Random Tech Questions you want answered.

dejanzie wrote:

I worked from home today, on my personal desktop mostly (dual monitors FTW). I wanted to save an Excel sheet on the company OneDrive and added my work account to O365. It worked, but it also asked me if [MyCompanyName] could 'manage my device'. Sure I guess?

Then I had to change my PIN code to be more secure (6 digits instead of 5). I don't mind that, but I'm wondering... what access did I give to my corporate overlords? Are they now reading as I type this post? HI CEO YOU'RE SUPER COMPETENT.

Google turns out little, and Bing even less. Anyone in the know, or should I just open a ticket at my company?

I find the best solution in cases like this is to use VPN and Remote Desktop to access your work computer at home. You might look into seeing if that is an option in your case.

Rykin wrote:

I find the best solution in cases like this is to use VPN and Remote Desktop to access your work computer at home. You might look into seeing if that is an option in your case.

Seconded. I wouldn't feel comfortable having work manage some of my home computer preferences. I mean they probably aren't constantly watching you, they just have an alert set to notify them every time you open Indeed or Linkedin

Usually, it means that they keep a record that includes, at a minimum, your:

device type, including storage stats, RAM, etc;
compliance status (are the required tools present, up to date and active?);
connection times and durations;
ID/AM info to control your access from outside.

They could also *easily* monitor things like:
location of the device;
access times and types for behavioral analysis;
active apps/programs;
app install activity and loaded apps/programs;
2-factor device/app status;
and potentially more.

These can be done with software added to the device (like a device manager package or an agent), or passively via a network device interposed between you and the firewall. This is not mysterious government high security stuff, these products are pretty ubiquitous and offered commercially. State actor capabilities are such that you would not notice them, so don't worry about that...

Admittedly I'm just following standard operating procedures, but I keep as cast-iron a wall between work and personal tech as I can. Like, don't even share flash drives between the machines.

Partly because I don't want their grubby mitts in my stuff, and partly because I don't want to be responsible for losing proprietary data should the worst happen and my home system gets hacked/ransomware'd.

My advice would be to petition your boss for a work laptop.

Yep. My company just issues one to all of us, and puts docking stations in the office.

Its Intune and yes depending on the configuration it can and will do many things to your system including wiping the whole thing remotely. Basically its a good way for corporate resources to get managed in BYOD scenarios. I never connect my personal machines to my corporate network (mostly because I'm in charge of it so I know exactly what our Intune Policies are and why we do them). Best to make a VM and run that and connect to work.. OR do everything via the web and only work on documents through the web browser. Depending if your company went all in they could also enforce Azure Information Protection/Rights Management which will force your PC to install that software as well if you try and download a document and then open it with a copy of Office.

If you have a work PC and they will allow you to VPN in and Remote Desktop your work PC that is also a good scenario.. or just don't work from home (even better.. enjoy that work life balance and tell your management to do a better job)

Thanks for all the valuable feedback. I have a work laptop, but it's just more convenient to use my own desktop. I'm going to use it more now though, and unlink my own PC from the company.

On to another question, which I don't really think fits into the actual Android thread.

How risky, security wise, is it to use an old Android version (7.1 and 4.4 respectively)? I use LastPass and 2FA wherever possible, never install something shady through an APK or something, but have 2 older tablets that will never get updated again. One, a Lenovo Tab 4 running 7.1, is for my 4 year old daughter, and has a dedicated Kidoz environment. It will also have my profile running on it, for management. Do you actively have to be doing something wrong for someone to break in?

Check here.

In general, using versions that are seriously obsolete is a security risk. Many exploits don’t require the user to do anything. I would use these on a secured home wifi network, provided they can use WPA2 or better, but not in any situation where it might attach to a public wifi. Disable Bluetooth etc. too.

I'm in a situation where I have to download a long list of video files shared in a .csv file, and ideally complete downloading them by the end of the workday today. Can anyone recommend a not-scammy Windows or macOS download manager app where I can dump the links from the .csv file and download them?

Yesterday I was at home playing Minecraft during my lunch hour.

After work I got home to find:
A) My video card no longer worked
B) My on-board network adapter no longer worked

I swapped out my video card with an older Radeon and it ran fine. Nothing I did could resurrect the LAN though. The LEDs don't even light up when I plug a cable into it.

How likely is it that both issues a the result of the motherboard experiencing a problem? A motherboard possibly dying?

Could be a borked power supply, to take out two things at once, or a severe power spike from your utility.

T-Prime wrote:

I'm in a situation where I have to download a long list of video files shared in a .csv file, and ideally complete downloading them by the end of the workday today. Can anyone recommend a not-scammy Windows or macOS download manager app where I can dump the links from the .csv file and download them?

Not sure if it is still around but in the past I have used an app called Deep Vacuum for Mac to do stuff like this. Feed it a text file of links and it will download them all sequentially. Believe it was just a GUI for a commandline utility (wget I think).

Malor wrote:

Could be a borked power supply, to take out two things at once, or a severe power spike from your utility.

The PC is on a fairly new UPS and my wife said she didn't remember any power flickers or outages.

If it makes any difference, the motherboard is almost exactly 4 years old, which is 1 year out of warranty.

T-Prime wrote:

I'm in a situation where I have to download a long list of video files shared in a .csv file, and ideally complete downloading them by the end of the workday today. Can anyone recommend a not-scammy Windows or macOS download manager app where I can dump the links from the .csv file and download them?

On Mac OS, you could probably just script it. Do you know any bash scripting?

Basically, you want to generate a file that starts with #!/bin/sh, and then has a series of lines that says wget URL. Most decent editors should allow you to do this without too much effort. Note that you may want quotes around the URL in case of weirdness.

Put the file into the directory where you want the videos, run a command prompt and cd there, type chmod u+x scriptfilename (which makes it executable), and then ./scriptfilename to run it. If you've done it right, you should see the machine immediately start grabbing video files.

This is why I like Unix so much... this is the first baby step into programming, and you can blend it into your environment fairly painlessly.

edit: note that if you have a problem partway through, after finding and fixing whatever the error is, put a # at the start of any line that's already successfully downloaded, so you don't re-download files you already have. (# means "comment", and means that the line will be ignored.)

Second edit: I checked the man page, and wget -c, which means "continue", will refuse to download any file that's the same size as the host, and will try to resume the download for any file that is smaller. (with the assumption that the transfer was interrupted.) With same-size files, they'll just be skipped, so you don't grab them more than once, and you don't have to mess around with # marks.

Malor wrote:
T-Prime wrote:

I'm in a situation where I have to download a long list of video files shared in a .csv file, and ideally complete downloading them by the end of the workday today. Can anyone recommend a not-scammy Windows or macOS download manager app where I can dump the links from the .csv file and download them?

On Mac OS, you could probably just script it. Do you know any bash scripting?

Basically, you want to generate a file that starts with #!/bin/sh, and then has a series of lines that says wget URL. Most decent editors should allow you to do this without too much effort. Note that you may want quotes around the URL in case of weirdness.

Put the file into the directory where you want the videos, run a command prompt and cd there, type chmod u+x scriptfilename (which makes it executable), and then ./scriptfilename to run it. If you've done it right, you should see the machine immediately start grabbing video files.

This is why I like Unix so much... this is the first baby step into programming, and you can blend it into your environment fairly painlessly.

edit: note that if you have a problem partway through, after finding and fixing whatever the error is, put a # at the start of any line that's already successfully downloaded, so you don't re-download files you already have. (# means "comment", and means that the line will be ignored.)

Second edit: I checked the man page, and wget -c, which means "continue", will refuse to download any file that's the same size as the host, and will try to resume the download for any file that is smaller. (with the assumption that the transfer was interrupted.) With same-size files, they'll just be skipped, so you don't grab them more than once, and you don't have to mess around with # marks.

wget isn't part of macOS by default though so it would need to be installed. curl is available though.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

If it makes any difference, the motherboard is almost exactly 4 years old, which is 1 year out of warranty.

So today the LAN is working again! Very strange. However my DVD-drive is not being recognized. I'm not going to try putting the video card back in. I think it's probably time for a new motherboard.

Yeah... Not sure I’d risk my own video card in that situation. It likely costs more than the mobo...

Rykin wrote:

wget isn't part of macOS by default though so it would need to be installed. curl is available though.

Oh, crud, really? I don't have a Mac here anymore to test with.

curl is a little harder, you have to tell it source/target. wget is smart about parsing out the actual filename from a remote URL, so you can give it www.example.com/somepath/somewhere/sourcefile.mkv, tell it to wget that, and it will save the file as sourcefile.mkv.

With curl, you'd have to parse paths yourself to get the target filename, which could be easy, terribly painful, or anything in between. Honestly, I suspect finding and downloading wget would be easier than writing all but the simplest parse logic.

All this is probably way too late by now, anyway, this project was a week ago.

Is moving GOG, uplay, and origin games as easy as moving steam games? I move steam games multiple times without a problem. I got my new laptop and hope moving the other games will be just as easy to move.

With GOG, I don't use their Galaxy launcher. I do everything with the offline installers, and transferring data this way ends up being fairly detail-oriented.

GOG games will typically all install in a unique subdirectory that's not normally in Program Files, and all your additional games default to installing adjacent to the first. The default path GOG uses is something like "c:\GOG\gamename", but probably not that exact thing.

Basically every game's binaries will require a reinstall, whether it's DOS or Windows-based, older or newer. (you can sometimes transfer DOS games, but it's just so much easier to use the installer.) Just expect to reinstall everything, it's not worth trying to work around this.

Bringing along save games is the tricky bit, and can require some thought. You have to consider each game, one at a time. Newer games will store their save data somewhere under your profile. You can usually Google where a game stores its save data, and can then manually copy that specific folder or folders over to the new install. The folder(s) could be under App Data, under My Documents, under My Games.... every game is different. Sometimes they use more than one spot. (eg, App Data for configuration info, and My Games for actual save files.)

Older games tended to store save data in their own subdirs. This can be easier than the more modern approach, as typically everything will be confined to that single directory. Once you've found the key dir, you copy it across and you're set.

There is no easy way I know to handle everything at once. You can brute-force it by copying your entire profile, absolutely everything in your GOG dir (all your program binaries), and then reinstalling all your programs over the existing ones. But this brings along a ton of extraneous data, and perhaps some of the problems you were trying to escape with the fresh install, so I really don't recommend doing it this way. Instead, figure out which of the games has save data you want to bring over, figure out where it is, and copy it manually.

Again, Galaxy may have some method of helping; I have never used it. Providing this kind of feature would be a very strong argument for using their launcher.

I recently installed a new hard drive in my desktop PC. For uPlay I just reinstalled the games, there was only one so that seemed easier.

For Galaxy, you can move the folders to a new location / hard drive, and then import and do a "repair" of the game. It will verify the files, maybe do a little update and then it works. Takes some time for the bigger games (think Divinity OS 2) but it worked fine. More complicated than Steam, but still fairly easy.

What complicated things for me a bit is that all of my game apps (Steam, GOG, Origin, ...) were also installed on the drive instead of my C:\Program Files. It's easier if you didn't.

edit: more info HERE.

Thanks, that is some good info. Think I will just go the easy path and just play the old non steam games on the old laptop except for one or two which I'll reinstall. Baron be lazy.

So I was looking for a windows ten key and noticed they are under $10 on eBay. Is this some sort of scam?

Yes and no. If you buy one it will probably work, but they aren’t from legitimate sources. They could be stolen, or harvested from old Windows 7 OEM stickers, or resold from a bulk license that’s not for resale (MSDN, Action Pack, Volume License).

If you buy from a reputable retailer and get a bad key Microsoft will take care of you. I got a bad key from NewEgg (not a third party seller) and Microsoft took care of it for me. Was like a ten minute call to their support. Much different experience than what I had with my 360 back in the day.

Of course, your $10 is going to a criminal syndicate that is quite likely looking for them in the wild...

Is there any reason not to use a TV or tablet as digital frame instead of a actual digital frame? I was just looking over prices for digital frames. The ones over 20 inches go for over $400. One could by a 55 inch tv for less.

Well it's going to draw around twice the power, even before factoring in whatever device is actually going to provide the signal for the TV to display.

Other than that, probably aesthetics and form factor.

I'm thinking you could probably put a "mock frame" around one of the least expensive tablet or TV you can find for the size you want and it would work just as well if not better, since you could have it play soft music (from your own playlist) in the background or whatever else you might want the frame to do. Then you would have both the aesthetics of a frame and a more flexible device for much less money. If it's a smart TV, you may not need any additional devices at all, or could even get one of those Roku or Amazon stick things that probably don't use much power.