The Life of Josh

Computer Engineer, Security Consultant, and Tech Nerd.



Microsoft Windows Continuum

Palm was at least 9 years ahead of their time. Such a shame they came out with the Foleo ( ) before the world was ready. Enter the HP Elite x3 ( ) which is the Windows Phone equivalent. It makes sense because HP owns Palm’s IP since 2010. I think this is super cool, but it may yet still be ahead of time. Apple seems to have been working at slowing down their major innovations. This makes me sad because I have always loved Apple products, but I think the loss of Jobs has taken a lot of the energy away from Apple. Google seems to be always working at putting everything in their cloud so the devices all access their cloud storage+apps, but I don’t have 100% reliable always-on Internet everywhere I am yet. Microsoft seems to have continued building their phone platform despite having a phone platform that nobody has really cared about since it was released. I am hopeful that they will eventually see the fruits of their labor. This HP Elite unit is really amazing, and I do look forward to the day that my “phone” is my core device that uses other hardware as needed. 

If you are in to tech check out Microsoft Continuum ( ) to learn more about Windows Phone behaving like a desktop or laptop. In the video you’ll see the phone connected by cable to a dock when using it as a desktop. It’s USB-C and can charge the phone while using it, but you can also go wireless with the HP Lapdock as well as the TV adapter. Very cool stuff. Santa please bring me an HP Elite + Lapdock! Please? If not this year then hopefully next year’s version is ok too. 

NewsBlur Subscriptions to share

To help my IT friends at my job I’m leaving, I’m trying to share things that will help them. Below is a link to my NewsBlur subscriptions. I have A LOT of Mac stuff in here. The NewsBlur system costs $2/month ($3 if you are feeling it is worth it and have spare $). It is extremely worthwhile especially since the demise of Google Reader. There’s also an iPhone and iPad app you can use on the go. The stuff in the Engineering – Mac feeds will help someone do most of what I do.

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Empowering End Users. Reducing IT workload.

Users having the freedom to fully use their computers even in an Enterprise. I’ve been thinking long and hard about this topic. Long ago when I began working in corporate IT I was taught that users can’t be trusted. They can’t possibly know what is good for their computer, and we must approve everything they do. We must basically suck all the fun out of the thing they use for perhaps 90% of their day. It used to make sense to me because I was always mostly a Windows guy at work while at home I was mostly a Mac and Linux guy. Where I always would get bent out of shape was when we would take Windows shortcomings and imagine the Macs had the same shortcoming. I’ll explain what I mean. Some of our users need admin rights of their machines. Because Windows, prior to UAC in Vista, was completely unsafe to run as an admin we made folks create a secondary account for admin reasons on their machine. Somehow on the Macs the same rule was in place even though OS X effectively had a better version of UAC before UAC even existed.

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Common Problem Repair system (CPRs) for Mac/Windows

Where I work I’m in charge of Desktop Engineering. We have a responsibility for every laptop, desktop, iPad, iPhone, Android, etc… device in the environment at a very high level. We create the base images that go on the computer systems, we package the software that goes out to them. There is a staff of Desktop Support folks who will implement thing my group creates, and they also provide the direct support to the users at the company. Those Desktop Support folks see a wide range of issues. When they don’t know how to fix something they escalate the issue to my group.

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Microsoft Security update MS10-015 broke your computer

If your Windows computer stopped working in the past week or so then you may have had a type of virus called a Rootkit on your system. Microsoft released a security update this month that unintentionally made a machine stop booting if you were infected. Your best bet if you are not technical is to have someone come copy your data off and setup your machine fresh. There are articles about removing the patch that breaks your machine but if you do that you will simply have a virus infected machine.

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Windows XP – A Tale of 2 HALs

The HAL:

Many people don’t know what the HAL is, and what files make up the HAL. There are basically 3 files that make the HAL, and 2 of them makes it be ACPI or non-ACPI or SMP or whatever. It’s tricky to figure this out however because Microsoft has done a terrible job at naming the files. I’ll attempt to explain how to switch from one HAL to another in this document.

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Mounting ISO images in a virtual CD-ROM drive

So I downloaded the Microsoft Longhorn Beta 1 ISO from my MSDN account. There were two possibilies for me testing Longhorn on VirtualPC on my Laptop: burning the ISO images to a DVD or using a virtual CD-ROM drive that can mount ISO images. See even though VirtualPC can mount ISO images, it is unable to mount DVD ISO images because it thinks they are too big. (I sure wish Microsoft would fix VirtualPC.) My preference went to mounting the ISO somehow, so I decided to Google for a solution. Microsoft seems to have an unsupported “Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel for Windows XP“. It is very simplistic, but it works like a charm on my XP SP2 machine, and as I write this I am installing Longhorn in to VirtualPC.

This tool is even not searchable through the “Microsoft Download Center“, but it is mentioned on the MSDN Subscribers FAQ.

Hit by a new varient of Gaobot

At work we got hit by a rather nasty virus. I thought I would get this out there in case anyone else is being hit by it.

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iTunes for Windows 2000 / XP released!

This is the transcript from today’s Apple meeting…

2:24 Event ends.
• Jobs thanks Sara and also everybody else: “Thank you. We love doing what we do.” Thanks Apple employees and other people. Reminds attendees of poster and $20 gift certificate.
• Sara Mclachlan on stage to give live performance (two songs).

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