Monday, December 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Helping spammers do a better job
One reader brought back the idea that we should charge for email to reduce spam. I wrote a response on one scenario to make it happen:
We all wanted domain registration to be managed by a non governmental, non-partisan entity. That means ICANN has very little recourse to fight bad behavior.
So lets say that we should place a fee on sending email. Make it much smaller, like 1/2 cent, or .1 cent per message. Who would collect the fee? Would the message be a 'bonded' message?
I could envision national post offices offering a 'bonded' email service. And then spam filters would be engineered to whitelist the 'bonded sender' messages. The messages don't need to run through postal service machines, they just need to be authenticated against postal service machines.
Probably we would end up with traditional email running alongside 'bonded' email as the market for it develops.
This is entirely technically feasible. It is a business case to develop and deploy.
AOL offers 'bonded' email, Microsoft enhances Outlook to offer 'bonded' email, gmail offers 'bonded email', etc.
It replaces revenue the postal service is losing, the messages do not transit the postal service (i.e. they are not exposed to added snooping by the government), and it helps to ensure the sender is legitimate. (Or at least paid to spam us all)
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Its downfall lies in the future when some neanderthal politician declares that a port scanner is an illegal tool.
The modern day equivalent of bringing someone in for having a carpenter's toolbox in the car.
Let's say customs implements automated scanning software to find 'illegal' files, the customs agent has no knowledge what the files are, she just runs a scan. "Ahem. Sir, please stand over there..." And your teenager gets stopped for Beyonce videos...
Then they will let her in, but make a record of all the potentially illegal media on her PC. The studios fight to gain access to that. Someone stores the log file in perpetuity.
In response, average people will start running installations that have a 'vanilla' Windows installation - leaving the rest of the disk encrypted with the real juice hidden from a casual scan. There is lots of software already heading in this direction. People want it so that they can hide their internet porn from family members and law enforcement.
Keyloggers are being sold today for spouses to spy on each other online. And of course the studios are the porn industry. "Give 'em what they want."
Not too far a stretch to see this having the effect that the government is encouraging individuals to learn how to be espionage agents.
There really are three choices.
1) Give up all your electronics.
2) Live with arbitrary laws that exist only to make big companies money. (But at the end of the day you know cancer is a bigger worry than Disney and even Microsoft...)
3) Become Ted Kazinsky (without the bombs, please).
Myself, I am heading towards #1 from #2. I would rather stop listening to music than jump through hoops to get it onto my MP3 player without copy protection.
I am reluctant to fund the studios that are lobbying for these restrictive laws.
Besides, that leaves us a few bucks to send to our local college radio stations. College radio plays what they like - not controlled by the studios 'idea' of what will sell...
Al Gore has left us for the Ozone layer...
Would you consider the presidency for 2008?
The electorate is polarized, Hillary (R-e-member Hillary?);
Huckabee, McCain, Obama. Ron Paul - another guy with two first names!
Socks! Come back to us!
We recall the economic prosperity of the Socks era...
Pre- 9/11... Pre 01/20/2009
Come back to us, all is forgiven! (Even that spot on the carpet...)
Recent news stories have discussed the cost of phantom power drain on the US electrical grid.
So - here's a proposal for everyone: get a cash bonus for installing enough PV electrical generation capacity on your roof to offset the power drain from the average house.
The idea is not without ecological detractors... Here is my post on the metafilter:
The ultimate whiner. But this is what comes to mind when I think of Office 2007 installations. Its enough to consider early retirement! The main thing I _thought_ would be difficult with the new Office was the redesigned user interface. I work on a campus - we have people at all levels of skill. I was worried about training them up - because everyone in the software universe seems to think that training is not an issue. (Everyone I talk to who has Office 2007 says that they don't know where anything is!)
Guess what? The user interface is not a problem. We will get through this. I think. Training is next week...
What concerns me now is deployment. Leaving aside the fact that security concerns have broken any of the built in deployment stuff in Active Directory...
Annoyance #1 Office Professional Plus takes 1/2 hour to install! What a pig! The setup routine claims that it will uninstall previous versions. Not true. It doesn't uninstall Office 97. Ugly mess it makes. Oh well, time to go. Wife over shoulder, New Year's eve. And don't suggest Open Office. Talk about a pig. Almost as bad...
Training: Our on-site office training was - awesome!
I was learning tricks I had never used before from previous versions. Well worth the effort.
Train people the same day as their installation. A great suggestion from our training partners. They get back to their desk and have to use the training right away.
Customized classes for different levels of students. All day MS Office overview for the 'information workers'. Half day classes for the folks who drive trucks around, prune trees, grow things in our greenhouse.
A few high end trainings sessions for the remainder.
In total we trained 55 users over the course of four days, leaving Friday for in depth training sessions that were optional.
Mandatory Training. Excellent idea. We're paying to have someone come on site. To get the greatest value out of the training we need to insist that employees attend.
Expectations: Don't expect the 'troubled trainees' to learn anything more than the basics...
Training got them up to speed, but can't help them remember what a style is, or to use tables instead of spaces to line up text.
We spent a lot of money to get the pricey 'corporate' version of Office 2007, because it includes the "administrative" install feature that Office 97 included at no charge in the OEM release of the software. The customization utility is buggy and the results are pretty messy. The customization utility crashes when selecting certain settings.
(Save frequently!) And then the transforms don't seem to take effect anyway.
Were I to do this again, I might go with shrinkwrap or OEM software.
We couldn't seriously consider Software Assurance (aka highway robbery).
The savings could easily pay for a KBOX to do the roll-out...
At the end of the project, I discovered that the Office 2003 Resource Kit has a tool that properly removes Office 97. Office 97 never seems to uninstall cleanly otherwise.
We have many buggy machines as a result of incomplete removal of Office 97.
Removing Office '97 when the installer can't find the source...
Also, in case you're trying to update the installation source for an administrative install of Office 97 - so you can run the uninstall later once the administrative share has changed location... Look for a file ending in ".STM" on the C drive, there's a line in there that seems to do the trick.