Posted on 23rd January, 2015 | Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comment

If your computer is giving you a bad time, give us a call. We do house calls / office calls in the DFW Metroplex.

We support all versions of Windows and Apple Mac systems.

  • Troubleshooting
  • Hardware Upgrades
  • Network support
  • Performance tuning
  • Malware removal
  • Webhosting and spam filtering for your domain.

Call 214-232-9503 to set up an appointment.


Posted on 29th November, 2014 | Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comment

When Your Router Quits…

Nothing lasts forever, but some brands / models of equipment are simply better than the rest.

For some time we had a Trend router in our home for WiFi + DHCP on our home network of 3 or 4 computers and 3 network printers.  As of late, we had been dropping Internet connectivity on a fairly regular basis, requiring a reboot of the router to solve the problem.

Well… That got to be far too much trouble a couple of days ago and today the replacement arrived.  For a long time I have recommended only 2 brands of routers.  D-Link and Netgear, not in any particular order.  I selected the Netgear N750 Dual Band Gigabit router based on several criteria.

Speed, configurability and options made this a great choice.  It allows you to set up a separate GUEST WiFi so your friends / relatives can have Internet access, but not infect your computers in the process.  It provides both 2.4 and 5GHz beacons and is very simply a great product.

I connected the new router to my laptop on the kitchen counter and configured the LAN and Wireless settings for what I knew were in place currently.  Then I simply swapped out the routers and everything continued to work with no interruptions.  As long as you have a DHCP-provided IP address from your broadband provider.  If you are using a static IP address, you will need to hand-configure that once you connect it to your modem.

Here is the router I used.  It works great and was very simple to configure.



The elements of today’s #therapy:
One #axe + one badly-behaved #router that insisted on dropping the Internet connection.
#sayonara little pest
Now I have some new components for a future art project!

The router I replaced:

Router and Axe

Router and Axe

Router RIP

Router RIP

Posted on 19th November, 2014 | Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comment

Today’s SCAM is a snail-mail scam to steal your money. Most likely targeted at the elderly, this scam purports to cut your credit card debt in half with “reasonable” monthly payments.
Notice the postage is BULK MAIL. Clearly not legit.  It comes from a company calling themselves NDG (National Debt Group) out of Houston.

It tries to sell itself as a “SECOND NOTICE” (there was never a FIRST notice) and has a lot of fine print that states in part, “Actual debt and savings are dependent on client’s unique financial circumstances…”

Ripoff Report has an article on this bunch of sleaze bags.

The Better Business Bureau gives them an F rating.

The FTC said they shut them down in 2013 (clearly they did not get the message.
This one goes to Dallas PD next.

Do NOT fall for these scams!


Credit Card Scam

Credit Card Scam

Posted on 15th August, 2014 | Tags : , , , , , | No Comment

Today’s SPAM email alleges to be an alert regarding a background check being ordered for you.

It’s bogus.

Subject: Alert – Someone has ordered your background-check-results. View results No. 9685358

Message body (you will note the language is not what you would expect from an American company):

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -.
NEW_ALERT # 9685358
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO: (your email address here)

The reason that we are reaching out to you today to is to make you aware that someone has recently ordered the results of your background-check. Go below here right now to get all the pertinent information.

Visit here right now to learn the results of your scan and any other important-info: (url in attached photo)

Thank you.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -.

For all your questions or concerns, simply “reply” to this email-correspondence with your message # above 9685358 & your email message will be read as soon as we can.

Visit here if you are looking to no longer receive emailad-content such as this: (url in attached photo)

//Send us mail directly to:
—-PO Box # 025250 -Miami, F.L. ZIP:33102-5250



Whatever you do, DON’T click on hyperlinks in messages like tis.
Let’s all be safe out there, OK?

Posted on 8th June, 2014 | Tags : , , , , , , | No Comment

Today’s PSA:

In case you live in a cave somewhere, #ransomware has become a very profitable enterprise for a group of criminals from the (predominantly) eastern bloc.

I am currently in the process of recovering the data from a laptop infected with Cryptowall – the latest very nasty iteration of this #extortionware. The “IT guy” at this woman’s office told her she would “lose everything” and they would have to reinstall her computer from scratch to fix the problem.

While the computer appears to have been encrypted to keep you from accessing any of your data until you pay the ransom ($500 in this case), your information files still exist and look like they always did.  However… The files have been encrypted  so that they can no longer be opened with the original application.  JPG files cannot be opened.  Documents cannot be opened.  PDF files cannot be opened.

There is the remote possibility you can clean the infection off the computer and activate the Shadow Copy function to restore your files that Windows automatically backed up.  It’s a long shot, as the sleazy individuals who wrote this malware also thought of this and these files are usually encrypted as well.  It’s a very long shot.

How did she get into this mess in the first place?

These infections are distributed in one of two ways.

1: emails with bogus links that direct you to infected web servers which in turn infect your computer.

2: “Malvertising” – Internet ads that redirect you to these same infected servers. Lately, the biggest risks have come from ads on Facebook,, the and Disney. There are many others.

What can you do?

1: Never open a link in an email before verifying it’s destination. Contact the sender if necessary and ask if they intentionally sent it to you first.

2: Do NOT click on popup ads from any site. If you see an ad for something interesting, do a Google search for the company and look for the item that way.

You’re welcome!

Posted on 5th March, 2014 | Tags : , , , , , , , | No Comment

Watch out, FaceBrick users! I was checking my news feed and trying to type a suggestion on a friend’s page this morning when my keyboard was remapped and started typing gibberish.

At the same time I was trying to diagnose this nonsense, I noticed a download completed on my system. I immediately rebooted the computer. After it came back up, I killed all running apps and deleted the offending download (download.html).

Doing some history research in all my browsers, this little infection came from FACEBOOK via Google Chrome (the browser I use for this).

This happened on an Apple Mac Pro running OS X 10.6.8, lest you think your Mac is completely immune to nasty infections. To quote from Inspector Clouseau:  “Not anymore!”

Posted on 4th November, 2013 | Tags : , , , , , , , , , , | No Comment

Listed below are my notes from a recent virus infection on a Windows 7 computer.

Reason for service:
1: Computer is extremely sluggish.
2: Multiple instances of “COM Surrogate has stopped working” dialog boxes.


1: All applications unresponsive.

2: Over 36 instances of dllhost.exe running in Services and repeated popups of COM Surrogate message.

3: ntdll.dll is the Fault Module involved.

4: CPU is running at 100% usage.

Manually killed all dllhost.exe processes to free up CPU cycles.

Ran System File Checker to scan for possibly corrupt files.

Note, during all scans it was necessary to keep manually killing dllhost processes.  If not, CPU usage would quickly reach 100%.

Result = None found.

Ran msconfig to disable all non-MS processes.


Result = no change

Re-enable processes


Ran a full AVG virus scan.  One Win32/Heur was found mid-scan, but the file disappeared before AVG could quarantine it.  I continuously stopped  dllhost processes during scan to free up CPU cycles.

Note:  AVG, like any other antivirus, must be properly configured for thorough protection and acceptable performance.  Do NOT use this product “out of the box” or you are likely to suffer a nasty infection.

No further infection found.

Disabled thumbnail view in System performance, as many instances of this problem had that as a solution.

Result = No change.

Set System Performance to Fastest.

Result = No change.

Ran a full Malwarebytes scan.

Result = No infection found.

I ran Process Explorer and located the folder associated with dllhost.exe.  A folder comprised of random letters in the Temp directory is the culprit, indicating an infection.

Note: No legitimate application will ever run from a Temp or Temporary Internet Files directory.  Period.

I tried numerous mechanisms for taking ownership of this folder so that I could delete it, including:

1: Setting up a new Administrator account to access the folder from outside the user account.

Result = Unsuccessful.

2: Rebooting in Safe Mode + Command Prompt.

Result = Unable to make folder visible.

Additional information:

Once I determined it was definitely a virus and not a system error, I asked the client what she was doing on the computer at 3:42 pm the day before ( time stamp on the infected folder).  It seems she was browsing the MSN website and had clicked on Wonder Wall at the time.  Immediately after going to that site, the popup messages commenced.


The only solution was to take the computer to the lab, remove the hard drive and connect it to my MacBook Pro.  Since the Apple OS is not help captive by the Windows “security” I was able kill the files and folders this way.  I could have accomplished the same thing on one of my Linux machines.

Unfortunately, the computer did not operate correctly when taken out of Safe Mode.  More than 50 services were either set to Disabled or Manual and un-started.  Resetting each one by hand and manually starting them solved the problem nicely.

If you have another solution to this nasty bug, post it here.


Posted on 19th August, 2013 | Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I am running a 12 core Mac Pro with 16 gigs of ram, 13TB of internal storage, 4 monitors and the newest updates to OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.4.

Recently I have been searching for cloud-based backup for my massive image library.  Bitcasa has been making news with their incredible offer of infinite storage for only $100 per year.  I had read the reviews and a lot of forum posts regarding problems with the app, but results seemed to have been improving over the last year, so I decided to give it a try.

In late July of 2013 I downloaded and installed the Bitcasa app (version 1207).  The installation went smoothly and it immediately identified the primary data folders on my boot drive and began backing them up.  This is a small portion of the data I need mirrored, as I have several Terabytes of data stored on my system.  I added a few more folders that I wanted mirrored and let it run.  I immediately noticed a massive degradation in performance.  I let the computer run around the clock for 3 days to get the queued material synced.

On August first, when I was finished with the computer for the night, I closed all running apps as I normally do before shut-down and tried to close Bitcasa.  It would not shut down on it’s own and I had to initiate a Force Quit command to unload it from memory.

The next day when I booted the computer, Bitcasa was crashing on load and generating error messages to accompany this activity.  This happened repeatedly.

Bitcasa Crash Dialog

I noticed the temperature monitor on my display showed my computer running at 61 degrees C.  Normally it ranges between 39 and 41.  I immediately loaded Activity Monitor and found Bitcasa’s CPU usage was at 1,420 % – over One Thousand Percent ?!?!?!?!?!  I immediately executed a Force Quit of Bitcasa, as it would not close on it’s own.

I then contacted Bitcasa support via online chat and began the laborious process of clearing the Bitcasa cache (this can take hours) and downloading the newest build with instructions for removing the current version and replacing it.  Chris was very helpful and my assessment of their support based on this single sampling is excellent.

Since replacing Bitcasa 1207 with build 1.3 1217, it no longer crashes on load.  However, it still does not handle threads or process priorities correctly.  Both Aperture and Photoshop, which I use constantly, become unresponsive on launch or import / File Open when Bitcasa is loaded.

I routinely have to pause the sync process, then Force Quit Bitcasa in order to free up other running applications.  It will NOT close on command either from it’s own menu or via Activity Monitor.

When it is actually syncing, it uses all the bandwidth of my fairly fast UVerse pipe and I have to pause Bitcasa Sync in order to stream video or watch something on YouTube on any computer or TV on the network.
To qualify what I am about to say:

I have spent most of my life in technology.  I was a Recording Engineer for Motown Records and worked in almost every studio on the West Coast.  I designed and built numerous Recording Studios in Northern California, including MC Hammer’s in the early 90s – and Metallica’s favorite rehearsal studio in the early 80s.

I owned and operated several technology companies over nearly 40 years, including AudioCraft Engineering in Marin County, which serviced the Pro Audio gear for studios and musicians up and down the West Coast.  I was on the team that built the very first computerized house in Tiburon, California in 1983.  My tasks were to build the circuits we needed and interface the entire system.

In 2010 I sold a very profitable computer consulting company I started in 1994 upon leaving the employ of Symantec (where I was Beta Administrator for Time Line 6).  This little consulting company made me a lot of money solving other people’s PC, network and software issues until I decided I needed a change of pace. For many years I was a computer Forensic Analyst and Licensed Private Investigator.  I’ve recovered a lot of data in my career and continue to do so today.

In the early days of computers I learned to code first in Basic, then in Turbo Pascal and finally in C before I lost interest in writing and debugging code.  I’ve been coding my own websites since 1995, first in text on a Unix platform and now with Dreamweaver.


What I really think about Bitcasa:
In all my years in technology I cannot remember a less well-crafted application  being unleashed on an unsuspecting buying public.  It’s been causing nothing but trouble for their users since the day it was introduced and I knew this going into it, but figured I’d give it a try.

My assessment of Bitcasa so far is that it is one of the worst pieces of code I have seen in my entire career.  Whoever is compiling this app should be fired and they should hire someone from Silicon Valley that has half a clue.

Bitcasa is not even Release Candidate quality.  It is Beta – plain and simple.  Charging money for this app is somewhere between unconscionable and criminal fraud.

Posted on 16th August, 2013 | Tags : , , , , | No Comment

Proctor and Gamble has issued a fairly large voluntary recall of both their Eukanuba and Iams brand cat and dog food. Check the recall web page to see if you have any of the Salmonella tainted food in your home right away!:

Posted on 8th August, 2013 | Tags : , , , , , , , | No Comment

A very sneaky phishing SCAM from an AT&T address

Today’s nasty little attempt to steal your account information and ruin your life comes packaged to look like AT&T wants you to update your account and opt-in to paperless billing.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Your first clue should be that no legitimate company will ever ask for your login credentials via email.

Message Subject: Please update your bill settings (verbiage is not what we would expect to see in this country)

(Your SECOND clue – If this was truly from AT&T it would have as the LAST part of the email address – not prepended to a domain)

Partial body text:

*$25 Gift Certificate issued after your third full month of Paperless Billing and delivered to qualifying customers via an e-mail FROM RESTAURANT.COM (allow three to four weeks for e-mail delivery). Paperless Billing must be maintained for three months or Gift Certificate will be forfeited. Offer available only online for AT&T residential accounts that are not already enrolled in Paperless Billing. Offer ends 8/31/13. Employee/retiree concession accounts and business accounts, along with any account not eligible for AT&T Paperless Billing, are excluded from the offer. Gift Certificate redeemable at Unredeemed Gift Certificates not valid toward purchase at restaurants. Limit of one (1) Gift Certificate at given restaurant per party per month. Minimum spend requirements and other restrictions may apply. Visit for complete terms and conditions and participating restaurants. You authorize AT&T to share your email address with for Gift Certificate fulfillment ONLY.

You have received this Account Service email because you are a customer of AT&T. You will receive this type of notification to communicate important information about your account, payment and self-service options or updates to your AT&T account.

To ensure delivery of AT&T emails to your inbox, please add to your email address book or safe senders list. Here’s how. (bogus phishing link)

They are appealing to your desire to get something for nothing – a classic ruse.

It appears to be originating from a Level3 subnet in NYC.

Let’s be careful what we click on, OK?

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