Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact|
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!
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
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.
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.
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