Dec 10, 2016

Waste of time: Obama's "BS" review of alleged cyber attacks from Russia

Official photographic portrait of US President...
President Obama
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
An interesting story popped up yesterday in several mainstream news publications that Obama is ordering a " deep dive" into alleged reports of Russian hackers affecting the US Elections. This comes on the heels of a similar report that some members of Congress are asking for the same thing. Namely RINO's like John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

From Politico:
President Barack Obama has ordered a "deep dive" into the cyberattacks that plagued this year's election, the White House said Friday. 
Obama has asked the intelligence community to deliver its final report before he leaves office. 
The review will put the spate of hacks — which officials have blamed on Russia — "in a greater context" by framing them against the "malicious cyber activity" that may have occurred around the edges of the 2008 and 2012 president elections, said White House principal deputy press secretary Eric Schultz at a briefing.
Another report from RT says that whatever findings they uncover won't even be made public!

From RT:
President Obama has ordered US spy agencies to prepare “a full review” of election-linked cyberattacks, but the public may never see it. The report should be ready before Obama vacates office and it is likely to be disclosed only to “a range of stakeholders.”
Great, so they are going to investigate, review logs and all that jazz, but won't let any of us regular folks know about it? How much do you want to bet that this is all theater and they won't really do anything? It's all a big front to blame the Democrat's loss this election.

The interesting thing about all of this nonsense is that the idea of Russian hackers sort of started when Wikileaks began leaking the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) emails, however there was absolutely no evidence of that either!

From Trent Lapinski at Medium:
I’m the former CEO of a tech startup who lives in San Francisco, I have 15-years of experience in the tech industry, and I’ve spent the last year and half of my life working with some of the World’s best software engineers when it comes to developer operations, cloud orchestration, and data security. I also have a marketing background, and regularly research the psychology of persuasion, and propaganda. 
I’ve personally analyzed every leak from this election season, and I have seen zero evidence the Russians have anything to do with the leaks. Unless some form of evidence is provided, it is my professional opinion the leaks are the result of an insider given the extent and complexity of the data that was leaked. 
A government is attempting to manipulate and control this election, but it is not the Russians. It is the Obama administration. 
Two days before the Presidential debate, the US government officially accused Russia of hacking, and interfering in the U.S. election. However, much like the Bush administration when accusing Iraq of having Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) — which did not exist, the Obama administration has provided zero evidence for these accusations. They are trying to use their authority to convince the American people that Russia has something to do with Wikileaks, and the Trump campaign with no evidence.
Another interesting thing to note, is that there is no actual evidence that the election was hacked at all. Everything is speculation, blame and an excuse from a party that thought they had the election in the bag, then lost big time!

From NYMag.com:
There is, as of now, no evidence that any voting systems were compromised on Election Day, merely speculation and theorizing. The speculation that Russia literally hacked into our voting system and added millions of fake ballots to swing the election is Hollywood fiction.
The funny thing about all of this is that there is evidence that our own government, particularly the Department of Homeland Security, did apparently try to hack into Georgia's state office firewall. This particular firewall was protecting the office that overseas elections in Georgia!

From Cyberscoop:
Georgia’s secretary of state has claimed the Department of Homeland Security tried to breach his office’s firewall and has issued a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson asking for an explanation. 
Brian Kemp issued a letter to Johnson on Thursday after the state’s third-party cybersecurity provider detected an IP address from the agency’s Southwest D.C. office trying to penetrate the state’s firewall. According to the letter, the attempt was unsuccessful.   
The attempt took place on Nov. 15, a few days after the presidential election. The office of the Georgia Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing the state’s elections.
Maybe instead of wasting more tax dollars on alleged hacks from Russia that probably didn't happen, perhaps our government should take a look in the mirror, because the only evidence of attempted hacking from a government so far is not coming from Russia, it's coming from DHS!

Dec 9, 2016

How Customization Is Shaping Technology

Japanese mobile provider SoftBank has announced that it is releasing two customized Star Wars phones ahead of this December’s release of the new Star Wars spinoff, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." The Sharp-manufactured phones will come in a black Dark Side Edition and a white Light Side Edition. SoftBank’s Star Wars phones illustrate a trend towards customized products that is transforming technology in the smartphone industry as well as other industries. Here’s a look at a few of the ways customization is catching on.

Modular Smartphones

One way customization is influencing technology is the emergence of modular smartphones. The concept of a modular smartphone is that individual parts of the phone can be removed and switched to add functionality as needed without the need to purchase a new device. Google began working on a modular smartphone project in 2011 under the aegis of Project Ara, which envisioned a phone with customizable processors, batteries, displays and cameras.

Google abandoned the project this year, but other companies have continued to move forward with modular smartphones. This year saw the release of the LG G5, which allows modular components to be inserted by removing the phone’s chin and battery and plugging the battery into an accessory. Components introduced with the launch included modular audio enhancement and camera grip accessories.

Customized Computers

The concept of modular smartphones was inspired by customized computers, something PC enthusiasts have been building for decades. Hardcore computer users often assemble computers from scratch by piecing together motherboards, power supply units, cases, monitors, keyboards and other components. Gaming enthusiasts often customize their computers by upgrading their graphics cards for a better user experience.

While this may sound intimidating to the non-tech user, kits are available to help teach children how to assemble their own computers from component parts. For instance, Kano makes kits that anyone can use to build and code computers for around $150. For those who want customized computers without having to build them, providers such as Puget Systems will help you assemble a computer from parts you select, with specialized components such as high-quality fans to keep noise down to a minimum. Puget also makes specialized computers for heavy graphics users, video editors and 3-D designers, along with pre-built computers and base systems that users can tweak as desired.

3-D Printing

3-D printing is one of the most revolutionary technologies impacting customization. Whereas traditional manufacturing works from a physical mold, 3-D printing produces physical objects from a digital blueprint that can be used to create a mold, prototype or product. This allows for a greater range of design flexibility, since the digital model can take on any three-dimensional shape the designer can conceive. 3-D printing also can employ a greater range of materials than traditional manufacturing, with the same printer able to create objects from plastic, metal, ceramic, paper and even biomaterials.

3-D printing is being applied to a wide range of customized products, from personalized jewelry to customized smartphone cases. One industry that has already felt the impact of 3-D printing in a major way is the shoe industry, where top brands such as Nike and Adidas are offering customers the opportunity to go online to select from a variety of customized designs. In the future, as 3-D printers drop in price, shoe manufacturers expect that customers will be able to print their own customized shoes right at home. 3-D printing is also making a major impact on the healthcare industry, where the flexibility of digital design is providing patients with customized prosthetics, implants and even skin for burn victims.

Nov 18, 2016

Trying out yet another new Adsense Alternative

It's been a few years since I was kicked out of Google's Adsense program, and I'll be honest, I've never truly recovered. I used to write here on a daily basis, but because I don't get hardly any revenue anymore, I only write when I have something to say, or something I want to record for my own future reference.

I've tried various alleged Adsense Alternatives since I got kicked out of the program, and none have ever come close to providing the same kind of money that Adsense did. Well, now I'm trying out yet another one, and hopefully I can start making money again. It's called Adbuff.

I'm hoping this one is better than others that I've tried because they are way more strict in regards to the applicants they choose. In order for your site to even be considered it must meet these requirements:

  • English Sites Only
  • Over 2,000 Uniques /day
  • Traffic from US/Canada/UK/Australia
  • No free hosts (ie blogspot)
  • No streaming sites
  • No faucet sites
  • No download sites
When I submitted Bauer-Power, it took over a month to get approved! I'm glad it finally did! After getting approved I tried to submit two of our other sites, Mainwashed and BauervsWild, and both of those were immediately rejected because they either didn't have an Alexa score, or had a really low Alexa score. Picky picky! 

Still though, that's not a bad thing since they are offering only quality websites for advertisers, there is a chance that they can also charge a premium for the ad space, and therefore pay more to publishers... At least that's what I'm hoping for. I literally just put the ads on the page, and have no idea how well it will perform yet.

Wish me luck! If I can start making money again, you will start to see more articles again! If you are looking for an Adsense alternative too, click here to check them out! What do you have to lose?

Oct 12, 2016

How To Fix Slow SSTP RRAS VPN on a Citrix XenServer Virtual Server

Ever since moving to Windows 10 and Windows 2012 R2 we've seen a serious drop in performance when using SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol) on our Windows 10 machines. After weeks and weeks of troubleshooting, we believe we have the issue narrowed down to some NIC and registry settings on the RRAS (Routing and remote Access).

NOTE: This is for virtual servers that run on Citrix XenServer. Some of these things may be different in your environment...

The first thing you need to do is go into the device properties of you NIC and select the configure button. Under the Advanced tab disable all of the "offload" settings.


The next thing you need to do is make the following registry changes:
  • Set DWORD value EnableTCPA=0 in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters
  • Set DWORD value DisableTaskOffload=1 in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters
  • Set DWORD values TcpAckFrequency=1 under every interface GUID under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces
  • Reboot 
After doing all of that we saw a significant performance increase in file transfer speed and general network performance.

Give it a try, and let us know in the comments if it worked for you or not. If not, let us know what you had to do differently!

Oct 6, 2016

Bauer-Power Media Launches a New Podcast - Mainwashed Weekly Scoop

It's been a few years since I did any kind of actual show. As some of you know, I used to do Tech Chop weekly on The Tech Podcast Network. I stopped doing that because it started to become a full time job writing scripts, coming up with content, filming and editing every week. I never lost the bug though!

Well, recently I've been listening to a lot of audio podcasts and thought, I could start doing another show, but this time just do an audio only podcast that folks could listen to while working out, during their commutes, etc. I also thought it would be easier to come up with content from the news, and since I mostly read political news for my Mainwashed Facebook page, I thought why not do a political podcast? I also decided to do this one off the cuff, so there is no script to write every week. Editing a show takes about 20 minutes of my time max!

So, this last Tuesday I kicked off the first ever Mainwashed Weekly Scoop show where I give my unfiltered take on some of the national and world political news I see all the time. I say unfiltered, because I used to be a sailor and like to express myself with colorful words every once and a while. That being said, this isn't a news show for kids!

It's still brand new, but I'm planning on posting a new episode every Tuesday. Right now you can subscribe directly from www.mainwashed.com, but I've also submitted it to the following Podcast sites:
If your political views lean a little right, but still consider yourself a Libertarian, then you should check out the show. If you are a granola eating, left leaning Communist, then you should probably stick with MSNBC.

Give it a listen, and let me know what you think!

Sep 20, 2016

How to expand a LUN on your SCST Bauer-Power SAN

I thought I had already written about this, but apparently I haven't. Many moons ago I developed what I like to refer to as a Bauer-Power SAN. It was actually an idea I got from a former boss of mine named Craig MacKinder who is the current owner of Blueshift Information Systems. He had originally built similar SANs using Gentoo Linux. I think the only real difference between his and mine are that mine are built with Ubuntu.

Anyway, some people may not like these SANs because managing them is done purely via a Linux terminal, and there aren't any cool GUIs to help you with it. Because of that you need to know your way around a Linux terminal to manage one. If that isn't a big deal to you, then you can save tons of money by using these instead of something like a NetApp.

Anyway, the point of this post is to tell you how to add more space, or expand a LUN on your Bauer-Power SCST SAN. You can do it in these 5 easy steps!
  • Create a temporary thin disk file the size of the amount you want to add to the LUN (For example 100 GB is 100G or 1 TB is 1T).
    dd if=/dev/zero of=temp_expand bs=1 count=0 seek=100G
  • Append the temporary file to the end of your LUN file.
    cat temp_expand >> LUNFILE
  • Once the partition is extended you can delete the temp_expand file you created.
    rm temp_expand
  • Now to have scst recognize the change you must force the device to resync. You can get the device name of the file you are extending from /etc/scst.conf.
    scstadmin -resync_dev DEVICENAME
  • Now you should see the additional storage on the partition you are trying to extend, and you can extend the partition. In Windows you need to open Disk Manager and rescan disks first. Then you can right click the drive and click extend.
See, that was pretty easy right?

Sep 12, 2016

I made the switch from Plex to Emby on my Roku. Maybe you should too!

The other day I was upgrading the Plex server at my girlfriend's house like I usually do when I see there is an update. This time the update caused RARFlix on her Roku to stop working! I wrote about how I switched to RARFlix a while back when Plex started charging for the use of their standard Roku app instead of letting you use it for free, but giving you more features if you purchased a membership. Sorry, I just don't think having the ability to stream my own damned media should cost a monthly fee like Netflix!

Well, when this latest update broke RARFlix, I decided that enough was enough and turned to a really cool alternative in my opinion... Emby!

Here is a list of features from their page (Click on the image to zoom in):


For the most part, the free version of Emby does everything that Plex used to do for me which is great. One thing that I think it does better though is find artwork for my TV shows!

Here is what the TV interface looks like:


If you are ready to make the switch away from Plex, check out Emby!

Sep 9, 2016

3 Technology Concepts that Could Shape the Future of Gadgetry

As usual, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was chock full of cool futuristic gadgets, from 8K TVs and OLED laptops to virtual reality goggles and obstacle-avoiding drones. One of the most impressive displays was Samsung's smart clothes, a set of smart exercise clothing that tracks your movement and body contractions. While some of these gadgets are ready to hit the market, others are still in the conceptual stages. Here a few tech concepts still in the prototype phase that should make an impact when they reach the market.

Smart Contact Lenses, Eyewear

In 2014, Samsung filed a patent in South Korea for smart contact lenses as yet another platform to augment reality. The smart contact lenses come equipped with a display, antenna, camera and sensors to detect blinking. The display projects images onto the wearer’s eye, while the camera can be activated with a quick blink to send a signal to the contact lenses' sensors. The smart contact lenses require a connection to upload images to an external mobile device for processing photos.

Samsung’s new smart contact lenses appear to be a tasty appetizer to the company's forthcoming Gear Blink line. Gear Blink will add contact lenses to the smart wearables category that also includes devices like Google Glass, which allows users to take pictures with a quick blink of the eye.

Meantime, Samsung’s VR Gear and Microsoft’s HoloLens both enable users to view distant locations through a holograph, as if the users were right in the room. Google also owns patents for smart solar-powered contact lenses that can analyze the chemical content of the wearer’s tears in order to monitor low blood sugar levels in diabetics.

Car-Charging Tires

With hybrid, electric and solar-powered cars growing in popularity, innovations in car battery technology have become increasingly important. Goodyear has devised a promising new way to recharge car batteries using the heat generated by rolling tires. Unveiled at the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show, Goodyear’s BHO3 tire is made of thermo-pizoelectric material that takes the heat generated by tire friction and transforms it into electrical energy. The tire material also absorbs heat and light energy that cars receive while idling and adds this to the car battery’s power reserve.

Goodyear also used the Geneva International Motor Show to unveil a second concept tire with three tubes under the tread and an internal pump to adjust inflation to road conditions. Other innovators, including engineer Dileep Bhoi, are testing whether tire and steering wheel motion can harness enough electrical energy to recharge a car battery or power other electrical accessories.

Holographic Phones

In Star Wars, Princess Leia sent Obi-wan Kenobi a holographic message using R2D2 to project a 3D image into space. Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab is working to bring a similar capability to smartphones through its HoloFlex project. The HoloFlex uses a 1920x1080 high-definition flexible organic light-emitting diode touchscreen display that renders full 3D images, which depicts how an object looks from a particular viewpoint.

Users can view the object from any angle by rotating their smartphone. The screen is flexible, and users can move objects along the Z axis by bending the screen. The HoloFlex will make it easier to edit 3D models; enable holographic virtual conferences, where you can see the other person’s face from any angle; and empower holographic gaming.



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