Yesterday Radio Shack Electronics Project Kit – Today Elegoo on Amazon

I feel as if I have been a technology geek for as long as I can remember. I often wonder why as a child of the 80’s I gravitated toward electronics and not sports. I guess I would lay some of the blame on my father who seemed to push me toward electronics and would bring me all sorts of fun gadgets from Radio Shack.

Early Kits – Radio Shack Science Fair 160 in ONE

I have very fond memories of the Radio Shack Science Fair 160 in ONE Electronic Project Kit. As a kid I didn’t appreciate the components, but simply followed the instruction “cook” book and wired the circuits with the included jumpers. I can remember making a crystal radio, touch sensors,  sound generators (or color organs as they were called) It wasn’t long before I started making my own creations.

As I got older, I noticed the kits had started to vanish from Radio Shack. In my late teens and early twenties I even worked at Radio Shack for a while and the kits were all but gone!

30 Years later and WOW – These kits are amazing!

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Outlook cannot log on. Verify you are connected to the network and are using the proper server and mailbox name

In the office we use a SonicWall to allow remote VPN users to access local resources. For the most part it works great, allowing access to our Outlook / Exchange server, mapped drives and other important network resources.

Recently I upgraded the SonicWall to a new device and recreated the rules from scratch (rather than roll old stuff over) a few days after the upgrade SonicWall users started to experience this odd error message:

ODD OUTLOOK ERROR MESSAGE:
Outlook cannot log on.  Verify you are connected to
the network and are using the proper server and mailbox name. 
The Mailbox Exchange information server in your profile 
is missing required information. 
Modify your profile to ensure that you are using the 
correct Microsoft Exchange information service.
Image result for Outlook cannot log on. Verify you are connected to the network and are using the proper server and mailbox name. The Mailbox Exchange information server in your profile is missing required information. Modify your profile to ensure that you are using the correct Microsoft Exchange information service
At first I thought the users profile had just gone corrupt, so I deleted the Outlook profile and just recreated it and all was well in the world. However next time that particular user took their laptop out of the office the message eventually returned.  I was able to put two and two together and figured it had to do with something the VPN tunnel on the sonicwall was doing to cause this issue.
The solution:

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International Hacker Email / Security Warning / Account Issue

The latest hacker / email scam has been roaming the internet for a few months now. This one is pretty ingenious because it is more of a social email hack playing on your fears rather than an actual attack on your computer.

How does it play out?

An email arrives from you, yes your own email address. The subject of the email will be related to “Account Issue” , “Security Warning” or some variation. The email will further explain that you were hacked by an International Hacker Group and demand you pay $800 USD in bit coin in 48 hours or they will release video of you in a compromising position while watching porn! The hacker further tries to prove his legitimacy by providing you with your password.

The first time I saw this attack I was taken back for a moment because the password in the email was REAL. It was actually one of my “throwaway” passwords and kind of freaked me out.

Lets break the email down and see exactly what they did

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Who’s Hacking My Exchange OWA? Check with Log Parser 2.2

I am one of the few on the planet that still hosts my own servers in house. Sorry, but I don’t really see the benefit of moving everything to the cloud when keeping it in house allows me the control and flexibility I want. I especially like having an Exchange OWA server in house.

With that said, hosting your own systems can be troublesome as well. Maintaining the hardware, infrastructure and security are items that would get farmed out in a cloud environment. This post focuses on the security end, or rather attempting to track hack attempts.

In January, I sent up a trigger to alert me every time a user is locked out. -> Know instantly when a user is locked out <- Its a good read if you’re interested. This trigger reads the event logs, looks for the lockout event and sends the info to me via email. A great help in being proactive with my users. It also alerts me to hack attempts. Too many incorrect login attempts on OWA would trigger a lockout event. During a recent weekend, I was receiving lockout emails every 30 minutes. So who was doing this? What did they want?

How to check Exchange OWA IIS logs

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2013 – 2018 Lexus GS 350 Cabin Filter Replacement Procedure

Once a year I change my air filter and cabin filter to help keep my GS 350 performing at its best. The Lexus dealer can charge upwards of $150 for each of these services. You can save yourself hundreds of dollars if you take 5 to 10 minutes to do it yourself. In this post I will show how easy it is to swap out the GS cabin filter. Click this LINK to see how easy it is to change the Air filter.

Where to get the correct Cabin Filter?

I believe many Lexus models take the same cabin filter.  I searched on Amazon and many of the filters i came across said they were NOT a match for my car. Finally I found this EcoGard filter that said it was going to be a good fit, I took a chance and made the purchase.

 

EcoGard filter for GS350 $16.54 at Amazon.com

There are lots of other compatible filters. Picking a cabin filter is more a personal preference since they are a creature comfort and will not affect the performance of the car. Use this link to search all of Amazon for filters that should fit the GS 350 – CLICK ME

Changing the filter

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2013-2018 Lexus GS 350 Air Filter Replacement Procedure

My 2017 Lexus GS 350 needs a new air filter. It’s been about 20,000 miles and is ready for a replacement. No matter what car I drive, weather it be a $500 Honda Accord or my GS I’m still a do-it-yourself kind of guy and refuse to hand over money for something I can easily do on my own. The Lexus dealer can and will charge upwards of $150 to replace the air filter. If you follow my instructions below I will save you over $100 and have your car done in 5 to 10 minutes!

Where to get the correct air filter?

I like to shop on Amazon, they usually have great prices and with my prime membership the orders arrive at my door super quick.

There are quite a few manufactures that make replacement filters for the GS, I tend to steer toward name brands I trust and have used in the past.

Fram is my first choice in filter, they tend to be slightly more expensive than other brands, but they perform well and last. This particular filter has an extra layer of filtration material on the bottom. I haven’t seen that previously on others. I’m curious if it adds that much more filtration without cutting down the airflow to the engine.  $33.99 at Amazon Continue reading “2013-2018 Lexus GS 350 Air Filter Replacement Procedure”

Using your Sonicwall to make a public WiFi network

I have been a big fan of SonicWall products for the last 18 years. Even after being taken over by Dell, I still use Sonicwall in my office and at home. You may say its overkill to have one in my home, but I tend to model my home lab environment to my office environment. I like to think of my home network as a sandbox for testing things in the office.

This year we are making a big push for better security around the office and one topic that came up was the office WiFi. Currently the office Wifi shares the same LAN connection as the rest of the network. Even worse there is only one SSID for both the staff and guests. Even worse than that the SSID password has not been changed for 10+ years!

A project was commissioned to segment the WiFi network from the LAN, however it is important to allow the staff that works in the office access to the LAN via WiFi when needed.

Equipment RequireD

Sonicwall – I have a NSA2600, but any modern NSA device will do. If you’re not sure which Sonicwall to purchase, this is a great starter.

Sonicwall TZ300 Total Secure $679.99 at Amazon

 

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Exchange 2016 – ECP ERROR 500 – OWA Working Fine!

As an IT professional for over 20 years I have run into a lot of strange errors in my time. I also have an extensive home “production” lab so I can stay up to date on changes in tech and its fun! Recently I installed Exchange 2016 in a Hyper-V virtual machine. It was a simple migration from 2013. I was in the process of decommissioning an older Hyper-V host. Some of my guest vm’s were migrated while others were built from scratch.

I had  completed my migration and Exchange, OWA, & ECP were working just fine. About a month later I tried to access the ECP and was greeted with a 500 Error!

Tracking Down The Error

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Cooling your Motioneye Pi Zero Security Camera

Welcome to part two of my post. Previously I spoke about building a security system using a Raspberry Pi Zero and MotioneyeOS. (Read Here) I built and installed the system in February and it was working great.  I even caught some Ass-Hat driving over my lawn and trash (Read Here). I ran into one issue with this system. Once Summer was here and the outside temperatures hit 90° (32°c) The processor temperature of the Pi Zero was topping 161° (72°C) and lack of cooling was causing my Pi Zeros to crash

According to the Raspberry Pi foundation the boards are specked to approach 80°C but mine were failing in the mid 70’s. So now to work on a solution.

How to cool your outdoor Motioneye camera

My first attempt was an obvious one – Paint the camera white.
The waterproof boxes I was using to house the camera had a clear cover. To reduce the amount of sunlight, I simply painted the box white

Painting the box was helpful and kept the system cooler , but it still wasn’t enough.  The next step was to vent the box simply by drilling a few small holes at the bottom. I know this compromises my “waterproof” concept, but I am hedging my bets if any rain water was to enter the box, it would remain at the bottom and not touch the electronics.

Still not good enough! I want to add a fan, but I only want the fan to run when the CPU hits a specific temperature. There is no need to run the fan on cool nights or during the winter. So I decided to use the GPIO pins on the PI Zero to control the fan.

Controlling the cooling fan via GPIO pins

Parts List

  • 5 Volt cooling fan
  • 1 NPN Transistor
  • 1 1KΩ Resistor (or equivalent)
  • Small breadboard
  • Soldering iron / solder
How to assemble

Its probably not a good idea to connect a fan directly to one of the GPIO pins, so I used a simple transistor and resistor to help limit the current being drawn via the pin

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