How to make a Nintendo NES controller USB flash drive.

This is a fun project that takes an old Nintendo NES controller and converts it into a cool USB drive that your friends will envy.

Time to build: 1 hours
Skill Level: Easy

Supplies:

A classic NES controller. Can be found on EBAY or at the bottom of your closet or in the basement.

 

Any USB drive extracted from its case. I used a 16gb drive for this project.

 

A USB extension cable. I found this one laying around the shop.

 


Continue reading “How to make a Nintendo NES controller USB flash drive.”

Shining light on the Deep Dark Web! How Tor can keep your online identity private.

Last week I wrote a post about Internet privacy. Basically I covered how the repeal of the Internet privacy act was simply allowing your ISP to continue to collect information regarding your Internet usage. The law was never enacted so its still business as usual for the service providers. I had suggested the use of a VPN to help protect you from prying eyes.

Previous Post: Internet Privacy Should I Care?

Today I am going to give you one more weapon to protect your surfing life style. You may have heard the term “Dark Web” or “Deep Web” on TV. Silly prime time network dramas make it sound like a hang out for hacker gangs and hit men for higher but for the most part its not. The Tor project as it is officially know is your answer to Internet privacy.

  What exactly is the Tor project?

Continue reading “Shining light on the Deep Dark Web! How Tor can keep your online identity private.”

Take a trip down memory lane with the Internet Archive and a working MacOS System 7.0.1

I remember joining the school news paper publication and was introduced to the Macintosh and MacOS  for the first time. Up until that point I had used my Commodore 64 and IBM Compatible 386 for all my computing and gaming needs. To a teenager that loved computers the whole 90’s era felt like the Wild West.

Back to the future with emulation:

The Internet Archive has been around quite a long time with their Wayback Machine. This Internet marvel has been saving copies of web pages to be archived for all time. Who knows maybe some day this blog will be archived for future generations to enjoy.

One thing I didn’t realize was they were also archiving entire operating systems that could be launched and run in a browser.I found this beauty while rummaging through the archive the other day. Its a fully operational MacOS_7.0.1

Continue reading “Take a trip down memory lane with the Internet Archive and a working MacOS System 7.0.1”

Internet Privacy – Should you care? Is VPN the answer?

There is no simple answer to the Internet privacy solution, but lately the news media has been kicking up a storm regarding the repeal of the Obama era privacy laws.

Lets take a look at what is going on in the realm of Internet privacy and I will give you some good options to protect yourself if you deem it necessary.

How many people did you say?

You are just 1 of 3,200,000,000. Yes you read that correctly there are over 3.2 billion people on the Internet across the entire world. You are just one bit in the world of terabytes upon terabytes of people. Does any one marketer care about you specifically, not exactly.  Most of the time your ISP and other Internet companies are compiling data in batches to analyze trends. Maybe count the number of Netflix subscribers, or the number of YouTube videos watched. However more recently we have been seeing increasingly targeted  campaigns at specific groups users. Is this a breach of your privacy?

Was the Obama law repealed?

Yes and no. The new FCC rules would have given consumers greater control over what their internet service provider can do with their data by requiring them to get permission from customers before using their information to create targeted advertisements. However, the rules were never in effect. So basically we repealed a law that never happened anyway. Its business as usual. The controversy of the law stems from different standards for the ISP (like Verizon, Comcast, Cox, Spectrum etc) and other websites like Google and Facebook. In other words the law would force the Verizon and others to obtain consumer permissions to track and sites like Google would not need consent giving them an unfair advantage. Continue reading “Internet Privacy – Should you care? Is VPN the answer?”

6 Simple tips to AVOID email phishing scams!

Recently a colleague at my day job fell for a scam email that appeared to be from PayPal. She clicked and entered all the info they requested and at the very end realized she had been taken for a ride. This post will cover some of the things you can look for to help identify a scam “phishing email” .Many of you are able to identify a phishing email in seconds, but if I can help one person identify a scam its worth the effort to write this post.

1. English as a second language

A good portion of attacks originate in non-English speaking countries. The hackers generate a phishing email that may be grammatically correct in their language, however when translated using google translate some of the message is lost in translation.

Continue reading “6 Simple tips to AVOID email phishing scams!”

How To Partially Cut The Cord With HDHR by Silicon Dust (Part 2 of 2)

In my previous post  “How To Partially Cut The Cord Part 1″ I explained the ease of reducing your cable bill by purchasing an HD Home Run from Silicon Dust. I have been a huge fan of their tuners for the last 10 years and in this post I’m going to give you an idea of how my setup works.

I am a Verizon Fios customer and subscribe to one of their silver packages. I have two HD Home Runs. The first is a dual tuner HDHR Connect $93.00 at Amazon and the second is an HDHR Prime $119 at Amazon.

TUNE IN – My tuners:
The HDHR Connect will allow you to tune 2 channels of unencrypted QAM or over the air digital TV. I am lucky since FIOS has all OTA channels in clear QAM on their line. The HDHR Prime has a Verizon supplied cable card (mcard) installed for $5.00/per month and can tune 3 channels of encrypted signals. This gives me a total of 5 tuners to play with.

WATCHING TV – Live:
Once the HDHR tuners are setup on your home network, you can easily stream HD content to a ton of devices. I have tested mine with a Windows 7 & Windows 10 pc, Android tablet, XBOX One, Amazon Fire Stick, and a Raspberry Pi 3 running Kodi. All are able to keep up with HD content over my wireless N network. Continue reading “How To Partially Cut The Cord With HDHR by Silicon Dust (Part 2 of 2)”

How To Partially Cut The Cord With HDHR by Silicon Dust (Part 1 of 2)

In the United States the cable companies have close to a monopoly on the market. There is very little choice in which provider you can select and there is not much flexibility in the packages and equipment offered.

In recent years there has been a lot of talk about cutting the cord and tossing the cable company, but its harder than you may think. You could simply use OTA (over the air) antenna to receive the major broadcast networks, that’s providing you can still receive the digital signal. Maybe sign up for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Sling TV, HBO GO, search the web for On Demand,  ETC. There are many digital providers to choose from but most don’t provide the full cable experience and offer every channel you may want to watch.

How can we reduce our cable bill while still maintaining the package of channels that we want to enjoy? EASY! Give all their equipment back! Don’t rent their DVR’s or cable boxes. If you currently have four TV’s and your providers equipment you are most likely paying over $40 per month for equipment rental, close to $500 a year. What if you could reduce that rental cost to $5 or $10 per month and a few one time charges to purchase your own equipment that you would OWN!

This little box called the HD Home Run (HDHR) Prime was one of the best investments I have made to reduce my cable TV costs without loosing programing. Continue reading “How To Partially Cut The Cord With HDHR by Silicon Dust (Part 1 of 2)”

Data you don’t have two copies of is data you don’t care about!

As a life long IT professional I have seen it happen over and over again. A friend, relative or co-worker stops by my office with a broken computer that will no longer load Windows. Maybe they have a virus, maybe the hard drive just decided to give up, or maybe they just clicked the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Whatever the reason my first question is do you have a current backup? I can immediately see the blank stare on their faces as if the word “BACKUP” was in some foreign language.  “Umm Backup.. I was meaning to get around to that but umm.. umm NO.” At this point they tend to run through a few stages of grief. Some denial, followed by some anger, and then fear, fear that all the pictures of Johnny’s birthday and every other family event for the last ten years is gone forever.

This article will give you some tips on how to keep that data safe and secure for as little money out of pocket as possible.  Your files may be lost this time, but if you keep reading maybe I can help you preserve your data for next time, and trust me there will be a next time.

If your computer will not boot, and you need some ideas on how to pull the hard drive and attempt a recovery ,this may be a good read for you

Continue reading “Data you don’t have two copies of is data you don’t care about!”

First portable Solid State Drive (SSD) Released By Western Digital

Solid State Drives continue to gain traction in the computer industry. I personally have been ordering all of the workstations for my office with SSD drives for at least a year now. The slight premium in cost and reduced capacity is well worth the performance increase.

I was baffled to find out today that Western Digital released their first SSD portable drive. I was thinking to myself “Wasn’t this already a thing?” I already have my own portable SSD. Well I actually made it myself with a stock SATA SSD like this one from Amazon, and a cheap USB 3.0 enclosure. My total cost was about $160 for around 525GB of storage.

I have been using Western Digital’s rainbow of drives (black, green, blue, red, yellow, gold ETC.) in my devices for decades and for the most part they have always performed well. Their new portable SSD is part of the newly redesigned My Passport line of drives and will come in three sizes 256GB for $99, 512GB for $199 and 1TB for $400. All drives support USB Type-C and Type-A (adapter included) with speeds up to 515MB/s Continue reading “First portable Solid State Drive (SSD) Released By Western Digital”

My Solid State Drive (SSD) Is Broken! Now what?

Solid State Disk Drives (SSD) have become increasingly popular in workstations over the last few years due to the lower cost of acquiring the equipment. I believe upgrading to an SSD disk is one of the best ways to introduce new life and performance into an old PC.

With this technology also comes new headaches. Last week one of the partners at my day job brought his personal Del 7040 into the office that would not boot Windows 10. It would just sit and spin endlessly and never get to the login prompt.  My first thought was to simply do a clean install of Windows 10, but as many desktop users he said he didn’t have a backup and all his family photos were stored on the drive. Continue reading “My Solid State Drive (SSD) Is Broken! Now what?”