Saturday, November 11, 2023

Prospective buyer of your vehicle asks for "Autoviny" report.

 Per this post and this score, I believe Autoviny is a scam.

I personally got multiple offers of interest from separate phone numbers that all followed an identical script.  This pretty much gave it away.

 Similar  tactics involve "", and basically all kinds of other sites that aren't Carfax.

What I usually do is tell people to get their own report(s), and if they buy the car, I will reimburse them for the cost.  That weeds out the liars and scammers.


Update:  I'd not seen this in the news - and I read a lot of news - but I did run across this BBB report afterwards.  Also this, this, this and this.

The various scammers have been kind enough to provide a list of scam sites, current as of November 2023:


 Of course, as new domains only cost a few bucks a year, these sites will be endless. 

To pay them back, I've taken to sending them random science facts from this website.(which is actually legitimate, and fun too!). 

Thursday, November 2, 2023

How to put new lines / line breaks / carriage returns in LinkedIn chat

Change your chat settings to "Click Send":


[God, why is everything a @#%$!@ video these days.  Just #%%$& tell me without 2 minutes of narrative.]

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Specific emails are never received at a Shaw email address

I recently saw a case where two Shaw email addresses in the same household behaved differently.

One of them would simply not receive any email from a specific sender.  The other one had no issues receiving emails from the same sender.

There were no error messages on either side, the email account was not full, and the lost messages were not in Trash or Spam.  There were no settings on the problem account that would explain this behavior.

Even stranger, the emails in question never showed up on the problem account even after forwarding the same email from the successful account.  

So, the problem account wasn't just rejecting the original sender - there was something in the message itself that caused it to get lost in transit.

Testing showed that the problem Shaw email account was rejecting a specific domain name in the text (i.e. "").  

 That is, if the email - ANY email,  from anyone - contained the phrase "", it would be lost; otherwise, it was fine.

The successful account did not show this behavior.

From this, it IS possible for two different Shaw Webmail accounts to behave differently, and it IS possible for Shaw email accounts to silently reject and/or lose emails under certain specific circumstances.

I did not ask Shaw about this because (a) I don't care and (b) I doubt their tech support is equipped to understand / correct this issue.  But it's definitely on the Shaw side.

It's not likely that anyone will actually run into this behavior.  The domain in question (not actually is associated with a Chinese electrical equipment supplier.  I read an unconfirmed report that they had a habit of spamming people, so perhaps they're on some kind of blacklist. 

(And no, I have no idea why any such blacklist would be used on one Shaw account and not all the others.  If you've got a better theory, I'd love to hear it.)

Regardless, I've been on Shaw for decades, and this is the first time I've personally encountered this behavior.  So, not impossible, but (hopefully) extremely rare.

It is just barely possible that this has something to do with the Rogers transition.  No way to know.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Google Chrome suddenly not working in Windows 10/11

Problem:  Chrome starts, then immediately closes.  You can see the window momentarily.  Usually and suddenly manifests on a kids laptop that had no prior issues whatsoever.

No error messages.  Can still see some Chrome-related process running in Task Manager, but nothing useful.  Reinstall doesn't help.  Chrome works fine on other devices.  No known issues with connectivity, cache / hard drive space, etc.  Edge works.  Firefox will not work.

Solution:  Your child(ren) probably got involuntarily signed up for Microsoft Family Safety, which can block all browsers other than Edge.

•  Go to the Family Safety parental / Family Organizer account.  If you don't know what that is, try here.

•  Click your kids account.

•  Go to "Content Filters".

•  Be sure you're on "Web and search".

•  Turn OFF the "Filter settings / Filter inappropriate websites and searches" feature.


Several things baffle me about this, including:

•  Why or how this feature suddenly starts working without any changes to the Family Safety account settings; and

•  Why Microsoft does not provide any kind of error or troubleshooting message when blocking Chrome.  People are just supposed to know this... HOW??? Via divine intervention?

Thank God I ran into this post almost immediately in my searching, or else it would have been another hours-long saga to figure out just what the hell was going on. So maybe that part was divine intervention.  I'll take it regardless.

Honestly, Family Safety should be my go-to for all things going wrong at this point - it's a ******* disaster.  The Synology router I've been using for years has been flawless, Family Safety is just a dumpster fire.  I'm taking my kid off of MFS at the earliest possible opportunity.

And once again, a big you-know-what to Microsoft for shoving this shit down people's throats with zero notice or support.  I've seen 13-year-olds that can code better than you.  Put up a goddamn error message like it's this millennium, you infuriating wankers.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

How to deal with Microsoft Family Features asking for permissions, and find the parental email / Family Organizer account


Somebody, somewhere has gotten a message similar to:

"Microsoft Family Features: You'll need to ask an adult in your family if you can use __________"

It's usually a child under 18, but not always.  It's usually for a game or app, but can also be for something innocuous, like Google Chrome.  Often it worked perfectly before, and for forever, but not now.

You then get a button that says "Ask by email".  

You press it and --- nothing happens.   

NOTHING.  At all. No emails, nothing.


The solutions posted by Microsoft for this issue are incorrect, unintelligible, or both.  The "best" ones assume you already understand the system you're having problems with, making them frustrating at best and utter crap at worst.


If you already know who the "Family Organizer" is, skip to Step 4.

1.  Go to and log in to your child's account.

(As setting up the first account is painful, I assume she/he/them/you wrote down the login details.  If not, I can't help you.)

2.  Look for the name of the "Family organizer".  She/he/them will have a Microsoft account.

3.  Log out.

4.  Go to and log in as the family organizer using her/his/their Microsoft account.  (Again, I assume you have these details.)

5.  Look for a little popup in the right-hand upper corner that says "XXXX has asked for permission to use ____.  Allow?", or similar.

6.  Press OK or whatever it is.


As far as I know,  this system doesn't actually send emails.  Not to your Microsoft account email, not to your alternative email on file in your Microsoft account, not to your kids' Microsoft email, not to your kids' alternative email, nothing/zip/zero/null/nada.  I checked every email I have, including spam, didn't get.  So don't bother waiting.

 This is especially frustrating if you have multiple email accounts and don't know which one you used when signing up for your Microsoft account.  You then spend ages looking through all your accounts trying to find this stupid email, which doesn't exist, so of course you don't find it.  Which is why you're here! 

If you want / need to know that "Family organizer" / parental email, check your own Microsoft account at  It's listed right under your name at the top-left corner (in really small and gray text), and also in "Your info" in the menu bar.

For the record, I don't understand the Microsoft account system - at all.  I understand Google's system just fine, because it works.  Microsoft's system is clunky, lacks obvious features, and basically just sucks, so I don't try to understand it.  This post is a stellar example of why I hate it.


[Edit]:  OK, 1 of 2 emails has shown up, some significant time after the request was made.  The first one is lost forever.

It went to the email address of the "Family organizer", as described three paragraphs above (below the name at the top-left corner of your Microsoft account homepage). 

And THANK YOU MICROSOFT YOU DAMN TWITS for setting up YET ANOTHER stupid thing that I didn't want, making it UTTERLY IDIOTIC and making it IMPOSSIBLE TO FIGURE OUT.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Using 18Tb Seagate SkyHawk AI surveillance drives in Synology NAS

These drives work fine on an RS2416RP+ running DSM 6.2, no issues.

Don't whine they're "surveillance" drives, blah blah.  They're hard drives, they work like you expect hard drives to work.

I don't know about DSM 7.x or newer NAS units, but I see no reason why they wouldn't work on them as well.

That's all.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

How to fix Lexus / Toyota "AWD system malfunction 2WD mode engaged"

May be associated with other errors, such as "Check Engine" light, ICS / backup system warning, etc.

 Simple fixes that may save you time/money:

1.  Check gas cap is tight.

Yes, it's stupid - damn stupid, in fact.  But it worked for me and others.

Note the old RX330s had a similar issue, in that it would throw error codes if the gas cap was loose.  Happened to me a few time when the weather got really cold.  It's all because the car is looking for leaks in the emissions control system and sees that the pressure in the gas tank is not holding steady.

2.  If codes do not clear themselves, disconnect battery for 5 min, then reconnect and start.

•  Open the door during that 5+ min, to ensure system is fully discharged.  Not needed but can't hurt.

•  Yellow ICS light (top right-hand corner on RX350) will flash on restart.  It will self-reset upon driving, don't worry about it.

3.  Recharge battery to full, then retry.  Worked for him and others.

It seems a near-dead or weak battery will cause the car to puke lots of codes.  If this is your issue, consider replacing your battery, as it's likely on its way out.

I recommend disconnecting the battery while recharging so you can get the benefits of (2) and (3) in one go.  Not necessarily required, though.


Some people say this occurs when the gas is low / very low., even to the point of claiming you're risking damage to your fuel pump.  

I call BS on this since automakers know people will run their car down past reserve, and a few people will inevitably run out of gas, and the car / fuel pump has to tolerate this gracefully.  Honestly, how stupid do you have to be to make a fuel pump system that will be damaged if you run low on gas?

Regardless, you can try filling up (and making sure your gas cap is TIGHT).

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Setting up OpenVPN server on pfsense with DNS-O-Matic DDNS (or other DDNS)

 First, follow this tutorial, it's awesome.

A few changes, as follows:

1.  If you can't install the OpenVPN Client Export package, update your pfsense.  (It's scary but the latest stable version is stable, and will work.)  Then the package will install.

2. When doing the Client settings Export (6:35), in "Host Name Resolution:, don't choose "", whatever it is, as DNS-O-Matic will not respond to this type of request.

Instead, choose "other" and type in the domain name associated with your dynamic DNS (i.e. "".

3.  Once connected on Windows, be aware that Windows File Explorer DOES NOT WORK over a VPN tunnel.

This means that stuff like "\\mynas\drive" typed into Windows will not work, and you will not see your NAS in the Network pane.

Quick fix:  run "net use x: \\ip.address.of.server\sharename" to mount the share to a Windows drive.

Example:  "net use h: \\\drive" will mount it to H:\.

Apparently there is some way to automate mounting the network share once OpenVPN connects, but it seems to rely on using some specific OpenVPN client software on Windows.  I haven't figured it out yet.

In the meantime, a good old batch file to run the above command will work.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Quick reference list of all gluten-free items at Disneyland as of January, 2023

I could not find a current / simple reference, and the Disney app is tedious to page through, so I had to put a quick GF reference list together.  Hope this helps someone.

All info pulled from the Disneyland app Jan 07, 2023 unless otherwise noted. 


Disneyland only - not for Walt Disney World!  Breakfast menus, lounges and bars are not listed. All French fries listed here are gluten-free.  For those unfamiliar, a "Power Pack" is basically a kids snack pack, it's not a meal.  All items are "allergy-friendly", but I've never heard of anyone having any issues.  

* = Info from internet

** = Info from last known menu, see bottom of post for copies




Alien Pizza Planet

  • GF Pepperoni Pizza
  • GF Cheese Pizza
  • GF Astro Antipasto Salad
  • GF Satellite Salad

Bengal BBQ *

Blue Bayou (Reservation only) **

  • House Salad
  • Pan-Seared Pork Loin
  • Surf & Turf
  • Pan-Seared Salmon
  • Portobello Mushroom and Louisiana Popcorn Rice

Cafe Orleans  (Reservation only) **

  • House Salad
  • Seasonal soup (subject to availability)
  • Shrimp and Grits
  • Bourbon Street Chicken
  • Steak and Potatoes
  • Nicoise Salad
  • Muffuletta Chopped Salad
  • Vegetable Bolognese

Carnation Cafe  (Reservation only) **

  • Walt's Chili
  • House Salad
  • Romaine Salad with Shrimp
  • Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken
  • Roasted Turkey Sandwich
  • Main Street Cheeseburger
  • Bacon Cheese Melt
  • Fresh Catch of the Day Fish
  • Ice Cream

Docking Bay 7

  • Endorian Roasted Chicken Salad / Roasted Endorian Tip-Yip Salad

French Market Restaurant

  • Jambalaya
  • Cajun Roasted Half Chicken
  • Cajun Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Chicken Breast with Rice

Galactic Grill

  • GF Hamburger
  • GF Cheeseburger
  • Chopped Salad
  • Side French fries
  • Power Pack
  • Strawberry Fruit Bar

Golden Horseshoe

  • No known options; consult restaurant in advance.

Harbour Gallery

  • Fresh Fruit Plate
  • Power Pack

Hungry Bear Restaurant

  • GF Hamburger
  • GF Cheeseburger
  • GF Impossible Cheeseburger
  • Side French fries
  • BBQ Chicken Salad
  • Power Pack
  • Strawberry Fruit Bar

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

  • Toasted Cheese Sandwich
  • Oven Roasted Turkey Sandwich
  • Turkey Sandwich
  • Side Soup (subject to availability)
  • Jolly Holiday Combo (GF Toasted Cheese Sandwich + Tomato Basil Soup)
  • Jolly Holiday Salad
  • GF Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • GF Chocolate Blueberry Muffin

Oga's Cantina (Reservation only)

  • No known options; consult restaurant in advance.

Rancho Del Zocalo

  • Fire-Grilled Half Chicken
  • Trio Street Tacos
  • Kids' Chicken Taco

Red Rose Taverne

  • GF 1/3 Angus Cheeseburger
  • GF Cheese Pizza
  • Chef's Chicken Chopped Salad
  • Power Pack

Refreshment Corner

  • GF Hot Dog Basket
  • GF Chili Cheese Dog Basket
  • GF Hearty Chili
  • GF Blueberry Muffin
  • GF Chocolate Chip Cookie

River Belle Terrace (Reservations recommended) **

  • Becky Thatcher's Vegetarian Chopped Salad
  • Aunt Polly's Chicken Chopped Salad
  • River Belle's Sirloin and Cheddar
  • Messy Mississippi BBQ Pork
  • Plantation Chicken
  • Kid's Paste Marinara
  • GF Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • GF Brownie

Ronto Roasters *

Stage Door Cafe

  • No known options; consult restaurant in advance.



Award Wieners *

Carthay Circle Restaurant (Reservation only) *

  • GF options are reportedly available but not listed on any menu; consult chef.

Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill

  • Street Tacos: QuesaBirria, Carne Asada, Pollo Asado, Al Pastor, Dorados de Papa
  • Kids' Tacos: Pollo Asado, Carne Asada
  • Lime Cilantro Rice
  • Frijoles Charros
  • Horchata Agua Fresca

Flo's V8 Cafe

  • GF Impossible Burger
  • GF Ka-Cheeseburger
  • Ramone's Low and Slow Club
  • Kids' Micro Burger
  • Flo's Classic Shake (Vanilla, Chocolate or Strawberry)

Lamplight Lounge (Reservations recommended) *

  • Lobster Nachos
  • Potato Skins
  • Carne Asada Roll
  • Grilled Chicken Salad
  • Spinach Salad
  • Ratatouille
  • GF Cheddar Burger
  • GF Vegan Burger (Off-menu item)
  • GF Kids Burger Slider
Lucky Fortune Cookery
  • Teriyaki Chicken
  • Spicy Szechuan Chicken
  • Chicken and Rice
Magic Key Terrace (Magic Key holders only)
Pacific Wharf Cafe
  • No known options; consult restaurant in advance.
Paradise Garden Grill
  • No items listed; consult restaurant in advance.
 Pym Test Kitchen
  • GF Pym-ini Sandwich 
  • GF PB3 Superb Sandwich
  • GF PB&J Flavor Lab
  • GF Kids' Teeny Pym-ini Sandwich 
Smokejumpers Grill
  • GF Double Base Camp Burger
  • GF Double Cheeseburger
  • GF Impossible Double Cheeseburger
  • GF Grilled Chicken Sandwich
  • Grilled Chicken Salad
  • Crinkle Cut Fries
  • GF Shake (Vanilla, Chocolate) 

The latest menus I have are shown below.  THESE MAY BE OUT OF DATE.


Lucky Fortune

Flo's V8 Cafe

Cocina Cucamonga

Village Haus

River Belle

River Belle Lunch

Rancho del Zocalo

Rancho del Zocalo

Pym Test Lab

Pizza Planet

Jolly Holiday (Winter menu)

Jolly Holiday (GF menu)

Jolly Holiday (Fall menu)

Hungry Bear

Galactic Grill

French Market

Docking Bay 7 (menu 1)

Docking Bag 7 (menu 2)

Docking Bay 7 (breakfast)

Carnation Cafe

Cafe Orleans

Blue Bayou 1

Blue Bayou 2