Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Extremely Critical!!!

So there's a new Windows security advisory out. We're told this one's EXTREMELY CRITICAL. All melodrama aside, it's exceedingly silly that one can gain absolute power over a Windows box with the aid of a malformed graphics metafile.

It's like the previous post about today's DDE nightmare. I haven't seen a live Windows metafile, whether WMF or EMF, for a long, long time. But that hardly matters, because Windows must keep supporting WMF+EMF forever, for the sake of backwards compatibility. And sandboxing these metafiles just wouldn't be the Redmond Way. So when a file that's (allegedly) of a certain format enjoys a privileged, non-validated gateway into the inner sanctum of the operating system, it only takes one malefactor, and it's game over.

Metafiles were a triumph of 1980s technology. The idea was that you could save disk space and cpu cycles (both at a premium) by just recording to a file each call to the low-level GUI portion of the OS. Displaying the resulting file would be a simple matter of playing back the sequence of OS calls. Great idea, if memory and CPU cycles are at a premium, and you're willing to sacrifice device independence, and OS independence. ISTR that the GEM gui was big on metafiles, from back in my Atari ST days. In this day and age, with wild Opterons roaming the Earth, it's a positively goofy idea.

Perhaps you've noticed this rant is slightly unbalanced, offering up far more outrage than the matter really deserves. Mea culpa. It's the beer, probably. When you're stuck with drinking a whole bottle of Gouden Carolus Noël because nobody else really likes it, your opinions tend to become rather, er, inflated.

In happier news, it seems that Satan has finally been captured by Our Boys in Blue, and he's now cooling his heels, er, hooves, in a Florida county jail. Your tax dollars at work! Although the fact that this happened in Florida may result in a bit of sibling rivalry between Governor Jeb and his brother George, who'd sworn to personally rid the world of evil. Maybe they'll go on Springer or something.

For your ecumenical reading pleasure, here are a couple of stories about the Father of All Lies (and stepfather to Darl McBride) from an Islamic perspective: [1] [2].

In that spirit, here's the (relatively) cutest picture I could find of a Tasmanian Devil. Note that this is not the animated Tasmanian Devil, as that would invite expensive "IP" litigation and so forth.

And another pic of Ol' Whatsisname, in his "Tucker Carlson" persona. The bow tie is supposed to make you think he's a harmless doofus. But don't be fooled. Inside the beltway, people who look like that are actually taken seriously. Honest.

[Updated 10/27/06: For the last week or so, I've been getting tons of Google image search hits because I linked to that photo of a certain bowtied beltway charlatan (who I won't mention by name a second time for fear of boosting my PageRank even further). You won't find the photo here, and I'm not sure I've even mentioned the guy again in any capacity. So I'm afraid you've come to the wrong place, if that's why you're here. Sorry about that.]

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