Note: My primary blog isn't here; it's over at Text/Plain.

It's 2024 1/10/2024 2:29:00 PM

That's 🍌🍌🍌

Beauty 12/4/2023 7:04:00 PM

I've probably posted this before, but I love it so much. 

Eric (Shadow dancers)

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Bits about Money 11/8/2023 6:02:00 PM

I try hard to avoid paying for web content. One of the few things I splurge on is the Bits about Money newsletter, which is so well-written I can't help myself.

Todo list 9/25/2023 4:36:00 PM


Eric Hmmm....

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Kilimanjaro Journal 8/28/2023 11:46:00 AM

I've begun posting the journal of my trip up Kilimanjaro; I have nine more posts to go. 

Eric All done.

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Free ticket inside my head 3/31/2023 1:03:00 PM

I did an interview.


I like Quote Investigator 1/25/2023 4:53:00 PM

The simple question of "Who said it?" usually isn't. For example: 

The Fakers' Guide to Assembly Language 1/3/2023 5:44:00 PM


Eric Building a tiny Windows app in Assembly:

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Trying out Mastodon 11/28/2022 5:25:00 PM

With the ongoing implosion of Twitter, I'm starting to play with Mastodon.

Walkersville High School - Class of 1997 Senior Wills 4/22/2022 11:45:00 AM 

Walkersville High School - Class of 1996 Senior Wills 4/21/2022 7:33:00 PM


My Chromium stats 3/29/2022 4:51:00 PM

Commits: 288
+ 15988 lines
-    8656 lines

Eric That's a lot more than I would have guessed. When I stopped working on Fiddler, it amounted to ~38K lines of C# in total, although I'd probably added and removed somewhere around 3-5x that much over 14 years.

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Philip Su rocks 1/7/2022 6:35:00 PM

From the highest echelons of tech to the Amazon Warehouse. Philip is a great writer.

Blog Post: Practical Time Machines 10/4/2021 2:25:00 PM

I don't need a time machine to know that I'll be sending people this link in the future.

The Internet Archive Never Forgets 6/17/2021 4:48:00 PM

Ancient memories from my 2nd Microsoft Internship 

A nice Speed Test site 5/14/2021 10:08:00 AM

Cloudflare builds really cool tech.


Change is the only constant 2/24/2021 1:46:00 PM


Undead Ephemera 8/14/2020 11:11:00 AM

These videos remain among my favorite content on the internet:



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Enigma 2020 - Browser Privacy Talk 3/10/2020 3:56:00 PM

I presented as a part of a panel on web browser privacy at the Enigma 2020 conference.

Skepticism about Privacy budgets 11/19/2019 1:12:00 PM


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Logo 11/4/2019 6:59:00 PM

I expected to hate the new Edge logo. I don't. 

New Edge Logo

Usenix 2019 2/22/2019 3:03:00 PM

Emily Stark's talk covers a bunch of the work our team did around URL display. 

"Readable" TLS1.3 spec 12/29/2018 9:52:00 AM


EricLaw 8/3/2019 I rediscovered this today and came here to repost it. Oops.

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Fixing CTRL+Shift+V in Office 12/29/2018 9:46:00 AM

Historically, CTRL+Shift+V in Office was "Paste only formatting", while in Firefox and Chromium-based browsers, it means "Paste without formatting."

You can customize Word to behave more like browsers using Office's powerful macro system:


Edge User-Agents 11/16/2018 4:50:00 PM

RS1: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/51.0.2704.79 Safari/537.36 Edge/14.14393

RS3: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/58.0.3029.110 Safari/537.36 Edge/16.16299

RS4: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/64.0.3282.140 Safari/537.36 Edge/17.17134

RS5: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/64.0.3282.140 Safari/537.36 Edge/18.17763

Win10 1903 Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/70.0.3538.102 Safari/537.36 Edge/18.18362

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MoarTLS for Microsoft Edge 10/24/2018 10:49:00 AM

It's finally here!

MoarTLS for Microsoft Edge

Worked programming problems, in many different languages. 10/17/2018 10:24:00 AM

This site is amazing. Pick a problem and see it solved in many different languages.

For instance:

tsundoku, a Japanese word for a stack of books that you have purchased but not yet read. 10/9/2018 1:52:00 PM

Informative and Important 10/9/2018 9:57:00 AM

How Congress really gets elected

Browser Architecture Whitepapers 10/2/2018 11:04:00 AM

Want a reasonably up-to-date (2017), mostly accurate set of documentation about how modern browsers work? See the two browser security whitepapers that Google funded.

Also be sure to check out the four part (Sept 2018) series of figure-rich articles: Inside a Modern Browser.  

How to read an RFC 7/31/2018 12:19:00 PM

From a guy who knows lots about RFCs: How to read an RFC

Progress 7/17/2018 2:03:00 PM

Effort made in a direction

Fourth Microsoft New Employee Orientation 6/4/2018 7:58:00 PM

My fourth NEO was today. Lots of feelings.

Knights and Dragons 5/15/2018 5:10:00 PM

"Fight me," the knight called.
"No," the dragon yawned.
"You must!"
"But it is your purpose!"
"In your story, not mine. Tell another."

Reality 5/14/2018 3:33:00 PM

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. -Eisenhower, 1953

Simple Website Screenshots 5/14/2018 10:25:00 AM

You can take a screenshot of a website from the command line with Firefox with:

  firefox --headless --screenshot

You can also use Chrome/Chromium with the same syntax:

  chrome --headless --screenshot


Resume 5/10/2018 2:26:00 PM

Eric I'll be joining the Windows web platform team as a networking PM on June 4th.

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The Most Exciting News You Overlooked 5/7/2018 2:29:00 PM

Goma is open-source

Ten Immutable Laws Of Security (Version 2.0) 5/4/2018 12:21:00 PM

Truth 4/13/2018 12:22:00 PM

A remarkable, glorious achievement is just what a long series of unremarkable, unglorious tasks looks like from far away.

-How to Beat Procrastination


Hi, Mom! 4/11/2018 2:42:00 PM

I wonder if this is still my mom's homepage. :-P

mom lol

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Oh, weird 4/9/2018 2:46:00 PM

At some point, posting here started working again. That's good, I guess?

Does editing work from Open Live Writer? Yes.

Getting Started in the Chrome Codebase 6/15/2017 11:44:00 AM 


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This is amazing 6/8/2017 4:23:00 PM

Terrible Software UI Design: Volume sliders

Philip Su is my hero 5/3/2017 4:48:00 PM

The current You isn’t the real You. You are currently the past, less-awesome version of the future, final, real You.

Reading List 3/17/2017 11:19:00 AM

In which I again remind myself to read everything at 

Working on Google Chrome - One Year In 2/2/2017 12:55:00 PM

I wrote about my first year working on Google Chrome. The post ranges from personal stories to arcane Chrome command line arguments. (Guess which people found more interesting?)

Site Isolation in Chrome 1/27/2017 3:13:00 PM

A big, interesting project, aims to ensure that a fully-pwned render process cannot attack arbitrary sites. Video

TinyMCE 1/27/2017 2:30:00 PM

Switching over to TinyMCE for the editor here. Let's see what it can do!

This is nice. Right?

cool sealed surprised

Crawling 1/18/2017 2:58:00 PM
I have no idea how accurate this is, but it's interesting. Google Crawl Rate
Decisions are made by those who show up 1/17/2017 1:17:00 PM
Farewell letter from the Head of the US Digital Service
Hacker animation in 600 bytes 12/19/2016 3:37:00 PM
Enter the matrix
Sounds about right 12/5/2016 10:04:00 PM
"I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Don't build the Minimum Viable Product, perform a Riskiest Assumption Test instead 11/17/2016 5:02:00 PM
(Ab)using Motivation 11/8/2016 5:19:00 PM
Frustration, says Fogg, is usually more fixable than annoyance. When we want people to do something our first instinct is usually to try to increase their motivation – to persuade them. Sometimes this works, but more often than not the best route is to make the behaviour easier. One of Fogg’s maxims is, “You can’t get people to do something they don’t want to do.” A politician who wants people to vote for her makes a speech or goes on TV instead of sending a bus to pick voters up from their homes. The bank advertises the quality of its current account instead of reducing the number of clicks required to open one. Making Apps Addictive
Chrome Network Docs redux 11/4/2016 2:33:00 PM
Bumping myself, in the hopes that I'll find time to read these... someday. Chrome Network Docs
TLS/1.3 10/14/2016 2:16:00 PM
Moves version negotiation to an extension.

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You might not need JS 10/11/2016 3:50:00 PM
Cool demos show what the browser can do even without JavaScript
Wanna build a web browser 10/10/2016 3:30:00 PM
Here's how: Chromium Design Documents
The Constitution 10/10/2016 3:00:00 PM
And it's a reminder of how much of our constitutional system does not reside in the Constitution itself but in the hearts of the people who take an oath to it. It's a reminder as well that without the norms of civic decency in which we encase the Constitution, the document itself will not save us.
Drag Drop is Complicated 10/6/2016 11:36:00 AM
Raymond Chen writes about implementing drag and drop.
"From Scratch" 8/31/2016 11:36:00 AM
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch you must first invent the universe" - Carl Sagan
???? Me gustas mucho más que nunca

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APNG 7/27/2016 1:01:00 AM
Now that Brotli is rolling out in lots of places, I think APNG is going to be the next windmill I tilt at.
Milestones 6/30/2016 7:44:00 AM
Nate crawled across his crib and later the floor this morning.
Wisdom 6/11/2016 9:31:00 AM
If forced to briefly summarize the wisdom I've scraped together over the years, it would boil down to this: feedback loops are important.
Milestones 6/5/2016 10:47:00 AM
Nate rolled into his belly for the first time this morning. 
Find Unicode Characters by drawing 5/9/2016 2:46:00 PM
Echos 4/22/2016 9:24:00 PM
You're a bunny, and you're a bunny, and you're a bunny...
Memory Management in Javascript 4/19/2016 3:45:00 PM
Colt's Talk
This makes me happier than just about anything 4/11/2016 12:21:00 PM
Sam the stuffed astronaut dog
Stupid hexedit tricks 4/10/2016 12:49:00 AM
Great blog post on dragging items from .NET to Windows Explorer 4/1/2016 8:24:00 AM
Drag to Windows Explorer from C# .NET

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Is there any reason to ever do this? 3/30/2016 11:10:00 AM
function getAnswersListFromStorage() {
var saved = localStorage.getItem('__keyName__');
if (!saved || saved === '') // <-- why is the second test needed?
Image Variants for testing 3/17/2016 11:33:00 AM
No link, Image Only

HTTP Link HTTP Image



Don't want Win10? Don't want (as much) spam about getting Win10? 3/9/2016 12:29:00 PM
Registry Blocker
Web-based tooling 2/22/2016 4:49:00 PM is a pretty cool set of web-based tools for analyzing files, calculating their hashes, finding embedded content, etc.
Chrome Downloads 2/22/2016 3:24:00 PM
Use the chrome.downloads API to programmatically initiate, monitor, manipulate, and search for downloads.

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Current Status 1/6/2016 1:47:00 PM
If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try."
-- Seth Godin
Windows 10 - Dell XPS 13 9343 Constant Bluescreens 10/15/2015 8:18:00 AM

It's the Dell WiFi driver for the Dell 1560 802.11ac card. Uninstall it and fallback to the inbox Broadcom driver.
Quote 9/30/2015 3:13:00 PM
"As long as you're alive, you have an obligation to strive, and you're not dead until you've seen the face of god.
-Joe Biden's mom

truth via @MaryRobinette 8/31/2015 8:23:00 PM
It's not about adding diversity for the sake of diversity, it's about subtracting homogeneity for the sake of realism.
Haha... 6/17/2015 4:04:00 PM
I set this login cookie's expiration impossibly far into the future-- June 11th, 2015!
Thirty six years ago today... 6/11/2015 2:59:00 AM
John Wayne died.
Care Carefully 6/5/2015 11:31:00 AM
I've probably shared this before. It's obscene, but wise:
Nothing to see here... 5/14/2015 7:42:00 PM
Most of my new posts are at
New Tech Blog 4/15/2015 11:51:00 PM
I've started a new technical blog over at
What’s new in Fiddler 2/10/2015 8:44:44 AM

I threw together some notes for someone doing a presentation about Fiddler.


· Fiddler 2.5 should be out shortly. Most of the “new” goodies are in but are yet to be discovered by most users.

· Hopefully, the second edition of the Fiddler Book will be out in the next month.

Things to consider talking about

Please ensure that everyone has the SyntaxView Inspector installed. It’s by-far the most useful extension for Fiddler.

The ImageBloat extension, of course.

The Content Security Policy rule generator add-on


This menu item resolves ~40% of Fiddler support questions:


They’ve been there a while, but Fiddler can import/export Packet Captures (from Wireshark, Message Analyzer, Netmon, TCPDump) and HAR (HTTP Archive files, from browser dev tools):


It’s been there a while, but Customize Columns is possibly the top-requested feature and it continues to get more powerful


Tools > Configure AutoSave…


Direct Filters on the Context Menu



2.5 will introduce built-in WebSockets UI


Support for WebP and JPEGXR throughout the product


Composer now has a Request Log for easy reuse of past requests


Fiddler’s built-in Certificate Maker can generate iOS-compatible certificates using the Cert Enroll engine


Great interview with Chris Rock 12/1/2014 12:19:00 AM 
A tale as old as time... 11/20/2014 8:32:00 PM

“Multi-year projects in a highly political arena with changing personnel contributes to a loss of focus.”

Friction Kills 11/20/2014 5:00:00 PM
Waste is my arch-enemy.
Historical Writing 10/28/2014 9:45:00 AM

I think my dad would get a kick out of these.

Great stuff 10/20/2014 10:52:00 AM
Sebastien Lorion @ Nice article, but another way would be to use classes such as SafeString and UnsafeString (or even simply one of them) and it would not even compile if one is used in the wrong context. Or to be even more nice to fellow developers, the library could have implicit conversion from one type to the other, thought that has its drawback in terms of knowing what the code does just by looking at it.
SL Showing my IP address publicly when commenting on your blog ... really ??

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yup 9/20/2014 6:46:00 AM
Vows made in storms are forgotten in calm."
-- Thomas Fuller
Honest Trailers 9/18/2014 12:42:00 PM
It's entirely possible to waste your entire life on YouTube. Honest Trailers might be how I do it.
What If? 9/3/2014 1:23:00 PM
Randall Munroe (xkcd)'s new book "What If?" arrived yesterday. It's as magnificent as I hoped and expected it to be.
I've wondered if this is apocryphal 8/19/2014 4:02:00 AM
It only seems to get mentioned in architecture classes.
Old journal entries... 8/12/2014 7:24:00 PM

April 01, 1999

QuickRun has generated Bayden's first $0.42 in revenue, a sales commission from's affiliates program. An unknown purchaser bought "The Art of War" for $8.40... 8-) What an incredible start this software company has had!!! We've generated almost half of a dollar in our first 16 months of operations. We're destined for great things, I tellya.

Anson That's roughly equivalent to how much my phone apps have generated, except that I also bought some sounds for the games and ads only pay out if you make more than $50. So never mind about the equivalent thing.

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Email Etiquette 8/10/2014 12:51:00 PM
From: Eric Lawrence
Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2014 12:50 PM
Subject: Email Etiquette
Howdy, Jeff--
I know CEOs are never the first to read their email (if they ever read it at all), but I’m willing to play along if you are.
As you can see below, I today received an email from Amazon that I don’t feel lives up to the standards you’ve set for yourselves. In particular, announcing that you’ve made a mistake and are charging the customer for it is one thing, but adding “This e-mail was sent from a notification-only e-mail address” on the end is simply rude. I mean, I’m sure that there’s some web form somewhere you’d prefer the victim use to plead their case, but you omit that information entirely in this message. And, of course, it probably wouldn’t take any of Amazon’s thousands of tech wizards more than a few afternoons to build a gateway that could carry an emailed response into such a system.
Now, I’m sure this isn’t a huge priority for you since Amazon so rarely makes mistakes. I mean, it’s been over 13 years since I ordered a pan and you sent me a vacuum cleaner instead. And I’ve ordered thousands of dollars worth of stuff from you guys every year since then.
You might ask: “But how do you know that we received your return? Maybe it was lost in the mail or something?”
And I’d note that it’s probably a good idea for y’all to look at your UPS logs. But in this case, you needn’t even do that, since I returned two items from the same order, in the same box, and you properly credited one of the two. This could have been a lovely conversation that I could have conducted with one of your Mechanical Turks in customer support.
I don’t particularly care about the 14 bucks, because Amazon kindly sends me quite a bit of money every month (I’m an affiliate, and a writer you publish). But I’m also a stockholder, and I know that part of Amazon’s sky-high valuation is based on having legendary customer service, the better to leave all of your competitors in the scrap bin of history. So I really hope that you fix this and avoid alienating anyone who’s less of a loyal customer than I have been and will likely continue to be.
I’m sure you’re busy, but if you too think that Amazon should stop flipping off customers with un-replyable emails, would you mind sticking one of your infamous “?”s at the top of this mail and forwarding it off to the folks who handle Amazon’s notification emails?
thanks a bunch!
First Impressions of the Nexus 5 8/5/2014 11:46:00 AM
Nice phone. Nice UX. Wireless charging rocks!
Bleh 7/7/2014 4:18:00 PM
Haven't posted in a while.
Bug This doesn't count as a post.

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Hrm... 5/9/2014 2:07:00 PM

After hearing about a recent bug ( I created a C:\program.exe app to show me if some other applications might also have the same problem.

On Windows 8.1 Update 1 with all updates, after using the “Close program” gesture to close Immersive IE, I see my program.exe application runs with the following output:

Program.exe invoked with the following parameters: 

Raw command line:
        C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe -BackgroundSessionClosed 


Press any key to continue...

This link: suggests to me that the invoking code might related to the PLM system used for Metro suspension.


  1. Save as C:\program.exe (This trivial app simply shows the command line arguments that it is passed).
  2. Close Desktop IE instances.
  3. Run Metro IE. Browse a bit.
  4. Use the close gesture to close IE.

Observe: Program.exe is executed.

Arguably, this isn’t an important security issue because writing to the root requires Admin and the program is only executing with user-level permissions, but historically we’ve seen this sort of mistake used as a stepping stone of other exploits. The affected codepath may also allow repro for ANY Immersive browser (not just IE) which could have unknown security impact.

Eric MSRC sent this one back as "not a vulnerability" due to ACLs on the root folder.

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Ref: F.B.I-VERY URGENT. 5/2/2014 9:06:00 AM
This e-mail, including any attachments, is covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 10 U.S.C. 2510-2521

 [FBI logo]   
Ref: FBI/DC/25/113/13/2014

  Your attention is needed immediately
  We have been informed through our global intelligence monitoring network that the sum of $10.500, 000.00, has been released from a bank in Africa bearing your name as the beneficiary without dist certificate to clear your name and fund from every terrorist or drug or money laundering activities
We sincerely apologize for sending you this sensitive information via e-mail instead of a certified mail, phone call or a  face-to-face conversation,We will also send you a certified email later it is due to the urgency and importance of the security information needed. To checkmate financial recklessness, illegal gambling, racketeering and considering the effect of the global financial crisis rocking the United States, our government with the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I) Washington, DC and the internet crime complaint center (ic3),alongside the CIA  signed an agreement with U.K  police for an immediate release of all overdue funds presently logged in their treasury and to ensure it is disbursed to the rightful beneficiaries in all parts of the world. If you the beneficiary would adhere to our instruction it will help you receive your payment  immediately
The bank knowing fully well that they do not have enough facilities to make this payment from any part of the world to your account directly, used what we know as a secret diplomatic transit payment (s.d.t.p) method to make the payment. direct transfers are difficult and secret diplomatic transit payment (s.d.t.p) are not  usually made unless the funds are  related to terrorist activities and we ask why must your payment be made in  a secret transfer if your transaction  is legitimate.
We do not want you to get into trouble as soon as these funds reflect in your personal account, so it is our duty as an international agency to correct these little problems before this fund reflects into your personal account.
we advise you to contact us immediately, as your funds have been stopped and are being held in our custody, until you are able to provide us with the dist certificate within 3 days from the country that authorized the transfer to certify that the funds that you are about to receive are terrorist/drug free or we shall have cause to impound the payment and subsequently prosecute you for cross border terrorist financial activites.
based on our findings, our investigative department wish to warn you against some miscreants, hoodlums and touts who go about scamming innocent people by claiming to be who they are not and thereby tarnishing the image of this wonderful country. By sending out fraudulent emails without our official logo and emblem we shall release your funds immediately we receive this legal document and we will ensure that you receive your payment without any further delay.
We decided to contact you directly by email to acquire the proper verifications and proof from you to show that you are the rightful person to receive this fund, because of the huge amount involved. Be informed that the funds are now with a top bank in the united state in your name and under the monitoring/custody of the FBI. At the moment, we have asked the bank not to release the fund to anybody that comes to them, unless we instruct them to do so, and only if we receive the dist certificate this is to enable us carry out a comprehensive investigation first before releasing the fund to you.
hence, you are to forward your  dist certificate to us immediately if you have it in your possession, if you do not have it, then  let us know so that we will direct you  to the  appropriate  authority to  obtain the certificate then you are to send  it to our office. And thereafter, we will instruct the bank holding the funds, to go ahead and credit your account immediately. If you fail to provide the documents to this office, we will prosecute you and take appropriate action against you for not proving the legality of the funds.
Finally if you truly want to receive this funds without F.B.I troubles then reconfirm the following below
Contact number………………………………………..
Country of origin of funds……………………………..
Yours Faithfully
Robert J. Holley Special Agent
151 Patton Ave
Room211 Asheville N.C.28801
cc: general intelligence department (GID)
cc federal bureau of investigation (fFBIi)
cc .internet crime complaint center (ic3)
cc: Asia pacific group on money laundering (APG)
cc: international monetary fund (IMF)
cc: international organization of securities commissions (IOSCO)
cc: international banking security association (IBSA)
cc: world customs organization (WCO)
cc: inter-American development bank (IADB)
cc: national white collar crime center (NW3C)
cc: bureau of justice assistance (BJA)
cc: supreme court of South Africa(SCA)
Unless expressly stated otherwise, this message is confidential and may be privileged. It is intended for the addressee(s) only. Access to this e-mail by anyone else is unauthorized. If you are not an addressee, any disclosure or copying of the contents or any action taken (or not taken) in reliance on it is unauthorized and may be unlawful. If you are not an addressee, please inform the sender immediately.
Salvo que se indique lo contrario, este mensaje es confidencial y puede ser privilegiada. Se pretende a su destinatario (s)solamente. El acceso a este e-mail por cualquier otra persona no estб autorizado. Si usted no es un destinatario, cualquier divulgaciуn o copia de lacontenidos ni de cualquier acciуn realizada (o no) en la dependencia en que no estб autorizado y puede ser ilegal. Si no son unadestinatario, por favor notifique al remitente de inmediato
This e-mail, including any attachments, is covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 10 U.S.C. 2510-2521
Dave Worse at punctuation than I am! What value is this: $10.500, 000.00 I know some locales use ',' and '.' differently in numbers, but how can you go from delimiter1 to delimiter2 then back to delimiter1?
not fooled obvious scam
???? just received and will try to get my 10.5 million dollars.

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WindowsUpdate Failure code 80072F8F 4/9/2014 8:45:00 AM
I charged and turned on my Surface2 for the first time in a week or so last night. I manually kicked off an update check which failed with error code 80072F8F. I rebooted and left it alone overnight but the error persisted into the morning.
The UI assured me that more information on this error was available online; the link took me to a MSFT troubleshooting page that assured me that no further information was available.
Plugging this code into a real search engine immediately suggested that I check my PC’s clock/date and sure enough, the Surface thought it was 3/29 for some reason. After fixing that, the update check proceeds.
This raises a few questions:
1> Why isn’t Surface automatically syncing the clock from the Internet time servers? My internet connection is fine.
2> Why is there no information on this error code on the troubleshooting website?
3> Why do I even need to go to a website for this? Why doesn’t WU recognize this code and force-check the Internet time?
4> How is it that we’re in 2014 and the WU error experience is as bad as it was in 2001?
This entire experience was, as they say in Redmond, “An Apple Commercial.”
Tempted... 2/27/2014 11:28:00 AM
Anson You could do that, but if you want people to understand what you're getting at you should make the shed's roof black. We can all agree that almost all sheds have a black roof.
Anson Btw - installed fiddler the other day and couldn't find it because of the icon :)
Anson You can have any icon you want; that's the point.
Eric ^^^ oops.
Max Power You can also have any name you want.

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DAD 2/12/2014 9:14:00 AM
Debugging a crying baby as a Designated App Debugger (DAD) can be a rough job. 

When your pager goes off, it’s typically after midnight, and the crashing process has been loudly spewing a stream of inscrutable 0x80004005 HRESULTs for a minute or so. Your task is to fix the process without restarting it. WinDBG’s symbols never resolve, so you’re debugging blind. The fact that you wrote half the spec less than a year ago is of little help since the code is polymorphic and it's already evolved since you debugged it last night. 

The most trying aspect is that, no matter how heroic and valiant your efforts may be, if you can’t get the process quiescent, your boss, the Magnificent Original Maintainer (MOM), is going to swoop in make you look like a putz. 

She usually does so by merely attaching one of her specialized hardware debuggers. Either of these devices will unfailingly resolve the problem, no matter the root cause.
Dave '... wrote half the spec less than a year ago'. Is that what writing specs is like? I should've been a PM
Eric Hehe... It actually should have said "just over a year ago." But anyway...

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Food 12/3/2013 8:44:00 PM
I like this... 10/29/2013 4:54:00 PM

"If you’ll allow me: the interior life is a sphere of thoughts and implications zapping around, and it’s so chaotic in there that we learn to limit the sphere’s radius because to do otherwise is to let everything we encounter, from broken nestlings to broken dates, reach the level of “why does anything exist?” We spend years working out that perfect radius: rein it in too tightly and life is mechanical, let out too much slack and life is paralyzing."

Unicode in JavaScript 10/21/2013 1:19:00 PM 
Notes on AppContainers 10/12/2013 11:04:00 PM
MemorySharp 9/15/2013 12:46:00 AM
This looks quite interesting: 
Julian Great find ! I was unaware interacting with a another process can be so easily done. I should spend some time to read more about C#.

+ Comment
DotNet Samples 8/21/2013 1:57:00 PM
Lots of cool little .NET utilities/samples here:
SPAM storytime 8/21/2013 10:15:00 AM
Dear Sir/Madam,
     I am so glad send email to you.
     We are a manufacturer in China produce CAR RECORDER.
      The attach model is a very popular car recorder,with very good night vision,very high definition.Many car driver need them.Because it can recording any traffic accident,and by it can know who are responsible for the accident.
      For this one the sample price is 63$.Maybe you think it is expensive.I would like tell you a story:
      One day,when David drive his car go to have a important meeting,when he drive through a traffic lighter,a man by a motorcycle on front of his car,and this man drive the motorcycle slower on purpose,then let the motorcycle fall down on purpose,then roar David let David stop his car,say:"Your car hurt me."David said:"No,I am so slow,have not hurt you."But the man insist let David pay him some money for medical expenses,insist said David have let him bleed.David in order go to for the meeting on time.He pay the man 100$.Then the man permit David leave.
      It is a real story happed in our coutry.I think if David have this product,he no need pay 100$.He only need pay 63$ for the car DVR.
      The price for car DVR depends the IC and definition,like the DVR19S,the price for sample only need 26$.For mass products only need 16$. If you are a car supplier,it is a very good promostional gift.
this makes me happy every time I read it. 8/2/2013 4:35:00 PM
Eric PX-256M5M

+ Comment
Browser marketshare 7/25/2013 1:43:00 PM

With some interesting points on they different factors that skew numbers.

Badly designed APIs... 7/24/2013 4:45:00 PM

WMPlayerPlayStateChange fires as the state changes in the Windows Media Player control.

What's your most likely action in response to getting wmppsMediaEnded? Play the next song, right?

Except that if you do this (by setting the .URL property) from the WMPlayerPlayStateChange callback, the song will begin to play... for about a microsecond, before another event from the prior play comes in and wipes everything else out.

You have to use wmppsMediaEnded to instead queue a callback timer that plays the next song a little bit later, after the original songs events have finished firing.

Dumb dumb dumb dumb.

Dave Try the html5 video element ??
EricLaw HTML5's video element won't play WMA files.

+ Comment
tl;dr; 6/7/2013 8:11:00 AM
Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division 
Fbi Headquarters In Washington, D.C. 
Federal Bureau Of Investigation 
J. Edgar Hoover Building 
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20535-0001 Website: 

Attention, this is the final warning you are going to receive from me do you get me? 

I hope youre understand how many times this message has been sent to you?. 

We have warned you so many times and you have decided to ignore our e-mails or because you believe we have not been instructed to get you arrested, and today if you 
fail to respond back to us with the payment then, we would first send a letter to the mayor of the city where you reside and direct them to close your bank account 
until you have been jailed and all your properties will be confiscated by the fbi. We would also send a letter to the company/agency that you are working for so that 
they could get you fired until we are through with our investigations because a suspect is not suppose to be working for the government or any private organization.

Your id which we have in our database been sent to all the crimes agencies in America for them to inset you in their website as an internet fraudsters and to warn 
people from having any deals with you. This would have been solved all this while if you had gotten the certificate signed, endorsed and stamped as you where 
instructed in the e-mail below.this is the federal bureau of investigation (fbi) am writing in response to the e-mail you sent to us and am using this medium to 
inform you that there is no more time left to waste because you have been given from the 3rd of January. As stated earlier to have the document endorsed, signed and stamped without failure and you must adhere to this directives to avoid you blaming yourself at last when we must have arrested and jailed you for life and all your 
properties confiscated.

You failed to comply with our directives and that was the reason why we didn't hear from you on the 3rd as our director has already been notified about you get the 
process completed yesterday and right now the warrant of arrest has been signed against you and it will be carried out in the next 48hours as strictly signed by the 
fbi director. We have investigated and found out that you didn't have any idea when the fraudulent deal was committed with your information's/identity and right now if 

you id is placed on our website as a wanted person, i believe you know that it will be a shame to you and your entire family because after then it will be announce in 
all the local channels that you are wanted by the fbi. As a good Christian and a honest man, I decided to see how i could be of help to you because i would not be happy to see you end up in jail and all your properties confiscated all because your information's was used to carry out a fraudulent transactions, i called the efcc and they directed me to a private attorney who could help you get the process done and he stated that he will endorse, sign and stamp the document at the sum of $98.00 usd only and i believe this process is cheaper for you. 

You need to do everything possible within today and tomorrow to get this process done because our director has called to inform me that the warrant of arrest has been 
signed against you and once it has been approved, then the arrest will be carried out, and from our investigations we learnt that you were the person that forwarded 
your identity to one impostor/fraudsters in Nigeria when he had a deal with you about the transfer of some illegal funds into your bank account which is valued at the 
sum of $10.500,000.00 usd.

I pleaded on your behalf so that this agency could give you till 6/6/2013 so that you could get this process done because i learnt that you were sent several e-mail 
without getting a response from you, please bear it in mind that this is the only way that i can be able to help you at this moment or you would have to face the law 
and its consequences once it has befall on you. You would make the payment through western union money transfer with the below details.

Senders name====== 

Send the payment details to me which are senders name and address, mtcn number, text question and answer used and the amount sent. Make sure that you didn't hesitate 
making the payment down to the agency by today so that they could have the certificate endorsed, signed and stamped immediately without any further delay. After all 
this process has been carried out, then we would have to proceed to the bank for the transfer of your compensation funds which is valued at the sum of $10.500,000.00 
usd which was suppose to have been transferred to you all this while.

Note/ all the crimes agencies have been contacted on this regards and we shall trace and arrest you if you disregard this instructions. You are given a grace today to 
make the payment for the document after which your failure to do that will attract a maximum arrest and finally you will be appearing in court for act of terrorism, 
money laundering and drug trafficking charges, so be warned not to try any thing funny because you are been watched. 




Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division 
Fbi Headquarters In Washington, D.C. 
Federal Bureau Of Investigation 
J. Edgar Hoover Building 
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20535-0001 Website:
Dave What a bargain!
Jim I know people fall for some seriously stupid things, but this one would take some serious stupidity.

+ Comment
"How Hard Could It Be?" 5/23/2013 5:49:00 PM
I have an idea for a new reality show; it'll be called "How Hard Could It Be?" The show will feature everyday people approaching straightforward (but new to them) tasks, for instance, minor home repairs.
For instance, in the kickoff show, a software developer will be faced with filling a gap introduced in his front porch when a professional replaced an exterior door. To make it more interesting, we'll have the work done on the highly-visible front porch, and we'll have the man's wife be pregnant to ensure a steady flow of family and friends visiting over the next few months.
The show will start with the man rubbing his chin and looking at the gap. "I know", he'll say, "I can fill this with concrete. I mean, 'How hard could it be?'"
We'll follow our character as he researches by watching assorted videos on the Internet, wherein a wide variety of workaday joes install concrete successfully in a wide variety of projects.
Confirming the ease of his project, he'll drive over to the local home depot, grab an 80lb bag of concrete, a few stirs, a 5 gallon bucket, and some red concrete dye. That's right, dye. The dye serves two purposes: One-- to attempt to match the final result to the nearby brick and other décor. Two-- so that the viewers at home (and any passers-by) can easily see all of the unintended places that the concrete ends up. To up the ante a bit, this project will begin late on Sunday morning (ensuring that only one day can be spared for the work) and we'll film on a May day in Austin with afternoon temperatures in the mid-90s.
Reading the bag of concrete mix, he'll scoff as he reads "Do not let concrete dry in your hair" and feel confident that this project is going to be trivial: "How hard could it be, if the package needs to warn the typical user of such things."
As the afternoon proceeds, we'll watch our hapless hero increasingly drenched in sweat, as he learns valuable lessons like: 'Why you don't want to pour concrete mix without a facemask', and 'Why do professionals mix concrete in wheelbarrows instead of buckets.' A counter on the screen will track the skyrocketing obscenity count as the afternoon proceeds toward dusk.
The show will end with our red-tinted grimy hero and his very-pregnant wife on the porch looking forlornly at the final lumpy, off-color result.
She'll look on the bright side. "It won't look so bad after we cover it with the welcome mat."
JFK on covert government action 5/16/2013 11:36:00 AM

There is little value in ensuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it.

This is pretty neat... 5/10/2013 10:15:00 AM
Erase backgrounds from an image (live in JS)

Alex is more than just funny stories... 4/23/2013 12:50:00 PM

Lots of interesting ideas in here. My favorite was "whiplashing"-- making products oscillate between free and pay.

Awesome tweet 4/10/2013 1:47:00 PM
Matt Roller @rolldiggity 9 Apr

New Parent Idea: 1. Take pictures of you pulling baby out of spacecraft in forest. 2. Hide pictures in attic for kid to find when he's 10.

Thought 4/5/2013 11:08:00 AM
The most dangerous idea in the world is that life is a zero-sum game.
IE10's index.dat files replaced with a cache database 4/3/2013 5:27:00 PM

Someone mailed me off my old IEInternals blog to ask me about IE10's move from index.dat files to the WebCacheV01.dat database file. They had a number of questions and it occurs to me that this probably isn't written up anywhere else. So, for posterity (and with the caveat that I can't speak for Microsoft):

Q: Why the change? Why are browsing artifacts are still present in other locations?

A: The old index.dat files represented a cross-process memory-mapped index file for the internet cache entries. This index was designed for optimal performance on common computers of the mid-1990s; for instance, the data structures it used were designed to fit in the on-chip cache of a 486 processor. Since then, processors have grown far more powerful, with larger caches, etc. As a consequence, the old cache index code was no longer very efficient (especially for operations that proper databases are good at, like running multi-condition queries). By moving this cache to a proper database, it simplified code, improved performance, and enhanced durability/reliability.

When you say “why are browsing artifacts are still present in other locations,” I can only assume that you’re referring to the cache files themselves? Keep in mind that the new database and old index.dat are simply an index to those files on disk. You may wonder why browsers store the response bodies in files rather than inside the database itself—this is done for both performance and compatibility reasons.

Q: Why is this file loaded when Windows starts even before IE loads?

A: The cache is an integral part of WinINET, a core networking component in Windows. WinINET’s cache isn’t just the browser’s cache—it’s also used by most Metro applications, Windows components, and tens of thousands of other applications that rely on WinINET. That’s why, for instance, when you uninstall IE from Windows, WinINET and its data stores remain on the system. The database is loaded by the cache service in order to handle requests from applications that depend on WinINET. Deleting the database would be very bad from a privacy point of view, because the database tracks which files need to be deleted when you use the Delete Browser History / Clear Cache commands. If you were to obliterate this index, these files would be orphaned and present a privacy risk.

Q: Why is there a delay in writing to the database after the browser closes?

A: I’m not sure what specific “delay in writing to the database” that you’re referring to, but I assume this is simply related to how most databases work—there’s an in-memory representation that is periodically flushed to disk for both performance and hardware-durability reasons (most SSDs have a limited number of write-cycles, for instance).

Q: Why is the extension .DAT instead of .EDB which is used by other Ese databases.

As to why the extension is .DAT, I don’t know, but I assume that this is probably a historical artifact related to the fact that WinINET’s cache indicies have always been named *.dat.

Q: Do IE10 on Win7 and IE10 on Win8 cache data in the same way?
A: I think the answer you’re looking for is “essentially.” The one caveat is that Windows 8’s Enhanced Protected Mode feature uses AppContainers for isolation of content; this feature is an evolution of the Protected Mode feature introduced with Windows Vista.
Mike Appleby Hi, Is it possible to flush, close the webcache and terminate the processes correctly so no information is lost? Thanks, Mike.
doug diehl Am thinking of EXCLUDING THIS from my PC Backup tool since it changes all the time, is unique, and is very large. Can you think of any (common or likely) scenario where you would want a copy of the .dat file?

+ Comment
Alan Kay says it best 4/2/2013 12:04:00 PM

There is the desire of a consumer society to have no learning curves. This tends to result in very dumbed-down products that are easy to get started on, but are generally worthless and/or debilitating. We can contrast this with technologies that do have learning curves, but pay off well and allow users to become experts (for example, musical instruments, writing, bicycles, etc. and to a lesser extent automobiles). [Douglas] Engelbart’s interface required some learning but it paid off with speed of giving commands and efficiency in navigation and editing. People objected, and laughed when Doug told them that users of the future would spend many hours a day at their screens and they should have extremely efficient UIs they could learn to be skilled in.

EFF April Fools Jokes 4/1/2013 12:43:00 PM

One of many chuckle-inducers: In response to last week's exceedingly polite Canadian Supreme Court ruling on text message privacy, EFF will print a limited edition run of "Sorry if this is a bother, but I'd really prefer if you returned with a warrant, eh" stickers for Canadian mobile devices.

It's not black or white 3/24/2013 5:32:00 PM

I saw an advertisement that the Microsoft Store at Austin's Domain Mall was running a "SmartPhone buyback" program through the month of March, so I figured I'd stop  by and see what I could get for my old WP7 LG Quantum and Jane's old Samsung Focus. I didn't have a great experience last time I was at the store, so I was curious to see whether it has improved over the last few months.

On Sunday afternoon around 4pm, Jane and I walked in and looked around.  The tables were nicely organized in the front of the store although it inexplicably smelled a bit funky. Within 30 seconds, we were greeted by a 20-something guy who asked how he could help us. I explained what brought us in and he seemed excited to help out. So far so good. We walked to the back of the store where the big desk is (Microsoft apparently decided they shouldn't have traditional cash registers since the Apple store doesn't).

Unfortunately, there's no obvious place for customers and staff to stand, a problem exacerbated by the fact that a customer was getting his new Dell All-in-One set up by a staff-member, and his 4ft by 3ft by 1ft cardboard box and the associated packing material were littered around.

Our sales guy rummaged around under the desk for a solid 90 seconds before finally pulling out a laptop, clearing some space on the edge of the desk, and putting down a leather pad underneath the system. Finally, he fired it up. Windows 7. Interesting. He chose one of the 5 logged in accounts and typed a password. On the desktop, he found the IE icon and clicked on it. IE8 appeared. The first-run wizard appeared. He considered for a moment, then clicked "Ask me later." He then tried to navigate to http://storeportal or some similar address. "Page cannot be displayed." Hrm. He clicked in the tray to check the WiFi, which claimed to be connected to MSFTINET. Hrm.

He clicked IE's "Diagnose connection settings" and waited for it to do its thing. Eventually, the web page appeared. He worked through some cumbersome login process, then opened Word 2013, opened a document, scrolled to the bottom, and copied a URL, username, and password individually from the document into the browser. He spent a minute trying to find the model number for my phone and after I took it apart and read it off to him, he got the buyback offer. $8.90 without the charger, and $9.90 with it. I decided that for under $10, I'd just keep it as a backup.

Jane's Focus netted an offer of just under $20, and considering her love for her iPhone, we agreed to take the offer.

He tried to print a document, but didn't have a printer installed. We waited for him to browse around the network (going through yet another "Troubleshoot connection problems" sequence, then ask a colleague which printer to use, then install the drivers, and finally start the print job.

IE8 locked up at this point and he clicked around fruitlessly for 30 seconds ("ding ding ding") and walked to the printer and back a few times. He apologized for the hassle and noted "this is an original i7 which is six years old and I don't know why we use it anymore." (Note: The first i7s were released Nov. 2008). He then said "Sorry if I seem frazzled. There are only 7 of us in the store today and there are supposed to be 15. I don't know where everyone else is." Considering the relative dearth of customers, the store didn't really seem understaffed to me.

Finally, Windows offered "Your job has been sent to the printer" and he walked off to get the document, which turned out to be a signature form whereby you promise that you're not selling a stolen phone, etc.

I looked at the large LCD signature pad on the counter and idly wondered what it was used for, if not tasks like this. After agreeing to the terms and conditions, we got a shiny plastic gift card to use on our next purchase.

On our way out, I stopped to check out the Surface Pro with the Type keyboard. It was warm to the touch but otherwise looked like a great machine, and I played with it a bit. Across the table, a sales guy was pitching the Surface RT to a 40-something woman. "But this won't run my software, right?" she said. "No," he conceded, "but you can install apps, like Facebook." She seemed unconvinced.

I didn't envy him-- the sales guys at the Apple Store have a much easier job, asking their salivating prospects simply "Do you want black or white?"

As a former employee, I'm depressed. As a shareholder, I'm angry.

Steve @ There's a Microsoft Store opening up in the mall near me too. I'm curious how it will compare/compete with the Apple store less than 250 feet away. If the staff were trained better, they'd be able to sell the features of Windows tablets/devices and deflect honestly (& provide a balanced counter feature) any omissions. It's sad that the windows phone didn't provide much in return but I'd like to believe that Microsoft could do a better deal providing $50-100 discount towards a new windows phone? I've gotta ask though... as someone that knows networking and IE so intimately it must kill you to hold back and not just grab the PC and try to fix the issue... kudos for not taking over.

+ Comment
Terrifying... 3/21/2013 2:17:00 PM

...while everybody is talking about high class exploits and cyberwar, four simple stupid default telnet passwords can give you access to hundreds of thousands of consumer as well as tens of thousands of industrial devices all over the world.

Numbers 3/20/2013 11:24:00 PM

My new car logged its 4444th mile today on Route 2222.

The Fiddler book has sold 1320 paper copies and 1416 electronic copies.

Hybrid scams 3/16/2013 5:17:00 PM
Snail-mail phishing scams? Cute.

My scam letter from "United Airways" and was signed "Juli Cae" at 1-866-318-0557
Decompilation is hard... 3/6/2013 5:38:00 PM

JustDecompile 2013.1.225.1

public bool IsAbstract
        return (this.GetAttributeFlagsImpl() & TypeAttributes.Abstract) != TypeAttributes.NotPublic;


Reflector Clipboar

public bool IsAbstract
return ((this.GetAttributeFlagsImpl() & TypeAttributes.Abstract) != TypeAttributes.AnsiClass);


Eric The trick here is that the code is really just testing for Zero, which is defined *four* different ways in the TypeAttributes enumeration.

+ Comment
Great article on healthcare... 3/6/2013 12:20:00 PM

If you can read this without gnashing your teeth, you're probably on valium.

It's an important article, and Democrats and Republicans both need to understand how they're obstructing improvements to healthcare.

It's a bit windy today 2/25/2013 5:42:00 PM

The window panes in the Telerik high-rise are literally squealing in pain.

XKCD Remains Brilliant 2/15/2013 3:47:00 PM
Here's how you know you're not using HTTP correctly. 2/7/2013 6:47:00 PM
GET /msdownload/update/software/crup/2013/02/windows8-rt-kb2811522-x64_58d9bb426d11ced4cd7408710fb4e3a6ce99ba11.psf HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Accept-Encoding: identity, peerdist
If-Unmodified-Since: Wed, 06 Feb 2013 22:04:31 GMT
Range: bytes=32768-40638
User-Agent: Microsoft BITS/7.6
X-P2P-PeerDist: Version=1.1
X-P2P-PeerDistEx: MinContentInformation=1.0, MaxContentInformation=1.0
Connection: Keep-Alive

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/octet-stream
Last-Modified: Wed, 06 Feb 2013 22:04:31 GMT
Accept-Ranges: bytes
ETag: "804173f0b54ce1:0"
Server: Microsoft-IIS/7.5
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2013 23:44:12 GMT
X-CID: 2
Content-Length: 59694909
Via: 1.1 (IronPort-WSA/7.1.3-021)
Connection: keep-alive

GET /msdownload/update/software/crup/2013/02/windows8-rt-kb2811522-x64_58d9bb426d11ced4cd7408710fb4e3a6ce99ba11.psf HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Accept-Encoding: identity, peerdist
If-Unmodified-Since: Wed, 06 Feb 2013 22:04:31 GMT
Range: bytes=32768-40638
User-Agent: Microsoft BITS/7.6
X-P2P-PeerDist: Version=1.1
X-P2P-PeerDistEx: MinContentInformation=1.0, MaxContentInformation=1.0
Connection: Keep-Alive

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/octet-stream
Last-Modified: Wed, 06 Feb 2013 22:04:31 GMT
Accept-Ranges: bytes
ETag: "804173f0b54ce1:0"
Server: Microsoft-IIS/7.5
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2013 23:45:08 GMT
X-CID: 2
Content-Length: 59694909
Via: 1.1 (IronPort-WSA/7.1.3-021)
Connection: keep-alive

GET /msdownload/update/software/crup/2013/02/windows8-rt-kb2811522-x64_58d9bb426d11ced4cd7408710fb4e3a6ce99ba11.psf HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Accept-Encoding: identity, peerdist
If-Unmodified-Since: Wed, 06 Feb 2013 22:04:31 GMT
Range: bytes=32768-40638
User-Agent: Microsoft BITS/7.6
X-P2P-PeerDist: Version=1.1
X-P2P-PeerDistEx: MinContentInformation=1.0, MaxContentInformation=1.0
Connection: Keep-Alive

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/octet-stream
Last-Modified: Wed, 06 Feb 2013 22:04:31 GMT
Accept-Ranges: bytes
ETag: "804173f0b54ce1:0"
Server: Microsoft-IIS/7.5
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2013 23:46:04 GMT
X-CID: 2
Content-Length: 59694909
Via: 1.1 (IronPort-WSA/7.1.3-021)
Connection: keep-alive

Eric It's like BITS can't handle the fact that it's getting back a 200 instead of a 206 and just retries over and over...

+ Comment
Great paper on Chrome... 1/30/2013 6:33:00 PM

Perhaps claims more credit for Google than due, but nevertheless thorough and informative.

Home Tech Upgrades 1/28/2013 6:41:00 PM

In a lot of ways, our new house is great-- it's much newer than our old place (built 1993 vs. 1968). However, at twenty years old, a number of components are due for an upgrade.

First and foremost, we had a water heater that was original equipment and it was loudly demanding retirement. Since it was going into our attic, and the thought of having 40 gallons of hot water overhead was sorta creepy, we felt justified in upgrading to a Rinnai tankless unit. It cost a bit more, but between utility company rebates ($600) and US government tax credit ($300) we figured that it was probably worth it. Our last (traditional-tank) heater cost nearly $2K installed (mostly due to work getting the location up to current code).

Next, we upgraded our downstairs thermostat to a 2nd-gen Nest unit.

It was a simple install, and while it's pricey, they claim it will save ~7-10% on our energy bills, which would pay for it in the first year. We'll see. If nothing else, it's way less ugly than the ancient Honeywell ChronoTherm III unit it replaced. The website and mobile apps are pretty neat, although they don't yet have a Windows Phone 8 app:


Lastly, I'm obsessed with lights.

I've been trying to hold off replacing all of our recessed lights until next winter, because LEDs are rapidly going up in brightness / efficiency and down in price, but I couldn't put it off for two locations: our fancy new master bathroom and in our stairwell. I'd been trying to make due with CFLs in the bathroom but they took too long to warm up and the existing trim was pretty ugly.

The bathroom installs were easy. The stairwell was another matter-- it's extremely hard to get up there (~12 feet over stairs, hard to place a ladder) and I never wanted to have to replace the light. Getting the lights installed in the bathroom was trivial, but the stairwell was another matter. It turns out that these cans were never supposed to be buried in insulation, but naturally the last owners dumped about a foot of loose insulation over them and that had ended up melting the thermocouple that was supposed to prevent fires for their old incandescent bulb. So, I spent a harrowing 40 minutes atop a 6" ladder stripping the wires out of the thermocouple and rewiring it into the new LED. Ultimately, I survived, and the light looks great. I put another LED in the entry as well for comparison purposes (the one over the stairs is 650 lumen while the entry is 575.)

Image upload resulThe most amazing bit of the LED lights is what they look like inside... I'm both amazed and certain that we're going to see much more interesting form-factors over the next few years...


Eric More on LED lighting:

+ Comment
CTRL+ALT+DEL 1/28/2013 6:21:00 PM

You know your system is in trouble when even CTRL+ALT+DELETE doesn't work...

Failure to display security and shut down options
The sign-in process couldn't display security and sign-in options when Ctrl+Alt+Delete was pressed. If Windows doesn't respond, press Esc, or use the power switch to restart.

#WebTesting Rule #32 1/25/2013 3:39:00 PM
Cute... 1/10/2013 2:47:00 PM
If you dug a hole straight down (through the planet), where would you end up?
My blog... 1/4/2013 3:13:00 PM
In case anyone's wondering, since I left Microsoft and stopped posting on, my new geeky blog is here:
Microsoft Store 1/3/2013 6:21:00 PM

Austin's local "upscale" mall ("The Domain") has both an Apple store and a Microsoft store; I went to both this weekend. The Apple store had perhaps 50 shoppers and a selection of covetable updated hardware, most of which I would be delighted to buy the moment any of my current device fleet breaks. Despite owning three tablets (Kindle Fire1, Nexus7, IPad3), the only thing stopping me from getting an iPad Mini are the rumors that the Mini2 will be out this spring.

The Microsoft store was quieter, with perhaps five shoppers walking around and looking at the new hardware. Notably, every device in the store was Win8 and Touch-enabled, which was great from the standpoint of being on message, and terrible from the "appeal" standpoint, since most of the 3rd party hardware is very clearly "v1" targeted and not nearly as compelling as the slick Ultrabooks that have been out for a year. I took a quick look at the Surface in the front of the store, and it sadly didn't leave me with a good impression. The touch cover was falling apart at the seam (literally) and launching IE led to an immediate modal error message ( before leaving me on a white screen. I fired up the new PenguinMark benchmark to find that the Surface scores 0. Zero. Zip. Nada. The iPad Mini (running Apple's older tablet processor) scored better than that.

It was a pretty depressing morning. :-(

Rob Thanks for the heads up Eric. I've forwarded this along to the Store folks. Hope all is well man. Miss you around the poker table.

+ Comment
I probably could have skipped my college econ class and just read this instead... 12/27/2012 2:35:00 PM

Although, I really liked my econ class.

Domain Names... 12/20/2012 4:32:00 PM
I'm now the amused owner of and What use should I make of this priceless real-estate? :-D
Conclusions from my SslStream Woes... 12/13/2012 2:17:00 PM

Conclusion: The crypto errors I have been complaining about occur if the Private Key in the RSACryptoServiceProvider changes on disk while HTTPS handshakes are taking place. This happened in Fiddler because it was trying to use the same KeyContainerName for all of the private keys for all of the certificates.

When the LSASS.EXE process tries to complete the HTTPS handshake (this is always out-of-process to your application), it finds that the private key is unable to decrypt the data sent by the client, which was encrypted using the original private key. Lesson learned: While it's called a KeyContainer, it can only hold one exchange key at a time. If you want multiple keys (e.g. for multiple certificates) you need multiple containers.

Logs of the failure 12/11/2012 1:52:00 PM

2:31:41:4782 !SecureClientPipeDirect failed: System.Security.Authentication.AuthenticationException: A call to SSPI failed, see inner exception. --->
System.ComponentModel.Win32Exception: The specified data could not be decrypted
--- End of inner exception stack trace ---
at System.Net.Security.SslState.StartSendAuthResetSignal(ProtocolToken message, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest, Exception exception)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.ProcessReceivedBlob(Byte[] buffer, Int32 count, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.StartReceiveBlob(Byte[] buffer, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.ProcessReceivedBlob(Byte[] buffer, Int32 count, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.StartReceiveBlob(Byte[] buffer, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.ProcessReceivedBlob(Byte[] buffer, Int32 count, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.StartReceiveBlob(Byte[] buffer, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.ProcessReceivedBlob(Byte[] buffer, Int32 count, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.StartReceiveBlob(Byte[] buffer, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.ForceAuthentication(Boolean receiveFirst, Byte[] buffer, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.ProcessAuthentication(LazyAsyncResult lazyResult)
at Fiddler.ClientPipe.SecureClientPipeDirect(X509Certificate2 certServer) in C:\src\Fiddler2\Common\Core\PipeClient.cs:line 161

System.Net Information: 0 : [7588] SecureChannel#33547120::.ctor(hostname=?478, #clientCertificates=0)
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Socket#44866580::Receive()
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Data from Socket#44866580::Receive
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000000 : 16 03 00 00 35 <-- 53 bytes in rest of client hello.                             
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000005 : 01 00 00 31 <-- clienthello and 49 bytes in rest of hello

03 00 <- v3

50 C6-30 F9 E9 68 59 6A 20 69 B7 C9 9A 1A C1 A5
2F AB-01 9A A9 96 8C 55 83 B6 60 52 19 73 5B DE <-32bytes of client random

00 <-sessionID Len is 0
00-0A <-cipher len is 10
00 05 00 0A 00 13 00 04 00 FF <-cipher list is 10 ciphers long

01 00 <-- Only null compression

The server then sends the ServerHello:

System.Net Information: 0 : [7588] SecureChannel#33547120 - Locating the private key for the certificate: [Version]
System.Net Information: 0 : [7588] SecureChannel#33547120 - Certificate is of type X509Certificate2 and contains the private key.
System.Net Information: 0 : [7588] AcceptSecurityContext(credential = System.Net.SafeFreeCredential_SECURITY, context = (null), inFlags = ReplayDetect, SequenceDetect, Confidentiality, AllocateMemory, InitIntegrity)
System.Net Information: 0 : [7588] AcceptSecurityContext(In-Buffer length=58, Out-Buffer length=933, returned code=ContinueNeeded).
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Socket#44866580::Send()
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Data from Socket#44866580::Send
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000000 : 16 03 00 <-- SSL3

03 A0 <-- 928 byte message

02 <-- Server Hello

00 00-4D <-- 77 bytes in message

03 00 <-- Still speaking 3.0

50 C6 30 F9 D2 2C D6 52
5E 4F 5A A9 16-C6 32 24
93 AF 50 3B 76 BE 84 90
C0 76 56 F5 BE-C0 CE 8F <-- 32bytes of server random

20 <-- 32byte session ID

0B 12 00 00 04 1C 51 30
E6 C7 DB E0-89 23 F6 AD
88 13 A8 4D 6C 96 CB 3B
8D C1 15 52-1B AE 42 E6
00 05 00 00 05 FF 01 00 <-- Session ID

01 00 <-- cipher suite (??)

0B <-- Beginning of Certificate message
00-03 47 <-- Message is 839 long

00 03 44 <-- Chain is 836 long

00 03 41 <-- First certificate is 833 long

System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000060 : 30 82 03 3D 30 82 02 A6-A0 03 02 01 02 02 08 1F : 0..=0...........
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000070 : 9C 3A 3F ED A4 CF 08 30-0D 06 09 2A 86 48 86 F7 : .:?....0...*.H..
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000080 : 0D 01 01 05 05 00 30 6A-31 2B 30 29 06 03 55 04 : ......0j1+0)..U.
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000090 : 0B 0C 22 43 72 65 61 74-65 64 20 62 79 20 68 74 : .."Created by ht
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000000A0 : 74 70 3A 2F 2F 77 77 77-2E 66 69 64 64 6C 65 72 : tp://
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000000B0 : 32 2E 63 6F 6D 31 18 30-16 06 03 55 04 0A 0C 0F : 2.com1.0...U....
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000000C0 : 44 4F 5F 4E 4F 54 5F 54-52 55 53 54 5F 42 43 31 : DO_NOT_TRUST_BC1
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000000D0 : 21 30 1F 06 03 55 04 03-0C 18 44 4F 5F 4E 4F 54 : !0...U....DO_NOT
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000000E0 : 5F 54 52 55 53 54 5F 46-69 64 64 6C 65 72 52 6F : _TRUST_FiddlerRo
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000000F0 : 6F 74 30 1E 17 0D 31 32-31 32 30 33 30 30 30 30 : ot0...1212030000
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000100 : 30 30 5A 17 0D 32 32 31-32 31 30 30 30 30 30 30 : 00Z..22121000000
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000110 : 30 5A 30 72 31 2B 30 29-06 03 55 04 0B 0C 22 43 : 0Z0r1+0)..U..."C
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000120 : 72 65 61 74 65 64 20 62-79 20 68 74 74 70 3A 2F : reated by http:/
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000130 : 2F 77 77 77 2E 66 69 64-64 6C 65 72 32 2E 63 6F : /
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000140 : 6D 31 18 30 16 06 03 55-04 0A 0C 0F 44 4F 5F 4E : m1.0...U....DO_N
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000150 : 4F 54 5F 54 52 55 53 54-5F 42 43 31 29 30 27 06 : OT_TRUST_BC1)0'.
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000160 : 03 55 04 03 0C 20 73 63-72 61 62 62 6C 65 66 62 : .U... scrabblefb
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000170 : 2D 6C 69 76 65 32 2E 73-6E 2E 65 61 6D 6F 62 69 :
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000180 : 6C 65 2E 63 6F 6D 30 81-9F 30 0D 06 09 2A 86 48 : le.com0..0...*.H
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000190 : 86 F7 0D 01 01 01 05 00-03 81 8D 00 30 81 89 02 : ............0...
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000001A0 : 81 81 00 88 05 04 D9 20-4D 42 5A 8E DE 2F 28 52 : ....... MBZ../(R
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000001B0 : 1C A4 46 D6 DA 5F 9C 7A-97 FB AC BD 8C 75 10 D2 : ..F.._.z.....u..
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000001C0 : DA 61 3B 19 9B 44 87 2A-CF 5B BB 96 57 DE DF 0D : .a;..D.*.[..W...
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000001D0 : 18 D3 47 94 53 60 E9 64-7A DA 74 AF A8 77 0D 95 : ..G.S`.dz.t..w..
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000001E0 : 20 54 7D 5C EB 1A 34 EC-FF 98 74 84 78 D4 61 88 : T}\..4...t.x.a.
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000001F0 : 6E F4 34 33 98 60 1A A0-5F BF 32 14 BB A9 7C 98 : n.43.`.._.2...|.
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000200 : 78 D1 7D 16 B0 B6 7C 92-06 70 D7 F3 38 25 99 31 : x.}...|..p..8%.1
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000210 : AE 03 30 4F 8B 67 BC 90-59 17 C8 33 42 85 11 3F : ..0O.g..Y..3B..?
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000220 : 44 91 D9 02 03 01 00 01-A3 81 E3 30 81 E0 30 81 : D..........0..0.
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000230 : A3 06 03 55 1D 23 04 81-9B 30 81 98 80 14 46 67 : ...U.#...0....Fg
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000240 : 9D 2C 96 3E 2C 09 83 AC-B7 D9 8F 4B 11 84 20 59 : .,.>,......K.. Y
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000250 : 9A 41 A1 6E A4 6C 30 6A-31 2B 30 29 06 03 55 04 : .A.n.l0j1+0)..U.
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000260 : 0B 0C 22 43 72 65 61 74-65 64 20 62 79 20 68 74 : .."Created by ht
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000270 : 74 70 3A 2F 2F 77 77 77-2E 66 69 64 64 6C 65 72 : tp://
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000280 : 32 2E 63 6F 6D 31 18 30-16 06 03 55 04 0A 0C 0F : 2.com1.0...U....
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000290 : 44 4F 5F 4E 4F 54 5F 54-52 55 53 54 5F 42 43 31 : DO_NOT_TRUST_BC1
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000002A0 : 21 30 1F 06 03 55 04 03-0C 18 44 4F 5F 4E 4F 54 : !0...U....DO_NOT
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000002B0 : 5F 54 52 55 53 54 5F 46-69 64 64 6C 65 72 52 6F : _TRUST_FiddlerRo
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000002C0 : 6F 74 82 10 00 F7 1A 88-82 F6 66 ED C5 48 D8 71 : ot........f..H.q
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000002D0 : 83 5F 03 43 30 09 06 03-55 1D 13 04 02 30 00 30 : ._.C0...U....0.0
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000002E0 : 13 06 03 55 1D 25 04 0C-30 0A 06 08 2B 06 01 05 : ...U.%..0...+...
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000002F0 : 05 07 03 01 30 18 06 03-55 1D 20 04 11 30 0F 30 : ....0...U. ..0.0
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000300 : 0D 06 0B 60 86 48 01 86-F8 45 01 07 17 06 30 0D : ...`.H...E....0.
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000310 : 06 09 2A 86 48 86 F7 0D-01 01 05 05 00 03 81 81 : ..*.H...........
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000320 : 00 2B 2E 87 67 FC C5 31-2F 3C D6 ED 78 02 76 38 : .+..g..1/<..x.v8
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000330 : DD 3D EC 3A D0 98 67 2D-B5 90 26 EE 5C 50 80 7E : .=.:..g-..&.\P.~
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000340 : A0 A6 4A 05 74 F4 4C 97-55 52 87 A8 FA 0E 2D E5 : ..J.t.L.UR....-.
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000350 : 5F 34 DC 47 0C 08 5F 07-B6 ED D0 DB 21 02 BE E1 : _4.G.._.....!...
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000360 : B0 78 64 9D B5 77 09 49-A1 F8 D0 EC 7A 98 35 0C : .xd..w.I....z.5.
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000370 : 24 EC F9 C6 A8 AD 90 19-C7 59 B3 A8 EA 7D 7E 0E : $........Y...}~.
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000380 : CE 9F C8 D2 11 EA B1 71-B8 7D 71 A6 47 7D 84 14 : .......q.}q.G}..
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000390 : 37 5E 9F 4F FA 69 09 23-17 C3 12 B4 34 0C E1 97 : 7^.O.i.#....4...
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 000003A0 : FC 0E

<-- End of certificate

00 00 00 : ..... <-- Unknown 3 bytes on the end...

System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Exiting Socket#44866580::Send() -> 933#933
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Socket#44866580::Receive()


System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Data from Socket#44866580::Receive
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000000 : 16 03 00 00 84 : ..... <-- SSL3, 132 bytes to come.
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000005 : 10 <-- Client key exchange

00 00 80 <-- 128 bytes to come in the key exchange

76 2F 18 86-57 B1 45 2B FB 44 6F 8D 63 A0 A7 46
41 CD 0E AD-E1 16 BC 2E 5E 31 A4 30 52 15 56 59
70 3A 07 AA-64 18 9A CC 70 77 6D 7A CC FD 57 EE
1F 04 E0 FB-B7 FF 2B 5F 2D 02 54 3A 07 04 38 AB
8B E2 8D 84-8F 45 87 30 33 4C 30 7A 16 13 AD AB
13 3D 35 20-44 91 48 46 13 D6 0C 0B 63 AD 8A 98
E0 B2 C6 19-9B 66 4F 86 55 97 FB 0C C0 B2 26 23
AD 7C CD 6B-C5 AF 5F 5B 7B F7 12 2C 48 DB D4 D7 <-- Okay, so there's the premaster secret

We then call AcceptSecurity context...

System.Net Information: 0 : [7588] AcceptSecurityContext(credential = System.Net.SafeFreeCredential_SECURITY, context = 1f273260:2cceedbe40, inFlags = ReplayDetect, SequenceDetect, Confidentiality, AllocateMemory, InitIntegrity)
System.Net Information: 0 : [7588] AcceptSecurityContext(In-Buffer length=137, Out-Buffer length=0, returned code=ContinueNeeded).

Now the Client is meant to send a FINISHED message, the body of which is encrypted.

System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Socket#44866580::Receive()
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Data from Socket#44866580::Receive
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000000 : 14 03 00 00 01 : .....
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Exiting Socket#44866580::Receive() -> 5#5
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Socket#44866580::Receive()
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Data from Socket#44866580::Receive
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000005 : 01 : .
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Exiting Socket#44866580::Receive() -> 1#1
System.Net Information: 0 : [7588] AcceptSecurityContext(credential = System.Net.SafeFreeCredential_SECURITY, context = 1f273260:2cceedbe40, inFlags = ReplayDetect, SequenceDetect, Confidentiality, AllocateMemory, InitIntegrity)
System.Net Information: 0 : [7588] AcceptSecurityContext(In-Buffer length=6, Out-Buffer length=0, returned code=ContinueNeeded).
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Socket#44866580::Receive()
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Data from Socket#44866580::Receive
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000000 : 16 03 00 00 3C : ....<
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Exiting Socket#44866580::Receive() -> 5#5
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Socket#44866580::Receive()
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Data from Socket#44866580::Receive
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000005 : 1B 12 CD EA 86 FF 4D 15-71 BF 08 67 FE C6 82 43 : ......M.q..g...C
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000015 : 97 90 B9 E6 3B 09 E6 53-52 85 D3 F0 D5 B2 B5 96 : ....;..SR.......
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000025 : A0 0C 8A 24 C4 24 83 BD-7D CA 21 05 EA 53 68 DC : ...$.$..}.!..Sh.
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] 00000035 : 1D E5 89 E3 BC AD 87 D2-E3 2F 6F B8 : ........./o.
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Exiting Socket#44866580::Receive() -> 60#60
System.Net Information: 0 : [7588] AcceptSecurityContext(credential = System.Net.SafeFreeCredential_SECURITY, context = 1f273260:2cceedbe40, inFlags = ReplayDetect, SequenceDetect, Confidentiality, AllocateMemory, InitIntegrity)
System.Net Information: 0 : [7588] AcceptSecurityContext(In-Buffer length=65, Out-Buffer length=0, returned code=-2146893008).
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Socket#44866580::Shutdown(Both#2)
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Exiting Socket#44866580::Shutdown()
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Socket#44866580::Close()
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Socket#44866580::Dispose()
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Exiting Socket#44866580::Close()
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Socket#38181770::Shutdown(Both#2)
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Exiting Socket#38181770::Shutdown()
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Socket#38181770::Close()
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Socket#38181770::Dispose()
System.Net.Sockets Verbose: 0 : [7588] Exiting Socket#38181770::Close()

Eric Note: The "Session ID" in the screenshot above actually ends one line before. It's 32 bytes, not 40.

+ Comment
More from the broken SslStream 12/10/2012 1:37:00 PM

As mentioned, I've been fighting with this stream for the last week or so.


12:31:41:4782 !SecureClientPipeDirect failed: System.Security.Authentication.AuthenticationException: A call to SSPI failed, see inner exception. ---> System.ComponentModel.Win32Exception: The specified data could not be decrypted
--- End of inner exception stack trace ---
at System.Net.Security.SslState.StartSendAuthResetSignal(ProtocolToken message, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest, Exception exception)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.ProcessReceivedBlob(Byte[] buffer, Int32 count, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.StartReceiveBlob(Byte[] buffer, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.ProcessReceivedBlob(Byte[] buffer, Int32 count, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.StartReceiveBlob(Byte[] buffer, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.ProcessReceivedBlob(Byte[] buffer, Int32 count, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.StartReceiveBlob(Byte[] buffer, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.ProcessReceivedBlob(Byte[] buffer, Int32 count, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.StartReceiveBlob(Byte[] buffer, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.ForceAuthentication(Boolean receiveFirst, Byte[] buffer, AsyncProtocolRequest asyncRequest)
at System.Net.Security.SslState.ProcessAuthentication(LazyAsyncResult lazyResult)
at Fiddler.ClientPipe.SecureClientPipeDirect(X509Certificate2 certServer) in C:\src\Fiddler2\Common\Core\PipeClient.cs:line 16

Eric @ Conclusion: This is what happens if the Private Key in the RSACryptoServiceProvider changes on disk. When the LSASS.EXE process tries to complete the HTTPS handshake (this is always out-of-process to your application), it finds that the private key is unable to decrypt the data sent by the client, which was encrypted using the original private key. Lesson learned: While it's called a KeyContainer, it can only hold ONE exchange key at a time. If you want multiple keys (e.g. for multiple certificates) you need multiple containers.

+ Comment
.NET SSLStream oddity? 12/6/2012 6:04:00 PM

Anyone have any idea why this call:

_httpsStream.AuthenticateAsServer(cert, _bWantClientCert, CONFIG.oAcceptedClientHTTPSProtocols, false);


Might occasionally fail thusly:

    A call to SSPI failed, see inner exception. < The specified data could not be decrypted

The same call with the same certificate succeeded earlier during the process' lifetime; after it gets in the "bad" state, it will continue to occur until I use a new certificate. If I take the cert object's private key, I can successfully .Encrypt and .Decrypt data with it.

The clients in this case are all major browsers, so this is definitely isn't the client's fault.

If I enable Crypto-NCrypt logging, I see the following in the event log:

Cryptographic Operation failed.
Cryptographic Parameters:
OperationType: DECRYPT
Provider Name: Microsoft Enhanced RSA and AES Cryptographic Provider
Key Name: FiddlerBCKeys
Key Type:
Algorithm Name:
Failure Information:
    Return Code: 0xC000000D

Anyone have any tips for debugging this?

Alexey What you see in CAPI2 log? Event Viewer\Applications And Services Logs\Microsoft\Windows\CAPI2\Operational?
Eric @ No errors, although a bunch of operations on .CER files that were apparently generated within(C:\Users\lawrence\AppData\LocalLow\Microsoft\X509Objects) matching the self-generated certificates. Kinda odd to see them there, since those certs weren't generated via CAPI (used BouncyCastle).
Eric Oh, actually, those .CER Files correspond to those received from the upstream server, so they're not related to either the certs or private keys my code is generating...

+ Comment
How did I miss this?? 11/14/2012 4:21:00 PM
Win+X makes Win8 somewhat less aggravating.
The Magic of Software 11/12/2012 7:43:00 AM

The magic of software is that you can do stuff like this:

  catch (UglyTrimException)
    Door.Handle.Color = Door.Hinge.Color = Door.Stopper.Color = Colors.SatinNickel;

In real life, running the above code takes several hours and requires a $600 trip to Home Depot.

Please ignore the spam... 11/5/2012 11:58:00 AM
There's a lot of garbage comments below from someone who pointed a Web Vulnerability scanner at my server. Please disregard.
Dave I would have expected more HTML encoding attempts - or does me not seeing those mean they worked? =)
Eric I think they're more interested in getting root than a boring XSS. I fixed the last XSS bug a few months back.

+ Comment
Gone Country... 10/25/2012 9:39:00 AM

Jane and I went to a Country bar last night.


1> Country bars are awesome.

2> Jane can pick up any dance in like, 2 minutes.

3> Jane dancing to country is awesome.

4> I can't dance, regardless of genre.

Anson Did you wear a cowboy hat?
Eric Alas, no. Maybe someday.
W Did you play the fiddle?
Eric Current plan is to let one of the kids learn to play and then call it good. I've never been musical at all.
????  SomeCustomInjectedHeader:injected_by_wvs
???? ../../../../../../../../../../windows/win.ini
???? &dir
???? undefined
???? undefined
???? http://some-inexistent-website.acu/some_inexistent_file_with_long_name
???? )
???? c:/windows/win.ini
???? |dir
???? ZGLihHh3
???? 1some_inexistent_file_with_long_name
???? print(md5(acunetix_wvs_security_test));die();/*
???? !(()&&!|*|*|
???? ../../../../../../../../../../windows/win.ini
???? 268435455
???? undefined' and sleep(4)='
???? ${@print(md5(acunetix_wvs_security_test))}
???? ^(#$!@#$)(()))******
???? À®À®À¯À®À®À¯À®À®À¯À®À®À¯À®À®À¯À®À®À¯À®À®À¯À®À®À¯windowsÀ¯win.ini
???? 1e309
???? undefined" and sleep(4)="
???? ${@print(md5(acunetix_wvs_security_test))}\
???? ..\..\..\..\..\..\..\..\windows\win.ini
???? undefined
???? '"'");|]*{%0d%0a<%00>
???? undefined' or (sleep(4)+1) limit 1 --
SomeCustomInjectedHeader:injected_by_ undefined
???? /.\\./.\\./.\\./.\\./.\\./.\\./windows/win.ini
???? undefined
???? acunetix_wvs_invalid_filename
???? undefined" or (sleep(4)+1) limit 1 --
???? ../..//../..//../..//../..//../..//../..//../..//../..//windows/win.ini
???? 1'
???? add.asp
???? undefined'=sleep(4)='
???? ../.../.././../.../.././../.../.././../.../.././../.../.././../.../.././windows/win.ini
???? À
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+ Comment
I don't always agree with him... 10/17/2012 10:08:00 AM
...but Paul Graham is an excellent essayist.
In Austin... 10/12/2012 10:20:00 AM
Finally got hot water. The lone holdout is cable Internet/TV. With any luck, we'll be ready to rock and roll on Monday!
I <3 the internet in general, and XKCD in particular 9/26/2012 1:41:00 PM
Who needs to read thrillers? :-) 9/25/2012 1:34:00 PM
Behold, you are reading a letter from your President Barack Obama. Finally, I have received lists of the names of people that are involved in money laundry and terrorism which your name is among the names that was submitted to me and I have ordered to release arrest warrant to the IPA to quickly carry out their duty and make sure that they get you arres ted and summon you to the court immediately which they will be on their duty on Thursday morning as assigned since you are trying to play ball with me.

You have failed to comply with them after all the warning and instructions given to you, but since you are also among the terrorist we are facing in the country, I will personal make sure that I wipe away the crime in the state and I promise you that you will definitely pay with your life because I am here to protect the interest of my people and not to put them in shame, you suppose to support this government and not to spoil it.

Since it has been confirmed by Nigerian government that this fund actually belongs to you and here the law demands that it cannot be release to you unless you provide the certificate which is AWARD OWNERSHIP CERTIFICATE that is what the IPA has been demanding for a very long time now. For your own good, I am giving you last chance t oday to tell me as the President why you have failed to provide the certificate and why do you fail the IPA that is working under my instruction which you know that once you disobey them you have disobeyed me as well.

Do note that if you failed to get back to this office within 24hours, you will be apprehended and charge to court immediately for involving in money laundry and terrorism and there you will see my face. You will only be free if you get back to my office by promising that you will provide the certificate within 48hours otherwise you will be in soup, BE WARNED!. I will advise you further on what to do once they hear from you in other to resolve this matter amicably. Contact

Kindly respond to this message.

From the desk of the President.

Barack Obama.
Dave The first line makes me lol. First 'behold' and second 'your'.
???? My name too is-Eric Lawrence and you are a disgrace to the name
Eric No, ????, your name is ????.

+ Comment
Hehe... 9/2/2012 10:47:00 AM

+ Comment
Great insights on software & updates 7/16/2012 3:09:00 PM

Lots of great quotes as well.

Captain Obvious 7/7/2012 9:25:00 PM
USB3.0 is fast! SSD-to-SSD copies over USB3.0 at 4x the rate of USB2.
The Internet 6/28/2012 5:27:00 AM

How could I not have known about this valuable service?

ua Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10_6_3; en-us; Silk/ AppleWebKit/533.16 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0 Safari/533.16 Silk-Accelerated=true

+ Comment
Fiddler book is done... 6/13/2012 5:30:00 AM

Yay. 81,107 words made up of 541909 characters spread over 329 pages. Total authoring & editing time, just over 7000 minutes.



Ouch 6/9/2012 4:12:00 PM
Copyediting is brutal. 50 pages into the Fiddler book, and it's already taken twice as long as I thought the entire book would take.
#proud 5/11/2012 5:20:00 AM
My brother Jim released a mod for #SkyRim:
Eric Trailer:

+ Comment
One word movie reviews 5/3/2012 5:14:00 AM
The Five Year Engagement: meh.
IMDB The Skulls: lulz.

+ Comment
Music 4/28/2012 10:36:00 AM
Relative to most Americans, I spend no time at all in my car. Nevertheless, this is still the best purchase I've made in years.

Fiddler Book... 4/26/2012 4:44:00 PM
... getting close to complete. Table of Contents at
Things I put up with.... 4/5/2012 4:42:00 AM
From: Rae J.
Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2012 3:09 AM
Subject: Fiddler Did Not Work for Me and Made Internet Browsing Worse!

I installed Fiddler 2.0 software yesterday at the recommendation of Microsoft Zune personnel and it made my situation worse. I am extremely disappointed! Not only can I not log on to my Zune profile, my other Internet browsing activities are damaged by my having to check certificates for each and every site! This was completely not worth it. I cannot even uninstall this lousy software! If I cannot find a way to uninstall Fiddler 2.0, I'm taking my laptop with me to work ([Elided]) and having someone from IT figure it out and then I will post a caveat on my social media outlets publishing the instructions I received from Microsoft Zune personnel, posting your http:// address and detailing the nature of my resulting problems to warn others away from ever trying Fiddler 2.0 and to speak out against it should they have also come across the same disappointing experiences.

[Full name Elided]
[Title Elided]
[Address Elided]
[Email Elided]
[Phone number Elided]

Dear Rachel,

I’m sorry to hear that you’re frustrated. No one likes to be frustrated.

Having said that, I think you should talk to your Mom or Dad about proper behavior when you’re frustrated and how to get help from people you don’t know to use tools that you don’t understand. Perhaps they can help you understand how to remain polite while frustrated. Alternatively, they might suggest that if you’re going to threaten someone you don’t actually know, you probably ought not do so in an email that contains both your private email address and your phone number. That’s just not a good idea.

Fiddler uninstalls like nearly every other piece of software on Windows—through the Add/Remove Programs control panel. Simply Select Fiddler and select Uninstall.


I don’t know what you mean about “having to check certificates for each and every site” but Fiddler literally does nothing when it’s not running. If you don’t want Fiddler to capture your traffic, simply close it. Just click the Red “X” button:


I hope you have a nice day, Rachel.


Hehe... 2/26/2012 7:35:00 AM

It's amazing how much effort goes into some things.

Quite funny though.

AJAX on Hotmail 2/7/2012 6:02:00 AM

[Window Title]
Windows Internet Explorer

[Main Instruction]
Are you sure you want to leave this page?

Message from webpage:

Can you wait a little longer? If you leave before your connection is restored, the last action you took might not happen.

[Leave this page] [Stay on this page]

Essential Raymond Chen 2/2/2012 4:28:00 AM

Beyond the "Don't make a hotkey CTRL+ALT+something" an important lesson here is also "Don't check (e.Control && e.KeyCode==something)" because that will also fire when an international user hits AltGr+Something.

Heh... 2/1/2012 11:30:00 AM
Apparently, I've been promoted to "legend". :-P

Eric Coworkers having a bit of fun.
Dave I know THE Eric Lawrence! =)

+ Comment
More mail from the FBI 12/21/2011 5:56:00 AM
"'Fhony'- BaloneyInstitute"?

FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW Washington, D.C. 20535-0001


This is to officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we have thoroughly completed an investigation with the help of our Intelligence Monitoring Network System that you legally won the sum of $800,000.00 USD. from a Lottery Company outside the United States of America. During our investigation we discovered that your e-mail won the money from an Online Balloting System and we have authorized this winning to be paid to you via a Certified Cashier's Check.

Normally, it will take up to 10 business days for an International Check to be cashed by your local banks. We have successfully notified this company on your behalf that funds are to be drawn from a registered bank within the United States of America so as to enable you cash the check instantly without any delay, henceforth the stated amount of $800,000.00 USD. has been deposited with Bank Of America.

We have completed this investigation and you are hereby approved to receive the winning prize as we have verified the entire transaction to be Safe and 100% risk free, due to the fact that the funds have been deposited at Bank Of America you will be required to settle the following bills directly to the Lottery Agent in-charge of this transaction whom is located in Washington DC, U.S.A. According to our discoveries, you were required to pay for the following -

  • Deposit Fee's (Fee's paid by the company for the deposit into an American Bank which is - Bank of America)
  • Cashier's Check Conversion Fee (Fee for converting the Wire Transfer payment into a Certified Cashier's Check)

The total amount for everything is $420.00 (Four Hundred and Twenty USD.) We have tried our possible best to indicate that this $420.00 should be deducted from your winning prize but we found out that the funds have already been deposited at Bank Of America and cannot be accessed by anyone except the legal owner (you), the winner; therefore you will be required to pay the required fee's to the Agent in-charge of this transaction via Western Union Money Transfer Or Money Gram.

In order to proceed with this transaction, you will be required to contact the agent in-charge (JAMES FREEMAN) via e-mail. Kindly look below to find appropriate contact information:


You will be required to e-mail him with the following information:


You will also be required to request Western Union details on how to send the required $420.00 in order to immediately ship your prize of $800,000.00 USD via Certified Cashier's Check drawn from Bank of America, and also include the following Fund Reference Identification : EA2A48-910.

This letter will serve as proof that the Federal Bureau Of Investigation is authorizing you to pay the required $420.00 ONLY to AGENT JAMES FREEMAN via information in which he shall send to you, if you do not receive your winning prize of $800,000.00 we shall be held responsible for the loss and this shall invite a penalty of $3,000 which will be made PAYABLE ONLY to you (The Winner).

Please find below an authorized signature which has been signed by the FBI Public Affairs Director - Robert Mueller

Test 123
test2 12345

+ Comment
I cannot express how happy this makes me. 12/15/2011 10:34:00 AM

The internet is a wonderful thing.

Rachel Hilarious!
Dave =) status cats

+ Comment
2 Cars, 1 Garage 11/20/2011 1:41:00 PM
Most people who know of my tendency toward clutter would not have ever expected to see this day come...


Come on... 11/20/2011 1:39:00 PM
Outsource your scam creation to somewhere that speaks English...

-----Original Message-----
From: Account/Alert
Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 12:59 AM Subject: Re: Personal Information?
Release order of your income
Account owner, The higher authorities that is in charge of international
transaction has this morning declared you promo to receive all your
transaction from Africa,This Notice is brought to you from FBI World
Fund Discovery management, this Bureau was set up by the World Bank and
IMF to discover an outstanding payment being owned to Individuals all
over the world through unclaimed Lotto inheritance Email.
The arrangement was made this morning and the Federal High Court Of
Justice has signed your Western Union to reduce activation Bill to $87
Promo Click:>> here for your $6500
installment transfer withing 2 hours activation,
Yours In Success,
World Bank Promo
Federal announcement office


Truth in spamming 11/14/2011 12:09:00 PM
My latest scam mail began:

    Dear Confidant/Scam Victim,

Oops. 11/4/2011 3:35:00 AM
Haven't posted anything here in two weeks. It's been a busy time!
Lazy phish... 10/6/2011 4:47:00 AM
Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2011 10:38 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Notification On Your Email Account
Dear Internet Users,
There is a current upgrade going on as the internet has so many scams going on this days and we are trying to wipe out all fraudulent activities.You may be a victim of fraud.
Please click this link below and enter the required information so you email account will be free from internet activities as Microsoft and AOL with all internet bodies are putting head together to wipe away this activities caused by fraudster.
We are sorry for the trouble and wish to applogised to those whom have loss alot from it.
Mrs. Lillian Burton
Fraudulent Monitor Dept
Dave @ Microsoft, AOL and Interpol have determined that the Internet upgrade will consist of replacing the Internet's existing plastic tubes with new fraud resistant copper tubing. Do not connect your PC to the Internet during the upgrade since the tube replacement will result in pressure changes that could tear your PC inside out.
???? @ Hey, thanks a lot to provide this information; I think being attentive and aware in this regard is highly important to avoid any risk; thanks for this warning. <a href="">restore usb </a>
barcode software This article is really the one that I needed. I really learned a lot by reading the whole content. Thanks for this. free barcode

+ Comment
Phish are often the funniest things I see all day... 10/5/2011 4:35:00 AM

Dear Member,
We have faced some problems with your account ..
Please update the account within 24 hours ..
If you do not update the account will be Lemeted

To Update your account, just confirm your informations.(It only takes a minute.)

Please don't reply to this email. It'll just confuse the computer that sent it and you won't get a response.

New Laptop... 9/10/2011 1:23:00 PM
After just under three years, my Lenovo X200 (Core2 P8600, 2.4ghz, 2 threads, 4gb DDR2, 12.1" @ 1280x800) is starting to feel a bit long in the tooth. It's still pretty fast thanks to the Intel Series 510 SSD, but it lacks USB3.0 (Jane's feature), SATA-III (so the SSD isn't performing at its peak), and it has an annoyingly low resolution. So, I've upgraded to a new Lenovo T420S with a Core i7 (2620M 2.7ghz+Turbo, 4 threads, 4gb DDR3, 14" @ 1600x900). The increased heft isn't the greatest, but I think it's a good tradeoff for the additional pixels.

I got a battery to replace the DVD drive, and added in a 80gig Intel 310 mSATA and 4 more gigs of RAM. The capacity for the physical size is pretty amazing:


I'm self-hosting daily Windows 8 builds on the SSD, but wanted a “safe” drive for booting to Windows 7 when I need to get some development done. I got another Intel 510 Series since it was working so well in my old X200. Alas, when I went to pull out the puny 320gig hard disk, I found that the SSD was too tall! It's a 9.5mm enclosure, and the T420s only has a 7mm tall drive bay. I naturally realized that I could take the SSD's cover off, so it's just a bare 2mm thick circuit board, but that seems a bit risky-- rattling about in the bay, it's bound to short out or detach from the SATA connection. Hrm.

One of my reports pointed out that making this work was a "good project" and shamed me into thinking about how I might secure the board. Seven bucks at Home Depot later, I was ready to embark on the task. I'll admit, it's not the usual equipment you need to install a SSD :-) ...


So, I was all set to do some crazy mounting to get the drive secure when I realized that I probably should have spent some more time thinking about the problem first...

It turns out that if you take just half of the SSD's case off, and screw the HDD's sliding cage over the other half, the SSD neatly slides into the bay. Fortunately, the cage is shielded electrically so I'm pretty sure there won't be a short, and since the dimensions match the old HDD, it's not going to rattle loose. I'm mildly worried about the thermal implications of losing the 3mm of airgap clearance, but, well, we'll see. 

When I was done, I had the bare 320gig 7mm HDD (I'll throw that in an external enclosure) and half of the SSD case left over:


Now, off to install all of the software I need to make using Windows comfortable...

Wow. 9/9/2011 8:34:00 AM

Late in the morning of the Tuesday that changed everything, Lt. Heather "Lucky" Penney was on a runway at Andrews Air Force Base and ready to fly. She had her hand on the throttle of an F-16 and she had her orders: Bring down United Airlines Flight 93. The day’s fourth hijacked airliner seemed to be hurtling toward Washington. Penney, one of the first two combat pilots in the air that morning, was told to stop it.

The one thing she didn’t have as she roared into the crystalline sky was live ammunition. Or missiles. Or anything at all to throw at a hostile aircraft. Except her own plane. So that was the plan.

XKCD rocks... 9/2/2011 12:57:00 PM
 I was wondering what the proper cynic's response to these decals was. Now I know:
You know you're (happily) married to a geek... 8/28/2011 12:24:00 PM
...when you watch an absurd action movie involving car chases, explosions, and violent melees, and her only remark about implausibility concerns the device used to exfiltrate the contents of a laptop's hard drive.

Being married to the USB PM rocks.  :-)

People are idiots 8/24/2011 7:47:00 AM
Hello sir,
Nice to meet you sir, i got your Email from your Fiddle in a not shell sir i need you help sir on how to make use of your software and how to hack host smtp rdp admin login database and others please With the name of God you are serving sir please give me a response sir Thank very much

Best regard
Dave I'm confused. Did they find a reference to Fiddler on a hacking howto but couldn't figure out how to use it?
Eric I assume that's what happened.

+ Comment
Dear ATI... 8/21/2011 1:30:00 PM
Forcing me to download the "Catalyst Control Center" in order to turn off your idiotically on-by-default scaling when using a ATI Radeon HD with a Dell ST2220t touch monitor is simply evil. How about you turn the "scale the screen down so it doesn't fill up the display area and instead leaves a black band around it" feature off-by-default?

Who designs these customer experiences? Are major tech companies simply infiltrated by their competitors, agents who sabotage decent products with moronic "features"?

Internet Trivia 8/20/2011 6:02:00 AM
If not for the Web, I'd've never bothered to learn why uniform flags are "backwards", or where the expression "hue and cry" came from. Thanks, Sir Tim!
Dear 8/13/2011 6:04:00 AM
I actually donate to FactCheck, but I’m sad to see the sloppiness here:
He said payroll taxes take 15.3 percent "out of your earnings," but only the self-employed pay that rate. All other workers pay half of that, with the other half being paid for by the employer.
Anyone with even a basic understanding of economics understands that it doesn’t matter whether a tax line is printed on your paystub or not, it’s still coming out of your pay.
Say the government cleverly decided: “Hey, Americans don’t like paying taxes. Let’s just institute a payroll tax on the employer for exactly the same amount as currently paid by the employee, and stop taking any money from the employee directly.”
In that event what do you think would happen to the employee’s take-home pay? If you think it would go up, you should probably find a new line of work.
It’s not an accident that the Social Security tax-rate on the self-employed is the full amount.
How you know you're a tech geek and not a car geek... 8/6/2011 1:54:00 PM
Parked at Redmond Town Center, I was so focused on the Nissan Leaf in the foreground I didn't even see the Ferrari F430 in the background...


Mac Attack 8/6/2011 10:28:00 AM
So, I bought a Mac. It's been quite a while since I've bought a gadget, and there's now a large enough ecosystem of folks doing interesting stuff on the Apple platforms that I figured it was as good an investment as any. I got the base Mac Mini which came with an Core i5, a comical 2gb of RAM, and a 500mb 5400 RPM disk. Apple charges an absurd rate for upgrades ($100 for 2 more gb of ram?!?), so I figured I'd do it myself. I swapped out the 2 SODIMMs with 2 new ones 1333mhz, 4gb each, for about $50 from NewEgg, easy stuff. Next, I had promised myself that I'd never use a spinning hard disk again, and 5400rpm is offensively slow. So, I bought the 120gb Intel 510 SSD and swapped it in. This was more interesting, as it required two Torx drivers (T6, T8) and some very delicate disassembly of the guts of the thing.

I was particularly interested in doing this because I wanted to see how well Apple's "Network boot of Lion" feature works. It turns out that it works fine, but the user-experience is pretty bad-- so bad that I assume they must have done this on purpose to scare off the newbies and force them to bring their Mac back to the store for help. After installing my new SSD and powering the Mac back on, I got the infamous grey screen with a folder icon and a blinking question mark, no text in sight. After searching a bit, I learned that you have to hold Option/ALT while restarting to get to a useful screen. Okay. So I do that. Now I get a dropdown box which my mouse can just barely reach (it only moves vertically for some reason now, wtf?). In the dropdown, I get a list of WiFi access points. Err... okay, my machine is plugged in via CAT6 ethernet cable, but okay, I pick my WiFi network. Only now do I see some text "Network recovery" or something. Cool. I pick that. After a 10 minute download or so, I come to a screen with four options. "Restore from Timemachine" is first. "Install MacOS X" was the second. I click that. After some more downloads and such, Mac shows a screen: "Select hard drive to install Lion" with an empty box. Sigh. I assume that I must have hooked the SSD up incorrectly. But it looked right... Alas, I can't back out of the screen at this point, and I don't have time to reboot and go through the whole process again.

The next morning, I repeat the process, this time, reading ALL of the options on the screen. After "Install MacOS X" there's some other option, and Disk Utilities. I click that, and go into a disk manager, and there's my SSD. I click "Make partition." Now I've got a partition, and I can back out and go into the install. There we go, now everything works.

I'm amazed and amused that Windows XP (!!!!) has a better-designed user-experience for installing on a freshly installed disk.

But, it all works now and I've got a pretty fast Mac on which to play with XCode. Which, hilariously, is absurdly complicated compared to Visual Studio, which is NOT a simple environment. Ah, the joys of new platforms. :-)

Even Phishers Phuck Up 8/3/2011 4:53:00 AM

ANZ {{Loyal|Valued}} Customer Security: A-Z Review

{{As part of|Due to|Regarding our latest additions to}} our {{security|protection}} measures, we {{regularly|often}} {{screen|monitor}} activity on the ANZ.COM Online Banking system.
{{One or more|Multiple|Some|}} issues with your {{previous|recent|last 1-10}} transactions have {{caused|resulted in|created}} a {{lock-out|hold}} of your {{funds|account(s)}}. To {[remove|lift|appease}} this and {{allow|gain}} access to your online banking funds and personal information, {{we|ANZ}} must verify you as the {{owner|rightful owner|holder|rightful holder}} of this account.

To {{restore|regain|restore access to|regain access to}} {{your account|your information}}, please sign-in to online banking using the link below.

Please note: If {{we do|our company does|ANZ does}} not receive the {{appropriate|correct|requested}} account verification within {{48|24|36}} hours, {{then we will assume|we will be forced to believe|ANZ will acknowledge}} this bank account is fraudulent and will be {{suspended|terminated|permanently held}}. The purpose of this {{verification|request}} is to ensure that your {{bank account|banking information|account|information}} has not been fraudulently used; we live in your world and {{we are|ANZ is}} {{fervently|ardently|wholeheartedly}} committed to the {{protection|security|safety}} of our {{loyal|respected|devoted}} customers and community.

Sign-In to Online Banking -- to {{ensure|preserve}} your {{safety|security}}, please only use this link.

Security Advisor
Remember, ANZ is committed to your security and protection. To find out more, take a look at our Security and Privacy statement on the website. Australia and New Zealand Bank. "We Live In Your World."

В© Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) 2011 ABN 11 005 357 522. ANZ's colour blue is a trade mark of ANZ.
Methinks someone needs to rethink this text... 7/30/2011 12:50:00 PM
Laziness. 7/25/2011 8:29:00 AM

This message is from the Database Information Technology service messaging center, to all our e-mail account holders. All Mailhub systems will undergo regularly scheduled maintenance. Access to your mailbox via our mail portal will be unavailable for some period of time during this maintenanceperiod.


We shall be carrying out service maintenance on our database and e-mail accountcenter for better online services. We are deleting all unusede-mail accounts to create more space for new accounts.


In order to ensure you do not experience service interruptions/possible deactivation Please you must reply to this email immediately confirming your email account details below for confirmation/identification.


1. First Name & Last Name: 

2. Full Login Email Address: 

3. Username & Password:

4. Confirm your Current Password:


Failure to do this may automatically render your e-mail account deactivated from our emaildatabase/mailserver. to enable us upgrade your email account, please do reply to this mail.


Upgrade Team

I love this country! 7/25/2011 4:58:00 AM
In 2000, for example, the patent office granted a patent on making toast — patent number 6080436, "Bread Refreshing Method."

I love the Internet. 7/25/2011 4:49:00 AM
Jim A site devoted to cats in sinks? Well, that's random...

+ Comment
Scamming the scammed 7/8/2011 4:56:00 AM
Are there so many people in the middle of Nigerian scams that this actually works?

I am Ms Justina Oge. A computer scientist with central bank of Nigeria.

I am 26 years old, just started work with C.B.N. I came across your file which was marked X and your released disk painted RED, I took time to study it and found out that you have paid VIRTUALLY all fees and certificate but the fund has not been release to you.

The most annoying thing is that they cannot tell you the truth that on no account will they ever release the fund to you. Please this is like a Mafia setting in Nigeria; you may not understand it because you are not a Nigerian.

The only thing I will need to release this fund is a special HARD DISK we call it HD120 GIG. I will buy two of it, recopy your information, destroy the previous one, and punch the computer to reflect in your bank within 24 banking hours. I will clean up the tracer and destroy your file, after which I will run away from Nigeria to meet with you.

If you are interested. Do get in touch with me immediately, You should send to me your convenient tell/fax numbers for easy communications and also re confirm your banking details, so that there won't be any mistake.for phone converstion,please call me on ...


Ms Justina Oge

Jim ....
Dave The only thing I will need to deliver these funds to you is a special JET SKI and SPORT BOAT. If interested please send funds immediately.

+ Comment
US Mail 6/20/2011 8:47:00 AM

I went to the Post Office this morning to send a package.


So, I wait patiently for fifteen minutes or so, filling out one of the two types of customs form (neither of which indicates why you’d choose one over the other) and wait for the lone service person to get through the 5 people in line before me. I finally get to the counter and hand over my parcel.


Ground to Canada please,” I say.


We don’t send to Canada” she says, pushing the box back across the counter to me and looking over my shoulder for the next customer.


You can imagine the incredulous look on my face. “You don’t send mail to Canada.” I repeated.


“No.” was the terse reply.


“Since when?” I sputtered.


“Today.” she replied.


I stood there dumbly. She saw that I wasn’t going anywhere, so she offered “They on strike.”


Ah. Sigh.

Ravi Rao Yeah, see this for more information: <>

+ Comment
Dear Bing... 6/19/2011 6:46:00 AM
Dear Bing-- I'm so excited that you know when bridges are closed! That's awesome!


Dear Bing-- Your impressive knowledge is only useful when coupled with the knowledge that when bridges are closed, you shouldn't direct people to drive across them.
ritika this is just fantastic. i have had the most awful experiences with bing maps in recent times.

+ Comment
In case you're wondering... 6/17/2011 7:25:00 AM
That frantic gurgling noise you're hearing is the sound of thousands of stock options expiring deep underwater.

In other news, tomorrow is my 10 year anniversary at Microsoft.

Bluescreens 6/14/2011 11:49:00 AM
It appears that the blue screens in Windows 7 usbehci.sys on my HP Pavilion Elite HPE450t are caused by a bug in the Intel 5 Series chipset used by the motherboard. Alas, no fix until HP releases a BIOS update.

33. Intel® 5 Series Chipset and Intel® 3400 Series Chipset Not Responding to Cx Request when USB Async Advance Door Bell is Set

Eric Intel has updated this errata to claim that this problem only happens with "one proprietary GUI application." Unless by that they mean "Windows", they're lying.
Eric Note: Someone on the USB team in Windows provided me with a script you can run in the debugger to unset the bits that enable the buggy feature. Email me for details.

+ Comment
Neat. Freaky? 6/12/2011 2:26:00 PM

I lived here for three years and I don't recognize anything in the entire video. Weird.

Humble Town? 6/2/2011 5:16:00 AM
From our roadtrip last weekend...

Someone from the Oregon Tourism Board was trying to win a Truth-in-Advertising prize:


I love xkcd 5/29/2011 8:40:00 AM
Darmok and Jalad
Test test

+ Comment
Yay! 5/27/2011 5:39:00 AM
Malware written in C#... now this is much more fun. .NET Reflector, here we go!
It's Academic! 5/16/2011 8:12:00 PM

I wonder where the VHS tapes went. :-)

Eric too true: "They have learned to retain massive amounts of trivia that will last them through college before disappearing into the storage locker of things they once knew" :-D

+ Comment
USB Power 5/15/2011 12:24:00 PM
Over the years, I've become increasingly cautious around electricity. There was the time that my older brother fried me using an evil trick involving a lamp socket and a hidden lightswitch, and then the time that I almost burned down the house with a forgotten electronics project. Nevertheless, I managed to get over my reservations to pull out an existing socket, install a larger box, and install a cool new socket with two USB ports for our SmartPhones. $30 shipped, plus another buck for the bigger wall box, since my old fiberglass one was smaller than the current standard.

Well, that's a relief... 5/11/2011 2:00:00 PM
From today's spam:

     please open the attached letter is not A virus

Apple's magical products... 5/1/2011 6:54:00 PM
Sheesh Dear Apple. Multithreading is a hot new technique that makes software suck less. You should really look into it.
mango Is sweet!

+ Comment
Compelling... 5/1/2011 2:14:00 PM
Dear customer,

The personal details of your Halifax bank
has engaged error which made your
account suspended.

<link elided>

Thank you

This makes me insane 4/27/2011 5:32:00 AM
Microsoft can be considered a contrarian play when trading earnings. In others words the company tends to see weakness when it tops the whisper, and strength when it misses the whisper in seven out of ten earnings reports.

AP Microsoft's 3Q earnings grow 31 pct; stock falls

+ Comment
Beyond being a Terp, I think there's something to this 4/26/2011 5:30:00 AM
Interesting and informative... 4/15/2011 7:03:00 AM
See where your taxes go: Not sure why they ask about social security and medicare because there's no breakdown at all for those fields. I think many would be surprised to learn that 0.7% goes to non-military international aid.
Taxes 4/3/2011 6:37:00 PM
Fidelity has somewhat simplifed this year with a new tax form.
Eric New Fidelity form 3922 makes calculating compensation income for Qualifying Dispositions somewhat simpler. You must still keep track of which lots you're selling and wrestle with Wash sale rules, however.

+ Comment
Dear Friend... 3/31/2011 5:55:00 PM
A great way to ensure that I will read exactly two words of your email is to start it "Dear Friend".
Eric Amusingly enough, today I got a non-spam message starting with "Dear Friend" from a real person who wasn't just reacting to this post.
Keylogger Interesting post, These two words are very common to see in the beginning of the email. Download keylogger

+ Comment
1M+ Fiddler installs this year 3/22/2011 1:48:00 PM
Either Indonesia is suddenly a hotbed of web development or a surprising number of folks like "help" on their online games:

Rachel I can't tell if is slanted or if I am :-)
Eric You must be running IE9! :-) I did this to make IE crash for a while, but we fixed that bug a long time ago. I need to switch it back...
Dave You really do need to switch it back =)
Eric You can now click on my face to make the page crooked.
Eric I've added an SVG Gradient to the page. Fun!

+ Comment
Coke 3/21/2011 8:33:00 AM
I wouldn't have believed this story if it hadn't happened to me.

I've got a can of Coke in my office from the 2008 Olympic Games; the label is written in Russian which I thought was sorta neat. The can was sitting atop my wall-hanging bookshelf for the last few years.

At some point over the weekend, this can sprung a leak, drizzling coke all over my books and a computer sitting underneath. The keyboard's a total loss, and I'm afraid to turn on the monitor which has a broad array of ventilation holes on top.

Here's a button, pt 2 2/28/2011 6:04:00 PM
Conditional comments report that you are using Internet Explorer 9.0.

getComponentVersion says you are running Internet Explorer 9,0,8110,16414.
Here's a button! 2/28/2011 6:03:00 PM
 you are using Internet Explorer 9.0.

getComponentVersion says you are running
Facebook and the New Age of Privacy 2/7/2011 7:14:00 PM

I'll summarize: "Problem: If we told your browser what we do with our cookies, it would block them automatically. Solution: We won't."

Problem solved.


spam 1/31/2011 9:49:00 AM
Dear Spammer-- No, your letter announcing that I have a unique opportunity to help you smuggle millions of dollars out of {Iraq,Egypt,Afghanistan,Nigeria} does not come as a huge surprise. I get dozens of these every day.

No thank you.


Very useful reference... 1/20/2011 1:57:00 PM
Which fonts ship with which products:
Cool idea... 12/30/2010 12:38:00 PM
Eric Some other goodies here:

+ Comment
Cool game for IE9 12/27/2010 10:30:00 AM
Eric Oops. Crashes Chrome when navigating away.

+ Comment
Poor Bill... 12/22/2010 6:49:00 AM


I'm writing this with tears in my eyes,sorry I did not inform you about our trip.I actually made a quick travel to SPAIN and unfortunately attacked and mugged at gun point on the way to my hotel,all cash,credit card and cell were stolen off me but luckily I still have my passport with me.


I`ve been to the embassy and the Police here but they're not helping issues at all and my return flight leaves anytime from now but am having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won't let me leave until I settle the bills.

Am freaked out at the moment and need help.





Poor Bill. He was so flustered he didn't even provide me a Western Union account number to which I could send him enormous piles of money.

Eric The day prior, it was Jack who was in the UK for a previously-unmentioned surgery and he lost his wallet. My Hotmail inbox is enormously entertaining as I get a front-row seat for all of the scams. My favorite was the assassination/extortion scam.

+ Comment
The view from my office... 11/23/2010 11:23:00 AM
andrewb whats all that white stuff on the ground? I know Ive seen it in movies ... ;)
gktpro nice view!
test test

+ Comment
Truth in advertising... 10/30/2010 12:11:00 PM
Hehe... 10/14/2010 11:00:00 AM

Last week, my lovely wife was singing along... "Take me down to the paradise city, where the girls are green and the grass is pretty..."  :-)

Yet another reason not to believe everything you see... 10/13/2010 8:12:00 AM
andrewb I saw a demo of something similar from Phillips in 2000 where they took the soccer ball out of the coverage of a soccer game in real-time. To see the ball you had to pay a fee.

+ Comment
I'm a little disturbed... 10/8/2010 6:34:00 AM
...that I have to read XKCD to learn that my college physics class was garbage.
andrewb Admittedly Im yet to see a 747 fly upside down. Therefore, my parents are santa claus.

+ Comment
Status update from HTTPBIS 10/3/2010 7:22:00 AM
Lots of interesting stuff in here:
Philip writes very well... 9/28/2010 5:51:00 AM
Marcus Lewis Thanks for linking to this! Great read.

+ Comment
Does ~anyone~ fall for this? 9/24/2010 7:32:00 AM


 Your Webmail Quota Has Exceeded The Set Quota/Limit Which Is 20GB.Your Are Currently Running On 23GB due to hidden files and folder on your Mailbox.

Please you are to follow the Below information to Validate Your Mailbox And Increase Your Quota.


First Name:

Last Name:



Date of Birth:


Failure to follow this process to Validate Your Quota may result in loss Of important information in your Mailbox/Or Cause Limited

  Access To It.



Please provide all these information completely and correctly otherwise due to security reasons we may have to close your account temporarily.


We have been sending this notice to all our email account owners and this is the last notice/verification exercise.



HelpDesk Support.

Note to self... 9/16/2010 8:19:00 AM
Refresh my education:
Fail 9/8/2010 7:26:00 PM
Marcus Lewis SmartScreen ftw
Rachel Holy updated picture, Batman! :)

+ Comment
Win7 Tips 8/29/2010 9:25:00 AM
Learning the Windows+Plus and Windows+Minus keyboard shortcuts alone was worth reading.

Tips for Windows7

Eric Oooh... the tip about other themes already installed but hidden is pretty cool too.

+ Comment
Phew, I'm in luck! 8/25/2010 6:24:00 AM

After proper and several investigations and research at Western Union and MoneyGram Office, we found your name
in Western Union database amongst those that have sent money through Western Union to Nigeria and this proves that
you have truly been swindled by those unscrupulous persons by sending money to them through Western Union/MoneyGram in the course of getting one fund or the other that is not real, right now we are working hand in hand with Western Union to track every fraudsters down, do not respond to their e-mails, letters and phone calls any longer as they are scammers and you should be very careful to avoid being a victim to fraudsters any longer because they have nothing to offer you but to rip-off what you have worked earnestly hard to earn.

In this regard a meeting was held between the Board of Directors of The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and as a consequence of our investigations it was agreed that the sum of sixty thousand US Dollars (US$60,000.00) should be transferred to you out of the funds that Federal Government of Nigeria has set aside as a compensation to everyone who have by one way or the other sent money to fraudsters in Nigeria.

***Please note that we will no longer be liable for any loss, cost or expense whatsoever, suffered or incurred by You in connection with the fraudsters.
Be warned!
We have deposited your fund at Western Union Money Transfer agent location EMS Post office Lagos, Nigeria.
We have submitted your details to them so that your fund can be transferred to you. We have paid the Registration and Transfer fees and for security reasons we have also insured your fund to avoid misappropriation.

Contact the Western Union agent office through any of the email addresses stated below;

Yours sincerely,

Micheal Randle,
Investigation Officer.

Please note that e-mails, letters and phone calls are currently been made to unsuspecting persons by fraudsters
claiming to have access to their funds. Everyday, people throughout the world are falling victim to scams of one
way or the other. It could be an unexpected prize draw or lottery win, or a chance to invest in an exciting new
money-making or investment programme . In the circumstance, we unreservedly advice you to dissociate yourself
from all correspondence and transactions entered into based on evidently fraudulent and fictitious claims.
Safari is confused... 8/21/2010 8:07:00 PM
You shouldn't say a cert is "Invalid" and have button that, upon clicking, states that the cert is in fact "Valid".


adimcev I did not use Safari in a while, but I think they complain about not being able to do a CRL check or something(you did not show if you MITM yourself or not)... If so, their statement is correct from a security point of view(although is not an EV cert), is the Windows CAPI that shows the cert as valid. Thanks, Adrian

+ Comment
Spam for a laugh... 8/13/2010 6:12:00 AM
"lick here" was my favorite part of this mail. Although the explanation of why they cannot deduct the $210 fee from my $7.5 million dollars was sorta funny. As is the fact that the Prime Minister of the UK is sending me American dollars.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
FBI Seattle Division
1110 Third Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98101-2904
Payment Code: R5109176K
Reg No: 132731593
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has discovered through our intelligence Monitoring Network that you are eligible to receive the sum of $7,500,000.00 USD
regarding to an over-due Inheritance/Award payment which was fully endorsed to be paid in your favor.therefore,the FBI Seattle Division in conjunction with the
United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Has screened through our various Monitoring Networks and has been confirmed and notified that the
transaction you  have with the Financial Institution is Legal and you have the Lawful Right to claim your due fund.
The Prime Minister His Excellency David Cameron the United kingdom Prime Minister(UK) has given us the final approval to pay your fun to you within the next 72hrs,
Your fund valued $7,500,000.00 USD has been deposited into a Gold smart Card number: 5179 1234 5678 personal identification is ATM-7997 this card will enable
you buy and withdrawal cash anywhere around the world this is done for your own security, with this card you will not have to take the risk of sending us your personal
banking details online as you have been strongly advise by your local bank not to send your banking details to anyone online.
For more details lick here
What you are required to do now to Pay the fees of $210.00 USD for the shipment
of your Gold Smart card to your choice location, $210.00 USD is the only fees
that has been approved by both the FBI and the Bank that you are to pay as cost
of Delivery of your Card to you by the courier company.Once the fees is been
paid your ATM CARD will get to you in the next 2-3 working day.
Note: Your funds are protected by a hardcover insurance policy, which makes it
Impossible to deduct any amount from the money before it can be remitted to
you.this means that the above charges cannot be deducted from the Funds and
hence must be provided by you before your fund is transferred to you.the payment
for any of the above options should be sent via Western Union Money Transfer in
the name of the Head of accounts Mr. Justin Brown
Find below the payment information.
Name of receiver: Justin Brown
Office Address: 45 Gresham Street London United Kingdom UK (EC2V 7QA)
Text Question: In God
Answer: We Trust
Name of Sender:.....................
Address of Sender:..................
As soon as we receive your payment, he shall proceed with your fund transfer
immediately.We anticipate your prompt response. If you need to contact me at any
stage please do not hesitate to call (+1-206-984-0470)
Steven M. Dean (Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge)
cc Robert Mueller (FBI Director)
Android Fail... 8/12/2010 2:54:00 PM
And I thought Microsoft software was bad...

Busy busy busy... 8/8/2010 8:23:00 AM
IE9 beta is going to be huge!
Too true! 7/7/2010 1:10:00 PM
Eric Eric I love the Internet.

+ Comment
Truth in Advertising? Today's Spam... 6/17/2010 9:54:00 AM
One of today's spam (indicating I'd won 1.6 million dollars from AOL and the queen of England) was signed thusly:

Mr. Levi Edward
Chief O pirating Officer America Online

Wacky 6/16/2010 3:54:00 PM
Someone bought a 900$ showerhead through one of my Amazon links. (Woot!)

Eric They spent an extra 300$ on the "Nickel" finish instead of the "Chrome" finish. I don't think our fancy shower head was more than about a hundred bucks!
Erin It's Jason's father's day gift....Shhhhh....don't ruin the surprise......

+ Comment
Is anyone this stupid? 6/6/2010 5:29:00 PM
from today's Hotmail spam...

          This is the only way I could contact you for now,I want you to be very careful about this and keep this secret with you until I make out space for us to see. You have no need of knowing who I am or where I am from.I know this may sound very surprising to you but it’s the situation.I have been paid some ransom in advance to terminate you with some reasons listed to me by my employer. It’s someone I beleive you call a friend, I have followed you closely for a while now and have seen that you are innocent of the accusations he leveled against you. Do not contact the police or try to send a copy of this to them,because if you do, I will know,and I might be pushed to do what I have been paid to do.Besides, this is the ist time I turn out to be a betrayer in my job.I took pity on you,that is why I have made up my mind to help you if you are willing to help yourself.
Now listen,I will arrange for us to see face to face,but before that, I need $30,000. I will come to your home or you determine where you wish we meet; I repeat, do not arrange for the cops and if you play hard to get, it will be extended to your family.Do not set any camera to cover us or set up any tape to record our conversation, my employer is in my control now. Payment details will be provided for you to make a part payment of $15,000 first,which will serve as gurantee that you are ready to you co-orperate,then i will post a copy of the video tape that contains his request for me to terminate you which will be enough evidence for you to take any legal action against him before he employs another person for the job. You will pay the balance of $15,000 once you receive the tape.
Warning: do not contact the police, make sure you stay indoors once it is 7.30pm until this whole thing is sorted out,if you neglect any of these warnimgs, you will have yourself to blame. You do not have much time, so get back to me immediately.
Note: I will advise you keep this to yourself alone, not even a friend or a family member should know about it because it could be one of them. 
Tick Tock

Anson Your spam is way more interesting then mine. The best one I received recently was: "I have an investment proposal of $23,995,720.00 for you". Obviously $24 mil would have been over the top. Tick Tok. Tick Tok.
andrewb its so hard to find a trustworthy reliable hitman these days ...
canary you don't follow instructions very well...
Eric Indeed, I am a terrible mark.
Joe Surprisingly, I received that same message yesterday!
Eric Hehe:

+ Comment
Seattle Optimism... 6/1/2010 10:12:00 AM

I finally finished installing the window A/C unit last week. Naturally, the weather is going to be in the low 60s for the foreseeable future. :-P

Rachel Yes, but for 2 weeks this summer you will be SO happy you got it! :)

+ Comment
I love Wikipedia... 5/10/2010 6:01:00 AM
Anson How come you don't get a mention in notable alum? :)

+ Comment
This is pretty funny/cool 5/7/2010 6:07:00 AM
Dave That is funny. Based on that promotion I assumed they rigged the game... =)

+ Comment
Obama jokes at the Correspondents Dinner 5/2/2010 4:47:00 PM
test yes?

+ Comment
This is very cool... 4/30/2010 9:31:00 AM
Providing insight to the blind:
XKCD Explained might be funnier than XKCD itself... 4/22/2010 8:08:00 PM
Eric New 2nd Favorite XKCD: Correlation vs. Causation

+ Comment
Amazon Spam... 4/16/2010 4:41:00 PM
Amazon's been spamming me to buy TurboTax for my taxes since I bought it back in 2009. The only problem is that I already bought it, from Amazon, this year. I kinda wonder when the spam will stop...


Three Monitors... not quite ready 4/11/2010 8:59:00 AM
I read this article with interest: and was ready to plunk down for a Radeon 5750 card... but then I did some more reading and learned that to use all three monitors at once, you MUST have at least one of the three natively support display port, or shell out big bucks for an "Active Adapter" ( none of which appears to be made by anyone I've ever heard of, and at all of which various instabilities appear to be attributed. I really wish ATI simply made a card with three DVI connectors (or included a 3rd clock so I could use a passive DP->DVI cable).

Sigh. I'm sure this will all be sorted out in 6-8 months. Turns out the DisplayPort standard was just ratified in December.

Treadmill woes... 4/5/2010 7:30:00 PM
My ProForm 540 has gone off to la-la-land. Only the "1" and "4" buttons work on its keypad. Google tells me that I'm the 3rd person to whine about this problem, but there's no clear indication of a fix. Sigh.

After disassembling the console, it’s clear that the problem is there’s a stuck line in the membrane keypad. I wasn’t able to surgically fix that, but I determined which of the 8 control lines was stuck and simply unplugged that one. So, now the 1 and 4 button don’t work at all, but all of the other buttons do—including the increase/decrease buttons, which allow me to easily get to 1 and 4 anyway.
The ProForm folks aren’t willing to replace/sell me just a membrane keypad—they will only sell a whole new console (>$300). Rats.
In fairness, doing a little bit of hardware hacking was sorta fun.
Erin You can have my Nordictrack treadmill but the shipping might be a little high.

+ Comment
Tax insanity... 4/2/2010 12:20:00 PM
Doing your own taxes isn't that hard if you have all of the paperwork. However, I've recently discovered that it's easy to do your taxes incorrectly if you're not aware of how screwy the rules are for Employee Stock purchase programs.

First, a bit of contrast.  Your Stock Awards (part of your annual review) are pretty easy to deal with tax-wise. The vested award's value appears on your W2 in Box 1, and shows on your paystub as "Stock Award Spread". Taxes on the award are automatically withheld, and those also appear on your W2 in the appropriate Federal, Social Security, and Medicare tax boxes. They're listed on your paystub as "Stock Award taxes."  Easy enough.

Of course, you still have to figure your Capital Gains (or losses) when you sell the awarded stock. We'll get to that in a minute.


Compared to Stock Awards, the tax rules for ESPP are quite complicated. They're also hard to follow because of how Fidelity and your W2 do recordkeeping.

When you actually "buy" ESPP at the end of the offering period, there are no taxes to pay. Great!

Unfortunately, when you sell, the world gets very complicated. The first thing to understand is that, depending on when you sell, you either have made a "Qualifying" or "Disqualifying" Disposition. For Microsoft ESPP, if you sell the ESPP shares within 21 months of buying them, it's a "Disqualifying" Disposition.

Now, "Disqualifying" sounds bad, but it isn't necessarily a problem and actually makes your taxes a fair bit simpler.

When you make a DQDSP sale, you have to account for the "Compensation value" of your ESPP DISCOUNT as "ORDINARY INCOME". For Microsoft, that discount is 10% of the purchase price of the shares. Microsoft keeps track of the DQDSP "Compensation value" on your W2; it appears alone in Box #14, and the value is also added to Box #1.

Being in Box #1 means that DQDSP's "Compensation Value" is counted as a part of your taxable income automatically, which is good. The bad part is that Microsoft doesn't withhold taxes on that taxable income, however, which can lead to unpleasant surprises come tax season.

In contrast, when you make a Qualifying sale (QDSP), your "Compensation value" / ORDINARY INCOME is the lower of:

 1> The Discount you *would have gotten* on the stock, AS IF it would have bought at the *start* of the offering period (aka 3 months before it actually DID buy)
 2> The gain you made when you sold the stock (e.g. Proceeds minus what you paid.)

Depending on how the stock price has moved between the start of the offering period and when you sell it, a QDSP could provide tax advantages OR disadvantages over a DQDSP.

Surprising, eh? It gets worse...

 ** WARNING **
The BIG problem is that Microsoft doesn't keep track of a QDSP's "Compensation value" / "ORDINARY INCOME" for you, and it's not super-easy to go back and calculate it. Once you do calculate it, you have to add it to your W2 Box #1 yourself.


The "Qualifying" or "Disqualifying" nature of the Disposition controls how much "ordinary" income you have received from the ESPP discount. But when you buy or sell stock, you also have to report the Capital Gain or Loss. To do that, you calculate the proceeds of the sale minus your BASIS cost. Critically for ESPP sales, your BASIS cost IS NOT what you *actually* paid for the stock-- it's what you paid for the stock PLUS the "ordinary" income you reported for the discount. This means your Capital Gain on ESPP shares is smaller (or your Capital Loss larger) than what Fidelity reports on your year-end statement.

 ** WARNING **
Fidelity *does not* add this "ordinary income" to the basis cost, meaning that if you just blindly accept Fidelity's numbers for the Gain/Loss on the sale, you're getting double-taxed on the Compensation value: once as ORDINARY INCOME, and once as CAPITAL GAIN/LOSS.

To calculate the CAPITAL GAIN OR LOSS for DQDSP:

 1> Use the FAIR MARKET VALUE of the shares purchased (e.g. what you paid PLUS the $ discount) as your BASIS COST
 2> Calculate your GAIN or LOSS (PROCEEDS less BASIS)

To calculate the CAPITAL GAIN or LOSS for a QDSP:

 1> Determine how much ORDINARY INCOME you paid on the QDSP sale
 2> Add that value to your BASIS COST
 3> Calculate your GAIN or LOSS (PROCEEDS less BASIS)

At this point the record keeping is getting pretty hard, huh? Because you cannot trust the BASIS information reported to you (because it doesn't account for the "Compensation Value" treated as ORDINARY INCOME) you must understand which specific shares were sold as a part of each sale, so that you can properly compute the BASIS.

It gets worse.

When you go to sell stock, Fidelity shows a checkbox that allows you to choose "specific lots". This checkbox is unticked by default-- unless you tick it, Fidelity chooses which shares to sell (I'm pretty sure it sells FIFO by default). The problem is that your future reporting statements will not necessarily tell you WHICH tax lots were sold, and if you hold any shares throughout the year, the accounting gets quite hard.

For instance, say you buy 212 shares on March 31st, and sell 212 shares on April 5th. You might logically think that your April 5th sale represents the shares that you bought on March 31st. But if you didn't pick specific shares to sell, and already held any shares before March 31st, it's likely that some or all of those other, earlier shares are what actually sold. So, your order to sell 212 shares might actually be selling shares you bought last year, or whatever.

If you sold shares at a loss, it gets worse.

Normally, if you sell shares at a loss, you get to claim a CAPITAL LOSS on your taxes (or shrink your CAPITAL GAINS). But there's a rule called the "Wash Sale Rule" which says that if you buy "substantially identical" stock within 30 days (before/after) of a losing sale, you don't get to directly claim the loss.

In the example above, you failed to specify the exact shares to sell in your April 5th sale. You're not selling the March 31st shares, and hence your March 31st ESPP purchase means that you've acquired "substantially identical" stock ( So if your sale of those older shares results in a loss, you don't get to claim that loss directly due to the Wash Sale rule.

Now, it's not the end of the world because the Wash Sale rule says that you get to use your loss to adjust the BASIS (price and date) of the new stock that you've acquired. But this means yet more accounting on your part.

But it gets worse.

Fidelity will try to keep track of your wash sales and adjust the basis of your future sales accordingly. Unfortunately, that makes the record-keeping almost impossible. Firstly, adjusting the BASIS doesn't just change the basis price, it also changes the "effective" DATE of the purchase. So when you go to sell that March 31st stock, may get statements from Fidelity showing that you sold stock bought on "12/31/2009w" -- it's really your 3/31 stock but the basis has been adjusted due to your wash sale on April 5th. This can get extraordinarily confusing, because it means that neither the BASIS price nor purchase DATE for this set of shares corresponds to what was actually sold.

And that's a freakin' disaster, because as mentioned 3 sections ago, Fidelity fails to properly adjust the BASIS price of shares ESPP sales, meaning that you have to do it yourself. But since Fidelity has already "helpfully" changed the BASIS price and DATE to account for the WASH SALE, it can be virtually impossible to figure out WHICH shares were actually sold, meaning it's virtually impossible for you to properly adjust the BASIS to take into account the ORDINARY INCOME you recognized.

Oh, and keep in mind that the change of the BASIS DATE means that your later sale may be changed from a SHORT-TERM transaction to a LONG-TERM transaction. Confusing.
Oh, and keep in mind that because you often will be buying and selling different-sized blocks of shares, a given sale will likely be split up into multiple transactions, each tracking a different wash sale.


Now, the easy answer for all of this is to just give an accountant $300 bucks and a binder full of your documents and submit whatever tax return they prepare for you. But given the utter insanity of the math and the "lossy" record-keeping on Fidelity's statements and the W2, it's hard to imagine that a professional accountant would get this all done correctly either.

It's enough to make me wish for a flat tax even if I were to end up paying a lot more.

Thoughts for the future:

1> Always specify which tax lots to sell.
2> Always record myself what shares specifically were sold.

Even if I choose "wrong" and don't have the best tax outcome, at least I won't spend 9 hours trying to figure out which shares correspond to which transactions.

D I thought I was crazy when I figured out that the tax basis on the Fidelity statements was wrong a few days ago. Surprisingly there isnt a lot of hits when you search for this topic specifically for MSFT employees. Thanks for your post, kind of helped me confirm that I am not crazy. I am a CPA and I have to now go back and sort through 5 years of transactions to get the returns corrected. Way to go, Fidelity!
Sharon so is there anyway to know from your fidelity statements which lots you sold or you just have to guess/work it out based on the cost basis that fidelity is reporting?
Eric Sharon: The Fidelity statements will typically break your transaction down into the lots you sold with a "Acquired" date on them. The problem is that if you have any WASH sales, they will auto-adjust the Acquired date for you, which makes it hard to tell which shares exactly they were. Hence my advice to keep track of which lots you're selling manually.
Tom Nice to know I'm not the only one who feels like an idiot trying to figure this out Don't forget another problem; sometimes the 1099-B just says "various" for the acquired date on some sales :) Selecting "view lots" from the MSFT dropdown when on the "cost basis" positions tab gives a better breakdown.
DK What happens if Fidelity sold the shares FIFO? Is there a way the sale with specific lots come tax time?
TS If you choose an "accountant", double check the work. A couple years ago, when I sold a bunch of ESPP stock all at once, I went to H&R Block to avoid this mess. The result is that they said I owed IncomeTaxRate * NetProceeds, completely forgetting both (a) short-term vs. long-term, and, more importantly, (b) COST BASIS.
W Shouldn't there be an app for that?
Dheeraj Yup, I had to deal with all of this this year also - many ESPP lots that were also wash sales. And lucky me - I happened to sell all those fractions of shares dating back all the way to 2003. So I had to put in many, many entries (and do many calculations), for .32 shares, .68 shares, etc. What makes me feel better is that I independently came to the same conclusions as you did in your post :)
Brad Further, Fidelity does not let you specify specific lots when you are selling your stock via a covered call option. Those are always FIFO and there is no way to specify a particular lot. You can find the record of which shares you specified (if you entered it on the sell transaction) on the individual trade confirmation slip (available as a PDF on Fidelity's site.)
Eric is helpful.
S Thanks for your very helpful post. This year, I have all of the above including the covered call assignment. When I called Fidelity to inquire, the rep told me the "12/31/2009w" would imply the stocks in the ESPP period ending 12/31/2009. This didn't seem right as my calculations for DSQDSP didn't match what is reported on the W2. Only after reading this post, I realize fidelity "helpfully" tries to adjust the Date acquired too and the rep gave me incorrect information!
SS @ Eric, I was wondering what would fidelity do to "Date Option Granted" in case of Wash sale adjustment. Does that get adjusted too like Date Option exercised? If only the date exercised is moved back as basis adjustment but date Option granted is not, there could be cases where the sale may remain DQDSP. Example: you sold ~ 3years old stock for a loss, then got another lot within 30 days which you sold in next month or so. So if Exercise date moves back 3 years but date granted does not, this is still DQDSP though per general wash sale rule, this should have become long term loss. What do you think?
mw Awesome! Thanks
Brandon Zahl Eric, thanks so much for this advice! I'll be passing it along to people at work. I suspect nearly all of us are "blindly accepting" fidelity's numbers.
Brad @ Eric - thanks for this super helpful info! Just wanted to add that Fidelity now adds an extremely helpful "Supplemental Stock Plan Lot Detail" to your 1099 Tax Form (which I can get to from the website). As far as I can tell, this has done the calculation perfectly for my Qualifying dispositions - it has the ordinary income computed with the share price at the beginning of the offering period and the cost basis calculated with that value plus the purchase price.
Eric Indeed, the Fidelity Supplemental Stock Plan Lot Detail info they added is useful. Another great resource is

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This is the life... 2/8/2010 6:41:00 AM

The view from our back porch...

Treasure Cay Beach view, Abaco

I’m beginning to wonder… 2/5/2010 8:47:39 AM

… if the man upstairs doesn’t want my parents at my wedding…


M :-P

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New favorite XKCD 2/1/2010 7:01:00 AM
andrew bucknell I felt bad for the little guy after that comic strip!

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Oh noes, the Feds are after me! 1/18/2010 2:28:00 PM
Oh noes!  The Feds are after me.

Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division Fbi Headquarters In Washington, D.C. Federal Bureau Of InvestigationJ. Edgar Hoover Building935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20535-0001 ATTENTION: SIR/MADAM. For your information, we have been authorized by the President Barrack Obama to get everyone who is involved in money laundry and terrorism; this was as a result of what happened by a Nigerian man with reported links to al-Qaida tried to blow up a US airliner with a new type of explosive device Friday before being tackled by passengers in what officials said was an attempted Christmas Day terror. Now your name has also been included in the list of terrorism and money laundry because you have been taking this matter for granted since but now we have started taking our legal action because no one is above the law and we can not allow anyone to bring shame to our country, since you have decided not to cooperate with us by furnishing us with the required certificate, we have therefore forwarded your name and information including your picture to the office of the Presidency as he required and right now he has warned us seriously and ordered that we should get everyone arrested and charge them to court immediately because this is not a childish play. The best you can do right now is to forward to us the certificate that is FBI Identification Record, Tax Clearance and Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer (DIST) so that we can forward it to the President and tell him that you earned the fund legally and not a money laundry or for sponsoring terrorism because this is what we are going to charge you of course you know the penalty and our government will not tolerate it any longer. For your information, you have only 3 working days to provide it otherwise you will be arrested immediately and hand your case file over to the presidency. The ball is in your court, note that the person you will contact that will help you to get the certificate is Barrister Kayode Dalhatu an attorney to ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIME COMMISSION (EFCC) Nigeria or Executive/Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. (EFCC) Mrs. Farida Mzamber Waziri, we are now back and ready to take up this case to any level because seat down and watch not only foreigners but also our own citizens to involve in illegal action, especially in money laundry and terrorism. Be warned and don’t fail to get back to us immediately otherwise you will hear our knock on your door with hand-cuff, on your return to this message, we are going to confirm the email address of Barrister Kayode Dalhatu so that you can contact him for the issuance of the certificate. We look forward to hear from you today. THANKS FOR YOUR CO-OPERATION.
ROBERT MUELLER WASHINGTON DCAnti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division Fbi Headquarters In Washington, D.C. Federal Bureau Of Investigation
Brandon Wow, email is so useless now. All I get is crap like this, advertisements where to sell my textbooks back to and the random "how the heck am I getting this newsletter" email.
MiName "><h1>xD</h1>

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Games that didn't exist when I was a kid... 1/16/2010 8:00:00 PM
I thought this was pretty cool.  The demo is worth a look:
Wikipedia rocks (again) 1/11/2010 11:03:00 AM's_Academic
Erin: Jason went to the hosts house and worked on his HVAC system.
Eric Hehe...that's cool!

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Wikipedia rocks. 1/4/2010 4:42:00 PM
I love that there's a word for this:
I need to read more of Anson's documentation... 1/4/2010 1:19:00 PM
From a whitepaper he wrote a while ago...

This step may sound daunting at first, perhaps a bit like reading “remove roof, set aside” as step 1 on the instructions for remodeling your house

Oh, Facebook... 12/25/2009 1:07:00 PM
Why don't you like my RSS feed?
Kinda Fun... 12/2/2009 9:53:00 AM
Replace Win7 UI with "classic" UI:
Rachel No way! I like Win7. It was my idea :)

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Woot 11/30/2009 2:43:00 PM
The PDC talk on Fiddler got fantastic scores. (phew... :-)
Mom Lawrence Congats! We're very proud of you.

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Test photo 11/28/2009 4:57:27 PM


did it work?

Eric Woot! Image file upload!

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Fun with blogging - Adding LiveWriter support 11/28/2009 12:00:00 PM
Helpfully points out that the path to the RSD file must be an absolute URI. MSDN lies and uses a relative URI.

The WebLog API

Note to self... Don't install the drivers! 11/20/2009 9:50:00 AM
I was having some trouble with the slide clicker at PDC so I decided to try to get my Bluetooth mouse to work. That involved installing the Lenovo Bluetooth stack and the little utility that turns on/off the radios on my x200.  Within a day, I was experiencing weird performance problems and hit my first-ever bluescreen of Windows 7. 

Uninstalled the drivers and I'm back to a good state.  It's sad that the ecosystem is still shipping junk that makes us look bad. Sigh.

Brandon Perhaps a more dictator like system would be in order.

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Fonts... 11/15/2009 2:18:00 PM
It both amuses me and scares me that folks get so into this...

Dave "Quiz: So you think you can tell Arial from Helvetica?"L <>

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halloween 10/31/2009 10:47:00 PM
Jane with Trill spots. Woot!
Note to self... 10/23/2009 2:17:00 PM
.NET 4/Visual Studio 2010 looks like it's going to add some cool new stuff.
Woot! 10/15/2009 12:46:00 PM
Rachel Hey, this makes me wish I understood computer stuff! AWESOME!

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Grrr... 10/3/2009 11:26:00 AM
My cell phone is lost... I was hoping it would last for another 6 months or so until I upgrade. :-(
Eric My fortune cookie today read: "Next week, you will find your lost item." I'm kinda hoping I don't, since the HTC Tilt2 should be coming to AT&T in two weeks. :-D
tariq iPhone?

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Pics 9/29/2009 7:21:00 PM
Domino lays down the law for the racoons that came to visit-- they bowed obediently.

Domino was deeply interested in the remote control helicopter. Or, more precisely, deeply interested in killing it.

If you can't take it down in-flight, take it out on the launchpad!

Jane and I visited the Japanese Garden in Seattle last weekend.

mom Lawrence Love the pictures. About time I met my grandcat!

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TODO 9/29/2009 3:13:00 PM
TODO: post amusing pictures of cats attacking helicopters.
Simply too funny... 9/14/2009 12:42:00 PM
Faster than broadband
Eric test...
Test 1...2...3...
Ok 123
Mark It seems to be working.

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"Virtual" Friends... 9/7/2009 9:02:00 AM
This cracks me up:

Jane and I went to "Wicked" last night, thanks to a great gift from a real-world friend (thanks, Nick!). The music was amazing and it was a great show.

Rachel Wicked is such a great musical! Have you read the book?
Eric No. But it probably wouldn't sing to me, which seems like it would be a rather big disappointment.
Rachel Well, if you're ever interested, you can borrow my copy. It's a great book and it's VERY different from the musical (you won't get bored). :)
Eric Well, if it's good, sign me up! :-)

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Too many projects... 8/22/2009 1:37:00 PM
So many interesting projects underway... so little time.
Sometimes, in real life... 8/7/2009 10:36:00 PM
... it's the bottom of the 11th inning, you're down by 1, with one guy on base, two outs, and two strikes, and when you next swing, you send it over the fence.

Go Mariners. :-)

Erin That's why I love baseball!

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Work Colleagues 7/31/2009 10:32:00 AM
Zeke, one of the most colorful (literally and figuratively) devs on the IE team, recently was interviewed by the MicroSpotting site. It's a fun read.
:-) 7/23/2009 7:57:00 PM
Happy birthday to M... even if she did just put down a seven letter, 95 point word.  :-P
Mom Thank you so much. It was really nice talking to you! :-)

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The nice thing about the internet... 7/23/2009 7:49:00 PM that people who can write well will write better on the topics I care about than I will.

Why software developers hate software:

About Time... 7/20/2009 6:19:00 AM
The new Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter just returned the first images of the Apollo lunar landing sites. Pretty cool!

Image: Apollo 14 landing site

Eric Test...

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I wish we published this much info! 7/16/2009 2:38:00 PM FUCK YOU !!!

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Time Passing... 7/16/2009 9:25:00 AM
Mom pointed out that 40 years ago today, Apollo 11 took off on its way to the moon. Pretty cool stuff! 

Also a reminder that her birthday is coming up. :-) Of course, I always mix up the b-day date with the Apollo landing date. Doh!
Dave NASA has released new restored footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing: <>
M I would prefer it if you mixed up how many birthdays I've had with how many anniversaries Apollo 11's landing date has had! :-)
Eric :-)

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Sounds about right... 7/15/2009 6:06:00 AM
New Hampshire man charged $23,148,855,308,184,500 for cigarettes. I'm kinda impressed that the various systems can handle numbers that large.
Mariners vs. Rangers 7/11/2009 8:49:00 AM
Rangers: 6. Mariners: 4. Fries: Lots. Beers: 2. Burgers: 1. :-D

M What no hot dogs?
Eric Not for me. They cost almost as much as burgers. ;-)

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Have I really not posted in two weeks? 7/11/2009 6:17:00 AM
Crashtastic! 6/26/2009 3:26:00 PM
A SlickRun user reported a crash on startup.  I looked into it and it turns out that there's a bug in Delphi 2009's TIniFile.ReadSections function, which I've filed here:  Hopefully they'll fix it, although they didn't fix the last bug I filed.

These days, I have a lot less time to spend working on SlickRun and other stuff.  But, now that I know how to actually debug code (instead of slamming my head into the wall for days), the time I do spend is spent far more efficiently.  :-)

weinelb For a workaround fix see your problem report. Sorry for the delay, but I just noticed your problem. --weinelb

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Hehe... 6/25/2009 6:09:00 PM
I thought this was fun, although surprisingly non-educational...
Have I mentioned... 6/22/2009 9:14:00 AM
How much TicketMaster sucks?  Every time I visit, I'm reminded of their great evil.  If you're going to be evil, at least be competent.

In related news, we're going to Counting Crows at Marymoor on July 16th.  Should be fun!

(We saw Rent last night at the Paramount... I'd forgotten how much of the music I like.)

This day in history... 6/17/2009 7:25:00 AM
I've added a "This day in history" link to the top-right of this page.  Sometimes interesting to see what's happened over the years.  Yes, nostalgia is a contagious disease, but only for us old people.  :-)
Eric I have the same birthday as "House"... who knew?
Eric And "Pacey" is exactly one year older than me! :-)

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How cool is that! 6/15/2009 12:14:00 PM
I found a bug in NSIS and I got mail from the Justin Frankel announcing it was fixed.  The Internet rocks. :-)
Dave Link to the bug?
Eric oh...

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I predict strong sales 6/2/2009 4:01:00 PM
M June 11th -Happy Birthday to our son!
Abby Happy 30th Uncle Eric!

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New SlickRun 6/2/2009 9:49:00 AM
A new version of SlickRun is now available.  Beyond a number of bugfixes, the key changes are Unicode international character support, a slightly enhanced UI, and improved Vista/Win7 compatibility.  If you're a current SlickRun user, I encourage you to try it out!
I'm blogging... 5/29/2009 4:21:00 PM
In an attempt to saturate every media outlet, I'm now blogging on MSDN.

Win7 Wows... 5/21/2009 6:00:00 PM
I've been using Windows 7 and Windows XP on a daily basis, and I must admit that I'm surprised to say that I'm starting to find XP irritating.  I think that's a good sign for Microsoft's bottom line.

When the graphics drivers for my Intel 45 graphics driver (Lenovo X200) are updated to stop constantly corrupting my display, I think I'll be ready to give Win7 a wholehearted recommendation.  It feels like the end of a long, grating depression.  ;-)

GhostBusters... 3....! 5/21/2009 5:50:00 PM
FiddlerCore Lives! 5/21/2009 4:57:00 PM
FiddlerCore... a rockin' new proxy core.

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I like this one... 5/21/2009 11:01:00 AM
"Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement - and we will make the goal."  -Jerome P. Fleishman
2 second reviews... 5/18/2009 2:04:00 PM
Angels and Demons was okay, although Tom Hanks gave a curiously flat performance.
The Microsoft "Campus Commons" area is beautiful and shiny, although if I worked closer to it, I can guarantee a >10% increase in personal mass.
Funny quote I read today... 5/12/2009 3:47:00 PM
Blogging is a conspiracy started by cats to get their pictures on the Internet.Blogging is a conspiracy started by cats to get their pictures on the Internet.
New Star Trek movie review 5/5/2009 10:38:00 AM
Eric Sadly, I think I'm one of the nerds in this spoof. I /liked/ the new movie, but I didn't /love/ it.

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California... 4/23/2009 11:40:00 PM
RSA2009.  Like RSA2008, but less fun.
Patch your Adobe Reader 3/10/2009 2:46:00 PM
Critical Update for Adobe Reader available today.  This vulnerability is being exploited in the wild so please patch accordingly...
Pretty cool... 2/27/2009 1:51:00 PM

Factoids on the effectiveness of the F-15 were pretty neat.

SmallBasic is pretty neat! 2/26/2009 8:40:00 PM
Dave Is this going to come with Windows? I miss QBasic shipping with DOS -- my second programming language. What do we ship with in Windows now: JScript, VBScript, XSLT, PowerShell? Not really anything for beginners <>
Eric I don't think so. it's neat though. One difference vs. when we were kids: it's a lot easier to get new languages onto the system now.

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IE8 Insanity 2/13/2009 1:20:00 PM
I've been incredibly busy as the IE team works to get version 8 out the door... late nights and early mornings.  But it's exciting to be getting close.

Our master suite remodelling is almost done; we painted, had millwork installed, and completely remodelled the bathroom.  It's looking good! :-)

Jane and I are getting married in less than a year!  :-) :-) :-)

Mark I just found out. Congratulations! Ran into Jim and he told me about the wedding and that I should check out your site.

+ Comment
test 2/9/2009 5:45:00 PM
Benny I am testing, I am testing, you don't need to count
Eric I do, I do!
mbt sandals clearance The ground must be hard to walk in the <a href="">mbt sandals clearance</a> city people to create a similar Korean paddy fields or the East African savannah state of soft ground is not flat, after years of painstaking research and development <a href="">mbt sale</a> price finally enter the market in 1996. MBT shoes blue, the most popular casual shoes in 2010. MBT shoes to give large initial feeling blue is ugly, maybe you <a href="">mbt shoes outlet</a> are confused why someone would be so like the MBT shoes blue. Well, now I want to tell you the blue mbt masai shoes sold some detail the design, simulation of the beach <a href="">mens mbt shoes</a> walk. MBT shoes blue is a multi-level, the only curve to complete the creation of a natural, but the uneven walking surface. World we live in a wide range of <a href="">mbt
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Don't believe everything you read 2/5/2009 11:42:00 AM
Dave Why should I trust the article, or what I read on your blog for that matter?!
Eric You shouldn't!

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New Phone 1/31/2009 3:33:00 PM
I've finally purchased a new SmartPhone.  It's got lots of cool features, but my favorite just might be the ability to use it to telephone other people. That's a pretty amazing breakthrough for this sort of device and I just might come to like it.  Beyond its almost magical telephonic abilities, it also is small enough to fit in a normal pocket, and has a working camera and latches that don't require tape or super-glue.  So far, so good.

Bliss? 1/21/2009 5:10:00 PM
I can now order pizza from my TiVo.  :-)
Sad news, happy news 1/16/2009 3:16:00 PM
Circuit City is shutting their doors.  Sad, since BestBuy is farther away and basically evil.  Of course, I buy almost everything from Amazon these days anyway, but still, it was a fun place to shop.

Apparently, there's going to be an online version of Zork.  That might be fun.

SSDs are pretty neat. 1/6/2009 6:27:00 AM

Hehe... 1/4/2009 10:14:00 PM
Somewhat sick, but a great analogy for the limitations of antivirus apps:

TODO: PATCH TODAY 12/16/2008 8:58:00 PM
IE is releasing a security patch tomorrow morning.  Please install it immediately.  Thanks!

Fooling facial recognition 12/3/2008 10:43:00 AM


Hehe…  someone was playing Space Quest 3J

  • now go to the copier machine.on the wall infront of the machine you will see a picture of the big boss in charge of scumsoft. "GET PICTURE".
  • walk to the copier
  • "COPY". walk back from where you got the picture and "REPLACE THE PICTURE".
  • walk out of the office through the door you came in. walk through the hallway until you see the door in the outer wall with the keycard security system.
  • "USE CARD", "USE PICTURE" and enter the door. "PUSH BUTTON".
5 second movie reviews 11/27/2008 9:44:00 AM
Quantum of Solace: Not bad for a Bond movie that had almost no gadgets.  Not great though.

Outsouced: Funny, cute, and interesting.

Happy Thanksgiving! 11/27/2008 9:43:00 AM
Happy thanksgiving and all that jazz!
Email == Efail 11/26/2008 11:37:00 AM

I disagree with the implication that instant messaging / twitter is really the answer here, but there's a fine statement of the problem.

Peanut Gallery

+ Comment
XBox 360 with NetFlix InstantWatch is Awesome! 11/19/2008 10:17:00 PM
Finally, a reason to own my XBox360!
I've realized... 11/14/2008 3:00:00 PM
That since I stopped hanging out with Irfaan, my sense of humor has pretty much atrophied.  Sigh.
Weird word for the day... 11/12/2008 10:17:00 AM
Stare at it long enough, and you'll agree.


Anson I think weird is a weird word. Shouldn't it be wierd? And what about bizarre? Shouldn't it be bizzare?
Rachel My weird word of the day was spasticity. Weird.
Eric Spasticity is actually a weird word though; you don't have to stare at it. :-)
Rachel you do when it's on your master's exam :)
12345 12345

+ Comment
Fees for plastic bags 11/6/2008 11:42:00 PM

One of the odd things about Malaysia is that they always give you a plastic bag, no matter what you've bought.  Roll of Mentos?  Into a plastic bag.  A bag of popcorn?  Into a plastic bag.  A soft drink in a paper cup with a plastic lid?  Into a plastic bag.  It was pretty ridiculous, frankly. 

CDenman What about a plastic bag? Does that go in a plastic bag?
Eric When I bought a scarf, that went into a plastic bag. That plastic bag was then put into a plastic bag.

+ Comment
Neato! 11/5/2008 12:21:00 AM is now free on weekends.
Eric Butler (elbpdx) Do you use copilot?
Eric Yeah, I've used it to work on family computers from cross-country.
Eric Butler (elbpdx) Ahhh, good idea!
J Eric, You've not seen CrossLoop yet, have you? CrossLoop is free all the time... Although, personally, I like LogMeIn IT Reach a bit more. It's somewhat expensive, though. But RDP over LMI Hamachi or RDP over IPv6 works well, too, and for cheap!

+ Comment
Back in the USA 11/2/2008 9:58:00 PM
I'm back, back, back in the US of A...
When did Microsoft get a sense of humor? 10/31/2008 6:31:00 AM
2We've designed Windows Live Hotmail storage to grow with you, but at a reasonable pace. That means you should have plenty of storage unless you suddenly want to store the planet Jupiter on Hotmail, in which case we'll send you a nice e-mail asking you to please not try to store planets on Windows Live Hotmail (although gradual storage of moons and asteroids is ok).
Dave How much did Microsoft pay Seinfeld? Seems like he could punch this up.

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Where in the world is Eric 10/30/2008 9:14:00 AM,+Kuala+Lumpur+Malaysia&sll=37.857507,-95.712891&sspn=52.171851,113.90625&ie=UTF8&g=Jalan+Sultan+Ismail+50250,+Kuala+Lumpur+Malaysia&layer=x&ll=3.151534,101.711361&spn=0.004092,0.006952&t=h&z=18

Zoom in close enough and you might see me in the pool.  :-)

Dave From the title in my RSS feed I was expecting you to be enacting this <>

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I didn't realize that the Discovery Channel is staffed by morons... 10/29/2008 6:01:00 AM
So, I'm watching this show called "FutureCar" which seems pretty cool, until they got to the "air-powered car".  They explain that it's a car that runs on compressed air, and compresses its own fuel by compressing air as it runs.  A perpetual motion machine, they call it, without a hint of skepticism.

Of course, I'm the idiot watching the Discovery Channel while half a world away from home, but hey, it was a long day... :-)

My latest article 10/29/2008 12:03:00 AM
Code Focus Magazine article on IE8 Security
Crazy/cool 10/27/2008 1:07:00 AM
Windows SteadyState toolkit: lets you restore your machine to a fixed configuration on every reboot.  Probably one of the least-publicized tools I've ever come across.
Hacking and Boxes and such 10/24/2008 12:30:00 PM
Eric Sitting in a free internet lounge outside the Hello Kitty lounge in the Taipei airport. What a strange world it is half a world a way. And yet, less strange than I would have thought...

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Mean, yes. Amusing, yes. 10/16/2008 5:17:00 PM
Talking to your parents about the risks of John McCain isn't as hard as you think.

stuff 10/9/2008 9:23:00 PM
Yay-- How I Met Your Mother season 3 is out.  very funny stuff.

Lots of interesting stuff in the world of browser security.

I'm headed to Kuala Lumpur for a security conference in a few weeks.  Should be very interesting... although I suspect the 17 hour flight is going to be pretty brutal. :-)

Scary cool. 10/9/2008 11:51:00 AM
Search the web like it was 2001!

Pretty neat... 10/5/2008 8:48:00 PM
NASA and the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) are teaming up to host the first public chess match between astronaut Greg Chamitoff, in orbit aboard the International Space Station, and the public. Key players in the game, set to begin on Monday, Sept. 29, will be the kindergarten through third grade U.S. Chess Championship Team and its chess club teammates from Stevenson Elementary School in Bellevue, Wash

Weather 10/5/2008 9:48:00 AM
And people complain about Seattle weather.  I'd never be able to live in KL.
Interesting concept... 10/5/2008 8:57:00 AM
Especially if you have a wide monitor:
Computer Basics 10/4/2008 8:51:00 PM
I'm a little alarmed that I learned something by reading this.

ASLR+DEP for Delphi 10/1/2008 1:32:00 PM
Add '{$SETPEOPTFLAGS $140}' to the project source file (.dpr or .dpk)
Eric neato.

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Nostalgia... 9/28/2008 5:55:00 PM
I finally got around to booting my old AMD machine after it sat alone in my garage and basement for over a year.  It's sorta fun to be on a classic-- only one CPU core (and at a puny 1.2ghz) with less RAM than a high-end graphics card.  But still, it's fun to flip through my old Delphi projects and ponder bringing them into the new millennium.  

I'm reading a fun book called "The Undercover Economist" which is thought-provoking and makes me look at the world in a different (or more informed, at least) way.  I've really got to stop buying books though; I've probably got two dozen to read that have accumulated over the last few years.

Jane and I are watching the Showtime show "Weeds" on DVD after enjoying the Dexter series greatly.  While I wouldn't say that Weeds is as good as Dexter (and it's not much like it either) it's a guilty pleasure. 

Speaking of guilt-- I haven't been making it to the gym nearly as often as I should.  Oversleeping is the usual culprit, since I'm not exactly working hard when I do make it to the gym (watching Prison Break on DVD while I spend an hour on the treadmill).

Anyway... just some random thoughts today.  I can't tell you how often I'm drifting off to sleep or showering and feel like I ought to be putting thoughts to paper (or keyboard, I suppose).  I'm pretty sure that if I was born before the computer age, I'd probably end up a writer of some sort.  I suppose it's fair to say that I am a writer, considering what percentage of my day is spent writing specs or email. 

Jason & Erin We love Dexter! What season did you watch? We need to watch Season 2. When did it come out do you know? Check out the show on fx called It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia with Danny Devito.
Eric We have Dexter Season 2 on DVD if you want to borrow it. Season 3 just started on Showtime.
Jason & Erin Thanks for the offer but we have the monthly pass at Blockbuster. We can rent as many movies as we want as long as we bring the movie with us to trade in. We are already on the second dvd of Dexter.

+ Comment
Further geek amusement 9/24/2008 1:03:00 PM
Surprisingly useful content contained here:
I wish this was funny 9/23/2008 4:06:00 PM

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson



Amusing censorship 9/23/2008 9:24:00 AM
Dave I first saw this as a delicious link to a Google search for Clbuttic and was totally freaked out when I couldn't find a definition but it had huge number of search hits. I like this quote from a car forum: "Cbuttette tape tray broken(thank god for cd's {not good for clbuttic cbuttettes)."

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Some pictures from our trip... 9/21/2008 10:45:00 AM

Jane posted a ton on Facebook, but here are a few for the non-Facebook crowd...

Eric It amuses me that this layout is so broken in IE but looks fine in Firefox.
Mom These pictures are beautiful. Can't wait to see more!

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Arrrr....did ye know? 9/19/2008 12:01:00 PM
It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Eric Hehe:

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Buzzword Bingo generator for the Microsoft company meeting later this week. 9/13/2008 10:29:00 AM

For those of you unfamiliar with Buzzword Bingo, here’s what you do:

·         Go to the site, let the card scramble, click to stop it, and print out a bingo card. You can refresh the page and print several. Bring these to the meeting.

·         Throughout the videos and presentations, if you hear a word on your card or see it on screen, mark it off.

·         If you get five in a row, stand up and yell “BINGO!”

Sorta neat for the Microsoftees in the audience. 9/11/2008 5:43:00 PM
Dave I like the interview with Gold Helmet Segway rider <>

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:-) 9/10/2008 6:03:00 PM
Thought of the day: If more people would buy plasma TVs through my Amazon link, it would be pretty cool. :-)
Back to the US 9/9/2008 12:57:00 PM
Back to the US... lots of pictures and news coming soon!
Savants 8/14/2008 12:38:00 PM
This is pretty crazy... I liked the Derek segment:
Rachel Just wondering...what was it you liked about Derek's segment in particular?
Eric "Play that as if Mozart was playing it." And he did. That was cool.

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I'm rich! 8/12/2008 2:50:00 PM

BANK OF AFRICA COMPENSATION UNIT, IN AFFILIATION WITH THE UNITED NATION. Attention: How are you today? Hope all is well with you and family?, You may not understand why this mail came to you. We have been having a meeting for the passed 7 months which ended 2 days ago with the the secretary to the UNITED NATIONS. This email is to all the people that have been scammed in any part of the world, the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to compensate them with the sum of US$500,000. This includes every foreign contractors that may have not received their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government problems etc. We found your name in our list and that is why we are contacting you, this have been agreed upon and have been signed. You are advised to contact Mr Jim Ovia of ZENITH BANK NIGERIA PLC, as he is our representative in Nigeria, contact him immediately for your Cheque/ International Bank Draft of USD$500,000. This funds are in a Bank Draft for security purpose ok? so he will send it to you and you can clear it in any bank of your choice. Therefore, you should send him your full Name and telephone number your correct mailing address where you want him to send the Draft to you.Conatct Mr Jim Ovia immediately for your Cheque: you and your family. Hoping to hear from you as soon as you cash your Bank Draft. Making the world a better place. Regards, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Jim Who falls for this? O.o

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Wow, the Republicans are in trouble... 8/12/2008 10:57:00 AM
Look how much they're pandering to win Rachel's vote!

RescuePro v3.3 crashes on startup 8/11/2008 2:00:00 PM
<posted for search engines to find>

Rescue Pro software provided by Sandisk crashes on startup due to a false positive Data Execution Prevention.  To avoid the crash, go into the Windows Data Execution Prevention configuration dialog and add rescuepro.exe to the exception list.

The Internet is scary 8/7/2008 10:28:00 PM
Not sure what's up with the first photo (the Untouchables??) but it's sorta scary to see pictures of me that weren't taken by people I know...

Try Amazon Prime? 8/7/2008 10:11:00 PM
Get free 2-day shipping from Amazon for a month, and net Bayden a $12 referral fee.  Just be sure to cancel if you don't want to keep it.

Sheesh... Vegas hotels 8/6/2008 12:04:00 AM
The Mirage guys seem to have a real problem filling room requests properly; they didn't have a double-queen room ready for me tonight.  So they offered me a king suite for the night until a queen room becomes available.  To say the suite is big is an understatement-- I'm pretty sure it's got more square-footage than my house.  It's also on the 28th floor, so I've got a pretty crazy view.  It's sorta freaky how many mirrors there are; the rich must really love looking at themselves. :-)

This cracked me up!  Paris responds to McCain:


Yay! 7/29/2008 1:12:00 PM
All 3 episodes of Dr. Horrible are back online (now with ads):

Dave Part ... 4? <>

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Geek Heaven 7/28/2008 1:34:00 PM
This year's Star Trek in Vegas overlaps the BlackHat security conference...
DNS Attack 7/25/2008 8:50:00 AM
Dan's posted a (mostly) human-readable description of the attack on DNS here:
Big day 7/23/2008 2:50:00 PM
Happy B-day, M!!!
M Thank you very much for remembering my B'day. And thanks for not telling everyone how old I am! :-) Love ya!

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Gore 7/18/2008 11:35:00 AM
If you haven't seen Al Gore speak, it's worth a watch.  The good stuff starts about 3 minutes in:
Woot! 7/17/2008 4:20:00 PM
Apparently, I'm going to be an uncle.  :-)  Congrats Jason & Erin!
Act 2 7/17/2008 4:04:00 PM
Eric Doh! I missed Part 3. Apparently, these were one day only events. Sigh.

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Neil Patrick Harris as you've never seen him before... 7/15/2008 12:36:00 PM
Rachel Part II is up now! Joss Whedon is awesome :)

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The Internet is a random place 7/7/2008 3:03:00 PM
... but sometimes it makes me happy.  :-)
Wow... 6/24/2008 8:19:00 AM
This is pretty amazing: Flying People.
Fun Fun Fun... 6/19/2008 8:49:00 PM
I need to post some pictures from Orlando, but yes, we saw Mickey.  :-)

Birthday dinner was tapas at the Tu Tu Cafe... there was a roving magician who dazzled our table with some close-quarters illusions that were pretty impressive.  I had a blast!

Unfortunately, vacation is nearly over; I need to finish up my deck for the Velocity Conference next week!

Another cake for the Mozilla team 6/18/2008 9:44:00 AM
Eric Lies, damn lies, and misleading charts: Look at the year they're comparing. :-O

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Random Arcana 6/10/2008 3:05:00 PM
Dave introduced us to the game Worms-- it's a great party game, and I've got to say that XBox Live Arcade Rules.

There's going to be a Dead Like Me movie.  Neat!

It should not be 54 degrees in June.

Mom It's in the high nineties on this side of the country. By the way, it is 12:30am June 11th so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Galina Dear Eric, We wish you a very Happy Birthday! May all your dreams come true! From Russia with Love!
Jason & Erin "Happy Birthday to you" See you next week! Enjoy Disney! Ride the haunted mansion ride for me.

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Desperation... 5/31/2008 5:26:00 PM
Hehe... If only it were that simple...
Yay, I won! :-) 5/22/2008 4:32:00 PM

Yahoo&Microsoft Lottery Incorporation

7 Prauge Palace.Brixton Hill

London SWZ SED.


Batch: Mcs/989/989/#34



The prestigious Microsoft and Yahoo has set out and successfully organized a Sweepstakes marking the new year 2008 anniversary, we rolled out over 4,500,000.00 (Four Million Five Hundred Thousand Great British Pounds) for our end of year the Anniversary Draws. Participants for the draws were randomly selected and drawn from a wide range of web hosts which we enjoy their patronage.


You have been approved for lump sums pay out of 450,000.00 GBP (Four Hundred and Fifty Thousand Great British Pounds Sterling) in cash Credited to file REF NO: MSW/56B-672GH/L and winning number 23-76-06-54-42-100. Selection process was carried out through random selection in our computerized email selection machine (TOPAZ) from a database of over 1,000,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world.


The online draws was conducted by a random selection of email addresses from an exclusive list of 29,031 E-mail addresses of individuals and corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random computer search from the internet. No tickets were sold but all email addresses were assigned to different ticket numbers for representation and privacy. This is to encourage our prominent Microsoft Internet Explorer users all over the world, and for the Continuous use of E-mail.


Your fund (Certified Cashiers Cheque) has been insured with your REF NO: MSW/56B-672GH/L and winning number 23-76-06-54-42-100. To claim your winning prize, you must first contact the claims department by email for Processing and remittance of your prize to you.


Mr. Andreas Georgetown.

Email: <snip>

Foreign Transfer Manager.

Yahoo&Microsoft Lottery Incorporation


You are advised to contact your Foreign Transfer Manager with the following details to avoid unnecessary delays and complications:





3. SEX:

4. AGE:






10. STATE:




Mode Of Prize Remittance.


(1)Cash Pick-Up (You coming Down to United Kingdom Personally to Pick Your Prize).


(2)Courier Delivery Of your Certified Winning Cheque Name and other Winning Documents safely to you.


The Yahoo&Microsoft Lottery lottery has discovered a huge number of double claims due to winners informing close friends relatives and third parties about their winning and also sharing their pin numbers. As a result of this, these friends try to claim the lottery on behalf of the real winners. The Microsoft lottery has reached a decision from headquarters that any double claim discovered by the Lottery Board will result to the canceling of that particular winning, making a loss for both the double claimer and the real winner, as it is taken that the real winner was the informer to the double claimer about the lottery. So you are hereby strongly advised once more to keep your winnings strictly confidential until you claim your prize.


Congratulations from the Staffs & Members of the interative Lotteries Board Commission.



Dr. Vick Abraham.

andrewb Hey congratulations! Dont forget to give them your SSN also so they get the money to you quicker.
Anson Wow! You won as well? What are the odds? You violated the strict confidential clause though. You may end up with a double-claims situation. Your best bet is to reply quickly and hope!

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Gaping hole in my free time. :-) 5/21/2008 5:56:00 PM
Dave, Sarah, and Cadbury (their bunny) got me an early birthday present of Portal, the hyper-addictive XB360 game that Nick and Chris got me hooked on.  I'm looking forward to beating it!
andrewb I recently finished portal on PC. Brilliant game - I like games that make you think rather than just bash buttons. Let us know when you get your cake!

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Old projects... 5/19/2008 9:47:00 PM

Rachel I'm trying to figure out what assignment this was for AP English...hmmm :)
Eric There was some all-senior requirement for "drug/alcohol education"
Rachel ha ha ha....we had to do that as sophomores :)
Mary High school project, bah! That's just a useful tool. I wanna carry one around like a pocket calculator and use it to dissuade idiots from driving.

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This is sorta neat. 5/14/2008 8:09:00 AM
Eric ...and scary.
andrewb ... and unreliable :

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Fame... sorta :-) 5/11/2008 7:53:00 PM
Nick You are SO cool! If only your team noticed.

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This looks great 5/11/2008 3:23:00 PM
Discovery is releasing NASA archive footage in HD, starting June 8th.,0,3514767.story
Movies... 5/11/2008 3:11:00 PM
I've never read the comics, but the new Iron Man movie was pretty good.  Nice effects, action, and take on the "super hero" genre.
Summer Concerts 5/10/2008 12:33:00 PM
Yay, a worthwhile concert at Marymoor Park on July 9th.  (Boo Ticketmaster -- 21$ in fees!?!)

Holy smoke... 5/7/2008 9:19:00 PM
Grand Theft Auto 4 took in $500M in its first week.  Sheesh. 
ATM Skimmers are clever 5/2/2008 10:15:00 AM
Dave <>

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Internet Video on Internet Video :-) 4/30/2008 8:28:00 AM
Dave What is the deal with the circle in webpage transition? Also, whatever happened to the awesome counting?
Eric The circle is awesome. The counting was really annoying to folks on non-IE browsers.

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Texter 4/27/2008 5:02:00 PM
This looks pretty neat, especially considering how often I find myself typing the same text over and over...
cough, cough... 4/26/2008 2:24:00 PM
Day 5 of hellish allergies... This had better be the last one!
Daniel Wang Take care, buddy~ Are you "ericlaw" who is talking to me about Drive-by attacks? :)
Eric Yes. :-)

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Wow... 4/26/2008 2:05:00 PM
Microsoft bought FareCast for $115M.  Not too shabby.  :-)
Who ~didn't~ see this coming? 4/25/2008 11:40:00 AM
Microsoft's "Smart" watches cancelled:
Amusing... 4/25/2008 9:05:00 AM
So, I rushed into work this morning, late for a meeting.  I got a few strange looks along the way, assuming that people were trying to decide whether or not to warn me that my shoelaces were untied.  I get onto the elevator; thinking about the long day ahead, I run my hand through my hair.  To the floor drop about a half-dozen cherry blossoms, which apparently fell on my head as I got into my car.  Oops.
Joe Actually, your fly was open
Eric ;-)

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Cool blog from a guy I respect... 4/23/2008 4:32:00 PM
Basically, covers software development topics:
Eric test test test...

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Back from RSA... Happy Birthday to this one... 4/14/2008 8:30:00 AM
I returned from a week in San Francisco (at the RSA Security Conference) in time to celebrate Jane's birthday.  We went to dinner and a show at Teatro Zinzanni in Seattle.  It was a lot of fun-- the food was great, and the show was amazing!

Mom Lawrence Happy Birthday to Jane from the Maryland Lawrences! Have fun!
Rachel Happy Birthday!

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I'm really testing Fiddler, I swear... 3/30/2008 12:54:00 PM
Fiddler 2.1.5 detects Video and streams it automatically. 

I'm not a Facebook hater per-se, but this cracked me up...


Dave Cory Doctorow has an article deriding it: <> "I'm inclined to think that these systems are subject to a Brook's-law parallel: "Adding more users to a social network increases the probability that it will put you in an awkward social circumstance.""

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Testing Fiddler... 3/29/2008 4:49:00 PM
YouTube is a lot like crack.

Dave Teh Kittehs! <> <>

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Joel nails it 3/19/2008 3:00:00 PM
Long but readable explanation of what the IE team must struggle with.

Cool (nerdy) article on HTTP headers 3/18/2008 6:13:00 PM

Includes speculation on the malformed "Connection" header I see a lot.

TonyCh There are a lot of people who have too much time on their hands.

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Wow 3/15/2008 4:47:00 AM
Open Protocol Documentation rocks. 

We describe lots of interesting protocols, including NTLM and FPSE, in all of their gory glory:

swati valecha @ Hi! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you recommend any other <a href=''>Fashion Write For Us</a> blogs that go over the same topics? Thanks a ton !

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Interesting... 3/14/2008 8:24:00 AM
A nice article reiterating how everything is more complicated than it looks.  In this case, the topic is computer fonts.

Playing Around... 3/9/2008 5:27:00 PM
We went to see The Imaginary Invalid at the Seattle Rep on Saturday night.  It was really funny, if a bit perverse...
Heh 3/7/2008 2:41:00 PM
Creative marketing for one of my IE7 features...

Rachel The die has been cast?

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XDR 3/6/2008 12:41:00 AM
One of the features I worked on...
Dave Its nice to finally be able to talk about this stuff

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Some people just don't understand security 3/5/2008 7:52:00 AM
...Like the military.
Zune 2.0 2/10/2008 9:13:00 PM
My new Zune 80 has crashed twice in the first hour of play.  Hmmm.  The sync software seems to have an infinite loop in it where it syncs the same files over and over and over and over and over... Sigh.  Can we do anything right?

Jane and I saw Defending the Caveman at the Kirkland Performing Arts Center on Friday.  Very funny, highly recommended.

Dave I blame whatever crazy stuff you're trying to sync. I sync my MCE TV shows via podcast on a regular basis with no issues.
Anson Rach has had zero problems with hers - clearly user error :P
Brandon Anson, if the product is designed right, user error is impossible...
andrewb I love sweeping generalisations! If I drop my mobile phone and it stops working, is that a failure in the product design? If I place a pancake in my DVD player, is it bad product design that means it stops working? I would suggest in both cases its a result of user error.
Eric Mmmm.... pancakes!
andrewb Ah now we know why the zune crashed. Its not pancake compatible!
tariq get an iphone...
andrewb Yes, the iphone is fully pancake compatible. I believe it also handles bacon and eggs.

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And I thought ChrisBro was odd... 2/5/2008 9:48:00 AM
Apparently, you can sign your credit card receipt with pretty much anything.

Part 2 is even funnier.

Wow 2/1/2008 8:39:00 AM
Microsoft bids $44600000000 for Yahoo.
Brandon I hope Microsoft keeps the brand, keeps the search, keeps yahoo answers. Yahoo competes in so many spaces with Yahoo, their products are better, they should keep them, and keep them Yahoo.
andrewb Apparently it pays big time to lose out at your core business.

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HTML5 1/22/2008 10:33:00 PM
Dave IE Blog readers have a new value of X to put in 'Yeah whatever you just blogged about is fine but when are you going to implement X?'.

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Sigh... 1/21/2008 11:11:00 PM
This picture over at the NYTimes says it all...

Atonement 1/20/2008 5:43:00 PM
If you have something to atone for, I suggest you watch Atonement.  It's a heavy price to pay.
Dave lol
andrewb After I saw that movie I figure not only have I atoned for past sins, but most of those I will comnmit in the future.

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Sheesh... 1/14/2008 8:51:00 AM
Maybe "hacker movies" aren't so absurdly unrealistic after all.

+ Comment
Weekend at Bernie's... for real. 1/11/2008 7:34:00 AM
Leila ClearType made my Slickrun font look funky... ?
Leila Does anyone else have this issue? It only happens in Ghost mode... ?

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Heh... 1/7/2008 1:50:00 PM
Heh... This is hilarious!
Chris Can haz count? <script> var i = 0; setInterval(intervalFun, 1000); function intervalFun(){ i ; window.location.hash=i.toString(); } function doReload(){ setTimeout("window.location.reload();", 100); } </script>

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Weird.... 1/5/2008 6:56:00 PM
This page (in various forms) is now a decade old.  Freaky.

Chris No more counting :(
Dave Hey yeah! I liked the counting. Bring back the counting!
Rachel The counting was awful! It was as if the webpage was judging you based on how long you stayed on the page.
Dave So you're saying you got low scores? That's no reason to punish the rest of us by denying precious counting!
Rachel I find it amusing that all the girls seem to hate the counting, but the guys seem to love it. It's a battle of the sexes! Who will win? :-)
Leila I'm sure you're still counting in the background, right Eric? ;) who has the highest time? i suspect it's me... is it?
Eric Heh. Nothing nearly so interesting, I'm afraid.
Rachel I was convinced he was still counting in the background too :-)

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Heh... 1/1/2008 11:49:00 AM
Fiddler is apparently well-known enough to sell advertising.  :-)


Eric These are the same guys that directly ripped off some Fiddler UI, making a typo in the process.
Rachel Grr...can you make your website stop counting?
Leila I also dislike the counting, but go up to the url window and erase the counting part, or the whole thing if you want to. it also makes a very messy history.
Dave If I have to pay for their product it must be superior in some fashion.
Rachel I erased the whole thing, but as soon as I click on something else on Eric's page it shows back up again...and it's been counting the whole time!
Leila When erase just the numbers the whole thing goes away for good :) but of course it may be secretly counting
Mary Not working for me either. I hadn't even looked at the url. With all the clicking noises I just assumed Eric's page had turned into a timebomb and was about to blow!
Eric It only makes history messy on Firefox. :-)

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Happy New Year 12/31/2007 6:23:00 AM
Wishing everyone an exciting 2008!
Mom Back atcha buddy bear. I hope the new year brings you lots of love and happiness!
Jim Happy New Year! Come play EVE! :)

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O, Canada.... 12/27/2007 3:19:00 PM
Maryland was a fun (too short) trip, but we've invited everyone west for the summer, so hopefully we'll see some more friends in the New Year.

Happy Holidays!

Woot 12/19/2007 12:19:00 PM
EricLaw Better yet, a video interview:

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Heh. 12/18/2007 8:36:00 AM
What a difference capitalization makes.

I bet all that nonsense about math and "googols" is just a cover story. :-)

DVD 12/13/2007 3:04:00 PM
Where, oh where, have all of my DVDs gone... where oh where could they be?
Leila Clint has two of your Lost and Dawson's Creek sets (which are also available from the library for free as complete season sets ;)). which dvds are you missing?
Jason Do we have any of your movies? I doubt it since we only have a HD dvd player. What movies are you missing exactly???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Still waiting on pictures of your Thanksgiving trip..................................

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TV 12/10/2007 12:55:00 PM
Well, I got the bulb replaced for under $200 from

In the process, I got the following numbers from the TV's status report:

6806 Total Hours On
4789 Hours on the 2nd Bulb
TV powered on 2943 times
(With the TV powered off, press and hold both the "VOLUME Down" button on the TV itself and the TV/VIDEO key on the remote control simultaneously for about 7 seconds.)

That seems like a lot of TV, although it's over 4 years and does include the watch time of roommates and when we just have the TV on one of the music channels.

Lane Do have any discount codes for

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Hrm... 12/5/2007 5:38:00 PM
Gotta love our blog readers.

Congratulations IE team at continuing to improve while still maintaining your awesome audacity at sucking.

Brandon I'm pretty fond of Ie^2.079, though they should carry that out more to...2.07944154.

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Neato... 12/4/2007 10:36:00 AM
Need to remember this next time I want to share photos...

Memory 12/4/2007 8:22:00 AM
They must have found a way to grow memory on trees.  $90 for 4gigs from a reputable manufacturer, with the dollar as weak as it is?

I won't bore you kids with the story of upgrading my Pentium 90 from 8 megs to 24 megs, at the bargain basement cost of $175.

You gotta be !$@$@!ing me... 12/3/2007 8:23:00 PM
So, my TV's 4 year extended warranty ($600) expired on 11/25.  The bulb (a few hundred bucks) went out for the second time exactly 8 days later.  Sigh.  So, one bulb replacement was 600$, and now I gotta do another one.  Boo.  But wait, there was a lawsuit about the shoddy bulb life, where everybody gets new bulbs. Yay!

But the deadline to file was 4 days ago.

Damn you Murphy.

My job... 11/30/2007 5:46:00 PM
I probably blogged this some time ago, but here's a description of what I do all day.

SteveSi doesn't believe in brevity.  :-)

Jane I gave up less than half way through. That is one long post. :)

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Exciting times... 11/17/2007 5:56:00 PM
The IE team is working hard on the next version, and we've had some recent checkins that are very cool.  I can't wait to start talking about them!

For now, a much needed vacation.  Expect plenty of pictures shortly!

Brandon Well, I hope the IE is working hard, a lot of people think IE8 will never show up, or will show up 3 years from now. Bill Gates did state a 9-12 month cycle between browsers, yet there is no public beta of the next IE yet, it just makes you wonder.... Anyways, when I go to your blog, I hear a clicking sound and I see the URL count up 75 76 77.....

+ Comment
Hehe...24 Parody 11/15/2007 3:40:00 PM
Parody of the TV show "24" as if it had taken place in 1994...
Displaying the hash for downloaded files... 11/14/2007 9:30:00 PM
I'll probably write this up more fully shortly, but this is a puzzle I've been working on lately in my off-hours, and I'm done the hard part.

Dave You've figured out all the appropriate COM interop magic to get this to work in C#. Yay! Will this go on CodeProject?

+ Comment
Neat link 11/12/2007 6:19:00 PM
IOfficeAntiVirus from Delphi:
Eric Doh! Can't get it to work...

+ Comment
Various... 11/12/2007 4:26:00 PM
Chris Rock's I Think I Love My Wife was surprisingly light on laughs, but it was pretty short and occasionally funny.
Prison Break: Season 2 has been great so far.  I've been watching it on the treadmill.
We got our water heater replaced.  Getting the installation up to code and filing for the permit cost roughly as much as the tank and install.  Sigh.
Vacation can't come soon enough!

Voting 11/7/2007 12:58:00 PM
I voted yesterday.  From this article, it sounds like I voted against the grain on every issue...
The transportation ballot results appeared to follow a theme that voters were watching their pocketbooks during this election cycle. They rejected the proposed transportation taxes, approved a measure making it harder to enact new state taxes, voted to retain "super-majority" approval for local school levies and strongly approved a law that would penalize insurance companies that don't pay legitimate claims.

Weekend 11/3/2007 12:22:00 PM
The new movie "Dan in Real Life" was cute and funny. 

Alas, this will be a weekend of catching up at work.

Eric Note to self:
Eric Note to my other self: This one is free,
Eric Of course, it's not the same thing...
Dave Matt likes SmugMug <>

+ Comment
Another Clinton on campus 11/2/2007 9:25:00 AM
Bill Clinton was on campus this morning talking about his new book and the recently ended Microsoft Employee Giving Campaign (a record $72 million was raised).  Considering the poor quality of the photos from Hillary Clinton's visit last month, this time I brought my much nicer Canon S2 with 12x zoom lens.  Alas, what I didn't bring was a memory card.  To complete the fiasco, my SmartPhone is currently running a beta release of the OS that doesn't support the phone's built-in digital camera.  Sigh.

Good speech and even better Q&A though, so I'm glad I woke up early for it.

If only... 10/30/2007 8:08:00 AM
Dave April 1st RFCs: <'_Day_RFC> My favorite is still IP datagrams on Avian Carriers: <>
andrewb Aww Dave are you saying thats not a real RFC? :)
Eric Nah, he's just saying that there are lots of great ideas and coincidentally, they're posted on the first day of April.
Eric Nah, he's just saying that there are lots of great ideas and coincidentally, they're posted on the first day of April.
Eric Nah, he's just saying that there are lots of great ideas and coincidentally, they're posted on the first day of April.
andrewb I heard you the first time :)
Eric IE7Pro's ad-blocking MIME handler has a bug.

+ Comment
The one with all the pumpkins... 10/29/2007 9:59:00 PM

Jim Wow...those are way fancier than we ever made

+ Comment
SR Alpha 10/26/2007 11:21:00 AM
In the new SlickRun Alpha, hitting SHIFT+DOWN will pop a menu of known matches against the currently typed text. Another feature (not quite done) under construction is hitting SHIFT+UP to search your start menu for any matches against the currently typed text. These features definitely need more work, but you might find them useful even in their current form.
Dave Is there support for Search Providers yet? =)

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Wow. 10/25/2007 1:26:00 PM

MS announced 27% revenue growth last quarter.
Eric Of course, I should mention that the ~reason~ it went up wasn't our increased revenue, but rather that I sold all of my shares last week. Sigh.

+ Comment
You know your app has made it to the big leagues... 10/23/2007 3:03:00 PM
...when you start to get spam for competitive solutions.  :-)


andrewb are they going to make VSTS a free download too?
Dave Was this targetted spam? =)
Eric Vaguely. I probably subscribed to some development magazine at some point. I wrote to the author to tease him about it and he was very kind.

+ Comment
Hillary Clinton speaks at MSPAC 10/23/2007 11:30:00 AM
Hillary Clinton came to speak on Microsoft's campus this morning, three days before her 50th birthday.  While I don't think her answer to a question on skilled-worker immigration was as good as Giuliani's, she didn't dodge the hard questions at the end with easy "answers," which impressed me. 

Crayons 10/22/2007 8:37:00 AM
" We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box. " - Robert Fulghum (b.1937)
Playin' around 10/21/2007 1:58:00 PM
Jane and I saw Twelfe Night at the Seattle Rep last night.  It was a bit hard to follow at the beginning, but it was really well done and quite funny toward the end. 
Movies... 10/20/2007 11:10:00 AM
We Own the Night was slow and realistic to the point of boredom.  The Departed was a far better cop movie.
Fast, and furious? 10/16/2007 11:16:00 PM
Leila What is the #1...2....3.... counter thing in the webaddress? :)
Eric A counter thing. :-)
D In an internet cafe in a village in India...your page loads pretty fast for a < 56k connection.
Leila what is it counting?
Eric The number of seconds since page load.
Leila Yes but why are you tracking this? :) It seems sneaky ;)
Chris Make it not stop when i right click
Eric Yeah, kinda funny that context menus block the script thread, isn't it?
andrewb Make it not click each time the URL refreshes! :)
Eric Pretty awesome, huh? :-)

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"Average salaries" 10/16/2007 8:48:00 PM
Yeah, I wish...
Dave I think someone's messing up the curve
Eric Ah, but they were not unnecessary at all!

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Hehe... 10/15/2007 6:31:00 PM
I think Dave might really be Ian Hickson in disguise.

Dave What an interesting idea. Now if my bank provided an authenticated RSS feed of my credit card transactions...

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Same team, New role 10/4/2007 10:01:00 AM
On October 15th, I'll be taking over the job of Program Manager for Internet Explorer Security.  In many ways, it's a logical role for me, although I'm not sure the increased visibility is exactly going to be desirable.  As I noted to my GPM, "I've just had a giant target painted on my back."  He reassured me: "Don't worry, there's one on the front too!"  :-)

We'll see if this really turns out to be one of the "Worst Jobs in Science" as Popular Science believes.  :-O

Chris May the force be with you...
D Congrats.
Eugene The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills.

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Hehe... 10/3/2007 5:07:00 PM
Someone built an X-Wing Fighter.  That's pretty cool.
Eric They launched it. wing-rocket-launches-disintegrates-mid air-307945.php

+ Comment
Law of the Universe? 9/30/2007 8:42:00 PM
Ever notice how unstable your word processor becomes when it's late the night before a deadline?  Fortunately, we now have crash recovery.  Unfortunately, we now have applications that try to be smart and helpful.


Weekend 9/30/2007 3:44:00 PM
Ugh.  It's been so long since I've been sick that this cold has reduced me to a sniffling, sleepy mess.  Alas, I have to get tons of work done today and this upcoming week-- Clint's coming up for PuzzleHunt this Friday!!

Jane and I saw "3:10 to Yuma" last night.  I was optimistic-- an action western/thriller with good actors, and plenty of nice scenery... but it's crippled by a simplistic and rather implausible plot that led to a quantity of laughter and shaking my head in disbelief usually only experienced when watching a comedy.  Ah well.

Season 2 of Prison Break has been good so far...

Steve Souder's book 9/28/2007 10:03:00 AM
I tech reviewed two books this year.  Steve's was one of them, and my blurb made the back cover.

Sorta insulting, sorta cool. 9/28/2007 7:12:00 AM
Dave Looks like a good start to porting SL to .Net right? =)

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Fun in the sun! 9/28/2007 6:59:00 AM
We haven't used up much vacation this year, so Jane and I will be spending Thanksgiving week on Po'ipu beach in sunny Kauai, Hawaii.  (Apparently, they filmed the new King Kong movie here. :-)

Oops... 9/25/2007 7:24:00 AM
Note to self: If I ever find a time machine, send this list to the Excel 2007 team before they ship.


Dave Wow that's a good one. I thought this would just be demonstrations of floating point math producing results inconsistent with real math. But how do you accidentally get 100000 instead of 65535? Granted 65535 is a special number but where does 100000 come from? Try '=65535*2/2' and '=65535*2.1/2.1'
Dave Err... 1.1 not 2.1 above
Chris Hmmm, they ( say its a display issue and the calculation is really working on the backend.
Eric Phew, that's a relief. It just ~looks~ like a bug. :-)

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Hurrah! 9/24/2007 8:15:00 PM
Jim got me the Space Quest Collection CD with all 6 episodes of the fantastic Space Quest game. 

The re-released collection claims to be XP compatible, and naturally, it's not, bailing out on boot.  But it wasn't too hard to do an in-place upgrade to the version of the open-source DOSBox that the re-release relies upon for the heavy lifting, and now everything is humming along quite nicely. 

Thank you, open source community, and thank you, Jim!

Dave Cool! I got stuck replaying 5 some years ago because the arcade mini-game where you have to line up your shuttle with a port on a larger craft seems to run as fast as it can. When I had a 386 this was reasonable but now...

+ Comment
Office Competition 9/18/2007 9:37:00 AM
After a frustrating 15 minutes installing and booting IBM's newly free Lotus Symphony office suite, I'm convinced that the MS Office guys have nothing to worry about.

Leila Eric! Please help me! How do you get rid of the annoying click IE makes when you click on anything, or when you refresh? I am forced to use IE in an IE application and it refreshes every few seconds and it's driving me crazy :)
Leila I see your status is so very frustrated too :) hope you get less frustrated soon
Eric Sorry about that. In the System control panel, choose "Sounds and audio devices." Click the Sounds tab, scroll down to "Start navigation" and set it to "None"
Leila yay! thankyou!!!!!!!!!

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Heh 9/18/2007 7:09:00 AM
I have a feeling this will do more for US Military recruiting than anything out of the Defense Department's PR arm:
andrewb I'd be very surprised if the DoD's PR dept had nothing to do with that. Maybe MSFT recruitment could try a similar ploy?
Adam Maybe it's me, but this seems to ring familiar with sounds of 72 virgins awaiting you in heaven. True to form, we want our rewards in this life. Perhaps they need something to combat the top 10 lies recruiters tell list that is floating around the net:
Eric I think it's fair to say that "sex sells" all over the world... but it's probably a stretch to equate the two.

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Miscellaneous Mischief 9/16/2007 5:44:00 PM
I went to the Apple store today to look at the new 3rd generation Nano and Touch Ipods.  These Apple guys are freakin' amazing.  The new Nano is tiny, but has a remarkably nice (but cramped) screen.  At $149 for the 4gig model, it's so cheap I can't think of any serious competition.  In contrast, the Touch has a much larger screen, WIFI, and some other nifty features, but at 399$ for the 16gig model, it's not for the faint of wallet.  For now, I think I'll have to just be happy with my microscopically amazing Shuffle, and first-generation Nano.

Jane and I had our first tango lesson last Tuesday.  It was not as painful as I feared it would be (I suggested that Jane wear steel-toed dance shoes).  That said, I must also note that I left the class newly confident that not only can I not dance, but my ability to walk is somewhat in question.  We're going to miss session #2 since we're flying back to Maryland for Jason's wedding, but hopefully we can catch up in class #3.

- Jane and I liked Ratatouille.
- Superbad was overwhelmingly offensive, but hilarious.
- Cooper Mountain Reserve Pinot Noir is a fan-freakin-tastic wine.
- I shipped Fiddler yesterday.  Fingers crossed, but so far, no complaints. :-)
- Halo 3 goes on sale on 9/25.
- Clint comes up for PuzzleHunt on 10/5.

Eric Apparently, the $200 nano costs Apple about 83$ to build.

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Interactive SDK 9/14/2007 11:39:00 AM
Virtual Earth has a cool "interactive" SDK for calling their APIs.
Cracking passwords 9/10/2007 12:51:00 PM
This was downright interesting.  Cracking passwords with precomputed tables:

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A web tool I want... 9/9/2007 11:59:00 AM
I want a web-based ruler.  Apple's new IPOD Nano is 6.5mm thick, but I don't know exactly how big that is.  And who carries a ruler anymore these days?

Now, obviously, there's a challenge here because screens have different densities, so there needs to be a way to calibrate the relative sizes; perhaps if there's the option to calibrate against commonly found objects (e.g. coins, 8.5x11 sheet of paper, etc)? 

While we're on the topic of useful useless applets, how about an easy-to-use game timer, dice, scorepad, and other gadgets for playing board games with long-lost accessories?

Maybe I'll use these as an excuse to play with SilverLight?

andrewb Its a quarter of an inch! For all the weirdness, imperial measurements are much easier to visualise. The metric system is so arbitrary.
Dave The applet should describe the size in terms of how bulky the MP3 player will look in my pants pocket.
Leila I have a ruler!! this is why PDFs are so great. you can get a PDF of a ruler and print it out. Or you can use google in find "6.5 mm in in" or "6.5 mm in cm".. or you can use it to find other objects you are familiar with like coins.. for example 6.5 mm is slightly more than 3 nickel widths, or slightly less than the radius of a dime.
Eugene Lee I personally think you should just learn the metric system :)
Eric The problem here is that I don't really know how big a quarter inch is either. I mean, of course I know in the ~abstract~, but that's not what I want. Printing out a PDF is clever, but sorta defeats the "no new tangible objects" idea.
Eric what is the "no new tangible objects" ideas? i think you have to relate the measurement to something you do know.. like your finger etc (check, one of your fingernails will be 1cm or 2cm then you will always have a cm with you :)). esp for when you don't have a computer with you
Leila hmm why did i type eric for my name??
Rachel That's funny...I taught this unit to my third graders :-)
Eric You taught a unit on Silverlight programming? That's fantastic!
Leila yeah I was going to mention this is the sort of thing we try to teach as well.. students seem very resistive to it though, until they've had practice. maybe if they had learned it in third grade from you!

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Einstein's Performance Review 9/7/2007 10:38:00 AM
It's performance review season again at work.

Albert Einstein's performance review is here:  :-)

Late night... 9/7/2007 1:44:00 AM
Too much caffeine before bed is not a good idea.  Particularly when I'm in the mode to write code. 

A trivial new version of SlickRun is now available; it resolves a few minor bugs and adds support for displaying the current IP address.

Eric In the prior beta, I put in a counter on the SETUP screen showing how many commands had been executed. So far, my work machine has executed 10500 commands. Sheesh.
D Caffeine is good. Without caffeine I would get no work done.

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Pictures 9/5/2007 3:56:00 PM
Jane and I went to see Dave Matthews at the Gorge this weekend.  Amazingly, we managed to setup the tent without too much help from the 15 year old Montanan in the next campsite over ("Oh, you've got a clippy tent.")


I don't suppose... 9/4/2007 8:34:00 PM
...anyone knows where my DVDs of 24 (seasons 1-4) have gone off to?
Dave This sounds like a job for Jack Bauer
Leila We had one of them but I think we gave that back a long time ago?
D I bet Nick has them
Eric Alas, he did not.

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Silly government 8/29/2007 8:02:00 PM
And we think our government is silly.


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Jane (and lots of others) in the New York Times 8/26/2007 9:17:00 PM

Sadly, the NYTimes currently hangs my browser pretty reliably, but it's cool anyway.

leila haha your browser hangs ;) (i must admit i have hung firefox on a few rare occasions, not at nytimes though)
Dave I knew them before they were in a picture on the NYTimes.
Eric Yeah, it's sad. But the NYTimes did try pretty hard.

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Heh 8/24/2007 11:09:00 AM
I think pretty much everything Philip writes is worth reading.

Random stuff 8/23/2007 7:09:00 AM
Apparently, 1 in 4 Americans didn't read any books last year.  Of Americans who did read books, the average was 7.

The Democrats are looking for feedback on their 2008 bumperstickers...  I like one of them.



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Yay! Faster JScript! 8/21/2007 9:45:00 AM

Why should you care about this update ? If you ever encountered performance issues running AJAX applications (e.g. Gmail), you should absolutely consider installing this update. This update includes an updated Garbage Collector that used to previously make AJAX appliications run pretty poorly. This update is available on Vista and we are now providing this to all supported OS versions (XP, Win2K, Win2K Server). You will see noticeably better performance on your favorite AJAX applications and with more and more AJAX applications coming on line, you will be very happy you did this.
Eric Hrm. This might only be useful for IE6 users.
Eric Alas, yes, IE7 already has this goodness. Rats.

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Woot! 8/15/2007 10:51:00 AM
My team is moving to a new building that's halfway to my house... I'll have a window office too!
tariq where are you guys moving to?
Dave Are you getting a window? The spreadsheet I saw...
Eric Yeah, I got a window. Sadly, it's a pretty crappy one (looks directly into the other wing of the building). Jane has a non-window office with a better view.
Eric Tariq, we're moving to B50.

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Philosophy 8/14/2007 3:21:00 PM
It’s unsettling to think of the world being run by a futuristic computer geek, although we might at last dispose of that of classic theological question: How could God allow so much evil in the world? For the same reason there are plagues and earthquakes and battles in games like World of Warcraft. Peace is boring, Dude.
Heh Or maybe, as suggested by Robin Hanson, an economist at George Mason University, you should try to be as interesting as possible, on the theory that the designer is more likely to keep you around for the next simulation.
leila it's funny that they think having lots of processing power is all you need to code and run a simulation properly. simulations always have limitations
Eric Ah, but as components of the simulation, we might not be aware of those limitations. It's sorta like raycasting; you only need to cast rays where the viewer is looking. :-)
Leila I see what you mean but I was thinking along the lines of scientific simulations where the results only make sense on certain time and length scales... for example you make space discrete in the simulation.
Dave The best part is what you should do differently if you suspect you are in a simulation <>: "If you might be living in a simulation then all else equal you should care less about others, live more for today, make your world look more likely to become rich, expect to and try more to particpate in pivotal events, be more entertaining and praiseworthy, and keep the famous people around you happier and more interested in you."
andrewb Nick Bostrom is pretty whacky, in a totally cool way. I first came across his 20% chance of simulation idea in a book by Nicholas Fearn called 'Philosophy', which discusses this and many other ideas. Well worth a look.

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IE7Pro reaches version 1.0 8/14/2007 3:12:00 PM
The new IE7Pro is very cool, especially the EasyHome feature.
Smart move by Google... 8/13/2007 7:02:00 PM
Probably a great way to earn some summer cash.

Movie 8/11/2007 11:33:00 AM
Stardust was pretty funny.  De Niro was hilarious.
Sigh. 8/10/2007 4:05:00 PM
And people call Microsoft the Evil Empire. I think the folks at TicketMaster pretty much have a lock on true evil.
Jane Hey, at least they did not charge shipping! :)
Eric Amusingly, they charge you $2.50 to print the ticket on ~your~ own printer, but they are willing to print them and mail them for free. Weird.
andrewb You think all those electrons they send down the wire are free?

+ Comment
Cool software 8/7/2007 9:43:00 AM
Based on my great experience with the shareware Winsnap, I downloaded TaskSwitchXP today.  Previously, I never tried this tool because every "enhanced task switcher" I've tried has been slow.  This one isn't... If I'm just hitting Alt+Tab, I switch instantly, and if I hold it, the enhanced switching UI comes up extremely quickly.

There's a lot of really interesting software out there.


Logbook - Rest in Peace 8/6/2007 8:37:00 PM
Though I really loved it, Bayden Logbook never shipped publicly, and had only one or two other users.  I never had the time to invest in it, and it was written when I was frighteningly new to proper coding practices. 

Earlier this week, I was happy to have discovered "The Journal" from DavidRM Software.  It's quite similar to Logbook, although much more powerful.  Fortunately, it offers a smart "import" feature so I was able to utilize to import my 800+ Logbook entries directly. 

Let's just see if I can make time to start writing again... I was pretty good about writing daily in high school, and okay in college, but I haven't written much at all since I entered the real world...

Dave Its like a blog except no one reads it...
Eric You crazy kids, publishing your diaries all over the interweb for the neighbors to see. What are you thinking?!

+ Comment
This may well be the most awesome Microsoft demo ever 8/6/2007 11:01:00 AM

Installation is slow, but totally worth it.

I wanna float 8/6/2007 10:47:00 AM
Dave -34.432175
Eric I'm pleased to see that my blog now comes up on top for that particular floating point number. :-)

+ Comment
Weekend 7/29/2007 8:59:00 PM
The Simpsons Movie was pretty funny.
Heh... 7/27/2007 8:13:00 PM
Save energy by visiting darker web pages?  :-)

Eugene I think it makes sense that there are no tangible energy savings on LCDs. LCDs work by filtering out polarized backlight. So I would expect black pixels to consume roughly the same amount of energy as white pixels. I think it makes far more sense to sleep or turn off computers to save energy. Also, those 1700 lumens GE light bulbs consume 26W of power compared to a comparable 100W incandescent light bulb.
andrewb Things like blackle just prove that PT Barnum was right.

+ Comment
Thanks, Chris! 7/22/2007 4:12:00 PM
Christopher Broussard helped Jane and I move a ton of furniture over the weekend (a lot more than I realized when I asked him to help)... thanks, Chris!!!

We donated about 500 pounds of stuff this weekend to various charities and took ~200 pounds of cardboard to the dump.  The garage is slowly starting to get emptied, and the house is slowly starting to come together.  The new dining room table arrives on Wednesday, and I'm scared of how much cardboard they might box it in... :-O

Chris Anytime! It was fun! Next time though I promise not to make you guys sit through one of my poetry readings (^__^)

+ Comment
Further alarm clock fun 7/18/2007 9:56:00 AM
Clever, and simpler than the Alarm Clock that rolls away from you.
Erin What a great website! Check out the Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap!!! I also like the customer action shots!
Dave I think you meant this alarm clock <>
Dave And writing of time pieces I think this is awesome: <>
Eric Heh. Heh. Heh.
6/18/07 Eric said I'll try to post some photos from Vegas, TechEd, and Maryland soon. STILL NOOOOO PHOTOS!!!!!!!!!!
Eric True that.

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[Tools] C# screen capture 7/16/2007 6:59:00 PM
This looks promising:
Eric Also, a web developer's handbook
David J Smith I've been using Cropper for a long time. I just stumbled across Fiddler and I'm excited to see which one I'll get more use out of. :)

+ Comment
Sheesh. 7/12/2007 8:34:00 AM
New York has a fairly large number of extremely crazy, extremely wealthy people.
Firefox discovers the keyboard 7/11/2007 6:12:00 PM

I've been driving IE primarily through SlickRun for years.

Eric Further discussion of interest:

+ Comment
One year 7/11/2007 4:04:00 PM
A year ago today, I met Jane.
Jane Hehe... Is this a reminder to remember for next year?

+ Comment
Grrr 7/10/2007 10:05:00 AM is terribly frustrating, as they screw up autocomplete all over my system for  I might never use GoodReads for that reason alone.  :-(
Alas... 7/9/2007 3:14:00 PM
Unfortunately, Photoshop can usually deliver a better looking image than a digital camera.  But I suppose there's something to be said for authenticity.  :-)

EricLaw and BillG at EE2007
Rachel Why are you not smiling?
Eric I'm thinking "don't drop the crystal, don't drop the crystal, don't drop the crystal." Before that, I was thinking "don't trip, don't trip, don't trip."
andrewb Never mind photoshop - a razor wouldnt have gone astray for a big occasion ;)
Eric Hehe... fair enough. I actually did trim a bit from the mountain man look I sported the day before. But my razor is sorta broken from my TechEd trip... need to go replace that.
andrewb Getting an award photo with bill makes everything ok!
Maddog Hmm.. you don't write what the award is for. It is intriguing. Picture is too small. Congrats anyway (I'll say it now, and again after I know what it is for :)
Eric Fiddler won an Engineering Excellence award. This is an internal award at Microsoft given every year to teams (or individuals) that develop tools or processes that significantly advance engineering for us or our customers.

+ Comment
The Great Cleanup 7/9/2007 1:04:00 PM
Jane and I have spent the last few weekends decluttering the house and garage... there's a lot of furniture and clothing left to donate, but we're making real progress.  I'll have to remember to post some pictures when we're done.
Chris Ahh, such fond memories...
Eric :-) We chucked about 10 boxes of stuff so far.
Dave Let me know before you toss any PSPs, iPods, etc... =)

+ Comment
Die Hard 7/8/2007 7:43:00 AM
The new Die Hard was fan-tastic!
Hrm... I'm not sure how I should feel about this... 7/6/2007 3:57:00 PM
andrewb I dont see why people need an opensource alternative to a free tool. I suspect what happened is they built it and then someone said "oh, its just like slickrun".
Leila How do you feel about it?
Chris Those thieving bas**rds! They weren’t shy about ripping it off were they? I personally think it’s a very cheap imitation. I'm surprised the "SlickRun" keyword didn't just link to your page. Anyway just consider it flattery; especially after the reviews still put you on top.
Vicke Ld You now have competition, and more incentive to improve SlickRun. There's only one truly American way to feel about that: hatred! Buy them and cancel the project, or just make up some reason and invade them and kill them all!
Eric Heh. I'm trying to decide whether or not to join them.
Maddog LOL, hilarious. I guess it's not the best time to say that I'm building an open source alternative to fiddler. heh. Just kidding :)
Eric Given the number of extensibility points it has, Fiddler's more of a platform than a product.

+ Comment
What to do for the 4th? 7/2/2007 1:55:00 PM
andrewb wheres the interactive poll?

+ Comment
Kwik-E-Mart 7/2/2007 11:56:00 AM
A dozen 7-11s have become Kwik-E-Marts to promote the new Simpsons movie...;_ylt=AhW2xk_50Ugddf6jQM7aTrzMWM0F

Stats 7/1/2007 2:39:00 PM
254,000+ boots of Fiddler last month.  More than 20000 viewings of the demo videos.
Jason Do you have a patent on that? You are going to make millions! Way to go bro!
Eric Alas, no millions. ;-)

+ Comment
Cool! 6/27/2007 3:40:00 PM
IMAPI v2 (CD/DVD burning) is coming to XP/2003 later this month!
Congrats! 6/27/2007 11:50:00 AM
tariq waiting for your picture to show up like this with the lucky lady... :)
Eric :-)
JAY & ERIN Make sure you put this picture in your basement to scare away the mice! Can't wait to see you guys in Sept. It'll be here before you know it. Oh by the should move to Boston!!!!

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Yay... 6/26/2007 4:10:00 PM
Mom Congratulations son, we are so proud of you! Enjoy, you earned it!
Dave Woo Fiddler! Go Eric!
D I heard the news...congratulations!!
tariq good job eric... you deserved it...
Anson That's fantastic!
Henry Congrats! A few months late...

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Progress... 6/25/2007 3:00:00 AM
I saw a 100 gig hard drive in Staples this morning.  It was new in box, name brand, and $9.50.  Of course I picked it up (a steal) but ended up putting it back before I checked out... I was sorta depressed to realize that with my myriad machines scattered around the house and office, I'll never really need a 100 gig drive.  If I ever need to crack one of these machines open, I'll probably drop a TB or so in. 
Leila I would be careful with discounted name brand harddrives as they are probably an older generation that will no longer be produced and probably only have a 1 year warranty. what is your favorite brand? every single harddrive i have owned has broken except for the one that was stolen.
Eric That's a fair point, Leila.
Leila What kind of backup system do you use?
Eric I've got an external 320gig drive, and a mirroring RAID array as the primary drive. I back up my source remotely on a network drive and my web server.

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Fiddler Timelining... 6/19/2007 5:46:00 PM
Coming soon to a Fiddler near you...
Rachel I am SO excited!!!! :-P
Dave Pretty =)
Chris That's bloody awesome! *goes to install latest beta and grins*
Eric Alas, this won't be ready until v2.1...
D Nice.

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Thoughts... 6/19/2007 4:11:00 PM
SmartPhones still aren't. But they're getting closer.  But, if I could just cram my 1920x1200 display down into the thing, it might be a bit nicer.  :-)
IE7Pro rocks 6/19/2007 9:27:00 AM
IE7Pro now includes spelll-checking, crash-recovery and ad-blocking features.
Six years 6/18/2007 10:29:00 AM
It's my Microsoft-birthday today.  Six years.  Bringing in a pound of chocolate per year is starting to get borderline ridiculous.  On the upside, I'm now accumulating vacation faster-- four weeks a year.

I'm sorta happy to be back in the office-- I've flown somewhere around 12K miles in the past month, and I was starting to miss my bed (and my cat!)  So far, no more summer plans before I go back to Jason's wedding in September.

I'll try to post some photos from Vegas, TechEd, and Maryland soon. 

Jane It's my Seattle birthday today... One year since I moved to Seattle and left Canada.
D Congrats! Chris & I are approaching our 5th MS year on july 1st...perhaps him & I should split the M&M's?
???? Still waiting on the photot to be posted from Vegas, Maryland, TechEd

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Safari for Windows 6/13/2007 9:11:00 AM
Apple released their Safari browser for Windows, calling it the "World's Best Browser."  Some disagree.

Funny... 6/5/2007 3:07:00 AM
Funny bank robbery story from this is true:
Eric Many years ago, I believe my grandmother worked in a bank and did something similar. The article in the paper said something like "Spunky teller foils robbery."
leila happy birthday! :)
Rachel AHH! Happy Birthday!
Jason & Erin Happy Birthday old man!! :P

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Why no cell phones on planes (+1 Insightful) 6/1/2007 7:53:00 PM

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Heh. 6/1/2007 7:26:00 AM
250,000+ boots of Fiddler last month. 

It turns out that for the Engineering Excellence awards, they don't tell you if you've won until they announce it up on stage.   I suppose it's more "exciting" that way...

tariq did you get the engineering excl award?
Eric Not announced til 6/26...

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Hehe... 5/30/2007 9:09:00 PM
Nice warning message...
mike I would love to know what program prompts with that message
Eric Windows Vista's version of WordPad if you attempt to open a dangerous OLE package embedded within.

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The internet is a very very strange beast. 5/29/2007 7:49:00 PM
D If only the website had a demo of how to barbecue corn before your bday party...

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Sample Chapter 5/29/2007 5:02:00 PM
Sample chapter about Fiddler from a book on AJAX:

Anson is famous! 5/25/2007 9:38:00 AM

Please take note: Anson is my friend, and he is now famous because his name and article are on the cover of MSDN Magazine.  Therefore, I am cool by association. :-)

Freaky 5/23/2007 11:38:00 AM
leila do you have a account?
Dave You'd think that with all the links he posts on here that he should, right? How can you jump from blog to twitter without any other Web2.0 buzzword activities like link sharing? =)
Eric What fun is it if you don't write your own code?

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Shootings... 5/21/2007 9:17:00 AM
I went to the Microsoft Studio for the first time this morning. It's one of the few buildings on campus where your badge alone isn't enough to get you in.  I had a quick little photo shoot for an internal award Fiddler is a finalist for, on a large all-white soundstage.  It was pretty cool, although over in just a few minutes.  Apparently, Billg was there earlier this morning for a live segment on the Today show, but there was no sign of him around...

The photographer was good... Halfway through the shoot, she said "So, you're just a one-man show?" (most of these awards are for groups) to which I replied "Yeah," and she retorted "I guess that makes it easy to get along with your team!"  I think she was just going for a natural smile and laugh, but she got it. 

Alas, the fun is over and it's back to the grindstone... my PowerPoint deck for TechEd 2007 is due at 5pm and I'm severely behind.

leila you probably already know your page loads a lot slower because of twitter?
Eric Which browser? The Twitter script is behind a DEFER=TRUE, so it shouldn't actually impact loading of the main content body anymore...
Eric I learned today that current versions of Firefox still block while downloading DEFER'd scripts. Upgrade to IE for better performance. :-)
leila "upgrade"? ;) I did upgrade to firefox2 :)
Eric Ah, but if you upgrade to IE, you'll get better performance. :-)
Leila Websites should perform well on all browsers :) sorry, until firefox crashes on me/messes up i won't be using IE. even after that annoying runonce page with the new IE was resolved i still want to be able to put my bookmarks in any order i want, not alphabetical.

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Hehe. 5/18/2007 12:41:00 PM
Apparently, Fiddler was a finalist in the 2007 Tools Contest.  Naturally, I first heard about this after the contest was over. :-)
Jane It's too bad Fiddler did not win. These people don't know better. Who needs Apache Ant!!! :)
Mom Congrats!
test 123
test2 456
test3 567
test4 4444
test5 5555
Mom Did anyone pass the test?
Eric You did, Mom, you did!

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Microsoft apparently didn't check the price tag... 5/18/2007 7:56:00 AM
andrewb Its too bad stocks dont have a "if you can find it cheap elsewhere we'll match the price" clause - you could save msft 2.5bn or thereabouts.

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:-) 5/16/2007 9:55:00 AM
Despair, Inc. is now selling T-Shirts.
Jane I like the one that says "Don't ever change! I always want to be better than you." LOL.

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Another busy weekend... 5/14/2007 2:17:00 PM
Jane and I watched the Mariners beat the Yankees 3-0 on Friday night, and had Sunava over for dinner (lasagna, yum!) on Saturday.  On Sunday, we went hiking with Anthony and Pavel; we saw three different waterfalls somewhere out in the Cascades.

Go good guys! 5/8/2007 2:06:00 PM
WinXP x64 SP2 shipped today and I installed it without incident.  Pretty cool.

If you haven't gone to Windows Update to install the regular monthly patch, you should do so.  Lots of baddies in there.

Hehe... 5/8/2007 10:11:00 AM
Two years after I wrote it, one of my posts made the Slashdot homepage.
It's all about context... 5/5/2007 3:30:00 PM
I never expected that I'd be delighted to hear someone tell me: "You've got the teeth of a twelve year-old boy."  Of course, at the dentist this afternoon, there was pretty much nothing I could be happier to hear.  :-D  

The dentist pulled his assistant in saying "Check out these amazing virgin teeth!" which made me a bit uncomfortable, but hey, it's better than him calling up his financial planner to announce he'd just hit the jackpot.  :-)  After the x-rays, I had my teeth cleaned with a "Cavitron" a new ultrasonic doodad that replaces the old cleaning method.  I gotta say, my teeth feel freaky clean.

ERIN So how do you get your brother to go to the dentist before he loses all of his teeth before the wedding??? He hasn't been since he had temp. teeth a couple of years ago!!!! HE needs a new set of dentures before the wedding, please help...gummey the dummey.

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Yay... 5/4/2007 5:51:00 PM
Fiddler's installer is about to get 40% smaller.  Woot.  Die ActiveX, die!
Twitter... 5/2/2007 4:10:00 PM
Twitter is this ridiculous webservice where you can send it information about what you're doing right this second and then all of your (presumably extremely bored) friends can subscribe to updates on what you're doing.

A SlickRun user was curious about whether or not he could post to Twitter from SlickRun.  The answer, of course, is yes.  So then I got to playing with Twitter.  And while it's cheezy and lame, it's kinda fun.  So, I've added a Twitter indicator to the top of this page.  We'll see if I ever update it.  :-D

Eugene I actually like the idea behind Twitter. It is a way of officially separating out the kinds of blog posts that I *don't* normally want to read.
Eric hehehe...
Dave (12:40am) Hmm... Twitter says you're sleeping right now that can't be correct...

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Fascinating... 5/2/2007 8:18:00 AM
If your heart stops, it's often oxygen that kills it.
My favorite new spam 4/30/2007 9:59:00 AM
Title: He was issuing instructions to his officers, who were bent over a map spread on the frontal armor of a gigantic tank.
Body: It is not allowed in.

Dave On the next episode of Tek Jansen...
Eric I'm excited and amused and scared that my site is now the #1 google hit for the term "map spread on the frontal armor of a gigantic tank". :-D
andrewb If I google for "slob with his hands in his pockets" guess who I find? :)
Dave I'm not sure what Google image search is doing but Andrew's phrase has some interesting images there too... =)

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On MSDN Germany this weekend... 4/30/2007 7:34:00 AM
Fiddler - Fiddler ist ein HTTP Debugging Proxy welcher allen HTTP Verkehr zwischen dem eigenen Rechner und dem Internet aufzeichnet. Fiddler ermöglicht es den gesamten HTTP Verkehr zu untersuchen, Haltepunkte zu setzen und mit ein- und ausgehenden Nachrichten zu spielen. Fiddler wurde mit dem Ziel entwickelt deutlich einfacher in der Anwendung als NetMon oder Achilles zu sein und beinhaltet ein einfaches, jedoch leistungsfähiges eventbasierendes JScript.NET Scripting System.

andrewb translation : fiddler rocks!
Dave Doesn't the German language have a single word to express the notion of Fiddler rocking?
Eric rofl

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Tulips! 4/29/2007 12:39:00 PM
The weather was great this weekend, so Jane and I went north to Mount Vernon for the tail end of the annual Tulip Festival.  I took ~1.5gb of photos with my S2, most of which were gorgeous shots of Jane in the tulips...

In pretty much every photo of me, I'm modelling the ever popular slob-with-his-hands-in-his-pockets look...

This is both cool and scary... 4/28/2007 11:36:00 PM

Tracksticks are tiny GPS location recorders capable of continuously logging their own location histories for extended periods of time. The Trackstick records its own location, time, date, speed, heading and altitude at preset intervals. Traveled routes can be viewed directly in Google EarthT. Includes GPX photo stamping feature for adding your favorite photos to you own maps., $169.00

andrewb You (and everyone!) should read Ambient Findability.

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IE1 to IE7, a visual history 4/27/2007 10:25:00 AM
Sorta neat:
andrewb Call me old school if you will, but I like how the first IE just had one simple toolbar and an address bar. Less is More!

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Slashdot humor 4/26/2007 7:40:00 PM

Slashdot Q: "Ever since Senator Ted Stevens used the phrase 'series of tubes' to describe his understanding of the Internet, I've noticed several stories and comments referencing how silly that is. What are your suggestions for a succinct layman's definition of the Internet?"


A: Imagine a giant radish, like a planet sized radish. Now imagine that there's a bunny hopping to the radish, and it takes a bite out of it. But the bunny spits out that bite and kind of smears it back in place on the radish with a paw. Then it rains.

That's the internet.         

Heh. 4/26/2007 9:18:00 AM
Articles of impeachment have been submitted for Dick Cheney.

Flash Hard disks (32gb for 549$) 4/25/2007 10:58:00 AM

                                Flash SSD             ----------- HDD -----------

1.8” (2.5”)               2.5”        1.8”         1.0”


Sustained            58/32                     25/25     20/20     4.3~7.2

R/W (MB)


Weekend 4/23/2007 10:25:00 AM
Jane and I went to see Fracture this weekend... Anthony Hopkins was great, as usual, and the movie was pretty good. 

We went to Dave's on Sunday to see the classic computer geek movies AntiTrust and Sneakers... Anson and Rachel wimped out as usual :-(, but it was fun anyway.

Rachel If by "wimped out" you mean "were responsible and stayed home to get work done" then yes...yes, we wimped out :-)
Eric And just who procrastinated in the first place?!?
Leila I thought Anson and Clint were playing WOW on Sunday night?

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Totally sexist and totally funny. 4/19/2007 10:00:00 AM
What she means when she says that:
Games in Flash 4/17/2007 3:14:00 PM
This is pretty cool.
Jim Not really sure what to say about this game...apparently one character is irritable because of PMS

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Snicker... 4/17/2007 2:59:00 PM
Dave 'Where by “complementary” we mean “the two leading technologies that irritate people when they’re used in lieu of regular web pages.”'. Awesome.
Leila I must the only one who loves adobe and PDFs :( finding word documents in lieu of html is much much much more annoying. or powerpoint slides.
Eric Ewww. PDF is evil, but ever so slightly better than Word docs.
Leila See, everything I do ends up in PDF, my papers from latex to dvi to ps to pdf... my plots from eps to pdf and posters. I also do all my talks in latex and convert them to PDF. They are much more reliable and better looking than powerpoint slides. It is very useful for documents... so when I click on a link for a journal paper I expect it to be pdf and not html. I agree that pdf is annoying when used in ways it isn't really useful/intended for...especially when they make the file size unnecessarily large. but what other format would you prefer for papers and things? plus, i don't use adobe to make pdfs, it is free for anyone to make them without adobe involved at all. i'm interested in what you computer scientists are attaching to your emails :)
andrewb For research papers, there has to be a pdf. A good practice is publish online content as HTML and have a "printer friendly" link to a pdf version. Naturally youre trusting the browsers to layout your html properly, but we all trust the browsers.. right? :)
Eric All y'all academics and your PDF-lovin' ways... :-P
andrewb I'm a PDF Handling Dude (almost). I like powerpoint when I have to distract people with diagrams in meetings.

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I need to get one of these for my dad... 4/17/2007 8:04:00 AM
Jim I need one of those

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Eric cooks, fire department not required! 4/16/2007 10:24:00 AM
Happy 25th to Jane!

andrewb Happy Birthday Jane, and congratulations to Eric on some impressive cooking!
Chris יום הולדת שמח
Chris Yom Huledet Same'ach!
Eric Unicode comments are “fixed”!
Leila Heyyyy I just turned 25 too, what day is her birthday?
Jane Happy Birthday Leila :) My birthday is on April 14th, what's yours?
Erin Happy Birthday Leila & Jane My b-day is on April 26th!!!!
Jane April Birthdays rule! :)
Leila happy birthday jane and erin :) Mine is the 11th :) it falls on easter sometimes, yours must too?
andrewb Apparently all the cool kids have their birthdays in april.
Mom Not quite all! June 11, June 30, and Sept.14 blow Andrew's theory! :-)
Erin Who has the Sept. 14th birthday?
Erin: Duh! Jays birthday! But men don't count. This is for cool woman who have birthdays in April.
andrewb and me! :P

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Opera 9.2 is out... 4/12/2007 9:16:00 AM
It's got a cool new feature called "SpeedDial".


Also this page is neat.. Innovations by Opera:


Kittens! 4/12/2007 9:11:00 AM
Awwww... Chris added a random-kitten generator to the right-nav on his website.
Jane Jane Aw... Cute kitten... I particularly enjoyed "You May Pull Your pants up now" post. That's hilarious!
Chris One of these days I'm going to get shot, tazed, or beat down by the man.
Jim That is indeed hilarious

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Disaster relief 4/10/2007 9:49:00 AM
I don't read Phil's blog as often as I should.  This was interesting:
Eric is pretty cool

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Thought provoking... 4/9/2007 10:48:00 PM
A few days ago I suddenly realized Microsoft was dead.

Eric ROFL:
Eric One of the best articles on software development, ever:
Eric And one of the best on startups:

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Busy Weekend 4/9/2007 10:05:00 AM
Jane's friends were in town for her birthday, and we had a very busy weekend.  She showed them around Seattle on Friday, and we all got up early on Saturday to go hiking at Wallace Falls, about an hour north of home.  Anthony, Terrace, Victoria, Jane, and I went up to the upper falls; it was a pretty easy hike, but at a good level for us.  We took a ton of pictures, although I managed to stay out of most of them with my hat-hair.  :-)

After dinner, the five of us went to Seattle for dinner, drinks, and dancing, joined by Dave, Sarah, Leah, Amar, Mike, Kristen, Jen and Irena.  It was quite a party!  :-)

Jane You misspelled a few names (Terris and Irina), but overall a pretty nice summary. :)
Eric Canadians!
Jane Apparently, Americans are the ones that can’t spell! :-P
Mary Jane is SO cute! And you look so happy! I haven't met her, but I like her. :)
Rachel Dancing? =-)

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Gorgeous 4/6/2007 10:50:00 AM
The weather in Redmond is incredible today!  Low 70s and tons of sun... :-) 
Mary You suck. It was nice and warm here. Then it snowed.
andrewb Meanwhile here in Sydney we're breaking out our jackets because summer is over and its only just making it into the 70's. Brrr!
D Did you do any yard work when the weather was good, Eric?
Eric Of course not. ;-)

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My first seder(s) 4/4/2007 9:18:00 AM
Jane hosted a seder at her house on Monday and Tuesday night; on Monday we were joined by Anthony, and on Tuesday by Sharon (a fellow PM) and Mike.  While any dinner menu that calls for four glasses of wine is probably going to be a good one, I must say that the food was great on both nights, and it was a very interesting experience. 
Command and Conquer 3