Suddenly can't connect via Putty to OpenSSH server

From my Windows 7 machine, I've consistently been able to connect via SSH (using Putty) to two different Linux servers. A few weeks ago, one of them stopped responding to connection attempts. Putty would just sit there with a black screen and eventually time out. Troubleshooting attempts:

  • It wasn't a local outgoing firewall (or Windows 7) problem, because I could still connect to other OpenSSH servers
  • It wasn't a problem with the OpenSSH server itself, because I could SSH to one server, and then SSH from there to the 'problem' server. 


Slow Bitlocker Encryption?

I recently had a need to turn on Bitlocker encryption (in Windows 8.1) for a 1.8 TB external hard drive. After three workdays (more than 24 hours), the drive was claiming it was only 5.2% completed with the encryption step. I searched all over and didn't find an answer, but a colleague recommended plugging the usb drive into a USB 3.0 compliant port, vs. a USB 2.0 port. I had that option available on my machine, and as I'm writing this (about three hours later), the drive is about 67% encrypted. It's working! 


Installing Autohotkey on Windows 8.1

When I tried to install Autohotkey recently on a Windows 8.1 64bit machine, the installer failed. It 'ran' ok, but on the installer splash screen, none of the buttons or links would 'do' anything. I tried the "Express Installation" and "Custom Installation" buttons and the "Read license" and "Extract to..." links. I tried running the installer as an Administrator.

Sending Spam via PHP script

I recently had a complaint of 'abuse' , with my mail server sending out spam.  First, one of my users complained that email was bouncing back, then Linode notified me that I'd been flagged for abuse.  I also found that Spamcop had blacklisted my server.  In the Abuse report from Linode, this line stood out:  X-PHP-Originating-Script: 33:.page93.php(241) : eval()'d code I didn't catch on right away, but that's a warning that a php file (.page93.php) is sending out the email.

Enabling .NET 4 applications in IIS 6

I struggled with this long enough, and ended up guessing the right answer; maybe this will save someone else the trouble. On a Windows Server 2003 box, IIS 6, trying to get it to server .aspx pages from a virtual folder.  I could get .html files to serve just fine, but trying to hit an .aspx file kept returning a 404 Not Found Error.  I had to Open the 'Web Service Extensions' folder in IIS Manager, then 'Add a new Web service extension...' to add the .NET 4 application handling.  I used the following:

  • Extension Name: - "ASP.NET 4.0"

Install SQL Server drivers on PHP 5.5

It took me a long time to find this solution (which worked perfectly), so I'm going to do my part to focus the rest of the Internet that direction.  These instructions worked perfectly to get SQL Server conectivity going for PHP 5.5 (x86), on WIndows 7 x64, running Apache (XAMPP).…


Real CSS Tables

I've been learning to love CSS over the last few years, but have always struggled when it comes to displaying content in a tablular format.  Whenever I've run into the need for it, I've run straight back to the HTML <table> element, and then just felt bad about it later. Today, I accidentally ran into a post on StackOverflow that might finally turn me away from tables forever.

Pandora via Linux command line with Pianobar

So, I really like this...I noticed, since I had to recently rebuild my Linux desktop (failed HDD) that the 'new' Adobe Air release doesn't work with Pandora One desktop client any more.  I saw a reference that said you might be able to get an old version and make it work, but after a minimal attempt, I couldn't get it working.  However, today I found Pianobar, which connects to and plays Pandora radio via the Linux command line.

Not-so-simple Paypal form

I dug around the Intertubes and found this link where there's a great example of a semi-complex html form, with javascript support, that sets up a multiple-control payment form.  Unfortunately, the formatting on that page is horrible, making the javascript useless.  Here is my modified version of it, formatted a little better for posterity sake: 

Uploading wireless thermostat data to Cosm

Last week, I found, and borrowed, a Python class that makes it easy to update a Cosm (Pachube) feed. I'm using it to upload current temperature data for the two (upstairs and basement) Filtrete 3M-50 Wifi thermostats in our house. I'm also grabbing outside weather data (temperature and barometric pressure) from Yahoo and adding that too. It's working great.

Email via Malware

It seems like about twice a month that I receive an email from a friend or client with nothing but a link to a .cz, .ru or other questionable site.  So far, every one of these has been a mass email from their account (sent to all their contacts) after their account password has been compromised.  My guess is that some malware takes hold in the machine, captures their password the next time they log in to (usually Yahoo) email, and uses an API after that to send out spam with the newly-acquired credentials.