Friday, July 29, 2016

Using Bluetooth To Share Files Between Your Phone And Desktop Or Laptop

Many laptops come with Bluetooth built-in, but it's super easy to add a cheap Bluetooth dongle to your USB port and use your computer to listen to music, or share files, which is the subject of this article.

This article assumes you are using Windows 10, but I believe it would work similarly on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, though Windows 10 is the version that finally got Bluetooth right as far as I'm concerned.

Step 1 - Make sure you have a Bluetooth adapter and that it's running.

Whether it's a USB dongle like the the one below, or whether Bluetooth is built into your system, you should see a little Bluetooth icon on your system tray, located on the bottom right of the screen.

 Clicking on the arrow on the system tray will show you the logo:

Click on the Bluetooth icon and choose "Show Bluetooth Devices" and you should see the Bluetooth settings screen similar to below. Notice I have my headphones already paired.

Step 2 - Allow Connections To Your PC

Windows 10 doesn't trust any Bluetooth devices out of the box, so first you'll need to click on "More Bluetooth options" and you will see this popup dialog box:

Step 3 - Get Your PC Ready To Share Files

Make sure the "Allow Bluetooth devices to find this PC" is checked and then press the OK button.

Next, choose the "Send or receive files via Bluetooth" option on the Bluetooth settings screen, and you will see a new popup:

For this example, I will be receiving files to my PC sent from my Android 6 (Marshmallow) phone, which is probably the most common usage.

At this point, Windows will wait for an incoming connection from my phone.

Step 4 - Share From Your Phone

Choose some files or photos to share on your phone, such as a photo of a cute little dog, like my Zoey.

Pressing the little share icon in the lower right hand corner, I get a list of a whole bunch of ways I can share this photo. For this example, you'll want to click the Bluetooth icon.

You should then see your PC on the list of devices to share with. In this example, only my PC shows up on the list, clicking on the device name will start the process of sending the files, but you still have to go back to your PC to receive them.

Step 5 - Receive on your PC

At this point you should see a box pop up on your PC showing you the files being downloaded, like so:

Once your files are received, you see the finish screen:

My photo of Zoey is now on my PC! Notice I could put the file(s) somewhere else, but I just clicked the Finish button and put the file in my Documents folder.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Disney To Employees: Pay Us To Influence Politicians

In a letter to its employees, Disney recently asked its employees to help corrupt politicians through the millions of dollars it spends on lobbying. Apparently that's not enough, because they are asking their employees to take payroll deductions to help fund DisneyPac, the IP protectionist Super PAC long known for getting laws favoring Disney literally rubber stamped.

The letter, according to Ars Technica, brags about getting the TPP treaty passed, among other things. The TPP for people who haven't heard of it, is an awful trade agreement which was negotiated in complete secrecy, lest anyone find out how bad it was, and quietly ratified by its member countries before anyone realized what was going on.

A few years back when ICE (yes, the immigration service) launched a campaign to stamp out file sharing sites (which it failed at,) it kicked everything off from Disney headquarters just to show everyone how corrupt our political system is.

So, if you work for Disney, they'd sure appreciate if you'd feed their political machine, which for some reason reminds me of this episode of South Park, where Mickey Mouse beats up the Jonas Brothers!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Spam Buddies: Epicurious and Vanity Fair

It's bad enough that Epicurious sends me email spam every day that I've been powerless to stop. But then, long after I tried to unsubscribe from their emails, they give my email to their sister company, Vanity Fair, which starts sending me unwanted emails. I managed to get Vanity Fair to stop emailing me, but now it looks like the Epicurious email spam is pushing for people to subscribe to Vanity Fair. Their spam is now incestuous.

Nice. For only a dollar per month, I can subscribe to a shitty magazine! But all the unwanted emails--those will be free!

I did notice that Epicurious now has two different email footers. Looks like Conde Nast is consolidating all their spam into one giant machine.

The emails I've been getting all along have this footer:

But ever since Vanity Fair started emailing me, I noticed that the footer changed on the other emails coming from Epicurious.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Avoid GearBest

GearBest was a decent seller for me, until they started with the shady behavior, which I'm the first to call them out for. So, I would avoid them if at all possible. I gave the full story on my outdoor blog, but this has sort of become a blog focused on consumer protection and similar issues relating to technology, and overseas online shopping seems to fall into that category.

Vanity Fair Now Spamming Me

Today I got an unsolicited email from Vanity Fair, who I have no relationship with, and I've never visited their site. But I noticed the email came from Conde Nast, which also owns Epicurious, which I have been fighting with for 3 over months, the whole time being mercilessly spammed by them. It's pretty easy to make the connection that Epicurious shared my email address with their sister company, so they can join in the spam fun. What's funny is that Epicurious gave them my email address after my fight began with them.

The tag line is ... ironic.

I notice that the return address emails are different between the two companies;

Vanity Fair:

So it looks like Vanity Fair uses a third party email service provider, where Epicurious is sending spam from their own domain. Third party ESPs are usually a little more strict about the behavior of their clients, so I think there's a fair chance that Vanity Fair will honor the unsubscribe request--we'll see. I just noticed that email from Vanity Fair seems to really be coming from Epicurious.

Wait, maybe not. Is this email from Vanity Fair, or is it from Epicurious? It seems a little suspicious. Thank you, Conde Nast for sending me spam from Vanity Fair on behalf of Epicurious!

I got an austere screen when I clicked on the button.
Wait, which company did I unsubscribe from? This was a Vanity Fair email. Also note that that 10 days is the maximum allowed under the CAN-SPAM act. And from building back-end corporate computer systems for the last 25 years, the time it takes for a large system to process something like this is measured in milliseconds--thousandths of a second. So, it's kind of a dick move to spam you the full 10 days after you tell them to stop. Some systems will do a big batch processing every night, so maybe one day could be believable. But the full 10 days, yeah, that's dickish.

Here are the email headers from the above email. I know Conde Nast must be feeling a little heat, because these articles are starting to get some traction, and I'm receiving email from readers angry about Epicurious. We'll see if Vanity Fair gets my ire.

Update 1/24/2016: looks like the unsubscribe took. Now if I could just unsubscribe from their sister company, that would be a real victory.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Epicurious Email Spam: The Saga Unfolds

It's pretty simple in theory. People obey the law because there are consequences for not doing so. The problem begins when those "people" are large, multi-national corporations. Couple that with an almost complete "regulatory capture" of the communication and tech industries, and well, the law doesn't always always apply to corporations.

For those following along, Epicurious seems indifferent to an unsubscribe request, emails to their company, complaints to both the FCC and FTC, and the few people in cyberspace making a stink about it. Their communication infrastructure seems fine, as they continue to email me every day, even twice a days over the holidays, so I wonder why they won't communicate with me other than via spam.

So, I'm coming up on 3 months of doing what I can to get these people to stop sending me emails. Not a day goes by that they don't send me an email, but when I email them, no response. Day after day from them, like we're friends. In fact, few of my good friends even email me twice a day.

I'm just going to keep telling my story and linking the proof that they are not obeying the law, and hopefully someday their actions will catch up with them. I still have yet to start contacting email providers to try to get their domains black listed.

Notice below that they are spamming me from two different recipients: "Epicurious" and "Epicurious Cook This Now"

Here's the email headers on one of those random emails so everyone can see this is the same email I unsubscribed from. Notice that it also provides an unsubscribe URL. As I've always said, I believe they will continue to spam me until they are faced with tangible consequences, and then they will say "oops it was a mistake, sorry" to weasel out of it. Mark my words!

Received: by with SMTP id 2csp5969513iox;
        Sun, 27 Dec 2015 07:27:58 -0800 (PST)
X-Received: by with SMTP id o2mr16167950pfa.113.1451230078058;
        Sun, 27 Dec 2015 07:27:58 -0800 (PST)
Return-Path: <>
Received: from ( [])
        by with ESMTP id mi6si1938155pab.95.2015.
        for <>;
        Sun, 27 Dec 2015 07:27:58 -0800 (PST)
Received-SPF: pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender) client-ip=;
       spf=pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender);
Return-Path: <>
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha1;; s=v1; c=simple/simple;
q=dns/txt;; t=1451230071;
DomainKey-Signature: q=dns; a=rsa-sha1; c=nofws;
Received: from [] ([]
by (envelope-from <>)
(ecelerity r(44647)) with ESMTP
id 1D/DD-31639-77300865; Sun, 27 Dec 2015 07:27:51 -0800
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 2015 07:27:56 -0800 (PST)
From: Epicurious <>
Message-ID: <>
Subject: 20% Off The WIRED T-Shirt Collection.
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="---=_NEXT_151e40d9f0a"
X-eid: 2.5.3Kg.2hg.17syts.ENK1D2..N..1ZLy.CeVQETc0
X-pid: 406908
X-AcxSID: 13610.406908
List-Unsubscribe: <>

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Safeway Email Spam

It used to be just scammers and spammers would send you unwanted email. The CAN-SPAM act made it the law that companies had to provide an opt out process, and had to stop sending you email once you opted out. But we know how the law favors mega-corporations like Safeway, so more and more companies are realizing that this legislation isn't being enforced. Most companies, when called out, will say "oops" and blame technical difficulties before taking you off their mailing list. Just that alone provides a pretty high bar since you have to opt out, and then tell them that they aren't honoring your request. At which point they say something like "we apologize and value your privacy" to the people who jump through all the hoops.

And then there's companies like Epicurious, who are owned by overseas mega-corporations and don't seem to care. And right when I was down to only one company I couldn't get to stop spamming me, I get sick of Safeway's emails that look like a 12 year old was texting me, opted out twice over a two week span, and still get their emails. I opted out an extra time because I couldn't find the screen shots from last week, so this is opt out #3.

But where Epicurious is a shitty company owned in some far away land, Safeway is a store that's just down the street from me. Their prices are a little high, and their selection isn't that great, but they are close to me, and sometimes they have good coupons.

Having high prices and a mediocre selection, this Safeway next to me is never crowded. It doesn't seem like they have too many customers left like me to alienate, because they lost me as a customer. There's an Albertson's just as a close.

Right now is the beginning of the process. I opted out a couple times, and I'm posting the screen grab I made last week so that when I do the next installment of this post, it'll be easy to see that I didn't mess with the dates on the image, because their system says that it will take 24 hours to process the request. A week from now when I show a stack of emails, it'll be easy to see that they aren't honoring the request, if I don't get any farther in the process.

Bellow you can see it even has the address of the store that's no longer getting my business.