Showing posts from 2019

The dangers of holding a sign

So in the middle of the night I thought I had this 'brilliant idea'. Picture of me holding a big 'white' piece of bristle board. I could later add whatever cool quote I wanted using a photo editor, and viola new quote all the time. Then I got to thinking about it..maybe not such a good idea, once the picture is out there, anyone can edit it and make it say anything they want. I could become a 'meme', and not a good one. And it would not even matter if it was true or not, people would associate together those words and my face forever. What if the message isn't even something bad?, like that photo you see on Facebook of the veteran or the child with some disease asking for '1000' likes? Are these things even real? - Most likely not, your "LIKE" is tracked, targeted, now you are 'following's something or other. One day it's a cute kid looking for likes, the next day, it's some half naked lady your following, and your

Unusual Link Behavior

Dear GeekWisdom, Why is that then I open certain links embedded in emails or documents  eg: https://.../fetchvideo?videoid=123 It works just fine pasted into my browser location, but I get an error clicking on it if inside an embedded email? Sincerely, Odd Link Behaviour Dear OLB, I believe you may have stumbled on an “intentional” security feature ! If -  I understand correctly –fetchvideo?videoid=123   is designed to open a browser window, find a file, download it to your machine and then execute it without any user intervention. I suspect the web application is doing this this via a 302 redirect header. Imagine if clicking on the link inside the email DID actually work, it would be a great way to spread a virus, just have the virus email everyone in your contacts saying ‘hey check this cool link!’ and BOOM! everyone that trusts you and clicks on your link gets infected. Now of course, in your case, this app is trying to open a media file (not an executable fil

Discipline & Punishment - A Programming Perspective

The Illegal Operation In the world of software we have the concept known as an 'illegal operation'. You may remember this from the old Windows 95 days When this happens it is usually due to the application attempting to access an area of memory already reserved by another application, or by the operating system itself. The operating system acts sort of like a 'COP' recognizes the instruction and calls it out of play (closing the program down). Now we use the term 'illegal', but not in the strict sense of the word , no laws were broken, the real police aren't going to show up on your doorstep . It is more like if you accidentally "stepped on someone's toes" at work by preforming a task that was their responsibility and not yours...and this is where the analogy becomes particularly interesting. When the computer program 'steps out of bounds', it has zero  'awareness' of its actions. It was just following the code t

"Hacking" Public WIFI

Dear GeekWisdom, I have noticed something very strange at my schools WiFi.  I use YouTube quite frequently, and yet when I am connected to WiFi I cannot find my favorite channels.  They show up just fine when using my mobile data, but seem to disappear completely when connected to the WiFi. How is this possible, and is their a way to 'fix it'? Sincerely, Confused-Student  Dear Confused-Student, This indeed was quite an interesting and perplexing discovery!  First let me start by telling you a key important rule of security - Security By Obscurity is no SECURITY AT ALL!.  NOTE: DNS IS NOT A VALID SECURITY METHODOLOGY To begin with, how on earth, can a public WiFi network prevent access to specific YouTube channels?  At first glance, you might think some kind of 'advanced' firewall that filters out specific URL addresses.  Typically though firewalls filter out entire sites by IP Addresses, though in theory with certain firewalls a system could filter out s

Programming, Autonomy and Leadership

Although I have been writing code since I was at least 10 years old, on a Vic 20, my first professional full time job was in 1999. It became full-time after working at this place in the summer, and my job title was "Database Administrator" The database was MSAccess 97. It was a pretty important database, initially created with the MSAccess wizard, its purpose was to manage inventory and purchase orders. The summer job instructions basically consisted of "Here is our Inventory database, please see what you can do to make it work better" It was a small company of maybe 4 or 5 people, there was quite a bit of autonomy and freedom and I found myself with the amazing opportunity to express myself through my code. There were no design specifications, or instruction manuals for the software, there were some ideas of what worked well in the application and what did not, but basically I was on my own to figure out what I could do to make it better. My degree in com

The Obsessive Mind

Do you have an obsessive mind? Do you replay events over and over again, re-living past pains? past successes? Obsession by itself isn't necessarily a 'bad thing'. We become great at our hobbies, and talents by obsessing over them. Whether it be playing video games, writing computer programs, or building an add-on to your house, thinking about things can give us motivation and allow us to move forward But is it really possible to "think to much"?? -  It has been suggested to me that I might be an 'over thinker', and indeed I do recognize my own obsessive mind, but I don't know what life is like to 'think' any less or any different, I only know what it is like to think as I do. I am currently playing the role of 'Business Analyst', which is just a specific type of Analyst. I have been analyzing things for as long as I can remember and I enjoy it.  Asking why things are the way they are, taking things apart to figure out why the

Windows Gadgets (Geek Wisdom Clock)

Do you remember the old days of ' Windows Desktop Gadgets ?' Gadgets were introduced back in 2000's by project "sidebar". A research group, who had developed a way to add things lick a clock, or an RSS reader on your desktop. Well the other day a fellow team mate of mine showed me a transparent clock he was working on in VB.NET. And I was like "Whoa! - Cool can I get a copy?" Well I tweaked it a bit, and wrote a tutorial on how it works on my GitHub Page. You can read the tutorial here:  and the related GitHub is @ . Feel free to make your own gadgets using it. Or if you prefer to just download the binary release - Thanks to Chris Wilby for the inspiration and the source! Enjoy !

Happy Thanksgiving - What are you grateful for?


The Great Hack...

Yesterday, I came across this NetFlix documentary - The Great Hack What makes this film particularly interesting to me is the idea that advertising in the form of 'fake news' can convince others, 'inject' opinions into others who maybe pliable to changing their minds when fed false information. I suppose this happens all the time, even prior to the internet and where propaganda comes from, but do we really live in  world so far from understanding critical thinking, that flooding people with images we can say that we are responsible for overpowering the free will of the individual? And to at least some extend, I suppose that's how the stock market works isnt it? We buy from what we think are the 'good' places, and the stock goes up. We hear bad news and everyone pulls out, whether or not the news is true or not. Controversy sells newspapers, bad news sells better than good news. To what extend are the information providers RESPONSIBLE for the bel

Brad's Weekend of Coding Day #4 (THE FINAL CHAPTER)

...And so ends my week- long homage to programming. Acer 'Demo Mode' Accidentally put my new Acer tablet  into this crazy 'DEMO' mode today. - Should win the award from dumbest interface. Basically, if you boot with the power button and volume down button it goes into Android Recovery mode [like most android devices]. If you go into it by mistake the last menu item is 'restart my device'. Great. but on this table, right next to 'restart my device' is something called 'Demo Mode' Now I imagine the point is for this to be displayed in stores, as it gives an overview (video etc) of the features of the device. BUT if you happen to hit this by mistake, it starts up with the words 'Demo Mode' on the screen and when it restarts, you get the annoying 'Demo Mode' on the screen and video. And you have to RESET the entire device to FACTORY defaults, potentially loosing all your apps and data that you haven't backed up. S

Brad's Weekend of Coding - Day 3 - Summary

Minecraft Let Chloe connect to the server and tryout some examples in adventure mode together. The first player into the world, can get to the end quite easy, it gets progressive harder for each user after that! She approved of my use of a piston to lock the final door Clean up & Backup  Clean up Hard Drive (Backup Files) reset Documents Folder. Created Backup Script to copy files to new external HD I got for my birthday Patreon Support Video Created this video to request others to help support my work at Geek Wisdom - Windows Tool Collection Created the initial "Geek Wisdom Wondows Tool Collection" 'SUDO.VBS' for easy elevation of privilege in Windows to work similar to *Nix See: Geek Wisdom - Java Tools Collection  Created Initial Geek Wisdom Java Tools Collection, the GWLogger object, port of the PHP Project of same name See:

Brad's Weekend of Coding - Day 2 - Summary

1) Minecraft World Got my youngest involved in creating a Minecraft World for me (Thanks Chloe!) I gave her the specs - from what I saw watching some videos on creating worlds and crafting things It seems to be a lot like programming. She did a great job creating the world! Learning to do things in minecraft is a lot like a whole new programming language ! Server setup and running at  or you can download the map locally and try it out for yourself at 2) We will Hack You Felt inspired by @Kelsey Hightower "We will Hack You" so made it into a little jingle, I'm not the best singer by any stretch of the imagination, but was feeling inspired, good way to kick off day #2 3) - Site Updates Added new home page to . Used modified version of RSS Scroller form main page.

Brad's Weekend of Coding - Day 1 - Summary

Today I was a bit distracted, as we are looking at renovating our kitchen, so the guy was in taking measurements, and my wife and I went out to look at appliances. Still, though I think i got a lot accomplished: 1) PHP -> gwCodes($filename,$suffix)    Allows you to generate a sequence of 'codes' for later reuse for whatever purpose you want Usage: include("../org/geekwisdom/web/gwCodes.lib"); $n=new gwCodes("./codes/test.array",".code"); $e=0; //To 'make' a code $code["name"]="50% off"; $code["value"]=50; $the_code=$n->make_code(json_encode($code)); //$the_code is a unique code that can be consumed later (eg: aCd2 To use the code $use_code = $n->consume_code('ACd2') //returns the array for 50% off } Note: If the 'special' option 'consumable' is set to 1 ($code["consumable"]=1) the code is deleted immediately after being used to prevent r-use

Way back then...Apple ][

The way I remember it... It was the fall of 1993, I had just started Grade 11, near the far end of the hallway of my highschool were 2 classes. 'Typing' and 'Computer Related Studies'.  It was the first year I would actually have 'computers' as a course in school, which I was pretty excited for. I only had an old Vic 20 at the time, but was hoping for a new IBM Clone 80386 for Christmas (I got my wish, it was from the Sears catalog and at the time was like close to $2000) I was quite familar with programming in BASIC, but I got a specific book at the local library on AppleSoft Basic to learn to program in the APPLE 2.  Most of the first part of the year was all about 'computer' history. We actually didn't spend too much time using the computers in the lab, which was fine, I enjoyed learning about the history, plus I was part of the school newspaper that year so I got to use the Apples running the newspaper program "The Newsroom". Wh

The Most Dangerous Software on the Internet!

(From Wikipedia): The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type any given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare. In fact, the monkey would almost surely type every possible finite text an infinite number of times. However, the probability that monkeys filling the observable universe would type a complete work such as Shakespeare's Hamlet is so tiny that the chance of it occurring during a period of time hundreds of thousands of orders of magnitude longer than the age of the universe is extremely low (but technically not zero). Recently in the news, their have been articles regarding " Reverse Class Action Lawsuits ". In a typical class action law suit a group of people get "ban" together to sue a large company.  The 'reverse' class action lawsuit is a tool being used by movie companies, to target individual users downloading o

FILENAME: C:\JOURN\J022892.WPD (Feb 28 1992)

Today is Tuesday, Feb 28th, 1992 So I finally got onto 'EduNET' today, setup a guest account. There was no 'guest' thing the account name and password was given to me by the teacher.  The software that runs this BBS is obviously different from C-LINK SYD.  EduNET seems to be using something called 'CBBS' where the other one used something called  "MajorBBS".  This one didn't seem to have nearly the graphics (or any games) and was mostly a 'bulletin board' of postings from teachers. I spent an hour looking around at the posts, a lot of teachers sharing ideas on lessons plans and such, pretty boring stuff. Their were a few teacher names that i recognized, and they had a quite a few "interesting" posts about their students...none if it really 'good' either, and a lot of complaining In fact, while I was reading some of it, it made me wonder if I was 'supossed' to have an account on here, I mean these teachers wou

FILENAME: C:\JOURN\J022392.WPD (Feb 23 1992)

Today is Feb 23, 1992 It's late night Sunday - haven't had a chance to write in a while, or even be at my computer, which sucks a bit because I did get the EduNET phone # form the teacher the other day. Our family has been visiting our uncle every night this week.  He owns his own garage (which we all call 'The Shop'. He is my Dad's brother, and he has  a wife... (Barbara)..oh his name is Dave (not that I would forget that!) Anyway, sad news is Barbara is in the hospital, apparently she was in a car accident and it was pretty bad. I now this is bad to say, but I never really liked Barbara, she always speaks to me in a 'demeaning tone'. You now the one I mean,  it usually starts with "Now  Derek.." or "Derek dear" in a sort of high pitched whiney tone. I like my name, except when she speaks it somehow she makes it sound sooo annoying. Anyway they have a son, (Carl), he's about a year older than me.  So we were down almost the s

FILENAME: C:\JOURN\J021592.WPD (Feb 15, 1992)

Today is Saturday, Feb 15, 1992 So I was off from school yesterday, "sick"...Well not really. Our school has this thing around valentines day  called "Winter Carnival". Their basically isn't any classes people spend the day 'goofing off'. Now you might think I would enjoy that, but no, that would require friends to 'goof off with', and really it's just an opportunity to walk around with a look on my face which usually gets me into 2 situations 1) Some person (usually an older girl) will ask me why I look so sad, and then try to say some type of 'postive' comment to make me feel better...I don't really think she cares about making me feel better, she is just doing it because i am probably bringing the rest of them down. 2) Some asshole, will see me walking in the hallway and push me against something, or make a loud noise kicking a locker just to see me jump and then he and his friends will walk away laughing. The classro

FILENAME: C:\JOURN\J021192.WPD (Feb 11, 1992)

Today is Feb 11, 1992 We got our mark back from our 'interview' projects today. I got 86/100. Most of the loss in mark was due to spelling mistakes.  The paper did ask me to talk to her (the teacher) after class.  She told me that if I was this interested in BBS's, she could request an account for me on EduNET. Apparently it's a 'BBSs' for teacher. I told her sure, though frankly I don't now what a BBS for teachers would be like or why it might be useful, but she said she'd get back to me in a few days. Been mostly working on my 'QBASIC' program to search the video tapes. It works okay, but you have to type  lot to do a search. I wish I had something that I could make more graphics, even the 'notepad' program inside windows is easier to use, then my program at the moment. Might rent a video this weekend, maybe Back to the Future Part 3 if it's in. Hopefully it's not in the 'old releases' section any more.

FILENAME: C:\JOURN\J020892.WPD (Feb 8, 1992)

Today is Saturday, February 8, 1992 Why do people SUCK SO BAD?? He got me again, just before Gym class today. His name is Brutis. Just before Gym class starts, him and his "friends" corner me in the locker room, push me around into the lockers, call me a geek, a nerd. I think it bugs them that I don't 'get mad', I don't 'fight back'. I just sort of cuddle in a little ball and wait for it to be over.  Oh how I dread Gym class. And it's not like I don't "tell anyone".. It only makes things worse. Once I told the principal, they got called into the office, and i was sent outside.  About 20 minutes later out they came with smirks on their face. I could tell just by the way they looked at me that I was going to get it worse next time. Tried once talking to my mom about it.  She thinks I should fight back, but I know it will just get me into more trouble, so what's the point.. plus their are multiple of them and they are much

FILENAME: C:\JOURN\J020692.WPD (Feb 6, 1992)

Today is Thursday Feb 6, 1992 So after a lot of complaining to my mom, I was finally allowed to try out C-LINK SYD. I had to promise that it wouldn't cost any money and that I wouldn't get in any 'trouble' dialing this number from Joe. I have yet to 'finish' getting connected., I put the number in the Telix Address book. I got it to dial, and got to the login screen. Joe told me when it prompted for a login: you just typed "guest" so I did that and then it started taking me through a bunch of questions.  I got what I guess was about halfway through the connection, when suddenly it just popped up a bunch of strange characters kind of like: WE0A92RT09SFA09JAW NO CARRIER About 2 seconds later my mom yells to my dad telling him there was a strange 'noise' on the phone when she picked it up. I then had to run up and explain that if they pick up the phone while I'm online that it will disconnect me.  Well mom wanted to call her sis

FILENAME: C:\JOURN\J012492.WPD (Jan 24th, 1992)

Today is Sunday Jan 24th, 1992 So my "interview" went AWESOME!. Joe was a pretty cool guy for an older adult. He let me record the whole thing on audio tape. The first few 15 minutes or so were pretty awkward, I asked my prepared questions. I think he could tell how nervous I was. Then he starting showing me some stuff on his computer, I pretty much when 'off script' after that. He connects to 'BBS's (Bulletin Board Systems) all the time. That is what you do with your modem, basically he has numbers of dial up sites that you can connect to and do all sorts of stuff, like chat, play games, and even download other games and files. He doesn't se the COM2COM program he uses one called TELIX and he made a copy of it form  on a floppy disk that i can use myself.  He also gave me the phone numbers of a few BBS's, he said the best is called 'C-LINK SYD' but it is a subscription service and it costs $11/month, you can get the first 30 days for free

FILENAME: C:\JOURN\J012092.WPD (Jan 20, 1992)

Today is January 20th, 1992 , Okay so I figured in Word Perfect I can record quick 'macros'. So I don' have to manually type the date each time. It is 'sort of' like programming. Anyway - my mom spoke to my aunt, who has a friend Joe, and Joe agreed to let me interview him. So i decided that I would do the interview as a tape recording and then type up the results on my computer here and print them on my dot matrix printer. Plus, as a bonus, I learned that he is into computers too, and has his own 80486, so my interview is going to be about computers, obviously, though I'm as nervous as hell, I don't even know this guy and I am basically being dropped off at his house this Saturday morning. so I better get my questions ready. In other news, our school library got it's first "real" computer too, I'm not sure what model it is yet, but my typing teacher said that I could take a do a few of my 'typing' class at the library if I

FILENAME: C:\JOURN\J011892.WPD (Jan 18th, 1992)

Today is Monday, Jan 18th, 1992 So school sucked pretty bad today, we were told for English class we have to conduct our own interview. It has to be an adult with a job. We are not allowed to interview someone in our family, though it can be on any topic we have to write a report up on what we learned. I have no idea who I am going to interview!, The whole thought of it makes me nervous inside, speaking to someone I don't even know.  I think a lot of the other kids are going to interview their friends parents. I could hear them talking about it..but as usual I don't have anyone. I basically only have the one friend in my grade, and he's not even in my same English class. We walk together most lunch times though. We basically became friends at the beginning of the year. Friends have always been tricky for me. Mostly what I call the '3 friend problem' Say you have 2 friends that you hang out with "A" and "B". and they are both fiends with e

FILENAME: C:\JOURN\J011592.WPD (Jan 15, 1992)

Okay so, this week I figured out how to write my own programs on this computer.  It does have a version of basic on it called 'QBASIC'. It runs the same commands pretty much that I learned on my old commodore with my dad When i was about 8, I got my first computer, it was a commodore 16 and it hooked up to the TV screen with a game switch like the atari uses, the whole machine was 'built' into the keyboard, not like this 386 which has its own CPU box, plus it's own monitor and keyboard. I remember my dad and I would spend hours typing away at the keyboard writing programs from Byte magazine, just to run them to make the screen change colors.  We could only save to a cassette tape, and running the programs again from the tape would take forever to load. Still my dad would read the program and i would type away his commands. Shortly after i started writing my own programs for myself, nothing too fancy. I remember i did one that basically asked multiple choice

FILENAME: C:\JOURN\J010892.WPD (Jan 8, 1992)

Today is Saturday Jan 8, 1992 Been playing with the modem a bit, the computer came with a program called 'COM2COM'. When you start it up, it brings up a settings screen and you have to pick the settings for your modem Took me a while to figure out what the settings were, basically you have to pick a 'COM Port' a parity, stop bits. Whe, you put it in it seems to summarize it at the bottom of the screen 24008N1. Every time I got the setting wrong, the app would just freeze saying 'Initializing Modem' and I'd have to restart the computer eventually after trying all the settings I could think of it finally started up. It shows a long message AT [bunch of other letters] and then ends with 'OK" on its own line. Need to play around with the commands. Back to school in 2 days...not looking forward to it at all

FILENAME: C:\JOURN\J010292.WPD (Jan 2, 1992)

Today is Jan 2, 1992 Happy New Year! Been playing around with Microsoft Windows 3.1, after the machine turns on, you just type 'win' to run it. It's really nice graphics compared to the DOSSHELL program, there seems to be no sounds though other then a 'beep' that comes from the speaker when you click on something. I don't think this machine has its own sound card. Windows has other programs that come installed with it, one is a solitaire game, their is a MS-DOS prompt, and a game called minesweeper. It doesn't have a lot of stuff installed on it..Showed it to my friend Mark who was over today, we played it on it for most of the day.