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Dateline: 1 May 2000 Early Edition
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It's A Kak Attack!
If you use Microsoft's Outlook email software then be afraid -- be very afraid.

An outbreak of the Kak virus is presently racing through the Internet community like wildfire, hitching a ride on the back of otherwise innocent emails and infecting mailing lists all over the globe.

Online communities and users of specialist mailing list services such as eGroups are being hit hard as Microsoft's default security settings make many Net users easy-prey.

Such groups are particularly vulnerable because members often trust each other, having exchanged emails over a long period of time and not expecting any of their number to deliberately attack their systems with a malicious attachment.

In the past week I've had around 15 emails from people which have had the Kak virus appended -- most of them didn't know they had it but did say their PCs appeared to be behaving erratically.

Fortunately -- I don't use Microsoft email software so my systems have remained unaffected.

You can follow Microsoft's advice and keep downloading and applying patch after patch after patch in order to paint over the cracks in their poorly designed software -- or you can switch to NZ's own Pegasus Mail which is not only free but, by comparison with Outlook, a whole lot safer -- and it's free to boot!

Oh -- I was also going to suggest you look at Eudora's email software -- but then I read this.

It surprises me that a man who once believed 640 KBytes of memory was more than anyone could ever need; indicated in the first printing of his "Road Ahead" book that the Internet was going to be just a fad; and even now seems to think that Internet security is little more than an "add-on extra" could become so rich.

Keep Up The Good Work NZ Government
<Political rave ON> -- Not content to make life even more difficult for those considering a hi-tech startup in NZ, it appears that the NZ government is also set on driving out established companies already doing good business in NZ.

Not only is Lion Nathan skipping to Australia but now we see that Flying Pig, NZ's latest and brightest e-tailer, is also considering moving its operations out of New Zealand because of stupid government policy.

And while on the subject of the government and the Net -- I can't help but chuckle quietly to myself (or am I screaming through frustration?) when I read that our politicians are planning agressive moves towards e-Government.

Yes folks, they're telling us that there's a massive move afoot to get this country's administration onto the Net to make life easier for all of us (and them).

Gosh... maybe someone ought to tell the MPs this. Here's a reply I received from Phil Goff's office to an email I sent last week:

Dear Mr Simpson

Thank you for you email dated 27 April 2000 sent to the Hon Phil Goff, it is not standard practice for Ministers to respond to concerns via email and if you wish to send us your physical address your concerns will be answered.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Henry
Ministerial Clerk
Office of Hon Phil Goff

It is so reassuring to see that our politicians would rather waste taxpayer dollars on having a reply printed, placed in an envelope and posted to me rather than simply responding by email. What happened to that powerful environmentalist streak that stands to put much of the West Coast out of work in order to save a few trees from selective logging?

Oh I forgot the government motto: "do as we say, not as we do."

The worrying thing is that this ridiculous ministerial techno-phobia makes Jim Anderton (who did actually respond by email) look positively sensible by comparison!

It sounds as if e-Government is as much a fraud as the government's plans to move us into the new economy.

Viva la republic!

Dream On!
I see that the cyber-squatter who tried to fleece Lion Breweries over the Steinlager.co.nz domain name seems to think he'll be able to get a five-figure sum for the domain hamilton.co.nz.

Oh please, don't be so stupid!

Names in the .nz domain space simply aren't worth that much -- and let's face it, Hamilton (for all its doubtless virtues), isn't exactly the Hub of NZ's commerce or technology industries now is it?

Sure, there is money to be made out of domain name speculation if you're very careful (or lucky). I've sold one of my generic domain names for $5,000 and had four-figure offers for another -- but I don't buy names with a view to reselling for a profit.

However, if Mr Waugh wants some really valuable domains, why doesn't he offer me some five or six-figure sums for one of my holdings: talkback.co.nz, politics.co.nz, sunday.co.nz, news.net.nz, sports.net.nz and here.co.nz?

On the other hand he could always get a haircut and get a real job.

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