Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Driver Problem

So after the last post, an going out to dinner, I started reading up on the Yahoo Group for the BaoFeng UV-5R series, they point to a site I found last night and read through.

Turns out that with the chip in the USB to serial cable (chip built in to USB Plug), you have to use the right driver. I had the newer driver 3.4 something, and it would transmit at random. I down graded to the driver, and I haven't had it try to transmit yet.

So if you're having problems with random transmitting when you're trying to program your BaoFeng UV-5R or other, check your driver make sure you're using the right one.

When they said RF burns hurt they meant it.

So I recently got my Amateur Radio License, in the class they before the exam, they said RF burns really hurt. I can say they do.

Here's the details:

I have a Technician Class License. KD8VPJ.

I bought a BaoFeng UV-5R+. I'm using Chirp to program it.

When I have the HT plugged in to the computer, at random the transmit light starts. No idea why it's doing that. So I pulled the antenna off, and happened to pick the device up while the screen was Orange (transmit). I hit the spot where the antenna connects, while orange. Got a nice little RF burn on my middle finger. Man that hurts.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Apple Account part 2

So quick recap. I got an email saying a new iphone 5 has logged in to my imessage account. Problem is, I don't own an iphone, I don't know what imessage is, and the email in the salutation isn't mine. The account has someone else's name and contact information, someone from Finland, but MY EMAIL ADDRESS as the verified account.

I've gone through the find my apple id, and all the info is right when I log in that way, using MY EMAIL ADDRESS for the recovery. When I log in with the apple id it emailed me, I get my stuff in English. When I use my email address as the apple id, nothing is right.

So after I got home, I did some more digging. I found out how to at least "disable" the account even though I couldn't permanently delete it.

Going through itunes, yes I had to install it, I could see that person's information. Not all of it, but some of it. Name, address etc. Same stuff I could see via the apple site.

More checking between the two accounts, I note that my email apple ID is verified, my other one is not. But both accounts have the same email address. Ok, I'll verify it on the account where everything is in English. Only the site won't let me. It's already been verified elsewhere and in use.


The best I can figure out, Apple is using email addresses as their primary keys for the accounts now. Something they were not doing when I first signed up in 2005. Since I first signed up they are verifying accounts as well. Once verified that becomes another account  key, secondary, or primary in a second table. The problem is, someone not me was able to get my address listed as their verified address and their account.

I ended up un-associated MY ADDRESS With the account, and sent it off in to never land. I hope they have good luck getting their information and account back. I've verified my email address, and have now set it as my account name, with a 30 character password. I'd turn on two factor auth, but I don't own an apple device and that's required.

So the short version of the story. Someone got their Apple account associated with my email address. Claimed my address as their own and got it verified somehow. I got a notification when they used a new phone to log in to the account. Took control of the account, because they had used my email address, de-associated the account with my email address, and then made sure that my account was verified with my email address.

Apple Account part 1

So today, I got a strange email. I chalked it up to a phishing attempt at first, but it actually turned out to be something way more interesting.

The way it started:
Dear Paula,Your Apple ID (my email address) was used to sign in to iMessage on an iPhone 5 named “iPhone (Paula)”If you have not recently set up an iPhone with your Apple ID, then you should change your Apple ID password. Learn more.Apple Support
Well that's odd, my name isn't Puala, and while I own an IPod Color from 2005, I don't use apple products. In fact I have no idea where that IPod is.

Wait a tick, didn't I get an email a few months ago asking to to verify my apple id? The other email I thought was a phishing spam... (it's been more than 30 days and I deleted it when it came in).

Well no way this is right. I know, I'll prove it's spam. I'm not going to click shit. I'm going to go to apple.com and try to log in.

So I go there, try logging in with my email address, and told invalid password. WTF, okay lets try reset password. And Lo I get an email with the steps to reset my password, and I follow suit.

Go to the account page, some one in Finland, with a UK phone number. WTF. Well this can't be right. Someone set up an account, with a verified email address of MY EMAIL ADDRESS, but that's not me. So thinking someone popped my un-used account.

After not being able to get past the Finish security questions, I decide to call Apple Support. I open a case, and talk to a guy. He tried to help, but in the end, without my IPod or some other way to prove my account (the credit card number wasn't mine either). There was little he could do for me. I will say this for Apple, they do try to take your account security seriously, even if they won't let you delete your account.

The Apple Guy did think of one thing he could do. He walked me through the find my apple id part of the stie. It asked for my name, email address, other possible email address, home address, etc. The next page my DOB (month and day) and then the next page that asked for my security question. A question I wasn't expecting, but knew it was mine. One that only I would know the answer to. And then I was able to change my password.

Then I get an email. Saying my id, yet another one, has had it's password changed. Talk about more confusion. But it was time to leave for ISSA, and I was on my marry way, knowing that both accounts had 30 character random passwords.

to be contenuied

Friday, March 1, 2013

Locksport F.U.D.

Below is an email I sent to a "journalist" named Chip Johnson and the editor of his paper, about the recent hatchet job he posted in SFGate about locksport.

I quote the words Journalist, because Mr. Johnson, in my opinion  did not stand up to the journalistic qualities I learned while writing for a college news paper. I actually think that this article wouldn't even have been accepted by said college news paper. The article Mr. Johnson wrote was filled with senstionalist quotes, and a lack of understanding that is the core of  Locksport and the value it brings.

Read the article here: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Quan-s-wrong-note-on-lock-picking-class-4318130.php

--- begin email ---

From: Chris J
To: chjohnson@sfchronicle.com
Cc: wbushee@sfchronicle.com, deviant.ollam@toool.us
Subject: recent lock picking article
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2013 23:32:33 -0500

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I recently read your article on SFGate Chronical's site about Quan's
news letter containing lock picking. I found the article poorly
researched, and borderline libelous.

I teach lock picking, along with other forms of physical security. While
I run a lock sport group, I am not speaking for any organization.

The poorly researched aspect:

The lock on the door to your home, is based on a design that dates back
to the ancient Egyptians. The current style of lock most people are
familiar with, is the Yale style lock. It's design dates back to the the
1800s. Created in the 1840s by Linus Yale Senior, and patented in 1861
by his son Linus Yale Junior.

If you were to look deeper, you'll see that most of the features that
have improved locks in the last several years are because of groups like
TOOOL, Locksport International, The Fraternal Order Of Lockpickers, and
others. By showing people how weak the security really is, consumers
have started to demand better quality products.

Did you know you can either bounce most safes, or hit them with a hammer
and open them? These include gun safes. The groups you link to criminals
do, and they share that information with the world.

At Maker Faire (http://makerfaire.com/), a huge event held in the Bay
Area, you'll find they have a Lockpick Village there as well. It is
usually staffed by lock sport enthusiasts sharing the skills and

The Borderline Libelous aspect.

In your article, you have associated lock picking with crime and
terrorism, and did little to argue against that.

Picking locks takes time, and skill. It is much faster to do a smash and
grab. Was any research done, looking in to how many homes in your area
were burglarized that had the locks picked?

Is picking a lock you own illegal?

' "Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan was not pleased.

"I'm in shock that people would provide a class to teach people a skill
to violate the law," Jordan said. "It's unconscionable."'

One thing that is stressed is to only pick locks one has permission to

Picking a lock, is not like building an IED. But your article associates
lock picking to terrorism, and terrorist acts.
' "Given the uncontrollable crime in Oakland, we are beyond ourselves
that Oakland can advertise an event on lock-picking. It's akin to
teaching a class on making IEDs in Iraq." '

The call a locksmith comment by the Chief of Police also does your
readers a dis-service.

'Jordan has a more conventional solution to that problem: "Call a

There are plenty of cases where people have created fraudulent locksmith
companies, and are preying on people.

By learning the skills of lock picking, it helps to protect people from
being preyed upon.

The truth is, locksport is one of the ways to improve security for
everyone. It gives people a better understanding of the things securing
their lives, instead of them taking "you're secure" on blind faith. It
prevents them from being taken advantage of. Kids learning how to pick
locks today, are given an opportunity to learn a recession proof skill,
that can lead to a decent living as a Locksmith, or in personal

Christopher Jenks

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Open Letter to Auto Industry

Dear Auto Industry.

I understand that brand loyalty is important to you, so I'm left wondering why building said loyalty isn't considered an important part of your business.

Zappos has been known as one of the better places to buy shoes from. Part of this is because to them Customer Service is important to them, and actually make all there staff work the customer service department when they first start. Domino's knows that making the best possible pizza is the important part of their business, and all there staff work in a kitchen for a week on at least once a year.

If American car makers, or any other for that matter, want to build loyalty, may I suggest that you make your car designers  and anyone not working a line, to work in a factory for at least a week. I would also suggest following that up with having them work in garages fixing the cars for a week.

The garage week should be spent doing simple tasks. Replacing radios, changing light bulbs, fixing squeaky doors, fixing broken windows and the mechanisms that allow the windows to go up and down, and changing oil. Mainly the things that should be simple tasks for those that like to feel an owner ship of their car by fixing the small things themselves. For example I'm sure if the people designing the engine compartment had to take the battery out, and force a bundle of wires out of the way just to change a light bulb, they'd design better engine compartments.

If they don't have a passion for the car, why do you want them working for you anyway. It's like when Zappos offers to buy out and employee after a week of two of work. It shows if the person is there because they want the paycheck, or because they love the product. Sadly Henry Ford didn't have the foresight to come up with that. Instead he created the $5.00 day. Which brought people who cared about pay more than building the car.

It's time to change the culture, and start making cars that people enjoy working on, and driving so they will have a brand loyalty to you. The Maker culture is here and it is growing. People are remembering working with their hands and doing something themselves gives them a great feeling. You should embrace that more than alienate them. I know for a fact that there are Makers working "White Collar" jobs in the auto industry. I've worked with several of them at 2 of the Big Three. Heck one of my co-workers, in a white collar position at one of the Big 3, is looking at buying a project car. And I of course like to change the light bulbs when they burn out, without having the pull a battery, and force wires out of the way.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Our apologies for the fruit Ninja tweet sent earlier. One of our kids played the game on our iPhone and unknowingly tweeted their score.

Really? Seriously? I'm left wondering. Was this IPhone issued by the department? If it was, why was it where a child could reach it. If I was his superior, I would seriously be asking some questions. Maybe I'm jaded from the bs that happened with the ex-Mayor in Detroit.
Look, I get that Chefs bring their own knives, and that mechanics bring their own tools. However... BYOD is a bad idea. Tell me when has an accountant, a CEO, Lawyer, or any other business unit brought their own filing cabinet, corporate ledger, etc. Ok I know they have the briefcases, file folios and the like, but the damage is smaller with those. It's not everything.
I understand we have commoditized computers and technology, but people really need to think about what that piece of tech does before that hand it someone else.
Sure there are some questions, was it a work phone or a personal phone. If it's personal why does it have work stuff on it? If it's business why is he being handed to a kid, I'd be worried about them reading the other stuff on the phone.
Lastly I'm curious, would this officer hand his service weapon to his child to play with, or leave it laying around where the kid could get it? I'm sure he is shamed by this point, but seriously it is time to have grown up conversations about BYOD and how the devices are used outside of work.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


After 140+ miles, 38 hours and 6 minutes of training time, and just over 2 years (Started in December of 2010), I finally, FINALLY cleared 5k.

Down sides. on a treadmill. 5 minutes walking, 30 jogging / running, 5 minutes walking. total time 40 minutes.

I never got past week 8 of couch to 5k (offically), but I do know week 9 was the times I listed above. So I call couch to 5k complete. Now to improve my time.