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It's funny.  Laugh. Microsoft Security

Microsoft Security Makes "Worst Jobs" List 177

Posted by kdawson
from the whale-meat-and-blubber dept.
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.
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Microsoft Security Makes "Worst Jobs" List

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  • Odd... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ForumTroll (900233) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:11AM (#19659741)
    Microsoft actually has security researchers? What do they actually do?
  • I call whaleshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by jomama717 (779243) * <jomama717@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:14AM (#19659757) Journal
    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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by butlerdi (705651)
      How about Proctologist or as they are currently known (in the PC world) colorectal surgeons.
    • by iHasaFlavour (1118257) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:48AM (#19659935) Homepage
      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.
      • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @03:32AM (#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."
        • 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.

          • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @04:34AM (#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: (Score:2, Offtopic)

              by digitig (1056110)
              If I had modding rights at the moment I'd be torn between "insightful" and "off-topic".
            • by BlueTrin (683373)
              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 ...
              • by VE3MTM (635378)
                There is no 100% certanty in law, especially not with eye witnesses, no matter how many or how independent they may be.
            • Most of the arguments in favour of the death penalty would disappear if a life sentence actually meant what it says - not around 7 years as it does in the UK.
            • by sckeener (137243)
              Agreed! I have a co-worker that believes that prisons should not exist....because all forms of punishment should be death penalties. He acted like no one innocent every gets convicted...

              and we are in Houston where The Thin Blue Line [imdb.com] documentary was filmed. The wiki [wikipedia.org] of the film basically describes how the police just wanted a conviction to make it look like they were being tough on the crime. The film is one of the reasons Randall Adams got out of death row....

              The question is how many other people are
              • by sckeener (137243)
                Since I've gotten a few emails....

                If anyone wants to contact my dad....here's his address

                John Keener
                Allred Unit
                2101 FM 369 North
                Iowa Park, Texas 76367-6568
                SPN 890475 7H-46B
            • by metamatic (202216)

              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.

              You're only scratching the surface of why it's bad.

              The death penalty is also bad because:

              • It makes juries less likely to convict, so it results in more truly dangerous people walking free.
              • It costs more than life incarceration.
              • It makes it h
          • If assuming we could "KNOW" that they did in fact do it, I'd be right there with you. Instead, LWOP
    • by hachete (473378)
      cat food taster
    • 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
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by BForrester (946915)
      I'm actually employed as an Olympic Drug Tester for the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics; I don't understand why we have such a poor rating. The job is actually going quite well! The cocaine is still a bit harsh, but the speed is to die for, and the marijuana is smoo-ooth, baby.
  • just so NO to crappy articles and blogs. here the link you really want.

    http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science/0203101256a23 110vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html [popsci.com]

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:19AM (#19659789) Journal
    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.
       
    • 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

    • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @02:10AM (#19660045) Journal
      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.

      • 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 ne
    • by mpe (36238)
      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 lik
    • by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @02:30AM (#19660135) Homepage
      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.
      • by Belacgod (1103921)
        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.
      • by davebert (98040) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @03:41AM (#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: (Score:2, Informative)

          by SpinyManiac (542071)
          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.
      • Unlocker (Score:3, Informative)

        by sukotto (122876)

        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.

      • by Khuffie (818093)
        That is due to an (admittedly annoying) bug in XP. When you browse to a folder with videos in explorer, it tries to generate thumbnails for them. Sometimes XP gets stuck on corrupt/slightly broken AVIs, and continues to try to generate a thumbnail keeping the file in use. You can disable thumbnail view from Tools --> Folder Options --> View --> Always show icons, not thumbnails. That last bit might be different on XP since I'm on Vista (it seems to work fine on Vista), but there should be a simila
      • Search google for a utility called "Unlocker" It will unlock those files for you so you can delete them. Beware: Know wtf your deleting!
      • by syousef (465911)
        This is your ignorance at play. Learn to use the damned Windows Task Manager. Look under processes, then choose View->Select Columns... from the menu and enable all the IO related options. Then maximize the task manager, and sort by the various IO columns. Look for the one that's changing most.

        It's not hard, it doesn't require non-standard software, and doesn't require a comp. sci. degree. At least learn to use the tools available to you or pose it as a question instead of claiming there's no easy way as
    • by jimicus (737525)
      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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hairyfeet (841228)
      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]
    • by master_p (608214)
      "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 depen
      • The words 'layers', 'services', 'modularity' are unknown to Microsoft...

        Wow, righteous ignorance on full display.
        Windows is built on layers.
        You can go to the services control panel and turn off any services you want. You can also use the event logger to monitor what each service is doing.
        If you want to do "ad-hoc" repair work (such as described by the OP of this subthread), turn off and on services and/or drivers until you find the culprit. That'll be just as fast, if not faster than slogging through mill

  • by johnny cashed (590023) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:27AM (#19659811) Homepage
    Are two different publications.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    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: (Score:3, Interesting)

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

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

  • by pbaer (833011) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:53AM (#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.
  • 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...
    • It's a shame time travel is a geek topic, or I could invoke pre-Hep-C Pam Anderson.

      Why parent's at (0, funny) is beyond me; what I wouldn't give for a mod point right now.
  • Uh.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt@l y n x . b c .ca> on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @02:04AM (#19660025) Journal

    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.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @02:18AM (#19660079) Journal
      So why on earth would anyone be sterilizing an endangered species?

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

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

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

      i also love how that page is titled "dicks"
    • 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 surp
    • 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.
  • "'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
  • 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. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by timmarhy (659436) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @03:14AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by acidosmosis (972141)
      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.
    • Wait. You think Microsoft Security team members are desirable hires? ... would you pick one up?
  • 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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DynaSoar (714234) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @03:38AM (#19660461) Journal
    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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pimpimpim (811140)
      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 th
  • Mike Rowe (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tracy Reed (3563) <treedNO@SPAMultraviolet.org> on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @03:48AM (#19660497) Homepage
    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]
  • 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!
  • by Odin_Tiger (585113) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @09:58AM (#19663177) Journal

    Plus, to most hackers, crippling Microsoft is the geek equivalent of taking down the Death Star,
    Really? I'd think it's more like kicking an evil, rabid puppy. I mean, sure, it is an evil little bastard and probably deserves to be kicked...but it's still kicking a puppy, and it's still not something to be especially proud of.
  • Discovery has a "worst job" show, right?

    Love to see Mike Rowe walk into MS's lobby and see Bill just tackle him out the door. Or Ballmer.

    Yeah, I'm weird.

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