Aardvark Daily aardvark (ard'-vark) a controversial animal with a long probing nose used for sniffing out the facts and stimulating thought and discussion.

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A Flash In The Can 1 October 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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As I suggested a few weeks ago, some web design companies are finding times to be very tough out there, and this was clearly demonstrated when WebMedia announced on Friday that it was shutting up shop.

Long-time Aardvark readers will know that I have never been a fan of overly-Flashed websites and I've given WebMedia and its work a fair ribbing from time to time -- but it's still sad to see them go.

Take it from me that they won't be the last in the ongoing clean-out within this market sector.

I'd wager that web designers will ultimately be judged, not on the "flashiness" of their work but on the return on investment it offers the client.

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As NZ's longest-running online commentator, I'm looking for extra syndication opportunities for this daily publication -- or I'm happy to write casual or regular material specifically to order for print or Net-based publications. If you're interested, drop me a line

I'd also wager that those who manage to survive for another couple of years will be the designers who produce good, solid, ergonomically designed websites that are not dependent or highly reliant on a single technology and which don't discriminate against those without the latest and greatest plug-ins.

How Clever Is That
How smart are INL, the publishers of Stuff.co.nz?

Well if this story is anything to go by -- not very!

Not only is this story pretty much an admission that perhaps their existing online security is inadequate, but then they go and give any would-be hacker/cracker just the sort of information they need to help them break in.

While security through obscurity alone is not a good idea -- neither is it smart to go telling all the world exactly what security products you plan to use.

If you want to crack INL's defenses it would seem that a good place to start right now is checking out the underworld of the Net for information on Borderware. However, once they've done the upgrade, do the same for Safecom and a break-in becomes far simpler. After all, even the best security products are not infallible and if the hackers know what you're using and are quick enough to exploit the holes before they're patched -- wham!

INL -- don't go blabbing any details of your security setups (now or future) to the public. This type of story shows you clearly need more than fancy security software if you're going to keep the hackers out.

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Making Life Hard For Honest Folks
It looks as if the recording industry is rolling out all sorts of justification as to why they need to make life hard for us by introducing copy-protection and anti-ripping systems into the ubiquitous audio CD.

To date we've been told that thanks to the proliferation of CD burners and the Internet, piracy is costing the industry billions of dollars and that copy-protecting CDs is just a way of protecting the industry's intellectual property.

Well this interview goes a long way towards showing just how dumb the industry really is.

This quote from the bottom of the interview says it all really:

"From our standpoint, we are designing the software for the 99 percent of the people who don't want to steal the music but instead (want to) use it for whatever means--for whatever personal use that's allowed by the artist and the record label. The software was designed for those people, not for the 1 percent who are going to take the lock cutters and cut the lock off and steal music in an unauthorized way."

So there you have it.

  • Only 1 percent of the public actually steal music.
  • Copy protection is designed for the 99 percent of people who don't steal music -- huh?
  • This copy protection won't stop the 1 percent who are the real problem anyway.
Am I the only one who finds this to be completely ridiculous?

My advice: Don't buy copy-protected CDs, and, if you find you have a copy-protected CD in your collection, return it under the Fair Trading Act with the claim that it doesn't play correctly and is therefore not fit for the purpose it was sold.

Maybe the recording industry will eventually get the message that they're actually starting to drive people to the Net to download pirated music because we'll soon be unable to make legitimate backups for their car or listen to our favourite tracks on their PC's drive while at work.

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Yes, I have had several donations to the Aardvark fund and I thank those who put their money where their mouse is :-)

If guilt is gnawing away inside you then there's still time to donate.

Just drop by and hand over your loot.

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Security Alerts
Microsoft tightens software security (CNet - 16/08/2001t)

Code Red Worm A 'Runaway Success' (7amNews - 20/07/2001)

Solaris bug gives hackers free rein (ZDNet - 22/06/2001)

Microsoft Admits Another 'Serious Vunerability' In IIS 7amNews - 19/06/2001)

Virus Alerts
Tripple-threat Worm Strikes (Aardvark - 19/09/2001)

New worm spreading slowly (CNet - 4/09/2001)

Trojan horse breaks Windows PCs (ZDNet - 24/08/2001)

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The Day's Top News
Open in New Window = open in new window
New Zealand

Open in New Window Net developer WebMedia pulls the plug
WebMedia, one of New Zealand's best-known internet developers, has ceased trading, saying a client's failure to pay a $1.05 million debt was the last straw...
NZ Herald

Open in New Window Full steam ahead for telco bill - Swain
Paul Swain says government won't be giving away any of the hard-won amendments to the Telecommunications Bill when it goes to parliament for its next reading...


Open in New Window Sudan Bank Hacked, Bin Laden Info Found - Hacker
A group of U.K.-based hackers has cracked computers at the AlShamal Islamic Bank in Sudan and collected data on the accounts of the Al Qaeda terrorist organization and its leader Osama bin Laden, Kim Schmitz...

Open in New Window Experts to Study Security of Internet Naming System
The Internet's top standards-setting body plans to focus on the security of the online addressing system at its annual meeting in November, pushing aside other issues such as new domain names...

Open in New Window Zoom Out for a New Perspective on Earth
Looking for a good view of the capital of Uzbekistan? The Web has become a gateway to an immense collection of satellite images of Earth, a place where you can zoom in your favorite Central Asian city or your own backyard...

Open in New Window Both Sides Using Internet in Terrorism War
Was there a critical cyber component to the September 11th attacks on the Pentagon and New York's World Trade Center?...

Open in New Window Microsoft, U.S. to talk
The federal judge presiding over the next phase of Microsoft's antitrust case Friday ordered the software maker and the U.S. Justice Department into five weeks of intensive settlement talks...


Open in New Window Govt’s analogue TV switch off “ambitious”
Nearing the first anniversary of the launch of digital television in Australia, the Government’s timetable for the switch off of analogue has been described as “ambitious”...

Open in New Window CSIRO gets googleeyed striving to search the Web
Some of the Internet's biggest names have been beaten by rising star Google in a CSIRO test of search engine and directory performance. The research was motivated by the CSIRO's attempt to build an even better product...


Open in New Window Compromise for CD copying is in the works
Anti-piracy features making their way onto CDs promise to dramatically alter the online music landscape, potentially handing Microsoft a potent weapon against the leading MP3 format and other rivals in the high-stakes battle over digital-audio standards...

Open in New Window MS scraps Internet-control deal
The latest version of Internet Explorer is routing mistyped Web addresses through MSN's search engine, in direct contravention of a contract that RealNames (in which Microsoft has a significant stake) has with domain name company XTNS...
The Register

Open in New Window Yahoo may rent office tools
Yahoo is testing demand for a new paid service that would feature Web-based word processing and other office applications, a move that could boost much-needed subscription revenue in the face of an anemic online ad market...

Open in New Window Nimda resurgence falls flat
A second round of Nimda attacks fails to materialize, suggesting that enough people patched their computers and headed off the worm...

Open in New Window Beware the Pulsing Zombies
Distributed denial of service attacks, one of the most difficult security risks to guard against, could become even harder to detect with the development of tools that turn agents on and off during an attack...
The Register

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