Ramblings & ephemera

Microsoft’s programmers, evaluated by an engineer

From John Wharton’s “The Origins of DOS” (Microprocessor Report: 3 October 1994): In August of 1981, soon after Microsoft had acquired full rights to 86-DOS, Bill Gates visited Santa Clara in an effort to persuade Intel to abandon a joint development project with DRI and endorse MS-DOS instead. It was I – the Intel applications […]

A wireless router with 2 networks: 1 secure, 1 open

From Bruce Schneier’s “My Open Wireless Network” (Crypto-Gram: 15 January 2008): A company called Fon has an interesting approach to this problem. Fon wireless access points have two wireless networks: a secure one for you, and an open one for everyone else. You can configure your open network in either “Bill” or “Linus” mode: In […]

Tim O’Reilly defines cloud computing

From Tim O’Reilly’s “Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing” (O’Reilly Radar: 26 October 2008): Since “cloud” seems to mean a lot of different things, let me start with some definitions of what I see as three very distinct types of cloud computing: 1. Utility computing. Amazon’s success in providing virtual machine instances, storage, and computation at […]

His employer’s misconfigured laptop gets him charged with a crime

From Robert McMillan’s “A misconfigured laptop, a wrecked life” (NetworkWorld: 18 June 2008): When the Commonwealth of Massachusetts issued Michael Fiola a Dell Latitude in November 2006, it set off a chain of events that would cost him his job, his friends and about a year of his life, as he fought criminal charges that […]

Why you should not run Windows as Admin

From Aaron Margosis’ “Why you shouldn’t run as admin…” (17 June 2004): But if you’re running as admin [on Windows], an exploit can: install kernel-mode rootkits and/or keyloggers (which can be close to impossible to detect) install and start services install ActiveX controls, including IE and shell add-ins (common with spyware and adware) access data […]

I for one welcome our new OS overlords: Google Chrome

As some of you may have heard, Google has announced its own web browser, Chrome. It’s releasing the Windows version today, with Mac & Linux versions to follow. To educate people about the new browser & its goals, they release a 38 pg comic book drawn by the brilliant Scott McCloud. It’s a really good […]

Flush your DNS cache

Windows ipconfig /flushdns Mac OS X dscacheutil -fluchcache

Synchronizing Outlook & Google Apps

Plaxo http://www.plaxo.com (web-based) OggSync http://oggsync.com ScheduleWorld http://www.scheduleworld.com iCal4OL http://ical.gutentag.ch Google Calendar Sync https://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?answer=89955

Obama, Clinton, Microsoft Excel, and OpenOffice.org

I recently posted this to my local Linux Users Group mailing list: Thought y’all would find this interesting – from http://machinist.salon.com/blog/2008/05/26/fundraising_excel/index.html: “A milestone of sorts was reached earlier this year, when Obama, the Illinois senator whose revolutionary online fundraising has overwhelmed Clinton, filed an electronic fundraising report so large it could not be processed by […]

Out now: Microsoft Vista for IT Security Professionals

Microsoft Vista for IT Security Professionals is designed for the professional system administrators who need to securely deploy Microsoft Vista in their networks. Readers will not only learn about the new security features of Vista, but they will learn how to safely integrate Vista with their existing wired and wireless network infrastructure and safely deploy […]

Retrieve CD Key from Windows 95 or NT

Start | Settings | Control Panel | System Under Registered to, you’ll see user name & a 20-digit number. Digits 6 through 15 make up the CD key. If you’re using an OEM version, the entire number is the CD key.

Microsoft executive sets self up for hubristic fall

From Scott M. Fulton, III’s “Allchin Suggests Vista Won’t Need Antivirus” (BetaNews: 9 November 2006): During a telephone conference with reporters yesterday, outgoing Microsoft co-president Jim Allchin, while touting the new security features of Windows Vista, which was released to manufacturing yesterday, told a reporter that the system’s new lockdown features are so capable and […]

Russian bot herders behind massive increase in spam

From Ryan Naraine’s “‘Pump-and-Dump’ Spam Surge Linked to Russian Bot Herders” (eWeek: 16 November 2006): The recent surge in e-mail spam hawking penny stocks and penis enlargement pills is the handiwork of Russian hackers running a botnet powered by tens of thousands of hijacked computers. Internet security researchers and law enforcement authorities have traced the […]

My reply to those “You sent a virus to me!” emails

On Saturday 17 April 2004, I received the following email from someone I didn’t know: > Hello, > > I am not sure who you are but our security detected a Netsky virus in an > email that you sent. Whether a personal message or a spam, please make > attention to the fact that […]

Great email sig about operating systems

Saw this in an email sig: Microsoft: Where do you want to go today? Mac OS X: Where do you want to go tomorrow? Linux: Are you coming or what?

Microsoft: only way to deal with malware is to wipe the computer

From Ryan Naraine’s “Microsoft Says Recovery from Malware Becoming Impossible” (eWeek: 4 April 2006): In a rare discussion about the severity of the Windows malware scourge, a Microsoft security official said businesses should consider investing in an automated process to wipe hard drives and reinstall operating systems as a practical way to recover from malware […]

Why big co’s are bad are creating new products

From Paul Graham’s “Hiring is Obsolete” (May 2005): Buying startups also solves another problem afflicting big companies: they can’t do product development. Big companies are good at extracting the value from existing products, but bad at creating new ones. Why? It’s worth studying this phenomenon in detail, because this is the raison d’etre of startups. […]

The real vs. stated purpose of PowerPoint

From Paul Graham’s “Hiring is Obsolete” (May 2005): For example, the stated purpose of Powerpoint is to present ideas. Its real role is to overcome people’s fear of public speaking. It allows you to give an impressive-looking talk about nothing, and it causes the audience to sit in a dark room looking at slides, instead […]

Cultural differences between Unix and Windows

From Joel Spolsky’s “Biculturalism” (Joel on Software: 14 December 2003): What are the cultural differences between Unix and Windows programmers? There are many details and subtleties, but for the most part it comes down to one thing: Unix culture values code which is useful to other programmers, while Windows culture values code which is useful […]

Microsoft’s BitLocker could be used for DRM

From Bruce Schneier’s “Microsoft’s BitLocker” (Crypto-Gram Newsletter: 15 May 2006): BitLocker is not a DRM system. However, it is straightforward to turn it into a DRM system. Simply give programs the ability to require that files be stored only on BitLocker-enabled drives, and then only be transferable to other BitLocker-enabled drives. How easy this would […]