Monday, April 13, 2015

Claim Your IRS.com Profile to Help Prevent Identity Theft

There's been many reports in the news about scammers pretending to the IRS harassing taxpayers for money with threats of arrest or deportation. There is a new scam where identity thieves will break into the IRS website to request copies of your tax return transcripts and income reports. Once the hackers get access to the IRS website, they can access your W-2 and 1099s for the last ten years. Avoid this scam by claiming your profile first by accessing this IRS website. You don't have to get a transcript. You just have to claim your IRS online account so bad guys can't do it. Of course, you should use really long passwords to stymie the bad guys.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chrome Extensions That I Recommend

uBlock. A lightweight ad-blocker that is faster than the competition. If you use Ad Block or Ad Block Plus, you can see that it delays the loading of websites quite significantly. I use Ad Muncher as well, which is a host-based solution that you have to install as a separate application, not as an extension.

Ghostery. Blocks social media and advertising trackers.

HTTPS Everywhere. In light of all the hacking going on, it's a good idea to enhance your security. This extension redirects you to the encrypted version of all websites.

ScriptBlock. Do you hate the stupid ads that pop up when you're viewing a website? ScriptBlock controls the scripting language that makes it all possible. It's easier to use than the other script blocking extensions. When you access a domain for the first time, you will have to allow that domain. Then you should be okay.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Should I Start a Law Practice?

Great article on starting a new law firm from Philly Law. You need to be adequately capitalized ($15,000-$30,000) and committed to the enterprise so you can ride out the rough months.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Smart Ideas From Sen. John Cornyn

Republican Senator John Cornyn said that he was "not impressed" with the intelligence of Attorney General Eric Holder in an interview with Fox News. I just wanted to take the opportunity to list the good ideas Sen. Cornyn had over the last few years:

  1. Sponsored a bill where anyone arrested or detained by federal authorities must provide a sample of their DNA to be placed into a central database.
  2. Voted against additional funding for up-armoring vehicles for troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. 
  3. Voted against restricting businesses with ties to terrorism. 
  4. Voted against that a bill that would expand educational benefits for veterans who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan.
  5. Voted for tax cuts for the rich, voted against a payroll tax cut that would have gone to the middle class and the working poor.
  6. As state Attorney General, awarded "Lawman of the Year" award to a freelance undercover police officer who had falsely testified to put 46 folk in jail for drug crimes, including one third of the male black population of Tulia, Texas. (Falsely testified as in claiming to have bought drugs from someone who was at work at the time, and from someone who was in Oklahoma City during the bust.) 
Cornyn loves terrorists, hates civil liberties, and hates the troops. Does anyone else think that that's smart? 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Dear Chickenhawk Mitt:

It's time to shake your Etch a Sketch again after you said that even Carter would have okayed the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

Let's get the facts straight here. Jimmy Carter spent ten years in the military. As President, Carter made the very gutsy call to insert a special forces team to extract the Iranian hostages—remember Operation Eagle Claw? This was before our special forces were as well-trained as they are currently. The operation ended in the Desert One debacle, which left eight servicemen dead after a Sea Stallion collided with a C-130 in a huge fireball that incinerated both aircraft. This event was the impetus behind the formation of the Special Operations Air Regiment (aka SOAR Nightstalkers), which now flies special operations soldiers into and out of combat. Memorably, in Black Hawk Down, a SOAR pilot hovered his Huey in a corridor between two houses with inches to spare on either side of the rotor to cut off a bunch of militants surging to the crash site while shooting at them with his personal defense weapon.

But back in the eighties, Carter sent men into battle to save American hostages. The deal backfired and cost the country greatly, and of course, Carter lost his election. However, Jimmy Carter had the balls to do things the hard way.

The evidence says that you would not have done the same. George W. Bush had canceled a Pakistani incursion in 2005 after the SEALs had already boarded the planes because of the political risks. In 2007, after John McCain said that he would not commit to attacking targets in Pakistan to get Bin Laden, you agreed. Romney said, "I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours. ... I don't think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort."

It turns out that the Pakistani incursions lead to Bin Laden's death. And the raid that killed him also yielded papers wherein Bin Laden begged his "brothers" to leave Pakistan because the drone strikes were slaughtering al Qaeda there.

In short, there's a ton of reasons to believe that you would not have authorized a SEAL team strike in Pakistan to get Bin Laden. You might have bombed the compound, but you would not have had SEALs go in there and recover the body. I seriously doubt that anyone but Obama would have instructed the military to equip the SEAL team so that it could shoot its way out to avoid capture by the Pakistanis if they were intercepted and safe passage could not be negotiated.

But Jimmy Carter probably would have.

Yours,
A Peon Who Pays Taxes

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WordPress Sites Under Attack! Buckle Down!

Network World reports that 30,000 WordPress pages have been infected in the latest round of hacks. Many of the compromised systems have a fake malware plugin called "ToolsPack". If you see this on your WordPress site, remove it. To prevent infection, use really strong passwords. Use KeePass or LastPass to generate long passwords with random symbols. Furthermore, always keep your installation of WordPress and its plugins backed up and up to date. The hackers have been exploiting vulnerabilities in past versions of WordPress to gain entry.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

RAID on HP ProLiant Microserver

The HP ProLiant Microserver has been a popular platform for small businesses and home users who want to run Windows Home Server 2011. RAID is a technology that stores data across multiple drives for redundancy against hard drive failure or for extra speed. There are different kinds of RAID arrays. I will explain how to set up a RAID 1 array, which mirrors (copies) data on two drives to keep the data safe even if one of the drives fail.