SCOX, SCOG, litigeous bastards, SCOldera, bankrupt

by Mark Zaugg 15. September 2007 00:56

Don't worry, they'd never be irresponsible enough to run the whole company into the ground. 

Err... 

Oops

Okay, I've chosen my side on this a long, long while back.  I've very firmly opposed to any of the vitriol spewed out by The SCO Group.  I would call it nothing less than a long series of lies, mistruths, disinformation, misinformation, and other activities inappropriate to doing business.  I won't be serving on a jury for those bastards for a while.

I'm clearly an Open Source kinda guy at my roots and I'm very rah-rah on Linux in general.  It's an amazing operating system with stability, security and flexibility.

The best part of Linux - truly the very pinnacle of the best - is that Linux is developed out in the open.  I could make a change in any single piece of the code and submit it as the very core of Linux. 

Linus Torvalds would be silly to do anything other than reject it outright, but it's at least potentially possible for me to include my work for the world to benefit.

So how could the SCO Group ever have gotten away with claiming that their code had been improperly included in the Linux codebase?  How could they come up with this horrible litigeous mess that's been dragged through the mud for years? 

The answer is they couldn't.  They have yet to declare the code which supposedly infringed.  They've put together a long-running losing case in from of Judge Wells and Judge Kimball.  They're not dead yet, but they're running out of money quickly and they have severe concerns of staying viable.  The dip and dodge of bankruptcy protection will not save them from this tailspin.

This is far from over, and bankruptcy was a terribly predictable step in the process.  But eventually they are going to lose having taken down the good name of the original Santa Cruz Operation which was a good company.  Shame on Darl and the gang.

At the risk of making a suggestion, how about making good software that people want to run because it gives them huge advantages in their business environment?  Or is that passe now?

In the meanwhile, I highly recommend Groklaw as a source for all sorts of interesting details and insight into technology and the law.  It's not a celebration yet, we haven't been able to put the last nails in this coffin, but I need to point out that this light at the end of the tunnel that's appearing out there was noticed a long, long while ago thanks to Pamela Jones and the good folks at Groklaw who have meticulously watched the whole circus.

Let's make it a good, good happy weekend!

by Mark Zaugg 11. August 2007 02:53

Some days are miserable.  Some days are great. 

Some days you just have to relax and be patient for the world to come back to it's senses. 

Today was one of those days that fell into place in the world of tech. 

You're either a complete Linux geek or a Unix greybeard or some combination thereof if you're following this.  There's been this little lawsuit going down in the States between a whole bunch of companies.  Don't worry, I'll summarize.  Notably, there has been this group of litigeous bastards (old joke, ha ha) called SCO who seem to have been suing everything in sight.  They sued IBM for allegedly putting SCO propriety code into Linux - not that SCO would tell us precisely what that code was.  They've sued former customers like Auto Zone and DaimlerChrysler.  (Hint:  If you're a company that has to sue your former customers - you're on really shaky ground.)


Let's see...  Red Hat counter-sued SCO to basically force SCO to stop what Red Hat sees as SCO's campaign to sully Linux and to declare that Red Hat has not violated SCO's copyright or any trade secrets.

Meanwhile Novell stepped in and declared that SCO was wrong when they were saying they owned UNIX and that Novell actually had kept the copyrights for UNIX.  Of course, Novell was claiming that SCO actually owed them money from licencing (from Microsoft and Sun) and that Novell - not SCO - were the ones who could waive the right to sue IBM and Sequent.  Novell had done so, of course, potentially making the rest of SCO's legal schenanigans very moot indeed.

Novell got their ruling today.  Novell retained the copyright to UNIX, and SCO needed to respect Novell's choice to waive the lawsuit.  As PJ says, it's not entirely over, but this certainly puts things in order to box it up and tie it with a ribbon.

Ms. Jones, I salute you.  It's a pleasure to read your insight and I thank you for all the work you've put into this.  Keep going, PJ, make the world a better place.

I will still complain about the court system, though.  Call me a Doubting Thomas if you will, but this was a long ways to go with little gain to show at the end to really demonstrate that justice has been carried out here.  Justice delayed is justice denied, just because the right result came out of this part doesn't mean it's been good all around.

But tonight is the time for celebration.  PJ goes with a red dress and chocolate.  I'll try to come up with something original of my own..

"Quality pays for itself."

by Mark Zaugg 8. August 2007 23:55

I was told a story when I was quite a bit younger.  My grandpa had his house plastered when it was new back in the 50s.  He told the guys that he wanted it done right.  He didn't want to see a crack in the plaster for as long as he owned the house. 

I went around the house after he died looking at walls.  Now I have to say, I'm not the sort of guy that examines walls, but for some reason the story came to mind and I figured that was my only shot at looking at them.  There's no real surprise - I didn't find a single crack in the plaster. 

One of the great lessons he taught me was "Quality pays for itself."  Get the best you can afford and don't cheap out in the short term.  Quality goods and workmanship will always outlast the cheapest available. 

I'm not much of a fan of the Walmart mentality.  Price isn't the driving factor in the long term, you have to balance price with quality. 

I am a big fan of Mike Holmes.  He's a quality guy, he really cares and he genuinely wants to fix things.  More than just houses, more than just lives.  I truly get the feeling he wants to leave the world better. 

Last Saturday, Charlie Major and Mike Holmes came to Calgary for Lean on Me Day.  It was a fund-raising event to provide scholarships for students learning a skilled trade. 

It's a great fit.  I'm met Charlie before and he's a great guy to work with.  The two didn't know each other before the fundraiser, but they certainly carried themselves well and worked together very well.

There's magic when Mike's ripping into some poorly constructed project and realizes it's so badly that it has to be entirely taken down and started over.  "Take it all down.  Start over!  Do it right the first time!"

Mike is working on something very special with his foundation.  He's trying to fix something bigger than a house.  He's fixing the system.  He spoke about how for years we have discouraged our kids from taking up a career in the trades.  Be a doctor, be a lawyer, but don't be a tradesman.  The hours are long, the work is hard.

I'll bet Mike Holes is a guy that thrives on long hours and hard work.  He takes a lot of pride in what he does.  He wants to teach our kids to learn to do things right the first time.  Again, not a surprise, he talks about it all the time.  He's wonderfully consistent, wonderfully sincere.  The kind of person I feel honoured to meet and shake hands.

The other part that impresses me with Mike is that he wants to educate homeowners how to get things done right.  One of the things I try to do is to teach my clients how to care for their computers.  I'm not going to replace myself - I'm still available for the big jobs, but everyone should know they need to patch their computer, they need an Anti-virus program for Windows, watch out for spyware, be careful about opening attachments in email.  Anyone can - and should - understand the basics.  I too want people to have a better understanding of their computer system, Mike wants people to have a better understanding of their homes.  That's very cool.

I support what Mike is trying to accomplish.  I applaud Charlie for pitching in and helping with the cause.  You can get Charlie's latest disk from the Holmes on Homes store and $5.00 from each disk will go to The Holmes Foundation.  That's fully 1/3 of the price - that's not a token donation, Charlie's serious about helping out as well.

These are quality people doing quality work.  Quality pays for itself, quality people are worth their weight in gold.

I am Spartacus!

by Mark Zaugg 6. August 2007 23:43

Well, no, actually I am not Spartacus.  I am neither a roman slave nor gladiator nor the charismatic leader of a slave revolt of over a hundred thousand.  In fact, I've got a pretty firm grip on who I am. 

For good or for bad, I don't duck behind a pseudonym here - although if you know me at all you'll also probably know me as either Zarquil Zonar or sometimes Tapdad.  Most just know me as Mark, and I certainly don't try to obfuscate the link between me and my psuedonyms. 

The internet, for all intensive purposes, is not anonymous.  You can duck and dodge, you can try to mask your path, but somewhere along the way, someone has to be willing to keep your secret to hide your identity.  Now there are plenty of people who promise they will, and most actually do care about privacy, although there's a disturbing number of people who do not and a distressing number of companies that will happily sell you their contact list for a price.  You.  Your information.  Sometimes given in confidence, sometimes gleaned through what you offered for another purpose. 

I'm a very unrelenting soul on privacy.  Try not to say anything you regret.  Remember that anything you say can be turned on it's head if not bound strictly in context.  Remember that search engines like Google (my favourite) can hold an awful lot of information about you.  It's not going to forget you, either.  Not will it distinguish between the "Mark Zaugg" that is me, and the "Mark Zaugg" that is not me.  There are certainly at least two of us and I'm sure neither of us would appreciate being mistaken for the other.

The whole point of this is to point out a grave concern to me.  Perhaps I'm a trifle old-school here, but to me your word is your honour.  The things you say, the way you act, the manner in which you comport yourself all matters as to how I believe you should be evaluated as a human being.  I don't mind if you're an opionated, pompous ass - quite often I am myself.  But are you open minded?  Are you willing to take responsibility for your actions?  Are you willing to accept that your view of the world should change in light of proffered information?  Are you forthright and honest in your dealings?

Rightly or wrongly, it is by the above characteristics that I judge a person's character.  Judge not lest ye be judged?  That's fine, if you don't find me to be an open minded, self-responsible person willing to learn and grow as a human, who treats you honestly and respectfully, you are freely able to not associate with me at all.

So what's my concern?  The relavation of who is the author of the Fake Steve Jobs blog.  Do I care?  Not particularly.  I've read a couple of the blog entries that were sent to me and found them ranging from somewhat amusing to downright vicious and mean-spirited.  I don't read it on regular basis and I've had to use a search engine to go find them in the first place.

Having seen the reveal, I'm less than shocked.  I don't particularly like the author at all.  I consider him to be mean-spirited and unnecessarily biased as it is.  I'm not naming him - he's enough of a pub-hound and I don't really want hits on his name showing up here anyways.  You can go look it up easily enough.

What bothers me the most is here is a professional journalist - a senior editor no less - who has hidden behind the mask of anonymity "...to lampoon Mr. Jobs and his reputation as a difficult and egotistical leader, as well as to skewer other high-tech companies, tech journalists, venture capitalists, open-source software fanatics and Silicon Valley’s overall aura of excess."  That doesn't match my vision of ethical behaviour.

"[The author] clearly used the Fake Steve persona to further some of his own interests and positions. For example, articles in other business publications and their journalists were a frequent target of criticism from Fake Steve, while Forbes got off comparatively easy."

That isn't even satire.  That is flatly unethical and contrary to the standards of one who should be bringing us balanced news and information.  There is plenty of room for columns and opinion and lampooning, but do it fairly and have the guts to do it openly without hiding behind a facade of a nom de plume.

Do we have any real journalists out there willing to call this unsavoury character out of the woodwork?  The NY Times article directly refers to the "Primay Colours" affair with Newsweek.  Read more on Joe Klein here should you be interested.  Klein was fired, ostensibly for lying.  This particular author hasn't lied about his identity or denied he wrote the column in question, but he's publishing a book on the basis of it and profitting from the scandal.  That is shameful, just shameful to me.  I will promise I won't be buying or even reading the book.

Should I run Forbes, I would follow Newsweek's example and fire the author outright, and certainly not take the "Secret Diary of Steve Jobs" onboard.  I can't support a publication that espouses that lack of ethics.

I stand behind this, by name.  I declare myself to be wholly consistent in my viewpoint here.

There was an editor for Linux Today who posted anonymous talkbacks.  The fallout was harsh and is posted hereMy particular comment is somewhat obscure if you don't understand the references.  I used to frequent a particular news site called Slashdot, but I found Linux Today and enjoyed it better.  In a matter of weeks, my habits changed and I found myself going to LT.  Having lost faith in the integrity of LT, I moved with some of the brighter lunimaries to VarLinux and I'm still there in the woodwork.  I go to Groklaw to keep up with the legal issues in the tech industry.  I've discovered that D.C. Parris has started up Blue-Gnu which I have added as a news source.

The reason I've stayed there where I've wavered elsewhere is that Nick Petreley, Pamela Jones and D.C. Parris are people I trust implicitly to hold their level of integrity at the highest standards.  They guide me to newsworthy items, they don't let me down, and together with the community gathered around their sites teach me the details I need to know to perform my work.  That's valuable to me, not just cutting down the rest of the tech industry pretending to be a holier-than-thou mandarin slaying underlings with acerbic comments.

Hey, and won't you look at that:  I can name the people I respect.  They're not hiding behind a false name.  They stand by their words and their works and I thank them graciously.  Go away, Fake Steve.  I want to stay near the people that are true.

I'm a traitor...

by Mark Zaugg 1. August 2007 23:59

Well, isn't this interesting. 

As of yesterday I've entirely entered the Reality Distortion Field. 

The best thing about spending far more than I'm comfortable with in order to buy a Mac is that it's suddenly made me slender, suave and stunningly attractive in a black mock turtleneck.  My mere proximity to it's sleek aluminum lines have caused me to devastate the hearts and minds of those around me as I've reached out and became instantly more productive and creative.  Look out, ladies, I've got me a Mighty Mouse and I wield it with both hands. 

Seriously, I like a lot more than I dislike.  You can count on me to confirm the quality of the hardware.  I like the feel of the keyboard, I like the design, I like mostly everything about the physical system. 

As far as OS X, well, I'm happy I've got some experience outside of the Windows user interface.  This is certainly different - to the point of bewildering at times.  How do I minimize the all the windows on the screen?  Expose is really nice, yes, but it keeps storing all this crap on my desktop and I need to find it.  I guess I need more experience using Finder.

On the other hand, I hate having crap on my desktop.  I like in a world of directories and subdirectories with a nice, plain, boring desktop with absolutely nothing on it at all.  I've got .dmg files lined up down the right side of the screen and at this point I don't know if I can delete them (*coff* drag them to the trash *coff*) or not.

The first thing I downloaded and installed was Firefox.  Safari's okay, but I'm sticking with what I prefer, thanks.  The mail program is good enough for now.  I rank it a thousand times better than Outlook and regretfully about on par with Thunderbird.  I spent a while setting up rules for email last night and I'm reasonably happy with it.

I dearly miss Trillian, though.  I've bought the Pro version for myself and it's far and away my favourite messaging program.  iChat is a very pale comparison to it.  I'd happily pay for an OS X version of it.

Strangely enough, I have yet to plug in my iPod, but I don't expect many surprises there as opposed to how it works on Windows.  I did plug in my camera and it integrated perfectly with iPhoto - which I offically mostly like.  Put that into the "I gotta play with this more" category.  I haven't plugged in the GPS, but I've been mostly assured it will work just-fine-thank-you.  I'll take that on when I'm ready to get smarter again.

I'm not quite getting the hang of right-clicking with the Mighty Mouse yet.  I seem to have to fail the first time I try and then I get the right click on my second attempt.  I'm seriously pissed off that I can't get a track pad with two mouse buttons.  I'd spend $100 for a second button on there.  Apple's making a mistake by not giving people like me an option at the very least.

I 'bought' NeoOffice today.  I chose to not buy Office and I'll be using NeoOffice instead.  I've got Office 2003 should I ever need it, but donating to NeoOffice is a lot cheaper and it'll probably handle everything I'll need.  The only other thing I've downloaded is Google Earth which is stunning.  It runs so much more smoothly than I've ever seen on any system I've ever had - except perhaps my system at work which could give this a run for it's money.

I'm not a full time switcher, I'm certainly tackling a new system to learn and push myself, but also to understand where Apple is going.  I'm looking forward to seeing Vista as well, but certainly this is going to be my primary system for a while.  And it's awfully nice to be beside my Lady-love typing madly as we compete for the wireless resources.

I'll also be very happy to advise that you should at least consider a Mac as your next personal computer.  It makes an awful lot of sense for people who mostly surf the web and doing basic computing to move away from the dominant platform.  I wouldn't recommend it if I weren't willing to consider it myself.

Did you ever have one of those (nerdy) days?

by Mark Zaugg 28. May 2007 18:21

So, I'm trying to log on to our ESX server using VNC and hopelessly failing. 

I know I can't log in as root remotely, I have to have my personal account.  Really, it only makes good sense.  But I'm trying my username / password combination and it's not letting me log on. 

Now, I hate to admit this, but I'm really not used to not having permission to log on.  I'm Lord of my LAN, Nabob of my Network, BOFH and root and administrator all.  Whatever could be happening here? 

Run over to the console, log on as root.  Ahh, I don't have a home directory.  Sure, we redid this when VMWare was doing the ESX install.  Okay, I got overwritten, I won't take it personally.

adduser mark

user mark already exists!  WHAAA?

passwd mark
*Change password to my super-secret corporate standard password.*
*Get warning that my super-secret corporate standard password is based on a reversed dictionary word*
*Type password in a text editor to figure out what the reversed dictionary word is.  Give up and get on with my day.*

So I log on with my name and newly reset password aaaaaaaaaaaaand...  I get a blip on my screen and a blank log on screen once more.

It's about this point where I start to worry that something is wrong.  That's okay, all I have to do is delete myself.

deluser mark
bash: deluser: command not found

Now HERE is where we get to the meat of this entry.

Just who over at Red Hat dropped the ball here?

Let me give you mere mortals a few lessons on computers.  Programmers NEVER, EVER, EVER pass up a chance for a good joke.  Especially when it meets in the theme of the program itself.

Are you using Windows?  Select the "File" menu at the top.  Look at the bottom entry.  See where it says Exit?  Don't click that.  If you click on that you'll miss the Ha-Ha, or have to reload all this again.

Now look at the top right corner of your screen.  See it?  It's a big red box with a white X in it if you're using XP.  Want to close your program?  Hit that button.  X-it.  Got it?  Ha-ha-ha!  That's a really good joke, Dwayne.  Ignore the fact that Microsoft seems to have missed the joke in the first place.  They called it Close.  Losers.

Now, to add a user from the command line in Linux you can use either adduser or useradd.  To me, the world makes more sense to ADD a USER.  I'm doing something to a person.  The person is also getting added, but I prefer the more forceful adduser command.  It doesn't always work, seems useradd is the preferred method.  Losers.

Now the problem with users is that, on whole, frankly - they're pretty dumb.  No, not YOU.  I'm talking about the rest of the dumb users.  Collectively the worst of the worst are complete losers.  Ha-ha-ha.  Users, Losers.  Lusers.  Ha-ha-ha.  Get it?

So the gist of this whole thing is if you add users, you need a good way to delete users as well.

delete user.  Naw, deluser.  Yeah.

deluser  Ha-ha-ha!

Get it?

de-luser a system.  You got a box crawling with users?  You need a de-lousing.  Well, a de-lusering at the very least.  Purge 'em out, flush 'em out.  Get rid of 'em.

*sigh*  Apparently, deluser is Debian-specific.  The other distros are stuck with the little bastards.

Well, at least I know Bug (and perhaps CAMZ) will get a smug little smile on over this.  The rest of you can just go back to pretending I'm sane and won't gnaw your ankle bone off should you look at me sideways.

Vacation - Day One...

by Mark Zaugg 14. May 2007 03:27

So this is officially a vacation, eh? 

I'm a little underwhelmed.  It turned out to be a regular day of chasing about, trying to cram a full 28 hours into the standard Earthling-sized day.  Bah!  Mere mortals! 

I dropped the kids off for Mother's Day, the dog and I did a little cruise about the country side going hither and thither, and I still managed to get home in time to watch the Formula 1 race.  Truth be known, there wasn't a whole heck of a lot I tried to cram in over the day.  After the race I fired up the game cube for some exciting "Lights, Camera, Pants!" action until the frustration of me sucking at Goo-Ladiators overwhelmed me and I gave up and played Runescape for a few hours.  I did my regular round of the blogs, ran upstairs to catch Holmes on Homes and called it a night.

I've felt the grind happening over the past while and my Lady-Love has convinced me that we need to take some time off.  She's right, of course.  So I've been trying to think about the stuff I want to get done this week.  Nothing too fancy.  Just do a little yardwork.  And maybe work on a small reno project or two.  And I want to do a bit of shopping and pick up a few things I've been neglecting for months.  And I ought to take a bit of time and play Runescape and just work on a level or two.  And I'm really liking the idea of buying a GPS unit and going Geocaching - just an excuse to get out there and hike a bit.  And I'd love to catch up on my paperwork and get that out of my hair (and my Lady-Love's line of sight).  And I'd really like to just up and get out of town for a while.  And I want to cook all week and maybe have some friends over and we'll have a BBQ or something.  Well, maybe I should settle for getting in touch with everyone and at least send out emails or something.

Oh right, isn't this why I needed vacation time in the first place?

Planning my week off is every bit as hard as work where I have a routine laid out for me day to day.   It's the one part of the Time Management book I don't have a grasp on yet - setting short and long term goals and writing them down.  I've got my airy-fairy list of wants, but nothing concrete enough to be able to figure out just how to get from here to there, where ever "there" may actually be.  I'm feeling more like I'm trying so hard to tread water I've forgotten how to swim.

Oh right, isn't this why I needed vacation time in the first place?

I'm trying to not address this week as a fire waiting to be put out.  I'm good at that, but I'd love a week of not putting out any fires.  Tomorrow I'll plan on shopping for clothes, maybe a short run over to Costco, and get some yard work in.  I've got an unofficial plan to take my Lady-Love somewhere nice for lunch unless we plan on getting out of Dodge for a few days.  Just keeping things small, managable, and relaxed for a week.  There's a hard enough goal right there.

"I will manage my vacation so that it won't become Project Management."

Yeah, score one for the stressed out sub-uber-geek with the large cup of coffee.

Enter our hero into the Reality Distortion Field...

by Mark Zaugg 24. April 2007 23:59

I'm sad to say, but I have begun that long, distressing entry into that state known as the Friendly Happy People.  Living in the Reality Distortion Field.  Where everything is fine and dandy, we do everything with a single button, and the pablum is force fed to us through a tube. 

In this case, I finally got around to getting an iPod. 

Do I want an iPod?  I'm still not entirely sure.  My first problem - I'm a control freak.  Occupational hazard, I guess.  I don't want computers to be made 'easy' for me, I want things to be predictable.  I want to be able to determine what the problems are, should one occur.  "Easy" masks the control I want.

I distrust the "so simple you plug it in and go right away" mentality.  Computers are complicated beasts filled with pitfalls and compromises.  I want to make sure that the compromises I make fit my particular requirements.  I'd rather be secure than easy.  I'd rather have control than have someone guess what I want.  Your choices will certainly be different from my own.

So I plug in the iPod, download and install iTunes, put in my iCD (err..  I can tell I'm already getting carried away) and it starts ripping it into my library right away.  Only problem - I'm a bit of an audiophile.  I'm not going to tolerate my music ripped at crappy rates and have to hear a hissy "S" for the lifetime of my iPod.  It never once asked me how I wanted to rip the disc.

So the first thing I do is try to figure out just how the damned interface is supposed to work.  Not intuitive for me, sorry Mr. Jobs.  Perhaps I'm just dumb, or perhaps I'm a control freak, but the layout just doesn't work the way I want to use it.

In the case of an mp3 player, I want to rip my mp3's (or preferably, oggs) and be able to drag and drop them across to the device.  I mean, really, isn't that the very scheme that Apple popularized in the first place?  Now it's no longer good enough?

Of course, I want a simple way to rip an mp3 (or preferably ogg) at a variable rate, and don't even look at anything less than 256 bits.  I can't really compare an AAC, so for now I'm going to stick with what I know and trust.

Three pages into a help file and I'm told go to iTunes --> Preferences, click Advanced, and then click Importing.

Colour me stupid, but I'm not seeing it.

Close iTunes.  Open iTunes.  Look for ANYTHING that says iTunes --> Preferences, with an Advanced option.  Nope, nope, nope.

The only thing that's really helping me out at all here is my background.  "Okay," methinks to meself, "This is Apple now.  Based on BSD, I better put myself into a UNIX frame of mind."  In Windows, you're looking for your options settings under a Tools menu or some such.  In UNIX, you've typically got a "Preference" selection under the "Edit" menu.  Well, sure enough, there it is, right at the bottom in Edit.

It's one of my big fears about going to a Mac.  I don't want to get sucked into someone else's choices about how I'm supposed to do what I want to do.  I'm not afraid to "Think different" - after all, there is a certain logic in having Preferences under Edit to me, remember?  I'm afraid of the Apple mentality (TM) that "Thou shalt have only one mouse button because that is all thou shalt require."

Well, for what it's worth, I've decided the iPod is the best of a bad lot of mp3 players that don't meet what I want, so I'll try to fill 80 Gigs with music and see where it takes me...

Two thought Johnny.

by Mark Zaugg 20. April 2007 00:34

Man, if there's anything I hate... 

I hate SPAM.  I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. 

One of the things I do at work is to go through the damned spam filter and look for false positives.  I detest the utter waste of resources, I cannot stand the constant push of filth I do not want to see, I hate to think of the shady products from shadier hawksters, and I absolutely loathe and detest the scum that prey on - well, let's be blunt, shall we - the utter morons who waste their money supporting unscrupulous on-line behaviour. 

Am I going to fix spam?  I only wish.  The only way to beat spam at the moment is to get the very same utter morons mentioned above to completely stop purchasing anything through spam.  Then we still have to deal with the stock spam, so I suppose it will probably always end up being an arms race back and forth.

Why am I mentioning this?  I'm suffering a large increase in spam at the moment right here.

You see, I have a friend who has his blog hosted on vox.com.  Cool, I haven't been in touch with him for ages.  I sign up for an account and instead of posting directly, I send a private message to him on his blog since I did not have his email.  One of the things I mentioned in that message was a blog entry I wrote here that included him.

Please remember, this is a PRIVATE MESSAGE.  By the very name of "private message" I think I can make the assumption that only he and I are able to read the message, right?

Wrong, apparently.  Unless Hieraco sold that link directly to Russian spammers.  Which I doubt.  Hieraco, please do me a favour and take some time and make sure you're running a full scan for viruses, keyloggers, trojans, spyware and rootkits, okay?  Just in case I have to eat my words soon.

Right after I send that link, the blog entry that I included in that link gets innundated with spam.  Not just one or two.  Not ten or twenty.  Right now I'm averaging between 5 and 8 spammy links a day.

"Oooh," I hear you say.  "What a terrible thing to have to delete a few comments."  No, it's a problem.  It takes my bandwidth, it uses my time and resources and it's just rude and ignorant.  Not a single spammy link will get approved here, and even if it does, I'm pretty confident the two readers I've got are going to know it's spam instantly and ignore it.  By the way, dear reader, if you don't - I'm coming after you.

Now I'd say something if it was happening in every blog entry I've written, but it is only happening in one single entry, starting immediately after I sent a private message to Hieraco.  What am I to assume is the problem?

Well, barring my fine, cat-fancying friend getting back to me telling me he had a trojan on his system, I'm going to make the assumption that vox.com has a problem with their PM system.  I won't say it's been compromised, but I certainly don't trust it and you can officially expect me to not move my blog over there anytime soon.  Now I've got his direct email, I can safely say I'll browse his blog but never post a link or email there again, private or not.

Blown trust does not come back easily.  My trust with vox.com got blown out the window from my very first encounter.  I don't think that will ever be recovered.

Which brings me, quite nicely, to my second thought for this entry.  Nick Booth over at The Inquirer has written what I consider to be a very interesting and insightful article.

Businesses want to get closer to customers, but they end up stalking them instead. Companies want relationships with customers, but customers want restraining orders from companies they wish they'd never met.

"Instead of creating loyalty, the effect most CRM systems have is to make you rue the day you ever gave away your home number," says Tefler.

In this case, Tefler is trying to sell a better CRM (Customer Relation Management) system that is more about relationships than tracking your customers' every move and trying to second guess them before they make it.  I wish him every success with that - I'm not going to buy into it just now.  I believe the best CRM remains the handshake, and if you can't keep track of the handshakes you've made in the last year, you need to get yourself more staff to help you out with your customers.  Should Tefler and his company Pegasystems prove me wrong, I hope I'll be in position to shell out the cash for a copy of what would be truly fabulous software.

Look, I run databases.  I've had personal information under my fingertips that, in all seriousness, I feel uncomfortable knowing.  It's not my business knowing some celebrity's private, unlisted home phone number.  In my line of work, sometimes I run across information like that.  It's when the companies start trying to bend information to its will in order to squeeze every last penny they can out of a name that things go wrong.

My line of work generally attracts people with a very high sense of ethics, integrity, standards and a firm knowledge of what should be kept private.  I'm not going to fool anyone and deny that there are bad apples out there.  Overall, the DBA's know that you better keep your data private and secure because if you make a mistake and reveal information, not only intentionally but merely by accident, your career could be over and you're looking at a life of doing less scrupulous work such as telemarketer, lawyer or politician.

Don't look at me to sell your information at a profit - I will not do it.  Don't look at me to sign up for loyalty cards to enable your company to track my every purchase - I will not do it.  Don't expect me enable your schemes to peddle filth and questionable pills by posting your spammy messages on my blog.

I will not do it.  I may be a crotchety old pain in the ass, but I will keep my integrity.

I read me a book! I read me a.. Oh, nevermind...

by Mark Zaugg 20. March 2007 07:11

So I worked my way through Time Management for System Administrators from Tom Limoncelli.  It was a really good read and gave me some great ideas to get things up to snuff. 

Like anything I tend to come across, I'm finding that I do things half right to half ends and it's that last little bit that needs some nudging.  I'm exceptionally good at setting up routines and not clogging my brain debating which mundane task needs done first.  I swap out the backup tapes and follow my backup routine each and every morning - without thought and without fail.  (Why DID my backup skip Friday anyways?  Add that to my ToDo list...) 

I'm not so good at setting priorities or shuffling tasks to tomorrow instead of doing them just before I go home. 

I've found a new love for my Palm Pilot.  Well, it's an old love, really, but my m125 and I have once more found an intimacy that was lacking in our relationship..  I record the crap that needs done and it endlessly nags me to actually do it.  Plus I've found I can back it up perfectly on my Ubuntu box using JPilot.  It's helped me become more effective in that I'm (trying) to set up the Cycle as described by Tom, avoiding some of the time sinks, and I'm actually making headway for a change.

The down side, I've got three or five more books that were suggested reading.  Find the books, order the books, read the books.  Time Management for System Administrators was on my Palm Pilot for about eight months before I actually ordered it and read through it.  Sure, it was really worth it, but it takes me time to get around to these things..  ;-)

--

Speaking of System Administration, I noticed that Mr. Bug has been banging the drum with the poor migration plan that Zooomr tried to work through.  Zooomr is a site designed to make your photos available online.  Rather than just throwing a photo up and letting it loose, you have control of who gets to see it, you can add geographical information ("show me other photos taken near here"), links sound, it supports different languages, all in all it looks to be a nice promising site full of good ideas for photographers to present their shots.  (Don't look at me, I barely get around to updating photos around here.  ;-)

The fact that Bug introduced me to Zooomr should be my first clue:  This is something that he's following with interest.  When an upgrade gets pre-announced, takes longer than expected, and gets rolled back, us old fogeys shake our heads and start asking, "Where's your upgrade plan?"

I'm a little bit invested in the idea myself.  Babcia just did a trip down to Costa Rica.  Photos, of course, went up on some commercial webpage that insisted I create an account just to LOOK at the photos they posted.

*coff*

Okay, I can understand if you're running some sort of control over who gets to see the photos, but this was just pointless email address collection.  No thank you.

I'm also in the "I'd love to see Zooomr work" category.  Simply that I'm wasting breath on it puts me in the Rah-Rah camp.  I'd much prefer to set Mom up with a Zooomr account that I feel I can trust.

Of course, I'll be much more interested later this year once I pick up my digital SLR from Robinson's.  (I'm leaning to the FZ50, but I'm worried about some of the issues over higher ISO's which is my primary reason for getting into a Prosumer grade camera in the first place..  My friends at Robinson's won't steer me wrong.)

None of which negates the fact that their upgrade wasn't planned out and hasn't gone as expected and a number of us are a bit disappointed.

--

And speaking of disappointed, I'm back on the warpath with the Royal Bank again.  Bastards.

Deposit a cheque in the ABM.  Fine, they don't know if it's really a cheque or a poetic offering on how badly they collectively suck as a corporation.  I don't expect perfection.  But apparently, if it's deposited after 6:00 pm on a Sunday, it's still going to take up to 48 hours to process.

Let alone, this is a government cheque and I did a "Deposit it all into chequing, transfer all but $200 to my Student Line of Credit."  After all, it's not like I can really do that in one transaction.  And ghod forbid actually having to go to a teller and doing this during banking hours.  I'm not pulling cash here.  If I actually deposited an ode to how great is the evil that they propagate as a Canada's Most Respected Corporation (tm), they will track it back and they shall charge me NSF fees, ABM fees, fraud fees, doggerel fees, and presumably a fee for not paying them enough service charges.  It's not like they don't have my credit card number, nor can I stop them from doing whatever the hell they want with my accounts to ensure they get their slice of the pie first.  Honestly, I really don't think they care I've been banking there 35 years!

Right...  They have to charge a service fee for slicing the pie.  I forgot about that one.  And don't they have a fee for banking there for an extended period of time without contributing enough to shareholder profits and an inflated CEO salary?

Two days of this and just MAYBE I'll actually pay some money on the debt.

Lately it seems that any day that contains bitching about the Royal Bank is a good one.

Welcome

Change is the only constant.

Welcome to the semi-exciting new look, same crappy blogger.

All comments are still moderated, I'll approve everything that isn't spam or offensive.  Agreement with His Dorkasaurus is not necessary.

What has changed is that I don't have 1000 junk accounts clogging up the system that I have to go through one by one.  Yes, you too can set up an account and no longer need to wait for me to notice you posted.  Completely optional.

As always:  Have fun, be respectful.

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