If you tell enough stories, perhaps the moral will show up.


Business Continuity (Because it does continue)

It seemed appropriate to spend the day looking over the new DR site. Unlike the current site, it's a long way out of town and the reason for that is five years old.

No particular agenda. Joined in one of the project meetings, nosed about the machine hall, asked about the physicals. Really, all I need is for the team to know that I care, that I'm interested, and to hear me praise what I can.

Because I haven't been praising it all. I've been in this role two years, and still people offer me solutions which are absolutely barking. This lot wanted to run plaintext ethernet through the switched infrastructure of the DR supplier and install our servers and network in cabinets in the shared machine hall. We're getting a cage, screed to screed, and the supplier's LAN is a red network.


What Security Angle?

We're just starting a weekly reward scheme for the less mad son -- he gets a trip to the pool or the pictures, guaranteed, if the week's Kumon has been done without too much pain. So we went to see Cars.

It's good. Better than Nemo or The Incredibles As good as Monsters Inc. or Toy Story II though less dense than either, and perhaps that's just total confidence peeping through after fifteen or twenty years.

I'm a simple person, and I loved the jokes -- the scenery, the governor of California (was that a cameo?), casting Jeremy Clarkson as the odious Harv, and I suspect I missed a bunch of stuff in race organisation and commentary. And the story was heartwarming if somewhat daft -- my heart is perennially cold and I like it warmed up.

One thing that struck me was that the animators are just showing off now. There's a logical next step coming, though I don't know if Pixar will take it. Somebody's going to make a movie where animation is a detail of the production -- not chosen to create a fantasy world or to let the characters do impossible things, but simply because they can't be arsed to deal with real actors and locations, and the audience won't notice the difference. I wonder what it'll be? (Hope it's not porn -- that would be sad.)


The Cost of Secrecy

I've been keeping a secret for a few months now, but it's not a secret any more. All very banal -- just the sale of a division that needed a separation of of computer systems before the announcement day.

That day has come, and suddenly:

  • I can talk to the technical staff instead of asking their bosses to guess
  • I don't have to figure out compromises between approval policies and the need to keep the authorised approver in the dark.
  • The helpdesk don't think I've gone mad.
  • I don't find myself as the only person with the rights, skill and clearance to carry out a whole bunch of mundane tasks.

I know that there are sometimes good reasons for secrecy. And despite there being fifty-odd people on the list at the end, it didn't get into the press, so it was a success. But it was not cheap.

I'm guessing now, but I think that the human budget for a task that has to be carried out in an organisation that can't know what's going on needs something like a 50% uplift to cover confusion, error and unskilled staff. Try justifying that.


The UK is a Nest of Hardened Criminals

I'm not sure how many times I broke the law last week. It must be hundreds -- I did it eleven times just now.

I've bought a music player and I'm ripping my albums. (It's a Samsung -- Ogg Vorbis is definitely smaller than MP3.) The law in the UK specifically provides for sound recordings, a CD is universally acknowledged to be a copyright work, an OGG (or an MP3, or WMA) ripped from it is obviously a copy, and copying infringes the Chapter II rights of the copyright holder. None of the Chapter III permissions applies, and it looks like I'm bang to rights -- up to two years in the chowkey. I have checked and there's definitely nothing in the act about "unless everyone is doing it, in which case it's OK."

I could call the police but I'm afraid they'll laugh at me. I could call the BPI, but I don't think they'll care either.

There are two ways to look at this. We can go with the BPI and say that it's an anomaly that needs to be cleared up. Or we can face the fact that intellectual property, so called, is so different from property that concepts like theft just don't work, and change the law accordingly.

In the meantime, it's fun to watch Samsung, Microsoft, Dell and all the other keeping mousy quiet and hoping the whole issue will go away.