Blocking social networking at the firewall

My current client has blocked Twitter and Live Mesh at the firewall.  At what point are organizations going to realize that social networking is beneficial to project progress?  Now, I can no longer access my network of peers (well, I "can" but they are trying to prevent me), which has already provided me with many leads, links and ideas related to making this project better.  Now I can no longer access my repository of project files, where I am getting all of my templates and reference documentation.

What is the point?  Are they trying to prevent people from wasting time?  How about blocking YouTube?  How about uninstalling Solitare?  How about not providing access to the external internet at all?  There are a lot of clericals here, and many of them are temps, so why don't you just lock everything down?  If that is too draconion, how about two firewall profiles, one for developers and another for clericals?

This fear of the Internet is remarkable in this day and age.  Watching organizations (especially government organizations) try to bridge the gap of providing free access to information and keeping the temps from surfing porn is very frustrating for me.

Syncing podcasts to a cheap MP3 player

Yesterday I went to Best Buy to get a Zune, and saved myself $200 and bought a Sony Walkman.  Why?  It does the same thing (plays music) and it has a Mini USB port rather than some useless fancy custom job that requires me to carry yet ANOTHER cable. 

You see, I never wanted an MP3 player.  I just want to use my HTC Touch Diamond.  But using it as a media player is heavily balanced with battery life.  In general, if I want to be able to make a call at 3PM, I’d better not listed to music at 10AM.  Convergence will work when we have leeetle nuclear reactors for our cell phones.  But that is a post for another day.

The one thing I wanted to be able to do with the Zune was subscribe to podcasts.  My pain is that subscribing to podcasts minus a crappy cable interface is not worth $200 to me.  “The Sony will do fine, and I will just figure out the podcast thing,” I thought.

Well, with a lot of help from Michael Young’s blog, which lead me to Jake Ludington’s blog, I have a working model that isn’t perfect but it seems to be working.  This updates those two entries for Win 7, IE8 and the latest Windows Media Player – is it 12?  I’m not sure.  Anyway, here goes:

1) First step is to subscribe to the podcast with IE 8.  Navigate to the website of a page with a feed you would like to subscribe to (like ExoticLiability.com) and click the View Feeds for this Page button in IE8.

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2) Click on the “Subscribe to this feed” link on the RSS viewer page.

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3) When you have subscribed to everything you are looking for, click on the Favorites button, and then the Feeds tab.  I made a Podcasts folder there to keep them organized.

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4) Right click on the feed and select properties.  Check the Automatically Download Attached Files checkbox.

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5) As it turns out, IE8 puts all the attachments from feeds in subfolders inside one temporary internet files folder.  If you wait until IE gets some of the files and click the View Files button then go up one in the directory, you can see what I mean:

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6) On my machine, that folder is C:\Users\Bill\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Enclosure.  YMMV.  Might want to put the path on your clipboard, you’ll use it a lot.

7) Go to Windows Media Player (henceforth WMP).

8) Click on Organize / Manage Libraries / Music.

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9) Click the Add button, and paste the path from Step 5.

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10) Click Include Folder, then click OK.

11) Click the little arrow next to Create Playlist and select Create Auto Playlist.

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12) Name the new playlist Podcasts.

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13) Right click on the new auto play list and select Edit.

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14) Click the green plus sign under Music in my Library, scroll to the bottom of the list, and select More.

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15) In the Choose a filter dialog, select File Name.

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16) Click the Click to Set link, and paste in the path you found back in step 5.

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17) Click Ok, then go have a cup of coffee while everything updates.

18) When you get back, plug in your MP3 player.  I have the Sony Walkman E Series.

19) Windows Media Player will open the Sync tab.  Drag the Podcasts playlist to the Sync pane.

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20) Click Sync.

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It was a pain, but now it is set up, and I saved $200, plus probably the Zune Pass and 35 accessories I woulda bought. And I think this works better.  I’ll have  standard process where I bring the player downstairs, plug it in to charge and sync, then come down in the morning to get it.  Next post, I might ever write a PowerShell script that automatically syncs when I plug it in.  Hope this helps someone!

Cloud development a first class citizen in VS 2010 Beta 2

I was stoked to launch Visual Studio 2010 for the first time and see in the Information bar a listing for 'cloud.' 

"This can only mean one thing" I thought.  "Cloud services are actually a first class citizen in Visual Studio 2010!  Finally."

Well, not completely.  If you click on New Project, there is a Cloud Services project type, but it only has one project in it ... wait .. how is that ... Oh.  I see.  That's not a project, it's a link to download the Azure tools.  Aah well.

Nonetheless, i I hear that the Ultimate edition of visual Studio comes with 750 hours of Azure compute time.  That should give people a reason to download and give it a try.  I know I will.

 

To the spammers

This site is getting probably twenty spam comments a day.  I know that these are inexpensive workers that are paid by the post to get past my Captcha.  They say something unrelated and put their employer's URL in the Link field of the post to increase the link count for that URL, thus increasing the Google rank for that post.  It is one of the ways that the fake SEO companies 'guarentee' you a top ten ranking for your URL.

I have a message for these people.

All comments on this site are approved by me.  I don't approve spam posts.  You are wasting your time, and taking money out of your OWN POCKET bothering to spam here.  Please leave me alone.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Bill Sempf

Husband. Father. Pentester. Secure software composer. Brewer. Lockpicker. Ninja. Insurrectionist. Lumberjack. All words that have been used to describe me recently. I help people write more secure software.

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