Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/06/16/letters/
Developing world malware writers throw a sickie
As seen on Google Earth
Letters Does sending PCs to the developing world fuel malware? That's what Eugene Kaspersky said recently. We reckoned the potential benefits outweighed the dangers, but here are your thoughts:
PCs to developing world 'fuel malware'. Perhaps, but Software Industry's dirty secret is that many top people learnt their trade in secret hacker gangs, creating malware, ripping games and defacing websites. Today's precocious village malware author is tommorow's Third World Fortune 500 entrepreneur.
Cheap PCs for underpriveleged cause virus criminality: This, in the original too, is a bad case of equating correlation with causality. Virus distribution (not writing) is not the same in all areas, see https://app.it.okstate.edu/mca/worldmap.php
It is also highest in the US, but I wouldn't conclude that China should impose an export ban.
More logical conclusions might be that - PCs should be better separated from communication. A PC off the net can only get infected when data or programs are downloaded, printing of data is virus-free. Each class of equipment should have its own operating system, then infection is confined to species.
PCs to developing world 'fuel malware' - so does literacy.
Blast. That's our main potential benefit blown out of the water.
Back in the "developed" world, meanwhile, UK small biz has got itself into a bit of a state over union Unison's apparent advice on how to throw a sickie:
Has anyone bothered to read this article? It just states the bleeding obvious - if you want to watch the football then ask your bosses if there's a flexible working policy. If you choose to take a sickie then it says what the employer might reasonably think and do if it just happens to be at the same time as a match.
It *doesn't* advocate taking a sickie to watch the football. It reminds people that they should follow the correct procedure for reporting sick. That applies whenever you phone in sick. Only a halfwit would interpret it any other way. The article also says "Taking time off work without permission can lead to dismissal for ‘gross misconduct’ ". Any half decent business will have something in place to deal with people who take sickies when they aren't sick anyway.
Mr Alambriitis should have said something along the lines of "I don't believe in 24 hour 'flu" rather than gone and made like a stroppy teenager claiming the article is irresponsible. The article puts the Amicus spin on an issue which I daresay has been discussed and joked about in the vast majority of workplaces. People do get ill from time to time. It happens. Live with it and deal with it.
"Mercifully, everyone expects to be fit and well by tomorrow morning, which is a testament to the power of modern medicine." Oh now that's just flagrant bullshit - modern medicine has yet to come up with a reliable five-minute hangover cure, aside maybe from anaesthesia.
Indeed, it works for us.
New toys now, specifically Google Earth Version 4 - higher res and now available for Linux. Good show:
Google Earth comes to Linux is great news for everyone, not just the Linux people. Speaking as a Mac user, Linux is immensely important in keeping Microsoft in check. Support from the likes of Google is good news. Hopefully they'll make a Linux version of SketchUp soon too.
Just a small comment: It is funny how Google Earth has rendered at least one (possibly more) GIS/GIS-like applications essentially obsolete. I had to listen to a sales pitch from some people explaining to me how this brand new connection of 10 Gbps was so much more cooler for everything and how new things were possible. Then they showed this pretty computer with three monitors and some earth rendering. They show how they can rotate, navigate, zoom in, zoom out, and zoom in into a volcano in some part in Asia. I didn't made the obvious comment, but just waiting a few extra seconds and w/o all the special purpose hardware, I can do the same in google earth. Actually I can probably do better since it has the roadmaps labelled nicely :). Granted, it doesn't look as cool in my PC, but it probably costs 200 K$ less :) Have a nice day, b
It works acceptable even on an XTerm using X over network. In fact it is considerably less fussy regarding hardware than the Winhoze version.
Google Earth (v4 beta) for Linux is great. Works like a charm. Shame it doesn't know where "castle combe" is... It keeps bring up some company in Bracknell...
Much impressed with Google Earth for Linux.
I know how much you like plane spotting. If you head on over to...
...you'll find Heathrow. More specifically you'll find one plane captured 4 times as it comes into land. (Either that or NATS is in worse shape than I thought.)
Anyhow, it brings to mind a potential propaganda weapon. Tired of your tiny tin-pot country not being taken seriously on the international stage? Want to scare your neighbours into a quick surrender? Simply move your planes and tanks around their staging areas. When GoogleSat (TM) goes over, your force will be recorded for posterity*... only every vehicle will be captured half a dozen times.
* And intelligence purposes.
Found this area on the new Google Earth.
Oh no, it's only been out five minutes and v.4 has already scrambled the black helicopters...
...and for further conspiracy theories, try the case of the devil cat which apparently predicts when its owner is about to have an epileptic fit by staring at him. On the other hand, the cat could be causing the fits, we offered.
Perhaps it is Mr Edmonds who is possesed and the kitty is merely trying to exorcise him.
Cats are not demonic.
They're just differently deified.
Maybe you need this cat to go with the article on The Reg. about clearing drain with sardines. Put the sardines in the drain and trick the evil cat to use it's amazing powers to suck the sardines and other obstructions from the drain. An evil cat, hair balls, and oily sardines could turn out to be a pretty nasty combination (sure hope there is a warning label on those sardines, lol).
On the other hand, the combination of coffee and booze might well carry a health recommendation, since the former seemingly protects the liver against damage by the latter:
Coffee and Booze. What could be better??!! Yes, I will have an Irish Coffee please. As was noted on a web site I perused, it contains ALL FOUR of the gastrointestinal sins: Caffeine, Alcohol, Sugar, and Butterfat. You can't improve on that, and now it is "healthy!".
And just before we run screaming to the pub for a few pints of caffeine-laced ale, here's our now traditional "a grammatical pedant writes" offering. Mercifully, it's the authors of the booze and coffee story who are taking the flak this week:
The researchers don’t have the best grasp on English do they?
"The data do suggest that coffee intake may partly explain the variability of cirrhosis risk in alcohol consumers." The relationship is buttressed by findings from blood samples, which showed the amount of damage-indicating enzymes released by the liver is less if the patient is a coffee drinker.
Try this, "The data suggests that coffee intake may partly explain the variability of cirrhosis risk in alcohol consumers" The relationship is buttressed by findings from blood samples, which show the amount of damage-indicating enzymes released by the liver is lower if the patient is a coffee drinker.
Yours sincerely, Board Grammar Nazi
Hmmmm. Have a great weekend and try not to overdo the caffeine and alcohol. ®