by two spamhaus.org servers, but not by any of the other 60 servers on the list.  One of the links from this site took me directly to the reason for the block by spamhaus.org at http://www.spamhaus.org/sbl/query/SBL213271. This document told me that a site named primus.com.mk was being blocked as a spammer.  The IP address for that site was the same as my site IP address (www.KraftSoftware.com).  So apparently my site, and all of my sites hosted at arvixe.com, have the misfortune of being on the same server as a spammer.

At this time I think there is nothing I can do except to ask Arvixe.com to move my sites to a different server and IP Address, or for me to move my sites to a different web hosting provider.  And of course I asked Arvixe.com to shut down primus.com.mk and get my IP address off of the blacklist.

At the moment, I am just waiting for their response.

UPDATE AND RESOLUTION:

So I was wrong about the blacklist being the cause of my site not working.  The blacklist just blocks emails, not web sites.  The problem was that my home security system was sending so many pictures to store on my site that it triggered a DDOS response and was blocked.  I have changed my security camera to send fewer pictures and will hope it doesn’t happen again.

Posted in I.T., Online Resources, Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

How to Fix 2013 Internet Explorer Search Redirect to DNSSearch.rr.com

Posted by robkraft on January 13, 2014

For the last month I’ve been tolerating the redirect that Kansas City Time Warner slipped into my “Search with Bing” searches in Internet Explorer, but I found the fix is simple.

Go to http://dnssearch.rr.com/prefs.php and select the disable option and click “Save Setting”.

I believe this is just another dirty trick Time Warner realized that could sneak into innocent user settings and that most users won’t be able to figure out how to get rid of their search engine.

So, if you find that your search engine recently started redirecting to DNSSearch.rr.com, try the fix above to resolve it and get back to a legitimate search engine.

Posted in Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

How To Power On A Dead Nexus 7 Android Tablet That Won’t Boot At All

Posted by robkraft on January 1, 2014

I don’t use my tablet often, so I sometimes find that my Nexus 7 won’t boot when I power it on.  Not only does it fail to boot, it does not show any activity at all on the screen and I first thought the device was broken.  However, after searching the Internet I learned about similar reports from others and suggestions for getting the device working again.  I am writing this post so that I can find my own answer the next time I need to do this and hopefully provide the extremely precise instructions to help others.

Here is what I have to do when my Nexus 7 does not boot:

  1. Plug in the power to an electrical outlet.
  2. Hold down both the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons.
  3. While continuing to hold down both volume buttons, hold down the Power button for a few seconds.

At this point, a battery charging icon shows up on the screen and you can let go of all of the buttons.

From then on, you can occasionally press the power on button to see the battery charging icon.  If you look closely and wait long enough, you will notice that the battery charging icon appears to be more fully charged over time when it starts up.

Give it a few hours to charge, and then you should be able to unplug it from the power outlet and power it on and use it again.

Good luck!

On July 24th, 2014 this did not work for me, but when I tried this guy’s recommendation it did: http://www.droid-life.com/2012/12/27/fix-nexus-7-refusing-to-charge-try-this-trick/

Posted in Home Tech, I.T. | Leave a Comment »

Internet Explorer 10 is now the Best Browser in the Market

Posted by robkraft on March 2, 2013

I am loving the speed of the recently released Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) for Windows 7.  It is noticeably faster than Chrome.  It also has no problem rendering video and other content on sites that IE9 struggles with.

A few other minor improvements are nice such as the little ‘x’ added to every text box to allow you to clear the field and the icon for viewing your password that appears in every password protected field.  This is a long overdue security enhancement.  A lot of users choose simple passwords primarily because they struggle typing complex passwords when they cannot see what they have typed.

Text fields and some fonts render a little differently in IE10 than in IE9.  I don’t think they look better, but I think they probably render a little faster.  Once again, IE10 appears to be all about speed!

Posted in Free tools, Home Tech, I.T., Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

How to Configure Your Windows 8 Phone to Get Your Google Mail

Posted by robkraft on December 17, 2012

I have several e-mail accounts hosted by Google, which is fortunate because it helped me solve this problem.  I had set up my organization’s email account, hosted on Google, using the settings I used in my Windows 7 phone.  Those settings looked like this, but did not work on my Windows 8 phone:

  • User Name: admin@MyDomainName.org
  • Server: m.google.com
  • SSL: Checked (Yes)

But to get that to work on my Windows 8 Phone I had to switch the account to the IMAP settings.  To do this, delete your account settings on your Windows 8 Phone because you need to set them up in a way that allows you to choose IMAP4.  Create a new account with these settings:

  • Account Name: really doesn’t matter
  • Email address: admin@MyDomainName.org
  • Incoming email server: imap.gmail.com:993:1
  • User Name:   admin@MyDomainName.org
  • Outgoing (SMTP) email server: smtp.gmail.com:465:1
  • Outgoing server requires authentication: Checked (Yes)
  • Use the same user name and password for sending email: Checked (Yes)
  • Advanced settings:
  • Require SSL for incoming email: Checked (Yes)
  • Require SSL for outgoing email: Checked (Yes)

When you do this on your phone:

  • Pick “add an account”
  • Pick “other account (POP and IMAP)”
  • Enter the Email address and Password and click Sign In.  It will fail.
  • Click “try again”.  It will fail again, but then you will get an “advanced” button where you can enter the information above.

I do not have all of my google/gmail hosted accounts configured the same way on my phone.  My primary gmail account is set up simply using the “google” option and looks like this:

Simple Google Settings that work for me

Simple Google Settings that work for me

Simple Google Settings that work for me

Simple Google Settings that work for me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the emails that needed the IMAP4 settings, my configuration looks like this:

Part 1 of 3

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Posted in I.T. | 20 Comments »