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Thursday
Apr132017

Sarcastic reader's letter (1999)

I was rooting through files and found this 1999 letter, which as I recall related to me calling mains live as,  erm, 'live'  rather than 'Line' which the reader claimed was the correct term I should use.  I had pointed out that Line means something quite different to an audio or PA engineer, and most ordinary people understand mains live as 'live' too.

In my experience, I always found the rudest and most intolerant letters came from retired engineers with too much time on their hands. Anyway his reply amused me, so here it is.

[click to see]

 

 

 

Wednesday
Mar292017

Dreamweaver CS4 file sync errors: file in use by another process

Over the past few weeks some file syncing errors suddenly occurred where files were locked ‘in use by another process’. I tried all the usual culprits, numerous reboots, turning off every unwanted program, safe mode, checking Windows’ services, using Process Explorer but nothing cured this ‘file being used by another process’ error and my web sites risked getting into a mess.

Well I finally found the culprit after two weeks of problems! More details...

Tuesday
Mar282017

A very convincing spearfishing Word Macro attack

I received this very cunning spearphishing attempt in an Email addressed directly to me, containing what they reckoned was my home address and a Word file attachment called winstanley.dot  It also contains a legitimate-looking sender’s name and a Romanian email address which may have been spoofed, so I have omitted them.

The document seems to contain no virus (according to Kaspersky Anti Virus) but when I carefully peel back the lid, it soon becomes clear that it’s another Microsoft Word macro-laden document.  A macro is a series of commands designed to run like a mini-program as explained by Norton here.  The sequence of commands can also install harmful viruses.

If this was a genuine attempt by someone to warn me of a hack, there would be no need to run a macro in a simple document like this. The password-protection adds some authenticity to the scam.

To: Alan Winstanley  
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:54:10 +0000
From: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Subject: Alan

Good day to you, Alan!

I am bothering you for a very significant matter. Allhough you don't know me, but I have considerable ammount of data concerning you. The fact is that, most probably mistakenly, the information of your account has been emailed to me.

For instance, your address is:

XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXX
XXXXX
XXXX XXX

I am a law-abiding citizen, so I decided to alert may have been hacked. I pinned the file - Winstanley.dot that was sent to me, that you could explore what data has become available for deceivers. Document password is - 9583

Sincerely,

Vxxxxx Zxxxxxxx

By default, in my Word program macros are disabled, and you should do the same. Go to Options / Trust Center / Disable all macros from running.

This scam is a nice try and it would certainly fool some people.

 

Saturday
Jan212017

Stripboard Magic in Windows 7

If you're into using Veroboard or stripboard you may have come across the legacy 1990's program that helped you design circuit layouts - Stripboard Magic by Ambyr. Many people have struggled but it's not as hard as you may think to install it in Windows 7+ as I describe in my Hobby Electronics section here.

Tuesday
Jan172017

BT Call Protect eliminates junk calls - what's the catch?

This welcome new and long-overdue service from BT promises to intercept calls from known junk callers and divert them to a junk voicemail box instead. In theory you need never be bothered by nuisance calls again, or at least the mass-produced junk phone calls that bother us all too frequently. Read more about BT's new Call Protect service in my article.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec152016

Beware phony scam Speeding Ticket emails

Phony speeding ticket sent by email [it's safe to click to see]The latest scam doing the rounds is the phony speeding ticket. Several of these have arrived by email claiming to come from Greater Manchester Police (GMP). They are entirely bogus and if it wasn’t for the fact that they are perpetrated by thieving scumbags, one could almost admire their ingenuity.

DO NOT CLICK the button labelled ‘Examine Fixed Speed Camera Evidence’ as it clicks through to a hijacked website hosting a malicious script. That is how PCs get infected with viruses, ransomware, keyloggers and similar malware.

Just to be clear, the domain names used as the sender / evidence URL are spoofed, so don't blame them for the scam.

Watch out for these arriving in your Inbox and be sure to spread the word!

Wednesday
Dec072016

Will a Car Cane grab handle mobility aid fit my car?

If you have elderly family or relatives who struggle to get in or out of a car, this 'Car Cane' may be just the answer. It’s a very strong handle that simply drops into the door latch mounted on the bodyshell to give some leverage, and it provides a very sturdy and reassuring extra grab handle that helps people to get a secure handhold. Read the full details in my article.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec072016

Panasonic SC-PM250B

Panasonic SC-PM250EB [click to see]How hard can it be to buy a mini hi-fi? I was looking for a small Panasonic CD player with DAB radio, as the one that caught my eye had good reviews for sound quality, was very compact and easy to use and I’ve got on well with the Panasonic brand for forty years. Shopping around, the part numbers and spec. were all over the place.   Here's some very handy info that will help ensure you get the right model. More details...

Thursday
Nov242016

Paper Mate Contour Powerpoint refills

I have a Paper Mate Contour ballpoint pen that hails from the 1970s. The problem is that Paper Mate Powerpoint refills are no longer available. A quick search on Ebay unearthed a few old mouldy-looking ones mostly from the USA, selling for £30-£45 each! In this article I pinpoint an excellent UK supplier of pen refills that are compatible with the old Paper Mate Contour. They might need a trivial modification as I explain.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov182016

Beware UKPC UK Parking Ticket phishing

UKPC phishing scam email [click to see]

This Email just arrived and is supposedly a parking violation ticket. How does UKPC know my Email address? Of course, they don't.  It's quite well done apart from the very odd English, but I won't help the Eastern European spammers by telling them why their dialect is so strange to a native Englishman. The click-throughs seem to point to a Russian instance of mediagroupmoney.com.  Of course, clicking through to any unknown website is potentially lethal as it could try to install ransomware or a nasty virus on your computer, so it should be deleted immediately. Nice try.