Windows 10 Privacy settings fixed

With the release of Windows 10, there has been a huge uproar about the privacy implications when you install it. In some cases Microsoft is accused of stomping over any privacy the user may have, including publicizing all your WiFi passwords to anyone on Facebook.

Of course it’s not that bad. That being said, there are some settings you may want to review, if not alter, to protect data from inadvertently being sent to Microsoft, or used to identify you on other computers.

To help with the various settings, the people behind the isleaked.com website have set up a subsite, https://fix10.isleaked.com/. This subsite describes the different groups of privacy settings, what effect they have, and how to turn them off.

The biggest tip is to not do the Express installation, since this sets a lot of the privacy settings wide open. It’s better to spend the extra 10-15 minutes, and be aware of what pieces of information you’re sharing with Microsoft.

Microsoft’s vision of how we will work and live in the future

Microsoft is working on its view of the future. This is a video of how Microsoft envisions Office in the (near?) future, and how it impacts our work and home live. Pay close attention to the recipe the girl selects at the end – it shows the ingredients being displayed on the kitchen counter. What it leaves out is something I’ve seen in another video, where the ingredients are put on the counter, matching the displayed ingredients – and it detects mismatches in the items.

Exciting to see this kind of vision, and I’m really curious how far away this is. We have face to face talk, interactive surfaces, touch screens, etc. Maybe 10 years from now, this will be the norm…

Integrating RequestTracker and flow.io

Image by petitshoo

For a year or 2 we have been using flow.io at the company I work at to track projects. About a year ago, we decided to use RequestTracker (RT) to track incoming helpdesk requests, and started incorporating tasks within projects. RT almost replaced flow.io, but it lacks in the visualization of the Kanban process. Rather than building a completely new Kanban board on top of RT, I decided to use flow.io as the visualization tool, and get some measurements thrown in as a bonus.

flow.io has a nice REST API interface, allowing you to get a lot of information about your boards, and create or update new tasks. Deleting tasks is done by updating a task to a status of Deleted, giving you the opportunity to undelete the task. I’ve worked with REST interfaces before, so I wasn’t expecting a whole lot of problems there.

The challenge was RT. RT is written in Perl, and uses something called Scrips to run little scripts when something changes on an RT ticket. Scrips are pieces of Perl code. And I’ve never done anything in Perl before… except for a few Mister House scripts.

Below are the steps I took to make this work. It is a work in progress, and I’ve put it on github as an Open Source project, so feel free to improve it, fork it, or whatever.

1. Set up flow.io to accept REST requests

To accept REST requests, the flow.io API requires an authentication key. One key is already defined for you, but since flow.io unfortunately doesn’t seem to use the https protocol, I suggest not to use that key, but generate a secondary key for these requests. That allows you to delete the key if needed, and generate a new key.

Generating a key is done by going to the console on your flow.io site. It’s either a direct menu option, or go to your account and click on console.

2. Set up a Custom Field in RT

The custom field in RT will be used to store the flow.io ID number, so that you can update the right flow.io card when the RT ticket changes.

This field is also used later on to make sure we do not try to update flow.io cards that do not exist – if the flow.io ID number is blank, we do not have a flow.io card at all.

3. Select your queues that you want to expose to flow.io

You need to add the custom field to the queues that you want to use it in.

Not all queues lend itself to the Kanban board. If you have RT tickets with sensitive information in the subject line, I suggest not to put those on a board…

4. Create scrip

Once you have selected your queues, you need to define a Scrip that allows you to create flow.io cards. The On Create scrip in RT is triggered when a new RT ticket is created.

4.1 Condition

There is no condition. Maybe we should check for an existing Flow-id, but we’re assuming this is a new ticket. So the condition should always return ‘true’ to RT:

return 1;

4.2 Action

For the action part of the scrip, see the github site.

5. Modify scrip

Now that we have an RT ticket with a reference to the flow.io card, we need to make sure that modifications on RT are reflected on flow.io. This is done with the On Transaction scrip, which is triggered on every change made to a ticket.

5.1 Condition

For the condition, we only want to update RT tickets that have a flow.io ID:

return 0 unless ($self->TicketObj->FirstCustomFieldValue('FlowIO-id') != "");
return 1;

5.2 Action

For the action part of the scrip, see the github site.

6. Initial setup

For the initial setup, I went for a manual approach. We had not that many tickets open, and it was probably faster to do this by hand, than figuring out how to do this automatically.

I now regret that choice, since there are some synchronization issues:

  • When someone enters a ticket, and immediately changes it to done, this is not detected. A flow.io card is created, and remains in the Backlog column until we fix it.
  • When the flow.io webservice is unreachable, RT still thinks everything went fine. And I probably want to keep it that way: RT is leading, flow.io is a representation of RT – to the best of our abilities.

7. Improvements

  • What happens when tickets move from one queue to another?
  • Merging tickets
  • Filter certain types of tickets
  • Take the settings out of code and put them in a config file
  • Turn the scrips into custom actions in external Perl files

Hitler’s SOPA and PIPA rant

To end SOPA/PIPA blackout day, this beauty from YouTube.

Remember, when SOPA and PIPA are passed, these videos are completely unlawful. You will not be able to enjoy the irony of one of the worst dictators of the 20th century criticize the worst law proposals (so far) of the 21st century. The website you view those videos on will be blocked. This website will be blocked for linking and even embedding it…

SOPA/PIPA blackout day January 18th, 2012

We are supporting the January 18th blackout in protest against the SOPA and PIPA acts. On January 18th, from 8AM to 8PM, our site will be replaced by a banner not unlike the one displayed when our site would be subject to a violation as described in the SOPA and PIPA acts.

We believe both the SOPA and PIPA acts are violating the First and Fourth Amendments. On top of that, the provisions in the acts do nothing to prevent malicious websites from distributing the copyrighted software, but affect benevolent sites by way of collateral damage. And finally, the provisions describe ways to try and break the internet structure.

For further information, see the following links:

Normal operations will resume January 18th, 8PM.

Update: we changed plugins at the last minute, since the original plugin would not allow any access to the site at all…


PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

New Chromebook videos

Google has just released a set of Chromebook videos, just in time for the holiday season. The purpose of these videos is to show how easy a Chromebook is in set up, use and maintenance. I experienced the ease of maintenance this morning, while during a meeting I:

  1. received a notification that a new ChromeOS version was available
  2. applied the update, which requires rebooting the machine.
  3. was back in business after about 15 seconds.

Consider a Chromebook for your family members, who do very little besides surfing the web. I heard Chromebooks work great with Facebook…:-)

Glitch is open!

For a while I’ve beta-tested a new multi-user game of imagination, called Glitch. However, it was in pretty closed beta, and the company (Tiny Speck) didn’t want any artwork to leak out. So I hadn’t mentioned it before.

But, today around noon, “God” announced that Glitch was leaving beta and opening up to the public! So, I’m finally able to reveal Glitch, the game where you’re playing in the minds of 11 giants, each trying to become the only giant.

The game style is pretty nice, very cartoonesque, and the game itself is an ongoing tutorial driven by quests. But instead of trying to put it in words, take a look at the trailer:

Join me at Glitch, and when you’re there, look up Thrud. 🙂