Archive for November, 2005

Nov 29 2005

File System Alert

Published by under .NET

For a project that I’m working on we’ve recently switched from using the .Net Framework 1.1 to using the .Net Framework 2.0. Whilst .Net 2.0 does have some nice features (Generics, System.Management, XHTML compilance in ASP.Net, refactoring tools in VS2005) there are also some problems with it.

One of the problems we have had is that, for no apparent reason, our IIS server will create a memory dump. So far there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between user activity and the dump files being created. Due to the fact that the dump files and event messages generated by IIS are less than helpfull – thats putting it mildly – I resorted to Microsofts latest debug tools, DebugDiag, to help me sort out what the problem could be.

The only trouble is that I don’t have all day to sit around waiting for DebugDiag to create its more informative memory diagnostic dumps, I’ve got work to be getting on with. What I needed is a piece of software that would inform me when file in the DebugDiag output folder is created. The .Net framework provides a component that can do just such a task called the FileSystemWatcherunfortunately it doesn’t have an interface. So, as any programmer would to when faced with a task, I went ahead a created a neat little software tool that sits in my system tray and alerts me when files in the DebugDiag folder are created.

However, I didn’t stop there. Why should I create a tool with such a narrow market. Surely if I want to watch one folder for new files, at some point I’ll need to watch other folders, maybe I’ll need to watch for other events such as changed and deleted files. Enter File System Alerts. In this tool users can create any number of watches with varying settings. Users can be notified by a system tray alert, the alert window being brought to the foreground and a log file being created.

THe latest version of the installer can be downloaded from my Downloads page. At time of going to press the latest version is 1.0.2159.28024.

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Nov 17 2005

Piracy Is OK – Sony Says So!

Published by under Current Affairs

According to Sony it is perfectly alright to pirate software!!!

Unless you have had your head buried in the sand you cannot fail to have heard about Sony faux-pas with the rootkit software that came with its latest offerings on the audio CD market. It turns out that Sony CDs have been shipped with DRM software that was installed on PCs and Macs when the CD was inserted into a computer. Not only did the CD install DRM software but another piece of software, the rootkit, was installed to hide the DRM software. This rootkit has already been used by malicious uses to create a virus that can remain hidden from Anti-Virus software.

Things get even better through. Sony has released a utility to allow users to remove the rootkit from their computer (the DRM software remains), only the rootkit is not fully removed. An ActiveX component is left on the computer which can be used by a malicious website creator to force a reboot of the users machine. It is beleive that the ActiveX can may also be used to run malicious code on the users computer but a proof of concept of this has not yet known to have been created.

So how does this make it ok to break software copyrights? Well, somewhere in their DRM/rootkit Sony is including the LAME MP3 encoder. I’m not entirely certain what it is being used for but the LAME encoder is released under the LGPL. As far as I can tell (the LGPL and GPL are rather complex) for your software to make use of LGPL software your software license must be compatible with the LGPL, i.e. you must release the source code for your software. As far as I know the DRM/rootkit is not released under an LGPL license and therefore Sony is breaking the LAME encoder copyright (or left as the case may be). This would seem to be an endourcement by Sony that it is OK to break copyright.

Right… I’m off to download as many Sony tracks as I can before the BitTorrent networks are shutdown :-)

I’ve not provided links in the article as frankly there are far too many so here are a couple of round-up articles posted by Cory Doctorow on BoingBoing:

Update:
It seems that the LAME encoder is not the only software copyright that Sony is breaking. Apparently they are also using DVD Jon Johansens FairPlay code that was written to break Apples iTunes DRM… how ironic!

Update:
Cory Doctorow: Mark sez, “This website tracks the class action lawsuits surrounding the Sony BMG Music Entertainment/First4Internet XCP Rootkit. Additionally, it offers information about how individuals who do not wish to wait for the class action can sue Sony in their local small claims court.” Link [From BoingBoing]

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Nov 15 2005

Firefox 4 Chav Generation

Published by under General

I just found this blog post over on the Spread Firefox website and, given the popularity of my previous chavscum post, decided that I just had to post about it.

Any thing that makes a joke of the scourge of British society has got to be worth posting about. And if the Spread Firefox article isn’t enough then take a look at the Chavscum gallery and have a snigger at the Chavs dat fink der wiv it… init!

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Nov 04 2005

Don’t Expose Implementation In Title

Published by under Guernsey News

I know its a little late in the day but Damien and I have been having a bit of a rant about what the title should say about a product/event. The reason this came about is because I was saying that the TennerFest website is down at the moment becaues I’m trying to find somewhere to go out to this evening.

So what do I mean? Well, the title of the event is TennerFest because when it started serveral years ago the idea was that you could go to any participating restaurant in the Channel Islands and have a meal for £10 (a tenner). As time has gone by, however, more and more restaurants are offering meals for £12.50 or £15. The title of the event suggests all restaurants implementing the event will do so for a tenner…. the implementation is eposed in the title. However this is not the case and therefore the title is miss-leading.

They really should have chosen a better title which would allow more freedom of implementation for the participants such as:

  • FoodFest
  • FeastFest
  • StuffYourselfFest

Damien has more on the Exposing Implementation subject, so keep an eye on his blog.

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Nov 03 2005

Legal Attack On Dabs.com

Published by under Screw Dabs.com

A Magistrates court judge in the UK has decided it is legal to launch an email based denial of service (DoS) attack against email servers. The ruling came in a case brought against a teenager who launched an attack against his former employer. The judge decided that although during the attack a large volume of email traffic was being targeted at the server, they could not be said to have caused unauthorised changes as defined by the act.

This brought to thinking about Dabs.com. The company has notoriously bad customer services which is handled only via email. How damaging would it be for the company if its customer services department was crippled because it was being flooded by emails?

To be honest I don’t really think that an email DoS could really have much impact on its already appalling levels of service, but its nice to know that we’ve got the legal go ahead to launch such an attack.

So, who’s up for the challenge? (Please note that I am not advocating any illegal activity here!)

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