Letting the Cat Out of the Mag

November 18, 2008 at 8:03 PMJeremy

I noticed that the flashlight in my truck had gone out, but when I tried to remove the cap to replace the batteries, it was stuck.

Not just a little stuck, either. 

I started with some forceful twisting. 

When that didn't work, I broke out my set of not-so-trusty Craftsman Strap Wrenches ("not-so-trusty" because I've yet to find a situation where they actually worked). 

When that didn't work, I got the pipe wrench after it.

When that didn't work, I put it in the vise and used the pipe wrench on it.

When that didn't work, I put it in the vise, put the pipe wrench on the end cap, and hit the pipe wrench with a mallet.

When that didn't work, I cussed, banged the flashlight against the toolbox, and tried it all again.

Since I had had to toss a smaller Maglite with the same problem, I figured somebody on the Internets would know if this was a common occurence.  I suspected that the batteries had leaked and caused the cap to get stuck.

Upon looking it up, I discovered the Maglite FAQ page. Yeah, it's a known issue, and yes, probably a leaky battery, but no, it's not covered under warranty.  However, if you have Duracell, Ray-O-vac, or Eveready batteries inside, they'll replace it at no charge.  Well, that's a big "if" considering if you can't get the cap off, it's somewhat difficult to check what brand of battery is inside. 

I had to know.  Finally, as a last ditch effort, I got the pipe wrench and the channel locks, summoned my inner Hulk, and twisted the dang thing open.  After some banging, pliering (is that a word?), and prying, I got one of the leaky batteries out: Energizer.

So, the lesson here: in the war between Energizer and Duracell, it's probably a good idea to at least go with the copper top for Maglites.  Oh, and if anybody is looking for a good stocking stuffer for me, a 2D Maglite fits perfectly in the door of my truck.  Just a thought.


Posted in: Tech Tips


Go Phish

September 2, 2008 at 8:09 PMJeremy

I saw this in my email and thought it might make for a valuable lesson. 

An email allegedly from Wells Fargo.

Now, I actually do have an account at Wells Fargo, and I know that they still use that image as their logo, so this is a fairly convincing thing.  Because they used the right return address (alerts@wellsfargo.com), it even showed up in my inbox. 

But watch what happens when I mouse over the link they want me to click on:

Image displaying a hyperlink with close but mismatched URL and text.

Did you catch that?  Look down to the bottom of the window, where Internet Explorer and Firefox display the address that a link will go to.  Where's it going?  wellsfargo.com?  Look closer.

The phishing address is highlighted.

A domain (the main address of the computer you're going to) doesn't end until you reach the first '/' character.  So while they told me I was going to


I instead would've gone to


which is almost no doubt some hacker's page where I'd see something very much like the Wells Fargo homepage, but rather than the form accepting my username and password and logging me in, it would just take my username and password and store it so the hacker could later log into my account on the real Wells Fargo homepage.

The bottom line?  Always be careful.  If you ever receive emails telling you that you need to log in to an account anywhere to verify, correct, update, or do anything else, DO NOT click on any links in that email.  Instead, type the address of where you're wanting to go (www.wellsfargo.com in this case) directly into the address bar.

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

G.I. Joe Logo

Posted in: Tech Tips