Closing a Yahoo account

I terminated my Yahoo account on June 24. It was only used for Flickr. Flickr has been in a sad state for years, and is unlikely to improve under Verizon ownership.

Yahoo sent the following as a confirmation:

It’s strange that the final date is approximate. The 40 days concluded yesterday, August 3.

I’ve received several emails recently of spambots liking photos on Flickr, including one this morning (August 4):

Awesome photos, huh? Not so much.

I never received these notifications before asking Yahoo to terminate the account. It’s unclear why the Flickr content is still visible at all. In hindsight, I should have deleted the photos prior to terminating the account.

I could pessimistically conclude that this is a trick designed to get users to log back into their account and abort the termination process. I’m actually worried that my data will never get expunged.

For now, I’ve decided the best action is no action. Hopefully this all works out.

Disabling Wi-Fi on an LG Smart Refrigerator

Our LG LFXS30766S refrigerator is broadcasting an open Wi-Fi access point. I’m sure it’s doing that so LG’s Android app can connect to it and deliver pairing instructions for another AP. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any way to disable this feature. LG: If you’re listening, nobody asked for this garbage. Making the door shelves adjustable would be pretty great, though. A $2,300 fridge should have adjustable shelves.

I also see LG recently posted a firmware update for this fridge to their website. There are no release notes; You need proprietary hardware to install it, and it requires fridge disassembly. Seriously? I hope it’s not needed to close a gaping security hole in that open Wi-Fi access point… No, that would be silly. They’re never going to fix those security holes.

I may end up looking for a service manual so I can try to physically disable the Wi-Fi.

Welcome to the shitty future.

May 5, 2016 Update:

Forum discussion on refrigerator Wi-Fi
Video showing how to disable Wi-Fi on a Samsung refrigerator

Emulating a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive

I occasionally encounter situations where a bootable CD or DVD is necessary. Most recently, I had to load an operating system on a server. Before that, I had to burn and boot a CD to update the firmware of a device in my computer. I found out last week that hardware emulators are available that can read .ISO files and pretend to be a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive. On the recommendation of a co-worker, I got a Zalman ZM-V350B. It holds a user-supplied 2.5″ hard drive or SSD. Aside from the emulation features, it has a built-in display and jog controller that lets you choose which ISO file you want to emulate (if any), whether the host can see the hard drive or “optical” drive or both, or even write-protect the drive hard drive.

The product works well, but there are some gotchas. The documentation didn’t mention it’s necessary to use an MBR partition table and an NTFS filesystem. You can have multiple partitions, but the ISO files have to reside in the first partition. I had to install a firmware update to make it work reliably, and the newest firmware had a lower version number than the firmware that shipped with the unit. Windows is necessary to install firmware updates. I was able to do accomplish the firmware update using a virtual machine, but I had to use a USB 2.0 cable to make VMware Fusion talk to the device using Windows 7. In all, I wasted half a day on those hurdles.

I used a 256 GB SSD, and set aside 10 GB for ISO files and formatted the rest JHFS+ so I could use it for backups. I wanted FileVault 2 encryption of the backup, which only works with GPT (not MBR). I was able to use a Hybrid GPT/MBR partition table to have my cake and eat it, too.

Since figuring out the device’s quirks, I haven’t had any issues. It’s fast with the SSD, delivering 350MB/s sequential read/write. Overall, it’s a really handy tool and it’s nice to not have to burn single-use discs anymore. Still, it’s hard to recommend this product to anyone but the most dedicated geek.