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About All things tech

Hi there and thanks for visiting my blog.  My name is Ahmad Mahdi, I work as a Security Technologist on the ACE Team (Application Consulting & Engineering).  I started working full time at Microsoft in Aug. of 05 and worked as a contractor for 2 years before that.  I'm originally from Canada and moved to Redmond in 03.  Feel free to write, leave comments or click on contact.  Thanks for dropping by.

  • All things tech

    Want to change your Windows Mobile theme to something cool?

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    If you are running any of the various Smartphone OS's and would like to change up the look and feel of your phone then check out ThemeChanger from here: http://homepages.inspire.net.nz/~gambit/ . This cool little tool does more then change your profile...
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    So you want to be a CISSP?

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    Recently a friend of mine from Toronto emailed me asking about the CISSP certification that I had spoken to him about; he asked me some questions about it and when I was replying thought, there may be actually a lot of people out there with similar questions...
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    Security Professionals' Salary Survey

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    As I work in Information Security; sometimes I get asked questions around what certifications, if any, are worthwhile. I recently completed the CISSP certification & found it worthwhile. There is a lot of material to cover which is all relevant in...
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    Upgrading the Audiovox SMT5600 to Windows Mobile 5.0 (or not)

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    I just got an email form someone asking me how I did this and whether I could help them also do it. Unfortunately, as far as I know, there is no easy way of doing this, unless you happen to work at Microsoft! :) And even then, its probably not easy to...
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    Ever want to open Office documents in Office *instead* of IE??

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    This was a really annoying *feature* of Office. If I click on a link to a Word doc, it opens the document in IE. Here at Microsoft a lot of our docs are stored on internal SharePoint sites, which are webpages. When I try to open one of these docs, it...
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    Hacker Timeline: 1970's to Present

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    This is an interesting walk down memory lane... If you know what a bluebox is or what 2600hz signifies, I'm sure you'll enjoy taking a look. Who knew Steve Jobs and The Woz used to make and sell blueboxes before Apple? :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki...
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    How to use your Mini SD card for Emails & Attachments with WM5

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    Mike Poulson posted this quick registry hack to move your attachments and emails from your device's own memory to a storage card. A registry editor is included with some of the devices shipped out there; some not. If you know of a good (free) one that...
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    Wanted: Senior Level Mentor

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    Recently, I sent out an email to some folks soliciting an informal mentor here at Microsoft. Keeping in mind that many Microsoft employees also read the blogs here, I've decided to make the posting public. If you are a former Microsoft employee or retired...
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    A lil security history & is phishing pronounced "fizzing" or "fishing"?

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    A while back I was talking to someone who was delivering a talk on security when an odd thing happened. Whenever he was talking about phishing, he kept calling it "fizzing". I spoke to him afterwards, apparently he had no idea what the significance of...
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    New Smartphones coming from T-Mobile...

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    I've just heard some exciting news that I'm sure all of you out there waiting to land Windows Mobile 5.0 phones will be excited to hear about. T-Mobile in the US is apparently launching two Mobile 5 phones near the end of Feb similar in spec to the SP5...
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    Interested in free MSN Services for Windows Mobile devices?

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    One of the ways we here at Microsoft internally communicate a lot across groups is through email distribution lists (DL's for short). Recently Michael Smuga a Program Manager here at Microsoft posted a very good brief summary of what we offer currently...
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    Outlook Kung Fu: Mastering your Inbox - Part I

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    Over the years of using Microsoft Outlook, I’ve become quite proficient at using Outlook and I thought I’d share some of those lethal techniques with you. Several of my collegues came to me recently asking for help with their influx of email and the following...
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    You better recognize... Chuck Norris

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    This is awesome and hilarious. Link off my personal blog here: http://allthingstech.wordpress.com/2005/12/29/4/
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    [updated] Ten hacker tricks to exploit SQL Server systems

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    [Updated: 3/23/06: Welcome Digg users. If you are interested in information security, please check out the rest of this blog , as well well as my team's blog and our threat modeling blog . Happy digging :)] This article is a good read. Generally, most...
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    The top 10 Information Security Myths (supposedly)

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    While kind of light on depth, this article does bring up some good points. My commentary on some of these: #3 - External consultants know more about information security then in-house personnel This is a good one, people think they need to bring...
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    Best movies of 2005

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    2005 was not a great year for the studios, box office sales were down and big bets didn't always payoff. Here I bring you movies from 2005 that you should have seen (but probably didn't). I'm not including too many "artsy" movies, these are for the most...
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    Asimov's 3 Laws

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    Isaac Asimov was a very interesting author in the world of Sci-Fi. A lot of the ideas he had in his stories have influenced either directly or indirectly writers that have come after him. Some of his first stories were written for "pulp" sci-fi magazines...
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    Microsoft to offer cheap Xbox 360 game development kit?

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    I have no knowledge of this from Microsoft internally whatsoever, all i know is what is posted in this article. But if it's true, I think it's a great idea. Why not let anyone who wants to develop for your platform? It's what has made Windows so successful...
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    The single best feature in Outlook 2007

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    Although I haven't installed the latest Beta 1 refresh of Outlook 2007 yet, I've already decided what my favorite feature of Outlook 2007 is. Hands down, its the To-Do Bar. Outlook has had task integration for the longest time but it just hasn't been...
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    Preet's: Casual Indian dining in Redmond / Seattle

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    If you happen to be in the Redmond/Seattle area and enjoy good Indian food, you should definitely drop by Preet's . India has many regions, with many different peoples, languages and food types, Preet's serves Punjabi style food that is different from...
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    Steve Ballmer is my hero.

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    So on Friday I went to the Microsoft IT all hands, led by Stuart Scott our CIO. Stuart's done some amazing things in a very short amount of time in cleaning up some of chaos around here and he also did something extraordinary which I'm sure might have...
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    LinkedIn? ;)

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    I've recently started using LinkedIn and I'll tell ya; it can be addictive. Anyway so here's an open invitation; go ahead and add me to your network - I'm open to anyone adding me (as long as you are real and not a spam bot). If you're a fellow Microsoft...
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    Attracting the twentysomething worker

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    Attracting the Gen Y worker, I really enjoyed reading this article; if you're over 30 and wonder what the hell is going on with the new kids coming into the workforce, you might find it a bit of an eye opener :) http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune...
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    BlueHat '06 at Microsoft

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    Today was the second day of bluehat at Microsoft. bluehat is basically the Microsoft version of blackhat. Various security researchers and speakers trek to Seattle and talk to Microsoft employees about different topics related to security. I was able...
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    Web Service & Web Application security becomes more and more key

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    A very generic overview about yet another area to remember when thinking about Information Security: your web services. Interesting fact here was: "Of all vulnerabilities disclosed in the last six months of 2005, nearly 70 percent were associated with...
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