Guest Post: Laurie Love’s Asperger Syndrome

I don’t have Asperger’s as far as I know (which is in the spectrum of Autism) but a friend of mine gave me their article to share. They’d prefer to stay anonymous. I really like the topic and it brings up some great points on the UK case around hacker Laurie Love, who may be extradited to the US. It’s of interest especially for the IT industry that contains many people with Asperger Syndrome, so here are their thoughts on the situation:

By Anonymous:

I have Asperger’s. However, I don’t hack the US government infrastructure looking for little green men and such.  Laurie Love is claiming that he shouldn’t be extradited to the United States due to his mental status and partly because he has Asperger’s syndrome.

In the case I find myself truly torn. On the one hand I have no love for the US government, their treatment of whistle-blowers such as Manning, Snowden et al. I fully support the work of the ACLU, EFF and other privacy groups.  I also support the rule of law.

However the computer world now finds itself in somewhat of a “McKinnon II” situation where Mr Love is concerned. Each time this scenario crops up it makes us Aspies look that little bit weirder and therefore having to work that bit harder to not be tarred with the same brush that is used by most uninformed media outlets.

Whilst it is completely understandable that Love wouldn’t want to be sent to the US to stand trial with what most people would see as an extremely one-sided justice system with excessive sentencing in a much maligned prison system, he does a dis-service to other Asperger’s suffers and people with mental illness by using it as a means to avoid what many now see as an inevitable trial in the US.

Let me set the record straight about Asperger’s from a first hand point of view.

Most critically, on a macro scale we (people with Asperger’s) know right from wrong. Sure, we can be a bit more curious than perhaps we should be occasionally but we have the capacity to understand that actions have consequences.

When was the last time you heard someone plead not guilty to GBH because they had Asperger’s? Just because its seen by his supporters as a victimless crime does not mean it isn’t a crime.  Admittedly the GBH scenario is extremely unlikely in an Aspie world because we tend to not be inclined to violence or even much toward social interaction!

We are however programmed to ask why. We take things apart, we fiddle with them and such but to go breaking into military computers invites a world of hurt.

We (Aspies) are not where or how people but Why. Why does this thing “x” work the way it does? We need to find out! We can’t just leave it. This may go some way as to explaining why Love did what he did.

Laurie Love undoubtedly knew that trying to hack the military computers of a super power state was not a wise move and it would have dire consequences if he were to be caught. Although I may not agree with the US sentence put forward, the methods used or some aspects of the prosecution I believe that the US have a reasonable right to extradite him. He (allegedly) broke the law and not in a trivial way.

To now turn around and claim, as his father has, that his son isn’t prepared to go to the US to face charges under any circumstances smacks of blind arrogance. His father, a prison chaplain, claims that he sees people with such illness commit suicide.

As a group, people affected with Asperger’s do tend to look on the negative side of things and have a slightly higher risk profile than then general populace. His family portray him as a suicide risk. Anybody who faced ninety-nine years in the US federal prison would be the same I suspect, Aspergers or no Aspergers.

Most people would have the same mind-set given the situation. The human mind is trained to look for solutions to problems and suicide or taking yourself out of the situation is one solution to a (usually temporary) problem.

The presiding judge, Judge Tempia addressed this issue by noting that she was suitably assured that the US could provide for the medical needs of Love. I do however disagree with the stance that he should be held in solitary. I along with most believe this to equate to a cruel and unusual punishment.

If you want to see the US in action just look at the treatment of Kevin Mitnick. He could launch missiles by whistling down a phone the less IT inclined people repeated in ignorance.

I personally have gotten inquisitive about a site or two that I was asked to provide extremely confidential information to on behalf of another party.  I did some digging with information that was absolutely public domain, if you knew how to use the tools correctly. I stopped before I crossed the line.

There are however alternatives to this US/UK stalemate including a prosecution by the NCA or secondly serving his sentence in the UK. Love obviously would prefer the whole thing to go away. Being prosecuted by the British Government removes the whole question of going to the US to stand trial, the jail, the lengthy sentence. It negates almost all the issues raised by the Love team.

More importantly at a personal level it means the presence of Asperger’s becomes mute in terms of it becomes a get out of jail free card. He could use it in court but at the same time he gets a trial and can be cross-examined on the role of Asperger’s in his situation.

Essentially it somewhat mutes that entire line of questioning. Getting the US to agree to such a deal a high profile case however would not be an easy battle.

No matter which side wins or how it unfolds, it does people with Asperger’s no favours. The whole McKinnon/Love scenario makes us as a group look rather pathetic and unwilling to face the results of our actions.

In reality we are highly motivated, intelligent and we are an asset rather than a liability (Just ask GCHQ. There are more than a few of us that work there!). We as a group don’t all go round breaking into computers then using Asperger’s as a mechanism to try and avoid the long arm of the law.

Only time will tell the real outcome but Love needs to grow up and face up for his actions and not blame it on the condition.

Win a Lenovo ThinkPad E560 – AU/NZ Only

Several weeks ago, I compared the Lenovo ThinkPad E560 vs HP ProBook 450 G3 where both laptops came out pretty evenly well, with a few pros and cons depending on your preferences.

I’ve decided (with Lenovo’s blessing) that the Lenovo ThinkPad E560 should be given away as a prize to an Australian or New Zealand resident!

Sorry to other countries, but I’m personally paying for shipping on this and don’t know how much postage would cost to all corners of the globe, plus the power pack has the Australian/New Zealand connector on it 🙂

The laptop you might win!

I’ve personally reset the PC and put it back in it’s box, ready to be shipped at the end of the month.

Here’s the specs on this particular laptop (taken from Lenovo AU’s E560 site and only relevant specs left in):

  • 6th Gen Intel Core i5-6200U Processor (3M Cache, 2.3 GHz), Turbo Boost 2.0 (2.8 GHz)
Operating System
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • 15.6″ HD (1366 x 768) Anti-Glare, 220 nits
  • 3 x USB 3.0
  • 4-in-1 card reader (MMC, SD, SDHC, SDXC)
  • Lenovo OneLink Docking Port
  • VGA
  • HDMI
  • Combo audio/microphone jack
  • Ethernet (RJ45)
  • Security keyhole
  • Intel HD Graphics or Intel HD Graphics 520
  • AMD Radeon™ R7 M370 2GB GDDR5
  • 8GB, PC3-12800 1600MHz DDR3L
  • 720p HD Intel® RealSense™ 3D Camera
Storage 3
  • 1TB 5400 RPM HDD
Optical Drive (optional)
  • DVD Burner, fixed, not removable, tray-in
Dimensions (W x D x H)
  • 377 x 255 x 23.8~27.1 mm
  • Starting from 2.3kg
Case colour
  • Graphite Black
  • 6-cell Li-Ion battery – 75+ (48Wh) internal battery
Battery life
  • Up to 9 hours
  • 6-row, spill-resistant, multimedia Fn keys
  • TrackPoint® pointing device and multi-touch with 3+2 buttons click pad
Audio support
  • HD Audio, Dolby® Advanced Audio™ v2 certified / stereo speakers, dual array microphone, combo audio/mic jack
  • Gigabit Ethernet
Wireless LAN
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 (1×1 WiFi, 802.11ac) with Bluetooth 4.2
Warranty Expires
  • 2017-03-29


How do you win this laptop? Do one or more of the below actions to enter! (a like on my Facebook page would be nice, but isn’t mandatory. It’s a feed of the posts I publish here)

Win a Lenovo ThinkPad E560 Laptop!

Note: if you’re having problems with entering, try turn off your adblocker for a moment.

Windows 10 – Time To Get On Board

Windows 10 has been publicly available since 29th July 2015. Since then, Microsoft have been encouraging users to upgrade in many ways – consumers had a year window to upgrade from Windows 7/8/8.1 for free, along with Windows Update prompts reminding consumers that they can do so.

There’s always going to be complaints with any new operating system, but the in-place upgrade process has been the best yet from Microsoft. Gone are the days when any IT professional would strongly avoid it, it’s a much more stable and revertable method.

The upgrade has been optional, but we’re now getting much closer to being forced to go Windows 10 (not that I think this is a bad thing). The two big ways this is happening are:

New PCs with Windows 7 or 8.1 are going to be much less common come November 1, 2016. The top OEM vendors won’t be allowed to do this anymore (E.g. Lenovo, HP, Dell). You could still go to a whitebox builder and buy an OEM version of Windows 7, it just won’t be a pre-packaged option anymore. Windows 7 is very old now, and it’s unrealistic to expect Microsoft as well as all the hardware manufacturers to continue supporting it with new drivers.

The other main driver is Intel’s 7th generation of i series chip, Kaby Lake. This has already been released and seen in some laptops, with desktop CPUs due to be released early 2017. Microsoft is drawing a line in the sand and saying there will be no support at all if you’ve got this new CPU. I have yet to get my hands on a device with these new CPUs to try, so it will be interesting to see if anything breaks with this combination of OS and CPU.

Windows 7 has had a very good run, with great reasons; but the vast improvements that have taken us to Windows 10 (not to mention the better security architecture), as well as internal support for cloud services means this is the way of the future.

If you haven’t started the transition to Windows 10 it’s time to get planning, before you hit the above roadblocks and haven’t put the planning and preparation into the change.


Windows Max Path Is Now A Lot Bigger

The legacy 8.3 filename restrictions that came from the old MS-DOS days are (for the most part) long gone, but one of the other lingering legacy limitations is the 260 character limit.

Microsoft have a great article about how all this works and the reasons why. With Windows 10 anniverasry edition and Windows Server 2016, it’s possibe to get around the 260 character limit with some caveats. The new limit is 32,767 characters!

When researching this, I found quite a few articles that said how to enable the setting but didn’t really go into it any deeper, and my testing found that it’s not as simple as described. Enabling “Long Paths” doesn’t magically remove the limit, it enables longer paths in certain situations.

Firstly – enabling the policy itself. There’s a mix of information out there, and I’ve found some catches.

One of the mentioned methods of turning the feature on is to use Group Policy at Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Filesystem > Enable NTFS long paths. This doesn’t exist on my fully updated Windows 10 Pro install:

paths3No ‘Enable NTFS longs paths’ option?

I also checked on Windows 10 Enterprise fully patched, and the option was also missing. I found this similar option though, one level down:

paths4‘Enable win32 long paths’ option

The name and description are very similar. I then found this technet thread which agreed that they are the same setting.

After applying the setting and rebooting, I tested via Command Prompt to see how far I’d get:

The filename or extension is too long

I wasn’t very successful. “12characters” contains… 12 characters, so 18 folders * 12 characters = 216. Then add the slashes and you’re around 233 characters. Not quite the 260 limit, but close. Why wasn’t it working?

A few reasons; the app itself needs to support the new API calls to go beyond 260 characters, and I dare say Command Prompt hasn’t been touched yet due to the potential of breaking things.

What about Windows Explorer? This is where things got a bit strange. I couldn’t create a folder in that same path for the same reason, so I created a share on the very bottom of the tree, went to the share name and started creating more folders. I then went back to the original path to see if I could navigate all the way to the bottom, and I could:

path5Lots of subfolders!

22 folders called ’12 characters’ = 264 characters by itself, and I was then able to create a subfolder called “New Folder”. What’s strange about this is that Windows Explorer itself wouldn’t break the 260 character wall directly, but once it was passed, it was happy to read through and continue on further.

Back on the command prompt, it had let me navigate one folder further than before into the 19th, but wouldn’t delve any deeper:

path2“The full path of 12characters is too long”

What about PowerShell? That seemed to be very happy with the extra characters, so I made a complex script containing the lines “md 12characters” and “cd 12characters” many, many times. PowerShell happily went mad creating subfolder after subfolder, although the speed of subfolder creation went from ludicrous speed to very very slow as it ran.

Seeing what Windows Explorer would do, I was surprised that I’d hit a different limit:

paths6No more expand option

The ability to drill down further had gone. I could see 29 folders in the tree, and the 30th on the right hand pane, but couldn’t actually get into it. I also couldn’t create folders or files at that level or seveal levels up:

paths7Too long.

Back into PowerShell, I had to scroll to see beyond my current folder path!

paths8Lots of folders

I was also able to create files at that level. From this, if you’re going to use long paths in Windows Server 2016 or Windows 10, use PowerShell to manage your files!

This to me seems a good reason for Microsoft to not make Long Paths on by default. It should only be used for special cases, and a lot of things may break or just not support it. For example, if you’re doing a file level backup, will your backup software both read and write beyond the 260 character limit?

The best use case I can think of currently is having a location you can extract out long paths (maybe that came from a Unix box?) so you can adjust back down to the 260 limit, or get out the files you need. Microsoft always has pressure to look after legacy, and I can see the 260 character limit being around for a very long time.

Lenovo X1 Tablet Review

A few months back, I reviewed the Lenovo X1 Yoga which was my pick of the latest X1 series of laptops (and still is). That doesn’t discount the other Lenovo offerings though, as they may be better suited to other people’s requirements more than mine.

One of those options worth looking at is the Lenovo X1 Tablet. At the time of writing, the Australian store is completely sold out of them, so they must be doing well 🙂 Somehow I was still lucky enough to be sent one from Lenovo, and I’m glad they did.

20160926_171954Lenovo X1 Tablet Side On

The X1 Tablet is Lenovo’s take on the Microsoft Surface. A lot of ideas are borrowed, and then improvements on top. Let’s look at the specs first, then the form factor.


This has a Core m CPU – the 3 options are:

Intel Core m3-6Y30 Processor ( 900MHz 1866MHz 4MB)
Intel Core m5-6Y54 Processor ( 1.10GHz 1866MHz 4MB)
Intel Core m7-6Y75 Processor ( 1.20GHz 1866MHz 4MB)

The new mobile fanless CPUs are a lot better than they were a few years ago. Even the Apple Macbook uses them, and those CPU speeds are a base speed, not the turbo speed they’re capable of pushing to. Which one should you pick? Tough choice as the cost differences aren’t small, but apply the same logic you would as the ‘i series’ between i3, i5 and i7. Apart from a fanless design, you get a lot more bang for your buck battery wise.

Display and Screen

Just the one option here:

12.0″FHD+ IPS LED 2160×1440

20160928_15432812″ Screen

It’s a very high res which will more than meet your requirements for a 12 inch screen.The screen only comes in touch enabled, but you also get a nice pen to use. It’s similar to the Surface 3/4 pen, uses a AAA battery that can be replaced, and is nicer than the smaller pen that comes with the X1 Yoga:

20160927_085552-customBack: X1 Tablet Pen. Front: X1 Yoga Pen.

The Yoga X1 pen is smaller so it can discreetly fit into the laptop, while the X1 Tablet pen sits in an optional loop on the side of the laptop:


If you don’t like the loop, you don’t have to use it as it’s interchangable with a blank plate in the keyboard, which is a nice touch.

Memory and Hard Drives

The memory options are:

  • 4.0GB LPDDR3-1866 LPDDR3 1866MHz
  • 8.0GB LPDDR3-1866 LPDDR3 1866MHz
  • 16.0GB LPDDR3-1866 LPDDR3 1866MHz

If you’re doing anything beyond basic web browsing and Word/Excel type work, or like to have a lot of things open go the 8gb. 16gb should only be needed if you’re doing high end work.

Same with the hard drives. The default options are:


You can go all the way up to 1TB too.

If you don’t need a lot of local storage, you might be fine with the 128GB. You can always use an external hard drive or USB stick (USB 3.0 is very fast for read/write), but if you want to keep a lot locally on the device, go the 256GB.

Size and Weight

The tablet part by itself is 767g which is a lot lighter than any ‘i series’ laptop. The keyboard brings it up to 1.07kg which is still incredibly light. In comparison, the very light and thin X1 Carbon 4th Gen weighs in at 1.21kg.

Being a 12″ hybrid laptop the dimensions are quite small:

  • Tablet :
  • (mm) : 291.5 x 209.5 x 8.45
  • (inches) : 11.47″ x 8.25″ x 0.33″
  • Tablet + Keyboard
  • (mm) : 291.5 x 209.5 x 13
  • (inches) : 11.47″ x 8.25″ x 0.51″

20160929_094234-customX1 Tablet on a X1 Carbon Gen 1 on a ThinkPad P50


You’ll get a 2 cell Li-Polymer battery, which gives 10 hours of battery in tablet mode, and 5 hours in ‘productivity’ mode, which means the keyboard is attached. If that’s not enough battery life for you, then you’d better have a look at the Productivity Module!


Productivity Module  – 5 Hours Battery Life, HDMI™, OneLink+ and Full-size USB

Presenter Module – A Pico Projector Capable of 60″ Display from 2 Meters, Full-size HDMI™ (in/out)

Sadly these aren’t available in Australia (yet or at all?) but they both sound very cool. The productivity module adds another 5 hours of battery and a few extra connectors (including a OneLink+ dock connector which isn’t available otherwise). The projector also looks great, check out this clip from The Verge showing off the modules (I believe the 3D RealSense Camera has been abandoned):

Other Bits and Pieces

There is an optional sim slot for those people who want to be mobile and have internet access, which is discreetly hidden behind the stand. The keyboard is one of the standout parts of the X1 Tablet, where it’s as close as possible to the nice ThinkPad keyboard experience while being a thin and light addition. The keyboard attaches via magnets and pins, again similar to the Microsoft Surface. There’s also a fingerprint reader which can be used for Windows Hello, and an inbuilt camera/microphone.

20160926_172009-customBack of the X1 Tablet

20160926_172039-customSide on

20160926_172204-customX1 Tablet display on top of the ThinkPad P50

20160929_094151-custom-customX1 Tablet Keyboard


I was first put off by the ‘m series’ CPU, but after using it and doing a bit of research, it’s a LOT better than I expected. It didn’t feel like I was using a slower chip at all. The form factor is quite nice, 12″ is a good portable size and the kickstand is very sturdy and secure, and lets you adjust smoothly to whichever angle you like (it doesn’t click in certain angles only). The keyboard has a design that lets you raise it from being flat which gets even closer to a chunky keyboard feel, and is even backlit. The Trackpad is of high quality as per usual in the ThinkPad series.

This is a really good ‘take into meetings’ device for note taking, and if you had the projector module it could add a lot of value for small presentations. It is powerful and useful enough to be your device that does ‘all the things’ too without feeling like you’re using a tablet with a keyboard addon (looking at you, iPad). A lot of people like the 12″ screen form factor with the tablet hybrid mode, and this is the best style of it I’ve seen so far (I was never a fan of the old Thinkpad Helix).

If you don’t need as much CPU grunt, and want a highly portable device that covers a lot of different situations, I’d definitely recommend this laptop/tablet/hybrid.


If you’re looking to buy the X1 Tablet direct from Lenovo, here’s some deals to check out:

AU Deal: Updates too frequently, check the link on the side of my blog for this week’s deal.

US Deal: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Sale! Save 15% off using eCoupon SAV30THINKPAD on select ThinkPad Laptop + Free Shipping! Expires Nov 3rd 2016


Intune – Couldn’t Enroll your Device

We started having issues with new enrolments to Intune. Nothing had changed that we were aware of, but registering a new device brought up the error “Couldn’t enroll your device. You can try again or send the error information to your IT admin in an email.” iOS or Android, didn’t matter:

screenshot_20160922-180510Intune Enrollment Error

After testing multiple accounts and multiple devices, I logged a call with Office 365 support, and eventually we worked out that for my account, I didn’t have a license applied. Intune sits under our Enterprise Mobility Suite package:

licenseIntune License is “Off”?

After checking other users, I found that everyone was in this ‘Off’ state. Weird, because we hadn’t done this, and Intune licensing was being managed by a group via Azure AD as per these instructions. That configuration was still in place too when I checked. I decided to do the logical thing and ‘turn it off and back on again’ – so I disabled the assignment on that page, then re-enabled the same group with the Intune license.

After then going back to the Office 365 User search, I found that all the users had now changed to ‘on’ again. The only recent event in the last few weeks was a renewal of our licenses, so I wonder if something happened in the back end as a part of that?

Anyway, if you see the ‘Couldn’t enroll your device’ message when using the Intune Company Portal app, make sure the user has their Intune license enabled!

Installing Azure AD Connect Heath ADDS on Windows Server 2012

After trialing Azure AD Connect Health for Active Directory Domain Services on a single box, I thought it was time to roll out further. It’s easy to do on a Windows Server 2012 R2 box, but older servers need a few more steps.

The Azure AD Connect Health Agent Installation guide mentions steps for 2008 R2, but nothing for vanilla 2012.

I thought I’d try the same patches, which included Windows Management Framework 4.0 through the installer file Windows6.1-KB2819745-x64-MultiPkg – but ran into a problem when trying to install:

0x80096002Windows Update Standalone Installer
Installer encountered an error: 0x80096002
The certificate for the singer of the message is invalid or not found.

I tried several things to get around this, none of which worked (including adding the Windows Identity Foundation 3.5 role and running “wuauclt /resetauthorization /detectnow“.

An obvious statement was given to me by a colleague of “Isn’t WMF 5 out already?” – which yes, it was. I downloaded Windows Management Framework 5.0 which installed fine first time, then allowed the Azure AD ADDS install to complete after a reboot (a reboot WAS required).

This should also apply to Azure AD Connect Health AD FS Agent (what a mouthful) and Azure Active Directory Connect Sync.