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Cold Weather Tips

Oh my it’s cold… Stay warm folks. Keep a towel and blanket and snow shovel in the car. Extra mittens, scarves, and hoods/hats don’t hurt either.

This cold, lift your wipers up off the windshield… Plan your trips between car and building carefully before opening the door and making the trip.

The long term forecast has no chance to melt anything – so if it does snow – clean it all the way to pavement this time, the usual mid-Atlantic regional habit of letting the sun melt the last bit will not work this week… it is not getting warm enough for several days.

Really sophisticated email phishing scam claiming to be from Amazon

I have in my inbox two examples of the most sophisticated phishing scam emails I have ever seen. I only caught them because I always review full SMTP headers in my emails; and the return paths and from addressing did not match – these scam emails claim to be from Amazon Notification, and they have a very authentic look and feel that matches my memory of Amazon’s own emails quite effectively. They have a “Track your package” link that talks about a gift card (that I know I never ordered). The link does not take you to an Amazon website, but does redirect about a dozen times before tricking Safari into playing a sound file and alerts (one of the many reasons I do NOT use Safari nor MSIE as my main browser). Ugh… this will fool a lot of people I think. Be careful folks.

Initial Yosemite (Mac OS X 10.10) testing results: Don’t do it!

Wow – Yosemite (Mac OS X 10.10.1) still sucks, completely.

I can install Yosemite to an empty drive fine and start from scratch. That mostly works, though it makes my mid-2007 iMac (2GHz, ATI Radeon 2400, 4GB, 250GB SATA) run very slow and I hate the way it looks.

I cannot successfully run Migration Assistant to pull from a good backup of my working Mavericks system backups; Migration Assistant never completes, saying it has about 2 minutes remaining after 8 hours, and then staying at 2 minutes remaining for days (tested to 3 days). Quitting Migration Assistant and trying to use the system it is broken… Finder cannot see Applications, the Dock is frozen and unresponsive, Spotlight can find nothing.

I cannot upgrade Yosemite on top of the existing Mavericks system without loosing ALL Applications (including the ones from Apple). Same details as scratch install and migrate data; Terminal can list the files in /Applications; but Finder cannot see them.

I have to say I hate the appearance of Yosemite even on the working blank system.

Thank goodness for backups.

Thank goodness for Mavericks.

To be fair this is on some pretty old hardware, a Mid 2007 iMac 20″ (iMac7,1) with 2GHz Core2 Duo, ATI Radeon HD2400, 4GB memory, 250GB SATA spinning drive that is 87% full). Officially the oldest iMac that can be supported for Yosemite, barely. Chief complaint, on upgraded system is that Applications folder appears empty in Finder, though terminal can see the files listed. Dock is unresponsive, clicks never get acknowledged at all. Spotlight search is very slow (2 minutes to find and launch Terminal). Stock hardware, no changes; but I do have seven years of software cruft and all applications since initially running Leopard (10.5) back in 2007; though I purged a lot to upgrade to Lion as the PowerPC emulator vanished then.

Please Vote on November 4th

Virginians, please vote on November 4th. United States Senator, United States Congress, and a proposed state constitutional amendment are all on the ballot.

Your local city or county may have additional ballot questions or local candidates, congratulations!


AppleTV 2nd Generation and SHSH Blobs

I am a huge Apple fan, and I have three 2nd generation AppleTVs that I use to watch streaming media in different rooms of my house. I have hacked them all so I can stream a wide variety of formats and stream directly from a large SMB file share I have. I also like checking out new versions of the operating system, but insist that I can roll back to previous versions in case something breaks.

Sadly, Apple works really hard to prevent this, they (understandably) want fewer versions out in the wild to support… so once a new version comes out they stop signing the blobs needed to roll back to the older version; which is frustrating to someone who wants to be able to back out a recent change.

iOS 8 has been announced and will likely trigger a new version of the AppleTV software in the next few days… so I went about backing up my current versions (all running AppleTV version 5.3, aka: iOS 6.1.4) and the current version from Apple (AppleTV 6.2, aka: iOS 7.1.2). Normally I use TinyUmbrella to do this, but TinyUmbrella has become fussy… and I can’t save my SHSH blobs with it since 5.2/6.1), and one of the three cannot even do that (it has always been more finicky).

iFaith can download the current version (6.2/7.1.2) but it is a different kind of blob, and I can’t use that to generate a new OS yet (still learning though) and iFaith can’t grab the current firmware in complete format from any of the three AppleTVs I have – though it was able to grab 5.2.1/6.1.3 according to documentation… I can’t verify as Apple is no longer signing those blobs.

RedSn0w does not support AppleTV at all as near as I can tell, at least none of mine.

Seas0nPass fails to save the new blobs, but can reliably get be back to 5.3/6.1.4 (the last known jailbroken version) every time so I get my XBMC back… Note: Seas0nPass depends on iTunes, and sometimes having an older version of iTunes helped a lot.

My other iOS devices (iPhones, iPads) all backup easily in all the above programs, it is only the AppleTVs that are giving me fits… Is anyone else have success with TinyUmbrella since iOS 7 came out?

The slow death of POP3 and services that still use only POP3

Way back in the early 1990s there was an awesome new way to use whatever email client you liked with your email service, so long as both the email program and the server used the same version of the Post Office Protocol, also known as POP3. This was awesome, in the early 1990s. We only had one client device, so POP3 had no facility for managing email on multiple devices. A few years earlier, a new email protocol called Internet Message Access Protocol, aka: IMAP, was introduced and it was superior to POP3 in both security and the ability for multiple devices to all manage your email remotely. IMAP did not catch on right away, but was firmly established as the dominant method for multiple client access to the same email box by about 1993.


Over two decades ago.

Yet, as recently as a few weeks ago people complain that their modern day smart phone is broken because they cannot delete emails from their computer and their phone… and every time it turns out they are using POP3, in 2014! The service providers are often to blame, as Verizon Broadband, Comcast, and Yahoo! (Free version) only offered POP3 for many years, but it is 2014 and even most of these email service providers all offer IMAP. Unbelievably, Verizon FIOS does NOT! But you can still use FIOS for broadband and sign up for any real email service (Yahoo, AOL, Gmail, etc).

If you have multiple devices connecting to your email, and you don’t like not being able to delete messages from more than one of your devices; contact your service provider and switch to IMAP and you will be much happier.

Switching Comcast Email to IMAP:

    Once on IMAP the new settings are:
    Incoming server:
    Outgoing server:
    Authentication ON
    Incoming Port: 993 with SSL ON
    Outgoing Port: 465 with SSL ON

Switching Yahoo! Free Email to IMAP:

Verizon does not support IMAP – so don’t use Verizon for email at all – switch to a free GMail, Yahoo, or AOL account… it will be less trouble.

Review of Resurrection Ale House, Philadelphia PA

I give Resurrection Ale House four out of five stars based on my visit in September 2014.

Resurrection Ale House
2425 Grays Ferry Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 735-2202

Wow, lucked into some good reviews and was amazed by the delicious twice fried chicken and oyster scrambled eggs and rice balls and quiche! Nice selection of beer.

Update: Resurrection can be a bit tricky to find as the places in this neighborhood all look like private homes, pay attention to addresses and you’ll be fine, and look for the sandwich board on the sidewalk outside.

Update: Resurrection appears to be changing ownership, but possibly for the better as the staff seems to be taking over… time will tell.

Review of The Savoy Restaurant in Rome, NY

I happily give The Savoy four out of five stars, based on an August 2014 visit and memories of many years ago.

The Savoy Restaurant
255 E Dominick St
Rome, NY 13440
(315) 339-3166

Family run Italian-American piano bar and restaurant with excellently seasoned steaks and East Rome Greens that remind me of the legendary greens server at Hollywood restaurant during he wee hours of the mid-1980s! Enjoyed excellent and reasonably priced wine as well an very friend service from Sue from Booneville.

Garlic mashed potatoes were good and the house salads with any of their excellent dressings is delicious!

Review of Cafe J in Clinton, NY

I gave Cafe J three out of five stars in August 2013 and again in August 2014.

Cafe J
1 W Park Row
Clinton, NY 13323
(315) 853-6656

I enjoyed a very good spicy chai tea during the music festival and have had wonderful food and chocolate flavored iced coffee at Cafe J a year ago when I last visited. Fun staff with character, fun customers, prime location, worth a quick or relaxing visit.

Expect a little banter and attitude and have fun with it. The visit will be better.

Review of Peter’s Cornucopia in New Hartford, NY

I gave Peter’s Cornucopia four out of five stars in August 2014.

Peter’s Cornucopia
38 New Hartford Shopping Ctr
New Hartford, NY 13413
(315) 724-4998

Delightful cafe/bistro inside a healthfood store; counter service is fun and excellent, food is fantastic: had Picasso wrap and sala an coffee for only $11 and loved it!

You can socialize at the bar or enjoy a quiet table or take your food to go. Everything is fresh and cooked to order, so there may be a small wait but it is well worth it. No heat lamps here! Whole kitchen is in plain view and is immaculate and a delight to observe in action.

Oh, I realized that my review is for the cafe only. There is a whole grocer here as well.