Showing posts from November, 2019

Unusual Link Behavior

Dear GeekWisdom, Why is that then I open certain links embedded in emails or documents  eg: https://.../fetchvideo?videoid=123 It works just fine pasted into my browser location, but I get an error clicking on it if inside an embedded email? Sincerely, Odd Link Behaviour Dear OLB, I believe you may have stumbled on an “intentional” security feature ! If -  I understand correctly –fetchvideo?videoid=123   is designed to open a browser window, find a file, download it to your machine and then execute it without any user intervention. I suspect the web application is doing this this via a 302 redirect header. Imagine if clicking on the link inside the email DID actually work, it would be a great way to spread a virus, just have the virus email everyone in your contacts saying ‘hey check this cool link!’ and BOOM! everyone that trusts you and clicks on your link gets infected. Now of course, in your case, this app is trying to open a media file (not an executable fil

Discipline & Punishment - A Programming Perspective

The Illegal Operation In the world of software we have the concept known as an 'illegal operation'. You may remember this from the old Windows 95 days When this happens it is usually due to the application attempting to access an area of memory already reserved by another application, or by the operating system itself. The operating system acts sort of like a 'COP' recognizes the instruction and calls it out of play (closing the program down). Now we use the term 'illegal', but not in the strict sense of the word , no laws were broken, the real police aren't going to show up on your doorstep . It is more like if you accidentally "stepped on someone's toes" at work by preforming a task that was their responsibility and not yours...and this is where the analogy becomes particularly interesting. When the computer program 'steps out of bounds', it has zero  'awareness' of its actions. It was just following the code t

"Hacking" Public WIFI

Dear GeekWisdom, I have noticed something very strange at my schools WiFi.  I use YouTube quite frequently, and yet when I am connected to WiFi I cannot find my favorite channels.  They show up just fine when using my mobile data, but seem to disappear completely when connected to the WiFi. How is this possible, and is their a way to 'fix it'? Sincerely, Confused-Student  Dear Confused-Student, This indeed was quite an interesting and perplexing discovery!  First let me start by telling you a key important rule of security - Security By Obscurity is no SECURITY AT ALL!.  NOTE: DNS IS NOT A VALID SECURITY METHODOLOGY To begin with, how on earth, can a public WiFi network prevent access to specific YouTube channels?  At first glance, you might think some kind of 'advanced' firewall that filters out specific URL addresses.  Typically though firewalls filter out entire sites by IP Addresses, though in theory with certain firewalls a system could filter out s

Programming, Autonomy and Leadership

Although I have been writing code since I was at least 10 years old, on a Vic 20, my first professional full time job was in 1999. It became full-time after working at this place in the summer, and my job title was "Database Administrator" The database was MSAccess 97. It was a pretty important database, initially created with the MSAccess wizard, its purpose was to manage inventory and purchase orders. The summer job instructions basically consisted of "Here is our Inventory database, please see what you can do to make it work better" It was a small company of maybe 4 or 5 people, there was quite a bit of autonomy and freedom and I found myself with the amazing opportunity to express myself through my code. There were no design specifications, or instruction manuals for the software, there were some ideas of what worked well in the application and what did not, but basically I was on my own to figure out what I could do to make it better. My degree in com

The Obsessive Mind

Do you have an obsessive mind? Do you replay events over and over again, re-living past pains? past successes? Obsession by itself isn't necessarily a 'bad thing'. We become great at our hobbies, and talents by obsessing over them. Whether it be playing video games, writing computer programs, or building an add-on to your house, thinking about things can give us motivation and allow us to move forward But is it really possible to "think to much"?? -  It has been suggested to me that I might be an 'over thinker', and indeed I do recognize my own obsessive mind, but I don't know what life is like to 'think' any less or any different, I only know what it is like to think as I do. I am currently playing the role of 'Business Analyst', which is just a specific type of Analyst. I have been analyzing things for as long as I can remember and I enjoy it.  Asking why things are the way they are, taking things apart to figure out why the