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Wake Up Sky TV! 26 June 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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I gather that Sky TV is preparing for the roll-out of email and other interactive services to be offered as part of its digital TV offering -- but if recent experience with the company's Net-savvy is anything to go by, don't expect much.

A couple of months ago I emailed them with a question -- and they replied by sending me an MS Word file.

I replied, advising that I don't accept MS Word attachments and asking if they could re-send the message as plain old text in the body of an email.

I don't know what their reply to this request was because it too arrived as an MS Word document attachment. Subsequent requests for the information were ignored by them -- how clever is that?

And then, yesterday, I received this email:

From: "Anthony Blomfield" <Skydigital@24hour.co.nz>
To: <bhavika18@yahoo.com>
Subject: Sky digital for only $99
Date sent: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 11:08:20 +1200

Hi guys, Hope your well.- sorry to spam ya. . Just to let you know I am a sales contractor for Sky Digital. So if you know anyone who wants Sky digital I can get it for only $99 dollars rather than $495.

The best deal Sky directly offers it for is $199. So spread the word please Only takes a day to get installed.

ph xxxxxxx
mob xxxxxxxxx

or just email me.

Cheers Anthony.

Clearly Anthony realises that what he's doing is wrong when he says "sorry to spam ya" -- but he does it anyway.

No doubt Sky will deny responsibility for this -- but Anthony does appear to claim to be an agent of the company and he is acting on their behalf -- so the mud will stick.

I emailed Sky and AsiaOnline (as Anthony used an AsiaOnline account to send his spam) and I trust that both parties will drop him like a hot spud -- after all, that old excuse "but I didn't know it was wrong" holds no water here does it?

Come on Sky -- wake up your ideas.

If you want people to take your Internet intentions seriously then it's about time you started training your staff on the proper way to use email and educating your agents as to the dangers of spamming.

More on "Forever Ads"
I guess I'm going to have to spend less time using unix and more time tinkering with MS Windows because yesterday I received a pile of emails kindly advising me that I could kill a window by right clicking on the taskbar icon and selecting "close."

Thanks to tall those who passed on that information, it was appreciated.

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Microsoft Admits "Our Security Skills Stink"
It's good to see that Microsoft has finally woken up to something that we've all known for years: when it comes to online security they really don't have a clue.

In this story from IDG today, Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer has said that the software giant won't be trusting it's own developers to provide the security components on which its Hailstorm services.

So how can they continue to ship browsers, operating systems and webservers to the market after making this acknowledgement?

Surely Microsoft should now implement an immediate third-party security review of all its products and engage independent security companies to assist in ensuring that the products continue to provide protection from malevolent forces on the Net.

At the very least, they ought to run Windows XP and its associated applications through a very thorough third-party testing regime that extends far beyond the beta-testing that's gone on so far.

Beta testing is an absolutely essential element of testing new software, and it certainly catches a the vast majority of bugs which were missed by the developers -- but such testing seldom includes steps such as external code audits and other strategies that can help uncover hidden dangers.

When you compare the security history of Microsoft's "closed" code products with that of the equivalent "open-source" software such as FreeBSD -- the benefits of having 3rd-parties pawing over your code becomes immediately apparent.

Come on Microsoft -- or doesn't the security of your customer's data and websites matter to you?


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