Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact|
a very interesting discussion
running in the nz.general usenet newsgroup at present.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
This situation reinforces the fact that you really have to think carefully
before running off at the mouth when posting stuff to the Net -- even if
the target of your comments lives half a world away.
It appears that the (in)famous Dr Laurence Godfrey, who some might say is a little
hypersensitive and trigger-happy when it comes to firing off defamation
suits, has effectively convinced a local student to confess to committing an
act of defamation.
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By fessing up and paying a chunk of cash (part of a student loan I wonder?)
to charity, Vitali Deev has avoided having his pants sued off by Dr Godfrey
for "a stream of unjustified insults and false
allegations of incompetence, ignorance [and] lack of comprehension."
Postings to the discussion have suggested that Dr Godfrey is himself not
averse to firing off an insult and derogatory comment or two -- however it
would appear that he's far too smart to defame any individual, seemingly
more inclined to target his critiques
at entire races or countries.
Is, as some believe, Dr Godfrey making a career out of goading people into
defaming him then cutting them down in a hail of legal threats and
lawsuits? Or is he just a regular guy that is perhaps just a little
over-sensitive on the matter of personal or professional criticism?
Are Kiwi Net Users Too Easy-Going?
Kiwis are a pretty laid-back bunch, often preferring to grumble quietly
to themselves rather than make a fuss when things go wrong or the quality
of a product or service disappoints.
It strikes me however that "laid-back" becomes almost "comatose" when it comes
to issues related to the Internet or other high technology.
Take recent events for example...
Telecom seems to be making a complete dog's breakfast of running their DSL
network with a mix of long-standing problems and new ones combining to
make life hell for some customers. But do we see major outrage? No,
just a few articles (like this one) in the industry media.
If Telecom's ADSL service was a car or a toaster there would have been major
recalls and compensation paid out left right and center. Customers would have
been making enormous amounts of noise and the fallout would be quite significant.
However, since ADSL is a "high-tech" product from a monopoly provider, we just
grumble quietly and remain comatose consumers.
Of course it would be unfair to single out Telecom -- after all, they're
not alone in the dog's breakfast stakes.
That perennial favourite Microsoft also consistently ships products that
expose users to all manner of security problems. Do we grab them by the
throat and threaten their kin-folk in disgust? Hell no, we hardly even
twitch, remaining quiet and immobile, eyes fixed as if in a trance of
resignation. Once again -- a high-tech product from a virtual monopoly
provider (who else sells Windows(tm) and Office(tm)?)
I'm particularly miffed at Microsoft right now because of the hassles experienced
when I recently spent quite some time downloading IE6 from the Microsoft website.
We all know that IE6 shipped with quite a number of serious security holes
and that a patch was released last month to plug *some* of them. So why
haven't they integrated that patch into the browser download instead of
demanding that I download the browser *and* the patch?
But wait -- it gets worse!
I downloaded IE6 and installed it, things going quite smoothly.
However, when I attempted to download the patch (using the newly installed
IE6 of course) I was told that my security settings prohibited the download
of the patch file.
"No problem" I thought to myself, I'll just flag microsoft.com as a "trusted"
Nope, still wouldn't download.
Okay, maybe time for a reboot.
Nope, still wouldn't download.
Checked the browser's Internet settings -- still no joy.
In the end, Netscape came to the rescue by allowing me to download the
Now, even though I have the latest and greatest(?) from Microsoft, I'm still
using Netscape as my primary browser because sometimes IE won't follow links
and, from a security perspective, it's still a disaster waiting to happen with
another new hole being announced today.
Have your say.
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