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Friday Funday – Spam

Friday Funday – Spam

Your inbox gets flooded with spam. Where does it come from, and how do they get your email? Here’s how you can try to find out…

You won’t be able to investigate existing spam, but here is how to track down the source if you use a gmail address.

For my experiment, I created a new gmail email address: arj022019. At gmail.com, of course. More about that later.

Then I looked for a company on line to sign up for their promotions. I randomly found Advance Auto Parts, where I frequently shop happily. It turns out they do have a program where you can create an account. So I signed up. But notice that I changed my email address by adding “+AdvanceAuto” right before @gmail.com

I successfully signed up with this modified address. Excellent! The “Welcome to Advance Auto Parts” email came to my Gmail inbox, and I could see it was sent to the arj022019+advanceauto gmail address. Sweet.

So from now on, if I get spam to this modified email address, I’ll know it somehow came from the Advance Auto account. Perhaps they sold it, or in the Terms of Service I agreed that they could share it.

On a side note, as soon as my new Gmail account was all set up, I immediately got social emails from dinnerly.com and Audible.com. And also two Promotions emails from Harry’s Razors and HSBC Bank. The one from Harry’s Razors was a “Re:”, and I never even sent an email from this account, yet!

Perhaps Google is the WORST offender in this whole spam mess!

If you think one of your friends is a source of spam, send them an email, but modify the Reply To address by adding “+theirname.”

Just for Friday Funday I’ll put my email here in plain text and see it it gets harvested.


Have at it, spammers.

Update: on 12 Feb 2019 I also added a crafted email to FaceBook.

Show me that redaction!

Show me that redaction!

This is a cautionary tale! Paul Manafort’s attorneys filed a document that was improperly redacted. You can open the actual document (link below), copy the redacted lines and paste them in to a Word document to reveal the text underneath.

The black highlighter tool is not effective for redaction. Use the actual redact tool.


As bad as this is for the lawyers, me thinks it’s even worse for Manafort!

Windows Snipping Tool

Windows Snipping Tool

This morning I opened Windows Snipping tool, and got this interesting message that Snipping Tool is moving.

My immediate reaction was “Hmm… I need to take a snip of that so I can come back to it later.” But then… “how do you snip Windows Snipping tool?” Luckily I remembered the old stand-by to screen-shot the active window: Alt-PrintScreen.

I weren’t born yesterday.

Full c: empty d:!

Full c: empty d:!

I bet you ran in to this over the Holidays. “My laptop is SO slow!” When you look at it, you discover Cousin Edith is storing her Documents /pictures/music on the c: partition, which in her lousy laptop was set up to be only for the OS. The user data was supposed to go on the huge d: partition.

If you are lazy, hop over to Active @ Partition Manager and use it to shrink her d: drive and expand her c:.

I know you’re supposed to move her data to d: and do it that way, but who has time? Have at it, if you like.

Remote Access Tools

Remote Access Tools

There are many remote access tools – Team Viewer, Logmein, GotomyPC, and even RDP, VNC and Chrome Remote Desktop.

My recent tool of choice is AeroAdmin. This neat little tool gets it all done. It can be free, if you don’t use it too much. It can be set in always-on listening mode, and it does all the main things you would want a remote access tool to do.

Easy peasy. Try it.

It comes as a little exe file. When you open it, you get a nine digit pin you can give to someone to remotely control your PC, or you can type in the pin of a computer you either set up for connection, or are chatting with a user who just installed AeroAdmin. The PIN for a computer never changes, which is real nice.

Just for old time sake, does anyone remember Symantec’s PCAnywhere? That got the ball rolling, I think. It was like magic back then!

Portable Apps

Portable Apps

One of my favorite applications is PortableApps. I have mine on a USB on my key chain at all times. It has all my favorite utilities on it, including Revo Uninstaller, CCleaner, Process Explorer and FileZilla. Just pop the USB into a PC, and all your tools are right there.

And every time you open PortableApps, all your programs are checked for updates, and updated as needed.

You can also log in to your personal accounts in Chrome or Opera, and all your other stuff it there, like your Gmail and Facebook, for example. You can get your email on someone else’s computer without going through the gruesome tasks of opening an incognito/private tab, logging in, and then worrying the rest of the day that you may have forgotten to log out and close the tab.