Short Straw 1

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If you're reading this at work, it means you're a “short straw” person who picked the short straw to work during a holiday. Welcome to the club. If you're reading this at home because you're in the habit, then I'll try to entertain you a bit.

First let me question, yet again, the security system in Vista. I understand the UAC (User Access Controls) even if I believe Microsoft implemented them incorrectly. After all, if the user has only to hit OK to access any feature, there's not much access control, is there?

But why doesn't the UAC aggravate me on my new HP Vista system when I install new software? I have to install the software as the Administrator, but the aggravating UAC window doesn't appear and nothing asks for my password. Instead of locking the door to horrible system damage through unauthorized software, it allows software installations without question. Computer security can get pretty complex, but stopping people from loading unknown software is a pretty simple concept. Personally, I think Vista is pretty stupid for not forcing the user to authenticate their credentials in some manner.

Yeah, yeah, you can dig down and set policies somewhere. But security doesn't work when it's an afterthought that must be configured, it has to work by default. And people, including me, would be less aggravated with the entire UAC mess if it actually protected something in the system rather than stopping people from changing their font sizes and the like.

Take this extra time to volunteer to do one of the least exciting jobs in IT – review e-mail messages for anti-company behavior such as offensive jokes and sending company secrets to competitors. And since you should now have some type of e-mail archiving system, you can more easily search for text within e-mails.

Search for “raises” and see which people and departments are getting ones larger than you and the IT department gets. When you find them, put those people on the PC DNR list. In other words, when they have a PC problem, Do Not Resuscitate their systems, at least for a while. Is it unfair to blame them for getting the raise you should have gotten? No, because they no doubt whined and lobbied and begged, while you just did your normal outstanding job. Letting their computers stay broken a bit longer just gives them more time to whine and beg for more money yet again, so you're actually helping them. Smile when you do show up and fix their problem, which they no doubt caused themselves. And be sure and run a full virus scan that should slow down their now-working system to a crawl for at least an hour.

Disclaimer: someone reading will take offense and say this is illegal. So ask your company lawyer before doing this. Wait, the lawyers are out of the office for the holiday? Sounds like tacit approval to me, so have fun.

Second disclaimer: If your e-mail system lets you do this, time for a security system overhaul. Or, realistically, time to add some security. And keep your resume updated, but don't mention it in an e-mail.

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