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New Ransomware Tool
Geek Tool

The New Ransomware Kit is Coming Soon.

That's the headline of a blogpost from Third Tier.

It begins, "A lot has changed since October 2013. Yes, it has really been two years since we published our group policies to help mitigate against Cryptolocker. Since then we added instructions for protecting non-domain joined machines, workgroup computers, configuring your firewall, protecting your backup locations, advice on minimizing your attack surface and educating clients. It’s the proverbial onion layer approach. There’s no one solution for something like this because it’s always morphing. "

Follow the link to read the post and sign up for the tool when available.

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Microsoft's free USB-diagnostic tool
Geek Tool

The Windows Secret newsletter had some good info about USB-diagnostic tools.

USB logos

USB 2.0 (lhs) and 3.0 (rhs) logos

Fred Langa says "USB 3.0 data transfers should be up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0 — and 2.0 should be almost 10 times faster than USB 1.0. But many factors can cause your USB connections to limp along at a fraction of their expected speeds."

He goes on "The best and most reliable way I've found to fully explore USB setups — in all Windows versions — is to run Microsoft's free and easy to use USBView tool. It isn't part of Windows; it's a separate download. USBView isn't a standalone download; it's part of the Windows debugging (WinDbg) toolkits for Win10, Win8, and Win7. (Vista can use Win7's USBView.) The WinDbg toolkit, in turn, is included in the Windows Software Development Kit (SDK). There are separate SDKs for each Windows version, and all are free."

See more in the Windows Secret newsletter

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IBM Watson in Cleveland
Geek Event

OK, it wasn't really Watson, the supercomputer that beat the Jeopardy champions. But it was Michael Rhodin, Senior VP of IBM Watson, who spoke at the 2015 Cleveland Clinic Medical Summit.

The medical applications for such a huge database with AI capabilities are amazing but so are some of the unexpected and consumer uses of Watson (choosing the perfect wine?)

The 2015 topic was Neuroscience so there were a lot of discussions about Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's, ALS and other areas. Most of us have been or will be touched personally by such a disease so it was gratifying to see the best and brightest minds coming together to show their work.

Dr. Thomas Graham, Cleveland Clinic Chief Innovation Officer

Dr. Thomas Graham, Cleveland Clinic Chief Innovation Officer

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Akron Comicon
Geek Event

Akron Comicon logo

Akron Comicon is an annual event established to celebrate newspaper comics and comic-books as an original American art form and promote comics as a viable entertainment medium by bringing creators, dealers, and fans together for a day of fun and interaction designed for the entire family.

The 2015 Akron Comicon is a two day event scheduled to take place at the University of Akron’s Quaker Station on Saturday and Sunday, November 7th and 8th at 135 S. Broadway Street, Akron, Ohio 44325 from 10am to 6pm and 11am to 5pm respectively.

Tickets to the event are $10 for a single day or $15 for the weekend and are available at All children age 13 and under are free. Parking is free.

Akron Comicon

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 Featured Show
Dealing with large lists of ideas

Will Lazzaro, VP of Software Development, Dakota Software, was on a panel about Innovation at the 2015 OHTEC CIO Symposium in Cleveland. He spoke about velocity and throughput of innovation ideas.

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Other Current Items
Innovation Garage Process Overview
Geek Overview

Jon Washington, Founder of the Innovation Garage, was on a panel about Innovation at the 2015 OHTEC CIO Symposium in Cleveland. He gave an overview of their innovation process and some of the math dependencies.

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Scientist Logos
Geek Fun

This is Great!

Scientist logos

Do you understand them all?

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3D printing at Timken and PolyOne
Geek How To

Sandra Rapp, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, The Timken Company and Brian Schilf, Director, Global IT Computer Services, PolyOne Corporation were on a panel about Innovation at the 2015 OHTEC CIO Symposium in Cleveland. In the Q&A session they were asked about 3D printing and they explained their companies experience with the new devices.

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Doing Business with and in India
Geek How To

Honorable Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay, Consul General of India, New York and Honorable Dr. Manoj Kumar Mohapatra, Deputy Consul General of India, New York spoke at Ariel International Center in Cleveland about Opportunities for US Companies interested in Investing or Doing Business with India.

In this first video Consul Mulay spoke about India's economic strength - They have a pro-business Prime Minister and are the 2nd largest market in the world after China

In this next video, Consul Mulay spoke about US and India Business relations and the 100 Smart Cities initiative. He said the "Relationship is just extraordinary."

See more of the Business in and with India presentation

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GiveCamp 2015
Geek Event

GiveCamp is a weekend-long event where software developers, designers, database administrators, project managers and creative professionals donate their time to create software and web-based applications for non-profit organizations. The Cleveland GiveCamp event takes place at the LeanDog Boat and Burke Lakefront Airport on the shores of Lake Erie.

The 2015 event was July 17-19 and 19 non-profits were helped!

At the conclusion of the weekend, everyone gathers together for a 3 minute demo of the projects. You can view the short videos of all 19 projects.

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There is no Cloud
Geek Fact

As someone who has lived through several cycles of computing - mainframes and dumb terminal are great: you can access from anywhere to I want everything on my local device - the Great Lakes Geek is amused by the Cloud.

Chris Watterston said it very well: "There is no cloud. It's just someone else's computer" It's only the truth, but I wonder how many people really think there really is a "cloud" that stores all our data?

Too many people, Chris. Too many.

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Doctor Who in Cleveland
Geek News

Johnny Wu is an award-winning filmmaker and runs MDI (Media Design Imaging). He is also a Doctor Who fan.

He and a crew have been working on T.R.A.C.E. A Doctor Who Fan Film Webseries that includes two more of Johnny's passions, martial arts & visual effects.

The script was reviewed by a friend in the UK who was part of the BBC's Doctor Who's 40th Anniversary event and along with other numerous exhibitions. His own words: "Love it! And love the arc!"

TARDIS at Cleveland Asian Festival

TARDIS at 2015 Cleveland Asian Festival

Each episode is about 5-8 minutes long and the style blends Anime martial arts with Sci-fi within the Doctor Who Universe. See more about the Dr. Who webisode project

The 2 webisodes that have been completed are terrific!

This is Episode 1

and this is the just released Episode 2

Be sure to watch both episodes. Below is a live taste of the webisodes at the 2105 Cleveland Asian Festival.

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Word Brain Teaser
Geek Fun

See if you can figure out what these seven words all have in common

  1. Banana
  2. Dresser
  3. Grammar
  4. Potato
  5. Revive
  6. Uneven
  7. Assess
No, it is not that they all have at least 2 double letters.

E-mail if you know the answer. The answer will be posted in a few days.

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By Popular Request
Geek Math Trick

Here's another very basic math exercise since you asked for more. If you want to quickly multiply a two digit number by 11, here's the shortcut.

Let's use 23 x 11 as the first example. The first number will be the 2 from 23 and the last number will be the 3 from 23. In the middle, put the sum of the number, 2+3=5. So 23x11=253.

Try 42x11. The answer starts with 4 and ends in 2 and the middle is 4+2=6 so the answer is 462.

There's a little hitch when the sum is greater than 10. Try 76x11 for example. The answer starts with 7 and ends in 6 but when you add up the 7+6 you get 13. You don't put 13 in the middle, you put the 3 in the middle and add the 1 to the first number, the 7. So 76x11=836.

If you line up the problem like you learned in school, you will see why it works. You are multiplying by 1 so basically writing down the number twice, but shifted over the second time. Only the middle gets added - the start and last number never change.

Get it?

The Answer is 1089
Geek Math Trick

Here's a very basic math exercise that won't amaze your friends but will get them thinking. The Geek likes to pretend he is opening an envelope a la Johnny Carson's Carnac or writing it on his arm or something.

Pick a three digit number of different numbers (so 123 or 487 are OK but 111 or 232 are not) Let's use 816 as an example.

Reverse the number. So 816 becomes 618

Subtract the smaller number from the larger. 816-618=198

Reverse the answer number. 198 becomes 891

Add that number to the answer of the subtraction. 891 + 198 = 1089

Voila! The result is 1089!

It's simple to prove with a little Algebra - Let the Geek know if you can't figure it out. It's based on the places of the digits so if you choose a number like 546 the process will be 645-546=99 and 99+99=198 not 1089.

You have to look at it like 99 is really 099. So 990-099=891 and 891+198=1089

Note also that it may not work with repeated digits because if it's a palindrome like 575 when you reverse it you will also get 575 and the difference will be 575-575=0 so there is nothing to work with.

Geek Report

1991 cost of iPhone

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Old Apps
Geek Resource

Every once in a while you need to use an old version of some software. Maybe to load an old file or in a testing environment. There is a great source for these old versions called

From their website:

The Idea behind is ingeniously simple. Our mission is to provide our users with a wide assortment of current versions of familiar software, and their predecessors, for free. Our database is maintained up to date with older versions of software as they become readily available. Our users can be assured that this process involves our careful and meticulous screening of each individual program and version listed on Our pledge is that our users will never end up with any malware, trojans, and/or any other variation of viruses.

While most web-sites provide downloads of current versions, caters to a different market of interest by providing older versions of the same useful programs. Often newer versions are more complicated to use and we understand that it is hard to find older, more user-friendly versions of popular software. Many software providers do not include older versions of their software on their sites, therefore, has found its market niche and provides a vital intermediary function for our users' software needs. We are more than happy to accommodate you with "freedom of choice" by providing multiple versions for you to choose the optimal software version that is right for you.

As software updates are being released more frequently, not every computer is able to keep up with the minimum requirements of new software; hopes that we can provide a means to circumvent this problem. Many users with slow Internet connections may want to attain a leaner program to avoid the common frustrations associated with the increasingly larger sizes of modern programs. lists file sizes next to all versions of software to ensure maximum customization. As we are expanding our library, we will diligently continue to add features to the site, so be sure to keep in touch with us.

They have Windows, Mac and Linux sections.

So if you need an old version of SnagIt for Windows NT 3.5 you can find it there. I haven't found a similar source for old DOS programs but often searching for the particular name - Lotus 123 or VisiCalc or…) will yield results.


Engineer Designers
Geek Humor

Three engineering students were gathered together discussing the possible designers of the human body. One said, "It was a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints. "

Another said, "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has many thousands of electrical connections."

The last said, "Actually it was a civil engineer. Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"

Engineer cooking dinner
Geek Humor

The engineer's wife left a note for him to prepare dinner that evening:

"Shepherd’s Pie needs to be taken out of the fridge and placed in the oven at 140 degrees."

140 degrees in the oven

So that's what he did.

Tech Timeline
Geek History

The Great Lakes Geek has been working on a Tech Timeline of important dates in the region's tech history.

For example, Cindy and Jim Cookinham started a publication in late 1981 called IPCO INFO. It was the first publication for the IBM PC.

On May 19, 1997 programmer John Hill started Aztek.

And so on.

So if you have a milestone that should be added to the Tech Timeline, let us know.

What the Great Lakes Geek is reading
Geek Book

The Great Lakes Geek just finished reading The Cartoon Introduction to Statistics

The author (cartoonist Grady Klein) wrote two volumes of The Cartoon Introduction to Economics with the intent to make a potentially dry topic, palatable and even fun. He tries it again here with The Cartoon Introduction to Statistics.

I would guess that the audience for the book is youngsters who are interested in math, science and learning beyond their age and school coursework or older students who are struggling with their Intro to Stats course and need the extra help.

Read the Great Lakes Geek review of The Cartoon Introduction to Statistics

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Bill Gates Book List
Geek Reads

Several of you asked about the Bill Gates recommended reading list from Wired Magazine that was referenced below.

What I found interesting is that when I went to Amazon to order Feynman's Tips on Physics I noticed the section that Amazon calls "People who bought his book also bought…"

I expected to see other Physics books but what I saw was books from Gates' reading list such as Tap Dancing to Work and other books that had nothing to do with Physics. So obviously the Great Lakes Geek is not alone in trying to read what Bill Gates reads.

Here is the list that Bill Gates titled "Here Are the Books I Read When Out on the Road"

  1. Feynman's Tips on Physics - A short companion book to Richard Feynman's classic Lectures on Physics. Always worthwhile to return to the feet of the master.
  2. The Cartoon Introduction to Statistics - Bought this to use with one of my kids. Helpful in explaining a complicated subject to a teenager.
  3. Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel - I don't read a lot of fiction, but I thought this was an interesting study of the moral implications of technology. Will technology contribute to everyone's well-being or just make people more narcissistic?
  4. The Great Courses (DVD) - I left college early, but I'm probably the world's biggest consumer of academic courses online and on disc. Lately I've been enjoying Understanding the Secrets of Human Perception and Oceanography: Exploring Earth's Final Wilderness. Neil deGrasse Tyson's lectures on astrophysics, My Favorite Universe, are also really compelling.
  5. The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies? - I'm a big Jared Diamond fan; I invited people to read this with me last summer.
  6. Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffet on Practically Everything - Any compilation of Warren Buffett's wisdom should be kept close at all times. Financial journalist Carol Loomis gathers some of his best here.
  7. The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal - I read this to prepare for a family vacation to Panama. It's pure McCullough: epic drama, political intrigue, heartbreaking defeats, and eventual triumph.
  8. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined - One of the most important books I've read. Steven Pinker demonstrates how the world evolved to be far less violent. Counterintuitive, if you watch the news, but true.

Microsoft System Center
Geek Freebie

The second title in the new series of free ebooks from Microsoft Press on System Center 2012 is now available. Microsoft System Center: Configuration Manager Field Experience provides Configuration Manager administrators with helpful and tested real-world guidance from consultants and product experts at Microsoft.

The target audience for this book is administrators who have at least three years experienced working with previous versions of Configuration Manager and who have begun deploying and using Configuration Manager 2012 in their environment.

Download a pdf of the eBook for free

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Geek Domain Names

Order Domain Names, e-mail accounts, web hosting, SSL certs and the usual menu of Internet items for great prices at Great Lakes Geek Domains. Follow the link at the bottom of the nav bar (under search) or click to visit

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Certified Partner News
Magnum News

We are proud to be Kroll Ontrack® Data Recovery Certified Partners.

This allows us to offer clients the best-of-breed products and services that Kroll Ontrack provides to recover your lost data.

NOTE: Tampering with media information may result in irreversible damage. Contact us right away when you have data loss to maximize the chances to recover your data.

Krol OnTrack logo

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Desktops, Servers and Notebooks - Oh My!
Geek Store

Need new hardware? Why pay extra for those expensive name brands?

Check out our on-line hardware store and browse pre-configured systems or tweak the configuration options yourself and get instant pricing.

We'll ship the custom built system right to your door. Take a look at the Magnum Computers Webstore

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Dan Hanson, the Great Lakes Geek

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