mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
There's a story here, I'll try to sum up quickly:

A friend of ours recently committed suicide, leaving a wife and five year old daughter. As a part of his decline to that act, he went through a paranoid stage and installed a keylogger called (we think) Spectre on his wife's computer. Now that she is a single mom, she needs to work from home but the software interferes with the functioning of her scanner, network connection, fax, etc.

I have Googled and Bing'd till I'm blue in the fingers, but the two reputable guides I found for removing it (websites that didn't just try to sell me more software) didn't do me any good. The registry keys and dll files they suggested weren't there, but when I hit the login access keys (ALT+CTRL+SHIFT+S), the login screen came up, so I KNOW it's there.

I've installed a HOSTS file with a suspected domain shit-canned.

I've installed WinPatrol, but it doesn't list any processes or startup entries that look suspicious.

I've installed and run SuperAntiSpyware, but it found nothing.

Question: Is there a freeware tool for Windows that allows me to identify a window - the login screen, for instance - and identify its parent process?

Question: Is there a freeware tool for Windows XP that monitors and logs outgoing TCP/IP traffic? This software phones home periodically with screenshots and captured data, so there is definitely outgoing traffic. I need, at the very least, to kill those packets.

Question: any other helpful advice?

Worse come to worst, I can slam the harddrive and reinstall the OS, assuming she can find her original install disc. I've got a "borrowed" copy of XP, but no idea if it actually works or not, or if it does if she'd be able to get security updates, etc.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
There's a story here, I'll try to sum up quickly:

A friend of ours recently committed suicide, leaving a wife and five year old daughter. As a part of his decline to that act, he went through a paranoid stage and installed a keylogger called (we think) Spectre on his wife's computer. Now that she is a single mom, she needs to work from home but the software interferes with the functioning of her scanner, network connection, fax, etc.

I have Googled and Bing'd till I'm blue in the fingers, but the two reputable guides I found for removing it (websites that didn't just try to sell me more software) didn't do me any good. The registry keys and dll files they suggested weren't there, but when I hit the login access keys (ALT+CTRL+SHIFT+S), the login screen came up, so I KNOW it's there.

I've installed a HOSTS file with a suspected domain shit-canned.

I've installed WinPatrol, but it doesn't list any processes or startup entries that look suspicious.

I've installed and run SuperAntiSpyware, but it found nothing.

Question: Is there a freeware tool for Windows that allows me to identify a window - the login screen, for instance - and identify its parent process?

Question: Is there a freeware tool for Windows XP that monitors and logs outgoing TCP/IP traffic? This software phones home periodically with screenshots and captured data, so there is definitely outgoing traffic. I need, at the very least, to kill those packets.

Question: any other helpful advice?

Worse come to worst, I can slam the harddrive and reinstall the OS, assuming she can find her original install disc. I've got a "borrowed" copy of XP, but no idea if it actually works or not, or if it does if she'd be able to get security updates, etc.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Microsoft's own developers prefer to code the old fashioned way: with text editors rather than their own Visual Studio.

Snover joked that programming is getting so abstract, developers will soon have to use Microsoft's in-air motion sensor game controller for the Xbox, dubbed Project Natal, to "write programs through interpretative dance."

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9141465/Microsoft_s_top_developers_prefer_old_school_coding_methods

Thank you. I was beginning to think I was the only one.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Microsoft's own developers prefer to code the old fashioned way: with text editors rather than their own Visual Studio.

Snover joked that programming is getting so abstract, developers will soon have to use Microsoft's in-air motion sensor game controller for the Xbox, dubbed Project Natal, to "write programs through interpretative dance."

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9141465/Microsoft_s_top_developers_prefer_old_school_coding_methods

Thank you. I was beginning to think I was the only one.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Titanic)
I don't know what pisses me off more: the fact that we set up the DNS for our newest client incorrectly, pointing a single subdomain to two different IP addresses; the fact that our provider has an interface that would allow the mistake; or the fact that we didn't discover this boner until the client was in training and now has to wait for the DNS correction to propogate to their corner of the internet.

It's not like we have a standard operating procedure for this particular instance since this is the first rollout of a pilot program, but just in general doesn't it make sense that if we have separate development and production environments with two different sets of IPs that we'd want to have different sub-domains, too? It's a wonder we were able to test at all.

Angry, just angry. It's a stupid mistake made by someone who was in a rush to get something done with insufficient knowledge of the task who didn't think to consult the one person he always has to ask eventually anyway.

In case you're wondering, I'm on the "answering the questions" half of this equation. I do all of the DNS work...or, as I found out this morning, most of it.

mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Titanic)
I don't know what pisses me off more: the fact that we set up the DNS for our newest client incorrectly, pointing a single subdomain to two different IP addresses; the fact that our provider has an interface that would allow the mistake; or the fact that we didn't discover this boner until the client was in training and now has to wait for the DNS correction to propogate to their corner of the internet.

It's not like we have a standard operating procedure for this particular instance since this is the first rollout of a pilot program, but just in general doesn't it make sense that if we have separate development and production environments with two different sets of IPs that we'd want to have different sub-domains, too? It's a wonder we were able to test at all.

Angry, just angry. It's a stupid mistake made by someone who was in a rush to get something done with insufficient knowledge of the task who didn't think to consult the one person he always has to ask eventually anyway.

In case you're wondering, I'm on the "answering the questions" half of this equation. I do all of the DNS work...or, as I found out this morning, most of it.

mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Remember in a previous post how I talked about using the Linux box for video capture? I have no idea if it's going to work, so I'm not willing to spend very much (read: any) money to buy a new card. I called the PC repair shop that happens to be on my way home from work. However, cautious type that I am, I'm not willing to just stop in on the outside chance that he might have one. I called on the outside chance he might be in.

The phone call went like this.

*ring* *ring*

"Vic's PC Shop."

"Your sign says you have used PC parts."

"Yep, I do."

"I need a PCI firewire card."

"Wow...we don't get a lot of calls for those. I might have one I can pull out of another machine. Let me check."

There is the sound of rummaging.

"I've got about a dozen places I can look..."

There is the sound of more rummaging, small plasticky crashes and scrapings.

"Okay, yeah I've got one."

"How much?"

"Oh, let's say...fifteen bucks."

I don't laugh. Not out loud at least.

"Nope. I can buy a new one cheaper from Tiger1. Thanks for your time, though."

Through the earpiece of the descending handset on its way to the phone cradle, I hear the tinny exclamation, "Well, now, hold on...I'm a good guy...wait wait wait..!"

I guess when you get caught with your hand in an empty cookie jar, you want to retreat as gracefully as you can.

The handset pauses, then returns to my ear. I'm always willing to be entertained.

"Yes?" I say, all consumer innocence.

"I'm a good guy..."

"I know you are. You've done work for me in the past."

"Well, since it's you..." Yeah, even not knowing who I was on the phone, he actually said that.

"I can let you have it for...five bucks."

"Sold. I'll be there on my way home from work."

Pause.

"And, thanks!"

*click*


Epilogue.

I got the card, and I'll install it later. Supper first, then dishes and general pick up 'round the house.

In Vic's defense, he is a good guy, just really optimistic. Or is that opportunistic? The distinction evades me sometimes. In any case, yeah, I'll do business with him again. Of course I will.

His shop is on my way home.

Late Edit

Victory, but not without work, and not without some unaccomplished goals. Apparently, there is what Windows would call a "folder" that you have to have rw permissions on in order to capture video from IEEE1394. Once permissions were in place, Kino perked right up and found my camera.

The challenge now is that I can only capture DV, not SD or HD, which for my purposes is just fine but isn't a good place to be long term. My own personal projects work well in DV, other projects may not. My camera also has the idiosyncracy that to record at 16:9 resolution, you must either be in SD/HD (auto or manual) or in DV on "manual" - manual focus, that is, which is a pain in th'ass.

Still, it's a victory, however small.  I can capture DV on the Linux box, which frees up my main machine for other work.

1 This isn't even remotely the card I would have purchased were I in a position to do the retail price of anything, but it made the point.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Remember in a previous post how I talked about using the Linux box for video capture? I have no idea if it's going to work, so I'm not willing to spend very much (read: any) money to buy a new card. I called the PC repair shop that happens to be on my way home from work. However, cautious type that I am, I'm not willing to just stop in on the outside chance that he might have one. I called on the outside chance he might be in.

The phone call went like this.

*ring* *ring*

"Vic's PC Shop."

"Your sign says you have used PC parts."

"Yep, I do."

"I need a PCI firewire card."

"Wow...we don't get a lot of calls for those. I might have one I can pull out of another machine. Let me check."

There is the sound of rummaging.

"I've got about a dozen places I can look..."

There is the sound of more rummaging, small plasticky crashes and scrapings.

"Okay, yeah I've got one."

"How much?"

"Oh, let's say...fifteen bucks."

I don't laugh. Not out loud at least.

"Nope. I can buy a new one cheaper from Tiger1. Thanks for your time, though."

Through the earpiece of the descending handset on its way to the phone cradle, I hear the tinny exclamation, "Well, now, hold on...I'm a good guy...wait wait wait..!"

I guess when you get caught with your hand in an empty cookie jar, you want to retreat as gracefully as you can.

The handset pauses, then returns to my ear. I'm always willing to be entertained.

"Yes?" I say, all consumer innocence.

"I'm a good guy..."

"I know you are. You've done work for me in the past."

"Well, since it's you..." Yeah, even not knowing who I was on the phone, he actually said that.

"I can let you have it for...five bucks."

"Sold. I'll be there on my way home from work."

Pause.

"And, thanks!"

*click*


Epilogue.

I got the card, and I'll install it later. Supper first, then dishes and general pick up 'round the house.

In Vic's defense, he is a good guy, just really optimistic. Or is that opportunistic? The distinction evades me sometimes. In any case, yeah, I'll do business with him again. Of course I will.

His shop is on my way home.

Late Edit

Victory, but not without work, and not without some unaccomplished goals. Apparently, there is what Windows would call a "folder" that you have to have rw permissions on in order to capture video from IEEE1394. Once permissions were in place, Kino perked right up and found my camera.

The challenge now is that I can only capture DV, not SD or HD, which for my purposes is just fine but isn't a good place to be long term. My own personal projects work well in DV, other projects may not. My camera also has the idiosyncracy that to record at 16:9 resolution, you must either be in SD/HD (auto or manual) or in DV on "manual" - manual focus, that is, which is a pain in th'ass.

Still, it's a victory, however small.  I can capture DV on the Linux box, which frees up my main machine for other work.

1 This isn't even remotely the card I would have purchased were I in a position to do the retail price of anything, but it made the point.

Weird

Jan. 7th, 2009 08:09 pm
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Mr. Director)
There's just no predicting. Last night, I couldn't get more than ten minutes worth of video capture off the VCR if my life had depended upon doing so. The PC would lock up and I'd have to do a hard boot at the power switch to regain control of my machine.

Tonight, 42:17 and going (it would appear) strong.

So, my Windows box is handling the video capture, and I'm on my Linux box doing work for the Day Job. My hope is to work out a way to flip that.

Late Edit: Okay...so, the DV capture program locked, or at least lost its connection to the PC, with about fifteen minutes to go on the tape. At least it let me close it, re-open and finish.

Weird

Jan. 7th, 2009 08:09 pm
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Mr. Director)
There's just no predicting. Last night, I couldn't get more than ten minutes worth of video capture off the VCR if my life had depended upon doing so. The PC would lock up and I'd have to do a hard boot at the power switch to regain control of my machine.

Tonight, 42:17 and going (it would appear) strong.

So, my Windows box is handling the video capture, and I'm on my Linux box doing work for the Day Job. My hope is to work out a way to flip that.

Late Edit: Okay...so, the DV capture program locked, or at least lost its connection to the PC, with about fifteen minutes to go on the tape. At least it let me close it, re-open and finish.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Busy night last night, going to be a busy day.  In summary:

To start with, I'm back on my own computer.  I found a dual-head video card at home and brought in to see if it still works.  Apparently it does.  It's a cheap-ass Matrox and probably won't last without having to reboot after while, but I can limp until the replacement gets here.  I had one just like it a while back and the memory went bad: it would give you an hour's worth of clean video and then go all wonky.  I don't know if this is the same video card or not.  We'll see.

36 ears is a lot of corn to put up. 
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Busy night last night, going to be a busy day.  In summary:

To start with, I'm back on my own computer.  I found a dual-head video card at home and brought in to see if it still works.  Apparently it does.  It's a cheap-ass Matrox and probably won't last without having to reboot after while, but I can limp until the replacement gets here.  I had one just like it a while back and the memory went bad: it would give you an hour's worth of clean video and then go all wonky.  I don't know if this is the same video card or not.  We'll see.

36 ears is a lot of corn to put up. 
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
I was right: it was a hardware problem, specifically the video card.  I've never seen a capacitor "pop" before: there are seven on the card, the size of pencil erasers, and five of them blew their tops out.  Wow, guess that's a problem.

I have ordered a new card.  It ought to be here by Thursday: this one has a fan on-board, so as long as the power supply on my IBM can handle it (and I've no reason to think it can't) I should be back in business.

On to work.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
I was right: it was a hardware problem, specifically the video card.  I've never seen a capacitor "pop" before: there are seven on the card, the size of pencil erasers, and five of them blew their tops out.  Wow, guess that's a problem.

I have ordered a new card.  It ought to be here by Thursday: this one has a fan on-board, so as long as the power supply on my IBM can handle it (and I've no reason to think it can't) I should be back in business.

On to work.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Work PC died this morning. I'm reasonably sure it's a hardware problem, but lack the facilities to diagnose or fix that.

Late Edit: Rejoice with me, brethren. A PS2-USB adapater was found. My keyboard has come home.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Work PC died this morning. I'm reasonably sure it's a hardware problem, but lack the facilities to diagnose or fix that.

Late Edit: Rejoice with me, brethren. A PS2-USB adapater was found. My keyboard has come home.

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