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Lighten Up 16 August 2002 Edition
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It's time for more flotsam and jetsam from the backwaters of the web.

What do you do when blowing your nose is not enough? What a wonderful idea. I wonder if they have a cure for water on the brain as well?

Now that you've cleared your head you might be ready to ponder the hidden difficulties of providing a reliable flow of toilet paper. You'll be amazed at the complexity of the algorithms involved.

But maybe all that preparation still won't help and you'll find yourself with a blocked head and in urgent need of a comfort stop while far from home. Racing to the nearest facility is not advised or this could be the result

A Collection Of Bits
I've received unconfirmed reports out of Australia that the Internet Name Group have laid off staff and are closing their doors. Their website still appears to be operating and I'm trying to get more info to confirm this report.

If this is true then I'm sure nobody around here will be shedding a tear and maybe some will even be having a quiet drink in honour of this news.

Another reader tells me that he signed up to the "Your Telecom" service as a way of paying his cellphone bill over the Net.

After finding that there appeared no payment facility, the reader clicked on a contact link and found it to be a secure form.

Assuming that an encrypted (SSL) form meant the information typed in would be kept confidential and secure, a credit card number was entered with a request that it be used to process a payment for the cellphone bill.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • TV Box... - Neil
    From Yesterday...
  • PC Power... - Mark
  • Advice on Hardware... - julian
  • To switch off or not... - Charlie
  • hard wearing hardware... - Chris
  • Have Your Say


    The next day the reader received confirmation that his bill had been debited to the credit card information provided -- but the reply email was in plain text and included all the credit card details originally submitted through the form!

    Someone ought to tell Telecom's staff that it is most certainly NOT a good idea to send anyone's credit card details via plain text email!

    That's very bad Telecom.

    However, I have to say that Telecom have been very helpful in trying to sort out my noisy rural phone-line woes.

    A dialog is underway that I'm hoping will result in at least some improvement to the near unusable state of the phone line I had installed specifically for Net access. The ironic thing is that of the three lines I have (phone, fax, modem) -- the modem line is the noisiest and the voice line provides the best modem throughput.

    This means that if I really want to stay online for more than 3-5 minutes at a time I have to tie up my voiceline with an internet call -- which means I'm getting absolutely *ZERO* value for extra rental I pay for that modem line.

    A lot of other rural readers have emailed me expressing great interest in the results of a possible modem shootout and asking me to provide more information on how they can improve their own situation. If the various modem providers are prepared to cooperate I'll do a feature on this next week.

    In the meantime I'm going quietly insane here as just about every attempted upload or download ends up in failure with either a dropped carrier or "silent death" from the modem link.

    Have your say.

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    Security Alerts
    Security flaw hits Windows, Mac, Linux (NewsFactor - 7/08/2002)

    PGP Outlook plugin has major hole (TheReg - 12/07/2002)

    IE scripting flaw uncovered (TheReg - 12/07/2002)

    Microsoft Reveals Still More Security Flaws (NewsFactor - 28/06/2002)

    OpenSSH Hole Uncovered
    (CNet - 28/05/2002)

    Virus Alerts
    Kowbot worm targets Kazaa network
    (VNuNet - 01/07/2002)

    Worm exploits Apache vulnerability (Computerworld - 01/07/2002)

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

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