Not Allowed to Work Efficiently

I try to live in denial and tell myself that my job isn’t so bad, and that I like it, but some things really irk me. OK, OK, perspective. I’m not crawling on my arms through a forest because I was shot and my legs don’t work. In America, even a low standard of living is far above what much of the world has to live through, but I’m allowed at least point out stupidity, so here goes.
I read my email this morning and I get this

We have been observing a gradual increase in Associates downloading desktop search software. This type of software is supplied through companies such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and several ‘open source’ products. The following compliance and risk issues are associated with the execution of such software:
Such software is not licensed under terms and conditions that meet ******** requirements, and therefore its use is in violation of ********’s Computer Hardware and Software Policy;
We are aware of several information security risks associated with the use of such software. For example, such software can enable the performance of searches beyond your desktop and can lead to search information and indexes being sent to servers external to ********. Either of these security vulnerabilities create a risk that ******** confidential data can be unknowingly placed “at risk”;
An operational risk has been identified whereby the searching capabilities of such products have introduced significant performance implications to backend infrastructures (such as servers).
At this time we are requiring that you take immediate action to uninstall such software.
As a further safeguard, as of June 16, 2006 we will begin to identify those Associates that continue to have such software on their workstations. SAMI Compliance Officers will be directly contacting those individuals and their supervisors to ensure any discovered desktop search tools are uninstalled.

If there is a business reason for such software, please provide those requirements to your BU management team so appropriate licensing, funding, and the necessary IT infrastructure and security engineering can be planned.

Now, I’ll admit that I understand the concern. In fact I even uninstalled Google’s Desktop search after reading the EULA and privacy notice and deciding that it did not meet my criteria. MSN Search Toolbar/Windows Desktop Search on the other hand does seem to be truely desktop only. Further, I take great exception to the “and several ‘open source’ products” phrase. Apparently someone is so stupid that they think Beagle is a security risk. As employees we take these computers home(laptops are standard here). We plug them into home networks, possible attached directly to a cable modem with no firewall. Forget the threat from Google, Microsoft or Novell(?). What about the threat from within.

On a completely different limb of the same giant tree of stupid, these tools help me work more efficiently. Last time I checked efficient workers make the company more many. This policy spits in the face of efficiency and thus in the face of profit. I shall be selling my stock that much sooner. For those employees like myself who strive for continuous efficiency improvement, this policy is also demoralizing. Look, it is blue skies and eighty degrees outside right now. Why do I want to sit in this 10×6 cube of death if you don’t even let me do a good job?

Super fun Windows Security Stuff

“The one security demo you should watch…” links to an awesome awesome security presentation. This video is a must watch.

It is very awesome to see him (Jesper Johansson) actually hack completely patched Windows Servers starting from a SQL Injection attack in a web application. That one weak link allowed him to take over an entire network methodically. Did I mention it was cool. Some unix and linux heads out there may disagree a few times when he says that many of the things are the same on linux and unix. Disagree all you want, but from a very realistic point of view, it is true. I find that having used both Windows and Linux very extensively for over 10 years, I find more things in common between them than I do find things which set them apart.

Today’s “The Daily WTF” on Seth, Amanda, and Greorge and Day Of Dot Net Awesomeness

Seth, Amanda and George bugs sure are a pain in the rear.

Yes Awesomeness for Saturday, May 13th was Day Of Dot Net.

The .NET Rockstar has a great summary.

Jason F. says “no hiccups”.

Michael Eaton says “What a great time!”

Darrell Hawley says “Mission Accomplished”.

Bill Wagner says “What pleased me the most are the comments from some of the attendees that the content rivaled or even exceeded the bigger conferences.” I’d have to agree with those comments!

Jim Holmes chose to comment on our location and the awesomeness that is Ann Arbor, MI rather than directly on the Awesomeness that is day of dot net.

Gerg Huber says “The Ann Arbor Day of .NET TOTALLY rocked.” Of course those are my sentiments.

I just wanted to echo their sentiments. The only thing missing from the conference for a crazy left wing hacker like myself was content on Mono, NHibernate or Castle Project’s ActiveRecord. But those may be good topics for next year.

Barely related, on June 8th, I’ll be presenting many things related to Mono at SemiSlug. Since SemiSlug is a “unix” group, I’ll probably focus on using it like any other unix utility: command line. I won’t focus on the really interesting things like MWF, GTK# and ASP.NET. So that will give me lots of time to go deeper into some general usage topics.

Xorg (Xgl) and Vista

I was reading over lunch today and I stumbled across this:

Redirecting GDI, DirectX, and WPF applications –

A couple of weeks ago I was at Microsoft and upon seeing a demo of Vista, some guy in the audience said “how do they do that?” and I said “I know exactly how they do that.” Of course I don’t know the code behind it, but since Apple is doing it and Linux is doing it, I figured I had a good idea of the abstract. The concepts are all the same.

At the break I proceeded to discuss it with a small group of people and I mentioned that this is nothing new and that OSX and even Linux has it. Specifically I told them to check out the Brainshare keynote to see a demo that is just as impressive, if not more so.

The above post I find interesting because it is the first time I’ve seen the challenges of this from MS point of view listed out. They look exactly like many of the X11 performance issues of the past. Specifically the section named “Drawing To and Reading From the Screen — Baaaad!” reminds me exactly of some very terse emails sent by a certain programmer of the enlightenment window manager 7 or so years ago now.

At the time uninformed people were always complaining about X. They said it was too slow and we should abandon it in favor of something else. With things like Xgl right around the corner in mainstream distributions, I think time has proven these people wrong. It is interesting to see that MS had to deal with some of the same performance issues.