A reposting from my Facebook feed, I should have posted here first… :)

There are times when I wish I had my digital phone recording equipment still set up. You see I had jut received a call from a pleasant but urgent sounding gentleman from India.

(Me answering phone): Hello? pause Hello?
Gentleman: Hi I am calling from windows technical support to let you know that we have been getting notifications that your computer is being attacked by hackers and viruses. Every time you boot your computer and go to facebook or any other web site your computer is reporting to our Servers that it is slow and is under attack.
ME: OoooKaay
GENTLEMAN: Are you the primary user of your computer?
ME: Yes
GENTLEMAN: Well it is very urgent that we look at your computer because hackers are doing illegal things on it.
ME: (Vaugely interested in seeing where this goes) Oh no! I can’t have someone on my computer doing illegal things, can you help me?
GENTLEMAN: Yes, are you in front of your computer now? Can you see the screen?
ME: (staring at my Linux based Raspberry Pi computer) I can see it.
GENTELMAN: Look on the keboard on the bottom left side next to the CTRL Key do you see a 4 flat windows key?
ME: Yes I do.
GENTLEMAN: Press the key and while you are pressing it down press the R key as well.
ME: (not doing anything) It’s not doing anything.
GENTLEMAN: Press the window key and R.
ME: It’s not doing anything.
GENLTEMAN: (frustration in the voice) Do you know how to open the Run Box?
ME: The run box?
GENTLEMAN: Yes where you tell the computer to run a program?
ME: (very pregnant pause) Oh, you mean like running a command?
GENTLMEAN: Yes exactly like that.
ME: I have the run box open.
GENTLEMAN: What does it say in the box, is it blank?
ME: Hmmmm… why yes, it is blank.
GENTLEMAN: Ok, now I want you to type this into the run box: www.windowscareful.in (name changed to protect someone from trying this at home)
GENTLEMAN: Yes and click run.
ME: Nothing is happening, oh wait it said File not found.
GENTLEMAN: (irked, because I did that like 5 times) READ BACK TO ME LETTER BY LETTER what you have typed in.
GENTLEMAN: Ok, open a browser, do you have a browser?
ME: Yes, IceWeasel (true, it’s the browser I have on the Raspberry Pi)
GENTLEMAN: Run Mozilla browser.
GENTLEMAN: put the www.windowscareful.in in the URL bar.
ME: Ok
GENTLEMAN: What do you see? is there a red box that says GET IT NOW?
ME: Yes, I see it.
GENTLEMAN: Click on it and download the software.

***At this point I had to let him in on my con.
ME: No way, are you kidding me? You want me to install some random software from a person who called me out of the blue? Oh wait, another screen has popped up on my Raspberry Pi Linux Computer it is (letter by letter I said) WWW.SU*%MYD!@*.JERK.
GENTLEMAN: Dial tone.

Be careful out there, some people are always trying to social engineer their way into your stuff. Be smart… otherwise they can hold your computer hostage…. UGH. And this is the second time I’ve had someone try to pull that on me.


Raspberry Pi – I’m enthralled!

So, I got the single board computer bug.  Now yes, they are not as fast or feature filled as a standard desktop or laptop, however for the form factor and what is included in them (referring to the Raspberry Pi, as that’s the only SBC that I have purchased), a full office suite, web browser, programing languages, and some games; for $35 it is hands down a value proposition.

Now I’m not saying go out and sell your computers that you already have and use, I’m just saying that for a child it is a magical box of wonders. Heck, even for me a seasoned computer guy it is a magical box of wonders.

When I started getting interested in computers there were no personal computers. In my junior high school we had a terminal which connected to the school districts HP-2000A a time shared basic system.  It was able to connect to 32 remote sites via phone modem at one time.  And it wasn’t the modems that you may have seen in the last few decades, such as this: 

No, the ones we used were like this:

R-S_HDiMODEM (Custom)-2















Yes, that is a rotary phone if you’ve never seen one, and yes that funky thing the handset is ‘plugged’ into is a modem.  The one at my school did 110baud half duplex, here is the official, or semi-official definition of baud:

In telecommunication and electronics, baud (/ˈbɔːd/, unit symbol Bd) is the unit for symbol rate or modulation rate in symbols per second or pulses per second. It is the number of distinct symbol changes (signaling events) made to the transmission medium per second in a digitally modulated signal or a line code.
And here’s what half duplex means:
(adj.)Refers to the transmission of data in just one direction at a time. For example, a walkie-talkie is a half-duplex device because only one party can talk at a time. In contrast, a telephone is a full-duplex device because both parties can talk simultaneously.
So at the time, the decwriter terminal that we were connected to could absolutely keep up with communications… and here is what one of those decwriter terminals looked like:

And Yes, that is paper… we didn’t have video terminals to work on our projects, we had to bring our own paper. The most popular computer paper at the time was the 132 column gray bar paper. The cool thing about it was that you used it once, turned it over and fed it back into the terminal were able to use it again, then you would flip the paper over and print up and down as you did the first time. So we could print 4 different sessions on each section of pin fed paper…. we were broke and would recycle just so we could really do some computing. However back in the day, most of our computing was writing “hello world” basic programs. And when we were really feeling adventurous we could try our hand at making games.  Yes, if we wanted to play a game, most times we would need to create it; program it.


And the raspberry pi brings that “programming it” back to computing.  Yes, there are lots of linux games and applications that you can download and use, but the best part is the fact that you CAN program it. When the first Macintosh came out I was so disappointed that it didn’t come out of the box with at least a basic interpreter…

So maybe more than anything else I am glad that a new age of computing has started to come about. It has been years since I have been excited about computers… and I totally am now!


Raspberry Pi Zero:
Raspberry Pi Model B
Raspberry Pi Model B+
So we own a Raspberry Pi zero, amazing computer for less than 5 dollars, the Raspberry Pi Model B and the Raspberry Pi Model B+ costs less that $30.00.

Why so many?  I have three Model B+, one for me, one for my eldest son, and one for my youngest son.

I have a Pi Zero, because. it’s. awesome.

I have a Pi model B because I originally got that one to learn about single board computers and share that with my sons.  I’ve tried the get my wife and daughter interested, but alas, their interestes lie elsewhere, the agree it is cool, but that’s all. :)

We will be looking for interesting projects to start on.  Right now I think we’re going to work on projects out of the MagPi magazine. You can check out the online free version of MagPi at: https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi/


Wow, after I got my first pc back in 1988, I had been a true windows/dos guy.  Over the years of configuration night-mares, and virus hell, I was introduced to Solaris, which was Sun Microsystem’s brand of Unix.

And recently I have gotten into the single board computer, the Raspberry pi, which in all reality is a computer on a chip.  And for less than $30 you can get yourself a fairly decent computer to access the internet, do documents, and spreadsheets.

And their are brilliant things you can do with it other than just play games.  You can program it as well, out of the box it run’s raspbian linux which is a version of debian linux, and there are lots of packages available.

And more posts about mine and my boys adventures with Raspberry Pi, I got them each one as well… great stuff.  Want to learn more, check out.

http://raspberrypi.org  Finally a modern replacement for the 8 bit machines of the past.

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