Today we shut off zZq’s jabber server after 12 years. Unsurprisingly GTalk/Hangouts started off offering federation with independent XMPP servers only to disable it early 2017 after most people had migrated to Google. Sadly this more or less rendered zZqIM useless. Only 3 users regularly logged in, which didn’t justify the cost of the server to keep it running. The last holdouts have finally migrated to Hangouts.

With the money saved we will most certainly use it for alcohol and pour one out in honor of another lost friend.


zZqIM circa 2006

I have tried, and when the iPhone X is replaced by a newer, larger version, I’ll be back, but till then…

The iPhone 8 Plus is larger than I want it to be, but the screen is more important than FaceID, or the swiping gestures, or the one and only time I sent an Animoji to someone.

the [PRODUCT]RED iPhone 8 Plus is perhaps the best looking iPhone of all time, and it will be mine. If I’m going to pay an extra $10 per month to be in T-Mobile’s Jump! OnDemand plan, I’m going to use the hell out of it and have zero regrets.

The “RED” phone on the 8 and 8 Plus has a black bezel, which, let’s be honest, is THE RIGHT COLOR. White bezels are for basic people who like Rose Gold and Silver and whatever other weak colors are out there that aren’t Space Grey.

So, the minute I can switch from the wonderful, but just-a-bit-too-small iPhone X, I’m going to. Likewise, the minute I can switch from the 8 Plus to the X2 Plus (or whatever it’s called), I will.

I purchased my first iPhone for use as a daily device in February 2016. It was a 128GB Space Grey iPhone 6 S Plus, second-hand, from someone who had purchased it from and used it on Verizon.  This was great, because until some time in 2018, Verizon had kept their phones carrier-unlocked starting some years earlier.

Eighteen months on, and not terribly interested in the iPhone 7, the 8 was now a big step up. The X, as tempting as it looked, was just a bit too much different for me to look at it seriously. What I mostly wanted from a replacement phone was exactly the device I had in my hand already, just better. The 9 Plus was that.

I shopped locally for used/new devices on some classifieds and fished for fresh devices. This was also tempered by the fact that I could just go to T-Mobile or Apple and buy the phone outright. The price difference was minimal, but the risk wasn’t. I’ve been diligent in buying used phones, though not going as far as IMEI checks. There’s just a _feeling_ you get sometimes which makes you avoid things…

So, when a Space Grey 64GB iPhone 8 Plus, new in box, on T-Mobile popped up for $600, I had the hook in my mouth. This was $200 bucks off the MSRP, not taking sales tax into consideration. It also had two-years of AppleCare+ to boot. It looked too good to be true, but the seller sounded very reasonable and wasn’t being cagey, but neither was I asking the questions I should have.

Deal done, I swapped my SIM card in and got to using the phone. it was everything I’d wanted, with no surprises, and all was well. Figuring that my luck was just good, and that the device’s past wouldn’t catch up to it, I thought little more of it than to tell it as a story.

The story didn’t end there.

In late March 2018, after owning the 8 Plus for six months, I glanced at my phone one evening and saw the “No Service” message displayed next to my WiFi signal. Curious, I poked around, restarted the phone, and it showed the same message. The following day I didn’t look much at the device, but did get a phone call successfully, which was unusual in retrospect. Another day in, and I figured I’d call T-Mobile to find out what was going on.

The very helpful representative walked me most of the way through resolving this, which he was confident amounted to a security issue. In finalizing the steps to unlock the device, which had, according to the T-Mobile site, been reported “Lost or Stolen”, he hesitated. This was something different, and I mentioned that I thought I’d been the third party in the scenario where insurance fraud was concerned. The phone, as it sat, was now useless on any carrier in North America, and T-Mobile could not do anything about it permanently. Any unlock would be re-locked quickly. Oops.

Six months in my phone was now a 5.5″ 64GB iPod Touch with a REALLY nice camera setup. This was annoying, but I was quickly self-deprecating and admitted that it was silly and stupid of me to buy the device in that situation, knowing that the risks were high.

The representative noted my long tenure at T-Mobile, offered a generous amount of credit for signing up to get a new, working device, and eventually worked with me to pick up a new iPhone X less than 10 miles from my house. This was a pretty painless process, and even though I was at fault, everyone was very willing to work with me. A good deal is sometimes too hard to pass up, and the hook is seated very firmly in the cheek.

New iPhone X in hand, now I needed to decide what to do with the 8 Plus. i could keep it as a browsing device, with a great camera, or for parts if I did decide the X wasn’t for me (still undecided). I mostly wanted to ignore it for a few days, and try to get used to the smaller X screen, then return to it when I settled on what i was going to do.

A few days later, I typed “iPhone 8 Plus b” into eBay and found a whole list of phones with bad IMEI and ESN numbers for sale, and many sold. The prices were good, really good. More of the population of the planet is covered by wireless carriers that do not care about whether a device was paid for in the United States than those who do. Interesting.

I took a deep breath, listed the device after taking some comprehensive photos, found a reasonable price and listed it. The next morning I had an offer, then another, and another. These offers were good, and very close to the asking price. Maybe I should have sold it for more?

Either way, I will end up with a reasonable amount of money from the device which I could not use, even after PayPal and eBay take their slices (not insubstantial). All told, I actually did really well.

I’m undecided on whether I’ll keep the X or wait to trade it for an 8 Plus. The X has so many changes to what an iPhone has been for the past 4-5 years that it’s incredible, while holding it, to consider how damned good it is. It’s great, and I like everything, save for it’s size.

In the end, I was able to turn an unfortunate situation into what amounts now to a nearly-free iPhone 8 Plus for 6 months. Sure, there were some minefields to traverse on eBay and with T-Mobile, but those are places I’m comfortable going in to.

Got a phone with a bad IMEI/ESN? Find out what it’s worth on eBay and sell it. Most of the world doesn’t care, and if you’re clever and diligent, you can send it on it’s way and move on.

This guide should fix the issue with igdkmd64.sys and a BSOD

Update (11/27/2019)

This issue has yet to be resolved in Windows LTSC (Build 1809)

I’m a tech, and in this environment we use Apple’s excellent iMacs with Windows and macOS. The 2011 model is the last of the thick, optical drive-equipped and easily serviceable iMac series. They came in a 21.5″ and 27″ model. RAM, disks, and display are pretty easy to install.

Under Windows 10, booting from a USB stick into a UEFI mode, Bootcamp 5.1 drivers install and work correctly but sound from the onboard Cirrus Logic WILL NOT WORK.

The biggest issue, however, is that Windows immediately grabs an “updated” Intel Graphics driver, installs it, and then blue-screens. One or two reboots will happen, upon which Windows will start up the System Repair. This is where we can easily fix this particular issue.

Note that these iMacs have two video cards onboard. They’ll have the integrated Intel graphics and some version of an AMD Radeon. We’re disabling the Intel graphics, which won’t affect the use of the iMac, which primarily runs on the Radeon under normal circumstances.

Navigate through the options until you’re allowed to boot with options, at which point Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking is the choice needed. Boot into Windows 10, log in, and open the Device Manager.

You’ll see a line under Display Adapters called something like “Intel Display Graphics”. Right click on this, and select Properties, then click the Details tab. In the drop-down box select Hardware IDs. Open Notepad, or a text editor of choice, and copy the four lines of the long Device IDs shown.

Let’s delete the driver that’s causing us issues by going to the Driver tab, clicking Uninstall, checking the box to delete the driver, and clicking OK. Decline the offer to restart because we’re not done.

Run gpedit.msc, and dig down into the following stack:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Device Installation > Device Installation Retrictions >  Prevent installation of devices that match any of these device IDs

Click “Enabled” then “Show” and here’s where you’d past the four lines copied from the Device Manager.

Click Apply, close the Group Policy Editor, and restart.

This should completely resolve any issues you’ve had on iMacs with Windows 8.1 or 10 that are having issues with downloaded Intel Graphics driver updates. You’re likely to see a failed update for the Intel Graphics driver in the future, but this is to be expected, and shouldn’t cause issues. In the event that a major system update breaks this, following these steps again should return your iMac to working order.

Most of these tips came courtesy of a long search day and this video, in Italian, which shows the process.

Long Live zZq Day! (otherwise known as Presidents’ Day in the United States)

May all of your brick walls be turned into doors safely.

Growing up is hard. It’s also inevitable. Friends who used to spend a lot of time per day, per week, per month at times only see each other a few times per year.

zZq is still a web of friendships, acquaintances, and bonds. Shared experiences are like glue that refuses to release, and in some cases, only gets stronger. I suppose it’s a bit like cement, which ingests Carbon Dioxide as it ages, increasing it’s strength in time.

Looking through old pictures from the early 200s I found some old Trasfires in which some 20 or more people had congregated in the backyard of a parent’s house, around a fire, chatting, making merry, and generally enjoying each other’s company.

It doesn’t happen like that anymore, and the cottonwood pile is nearly gone. Housewarming parties are more common. Wedding receptions too. Also, gatherings of friends in memory of another who has passed.

An on we go.

Our old friend, companion, antagonist, driver, and general ally veruus passed away. He fought against Leukemia, which had gone undiagnosed for a few years. Extensive treatment followed, and a bone marrow transplant was scheduled before he succumbed to the condition.

Ben attended many Black Hat and DEF CON conferences and lived between Utah and Florida.

Most of us can hope to be as memorable as he was, for better and worse.

Old School - Austin, TX

Old School – Austin, TX

Who knows what will happen…

A decade is a long time, let me tell you.  Five years is quite a while.

It’s take about that long places like this, with a dedicated, custom, bespoke CMS, phpBB, and Gallery installation, with a side of QDB and misc other projects like phonese to get all but abandoned for MySpace, then Facebook and Google+ and all manner of other atrocities like Instagram.

At least people still use our Jabber server.

I kinda miss those days.  We need another zZq BBQ.

Day 1

This is quite a day to be changing things, I agree, but on the contrary, it is a day for change.