I have finally solved an annoying problem with my Windows 10 setup which was sortof hard to Google, so I am sharing. For quite some time, the computer had refused to go to sleep when it was not running on battery. Instead of going to sleep when instructed to, it would simply turn off the screen and mute the volume while continuing to *actually not sleep*. Moving the mouse a tiny bit would swiftly end the charade. In a recent fit of rage I decided to inspect the event log, and behold, there were some Kernel Power events that said: > _The system is entering Away Mode._ Which is entirely _not_ what I wanted when I told it to go to sleep. However, there was no option _anywhere_ in the power settings to be found that turned off this _"Away Mode"_. Well, the option actually does exist, but for some reason it is not visible unless you set the Attributes value to 2 in the following, easily memorable registry key:
HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power\PowerSettings\238C9FA8-0AAD-41ED-83F4-97BE242C8F20\25DFA149-5DD1-4736-B5AB-E8A37B5B8187
Armed with this registry tweak, you can go back to the _"advanced"_ power settings, aka:
rundll32 shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL PowerCfg.cpl @0,/editplan:
Navigate to Sleep and there should be an option that says Allow Away Mode Policy or something similar. And that policy should be set to no, not even when plugged in, never, just sleep, for crying out loud, why does this even exist.


As I [have hinted at before](/2017/09/20/just-some-friendly-advice/), the [PyCrypto library](https://www.dlitz.net/software/pycrypto/) [seems to be dead](https://github.com/dlitz/pycrypto/issues/173). The [PyCryptodome](https://www.pycryptodome.org/en/latest/) library is a fork that is promising because it is maintained and works in Python 3, but they have a bit of a finger-wagging attitude which sometimes means that you have to fight the library a bit:
>>> from Crypto.Cipher import ARC4
>>> cipher = ARC4.new(B'funk')
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "C:\Python37\lib\site-packages\Crypto\Cipher\ARC4.py", line 132, in new
    return ARC4Cipher(key, *args, **kwargs)
  File "C:\Python37\lib\site-packages\Crypto\Cipher\ARC4.py", line 57, in __init__
    len(key))
ValueError: Incorrect ARC4 key length (4 bytes)
>>> ARC4.key_size = range(1,257)
>>> ARC4.new(B'funk').decrypt( ARC4.new(B'funk').encrypt( B'Hello World' ))
b'Hello World'
They certainly mean well, but the library is no place to impose security standards, in my opinion. In malware research for example, we often have to verbatim copy the appalling use of certain ciphers, like ARC4 with a 4-byte key. It happens all the time! I have been particularly struggling with [the removal of the XOR cipher](https://pycryptodome.readthedocs.io/en/latest/src/vs_pycrypto.html). The XOR implementation of PyCrypto was very fast, and in this article I will both benchmark how fast exactly it was and give you a drop-in replacement which degrades gracefully based on your options. Do you want to know more?


To reduce the size of some of my virtual machines, I often run the Windows cleanup tool to get rid of update artifacts and temporary files. While the cleanmgr command has some undocumented options such as /setup, /autoclean and /verylowdisk, I could not achive what I wanted with any combination of these: I wanted to have one command that simply cleans _everything_ without interaction. TL;DR: Put this in a batch file:
@echo off
set rootkey=HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches
for /f "tokens=*" %%K in ('reg query %rootkey%') do >NUL REG add "%%K" /v StateFlags0000 /t REG_DWORD /d 2 /f
cleanmgr /sagerun:0
Essentially, this script manually creates the registry keys that would be created by a call to cleanmgr /sageset:0 and checking all the boxes. It then runs cleanmgr /sagerun:0 which non-interactively calls cleanmgr performing every cleanup task available. Remember to run this as an administrator to remove Windows update artifacts. Would you like to have that as PowerShell?


For some reason, [Jira]'s [formatting] is not Markdown. Since you write everything in Markdown, you might be looking for a converter. If you furthermore hate node.js as much as yours truly, the search can easily claim your soul. Rest assured - I think [mistletoe] is the answer we are seeking. It is a pure Python Markdown parser which can render the parsed Markdown in any format, and one of them is Jira. It even comes with a [script] for this exact purpose. [Jira]: https://jira.atlassian.com/ [formatting]: https://jira.atlassian.com/secure/WikiRendererHelpAction.jspa?section=all [mistletoe]: https://github.com/miyuchina/mistletoe [script]: https://github.com/miyuchina/mistletoe/blob/dev/contrib/md2jira.py


I am writing a backup script which is supposed to backup data to a remote server, encrypted, and run as a scheduled task on a Windows machine. If you want all of that, you will have to store the encryption key somewhere. Instead of storing the password in plaintext, I had the idea to use the [Data Protection API]. Initially worried that I might have to write a wrapper for [CryptProtectData] myself, I quickly found the decent looking github project [DPAPIbridge]. Ultimately however, I figured out that Powershell can do all things. Presenting vault.ps1:
Param(
  [string] $StoreSecret,
  [Parameter(Mandatory=$True,Position=0)]
  [string] $filename )
[void] [Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName("System.Security")
$scope = [System.Security.Cryptography.DataProtectionScope]::CurrentUser
if ($StoreSecret -eq "") {
  $data = Get-Content $filename
  $ciphertext = [System.Convert]::FromBase64String($data)
  $plaintext = [System.Security.Cryptography.ProtectedData]::Unprotect(
    $ciphertext, $null, $scope )
  [System.Text.UTF8Encoding]::UTF8.GetString($plaintext)
} else {
  $plaintext = [System.Text.UTF8Encoding]::UTF8.GetBytes($StoreSecret)
  $ciphertext = [System.Security.Cryptography.ProtectedData]::Protect(
    $plaintext, $null, $scope )  
  [System.Convert]::ToBase64String($ciphertext) > $filename
}
This script can be run as vault.ps1 [-StoreSecret SECRET] FILE. If the optional argument is present, it will store a protected blob containing SECRET in FILE, otherwise it will read a blob of protected data from FILE and print the enclosed secret string. [DPAPIbridge]: https://github.com/vincepare/DPAPIbridge [Data Protection API]: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms995355.aspx [CryptProtectData]: https://msdn.microsoft.com/de-de/library/windows/desktop/aa380261(v=vs.85).aspx [Borg]: https://borgbackup.readthedocs.io/en/1.1.2/usage/general.html?highlight=borg_passcommand#environment-variables


I am quite unsatisfied with the current state of full disk encryption solutions available for use with Windows 10 on a Laptop with SSD. This blag post will mirror some of what [Bruce Schneier already said on the matter][Schneier2]: I will discuss some of the options and point out problems. I am not offering a solution, just a variety of bad choices to pick from. [Schneier2]: https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2015/06/encrypting_wind.html Do you want to know more?


So you develop in [Microsoft Visual Studio Community Edition](https://www.visualstudio.com/de/vs/community/) and you long for the old days when there was a way to get the [MSDN Library](https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/) as an offline help file? Fear not, you still can. Open Visual Studio, type Ctrl+Q to open the quick access bar, usually located in the upper right corner of your interface. Enter Help Viewer, it should yield one result by that name, marked as an *"individual component"*. Selecting that entry should allow you to download and install the Help Viewer. Now relaunch Visual Studio and start the Help Viewer via quick access in the same way. You will be prompted whether you want to download some *content* - and I bet you do.


Part of me wants to write about all the [horror](https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/ten-malicious-libraries-found-on-pypi-python-package-index/) and [glory](https://crates.io) there is to be seen in package management, but quite frankly it'll take too long. Instead, I will just leave you with a tiny piece of advice. Here comes. If you are on Windows and you want to install a *legitimate* Python package[1], which in reality is a bottomless pit, at the center of which there is a C library, straight from hell - then maybe get the [Microsoft Compiler for Python](http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=44266) instead of, who knows, wasting hours or even days looking for a less reasonable solution. Credit, as so very often, [goes to stackoverflow](https://stackoverflow.com/a/27327236/1578458).
  1. like for example [PyCryptodome](https://pypi.python.org/pypi/pycryptodome), because naturally you are **fully aware** that [PyCrypto is dead](https://github.com/dlitz/pycrypto/issues/173). [back]


I have a [problem with my Nokia 3](https://android.stackexchange.com/q/180669/197410) and decided to try the [Nokia customer support](https://www.nokia.com/en_int/phones/support) while doing some [recreational math](https://projecteuler.net/), that's what a great Saturday is to me. Don't judge. During the conversation, I grew very suspicious that I was talking to a chat bot. This was the first time for me hearing about chat robots being deployed in support by a [respectable company like Nokia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia#Controversies), so I decided to make sure I wasn't being paranoid. Time for a Turing test! I guess you can never really know, but I am quite convinced they lie to me and are actually robots. You can try it yourself, just go to [their support site](https://www.nokia.com/en_int/phones/support) and start a chat. Would you like to know more?


My lamenting will be about the overall way in which device encryption is implemented in Android. This is mostly a collection of links where you can find out more about how it ~~worked across the recent versions~~ all went south. This article strictly expresses my own, badly informed opinion and you should check all the provided references carefully before forming your own. read();


We decided to use the javascript markdown engine [showdown](https://github.com/showdownjs/showdown) for the blawg, and [$\KaTeX$](https://khan.github.io/KaTeX/) for rendering latex. If you think that's a good way to go: Here is how to do it with wordpress.


We have updated the layout, also the posts are now markdown-rendered on the client side. Oh, and we switched to [$\KaTeX$](https://khan.github.io/KaTeX/) for math rendering. Since this breaks compatibility with the old hairball of plugins we had, it will take some time before all the old entries are fixed, but we are working on it.


My Windows desktop computer is set to turn the screen off after one minute of inactivity. It's usually a good idea. Except when I am reading something on screen. Then it is terribly annoying. Most media players can prevent Windows from turning off the screen by calling [SetThreadExecutionState](https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa373208(VS.85).aspx). Well. So can I:
import ctypes
ctypes.windll.kernel32.SetThreadExecutionState(0x80000002)
input('screen stays on. press any key to exit.')
ctypes.windll.kernel32.SetThreadExecutionState(0x80000000)
Pretty neat, huh? Python really can do all things.