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Microsoft Security Makes "Worst Jobs" List

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the whale-meat-and-blubber dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 177

Stony Stevenson asks, rhetorically, "What do whale-feces researchers, hazmat divers, and employees of Microsoft's Security Response Center have in common? They all made Popular Science magazine's 2007 list of the absolute worst jobs in science." Quoting: "The MSRC ranked near the middle as the sixth-worst job in this year's list.. 'We did rate the Microsoft security researcher as less-bad than the people who prepare the carcasses for dissection in biology laboratories,' Moyer said. Moyer didn't have to think long when asked whether he'd rather have the number 10-ranked whale research job. 'Whale feces or working at Microsoft? I would probably be the whale feces researcher,' he said. 'Salt air and whale flatulence; what could go wrong?'" Here's the Popular Mechanics list all on one page.

cancel ×

177 comments

Great list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19659733)

I guess I'll stick to computer science after I read that list.. Uhh.. There are true horrors in life.

Odd... (5, Interesting)

ForumTroll (900233) | about 7 years ago | (#19659741)

Microsoft actually has security researchers? What do they actually do?

Re:Odd... (5, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 7 years ago | (#19659747)

What do they actually do?

Dissect a bloated carcass.

No, sorry. That was the whale guys, wasn't it?

close... (4, Funny)

SeaFox (739806) | about 7 years ago | (#19660207)

Dissect a bloated carcass.
No, sorry. That was the whale guys, wasn't it?

No, that was the biology lab preparers.
The Microsoft guys deal with shit, and are in over their heads.

Oh, wait. THAT was the whale guys!

Re:close... (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | about 7 years ago | (#19661227)

No, that was the biology lab preparers.

The Microsoft guys deal with shit, and are in over their heads.

Maybe they deal with "salt air and whale flatulence" arising from obese crapware programmers eating pickled herrings and salted sprats at OEM laboratories.

Re:Odd... (4, Funny)

MadUndergrad (950779) | about 7 years ago | (#19659761)

On the contrary, I'd expect it to be one of the best jobs ever; you don't have to do anything.

Re:Odd... (5, Funny)

revengebomber (1080189) | about 7 years ago | (#19660263)

But the health plan is terrible. It doesn't even cover flying chairs.

Re:Odd... (1)

WS Tu (1045270) | about 7 years ago | (#19659815)

I think they just try too hard to make the job done. It is really not an easy task to develop so many security loophole.

Re:Odd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19659887)

Unsuccessfully attempt to reverse engineer more secure OSs like Linux and Mac OSX

Re:Odd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19660781)

Unsuccessfully attempt to reverse engineer more secure OSs like Linux


Um, Linux is open source, there is no need to reverse engineer it. And an OS is only as secure as the administrator responsible for the installation, regardless of the code.

Do the Linux community a favor and "advocate" something else.

Re:Odd... (3, Funny)

Black Sabbath (118110) | about 7 years ago | (#19659975)

Take your pick:

- Sell fresh exploits on the open market.
- Resign and start their own bulk-email service companies.

Re:Odd... (1)

chawly (750383) | about 7 years ago | (#19660073)

I'd rank your question as "Question of the Year". Further, I find you to be most couragous - there are some things it's better to ignore. Out of kindness to oneself.

Re:Odd... (1)

thebeforeguy (966127) | about 7 years ago | (#19660131)

They search year-old slashdot forums for mention of vulnerabilities. When they find something, they pass on the information via a super-secret, super-secure, proprietary code (usually pig-latin) to the Microsoft Rapid Response Security Task Force: Patch Development Division (MRRSTFPDD). The MRRSTFPDD then spends two years designing a patch for the hole (which has long sense been addressed by third parties). Upon release it becomes apparent that the patch creates no fewer than three new vulnerabilities. This is inevitably mentioned in these forums, thus starting the process anew.

Not only that.... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 years ago | (#19660867)

...but it's classed as a "science"!

Re:Odd... (1)

eMbry00s (952989) | about 7 years ago | (#19661119)

Collectively, they buy Microsoft products for billions of dollars, and use them in their everyday lives.

I call whaleshit (5, Informative)

jomama717 (779243) | about 7 years ago | (#19659757)

Support sucks no matter what you're working with - I've been there - this is a Microsoft slam piece from an unlikely source.

For giggles, here's the list:
  • Number 10: Whale-Feces Researcher
  • Number 9: Forensic Entomologist
  • Number 8: Olympic Drug Tester?
  • Number 7: Gravity Research Subject
  • Number 6: Microsoft Security Grunt
  • Number 5: Coursework Carcass Preparer
  • Number 4: Garbologist
  • Number 3: Elephant Vasectomist
  • Number 2: Oceanographer
  • Number 1: Hazmat Diver

Re:I call whaleshit (1)

andyteleco (1090569) | about 7 years ago | (#19659877)

What's so bad about oceanography?

Re:I call whaleshit (5, Interesting)

BlueTrin (683373) | about 7 years ago | (#19659965)

From http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Technology/Story?id=32909 63&page=4 [go.com]

2. Oceanographer: Oceanographers' jobs are "getting harder and harder every year," said Ward. Faced with the predictions that by 2048 seafood will no longer exist, coral reefs will vanish in the next decade and that an ever expanding mass of garbage the size of Texas in the North Pacific has caused irreparable damage to the world's water supply, these scientists are charged not only with protecting the health of the ocean, but also with turning the prognosis around.

"Oceanographers are really tasked with just analyzing sad facts on deoxygenating oceans, increased pollution, whole masses of garbage swirling in the middle of the ocean. What it really is, is a testament to how devoted and loyal a bunch of people they are.

"They're working extremely hard on a very difficult problem, but they also are very optimistic people. They believe that we can turn it around and the ocean is a very dynamic living environment and they feel that with the proper care, we can turn it around, but so far that has not been the case," said Ward.

Re:I call whaleshit (2, Insightful)

jomama717 (779243) | about 7 years ago | (#19659973)

That struck me as odd too...according to the article it's due to the amount of "bad news" that oceanographers have to deal with (overfishing, pollution, etc.):

With so much going on, there's plenty of work for oceangoing scientists--if they can stomach bad news.
That's a stretch in my book, *everybody* has to deal with that bad news, the oceanographers just deliver it - while cruising the world's oceans on state of the art research vessels...

Re:I call whaleshit (3, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 7 years ago | (#19660229)

That's a stretch in my book, *everybody* has to deal with that bad news, the oceanographers just deliver it

Some people put their hearts into their jobs.

Re:I call whaleshit (4, Interesting)

DrMrLordX (559371) | about 7 years ago | (#19660483)

Oceanographers are dedicated to the study and, ideally, salvation of numerous aquatic ecosystems that are in a rapid state of collapse. It's one thing to deal with "bad news" on a regular basis. It's quite another to watch the sea dying right before your eyes. Most of us have become comfortable with our oceans' plight by ignoring it; that is a comfort not easily afforded to oceanographers.

Re:I call whaleshit (2, Insightful)

butlerdi (705651) | about 7 years ago | (#19659899)

How about Proctologist or as they are currently known (in the PC world) colorectal surgeons.

Re:I call whaleshit (4, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 7 years ago | (#19661421)

How about Proctologist or as they are currently known (in the PC world) colorectal surgeons.


They're the ones who work for the TSA who allow you to get on a plane, right?.

Forensic Entomologist I can relate to, sorta (5, Interesting)

iHasaFlavour (1118257) | about 7 years ago | (#19659935)

Many years ago in my former career I had to treat a guy who had been in a ditch comotose for so long he had maggots well established in every available cavity. Took a while that did.

Not, it has to be said, my fondest memory of that time. It ranks right up there with the odd fact that all tramps poo contains giant lentils.

Re:Forensic Entomologist I can relate to, sorta (1)

jomama717 (779243) | about 7 years ago | (#19659987)

I just threw up a little bit in my mouth...thanks :)

Re:Forensic Entomologist I can relate to, sorta (5, Interesting)

misanthrope101 (253915) | about 7 years ago | (#19660437)

I work in a hospital, and ER docs like to swap stories. The worst I've heard is of a woman who was kidnapped, beaten, repeatedly raped, and thrown into a ditch to die. She didn't die, but she did land on a fire ant mound, where she stayed until someone found her, which was not enough time for her to die. Tragedy happens, crime happens, but sometimes you just have to think "that's not fair." I always think of that story when I hear someone say "well, everything happens for a reason."

Re:Forensic Entomologist I can relate to, sorta (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 7 years ago | (#19660491)

I work in a hospital, and ER docs like to swap stories. The worst I've heard is of a woman who was kidnapped, beaten, repeatedly raped, and thrown into a ditch to die. She didn't die, but she did land on a fire ant mound, where she stayed until someone found her, which was not enough time for her to die. Tragedy happens, crime happens, but sometimes you just have to think "that's not fair.
That story, assuming that it isn't an urban legend, makes me think it's an excellent argument case for the death penalty. Rapists in general are one of the lowest types of human scum.

Re:Forensic Entomologist I can relate to, sorta (5, Interesting)

misanthrope101 (253915) | about 7 years ago | (#19660677)

About 70% of the people who are released from death row after being exonerated by DNA evidence were convicted on eyewitness testimony. The death penalty is bad because witnesses lie or are mistaken, cops lie or are mistaken, cops torture/beat confessions out of people, jailhouse snitches are allowed to testify to reduce their own sentence, evidence is planted (or hidden, if exculpatory), and so on.

We think we have a god's-eye view and we just know that someone is guilty, but the case is stacked to look that way, and we don't really know, not definitively. Very seldom is there videotape of a crime like this--usually we have to rely on people whose careers are built on getting an arrest and a conviction. People will send you to death row just to help their own careers, even if they have to intimidate witnesses, supress contradictory testimony, or reduce someone else's sentence for their "testimony" about the night you confessed to them.

Re:Forensic Entomologist I can relate to, sorta (1, Offtopic)

digitig (1056110) | about 7 years ago | (#19660937)

If I had modding rights at the moment I'd be torn between "insightful" and "off-topic".

Re:Forensic Entomologist I can relate to, sorta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19660993)

About 70% of the people who are released from death row after being exonerated by DNA evidence were convicted on eyewitness testimony. The death penalty is bad because witnesses lie or are mistaken, cops lie or are mistaken, cops torture/beat confessions out of people, jailhouse snitches are allowed to testify to reduce their own sentence, evidence is planted (or hidden, if exculpatory), and so on.

We think we have a god's-eye view and we just know that someone is guilty, but the case is stacked to look that way, and we don't really know, not definitively. Very seldom is there videotape of a crime like this--usually we have to rely on people whose careers are built on getting an arrest and a conviction. People will send you to death row just to help their own careers, even if they have to intimidate witnesses, supress contradictory testimony, or reduce someone else's sentence for their "testimony" about the night you confessed to them.
Generally I agree with you. What I was trying to say is that while I oppose the death penalty, sometimes people like Ted Bundy come along and make me doubt my position. That being said I'm not sure which is worse, being executed or being sentenced to life in a place like San Quentin. If anything I think I that If I ended up in being wrongfully convicted of a crime I would prefer death to spending my life trying to stay out of the way of violent prison gangs and homosexual rapists. It is easy to advocate the fact that the death penalty should be abolished but all to easy to ignore the fact that the prison system the way it is today is arguably a fate worse than death.

death penalty (1)

iHasaFlavour (1118257) | about 7 years ago | (#19661241)

The death penalty has one big problem in my view.

Leaving aside religious considerations, if you kill someone, their problems, including facing what they did, are well and truly over. If you beleive the ideas of the various societies of people with imaginary friends [insert name of religion here], then whatever god they follow will deal with it. That seems a bit of a stretch to me, if this god would, then why do we have to do anything at all? I find the whole idea suspect in the extreme.

I would say a life in maximum security prison or isolation, and the memory of what they did that put them there would be far worse.

Re:death penalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19661261)

So you advocate punitive rather than rehabilitative justice?

Re:Forensic Entomologist I can relate to, sorta (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | about 7 years ago | (#19661225)

My personal opinion on the subject is that death penalty should be reserved to cruel murders, and rapes if you have a 100% certitude on the culpability, like several eye witnesses who do not know each other, ... etc

Of course you can never be sure that the cops/scientists/witnesses did not make a mistake nor were manipulated so it would be applied very rarely ...

Re:Forensic Entomologist I can relate to, sorta (1)

VE3MTM (635378) | about 7 years ago | (#19661349)

There is no 100% certanty in law, especially not with eye witnesses, no matter how many or how independent they may be.

Re:I call whaleshit (1)

hachete (473378) | about 7 years ago | (#19660939)

cat food taster

The reason I'd say it is worse (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 7 years ago | (#19661043)

Is threefold:

1) Because Windows is so prevalent it gets hit with more attacks than anything else.

2) Along those lines, it always makes the news, at least tech news, when there's a Windows bug. If you read security focus or the like you discover there's really quite a bit discovered in all OSes, including MacOS, Linux, Solaris and so on. However it rarely hits tech news and almost never mainstream. No such luck for MS.

3) People like to blame all their problems on MS. You get hacked because your password was "password"? MS's fault. A program you install have a security hole? MS's fault. Someone send you a virus "In order to have your advise"? MS's fault.

Basically, because Windows is so prominent, everything is magnified. You are under a much bigger spotlight, and much more gets attributed to you than normal.

Time to rethink OS's (4, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | about 7 years ago | (#19659789)

When staff is short I am sometimes stuck with help-desk duties of late. I am appauled by the lack of transparency when trying to troubleshoot Windows. There is no easy way to "X-ray the pipes" to see what is going in and out and where it is getting stuck. Thus, one ends up having to play Sherlock Holmes to figure out the crime based on random clues scattered here and there. One cannot open the blackbox, but rather has to tweak the front knobs, trying a Cartesion Join of all possible combos, or at least a random sample as an approximation.

It does not have to be this way. The OS should be broken up into fairly independent services and the protocol of each service known, shown, and loggable. One could thus isolate oddities. If a peice of software I build constantly has problems (or confusion) with certain processes or steps, I make trace modes and special reports that can echo and document the process as it is taking place. OS's don't seem to be built this way, you have to randomly tweak stuff until the problem (hopefully) goes away. It is like banging the Mellenium Falcon when it stalls. In the digital age I am stuck with analog-like troubleshooting techniques.
   

Re:Time to rethink OS's (1)

tiffany98121 (1094419) | about 7 years ago | (#19659929)

What do you think a kernel debugger does?

Re:Time to rethink OS's (5, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | about 7 years ago | (#19660197)

So your solution to any random problem is "run it under a debugger"?

Would it really be so hard for the software writers to, oh, I don't know, USE THE LOGGING FACILITIES THAT ARE BUILT INTO THE OPERATING SYSTEM??. Windows has a perfectly good Event Viewer and APIs for writing to it, so how come hardly any software ever logs what it's doing?

Why do you hate America? (0, Troll)

Slur (61510) | about 7 years ago | (#19659947)

Microsoft has a right to innovate. And if it so-happens that most of what they do is duplication of effort long ago solved on *nix systems and creates a nightmare of obfuscation, well the important thing is that they were allowed to be "innovative" in their OS design.

Viva la innovation!

Re:Time to rethink OS's (1)

ForumTroll (900233) | about 7 years ago | (#19660001)

OS's don't seem to be built this way, you have to randomly tweak stuff until the problem (hopefully) goes away.
I never just randomly tweak stuff until the problem goes away. I don't use Windows or OS X though so pretty much everything I use is open source and reasonably well documented. {Open,Free}BSD, Solaris and Linux is built much the way you describe. Important aspects of the OS (using the term loosely) are almost always broken down into relatively small, independent services that have established protocols and logging facilities. I'll admit the documentation on some of these protocols is sketchy at times, but the information is available for those who know how to look. Of course, things could be broken down into independent services even more, but at a certain point that becomes overly complicated and a detriment to performance.

In terms of debugging, dtrace is amazing and I would hope that operating systems besides Solaris and FreeBSD are able to adopt it.

Re:Time to rethink OS's (4, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 7 years ago | (#19660045)

The OS should be broken up into fairly independent services and the protocol of each service known, shown, and loggable.

Trouble is, that model's incompatible with Microsoft's business, and it's customers' requirements for DRM.

They need the OS to be black boxed and inscrutable to prevent people hacking things like WGA and product activation. They also need obfuscated protocols and formats to stop people like WINE from reverse engineering their APIs.

The clearer and easier to understand MS makes it's system, the worse it is for their business model. That's why there's no way they'll do as you suggest, despite being ordered to by the DOJ and the EU.

Obfuscated and unreliable (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 7 years ago | (#19660495)

They need the OS to be black boxed and inscrutable to prevent people hacking things like WGA and product activation. They also need obfuscated protocols and formats to stop people like WINE from reverse engineering their APIs.
I think you are correct in analyzing their behaviour. At the same time, however, this means their own developers are stuck with an increasingly difficult to maintain system. NOT breaking up a complex system into modules is a recipe for trouble, and it shows. Vista reviews are mostly negative, and the (few) people I know who actually tried it were not so happy either.

Thus I believe that keeping Windows obfuscated will protect their business model in the short run, but make it harder for Microsoft to compete in terms of quality. Vista seems to be a sign that such problems are already growing at Microsoft.

Re:Time to rethink OS's (1)

mpe (36238) | about 7 years ago | (#19660067)

It does not have to be this way. The OS should be broken up into fairly independent services and the protocol of each service known, shown, and loggable. One could thus isolate oddities. If a peice of software I build constantly has problems (or confusion) with certain processes or steps, I make trace modes and special reports that can echo and document the process as it is taking place. OS's don't seem to be built this way, you have to randomly tweak stuff until the problem (hopefully) goes away. It is like banging the Mellenium Falcon when it stalls. In the digital age I am stuck with analog-like troubleshooting techniques.

It appears that Microsoft quite deliberatly chose to avoid well structured code. So as to be able to claim such and such feature is "intergrated into the OS" and to make third party replacements difficult. (Even though "integrated" from the POV of the end user does not imply "sphagetti code".) Apparently they considered this worth making things more difficult for their own coders.

Re:Time to rethink OS's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19660109)

It is exactly what the parent poster is talking about that is why you lose if you run proprietary software. It doesn't matter what or how; if Linux was proprietary and Windows open source, Linux would suck and Windows would rule. It's that simple.

Re:Time to rethink OS's (4, Interesting)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | about 7 years ago | (#19660135)

Every now and then my harddrive will start whirring away, when it shouldn't be, and as far as I can tell there is no easy way to tell which process is the culprit in XP. Hell, you ever get one of those "this file is being used by another program" messages and have no idea what program is responsible? I've had to boot into safe mode just to delete a file. And it was an .avi not a system file or anything.

Re:Time to rethink OS's (2)

Belacgod (1103921) | about 7 years ago | (#19660317)

I've gotten that in Ubuntu Feisty though. "This disk cannot be unmounted because a file on it is in use." When the only stuff on it is media that's not open.

Re:Time to rethink OS's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19660459)

Sure, but even on Ubuntu you can drop to a command line and use the various tools provided to work out who has the file open and, if needed, forcibly unmount the volume. It isn't pretty, but it's still infinitely better than Windows where you don't even have the option.

Re:Time to rethink OS's (4, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 7 years ago | (#19660499)

man fuser
man lsof

hth

 

Re:Time to rethink OS's (5, Informative)

davebert (98040) | about 7 years ago | (#19660471)

Get SysInternal's Process Explorer [microsoft.com] . It's got a Find action that will tell you which process has a file open.

It also has an option to replace TaskManager, which is very handy...

Re:Time to rethink OS's (2, Informative)

SpinyManiac (542071) | about 7 years ago | (#19660891)

Seconded. Also FileMon [microsoft.com] or its replacement Process Monitor [microsoft.com] will tell you what's accessing your hard drive.

Nice to see Microsoft still support the BSOD screensaver [microsoft.com] although they don't let you have the password recovery utilities any more.

Re:Time to rethink OS's (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 7 years ago | (#19661219)

This is a tool written by SysInternals out of frustration with the lack of tools for doing this!

Proved popular because it actually did something useful, So Microsoft then bought the company ..

Please note it should have been easy for Microsoft to write this themselves but the didn't?

Re:Time to rethink OS's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19660827)

Hell, you ever get one of those "this file is being used by another program" messages and have no idea what program is responsible?

Unlocker [ccollomb.free.fr] is your friend to deal with this problem.

Re:Time to rethink OS's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19660893)

Every now and then my harddrive will start whirring away, when it shouldn't be, and as far as I can tell there is no easy way to tell which process is the culprit in XP. Hell, you ever get one of those "this file is being used by another program" messages and have no idea what program is responsible? I've had to boot into safe mode just to delete a file. And it was an .avi not a system file or anything.


Sounds like you were the victim of a media player exploit. (Stay off the porn sites) Or you are using the Quicktime virus... er..application.

How to Identify processes by activity with the task manager:
start...run...taskmgr
(or right click the taskbar and select task manager)
(or CTRL-ALT-DELETE and click the Task Manager button)
once you have the task manager open...
...Processes tab...View...Select columns...check desired boxes...
...sort the process display by clicking on any desired column header.
(read the help file for more info)

The performance monitor has access to the same info and more detailed info, with graphing and logging capability:
start...run...perfmon
(read the help file for more info)

Windows does just about everything people claim it cannot, all you need is a little research, experience and common sense to figure out how.

Also you may find this little windows application handy for those out of control porn trojans (or mysterious file locks in general - usually an application that crashed before releasing its locks or remains running hidden in the background):
http://ccollomb.free.fr/unlocker/ [ccollomb.free.fr]

And Fedora is the master of harddrive grinding while idle with zero cpu activity... total garbage.

[IP address changed for this post to defeat Slashdot's ridiculous post flood interval of 30 minutes]

Unlocker (2, Informative)

sukotto (122876) | about 7 years ago | (#19661019)

I really like Unlocker [ccollomb.free.fr] . A little freeware explorer extension that shows you what processes have locked a file, and lets you choose what to do about it.

Re:Time to rethink OS's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19661443)

The .avi file is "in use" because you probably left clicked on the file and the system tried to generate a thumbnail for it. Of course to do so it has to open and read the file - which is why is was "being used by another program". Wait for the thumbnail generation to end and you will be able to delete the file.

Re:Time to rethink OS's (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 7 years ago | (#19660185)

Now you know why I took the conscious decision to do everything in my power to avoid going anywhere near a Microsoft OS ever again.

Unfortunately it's practically impossible to make that 100% and still hold down a job in IT, but it's quite possible to get to the 80-90% point.

The problem is the users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19660469)

While anyone with a clue on computers is crying out for more transparency/debugging logs/etc on Windows, to the average user, it is something they certainly don't want to see.

Most users calling a helpdesk go through this procedure:

User: "I have a problem, please help"
Tech thinks through every abusive/rude reply possible and almost (politely) says "Well duh, why would you be calling us if everything was OK?"
Tech: "Could you please describe the problem you are having?"
User: "IT DOESN'T WORK! COMPUTERS NEVER WORK! WHY DO YOU MAKE IT SO HARD FOR EVERYONE?!" ...

You get the idea. Even trying to step the most polite and most technological of the average users through the task of debugging is hell. They are in the mindset that they should tell you there was an error on their screen... but they'll never mention the important part about what the error codes were and other detailed information.

The same applies universally across Windows AND Linux AND Mac operating systems.

Re:The problem is the users (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#19661257)

I've not worked a helpdesk at a major corporation, but I -have- worked as tech support via phone for a major OEM. It -never- went like that in the 6 months I was there.

I've had people that were extremely frustrated that the PC they bought never worked from day 1, and I've had people who didn't understand a thing about it, and neither of those types type of people acted like that.

So either helpdesks are extremely different and the employees think the helpdesk is paid to be abused, or the tech has already made their life hell in the past and they are responding to that. Judging by the first reaction, the temptation to be rude over a simple polite statement, I'd guess it's the latter.

It's true, however, that stepping users through 'debugging' is indeed hell. I suspect you actually mean 'troubleshooting', and it's slightly less like hell though. Maybe a summer day in the desert.

As for the 'important' part of the error... How should they -know- what part that is? Are they expected to go to college for a computer science degree just to help you do your job?

Instead of blaming the user so much, take precautions. Get to know what those error messages look like so you can ask for the information, instead of expecting it to be automatically provided. Learn to ask the right questions, instead of expecting the user to have any idea what's going on.

Helpdesk positions -exist- because users are stupid. If they weren't, you wouldn't be sitting there helping them.

Re:Time to rethink OS's (2, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 7 years ago | (#19660771)

While it is true that there is no real way to "X-ray the pipes" here are the tools the Microsoft Technet guys use and I've found can be very good at hunting down the bugs.http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals /default.mspx [microsoft.com]

Re:Time to rethink OS's (1)

master_p (608214) | about 7 years ago | (#19661151)

"The OS should be broken up into fairly independent services and the protocol of each service known, shown, and loggable."

If only Microsoft had followed this advice...right now Windows is:

1) a big mess of monolithic kernel where every driver can bring the system down.
2) a big mess of a single API (Win32) which contains everything under the sun.
3) a big mess of a message queue which can deliver GUI messages, process-related messages (quit, shutdown etc), socket messages (some async socket functionality depends on it), and myriads of other things.

The words 'layers', 'services', 'modularity' are unknown to Microsoft...

Popular Science and Popular Mechanics (2, Informative)

johnny cashed (590023) | about 7 years ago | (#19659811)

Are two different publications.

In Other News.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19659813)

In other news linux researchers had no ranking.. it's not actually a job cuz no one gets paid!

Research grunt worse than MS Sysadmin? (1)

El-Wrongo (1105293) | about 7 years ago | (#19659891)

I don't think so.

Juvenile and unfunny (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19659895)

I'm starting to wonder if Mike Judge's 'Idiocracy' may have been a serious film. The articles that make it to the front page on this site have gotten progressively worse over the years.

I fully expect a 'Microsoft = Ass' article by 2010.

Re:Juvenile and unfunny (2, Interesting)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | about 7 years ago | (#19660103)

I fully expect a 'Microsoft = Ass' article by 2010.

After reading this, I fully expect one by lunchtime tomorrow.

They don't sound so bad... (3, Interesting)

pbaer (833011) | about 7 years ago | (#19659961)

Am I the only one who thinks those jobs sound fairly interesting? The NASA 0g tester would be miserably boring but it pays great, over 120k for 21 days of work. All the other jobs seem pretty interesting and don't seem to be exceedingly dangerous. Considering this is their "worst" job list, I'd love to see their "best" job list.

Re:They don't sound so bad... (2, Informative)

AngryJim (1045256) | about 7 years ago | (#19660013)

Hmm, where did it say $120,000 for 21 days work? What I read said $6,000.

Even $120,000 might not be worth it. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to use a bedpan in a bed sloped 6 degrees toward my head, let alone while being observed by NASA engineers.

Re:They don't sound so bad... (1)

pbaer (833011) | about 7 years ago | (#19660119)

Eh, I think you're right it's only $6,000 in which case you would need to be pretty desperate to take it. Multiplying the 6k payday by the 21 days of work was a mistake.

Re:They don't sound so bad... (1)

Landak (798221) | about 7 years ago | (#19660337)

Like an astronaut, I imagine you'd be wearing a diaper :-).

Re:They don't sound so bad... (1)

AngryJim (1045256) | about 7 years ago | (#19660505)

Article says bedpan.

Re:They don't sound so bad... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#19660953)

I'm pretty sure there are people who'd consider that a job perk.

Umm... wait a minute... (4, Funny)

commisaro (1007549) | about 7 years ago | (#19659985)

Plus, to most hackers, crippling Microsoft is the geek equivalent of taking down the Death Star
Umm... is there a NON-geek equivalent to "taking down the Death Star"? I would have thought that particular analogy wouldn't transfer into non-geek realms...

Troll (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19660011)

somebody mod the parent troll +5. the article is actually a pretty interesting read with neat pictures, and i'd much rather see a discussion on the benefits of elephant vasectomies instead of another M$ bashing thread. Yes... we get it... it's insecure... now scurry back to your *nixes.

Uh.... (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 years ago | (#19660025)

Number 3: Elephant Vasectomist
Last time I checked, Elephants were endangered.

So why on earth would anyone be sterilizing an endangered species? How to make a situation worse, or what?

Re:Uh.... (5, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 7 years ago | (#19660079)

So why on earth would anyone be sterilizing an endangered species?

I just wanted them to get some practice before they did mine.

Re:Uh.... (0)

tktk (540564) | about 7 years ago | (#19660281)

So why on earth would anyone be sterilizing an endangered species?

I just wanted them to get some practice before they did mine.

As a corollary, I hope they practice on you first.

Re:Uh.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19660143)

in some regions they are overpopulated. http://www.american.edu/TED/elephbot.htm [american.edu]

i also love how that page is titled "dicks"

Re:Uh.... (1)

M8e (1008767) | about 7 years ago | (#19660157)

Stetter, the head doc at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida, created the device to help control elephants in African wildlife parks, where the jumbos have been breeding too quickly and eating up more than their share of the surrounding habitat.

Re:Uh.... (1)

DrMrLordX (559371) | about 7 years ago | (#19660341)

The article explains it rather well. The pioneer of elephant vasectomies developed the procedure to help Disney curtail rampant elephant reproduction in there Animal Kingdom park. While elephants may be endangered overall, they were having a field day on Disney's property.

Using excess elephants from Disney's properties to bolster elephant populations elsewhere was likely not economically feasible due to transport costs and other considerations.

Re:Uh.... (1)

codeButcher (223668) | about 7 years ago | (#19660979)

Well, in some countries the conservation effort went so well that you had an overpopulation of elephants in a given area. This causes habitat destruction, as you can imagine with such large animals, pushing over even century-old trees to browse the leaves or eat the roots, which put other species under pressure. One way to deal with this was to cull the numbers (shooting whole herds). This was of course not very PC or well received with the greens, as you might imagine. One might also try to relocate a surplus to areas where their numbers have been decimated, provided of course that the reason why the numbers went down in the first place (ivory poaching) has been eradicated and will not reoccur. Of course, these being social and highly intelligent animals, taking them out of their herd is very stressful and a lot of animals die during relocation, and survivors struggle to adapt and be accepted into new herds. Darting and relocating whole herds might be possible, but it is hard enough as it is to find funding to relocate single animals..... Attempts have also been made to develop a birth control pill, with little success, and with elephants living in matriarchal herds, the ability to produce young also has an influence on the social fabric of the herd.

Re:Uh.... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#19660987)

Because elephants used for work are not usable when they're in musth [wikipedia.org] . A male elephant when he has his urges is an uncontrollable danger.

What could go wrong? (1)

marcushnk (90744) | about 7 years ago | (#19660095)

"'Whale feces or working at Microsoft? I would probably be the whale feces researcher,' he said. 'Salt air and whale flatulence; what could go wrong?'""

Quite a lot if your standing near a naked flame when one of them big boys "Breach" 0.o

Re:What could go wrong? (1)

kgp_crap (997022) | about 7 years ago | (#19660233)

Well at least a Whale Feces researcher doesn't have to dodge chairs hurtled at him. Thats a part of the job description at Microsoft. Also you get to deal with way better shit if you are a Whale Feces researcher.

Humm. (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | about 7 years ago | (#19660175)

Seems to me, with the depth of exploits coming in, you could learn so much from working that job, after a few years you could write your ticket to a good job in security at another company.

Not sure Id call a hardworking job like that a bad job, digging in a whale or crap would be allot worse....

Re:Humm. (3, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | about 7 years ago | (#19660349)

why would you need to? i know people who have worked for MS and they all say it's a brillant place to work. highly paid as well. i don't by that MS security is a bad place to work, in fact a lot of these are crap examples of a bad job. ones i will pay are hazmat diving for the danger factor and 0g tester for sounding like some kind of middle eastern torture method.

Re:Humm. (3, Insightful)

acidosmosis (972141) | about 7 years ago | (#19661473)

You have to realize that Slashdot is filled to the brim with users that follow stereotypes. There are no leaders here. Only followers. They don't know about the concept of thinking for themselves.

Microsoft on your resume, yes, that would be one of the best possible things you could ever have on an IT resume as previous job experience. Anyone in IT with common sense would kill for that job, if only to have it on his or her resume.

If anyone doesn't agree with that, they lose all credibility.

Probably the case of the mondays (1)

nawcom (941663) | about 7 years ago | (#19660285)

Mark_Lucovsky [slashdot.org] :He's going to ask me to work on Sunday and I'm going to do it, because I'm a pussy, which is why I work at [Microsoft] in the first place.

Bill Buxton [slashdot.org] :Hey, I work at [Microsoft] and I don't consider myself a pussy.

Tim Hanrahan [slashdot.org] :Yes, I am also not a pussy.

//end of bad office space reference

At least some of us are getting some... (1)

mathfeel (937008) | about 7 years ago | (#19660301)

From TFA: "Liz Warren, a researcher at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, managed to convince 15 men to spend 21 straight days in bed..." Nothing to do with the /. summary, which has only narrowly focused only on one of ten jobs...

Worst job (1)

niceone (992278) | about 7 years ago | (#19660387)

I know TFA is meant in an amusing way... but anyway, I reckon the people who do all of those jobs enjoy them - even the MS one (assuming they get to investigate the problems and it's not just talking about the people who answer the phones and get shouted at).

Misnomer (5, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | about 7 years ago | (#19660461)

I know science. I do science. Microsoft security response is not science. It's the intelligent design contingent of the IT world. It can call itself science all it wants but it can't act like science. Sooner or later they'll tell you that you just have to believe them, while they're busily cooking up the next, more complicated batch of the same old same old and collecting more people with impressive credentials to preach it at you.

Re:Misnomer (2, Interesting)

pimpimpim (811140) | about 7 years ago | (#19660607)

I was also wondering since when solving your self-created problems had become science... Oh, wait, maybe they have a point ;) In any case, I would call it engineering. Or just support. It's not easy work, I wouldn't say that, but science it is not. I think the difference lies in the point that science pursues the mostly detailed understanding of something with not so much a time pressure (just think about it: can you plan scientific progress in advance? On week 4 we will discover this-and-this?), whereas the work at MS security has to be to try to find a least-effort solution, in the shortest time possible.

Re:Misnomer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19660681)

I know science. I do science. Microsoft security response is not science. It's the intelligent design contingent of the IT world. It can call itself science all it wants but it can't act like science. Sooner or later they'll tell you that you just have to believe them, while they're busily cooking up the next, more complicated batch of the same old same old and collecting more people with impressive credentials to preach it at you.


Exactly. I concur, Microsoft security response is not science.

As someone pointed out in an earlier post: "this is a Microsoft slam piece from an unlikely source" [slashdot.org] .

One of these things is not like the others:

The Worst Jobs in Science 2007
  • Number 10: Whale-Feces Researcher
  • Number 9: Forensic Entomologist
  • Number 8: Olympic Drug Tester
  • Number 7: Gravity Research Subject
  • Number 6: Microsoft Security Grunt
  • Number 5: Coursework Carcass Preparer
  • Number 4: Garbologist
  • Number 3: Elephant Vasectomist
  • Number 2: Oceanographer
  • Number 1: Hazmat Diver


Probably listed just to guarantee a link from slashdot.

Mike Rowe (4, Funny)

Tracy Reed (3563) | about 7 years ago | (#19660497)

Maybe Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery Channel can spend a day working at MS. It might top the time he had to wade through 3 feet of bat shit. I understand Ballmer goes bat shit all the time over there at MS. Of course, they might not let a fellow named Mike Rowe into their facilities after someone pulled this cute little trick. [cnn.com]

pFAILZOrS? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19660509)

distri3ution. As

Here's the Popular Mechanics list all on one page. (0)

Porchroof (726270) | about 7 years ago | (#19661139)

"Here's the Popular Mechanics list all on one page."

Now, that's a unique idea. Saves the reader a lot of time.

Without a doubt.. (1)

newr00tic (471568) | about 7 years ago | (#19661213)

..Steve is the best Jobs. ;)

Whale researching is fun. (1)

failedlogic (627314) | about 7 years ago | (#19661235)

Whale researching is fun. Only one thing explains it: Whale farts ..... light them up. I think they could have been mistaken a few times for weapons testing. An army of Whales has considerably more military might than a team of sharks with "lasers" anyday!
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