Some Hints and Tips for Windows

“The WMI command-line (WMIC) utility provides a command-line interface for Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). WMIC is compatible with existing shells and utility commands. The following is a general reference topic for WMIC. For more information and guidelines on how to use WMIC, including additional information on aliases, verbs, switches, and commands, see Using Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line and WMIC – Take Command-line Control over WMI.”

You can access the WMI commands at your computer’s Command Prompt, simply choose “Start” -> “Windows System” -> “Command Prompt”

Then you can type in commands, such as these example useful commands using WMI:

Get your Dell Service Tag without getting out of Windows:

wmic bios get serialnumber

Get your Microsoft Windows Product Key:

wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey

And, here’s a bonus tip that doesn’t use the WMIC. If you want to get at the “old” Un-Install method for Windows, let’s call it the “Classic Version,” here’s what you can type at the Windows Command Prompt:

appwiz.cpl

CloudLinux to Invest More than a Million Dollars a Year into CentOS Replacement

CloudLinux to invest more than a million dollars a year into CentOS clone

https://almalinux.org/

ZDNet – By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols – “When Red Hat, CentOS’s Linux parent company, announced it was ‘shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream, which tracks just ahead of a current RHEL release,’ it lost a lot of friends. CentOS co-founder, Gregory Kurtzer, immediately announced he’d create his own RHEL clone and CentOS replacement: Rocky Linux. He wasn’t the only one. CloudLinux also proclaimed it would create a new CentOS clone Lenix. And, CloudLinux will be putting over a million dollars a year behind it.

Why? Igor Seletskiy, CloudLinux CEO and founder, explained, ‘Red Hat’s announcement has left users looking for an alternative with all that CentOS provides and without the disruption of having to move to alternative distributions. We promise to dedicate the resources required to Project Lenix that will ensure impartiality and a not-for-profit community initiative. CloudLinux already has the assets, infrastructure, and experience to carry out the mission, and we promise to be open about the process of developing Project Lenix.’

CloudLinux has made a business of taking RHEL and CentOS code and fine-tuning it into CloudLinux OS. This is a customized, high-performance, lightweight Linux server for multitenancy web and server hosting companies.

They know what they’re doing. With 10 years of experience building a hardened CentOS Linux for data centers and hosting companies, the company brings deep technical knowledge of enterprise infrastructure, kernel development, and open-source software to its clients. CloudLinux OS has more than 200,000 product installations and 4,000 customers. Its users include Liquid Web, 1&1, and Dell.

Project Lenix will be a free, open-source, community-driven, 1:1 binary compatible fork of RHEL 8 (and future releases). For CentOS users, the company promises Lenix will provide an uninterrupted way to convert existing CentOS servers with absolutely zero downtime or need to reinstall anything. The company even claims you’ll be able to port entire CentOS server fleets with a single command with no reinstallation or reboots required. That’s a bold claim. But CloudLinux already does that trick with its commercial Linux distribution. If the company says it can do it, I think it can.

Lenix is only a placeholder name. As the community comes together — it’s gathering on Reddit — a yet to be formed governing board will decide on a permanent name for the distribution. If all goes well, the first software release will appear in the first quarter of 2021.”

New Windows Icons Are Coming

New Windows IconsOK, so things change, it happens! I don’t know if I like the new look or not, but I am sure it will grow on me.

Windows 10 is getting new File Explorer icons as part of a visual overhaul

The Verge – By: Tom Warren – “Microsoft is giving the File Explorer inside Windows 10 a visual overhaul with new icons. The software giant has started rolling out a test build of Windows 10 that includes changes to the system icons you’ll find in File Explorer, including the Recycle Bin, Documents folders, and devices like disk drives.

‘Several changes, such as the orientation of the folder icons and the default file type icons, have been made for greater consistency across Microsoft products that show files,’ says Amanda Langowski, Microsoft’s Windows Insider chief. ‘Notably, the top-level user folders such as Desktop, Documents, Downloads, and Pictures have a new design that should make it a little easier to tell them apart at a glance.’

Perhaps daringly, Microsoft also notes that ‘and yes, the Recycle Bin icon has also been updated!’ — a clear nod to some changes the company tried to make to the Recycle Bin in the past that didn’t go down well with Windows users.

These icon changes are fairly minor in the grand scheme of Windows, but they’re part of a broader effort inside Microsoft to modernize Windows. Microsoft unveiled new system icons for Windows 10 earlier this month, and the company previously updated some of its Windows 10 icons last year with colorful versions and also tweaked the Start menu to make it more streamlined.

Microsoft is also planning a ‘sweeping visual rejuvenation of Windows,’ codenamed ‘Sun Valley.’ The company is expected to detail its visual plans and more about the future of Windows in the coming months as part of a dedicated news event.

The icon updates will arrive alongside some tweaks to the layout of File Explorer, too. Microsoft is adding additional padding between elements in File Explorer, and there will be a compact mode to return to the classic File Explorer mode. The updated view is a little more touch-optimized and complements the new icons.”

HUGE Security Issue in Microsoft Exchange!

Brian KrebsIs your organization, or business, running Microsoft Exchange? If so, path it NOW if you haven’t! This exploit was discovered earlier this month, hopefully this is “old news” to you Exchange sys admins!

At Least 30,000 U.S. Organizations Newly Hacked Via Holes in Microsoft’s Email Software

KrebsOnSecurity – By: Brian Krebs – “At least 30,000 organizations across the United States — including a significant number of small businesses, towns, cities and local governments — have over the past few days been hacked by an unusually aggressive Chinese cyber espionage unit that’s focused on stealing email from victim organizations, multiple sources tell KrebsOnSecurity. The espionage group is exploiting four newly-discovered flaws in Microsoft Exchange Server email software, and has seeded hundreds of thousands of victim organizations worldwide with tools that give the attackers total, remote control over affected systems.

On March 2, Microsoft released emergency security updates to plug four security holes in Exchange Server versions 2013 through 2019 that hackers were actively using to siphon email communications from Internet-facing systems running Exchange.

Microsoft said the Exchange flaws are being targeted by a previously unidentified Chinese hacking crew it dubbed ‘Hafnium,’ and said the group had been conducting targeted attacks on email systems used by a range of industry sectors, including infectious disease researchers, law firms, higher education institutions, defense contractors, policy think tanks, and NGOs.

In the three days since then, security experts say the same Chinese cyber espionage group has dramatically stepped up attacks on any vulnerable, unpatched Exchange servers worldwide.

In each incident, the intruders have left behind a ‘web shell,’ an easy-to-use, password-protected hacking tool that can be accessed over the Internet from any browser. The web shell gives the attackers administrative access to the victim’s computer servers.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, two cybersecurity experts who’ve briefed U.S. national security advisors on the attack told KrebsOnSecurity the Chinese hacking group thought to be responsible has seized control over ‘hundreds of thousands’ of Microsoft Exchange Servers worldwide — with each victim system representing approximately one organization that uses Exchange to process email.

Microsoft’s initial advisory about the Exchange flaws credited Reston, Va. based Volexity for reporting the vulnerabilities. Volexity President Steven Adair said the company first saw attackers quietly exploiting the Exchange bugs on Jan. 6, 2021, a day when most of the world was glued to television coverage of the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

But Adair said that over the past few days the hacking group has shifted into high gear, moving quickly to scan the Internet for Exchange servers that weren’t yet protected by the security updates Microsoft released Tuesday.

‘We’ve worked on dozens of cases so far where web shells were put on the victim system back on Feb. 28 [before Microsoft announced its patches], all the way up to today,’ Adair said. ‘Even if you patched the same day Microsoft published its patches, there’s still a high chance there is a web shell on your server. The truth is, if you’re running Exchange and you haven’t patched this yet, there’s a very high chance that your organization is already compromised.’

Reached for comment, Microsoft said it is working closely with the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), other government agencies, and security companies, to ensure it is providing the best possible guidance and mitigation for its customers.

‘The best protection is to apply updates as soon as possible across all impacted systems,’ a Microsoft spokesperson said in a written statement. ‘We continue to help customers by providing additional investigation and mitigation guidance. Impacted customers should contact our support teams for additional help and resources.’

Meanwhile, CISA has issued an emergency directive ordering all federal civilian departments and agencies running vulnerable Microsoft Exchange servers to either update the software or disconnect the products from their networks.

Adair said he’s fielded dozens of calls today from state and local government agencies that have identified the backdoors in their Exchange servers and are pleading for help. The trouble is, patching the flaws only blocks the four different ways the hackers are using to get in. But it does nothing to undo the damage that may already have been done.”

A Deal on a USB 600Mbps Wireless Network Adapter!

TechKeyDirect USB Wireless Network AdapterHere’s a great deal from c|net!

Fix your laptop’s weak Wi-Fi reception for just $6.49

c|net – By: Dave Johnson – “Amazon seller: TechkeyDirect

Deal price: $6.49 with code and coupon

Wi-Fi deadspots are the bane of everyone’s home network. As it happens, though, sometimes the problem isn’t entirely the fault of a weak Wi-Fi router that can’t reach all the way into every corner of your home. It’s often compounded by an anemic Wi-Fi radio in your laptop that can’t make use of the signal you have. Well, you might be able to solve that problem for just a few bucks: The Techkey Wireless USB Adapter is now just $6.49, a ridiculously low price for a network card. It usually sells for $13, but you can clip the product page coupon and apply promo code NQAU4OCW at checkout to drop the price into pocket-change territory.

The Techkey adapter plugs into any USB port and requires no drivers or software installation. According to Techkey, it should deliver up to 450Mbps at 5GHz or 150Mbps using the 2.4GHz bands at a range of up to about 100 yards. The 5dBi high-gain antenna should allow your laptop to get solid Wi-Fi even in weak reception areas that previously registered as dead zones.

I haven’t had a chance to try this for myself, but hey, it’s six bucks. Most fast-food lunches cost more. If you give this a shot to fix a sketchy Wi-Fi signal, please sound off in the comments to let me know how well it works for you.

As always, the usual caveats apply — the price was accurate at the time of this writing but is subject to change. If you see a different seller other than Techkey, chalk it up to Amazon switching sellers for the same product, and consequently the discount might no longer be available.”

AT&T Customers Can No Longer Stream HBO Max Without Counting Towards Their Data Cap

HBOMaxFrom the “Streamable” Newsletter: “AT&T customers will now have to account for HBO Max data usage thanks to California’s net neutrality law. The law bars internet service providers from a practice known as zero-rating. In this case, streaming Netflix counts towards a user’s data cap, but streaming HBO Max does not. AT&T is unhappy, but others see it as a win for users, as service providers can no longer use deals like this to influence purchase decisions. ‘Given that the Internet does not recognize state borders, the new law not only ends our ability to offer California customers such free data services but also similarly impacts our customers in states beyond California,’ AT&T said in a blog post.”

Now (as of March 18, 2021) Ars Technica columnist, Jon Brodkin claims that this is NOT true, that the new law does not prohibit “zero-rating.”

AT&T lied about California’s net neutrality law yesterday when it claimed the law requires AT&T to stop providing ‘free data’ to mobile customers.

In reality, the California law allows AT&T to continue zero-rating HBO Max, its own video service, as long as it exempts all competing video services from data caps without charging the other video providers. But instead of zero-rating all video without collecting payments from its competitors in the online-video business, AT&T decided it would rather not exempt anything at all.

For details here’s the link: AT&T lies about Calif. net neutrality law, claiming it bans “free data”

What Happened to KompoZer?

KompoZerSometimes our favorite Open Source Projects have issues, or get abandoned. One of my favorites was a WYSIWYG HTML Editor called “KompoZer.” It was based on Nvu, another editor I really liked, but KompoZer was a LOT better! The code is still available but the last version they put out does not support https (SSL) calls to embedded images. Pretty big issue! Anyway it is gone!

What Happened to KompoZer.net?

DropInBlog – “A recent study found that 48% of people base their impression of a business’s credibility on its website. However, not everyone is proficient in the complex skills of coding, which are often required for building websites. That’s where KompoZer.net came in. The HTML editor made it possible for people to design websites without the need to write code.

Even though some people were still recommending this website as recently as April 2018, it has not been actively developed for almost ten years, and the website has now gone dark. We took some time to follow the history of Kompozer.net to understand what happened to the site.

A Brief History of Kompozer.net

KompoZer was an open source HTML editor created in 2005 to fix bugs on a previous HTML editor, known as Nvu. Daniel Glazman developed Nvu. The lead developer of KompoZer.net was Fabien Cavanaze, who is also known as Kazé. KompoZer’s unique spelling might be linked to Kazé and Glazman’s names. However, the history record is not clear — it could simply have been an issue of failing to get a domain name where the word Composer could be used.

KompoZer was a form of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). As an open source HTML editor, KompoZer was a software application which allowed the user to create a webpage and make changes on it without having to use a code. Advanced users could also edit in code using the software.

Simple and Free

KompoZer’s primary appeal was its simplicity. It was not only easy to use, it was also free to use. WYSIWYG tools such as KompoZer.net also save users much time. For instance, there is no need to learn complex code to create structures such as tables. A simple push of the Table button can generate a table, and pushing the Source button displays the HTML code used to create the table.

KompoZer also made it possible for users to identify publishing errors quickly and provided ways to resolve them. The software was designed in such a way that files that failed to publish were not lost. You simply saved the file to a hard disk and tried again later (Source.)

KompoZer’s primary appeal was its simplicity. It was not only easy to use, it was also free to use. WYSIWYG tools such as KompoZer.net also save users much time. For instance, there is no need to learn complex code to create structures such as tables. A simple push of the Table button can generate a table, and pushing the Source button displays the HTML code used to create the table.

KompoZer also made it possible for users to identify publishing errors quickly and provided ways to resolve them. The software was designed in such a way that files that failed to publish were not lost. You simply saved the file to a hard disk and tried again later (Source.)

KompoZer’s Top Features

An HTML open source editor like KompoZer.net ensures that there is no need for hand coding when creating or editing a website’s content. The editor automates the process. For example, to insert a page title, you would simply type.

KompoZer was compatible with operating systems like Windows and Linux. It also incorporated the HTML editor with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), a markup system that separated the look and feel from a page from the logic that controlled its functionality. The CSS editor helped users see changes made to a website instantly; giving them complete control over their web design.

KompoZer could also run multiple sites simultaneously, allowing users to multitask. It also had file management through FTP (File Transfer Protocol). This software enabled users to move between WYSIWYG and HTML.

The Glazbugs insult

In 2005, Daniel Glazman stopped development on Nvu to focus on other projects. In the interim, KompoZer.net was developed by Kazé. After identifying several bugs on the system, Kazé named these glitches ‘Glazbugs.’ Glazman was not amused. He confronted Kazé and accused him of failing to contact Linspire before starting work on KompoZer (Source). Linspire helped develop and sponsored Nvu.

The feud would escalate with Kazé saying that he had proposed several suggestions to Glazmen ‘but never got any reply.’ He continues, ‘So I don’t see the harm in bug fixing a free, open-source, unsupported app.’

Glazman would eventually relent but not without a warning: “I am glad to leave Nvu 1.0 codebase to Kazé who started integrating bug fixes, but I remind him that Nvu is a trademark by Linspire Inc…” (Source.)

Too busy to work on KompoZer

The last KompoZer update users report seeing is in 2010. In 2011, Kazé said in a blog post: ‘The KompoZer project is stalled at the moment since I am the only regular developer, and I am too busy.’ There seems to have been no more updates by Kazé after this statement. Even though there is no official information about the end of KompoZer.net, we believe that the resource was abandoned when no one could work on it.”

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