September 07, 2005

Mailscanner Classified as "Dumb As Shit"

So. All those weird things I've posted are what I see in my work inbox all day long. Simply because the posters on the lists that I happen to be on, decide, every now and then, to use a naughty word.

What the fuck the point of this mailscanner is, god alone knows.

Is to to save bandwidth? Surely not - for the entire fucking message has to be downloaded by the work Exchange server before it can be scanned.

Is it to hide my fucking sensitive eyes from seeing the word? Again, surely not. After all, the mailscanner tells me about the blocked mail, and then very helpfully spells out the word and all its variations right at me...

And not once (let me repeat: not once) has it ever stopped a legitimate message. Never. Nada. Zero times. If just once I had seen it tell me that it had stopped an email from 'viagrashop@hotmail.com', I would have felt that just maybe, MailScanner has a place in this world.

It does not.

Cunts.

Posted by rory at 02:58 PM

February 07, 2004

Ugh

Blog? What blog? Oh, right. Yes, those scribbles I do when I have free time.

Please stand by.

Posted by rory at 12:09 PM | TrackBack

January 15, 2004

Die Broke

Die Broke
A Radical Four-Part Financial Plan
Stephen M. Pollan and Mark Levine

You are not a corporation - you are a human being. Your money shouldn't outlive you. You should exit life as you came into it: penniless. Your assets are resources to be used, for your own benefit and for the benefit of those you love. Every dollar that's left in your bank account after you die is a dollar you wasted. Use your resources to help people now when you know they need it, when it will do the most good, rather than hoping they'll be helped when you're dead. The last check you write should be to your undertakerÂ… and it should bounce.

Posted by rory at 01:36 PM | TrackBack

December 04, 2003

Moyo, in Melrose Arch

Been meaning to mention Moyo for a while. Went there once. Apparently everyone else loves them.

They've replicated the African dining experience perfectly: right down to the crap service and non-English-speaking waiters.

Posted by rory at 11:43 AM | Comments (3)

Eunuch's fonts

Why is it that UNIX-based Windowing systems never get the font/typeface support right? While the rest of us Wintel-addicts are revelling in the glories of perfectly rendered, sublimely aliased, pitch-perfect Verdana, nestling gently up against Tahoma, and fondling Trebuchet, UNIX refugees bravely face the world, a blocky Arial their only weapon?

Look, UNIXy layout applications always got it right at the printer level. Which is way too late. At least on the Wintel boxes, those ever-fewer blue-screens-of-death look damn good.

I'm using Oskar's computer at the moment and I'm feeling visually assaulted by all these errant pixels.

Kern, baby, kern.

Posted by rory at 10:11 AM | Comments (4)

December 03, 2003

Hardware

Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate.

Hard drive failure. Eskom die.

Posted by rory at 04:38 PM | TrackBack

November 19, 2003

Misconceptions

Recently on the Hivemind, Ivo had this to say. Published here with his kind permission.

--
In this thread the usual batch of misconceptions about money and
capitalism popped up. Let me try to clear 15 of them up:

  • Don't use Telkom as an example of capitalism. It is a monopoly in a state-controlled sector where an appointed official with a patchy track record gets to decides who can provide what service to whom using what technology and at what price. She decides what you as a consumer or business need, she decides if it will be provided to you, at what cost, and from who you may buy it. You can get better examples of capitalism in Cuba.

  • Don't use patents that last too long as an example of how bad capitalism is. Use it as an example of why patent periods should be limited.

  • Don't use the rare exception of patents that are exploited by their non-use as an example of why the right to own your inventions are bad. Just expose such cases and shame the patent holder into licensing the patent. Or invent competition and put them out of business.

  • Don't consider money primary or superior to any other product, substance or quality. It is simply a freely and voluntarily exchangeable representation of the production of goods and services, and makes barter easier and less costly. And since I, for one, need goods and services to live, my right to property IS my right to live, and my right to live can only be granted through my right to property.

  • Don't use the fact that crime occurs as an example of how bad capitalism is. It's an example of how bad crime is, and such crime is not an accepted part of the system.

  • Don't fall for feeling sorry for supposed small-time crooks who "need to" do crime, but feeling outraged by rich crooks. They're morally equivalent, and your rights are subject to the indiscriminate whims of both.

  • Don't use corruption as an example of why money (or the system) is bad. Corruption occurs in any socio-economic system, and should be curbed by a sound legal system and a free, intelligent press. I'd wager corruption is least likely to occur in well-developed free-market democracies.

  • Don't use patents for stupid things as examples, except to show why the US Patent Office should hire smart people to whom the obvious won't appear non-obvious.

  • Don't use the abuse of legal loopholes as an example. In every system there will be loopholes to exploit, and people to exploit them. Sophistication, not revolution, closes loopholes.

  • Don't argue that someone getting richer through trade implies someone else has to get poorer. Trade is not a zero-sum game, and both parties to a voluntary trade benefit.

  • Don't use the poorest countries as an example of how the system has failed. Why are poor people getting richer everywhere except in countries that keep out democracy, capitalism, trade and development? This is no coincidence.

  • Don't use exorbitant wealth as an example. That doesn't explain why one should break the system that has made everyone - including both poor and exorbitantly rich - richer than ever before in human history. Imbalance is not poverty. Gaps between rich and poor show no absolute levels, and are consequently meaningless. One person's poverty does not depend on another person's wealth, or vice versa.

  • Don't claim exploitation by the rich as an example. If you're poor, I can't profit by trading with you. So it is in my interest that you're rich, whether or not I am rich too. The same goes for countries. It is in nobody's interest for people to be poor. And the few out there that do go in for short-term profit should (and will) be exposed by the media, stopped by the law, and punished by the market and their investors.

  • Don't be paranoid. There will always be people and groups of people who are richer than you and more powerful than you. There will even be some among them who will abuse wealth or power. But the rich aren't out to get the poor. They have better things to do in their hard-earned leisure time.

  • Don't use abuse of power as an example of why the system is flawed. In a sufficiently advanced capitalist system, consumers can have much more power than the producers that depend on consumer choices. And they can abuse it too.

    Finally, to repeat a well-made point of earlier: if money is evil, why
    does the lack of it cause so many ills and injustices?

Posted by rory at 03:19 PM

September 15, 2003

Tired of being treated like a criminal?

...for sharing music online?

Posted by rory at 03:39 PM | TrackBack

CD tray buttons

Why (despite some internal mechanical reason) are CD drive buttons routinely placed below the tray? This would only make sense if you have the drive located above you. And that's rare. Well, I've never seen it so.

And even in that case, you're still putting the CD in the tray from the top, and not from the bottom. At which point, you have to then reach around to find the button to push to close the tray. And don't tell me to push the tray in - there's an awful sound and feeling if you do that (which roughly translated would come out as: "you need to buy a new CD drive soon".)

It would make far more sense if the buttons were placed above the tray. Think about it.

Posted by rory at 02:10 PM | TrackBack

September 05, 2003

zsh

I'd forgotten how insanely great zsh is.

Posted by rory at 04:14 PM

July 28, 2003

Station

Went to Station this weekend. It's an exceptionally well-laid out club. Low points are that it's in Midrand, and that DJ Sakim was playing. Thankfully, so were the other DJs.

In particular, Jason Magic's set was simply stunning.

Posted by rory at 06:17 PM | TrackBack

April 15, 2003

ICQ Authorisation - Part 2

Scream.

Posted by rory at 07:01 PM

April 09, 2003

I-con-ick!

So there you are, adjusting your monitor settings, and the one icon that actually resets everything looks extremely similar to the icon that exits the menu. Predictable gnashing of teeth ensues.

And I've done this more than once.

Posted by rory at 10:19 PM

March 27, 2003

Blog back

At last. Now running on Chandler. Thanks, Graham!

Posted by rory at 12:25 PM

May 14, 2002

Netbank

It's 8:30 in the evening. I'm at home, and logged in. Well, obviously, or you wouldn't be reading this, I guess. Anyway, the standard IT workers hectic weekday evening procedure is in full swing: get home, feed cat, pop dinner in the over to reheat, undress, put on white towelling gown, boot up PC, log on, check that stuff you've built during the day at work hasn't decided to break.

Actually, this time I'm mainly logged in to pay bills. Sometimes I despair with Nedbank. You see, a couple of years ago, they were the first bank in South Africa to go online with 'self-service' banking. Well, First National Bank beat them to it, but all that FNB allowed you to do was kinda check your balance and maybe see a statement online. All the joy of an ATM, with all the functionality of an ATM (then). So anyway, Nedbank goes online with full strength encryption. FNB was only 56 bit, and Nedbank was pretty happy with themselves that they had this little proxy that ran on your local PC, that managed to encrypt your transactions with the Nedbank server at the 128 bit level. At the time, the company I was working for was tasked with developing and deploying this app, and it was my job to write the install package for it. All hail InstallShield (seriously cool software). But I digress.

At first, I was really excited about what was happening with Nedbank. They were my bank at the time, and had been kind enough to give me a student (which kinda meant that I was able to study and therefore get a job from those studies, that enabled me to work on software for them. Oh, the irony.) Suddenly with the help of this app, I was able to pay my bills and do various other transactions that meant I had to set foot in a physical branch of the bank even less. Ah, bliss. Or so I thought.

You see, at that stage you couldn't add your own beneficies while online. You had to physically walk into the bank and tell them the account details of the people or organisations you wanted to pay, and they would add them to your profile. Sure, this is a once-off thing for each beneficiary, but we all live in the wired world, and suddenly once you're given a tool, you want to use it for everything. And we as Nedbank clients were promised that 'real soon now' we would be able to add our own beneficiaries online. That was back in December 1996.

About a year ago, Nedbank upgraded their online banking site (called NetBank - cute), which now did allow you do add your own beneficiaries. Oh the excitement I felt when I read this. I hastily logged in, visions of full-service floating in my head. And, like a date where you finally get the person you're sexually attracted to home from the club, undress them and discover they're woefully, um, 'underpowered' in the genitalia department, I was suddenly disappointed.

Yes, you could add beneficiaries yourself. For other Nedcor accounts. Only.

If you wanted to add someone banking at another institution, it was 'visit the branch' again. And in the ensuing years since December 1996, ABSA, Investec, Standard Bank and a host of others had already provided more functional online banking sites, rapidly leaving Nedbank in their digital wake.

So, in a fit of customer-(dis)service-pique, I called their help line, and ranted politely about how this sucked. The drone on service was polite, and agreed with me, but could do nothing.

Here's the reason constantly given by the bank: security. They reckon that if someone should break into your account online (despite them having to know your profile number, profile PIN, and profile password, and it being over a strong secure connection) that person could add themselves as a beneficiary and empty out your account into theirs.

This makes sense, and I understand the bank wanting to protect their customers from this scenario. So I came up with this idea: let me add any beneficiary at any institution I like, but don't activate that beneficiary yet. Instead, have some backend process whereby I'm notified (by phone or GSM SMS) that a beneficiary has been added. And at that point I can confirm that I added it. And then Nedbank could activate that beneficiary.

The customer-service drone agreed with me that this was a good idea. That was over 12 months ago. I still can't add beneficiaries from other institutions online, and I'm charged over R20 a month for this.

Go 20twenty!

Posted by rory at 08:37 PM