Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2005

Ridiculing legal threats

I'm not endorsing illegal distribution of copyrighted content, however - the owner of this site provides some funny answers to legal threats by various companies and their lawyer droids:

You have scored 10 out of 10 points on our Legal Threats Entertainment
scale. You win the grand prize: A lifetime of ridicule on our legal
threats section ( !

Please also note that I'm not currently out of toilet paper, so you may
wait a while before sending legal papers.

Please also note the two fun charts at the bottom of the page.

Legal threats against The Pirate Bay

Berkeley Professor threatens thief of his laptop

Professor Jasper Rine is a professor at UC Berkely and had his laptop stolen. After a class at the university he addressed the thief to hand back the laptop. (Transcript, video) He seems to be quite angry at the thief and threatens to track him down (with the help of Microsoft, the FBI, Federal Marshals, the SEC an the FTC). Apparently there was very important data on that laptop,although the thief was most probably only looking for exam data. The first thing we should ask here is why all of this so important and secret data was stored on a laptop unencrypted, why there is no backup and why anybody would let someone even come near such important data? To me this rant sounds very much like a rather pathetic attempt to cover up for his own goof-ups and scare. Secondly, let's analyse the claims a little bit more:

"he was not smart enough to immediately remove Windows. I installed the same version of Windows on another computer - within fifteen minutes the people in Redmond Washin…

Verizon CEO does not get the cluetrain

In an interview, Verizon's CEO Ivan Seidenberg ridiculed customer complaints:

Seidenberg, for instance, said people often complain about mobile phone service because they have unrealistic expectations about a wireless service working everywhere. Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon and Vodafone, is the state's largest mobile phone provider.

"Why in the world would you think your (cell) phone would work in your house?" he said. "The customer has come to expect so much. They want it to work in the elevator; they want it to work in the basement."

Seidenberg said it's not Verizon's responsibility to correct the misconception by giving out statistics on how often Verizon's service works inside homes or by distributing more detailed coverage maps, showing all the possible dead zones. He pointed out that there are five major wireless networks, none of which works perfectly everywhere.

Let me repeat this:

1) "The customer has come to expect so…

Microsoft at home PC security videos

Just found this collection of videos, which very well explain the issues with viruses, worms, spyware and phishing to end users. Microsoft even allows:

If you would like to use our videos for educational or training purposes, you may download them from the links below. You may display the video to others or copy it to your private network to be viewable by others without Internet access, but they may not be redistributed elsewhere on the Internet.

Good move, Microsoft.

But what I found very disturbing is that the videos are downloaded as .exe files, which self-extract as again .exe files which play in Macromedia Flash Player 7. Now even if we provide these great videos internally, the end users have to click through warning messages telling them they should only open executables if they trust them. In addition, we're trying to get people to not download any executables at all. For these reasons: Please Microsoft, provide the videos in a format that doesn't require the end users …

Should companies publish cell phone numbers of all employees internally?

One of our customers is discussing publishing the phone numbers of all employees in a central directory. For the classic desk phone this is merely undisputed. But for cell phones, different view points exist. First of all, there seems to be the idea, that only managers have cell phones (the same thinking applies to laptops, smartphones and PDAs). This might be true for some business areas, but for example in IT, most of the employees have cell phones, laptops and the like, just to be able to do their jobs. Secondly, people fear that they get unsolicited phone calls when their number is published internally. For example, the IT service manager might be called in the middle of the night, instead of going through the standard problem escalation procedures.

I understand these concerns, but my view on this is: Publish all phone numbers in a central directory; where phone numbers are not up to date or unpublished, create a button, that (when pressed) generates an E-mail saying something alon…

Legend or history?

Seth Godin writes a book about daylight saving time. In a recent blog entry he writes:

[...] because in 1444, the walled city of Basel was about to be attacked. There were infidels outside, and some had infiltrated the town. The guards caught some of the bad guys and heard that the attack was to begin precisely at noon. An alert sentry changed the clock in the square an hour. Brilliant! The insiders, unaided by their allies, started their diversion an hour early. They were all arrested.[...]

As I'm living near Basel, I got curious a wanted to know more about this incident. In fact, Basel was besieged in August of 1444 by an army of 30'000 - 40'000 French mercenaries (the Armagnacs) under the guidance of Dauphin Louis (later King Louis XI. of France). They occupied and plundered a few villages and castles in the vincinity but could not get into the city of Basel. At the same time, but in an otherwise unrelated event, a Swiss (note that Basel was not associated with the Swiss…

How to choose a good password

Very interesting empirical study made at the Cambridge University Computer Laboratory. Shows, that a combination of mnemonic based passwords (i.e. the first letter of a phrase) and password policy enforcement to create minimal length and maximum entropy passwords offers the best tradeoff between security and memorability. Also worth mentioning is, that random passwords appear not to be better that passwords based on mnemonic phrases.

Link to .pdf (97KB)