chandanlog

Archive for November 2004

The Sydney Peace Prize Lecture

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Was on a vacation to get blissfully disconnected form the netwrok
taking time to read books I always wanted to read, or to do things never found time to do.

Arundhati Roy’s Sydney Peace Prize Lecture on 4th November made me pause and think for a while.
Its long but worth a read. She makes various thought provoking observations, which are typically censored or hidden by traditional news
media. She paints a grim picture of state of affairs today
– about pseudo-democracies, war profiteers and puppet politicians.

There is a small note that is new to me, which tells you how by buying a certain brand of printers and cartridges, you could be assisting war criminals.
Those, she says, are made by is one of several black listed companies that profited by helping Saddam kill people. Goodness gracious!! I do not use those blood stained printers.

On a side note, it makes me draw a parallel between computer systems and and nations. She gives step by step instructions on how you can compromise a big and powerful country, despite a big and powerful defence system. So what did I learn from this, that can be used to make computer systems more secure? That would be a topic for another post…

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Written by chandanlog

25 Nov 2004 at 9:12 am

Posted in General

Outsourced to Perl

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I am contemplating on about 100 lines of perl script that I just wrote and now running every day in a cronjob. This script is to replace most of the work done by half a dozen or so people. I was contacted for help after those people were riffed. Some of the work they did was still essential and critical to the company.

That work was routine and partly non-technical. This is what I sympathise. Human beings are not machines. If there is work that computer programs can do, then humans shouldn’t be doing that work.
People should focus on quality work, and not ticking check boxes, or manually searching through hundreds of email messages or trying to find the differences between two lists…

Why are people made to work on such low quality work? I think mostly because people who design business processes do not really understand capabilities of computers. Many a times developers who develop business process tools may also be responsible. Often developers implement what is written down in the requirements and not a bit more and not a bit less.
This is why I feel formal requirement specifications are considered bad in Extreme Programming world, where you hear your customer’s stories and come with the best possible solution, rather than leaving the solution at the mercy of customer’s imagination.

Written by chandanlog

4 Nov 2004 at 6:04 am

Posted in General

Online Fraud

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In a post reviewing the book “The Art of Deception” I expressed my doubts if most of those social engineering tricks can still be played. For example most people know what Nigerian fraud is, and will not get swayed when they get a mail from Mariam Abacha, wife to the late Nigerian Head of state, General
Sani Abacha
. But what happened just now astonishes me.

An engineer sitting not too far was about to enter his credit card details to a phony website, and a couple of more engineers were actually helping him enter the data, without knowing what he was falling into.
Out of curiosity I peeked into to his screen to see a big red button titled “Claim your prize!” With suspicion I enquired him what was he doing.. but he was too busy trying to enter the correct data from his credit card and answered me saying he won a 29 inch flat TV. “STOP” I said, as more details came out. He got a very personal e-mail that had his name and postal address telling him that he had to pay 32 dollars for shipment for a new Sony flat TV. Others were trying to help him as they did not know why he needed to enter credit card info. They were just being the good neighbours helping a neighbour having trouble answering some questions on a website. Good that he called for help …

Written by chandanlog

3 Nov 2004 at 8:40 am

Posted in Security