Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

6/16/2017

Government Approved Webcomics

Filed under: Art,Fun,Fun and Games — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:05 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

I’ve been sick for the past two weeks, so I’m short on thinky-talky-writey energy.

Still, trooper that I am, I’m here with a link to fabulous free things for you, like I have been every Friday for years beyond easy count. Honestly, I’m not even sure why I continue to do it most weeks, but, I suppose the habit is just hard to break. Based on my stats, hardly anyone is even coming to this sad, old site any more. Still, as Yukio Mishima once wrote, I have “[i]ncurable hope, like an obstinate case of scabies, which lodges, damp and reddish, in the infected skin, producing a constant itching, and refusing to yield to any outer force.” Hope that one day, my real and true audience will arrive and worship me as the literary deity I once hoped to be. Yeah, I have a hard time keeping a straight face when I write junk like that, too, so it’s okay to laugh. I’ve given up any literary ambition.
Still, I do like a good turn of phrase, and if it has a nice picture to go with it, all the better. And, that, dear readers, is why I’ve chosen to share with you the Library of Congress Webcomics Archive. That’s right, only the best government approved webcomics for you, dear readers. Also, in spite of that spectre of governmental approval, the collected comics are quite good, including such varied fare as “XKCD” and “Girl Genius Online Comics!” to name two of my personal favorites.

Anyway, I’m on antibiotics, so that’s all I’ve got this week. Like it or leave it.
See you in the funny papers!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

9/26/2010

Windows Password Recovery Tools

Filed under: Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,GUI Center,MicroSoft,The Dark Side,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 1:44 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Remember, these are “administrator utilities” not “hacker tools”.

In my business, it pays to make the distinction.
When people call me for help outside the office, the calls usually fall into a couple categories; a virus, a slow computer, a lost password and “how do I do X?”  Sadly, I’ve been doing a lot of virus and spyware removal, but, also, lately, I’ve had a couple of “lost password” calls.  I actually love getting those, for a couple reasons.
First, lost passwords are surprisingly easy to recover if you have physical access to the machine.  It’s funny to me how few people get that.
Secondly, I find recovering passwords fun.  In a way, it was one of the first things that drew me into the business.  I was one of those guys who got hooked by the security bug not by War Games, but by Sneakers.  Yeah, I know, most guys my age especially will tell you it was War Games that really got them hooked.  What can I tell you?  I’ve always been kind of a late bloomer.  And, my dirty, little secret is that after seeing Sneakers, I wanted to be Marty Bishop.  Seriously.

Anyway, my recent experience with Windows password recovery requests gave me an opportunity to refresh my tools.  After Googling a bit, I found a handy About.com page titled “Top 6 Free Windows Password Recovery Tools“.  I downloaded several, most of which were based on bootable CDs of one kind or another.  I like those kinds of toolkits because they don’t require even limited access to operating system, just the ability to reboot the machine from the CD toolkit.
In the end, I tried two; 0phcrack and the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor.

Now, I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that 0phcrack is the free, opensource fork of l0phtcrack.  Now, for an old-timer like me, l0phtcrack was THE password cracker to have, back in the day.  Created by a group of well-known hackers, some of whom famously testified before Congress, it was not free.  At least, theoretically.  If you knew where to look, you could get copies.  And, yes, I  them.  But, this version IS free and seems like it had some improvements.
For one thing, the old version had a slightly clumsy text-based interface.  This version has a much nicer interface that seems to use X-Windows.  It’s also far more intuitive to use.  It ran pretty fast, really, though, sadly, didn’t seem to be able to crack the non-dictionary word used as a password on the Windows 7 box I was using it against.

On the other hand, the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor has been around for several years, and had several updates, though it retains the text-based interface.  I don’t remember when I used this the first time, but, so far, it hasn’t let me down in a pinch.  This time was no different.  So, yes, even though it has “NT” in the name, I’ve used it on everything from Windows 2000 through Windows 7 without a hitch.  Of course, your results may vary.  The bonus of this product is also it’s most potentially dangerous drawback; it directly edits the registry and password files.  This is dangerous, in a way, because if something goes wrong, this could, theoretically, lock you out of your machine permanently.  In practice, this has never actually happened to me.
One advantage of this utility is that you can change or simply remove the password for any active user on the system.  Also, you can use it to promote an active user to being an administrator equivalent.  Now, by “active user” what the developers mean is any account that is not disabled.  Though, I think there may be the option to activate a deactivated account.  I’m not positive, though, because I’ve never had to look for it or try to use it.  And, yes, this worked like a charm to simply blank the password on the Windows 7 machine that had apparently forgotten its own password.

So, there you have it.  Two tools to recover lost Windows passwords.
Oh, and, just a quick disclaimer here.  I’m not responsible for any damage you might accidentally do to your machines with these utilities.  Nor am I advocating using them to break into your ex-spouse’s computer to read their adulterous e-mail to their lover.
I’m just sayin’….

9/27/2003

Fewer H1B1 Visas

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Geek Work,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:42 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

A victory for the American Worker!

Rejoice, my Worker Comrades! According to this article in the Houston Chronicle, Congress has no plans to extend the higher level of H1-B visas currently active in the US. That drops the number from 195,000 to 65,000. That’s 130,000 jobs reclaimed for American Workers! At least, that’s what will happen if they don’t act before October 1. Let’s hope they don’t!

Let me add, though, that I’m all in favor of legal immigration to the United States. I’m not a racist, as I’ve been accused, but a nationalist. Indeed, a patriot. If people from other countries want to come here, become citizens and get jobs, that’s great! In fact, I welcome it! We’re a great melting pot of diversity here, and I like it like that, but I’m against the idea of American companies sending jobs overseas. We should keep American jobs for Americans, no matter where those Americans were born.

1/26/2003

Mental Hygiene

Filed under: Art,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:40 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

What can be learned from the 50’s?

Well, plenty, I’m sure, but mainly it’s just fun to point and laugh! I was sitting on the floor watching television with my wife the other night and noticed a book she bought a long, long time ago called
Mental Hygiene: Classroom Films 1945-1970
. It’s a real hoot! It’s a guide to all the “mental hygiene” and “health” films from the mid-1940s through 1970. There are some real winners in here!
My favorite is either “Duck And Cover”, which is about surviving a nuclear blast, or “The making Of A Shooter”, which is all about gun safety, not psycho-killer snipers. These are really fun films and provide a hillarious look at what kinds of things infulenced our parents growing up. For instance, I noticed that the “Red Threat” seems to loom large in their awareness. So, too, did teaching kids about sex and interpersonal realtions. In particular, making sure everyone was all properly socialized. I wonder why we don’t seem so worried about that today?
In any case, if you want to find out more about how the communists are behind the pornography industry, or what to do in case of acne, or any of a number of terribly usefull things, you can check out the Prelinger Archives at the Library of Congress. (Just click the link.)


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