Magicjack broke during Magictalk upgrade?

February 16th, 2011

A couple of weeks ago my magicJack (original) stopped working, the software would not even start up like normal even though it’s shortcut was in the Start->Programs->Startup folder on my Windows XP system. Instead the magicTalk website popped up – powered by magicJack. I presumed the magicJack software was now called magicTalk since even the website was redirecting to (It’s not – they are completely different software: magicJack drives your dongle + phone, magicTalk is like skype and let’s you make calls using your computer headset. Note there is now also a “magicJack plus” which is the same as the original but I hear plugs direclty into your network w/o the need of a computer running the magicJack software… WIN! finally!) So I tried the upgrade but it did not work – it told me to plug in my magicJack but it already was!?

So the quick fix for this was to:

  1. Optionally uninstall Magicjack from the Control Panel.
  2. Unplug the magicJack from your computer’s usb port
  3. Download and run the mjRemover.exe application
  4. Download and run the Microsoft FixIt application
  5. Optionally restart your computer
  6. Plug the magicJack back into your computer’s usb port
  7. The magicJack autorun from the usb device should download and install the latest magicJack software automatically
  8. Enjoy using your magicJack again!

The text of my online techchat conversation with Tara magicJack customer support is below after the cut.

PS – I also just noticed that my magicJack phone calls sound clearer when called directly to my magicJack number instead of using Google Voice. Typically I would launch Google Voice to call my magicJack number and connect me with my friend. While they could hear me just fine, their voice would be chopping like from a slow internet connection. Since I have ADSL I would have thought my (upload) voice would have the most problems. So I don’t know what the case is, maybe my calls are still going through Google after the connection? I do know the call quality was much better on my friend called me back on my magicJack number – the difference was night and day.
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How to Initialize a New Hard Drive on Windows Vista

September 16th, 2009

I noticed that the process to initialize a new hard drive on Windows Vista is not particularly intuitive – at least for a first time user – myself included! (I’ve just always used GNU/Linux, LiveCD or boot disk from the Win9X era.) However, in Windows 2000 and above, including Vista:

  1. Launch the Computer Management: [Win]+[r] or simply [Win] and enter compmgmt.msc in the run/search box
  2. Go to Storage -> Disk Management
  3. Find the drive from the list (colored black if unformatted)
  4. Right-click on the “Disk Label” on the left (displays the drive name and size, not the drive image) and select Initialize Disk
  5. Then you can right-click on the drive image to Create New Simple Volume

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How to print Southwest boarding pass on one page without ads

July 26th, 2009

I just noticed that Southwest airlines is now placing advertisements on their print-from-home boarding passes. =( I have two flights tomorrow morning, but instead of printing both passes on one page (which was standard in the past, also saving paper and the planet) the print preview now shows several ads after the first boarding pass and then the second boarding pass on another page. You’ll need to remove the ads and the page break to force the printout to print to two pages. Here’s the simple way to print out your boarding passes on one page:

1) Save the boarding pass webpage to your desktop.
    (File -> Save Page As. Save as “Web page, complete”.)
2) Right click on the viewBoardingPass.htm file and open with Notepad
3) Scroll down to where you see the “- – – FOLD HERE – – -” line, then just below it: Remove the following advertisement and page break lines:
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Create Multipage or Merge Multiple PDFs into one for free with Irfanview!

June 4th, 2009

The other day I was scanning in multiple pages of a document into PDF format with my favorite image/scanning/multi-tool Irfanview and the Irfanview plugins. However, when I tried to merge all of the PDF page files into one single document using a, multitude, of pdf tools (except because it was a sensitive document) but was unable to because there was an owner password created with the PDF randomly that I didn’t know about — so these tools wouldn’t let me merge the PDF files I created!

After some email correspondence with Irfan himself I just downloaded and installed the latest version 4.23 and found “New multipage images menu: Create Multipage PDF” in the release notes! And this worked wonderfully! Irfanview apparently completely ignored the random embedded password. It’s good to know that I can use Irfanview to merge the PDF files I created with Irfanview. =)

To do this, simply (from the help system):
Click on the View Menu, point at Multipage images. A sub-menu opens with several options to click… including “Multipage PDF” and “Multipage TIF”. Then simply select your input files and the name of your ouput PDF file and you’re set! Much easier and simpler than the other PDF tool programs as well!

Create Multipage PDF with Irfanview + Plugins

Create Multipage PDF with Irfanview + Plugins

I just showed my support for Irfanview, and if you love this application as much as I do (I’ve been using it since 1996, since it was the only extensive image viewer I could find that would fit on a floppy back then!) then I hope you’ll support Irfan too!

Javascript link in YYMMDD format

January 3rd, 2009

Today I tried my luck at making a custom javascript link based on the current date from the client side. There was one “gotcha” in testing it in firefox though, the traditional code like this didn’t work.

So I just had to write out the whole HREF tag in the javascript function. For more details see my Creating a Custom Javascript link wiki page.

How To Recover and Play a Cracked CD

December 27th, 2008
using scotch tape to repair a cracked cd

I’ve had a pair of cracked audio CDs lying around now for the past couple of years from my old “Teach Yourself Norwegian” (great course btw!)… always wishing that eventually in time there might be a way to recover and play them. So after nearly 4 years since I last used them, I finally googled it and had some luck! Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t be a Music Pirate

October 13th, 2008

XKCD - Music Pirate

This is why I support:

If you haven’t read it before, see Stallman’s essay The Right to Read, it’s not just about software — when your own data and documents require said software to be accessed.

back online…

September 4th, 2008

Just after my last blog post in early July, my website got attacked due to an old wordpress install I still had running which was seriously out of date and vulnerable. (more details later) Hopefully the server remains stable, my network connectivity has been quite unreliable here in Nebraska.

Pull Crypto Keys from My Cold (Dead) RAM Chips!

February 23rd, 2008

So perhaps you want to ensure the privacy of your computer files and encrypt them, or perhaps simply just encrypt the entire disk. You certainly can, but where do you store your crypto keys (on a USB stick?), in a TPM, encrypted on the disk? But at some point in time, it does not really matter, because the crypto keys will likely be copied to RAM so that they can be used to encrypt/decrypt the files… and it’s possible to dump the memory in RAM itself. So you may think that just powering off the PC will effectively erase the RAM – and your crypto keys are gone right? … well, not entirely, as some CS students at Princeton have revealed and was reported on by politechbot journalist Declan McCullagh.

One thing I’ve always been curious about, is just “how long” does the data persist on “DRAM” chips after the system power is shut down. (When referring to “RAM” in a PC, this usually means DRAM or “Dynamic” RAM as opposed to SRAM or “Static” RAM, which has different properties.) Unfortunately I still do not understand the ‘exact’ physics details as to how RAM works (I assume it’s stored magnetic/electrical charge). What is fascinating to me though, is that the RAM can be read after power is lost and also that it can be read nearly perfectly for up to 10 minutes or longer after power loss if cooled properly! Peter Gutmann revealed this even back in his famous 1996 publication on secure deletion, but I’m impressed that students were able to finally test these results and publish them to the public!

Most Tech Friendly President

February 23rd, 2008

There are perhaps a few of you “tech geeks” out there reading this blog, but do you know who would be the most “tech friendly” candidate for President?! Based on this survey on, it appears to be Ron Paul or Barack Obama. Actually, “Only Barack Obama and Ron Paul gave us forthright replies, and they deserve credit for their directness.” Both candidates gave nearly identical responses, however a few of Paul’s were emphasized as “strong no”! (I like his style!) The only question with notable differences, would be the net neutrality issue – and I feel that has solely to do with the format of the question. Ron Paul is the most “Net neutral” candidate because he wants the government to “keep their hands off” of it. As the question was posed:

Q: Congress has considered Net neutrality legislation, but it never became law. Do you support the legislation that was re-introduced in 2007 (S 215), which gives the FCC the power to punish “discriminatory” conduct by broadband providers?

This makes the question murky, because it’s questioning “Net neutrality” and then adding in that the FCC should decide if neutrality was achieved or not – instead of the courts! So I see that as a problem question. In the end, the Net should stay as neutral as possible to prevent creating “classes” of users and traffic, which is simply another tool for the telecoms to use to charge you more money. Read more for a brief background on Net neutrality. Read the rest of this entry »

Give one, Get one – laptop!

October 23rd, 2007

The One Laptop Per Child campaign, whose claim to fame has been producing a “$100 laptop” for the masses of children in developing nations, has made a bold new proposal for getting these laptops to more of those in need. Instead of relying solely on the country’s government to purchase these machines, now YOU can help by sponsoring and empowering a child with a laptop for only $200 or “give one, get one” for only $400. See the video online of this announcement. You’re not just giving a laptop, your giving an education.

Some publicity lately, photo licensing

October 9th, 2007

My online presence has actually driven some feedback to me (in addition to the spam), and I think that’s been worthwhile. I think I’d like to really start developing more content, in quality and quantity, for my audience – even if that be only myself and a few close friends. =)

What I have gotten the most inquiries about though, is requests for permission to use my photo of Sykes Hot Springs that I took back in February 2006. I was flattered to have it mirrored on the Hot Springs page of the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce website. I need to post some kind of Creative Commons License on my site, but I still like “being asked for permission” of course. At least that lets me know people enjoy my photo!

With the recent issue about girl from Texas suing Virgin Mobile and now also Creative Commons for using a photo of her from Flickr in Australian advertising without her knowledge/consent — I think I’d have to be careful about which photos are allowed for republication!

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Running Marathons for a Cause, the Irony

October 23rd, 2006

A friend of mine just finished the Columbus Marathon (her 5th marathon) this last weekend in a really good time, very close to my own time in the 2006 BSIM! It’s been an inspiration to me, and after 2 months+ of not running it actually got me out the next day for a good 50 min (the first 30 of which where quite a challenge!) jaunt before church. I did feel quite “purified” and cleansed physically and spiritually after that! I’m so far out of my peak running shape now, that I don’t know if I could run even a 10k effectively! Meanwhile, Dean Karnazes and Sam Thompson are running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days!

I had originally thought this was just Karnazes’ odessy, but it seems like Thompson came up with the idea to raise funds for the reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina – and now Karnazes (doing the same feat for health and obesity awareness) found some sponsorship from The North Face for Thompson. As a technologist and freedom fighter of the information age, I’m saddened to see that both of their websites are not browser friendly! The Endurance 50 requires Flash* and the is not supported in Mac Safari! Also, Karnazes’ personal/book website was rewritten to be Flash only* as well, but was in wonderful standard HTML just months ago!

In an irony that is encompassing us today on the Internet, this is almost as bad as requiring IE only for Hurricane Katrina disaster relief! This is a tragedy we face in a world where people do not adopt Free/Open Soure Software, Web Standards, and design websites best to be viewed in any browser. I’m actually sick to my stomach thinking about this now. Perhaps I’ll go for a run in the morning and try to forget this whole mess.

Why is Flash bad? — because 1) it’s not a standard, it’s simply a popular proprietary file format, 2) it is not FOSS and therefore not available on all platforms (while Macromedia supported Flash on Linux, this ended with Flash 7 as Flash is now owned by Adobe which has no plans to support it in the future. Now that Flash 8 is required on practically all sites due to security problems with 7, all GNU/Linux users are out of luck. Like me.), 3) it’s Breaks the web by not allowing proper indexing and linking to content, 4) I could go on and on… there are many reasons to Save the Internet.


June 7th, 2006

In the online blogging world, there’s a new synonym for SSO, and it’s name is sxore! Well, actually the protocol/architecture is sxip (see faq) and sxore is the “identity and reputation system for blog authors” but also provides the “homesite” functionality now for me to manage my online identity in the blogging world!

I’ve just started hearing about Identitiy 2.0 since discovering Dick’s OSCON ’05 presentation, but his latest presentation Who is the Dick on your site? really got my attention — with a demo of a super-easy to install WordPress plugin — so that I had to drop everything to immediately turn my blog into a “membersite” for others to post to! Waiting for my first sxore-powered commentor!

First Thoughts:

Similar to drupal’s distributed authentication system where you could comment on a blog from any drupal account. (apparently there were some problems?) Unfortunately, this required the “membersite” and “home/base-site” to be running drupal. I’m patiently awaiting for the free “homesite”* software release so that I can store my identity information on my own server. =)

How long do you think before google tries to buy this one up? Likely they’ll quickly find a way to painlnessly integrate your google account into the SXIP framework. =)

*Update: posted too soon, just found the homesite 2.0 software on the Downloads page. =) I save that for tomorrow! * re: terms “homesite” == “Identity Agent”, “membersite” == “Identity Consumer”, and I believe the homsite acts as an “Identity Issuer” as well.

Everyone Getting LinkedIN?

June 1st, 2006

I got my first invite to join LinkedIn a month or more ago. At first I disregarded it since I had more pressing things to concern myself with, but after getting a reminder email about 10 days later… I said “why not” and created an account. (I had been “invited” by a friend after all!) But what is the nature of this invite? I would only discover that after joining.

While setting up ones account, LinkedIn encourages you to upload your entire address book in text, csv or another format so that it can be parsed for email addresses to match up existing LinkedIn members… and of course let me select who to invite as well. I invited a few friends, because I thought they might be interested… even though I wasn’t completely won over yet. So I barely got any invites accepted at first, then a rush one day, and now again just over the past day or so.

This makes me really wonder then – are my friends joining because they wanted to accept my invitation, or is it because they’re tired of being bugged with email reminders from LinkedIn? Please comment or contact me to let me know.

I’m very interested in other people’s reasons for joining – since I haven’t even really used the service yet! Will LinkedIn become another Googlith (just made that up) of managing our personal relationship (social network) information – beating out Google’s long invite-only orkut system? It’s a concerning world we live in today!

IEEE SP 2006

May 28th, 2006

The IEEE Security & Privacy 2006 conference was held this week from May 22-24 at the Claremont Resort in Berkeley, and I was there! Our professor, Dr. Irvine, invited us to volunteer at the conference to help with registration and thus get to check out some of the latest research going on in computer security. The conference was quite a success this year with over 240 in attendance, up for under 200 last year – and partly because there were more papers presented this year. There were several great short papers and “works in progress” presented that provided a more diverse picture of current research and livened up the tone a bit from the long 30min paper presentations. One downside to the large success, is that we did not print enough proceedings! There was certainly plenty to eat and drink though.

Noteable “computer security” celebrities in attendance included (among others): Paul Syverson (creater of The Onion Router/Tor), Paul Karger (as in the Multicians Karger & Schell), Peter Neumann (anotherMultician), and a gentleman who introduced himself as ‘Whit Diffie’. Apparently he did some work in a thing called PKI. So it was a pleasure to rub shoulders with such giants. I also got to work in a couple early morning runs, including up to the Lawrence Hall of Science which offered a spectacular view of the San Francisco bay! Fights Cancer

April 16th, 2006

At age 22, Jacqueline Young was diagnosed with an advanced state of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Three years later, she is now thankfully in remission and raising funds to help find a cure for cancer while also instilling hope to those who are battling it. From the Young website, you can purchase a “PHUK Cancer” T-shirt in any one of a great number of styles to show your support — with 1/2 of the proceeds going to fund research at the Stanford Cancer Center. The message itself is a bit of a an attention grabber — but also a challenging response for those braving through the effects of cancer in their lives. New discoveries are made everyday in cancer research, and hopefully someday soon we can safely regard “cancer” as some tragedy of the past.

As a cancer survivor myself, I can definitely relate to the challenges of dealing with cancer. I remember always feeling drained of energy during chemotherapy treatments and the day when I received one of my favorite “Get Well” cards. The card simply had a cut-out sign which read, “I’m sick and tired of feeling sick and tired!” I wore it a lot. =)

UNO Alumni NUCIA article

April 13th, 2006

I was just quoted in an article of the Spring 2006 issue of the UNO (University of Nebraska at Omaha) Alumni magazine speaking about the NUCIA program there where I studied Information Assurance under the Computer Science curriculum. Dr. Blaine Burnham has really setup a great program there in Omaha, and I’m very proud to have been a part of it (as one of the first actually)! I coincidentally met Blaine when he first moved to Omaha and was living in the dorms with his wife and us other students. We struck up a conversation in the cafeteria and found we had a similiar interest in computer security… and things just took off from there! Actual interview responses below…

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Integrating Gallery the Right Way

February 21st, 2006

I’ve been using Gallery to power my online photo albums for a few years now, and just found out that there was a security advisory for 1.5 and all prior versions. In the processes of upgrading to the latest patch level, I found mention of the
html_wrap directory in my gallery install which lets me easily customize the sides, header or footer that envelopes my gallery install. Using this should make future upgrades seamlessly easy, at least compared to my hacks at modifying the source files directly and running diff on them all! Simply rename any of the files to remove the .default extension then just edit to your liking! I added these notes to my wiki on the proper way to integrate gallery with the rest of my website theme.

Closing the “Analog Hole”

February 20th, 2006

If you ever need a reminder that “freedom” requires eternal viligence, and that you have to fight just to “keep” your rights… look no further than legislation introduced to close the “Analog Hole“. The MPAA is at it again and wants to mandate DRM (digital rights management) into all audio/video products, legally making it quite impossible to make a copy of that song or video you enjoy playing or encoding it to a different format. This all goes back to Lessig’s “Free Culture” presentation from 2002!

That’s why you should support vendors, like Neuros Technology, that support your Digital Rights Freedom.