Spying on Microsoft

An E-tales reader went to the recent Microsoft Security Seminar at the Carlton Hotel in Auckland. A well-run event, he says, with some good info, if not a little repetitive.

An E-tales reader went to the recent Microsoft Security Seminar at the Carlton Hotel in Auckland. A well-run event, he says, with some good info, if not a little repetitive. One speaker had just been saying how important it was to lock down the network and any remote (ie laptop) devices that may connect to it. Close all the ports! Close all the ports! seemed to be the order of the day. This same (Microsoft) speaker then had to go to his Control Panel on his laptop to change the display settings as something funny was happening with the PowerPoint presentation. All the audience could see his Control Panel in all its glory on a huge screen -- including the icon for Wild Tangent online gaming drivers. Hope he doesn't connect to the Microsoft network with that lovely piece of spyware installed.

Absent without

At a recent industry event, a Computerworld reporter was talking to a senior staffer from a software vendor, who had returned that day from two weeks overseas. It was late, the evening was wearing on and the staffer was no doubt tired, but the vendor man's departure was hastened by his wife, who pointed out that: "I haven't seen __ for two weeks, so we should be getting home soon." We could quite understand her keenness for some face time after such an absence.

Discontent management

A Computerworld staffer called a certain local government officer last week to discuss technological innovations he was introducing to the council's work. We transcribe part of the conversation:

"How did you get hold of my direct line number?"

"Well, I brought up the council website and keyed your surname into the search slot, and what came up was a fax to an insurance company, claiming for a lost camera. Your phone number was at the bottom of that."

"You're joking! I can't imagine what that's doing on the website."

The URL to the unfortunate document simply ends "... elegant_fax.doc", a standard Microsoft Word template. So we'd guess the form is intended to be provided on the site, but the content is supposed to be cleared after each use. Clearly the website software in this case not only retained the unfortunate staffer's words but obligingly indexed them.

Names of the employee, the council and its website manager will naturally be kept confidential -- if only to preserve them from a blitz of calls from vendors offering better content management systems.

Thin client spread thick

At a Citrix media briefing recently, Australia-New Zealand vice president Gary O'Brien described Citrix's distribution among customers as "six miles wide and six inches high", meaning many users had Citrix in some part of their business but not throughout the whole organisation. He went on to say that Citrix's growth goals were as much to expand its use within existing sites as well as at new ones. We couldn't help, however, at the irony of a company commonly labelled as providing "thin client" technology describing itself as being very wide and very short. But then again, Citrix is trying to shed the thin client and server-based computing labels and position itself instead as a provider of "infrastructure access". No word, however, on the departure of O'Brien's predecessor, Raju Parrab, who was brought out to New Zealand a year ago and quit six months or so into the job.

Moving on

We trust this email slip was deliberate rather than Freudian: "Hi all, just to let you know, I'm no longer at [PR firm]. My last day was on Friday, so any emails to this address will probably be lost in the ethos."

Free speech

Speaking of emails An open letter to the email of Steve Maharey, Minister of Broadcasting, from an angry christian -- the address was a religious radio station -- was received by editors at several IT publications.

Dear sir,

Why is it every time I tune in to National Radio's morning show I am assailed by sex? From Linda Clarke's interview with a 69 year old American woman who wanted to have as much sex as possible before her 70th birthday, to her most recent one with the world's first professional transsexual golfer (also not a New Zealander), to the language and content of the morning serial [... etc]

It had obviously been sent to every editor in the country. Some people might call this spam.

Out of the mouths ...

A friend tells us that her 12-year-old insisted on watching the first episode of the very bloody

Kill Bill (killbill.movies.go.com). "Don't worry mum," he reassured her. "It's happy violence." (E-tales' verdict on the films: sadistic, stylish, amusing, but it should have been one long movie. Splitting it in half meant Quentin Tarantino could indulge himself endlessly in the second movie -- and double the box office.)

Killing time

Speaking of which, if you've heard of the

Star Wars kid, you may want to see how he does with Uma Thurman's swordplay in Kill Bill. Check it out.

Caption contest

It's that time again. We still have a very few Computerworld T-shirts left in the cupboard. Small only, sorry, due to a constricted marketing budget. All you have to do to win one is provide a suitable caption to the moody photo below of Computerworld Excellence Awards organiser Anne Simpson surrounded by IT luminaries. The best three will win a T-shirt.

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