Friday, April 29, 2011

Steenkin' Address Bar Search Redirect to Cured - Removed Visicom_antiphishing.exe from start-up, Uninstalled

Recently I noticed that my FireFox browser wasn't allowing me to search from the address bar.  Instead of returning the Google results it used to, I was getting this damned web page with a Yahoo search bar at the bottom.  Address of the URL was:  I hate anything "configuring" my very customized system for me, so I set about trying to determine what was causing it.

First I did the ol' About:Config thing in FireFox's address bar & everything looked good there.

Next I went to recently installed items, & removed a few that I suspected might cause it, rebooted, & had the same results.  I also removed some toolbars that re-appeared recently from a recent install (even though I am careful to choose "No" to extraneous installs & always do a custom install).  Still no go.  So, no recent installs or toolbars were the culprit.

Finally I looked under Run>MSCONFIG>Startup tab, & began removing suspicious or un-needed entries.  I only had 6 or so entries, so I removed all but security related items.  Still no go.

Finally, I removed one "security-related" looking entry that I don't recall ever installing.  It was called Visicom_antiphishing.exe.  Supposedly, this somehow utilizes lists of phishing websites maintained by Panda, which I don't use.  Also, I don't use anti-phishing software, just A/V & anti-malware (not at all related to Panda or Visicom).  I unchecked it from start-up & rebooted.  Well, wouldn't you know, the problem went away.  I typed a word into the address bar & Google search results came up!  Yay!

What is interesting is that research indicates this is considered malware, but from what I could see superficially in my searches on Visicom Anti-phishing Domain Advisor, it looks like it's a legit application.  I wonder if it somehow became compromised?

Needless to say, I uninstalled Visicom Anti-phishing Domain Advisor, then did a registry search for any left-over entries.

This affected both IE 8.0 & FireFox.  Both were fixed by removing the Visicom anti-phishing software.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gadget Girl: Working on my I.T. Masters Degree in Information Assurance

Gadget Girl: Working on my I.T. Masters Degree in Information Assurance

Working on my I.T. Masters Degree in Information Assurance

Education ain't cheap, even with Tuition Reimbursement!  I am wondering if a Masters degree in I.T. is really even worth it?  I mean, afterall, I get knowledge pay from my employer for every Industry Certification I get, but not for a Masters Degree!  Not even for a Bachelors or Associates.  Seems certs are where it's at.

So, what will a Masters get me?  Possibly make me more marketable for Managerial positions?  (Although as a teen I didn't like babysitting, so I doubt I will now).  Maybe enable me to teach at the Community/Vocational College level?  I'm just not sure.  I'm also not sure if it's worth the time or the money.  The money is a big issue, tuition for an out-of-state student is pretty outrageous!  So I've been trying to come up with clever ways to make extra moolah.  Here they are:

  1. Ebay - yes, my whole life is pretty much for sale right now.  Not only do I despise clutter (there's no quicker way to get me in the Looney Bin), but I need hard cold cash for my crap.  One Geekette's crap is another's treasure, or so I hear.  So, I will shamelessly post the URL to my Ebay store & hope Google brings a few customers my way:
  2. Amazon - Amazon if often over-looked by Ebayers as a potential way to peddle your crap for cash.  In this case, it's more like books and gadgets, which in all fairness probably shouldn't be referred to as crap.  But, to a person such as myself, anything that's in your house & cluttering it up is crap.  So there we have it.  Another shameless URL coming your way:
  3. Cyber-begging - Ever hear of this innovative way to make $$?  A friend of mine needed a new video camera, a rather high-end one (she's an Indie movie producer).  Her solution?  Create a cyber-begging account, post it to Facebook, and shamelessly ask friend and acquaintences to donate via her linked Paypal account.  Pretty kewl, I thought.  I don't have a cyber-begging account yet, but if sales don't go well (please refer to my other 2 shameless URLs above), I just may have to stoop this low!
  4. Elance - Well, I did have an account with them but had no luck on the few proposals I posted.  Also, Elance pissed me off by emailing me one day to announce that the account I haven't used in 3 years was in violation of the user policy.  Apparently, I had a link in my profile to my web site (which, in my defense, was NOTHING more than an about me website!  It didn't even contain links to my online stores!).  Horrors!  I emailed Elance back & told them to just get rid of my account & that I had no idea what they were talking about.  Yeesh!  Just thought I'd throw that out there for other folks who might be looking for other means of income.  Elance is a great place to get extra $$, esp. if you are in technology or for "virtual assitants".
  5. Grants/Scholarships, etc - Well, this could be a viable solution since I have the GPA, but after looking around, I discovered that the majority of scholarships are either for people with very specialized skills, without any degree to begin with (like, you are a single mother of 6+ kids with only a high school diploma), or are some rare species of human.  I have a degree, my only skill is playing with PCs, & I'm a white female (with a touch of Native American).  Wah.
So, if you all have any other clever ways to fund an education, please feel free to comment!

PS - I hope this post isn't in violation of E-Bloggers rules, whatever they are...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Searches using Online Forms with Wildcards - Forcing Required Name Fields to return Everyone with the Same Lastname

Ran across this gem recently while searching for information on a local site via a form.  This particular form required that you enter a lastname & a firstname in order to return any records.  Knowing that this form is connected to a database, I got lazy and decided to try wildcard characters for firstname (ok, I admit, I didn't know the firstnames for the records I was looking for).  So, for Firstname I tried: *  This didn't work.  Next I tried another common wildcard character: %  That didn't work either.  So, it occured to me to try: ** 
This worked!  The database returned all the records for the Lastname I was searching.  Not sure why * didn't work, but I figured maybe the form wasn't passing the * by itself, and putting ** forced it to pass the wildcard to the database??  Any ideas on this?

I also wonder if the webmaster intended on folks being able to search on Lastname alone?  :-O

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Can't Log Into Router's IP:

Came across a problem recently where I couldn't log into my Router's IP to access the Router settings. I was previously able to access from my HP running WinXP Pro (IE 6.0.2900.5512), then suddenly was getting this page:

I tried to access the Router from my Gateway Netbook and was able.  Hmmm...

Later in the evening, I tried to access the Router again on my Netbook & could not.  So, I thought about what had happened between earlier, when I could access the router, & later, when I could not.  I had recently applied Windows updates.

I recalled at work where we were accessing a MS Access application (Data Access Page) across the company intranet.  Everytime we had a problem accessing it, it was due to Windows updates where IE was affected.  To fix it, we had to go into Tools>Internet Options>Security>Local Intranet>Sites>Advanced, and add the URL as a trusted site.  Then we could access it.  But everytime an update was applied to IE, we had to re-add it.

So, I figured what the heck, esp. knowing updates were recently applied.  On my HP (IE 6.0), I added the IP to my list of trusted sites on the intranet.

After adding the Routers IP address to the list of trusted Intranet sites, I was able to access the router. 

I'm now wondering if I'll have to do this everytime there's a new patch/hot fix, etc that involves IE...

Interesting note...after adding as a trusted site on the intranet on my HP, I was also then able to access it from my Gateway Netbook (WinXP Home/IE 8).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gadget Girl: Activating ACL (Security tab) for files & folders in WinXP

Gadget Girl: Activating ACL (Security tab) for files & folders in WinXP

Activating ACL (Security tab) for files & folders in WinXP Pro & Home

Just thought I'd share this gem from my Security+ studies...

WinXP Pro:

By default, Windows XP uses "simple file sharing". Simple file sharing hides the ACL (Access Control List) which gives you granular security control over who can access what folders & files on your system.

With simple file sharing enabled, the Security tab will not be present.

To "unhide" ACL, open any folder and from the menu go to Tools>Options, select the View tab, and clear the "Use simple file sharing" box. Click Apply & OK.

You should now see a Security tab when you go to the File/Folder properties.

For more granular control over permissions, etc., click the Advanced button.

WinXP Home:

The "Use simple file sharing" option is not available under the View tab in XP Home, but you can boot to Safe Mode (hit F8 while booting up, for Gateways anyway...this may differ by PC), choose "Safe Mode with Networking". When you right-click on a file or folder, the Security Tab will be present (but the option to deselect "Use simple file sharing" will still be missing).

If you want to see the Security tab without having to boot to Safe-mode, go to Microsoft's site & download & extract the file SCESP4I.EXE from here:
or here:

To install:

After you extract the files, go to the folder where you extracted them & find the file: Setup.inf . Right-click and select Install. Reboot the system & you should now see the "Security Tab" under file/folder properties.

I tried this on my own WinXP Home Netbook & it works just fine.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Windows - No Disk Error Message: Exception Processing Message c0000013 Parameters 75b6bf7c...

I was getting this message recently on my Acer Netbook, which is currently serving as a "print server". Every few seconds, this annoying dialog box would pop up. At first I thought it was just an Acer thing until this morning, when I fired up my HP Desktop, to my surprise, I received the same annoying dialog box.

Well, since it started with the Acer, which I'm using as a print server, & now it's showing up on my HP Desktop, I took the next logical step & thought of what the 2 had in common...a USB thumb drive.

Since my WiFi feature of my printer failed, I had hooked up my Acer Netbook to the printer via USB, and to print documents, I had been placing the documents on my thumb drive, & plugging them into my Acer, & printing from there (for those documents I didn't feel like placing out on the web in my Google doc storage space). seemed to me this message must be related to documents I had been transferring to the thumb drive. "Windows - No Disk" must be referring to the USB thumb drive which is no longer plugged in.

Next logical question. Why is the system still looking for this document? Why would it be trying to locate it? Only thing I could think of that would trying to be accessing a document at boot-up would be. My Recent Documents.

So, I took the following steps which seemed to have partially fixed the problem. Baically, I cleared "My Recent Documents". (See below for other part of solution) Here's How:

Go to Start > Control Panel > Taskbar and Start Menu > Start Menu Tab> Customize button > Advanced Tab> Recent Documents section > "List my most recently opened documents" section > Clear button

Note: If you don't have Control Panel in your Start Menu (I like it there, I find it convenient), you can turn it on by following these steps:

Show Control Panel in Start Menu (XP):

Right-click the Start button, select Properties, under Start Menu items, under Control Panel, select the "Display as link" radio button


You can also clear the check box for "List my most recently opened documents" if you don't want your most recently opened documents displayed (or viewed by others sharing your PC).

Other part of solution:

My HP Desktop has a floppy drive. When I was running one of my favorite system maintenance programs, I saw the error again. The application was performing a short-cut clean-up, & found short-cuts referencing files on the A: drive (Floppy Drive). Of course, there was no floppy in the drive at the time. This caused the same error, so, presumably, ANY software trying to access these shortcuts (or you, if you clicked on the shortcut) would cause this same error message.

So to get rid of these shortcuts, do the following steps:

1. Go to C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\Recent
Here you will find other short cuts not cleared out by the "Clear Recent Documents" button. Click on the properties of each until you find a shortcut pointing to the A: Drive (floppy drive)or any removed media. Delete this short-cut. It is only a short-cut, so it is OK to delete.

2. Go to the recycle bin. The things you deleted will now be in here, so right-click the recycyle bin & choose "Empty Recycle Bin" or "Clean Recycle Bin", whichever yours says, to empty the short-cuts from the recycle bin. Deleting the files forever, at least until a forensics examiner gets a hold of your hard drive...

To get rid of the error:
1. Clean out most recent documents in the start Menu
2. Go to C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\Recent, and identify and remove (delete) any short-cuts pointing to any empty drives or removed media (SSD cards, USB Thumb Drives, floppy drives, etc.)
3. Empty the Recycle Bin

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Enabling the Wireless Adapter for Ubuntu

Just so I don't forget again (which is easy to do when you have been away from Ubuntu for a bit). To enable your wireless adapter:

At the Terminal:

sudo su
ifconfig wlan0 up