Pacific Computer Wizards - Memory Repository .. not a blog...

An informational repository of … thoughts, data, sharing, and ideas, posted.
    – Use the information in these posts at your own risk.      
                                The ideas, thoughts, and expressions posted here are for my own use.                 
                                 
  -President & Chief Wizard                                                        


Google Maps and Waze

posted Jun 19, 2018, 7:06 PM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated Jun 22, 2018, 12:40 PM ]

Ok, so this is a bit of a rant, but, I think it needs to be said.  Waze when it first came out was a breath of fresh air, it gave you maps, plotted your route, and allowed you to interact with the map to let the system know that there was trouble on the route, car accident, pot hole, weather issue, etc.  Other drivers were then alerted of the issue.  It was a good balance of information to you, and information from you.
Over time, Waze started to implement advertising, it was small at first, you would see fast food and gas station logos in your map as you drove along.  Not really a big deal.  Not a deal breaker.  You were still getting good information, and as a payment of that good info, you gave good information in return.  It also has a social media aspect to it, which I never dove in to, but it is there.  
Then I guess the small ads weren't enough, then full screen ads would pop up when ever you came to a stop.  What is wrong with that you might ask?  Well, one thing, when you are following a map on your phone, the only real time you have to actually "look" at your phone is when you are stopped.  This is your chance to actually figure out your route, where you are going next and what alternate course you may be considering.  It was at the time, prior to the new traffic law, your opportunity to update the system with traffic issues, congestion, etc.  But now, you have this ad to deal with, which takes time.  What bugs me most about it, is that it threw off the balance,  you were getting info, and you were paying it back with your time and effort to feed into the system.  Now, the Waze app not only asks for your input as payment, but also forces ads down your throat.  
I put up with the ads for a long time, after logging tens of thousands of miles on the system.  I'm done.  I think its a shame cause the system is good.  But with no way to stop the ads, no way to buy out of them, its basically just an ad machine.  I can watch TV if I want ads all day. I don't need it when I'm driving.  So I uninstalled it.  I'm done with Waze.
Now just an interesting fact, Waze was created in Israel, and when I was there, I noticed that the program updated itself, and all the ads went away.  The moment I came back to the US, update, then ads.  I think that is such BS.  If you are going to do ads, you should subject yourself to them as well.

Fast forward to today.  I am using Google Maps now, yes, I know Waze is now Google too, but, Google Maps doesn't throw ads at me. (at least not yet).  The maps, routes, suggestions, everything has been solid.  I had no complaints; that is until this week.  Google Maps seems to have a bug, or some coding issue.  Google is suggesting routes that are SLOWER than the on screen option.  For instance, I had a choice of going I-5 or 167 today.  167 was red, indicating a traffic back up.  The route it suggested was right into the backup, in to the red route.  The bubble however over the I-5 option literally said 20 minutes faster!  When I decided to go against Google Map's suggestion, and go I-5, the ETA timer dropped 20 minutes.  It has done this for the last 2 days.  I have no idea what is going on with it.  I looked in settings, thinking maybe I had selected shortest route over fastest route, or something like that... but, there is no such option... still scratching my head on this one.  

Anyway, there is something that needs to be fixed.  Both apps need to be fixed.  End of rant. 

Gmail to Comcast.net or Q.com - Spam Filter issue

posted Jun 19, 2018, 2:37 PM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated Jun 22, 2018, 12:58 PM ]

I have a private domain that I control, and its mail is by Google.  It's worked really well for me for years.  Recently however, something has changed, that other domains are filtering email based on new criteria.  Although none of my domains are blacklisted... see mxtoolbox to check if your domain is blacklisted... there is this filter issue.

If I email someone that is on Comcast (.net), or Centurylink (q.com) or on SecureServer.net and certain conditions in that email are met, like HTML format, links, and attachments, that email never gets to their inbox.  It's a spam filter issue that seems to be focused on email coming from the Google servers (this includes gmail.com).

For Comcast, you send a Gmail hosted message, and you have color font, links to some websites, and you maybe have a couple small pdf attachments, you will be flagged as spam, and the user will never get your email.  You will be flagged by default as a spam sender. In Comcast's control panel, even if you create a rule to allow the domain, or the sender of a gmail account, the Comcast server overrides your setting and still sends the email to spam if you have the above form of HTML email set up.  The only way you can get the email through this filter is pretty extreme for email servers.  You literally have to send as plain text only.  No links, no color text.  Just plain old graphics free messaging.  I have had luck sending an email stripped to plain text and attaching a pdf file, and then sending a second email with the second file without it going to spam.  This appears to be the only way Comcast will allow the email through to the user.  
It's not horrible to tell someone to check their spam, and open and reply to your email if it does go there... but there are users out there that don't know how to check their spam folder... or are using an email client, and never go to their webmail to check email.  That does make it a bit more complicated.

For Centurylink, their filter is a bit more aggressive, an html email and an attachment will simply bounce back with:
The response from the remote server was:
554 5.7.1 [P4] Message blocked due to spam content in the message.  

What I have found is that if you remove the attachments, and then strip the html away, plain text as with Comcast, the message will go through.  Notify the user that you have data to give them, and if they are savvy enough with their email interface, ask them to whitelist you.  I haven't tested the Q.com email settings to see if whitelisting actually works, or if it will just override the setting and go to spam like Comcast does...
And again, if the user doesn't have a clue how to do anything in the settings area, or find their spam folder, then you will have to find another way to share info with them.

I have reported this issue to Google as of today, June 19th.  
I have been told that Google considers this the other vendor's issue, even though Gmail.com messages are also being blocked at the server level with a minimum level of HTML content.  

Make sure that if you are the one being blocked, or if you aren't getting your email; make sure you report it to your domain/email provider.  If you know how, whitelist your friends email accounts, or the accounts of people you want to receive email from, do so, and have your friends do the same for you.  

Otherwise, if you are on one of these domains, you don't know what you are missing unless you check your spam folder frequently.  

Domains that I notice have this issue:
q.com  (Centurylink)
comcast.net  (Comcast/Xfinity)
secureserver.net  (GoDaddy)

For Reference Purposes: To look up SMTP Error messages related to gmail, use this link:

Stuck Print Job? - Reminder

posted Jun 16, 2018, 4:38 PM by Andrew Chadick

Open Services:
Stop Print spool service

C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS
Delete all jobs in this window.

Start these services back up:
Print Spooler
LPD Service
Papercut Service

Server 2012 RDP No Longer Working after May 8th Windows Update?

posted Jun 11, 2018, 11:36 AM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated Jun 11, 2018, 11:41 AM ]

After installing a routine Monthly Rollup this past May; RDP no longer works on 2012 servers.  

Everything looks correct, but you can't figure out what's wrong? ... Well it's the windows update that disabled your access.  You have to make your server less secure in order to bypass the issue. Go to each effected box, and do the following.

Uncheck this box, then click Apply, then OK.
Uncheck this box


https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4093492/credssp-updates-for-cve-2018-0886-march-13-2018

I'm sure an update is just around the corner to fix this.

Good Cheap Laptop for School?

posted Jun 1, 2018, 8:43 AM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated Jun 1, 2018, 8:45 AM ]

Check out the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM - Model.  
Screen Size15.6 inches
Max Screen Resolution1920 x 1080 pixels
Processor2.4 GHz Intel Core i3
RAM4 GB DDR4
Hard Drive1000 GB SATA
Graphics CoprocessorIntel HD Graphics 620
The Acer is ~$360, and is a decent machine, which is easily upgradable.

I mention easily upgradable, because the machine when you get it, is "ok" right out of the box, but it does suffer from being slow.  The slowness comes from only one point.  The 1TB hard drive.  When you can afford to do it, upgrade the hard drive to a solid state (SSD) drive.  There are many options in the $100 range which will boost performance 10 fold or better.  I know that is hard to imagine on a sub $400 notebook, but believe me, it makes a night and day difference.

Then, to top it off, you just need an Office Suite for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.  
You can get the Microsoft Office Suite for  free  if you are a student. 

Or, You can use an open source office suite, LibreOffice is an excellent choice.  https://www.libreoffice.org

If you are a Google Gmail user, you can use the built in Google Apps suite of tools.  Just download Chrome. 
  

Homelessness - Societal Problem

posted May 17, 2018, 9:39 AM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated Jun 1, 2018, 1:39 PM ]

There are many different ways to look at the problems associated with homelessness.   First and foremost, one must understand what it means to be homeless, and what it is not. 

Many find themselves in this situation for a number of reasons, loss of a job, family disowns them, run away from home, abusive relationships, addiction, mental illness, and even natural disaster.  

Being homeless means that you are dependent on only yourself for survival.  Being homeless can be embarrassing, can make one feel as less than, and can be emotionally devastating.

Friends and acknowledgement by others, including conversation or any social interaction becomes more valuable than things.  When one has lost everything, those that make connections, and are kind, mean more than any thing.  
Maintaining hope is paramount.  For those that want to help a homeless person that is willing and able, and wants to reintegrate back in to society, there are both short term needs and long term needs.  
Basic necessities that need to be met are food, shelter, medical aid, and clothing.  Any and all of these help. 
Note: too much of any of these can make the situation worse if there is no where to store excess items.  You just end up with waste and excess scattered around, which eventually needs to be dealt with, and probably will end up in a landfill as garbage.

Homelessness has many faces and many problems, especially in the form of healthcare.  There is a distinct lack of resources available.  No insurance, means no way to pay bills, embarrassment about the situation and appearances, lack of knowledge or where to go or how to apply for help.  Lack of transportation.  All of these are huge barriers to helping get people back on their feet.  
Even when getting medical help that was sought by the individual or family, there are issues with that healthcare, some medical practitioners don't understand the conditions that may be present in the every day environment, poor hygiene, frequent infections from living in areas that aren't ideal, abuse, and not being able to come back for future appointments on a specific schedule are all big issues.

There are those that are homeless, whom simply don't want help, or are too sick to care about being part of society.  There is a chunk of the homeless population that has a mental illness, schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar disorder, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and low functioning anxiety are just a few.
Many also self medicate, and have a problem with substance abuse - drugs and/or alcohol.  
Disease is also an issue, everything from AIDS/HIV and Hepatitis, to heart, liver, kidney, and cancer diseases.  There are also side effects of being homeless that one must deal with, heat exhaustion and frost bite are huge.  Then there is the normal stuff that most take for granted, asthma, digestive disorders, and even diabetes.

When dealing with the homeless, many have stereotypes that have been introduced to them while growing up, movies, television, even the radio has projected what is and what is not homelessness.  Homeless are characterized as not wanting a job, they choose to be homeless, they don't want help - they just want money for booze and drugs, they are uneducated, they are lazy, and they all have addictions.  These are all hurdles that have to be overcome.

There ARE many different types of homelessness; but remember, just as there are those that don't want help, there are those that want and need help, whom want to be back on their feet, they want a home, and be part of society; there are whole families and individuals with kids living and trying to get by, doing everything possible to get back in to a home. 

But what about the others? What do you do, how do you help those that are too sick, or so mentally ill to either help themselves, or others, and see a helping hand as anything more than a temporary crutch to just get by and maintain the status quo? How do you help them?  How do you get them the healthcare they need, the medication they need to stabilize or get their mental clarity back?  What do you do if they refuse help?  How do you deal with them? Where should they go?  Who will want them living outside their house, or on the sidewalks in their neighborhood?

For Seattle, and society in general, there are the obvious issues, people on the street with 'help me' signs, and tents on the sidewalks and under bridges, in our proverbial back yards.  There are homeless living next to streams, in parks, on public property, even private property.  Everyone walking by feels for them, but doesn't want them there.  

What choice do you have?  Help the homeless or ignore it and hope it all goes away?  

Handing a homeless person a dollar or two isn't helping.  It's enabling the problems to extend further and go on longer.

Help needs to come as a package deal, a place of shelter, food, clothing, and medical care - with NO STRINGS attached to that help.  There are non-profits that help.  There aren't enough however.  
How do you get them the funding so they can make more of an impact?  How do you get more non-profits to help in this effort?      

I can tell you this, hoping it, homelessness, will all magically go away, isn't working.  We as a society need to act.  

In regard to Seattle specifically;  It has been suggested that Seattle just has a "culture of homelessness", which is why the homeless population is one of the highest per capita in the nation, and that our problems revolve around this culture of acceptance. 
It has also been suggested in the media that our local government is just enabling the problem and making it worse.  
Is Seattle just enabling the problems of the homeless and further just seeking more funding through taxation just to make the problems associated with homelessness worse?  

I guess this really depends on how you look at it.  While I don't agree with everything that is going on, there are things that are being done that are interesting.  And, who knows?  Maybe those efforts will actually help someone.

Seattle is spending a lot of money trying to help, and they are floundering, trying to come up with results. 
The local government is trying to do something.  Is it effective? Are they making a difference?  
Komonews.com reports that Seattle spent $53 million in 2017 on homelessness and related problems, with a return of helping just over 5,000 people get back on their feet; get back in to permanent housing and rejoin society.  Among the figures released, 35 Tons of waste has also been shipped off to landfills. All of these numbers are just growing as time goes on.  Ask yourself, what price is worth the end result of ending homelessness?  What amount of money is worth the return?  This is an open ended question.  There is no right answer.  There needs to be an answer, and we need to put our minds together to come up with a few, not just one.  

Then there is THE big question: Let's say you build it, so they will come, you have all the housing, places set up, medical ready, food banks, services, and anything someone would want or need to get back on their feet... What if they don't come? What if they refuse to come?  What do you do then?   


Google Apps for Business & iOS Mail App only syncs on WiFi

posted May 7, 2018, 11:27 AM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated May 11, 2018, 8:45 AM ]

If you have a work email account for Google Apps, and your work email and calendar are coming over to your iOS device through the Google Apps, Gmail, and Google Calendar, but, your built in iPhone email tool and contacts are not syncing, its because of a back end change on Google Suite.  The fix is actually pretty straight forward.  

You must have the Gmail app and Google Calendar installed and working.  Then go to Settings on your iOS device
Tap Accounts & Passwords.  Delete off any existing Google Work email accounts from the list.

Then, Add Account
Select EXCHANGE
Tap Next
Enter your G Suite email address (your work email address)
Enter a description, like work email
Tap Next in the upper right
Tap sign in/manual configuration when prompted down below.
Then a password box will appear.   Type in your password for your G Suite Account.
(Note: if you have 2 factor enabled, you will have to create a App specific password, and type that into this box.)
Tap Next/Continue in the upper right.

After a while a new box will appear with server name and user account as options.
For server name, you must enter    m.google.com
For your user name, enter in your full work email address.
Tap Next.

Check marks will appear down a list of settings.  

Once everything is checked, tap in the upper right to finish/save.
Now wait a few moments, your contacts, email, and calendar will start to synchronize once again.

Note: For some this is the only thing you need to do to reestablish email, calendar and contacts, but for others, the problem persists, and further is complicated by the onboard mail app working to get email while on wifi, but not on cellular.

There is a setting called "Cellular".   Make sure Cellular Data is set to On. 
(Also check and make sure LTE is set to either calls and data, or just data.)

Then continue down this same screen, note the apps that are allowed to use cell data.  

You may see this:



If you do note that the slider is off for "Mail", just move it to the "on" position.  

Email should start working again on both wifi and cellular.    

See Google knowledge base article: https://support.google.com/a/users/answer/7649685

GPO RDP

posted Mar 28, 2018, 12:20 PM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 8:00 AM ]

Open the Group Policy Object (GPO)

Navigate to Computer Configuration, Policies, Administrative Templates, Network, Network Connections, Windows Firewall, Domain Profile.
Double-click Windows Firewall: Allow inbound Remote Desktop exceptions.
Set this to Enabled and add the addresses that can connect. This could be * for all IP addresses, specific subnets, or localsubnet for only the local subnet.
(Something like 192.168.0.0/24 will also work)
Click OK.

Navigate to Computer Configuration, Policies, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Remote Desktop Services, Remote Desktop Session Host, Connections.
Double-click Allow users to connect remotely using Remote Desktop Services, set it to Enabled, then click OK.
Close the Group Policy object and make sure it's linked to the required locations.

Start Menu and Cortana - Restoring Health

posted Mar 27, 2018, 7:43 AM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 7:59 AM ]

What's bugging me right now? Version 1709, it's messing up Windows Search.  Even clicking Cortana, and typing Notepad nets zero responses.  Fixing it is a PITA.

First Method:
Make sure you have the latest 1709: 
Install  windows10.0-kb4089848-x64_db7c5aad31c520c6983a937c3d53170e84372b11
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4089848/windows-10-update-kb4089848
 
Then use the System file checker utility in Windows to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore corrupted files. Run system file checker (SFC) and see if it helps. Please follow these steps:
a. Open command prompt (CMD) (run as administrator).
b. Type the following command press Enter.       sfc /scannow
 

Second Method:
Run DISM tool using these steps:
a. Open the command prompt (CMD) (run as administrator).
b. Type the following command in command prompt and press Enter.   DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth
After the scan is complete, type the following and press Enter.            DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

Third Method: (last resort)
If that doesn't work, regedit, delete the user profile list entry, then remove profile from c:\users.  Restart. Log that user back in, and Active Directory will rebuild the profile.  Your user will not be happy because they will have to sign in to everything that was cached previously;  
But THIS will work, and both Windows start and Cortana search will function again as it should.

Pi Day 2018 - Pie Recipe as posted on Google

posted Mar 14, 2018, 8:11 AM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 7:40 AM ]

Happy Pi Day!

Celebrated each year on March 14th (3.14), Pi Day is dedicated to the mathematical constant, Pi. First recognized 30 years ago in 1988 by physicist Larry Shaw, Pi Day observers often celebrate with a slice of their favorite pie in honor of the number’s delicious sounding name.

Notated by the Greek letter “𝛑”, pi represents the ratio between a circle’s circumference (perimeter) to its diameter (distance from side to side passing through the center), and is a fundamental element of many mathematical fields, most significantly Geometry. Though modern mathematicians have calculated more than one TRILLION decimal places beyond the standard “3.14,” pi is an irrational number that continues on to infinity! It’s an important ingredient in the formula for the area of a circle, A=𝛑r².

Today’s delectable Doodle - baked & built by award-winning pastry chef and creator of the Cronut® Dominique Ansel - pays homage to this well-rounded mathematical constant by representing the pi formula (circumference divided by diameter) using — what else — pie!

Go behind-the-scenes of today’s Doodle below!

Feel free to whip up your own Pi Day pie with Dominique’s personal recipe below!

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

by Dominique Ansel

(Makes 1 pie)

Pie Dough

Ingredients

4 cups flour

2 tbsp sugar

½ tbsp salt

3 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed

2/3 cup cold water

Method

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, and salt on medium-low speed (about 30 seconds).

  2. Increase speed to medium and stream in cold water, followed by cold butter cubes. Continue mixing on medium speed (about 2 minutes). Stop mixing just before the butter is fully incorporated (the dough will look streaky and the pieces of butter should be about the size of peas).

  3. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and divide in two balls.  Flatten each into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.

 

Apple Pie Filling

Ingredients

8 apples, peeled, cored, sliced (I like to use Honeycrisp apples)

1/3 stick unsalted butter

¼ cup cornstarch

¾ cup sugar

1/3 dark brown sugar

¼ cup bourbon

1 cup apple cider

pinch of nutmeg

1½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp sea salt

 

Method

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Add apple slices and toss until apples are evenly coated.

  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add apples into melted hot butter. Pour in apple cider and bourbon. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender (about 30 minutes).

  3. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature.

 

Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

2 cup sugar

2 2/3 cups heavy cream

4 tbsp light corn syrup

½ cup dark brown sugar

2 tsp fleur de sel

Method

  1. In medium pot, bring all ingredients to a boil, gently stirring occasionally. Once the mixture has reached 230°F (it will get noticeably thicker), remove from the heat and pour into a non-plastic container (i.e. a pyrex or metal mixing bowl). Let cool to room temperature.   

  2. Once at room temperature, whisk well and then chill in the fridge until needed (TIP: the caramel sauce can be made up to 2 weeks ahead; you can also drizzle it over ice cream or add into your coffee!).

  3. 1 hour before you’re ready to assemble the pie, remove the sauce from the fridge and bring to room temperature.

 

To Assemble & Bake

Ingredients 
Pie dough (chilled)

Apple pie filling (cooled)

Salted caramel sauce (cooled)

1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. On a floured surface, roll out 1 call of dough into a 12-inch round, then transfer to a 9-inch pie dish, pressing gently down and up the sides. Pour cooled apples into the pie shell. Drizzle some of your salted caramel sauce across the apples.

  3. Roll out the other ball of dough. Cut strips that are 1” wide and 12” long.  Arrange half of your dough strips across pie. Form a lattice by arranging the other half of the strips diagonally across the first strips. Seal the edges by pressing around the rim of the pie with a fork. Trim around the edges as needed.

  4. Brush the surface of the pie with egg wash. Bake for 35-40 minutes until crust is deep golden brown. Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then drizzle more of the salted caramel sauce on top and serve.

Enjoy!

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