Internet of Things (IoT) and Ransomware

Unfortunately, and no matter how funny the cartoon may be, this may be what the future is going to bring us if we're not careful.

Below are some of the online appliances (just random picks from Google):

The only item I couldn't find was the Internet-connected broom. But I guess that won't take long. The other items can all be bought with some sort of Internet connectivity, and are therefore potential vulnerable for abuse.

Posted on October 10, 2016 and filed under Annoying, Gadgets, Hardware, Internet, Security.

VPN and Resolving Issues on OS X

We have a lab which we can access by using a VPN (Cisco ASA and Cisco AnyConnect). This setup has a so-called split DNS configuration, which means that only resources in the lab are accessed through the VPN tunnel. Regular Internet traffic uses my local DSL connection.

At my house I (like most folks) rely on DHCP for providing me with IP address, gateway and DNS servers. My local subnet uses 192.168.10.1 for DNS and 192.168.10.254 is my default gateway. So my clients are in the same subnet as my DNS server (directly-connected).

All these things considered I should be able to browse the Internet while I have a VPN running. Well, that's where you're wrong.

Posted on September 18, 2016 and filed under Annoying, Apple, Operating Systems, Tips'n Tricks.

Photo Contests, JPEG, and DPI

This post is about something that bothers me a lot. Especially, because it originates from a place where you think they should know better. It's about Dots-Per-Inch (DPI) and JPEG (the popular digital image/photo format).

It all starts, when I read the requirements of certain online photo contests. The criteria for entering the contest contain the following: The photo entering the contest must be in JPEG with maximum quality (least compression), AND 300 DPI.

Posted on August 26, 2016 and filed under Annoying, Photography, Personal, Tips'n Tricks.

Disable Fritzbox Provider Services

This weekend went my Internet (VDLS) down. The DSL part was still up, but the IPv4 connectivity (over PPPoE) was down. When I checked the Fritzbox (7340) I saw that the DLS had 'trained' on ~100Mbps down and ~30Mbps up. Connection speeds I could only dream of......

Trying to re-establish the IPv4 connection I restarted the DSL modem. Upon reboot, it trained on about 70Mbps download and 30Mbps upload, and the PPPoE tunnel for IPv4 established nicely..... for about 5 minutes.

It turned out that the DSL connection tried to get a better connection, and got it. So starting off at 70Mbps, it could establish a 74Mbps a couple of seconds later, and 75Mbps a bit later after that, and so on, and so on. During this time the PPPoE connection worked like a charm. Until the DSL reached the magical 100Mbps rate. That's when the PPPoE (and the actual IPv4 connection to the Internet) failed.

Posted on May 17, 2016 and filed under Annoying, Hardware, Internet, Tips'n Tricks.

The Moon and Jupiter

Last night I was able to capture both the Moon and Jupiter in one frame. Jupiter is (barely) visible on the left side of the photo.

Moon and Jupiter next to each other in the night sky

The following screen capture of the iOS app 'Star Walk' from my iPhone is added for reference.

Star Walk - Moon and Jupiter reference

Posted on April 18, 2016 and filed under Photography.

Why Encryption Matters

John Oliver addresses the need for encryption in an hilarious way. The clip is ~18 minutes, but well worth it.

If you still think that encryption is only used for evil (terrorism, child pornography, etc.), and that governments / security agencies should need (backdoor) access to your data..... Well, I'm not gonna end that sentence.

Posted on April 12, 2016 and filed under Fun, Internet, Privacy, Security, Video.

Run Juniper Virtual SRX in VMWare Workstation

The Juniper Virtual SRX firewall can run on multiple platforms, but VMware Workstation is not mentioned in the list of supported platforms. Having some experience with both, I know that almost all VM's designed for the VMware ESXi environment will run on the (stand-alone) VMware Workstation product.

I downloaded the .ova file from the Juniper website and imported it in VMware Workstation v12.1. During the import I adjusted the number of CPU's to save resources, which turned out to be a mistake. The VM really needs the two CPU's, because if you don't it just won't work (routing failures, etc..). So, don't change the defaults for CPU and memory.

Posted on January 12, 2016 and filed under Junos, Security, Tips'n Tricks.

Kodi Media Playback Stops Frequently

Ever since the good-old Popcorn Hour died last year, we've been consuming our media through a Minix media player with XBMC, or Kodi as it's called since version 15. And even though this was a complete package (everything configured and pre-installed), it had a learning curve and required more maintenance than the Popcorn Hour.

A couple of weeks back, we started to experience cut-offs in the media we were consuming. TV shows, and movies stopped for no reason. The image froze, audio cut-out, and the subtitles would go on like nothing was wrong. After a few seconds display goes black, and after 5 to 10 seconds the Kodi-menu would present itself.
At this point we would select play, and the TV show, or movie would continue were it had stopped.

The stopping (or crashing) of the media could occur 1-10 times in a movie and a couple of times in a TV show. One or two times is already annoying, so you can imaging what 10 or 15 'crashes' might invoke....

Posted on December 1, 2015 and filed under Tips'n Tricks, Software, Hardware, Annoying.