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On metadata

I worked in ITG, Microsoft’s internal technology group (AKA operations) in the mid-late 90s, as well as Microsoft’s internal security group. ITG owned the internal USENET server; it was run on a machine under someone’s desk (maybe not literally, but it was recycled hardware well behind the current state of the art hardware). It did just fine – until it didn’t. It was falling over under extreme load, which it shouldn’t have. Looking into it, it was clear one user was downloading huge amounts of child porn via USENET. I was one of the few UNIX guys in tools, so it fell to me to add specific logging to see exactly what this guy was up to.

I saw the logs, which consisted of username, timestamp, subject, and file names (since these were UUENCODEd or MPACKed, this was a simple grep-like operation). That’s it. I didn’t see the pictures, videos, or any of that – I saw subjects and filenames.

I was really fucked up by this experience. I don’t know how cops handle this. Maybe I’m a wilting violet and should have just manned up and powered through it, but it disturbed me.

I write this article as a sidecar to a tweet from yesterday where I complained about how graphic people are on MSN Messenger when they don’t think anyone is looking. Nothing I read there was obviously illegal, but it was depraved.

The end of the story was conviction for two of the people involved. Trying to find that article led me to another – I imagine this is an evergreen issue.

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Written by Ry Jones

21 March 2014 at 7:00

Side-stepping Windows secure-by-default configuration for Powershell

If download and try to run a Powershell script (or type one up and try to run it), you’ll get an error about unsigned scripts. The usual solution is to set a default policy of “do any damn thing”. Instead, I made a cmd script to do this:

doit.cmd:
powershell line.of.powershell.script
powershell another.line.of.powershell

Basically, the cmd shell script takes a bunch of hashes and downloads zip files from cgit, expands, and rejiggers them. Here is the one liner that is the core of the script.

Written by Ry Jones

11 February 2014 at 7:00

Posted in Microsoft, Work

Multi-time-zone clock on Windows

Written by Ry Jones

6 February 2014 at 7:00

Posted in Microsoft

The best thing about Microsoft Surface

I hate on screen keyboards (OSKs) with a passion; a real, slide-out keyboard is why I own a Droid 2, not an iPhone. The Type Cover, and to a lesser extent the Touch Cover, is the best detail about the Surface; I have no problem typing almost full-speed on a Type, and the Touch is passable when compared to my favorite keyboard. I hope the current batch of problems is just a fluke, and not a widespread flaw.

Then again, I hope for lots of things, like unicorns; Windows RT may well kill the Surface brand before people get to play with Surface Pros.

Written by Ry Jones

9 November 2012 at 7:50

Posted in Microsoft

I need to talk to the Bobs

At its most cynical—though it is also a logically inescapable conclusion—this is best expressed by the Peter Principle: people are inevitably promoted to a position that is just beyond their level of competence. If we accept the Peter Principle, then we must also accept the consequences of that. People who evaluate the performance of their underlings are likely to be incapable of such an evaluation.

Read the whole thing, it’s short and worth it. The most interesting bit is the assertion that one needs to be an expert in order to spot other experts; this seems obviously true in retrospect, but I hadn’t thought of it that way.

Written by Ry Jones

3 June 2012 at 12:12

Posted in Microsoft

Come on, Bing

winternals, sysinternals, process explorer, and this explicit query all came up empty:

Bing Fail

Google didn’t have that problem:

Google Win

Switching my default search engine back to Google.

Written by Ry Jones

30 May 2012 at 9:34

Posted in Microsoft

In which I completely agree with Forbes

#1 worst CEO: Steve Ballmer. Some years ago I heard the gap between Microsoft’s market cap and what it would be had MSFT kept pace with the tech segment expressed in Enrons of destroyed shareholder value; it was two or three at the time, but I’m sure that’s up to a dozen Enrons at this point.

Written by Ry Jones

15 May 2012 at 11:00

Posted in Microsoft

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