E-tales: Printer a warm lair for reptile

A metre-long brown tree snake curls up inside printer

Secured — and silenced

The recent Security Day conference, organised by the NZ Computer Society and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), was very popular and fully booked — literally standing-room only, until one of the organisers got the hotel to produce two more rows of chairs. Our reporter, despite applying late, managed to talk his way into the keynote address, by representatives of the Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection.

Then he was told it would be under “Chatham House rules”, ie no quoting of remarks with attribution to the speakers (which meant essentially no quoting, as the speakers’ names had been well advertised) and certainly no reporting of remarks from the audience, as they could well be revealing things about their own security measures.

So all he can tell our readers is that it was very interesting ...

Fings ain’t wot they used to be

When our man signalled his disappointment, a delegate to the conference remarked that he’d mentioned the phrase “Chatham House rules” recently in conversation with an Englishman, who was puzzled; “What does that mean?” the Englishman asked.

The expression derives from the London premises of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, www.chathamhouse.org.uk, which is concerned to protect the sources of information that may provoke an international incident.

Ah, the old traditions are slipping away.

Printer a warm lair for reptile

Non-performing printers are an occupational hazard for anyone who tries to get hard copy material from their PC, but an Australian couple have a printer tale that far outdoes any travails about paper jams or broken ink cartridges.

Denis and Marie Matthews, of Lismore, New South Wales, were having trouble with their printer. When they opened it up to investigate, they found a metre-long brown tree snake curled up inside. The Goldcoast.com.au website reports that Denis managed to coax the snake out of the printer, but that it slithered away. It’s probably somewhere else in the couple’s computer room, because Denis “frequently finds small objects knocked from shelves”.

Fugitive bagged at last

The saga of fallen Danish IT company director Stein Bagger took an unusual twist when, after deciding to hand himself in to the Police, his story wasn’t believed.

Bagger vanished after going on holiday in Dubai, and a warrant put out on him by Interpol relating to alleged fraud and other offences committed while he headed IT Factory, which provided hosted software services on IBM’s Lotus platform.

The one-time darling of Denmark’s IT and business scene flew from Dubai to New York, then drove across the US to Los Angeles. After arriving in LA, he used the car’s SatNav system to find the nearest police station.

Officers initially didn’t belived his story — after all, as one officer at the scene said, “We’ve had several people come in and tell us they’re the King of Denmark”, according to The Register.

However, Bagger’s expensive suit and Rolex watch convinced the officers that he really was an ex-CEO on the run.

Jetting around

At E-tales, we couldn’t help but be amused upon reading a story from Network World in the US which quotes a computing infrastrucuture architect at Boeing — whose name is Jett Thompson.

He no doubt gets to see plenty of his namesakes up close at the Boeing factory while they’re being made. For Jett’s views on virtual sever sprawl, see page 24.

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