Really Closing The Windows

Here’s a video of a parent who overhauled his daughter’s PC spending $130 on new software. He found the daughter had posted disrespectful notes on FaceBook. The next day he fixed the PC finally with a .45 ACP. While I think this is over the top, it shows attitude applied to that other OS. I would have recommended blocking proxies and facebook. It’s easy with Debian GNU/Linux, Squid and DansGuardian. That would have retained the device for useful educational purposes and the ammunition for practice although it might not have been as satisfying to the frustrated parent. (Apologies for the smoking in this video. I abhor smoking.)

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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18 Responses to Really Closing The Windows

  1. Ray says:

    Oiaohm, I don’t think many parent would have the knowledge to do this, and even if they did, they certainly won’t have the time and energy to disassemble a laptop, and replace it with a defective part.

  2. Clarence Moon says:

    I might point out that the original idea of the PC was to provide a self-managed and completely “personal” capability to individuals that was previously throttled by glass house system administrators. That proved to be among the most popular things ever provided by technologists. You are swimming against the current when you want to put the genie back in the bottle, Mr. Pogson.

    You are thrilled at the idea that a billion people will soon also have use of smart phones and tablets, if that has not already happened, and will shy away from Microsoft in the process. You should recognize that this trend is in the same direction as the original PC and is yet another refutation of the type of central management that you espouse.

    The task is to make self-administered use of computers safe and reliable, not to lock everything down via Linux so as to prevent any mistakes. I personally think that personal computing is very safe and reliable already, but certainly there is a lot of hacking going on that needs to be defeated, either by better law enforcement or by technical means.

  3. oldman says:

    Pog, this has nothing to do with system administration and everything to do with professional conduct. The Bastard Operator from Hell may have been cute fiction, but it represents an attitude and a conduct that in my experience is entirely unwelcome in most if not all organizations.

    In point of fact our system administrators are trained to refer any and all controversial requests to management where they are dealt with.

  4. oldman, when users demand to run as Administrator in that other OS, do you smile sweetly and give them what they want? How about users who demand the IT guys install some stupid insect for a mouse-pointer? or users who demand you install their favourite application that has nothing to do with productivity and for which they have no licence?

    Sometimes users ask for stuff out of ignorance and are quite aggressive about it. If it makes no sense for the organization, the system administrator should tell them “NO!”. I have worked for many organizations that had that as a policy, enforced by dismissal and/or denial of IT-privileges.

  5. oldman says:

    “BOFH are required at times. Hard unbending and Enforcing and Evil”


    You are an unprofessional jerk who wouldnt pass probation in my shop.

    My comment stands.

  6. oiaohm says:

    oldman you call my method unprofessional.

    BOFH are required at times. Hard unbending and Enforcing and Evil.

    Like a person who keeps on taking files altering them and not placing the back in the backup system. You can tell them until you are blue in the face they should. You can possible have them threaten with being fired. Still not be successful.

    But the day they think they have lost that data and have had one hell of a scare they don’t do it again.

    Humans learn from failure more than success or being told.

    You are not working in high security Oldman. Unprofessional that is you Oldman. My requirements are to be hard when people have failed to follow direction.

    Just like his kid. He could not fire his kid. Sometimes the person who is being a prick knows they cannot be fired at this stage.

    Then in cases of people who cannot be fired who are putting the business at risk who will not listen. The art of the BOFH comes in. Not to put anything really at risk but make them understand by experience what risks they are taking.

    Nothing beats first hand experience. Generated or happened by random event. BOFH side just takes the random bit out.

    That laptop. Harddrive could have failed, bios could have failed power connector could have came lose.

    This is just putting the kid in a virtual event that could really happen. Just this time its not random. Commercial jet crew train in simulators that generate the events as well without them known what event is coming. Just you have not told the kid or the person involved that its virtual.

    Sometimes for disaster response assessment. You will set stuff up like this. Person who knows they are being tested respond differently to a person who thinks it is real. A person thinking they are being tested is less likely to show that they are a person who panics.

    Only reason why its IMHO to you oldman is that you have never tested staff to make sure they are upto job before the bad event happens.

    New staff on a server that is not important but they have told it is important that suddenly fails. Because it was set-up to fail. Either they will panic or act. Same training it will come down to personality traits what way they go.

    In fact a person in panic can disrupt the people who will act from being successful so cause failure. Saying 2 people does not help. You want 2 people with cool minds.

    Virtual events take a little BOFH nature to set up and accepting for there long term good what you are about todo to them is fine. Short term they might hate you. They are better to hate you than do something that causes the business to fail.

  7. oldman says:

    “Of course Oldman in a case like this to people who does not understand brats my response is in BOFH class. Put it this way while they are a child they are better to have the BOFH event than as a adult.”

    Oh I understand perfectly Mr. BOFH. I stand by my comment.

  8. oiaohm says:

    “Your method as is the original subjects method is IMHO excessive and abhorrent.”

    Really did you watch the video.

    lpbbear same question. Kid has already lost there laptop for 3 months with no effect. Then found to still be keeping on doing this.

    If a 3 month without laptop has not worked 12 months without laptop is also not likely to work in this particular case. Instead has got more sneaky posting for friends only on face-book. So after 12 months most likely will keep on doing just sneakier again if you just take the laptop away.

    So are we training a sneak or do we want the kid to learn something.

    There comes a point that the correct answer appears excessive. Disabled laptop that person either has to pay for to be repaired or destroyed laptop where kid has to pay for a new one becomes the only way.

    There is something particular in the video. The kid wants to be paid for chores only fairly basic ones at that. So is forgetting the value of the Fathers time and other peoples.

    The most important lesson here is not the lose of Internet access. But the value of a dollar and the value of time. Not just for you but of other people.

    Giving the laptop away does not work. Kid will then play you give my stuff away card. Kid will then blame you for giving the laptop away.

    There is a point people have to learn there is no free lunch. Surprising how much better people treat devices when they have been stuck without them with a while with a broken version to remind them how good times before were.

    Yes put away in a cupboard. Kid can attempt to forget how good the laptop was. In there face broken make the lesson fast particularly if the kid is not allowed to put it away.

    I had another case where a person had a kid that was texting too much. That person worked in a phone store so had a display model of the same phone. Took phone away and gave them the display model that had to remain on their desk until they could pay for the phone. The phone Kid had been punished many times before by just taking the phone away and shrugged it off. This was not shrugged off. Reminder of punishment is just as important as punishment at times.

    I know disabling seams excessive but it the most effective way. Actions have result.

    I have seen cases of just removed hard drive or bios locking. Result is kid can become sneakers and working out how to get around that. Same with installing proxy..

    Of course Oldman in a case like this to people who does not understand brats my response is in BOFH class. Put it this way while they are a child they are better to have the BOFH event than as a adult.

    Robert Pogson this would not be in the class of burning books. Because there are most likely other computers in the house. So supervised usage from now on.

    Yes Oldman for someone who works in education you don’t know something. There are two things that cannot exist in brain at same time. Anger and Logic. So having to disable a laptop fully is a way to cool the Anger off. My method is excessive for a reason. By the time the laptop is disabled normally cooler head will win out.

  9. oldman says:

    “He lost all computer/electronic privileges for a year BTW. That seemed to cure his silliness and he has grown into a very responsible adult.”

    And that is the way that it SHOULD be done…


  10. lpbear wrote, “I feel its irresponsible to give high school age kids cell phones, laptops etc. unless the kids themselves are willing to foot the bills for such items.”

    I respectfully disagree. IT should be an integral part of education inside and outside of school. Young people do a lot of learning outside of schools and IT should be available. Providing IT to young people is akin to the requirement to provide them food, shelter and clothing. Of course, responsible use should also be taught young people. In my experience, once responsible use is taught/learned adults need to lead, follow or get out of the learning young people can do.

    In earlier times some thought to ban books to keep them out of the hands of young people with the hope of “preserving social norms”. That doesn’t work and harms young people by holding back their acquisition of reading skills. The same goes for the idea that young people should be “seen and not heard”.

    If you need some structure in young people’s use of IT there are technical measures one can implement. If you do not trust young people to refrain from opening the case and resetting the BIOS password or zapping the hard drive, there are other issues involved beyond what technology they use.

  11. lpbbear says:

    While I understand the parent in questions frustration and anger with his daughters behavior his solution was just as childish as the problem he claimed he was trying to solve.

    Having gone through some similar issues with a Son a number of years back who had figured out how to leave insulting remarks about an unpopular teacher on his school website, I would have never considered punishing his computer to be an adequate solution to addressing HIS behavior. He lost all computer/electronic privileges for a year BTW. That seemed to cure his silliness and he has grown into a very responsible adult.

    There are plenty of people out in this world too poor to afford a nice computer, IPod etc. Any IT person, as he claimed to be, knows there are any number of organizations that would be happy to take that spoiled brats electronic gizmos off his hands.
    Helios’ organization is one that comes to mind but even if the Father in this case was unaware of that one organization I’m sure there is a Goodwill or Salvation Army or similar organization in his area that would have made wiser use of the equipment than his childish act of blowing away the computer with his 45.

    Even though I am a tech person I feel its irresponsible to give high school age kids cell phones, laptops etc. unless the kids themselves are willing to foot the bills for such items. My Son that I mentioned above had to buy his own computer and pay for his own car insurance/gas etc. I feel the only way teens learn to be responsible is if they have to foot the bill for luxury items such as laptops, cell phones, cars etc. That approach certainly worked wonders for my Son.

    Hopefully the apple eventually falls a long ways from this tree and turns out to be a better apple when raising her kids. (but somehow I doubt that will work out very well)

  12. oldman says:

    “My method is more moderate. The damage done to laptop is reversible if person changes mind. Again allows person to fell they have done something. Again revenge out system is the good outcome.”

    Your method as is the original subjects method is IMHO excessive and abhorrent. However it is not unexpected coming from the unprofessional geek hacker that you seem to be.

    But by all means keep up expressing such sentiments. You do a far better job discrediting yourself with this kind of post than any of us could.

  13. Clarence Moon says:

    “spent half a day installing that other OS”

    He said $130 for software, Mr. Pogson. That doesn’t match up with OS prices for Windows at all. Plus it was a Wintel notebook to begin with, so why would it need a new OS? 99.44% of the laptops in the world are trashed with the same OS as they were purchased with, I am sure.

    Such destructive and irrational acts involving the use of a firearm are sure to draw the attention (and action) of law enforcement and child welfare agencies. You would do well to distance yourself from such anti-social displays.

  14. oiaohm says:

    Winchester Black Talon SXT bullet. Is most commonly referred to as a exploding hollow point. Its also a law enforcement only round in most countries.

    Exploding hollow point is a particular brand and make title for hollow points and that brand being Winchester. Winchester shells for hardware destruction are some of the best due to the harder coating on bullet used that does more damage to computer hardware and creatures when they fragment. Use by police because they rarely go threw target.

    Other than the one set of rounds that the coating on the bullet was too thick so did not fragment when hitting humans so could possibly do a threw and threw. But were even better for hard-drive destruction since they would fragment once they clear the aluminium and hit the platers. So making a really nice mess inside the hard drive as fragments of the platters bounce around inside the aluminium casing doing even more damage.

    Yes and its Winchester who calls them Exploding hollow points. All other makers just call them hollow points and the other brands are normally have a softer bullet that will most likely start fragmenting when you hit the outside of harddrive so possible send fragments of the drive back in the shooter direction.

    Yes shooting a harddrive is kinda speciality art. You want either a solid rounds that will go straight threw or rounds that fragment inside the drive. Last thing you want it a round that fragments on impact. Animal and human killer rounds are better in most cases if they fragment on impact. Not to stay in one piece for a bit.

    Clarence Moon its perfectly legal for him to shot any laptop he aquired. Same as it perfectly legal to disable a laptop you legally own.

    If a person abuses a item they are given they deserve to lose it.

    Clarence Moon really think about it shooting the laptop and getting rid anger into that than physically punish kid. Really I would prefer parent to shot laptop to some of the other ways of handling it.

    My method is more moderate. The damage done to laptop is reversible if person changes mind. Again allows person to fell they have done something. Again revenge out system is the good outcome.

    Really mine is not a me too. Mine is I understand the why person did it and a more balanced response option.

  15. Clarence Moon wrote, “it is impossible to see how this anecdote has any bearing on Microsoft. The fellow’s immediate cause for going off the deep end involved Facebook and that is one of the things you suggest is enough of a lure for people to get by with an Android tablet or phone and eschew using a Wintel PC.”

    Perhaps you did not listen to the words but the parent:

    1. spent half a day installing that other OS (presumably; he mentions the $ cost). That’s relevant to those who come here to pronounce that other OS just works out of the box.
    2. was willing to throw away that investment in order to send a message. This is relevant to the argument that folks are so locked-in that the world will never adopt GNU/Linux. Here’s a guy who was willing to migrate to nothing rather than put up with the angst it gave him (not entirely M$’s fault, of course, but people can and do change given sufficient provocation. For me the provocation was that other OS crashing in my classroom every hour. All the hundreds of previous re-re-reboots were nothing compared to preventing me doing my job.) and
    3. a .45 at close range is very effective at eliminating some problems
    4. the love expressed for IT using that other OS was nowhere to be seen.

    I could imagine a parent using a baseball bat or an automobile to decommission the notebook but to me the use of a firearm was appropriate although there were better options. I would not be surprised to find local by-laws were violated or that some neighbours were alarmed. Traffic was visible in the background. I am sure they would not be amused.

    Clarence Moon wrote, “From a layman’s POV, it sounds like something that was intended to kill someone more effectively than an ordinary bullet. If so, why does he have them in his possession?”

    I doubt those were “exploding” bullets. The parent probably should have said “hollow-point” or whatever the technology was to cause the bullets to expand rapidly in a thin target. In the video there is no indication of explosion, expansion etc. The same effect could have been had with hard-nosed bullets. Handguns have rather low muzzle velocity so bullets are made very soft and with flat or hollow points to cause more expansion on thin targets. The idea is to do more damage to the target than the background. I suspect that was the parent’s intention. As far as I know, expanding bullets are not illegal in many jurisdictions for hunting or protection. True exploding bullets probably would be as they have little justification in such accepted usage and may well be more dangerous in case of collateral damage. Many bullets used for hunting will disintegrate if fired at extreme velocity and striking at close range. I once shot a deer using a magnum 140 grain bullet and never found anything remaining in the carcass. The range was about 100 metres when I expected to encounter deer at 400 metres. The deer surprised me by running towards me from an unexpected direction. The entrance wound, instead of being the usual bullet-sized hole was fist-sized. To avoid such over expansion, one needs a heavy slow rifle bullet with a hardened core. That’s what I normally use hunting in the bush at close ranges. Light bullets with soft cores are usually intended for pest control.

  16. Clarence Moon says:

    Wow, Mr. Pogson, I don’t know where to begin! I presume that your affection for firearms, coupled with your dislike of Microsoft, prompted your display of this clip, but I think you should have thought a little more before posting it, which seems to show some acceptance of the overall action albeit you do declare your own denial that you would follow suit.

    For starters, it is impossible to see how this anecdote has any bearing on Microsoft. The fellow’s immediate cause for going off the deep end involved Facebook and that is one of the things you suggest is enough of a lure for people to get by with an Android tablet or phone and eschew using a Wintel PC.

    The fellow’s ire was over the lack of respect that he was shown by his offspring. Given his extreme response, I can somewhat understand why that sort of thing is present in his family. He seems to be a dictatorial IT sort who has access to firearms and has an incomplete sense of social responsibility.

    Since the daughter in the piece is a juvenile, I wager that the father is soon going to get a visit from the state department of children and families and will also become an annotation on the county sheriff department dispatcher’s map regarding his temper and possession of firearms.

    As and aside, what exactly is an “exploding hollow point” bullet and what is its purpose? From a layman’s POV, it sounds like something that was intended to kill someone more effectively than an ordinary bullet. If so, why does he have them in his possession?

    More to my main thought, though, is the idea that this fellow has obviously failed to earn his daughter’s respect. He refers to his current wife being her “stepmother”, too, showing that he is likely divorced and remarried based on his apparent age.

    As with most problems in life, his troubles are not really technology related.

    On top of it all, here comes Mr. Oiaohm with his “Me, Too!” topper! Amazing!

  17. oiaohm says:

    Really there are other ways. Robert Pogson fire-walling and proxy filtering you can bet the kid will talk to others at school until they find a method that works that breaks or bi-passes the proxy. Like take laptop to a friend and use there wifi.

    Exploding hollow points are a common fast way to complexly render a laptop useless.

    Personally call me a nasty bugger. In cases like this I don’t destroy the complete laptop.

    I remove the hard-drive and replace with a defective (internationality fried controller board). Then check if bios chip is removable and replace with a defective. If is removable. If not check for other parts that are removable. Like power supply feed board. At this point the laptop is now a brick.

    Put laptop back. Preferably without kid knowing. When they come to asking you to repair laptop. Ask them about the facebook or other insulting post. Then inform them that they will now have to pay the repair bill on the laptop to a repair tech of my choosing and the laptop will be locked away until they pay.

    Of course they never get the data they had on the hard drive back unless they pay data recovery bill at data recovery rates. Its a a good lesson to keep backups.

    Yes I know evil underhanded. Yes holding their data for ransom is also good fun. Because they have normally said other things about people they don’t want those people to know either. They particularly don’t like it when you say you gave this data to a stranger who could release it anyhow you should be thankful its me with it.

    Yes the laptop has to be disabled. But from my point of view use of bullets is far to kind and wasteful.

    Some people say I have a little too much BOFH. But I don’t have any repeat the offence. Even in companies this can be fun with company owned laptops and trouble makers.

  18. Andrew says:

    Helios could’ve used that laptop.

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