eWeek asks “Is the Botnet Battle Already Lost?”

You might but I never get tired of this rant…

In a slightly sensational article, Ryan Naraine tackles the issue of botnets with regards to the what, how, and why and while he takes the approach that ISPs need to tackle the issue head on the real reason botnets are an issue is tucked away in his closing paragraphs.

…the large percentage of computer users running Windows versions without up-to-date patches, creates an environment that’s ripe for abuse.

B-I-N-G-O, Ryan. That is the problem, not the ISPs and not the security firms. The fact that the most popular OS is easy to exploit finds itself coupled with the average user who knows little to nothing about basic security practices is a recipe for disaster. the onus falls on the shoulders of Microsoft for these problems, for allowing its OSes to run as root, and worse for allowing its partners to write software that requires the user to run as root is a grievous transgression.

In all honesty, I cannot fully expect that my mother-in-law with limited computing experience can fully understand more than the basic computer safety practices, it is akin to expecting me to understand all of the physics and engineering involved in flying every time I travel. As I rely on the pilots and mechanics to ensure my safety as much as she relies on her software providers to ensure that she sold a safe product. She has enough presence of mind not to click on “security alert” pop ups and she knows the importance of staying patched and keeping anti-virus up-to-date, all of which goes a long way in securing the PC, but she does not how to troubleshoot spyware and malware issues and any amount of time spent online running as root will ensure that you will encounter infections of some sort. If you think otherwise you are either a liar or deluded.

So what is the average user to do? Not much until the market shifts towards OSes built with security first and ease of use second or until the government steps in and requires that Microsoft adhere to good security practices much like they require other manufactures not to sell a dangerous product. Like cars, imagine if they had recalls on OSes? Class action suits? However, it is unlikely as there is no real tangible cost to the user beyond frustration with a sluggish computer but that irritation bleeds away as they grow used to it. “This is just how my computer runs,” is the oft heard excuse and the average user does not know any better. No matter how you might explain to them why they should choose a different OS purchases are made with dollars in mind and with what they are most familiar with so the weakest OS will win for today and I’m going to continue advocating that people use a different system each and everytime they ask me.

Knowledge Is Power

Paul Hanle writes,

[F]rom 1989 to 2001, the rate of increase of patent applications from the world’s fastest-growing economies, such as China and India, was nearly three times that of the United States. By that measure, innovation in those economies will blow past ours in little more than a decade — just about the time the current classes of high school biology students will be starting their research careers. (War on evolution has a price)

Think on that for a moment.

Waging war on science in the classrooms will have a toll on this nations ability to support itself both domestically and internationally.  Possibly in one generation we can move from being a world leader to a backwater because of a coordinated effort to re-introduce the Dark Ages.  Granted, that is very likely what the opponents to free thought and open inquiry want because it is so much easier to control those who are ignorant of the world around them but what the people buying into the rhetoric seem to forget is that it will be paid for by the prosperity of their children.

Bread and circuses, right?

Anthony Bourdain is right…

Chef G-UnitThe Food TV chefs are money grubbing shills. Last night Management and I caught the first Applebee’s ads featuring Tyler Florence and after we scrapped our jaws off the floors she said it best, “I have lost all respect for him.”

Granted, Applebee’s probably fanned out some serious money and tickled him under the chin with it and if I were in the seat across some well-heeled suits I would probably offered my own roast leg au jus served with fingerling potatoes and seasonal vegetables. But I am not a network TV chef, I don’t have any book deals, and the name “Cheap Ass Jimmy” refers to how low that entrance fee to my carnival ride really is. Florence, however, is all those thing I am not so Bourdain is right in chastising these people for selling out their craft. Did Florence ask himself if he is adding anything to the body of work out there with recipes like Penne Rosa with Sweet Italian Sausage, Herb-Crusted Chicken Topped with Italian Country Salad, New Crispy Brick Chicken with Warm Spinach Salad, and Bruschetta Burger (I just threw up in my mouth a little there)? This is towing the same bland-ass cuisine being slung by all the other TGI-McFunsters (Bourdainism) out there.

Honestly, the sole commenter on Slashfood had it right, Applebee’s menu is inspired by what one might find on an airline: rubbery and where salt is the only discernible seasoning. While both Management and I have enjoyed some of his shows in the past, Food 911 had good tips and often was often filled with unintentional laughs this recent move smacks of greed and poor image management. Likely, it will sail far outside the radar of the typical Applebee’s customer but for the foodies out there it serves as another example of how our culture is (has) devolving (-ed) into a mass of homogeneous chains that sprawl from coast to coast making it near impossible to differentiate from one region from another. Culture is now a registered trademark with all rights reserved.

File Under: Apology, Heartfelt

Dear Jinzora,

Earlier today I besmirched your honor falsely accusing you of not wanting to partake in festivities with my friend Last.fm. I was wrong. I did not understand that when you said:

Edit settings.php (located in your Jinzora root directory) and set:

  • $audioscrobbler_user = “YOURUSERNAME”;
  • $audioscrobbler_pass = “YOURPASSWORD”;

What you really meant was:

edit settings.php (located in your Jinzora root directory) and set:

  • $enable_audioscrobbler = “true”;

and ignore:

  • $audioscrobbler_user = “”;
  • $audioscrobbler_pass = “”;

because you set that information in your user settings. Completely my fault.

Let’s move on from this ugly incident and spend a little more time getting to know each other and I promise to listen more intently.