A new ransomware, using the same attack as WannaCry, is hitting the world hard today on Windows PC’s. Here’s some steps to prevent this from happening to you:
1. Don’t click on links inside emails that you aren’t 100% positive you know what they do.
2. Backup your important files so something disconnect from your computer like the cloud or USB drive you remove. crashplan.com is a great service to have.
3. Install Windows updates – this prevents this specific attack from taking hold
6. Have an antivirus program running. A free one is avast.com – been using it for many years.
5. If you’re still on XP/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8 etc. now’s a good time to get upgraded to Windows 10

Lucee 5.0 – (current version) has a bug in scheduled tasks that seems to affect both Windows and Linux servers.

When scheduling a task, they end up getting marked as “expired” and never run. Not sure how this issue has made it this far into revisions, but as of this post it’s still an issue.


You can work around this issue using a cron job by way of curl.

On Windows you can use the Windows Task Scheduler and curl. Curl can be downloaded from https://curl.haxx.se/download.html

6/21/2017 – marked for “NextSprint scheduled”

CF Webtools is part of the Microsoft Network which gains us access to software for development purposes. But one gotcha is if you try to apply the license key to an already installed evaluation version of Windows Server. In this case Windows Server 2012 R2.

When you try to change the product key in the UI, it says that this product key can not be used on this version of Windows. Not that the key and evaluation type are the same standard 2016 R2 edition.

To get around this use the “DISM” command.

To determine the installed edition, run:

DISM /online /Get-CurrentEdition

To check the possible target editions, run:

DISM /online /Get-TargetEditions

Finally, to initiate an upgrade, run:

DISM /online /Set-Edition: /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXX /AcceptEula

A server restart will be required.

edition upgrade

Note: Legally check your license. This is technical advice only.

Anxiety Reducing Music

Posted: March 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

According to researchers at Mindlab International in the U.K., the music “Weightless” by Marconi Union promotes a high reduction in anxiety. Check it out…

We currently run some magnetic EBS volumes for data storage accessed by EC2 instances. Last month AWS announced the availability of Live Volume Modification with Elastic Volumes on EBS. This would enable a volume to expand while being in-use. Where as before you’d have to schedule downtime.

Live Volume Modification is almost a must-have feature for the web servers we run to be cost efficient and reduce any downtime. I have also noted that EBS Magnetic Volumes are now considered “previous generation” technology. (AKA: silent deprecation, just like reduced redundancy S3)

modify-disabledI attempted to expand a magnetic volume on a m3.large instance but found that the modify link was disabled. After a forum post, and the helpful reply from AWS, I found that previous generation magnetic volumes can not be modified while live.

This feature is too important and we will be moving to a SSD volume type instead to enable this feature. However it remains to be seen what restrictions we may have. Documentation states: “Current generation m3.medium instances fully support volume modification. However, some m3.large, m3.xlarge, and m3.2xlarge instances may not support all volume modification features.”

See more information at “Considerations for Modifying EBS Volumes

Forum reference: https://forums.aws.amazon.com/message.jspa?messageID=771210

I recently found myself in a position of having the learn about heat pumps. I house I recently bought had one installed with auxiliary electric heat. What this means is that the house will heat up using the heat pump outside first. If it can’t catch up it will use the auxiliary heat to supplement. My auxiliary heat is provided by electric coils installed above the A-Coil in the air handler. But getting heat from the heat pump is about 300% more efficient than electric coils even though it will be on longer. Therefore we want to use the heat pump over auxiliary heat for cost reasons. This is called a “single-fuel” system. From what I understand, if the air handler has gas heat instead, this would be called a “dual-fuel” system.

While researching different aspects of the heat pump, I noticed that the blower was always on. Searching Google I found most people said this was normal. Though I thought it was odd. Why would it be blowing when the heat pump and coils are off?

When we had a few nice days, I decided to turn the heat off. But yet the fan still ran. This I know is not normal. Once I removed the head unit of the thermostat I found the batteries badly corroded. The electronic board was likely shorted out on the fan circuit.

I’ve been interested in getting a smart thermostat like Nest or Ecobee and have been indecisive. But now that I needed a new thermostat and the fact that I’ve got Nest Protect units installed, I decided to stick with the Nest ecosystem. I find Nest to be like Apple. Quality products but they really keep you inside their proprietary eco-system. But I decided to go with it anyway.

I have an American Standard system with an American Standard LCD thermostat. What got tricky was the B wire, which Nest has an O/B slot and the X2 wire, which Nest does not have.


From my understanding this is what each wire does:

X2 : Black : Turns on another set of standby electric coils for emergency heat
W1 : White : Turns on electric heat coils
RC : Red : 24V AC Power Hot
O : Orange : When on, reverses the heat pump valve to go from heat to cool in the summer
Y : Yellow : Turns on the heat pump compressor
G : Green : Turns the fan on (in my case, on low)
B : Blue : 24V AC Power Common

Inside the air handler, the following wires a hooked up to the following codes:

Black : W2 & W3
White : W1
Red : Bk
Orange : O
Yellow : Y
Green : G
Blue : Bk


Needless to say, there really needs to be a better labeling or coloring system. In fact, thermostats should really go towards an IP system and use an Ethernet cable.

After calling Nest, after I figured out that it thought I had dual fuel instead of single-fuel, I figured out that black goes to * and is programmed for emergency heat. (* can be used for emergency heat or humidifier circuit) The blue wire becomes C.

Let me say that Nest support was awesome. I could talk with a clearly spoken woman who worked in Oklahoma and took the time to understand, address, research and resolve my issue promptly. She sent me an email to reply back with photos of the original thermostat wiring and my current wiring on the Nest which helped things along. Their number is 1-855-469-6378.

Here is how I now have my Nest 3rd Generation thermostat wired and working:

Y1 : Yellow : Turns on the heat pump compressor
G : Green : Fan
O/B : Orange : When on, reverses the heat pump valve to go from heat to cool in the summer
Rc : Red : 24V AC Power Hot
W2/AUX : White : Turns on electric heat coils
C : Blue : 24V AC Power Common
* : Black : Turns on another set of standby electric coils for emergency heat



After I got the corrected wiring, I went into the pro settings and switched it from dual-fuel to single-fuel. At that point in time the Heat Pump Balance option showed up. I started with “balanced”, but that seemed to aggressive still. So for now I have “Max Savings” on with “Early-On” turned on to 5 hours.

Note: System and wiring vary widely. This is a reference only to my specific system and wiring. Yours likely varies. Professional installation recommended.

Attach AWS IAM Role to Existing EC2

Posted: February 10, 2017 in Cloud
Tags: , , ,

It has always been one of my pet-peeves that I had to attach an IAM role to an EC2 instance just in case I’d need it in the future. The reason was you couldn’t attach one later.

Attaching a role allows API access to AWS from your instance w/o having to inject API keys, which reduces security and maintainability (you’d have to remember to change out the keys when rotating keys).

AWS has now announced that you can attach an IAM role to an exiting EC2 instance.

  1. Create an IAM role
  2. Attach the IAM role to an existing EC2 instance that was originally launched without an IAM role.
  3. Replace the attached IAM role.