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Journal: oooh, Serenity is coming

Journal by TheCabal

Strike another blow for GroupThink(tm).

On the /. front page today, a blurb about the upcoming Serenity movie. The typcial Slashdot reaction is gushing praise and profession of undying love for Joss Wheeden.

OK, I saw the "premiere" when it first aired on Fox, and I didn't like it. Apparently I'm guilty of not watching it in the right order or something, and that "premiere" has variable meaning. The typical /. reaction is to label my post a troll and brand me a heretic for daring to not like something Slashdot.

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Journal: The joys of irony

Journal by TheCabal

Saw this on CNN this morning.

Looks like you can never win. Ever. Why do we even bother anymore when no matter what we do, someone bitches?

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Journal: Nothing to hide 1

Journal by TheCabal

Ever since 9/11, I've often been reminded of Ben Franklin's oft-used saying of those willing to trade freedom for safety deserve neither. I'm shocked and dismayed of the reaction of what seems like the vast majority of US citizens whenever someone complains about the infrigement of freedoms. They usually reply with "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about".

Every time I hear this, I'm floored. Am I the only person who still cares about the Fourth Amendment? Yes, I dig the First and Second, but all the other ones are just as important. I've actually tried to explain the Fourth to people and received only blank stares.

Don't we teach the meaning of the Constitution, why it was created and what it was created for in schools anymore? It seems that the only people who have any sort of clue about US history and our rights as Americans are naturalized citizens. It's almost as if the government was trying to stupify its own people in order to pull the wool over our own eyes. It's distressing.

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Journal: I hate Paris Hilton 1

Journal by TheCabal

I wonder why people are so obsessed with the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. Yeah, Lindsay has a nice rack, but there's not much more to her than that. Paris, on the other hand appears to be a bored little richgirl who revels in her own ignorance and can't even screw in a convincing fashion. She's as skinny as a whippet, dumb as a bag of hammers, and frankly isn't really that good looking. To say she's a spoiled brat would probably be an understatement. Now she's whining that "all this bad stuff is happening to me". Maybe if she didn't attract attention to herself by throwing tantrums in public, or flashing her crotch all over the place, she wouldn't be on the radar. I guess it's all you can do when you have no other redeeming talents- $DEITY knows she can't even make good amateur porn.

Why the world waits breathlessly for reports of her farting in public is just beyond me. Maybe we're all as stupid as she is.

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Journal: Trollery 2

Journal by TheCabal

While I'm actually not shocked, I am rather dismayed that almost every time I mention Windows in a somewhat favorable context, there is at least one people who starts screaming right away that I'm some sort of troll. It's obvious that GroupThink(tm) has completely taken over some peoples' thought processes, and they have absolutely no experience in real-world enterprise computing. Hopefully they will grow up before they get fired and become a burden on the welfare system.

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Journal: Interesting application for patch management

Journal by TheCabal

Since patch management is one of my primary duties, I've developed a rather extensive framework for validating and enforcing compliance with our patching scheme. My tools will validate a computer when someone logs in and will attempt to install any missing patches automatically. If a system continues to be noncompliant, it is automatically shut down and the account disabled. Works pretty well...

One of the biggest problems we've had has been that most of our users are not local Administrators of the workstations they log on to, so they can't install patches, even with my tools since they run as part of the user's login script and therefore under their security context. Using RUNAS isn't an option, since we would have to have a password for a privileged account in plaintext in the login script. If we encrypted the login scripts, we'd have to have the decrypt key somewhere accessible on the network that could be track down and used.

Well, foes, freaks, fans and friends, I found the most interesting application from Microsoft today. I'm suprised I've never heard of it, and MS is being very low key about it. It's called EPAL, or Elevated Privileges Application Launcher, and it's basically the Windows equivalent of sudo.

You authorize the application by running EPAL and providing a couple of arguments, including the path to the executable you wish to authorize. EPAL creates a new account and security group, hashes the file and stores the hash in an application partition in AD. The security group is for putting user accounts that you wish to allow to run the app with elevated privileges. Lastly, you must place the newly greated user account in a privileged security group, since EPAL will run as this account when it is invoked.

Now that's all done, your users can invoke the application by using EPAL and supplying the path to the executable. If the path is the same as when you authorized it, and the hash matches, it runs as the elevated account that was created. Users must be in the security group created for this application to be able to do this.

I've found that this may be the final piece we need for a comprehensive patch management solution, which can safely allow unprivileged users to install patches without any undue risk.

Yes, we use SMS, but it's unweidly and the SMS guys don't push patches all the time. SUS isn't allowed, so we had to roll our own.

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Journal: Slashdot cliches

Journal by TheCabal

Apart from everyone on Slashdot all being master programmers, expert system admins, lawyers, ethics experts, physicists, movie directors, astronauts and licensed electricians, the one thing that you can really expect from a Slashdotter (besides the Usual GroupThink(tm)) is the use of tiredassed cliches that somehow pass for humor in this place.

Here is a list of some of the most asinie, overused Slashdot cliches I've seen:

1) PROFIT! (I swear people try to compete to come up with the stupidest PROFIT! gag)
2) ...but does it run Linux?
3) Bill Gates is MicroSoft
4) Micro$oft (the 90's called, they want their punchline back)
5) In Soviet Russia...
6) In Korea, only old people do X
7) Anything involving the word "Windoze"

OK, someone needs to institute a rule that the next person to use any of these decrepit gags gets drawn and quartered.

[UPDATE] I have finally seen an original application of a Slashdot cliche. In someone's sig: "In Soviet Russia, today's Tom Sawyer he gets high on you". Might not make sense unless you're a Rush fan.

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Journal: Open Source debates

Journal by TheCabal

One argument that always comes up with the Open Source crowd is "you have the source code so you can fix any holes, extend it, etc,etc,etc...". This point brilliantly shows teh nearsightedness that a lot of opensource people have: I'm a hell of a packet monkey, and even a decent programmer from time to time, but what the hell use is having the source code to me? I don't know C, C++ or any other language that is used to write these applications. I wouldn't know a hole in the software even if it was pointed out to me. much less be able to fix/extend the software. So what good is it if I have the source? And if I can't do this, what makes you expect that Grandma and Uncle Bob will be able to?

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Journal: Random Musings

Journal by TheCabal

OK, after being a Slashdotter for many years (my God, am I actually admitting to that), I've decided to make use of their little journal feature since it's a slow weekend right now.

I'm amazed that people actually take /. so seriously that they actually use the Friend/Foe thingy. Apparently I'm Friend to some, and Foe to others. *sigh* Does Slashdot actually matter to people that much that they actually have Virtual Enemies, based entirely on whether my thoughts agree with theirs? /me shakes head sadly...

Uh, other than the fact that the vast majority of Slashdotters don't seem firmly anchored in reality, I dont have much else to say right now. Anchored in reality? Yeah. I'm disappointed that a supposed educated bunch of people view the world in a strictly binary fashion. Maybe they're spending a little too much time with computers and not interfacing with the wetware much. What could I possibly mean? The "Linux Good, everything else BAD! (Except for OSX)". This leads to "OSS Good! Paying for software BAD!(except for OSX)". You can't rightly preach about the virutes of Open Computing unless youre willing to embrace other platforms, too. Makes you sound like a hypocrite, and a very very bad one at that.

I'm not willing to get into Yet Another Debate on the inherent security flaws in Windows vs. Linux. Linux isn't totally secure by default, either so only the BSD people can rightfulyl chuckle at everyone else.

So give it a rest people. Self-righteousness isn't in vogue anymore and it's an awful long fall from those high horses.

"Out of register space (ugh)" -- vi

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