Tuesday, October 31, 2006

An insincere apology

My boss reminded me about writing the apology letter this morning, so I sat down at my computer and banged this out:

Dear [IT department],

Please accept my apology for my activities of the past couple of months. At no point were any of my activities malicious, nor meant to offend. I simply wanted to run the secure freeware program Mozilla Firefox for my internet browsing, and making that work in the corporate environment involved bypassing some corporate policies. I have now made a commitment to [the IT Security supervisor] to halt these activities, and I grudgingly plan to stick to it.

First, I'’d like to explain the reasoning behind these activities. Mozilla Firefox has proven to be a useful web browsing tool for me at home and at work, much more so than the antiquated Internet Explorer 6 could ever be, so having it suddenly restricted was a frustrating experience. Note that I ran Firefox off my USB drive for over six months without any difficulties or complaints. I responded (vented) in a way that I felt would be inconsequential by renaming an icon on my desktop for my amusement. I apologize that some employees in [the IT department] found this offensive.

I will not hide the fact that I have been deleting the Tally Systems usage logs off and on for over two years on various corporate computer systems. I have even uninstalled the program at times, just for fun, because I knew it would always come back. The fact that no one ever noticed nor complained led me--—mistakenly, obviously--to believe that it wasn'’t a critical program, or that it wasn'’t the primary monitoring tool that is used. I also shared the location of the usage logs with many other employees over the past two years, and despite the fact that some of these employees deleted the logs as well, no one ever got in trouble for this activity. So, when my co-worker suggested that we kill the program with a script, I did not think it was going to be a big deal. It was also not a big deal for us to stop this activity entirely, and we have done so.

So, once again, I apologize. I trust that we can leave these matters in the past and get back to real work. I'’m sure you'll continue to monitor me closely, but you'’ll find little to complain about. However, as [control systems] engineers, we do frequently run a lot of new engineering software, so if you have any questions about unknown executables that are being logged, feel free to call. And I hope that the upcoming corporate launch of Internet Explorer 7 will ease my transition away from Mozilla Firefox.

Yours sincerely,

I didn't bother putting too much work into it, like sneaking in a hidden message, since my boss fully intends to modify it to his liking. I doubt the final version will end up looking much like version 1.0.

And in other "I always feel like somebody's watching me" news, I got caught again yesterday running something off my USB drive. This time it was IE Privacy Keeper, a freeware utility that cleans up browser and document histories. I used it instead of spending five minutes doing all the clean-up manually. Should be no big deal, right? Maybe if I wasn't so high on the IT shitlist, and maybe if I hadn't run it off the USB drive...

The obvious question is, "What were you trying to hide by doing the clean-up?" The answer: nothing of consequence. I just like regularly purging the shit that Internet Explorer maintains under Documents and Settings, such as cookies and temporary files. I'm used to Portable Firefox, which purges everything upon every exit.

Anyway, I was caught using unauthorized software, an e-mail was sent today from IT security to my boss, my boss got justifiably angry again, and I had to explain my actions again. Goddamn, IT is obsessing over me!--and it is really pissing me off. I'm honestly trying to be good, but it's really not going well so far...

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