Shady Practices (Antera/DomaSchooner Phishing)

I’ve recently gone through the process of moving one of my domains from one domain registrant to another. For a couple reasons, but cost and whois privacy are part of it. I’ve switched hosting providers a number of times, and that’s not an issue, but getting different domain registrants on the same page to ensure a downtime-free transfer isn’t a clear process to me, so during this time I was particularly susceptible to notifications about the transfer.

It was then that I noticed an item in my spam account titled “Domain Expiration SEO”. Now I didn’t notice the SEO in that title at first, and was immediately concerned about the terms “Domain Expiration”. The fact that it was in my spam folder at least made me immediately cautious, but the fact that they used my full name and postal address in the “invoice” confused me.

The email had a large title saying “Final Notice, your account is pending cancellation”, th email came from “”, a domain with no discernable website, and links on the page directed to “”. What I don’t like is that the entire premise is that you’re about to let something that you had expire. In the meantime nothing could be further from the truth.

It seems they somehow identify domains that are being transferred, grab the whois data and then generate emails, in my opinion, hoping to catch people not paying attention into paying $86 for supposed SEO software.

If you pay close attention to the email, they do note that they “…do not register or renew domain names…” and their email disclaimer states “…This is not a bill or an invoice. This is a SEO purchase offer. You are under no obligation to pay the amount stated unless you accept this purchase offer…”. So while they do a good job of telling the truth, the immediate implication of the email implies something worse. So while probably not illegal, very shady.

Being legal is frustrating

Four years ago I bought a laptop on a student special with the local universities. Pinnacle were the local distributors and the laptop came pre-installed with Windows 7 and Office professional. Wonderful. But it didn’t come with installation DVDs. I queried this with Pinnacle and they said I should use the Lenovo software (OneKey Backup) to create a backup install which would then have everything ready to go. Fine.

A few months later I buy myself an SSD and now want to install Windows on it. Do everything necessary but the 36GB original install complains that my 120GB SSD is too small to install Windows on… So I repartition my original HDD to have an 80GB windows install. Create new backup install, and successfully install on my SSD.

Fast forward to 2016 and for several reasons I haven’t once reformatted my hard drive since original install. But now it’s time. Backup everything I need. Boot up my backup DVD and try and install onto the same SSD. It complains the drive is too small. This is the same drive I installed on four years prior. No other hardware changes have taken place. I spend the next several hours rebooting trying different types of things; use an Ubuntu live CD to format the drive and remove the extra 100MB partition that Windows makes. All efforts are unsuccessful.

I give up and decide to use a legit Windows 7 install DVD I have to just do a plain install. Alas after installation it doesn’t like my key (the one stuck under my laptop), as the DVD is for Windows Ultimate, and my licence is for Windows Premium… Windows used to have their install DVDs freely available through Digital River. But discontinued this service a few years ago. After some extended searching I get hold of an ISO that, after installing, seems legit and is happy with my key. Yay.

I spent more time trying to get an audio book playing than it took to listen to the book. I have lost every other piece of DRM-locked music I have paid for.


But now I don’t have Office. So I begin the same search for an install for Office. I had earlier run a program to extract the CD-Key from my installed software. Again the Digital River ISOs had been discontinued. MS does offer install files for download on their website, but you have to input a valid CD-Key, and the licence for my CD-Key apparently didn’t match any of the versions they had for download. I get hold of some ISOs through different sources, but none of them are playing ball with my CD-Key…

So what eventually happens? I break down and buy Office. Through all my searching, I kept on getting adverts for MS’s Home Use Program. Basically, if your employer has some deal with MS, you can get Office 2016 Pro for like R150. My employer had never advertised this to us (that I recall), but I typed in my work email address and the next day there was an e-mail at work stating that I am eligible. So R150 later I have Office 2016 installed. My biggest gripe (besides having to pay for something I kinda already had) is that it installs everything! Skype for business (which you can’t use a normal Skype account with), MS Access, OneNote and Publisher which I don’t use. There is no option to only install specific software. And no option afterwards to remove some of the software.

But at least I have a working computer again. And I’ve made copies of all the CDs and installs I used. Stuff knows what use the Lenovo OneKey backup DVDs are to be used for.

All of this boils down to DRM, and how difficult it makes people’s lives. Those who try to do the right thing get blocked at every corner. Whereas I could easily have downloaded a cracked copy and be done with all these hassles. Argh!

Logitech K750 – Solar Keyboard

For the past few years, ever since I got a laptop, I’ve used a laptop stand with a built in keyboard, and although a bit limiting as far as manoeuvrability is concerned, it’s worked quite nicely. It allows my screen to be lifted up, and puts it a bit further away from me, while also giving me a full size keyboard to work on.

It’s not an amazing keyboard but it’s done me quite well, until earlier this year when I upended a cup of coffee onto it. To it’s credit, after I stripped it, drained it, and cleaned off as much of the sticky stuff as I could, it continued to work. But the stickiness is still there, impeding my typing. And so I was looking around for keyboards, but couldn’t find one I liked.


I knew which keyboard I wanted, it was this one (Logitech K750). The solar powered one :) but it was R1,000. And I wasn’t going to pay that much for a keyboard. Ideally I was looking for a wireless ‘island’ key layout, much like my laptop’s keyboard. But I couldn’t find one in I wanted to buy..

And so I resigned myself to sticking to my sticky keyboard. Until Takealot had a daily deal and I picked the same keyboard up for halfprice, much to my delight. In typical Takealot fashion, they completely over-packed the box, but the keyboard itself comes in a slim box, with only the essentials. The keyboard itself is very thin, but with a surprising weight to it. It has some flex to it, and two spindly legs to raise it, but it all seems sturdy enough.


The keyboard has a nice gloss finish (it even comes with a cloth), with the two ‘large’ solar panels taking up space along the top of the keyboard. The keyboard makes use of Logitech’s unifying remote, and even comes with a small extension for plugging in the back of a desktop PC.

The letters on the keys are in the middle or slightly below the centre of the button, which makes it look odd, but obviously has minimal impact. One thing I am missing straight off the bat, is the lack of wrist rest. My laptop obviously has one, and my laptop stand also had a rather sizeable one. But I’m sure the lack of this will be forgotten in time.

A keyboard, below a keyboard, below a keyboard

A keyboard, below a keyboard, below a keyboard

The keyboard has an on/off switch, assumedly to spare a bit of battery and a ‘light testing’ button, which when pressed illuminates a green or red LED depending on how much light the panels are receiving at the time. The keyboard is also designed to never have its battery replaced. Only time will tell, but that’s obviously why we have the solar panels.

Overall a very nice keyboard that I’m happy with. The layout is ever so slightly larger than my old keyboard, so my fingers feel slightly stretched, but I don’t know if that’s actually true or if it’s just the lack of wrist rest that makes me think that. Now I just need to build a new laptop stand for myself.

Dropbox and Syncing all your photos to your Galaxy S4

A few months ago I got my hands on a Samsung Galaxy S4. As part of the setup procedure it asks for your login details for Dropbox, this was great, I actively use Dropbox, had the app on my previous phone and regularly access files from my cellphone. As it was set-up on my previous phone to only download files when I request/access them, I expected the same to happen with this setup.

The next day I checked my gallery, and saw hundreds and hundreds of photos that Dropbox had decided I wanted to have on my phone. Fortunately I was on Wi-Fi, otherwise that 1.5Gb could have hurt my phone bill at the end of the month. This wasn’t a major problem, as I assumed I’d missed something in my settings which told it to sync photos, so I went in search of the correct settings. And I couldn’t find them anywhere.

I compared the settings exactly to that on my previous Android phone and there was no difference. After searching for a quite a while on the internet, I eventually came across a forum post that explained my problem. The setting I was looking for wasn’t in Dropbox, it was in my phones ‘Accounts’ options, and not under the Dropbox account, but under the general ‘Cloud’ options.

If you look at the bottom you’ll see a ‘Contents sync (with Dropbox) menu, here you can disable the syncing of pictures, videos and documents. Disabling this option then removed all my photos from my gallery and prevented the further unwanted syncing of files from Dropbox to my phone.

So to get there:

Settings > Accounts tab > Cloud > Contents sync