marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Windows 10 has its own EXIF remover, which I came to discover only after I tried and failed to use EXIFStripper on the photos I posted tonight. Windows (or the program itself, I'm not sure which one dropped the ball) won't let me drag and drop images into the tool anymore.

I found this extremely odd so tried variations on where I dragged from (Downloads, Pictures, OneDrive, the Photos app itself) and variations on how I ran the tool (both as Administrator and not as Administrator) only to find failure all the way through. At which point I Googled and came upon 3 Ways to Remove EXIF Metadata (and yes, whoever wrote it needs an editor on that title, STAT) only to see Windows 8 and 10 have their own built-in stripping utility that works pretty well.

I say "pretty well" because certain metadata like F-stop, exposure and other clueish items get preserved, but at least dead giveaway stuff gets stripped out, not that it really matters - I keep geolocation turned off, anyhow.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Note to purists: I'm writing this as a casual heads-up type post for my friends on Dreamwidth, not for scholarly or educational purposes, so if some part of it disagrees with you, I don't care.

Everyone has shit. I have shit. You have shit. Most of this isn't shit you would want anyone to see, and most of it lives in your netbook, on your laptop or tucked not-so-safely away inside of your desktop computer.

There are simple steps you can take to prevent others from finding, commenting upon, copying, stealing, and uploading to the entire Internet your shit for everyone else to see.

The security precautions I take on my computers are designed to keep me out of your computer. If you can keep me out, you can probably keep anyone out, since I'm too lazy to try very hard to get in.

  • Password protect your computer. Password protecting BIOS is probably not a bad idea. I don't do it since you can reset any password by popping the battery out, messing with a jumper or two, and popping the battery back in, but not everyone knows that, so if you don't want to lose your shit, password protecting BIOS isn't a bad place to start.
  • Password protect your personal Windows account. Pick a long, involved, ridiculous password that only you will ever think of, nothing obvious, just something easy to remember only for you.
  • Do the same for the computer's default Administrator account, but choose another password. If you don't password-protect the Administrator account, anyone can view your files or online activity simply by hitting Control-Alt-Delete at the log-in screen or else booting into Safe Mode and choosing the Admin account. Don't make your shit this easy to get into.
  • Turn the Guest account OFF. Ask other users of your computer to select passwords for their accounts, then go into the User Control Panel and change their accounts from Administrator to Limited if you haven't done so already, and make sure the files on your user account are set to private.
  • If you fail to take the above steps, you're screwed. Seriously. Keeping me out in the first place is the easiest way to protect your computer from prying eyes, since popping the hard drives out - or using a boot CD to reset your passwords - is not how I roll. It's not how most casual intruders will roll, either.
  • If you're too lazy or trusting to take the above steps, set Internet Explorer to clear web history when you close the browser, or make sure you clear web history manually. If you use Firefox, use the Private Browsing setting for all browsing sessions. You might call these "paranoia settings", but you don't know paranoia until you realize you left access to your entire web history open to anyone who wanders by.
  • Similarly, regardless of whether you use Internet Explorer or Firefox, do not set either browser to remember passwords or form history. That's like giving me the keys to your most private kingdom - why would you want to do that?
  • To make spying super-annoying, you might also want to password-protect your offline files and folders and only keep one restore point around. You also don't need your real name on your main user account. I can edit all traces of it out of your registry in under five minutes, using jv16 PowerTools to double-check myself, so if you think it's "marking" a computer as "yours", it isn't.
  • And one more thing: you walk away from your computer once in a while to grab a cup of coffee, use the bathroom, answer the phone, or whatever, and even if it's just for one minute, under the right conditions, that's enough time for me to get something done. So set your screensaver to activate in less than five minutes (one minute is your best bet) and password-protect your windows on resume.

Lastly, don't think that taking the above steps will keep me out of your shit. Almost every step I outlined here I can also circumvent. The only thing that might stymie me, at least for a while, is if you use disk encryption on all drives your computer writes to, but I think disk encryption is one major pain in the ass to pull off. But it's worth it if you really want to keep me out.

Look at all the other ways I can - and will - get into your shit: Windows 7 and Vista (and to a limited extent, XP as well) keep logs, journals, and versioning information that I could easily have a field day with. Tools like Recuva, Everything, and Disk Investigator are pure gold to me. And if all else fails, and I know you pretty well, I can figure out how to socially engineer my way into almost any of your shit - which reminds me, keep your online passwords safe, too.

Don't assume the people you know pretty well are not as curious about your shit as I am.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Last updated 9-19-09.

A list of all the online things that I want that either don't exist or don't exist in a form I like or can afford. This differs from a "wish list" in that no one can buy any of this stuff for me. I plan on adding to this list on and off as I think of more things (I've been meaning to start a list for years).


  1. A customizable browser that integrates chat and email that isn't made by AOL (it's an idea I love but AOL's browsers are based on the horrible, uncustomizable, unextensible Trident/Internet Explorer)


  1. A web mail service that isn't choking with spam that isn't the extremely weird, privacy-killing GMail (I like AOL's RIA email much more than I should for an anti-AOLer, but unfortunately it gets almost as much spam as my Yahoo account does)
  2. For's "import email account" wizard to work. I set up a new email account at GMX today, and seven hours later I was still waiting for it to import my Yahoo email address
  3. To compose multiple emails simultaneously in a client other than GMX - it's a pretty neat feature that should come standard in all email clients
  4. For my Contact List to open automatically in a separate tab when I log into web mail - for fuck's sake, Lastpass, an online password storage system, opens your password list (called "saved sites") in a separate tab after you log in - why not my Contact List in a new tab after I log into my web mail?
  5. Related to my Contact List opening in a new tab after logging in, archived email should be searchable merely by clicking a link for the person's name within it. Here's an example: I was exchanging email with my friend Joe Manna the other day when it occurred to me I wanted to forward some (in fact, a whole bunch) of email to him. I couldn't remember the name of one person who's email I was forwarding, and I couldn't remember the address of the other person, and I couldn't recall the exact dates they emailed me, either. So I did a few searches in my Yahoo Inbox until what I wanted came up (dumb luck, twice, I guess).
    How much easier it would have been that day if instead of trying to jog my memory and wasting lots of time, if I could just watch my Contact List pop open in a new tab, already arranged in alphabetical order from A-Z after I logged in to Yahoo. As I found each name I was after, just clicking on it would give me an archived list of their emails in chronological order - easy, simple, done.
  6. For the browser and the OS to be more interoperable so that even when I have the browser closed, a web mail notifier remains in my Windows system tray to alert me to incoming email - without the use of third-party software that uses up resources and bogs down my computer
  7. For Digsby to lose the fucking crapware, because until it does I don't think I'll use it again (now all of the crapware is supposedly optional but the toolbar, even if you hit "Cancel" on the agreement and Digsby's installer UI prompts you with: "Install anyway without the Ask Toolbar?", it will still install registry entries that you have to delete manually). You can edit most of the current crapware out of it with jv16 PT - God how I love that tool) but why bother...

CSS Editing

  1. For the Web Developer toolbar for Firefox to archive updated style sheets at the click of a button. For instance, the current style sheet for Everything Else (that's this blog - the style sheet is called "Time" after the website I adapted it from) has been edited much more than a dozen times. Has anyone who edits CSS fast and furiously tried saving copies every time you make a change? You can't - it would hold you up too much. Yet you might want change-by-change versioning so you can flip back, almost in a video-like "frame-by-frame" fashion, to see what mistakes you made and what worked better than you thought it did the first time you looked at it (hindsight being 20/20).
    My answer to this is the Web Developer toolbar to suddenly start linking to online storage space. You click the Save button within the CSS editor whenever you feel like it and voila, a copy of the style sheet is automatically uploaded to Chris' servers. Each time you click Save, a different version number is automatically appended and uploaded. Chris could charge a nominal fee if he's worried about storage costs, and I think I would pay for it (in stark contrast to how I won't pay for some online services I use these days).
  2. For the Firefox MeasureIt add-on, as they might say out on the street, to "stop actin' all crazy". With every version of Firefox 3 it's been acting nearly insane.

Text Editing

  1. For Windows (all versions) to automatically copy to clipboard without using software, keyboard-combos, hotkeys or anything else. Just highlight the text (or image) and the selected text or image is automatically stored for later retrieval in a list you can easily access from a system tray icon, as is all text subsequently selected. The way copy-to-clipboard works now, you have to highlight, right-click, and Control + C, or highlight, right-click, and click "Copy", but the text or image you select next automatically erases the last. Useless.

Online Photo Storage/Editing

  1. For Photobucket to stop slapping ads on images - I mean right on them, so you can't even see them (technically I guess they're called "ads on hover" but once you hover over an image, the ad is so huge it covers the image almost entirely, and you can't get rid of it merely by hovering over something else on the page). Has anyone else noticed that LiveJournal is covering my posts with huge ads? No? That's because LiveJournal isn't covering my posts with *any* ads. Yet right now, my LJ account is free, too. I don't mind ads at the top, bottom, and sides of content if I really *must* see ads (but I really *do* mind ads, which is what my Firefox with AdBlock Plus is for), but for Christ's sake, don't put ads right over the content and pictures that people are trying to see.

Like I said, there will be more of "what I want", and I'll update this list as things already on it either become available or stop being issues, but it will take a while for more things to come to me.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

A recent Lifehacker post got me thinking about the most essential utilities any computer user can have. The premise of the post was more or less: "We'll tell you what we can't live without, then you tell us what you can't live without." Like show-and tell for tech-addicted grownups.

I posted my list of must-have goodies but being the perpetual blonde that I am (in name, not hair color) I left off some of my most important tools, so I'll start fresh. This version includes what I install on a fresh copy of Windows XP. Feel free to create your own "I-can't-live-without-it" lists in the comments. I'm all ears...

Click here for more about me and my PC than you ever wanted to know. )