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That “are you kidding me?” moment in customer support

So, my Sunbeam electric blanket died yesterday. Second one in a year. As a dutiful consumer, I’d really like to report this to the manufacturer, get a replacement and move on. I fill out the “ Contact Us ” form. Then I get this ludicrous error: So, you...

UDP and DTLS not a performance improvement.

Saw this update in my Windows Update list recently: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2574819 As it stands right now, this is what it says (in part): OK, so I started off feeling good about this – what’s not to like about the idea that DTLS, a security...

What else I did at Black Hat / DefCon–the Core DataMatrix Contest

Black Hat, and its associated sideshow, DefCon, consists of a number of different components. Training, Briefings, Exhibition and Contests, all make up part of Black Hat, and DefCon is a looser collection of Workshops, Events, Parties, Talks, Villages...

NCSAM/2011–Post 3–Don’t share your passwords with other people

“Alice sends the message by encrypting it with Bob’s private key” - from Microsoft Official Curriculum training material for Windows Server 2003. Because of this one sentence, we know that Alice and Bob share a less-than-casual relationship, and could...

Texas Imperial Software DefCon 18 challenge

I rarely write about my business on the blog here, and perhaps I should do so some more. I mentioned in the post earlier today of how I’d “hacked” my badge (“hacked” in the sense of “that’s not programming, that’s...

Samples that suck: IfModifiedSince

I’ve been trying to improve my IFetch application’s overall performance, and it’s clear that the best thing that could be done to improve it immediately is to cache the information being returned from the BBC Radio web site, so that next time around,...

Microsoft TechFest

Last week, I went to Microsoft’s TechFest as part of their “Public Day”. This is the first time MVPs as a group have been invited to this event, and although it’s clear we missed some of the demonstrations that are not public-ready, this is something...

Removing Apple Mobile Device Support

As mentioned before, I'm not a fan of Appple 's, particularly because they tend to impose crap on me that I'm not interested in having. I've been trying to figure out how to remove iTunes , iPod and Aple Mobile Device Support on and off...

DRM should always be a choice

Jesper's recent frustration with a bug in the DRM support on his Windows Media Center Edition (MCE) system demonstrates a couple of basic truths in system reliability: Complexity negatively impacts reliability. DRM contributes to complexity. Clearly...

Why complain about UAC prompts?

Jesper's article in TechNet Magazine on the purpose and future of UAC in Windows Vista and beyond reminded me that there's a whole slew of behaviours more annoying than UAC's prompting (which, as Jesper points out, is only the most visible...

Windows Script 5.6 - making me less nervous.

Remember my posting " How to make me nervous ", where I talked about Microsoft's release of Windows Script 5.7 , and their rather sudden removal of Windows Script 5.6 and before? My concern was that this removes our ability to fix broken...

How to make me nervous

How to make Alun nervous in 3 easy steps: Release a new version of a tool that Alun uses throughout his home and work life. For bonus points, make it a back-port from a later version of the operating system. Back-port it to operating systems as far back...

Catch me at Tech-Ed

For those of you who want to catch me at Tech-Ed, if it's only to let me know that real people (rather than spammers) read this blog, you can find me in the yellow section of the Technical Learning Center, in the Security sub-section, at the Solution...

Alternate Data Streams in Windows Vista

Windows NT 3.1 was released ... oh, back in the early to mid '90s. Ever since then, I've been aware that it supported Alternate Data Streams, also known as ADS, or in some technical documents that didn't make it to final review, Alternative...

ReadyBoost - swap space on a stick.

So, I've finally upgraded my laptop from Windows XP SP2 to Windows Vista. The upgrade process itself took over three hours - the first fifteen minutes of which was basically me uninstalling the applications that the Vista installation told me would interfere...

IE7 - the security update that isn't

First, the big news - IE7 is now available for direct download . I cannot recommend this update strongly enough. Go and get it. My wife's not into the security stuff as much as I am, so she recommends it purely on the basis that it's a far improved user...

Way to "not remain silent", George!

“ We won’t remain silent as Microsoft imposes unnecessary security risks ,” wrote George Samenuk, just days before resigning from McAfee , apparently because of a back-dated stock-options scandal that started in 1996, lasting through...

Ten reasons Dr J wants to go to Amazon.

Ten reasons Dr J wants to go to Amazon . 10. Tired of working at a desk, wants to work at a door on breeze blocks instead. 9. Commute to Downtown Seattle is better than commute to London, New Zealand, Japan, Barcelona, Amazon Basin, Tsurinam, Atlantis...