Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Replacing a mobile home water heater with a normal one.

How to Replace a mobile home water heater with a 'normal' one.

1. Remove power (or turn off the gas).
2. Turn off water (Likely for the whole home).
3. Drain the old heater (if water is hot run it out first until it is cold).
4. remove the electric power or gas lines to the heater.
5. Cut the water lines to the heater.
6. Remove the old water heater.
7. Level the floor under the heater.
8. Remove the new heater from the box and Install it.
9. Add the cold water shut off valve.
10. Add pipes to go to the top of the heater.
  You will need the following;
     10 feet of pipe.
      4 x 90 degree elbows.
      2 x Male 3/4 inch connectors.
      1 x Shut off valve.
      1 x Union.
11. Fill with water and check the fittings - the top fittings leak the most.
  Add more Teflon tape and re-do the top fittings.
12. When the tank is full and not leaking run the hot water for SEVERAL minutes.
13. Reconnect electricity or gas lines.
14. Turn on electricity or gas.
15. The water should be hot in about 15 minutes.

Note: The old trailer heater had one 4500 watt heater element, the new standard heater had 2 x 3500 watt heat elements.  Trailer heaters have the water connectors on the front, normal heaters have the fittings on the top.

First the old heater.  Note that it has been leaking by all the stains on the floor.
Next the new heater. Note the old gray pipe as a shim to level it and the shut off on the cold water coming into the tank.  It looks like someday I might need to rotate it a little to access the heater elements?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

PHP website attacks

I looked at our logs recently and was surprised that the normal visitors had jumped from 250 a day to 550 on one day.  Then I checked the error log and found this:
It is a new web site attack targeting PHP and Wordpress.  The evidence is that the lines all end in "//scripts/setup.php".  They attempt to target your PHP version then your WordPress version.

Asus EEE disassembly / teardown / crack open

How to disassemble the Asus EEE.

To start with remove the battery and find the four catches located under the battery. Unlock them and they should stay that way so you can remove the keyboard. Under the keyboard are about 6 screws. On the bottom of the laptop there are 4 screws. Inside of the memory compartment on the bottom there is one more screw. Two of the catches are shown in the picture below.  Unplug the keyboard and remove it.

After you remove the 6 screws that are under the keyboard the top half comes apart by undoing the several catches located around the outer edge.  You might need a small flat blade screwdriver to unhook them.  Disconnect the touchpad as you lift off the top half.
Once the top is off the screen can be unplugged.  Unscrew the wireless adapter.  Remove two screws one is hidden under the ribbon cable.  Remove three screws and remove the cooling fan. You should now be able to remove the motherboard.
I was taking it apart to fix a broken power jack.  However the jack was fine the problem was the AC adapter.  The outer braid goes bad about 1/2 an inch short of the plug.  You could likely fix it by removing the insulation and wrapping the ground braid in some fine like 22 gauge copper wire. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Internet Security Suite - Fake Anti-virus

Well I just ran across a new version of the old fake anti-virus software.  This one did not even attempt to stop me from installing MalWareBytes Anti-Malware.  It installed, updated and nailed this sucker!
This is what the virus would do.  It would bring up this screen and gray out the rest of the screen.  Alt, control, delete was disabled. 

Here it is running right along MBAM.  Note that over 800 infections were detected!  Wow!  Then when I told MBAM to "remove all infections" it shut down the pop up.  Then, after a restart of the computer, the computer was working normally once again.

Windows Server 2008 taken down by Windows Updates

This morning Sage ACT was down when I arrived at work.  They had been trying to get the Windows 2008 server to work to no avail.  I logged in and answered a question that came up on the screen and everything started working.  The server wanted to know what kind of network it was.  I told it that it was a company network.  Not sure if that was the problem but it was part of the problem.  There might have been some sort of change on the network that had confused the server into thinking that it was attached to an different network?

When I checked the error logs I saw that one of the updates had failed to install.  Here are some screen shots of the error logs:  (Click on them to see them full size)

Monday, December 13, 2010

MP4 player Dissembled

Last year for Christmas I bought some tiny MP-4 players on Ebay.  Unfortunately most of them died after about a month of use.  One sat around in my drawer until this weekend when I decided I was going to dissemble it.  You should be able to remove the bottom cover with two screws then slide the guts up and out of the top.  However I could not get it apart that way, for some reason, so I cut it open with a pair of tin sheers.  I could not fix it or get it to work with external batteries, but that is a good thing, because I could not get it back together either! 

Here is what they look like inside if you wanted to see their guts:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another Fake Antivirus - ThinkPoint

There is a new fake anti-virus out there.  It is not as 'tricky' as some of the older ones, as it can be defeated with out doing a lot of work. With the infection you cannot get onto the Internet and Alt/Control/Delete does not work.  I could not get any anti-virus program to load to fix it either.

I restarted the computer in 'safe mode' and was expecting that it had disabled safe mode, but it did not.  So I  loaded Malware Bytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) from a USB drive and scanned the hard drive.  It found only one infected file so I thought that it had missed the virus, but that was all there was.  The file is named 'hotfix.exe' and that is all there is to the virus infection.  Delete 'hotfix.exe' and you are good to go!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kodak Camera Repair

Recently I was given a Kodak camera that was a few months old but was not working.  It had fallen off a chair and that fall had rendered it DOA.  After taking it apart to look inside I discovered that the battery contact fingers were not touching the battery.  The fix was easy, just bend the battery contact fingers up.  That can be done without taking the camera apart. 

Just in case you want a peak inside the camera, here is a picture with the front and back covers removed.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Facebook is infected once again

There is a new Facebook virus going around.  The biggest giveaway is that it uses shortened links.  The messages refer to a video of you or other things like that.  Don't open the link.  If you are infected the only way you will know about it is if one of your friends tells you that you sent them something that you did not send. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gateway W350a Laptop Conversion from vista to XP

My dad’s Old laptop was running Windows Vista and true to form doing anything with it was a pain in the butt.  So I upgraded it to Windows XP.  Once again Gateway does not support XP on that laptop so you have to go out and find the drivers for yourself. 

This time to find out what hardware was in the laptop I used a program called SIV or ‘System Information Viewer’.  It’s free and it does a fantastic job of identifying your hardware.  SIV told me what the motherboard chip set was the AMD ATI 690 and the network interfaces were both from Realtek.

Via Google I also found out that the Gateway W350 is also known as the T1625

Realtek RTL8101E-GR Ethernet:
File name -

RTL 8187B Wireless:
File Name -

Once you can connect to the Internet then you can go after the video and sound drivers;

Graphics drivers:
Go to and look for XP drivers for the ATI 690 chipset.
File Name - 10-2_Legacy_xp32-64_dd_ccc.exe 
Its many megabytes in size (I think 75 megs) so have a fast connection and be ready to wait.

Sound – Some say to use the Dell R134875 drivers but they did not work for me.  I also tried using the ‘Sigmatel’ drivers on the gateway web site to no avail.  I think the hardware is an ATI-791.  Some say to use Gateway CAB D00758-001-001

*** NOTE *** The best sound driver is

All of the drivers are available at

This is a typical SIV "machine" tab screen, click on it to see it actual size.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Interlocking laminate flooring

I used tiles to do the floor in the master bedroom.  The floor tiles have several problems.  They require luan to be put down first to be glued to, that takes a lot of time and increases the price quite a bit.  They stink, literally they give off a bad odor for months (currently over 6 months), stop and smell a box of floor tiles at the store before buying them!  And last of all we moved the bed and there are permanent dents in the tiles where the bed had been. 

So for the living room floor I used the Interlocking laminate - wood looking floor tiles.  It took 8 hours to do a 200 square foot floor.  The first 2 rows are the hardest to do.  When you tap in the next row the first one wants to come apart.  Then the lip gets into the groove so they do not go back together.  The floor is supposed to float, but I was tempted to nail down the first row then take the nails out after the floor was done.  Anyway if you can get the first 2 rows done then you can stand on them to do the rest of the floor. 

You might want to know that even though they easily snap together one at a time, when you have a row of 18 feet of them they do not go together very well at all.  You will need to get the tool kit to gently tap them together or make a tapping tool out of a 2x4 about 8 to 10 inches long by cutting a groove it it to match the groove in the floor tiles.  Also you need to keep each row slightly raised up (Put a pry bar under the leading edge to do that) until they are all snapped together lengthwise.  That allows some of them to unsnap slightly so they need to be tapped back together.  When they are gently tapped together they will then drop down to be level.

Hopefully soon I will have before and after pictures. This one is a before for sure!
And here is an after picture.  Note that the room was also painted and the door replaced.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ban Java!

Some others are picking up on something I have been saying for years... "Microsoft reports 'unprecedented wave' of Java malware exploits"

Here is their link:;search-results-river

And here is their chart to back it up.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Massive web site infections or false positives?

Are there many infected web sites including most twitter shortened links and Either that or BitDefender is having a lot of false positives?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

IPCop with Block Out Traffic - BOT

Installing BOT on IPCop is not for the 'faint at heart'. It takes some time because by default it blocks all traffic. Secondly there are easier ways to get it up and running than what they show on their web site.  You do not need to create 'groups' you can just add the items to the main screen.

Start by downloading and burning BOT onto a CD and take it to your IPCop computer.  Then do the following as seen in the screen shot below:

BOT Installation
Download BlockOutTraffic, burn to a CD and put CD into IPcop server.
type 'mount /dev/cdrom'
type 'cd /mnt/cdrom'
type 'cp Block [tab] /'
type 'cd /'
type 'tar zxvf Block [tab]'
type './setup'

When you first go to BOT, it is found under the firewall tab, you need to enter your computers MAC address so that once BOT is running you can override its settings and still access IPcop.

If you have forgotten how to find out what your MAC address here is how to do that, start by right clicking on your network connections;

First you have to create a new rule for each normal service, they are HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, and SMTP.  Make sure that you select 'default networks, Green Network' then 'Use Service, Default services', and use the select box to select the service that you are adding, and remember to 'enable' the rule.
once you have your rules enabled then you should see this screen.  Now there are some IPcop access rules that need to be added.  Mainly they are 'domain' and 'NTP'.  It will not work if you add them to the 'Outside' rules as your computers should be getting them from the IPcop server instead of from the outside world.
Last of all you need to add some IPcop rules in the advanced section too.  These allow all computers to log into IPcop not just the one that has their MAC address set up in the initial screen.

Act causing a continuous reset

Sage Act likes to cause computers to continuously reset and restart.  There is a simple, quick fix for the problem by using MsConfig in safe mode to disable the "SQl server VSS writer".  Now the computer should stop crashing every time it starts.

Then use the ACT uninstall program downloaded from their web site to uninstall ACT.  Then you can try reinstalling it again but I make no promises there!  I have seen this problem on a fresh clean install of Windows.

Monday, October 18, 2010

UDP Port 8881 Virus - A BitDefender 2011 problem

UPDATE: This is a BitDefender 2011 problem - Disable P2P file sharing in the Bitdefender 'updates' section to fix it.  This is shocking and appalling that Bitdefender would open a hole in the firewall and allow almost anyone access to your computer!

I am still fighting the UDP Port 8881 virus that appears to come from visiting a Twitter account.  So far I can tell that IPCop logs about 6000 blocked UDP port requests inbound to the infected computer every day.  The infected computer according to WireShark, just goes out to random web pages and downloads pictures.  That appears to then trigger the port 8881 responses back towards the infected computer. Reformatting the hard drive does NOT get rid of the virus.  I assume that the virus comes back when you copy back 'my documents' but I am not even sure of that.  However NO ANTI VIRUS program can detect this virus after a week of fighting it.

Here are some WireShark screen pictures.  First is the incoming traffic to the infected computer. This one is kind of funny.  It says "go away we're not home".  Click on the image to see it full size.

Here is a typical IPCop screen showing the connections opened by the virus;

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rear Projection Setup

I have seen a church allot 30 feet behind the projection screen for a rear projection setup. this is unnecessary all you need is a mirror. There are two setups that can be used, project from below up to the mirror and from just below the screen at the mirror. The setups are diagrammed below:

Projector located below the mirror.
Projector located just behind the screen.
Now about the screen.  As you may know a glass bead screen is by far the best screen.  After that a white sheet also works.  In forward projection setups you can use reflective white paint or regular white paint as well.

IPCop Revisited once again...

There are ongoing problems with Snort IDS not updating on IPCop.  So I thought I would try out Smoothwall instead.  Smoothwall installed much faster and easier than IPcop.  There were almost no questions that required a lot of technical knowledge.  then menus in Smoothwall are arranged differently and took a little getting used to.  Then the problems started.  I could not even get IDS to turn on in Smoothwall.  I have been watching a virus infected computer trying to ensure that the virus had been completely removed and so having no IDS was simply not an option. 

Also when I enable the email virus filter it blocked ALL of my email as containing a virus.  This was not
acceptable either, so although Smoothwall is much easier to install it is not as usable as IPCop, and will not be
used by me at this point.

Here is a simple diagram on how IP cop is setup up as an Internet server and a firewall.

I thought I would include some IPCop configuration screens so you can see how they should look.  Notice that I do nut use VPN, I do not like to put a hole through my firewall unless the boss absolutely demands it!
  Most of the time you will want DNS to be set up and running.  Sometimes you have a file server that does the DNS thing instead.

 Then there is the Web proxy server.  This is needed in order to log who is accessing what.  It also speeds up the Internet a little by serving some pages from its cache.

 Next is enabling the time server.  This helps to keep all of your computers synchronized to the same time.

Some say that enabling IDS on Red is just a waste of time because it only tells you that you are under attack, but that is a given being connected to the Internet.  However it has been telling me that someone out there is trying to access the formerly infected computer, so IMO it is very useful! 

I do not know if configuring a static DNS is necessary, and if so what one do you use?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Virus Infection

There are a lot of fake, virus infected, Linkedin emails going around.  Supposedly this virus might have come from just viewing a profile on the web site or possibly on Twitter?  The first symptom was that McAfee was popping up every 10 seconds with a message saying that it had blocked a virus.  Then McAfee went down all together and the virus took over.  Alt+Control+Delete did not work.  I could download Malwarebytes but it would not run.

I now know that Symantec has a Trojan.Vundo removal tool that likely would have fixed this problem.  Instead I used Start, Run, and MsConfig to shut down almost all of the Startup items.  Then I downloaded Malwarebytes and ran it again.  This time it ran but would not update.  There is an alternate program killing program called that would have solved that problem.  However Malwarebytes did remove some infections and after the computer was restarted it was able to successfully update and remove the rest of the infections.

The infection got through by using a Java Script.  If the user had been running FireFox with NoScript they would have never had the problem.  I will not digress to ranting about how Java should be banned as over 80% of virus are using java to trash millions of computers........

This virus keeps coming back, even after reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows from CD's.  It could be when email is imported or when my documents are copied? The symptoms are repeated IPCop firewall reports of "ICMP Destination Unreachable Communication Administratively Prohibited" when someone tries to directly access the computer from the outside world and lots of traffic on port 8881.  Every now and then the computer tries to open 20 or 30 UDP connections to port 8881 and some other other ports like 1889, 1814, 1850, 1855, and 1877 among others.

Malwarebytes has removed a dozen virus' and BitDefender keeps finding some too.  But it keeps coming back!  I hate that when reformatting the hard drive does not get rid of it.  There will be more information coming as soon as I can figure it out.  The UDP on Port 8881 has to be a key to the problem?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Free Instant Keyword Analyzer Tool

Google no longer pays any attention to the 'keywords' meta tag on your web site. Instead they do an analysis of your web site to find out what are the actual keywords that are really used. So I tried to find out what were our actual keywords on our web site. It turns out that there are web sites that will do that for you but they require that you enter your phone number and an email address so they can annoy you with salesmen calling and emailing you.

I thought that I could easily write a program to do the job so I have started developing 'KAT' or "Keyword Analyzer Tool". It is totally FREE and gives the results in seconds!  It will strip the HTML code from your web site, feed that into an array and then count the number of times each word is used. I hope to add the ability to also count those words in links, headings, and in strong soon.

Keyword Analyzer Tool

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hawking WIFI Antenna

I recently purchased a Hawking Antenna. It was really cheap because it rattled. That was because the antenna mount was slightly broken and it was easily fixed with some glue.

Anyway the antenna is actually an ordinary antenna with a metal reflector. I will give the measurements shortly. Basically you can easily make it yourself. If you carefully pull the top end off you can then see how it works. Hopefully I will be able to do some comparison tests too.

The metal shield/Reflector is about 1.25 inches from the center of the antenna.  In my tests this antenna combined with an EDUP USB wireless card detected twice as many wireless networks in our area compared to the built in wireless adapter in my notebook computer.

Friday, October 1, 2010

EDUP USB wireless adapter drivers

I recently purchased one of these tiny EDUP wireless adapters on EBay.  First of all they advertise them as 'high power' but they are really not 'high power' if you were expecting 500 MW or 1000 MW like the real  high power USB adapters can put out.  If you really want high power add 500, 1000, or even 2000 MW to your search in EBay.  On the other hand the external antenna may double your range compared to the antenna that is built into most laptops.

Anyway I lost the driver disk and could not find it. I Googled it but no one seemed to know where to find the driver!  When you plug it in the computer says something about a RTL 8188 driver and that is the secret.  Just go to and search for the 8188SU driver.

Here is a link but you may have to cut and paste it into your browser:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Better Business Bureau to the rescue

First of all let me warn you.  You have 30 days to get Verizon Internet working or you are stuck with a $160 disconnect fee even if it does not work.  DO NOT give them another chance - it will cost you $160!  Secondly even if you do call, write and mail everything back to them they will not disconnect you and will keep sending you bills and threaten to destroy your credit if you do not keep paying.

I blogged before about my Verizon problems but here is a quick recap.

I ordered their $50 Internet and phone deal via the Internet.  After a week or two I called and they said the order was lost and they would do it over the phone but I could not get the Internet deal.  I called back another time and was told that I could get the Internet deal so I changed my order.

Well after a few days of terribly slow connection speeds I called up tech support.  The person was very helpful thought a bit hard to understand.  They quickly determined that I had a connection problem.  After about an hour of troubleshooting we removed the Y adapter and the Internet seemed to work. 

The next day the Internet was not working again.  After restarting the box several times over several days, and trying several different telephone jacks I called them again.  This time I was told they could not tell if I had a problem but a 24 hour monitor was possible if I wanted to spend 1/2 an hour on the phone to set it up.  the first problem is that it takes 1/2 an hour to get to a real person.  You have to enter your data over an over again and when you get to a live person they will ask for that information once again.  I did not have the time so I told them to do the 24 hour monitor and hung up.  Of course they did not do it.

The next time I called I was very fed up and the guy begged me to give it one more try.  By this time I had received and paid two bills one for $75 and one for $85.  The tech support guy promised that they would have a guy at my house on Tuesday so I gave in to allowing them just one more try to get it working.  My wife stayed home Tuesday, but no one came.  On Wednesday they called wanting to know where we were.  When I got home the Internet was working, but it only lasted a few hours. 

The next day I got another $75 bill.  I wrote a letter demanding that they disconnect me and stop sending me bills.  I called up demanding that they disconnect me but the lady refused to do it.  After about 1/2 an hour I just started yelling "Disconnect me" over and over into the phone.  I boxed up their Internet modem and mailed it back to them.  It did not work, they still would not disconnect me!

So then I contacted the Better Business Bureau.  They contacted Verizon and a lady from Verizon called me to say they were disconnecting me and refunding me all of my money!  Yea for the BBB!  This whole process took about 4 months.  I still have no Internet but I might try the cable company next.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ode to AVG

AVG was my favorite anti virus program for years.  I converted a place where I worked to using it after it found as many as 2 virus' on a computer that was running the number one anti virus program.  But its time has come and gone.

The problems started when you could no longer down load AVG free to a memory stick and take it with you to Africa or other places where there is no Internet access.  But now they have even topped that mistake.  After not being able to install it on numerous computers, that had working Internet, I discovered the source of the new problem.  Like so many other applications you now need almost 1 gig of memory to install AVG!  That is total insanity!  This picture below is proof of the problem;

Note how the memory usage jumps from under 250 megs to 619 megs when you try to install AVG. If you do not have enough memory, after what seems like an eternity, it will time out and fail to install. Sorry to say it but its 'good bye' to AVG.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Outlook error 550/Administrative prohibition fix.

MS Outlook sometimes comes up with a error 550, Administrative prohibition, or 0x800CCC69 error message.  It has to do with proper authentication.  The solution is to authenticate before sending your emails. Just check the box as seen in the picture below.

Believe it or not you can actually send email without logging into the server first. That is a bad idea, so this box says that you must log into the server first.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Update on my predictions for this century

Back around 2000 I made several predictions as to what will happen in this century. predictions

Basically I said that we will eliminate tires and wires.  Wires because everything will become wireless, even our electricity.  Recently I talked with someone working on a device that will run off your septic gasses and produce the electricity needed to power your house.  There are some farms that use the cow sewage to power their farms already.

Wires may also need to go away because of the danger of solar flares combined with our planets weaker magnetic fields.  This might lead the a melt down of our entire power grid.  Fiber optics would be immune.  Many are recommending that you stock 30 to 60 days of food just in case this happens and our food chain is shut down for a month or two, maybe even longer.

Tires will go away because cars will fly.  I am still working on that one, but the theory is that magnetic fields can warp gravitational fields.  My experiments have launched a 5 inch round aluminum washer over 30 feet into the air.  The g-force would kill a rider as can be seen in some of my video's.  But I have a theory of a more controlled method of launching a 'saucer'.  More to come on that.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

WordPress - Clean up your Database!

I was working on our WordPress database looking for an error in one of the posts.  While using a PHP based SQL editor I discovered that every post had about 6 or more copies of itself.  They were all the previous revisions of that post.  Then I realized that records of revisions is why our SQL database is so big!

So then I looked for a way to clean up that huge database.  I came across a plug-in called 'WP-Cleanup' and it worked great!  It easily reduced the database size from 19.4 megs down to only 3.4 Megs!  I would highly recommend WP_Cleanup for anyone using WordPress.  It should be run once a month not once a year.

Now I am looking for a way to get rid of all of the unused pictures, there must be thousands of them!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My computer is slowing to a crawl once again

My computer is slowing down to a crawl once again and it is because Windows update is running every five minutes.  Or maybe I should title this 'Microsoft is trying to kill Windows XP' and how to fight back.  The first thing to do is to turn off auto updates and free up about 400 to 500 MEGS of memory.  What, are these people so crazy as to think that a monthly update requires 1/2 a gig of memory almost all of the time????
First to an alternate control delete to see if windows update is the problem. In the picture above it and its associated service host are taking 400 megs of memory.  Then do a start run services.msc and turn off automatic updates.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Camping at Allegany State Park

We just got back from camping at Allegany State Park.  The blue roof on the main building was just underlayment for a slate roof.

I spotted a beautiful lady on the covered bridge.  Actually I tried to take a picture of both of us using the cameras timer but I could not get there fast enough.....

We got up early and took several pictures as the sun was just rising. 

The deer sometimes like to hang out in the middle of the road.

This is two fawns hanging out in the road.

Here is a fawn along the side of the road.

Sunset, with a canoe paddling along the center right side.

A deer stops to look at me.

Can you spot the deer in this picture?  There are four of them.  They can really blend in at times.

The stone tower.  Its really not very tall.

The view from the top of the stone tower.

Our little cabin for the weekend.