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


Avoiding the Issues

I ought to write about Conficker. The Dear knows I've stuck my neck out on that one, pre-emptively saying that we weren't vulnerable to a large-scale infection. But I already did, and the fear I felt then made me patch then, and that's why I'm moderately sanguine now.
I ought to write about the City, and the limited scope for information security if the information guarded loses its value in an afternoon. But what do I know?
And I ought to write about the more mad son, who is doing such stuff lately.

I'm going to write about the sky.

Yesterday morning, it rained so hard that my coat pockets flooded with rain running down the sleeves I'd tucked into them. If you were waiting in a platform shelter for the Cannon Street service at about ten to seven, and you saw a man hoicking up the skirts of his coat to pour water out of waxed patch pockets, that was me.

By the time I got back, in the dark again, the sky had cleared. I crossed the railway, went down the steps, and found myself stepping into water. I know that path and I know the floods so I walked into the spinney transformed into a river bed. The fields on the other side of the bridge were flooded out -- great smooth sheets shining in starlight. To the right, Venus decorated the old lady's land. On my left, a perfect reflection of Sirius and Orion. In the zenith, I counted six Pleiades.

When the path faded, the wading got deeper for a while, and I was trudging through the broad lay under that glossy, freezing, sky. As I looked up, a big orange meteor tore off Orion's belt and flashed twice as it headed straight down into the SE horizon.

Quite a night.


Lead vs Manage

A leader is judged on the performance of the team as he leads them. A manager judges himself on the performance of the team when he is not there to lead them. Prefer managers.


Spam Counter - 2008 December: 727

Still dropping. Maybe spammers take Christmas off. If the returns are as poor as we're told, that's not surprising.

MP3: All Right Now?

I had to draft one of my standard all-IT-staff circulars today. The removable media logs have started going to Risk and they read them with great delight, asking what Genesis\[album name]\[track name].mp3 could be. I think they know, really.

We don't block media types anywhere. Nothing says "*.mp3: DENY". There's plenty of business reasons to use media files. But it does mean the personal media files can flow through our systems.

It seems that Something must be Done. But the landscape has changed since the last time I sent out that note. It's possible, now, to be in possession of a legal MP3 of pretty much any track. I've been buying mine from Amazon. (And, yes, I checked, Genesis is on the list -- I just added Many too Many and Follow You Follow Me to my shopping basket.)

So why am I objecting? Personal use is legitimate, and these IT users have removable media access to do their jobs. I'm not entirely sure, but I think it's this:

  • MP3s moving through work PCs raises the possibility of sharing. That's not OK, and it would be directors liability if it was happening.
  • It's unnecessary. Decent media players are so cheap these days that if you can't work without music, you don't need to play it off your PC.
  • And I just don't like to see IT types exploiting their extra privilege. We have rules about not using admin access for personal purposes, and while removable media doesn't directly arise from admin status, it's in the same sack as far as I'm concerned.
So I drafted something, but I haven't sent it out because there has been another change, and it's this. We've acquired some serious object access audit over the holiday, and one of the facilities is the file type search. This is my chance to locate the famous invisible media repository. Tomorrow I'm going to search for *.mp3 and we will see what we will see.

In the meantime, I see today that Apple are giving up on DRM, but the track price won't change. I couldn't help thinking of all the poor saps with their vast itunes collections of DRMed music suddenly devalued by Apple's Amazon-forced coup. Still, serves 'em right for buying overpriced music players that can't do .OGG....


Best Christmas Present

This is not a joke. It's as big as it looks, it locks and unlocks with the keys, and the flap swings to cover the keyhole. It was retrieved when the contents of a country house in the family were broken up many years ago and now I have it!
It's security theatre. It looks the business, but it fails against Kerckhoffs' principle-- offhand, in two ways: it's not convenient to use -- the keys would destroy my key-ring -- and of course that key is thoroughly guessable