Roland CX-300 64-bit Windows 7/8 driver fix!

Last week I got a call from someone who couldn’t give me much specific information, except that some application wasn’t installing, and that “it kept saying it needs Win32.” Yesterday I had a chance to check it out, expecting that we would just need to download the proper 32 or 64 bit version of the software. The application he was using (which wasn’t FlexiSign, I don’t even remember what it was called) was installing fine. It was his Roland CX-300 Vinyl Cutter that he couldn’t get installed under Windows 7 64-bit.

Checking the vendor’s website, they have no plans in developing a supporting driver for Windows 7 64-bit, and no plans to develop for Windows 8/8.1 whatsoever. I tried searching for beta drivers, taking parts of the 32-bit driver and inserting them to the 64-bit driver (I do have some experience with this), etc… but all to no avail. The man who had called me said he spent 4 hours on the phone with the either the hardware manufacturer’s support staff, or the software developer (I’m not certain which) trying to make it work (I’m very surprised they didn’t just tell him it wasn’t possible and hang up).

In a last ditch effort I searched the web and found Continue reading “Roland CX-300 64-bit Windows 7/8 driver fix!”

No, Sprint, I will not resubmit my ATIV S Neo review

A few weeks ago, I wrote a review on Sprint.com for a phone I picked up in August. The Samsung ATIV S Neo. Unfortunately, the phone has a few issues – and Sprint’s customer service isn’t going to help you fix them. I think this should be known to potential customers. Unfortunately, I received an email stating that my review would not be published until I removed my complaints about Sprint’s customer service. Customer Service is part of the problem with this phone. Not the individual agents – they care, I know they do. The problem is that they aren’t being informed of a much wider issue, and all it does is frustrate those of us with ongoing issues!

Below, I have decided to post my entire, uncensored review of Sprint’s Samsung ATIV S Neo. Enjoy.

I love Windows Phone 8. Just as I loved Windows Phone 7 before it. It gets a bad wrap for not having a lot of apps, but all of the apps that I actually use on a day-to-day basis are right here when I need them. I can do my banking, all of my email and chat programs, social networking, etc… several of the networks can be integrated directly with the phone, even without the specific app installed: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can all be updated from the “Me” tile with just a couple of taps

The downside seems to be a known issue with Windows Phone 8 that Spring and Microsoft have refused to officially acknowledge and tell us whether or not a fix is on the way. The overwhelming majority of WP8 users (both this Samsung model and the HTC model) are reporting that the voicemail indicator does not work. You have no idea that you have a voicemail until you actually force yourself to manually call in and listen – hoping “there are no new messages” is all you hear. This is a massive frustration we have brought to Sprint’s attention in the support forums, and they try to go through troubleshooting steps with you each time, as though it is a problem that can be resolved on the headset when it appears that THOUSANDS of WP8 handsets have the issue. Windows Phone 7 had no such problem, and I’ve strongly considered going back to my HTC Arrive because of this.

The phone ITSELF, though, is amazing. The hardware design is beautiful, it’s nearly identical to the Galaxy S4. The processor and memory make for one of the fastest WP8 devices you can buy, the screen supports beautiful 720p resolution, and although it’s no Lumia 1020, it takes beautiful pictures and video, although I do find the flash to be slightly off which can lead to difficulty when trying to use something like the Chase bank app’s Quick Deposit feature where you need to photograph checks. I don’t buy cases for my phones, and even riding in my pocket with change and other items, the back and screen of the phone are scratch free and still beautiful to look at. The large screen can make the phone a bit wide for some peoples hands, mine included, but I don’t mind the size when the image quality is just SO good.

File Auditing is a MUST for Server Admins

File-Count Audits are a necessity in modern computing and security. Any number of security and auditing tools will automate this process for you, and notify you of discrepencies, but even the smallest IT firms can easily perform this task by hand with a simple search application. First, let’s discuss why.

Recently, companies as large as LexisNexis had their networks compromised by files that could’ve been anything from remote access trojans to botnet zombies. One article on Slashdot mentions that a file named nbc.exe was placed on the servers and resided there for months. Months!? Really? Nobody caught that? The file name is obviously suspicious, but not once did it come up in an audit of new files? People fall for “system.exe” or “OS.exe” or “Windows.exe” all the time – but to have a corporate server with a file named nbc.exe and nobody to take a second glance at it is quite poor.

I get it, some companies have extremely large datasets. Auditing every little change might be practically impossible, or at the very least, excruciatingly expensive (both in terms of financial and system resources!). Still, even when the data you house changes, it isn’t typically going to be executable data. This is an easy thing to spot! Even free tools like the one shown above, WinDirStat, can be used to keep a running count and list of .exe files on your server. Your .exe filecount should practically never change, particularly without your knowledge. Some Windows Update installers / uninstallers might include new .exe files, but typically your server isn’t in a position to have the active number of executable files in flux.

Say you even have User directories on your Active Directory server, and a user uploads a .exe file into their directory. You still have no reason not to audit the contents of those directories, and perhaps enforce a security policy that executables cannot be stored on the server.

Performing a file-count audit once a month, even if it is just of critical filetypes such as .dll, .exe, and .bat; simple behaviors like this can protect you in the long run. Even if you don’t know every file name in every folder, just get a count of how many .EXE files there are, and if that number changes without you doing something, then you can pull the list of executables. Even with nothing to compare it to, I would hope a name like “nbc.exe” would jump out, particularly if it were in a nested folder where nobody would normally place a file. Use common sense and protect yourself, your company, and your customers.

Is the recent Cisco advisory a government plant?


image credit: planetpalmbeach.

I’m not prone to conspiracy theories, but some things are just a bit too much even for me. Cisco recently released an advisory about a new piece of DNS poisoning malware which can install a Tor client on a user’s machine. Their suggestion? “Enterprises should consider blocking Tor traffic on their networks.”

This, just days after a massive chunk of Tor sites were compromised under the guise of fighting child pornography. It seemed like a safe thing to do, after all; nobody wants to defend child porn. BUT, privacy advocates everywhere are literally and physically reeling from the crackdown on the Tor network, seen in recent weeks. “Tor” stands for “The Onion Router” and is a service that can anonymize traffic on the web, by allowing multiple shared entry and exit points. Your traffic goes in to “The Onion Router” network, through several layers and bouncing off of several other routers and peers in the network, then gets spit out on of a random exit point, along with all of the other traffic routed out the same exit. In the end, it is virtually impossible to trace back to any one user, without more identifiable markers on their machine (which is what the malware planted in Tor-based sites is doing). We have even seen sites like Silent Circle, and Lavabit shut down their services and Hushmail fold to the feds.

With a sudden attack on Tor and privacy and anonymity protection software is executed by the government, then a well known and major security and networking company advises that most enterprises should start blocking Tor based traffic on their networks… it just feels a bit too “coincidental.” In a time when the discussion has never been larger, the NSA and other federal agencies ordering these crackdowns have NEVER been so brazen. Where most private companies would be experiencing a panic and a PR nightmare, these organizations appear to be moving forward with the cavalier attitude of Don Quixote, oblivious (or unconcerned) to the rubber band-like reaction that lies ahead. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I’m not even a privacy advocate, but someone out there has forgotten what it means to be subtle when trampling the little people.