User Access Control in Vista: why it doesn't suck

This Ars Technica article about User Access Control in Vista is very interesting:

[Microsoft] does not view UAC as a "security boundary" ... UAC encourages developers (including black hats) to try and accomplish more without elevating permissions. Why? Because the goal should be to avoid tripping UAC except for operations that truly need elevated privileges.

This is why even users with Administrator permissions get prompted for UAC. An MSDN article explains why:

SharePoint Web Services query

This VBScript code allows you to query and post just about any information to SharePoint using web services. There are two steps involved:

  1. Check the signature of the Web Service you want to invoke. For example, http://sharepoint/_vti_bin/Lists.asmx will give a list of all operations you can perform on SharePoint lists.
  2. Create a VBScript file with the following lines:

    Option Explicit
    
    Dim xmlDoc, SOAPClient
    
    ' Get the root element object
    Set SOAPClient = createobject("MSSOAP.SOAPClient")  

VBScript XML pretty print

I don't know if this would ever be useful to anyone, but anyway:

Option Explicit

Dim xmlDoc
Set xmlDoc = CreateObject("Microsoft.XMLDOM")
xmlDoc.async = False
xmlDoc.loadXML("<GetList><a><b attr=""5"">a node</b></a></GetList>")

DisplayNode xmlDoc.childNodes


' =================== Helper Routines ==================

Sub DisplayNode(Nodes)
  DisplayNode_ Nodes, 0
End Sub

Sub DisplayNode_(Nodes, Indent)
   Dim xNode
   For Each xNode In Nodes
      Select Case xNode.nodeType
        Case 1:   ' NODE_ELEMENT
          If xNode.nodeName <> "#document" Then  

Why KM is important

A comment I just made on an actKM discussion which I think captures my attitudes to KM pretty well as an IT practitioner:

If you are technically savvy and understand the power of computer tools, it's all too easy to go, "but if everyone just filled out these 17 fields of metadata/filed their emails using the same folder structure/ran this custom Perl script every night, our problems would be solved". This is a mental trap which I have to actively try and avoid every day.

IT or IM staff need to understand that coercing people to act in an organisationally coherent fashion is the fundamental problem, not the lack of yet another three-tier database system. That's what I got out of studying KM: the need for a discipline which integrates people systems, not machine systems.

Powershell: Quick & Dirty

Just poking around with PowerShell. Here are some useful tips and tricks I have found to customize it:

    Change prompt to bash-style

    function prompt { [string]$(get-location) + " % " }
    Helpful Debugging Tricks

    PS> Set-PSDebug -trace [level] [-step]

    There are three possible trace levels:
    • 0: No tracing
    • 1: Trace script lines as they execute
    • 2: Also trace variable assignments, function calls, and scripts.

    Adding -step means that the script also pauses after each line.

Ways to stuff up a Request for Proposal (tender)

From the always worth-a-read CMSWatch:

[H]elp your enterprise by removing conveniently ambiguous buzz-words ...

[eg.] Integrate. This word allows you and the vendor to conspire in postponing discussion of the hard work coming your way. Instead, articulate specific needs for read- or write-access to repositories, as well as event-triggers across systems. Extra credit: lose seamless too. Seams are part of the fabric of all software.

There's three other meaningless buzzwords listed, but this one resonated particularly strongly with me. "Conspiring to postpone discussion of hard work" ... all too true, sadly. See also: wishful thinking.

Suboptimize the parts - optimize the whole

My favourite saying about organizational effectiveness is:

"To optimize the whole you have to suboptimize the parts."

I've stolen this from Bob Lewis and although it sounds trite it covers a whole lot of assertions like:

  • organisations should capture knowledge locally to facilitate its reuse globally;
  • a benchmark is only as useful as what it actually measures (rather than claims to measure); and
  • money spent on training is more than repaid by productivity improvements.

The Nurse Bryan question

Some really good debate happening on the actKM list at the moment. I'll probably post more about the topics raised later.

One particular tangent that I raised was the theory of Scientific Management as advocated by F W Taylor.

I read about Taylorism because Peter Drucker, generally recognised as the father of Knowledge Management, likes him. Apparently (as I am learning) both these men are controversial figures, but I like them both for the boldness of their ideas.

This article by Michael Ballé which I stumbled across is particularly nice:

The place of action (& violence) in childhood play

A sensible approach to children's exposure to violence in games (and, I might add, the rule can be applied to most forms of entertainment):

Lego [believes] that good-versus-evil combat "is at the root of children's play scenarios, and [that it] is an important part of a child's exploration of the world" ...

Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief at Wired magazine, explains further:

The Lego Company ... has a policy of not producing toys that replicate 20th century weapons. "You can have swords, and you can have laser guns in space, but no actual 20th century guns," Anderson says. So [Chris's] four children can play games like Halo, since it contains only futuristic, fantasy war, where you're killing only green- or blue-blooded aliens. The same goes for Roman swordplay titles. "But it clearly walls off Grand Theft Auto."

Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Cartoon Brew has been complaining about the Aqua Teen Hunger Force cynical cash in movie, and probably for good reason.

ATHF works as a 10 minute show ... but the very idea of watching 2 hours straight makes my brain melt.

I've never understood the compulsion to translate shows from one form factor to another. (Okay, it's all about money, but humour me, ok?)

The cadence of 10 minute shorts compared to self-contained 30-minute shows or a 90 minute feature film are very, very different. And when a show's success is very reliant on the format, it becomes difficult to transition from one medium to the other.

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