Category Archives: Reference

How to export passwords from Password Corral into KeePass

These instructions assume you generally know what you are doing and are somewhat familiar with Password Corral and KeePass.

1) Export all passwords in Password Corral using the F3 key, or “File” -> “Export Passwords…”
2) Make certain you use “Create a plain text export of all password data” option when exporting your passwords.

Download the script package “Convert To KeePass 1.x CSV”:
located here

3) Run “ConvertPWC.vbs” from the file.

USE ONLY KEEPASS-1.17, also known as the Classic Edition.

4) Launch KeePass-1.17 (attn: you may have to create a database first if this is the first time you are using KeePass) and use the “File” -> “Import From” ->

“CSV File” and select the output file from the “ConvertPWC” script. The file will be called

And that’s it! You’re done. From here you can export or import that database from 1.17 into later version of KeePass such as 2.10, also know as the Professional Edition.

I found good info here:

WPA or Winzip, 7-zip Encryption Key Generators

Both Winzip’s and 7-Zip’s AES-256 encryption can use passwords up to 100 characters. I believe ever though the 100 characters well exceed the 256-bit length, a 256-bit hash is generated from those characters.

Although the below generators only generate lengths up to 63 ASCII/64 HEX characters, one can combine one or more keys generated from one or more sites to create a 100 character password for Winzip or 7-Zip.

This one is my favorite and it’s seems to have some good information in it too. It’s also hosted via SSL:

Here are some others I use:

All the sites listed above work great for wireless WPA/WPA2 keys.

At some point I’d like to put together a similar site or page that does up to any length key. Having said that, you can use password managers such a KeePass that have random password generators that allow up to any password length.

60p Videos

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Replace Turn Signal on a 99 Honda Civic

I’ve had my civic for a while now and it’s getting close to the big 300k. I have replaced my headlights twice (as a pair) and even the high mount rear brake light. I knew at some point the turn signal light(s) would go, the drivers side turn signal to be exact. I went down to the local auto parts place and found the correct bulbs (which came in a 2 pack). I figured I would replace both as a pair (Sylvania part # 1157ALL).

To my surprise when I went to change them, it was harder than it seems since the bulb access was hidden behind the wheel well. I found a few site with instructions: / Here too

It’s not as complicated as it seems. The instructions are actually in the manual:

Honda Civic Replace Turn Signal 99 Picture

1. If you are changing the bulb on the driver’s side, start the engine, turn the steering wheel all the way to the right, and turn off the engine. If you are changing the bulb on the passenger’s side, turn the steering wheel to the left.

2. Use a flat-tipped screwdriver to remove the holding clip from the inner fender. (ed note: be sure to firmly hold the base of the clip while slowly prying the center piece with the screw driver. If you break the clip you can buy a new one.  You only need to remove the 1 single fender clip as show in the honda_civic_replace_turn_signal_99.jpg picture.)

3. Pull the inner fender cover back. (ed note: just enough to get your hand in there, you don’t need much room)

4. Remove the socket from the headlight assembly by turning it one-quarter turn counterclockwise.

5. Remove the burned out bulb from the socket by pushing it in and turning counterclockwise until it unlocks

6. Install the new bulb in the socket. Turn clockwise to lock it into place (ed note: care should be taken as to how you seat the bulb. There are two ways the bulb can go in, one will turn, the other wont. You will notice that the pins that protrude from the side of the bulb are of different dimensions, this is so that the flashing filament faces away from the car and the parking filament faces inward relative to each side of the car)

7. Insert the socket back into the headlight assembly. Turn it clockwise to lock it in place.

8. Test the lights to make sure the new bulb is working.

9. Put the inner fender cover in place. Install the holding clip and tighten it securely.

Fair Travel Pay (

*Update 10/3/2008 – Currently our efforts are in a holding pattern. Right now the union in the northern states is working with the company to deal with the travel pay issues in those states. More details to follow. Any positives results will be posted here. Since the union is now working with two companies the grievance procedure is separate along with management and labors relation’s interpretation of the contract. However, the language in our contract remains the same as the northern states with the exception of hotel options, or lack there of :(… Spirits remain high…

*Update 9/26/2006 – As of this writing, and the fact that the contract has been ratified, we received NO increase and travel allowance, NO increase in per diem, and NO change in any of the work rules associated with travel treatment. This will all be revisited in 3 years. Hopefully, there will be more consensus in both the membership and the union to improve our contract language during those negotiations. Some additional facts: The federal mileage limit has been raised to 58.5 cent/mile (good news) and Fair Point did receive (in addition to their 10% increase in travel treatment) the option to stay in a hotel regardless of management’s reluctant to administer this benefit (good news for the road warriors in those states).

     The latest version of this document can be found on or Here. Please feel free to share your opinions below.

     The membership has been squeezed by the ever increasing cost of gas, lodging and meals. The EI technicians in particular have been hurt by this more so than any other department since we use our personal vehicle for business purposes almost exclusively. Since our Travel Allowance and Per Diem have gone without an increase in so long, we are even more affected by the higher prices of gas, lodging, and meals. The only form of compensation that has increased is our mileage rate which is indexed to the federal IRS limit. I have written this paper to advocate for not just EI, but the entire membership. We must increase our Travel Allowance and Per Diem, but we must also index them to a formula and federal limit just as our mileage is.

Travel Allowance

Travel Allowance is compensation for travel time and expense.

In our Aug 2000 contract with the company we received an increase on Dec 29th 2002 as follows:

5 to <15 miles $19.50 15 to <25 miles $27.50 25 to <35 miles $35.50 35 to <50 miles $49.50

There were no changes in our 2003 contract for Travel Allowance.

     It has been 5 years 6 months and we have not received an increase in Travel Allowance. If our contract is similar to Fair Point’s we will have to wait a total of 6 years to only get a 5% increase in travel allowance on Jan 1st 2009 and another 5% on Jan 1st 2011.

     In the last 5 years Gas prices have increase from about $1.40 a gallon to almost $4.00 a gallon which is an increase of almost 300%. Meanwhile, the IRS mileage has gone from .325 cents a mile to .505 cent a mile, an increase of 150%. Our wages have gone up from $1200 to $1324, an increase of only about 10% in 5 years.

     Travel Allowance is compensation in lieu of travel time and expense. If you factor these two elements, the IRS mileage and our current overtime wages (since travel time occurs outside our tours), we are severely under compensated. Here is a chart to help illustrate how undercompensated we are:

(Click here to download the calculator.)

     It is concerning that the IRS rate has almost matched our current Travel Allowance. The IRS rate is also untaxed and the speed of 55mph is a conservative figure since traffic (Boston/Cape) and back roads are not conducive to these speeds. At the current IRS rate it is as if we are being paid below minimum wage ($5/hour) for our travel time.

     Technicians in many ways are better served driving to their headquarters first, and then traveling on company time to and from their assigned office at the start and end of each tour. From the companies perspective we would be far less productive due to “windshield time”.

     We are essentially doing the company one big favor by reporting to a different work location on our time and dime at $4/gallon. The company gets a full tour out of us while not having to maintain a 200+ fleet of vehicles. To my knowledge, there is nothing in the contract that allows a technician the option of reporting to their headquarters first. The employee is assigned by management to a new location and is given Travel Allowance, period.

     If our Travel Allowance was indexed, each year that our wages increased and/or the IRS increased the mileage rate, our Travel Allowance would automatically increase. This could all be based on a simple formula such as the calculator included above.

Per Diem Allowance

Our current Per Diem rate is not without its discrepancies.

     On the same day in 2002 that our contract increased the per diem from 69 to $76, the standard CONUS (continental United States) rate, which is the bare minimum IRS rate for per diem, was $85.

5 Years later…

     In 2008 the CONUS rate is $109. The only county in Massachusetts that applies to the standard rate is Franklin County. All other counties in Massachusetts are near or above $140 a day.

     In 2003, we were compensated by almost $10 under the IRS limit and now we are off by staggering $33 a day. In Boston/Cambridge the rate showcases an even bigger disparity. The non-seasonal rate (lowest rate for the area) is $250 a day! Not only is our rate below the CONUS standard rate, but high cost of living areas such as Cambridge does not even qualify for the larger rate (90 vs. 76). This higher rate, $90, in our current contract is below the standard CONUS rate and is only available in 4 locations and the islands. Rhode Island is very similar since the cost of living is just as high in many areas and counties. Just like Franklin County in Massachusetts, Bristol County in Rhode Island is the only county that gets the standard CONUS rate. See the attached city and county graphic for more information.

     Recently one of our technicians was talking to a Nortel technician in a Cambridge collocation. The Nortel technicians inquired about how much we received in Per Diem. The Nortel technician was very surprised to find out that we were paid such a high rate of $76 a day.

The Nortel technician responded with this sobering quote, “Wow, you get $76 a day for food! Amazing, how much do you get for your lodging?”

     The EI technician interrupted and said, “We get $76 a day for food AND lodging!”

The Nortel technician was equally surprised by this and responded that he got over $250 a day in Per Diem.

     The fact is that in Massachusetts and Rhode Island you just can’t get a hotel and meals for under $76 a day. If the company decides to pay for your hotel, then you are allowed a meal allowance of $41 a day. However, if the company decides NOT to put you in a hotel, that leaves $35. Where can you get a hotel for $35?

     Some would argue that $76 is a bargain since nobody stays in a hotel. You could easily drive from your house each day and receive the $76 as compensation each day. This is true when you live 20 minutes away. However, let’s calculate how much you should be compensated to commute 50 miles each day and pocket the $76.

    Total Miles:
    100 miles 50 miles X 2 (there and back)

    The IRS values your expenses at:
    $50.50 100miles @ .505 cents per mile

    You are left with:

     This assumes you are compensated for $25.50 for your travel time @ about $15 per hour traveling at 65mph. Since you are traveling outside your tour, it is considered time worked. Our overtime rate is $49.65 per hour. We should be compensated $76 just for our time, let alone our expenses.

     The calculation above does not highlight all real word cases. If you intend to personally commute when you are paid Per Diem, you are not always traveling at 65mph NOR is your round trip commute going to be 100 miles. The round trip commute could be 150 or more miles per day. If your round trip commute is 150 or more miles you are essentially getting paid ZERO for you travel time. Again, we are better off reporting to our HQ and then traveling on company time to get to our reporting location each day.

     Again, the company gets a bargain here. For the sake of argument, Article P16.15 makes no indication that the employee can choose to take a hotel in lieu of Per Diem. It only indicates that the employee can choose between fully expensed meals OR $41 a day for meals. If an employee specifically asks to be placed in a hotel in lieu of per diem, the company has responded with, “We are not travel agents”.

     Since it’s the company choice, they can arbitrarily pick and choose who gets a hotel and where exactly the hotel is placed. Is the hotel in a safe neighborhood? How far is the hotel from you temporary location? What is to stop the company from placing a technician in Waltham when his temporary assignment is Cambridge? That’s 12 miles of morning traffic, another 12 back, and tolls. Does the employee get travel time? Does the employee get mileage from the hotel? The only thing that is for sure is that the employee gets to choose whether he wants the company to pay for his meals or get the $41 meal allowance. Is the employee on a 7 day Per Diem? Did the company arbitrarily place them on a 5 day per diem? Does he see his family at night? Is there an assignment allowance for being away from your family? No. These gray areas have haunted EI for many contracts.

     When an employee is called out to work at night, he is compensated for up to 7 hours of pay. When an employee works more than 40 hours, he is given overtime. When an employee works a holiday, he is paid overtime in addition to his regular tour. When an employee changes shift, he is paid overtime for the first 5 days plus 10%. When the employee is placed in a hotel, he is compensated nothing for his time spent away from his family/kids, friends, home, and life style. $41 a day is not a form of compensation, but an expense. There is no “Assignment Allowance”, “Away from Family Compensation”, “Bored in a Hotel compensation”, or “Temporary Relocation Allowance” of sorts. The union has done a great job of compensating individuals for the many hardships we face each day, but this scenario has gone unrecognized. How much is your time away from your family, home, and life style?

     EI specifically is forced into higher insurance premiums since we use our vehicles for business use. We are forced to carry 50,000/100,000 coverage (P16.10), and we also never qualify for low mileage discounts from our auto insurance carriers.

     I recently had the opportunity to talking with a business agent of local 2320 in New Hampshire. The business agent could not find any information to indicate there was any increase in meals or Per Diem allowance for the next 5 years. That would be a total of 10 years and no increase in meals or Per Diem for the Northern States. If true, this is news is absolutely jaw dropping. One can only hope that there is an increase, but the information was just not available at the time of my discussion.

     Per Diem should be, at the very least, indexed to the CONUS standard Per Diem rate of $109.

Fair Travel Pay or Fairpoint Travel Pay?

     It has been a long 5 years and gas and other expenses are ever increasing. We have been hit by a double whammy: stale compensation and unworldly expenses. I don’t think anyone in 2003 could have predicted that gas prices would be near $4 a gallon. Along with an immediate increase across the board, we should index our Travel Allowance and Per Diem since it will act as a safety net for the future’s uncertainties. Let’s get the EI department and travel pay out of the shadows and work together to strive for fair travel pay, not Fairpoint travel pay. These changes and increases would provide relief not just to the EI department, but all members.


    1. Gas is at an all time high, up 300%
    2. No increase in our Per Diem, Meals, or Travel Allowance in 5+ years.
    3. Mile for mile, the standard IRS mileage rate calculation has almost eclipsed our Travel Allowance rates. We are essentially NOT getting paid for our time to report to a temporary location. Reporting to your headquarters first and traveling on company time is not an option.
    4. Index Travel Allowance to our overtime wages and the IRS standard mileage limit, each year. Use a transparent means to calculate these rates, each year.
    5. Index our Per Diem rate to at LEAST the minimum CONUS standard rate, each year. Higher rates for high cost of living areas.
    6. Clear language allowing an individual to choose between three options:

      a. Per Diem
      b. Fully expensed lodging and meals (plus some sort of “living in a hotel compensation”, “Away from your family hardship”, etc)
      c. Fully expensed lodging and a daily meal allowance that is indexed to the IRS meals rate, higher rates for high cost of living areas. (plus some sort of “living in a hotel compensation”, “Away from your family hardship”, etc)

    7. Clear language as to when the employee can be assigned to a 5 or 7 day Per Diem.
    8. Hotel that is close/safe/accommodating to your temporary assigned location.
    9. Compensation for our increased (and/or lack of discounting) auto insurance premiums.

Q and A

    Why would you want to index the Allowance and Per Diem if the IRS decides to make the rate go down? This change could reduce our Per Diem rate and Travel Allowance rate each year the IRS released their figures.
    Currently, the contract does a great job of protecting against such an occurrence in our mileage rate. “P16.10 Note”, specifically only allows an increase regardless if the rate goes down by the IRS. There is no reason to think the Union would not negotiate the same protections.

Massachusetts Per Diem Chart (click graphic to expand)
Massachusetts Per Diem Chart

NOTE: If neither the city nor the county is listed, the location is a standard CONUS (continental United States) destination with a rate of $70.00 for lodging and $39.00 for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE).

Rhode Island Per Diem Chart (click graphic to expand)
Rhode Island Per Diem Chart

NOTE: If neither the city nor the county is listed, the location is a standard CONUS (continental United States) destination with a rate of $70.00 for lodging and $39.00 for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE).


By Christopher Cote ( for the membership.

6/4/08 Initial Document

Please feel free to share your opinions below.

Panasonic SDHC Driver

Here is the driver for the Panasonic CF-51 laptop SD Host Controller. This will allow the built-in SD card reader to work with SDHC flash cards. These are the bare drivers and require you to manually update them from the Device Manager. If you want the full installation file, then you can download it here.

I found this driver when I was working on a similar problem with my Dell Vostro 1000. It appears that both these laptops have the same Ricoh R5C8xx controller.

Use these drivers at your own risk. Here is my original post.

Here is what the device looks like before the updated driver for both my Panasonic and Vosto:

SD Device

Look how old the driver is:

Old Driver

Here is what the device looks like AFTER I manually updated the driver. I did not use the setup program to install my drivers:

New Driver

Notice that the device moved under IDE devices? Anyhow, it works now. Thanks all.

Dell Vostro 1000 SDHC Driver

I was left scratching my head after a 4G SD memory card came up as RAW formated when I inserted into my wife’s brand new Dell Vostro 1000 laptop. Windows wanted me to format the card. Knowing that the card had no pictures left on it, I proceeded to format the card. That was a huge mistake.

It formated the card as FAT32. Before I formated the card, it worked flawless in the camera and other SD card slots and USB SD adapters. It came up as FAT32 in the other devices. Why wouldn’t the brand new laptop recognize the SD card and show it as RAW formated?! And now, since I formated it with the new laptop, the card would not work in the camera anymore! BUT, the Vostro could see the SD memory without any problems now…

I tried to format the card inside the camera. I kept getting a memory and disc error. I formated the card in another PC with a USB SD adapter. The card would work fine in all computers, including the Vostro, but now the camera couldn’t see it.

I did some searching and found this life saver of a utility: SD Memory Card Formatting Software from Panasonic

From their web site “Generally, SD/SDHC Memory Card file systems formatted with generic operating system formatting software do not comply with the SD Memory Card specification.”

Caught red handed…

After I did a “Full Format” with the above utility, the camera could see the memory and all was well, or was it…

I then went back to the Dell Vostro laptop and plugged in the SD card directly and I got the same message! It wanted to format the card and the format of the device came up as RAW! Also, my brand new SDHC 8G memory card didn’t work in the Vostro either.

I did some more digging and found the SD Host Controller was running on an old Microsoft driver from 2001. I went to Dell’s support site and found new drivers, “Chip Set: Ricoh R5C832, R5C833, R5C843, Driver, Windows 2000, Windows Vista 32-bit, Windows XP, Multi Language, Multi System, v.1.0.1, A00” – R141246.EXE

I installed this new update and it found that my drivers were already up to date. 2001 is NOT an updated driver in my book. On closer inspection I found that the Dell driver only included drivers for xD, MS, and MMC. Where is my SD driver? I then dug around for a new driver and found this. Here is the new drivers. Here is just the drivers minus the executables for all you nervous nancy’s out there.

I did not use the setup program. I updated the driver directly from the device manager. I found the SD Host Controller and updated the driver manually. Now the driver is from 2006 and all is well. I can plug in the 4G SD card directly into the Vostro and it works. I can plug in my 8G SDHC card and it works now too.

Use these drivers at your own risk and hopefully Dell will post updated SD drivers soon for all laptop users. Dell uses Ricoh R5C8xx chips in:

Inspiron 1501
Inspiron 640m / E1405
Inspiron 9400/E1705
Inspiron 1420
Inspiron 1520
Inspiron 1521
Inspiron 1720
Inspiron 1721
Inspiron 6400/E1505
Latitude D420
Latitude 131L
Dell Precision Mobile WorkStation M90
Vostro Notebook 1000
Vostro Notebook 1400
Vostro Notebook 1500
Vostro Notebook 1700
XPS M1210
XPS M1330
XPS/Inspiron M140/630m
XPS M1710
XPS M2010

Good luck.

Add a Serial Port to a Laptop/Desktop with a USB to Serial Adapter

My laptop computer doesn’t have a serial port. I finally went out and grabbed a USB to Serial port adapter from The actual part can be found here. The model is MCS7703 and it’s made by Moschip, but the box is marked as “Best Connectivity”.

I would suggest you get the latest drivers from here.

Also, it’s important to install the software FIRST before you plug in the device. If you plug in the device first and by which you only install the drivers, then you won’t have the ability to change the COM port or change the advanced features of the device. On older applications your COM port selection may be limited to COM 1 through 4. By default, the device installs as COM 5.