Inexpensive Cell Service Experience

Recently I went in search of new secondary service for a work phone. And my really old iPhone was totally dead. So I figured I grab my current ‘spare’ Samsung 8+, which is wholly owned by me supposed to be completely unlocked etc, and use that.
When I tried to get the phone ‘registered’ (have to check the IMEI on sites to see if compatible and not under contract etc.) with any MVNO it was showing that it was NOT TRULY unlocked by Sprint – still had some contractual issues.
To finally get that BS cleared up was a complete exercise in determined persistence. A hassle requiring 30+ hours of chatting and numerous calls!. More on that incredible story in and upcoming post.

I was looking for an inexpensive, non contract and non big three service provider – one that would compliment my current Sprint backbone phone service – CDMA network(s). But again, without the Verizon prices. And I won’t use ATT because of their horrid service everywhere I am or have been.
I searched far and wide for and MVNO that rides on Verizon’s and Sprint’s backbone. [More on what an MVNO is here
I finally settled on Twigby after checking out compatibility and network information of all the MVNO’s I could find that met my criteria.
And … I’m now using Twigby https://www.twigby.com/page/howitworks for my work phone. (I still have Sprint for main phone because I want the priority of a top tier provider for that phone)

Twigby is an MVNO that primarily provides talk, text and data service on the Sprint network with talk and text roaming on Verizon’s network – so you should be able to call from just about anywhere in the US.

Most newer iPhones and Android phones are compatible. If you currently have Sprint, Verizon, Virgin, Boost and just about any other CDMA network provider it’ll work.
GSM only phones (read many of AT&Ts older offerings) are NOT compatible with Twigby’s service.

I’m on WiFi most of the time and don’t take many calls – my work calls are usually pretty short. And Twigby’s plans come with unlimited texts.
They also have data overage coverage will bump you up a plan notch to keep you from getting hosed with giant bill.
I chose 300 minutes and 3GB data and it’s only $19/mo for 1st 6 months, and then $24 after. And you get hotspot included.
NO contract!
A few things I had to do. First when trying hotspot – it didn’t work/load so chatted with them online and they reset my ‘network/plan’ settings and then on phone updated settings and it worked!
When checking my LTE speeds at first I was frustrated because they seemed slow (using the Ookla Speedtest app), so signed into account and checked the bandwidth settings (they can be adjusted to enable you to throttle yourself so you don’t use loads of data), changed settings to lower speed, saved then back to unlimited and BAM ripping 4G speeds.

For the past few months now I have been amazed at the service – inexpensive and it works!

If you have an unlocked phone and want to check it out go here:
www.twigby.net/friend
When signing up, on the last page I believe, if you enter my account (Account Number: 41549 in the referral section YOU and I will each get a $20 credit!

Stop unresponsive service via command line. (Windows & some Linux distros)

In Windows:

If you have a service that is not responding or showing pending in Windows services that you are unable to stop, use the following directions to force the service to stop.

  1. Click the Start menu
  2. Click Run or in the search bar type services.msc
  3. Press Enter
  4. Look for the service and check the Properties and identify its service name
  5. Once found, open a command prompt. Type sc queryex [servicename].
  6. Press Enter
  7. Identify the PID
  8. In the same command prompt type taskkill /pid [pid number] /f
  9. Press Enter

In Linux (Ubuntu for example)

1. Open the System Monitor app. In the Processes tab, scroll down the list until you find the unresponsive app.

Use the system monitor to kill an unresponsive application in ubuntu

2. Right click on it and select “Kill Process”.

Once confirmed, this will kill the unresponsive application.

Via Command line:

Open terminal

Enter the command to show currently running services. Type ls /etc/init.d into Terminal and press ↵ Enter. This will bring up a list of currently running services and their corresponding command names.

If this command doesn’t work, try ls /etc/rc.d/ instead.

Find the command name of the service that you want to restart. You’ll typically find the name of the service (e.g., "Apache") on the left side of the screen, while the command name (e.g., "httpd" or "apache2", depending on your Linux distribution) will appear on the right side.

Enter the restart command. Type sudo systemctl restart service into Terminal, making sure to replace the service part of the command with the command name of the service, and press ↵ Enter.

For example, to restart Apache on Ubuntu Linux, you would type sudo systemctl restart apache2 into Terminal.

Enter your password when prompted. Type in the password that you use for your superuser account, then press ↵ Enter. This should restart the process.

If the service doesn’t restart after doing this, try typing in sudo systemctl stop service, pressing ↵ Enter, and then entering sudo systemctl start service.

To list running services in the command line:

Use this command:

service –status-all

Here’s an example of what this looks like on an Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS system:

root> service –status-all Example:

[ + ] apache-htcacheclean

[ + ] apache2

[ + ] apparmor

[ – ] bootmisc.sh

[ – ] checkfs.sh

[ – ] checkroot-bootclean.sh

[ – ] checkroot.sh

[ + ] console-setup

[ + ] cron

[ + ] dbus

[ – ] hostname.sh

[ – ] hwclock.sh

[ + ] irqbalance

[ + ] keyboard-setup

[ – ] killprocs

[ + ] kmod

[ – ] mountall-bootclean.sh

[ – ] mountall.sh

[ – ] mountdevsubfs.sh

[ – ] mountkernfs.sh

[ – ] mountnfs-bootclean.sh

[ – ] mountnfs.sh

[ + ] mysql

[ + ] networking

[ + ] nginx

[ + ] ondemand

[ – ] plymouth

[ – ] plymouth-log

[ + ] procps

[ + ] rc.local

[ + ] resolvconf

[ – ] rsync

[ + ] rsyslog

[ – ] sendsigs

[ + ] ssh

[ + ] sysstat

[ + ] udev

[ + ] ufw

[ – ] umountfs

[ – ] umountnfs.sh

[ – ] umountroot

[ + ] urandom

[ – ] uuidd

The meaning of the Ubuntu service command output

From the Ubuntu Linux service man page:

service –status-all runs all init scripts, in alphabetical order, with the status command. The status is:

[ + ] for running services

[ – ] for stopped services

[ ? ] for services without a ‘status’ command

This option only calls status for sysvinit jobs; upstart jobs can be queried in a similar manner with initctl list.

Some services are managed by Upstart. You can check the status of all Upstart services with sudo initctl list. Any service managed by Upstart will also show in the list provided by service –status-all but will be marked with a ?

[Note: Running with/without sudo can make a difference.

Some services in /var/run/ have read access only to root user. Those services show status [-] without sudo, and [+] with sudo.]

How to download videos from the Internet

I am asked VERY often how I am able to save videos from the Net (read disclaimer at bottom please)

There are many reasons one might want to download a video for later viewing. To watch while offline or traveling, to study. Maybe because so many videos get removed if they don’t fit the ‘censor lords’ narratives or views. Or sometimes the vids show a happening that would undermine a current narrative or lie.

What ever your reason here are a couple ways.

This extension lets you download most flash videos EXCEPT YouTube (more on that in a moment)

https://www.downloadhelper.net/install

To download YouTube Videos.

First, install Tampermonkey

Open https://tampermonkey.net/ and install the extension for your browser.

Firefox: [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tampermonkey/]

Then go here https://en.savefrom.net/userjs-setup.php and install the script:

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Or

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Now you can download any YouTube videos as you like.

(you may have to switch your YouTube viewing to the ‘old format’ search google for how. For Chrome you can try this extension here but note some said it doesn’t work or requires authentication)

Head over to YouTube and select a video. You’ll see a button you can click to download files (has dropdown to choose quality too)! See example:

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NOTE: Sometimes you must ‘right-click’ on the download link and choose ‘Open in new Tab’ for the download options to show. Then you can save to whatever location you wish

There you have it. Two ways to get some videos.

[disclaimer: by downloading ANY copyrighted or owned property YOU are responsible for that action and any possible consequences. You may be violating some ‘terms of service’ or other legal shtuff. ALL that is your decision or choice. The information provided is just that – information. Not an endorsement of these methods.

How to export your YouTube channels to a RSS feed reader

To help make my time more productive while online, I use QuiteRSS portable RSS feed reader. Get it here:  https://quiterss.org/en/download (I use the portable version but you can use fully installed version if you like. Or use any feed reader you’re comfortable or familiar with.)

I find it so much easier to check up on what I want to without getting squirrelled onto tangents by being able to have my preferred providers in one spot.
I actually have 50 subscriptions for news and such alone, not including all my YouTube channels.

Okay so how to get all your subscribed YouTube channels into your RSS reader..

Make sure you’re logged into your Google/Youtube account first of course:

Got to: https://www.youtube.com/subscription_manager
At the bottom look for the ‘Export to RSS Readers’ line and then Export Subscriptions.
This will save all your subscribed feeds (feeds NOT content obviously) to an OPML XML file (download and save somewhere) that can then be imported into your RSS reader of choice. Simply open you reader and ‘import feeds’ and BAM all your subscriptions will now be there.

Additional tip for those that actually want to download YouTube videos. (YouTube does not wish you to this and sometimes it’s said you’re not supposed to via copyright or some other T.O.S. – but I believe that for personal has been adjudicated in the positive for individuals)
These two addons allow for a button to ‘Download’ at the bottom of the video. I Simply right-click and choose ‘Open In New Tab’ and have the option to download the video to my HDD.

My default browser it Chrome (sometimes I switch to Firefox) but both have the Tamper Monkey Extension/Add on on both browsers and have these two scripts installed
https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/371817-youtube-best-video-downloader-2
and
https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/33219-fastest-youtube-downloader-video-or-mp3/code

Office 365 installation tips and scripts

Hi all, if your like my self and many of my customers you’ve had issues moving from on premises Office installations – that use a MAK or KMS keys.

Seems when you think you’ve removed previous Office versions, and then login to Office365 and download then install the O365 installation you run into errors stating you still have previous versions of Office installed.

The solution is to FIRST completely remove ANY previous Office installations.

If you just use the ‘Program and Features’ control panel applet you are likely to still have remnants left.

To resolve this you can run the appropriate script s below and choose ‘ALL’ or whatever you feel is good enough.

[note: I have added the extension ‘.txt’ to these vbscript files. You need to remove that and leave the extension just ‘.vbs’ to run]

Here is a 7zip archive with all the scripts from Office 2007 to Office 365

Microsoft takes Antivirus/Protection to a new level

I no longer use any ‘always on’ third party Antivirus software on any of my Operating systems, and I haven’t for some time. I rely heavily on my expertise, current systems, and applications setups and experience to keep my self as protected as possible.

I realize that most users do not have the extensive training and skills that I do. So I recommend most Windows users use Microsoft’s built-in Windows Defender AV – it is surprisingly good. AND doesn’t jack up as many systems as do nearly all paid solutions.

Microsoft is now REALLY stepping up the game in system protection.

The HowToGeek has a superb article on this. Check it out.

Facebook Scraping SMS and Call logs

In case you haven’t heard or know about this Facebook scraped (grabbed/uploaded and stored!) call, text message data for years from Android phones! [Read about it here – https://goo.gl/acrfJW]

[Many are saying that this didn’t/couldn’t happen on iPhones, but I believe that as much as I believe that Facebook when they say

“.. that the company keeps the data secure and does not sell it to third parties”.]

For years now, I have never used Facebook Messenger on any phones, ever; I tested the app security a couple times and during install it requested accesses to all kinds of stuff including sms and phone logs, contact information access to phone storage etc.. (I have a security extension (X Privacy – requires root) that lets you see EVERY process an application requests access to. I saw the permissions the application asked for and knew it would be bad. Looks like, I was right.

To access messenger messages I use a computer Browser or a web session on my phone set to use the ‘desktop agent’. I’ll explain that at the bottom of this post.

So what to do now if you’re one of those who have been snared:

On phone app:

How to manage contact uploading with the Facebook App.

Facebook will upload your contacts from your device if you have continuous uploading turned on. To turn off continuous uploading in the Facebook app:

  1. Tap clip_image001.
  2. Tap App Settings.
  3. Tap Continuous Contacts Upload to turn this setting on or off.

You can also tap Sync Your Call and Text History to turn this setting on or off. Syncing your call and text history makes it easier to connect you to your friends.

How do I delete contacts I uploaded to Facebook?

To delete contacts you’ve uploaded to Facebook:

  1. Go to the Manage Invites and Imported Contacts page.
  2. Tap the box next to the contacts you want to delete.
  3. Tap Delete Selected.

You can view or remove your uploaded contacts on the Manage Invites and Imported Contacts page.

Now if you wish to view messages on your phone without the FB messenger you can login to your Facebook account with a browser (for that I use Opera) and set the ‘user agent’ option to desktop – this will tell the FB servers that you are connecting from a computer and not a phone. [Just make sure the address you type in the address bar is https://facebook.com and NOT m.facebook.com – the ‘m’ sets it to mobile.

Open Opera Mobile Browser:

Tap on Opera Menu and you’ll see Settings option, tap Settings

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In the settings scroll down to the Content section and you’ll find the Default user Agent setting.

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Tap that and you can set the agent to Desktop

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Now when you open that Browser and go to a website you’ll see the ‘desktop’ version and not the mobile version. Like I said I use this for Facebook to check/send messages and also see differences in how FB presents things on my timeline based on the agent.

Block a phone number or contact iPhone

Block a phone number or contact iPhone

There are a few ways that you can block a phone number or contact.

Phone

If you’re in the Phone app under Recents, tap  next to the phone number or contact that you want to block. Scroll to the bottom of your screen, then tap Block this Caller.

FaceTime

If you’re in the FaceTime app, tap  next to the phone number or contact that you want to block. Scroll to the bottom of your screen, then tap Block this Caller.

Messages

If you’re in Messages, open the conversation, tap , then tap the name or phone number. Scroll to the bottom of the Info screen, then tap Block this Caller.

When you block a phone number or contact, they can still leave a voicemail, but you won’t get a notification. Messages that are sent or received won’t be delivered. Also, the contact won’t get a notification that the call or message was blocked.

Manage your blocked phone numbers and contacts

To see the phone numbers and contacts that you’ve blocked from Phone, FaceTime, or Messages:

Phone

Go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification.

FaceTime

Go to Settings > FaceTime > Blocked.

Messages

Go to Settings > Messages > Blocked.

From these screens, you can add or unblock contacts or unblock phone numbers.

To add a contact from Phone, go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification > Block Contact. Then tap the contact that you want to block. To add a contact from Messages or FaceTime, go to Settings > Messages or Settings > FaceTime, scroll down and tap Blocked, tap Add New, then select the contact that you want to block. To unblock a contact or phone number, swipe left over the number, then tap Unblock.

Filter iMessages from unknown senders

You can filter iMessages from people who aren’t saved in your Contacts.

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To filter iMessages, go to Settings > Messages and turn on Filter Unknown Senders.

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In Messages, you’ll see a new tab for Unknown Senders but you won’t get notifications for these iMessages.

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Report spam or junk in the Messages app

You can report iMessages that look like spam or junk from the Messages app. If you get an iMessage from someone who’s not saved in your Contacts, you’ll see a Report Junk link under the message. Tap the link to forward the sender’s information and the message to Apple.

To report SMS and MMS messages, contact your carrier.

Un-F@#k Facebook

I was logged into Facebook recently to search for and show someone something I saw posted. The person that was with started to freak! They said, “How come your Facebook looks so much different? Where’s all the other shtuff on the pages?”

I explained I use the F.B Purity extension (Available on Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers too) Formally called Facebook Flufbuster. It has been my go to extension to un-f@#k Facebook for some time now. I recommend it to many but they often don’t take the time to read the guides/how to’s on their site or just can’t get it to work as well I they saw on my browser(s).

So for those that are interested or care here you go.

Here’s a view from my timeline:

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Simple easy to read posts and no extemporaneous crap or distractions. Below are my current exact settings:

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