The Network Solutions Nightmare

The following notes are from my dealings with Network Solutions this last month.

I will add that I’m a GOLD VIP member.

December 24th, I get an email from Network Solutions telling me that one of my .net domains has been automatically renewed.  For $114! The following quotes are some posts I made on Facebook concerning this whole thing:

On the phone with Network Solutions right now. They tried to charge me $114 for a .net domain name renewal! I’m transferring all my domains away from them as we speak. That’s just crazy!

So I called them and got everything worked out. I even got them to refund me the $114. Seemed like it was just a waiting game at this point. Boy was I wrong:

Wow. Network Solutions is worse than I thought. So I get the email confirmation from idotz.net to approve the transfer. Then I got 10 emails in a row from Network Solutions about the transfer. 2 emails for each domain. One says that I should verify that the emails and such actually came from network solutions because they’ve gotten reports from customers about 3rd parties sending phishing emails about domain transfers in attempts to transfer the domain to some unknown 3rd party. The second email contains a “secure” link that I need to click on in order to either approve or cancel the transfer.
The link in the email is to https://www.registrar-transfers.com. When you mouse over the link, it actually goes to a non-secure site: http://cclinks.networksolutions.com, which then transfers you back to https://www.registrar-transfers.com, which has a SSL certificate that expired in May of 2014, almost 8 months ago!
So, I called them again to just do the approval on the phone since their emails and website cannot be trusted. I mean really? Displaying a secure link that actually goes to an insecure link which redirects to a site with an expired certificate? Keep in mind that these urls include details in the POST string about the transfer. Sure. Just send all that in the clear.
That just reeks of a phishing site. I told them as much and they have “escalated” my trouble ticket. Hopefully to someone who knows something about how the web works.
These guys are morons.

Also, all the emails I’ve ever gotten from NetworkSolutions have been marked as phishing emails automatically by Thunderbird, mainly because their emails contain links that say they go to one location, usually an https site, but really redirect to a second, different domain that is normal http. So I was told that even if I don’t click the link from the email they sent me, that the approval will be automatically approved in 5 days. Then this happens:

The drama continues. You had one job Network Solutions. This is from the email I received at 1am:
“We understand that you’ve initiated a transfer on 12/26;however, we regret to inform you there is a technical problem with the outbound transfer request. The issue will cause the transfer to fail after a 5-7 processing period. In order to avoid unnecessary processing time, we’ve canceled the transfer on our end. ”
And they keep asking me why I want to transfer away from them. They can’t even maintain their core business without problems. Oh, and that secure site they wanted me to click on? The SSL certificate is still expired.

First, notice the grammar problem. “5-7 processing period”. It’s missing the word “day” in there. Second, I thought it was taken care of?!? So I called them. Again. While on the phone, they keep asking me if there is any way I want to stay with them. “We’ll drop the yearly rate to $9.99 if you stay”. Well here’s the problem with that. The main reason I stayed with them this long was for the auto-renewal they had. That way I don’t have to worry about renewing manually. The catch? If they drop my price to $9.99 per year, then I will have to call them each year, for each domain, in order to keep that price. So I can get it for a normal price, but then I have to waste half a day to get it. Screw that!

One of the biggest things that bothered me about netsol is that they try to upsell too much. If you just want to log in, you get like 4 attempts to upsell you crap, then if you want to do something like update a dns entry, you have to go through 3 more pages of upselling. It’s awful.

So now they told me that they will cancel the domain transfer on their side, and I’ll have to re-initiate the transfer with my registrar again. Then I will need to call them AGAIN to bypass their expired and untrustworthy SSL email and start this all over again.

I told them that all they need to do to fix all this is to update their SSL cert on www.registrar-transfers.com and I’ll click on the link and that will avoid any issues.  This is their CORE BUSINESS and they can’t even handle that.

I’ll update this as the nightmare continues.

[HOWTO] Remove Bing and Amazon search from Mozilla Thunderbird

This was annoying the first time I saw it. You select some text in an email message, and what does Thunderbird do now? Start an automatic search on Bing! for the selected text. So, I went to about:config and removed the names of all the search engines they had in there. Namely, Bing! and Yahoo. Restart Thunderbird and guess what? Now it defaults to Amazon Search!

Searching in about:config for amazon reveals nothing! No “official” way to remove it.

I got frustrated enough that I finally said “screw it” and downloaded the Thunderbird source tree and decided to make some of my own changes and just use the one I build locally.

Well, turns out there’s a much easier way to accomplish removing these. I chose to replace it with Google search since it’s what I normally go with.

Simply navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Thunderbird\searchplugins

Delete everything you see in there, and create a new file called google.xml

Put the following contents into the file:

<SearchPlugin xmlns=”http://www.mozilla.org/2006/browser/search/”>

<ShortName>Google</ShortName>
<Description>Google Search</Description>
<InputEncoding>UTF-8</InputEncoding>
<Image width=”16″ height=”16″>data:image/x-icon;base64,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</Image>
<Url type=”application/x-suggestions+json” method=”GET” template=”https://www.google.com/complete/search?q={searchTerms}”/>
<Url type=”text/html” method=”GET” template=”https://www.google.com/search” rel=”searchform”>
<Param name=”q” value=”{searchTerms}”/>
<Param name=”ie” value=”utf-8″/>
<Param name=”oe” value=”utf-8″/>
<Param name=”aq” value=”t”/>
</Url>
<SearchForm>https://www.google.com/</SearchForm>
</SearchPlugin>

That should do it. Restart Thunderbird and viola! You’ll have a useful search function in your email client now.

By the way, all those seemingly random characters in the file above is just an encoded version of the google search icon. (notice it’s between <image/> tags.

However, be warned! If you simply delete all the files in the searchplugins directory, when you right click on something in Thunderbird, you’ll get every menu option possible. Even if it doesn’t work. Since it can’t parse a plugin xml file, it will just display everything instead.

initrd

[RECIPE] Garlic and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Cheese and Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms:IMG_20140924_210606-sm

2Tb Butter
1Tb chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1t red wine vinegar
1/2 c Shredded cheese
1 slice bread
3T Parmesan cheese
10 large button mushrooms
3t olive oil

Preheat oven to 200C

Toss the butter and garlic into a pan and cook over medium heat until all the butter is melted.
While that is going on, take the slice of bread and turn it into crumbs.
Once the butter is all melted, drop in the breadcrumbs and vinegar. Cook for about 2 minutes or until breadcrumbs have soaked up all the butter and are lightly toasted.
Once finished, move the breadcrumbs to a bowl to cool.
While waiting, clean and stem the mushrooms and place them on a baking dish/sheet.
Mix in the Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs and add any other seasonings you like to flavor.
Stuff the bread/cheese mix into the mushrooms and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Drizzle olive oil over the top and stick in the oven.
Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly soft.

Let cool for 1 minute. Serve hot.

[HOWTO] Quick Breakfast Sandwiches

Ok, these are simple and go without saying but hey, I’m bored.

Usually when I get off work (around 7am), I’m kind of hungry.  When I get home, I’ll cook up a quick breakfast sandwich or 2.

IMG_20140831_065100
Breakfast Bagel Sandwich

1 Bagel (i use onion) or 1 English Muffin
1 medium/large egg
1 T milk
1/2 t garlic salt
1 slice of ham (or substitute sausage, turkey, etc)
1 slice american cheese (or your favorite)
1 t butter

Put the bagel or muffin in the toaster oven and toast how you like it.
Toss the butter in a pan and put over medium heat.
Mix the milk, garlic salt, and egg in a bowl and whisk together.
Toss the eggs into the pan and stir them up until they’re about 1/2 set.  Then I scoot them together until they form a square shape about the size of a piece of sliced cheese.
Flip the eggs and take your muffin out of the toaster.
Place the egg on the muffin, then add the cheese and ham.  I put the whole works back in the still warm toaster oven for about 30 seconds to help melt the cheese.

Viola!  Only takes a few minutes, not much cleanup to do, and it a quick breakfast snack.

Enjoy.
Initrd

[WIP] Recreating Arashi Genkotsu Ramen

As long as I’ve lived in Japan, I’ve had a favorite ramen shop.  Arashi Kagetsu.

My favorite ramen they make there, is 嵐げんこつらあめん (Arashi Genkotsu Ramen).

Since moving to Alaska in May 2014, I have found myself missing this ramen.  So, my attempt to recreate the soup they use will be documented here:

IMG_20140829_203202
Completed Ramen with butter

So far, it’s not even close, but as I’m cooking for one, I’ve not had the opportunity to really buckle down and buy everything I need to make the real effort that it deserves.

10 chicken necks
1 can beef broth
1 can water
1 medium chopped onion
1 T honey
1/4 c Soy Sauce
1 T chopped garlic
1 T sake (I use Ozeki)
1 T rice vinegar
1 t hon dashi
3 T red Miso

Basically, toss it all into a slow cooker and let it sit for 6 hours on high, or 10-12 hours on low.
Run the resulting soup through a strainer, then some cheesecloth to get rid of all the left over bones and such.
Drop what’s left into a pot and reduce by half. Store and freeze what you don’t use immediately.

About 1/4 cup of this broth when mixed with about 1 1/2 cups boiling water will go nicely with noodles.

I will add more next time I get a chance to work on it.

Time to Start Updating Again

I’m going to start posting here again.  It’s been a while, but since I have little else to do after moving to the USA after 20 years in Japan, I guess I should start doing something.

Expect mostly recipes, local photography, and hardware hacking.

Cheers!
initrd

[HOWTO] Reset a H5-01 Error on Sharp Laser Printer/Copiers

The laser printer here at my office just had a series of jams, one of which tripped the “Call a service Tech” flag on the darned thing. Rather than calling the tech to reset it (I managed to clear the paper problem myself), you can simply enter this code on the control panel:

P*C*14

Then Press Execute, then Tap Yes, then hit the B/W Copy button, then hit the reset button.

P = Program (#)
C = Clear

Problem solved, no maintenance fees!

initrd

[HOWTO] Root your au Sharp IS03 android phone Part 4

Sorry about the delay in updating, I have been busy at work lately.

Firstly, make sure you have downloaded and installed the android sdk from google: http://dl.google.com/android/installer_r11-windows.exe

Second, download the following file: rootkit_is03_0430

Once those are downloaded and installed, you will need to drop to a command line.

The android SDK should be located somewhere like c:\android-sdk-windows\

The first time you run the android sdk, it should ask you about updating.  Let it do that since it will download the tools required (specifically adb, the android debugger).

Run the command:

adb devices

You should see your phone listed.  If you don’t see anything, make sure your phone is plugged in via usb and you have debugging enabled on the phone. (see my previous posts for how to do that).

Run the following commands:

adb push data_local /data/local
adb shell chmod 755 /data/local/is03break
adb shell chmod 755 /data/local/autoexec.sh
adb shell chmod 755 /data/local/busybox
adb install jackpal.androidterm.apk
adb install Superuser.apk
adb shell /data/local/is03break

You should see something like the following:

[**] Gingerbreak/Honeybomb — android 2.[2,3], 3.0 softbreak
[**] (C) 2010-2011 The Android Exploid Crew. All rights reserved.
[**] Kudos to jenzi, the #brownpants-party, the Open Source folks,
[**] Zynamics for ARM skills and Onkel Budi

[**] donate to 7-4-3-C@web.de if you like
[**] Exploit may take a while!

[**] Modified for IS03/IS05 by goroh.kun@gmail.com
[+] Detected Froyo!
[+] Found system: 0xafd138bd strcmp: 0xafd1cb7d
[+] Found PT_DYNAMIC of size 280 (35 entries)
[+] Found GOT: 0x000152b8
[+] Using device /devices/virtual/block/stheno
[*] vold: 0094 GOT start: 0x000152b8 GOT end: 0x00015538
[*] vold: 0325 idx: -0002078

[!] dance forever my only one
———————————-

adb shell
$ /data/local/tmp/sh
#

If you see the #, then you have root.   once you are at the root prompt, do the following:

# cd /data/local
# cat local.prop > /data/local.prop
# reboot

After this, any time you need root, you should be able to drop to a shell and type /dev/su and you will have root.

Now, this root does not allow just anything to run.  Due to restrictions in place on the IS03, you will lose some functionality on the phone (ezweb mail, etc…) if your phone is rooted.  There is an app that allows you to switch root access on and off when needed.

Here is the zip file containing the Root Switcher mentioned above.

Also included is a modified version of the Barnacle Wi-Fi tethering app.  It has been modified to work with the new su binary location.  Make sure you run the root switcher first!

initrd

[HOWTO] Make apt ignore a “broken” package

Recently had an issue where I had a package that I needed to install under debian but which wouldn’t install because of a dependancy problem.  So, dpkg –force-all package.deb worked and got it installed.  Program works and everything is fine.

Then, I needed to install openvpn and apt started complaining about the “broken” package.  It would not let me install or update anything else unless I removed the broken package.  Only problem is.. the package is not broken.

How to get around this?  Essentially you need to “lie” to apt and remove the dependancy.

#  vi /var/lib/dpkg/status

Opening the dpkg status file, you will see all kinds of stuff in there about the current status of every package which is installed.

For example, let’s say the name of your “broken” package is test_package.

Do a search in vi (/test_package <enter>) and it will take you to an entry which looks like this:

Package: test_package
Status: install ok installed
Priority: optional
Section: applications
Installed-Size: 24084
Maintainer: init
Architecture: i386
Source: init.sh
Version: 1.0.0-1
Depends: package1, package2, package3
Description: Performs cool tests

Now the package named “package3″ is the dependancy which is causing the problems.

The solution?  Simply go down to the Depends line and erase package3.  The entry now looks like this:

Package: test_package
Status: install ok installed
Priority: optional
Section: applications
Installed-Size: 24084
Maintainer: init
Architecture: i386
Source: init.sh
Version: 1.0.0-1
Depends: package1, package2
Description: Performs cool tests

Problem solved.  Now back to the prompt and a quick “apt-get install openvpn” works fine now.

initrd

[DOWNLOAD] Android TUIO Server

This post is just for mirroring a file that was found in this nuigroup post.

From the post:

Hey,
I developed my first Android Applictation that sends TUIO data via Wifi to a receiver.
You can define your receiver easily by changing IP and Port.

It should work under Android 2.1.
It is in a beta stadium, a really good blob tracking is not implemented yet.

The file was linked via rapidshare and now the link and file is gone so I am mirroring it here.

Click here to download TuioAndroid_v05

The file is an apk, so just copy it to your phone.  If I can get ahold of the source, I will update this post with it.

Here is a qrcode if you want to download it directly from your android phone:

qrcode for TuioAndroid_v05.apk

initrd