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Lighten Up 21 June 2002 Edition
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It's time for Aardvark's weekly dose of links to websites from the wackier side of the Net. If you have similar links you'd like to suggest then please send them to me.

When good spell-checkers go bad. Earlier this week, someone at the NZ Herald must have hit the wrong buttons when spellchecking this story about Saddam Hussein. Check out that headline and the first paragraph -- oh dear, how embarrassing! At least The Independent got it right.

When good translations go bad. Here is a great example of what happens when you use one of the automated online translation services to try and create a foreign language version of your website. I wonder if the Japanese author really knows how silly this sounds?

The website Of A Genius. If you've ever wondered what type of website a real genius might make then check this out. All those brains *and* such modesty too!

Feature: Promoting Your Website
Dont' forget to check out the series of hints on how to promote your website which will be regularly added to throughout the next few weeks.

New this week: Writing an Effective Press Release

Teflon Bill?
Over in the USA the courts are considering which bus ticket to use, and how damp to make it, when Microsoft gets its inevitable wrist-slapping for violation of anti-trust laws.

Closer to home, Auckland Lawyer Craig Horrocks is spitting tacks after failing in his attempt to get the Commerce Commission to give Microsoft a similar slapping over its new "give us all your money" software update plan for larger companies.

Well, it's actually more of a software non-update plan, and that's the crux of the matter. It seems that you could be asked to hand over a large fist-full of cash to Microsoft without any guarantee that you'll actually see any updates in return.

One can't help but wonder why the Commerce Commission seems to wimp out when presented with cases that involve large corporations such as Telecom or Microsoft. Sometimes their logic defies explanation -- but then again, perhaps we don't know the whole story, which leaves me asking why not?

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
From yesterday
  • Router Problems... - Craig
  • Informing People... - Andrew
  • security through obscurity... - Jared

    In response to overwhelming feedback (only a tiny percentage of which is included here) I have decided to publish the information sent to me by John Burns.

  • Have Your Say

    And why are Microsoft and so many other software vendors seemingly immune to the consumer protection laws that everyone else has to play by?

    If Ford were to launch a brand new car and it turned out that all the door locks were faulty, allowing thieves to break in to them and steal all the stereos, don't you think there'd be a whole lot more noise being made than is the case with Microsoft's software?

    Is it perhaps just that we've become desensitised to the flaws in Microsoft's products -- to the point where we expect it to be riddled with security holes?

    And when a car maker finds a major fault in one of its new vehicles, it issues a recall to have them fixed. The manufacturer pays for the labour and materials required to put things right. Who pays for a system administrator's time when they have to patch hundreds of machines thanks to another Microsoft hole?

    Yes, Mr Gates is truly wears a coat of teflon when it comes to consumer law.

    From Yesterday
    The overwhelming consensus from readers of yesterday's column was that security by obscurity is never a good idea. The vast majority of those who emailed me believed it would be better to expose the vulnerability, thus giving everyone the chance to check their own DSL setups and fix them if necessary.

    As a result of that feedback, I published the full text of an email provided by John Burns which outlines the cause, effect and remedy.

    Please also read my note at the bottom of that page.

    ISPs' response Burns' activities has been fairly swift and I believe that one provider has frozen his account, another has issued a stern warning against port probes directed at other people's systems.

    Have Your Say
    As always, your comments are welcomed. Please remember to select "For Publication" if you want them included on this site.

    Have your say.

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    Security Alerts
    Holes Still Linger in Yahoo! Messenger (iNetNews - 06/06/2002)

    Experts warn of IE Gopher hole (ZDNet - 05/06/2002)

    DoS Hole Has Some DNS Servers In a BIND (iNetNews - 05/06/2002)

    Microsoft Exchange hole "critical" (CNet - 28/04/2002)

    Report: Hole found in Excel (ZDNet - 28/05/2002)

    Virus Alerts
    Soccer World Cup Virus Detected (iNetNews - 07/06/2002)

    Shakira worm rocks the Net (ZDNet - 06/06/2002)

    New viruses aim to cross multi platforms (ZDNet - 05/06/2002)

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

    Open in New Window Vodafone to launch next-generation messaging
    Multimedia message service (MMS) will be launched at the start of July allowing an image to be sent by phone to an email address...

    Open in New Window NZ site wins Webby
    Christchurch-based website Arts & Letters Daily is the People's Voice winner in the news category of the Webby Awards, billed as the online equivalent of the Oscars...


    Open in New Window Search engines beware: Web spammers are becoming more sophisticated
    The latest case occurred Wednesday when America Online's AOL Search and its technology partner Inktomi began displaying thousands of search results that linked to a Web site based in Russia...

    Open in New Window The Serious Business of Internet Search Engines
    In today's lackluster advertising market, search engines seem to be concentrating less on profits and more on what they do best: building ever-better mousetraps...

    Open in New Window Hackers and porn and pirates, oh my
    Software piracy monitors at Business Software Alliance asked Finnish Internet service provider Jippii Group last November to remove a customer's Web site that allegedly helped others to scam bootlegged software....

    Open in New Window Public Protests NPR Link Policy
    When huge, nameless, faceless corporations try to impose "linking policies" upon webmasters who want to point to the company's site, people usually react in a predictable way...

    Open in New Window Fuel Cell Hold-up promises to keep the technology on the shelf
    The Bush administration's January announcement of the federal government's new $150 million annual FreedomCAR initiative to support fuel-cell research sounded like good news to many casual observers...


    Open in New Window Aussie denies cybersquatting in World Cup domain seizure
    Queensland entrepreneur Anthony Dever recently noticed the worldcup.com.au domain name was up for grabs, and seized the opportunity...

    Open in New Window Cisco Australia apologises for spam rage endorsement
    Cisco Australia channel and commercial operations manager Kip Cole has moved to distance the company from “highly inappropriate” advice included in Cisco brochures...


    Open in New Window 'Thinking' robot in escape bid
    Scientists running a pioneering experiment with "living robots" which think for themselves today said they were amazed to find one escaping from the centre where it "lives"...
    The Age

    Open in New Window Philips' blue lasers shrink discs
    Consumer-electronics giant Philips is demonstrating a prototype miniature disc drive that uses a coin-size disc capable of storing nearly twice as much data as a standard-sized CD...

    Open in New Window Poor technology 'lets down' UK courts
    A senior judge has blamed poor technology systems for miscarriages of justice and delays in the British judicial system...

    Open in New Window Microsoft Says No to Compromise
    Microsoft refused to compromise further with the nine states pursuing antitrust action against the software giant -- just a day after U.S. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly asked Microsoft and the states to find common ground...

    Open in New Window Confessions Of an Unabashed Bandwidth Hog
    My name is Leslie, and I'm a Net-a-holic. Not a recovering one, but an active, unabashed bandwidth hog, consuming all the Internet access I can get...
    Washington Post

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