Goodbye Old Friend - Eulogy for the Best Printer Ever


Finally saying my goodbyes to this classic beauty, a Canon Pixma iP5000, purchased some 13 years ago. I typically hate printers with a fury and a passion, but you were the diamond to polish my rough edges.

We've had many ups through the years, some downs. We've moved to 6 diefferent addresses together, and worked across 6 different versions of Windows from XP to 10. We made many Christmas gifts for loved ones during the leaner years, printed hundreds of treasured memories. You printed edge to edge, 4x6, 5x7, 8.5x11 and everything in between. You printed on letter, heavy stock, labels, envelopes, even canvas.

You were always there for me when I needed you; always willing to lend an ear through a lonely, late night at the office. You were like the pet I could never have (due to debilitating allergies).

My favorite thing we ever made were all the themed invitations, handouts, charts, and game pieces for wifey's Roaring 20s Murder Mystery birthday.

The past few years it has been getting harder and harder to find your ink cartridges, except for gross knockoffs that could never replicate your brilliance. Sadly, you died before I could use you to print photos of my youngest child. I need to replace you with your younger, higher end cousin, Canon Pixma iP 8720. She has promised me she will carry on your mission; but no printer could ever be as versatile, hard working or long-lived as you, you are irreplaceable.

I will truly miss you my gentle, sleek, easy to use photo inkjet printer. Your best color was always cyan.

Private services will be held Wednesday, December 20th, 2017, in the recycling bin at my local electronics recycling company. Friends and family welcome.

Of my friend, I can only say this. Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most ... human.
— James T. Kirk

KRACK WPA2 Wi-fi Exploit

You may well have heard of the security exploit that was discovered in the WPA2 key implementation that is widely used in all Wi-Fi network installations/devices, commonly referred to as the ‘KRACK’ exploit.

This does affect Wi-Fi networks, computers that use Wi-Fi connections, including laptops/desktop/smart phones/tablets, etc.

Information about the exploit can be found here (this is a technical document):

It should be pointed out in this document that it stresses that the weakness/exploit is in the WPA key management itself, (i.e. the software implementation), not in the encryption standards that are used to encrypt data for Wi-Fi connections, or the products that use Wi-Fi for data transmission.

For clients of FlightPath IT, we want to assure you that we have taken steps to apply a security upgrade to your Wi-Fi networking hardware that we manage at your organization, to protect your Wi-Fi communications from this exploit. We are also working to insure that any workstations or other devices that we manage for your organization will be updated with security patches from the vendor of the operating systems (Windows/Mac OS X, etc.)

To date, there are no reported exploits of this weakness in the WPA protocol key handling, but we are working proactively to insure that there is no risk in your organization.

Also, please be aware that if you are using a VPN connection over your Wi-Fi network, the data traveling over that connection would not be vulnerable to this exploit, since the VPN client software will encrypt that data separately.

If you have questions or concerns about this, please reach out to us and we will be happy to discuss in detail the steps we have taken to secure your infrastructure.

Another day, another security hole

This article is slightly older, but still relevant. Approximately 900 million Android devices containg Qualcomm add-on software and chipset, are vulnerable to Quadrooter, an enermous number. The good news is the vulnerability has already been patched, so you should be safe as long as you keep your Android device (and all your devices) up to date, a practice we highly recommend and adapt ourselves.

Last Day for Free Upgrade to Windows 10

Today, July 29th, is the last day you can upgrade your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PC to Windows 10 for free. After today, Microsoft will presumably sell you the upgrade for a fee.

We recommend upgrading to Windows 10 for all home PCs. We recommend to our clients that new business workstations be bought with Windows 10. However, we do not recommend upgrading existing business workstations to Windows 10.

Be careful with wireless keyboards

Another day, another article about data vulnerabilities. This time the problem is wireless keyboards. Apparently several brands of wireless keyboards use no encryption whatsoever, and merely rely on obscure radio frequencies for minimal security. This leaves the end user open to key logging as well as key insertion. In other words someone could capture everything you type, or type directly on your computer. Your only recourse would be to unplug your wireless keyboard dongle / receiver. If you have a wireless keyboard from one of the brands listed in the article, you should switch to another brand or even a wired keyboard. I have been using the Logitech K750 for a few years and I love it. First off, Logitech is not one of the brands listed in the article. The keyboard has a low profile, tactile keys and the best part: it is solar powered so there are no batteries to die and replace. I recommend it.

Another reason to upgrade to Windows 10

I'm a big fan of Windows 10, I've been using it for over a year. Microsoft has built in a handy tool to get your system fresh out of the box, but without all the bloatware that PC manufacturers get paid to deploy to you. This is a great innovation in my opionin. In the past when I've gotten a new PC, the first thing I have done is reinstall the OS fresh from scrath -- this tool will save a lot of time!

Here's the details:

Uninstall Adobe Flash

Adobe Flash is problematic software. It is software that tends to linger on computers unpatched and full of vulnerabilities, and so has become a common vector for malware and ransomware infections. A 4th zero day exploint in 4 months has been announced, which means more ways your computer can become compromised. In addition to the security problems, it is also a resource hog. This is the main reason Flash has never been allowed to run on Apple iOS devices.

Here is a comprehensive explainer, all you need to know.

So seriously, uninstall flash where possible. If you absolutely do need it, make sure it is set to install patches automatically.