Happy Cat Technologies welcomes you to it's business web site. We again look forward to the new year, 2014, continuing to provide quality service to clients in the Fort Collins/Loveland area. Always remember that help is a phone call away, and we'll try to get you purring again as soon as possible.

Alfred P. Reaud, Proprietor, Happy Cat Technologies.

WELCOME!

Geek Fortune Of The Day

untold wealth, n.:
    What you left out on April 15th.

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Client Services

Happy Cat Technologies provides the following services to clients in the Fort Collins/Loveland and local areas only:

 

  • Computer Maintenance, such as dust-out/cleaning, removing unwanted preinstalled applications, installing/upgrading applications, removing malware and viruses, creation of emergency boot disks, optimizing (speed up), diagnostic troubleshooting, etc. We support Windows (XP-7), OS-X, and Linux operating systems.

  • Tower and laptop hardware servicing including hardware installation, upgrading, troubleshooting, and defective component replacement. Limited Mac hardware support due to Apple product policies.
  • Data Recovery and Backup, to mitigate disaster situations, such as when Windows won't start. We also provide Windows password recovery. We can recommend and setup backups to local media (DVD), removable media (flash drive, external hard drive), or to Cloud (SOS Backup, Carbonite, etc).
  • Network/WIFI consultation, design, installation, configuring and troubleshooting, including cable routing. We also do security evaluations of WIFI installations.
  • Web site[1] provisioning from initial consultation to development, 

Free Maverick update NOT recommended...

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Recently, I had the dubious pleasure of updating a friend's MacBook for OS X 10.6.8 to 10.9. It started as normal, with a backup to DVD of all data that my friend couldn't afford to loose, such as pictures, documents, etc. Normal SOP for significant OS updates.

After that, the update was started. First off, we had to figure out what the Apple ID and password were. That took a bit of time, but we finally found the piece of paper with the critical information. Once we started the update the real fun started. First off, we only had a 500KBS connection. That translates out to an approximately 3 hour download. You get what you pay for, LOL. The reason for doing this update was that my friend needed the speech to text capability that is now part of Maverick. A bit on that later, as all was not what it seems with that application.

So the update downloaded, and the MacBook updated to OS X 10.9, after more post-update updates. Maverick, BTW, has a definition as an adjective of "unorthodox". There were nothing but problems

Special for the Months of June and July

For our two year anniversary, which was about a week ago but we were busy, we're going to offer guaranteed problem solution, or no charge for the visit.

As an example, we go out to your house to configure up your old router for allowing access to your new iPad. If we can't do so (like we didn't confirm that you had the administration password, LOL), Happy Cat Tech won't charge you for the visit.

We'll have something special around the Fourth of July holiday, so keep checking back, and thanks for the visit.

Special For The Month of April

We've got a special deal for you in the month of April. During April, we'll install Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Linux and accompanying applications for the very low price of $45 per machine to allow as seamless a transition as possible from Windows to Linux. This installation includes (many more come with basic install):

This list is the minimum install for usability, and there are thousands

Two great DRUPAL modules to stop harassing IP addresses

If you operate a content management systems (CMS), you're probably familiar with the curse of botnet attacks on the user registration and persistent spammers on comments. These are IP address that are attached to your CMS from China, i.e. the 163.com domain, sending regular, daily spam message updates about Viagra, Cialis, and faux haute couture, sometimes for years on end. Or they continuously try to attack the user registration CAPTCHA, trying to create accounts to do the same or worse, sometimes using inane responses to the CAPTCHA like "TooBad1" through "TooBad257", not really doing any damage but consuming sometimes scarce resources and filling up the logs (to mask other activity sometimes, like database attacks).

This is not a problem specific to any one CMS, and will happen to Drupal, Wordpress, or Joomla. Drupal, however, logs the events as part of core functionality, allowing them to be noticed by the operator. Having dealt with it for well over a year, mostly manually, I found two great modules in the Dupal repository

From Gnome back to Gnome, four operating systems later

My in-house server was running Fedora 16, which is at end of life, so I decided to update to the latest Fedora release, which was 18. This came about because of an OpenVAS scan of the server detecting issues with httpd and other things. Also with a philosophy of being tired of GNOME 3's idiosyncrasies, I decided to upgrade to Fedora 18-KDE instead of the Gnome version. Four operating system installations later, I wound up installing Ubuntu 12.04 with GNOME 3, LOL! Approximately 24 hours real time was used, and I'm getting damn good at it!

Fedora 18-KDE:
(Fedora KDE Live Media, i686, 844.1MB, Direct Download) Promises to be a great OS, and installed in an excellent fashion, except for the problem related below with partitioning the disk drives how you want as opposed to how Fedora 18 wants. This version requires a DVD because it's 844MB, and my problems started here, as an omen. The first thing I had to do after burning the ISO is swap out the DVD drive in the target system. angry  Install proceeded well, and I succumbed to Fedora 18

Gatesed in the Office - Watch out for Windows disk checking in the office

If you encounter one of the unfortunate side-effects of using Microsoft technology, you've been "Gatesed." In typical IT usage, "If it Gatesed (BSOD), you were SOL."fortune_mod

With most modern operating systems, full disk checking requires that the device be unmounted. With Windows 7, Vista, and XP, that is true, and one has to reboot to get disk checking started. If "scan disk for bad sectors" option is selected, running disk checking can take an appreciable time, sometimes hours depending on the size of the disk. Once started, this may not be terminated, on advice of Microsoft Support. “… Please note that it is not recommended to stop or interrupt the chkdsk running on the computer until it completes by itself. …” Srinivas R, Microsoft Support.

This can cause the customer problems if the system is rebooted Monday

Getting back in the groove...

Happy Cat is going to be getting back in the groove and focusing more on increasing our business, as the business needs to start paying the bills. For that we need your help out there. For the month of March, we have special going on, $45 to service your PC. It's a sweet deal, as usually the process would be more than $90 at our regular rate.

Call up the office number (970) 672-8298 and set up a service call or appointment for service at the shop.

Thanks for your time, and Happy Computing!

Increased Attacks on Content Management System Logins from Bots / Mal-Nets

Content management system (CMS) login attacks have increased significantly in the past month. The signature of these attacks varies, but it is repeated attempts to log in with a randomly generated account name, with very fast cycle times but low attempt counts, followed by a delay. An IP address change may or may not occur during the attacks. Occasionally during an attack session, an attack from another attacker IP address / attack profile inserts itself in the attack stream.

These attacks are ineffective, at least with a correctly configured and updated Drupal CMS. The threat to Wordpress and/or other CMS' versions are unknown to this author as he doesn't currently maintain any Wordpress, Joomla or other CMS'. The signature of some attacks are as follows:

Out of Lurking for Curiosity

Months go by and nothing gets written because not much changes. The Gnome 3 interface doesn't lock up as much on restart, but normally does so on logout. The attacks on the shell are futile, and Fail2ban does a good job of making them futile. So there's not much to write about.

Curiosity, the Mars Science Lander(MSL), is another story. At ~900kg, it's a behemoth, the biggest lander placed on another planet successfully. The landing techniques were novel, requiring aerobreaking, supersonic parachuting, retrorockets and finally a sky-crane winch-down of the lander itself. Pretty phenomenal...

What will we find there, with a real lander that is more like a nuclear powered 6-wheel ATV? There is no telling, but we await expectantly! So congratulations to NASA at the MSL team, great job done getting us there. Now the task is finding out where the water went.