February 25, 2015

Browser Hijack

Just now I followed a link from BakaBT to ANN, and instead I got this address:


Which was a page that told me I was infected with some virus, and put up a popup advising me to call some phone number or other. (This is a common tack for malware: the people on the phone number will then tell me how to download a program that "fixes" the problem and also makes me part of their botnet.) Dismissing the popup made it appear again, meaning I couldn't close the tab. The only way to recover was to use the process manager to kill IE.

Obviously the first thing to do, which I just did, was to tell Windows Security Essentials to do a scan, and it didn't find anything.

The second thing was to clear the browser cache.

The third thing was to add "pc-okok.com" to the reject file in Proxomitron, so that I can't ever load it again. But I still want to know how my access was hijacked.

I'd also like to know how my browser found the site. "pc-okok.com" doesn't resolve through DNS, so what address is it?

UPDATE: Ah. The entire URL does resolve through DNS to, which is "a23-3-75-25.deploy.static.akamaitechnologies.com". Think I'll be sending them some email... UPDATE: Man, I think they don't want to hear from anyone. What a clumsy web interface, which I don't think worked.

The whole URL looked like this:



When that URL was created, someone did a reverse DNS on my IP in order to learn that I'm on Comcast Commercial. So I assume there was some other site in between, but the IE browser history doesn't show anything that makes any sense.

The only possibility I can see is that ANN's server has been corrupted.

UPDATE: Actually, I just remembered that this kind of thing has happened before, and it was a seedy advertiser coming in via a fairly respectable ad server.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 02:38 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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February 21, 2015

Grrrr! Damn you, Microsoft!

I can't change the default player for MP3 files. It's set to "Windows Media Player" and frozen.

I can't uninstall Windows Media Player. It doesn't show up in the "Uninstall or change program" frame in the Control Panel.

I can't run WMP without going through a whole bunch of crap that's supposed to get me to subscribe to title-lookups and setting up playlists and buying stuff from the Microsoft music store and being part of weird social media shit.

This is how it feels:

So all I can do is to remember that I have to drag my MP3 files into Media Player Classic in order to avoid all that. It just plays the file; it doesn't do anything strange. That's what I want, but I can't make MPC my default MP3 player.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 04:17 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
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December 12, 2014

Bad Win 7 patch

Reportedly, KB3004394 (which rolled out Tuesday) was crap and Microsoft says people should uninstall it.

UPDATE: I'm usually pretty good about checking for updates each Tuesday, but it looks like I didn't do it this week. I guess there are benefits to procrastination.

Of course, anyone who has "automatic update" enabled got screwed. Automatic Update is evil.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 09:23 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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June 16, 2014

Die, Google Chrome, Die!

The latest Flash upgrade automagically installs Google Chrome and the Google Toolbar. There wasn't any place to opt out of it that I noticed.

That really stinks.

And uninstalling each of them opened a web page at Google asking all kinds of questions about me and how long I'd been using them and why I was disabling them.

That stinks, too. Grumble.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 01:16 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
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April 18, 2014

Separated at death?

/images/07201.jpg /images/07202.jpg

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 02:41 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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February 02, 2014


Anyone hear any hints about why BakaBT went down yesterday? Server problems?

UPDATE: Suddenly it seems like a lot of things are gone. FunBlog isn't there any more. And AniNouto is missing in action. And for a while Ambient Irony was crashed, but that's fixed now.

UPDATE: BakaBT is back!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 07:54 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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January 18, 2014

I'm confused

Why would anyone want their refrigerator to have an internet connection?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 11:39 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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December 22, 2013

HTC Surprise!

It's been a year for my phone, and I've always recharged it when the battery hit about 45%, so I decided it was time to do a full discharge/recharge cycle. It's good for the battery to do that now and again.

So I had the phone down to 14%, and then I got a notification that Verizon wanted to roll out a patch. Oh, dear. Am I about to be bricked?

Fortunately for me, they recognized the danger of trying to install a patch when you have low battery, and gave me an error message. So I popped the phone onto the wireless charger and, eventually, let it install the patch.

Patches. Two of them.

The first one upgraded my phone from Android 4.1.1 to 4.2.2.

The second one implemented something called "Sense 5", which turns out to be a redesign of the GUI. Which wasn't broken, and didn't need to be fixed.

I haven't played with it much, but I've already noticed a couple of things. First, the look of the icons has changed. Weirder, it handles multiple screens differently than before.

I had five, and it used to be that you could scroll around the circle as many times as you wanted. When it reached the last one it would wrap around to the first. It doesn't any more, and I have no idea why they decided to change it.

They got rid of the ring, by which I mean the thing you sweep to confirm that you want to turn on the screen. Instead there's a version of the clock at the bottom of the screen, and you sweep that. ??

The camera app looks strange; they changed the look of all the controls.

Are they trying to make it look like an iPhone? In some cases it almost looks like Windows 8.

What was HTC thinking?

UPDATE: The new Accuweather app is ugly. And what is "Blinkfeed"?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 03:45 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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December 14, 2013

IE11 -- sucks

I upgraded to IE11 when it hit Windows Update, and I wish I hadn't. My biggest complaint is that a lot of the time it is very slow loading pages, for no obvious reason.

My home page is on my local server, and in every previous version of IE, and in Firefox, it loads quite rapidly. There's no reason why it shouldn't.

But maybe three quarters of the time when I start IE11 it takes as much as 30 seconds for the page to show up. It makes me think that IE11 is trying to access something else and timing out before loading normally.

This also happens sometimes when I am already running and access a new page, or when I open a new tab. There's really no obvious reason for it. I'm thinking of backing it out again, but I'm not sure that's possible.

If you haven't already installed IE11, I recommend that you wait.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 11:19 AM | Comments (18) | Add Comment
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December 05, 2013

Phone charging.

My phone is an HTC Android "DNA" (AKA "Butterfly") from Verizon. It's a very nice phone which was absolutely the latest thing when I got it a year ago, and now Verizon doesn't sell it any more. I guess "new" gets old pretty quickly in this market. (Worse than when I was a phone designer.)

It only has one connector on it, a micro-USB. (The EU issued a regulation requiring all phones and similar devices to use that from now on. I generally am no fan of EU "design from the top by bureaucrats" regulations but this one made sense, with the idea being that it was stupid for every device to have to have its own charger, with a different unique connecter. So the charger that came with my first Kindle Fire works to charge the second one, and also works to charge my phone.

Part of why I bought a second Fire was that the connector on the first one broke, and it won't charge any more. And since I have had to plug my phone in twice a week, I've been afraid of the same thing happening to it.

A few days ago I heard someone referring to "wireless recharging" and it occurred to me that although such a thing is pretty new, maybe my phone is new enough to do it.

Well, it turns out it can. The keyword turned out to be "Qi" and it's a standard for wireless chargers. I just put in an order for one from NewEgg and it should arrive sometime next week. Once I have it, I should be able to charge my phone just by leaving it sitting on the charger pad.

One thing I'll be curious about: when I plug the phone in, there's an LED that turns amber while it charges, and turns green when it's finished. Will the same thing happen with a wireless charge? My guess is "yes".

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 05:53 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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