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Human Achievement Hour

Today is the day that AGW believing moonbats expect people to sit in the dark for an hour in the so-called "earth hour". That this group of morons expect people to give up an hour of their time to destabilize the electrical grid is asinine. If they are so enamored of such primitive lifestyles, then why don't they move to North Korea where every day is earth hour?

During past "earth hours" I've used the time productively to ensure that my house wiring was working properly and to test out a number of high current appliences. It's also a good time to ensure that every light bulb in the house is working and see if they will survive an hour of continuous use.

Now we have an official theme for this hour and it is Human Achievement Hour. The widespread distribution of electrical power is one of humanity's great achievements and we should celebrate it periodically. For those who want to sit in dark unheated hovels eating locally grown grass go right ahead but don't expect me to join you.

Posted by Boris Gimbarzevsky at 10:51.13
Edited on: 27/03/2010 18:38.30
Categories: Climatology, Junk science


Capturing youtube files

I wasn't planning on doing this but it's another one of these things that just happened. I'm down to 24 Gb of free HD space on my laptop and decided it was time to see what is taking up so much space (80 Gb HDD on my TC4400). A few things were easy like the 8 Gb of photos which I don't need to carry around with me but what was surprising was the temporary internet file folder which weighed in at 2 Gb. I didn't recall setting the disk cache to this high a value and so it was time to investigate. In DOS, it is easy to look at this folder which is located at:

C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5

if you use M$ IE as your browser (I somehow trashed both Firefox and SeaMonkey on my laptop so it's either Opera or IE). To see what is going on you need to look for system files:

  • dir /a:s
  • Volume in drive C has no label.
  • Volume Serial Number is xxxx-yyyy
  • Directory of C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files
  • 14/Mar/2010 10:34 <DIR> .
  • 14/Mar/2010 10:34 <DIR> ..
  • 14/Mar/2010 10:34 <DIR> Content.IE5
  • 14/Mar/2010 10:34 67 desktop.ini
  • 1 File(s) 67 bytes
  • 3 Dir(s) 24,069,357,568 bytes free

Obviously on your machine <user> will be the user account you're logged in under. All the material we want is in the directory Content.IE5. In DOS, when one switches to this directory one finds:

  • >dir /a:s
  • Volume in drive C has no label.
  • Volume Serial Number is xxxx-yyyy
  • Directory of C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5
  • 14/Mar/2010 10:34 <DIR> .
  • 14/Mar/2010 10:34 <DIR> ..
  • 11/Mar/2010 12:07 <DIR> 0N27AIOW
  • 12/Mar/2010 21:45 <DIR> 45YRCP6B
  • 14/Mar/2010 10:34 <DIR> 4DC7X5IG
  • 14/Mar/2010 10:37 <DIR> 4HUJWLER
  • 11/Mar/2010 20:26 <DIR> 4XAZ0LU3
  • 10/Mar/2010 07:57 <DIR> 4Z43ITS1
  • 11/Mar/2010 12:02 <DIR> 5JUZA1AO
  • 09/Mar/2010 00:47 <DIR> 63QPONG1
  • 11/Mar/2010 12:07 <DIR> 65CVAXY5
  • 10/Mar/2010 01:22 <DIR> 8B41MPUX
  • 11/Mar/2010 12:07 <DIR> 9TXD5YA8
  • 11/Mar/2010 23:18 <DIR> A7WPSVYD
  • 11/Mar/2010 12:10 <DIR> ANC8X53I
  • 11/Mar/2010 20:26 <DIR> C56ZOHQZ
  • 11/Mar/2010 20:26 <DIR> CP63CX2Z
  • 14/Mar/2010 10:41 <DIR> CPIZ8DAR
  • 11/Mar/2010 12:10 <DIR> CX4IQS8H
  • 14/Mar/2010 10:34 67 desktop.ini
  • 07/Mar/2010 17:30 <DIR> E387GLSJ
  • 07/Mar/2010 17:30 <DIR> ERI7UD2Z
  • 11/Mar/2010 23:18 <DIR> I72LG8XG
  • 07/Mar/2010 17:30 <DIR> K1GJ4N03
  • 14/Mar/2010 11:02 <DIR> MDC90HAZ
  • 14/Mar/2010 10:43 <DIR> N7TSMG0O
  • 26/Feb/2010 21:56 <DIR> OB0ZCBEN
  • 07/Mar/2010 17:30 <DIR> OD0PIBKL
  • 11/Mar/2010 12:10 <DIR> OEWPWNY9
  • 11/Mar/2010 19:55 <DIR> QKXZB2I9
  • 11/Mar/2010 22:19 <DIR> S1MR4L27
  • 07/Mar/2010 17:31 <DIR> SKGAXR8D
  • 11/Mar/2010 12:02 <DIR> TKUZOKX5
  • 11/Mar/2010 12:10 <DIR> U5YRIBWN
  • 11/Mar/2010 12:10 <DIR> WBINMDPR
  • 1 File(s) 67 bytes
  • 34 Dir(s) 24,069,357,568 bytes free

Note that dir /a:s is needed to list the system files which contain IE web cache; a simple dir will suggest that desktop.ini is the only file in that folder.

I had never seen that many files in content.ie5 before and didn't feel like writing a script to copy them so I decided to see if I could make them visible to Explorer. If you doubleclick on "Temporary Internet files" you get a useless directory which has little resemblence to what is actually in the web cache; doubleclicking on an flv file will take you to the original site which may no longer have that file and hence it is less than useless. I suspect this was a crude attempt at hiding temporary files.

To access Content.IE5 and get a DOS type directory listing, it is merely necessary to rename the desktop.ini file in "Temporary internet files" to something else:

  • s>attrib -H -S desktop.ini
  • C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files>dir
  • Volume in drive C has no label.
  • Volume Serial Number is xxxx-yyyy
  • Directory of C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files
  • 31/Jan/2008 23:33 67 desktop.ini
  • 1 File(s) 67 bytes
  • 0 Dir(s) 24,075,079,680 bytes free
  • C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temporary Internet File
  • s>type desktop.ini
  • [.ShellClassInfo]
  • UICLSID={7BD29E00-76C1-11CF-9DD0-00A0C9034933}
  • C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files>ren desktop.ini *.nii

The attrib -H -S statement clears the hidden and system attributes of file desktop.ini which allows it to be renamed to desktop.nii. That's all it takes to be able to see all of IE's web cache folders like any other folders on the disk. Presumably the UICLSID line is to tell the shell to display the contents of the folder as the idiotic set of internet files that shows up without this modification.

Once I had fixed this windoze bug I started clicking on the various webcache folders and was surprised to see how much garbage was there. I've noticed that certain sites tend to be very cpu intensive when they should be doing nothing and there were hundreds of copies of the same picture in some of the folders which was presumably downloaded time and time again from a poorly designed website. There were also a lot of flv files.

Flv files are flash video files and to play them one needs FLVPlayer.exe (you'll have to google the filename as the URL that comes with FLVPlayer setup file no longer works). What I found was that most of the files were Youtube videos still left in the cache. So, I figured that this is an easy way to get Youtube videos as I like to keep a copy of certain things that I watch. I launched IE, went to Youtube and, sure enough, there was an FLV file created in one of the webcache folders that grew in size as the video downloaded. I waited for it to finish downloading it so I could copy it and --- the file disappeared!

This was odd as I could still play the video. So off to look at more places where it could be hiding. It was found in the "local settings\Temp" folder but there was only one problem; the file was locked in some way. Not only that, but when one terminated the instantiation of IE that was displaying that file, it disappeared. Most annoying. Changing file permissions to forbid anyone from deleting the file didn't work so it was time to get more aggressive.

Process explorer was then used to bring up a list of open handles in the copy of IE that was playing the file and the handle for the filename was manually closed: note, this is a dangerous operation and if you randomly close file handles in processes you will potentially cause a BSD on your machine. The only way to recover from a BSD is to reboot (and on my laptop this means pulling the battery with power cable unplugged). You've been warned.

Once I closed the file handle, IE no longer knew about this file (and I killed that instantiation of IE with process explorer to make really sure that file would stay there) and it was left behind on my disk but, unfortunately, it was still locked and I couldn't read it or copy it (or delete it which is a major problem with this method of saving youtube flv files). I know there's a simpler way to do this, but I used the tools at my disposal and launched Restorer2000, had it enumerate the files on C: drive and copied the "locked" flv file to another location. Restorer2000 is one of the most usefull programs that I've ever bought online and it has saved me months of time as I tend to mess up a lot of HDD's for some unknown reason.

The flv files hanging around in the IE webcache folders were downloaded from youtube as late as Feb 2010. The fact that suddenly the whole manner in which youtube flv files are stored on disk now means that Youtube is actively working to prevent people from saving files from their computer. This is futile and idiotic to say the least. If one is able to display a video file on ones monitor, then somewhere in ones machine there exists a representation of that file which can be saved to a disk file on ones machine. I don't care if DRM is used or if the code is obfuscated; if you can see it you can make your own copy. This might mean snooping on the video card, it might mean copying process memory and any number of things that are easy to do. M$ is trying to make all these things much harder for the average user to do, but as long as one has raw access to the HDD, all such efforts are ultimately futile. Vista and W7 allow raw disk I/O which can only be defeated by encrypting the disk drive contents. Anyone who relies on M$ disk encryption technology is an idiot as this is supporting their drive to treacherous computing (they use the oxymoron "trusted computing"). /rant

One of the reasons I have for saving youtube flv files is that files that google doesn't like have a bad habit of disappearing from youtube. Case in point: I had a link to the hilarious video "Hide the Decline" put there by M4GW(Minnesotans for Global Warming) on my climategate page. I clicked on that page today to grab the flv and the link no-longer works. It was the first time I had seen an error of this type in youtube and someone engineered the takedown of Hide the Decline. It didn't take long to find multiple copies of this video on youtube and I grabbed the flv using the method outlined above. I'll be putting this on my own webserver (when I have the time) where it will be protected from the malignant influence of fat Al who will hopefully see all of his carbon billions disappear RSN.

The next step is to start digging into file permissions to see how I can gain read and delete access to the flv files stored via my, quick but very dirty method, so I can delete the files after I've copied and renamed the file. I'm sure there is a simple way of doing this but I have put off doing various medical reports for too long and this is something that's going to have to wait for another day.

Addition on 28/3/2010

Just remembered that CACLS will allow one to edit file access control lists. The youtube file (now undeletable) in Temp directory had the following ACL:

  • C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temp\flaCE.tm
  • BUILTIN\Administrators:F
  • ATHENA\<user>:F

To get access to the file so one can copy it/rename it and eventually delete it, it is necessary to remove BUILTIN\Administrators and "NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM" from the ACL. This is done with 2 CACLS calls:

  • C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temp>cacls flace.tmp /e /r builtin\administrators
  • processed file: C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temp\flaCE.tmp
  • C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temp>cacls flace.tmp /e/r "NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM
  • processed file: C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temp\fl aCE.tmp

Then one can do things like:

  • C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temp>ren flace.tmp *.flv
  • C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temp>dir *.flv
  • Volume in drive C has no label.
  • Volume Serial Number is xxxx-yyyy
  • Directory of C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temp
  • 14/Mar/2010 11:59 10,700,649 flaCE.flv
  • 1 File(s) 10,700,649 bytes
  • 0 Dir(s) 23,513,124,864 bytes free

I also seem to recall using CACLS to obtain access to certain windoze directories such as System Volume Information but am not sure since my System Volume Information folder is completely accessible to me now.

Posted by Boris Gimbarzevsky at 1:17.40
Edited on: 28/03/2010 22:17.21
Categories: Computers