July, 2009

Larry Osterman's WebLog

Confessions of an Old Fogey
  • Larry Osterman's WebLog




    ‘nuf said.

  • Larry Osterman's WebLog

    Tonight’s the night, won’t be just any night.


    Ok, I’m a day late on this one…


    Daniel’s summer show opened last night: West Side Story at the Village Theatre Summer Independent.  As usual, the show was amazing.  The young actors playing Tony and Maria (Kyle Anderson and Elise Myette) are extraordinary (especially Elise, her voice is simply astonishing for someone so young).

    Daniel plays Pepe, Bernardo’s number 2 on the Sharks.


    The show runs for  5 more performances.  Sunday the 19th at 2:00PM and 7:30PM, Thurs the 23rd through Sunday the 26th at 7:30 and a Saturday Matinee at 2PM on the 25th.

    The show is absolutely amazing.  The Kidstage summer independent productions are entirely done by students aged 20 and younger – everyone on the production is under 20 from the director to the stagehands. 


    It’s quite remarkable what they’ve done and the show is well worth seeing.

  • Larry Osterman's WebLog

    Thinking about Windows Build numbers


    There’s been an ongoing thread internally speculating about the windows build number that will be chosen for Windows 7 when it finally ships.  What’s interesting is that we’re even having speculation about the builds being chosen. 

    The Windows version is actually composed of a bunch of different fields, all packed into an OSVERSIONINFO structure.  The relevant parts of the OSVERSIONINFO are:

    • Major Version (dwMajorVersion)
    • Minor Version (dwMinorVersion)
    • Build # (dwBuildNumber)

    The major and minor version numbers are primarily marketing numbers – they’re broad brush fields that the marketing department decides are appropriate for the OS.  For Windows 7, the major and minor versions have been fixed at 6.1 for many months now, but the build numbers change more-or-less daily.


    Back to my story… Back in the dark ages when Windows NT was first developed, the rules for build numbers were relatively simple.  Today's build is yesterdays build number + 1.  That’s why Windows NT 3.1 was build number 511, NT3.5 was build 807, NT 3.51 was build 1057, NT 4.0 was build 1381.

    But after NT 4.0, things changed.

    When Brian Valentine moved from the Exchange team to the Windows team, he brought with him a tradition that the Exchange team used – The Exchange build numbers were rounded up to round numbers for major milestones in the product.  So Exchange 4.0’s RTM version was 4.0.837 but Exchange 5.0 started at build 1000 (maybe it was 900, I honestly don’t remember).  For NT, Brian and his team adopted this scheme but used it to ensure that the OS build number was a round number – so WIndows 2000 (the first version of Windows that was shipped with Brian as the lead) it had a (relatively) round version number of 5.0.2195.

    That tradition was continued with Windows XP (5.1.2600) and Vista (6.0.6000).  In the Vista case, it appears that there was some massaging of the numbers to make the build number work out so evenly – this list of build numbers shows that the build numbers jumped from 5825 to 5840 to 5920 to 6000 during the final push – the last few build numbers were incremented by 80 each build with sub-build numbers (QFE number) incrementing by 1 between the builds.

    For Windows 7, we’ve also seen a number of jumps in build numbers.  The PDC build was build 6801, the Beta build was 7000 and the RC build was 7100.  It’ll be interesting to see what the final build number will be (whenever that happens).  I honestly have no idea what the number’s going to be.

  • Larry Osterman's WebLog

    I get still more spam


    This morning I awoke to find the following spam email in my inbox:

    Greetings from Amazon Payments.

    Your bank has contacted us regarding some attempts of charges from your credit card via the Amazon system. We have reasons to believe that you changed your registration information or that someone else has unauthorized access to your Amazon account Due to recent activity, including possible unauthorized listings placed on your account, we will require a second confirmation of your identity with us in order to allow us to investigate this matter further. Your account is not suspended, but if in 48 hours after you receive this message your account is not confirmed we reserve the right to suspend your Amazon registration. If you received this notice and you are not the authorized account holder, please be aware that it is in violation of Amazon policy to represent oneself as another Amazon user. Such action may also be in violation of local, national, and/or international law. Amazon is committed to assist law enforcement with any inquires related to attempts to misappropriate personal information with the intent to commit fraud or theft. Information will be provided at the request of law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    To confirm your identity with us click here: <LINK REDACTED>

    After responding to the message, we ask that you allow at least 72 hours for the case to be investigated. Emailing us before that time will result in delays. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you and we would like to thank you for your cooperation as we review this matter.

    Thank you for your interest in selling at Amazon.com.

    Amazon.com Customer Help Service

    In many ways this tickled my fancy.  The first paragraph (“Greetings from Amazon Payments”) indicates that it’s directed to one of the Amazon affiliates and I’m not an Amazon affiliate.  if it was directed to customers, it wouldn’t come from Amazon’s Payments department, instead it would come from some other department (maybe Amazon billing?).

    But they immediately discuss “attempts of charges from your credit card” (let’s ignore the fractured English, it’s a phishing email so you sort-of expect crappy English).  If I’m an affiliate, why would Amazon be charging my credit card?

    They then go on and indicate that if this isn’t resolved right away they’ll cancel my Amazon account – very scary.  In fact the risk is so severe, they’re going to ask that I provide a second confirmation of my identity.  And Amazon is going to be totally helpful in ensuring that law enforcement is notified of the charges.  How very helpful of them.


    But what made this email stand out to me is the next to last paragraph.  The one where they say:

    “…we ask that you allow at least 72 hours for the case to be investigated. Emailing us before that time will result in delays.”

    To paraphrase that fragment: “we figure it’s going to take us at least 3 days to clean out your credit card and get away.  So please don’t bother us before then.”




    Somewhat OT: On a more serious note, a friend of the family recently had her email account hacked (we don’t know how it happened but it did).  The criminals who did this then proceed to send fraudulent emails to all the contacts in her address book asking for money.  The good news is that she complained to the Live Mail folks about it and they were able to reclaim the account for her within 24 hours, so hopefully the damage is minimal.  And she’s gone out and changed all her online passwords in case they figured out those passwords while they had access to her email.  Live email also has an excellent “what to do when you think your account’s been stolen” resource which lays out the various options available when this happens.  The local police department also pointed her to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, it’s not clear if engaging them will make a difference (especially if the crooks are international) but it’s something.

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