Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Introducing IT Accelerant

Monday, February 26th, 2024

I’m very proud and excited to announce that I’ve started a new Managed IT Services company named IT Accelerant. I’ve worked in IT since 2000, in 2018 I started working for an MSP in Annapolis Maryland and learned to love the business of helping other businesses succeed with technology. I’ve been in the Managed IT Services space ever since and love it.

IT Accelerant will focus on serving small to mid-sized business (5-100 people) in Colorado. We’ve just launched a new website that explains our focus and the types of businesses we support. We look forward to serving other business in our area!

Another day another critical Fortigate vulnerability

Friday, February 9th, 2024

At this point, it’s beyond ridiculous. The device that is supposed to provide security is the one requiring constant updates due to vulnerabilities that are exposed to the internet. Every software vendor has bugs, many of them are security related. It happens. Which is why it is essential that your systems can be quickly and easily updated. Other firewall vendors have provided such automatic updates for over a decade, it’s time we stop using technology that is so difficult to keep updated. Rant over, go update your firewalls now and while you are at it, upgrade to modern solutions that don’t require a VPN at all (like SaaS).

How attackers can bypass Office 365 MFA

Wednesday, September 6th, 2023

I’ve always found a good hack fascinating (remember reading 2600?) but while it can be scary, understanding how a good hack works can help you avoid being a victim. This interesting hack against Office 365 accounts uses a few new tricks. One is to embed malicious links in attachments (the attachment itself is safe and the email security tool only scans the embedded URLs), the next is to use the attachment to launch a man-in-the-middle attack to capture a session token when a user goes to the legit Microsoft site to be authenticated. See in the case of MFA, the username and password by themselves aren’t useful without the additional factor, but once you have a token they can access the account until it expires (default 90 days). Anyways, evidently these tactics and more have been in use for years. It’s worth your time to read the whole thing at Bleeping Computer.

TLDR: don’t open attachments or click on links you aren’t expecting, better to call your contact and ask them if they actually meant to send it to you.

I’m back

Monday, June 12th, 2023

Yeah, so it’s been a minute (about 5 mil actually) since I posted here. I’ve been missing writing for years, but you know how it goes. The world has changed a lot in the past 10 years and while my old pastime of HDTVs is officially boring now, my passion technology hasn’t waned at all. One thing I miss about the old web is how brief blog posts used to be — ahh the 150 words or less Engadget posts. Anyways, my only promise to those who take the time to read what I wrote is that I’ll keep it succinct.

There is no “Blu-ray industry”

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

So I ran across this article on AmandTech by Ganesh T S that was one of the best I’ve seen in regards to a technical explanation of the DRM used on Blu-ray — especially around the new Cinavia audio watermark. But it’s also a perfect example of a highly technical geek writing an article without understanding the business driving the technology. He speaks of the “Blu-ray industry” which just doesn’t exist. Blu-ray is part of the Home Media business, which also includes Vudu, Netflix and every other video on demand service. The players in the Home Media industry couldn’t care less about any one particular part of their business, instead worrying about the bottom line. There goal is to get consumers to spend more money this year then they did last year on enjoying content at home, and at the same time drive costs down in order to generate more profit. It’s no different from most’s personal goals, which is to get a raise every year. How long would you stay at a job that decreased your salary year after year?

The total revenue number in Home Media has been going down year over year as long as I’ve been watching it (according to the Digital Entertainment Group), and Blu-ray was just one of many attempts to stop the bleeding (down 2% in 2011 compared to 2010). The reality is  the total spending on digital in 2011 was about a third of that spent on buying discs. The bottom line is that Hollywood doesn’t care if you prefer Blu-ray or anything else, just so long as you spend more money (which means it prefers you buy a movie for $20 vs. rent one for $1) watching movies at home.

Multi-Room Viewing vs a Multi-Room DVR

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Don’t be confused by the title, a Multi-Room DVR is not the same as Multi-Room viewing. The ability to view a recording in any room of the house is just one of many features of a Multi-Room DVR. If you can’t schedule recordings, check on your Todo list and manage seasons passes in more than one room, you can not honestly call your system a Multi-Room DVR — multiple DVRs are not a Multi-room DVR either. Of course the meaning of words never stopped marketing people from using them, but don’t be fooled, the Dish Network Hopper and Joey are the very first provider Multi-Room DVR ever available widespread. And it’s a big deal.

The DirecTV HR34 is the core of a Multi-Room DVR, but with the C30 RVU clients being MIA and the first gen Samsung RVU HDTVs being so limited, it is hardly ready for prime time — I tried it at CES and the TV’s RVU client made the first build of the TiVo Premiere software feel fast. This is all assuming you can get DirecTV to even enable the feature for you, which seems unlikely given the feedback at Many cable companies, including Verizon, have Multi-Room viewing that they call a Multi-Room DVR, but charging people for a DVR in every room and making them walk between rooms to resolve conflicts can hardly be called a true Multi-Room DVR, in good faith.

I think this is a big deal, because I believe that everyone expects the exact same TV experience in every room of the house, and in the next few years all the providers will provide what Microsoft’s Media Center has been doing for over five years, but in a mainstream way. I can’t wait to try them all out for myself.

VLC 2.0 brings WTV support to Macs

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Use a Windows 7 Media Center to record TV, but you also own a Mac? Then go ahead and download VLC 2.0 as soon as you can. As far as I know, VLC 2.0 is the only Mac app that supports Media Center’s WTV file format. The pervious version definitely supported dvr-ms, but when Microsoft upgraded the default recorded TV format to WTV with Windows 7, it left Mac users with no choice but to convert recordings in order to play them back. VLC 2.0 easily played back my recordings perfectly, but one thing that was missing is the metadata (show name is displayed as ‘en-us’) and the closed captions didn’t seem to work either. Regardless, this is a great way to catch up on your favorite shows while you travel, if you happen to travel with a Mac.

The TV Pack has made my Media Center enviroment very unstable

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

I know, I know, it isn’t meant for consumer consumption, but I’d content that it isn’t ready for any consumption. I’ve been told by many beta testers that it is so buggy none of them use it, and now after about 90 days of it being in the wild, it seems that just about everyone at the The Green Button has also given up. Evidently I’m the only idiot still using it, but a day doesn’t go by when I don’t think about going back. Honestly if I didn’t love the hetero’ tuners feature so much I’d have gone back a long time ago. At this point I’m thinking Windows 7 pre-beta is more stable, so maybe I’ll try that. Either way, here is the list of problems I’m having.

  1. It crashes all the time! How much you ask? Well, luckily Vista makes it easy to go and see how often an app crashes. All in all, in the past 60 days, I’ve experienced about 58 crashes. Of that, Media Center (ehshell.exe) has crashed 20 times, the host module 9 times, store update 27 times, and finally the receiver service twice.
  2. I’ve have to unplug my extender in my one room about every other week because it is locked up.
  3. My Extenders report network issues, but I have the same network as I did before I installed the TV Pack, yet it never had problems before. Not to mention the network test always says I have 100% of what I need to do HD.
  4. I’ve missed a few recordings, to which the Media Center says were “canceled by another component.”
  5. I’ve had to reconfigure the EPG four times, which takes over an hour to re-enter my 70+ series recordings, not to mention remap all my channels.
  6. Experienced the mysterious blue bar, about 4 times.

And this doesn’t even take into account the weird bugs like the info and mini guide bug, the scrub bar and worst of all the Media center has to change the channel to record even though there is another tuner that is idle. There are more documented at The Green Button, but I personally havent’ seen them.

At this point I’m convinced that I’m the only one left using the TV Pack and that the Nievies and S1 Digitals of the world are smart enough to skip it until Windows 7.

ESPN’s new iPhone site is great

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Not sure how new this is, but with the first NFL pre-season game kicking off this weekend, I wanted to quickly check who was playing, and to my surprise the useful — but ugly — was replaced with a down right cool website. I wasn’t sure if this was iPhone specific, so I checked on a co-worker’s Blackberry and it didn’t look the same. This might work out better for checking scores than SportsTap, either way I’m happy to have another option.

How to make an auditable electronic voting machine

Monday, December 17th, 2007

It really amazes me that companies who manufacturer almost all the banking equipment in the US can’t design a auditable electronic voting machine. It almost makes me thing they don’t want to make one, which is going to lead to states going back to scanned ballots.

Here is a free solution, I take no credit and anyone can use it without any compensation.

Take the same machines you have now and add reciept printer to it — you know, like the ones attached to ATMs and every teller’s computer in the US — when I cast my vote, print out a receipt which will state who I voted for and have a bar code that is encoded with the same information. As I walk out of the poll, have me drop this receipt into a box — you know, like the old ballot boxes that are probably still in storage. Then we can have quick access to the results, thanks to the electroic systems and if someone demands a recount, it can be done manually or by just scanning all the bar codes.

Not real hard is it? Maybe Diebold and others will get a clue.