Jun 14

The Falliability of Hard Drives and the Recovery of Data

The claim “My hard drive failed” is the modern day equivalent of saying “The dog ate my homework”. While hard drives do indeed fail, it is an extremely rare case that data cannot be recovered from that drive, by computer forensic professionals.

There are several causes of hard drive failure, the experts have this information and statistics on the matter:

“Hard drive failure may be related to mechanical, electronic, or firmware failures. Mechanical failures occur when physical components of the device itself begin to wear or malfunction. Electronic failures occur when the printed circuit board (PCB) begins to produce errors. Finally, many hard drive failures are related to out-of-date, corrupt or buggy firmware.

In approximately 40% of cases–when there has been no physical damage to the hard drive–data may be retrieved by an in-house technical support person. These cases are often caused by human error, software corruption, or computer viruses.”

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Jun 14

The Distributed Nature of Email Systems Vs The IRS’s Claims


It is fairly safe to assume, in our world, that everyone understands email and what it is; I will be making that assumption here. When you write an email, you are typically doing it in one of two things; your web browser or an application like Outlook.

The process you go through is to compose your email and hit send, that’s pretty much it for you. The process you follow to read your email is to open your application and scan through a list of emails in your email boxes, to click on them and to interact with them.

When you do both of these things, your computer is simply providing you a means to compose and read email. It does not and (unless you’re a geek) CANNOT actually “Send” an email. Likewise, it is not your email storage or receiving system. Every time you use your email application, you are connecting to an Email Server. This is why your email is always synchronized whether you are using your computer, your tablet, your phone or something else to access your email. Each of these devices is interacting with your Email Server. Each of them can DIE and not affect your ability to continue emailing using a different device. Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 14

Dissecting the IRS’s Claims Regarding Lois Lerner’s “Lost Email”


To begin with, let’s analyze the reported claims of the IRS so we know what needs to be investigated.

The Congressional Ways and Means Committee released this Press Release informing us of this development.

In the Press Release, they lay out the situation thusly:

Due to a supposed computer crash, the IRS claims it cannot produce emails written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups.

Any IT guy will immediately assume that they are talking about a server crash, I’ll go into the details why in a later post. If it were a server crash though, it would not be only Lois Lerner’s email that were unretrievable – it would be everyone who was using that email server.

None of this makes any sense at this point, which brings us to the attached, more detailed, report from the Associated Press.

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Jun 14

A Technologist’s Peer-Reviewed, In-Depth, Simplified Analysis of the IRS Claim of Lois Lerner’s Email Being Deleted


The IRS claimed today that they have “irretrievably lost” two years’ worth of Lois Lerner’s email. This is a fairly outlandish and quite convenient event.

In fact, it completely fails the “sniff test”.

So, as someone who has a fair amount of experience in networking systems, email systems and IT in general – I (Phil801) have looked into their claims as deeply as I can to try to understand what they are claiming happened, to analyze what systems they have in place and what systems they are *required* to have in place – so that I can offer an informed, professional and technical opinion on it.

This is my conclusion:

They are lying.

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Feb 13

It’s official: Apple fanboy desperation has splashed off the bottom into the Land of the Ludicrous


Having apparently completely lost his mind, possibly from overexposure to the pinwheel of death, a (should be) 12-step seeking Apple Fanboy recently posted this:

It’s official: Apple sells more computers than all Windows PCs combined

In which the author, in a mesmerizing, yet stunning, disregard for anything mathematic, statistical, logical or even sane, engages in a drunk stumble to equivocate, prevaricate and adulterate data into something so asinine and convoluted that I truly believe that he convinced himself he had discovered the elusive formula to transfigure his illusory superiority into actual Mac Superiority. What he failed to account for is that the Universe has not imploded.

I’m also completely open to the idea that the article site is actually a less funny version of The Onion or other satirical site.  I’m also not discounting the possibility of mind-altering substances being a culprit. Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 13

I’m riding on the train – who else is on here?

I’m riding the UTA Front Runner train from Orem to Downtown Salt Lake this morning, I’ll be riding for a little over an hour.  I’m logged into the train’s wireless to type this and I’m logged in to Facebook at the same time. Facebook has permission to know my location – but guess what?  It has no idea I’m on the train, or if my friends are – but it DOES know who my friends are. So does LinkedIn, Twitter and several other services for that matter.

What if the train was broadcasting some sort of signal that my phone could pick up, or if it embedded a value in my packets that indicated I’m on the train.  Then Facebook would know, Twitter would know, so would LinkedIn. Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 19

.Net Collection Types: Hashtable vs. Dictionary

CSharpCollectionsSmDeciding what type of collection to use in a project is based on the objectives and needs of your project – which you will probably already know.  But to decide which collection object to use, you need to know the major and subtle differences in collection implementations and what their impact will be on your code.  In this analysis, we will look at the System.Collections.Hashtable class versus the System.Collections.Generic.Dictionary class and System.Collections.Concurrent.ConcurrentDictionary class.

All three of these classes implement the System.Collections.IDictionary interface which defines a key/value pair collection.  A Key/Value collection manages two iCollection objects: the Value is the object you are storing in the collection and the Key is a unique identifier associated with a Value.

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Aug 19

Using Generics in .Net

CSharpGenericsSmGenerics provide for extended code reusability and type safety in your projects.  A generic is a class, structure or interface that uses a type parameter as a placeholder for the actual type that it will contain or use.  These generic type definitions cannot be instantiated as they are not complete.

In its simplest form, it looks like this:

public class MyGeneric<T>
    public T Field;

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