(life) Some parents...

So there was this event we took our daughter to today, and while there
we saw a small boy (maybe 7 years old), crying for his father. I
asked him if he knew his dad's mobile number, and he did, and so I
called him.

He said he was outside somewhere so I told him to come back and pick
up his kid. After about 10 minutes I got tired and called him again;
this time the guy sounded positively put off that I was bugging him,
so I told him look your kid is crying so please hurry up.

He came in a minute or two later, a short, fat, fellow, scowling at me
(or his kid?) He walked up to his kid, took his arm, and walked off.
I started to say something, and he said "meere na call chesindi?" (are
you the person who called?), I said yes, and he just walked off.
Never mind a word of thanks, I got the feeling that he was pissed off
that I had disturbed him.

For some reason, he seems to have mistaken this event for a free
"creche" for the day, the miserable jerk. I pity the poor kid; God
knows how often he gets left alone like this. Why bring him at all if
you don't want to spend the time?

(life) Chandamama kids day

And now for something personal...

(what you don't think I have a personal life?)

My wife and I took our daughter to the Chandamama kids day that
happened today. They had probably a couple of thousand kids (wild
guess) and 4 events -- English debate, painting, story-telling, and
clay modelling. My daughter took part in the last 2 and got a
consolation prize for story-telling.

But the real point is, this thing was organised so well, it defies
description. They made ample arrangements for chairs for parents to
sit. The competitors were separated from their parents just
sufficiently to ensure that the parents don't try to "encourage" their
kids in any way, but you could see them all the time. They did not
expect the kids to bring **anything** -- they supplied every single
item that you could need. You basically walked in, that's it. And it
was all free.

They must have passed out thousands and thousands of cups of drinking
water, free of course, to everyone who attended (I estimate a few
thousand easily). The food, though not free, was very decent and not
at all expensive. And as befits what is (now) essentially a Chennai
company, the curd-rice was perfect :-)

I guess I need to buy some Chandamama issues for the next few months,
or maybe even subscribe. It's not a bad mag for kids that age, and I
know I grew up with the Telugu one (the only way we could keep up with
Telugu while living in Bihar!), so I'm not sure why we don't,
currently, buy it regularly.


(malware) still think you know how to secure Windows?


Tracking the Password Thieves is an article by Washington Post columnist Brian Krebs

The victims ranged from Myspace-browsing youngsters to credentialed "security experts" who claimed to be doing everything they should to keep a Windows PC healthy and virus-free.

What's worse are these two:

Further analysis of the data showed that it contained a large batch of medical patient information, including date of birth, SSNs, credit card numbers, and so on. The data was stolen from the computer of Biram Chapman, founder of Vidalia, Ga.-based Chapman Healthcare Services. The company had Symantec's Norton Anti-virus software installed, but the virus that infected his machine disabled the program's ability to download updates.

My analysis also turned up login information for Accurint.com, a consumer database company used by many police departments and investigators to track down individuals. Imagine the damage an identity thief could do from looking up the Social Security numbers and other sensitive data on as many Americans as he wants. Fortunately, I was able to get in touch with the gentleman who owned the Accurint credentials, an investigator with an Alabama district attorney's office, who changed his password before the thieves had a chance to use the account.

And this:

Some of the victims I spoke with acknowledged they were slacking in some measure needed to keep their Windows computer safe online, but others insisted their machines got infected even though they were doing all the things experts recommend, such as using a firewall and up-to-date anti-virus software, and applying security updates from Microsoft when they are released.

And finally, here's a sampler of the types of people whose machines have been compromised (all are quotes from the article, but you really need to read the whole thing to understand how deep this goes and how it works):

- an engineer for the Architect of the Capitol
- someone who works in computer security for IBM
- someone fresh out of college who'd just earned a degree in information security (!)
- a man in the D.C. area who works for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is part of the Department of Energy
- a woman working in the new accounts department at Bank of America (this wasn't her home computer; this was her PC at work.)
- two [at] biotech giant Amgen
- two [at] pharmaceutical maker Merck
- another [at] the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association

Want to start using Linux? Call me -- I'll help you any way I can! Free, no strings attached, of course, in the spirit of evangelism. It's a lot easier if you're in my city but even otherwise we can work things out somehow.


(malware) XP as a successor to Vista!

very amusing review; pretends that Vista came first, and talks about XP as the newer one, describing all the "improvements" that XP has over its "predecessor" :-)



drinking binge? editor?

Funny article on the Fedora mystery...


Jon Corbet -- you are my hero. If I could be half as funny as you, I'd
go on a drinking binge!


(math) Done, and gets things smart

The play on Joel's maxim is a little forced, but here's the real "ouch" for me:

But working with them directly will show you when they're better. It's the only way. You'll gradually realize that your math deficiencies aren't just something that you might need to beef up on if you ever "need to"; you'll see that virtually every problem space has a mathematical modeling component that you were blissfully unaware of until Done, and Gets Things Smart gal points it out to you and says, "There's an infinitely smarter approach, which by the way I implemented over the weekend." You stare slack-jawed for a little while, and then she says: "Here's a ball. Why don't you go bounce it?"

from http://steve-yegge.blogspot.com/2008/06/done-and-gets-things-smart.html


(PHB) We all know someone like this, I'm sure...

The worst kind of interviewer is the blowhard. That's the kind who
blabs the whole time and barely leaves the candidate time to say,
"yes, that's so true, I couldn't agree with you more." Blowhards hire
everyone; they think that the candidate must be smart because "he
thinks so much like me!"


Nice article. Apparently a legend of some sort; got turned into a
book too! I'm not sure I agree 100% with everything he says but
there's no question he writes well, so give it a shot.

(politics) Don't tell the emperor he's naked :-)


As we in India prepare to sryyngr the US to gain a questionable amount of nuclear energy for an unquestionably large cost, there's a bit (only a bit, mind) of schedenfraude in reading the following:

This week the law lords had a wonderful opportunity to assert our independence from the US and to make a point about the abandonment of legal principles there since September 11. They have failed to do so. We must now hope that the European court of human rights will step in to prevent a great injustice to a man whose real offence was to tell the Pentagon a blunt truth.

And here's the bare truth behind Gary McKinnon's misfortune: he made the mistake of telling the emperor he was naked :-(
Gary McKinnon started his hacking long before the events of September 11 and his offence has nothing to do with terrorism. In fact, much of his exploration was in pursuit of information about UFOs. But, because of the embarrassment he has caused the Pentagon, he is being pursued as if his offence was in some way connected to US national security.

there's good news, and there's bad news...

IBM, Canonical/Ubuntu, Novell, Red Hat to Deliver Microsoft-Free Desktops Worldwide

Here's the first para.  See if you can spot the good news and the bad news :-)

For the first time, IBM and leading Linux distributors Canonical/Ubuntu, Novell and Red Hat will join forces globally with their hardware partners to deliver Microsoft-free personal computing choices with Lotus Notes and Lotus Symphony in the one billion-unit desktop market worldwide by 2009.


(security) staying logged into any website for longer than needed...

...yet another reason why that is bad.


Quote: There is one catch, however. The victim would have to be logged into the Web site that is hosting the image for the attack to work. "The attack is going to work best wherever you leave yourself logged in for long periods of time," Heasman said.