Photo Privacy Broken on Facebook Timeline

miqrogroove
2012-01-10T16:31:14+00:00
Facebook Profile with sensitive areas blurred

My Public Profile Should Not Look Like This

Have you ever added one of your photos to a Facebook group?  If yes, you might want to delete your photo albums right now.  I discovered today that the Facebook privacy settings for photos do not work.

Inspired by a discussion about social media I heard on NPR, I went into Facebook to do a thorough check and re-check of all of my privacy settings.  Guess what?

Dozens of photos I have on my Timeline are now publicly available.  >:{  Every one of those photos is set to “Friends” only privacy.  When I click the “View As…” option and then “Public”, all of those photos are now appearing on my public Timeline profile.

To confirm this, I registered a fake account that has no friends.  I viewed my own profile using that new account and a different web browser.  When I scrolled down far enough on the Timeline, my old photos started showing up to this newly registered user!

The fake user gets nothing by clicking on the “Photos” section near the top, suggesting this bug is specific to the new Timeline profile feature.

In an unsuccessful attempt to hide the photos, I used my real account to reset the album privacy to “Only Me”.  At this point, the photos were still appearing in the public preview as well as the fake account viewing my real profile.

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10 Jan 2012

Category:
Security

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Server Monitoring Through DD-WRT

miqrogroove
2013-08-18T19:09:04+00:00
DD-WRT Commands screen with a server monitoring script.

Powerful Little Script

Happy New Year!  I’m kicking off my 2012 blog entries with a fun little hack for Linksys routers.

There are plenty of articles on the web about using DD-WRT to enable router monitoring.  I decided to turn this idea on its head and use my router for server monitoring!  When I realized DD-WRT comes with a sendmail command, I knew this was going to be quick and easy to set up.

This is great for anyone who would like their celly to light up as soon as something goes wrong with an important computer or website.  All of the needed software is already built in to compatible routers, so there is no need to purchase or install a dedicated monitoring system on a separate computer.

By following these easy steps, you can create your own reliable monitoring service.

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1 Jan 2012

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Systems Engineering

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SSDI Gone in Censorship Scandal

miqrogroove
2011-12-27T16:46:19+00:00
Screen shot of the SSDI website.

SSDI, Rest in Peace

Massive Loss to Genealogists Everywhere

In my ongoing research of personal genealogy and family history, I can honestly say that no single record set had been more valuable to me than the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) database that was freely available on the RootsWeb website.  I attributed no less than 193 individual citations to this database, just in my own family tree.

While conducting such research during this winter break, I was shocked to see this message appear on RootsWeb:

Due to sensitivities around the information in this database, the Social Security Death Index collection is not available.

I was further shocked to learn that this database take down was initiated by the United States Senate.  I cannot avoid decrying censorship.  The SSDI has become a national treasure of historical information, and to even propose blocking its public use is a violation of our guaranteed freedoms.

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27 Dec 2011

Category:
Opinion

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PERT Chart With Nodes

miqrogroove
2011-12-05T18:21:33+00:00
PERT chart with nodes and a single task

PERT Chart

Visio 2010 is a great tool for designing PERT charts.  Since it lacks some of the shapes needed to easily add and connect nodes with other PERT items, I came up with a few tools to make it easier.

My step-by-step tutorial explains how to create nodes and connections that work seamlessly.  After completing these steps, you will have three new shapes to work with:

PERT Node, PERT Connector, and PERT Task.

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2 Dec 2011

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Systems Engineering

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Windows VPN Keep Alive

miqrogroove
2011-10-10T13:16:24+00:00
Batch file properties window.

Batch Shortcut

I enjoy the one-click facility for connecting to my VPN in Windows XP.  It gets the job done, but I sometimes struggle with the famous dead connection bug.  This is a very common problem in Windows that causes the VPN to become unresponsive after two to five minutes of inactivity, even though the status still says “Connected.”

I created a one-click solution for both connecting and maintaining a VPN.  Setting it up is simple.  It involves just these steps, which I will explain below:

  1. Set the VPN “idle time before hanging up” period to “5 minutes” instead of “never.”  This forces Windows to properly reflect any disconnection.
  2. Create a new batch file, which I have provided below.
  3. Edit the batch file to match the name and address of your connection.
  4. Create a desktop shortcut to the batch file.
  5. Edit the shortcut properties so that the batch automatically runs minimized with a nice icon.

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1 Nov 2011

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Systems Engineering

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Visio Shapes and Dashed Lines

miqrogroove
2012-11-20T19:32:14+00:00
Navigating the options: More Shapes > Visio Extras > Callouts

Shapes Menus

My Flight Operations professor would like his students to create procedural flow diagrams in Visio 2010 using comment boxes with both solid lines and dashed connectors.  This turns out to be easier said than done because the latest version of Visio has line style “effects” that globally override any dashed connectors.  We can create the comment boxes easily, but how do we get them to automatically show up with specific connector formats?

The answer is to create a custom shape using a connector that is not styled.

My step-by-step instructions will guide you through a procedure to achieve that outcome.  I am providing screen shots as a visual aid, though a corresponding flow chart can be provided as needed.

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6 Oct 2011

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Systems Engineering

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Windows VPN Requires NTLMv1

miqrogroove
2015-08-28T20:36:06+00:00
LAN Manager authentication level set to Send NTLMv2 response onlyrefuse LM

Solution Screenshot

I’ve stumbled upon a seemingly undocumented authentication error in the Windows VPN system.

Error 691: Access was denied because the username and/or password was invalid on the domain.

This can be caused simply by elevating the VPN server’s LM authentication level to 5, which refuses the NTLM protocol.  According to KB823659 requiring NTLMv2 should not break Windows XP connections unless older systems are involved.  However, this configuration does cause client and server authentication errors.

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3 Sep 2011

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Systems Engineering

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Microsoft Update Incompatibility Pinpointed

miqrogroove
2011-08-01T17:08:56+00:00
Microsoft Update screen excerpt

Microsoft Update, Unclogged

Years ago, Microsoft changed the Windows Update website in a way that made it incompatible with my laptop. It would show me the Express and Custom install buttons, followed after some delay by a meaningless error message.

The website has encountered a problem and cannot display the page you are trying to view. [Error number: 0x800A0007]

I’ve finally found the underlying problem: Microsoft Update now requires at least 700 MB of virtual memory, just to check for updates.  It also fails to check for this resource before it crashes.

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1 Aug 2011

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Systems Engineering

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Installing APCUPSD for Windows

miqrogroove
2016-09-08T16:24:43+00:00
Apcupsd Setup wizard, Choose Components dialog

The Setup Wizard

What’s big and slow and rarely ever useful?  For one thing, the software that comes with every desktop-grade Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) made by APC.  This isn’t news.  I know APC would like nothing more than to have me buy a more expensive piece of hardware that I don’t need, just to get the useful software that I do need.

Enter APCUPSD with USB support for Windows.  It’s free.  It’s open source.  It’s probably not supported by APC, but if you’ve ever tried to get tech support for a desktop-grade APC unit that was connected to a server, you already know APC isn’t going to help you with computer problems.  This free piece of software makes my UPS more useful than just a battery with a power switch.  Now I can have my server send a text message to my mobile phone whenever a blackout strikes my area.  I can see live power management statistics from any web browser in the world, including the one on my phone.  I have fewer things to monitor with regard to uptime, and I love it.

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1 Jul 2011

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Systems Engineering

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Service Pack 1 Breaks DSL Internet?

miqrogroove
2011-06-09T22:43:19+00:00
Windows 7 Logo and Frowny Face

When Good Windows Goes Bad

I had a bizarre experience installing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 for the first time.  I was helping a relative with their routine computer maintenance, which evolved into a three-part service call.  During my first visit, I made sure all of the Windows Updates were installed, including Service Pack 1.  That part went according to plan.

On my second visit, I learned that the computer was no longer able to connect to the Internet for about 10 to 30 minutes after it was turned on.  The primary symptom was that the computer was receiving a new DHCP lease from its DSL modem but was unable to ping any address or resolve any name.  In roughly the time it took me to figure that out, make a futile attempt to reset the modem, try to release and renew the DHCP lease, find the ISP’s phone number, and work my way through the ISP’s annoying automated telephone menu, the Internet connection suddenly started working.  I later rebooted the computer and encountered the same problem, worked through the same steps, and saw the computer’s connection suddenly start working again after a delay of many minutes.

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1 Jun 2011

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Systems Engineering

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