You Have a Very Bad Hotel

June 9th, 2004

Have you even been traveling, arriving at a hotel you have reservations with way past midnight only to be told that your “guaranteed room” is not available? Now add a surly Front Desk guy, and you’ve got the setting for this circa 2001 PowerPoint presentation.

You Have a Very Bad Hotel

Microsoft Security Bulletin RSS feed

June 9th, 2004

Just for you RSS users…here is a link I found on the infosec: blogs aggregation blog, Microsoft is currently offering a Security Bulletin RSS Feed.

Microsoft Security Bulletin direct feed…http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/secrss.aspx.

Great daydream…won’t happen…

June 8th, 2004

Mike McBride linked to this article proposing a “Total Computing Initiative” for your workplace.

While it’s a great idea in theory, it just won’t work. I’ve been on the frontlines, just trust me, it won’t work. Why? Well, it’s mostly because of two factors, the precedence that one’s organization places on Information Technology skills and the median skills and interest of joe and jane employee.

Suffice it to say that during my previous employment, I actually worked at a place that considered IT like number 9 out of a list of 10 priorities. It was of no coincidence that this organization was a professional organization (healthcare, but it often happens in legal and financial circles too), thusly, our Human Resources folks put a bit more precedence on, say, a physician’s clinical ability rather than his ability to use Word. While this may seem abhorrent to some IT folks, that is just the way it is. As a young, doe eyed tech at the time, my then-boss broke it out this way…clinical personnel make at least double what you do, so we don’t want them wasting time on something you could do cheaper. Yes, it’s crass, and yes, it was oh so true. And let’s not get into the politics of training personnel for a changeover to different technology. I’ll bet there isn’t one person reading this who has not run into the longtime employee who doesn’t want to learn something new.

Secondly, as an instructor, I taught adults computer skills for almost 7 years. I have taught students who really wanted to learn and those who were in class because they needed new job skills Even though most of the self selected students were older (my average student was a middle aged female) and of that generation which did not have computers when they were in school, most of the individuals who were there because for job skills were actually my age and younger. These younger students understood the concept of a computer, but didn’t understand (and honestly, didn’t hold an interest above what they needed to accomplish for their jobs) the specific steps to accomplish a particular task. Their interest in “how a computer worked” parallels mine in “how I understand the inner workings of my Jeep”. As long as it worked “ok”, we’re good to go.

In other words, unless IT becomes a priority in your organization, you (Mr. or Mrs. IT tech.) get to bear the brunt of the higher levels folks who want your IT solution to “just work”. Training, having your HR department carefully and consistently (ha ha) screen for computer skills before your fellow employees get in the door are measures which will help, but I honestly believe that unless a large number of people have an interest in learning and keeping up with technology, the IT department will still have to deal with “itdiots”.

A shining example of Hpaq outsourced customer service

June 8th, 2004

Click here for the story of how HPaq successfully alienated yet another customer. Good going guys.

via Julia Lerman

What if

June 7th, 2004

As any good geek would, whenever I’m in a public place and find open and unsecure wifi, I ask myself “What if?”

Apple’s newest cool gadget

June 7th, 2004

Wired.com has a short review of Apple’s coolest new gadget, a portable WiFi base station with Ethernet, USB and an audio mini jack called AirPort Express. Not only does AirPort Express have many features, but it is about as small as an Apple wall jack.

Now, THAT is what you call design capability.

Returning the favor…

June 7th, 2004

With the prevalence of spammers now hitting my referrer logs, I’ve decided to “help them out” and “provide more traffic” to their sites. Here are two of the latest jokers, complete with their IPs.

Host: 66.230.218.66
Url: /
Http Code : 403
Date: Jun 07 11:37:28
Http Version: HTTP/1.1″
Size in Bytes: 1009
Referer: [some porn site]
Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; .WONKZ)

Host: 66.230.218.67
Url: /
Http Code : 403
Date: Jun 07 11:29:52
Http Version: HTTP/1.1″
Size in Bytes: 1009
Referer: [some porn site]
Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; .WONKZ)

I could have merely banned them in the .htaccess file, but I accidentally found out that their source IPs are actually live Web servers (hosting porn of course) and the bot coming from either of the IPs uses the same user agent string. Thusly, some fun with .htaccess….

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} “(compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; .WONKZ)” [NC]
RewriteRule /* http://66.230.218.66 [R,L]

FYI, the IP addys belong to a block of numbers from Candid Hosting, which is apparently a Canadian hosting company. I took a quick look at their Terms of Service, and it appears that they allow adult web sites.

Update: I altered the user agent string to be more specific. Just using the .WONKZ string was not effective.

whoops

June 6th, 2004

Tonight I found a problem with the index.php template I am using. Originally the header had an a href of this echo statement.

< ?php echo $siteurl; ?>

This echo statement sets the header URL to the present page, which is a pain when one is on a comment page and there is no link *back* to the front page.

I only found this by commenting in a post, then realizing that I couldn’t return to the front page. Anyway….

Best. Paparazzi Pic. Ever.

June 5th, 2004

Smart-ay
From the NY Post.

A little play on user agents

June 4th, 2004

Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.00; Windows NT 7.1)

Heh.

CREED Good Riddance

June 4th, 2004

From the Philly.com celeb blog comes word that power chord lovin’, psuedo Christian, schlock rock group Creed will be breaking up.

Oh darn. I’m so upset.

GOP Convention Blogging

June 4th, 2004

To all of those blogging evangelists (*cough* *cough*) who repeatedly say that blogging will save the world, feed hungry people, transform political discourse, bring democracy to Iraq and cure cancer…you probably didn’t get this note, but James at OTB (and presumably others) recieved an invite to blog the GOP Convention this summer.

Will this transform politics as we know it? Probably not. Will it increase GOP blogging Google results? Most likely.