Many years ago (21 years, 9 months as of this post), I used some as-of-then only slightly out of date equipment to record a one week time lapse of the cats’ litter box.
I found the video on a CD-ROM (remember those?) and thought I’d see if it was still usable. It wasn’t – Quicktime had abandoned support for most of the 1990’s era codecs, and as it was pre-internet, there just wasn’t any support any more. I had to fire up my old Mac 9500, which booted just fine after years of sitting, even if most of the rubber feet on the peripherals had long since turned to goo. The OS9 version of QT let me resave as uncompressed, which of course was way too big for the massive dual 9GB drives in that machine. Youtube would eat the uncompressed format and this critical archival record is preserved for a little longer.
below is a .cmd script for uninstalling all the known telemetry updates (so far) in Windows 7. These telemetry updates are spyware Microsoft is installing on your computer to send data back to Microsoft. They have recently begun installing tools to exfiltrate your private files and log your keystrokes to their servers.
While there are people who think Windows 10 is a normal upgrade, there are nations that formally disagree. If you care about privacy; your privacy, your private files, your passwords, accounts, personal data, love letters, medical information, financial information, browsing history, private pictures, etc. not falling into either corporate or criminal hands (via soon to be exploited security holes created by these exfiltration tools) you should consider removing all known telemetry tools from windows 7 and never updating to Windows 10. And consider suing Microsoft.
If you don’t care about privacy at all, I hear Windows 10 has a pretty GUI.
This script removes all the telemetry (trojan horse) “updates” Microsoft has tried to sneak in so far.
@echo off echo Uninstalling KB3075249 (telemetry for Win7/8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3075249 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3080149 (telemetry for Win7/8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3080149 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3021917 (telemetry for Win7) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3021917 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3022345 (telemetry) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3022345 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3068708 (telemetry) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3068708 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3044374 (Get Windows 10 for Win8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3044374 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3035583 (Get Windows 10 for Win7sp1/8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3035583 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB2990214 (Get Windows 10 for Win7) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:2990214 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB2952664 (Get Windows 10 assistant) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:2952664 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3075853 (update for "Windows Update" on Win8.1/Server 2012R2) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3075853 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3065987 (update for "Windows Update" on Win7/Server 2008R2) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3065987 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3050265 (update for "Windows Update" on Win7) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3050265 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB971033 (license validation) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:971033 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB2902907 (description not available) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:2902907 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB2976987 (description not available) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:2976987 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB2976978 (compactibility update for Windows 8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:2976978 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3102810 (update for "Windows Update") start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3102810 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3112343 (Windows Update Client for Windows 7) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3112343 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3135445 (Windows Update Client for Windows 7) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3135445 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3123862 (Windows Update Client for Windows 7) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3123862 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3081954 (Telemetry Update for Windows 7) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3081954 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3139929 (Get Windows 10 update for MSIE) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3139929 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3138612 (Windows Update Client for Windows 7) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3138612 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3138615 (Windows Update Client for Windows 8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3138615 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3150513 (Compactibility Update (another GWX) for Windows 7/8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3150513 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3133977 (buggy update) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3173040 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3139923 (Another GWX for Windows 7/8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3139923 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3173040 (Another GWX for Windows 7/8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3173040 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3083710 (Another GWX for Windows 7/8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3083710 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3083324 (Another GWX for Windows 7/8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3083324 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3050267 (Another GWX for Windows 7/8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3050267 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3035583 (Another GWX for Windows 7/8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3035583 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3021917 (Another GWX for Windows 7/8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3021917 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3146449 (Another GWX for Windows 7/8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3146449 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3044374 (Another GWX for Windows 7/8.1) start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3044374 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3075249 (Another GWX for Windows 7/8.1 start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3075249 /quiet /norestart echo Uninstalling KB3123662 (Another GWX for Windows 7/8.1 start /w wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:3123662 /quiet /norestart
While there may be people who actually like Windows 10, there are also many people who aren’t interested in fully exposing every part of their digital life to for-profit mining as means of offsetting Microsoft’s declining profits in the desktop OS business, and if you’re one of those, fighting Microsoft’s truly viral (and malware) marketing techniques is quite a hassle. It appears there may be an easier way.
Micrsoft has finally provided an “easy” way for people to turn off windows OS update (e.g. from 7.x or 8.x to 10) from happening automatically and without user intervention (and frequently in outright defiance of clear user intent because profits first!)
The short form for people who are comfortable with some of the internal workings of Windows is:
Search for "edit group policy" and open the editor then follow the selection cascade as: Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> windows Components -> Windows Update ->> Turn off the upgrade to the latest version... ->> [x] enabled
The longer instructions are at this link: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3080351
I suggest doing this and then downloading and installing the following program. It will pretty much do the same thing but it also checks to see if Microsoft has already kindly filled your hard disk with malware without your permission and offers to delete it:
Note that my previous posts about removing specific “updates” are still relevant. The above should prevent windows 10 from auto-updating but Microsoft has been pushing updates with “telemetry” to Win 7 and Win 8, which are also spyware and are tracking you and reporting your usage patterns back to Microsoft without telling you or asking you.
Welcome to the new economy: you’re the product.
If you haven’t already, turn off Windows update now. Microsoft has recently started installing Windows 10 spyware without consent. A good friend of mine had a bunch of systems at the company where he runs IT hacked by Microsoft over the weekend, which broke the certificate store for WPA-2 and thus their wifi connections.
To be clear, Windows 10 is spyware. Microsoft has changed their business model from selling a product to selling data – your data – to whoever they want. Windows 10 comes with a EULA that gives them the right to steal everything on your computer – your email, your private pictures, your home movies, your love letters, your medical records, your financial records – anything they want without telling you. “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.”
If this happens to you, I suggest contacting your state attorney general and filing a complaint against Microsoft. Hopefully a crushing class action suit or perhaps jail time for the executives that dreamed up this massive heist will help deter future corporate data thieves, though that’s certainly irrational optimism.
I wish I could recommend switching to Linux for everyone, but there’s a lot of software that still depends on Windows and a lot of users that will have a hard time migrating (developers: please stop developing for Microsoft). Apple seems unequivocally better in refusing to act as key player in bringing about Total Information Awareness. I’m not a huge fan of their walled garden and computers as overpriced fashion accessories approach, but it is far better than outright theft. For those that are slightly computer savvy, there’s Linux Mint, which is quite usable and genuinely free.
These instructions might help prevent that disaster of an update being visited upon you (and possibly law enforcement visits to come after Microsoft starts sifting through all your datas and forwarding on whatever they find). The latest reports suggest they aren’t enough, but it is the best I have found other than isolating your windows box from the internet completely.
The latest auto update to Enigmail, the essential plugin for Thunderbird for encrypted mail, is a fairly dynamic project that occasionally makes UI and usability decisions that not everyone agrees with.
Why? OK – PGP/MIME leaks less metainformation than inline PGP, but at the expense of compatibility. K9 should support PGP/MIME, but it doesn’t. Enigmail should have synchronized with K9 and released PGP/MIME when mobile users could use it.
But encryption people often insist that the only use case that matters is some edge case they think is critical. They like to say that nobody should read encrypted mail on a mobile device because the baseband of the device is intrinsically insecure (all cell phones are intrinsically insecure – phones should treat the data radio as a serial modem and the OS and the data modem should interact only over a very simple command set – indeed, the radio should be a replaceable module, but that gets beyond this particular issue).
For now, make sure your default encoding is Inline-PGP or you’ll break encryption. Encryption only works if it is easy to use and universally available. When people can’t read their messages, they just stop using it. This isn’t security, this is a mistake.
I noticed that my avocado tree was developing brown spots on the leaves, which were almost certainly the result of Persea mites.
So I looked up some possible cures, and it seemed like introducing a predator would be the best option and the least hassle. I’d had good luck with introduced ladybugs a few years back, which formed a stable population that survived for many years after introduction. For this pest, green lacewings are recommended. I found a nearby insectary that could provide larvae on cards and they shipped them overnight.
The little guys look cute just waiting to hatch…
I hung he cards on the leaves of the tree after incubating them overnight in a warm room, and they should hatch sometime in the next day or two, as long as the ants don’t find them first…
Update 8 Sept 2016:
The green lacewings seem to have eaten all the mites. It has been 9 months and there aren’t any signs of damage to this spring’s leaves. Yay!
The new leaves that grew seem to be developing without any bites at all. The old leaves that were too damaged have fallen off, but the surviving older leaves still show the scars of the mites. Green lacewings seem to have done the trick.
Signal is an easy to use chat tool that competes (effectively) with What’sApp or Viber. They’ve just released a desktop version which is being “preview released/buzz generating released.” It is developed by a guy with some cred in the open source and crypto movement, Moxie Marlinspike. I use it, but do not entirely trust it.
I’m not completely on board with Signal. It is open source, and so in theory we can verify the code. But there’s some history I find disquieting. So while I recommend it as the best, easiest to use, (probably) most secure messaging tool available, I do so with some reservations.
- It originally handled encrypted SMS messages. There is a long argument about why they broke SMS support on the mailing lists. I find all of the arguments Whisper Systems made specious and unconvincing and cannot ignore the fact that the SMS tool sent messages through the local carrier (Asiacell, Korek, or Zain here). Breaking that meant secure messages only go through Whisper Systems’ Google-managed servers where all metadata is captured and accessible to the USG. Since it was open source, that version has been forked and is still developed, I use the SMSSecure fork myself
- Signal has captured all the USG funding for messaging systems. Alternatives are not getting funds. This may make sense from a purely managerial point of view, but also creates a single point of infiltration. It is far easier to compromise a single project if there aren’t competing projects. Part of the strength of Open Source is only achieved when competing development teams are trying to one up each other and expose each other’s flaws (FreeBSD and OpenBSD for example). In a monoculture, the checks and balances are weaker.
- Signal has grown more intimate with Google over time. The desktop version sign up uses your “google ID” to get you in the queue. Google is the largest commercial spy agency in the world, collecting more data on more people than any other organization except probably the NSA. They’re currently an advertising company and make their money selling your data to advertisers, something they’re quite disingenuous about, but the data trove they’ve built is regularly mined by organizations with more nefarious aims than merely fleecing you.
What to do? Well, I use signal. I’m pretty confident the encryption is good, or at least as good as anything else available. I know my metadata is being collected and shared, but until Jake convinces Moxie to use anonymous identifiers for accounts and message through Tor hidden nodes, you have to be very tech savvy to get around that and there’s no Civil Society grants going to any other messaging services using, for example, an open standard like a Jabber server on a hidden node with OTR.
For now, take a half step up the security ladder and stop using commercial faux security (or unverifiable security, which is the same thing) and give Signal a try.
Maybe at some later date I’ll write up an easy to follow guide on setting up your own jabber server as a tor hidden service and federating it so you can message securely, anonymously, and keep your data (meta and otherwise) on your own hardware in your own house, where it still has at least a little legal protection.
I found myself having odd problems connecting to WPA2 encrypted wireless networks with a new laptop. There must be more elegant solutions to this problem, but this worked for me. The problem was that I couldn’t connect to a nearby hotspot secured with WPA2 whether I used the default config tool for mint, Wicd Network Manager, or the command line. Errors were either “bad password” or the more detailed errors below.
As with any system variation mileage may vary, my errors look like:
wlan0: CTRL-EVENT-SCAN-STARTED wlan0: SME: Trying to authenticate with 68:72:51:00:26:26 (SSID='WA-bullet' freq=2462 MHz) wlan0: Trying to associate with 68:72:51:00:26:26 (SSID='WA-bullet' freq=2462 MHz) wlan0: Associated with 68:72:51:00:26:26 wlan0: CTRL-EVENT-DISCONNECTED bssid=68:72:51:00:26:26 reason=3 locally_generated=1
and my system config is reported as:
# lspci -vv |grep -i wireless 3e:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Wireless 7260 (rev 6b) Subsystem: Intel Corporation Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 # uname -a Linux dgzb 3.16.0-38-generic #52~14.04.1-Ubuntu SMP Fri May 8 09:43:57 UTC 2015 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
The following successfully connects to a WPA2-secured network:
$ sudo su $ iw dev ... Interface [interfacename] (typically wlan0, assumed below) $ iw wlan0 scan ... SSID: [ssid] ... RSN: (if present means the network is secured with WPA2) $ wpa_passphrase [ssid] >> /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf ...type in the passphrase for network [ssid] and hit enter... $ sh -c 'modprobe -r iwlwifi && modprobe iwlwifi 11n_disable=1' $ wpa_supplicant -i wlan0 -c /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
(open a new terminal leaving the connection open, ending the command disconnects)
$ sudo su $ dhclient wlan0
(should be connected now)
“…Not allowed in the cargo hold: lithium batteries, e-cigarettes, personal vapes.”