Category Archives: Computers

I’m campin’, I’m campin’, I’m cold cold lampin’

  No, kids. The Flava Flav reference is misleading. I will not be chillin’ with Public Enemy. I am actually going camping until Monday.

  I will try to think of really important things to post when I get back late on Monday. If anyone has any suggestions for topics or celebrity moments you think I should have, please post comments.


Great News! GetDataBack for NTFS worked!

    The scan took about 36 hours to complete. Once the image was created, I was able to view (but not save the data until I purchased a license key) nearly all of my files.

     I bought the key and am now putting the data on my new hard drive. Time consuming, but many lessons learned.

     This software rocks!

The scary world of data recovery

     Well, fellow Blatherians, it seems that the research of that error messages has lead me down a dark & mysterious data recovery path. It looked like it could have been a damage or corrupted Master Boot Record. Then, references were made to make it sound like the partition had been damage. Also, there were references that the registry was damage.

     The reason I am dealing with this is because I didn’t have any recent back-ups of my data. Normally, losing data can sting but it is troublesome even more because I know better PLUS it is my first piece of advice to other computer users. Redundancy. It can make life much easier. I am not at the end of the data recovery tunnel just yet, but hope to have answers in the morning. I have found out that creating an image of your hard drive, sector by sector, on an 80 GB drive can take quite some time.

       Hopefully, I will have good news shortly.

My computer is swimming with the screensaver fishes

  Thunderstorms decided to make our main home computer go the great big Blue Screen up in the sky. Luckily, our childrens’ computer (also known as our back-up computer) allowed us e-mail and Internet access.  However, I have enough components around here that should be enough to get everything up and running again.

    Since it appears to be a missing or corrupt file, I should also be able to pull all the old data off the hard drive. Hook up the old hard drive as slave to the health hard drive as master and I will be overclockin’ with Dokken.


 p.s. I am gearing up for a special surprise on my blog in the near future. Stay tuned for more info.


5 Easy Steps to protect your computer

1) Use (trusted) anti-virus software. Install it. Update it regularly. Run regular scans. Commercial choices include Symantec (Norton), McAfee, and TrendMicro. Free choices for personal use include AVG and ClamVir. Check PC World Magazine or C-Net (or any other trusted computer source) for more suggestions. Pick one. Any one. They are all better than nothing.

2) Use (trusted) spyware removal programs. Ad-Aware, Spybot Search & Destroy and Arovax are good (and subsequently free for personal use). AVG also has a spyware removal program that is free, too. Once again, install – update regularly – run scan regularly.

3) Be careful how and what you click. Not just installing software (purchased in person or downloaded), but through pop-up messages too. Avoid purchasing software through spam or strange e-mail links you click on through mail. Often times, those lead you to foreign countries and chances are good that it’s illegal software. All piracy issues aside, it is also likely that the software could be compromised.

4) Avoid using P2P filesharing programs like Kazaa, Morpheus, LimeWire, et al. Look over checkboxes and default installations to avoid extra or unwanted software to be installed. Some file extensions can be compromised and made to look like legitimate files. Others might have extra code added to them to make them able to infect or crash your computer.

5) Don’t believe that using a Mac (non-Windows computer) or Firefox (non-Internet Explorer internet browser) will protect you. They can just as vulnerable. They have not been big targets in the past because their were so few of them. As the numbers grow as even Firefox is approaching the usage as Internet Explorer; the risk of the program-specific vulnerabilities will grow, too. Oh, and do yourselves a favor and use a software firewall. Windows XP Service Pack 2 includes one, or you can also get a free one at called Zone Alarm. It’s not the user-friendliest for the non-technical, but if you have a high speed connection to the Internet; you should consider it.

Sushi thumb drives?

Wardriving Ms. Daisy

Well, it finally happened. I was able to experience my first wardriver in Schuylkill County. It seems that our office had it’s first wireless parking lot visitor. One of the employees here had noticed a man sitting in his car, using a laptop. He also happened to have what appeared to be his family in the car with him.

When asked what he was doing, he explained that he was using a wireless network. He even showed the employee that there were two networks listed. Ours happened to be secured, but another one in the area was not.

I followed up with researching the wireless networks in the area, and quickly discovered that the business next door was the source of the wireless connection. For some reason, the local computer service provider had set up a wireless access point which not only was not encrypted, the default username and password were not changed. I was able to show that employee how to access the settings to disable the wireless access AND disable the broadcasting of the SSID (which is the public ID you see when you try to log on wirelessly). I answered a few technical questions about what the person might have been able to access, then left.

A little bit of on-line research led me to find a website that is to document mapping a wardriver’s findings. If you visit, you can look up places on a map to see if an SSID has been documented wherever you look. I did a little searching and found many places all along the street where we are located. I am guessing that many of these wireless networks are not protected, if seeing the default SSID is being broadcast. That is just way too scary.

This is almost as scary as Fran Drescher’s career or Celine Dion’s singing voice.