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Cox Crow

Asking the Stupid Questions Since 1971
 Thursday, August 15, 2002

Does your vendor do this?

Me: Hi, it seems like you have a wildcard DNS record in place, but the copy of the zone file that we received doesn't. Could you just confirm that for me?

Vendor: I'm sorry, but that's proprietary technology.

Me: Oh? Really?

Vendor: We have a box that makes your site work. If you'd like to sign a contract with us for $20,000, we can answer that question for you.

5:08:06 PM # Google It!
categories: System Administration

Semi-permeable Membranes

David Fletcher, while thinking about the mass of data that security personnel need to analyze, offers this observation:

We also need to detect new wireless access points. They can potentially open up the network in a big way and people all over the state want to add them in order to give users additional capabilities. They can also create huge issues with your security architecture.

Does your security architecture fail if there's a hole in the dike?

The design should, as much as possible, take into account that people will work around limitations you establish.

5:02:44 PM # Google It!
categories: Security

Here's a gedankenexperiment for you: If there were a hiatus on issuing patents for two years, what would be the harm?

4:06:59 PM #
categories: Industry, Law

" The most successful online subscription service today is Classmates.com, with 3 million paying customers (almost 5 times WSJ.com). .... It is critically important to remember that they do not charge for content; they charge for functionality the ability to contact long lost friends."
— Patrick Spain, co-founder of Hoover's, in an interview with eFinance Insider, via [PAID: the economics of content]

1:52:55 PM #
categories: Industry, Media

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Is it just me, or does Larry Ellison have little grasp of the problems involved in consolidating multiple data sources?

1:39:36 PM # Google It!

Never Ascribe to Malice

While reading Charles Mann's interview with Bruce Schneier, I was struck by how the security measures he discusses can be read in different ways. On the one hand, you can see these measures as ignorant but well-meaning attempts to address problems with insecure systems. But if these measures are ineffective, and the people proposing them are not ignorant, what problems are they meant to address?

1:35:58 PM # Google It!
categories: Politics, Security

Did everybody unsubscribe from my feed after yesterday?

1:07:27 PM #
categories: Writing Online

SAN FRANCISCO--Telecommunications company Verizon Communications saved $6 million in equipment costs by moving its programmers to Linux computers, the company said Wednesday.

The company cut costs by replacing programmers' Unix and Windows workstations with Linux systems that run OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office, said George Hughes, a Verizon executive overseeing the work. The average desktop cost went from $22,000 to $3,000 per developer, he said in a talk at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo.
"Verizon switches programmers to Linux," c|net

$6 million is a lot more than that saved by cutting our coffee ration.

12:53:26 PM #
categories: Coffee

Simple Campaign Finance Reform

Prohibit contributions from outside the district.

12:33:21 PM # Google It!
categories: Politics

Do politicians live the unexamined life?

11:13:11 AM #
categories: Politics


Tim May, one of the founding members of Cypherpunks, got up and declared before a packed house that his job was not to make anyone's data secure. His job, he figured, was to make bribing the cleaning service more cost-effective than trying to hack in.


The thread connecting all of this - Schneier, May, the Gartner analyst - is that technology will never be a panacea. Software can be perfectly suited to the task and still come up short. In the end, the users must be committed to its success.
[tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog]

Would it help if we remembered the etymology of technology?

10:36:14 AM # Google It!
categories: Language, Security