Category: Uncategorized

Books to Read

So I’ve gotten on the reading kick last 20 months. Like a whole lot of books. On topics with a pretty wide range – right now I’m just finishing up a book about all the Presidents between Teddy Roosevelt and Bill Clinton. Shame it doesn’t cover the Shrub aka former President Bush. What got my attention in that particular book was how it dished on Ronald Reagan. He truly was America’s first idiot. The title of the book is “The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton” and it’s by William E. Leuchtenberg.

But now onto bigger and better.

I’ve got a book on the Roman Empire caleld “S-P-Q-R: A History of Ancient Rome” by Mary Beard – that’s next up in the rotation.

And after that I have “Children of Paradise: The Sruggle for the Soul of Iran” by Laura Secor.

There’s a trend there – I’m looking at cultural things. I guess my classical education is rearing it’s ugly head again. Or the fact that I find a lot of these books from my Facebook feed. We’re a right literate bunch of bastards.

If you want a hardware firewall

I had shown about the Microsoft phone home thing. Completely spaced on telling you about an affordable and effective hardware firewall. It’s a Cisco RV110W. Price had dropped considerably on them. You can find them for around $50 now.

It’s a 10/100 switch with four ports and WPS as well as firewall capability. The interface is a web GUI. A word of advice – rename the administrator account and set at a minimum a 12-16 character password that includes upper and lower case, numbers and symbols. Then put it in your private notes – either on paper or an encrypted password safe on your computer.

And you can even have it mail logs to you daily. Just to see what’s going on. That’s a really nice feature. I just pump mine through Cox SMTP server and to my gmail account. Then I have a filter setup in Gmail to route the message to my Firewall Logs folder.

Keep it safe out there.

 

Blocking Windows 10 from phoning home

So I’ve long known Windows 10 likes to phone home to Microsoft. Well last night I pulled a command prompt up and executed the command¬†netstat -an

From that I looked up all the active addresses – most were legitimate though I’m really considering blocking Yahoo.com next.

But just for your consideration here’s a snippet of the firewall log in which I blocked a Microsoft address.

2016-02-07 12:12:11 RV110W kern.warning ACL-Deny-L2W:IN=VLAN1 OUT=WAN SRC=192.168.1.100 DST=65.52.108.210 LEN=157 TOS=0x00 PREC=0x00 TTL=127 ID=13934 DF PROTO=TCP SPT=49447 DPT=443 WINDOW=61 RES=0x00 ACK PSH URGP=0
2016-02-07 12:12:12 RV110W kern.warning ACL-Deny-L2W:IN=VLAN1 OUT=WAN SRC=192.168.1.100 DST=65.52.108.210 LEN=157 TOS=0x00 PREC=0x00 TTL=127 ID=13935 DF PROTO=TCP SPT=49447 DPT=443 WINDOW=61 RES=0x00 ACK PSH URGP=0
2016-02-07 12:12:12 RV110W kern.warning ACL-Deny-L2W:IN=VLAN1 OUT=WAN SRC=192.168.1.100 DST=65.52.108.210 LEN=157 TOS=0x00 PREC=0x00 TTL=127 ID=13936 DF PROTO=TCP SPT=49447 DPT=443 WINDOW=61 RES=0x00 ACK PSH URGP=0

So on average it tries to phone home every 30-60 seconds. To hell with Microsoft. If I blocked something important, like say a software authentication server or an update server I’ll see Windows bitch in the logs. But so far, nothing.

 

How I know we’re not going to get as much snow as they predict

First and foremost it’s because I bought 100lbs of rock salt. As a result it will sit in the coat closet in the entry way for a few seasons.

Secondly the temperature is far too high for snow to form – in fact it’s mostly coming down as rain right now. And I note the chicken littles on Facebook aren’t cackling about the white death from the sky.

I was saying the other day – this is the perfect winter. Temps on the overall above 50F, very little snowfall but rain instead. I could get used to this. They are saying within a couple decades the weather in southeastern New England will be more like the weather in Florida than New England. Yay global climate change!

A New Group I Like

Now I’ve never been one for most metal music. Only so much noise. But over on Facebook many of my friends have been posting this video:

So I dug through some of their other tracks. Disturbed for a metal band has some really good range. So much so that I ran them through the YouTube to MP3 converter and they now live in my music library.

It’s funny – the help desk/systems guy is a metal lover. He’s introduced me to a few new things after I’d shared that I like Gogol Bordello.

Longest serving Mayor of Providence to lie in repose at Providence City Hall

So as you may or may not have heard, former Mayor of Providence Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci passed away recently.

Flags in the city and on the state house are being flown at half staff.

More interestingly the former Mayor, longest serving at 20 years will lie in repose in front of the Mayor’s office on February 6th and 7th.

Love him or hate him – he was one of the biggest cheerleaders that Providence ever had. And the recent crop of Mayors, the only thing I can say for them is they love revenue generating things.

Life’s little gifts

One gift I have is being able to sneak up on people and then scaring the shit out of them. I love the registration of surprise and shock when they realize I’ve snuck up on them. It’s one of life’s gifts and pleasures.

Another of those gifts is having a dry, sarcastic wit. I regularly crack up people at work.

Then of course there’s my gift in how I deal with vendors who displease me. In more than a few places I’ve worked I’ve been told that people who heard my conversations with certain shipping companies, that I’m really persuasive and I can be downright rude but in a nice way. In essence I can call you an asshole and you’ll thank me for it. Last demonstration of this is when I told the UPS President’s office that they were inept and idiotic.