Archive for category Work Stuff

UPnP hacks emergence (your router might be in trouble)

Routers. Love ’em, hate ’em….you gotta have ’em.

There has been a number of router hacks recently but one of the most  dangerous vulnerabilities to come around (after WPS hacks. ak=reaver) is a UPnP issue that may make some routers not worth the money you paid.


The test is easy but the explanation is not.

Use this link to test your router….. GRC’s Instant UPnP Exposure Test


Click on the button that says “GRC’s Instant UPnP Exposure Test”. You can also click the “Services” and then “Shields Up!” to do a full network test.


Currently, Google is reporting that many suspected hacking systems are starting to scan all IP’s on the internet  for this vulnerability.

If you are interested in more data on this let me know how I can help.


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Paypal Email Crashes Outlook

A few days ago my Outlook 2007 would lockup once and a while. Thinking it was a PST issue, I rebuilt it, move to a backup computer but the issue continued.

After many hours of research and I was able to identify the issue and a solution. Google didnt have anything on the issue so I wanted to share it. —UPDATE- There is a bit of data on the Paypal forum now–

If Outlook, Incredimail or other email client crashes when you try to open or preview a Paypal email, (issue started 10-12-2011) the problem is the tracking pixel inserted into the HTML email. You can view these emails in text format or put a entry in your HOSTS file to avoid having Paypal track your email.

HOST File Fix for Paypal Crashing Outlook;

  • Run Notepad.exe as an administrator
  • Open the file HOSTS at this location – C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
  • Add the line below to the end of the file
  • (just copy and paste it as the one of the zeros is actually a “O”)
  • Save the file
  • Enjoy a crash free Outlook experience for now

Paypal has a history of rolling out half backed solutions and taking months to resolve the issues caused. I expect this to be a irritating issue for many people and that it takes months to resolve.


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Setting up a New Company

My parents exposed me early to self  employment. Working with them, (cleaning office buildings) I learned allot about all the many soft skills needed to be/run a company. From billing, scheduling, client communication to the actual work involved…it takes a ton effort to keep it all afloat.

Tamara had a recent idea for cool product; A Tissue Box cover idea. After running a product test pilot at Etsy, it seemed that the market existed. The real key came about when we found a custom fabric supplier.

While Tamara worked on the actual item design and production, I started on a website that incorporated a order, fulfillment and shipping method. In the past, we had used a full blown website ( to receive and process orders but the effort involved is dumbfounding. This time I tried a WordPress based theme that had some basic Content Management Database (PHP 5.0) built in.

After 36 hours of work I came up with We had liked the name SnotBots but SnotBot is a PrOn site…. so we adapted to Snotty to avoid any issues.

We used a great graphic designer Tyler Tinsley and he came up with a super logo design. We also used Frank to help us with some product design and marketing advice. Both have helped us in the past with some other designs.

In the future we hope to get official licensing from an unnamed company but that is a bit further than we have ever explored.

Have you started a company and how do you keep it afloat?



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6 Months at GSB

It seemed like a long time but it has finally come to an end. I took a six month contract to sys-admin the Portland office of a high end law firm, Garvey, Schubert and Barer.

The work was challenging at times but mostly focused on helping the Attorneys by making sure they had the computer/electronic tools needed to get done what they needed to get done. Sometimes it was hardware, often software but always customer based, which included training.

Initially, I was intimidated to step into an office with a number of unknown systems (document management, meta data scanners, email based voice mail and others) but the systems we well thought out and I had a great support from the head office in Seattle.

Here is where I spent the last 6 months.

GSB Desk

It was more than worth it….and we get to go on vacation!

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Outlook in the open

Microsoft Outlook has long been the de facto standard for company email clients. Yes, there are many other email clients (Thunderbird, Outlook Express, whatever Apple uses), but Outlook is what is used most and some say most complete.

The downside of M$ Outlook is the locked nature of the file type, .PST. Some have called this a “barrier to exit”.

Just recently, Microsoft has announced that it has opened up the spec. Google will soon allow (already available for Google Apps users) import/export of PST. ( link here)

Thunderbird is looking for a plugin for the PST.

Great news for anyone using Outlook. It also takes Google Apps/gmail one step closer to becoming the new de facto email solution.

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