Tag Archives: technology

i’m really glad…

the computer industry has been a-twitter for the past few days, concerning a zero-day “bug” in micro$lop word, which gives an attacker full execution control of the victim’s machine — a Very Bad Thing®.

this reminds me of a couple of things that i experienced, more-or-less first-hand, while i was working at micro$lop, and is the PRIMARY REASON why i’m really glad i don’t run machines with their software on them.

there’s this, which outlines what the “bug” is, and how it allows an attacker to take control of a victim’s machine (i put the word “bug” in quotation marks because bugs are usually things that appear in the code by mistake, but it is my impression that micro$lop put this in deliberately, without realising the potential damage it could do)… which brings up the fact that they have known, particularly, about security problems with OLE (which went through a stage where they were referring to it as “ActiveX”), at least since my friend, and computer-god fred debuted The Exploder Control in 1995, which did a clean shut-down of any machine unfortunate enough to be running Windows95 — PLEASE NOTE: the Exploder Control is not harmful, and will not run correctly unless you’re running Windows95 and Internet Explorer version 3, which, by this time, presumably, you’re not. fred’s premise was, and still is, that if you have a method of excersising THAT MUCH control over a machine, it better well be FULLY AND COMPLETELY SECURE, otherwise people WILL take advantage of it.

i worked at micro$lop when the first Word Concept Virus was discovered. it was unique (at the time) because it allowed an attacker to infect a victim’s machine over email, without actually having to have physical contact with the target machine. it worked by utilising micro$lop word’s “normal.dot” template, and required the victim to have macros enabled by default. the new, most recent word problem doesn’t require macros to be enabled, and doesn’t work if the application is running in “Protected View”. so, the solution micro$lop has come up with is to recommend that you run word in “Protected View” in order to avoid this particular vulnerability.

it is significant, to me, that the primary reason we have things like active antivirus software on our computers today is because of actions taken by the micro$lop corporation when i worked there. when i was working there, they were the largest manufacturer of computer software in the world.

and it reminds me of the solution micro$lop came up with to avoid another “bug” in another one of their “excellent” programs, internet explorer: version 3 exhibited a flaw in the way that it displays URIs in the address bar, and by opening a specially crafted URI an attacker could open a page that appears to be from a different domain from the current location. the solution? “Do not click any hyperlinks that you do not trust. Type them into the address bar yourself“… despite the fact that one of the features of all web browsers is that you can get from one source of information to the next, easily, without having to type in long, unintelligible strings of code.

Rule of thumb — Every time Microsoft uses the word “smart,” be on the lookout for something dumb.
     — John Walker

A little detective work revealed that, as is usually the case when you encounter something shoddy in the vicinity of a computer, Microsoft incompetence and gratuitous incompatibility were to blame.
     — John Walker

no, no… i’m really a luddite, really!

i got a used ipad today. i got it primarily so that i can start a limited usage of “social media” in order to keep me more abreast of what is actually happening in my social circle.

see, these days most of the people i know communicate with each other through facebook. they use mailing lists and forums a lot less frequently than they used to, and pretty much never use their telephones for, you know, actual phone calls. but i’ve been adamant about facebook, particularly. i have over 200 individual links to articles about the overt evil done in the name of facebook, i refuse to become another data point on their graph of suckers and sheeple, and, so far, i have resisted the numerous temptations i have had, over the years, to join the book of farce.

150222 Frank Zappa the Catbut i also have a cat, named Frank Zappa, who has become a minor celebrity among my wife’s ever expanding circle of friends, and people have been clamouring to get frankie a facebook account, so this is a good compromise: i get to keep my actual computers free of the scourge, i don’t have to share anything that is actually mine, and i’ll have access to all of the community organisation that slipped past me before…

and i’ll also have a place to play Luxuria Superbia, which i bought about a year ago because i thought it would work on my phone, but it doesn’t…

1 in 10 Americans think HTML is an STD

1 in 10 Americans think HTML is an STD — the other day i was at a friend’s house when my phone rang. it was my mother-in-law, who very rarely calls me, but when she does, it’s usually something fairly important, so i answered. she proceded to ask me “tech-support-geek” questions (something about filtering spam, i think) and i had to remember not to use “computer geek” language when i told her the proper techniques. this is the woman who has to have the difference between a browser and an operating system explained to her, repeatedly… to give her a little credit, she does have a neurological disorder that affects her memory… but so do i… 😐

Tech Support Cheat Sheet

i would give a copy of this to her, except that she doesn’t understand how to read a flowchart…


Continue reading 1 in 10 Americans think HTML is an STD

old school…

i am in the process of putting together an old-school component stereo system. a long time ago, i had an old-school component stereo system, but it faded away over the period of a number of years, and has been entirely gone for some time now. but this is a new era. i have recently obtained a marantz amplifier:
131124 marantz amplifier
and a pair of real “Realistic” speakers from the 1970s — 36″ speakers in solid wood cabinets — which i add to my already existing sony turntable and cassette player… and, unlike 30 years ago, i paid less than $300 for the entire lot! soon (like, hopefully, tomorrow) i will receive a mini-stereo-to-RCA cable, and 100′ of pure copper speaker wire, and i will put together the most KICK ASS stereo i have owned in a number of decades.