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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

200 Students Cheat On College Exam

Professor Richard Quinn at the University of Central Florida (UCF), which specializes in stopping cheaters, caught 1/3 of his class - nearly 200 students - cheating on an exam. Quinn dressed-down the whole class and gave an ultimatum for the cheaters to come forward, threatening serious consequences if they didn't, even expulsion.

During his dressing-down of the class Quinn told them, "I am . . . physically ill. Absolutely disgusted." Professor Quinn is making all 600 students take the test again, no matter what. I couldn't agree more with both his comments and actions.

One student who was interviewed, Konstantin Ravvin said, "This is college. Everyone cheats; everyone cheats in life in general. I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in this testing lab who hasn't cheated on an exam. They are making a witch hunt out of absolutely nothing. As if it were to teach us some kind of moral lesson." WTF, Konstantin? Ravvin's comments are frightening. Frightening that anyone would think it's OK, even normal that "everyone" cheats. Which hunt? Absolutely nothing? Ravvin and his ilk scare the hell out of me - that they are potentially going to be future leaders in this country. If that's the case we are doomed.

Ravvin's comment saying, "as if it were to teach us some kind of moral lesson," is exactly the point of what Professor Quinn is doing.

I'm glad this has come to light. I believe it is a rampant problem - not just in schools but in life in general. People need to be accountable and responsible for their own actions, and they need to learn to do their own work, not cheat or rely on others to get through school and especially life.

I applaud Professor Quinn. His actions are heroic. On the other hand Konstantin Ravvin and others like him scare the hell out of me.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

SonicWALL Spam Filter SMTP Telnet Test

For years I have used this quick and easy method to test SMTP relaying on my servers.  Run telnet <mail server> 25 from a command prompt or terminal session. This opens a telnet session to the SMTP server using port 25, from which you can attempt to send a test email.

Example using telnet to test SMTP relay.
telnet smtp.powercram.com 25
helo admin@powercram.com
mail from:admin@powercram.com
rcpt to:admin@powercram.com
data
This is a test message...
.
If an email is sent to the address specified and relaying is allowed (to the domain specified) you know SMTP relaying is working on the specific server, etc.

Here's where I need to rant - the developers at SonicWALL are either really stupid or made a huge mistake. Either way their implementation of this method sucks! That's because in order to relay mail through one of their email security appliances you actually need to include angle brackets, <>, with both the from and to email addresses.

What they failed to realize is that the syntax <email@yourdomain.com> means use your own email address, minus the angle brackets (or greater than, less than signs - whatever you want to call them) like, admin@powercram.com. It doesn't mean to use <admin@powercram.com>.

The SonicWALL SMTP Telnet HowTo documentation says MAIL FROM:<someone@company.com> and RCPT TO:<someone@domain.com>. In my 20+ years as a technology professional I understand this to mean substituting the RCPT TO:<someone@domain.com> with an email address of my chosing, excluding the angle brackets! But, no, that's not SonicWALL's implementation. You must use the angle brackets on both the mail from and rcpt to commands as follows.

Example using telnet to test SMTP relay on a SonicWALL Email Security appliance.
telnet smtp.powercram.com 25
helo admin@powercram.com
mail from:<admin@powercram.com>
rcpt to:<admin@powercram.com>
data
This is a test message...
.
Stupid! Their developers need to get a clue and remove their requirement of using angle brackets on email addresses for this purpose.

Install Telnet (client) on Windows 7 (and Windows 2008 Server) From Command Line

Irritatingly Windows 2008 (and Windows 7) doesn't have telnet (client) installed by default.  It can easily be installed with the following command, from the command line (with administrator priveliges):
servermanagercmd -install Telnet-Client
Note: may take "several" minutes to complete.


Of course this can be done through the GUI as well in:
  • Control Panel > Programs > Turn Windows features on or off
  • In the Windows Features dialog box, select the Telnet Client check box
  • Click OK.  Wait. . .

Always Start Command Prompt as Administrator in Windows 7 and Windows 2008

Tired of opening a command prompt and running into lack of rights on Windows 7 and Windows 2008?  I am.  You can easily set the Command Prompt shortcut to always open the command prompt as administrator.  Just follow these easy steps.
  • Right-click on Command Prompt shortcut and select properties
  • On the shortcut tab select Advanced
  • Check box that says Run as Administrator

Trick Play Touchdown

A middle school football team in Corpus Christi, Texas pulls off an epic trick play to take the lead in a playoff game this past weekend.

Trick Play Touchdown - Watch more Funny Videos

Football Trick Play Goes Viral
Harry Smith speaks with the Idriscoll Middle School coaches and player responsible for the trick play that scored the Corpus Christi, Texas team a touchdown.

Schwarzenegger: 'No One Cares If You Smoke a Joint'

Soon-to-be-former governor of Kaleefornia Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn't have been more blunt on the topic of weed last night -- telling Jay Leno that in CA, "No one cares if you smoke a joint or not.

About time a politician has the balls to say this.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How to: Capture Screenshots on Motorola Droid X - No Root Required

I have to tell you I'm more than a little disappointed and frustrated that I cannot easily grab a screenshot on my Droid X without using either the Android SDK or rooting the phone (see my other Droid X frustrations).  The ability to grab screenshots on both iPhone's and Blackberry's is built-in.  Shouldn't Android devices have this too?

These instructions on how to capture a screenshot on your Droid X (or Droid or Droid 2, and maybe other Android phones too. . . ) with the Android SDK aren't original, but they are customized a little for the way I did it.
  1. Download and install the Java SDK appropriate for your OS.
  2. Download the Android SDK and unzip it to a convenient location.
  3. Enable USB Debugging on your Droid (Home, Settings, Applications, Development, check USB Debugging).
  4. Connect your Droid to your PC via USB cable.
  5. Open the Android SDK folder and browse to “tools” and run the “ddms.bat” file.
  6. Navigate to the screen you want to capture on your Droid.
  7. In DDMS select Device, Screen Capture.
  8. DDMS will capture the screen & display it.  You can then save and capture as many screens as you'd like.

Want to remove unwanted crapware from your Droid?  See How To Remove City ID (and other crapware like Blockbuster, Skype and VZ Navigator) From Droid X (and other Android phones) for detailed instructions.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Things I Hate About My Droid X (Android)

Hate might be a little strong. . .  I've had my Droid X for a few months now and all-in-all I've been pretty pleased.  The Android OS is pretty well done and quite fast too.  I've had these thoughts brewing in my mind for a while and wanted to make a list of things I like, things I don't like and kind of a wish list.  I'll be adding to this list from time-to-time so check back.  And, please make any comments with things you like or dislike about your Android phone, particularly Motorola's Droid X.

See How To Remove City ID (and other crapware like Blockbuster, Skype and VZ Navigator) From Droid X (and other Android phones) for detailed instructions.

Things I like (maybe even love) about my Droid X:
  • There are a lot of things to like.  It's been very nice so far.  I was worried about the touch screen keyboard, but it's been fine.  I'm a believer.
  • Google Maps & Navigation.  Long-time user of Google Maps.  Love that on the Android, especially the navigation.  Used it over the weekend on a road trip - worked great!
  • Fast startup.  Really kicks ass over my BlackBerry (Curve, Tour and Bold) which took upwards of 15 minutes.
  • Love the size of the screen - especially compared to those iPhone things by Apple.
  • I love that it's not an iPhone or Apple product.  A lot could be said here; open, not under Steve Jobs' control, Flash support, basically that it isn't an iPhone.
Things I hate (or dislike or that bug me) and problems I've had with my Droid X:
Note: I began to notice most of these issues after upgrading to Froyo. . . .
  • Shitware from Verizon and/or Motorola.  This is my biggest complaint - crap I don't want and can't uninstall.  Namely CityID, Amazon MP3, BlockBuster, VZ Navigator, etc.
  • Problems accessing my corporate (Exchange server) email.  Sometimes it just doesn't fetch email for hours at a time.  In fact, it hasn't worked properly over the past 24 hours since right after I last restarted the Droid.
  • No easy way to capture screenshots on Android - very easy on both BlackBerry and iPhone's.
  • Scrolling through lists, web pages, etc. is choppy.  It seemed much smoother before the Froyo upgrade.  WTF?
  • When long-pressing on a number in the dialer need to have to option to copy the number!
  • Contacts.  Lots of little things here.
    • First, I don't like that it automatically makes all people I follow on Twitter contacts.  Give me a choice.
    • After viewing a contact & clicking on the back button I'm taken to the top of the contact list rather than the spot I was previously.
    • The Notes field is not big enough (doesn't display enough information) and not easy to edit.
  • Often it cannot recognize media files, particulary music - mp3 files for heaven's sake.  It will display the message, "Sorry, the player does not support this type of audio file," and I have to restart the phone to correct this problem.  This is an issue that's fairly easy to reproduce - it's not random.
  • Email to SMS messages are duplicated.  (This one is a little tricky so you'll have to follow along).  I receive several SMS messages daily that originate from an email account.  Essentially they are emailed to nnnnnnnnnn@mycellphoneprovider.com and received as SMS messages.  If the message contains both a subject and body I receive two SMS entries, the first with display the body text only, the second displays the subject in parentheses along with the body.  If there is a subject only I'll still receive two messages, the first is blank and the second contains only the subject, in parentheses of course.  Finally, if there is a message without a subject I receive only one SMS message.  Pretty annoying.
  • Ever since 2-3 upgrades ago Handcent SMS displays email-to-SMS messages with UTC time, rather than local time.  The built-in SMS app displays the time correctly.  Otherwise Handcent SMS is great!
  • While typing I'll enter a space, then a hyphen, but the hyphen is placed right next to the last character I typed, not the space.  If I press space, hyphen that's what I want, not character, hyphen, space!
  • Every once in a while when I dial a contact from the recent list it dials the wrong person - another from the recent list.  It's kind of like the list hasn't fully updated when I load it, and when I click the phone icon next to the contact I want to call, an adjacent person's number is dialed.
  • Camera is a little slow to both focus and take the picture.  Certainly Motorola could do better with this.
Suggestions to make Android a better OS:
  • Fix all the stuff above, and. . . .
  • Allow me to adjust the ringer volume while the screen is locked!
  • All my recent Blackberry's had a great feature I wish the Droid X had - while listening to music long-pressing the increase volume rocker button will advance to the next song in a playlist, and similarly the reduce volume button will go back to the beginning of a song, and even prior song.  I really miss this Blackberry feature.  Wish Android had it.
  • While typing, after pressing space a few special characters are displayed above the qwerty line including exclamation, question mark, comma, @ sign and underscore.  These are great, however I would also like to see ampersand (&) and hyphen (-).  Better yet, give me the ability to easily edit these options.
Tell the FCC that Verizon (or AT&T or Sprint or ...) is forcefully installing applications with no choice to remove them by filing a complaint with the FCC at esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm. You can also file your complaint with the FCC’s Consumer Center by e-mailing fccinfo@fcc.gov; calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; or faxing 1-866-418-0232.  I suppose if enough people complain Verizon will stop trying to force this crap down our throats!

See More An(Droid X) Suggestions for more things I'd like to have on my An(Droid X) phone.