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Lighten Up 27 April 2001 Edition
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Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
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More wierd, wacky, silly, funny or just incredible stuff from the world wide web.

SS-18 Russian ICBM on eBay
For the man who has everything -- except one of these. No home arsenal wouldbe complete without one!

Nice Original Atomic Missile on eBay
Yet another weapon of war on eBay? Well maybe you could do a really good Dr Strangelove act on this one.

Microsoft Clippy
Clippy, that cute little paper-clip creature that constantly annoys MS Office users until they figure out how to turn him off, has been made redundant by Microsoft so he's put up his own website in protest.

Yahoo's Big Secret Is?
Yahoo's annual shareholders' meeting is set to take place on Friday but you won't get any live reports from the meeting venue itself -- why?

Well it seems that the iconic Internet company has decided to bar the press from attending -- which leads us to ask... What is Yahoo trying to hide?

Find out more at 7amNews/ShockHorrorProbe...

e-Government -- Now I'm Worried
More details on the government's proposed "e" strategy were released yesterday with a figure of some $16 million being bandied about as the cost.

The process will be performed in several stages which initially involve things such as making all government forms available for download -- although you'll still have to burn them to dead tree and make little inky marks to fill them out.

Subsequent stages will involve the ability to fill out such forms online and file them over the Net.

All of this is good sensible stuff -- congratulations government.

However, I heard Trevor Mallard interviewed about the e-government strategy on the radio yesterday and he said some very worrying things...

When quizzed as to whether the government's previous appalling track record in respect to large IT projects might make the e-Government initiative more than a little risky he replied that lessons had been learnt from the INCIS debacles. He added that "they [Microsoft] said it couldn't be done" and seemed to give a really clear hint that Microsoft would be playing a critical roll in e-Government roll-out by saying "we don't want to be second-guessing Microsoft."

Another clue was the use of the phrase "seamless Front Office" -- hmmmm.

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Which leads me to the ultimate stumbling block which, I believe, the government has already identified as such -- that of providing iron-clad security and totally accurate identification of the individual.

Mr Mallard was talking about issuing PINs and other archaic, potentially weak authentication methods -- which I find rather strange because I already offered the government access to the authentication system I devised with a view to use in the online processing of credit-card transactions. No PIN required and as close to 100% secure as it's possible to get.

I was told that the government was interested and would get back to me -- but that was months ago and I've heard nothing.

So -- will I be a willing participant in using e-Government services?

Well certainly not if there are sensitive personal details involved and they're relying on Microsoft to provide the software. I fear that if the government relies on Microsoft for software which is supposed to provide a secure system then this has the potential to become a disaster which will make INCIS look like a brilliant success by comparison.

Oh yes... remember last time you forced a Microsoft-only solution on us? That dumb-arsed IRD system that required owners of non-PC computers to go out and buy a PC and Windows just so that they could comply with IRD regulations?

Come on government -- you don't have room to make another gigantic IT botch-up, let's get it right first time -- please!

ps: Yes, I'm still prepared to offer the authentication system -- but hurry, others are interested too and they want exclusive license.

The e-Government website is at www.e-government.govt.nz.

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Security Alerts
Severe Security Flaw Threatens Netscape Users Betanews - 24/04/2001)

Multiple Vulnerabilities in Alcatel ADSL Modems (CERT - 12/04/2001t)

File Globbing Vulnerabilities in Various FTP Servers (ZDNet - 11/04/2001)

Critical patch for IE5 released (Microsoft - 02/04/2001)

Virus Alerts
New virus hits both Windows and Linux (Fairfax - 28/03/2001)

SANS Detects Lion Worm (TechWeb - 23/03/2001)

Hardware-trashing virus spreads by email (TheRegister - 15/032001)

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