back to article Microsoft veteran on how he forged a badge to sneak into a Ballmer presentation

Former Microsoft staffer Dave Plummer has revealed how he managed to sneak his wife into a corporate event so that she might experience a Steve Ballmer presentation first hand. The old romantic. Speaking on his Dave's Garage YouTube channel, Plummer detailed the fights of yesteryear between engineers and those that sought to …

  1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Dear Dave,

    Could you please share the secret registry key that switches off every Microsoft autocorrect/help/suggestion feature across all their products? I can't believe all the MS engineers put up with those PITA features.

    Thank you,

    A frustrated sys admin.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      While i'm not Dave, i'd suggest downloading the Microsoft office group policy extensions. (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49030)

      The particular option you desire would appear to be this one, but it's more sensible to set via GPO than fiddling with the registry:-

      https://admx.help/?Category=Office2007&Policy=office12.Office.Microsoft.Policies.Windows::L_Replacetextasyoutype

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        And it doesn't work in EVERY product, just most of them cause legacy code.

  2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Pint

    Memories of simpler times gone past.

    time for one of these ------------------------->

    ...and have a trip down memory lane while recalling all the good times from the past, yea, even OS/2 beating NT on a quadprocessor system...

    ...ahhhh...

    I'm at the point where I want to bail out of IT and leave all the exciting things over to the young 'uns - especially with crypto-malware and the such. I'm too old for that stuff.

    No country for old men.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Coat

      I'm at the point where I want to bail out of IT and leave all the exciting things over to the young 'uns - especially with crypto-malware and the such. I'm too old for that stuff.

      I did it, and haven't really looked back. I do share some of Redmonds finest moments chronicled here on El Reg with my ex-colleagues still in the trenches, reminding them not to approve every update in WSUS!

      Put on your coat and enjoy life!

    2. Peter2 Silver badge

      Crypto malware is easy enough to beat. Just accept that allowing any user on any endpoint to run any .exe file is a disaster waiting to happen, and restrict normal end users to running .exe (& .etc) files that are already in %windir%, %programfiles%, or your authorised network locations (preferably that the users can't write to).

      Thereafter if the users run cryptolocker etc from an email (and why aren't they removed at the gateway?) then they just get a "sorry Dave, I can't do that" message as it tries to run from %temp%. Prevention is much better and easier than cure.

      Also: age and experience tends to beat youthful enthusiasm any day of the week.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Except for the genius that decided PDFs can embed word documents and those can run vbs and download and run executables

        Although hats off to the hacker who thought to call the malware file "This file has been verified by Microsoft Defender" and have the security popup helpfully use that, without any extension, as the only text in the approve/deny message.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Via the ADMX extensions for group policy you can control Adobe products security settings network wide via AD, and you can do the same with Office which lets you disable downloading files via office or disable VB either totally, or just for scripts that you haven't signed.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            a plaster

            it is a good bandage for a silly oversight

  3. GlenP Silver badge

    Security...

    Microsoft these days, of course, would much rather everyone ditched passwords altogether in favor of something a good deal more secure

    You mean like ditching complex passwords in favour of cloud stored 4 digit PINs?

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Security...

      Ah yes, send in the people who call pins with letters within it a pin and not password

    2. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Security...

      "You mean like ditching complex passwords in favour of cloud stored 4 digit PINs?"

      Now, now. They are serious about security. MFA will require a second 4-digit PIN.

    3. J.Teodor
      Boffin

      Re: Security...

      If you are talking about Windows Hello PIN, then that never leaves the device. In case for Hello for Business, IIRC that involves a private key in TPM and public in authentication server.

  4. Martin-R

    IBM Catering

    I worked on a couple of IBM sites during the OS/2 era and while I can't remember much about the coffee, I do remember multiple real ales in the sports and social club at lunchtime in the UK, and beer and wine in the canteen in Rome :-)

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: IBM Catering

      > I do remember multiple real ales in the sports and social club at lunchtime in the UK

      If you remember then you're not doing it right ;)

    2. Richard Tobin

      Re: IBM Catering

      I worked at IBM (Warwick) during a summer vacation while I was at university. There were refrigerated vending machines which were meant to provide food and drinks. But for some reason this had been replaced with a system in which you obtained a token from the vending machine, then took it elsewhere to get the food. The vending machine was still refrigerated, and dispensed chilled tokens.

      1. Admiral Grace Hopper

        Re: IBM Catering

        Proving once more that it is possible to construct a perfectly logical path to somewhere very silly indeed.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: IBM Catering

          > it is possible to construct a perfectly logical path to somewhere very silly indeed.

          It's the very foundation of our industry

  5. MiguelC Silver badge
    Happy

    Must.. have... proper... coffee!

    How things vary around the globe.

    When I did a stint at Bedfont Lakes' office park, in the early '00s, the only proper coffee available was at IBM's cafeteria. The first day we add the odd look from IBM one employee or another but, after a week went by, my colleagues and me were already just like IBMrs, and best friends with the cafeteria's employees!

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Must.. have... proper... coffee!

      When I worked for BT Syntegra UK Ltd. (subsequently absorbed into 'Big BT'), we had free 'coffee' and 'tea'* from a vending machine. It tasted really horrible, so lots of people ignored the free stuff and brought in their own provisions and mugs, myself included.

      One Monday (I always took my mug home for a proper wash over the weekend), I had forgotten my mug. Aha! I thought, I will get one free coffee from the machine and re-use the plastic cup for my own, better tasting coffee. This was how I discovered that the foul taste was the plastic cups, not the tea or coffee. I never did find out what poisons the plastic cups leeched into the hot drinks - anyone care to enlighten me?

      *(Well, something almost but not quite entirely unlike tea, actually, but you get the picture.)**

      **Obligatory HHGTTG reference whenever 'tea' is mentioned.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Must.. have... proper... coffee!

        Remember all those Bakelite phones BT made when they were the GPO? They got recycled

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Must.. have... proper... coffee!

      Meh. I'm a tea guy.

      Oddly, I find bad tea pisses me off far more than no tea...

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Must.. have... proper... coffee!

        That isn't odd. You can abide with no tea, but bad tea means someone went to all the effort of making tea, and completely fucked it up. That is really annoying.

  6. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    And???

    Don't leave us all hanging, did Dave's wife enjoy the show?

    1. heyrick Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: And???

      Developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers...

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: And???

      Sounds more like grounds for divorce.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: And???

      >did Dave's wife enjoy the show?

      Until she took a chair to the knee

  7. tiggity Silver badge

    frequent password change

    "seemingly reasonable requirement that passwords be changed regularly."

    Often not that reasonable as instead of a nice long password that you change infrequently, when things have to be changed often you nd up using far shorter & thus less secure passwords (especially when, "for security", use of password managers is banned on work, & the sweeps for "violating" software installs on your PC checks for various well known password managers. Irritatingly as a dev, "for security", various useful tools ranging from wireshark, processhacker2 etc. are also banned with no exceptions FFS)

    1. James Wilson

      Re: frequent password change

      I particularly enjoy the "That password does not meet the required length and/or complexity requirements" message I often get. Particularly when I discover that the "complexity" it's moaning about is that I tried to re-use one of my last 20 passwords.

  8. F. Frederick Skitty

    I like Dave, and clearly MS had some seriously bright people, but this is just confirmation that they were a bodge it and ship it operation.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Any committee can screw up the best engineering.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Any committee can screw up the best engineering.

        Committees screw up everything.

        (Currently trappded in an organisation that's run by committees and loosing the will to live.)

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
          Joke

          "(Currently trappded in an organisation that's run by committees and loosing the will to live.)"

          Do you 'want to break free'?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4Mc-NYPHaQ

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          >(Currently trappded in an organisation that's run by committees and loosing the will to live.)

          You need to start a staff moral committee

      2. Eclectic Man Silver badge
        Happy

        Industrial 'screwing up'

        My second vacation job was in a chair factory doing, I kid you not, "industrial screwing up". (Basically using a pneumatic screwdriver to tighten screws in chairs.)

  9. Marty McFly Silver badge
    FAIL

    MSFT executive quote...

    "Microsoft is not a security company. Security is important, but it's just a little part of Microsoft."

    It just isn't in their DNA. Let the security experts do it, and keep playing with the disguised coffee machine.

    1. jgard
      FAIL

      Re: MSFT executive quote...

      That's a weak effort dude, very weak. The quote you provide is from 2007, fifteen years ago!. Then you say they should keep playing with the disguised coffee machine and leave it to the experts? LOL. From someone who wouldn't have the chops to tie Raymond Chen's shoelaces.....

      But why waste an opportunity to sneer at MS eh? I know you're still bitter after they rejected your application, but you need to accept you weren't good enough. Move on with your life, this is getting boring.

  10. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Coat

    Security & Nightshift

    The latter smuggled in & Installed a home gym on the roof of a sterile pharmacy building, for use when on nights & only found during a random sweep by the former some months\years later.

    Icon - Getting a fresh white coat.

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