Making an Ethernet (10/100/1000) Loopback (LPBK) Plug

Sometimes you need to prove that an Ethernet port you want to use is in good working condition, but maybe you’re having problems confirming continuity across the port to the next piece of equipment.  A simple solution is to create a Loopback (LPBK) Plug and plug it into the port in question.  If the port is in good working condition, then the LNK LED light will light-up to indicate that this port sees the next device and everything is good.   Well, in reality, you merely held-up a mirror for your device to see itself.   As long as it was satisfied that connectivity was achieved, then the port itself is in great condition.

Figuring handle length: To figure the total length CAT6 to cut, simply double the length of CAT6 wire you want protruding from the plug as a handle, then add half an inch for the connector loss, then cut.  This will be folded in half, and a quarter inch of that length will be taken-up by the connector plug on each side.

My plans call for a short 1.5 Inch handle, so I double the length, then add a quarter inch the connector loss for each end (a total of .5 inches of loss overall), so I need a final length of 3.5 inches.

After cutting the cable to the desired length, separate the copper strands from the main insulation, so that you have four pairs of the individually insulated copper wire.   We’re only going to use four individual wires per Loopback Plug, so pick four and put the other four aside (which you can then use to make a second loopback plug if you have another connector and dust boot).

General Layout:

Pin 1 to Pin 3
Pin 2 to Pin 6
Pin 4 to Pin 7
Pin 5 to Pin 8

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Detailed Instructions: to make this Loopback plug, take your RJ45 Connector plug and insert it into your Crimper so as to hold the connector plug steady.   Then insert 4 wires into pins 1, 2, 4, and 5 and then loop those same wires back into the plug and mate with pins 3, 6, 7, and 8 respectively.

While holding Crimper in one hand and pressing those same wires into Crimper with the other hand, Crimp the connector into the wires. Afterwards, wrap the looped wires in electrical tape to maximize “gripability” while also minimizing wear and tear.  In my case, I had a dust boot and some external insulation wrap left, so I squeezed the external insulation back over the looped wires to provide some extra rigidity, and then pushed the Dust Boot over the insulation and wiring.  I also placed a dab of plastic glue over the end of the insulation protruding from the Dust Boot and crimped it down, ensuring a good gripable surface.

This new plug will work to confirm you have good Layer-1 physical connectivity at any 10, 100, or 1000 ethernet port.  Bear in mind if your equipment is in production that you’ll only want to keep this plugged-in long enough to validate that the LINK LED lights-up.  Leaving the plug in the port longer on a production server might cause confuse other equipment upstream, so best to unplug once you’ve confirmed the Physical Layer.  If it’s a non-production switch or router, then it shouldn’t matter.

Open Letter to Mobile Internet Providers; your Internet Pathfinding Logic is broken

I’d like to discuss a little problem I’ve been having for a few years now, and it’s becoming a real pain, because it’s breaking my “mobile” user experience.   In what should be a “seamless” User Experience, I seem to be tripping over the seam between my mobile device’s Mobile Data Plan and any Wi-Fi networks.

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Dangerous new Bluetooth Vulnerability affects almost all BT capable devices.

Security researchers at Armis, the security research company that had originally discovered the exploit, have identified the eight vulnerabilities — which have been collectively named as “BlueBorne”.  It is expected that this set of vulnerabilities in the Bluetooth radio implementation almost certainly affects over 5.3 billion devices.

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For Bloggers who lament the EOL of Windows Live Writer

For those Bloggers like myself who used and loved the Windows Live Writer (latest version was I believe v16.4.3528.0331), it was truly the single greatest piece of code I had on my laptop at the time.   I was blogging across three or four active sites at the time, and life was generally good.   But then Windows Live Writer’s EOL happened: the End of Life back in August of 2012 when Microsoft decided it didn’t want to continue to support the product.   I seem to recall talk of folding the dev crew into Window team.   Regardless, it was a critical hit in my ability to Blog efficiently.  Of course, I kept using the 2012 version, but there were times when I needed to re-install it, and lost the location of my previous download, or on those occasions in 2016 when it didn’t work very well with Win10.

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Bummed about all the “No Man’s Sky” issues…

So back when Hello Studios was promoting their soon to release “No Man’s Sky”, it looked great, and was promised to include many multiplayer perks.   After many delays, the game has materialized, but not the game I was hoping for.  At best it is a wholly different form than the version that was advertised.

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Hardening your Android Device, Part-3

Securing your Android Phone can be accomplished in many different ways, and by catering to many different tastes, so no single way is correct, or best for everyone. I do recommend at least the following as a minimum spread on your device.  There are three main areas for security on your device, those settings which left in default mode can be a serious security risk, those apps and programs which help secure your device like AntiVirus and AntiMalware, and AntiTheft apps which can lock-down and secure your information should your device be lost or stolen.

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Hardening your Android Device, Part-2

Part-2: Take Control of your Google Account
We’ve all heard the old axiom that building a good house requires a good foundation.  I prefer the Engineer’s version of that saying: “To build a stable house requires a square, true, and level foundation.  Well, ensuring your sole control over your account is the equivalent first step in our endeavor. Actually, you can have any kind of account as your primary account for your Android phone, but we’re presuming for the purposes of this article that you have a Google Account.  If you have a Microsoft or Yahoo account, you’ll need to do some of your own research to find these kind of equivalent settings. 

And while it might sound counter-intuitive to securing your device, we actually need to take control of your Google account before we can harden your device.  This is to ensure that you are the only person with access to your Google Account.  Even if you are certain that you never shared your account password with a good friend, or significant other, your account could still have been compromised.  This is the perfect opportunity to confirm that your account is still entirely yours.

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