SpamSpotting

Most of the time, you should be able to spot scam emails on your own, without the need of a snarky I.T. professional like myself. Here is an example of an email received by a client recently:

From: OutlookAdmin365 [mailto:MicrosoftExchangep29e71ec88ae4615bbc3jab6ce41@mimirglobal.com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 10:34 AM
To: John Doe <john@doe.com>
Subject:
Action Required: Unfamilair Login- john@doe.com

Hello john@doe.com,

 Someone attempted to sign in with your email ( john@doe.com ) from an unknown location.
Date Received: [ 13 February 2017 02:02am] 

We restricted the attempt and we put a lock on your account   john@doe.com for incoming and outgoing message till you sign in from a familiar location

 

SIGN-IN FROM A FAMILIAR LOCATION

 

Thanks for taking these additional steps to safe guard your email.

© 2017 Outlook Corporation. All rights reserved. | Acceptable Use Policy | Privacy Notice 

 

 

So, let’s start at the email address it was sent from. Don’t be fooled by the friendly email name, in this case, “OutlookAdmin365.” That by itself seems somewhat plausible, but then look at the actual email address of “MicrosoftExchangep29e71ec88ae4615bbc3jab6ce41@mimirglobal.com.” That is clearly not a normal email address. When do you ever see the random characters as a part of the prefix of an email address? Well, you don’t. And the part after the “@” is equally weird – what would mimirglobal.com have to do with Microsoft 365? Sure, it could be from a hosting company that resells 365 like GoDaddy or something, but here, that is not the case.

At this point, I am done – I have seen all I need to know this is fake. I could look up that company and see who they are, if they exist, but I don’t need to, because I know they have nothing to do with my client’s email. But, since there are so many issues with this email, I will go on.

SUBJECT LINE

Subject: Action Required: Unfamilair Login- john@doe.com. Red circle is weird. Whatever. Ah, our first spelling error appears right in the subject. I am unfamiliar with the “word” unfamilair.

THE GREETING

Hello john@doe.com, If it seems like a bad robot not associated with Hollywood Director J. J. Abrams put that in there, I would agree. Professional emails are not greeted like that. I recently got an email myself from a local service provider trying to get me to meet with some low-level salesperson that was greeted, Hello Kannenberg. I did not meet with that salesperson.

THE BODY

So, this first sentence is relatively legit:

Someone attempted to sign in with your email ( john@doe.com ) from an unknown location.
Date Received: [ 13 February 2017 02:02am] 

You may be used to websites telling you something similar when you log in from a computer you don’t normally use. So this part is done well enough, although an American company would not write the date in that format as a general rule, but that is nitpicking.

Now, the next part is not so good.  We restricted the attempt and we put a lock on your account   john@doe.com for incoming and outgoing message till you sign in from a familiar location. Always look for awkward language, like a non-native English-speaker is trying to tell you something. Most legit companies, even if they are not based in the US will still format emails without using awkward phrases like “restricted the attempt.” That is not something we say. In any situation. Try to use that in a phrase that sounds natural. “We restricted his attempt to rob the bank.” “He tried to shoot a three-pointer, but I restricted his attempt.” “My date was going well, but she restricted my attempt to Netflix and chill.” See – doesn’t work.

Then we have some singular/plural awkwardness. “We put a lock on your account… for incoming and outgoing message….” First, it should be “messages” and the whole phrase is again, said in a very clunky way. And, still in that phrase “till you sign in…” The word they were looking for was “until.” Spell check won’t catch that one, because one can, of course, till ones own field. Yes, I often heard the phrase “wait till dad gets home” as a child, but had my mother written it down for me, I am certain that she would have used the word “until.”

THE LINK

All I can say is, don’t click on the link. Never. In this case, what could that link possible take you to? That is not how logging into email works. Obviously I removed the link from this email, but you can almost always right-click on a link in an email, and see what the address is. In this email, it started with “ireneshouse.gr….” Is that a link to your email server? Does it match the sender’s email in any way? Is it something you have seen before? What is .gr, and who is Irene?

SIGN OFF

Not much to say here, but the word is safeguard. It isn’t two words.

FINE PRINT

Even that is wrong here. You can’t tell from my example, but there were no links. It says Acceptable Use Policy and Privacy Notice, but they are just words – no link to click on, no explanation, no nothing.

 

So, in the end, this is a particularly easy one to pick apart. They won’t all be though. Some of the UPS/FedEx ones are pretty good, and we are always waiting for a package, so the urge to check on something is great at almost any time in our lives. If you have an IT resource, of course you can always use it. But, MOST of the time, you can figure this out on your own. Hey, that’s what I said at the top of this post too. Full circle… full circle.

 

 

Things I say every day that are not common

So, sometimes when you are extremely familiar with something, it can be hard to remember that others may not be. That is the case for the following two items of which I am about to write. And, I write about these things not to shame anyone or make someone feel foolish, but to educate. For, as someone once said, “Fool me once… shame on you. Fool me… can’t get fooled again.”

Queue

Fine word, dumb spelling. I think most people know what the word means when they hear it, but when faced with it on screen or on paper, they panic. They feel that it can’t possibly be correct that you pronounce the word correctly by saying just the first letter. And really, what is the point of the second “ue?” If the word stopped at “Que,” I think we would all do just fine. To back me up, you can listen to a robot lady say the word here.

So anyway, it is pronounced “kyoo.” It is not pronounced “kwee,” or “kweh-weh,” or “kway,” so don’t say those things aloud. In your head is fine, but out loud, “kyoo.”

Ellipsis

So, this one is even harder, and I often use the plural when I should use the singular. The thing this word refers to is not the geometry thing, which is spelled “ellipse,” and refers to conic sections. An ellipsis is three periods. It means that something has been left out, like in a quote you would read in a news story. I used them in the quote above, somewhat erroneously, although not necessarily. In the quote in the first paragraph, what I left out were the awkward pauses that occurred in delivery of the words in a speech. I do that often in writing to indicate a pause that would occur if I were talking. I don’t think that it is quite correct to do that, but I don’t care because I think it makes people read what I am writing in the way I would like them to. Also, I am not in school anymore and will not receive poor marks on a test.

Now, the computer tie-in is that Microsoft loves to use the ellipsis in SharePoint, which is why I need to refer to them almost daily. If you store a file in SharePoint, at the right side of the space where the filename appears, there will be an ellipsis indicating that there is more ‘stuff’ you can do. In their infinite wisdom, the ‘stuff’ you get to next is never the ‘stuff’ you want, so you need to click on another ellipsis to get to the good ‘stuff.’ So, in SharePoint, there are two ellipsis, or to use the plural, there are ellipses, that you need to be aware of and use.

At any rate, I have found that most people are not aware of what the word for those three little dots are. Now, you have perhaps been made aware, and can lord it over your friends. I suggest you get started now.

Summary

Let’s all just get back to work and not worry about any of this, shall we?

 

Fixing OneDrive When It Will Not Even Start

So, after trying to set up a sync of a very large Library at a time when an associate was indicating a problem with syncing to his machine, I ended up breaking my machine. At first, it seemed like sync worked for me, but I am thinking it didn’t. We rebooted and updated the server since then, so that might help us out as well.

Long story short, I restored to a previous day in System Restore, which fixed my issue.

BUT…

Having done so many other things, I am not sure if that is all it would take. First I followed option 1 in the post at ShayAtik.com. Now at least I know where OneDrive hides its files. I also experimented with removing OneDrive and some other sub-office 2013 components, and nothing worked.

So the key ended up being that I could use OneDrive when logged into the same machine as another user. That led me to try the rollback, which allowed me to sync things again. Unfortunately, I am not sure how it would work to re-sync the libraries in the associate’s OneDrive area – I was not syncing anything that I needed. So, I would highly recommend creating a copy of all local files before messing with anything. I say, give the following a try.

The Process

  1. Create a copy of all data in the end-user’s OneDrive and/or SharePoint sync folders.
  2. Log into the machine as another user.
  3. Assuming OneDrive works under the other user, log back into the regular user.
  4. Restore to a point prior to the emergence of the issue.
  5. Hopefully, things will work again.
  6. If not, try the stuff indicated in the link above and try again.

I would like to have more definitive info in the post, because this issue will be a serious one if it comes up with our clients.

Unlicensed Office 2013 Error

Apparently, Microsoft Office products that you run per an Office 365 subscription are deciding that they are not licensed. There is a fixit out there for it, and I had a client run it, and it seems to have done nothing. My guess is, it was because he had not closed all Microsoft applications prior to running it. Anyway, the following (lifted from SpiceWorks) worked, so I am posting it here, mostly so I do not forget how to do this next time.

  1. Make sure all Office programs are closed. This will ensure the script runs properly.
  2. Open the Command Prompt as Administrator.
  3. Navigate to the Office Installation folder %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office\Office15\.
  4. Run “cscript ospp.vbs /act”.

I opened up an Office product and all was well.

My Fascination With Precious Metals & Superlatives

I think that software companies should be required to choose at least two precious metals/superlatives when describing their wares. It should be kind of like calling every new flavor of thing “extreme,” but more intense and exciting. When I see Trend Antivirus Plus, I can’t possibly know what that product does – can’t do it. But, add in something like Gold, and you get Trend Antivirus Plus, Gold Edition. NOW I can kind of understand what it does. It must, I don’t know, do something really good (because it’s gold) with, virus things. Still can’t be sure if it maybe gives you viruses, or maybe takes them away – I don’t know, I only know it is good at what it does because of the “gold” in the name. What if it was Trend Security Gold? Security is always good, so that is a better name. But Gold? I don’t know, I have a gold ring, and so do most people I bet. Gold doesn’t even seem special anymore. What about Titanium? That is even better, I could almost get behind Trend Titanium Security. My computer would be so shiny and secure, nothing could get in! Or could it? Maybe if I knew it couldn’t get any better. Hmmmm… How about adding that superlative? Let’s get Maximum in there somehow. How about Trend Titanium Maximum Security! Yes! A thing could not get any better at what it was doing than if it was called that. Oh wait, what about Premium? Is that better than Maximum. Now I am confused. Premium is the best kind of gas, but I though maximum was the very top level that could be achieved. And what if I find an Ultimate version of the same product? Maybe if they could sell me Trend Titanium Premium Maximum Total Security Suite, Diamond Edition, I could sleep at night. Nah, I’d still have some doubt. I mean, they didn’t even mention any of the Lanthanides or Actinides. Another sleepless night…

 

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Windows 8 Tip Sheet for Non-Touchscreens

I use this for my clients. It’s not all-inclusive or anything, but it covers enough to get people to the point where Windows 8 becomes not that big of a change from previous versions.

01. At the initial startup screen (technically, the Lock Screen) just click the mouse to move on.
02. The Start Screen has replaced the Start Menu.
03. The little pictures on the Start Screen are called tiles.
04. The tile called “Desktop” takes you to where you do almost all of your work.
05. Right-click in any blank area of the Start Screen to bring up a way to show all the programs and apps on your computer. You can also use CTRL+TAB.
06. Use the WINDOWS KEY (which I will refer to as WIN henceforth) to bring up the Start Screen from pretty much everywhere.
07. Use WIN+X to bring up a list of Windows features like the control panel, run etc.
08. Right-click any tile on the Start Screen to bring up a list of things you can do with it, like attach to the taskbar of the desktop.
09. Click and drag tiles to move them around.
10. Use ALT+TAB to switch between running programs. This is not new, but it is more useful now, I think.
11. Moving the mouse into the extreme upper-right corner brings out the poorly-named Charms Bar, which has a search tool that you will seldom use, but if you use the Store to download apps, you will use it to search for apps to buy or download. You can also use WIN-C to get to the Charms Bar.
12. Moving the mouse into the extreme lower-left corner brings up a way to get to the Start Screen when you are on the Desktop, or the Desktop when you are on the Start Screen.
13. Use CTRL+ALT+DEL to get to the Power Icon in the lower-right corner, which you can click on to restart, shutdown etc.
14. When you want to close an “App,” which is essentially any program that is bundled with Windows 8, downloaded from the Store or a unique Windows 8 feature, you click and drag from the very top of the screen to the very bottom. Makes total sense with a touchscreen, and absolutely none with a mouse.
15. For searching for files, open the Computer icon. (which you can get back onto your desktop the same way you did in Windows 7 – just right-click on a blank area of the Desktop, and choose “Personalize.” You add it under “Change desktop icons” in the left column.) Navigate to the drive you want to search and use the search tool that is in the upper-right of the window.

I want to reiterate that these tips are for general use, and while there might be more technical ways of stating things, this is meant for people who just want to get their work done.

MicroSlams

I feel that I may have coined that term: MicroSlams. Maybe not, but let’s pretend Google does not exist and nobody can check up on it.

So, a MicroSlam is when someone, usually a blogger or commenter, uses an alternate spelling of Microsoft that really sticks it to the company. Ya know – really gives the multibillion dollar company the business. Maybe even zings Bill Gates directly. They’re kind of like the pictures of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes where he is peeing on the logos of car companies – the ones you see in the back windows or bumpers of pickup trucks. Personally, I don’t really understand either of them, but boy do I love ’em!

So I ran into one recently that I thought was simply brilliant. My guess is that it came from a former writer of Mad Magazine parodies, like maybe the guy who came up with “Flawrence of Arabia” or “Star Roars.” I tell ya, it’s hard to even type this post, because I am still doubled up with laughter. How people can be so clever, I’ll never know.

So, here it is, in all its glory:

Micr0$uck$ LoseDoze8. Nice.

But wait, there’s more. Now, some of the following are from some pretty old websites, but that just goes to show you how long this glorious pasttime has been around. Why, I wouldn’t be suprised to learn that Paul Allen heard Bill say “Microsoft” for the first time and immediately said something to the effect of, “Microsoft? More like Craprosoft! Tee Hee.” Those guys were huge jokers back in the day I bet. Here are some other nice examples:

Genius!

Bravo!

Shakespearean!

Huzzah!

Now, that last one comes from a very old website, but it really is worth a look. When you have some extra time on your hands, like probably now, head on over to the ol’ Microshaft Internet Exploder homepage. It’s a hoot.

Look. We all have guilty pleasures. Like enjoying the music of Air Supply or Pink. Or things we say that make us feel cool, even though we know we sound stupid. Like “dude” or “sweet.” But, from what dark region of the soul comes pleasure derived from taking multinational companies down a notch via anonymous and poorly-crafted bon mots? I have not yet read the blockbuster best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey, so perhaps there is something in there that might explain it.

I guess I don’t know why this should bother me so much. Maybe it is because mispronouncing things as a form of comedy seems to be an old-guy thing, and I fear becoming an old guy. I think it starts when you become a father. You get lazy with your comedy, because kids laugh at everything. Then your kids grow up and think you’re an idiot, but you are too weak and feeble to bring back your good stuff. Then you log onto the Internet and post something stupid because its late in the evening and your blood sugar is all funny. Then you log on again later and find out that other idiots on the internet think you are funny, and add more funny things to your post. Then its all over…