Marvel’s Agents of Shield S01E18–Providence

WARNING: Thar be Spoilers below! If you haven’t watched this episode, then it’s going to be spoiled for you if you keep reading. The only comments allowed in this post are those that don’t give away anything after this episode. In this day and age, with all of the DVR / Streaming services, who knows when someone will watch this episode, it could be years after the Air date. Don’t spoil it! Feel free to comment about anything up to and including this episode, and feel free to do so forever.

In this episode, Agent Ward and Garrett are busting folks out of the Fridge, but first they free up Flowers. We find out that Shield is on the run, with most of their bases in the hands of Hydra. The news is grim.

imageI don’t know if you caught it, but in the news coverage that Coulten is watching in the beginning of the episode, there’s a neat shot of the Helicarrier plowing through the side of a building.

Remember when they were wiping all of the data on the plane because it was too dangerous to fall into the hands of HYDRA? Yea, they put in on a hard drive as backup, and who did they give it to? That’s right, Agent Ward.  I didn’t put that together until watching the recap of the last episode.

With the US Government coming to tie up SHIELD, Coulsen and the team get their personal data wiped out of the system, becoming ghosts, and go on the run to some strange coordinates sent to them on Coulson’s SHIELD badge.

One thing that struck me as strange is that if they thought ahead enough to pack all of the Official SHIELD cold weather gear, why are they all wearing different hats? Anyway, when they get there, they find find…

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Patton Oswalt! It was really cool to see him in the episode. Evidently he doesn’t get out much, trapped underground with no contact. At least he knew that Fury was still alive.

Now the team has a base of operations, which isn’t really a secret since they told the double crosser Ward where it is. Of course, at the end we see him showing up to say hi.

So at the end of the episode, we see the bad guys have gravitonium, and every other super weird thing that they have been collecting all season long. There’s only 4 episodes left…

Weekly News Roundup

The Wil Wheaton ProjectI bet this will be cool, SyFy is carrying a “topical comedy show hosted by actor, blogger and chanpion of geek culture Wil Wheaton” starting May 27th. It’s supposed to be a working title, but it sounds just find to me. Mark your calendars! Wil has a long article that explains some of the trials and tribble-ations that went into pitching, and creating the show. It’s a good read.

Computers are pretty good at Captcha – As Scooby Doo would say, Ruh Roh Shaggy! Now if computers can figure out Captcha, which I only get right about half the time, why can’t they figure out my handwriting?

Now you can email to OneNote! – Yea baby! Saw this on the office blog.  Go into the “email settings” page (linked from the article) and after making sure you’re logged in with the correct live account, register the “from” address. Then email sent to “me@onenote.com” goes into your onenote notebook, in the “quick notes” (unfiled on android) section.

MS Fixes WSUS for Windows 8.1 – Microsoft released a fix for WSUS 3.2 so that Windows 8.1 Devices can now be patched. The 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 updates will be able to be deployed for 120 days. Apply by August 12th. After that window, separate security updates will be made available to get you there.

Peter Bright has an interesting article over at arstechnica Stating why he believes this to be an indication that Microsoft won’t be issuing any more service packs. Personally I don’t see it that way, I think the 8.1 update was a “aww crap we put something out that no on likes, so let’s make people a bit happier”. There was such an outcry from folks about the Metro style interface, and the lack of a start button, that Microsoft felt they had to do something. I will say, I’m looking forward to the update that let’s you get rid of the Metro interface.

Ask your friends for entertainment recommendations via Facebook – Over on Mashable, Kurk Wagner highlights an upcoming feature to facebook that allows you to ask friends for recommendations on what to watch, read, or listen to. Sounds pretty good, depending on your friends tastes of course.

I personally never enter stuff like that on facebook. There’s already so many sites where I can list things I like, and rate movies and books, it just seems a little redundant to tell yet another service what I like. The article says it’s coming out in late 2013, but since he just posted the article a day before I read it, I assume he means 2014.

Microsoft slashes Windows XP custom support prices just days before axing public patches – Up to 90% for large corporations. Read more over at Computerworld.

Feature Photo courtesy of laffy4k, unmodified under a Creative Commons License.

Marvel’s Agents of Shield S01E17 – Turn, Turn, Turn

WARNING: Thar be Spoilers below! If you haven’t watched this episode, then it’s going to be spoiled for you if you keep reading. The only comments allowed in this post are those that don’t give away anything after this episode. In this day and age, with all of the DVR / Streaming services, who knows when someone will watch this episode, it could be years after the Air date. Don’t spoil it! Feel free to comment about anything up to and including this episode, and feel free to do so forever.

Well, now that we have that out of the way, Agents of Shield is one of the shows that my wife doesn’t care for. It’s not that she’s watched them and didn’t like the show, it’s just that the fact it’s a Marvel spinoff puts her off of it. The only other person in the house that cares for it besides me is my oldest. I’m going to take any opportunity to Geek-ify my kids that I can, so I don’t watch it much until he’s available and we’re not being force to watch something else.

This Saturday we were able to catch up, and got epispde 17 and 18 in. I’ll post about 18 in just a little while.

imageFirst off, I loved the shot of Agent Garett just kicking back in the plane, reading a book on strategy while drinking some coffee and listening to “Don’t Fear the Reaper”. Of course he’s flying from point A to B in some weird combat jet, to do who knows what when he gets there.

This episode opens up with us assuming that Agent Hand is the bad guy, and somehow wants to kill everyone we like. We are led to believe that she’s part of Hydra and the imageconspiracy to take over shield. Of course, after the scene with Simmons and Hand, where the choice is to swear allegiance to Hydra or die, we figure out that she’s a good guy.

Then, just when you thought you were adjusted to this whole weird situation, we find out that the bad guy is actually Agent Garrett. That killed me.

I really liked his character. Bill Paxton is such a great actor, and with the stories that Garrett told, I could totally see being buddies with him. When he turns on Coulsen, I was blown away. Hydra? Really? Come on John, I expected more from you!

Of course, the real shocker comes at the end when Ward kills Hand.

Yes, Ward killed hand. WTF? I didn’t see Ward being the bad guy. Sure, he’s fairly cold, but he gets the job done and we know where his loyalty lies, or at least we thought we knew where his loyalty lied.

I know Hand was a cold chick, but I really dug those red streaks in her hair. Why isn’t that in fashion? Please, if you have hair, make that in fashion.

Hair fetishes aside, I still have a feeling that Ward is going to be a triple agent, and end up turning on Garrett in the end. Not 100%, but let’s say I’m 83.2% sure.

How to Install Windows Live Writer

Live Writer is personally my favorite blog editing tool. Has multiple blog / account support, supports WordPress, and even downloads your theme directly from the blog so you have a really preview of the post.

Live Writer is now part of the Windows Live Essentials Suite of apps. Here’s how you install it.

1. Go to the Windows Essentials site

2. Click on Download Now

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3. Run the Installer – Windows is going to ask you if it’s OK to install, tell it yes.

4. The Windows Essentials 2012 installer will launch. If you want to, you can install everything, personally, I am going to choose the programs to install.

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5. If you chose the second option, then select which programs you would like to install. On the computer below, OneDrive is already installed. I recommend it if you don’t already use it.

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The installer will start doing its job.

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Once it’s all finished, it will tell you so.

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Just go into the start menu, and you’ll find your applications.

How to add another user’s mailbox to your Outlook 2010 Profile

Sometimes you need to add another user’s mailbox to your Outlook, who knows why, maybe you replaced someone, maybe the boss needs you to look for something. Whatever the case may be, this is how you do it.

Note: Before this will work, your domain account needs to be granted full access to the mailbox.

In Microsoft Outlook, click on “File”

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Then click on “Account Settings”, and in the drop down menu that appears, click on “Account Settings”. This will open up the account settings dialog box.

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Near the top of the dialog box, click on “Change”, this open’s the “Change Account” dialog.

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Near the bottom right of the “Change Account Dialog, click on “More Settings”

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In the dialog that appears, click on “Advanced”

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Next to the “Open these additional Mailboxes” Section, click on “Add”. The “Add Mailbox” will be displayed. Type in the user’s name, and then click OK.

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Once you click on “OK”, Exchange will try to find the user in the address book. If you receive an error that “The Name cannot be resolved, you’ll have to try again. Otherwise, you’ll be brought back to the advanced tab, and the new name will be listed as one of the additional mailboxes to open.

At this point, just click on “OK”, then Next on the Change Account dialog. Then finally, click on Finish.

Once you’ve completed that, the mailbox will show up under your mailbox in the folder pane. When you click on that mailbox, if you receive an error that the folders couldn’t be expanded, then you either don’t have permissions to access the mailbox, or the change hasn’t replicated yet.

You can try to wait awhile, and then close Outlook and re-open it. If you still can’t open it, talk to your Network Administrator.

Can’t wait for these Zombie TV shows

imageThree new Zombie TV Series on the horizon?

I sure love me some Zombies! I’ve always been a fan, from way back when, reading and watching about the walking dead were one of my favorite things to do. Of course, back then, there were some really good choices, but comparatively not a whole lot to choose from.

Fast forward to present day, and there’s a smorgasbord of good Zombie material. Books all over the place, comic books, tv shows and of course movies. What a great time to be alive!

When “The Walking Dead was announced, I was ecstatic, I had loved the comic book. Then when I realized that the TV adaptation was going to be different than the comic, and that was great news.

I had two big fears about a TV Series based on the comic. Fear number one, that it would be terrible. Luckily it isn’t anywhere near terrible. It’s amazingly good!

My second fear was infinitely worse, that it would be amazing, but not enough people would watch it, and it would be cancelled. This is the path that many good shows have gone, thankfully, it doesn’t look like that will be the case for a good long while.

imageOf course now, I’m hungry for more. Then I come  across the tidbit that there’s going to be a spinoff series, and I can’t wait. Although I’m going to have to wait, because it isn’t slated to launch until 2015. Knowing how good the original “The Walking Dead”  series is, the spinoff will be worth the wait.

 

imageWait? Hold on, what’s that? Syfy is coming out with a new TV Series called “Z Nation”! Yes! My DVReth runneth over! This one premieres in the fall, and is going to place the survivors 3 years after the outbreak, with one survivor who needs to be transported across the country to a lab where his blood could be used to create a vaccine. This one is supposed to come out in the fall of this year.

imageThe third show that I’m really salivating over, but haven’t heard much about lately, is the Zombieland TV series on Amazon. They gave us a pilot, which isn’t available now,  and I don’t see any info on it’s season page. I have my fingers crossed that this comes out.

Post header photo courtesy of Todd Hryck

Where to Get some Free eBooks?

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My family reads quite a bit, and since my kindle has the ability to store so many books, I like to keep lots of stuff on it.

I believe it was my mother in law that introduced me to BookBub, and I sure am glad that she did. Sign up is easy, just enter your email address, and away you go.

Tell them which book categories that you enjoy, and what type of e-reader you have, and every day they will send you an email with a whole slew of free and cheap books. The list of genres is pretty impressive, and if a book is free and you don’t like it, just delete it, you can’t lose.

As a bonus, since I look at the email they send most days, I’ve had a number of books that I’ve already read come up on the list, and I really liked getting the digital version for free.

I’ve been introduced to several new authors that I really enjoy, and have started several series of books that I would never have heard of if it wasn’t for the offer in Bookbub. Go ahead and check them out.

8 things the average person should do about the Heartbleed Virus

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You’re worried about the heartbleed virus, right? Well don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s been all over the news, the internet is buzzing about it, and let’s not even bring up social media. Some  news media outlets / websites think that the sky is falling. Some poor network administrators are losing a whole lot of sleep over it, either from worry or late night patching binges.

What should the average computer user at home do though? Personally, I’m not changing any password unless the web site tells me I should, but I already have a good password policy in place. If you use the same password on every site, then here are some steps that will help to keep you safe.

The Short / Mobile Version

  1. Don’t Panic
  2. Change your password policy, have at least 4 different ones, using strong passwords for email and financial institutions.
  3. Learn how to make a strong password
  4. Check your email provider with this tool and change the password if they were affected but are patched.
    https://lastpass.com/heartbleed/
  5. Use the same tool to check each of your financial institutions and change the password if they were affected and are now safe.
  6. Same thing, but for important web services / web sites that you use.
  7. Keep an eye out for unusual financial activity
  8. Keep an eye out for messages from your web sites / banks etc telling you to change your password. Don’t follow the link in the message though, it could be a scam. Go directly there and change the password.

If you want a better explanation, keep reading.
The Regular Verison

1. Don’t Panic
Take it easy, there’s no reason to get hysterical. This is happening to everyone, and no one yet knows how much information has been taken. If you keep an eye on your accounts and report any weird financial stuff to your credit card company or your bank in a timely manner, you won’t be responsible for it. Any damage can be handled.

    2. Think about your passwords.
I mean really think about your passwords. Do you use the same password on every web site and service? If so, that’s got to stop now. Seriously, don’t do that.

You should at the very minimum have 4 different passwords:
– One very good password for your email account
– A different strong password for each of your bank accounts
– A different strong password for each of your credit card accounts
– Another decent password for other services (Facebook, twitter, whatever you use)

If the bad guys get your password and email address, and it’s the same password you use for your email account, then it’s game over. They can now get into your email, change your password, and then request password resets on all of your other services, including your bank.

Yes, most banks have other measures of security, but if I can get into your facebook account and your email, how hard would it be to find out the name of your high school, dog or child? Maybe your mother’s maiden name is in there too. Maybe I could post on facebook and ask, do you think some of your friends might answer?

Vulnerabilities happen all of the time, and they don’t usually get this much publicity. Even if it isn’t a vulnerability like Heartbleed, internet companies get hacked fairly often. If they do, then you don’t want the bad guys to have access to every other account you have.

    3. Learn how to create a strong password
It’s not terribly hard, longer is better, but use something easy to remember. For example, if you like NASCAR, use driver’s names, or the names of tracks. If you like Game of Throes, try character names. Then after you pick something, swap out a letter for a number that looks like the letter, and add a special character (like @#$%^) and / or a number.

So if you chose “Lannister” as a password, you could replace the a with an “@” symbol and make it “L@nnister”, then add a 1 after it to make it “L@nnister1”. That’s a pretty good password. Want to make it better? Make it longer, “L@nnister1-Boo” is even better, or “SitUponTheThroneofSwords4me!” is a really strong. You get the idea.

4. Check to see if your email provider is safe.
Now that you have some good passwords, let’s put them to use!

This tool will let you know if they are safe: https://lastpass.com/heartbleed/
If they are safe, but were vulnerable, you probably want to change that password. Also, see the note in Step 3.

    5. Check to see if your Financial institutions are safe.
Use the same tool to check your bank, credit card company, or other financial institutions https://lastpass.com/heartbleed/
Follow the same advice as above, if the bank is safe, and they were never vulnerable, don’t worry about changing your password. If they are safe, but they are now OK, then you should probably change your password.

Note: If either your bank or your email service shows up as still being unsafe, you probably should change the password, but keep checking back until they are listed as safe. At that point, you’ll have to change your password again just in case.

6. Other web services and social media.
If you use a site all the time, and you want to be super safe, then you probably should change the password.
Check them out with the tool https://lastpass.com/heartbleed/

Follow the advice above for the bank and for your email account.

But if you created an account and then never used it, don’t sweat it. If it’s something you use a lot, then think about the last time you changed your password. If you can’t remember when it was, then go ahead and change it anyway.

    7. Keep an eye out on your accounts.
I know I said it in #1, and we pretty much all do this already these days, but if you don’t, start keeping an eye on your bank accounts and credit cards for weird charges. The idea here is to catch anything as soon as you can so that you can report it to the bank or credit card company within a reasonable amount of time (30 days is the typical window you have to deny charges).

   8. Keep an eye on your email
If you receive a message from a site you use telling you to change the password, don’t follow the link in the email (it could be a scam), go directly to the site and change your password.

Heartbleed Panic, is it overstated?

heartbleed

I sure know how to pick the day to stay home sick. Well, I wasn’t sick, it was my son, but the little ones can’t be left home alone. Either way, Hearbleed is everywhere, the news centers went crazy, and it was all over, the panic started.

“Change every password on every account that you have, and do it now!!!” My wife even called me from work, to her credit, it was to get the real scoop.

If you’re concerned about which sites are affected, Mashable has a really nice list of sites and their status, called the “Heartbleed Hit List: The Passwords you need to change right now.

But how bad is it really going to be? Sure, the NSA has known about it for years, and so have many hackers, but is all the damage done now? So, with my first post on my brand new, just gutted blog, I’m going to make a prediction, I don’t think it’s going to turn out to be that big of a deal. Sure, everyone is going to have to scramble to patch systems, and most people will have to change passwords, but in the end, I think all of the damage from this has already been done.

What I’m hoping is that with all of the media coverage, maybe some users who haven’t already will learn about good password policy.

If you haven’t seen it, XKCD has a wonderful explanation of how heartbleed works:

Heartbleed Explanation