Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Friday, 2021.10.15
The attention span of a computer is only as long as its electrical cord.

		Murphy

2008.02.11

Non-Profit Transparency

Too late for Cherubim Foundation, but nonetheless good to see: Stricter IRS Form 990 to be more revealing, costly.

Among other things, the IRS wants to know more about the nonprofit’s business transactions and joint ventures, and its relationships with the directors on its board, as well as directors’ relationships with each other. Nonprofits will have to disclose more information about their officers’ compensation, political campaigning and lobbying activities; whether the organization has written policies covering conflicts of interest, whistleblowers and document destruction; and describe how it enforces some of those policies.

Funny-sad that a software engineer had a better sense of what the future had in store for how non-profits would be held accountable than a board of purported business leaders. I believe a lot of what they did, or rather didn’t do, was the result of weak accountability. When people know they will be held accountable, in some meaningful way, they tend to pay better attention to the consequence of their actions – particularly when the risks they take are done with other people’s money.

2008.02.05

Email Noir

Every couple of months I get around to clearing out my inbox and so came across this…er…generous death threat I received…let’s see…7 WEEKS AGO! Geesh. Where are my priorities? Wasn’t very prompt in my (still pending) reply.

From: “Alex Brown” <costa04ltd@hotmail.com>
Subject: PAY ASSASIN OR LOOSE YOUR LIFE
Date: Sat, December 15, 2007 5:01 pm
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Priority: Normal

I want you to read this message very carefully and diligently.

I’m a professional; hence you have no need of knowing who I am, where I am from, until I arrange for a one on one meeting. I have been mandated to terminate your life for some reasons listed to me by the contractor – someone I believe you know very well and very close to you. Consequently, I have been following you closely for a month now and have seen that you are innocent of the accusation leveled against you.

In your best interest, do not contact the Police or try to send a copy of this to any security agents, because if you do, I will certainly know through the impeccable assistance of one of the secret agents who is a friend, and you will leave me with no option than to be forced to do what I have being duly paid to do, beside this is the first time I’m turning out to be a betrayer against the ethics of my profession.

Now listen, I will arrange for us to see one on one but before that I need the amount of $14,000.00, you have nothing to be afraid of. I will be coming to see you in your home or you determine where you wish we meet, do not set any camera to cover us or set up any tape to record our conversation, I seem to hold the four aces now. You will need to transfer $7, 000.00 to the account I will provide for you, before we will set our first meeting, after you have make the first advance payment to the account, I will provide you with the tape that contains his request for me to assassinate you, which will be enough proof for you to take up a legal action against him (if you wish to do so) and will tell you what to do and protect you, then the balance will be paid later.

You don’t need my phone contact for now till I am assured you are ready to comply, and being silence on this matter is very dangerous. The choice remains yours, and you have the next 72hrs to make that choice, otherwise you will live your limited life watching your back. A word is enough for the wise!

Signed,
Alex.
i’m is proud to present Cause Effect, a series about real people making a difference. Learn more

Fortunately for me, the priority is only “Normal.” Yet, Alex’s message has all the earmarks of the dreaded Northern Yukon Maphia. Uh-oh.

Hmmmmmmm, the message originates from Nigeria. Dang! I can’t count the number of “very well known and close” friends I have that are in and out of Nigeria. I’m in trouble. And oops, I’ve posted Alex’s message on the World Wiiiiiiiiiiide Web for his handlers to see and now they’re after his betraying ass.

Well, Alex may be holding all the aces, but that just tells me he’s 48 cards short of a full deck. Spellchecker, Alex. Use it. But whatever.

OK, Alex. Lets meet here. We’re expecting your visit.

Do people actually fall for this crap?

Here’s the header:

Return-Path: <costa04ltd@hotmail.com>
X-Original-To: #######################
Delivered-To: #######################
Received: by ################## (Postfix, from userid ####)
id DF26A77488B; Sat, 15 Dec 2007 17:01:30 -0700 (MST)
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.2.3 (2007-08-08) on ##################
X-Spam-Level: *
X-Spam-Status: No, score=1.9 required=5.0 tests=BAYES_40,HTML_MESSAGE,
SUBJ_ALL_CAPS autolearn=no version=3.2.3
Received: from ################## (localhost.localdomain [127.0.0.1])
by ################## (Postfix) with ESMTP id 2A3057748A6
for <#######################>; Sat, 15 Dec 2007 17:01:28 -0700 (MST)
Envelope-to: #######################
Delivery-date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 19:00:56 -0500
Received: from #################
by ################## with POP3 (fetchmail-6.3.6)
for <#######################> (single-drop); Sat, 15 Dec 2007 17:01:28 -0700 (MST)
Received: from blu139-omc2-s21.blu139.hotmail.com ([65.55.175.191])
by server21.snhdns.com with esmtp (Exim 4.68)
(envelope-from <costa04ltd@hotmail.com>)
id 1J3gwC-00054G-GU
for #######################; Sat, 15 Dec 2007 19:00:56 -0500
Received: from BLU124-W45 ([65.55.162.186]) by blu139-omc2-s21.blu139.hotmail.com with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.3959);
Sat, 15 Dec 2007 16:01:09 -0800
Message-ID: <BLU124-W459789C97059BCE2029E59DD610@phx.gbl>
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
boundary=”_81da18aa-2829-41b2-b7e0-3c784b12b99c_”
X-Originating-IP: [82.128.18.8]
Reply-To: <alexabrown2000@yahoo.com>
From: Alex Brown <costa04ltd@hotmail.com>
Subject: PAY ASSASIN OR LOOSE YOUR LIFE
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 14:01:09 -1000
Importance: Normal
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 16 Dec 2007 00:01:09.0184 (UTC) FILETIME=[C3176400:01C83F76]
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

And the trace:

WHOIS – 65.55.175.191

Location: United States [City: ]

OrgName: Microsoft Corp
OrgID: MSFT
Address: One Microsoft Way
City: Redmond
StateProv: WA
PostalCode: 98052
Country: US

NetRange: 65.52.0.0 – 65.55.255.255
CIDR: 65.52.0.0/14
NetName: MICROSOFT-1BLK
NetHandle: NET-65-52-0-0-1
Parent: NET-65-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Assignment
NameServer: NS1.MSFT.NET
NameServer: NS5.MSFT.NET
NameServer: NS2.MSFT.NET
NameServer: NS3.MSFT.NET
NameServer: NS4.MSFT.NET
Comment:
RegDate: 2001-02-14
Updated: 2004-12-09

RTechHandle: ZM23-ARIN
RTechName: Microsoft Corporation
RTechPhone: +1-425-882-8080
RTechEmail: ***@microsoft.com

OrgAbuseHandle: ABUSE231-ARIN
OrgAbuseName: Abuse
OrgAbusePhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgAbuseEmail: *****@msn.com

OrgAbuseHandle: HOTMA-ARIN
OrgAbuseName: Hotmail Abuse
OrgAbusePhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgAbuseEmail: *****@hotmail.com

OrgAbuseHandle: MSNAB-ARIN
OrgAbuseName: MSN ABUSE
OrgAbusePhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgAbuseEmail: *****@msn.com

OrgNOCHandle: ZM23-ARIN
OrgNOCName: Microsoft Corporation
OrgNOCPhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgNOCEmail: ***@microsoft.com

OrgTechHandle: MSFTP-ARIN
OrgTechName: MSFT-POC
OrgTechPhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgTechEmail: ******@microsoft.com

WHOIS – 82.128.18.8

Location: Nigeria (high) [City: ]

% Information related to ‘82.128.0.0 – 82.128.127.255’

inetnum: 82.128.0.0 – 82.128.127.255
org: ORG-AFNC1-RIPE
netname: AFRINIC-NET-TRANSFERRED-20050223
descr: This network has been transferred to AFRINIC
remarks: These IP addresses are assigned in the AFRINIC region.
remarks: Authoritative registration information for this network
remarks: is available for query and modification in
remarks: the AFRINIC whois database: whois.afrinic.net or
remarks: web site: https://www.afrinic.net
remarks: The routing registry information (route(6) objects)
remarks: may be published in any Routing Registry, including
remarks: RIPE Whois Database
country: EU # country is really somewhere in African Region
admin-c: AFRI-RIPE
tech-c: AFRI-RIPE
status: ALLOCATED PA
mnt-by: RIPE-NCC-HM-MNT
mnt-routes: RIPE-NCC-RPSL-MNT
changed: **********@ripe.net 20050223
source: RIPE

organisation: ORG-AFNC1-RIPE
org-name: African Internet Numbers Registry
org-type: RIR
address: see https://www.afrinic.net
e-mail: *********@ripe.net
admin-c: AFRI-RIPE
tech-c: AFRI-RIPE
remarks: For more information on AFRINIC assigned blocks, use
remarks: AFRINIC’s whois database, whois.afrinic.net.
mnt-ref: RIPE-NCC-HM-MNT
mnt-by: RIPE-NCC-HM-MNT
changed: *********@ripe.net 20050223
source: RIPE

role: The African Internet Numbers Registry
org: ORG-AFNC1-RIPE
address: AFRINIC, see https://www.afrinic.net
admin-c: AFRI-RIPE
tech-c: AFRI-RIPE
nic-hdl: AFRI-RIPE
e-mail: *********@ripe.net
remarks: For more information on AFRINIC assigned blocks, connect
remarks: to AFRINIC’s whois database, whois.afrinic.net.
mnt-by: RIPE-NCC-HM-MNT
changed: **********@ripe.net 20050223
source: RIPE

% Information related to ‘82.128.18.0/23AS36954’

route: 82.128.18.0/23
descr: MLTL IP ADDRESS BLOCK
origin: AS36954
mnt-by: RIPE-NCC-RPSL-MNT
mnt-by: MLTL-INT-MNT
changed: ****@multi-links.com 20070617
source: RIPE

2008.01.31

No Knock, No Knock…

The latest police drug/SWAT raid gone bad:

The parallels to Cory Maye are pretty striking. You’ve got a young guy minding his own business, with no criminal record, whose worst transgression is that he smokes a little pot from time to time. A bad informant and bad police procedures then converge, resulting in police breaking down his door while he’s sleeping. He fires a gun to defend himself, unwittingly kills a cop, and now faces murder charges.

The difference here from most other botched “no knock” raids is the homeowner defended himself, killed a cop (which he didn’t know was a cop) and is now facing murder charges. When the tables are turned, the home owner’s family buries their dead and the police bury the incident under an “internal investigation.”

There are far too many of these botched raids across the country every year and they are growing at a disturbing rate. It’s the consequence of literally giving police departments military surplus weapons with no culpability for police when they screw up. The idea of a SWAT team descending on you for jaywalking, while still laughable, is a little less so with each botched, unnecessary military-style police raid for misdemeanor crimes. I believe it was Napoleon who said: “You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it.” If you literally give the police this power, they will find a reason to use it. It could even be said they must find a way to use it. We pay them to do that. The problem is, it’s moving down the path of unrestrained abuse. And it’s long past time to put some much needed checks and balances in place.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change soon and a good reason for not tolerating drug business in your neighborhood. Not just because of the drug dealers but because the increasing probability the police will screw up their raid with deadly consequences. Maybe even to you.

2008.01.07

Voice In The Sand

Michael Yon emails he is headed back to Iraq for another year. His independent reporting on the war and the American efforts in that region is truly exceptional. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, start here: Little Girl / Strength and Compassion and The Hands of God.

Mr. Yon’s work is entirely reader funded – no legacy media meddling – so if you appreciate his work, you can go here and learn how to support his effort.

I sent along another $100 this morning.

2007.12.11

Tuesday Afternoon Hawk

This sharp looking bird is eyeing a vacant bird feeder while being barked at incessantly by one determined Westie, Rose.

Jeanne Under Fire

Jeanne Assam, a woman of remarkable poise under fire – both from bullets and the press.

There is a Buddhist koan wherein a monk is on a boat with 100 people. One of them is a murder. What does the monk do? Kill the murderer and save the lives of innocent passengers or does he stay true to his vow to take no other life? Perhaps there is a Christian counterpart to this koan and if so, it would seem Ms. Assam faced that riddle. No matter how many interviews she gives, only she will ever know if she answered the challenge correctly. That’s as it should be.

Watch for the control freaks with a specialty in gun control work to vilify her – because they simply can’t let a heroine stand here – and the press to do the same – because that’s what they do.

Personally, I breath a little easier knowing there are people about in the world like Jeanne Assam. One of Plato’s remnants revealed.

[Edit History]

2007.12.11 14:20

News on the Tubes indicates the gunman died of self-inflicted wounds. As I mentioned above, the gun control control control control freaks will work to pull Ms. Assam’s efforts into the mud. And so they are. As Michelle Malkin notes:

“The anti-gun extremists who are desperate to shoot down Jeanne Assam’s heroism will grasp at this detail as vindication somehow. But if not for her courage and her steady aim, he would not have gone down.”

The AP article linked above tosses in an “Oh, by the way” smear at the end of the article:

“Also Tuesday, Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said Assam was fired from the Minneapolis force in 1997 for lying during an internal investigation. Sgt. John Delmonico, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said police were investigating a complaint that Assam swore at a bus driver while she was handling an incident on a city bus.”

Question for AP: What makes this relevant to the events on December 12th? Is this a juvenile attempt to establish that only “bad” people have guns? If reporting twisted truth and abject bias was lethal, the legacy media would be the biggest mass murder of all time. Soooooooo predictable.

2007.12.11 14:31

Ha! The comments on Malkin’s blog are excellent…

TexasTiger:

“Matthew Murray entered the church with 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Nine hundred and ninety-nine were intended for parishoners and the thousandth for his own coconut.

Jeanne Assam’s actions convinced him to skip ahead a bit to the last round…that’s all.”

J S Ragman:

“Great news! Her conscience is clear, and he’s still dead. “

Tuesday Morning Sparrows

2007.12.01

Beep Beep Day

Catch the fever!

Just be sure and do it on the right side of the road.

2007.11.28

And How Is Your Christmas Shoving Going?

Er…I mean Christmas shopping.

“They were having a big fight. Two ladies was jumping a lady over credit cards,” witness Sylvester Wilson said.

Nearly a dozen Wauwatosa squad cars responded to the call just before 11 a.m. Saturday.”It was a nice brawl. It came from inside to outside. If you go up there, you’ll see hair, earrings, all pulled out on the ground,” Wilson said.

Online shopping, baby. It’s the way to go.

2007.11.15

From The Two-Plus-Two-Equals-One Department

The unanswered question is, which had the greater suction, the vacuum cleaner or the black hole at the center of this guy’s head?

A man using a vacuum cleaner to suck gasoline out of a vehicle was burned and his house damaged when the fuel exploded, the Albuquerque Fire Department said.

2007.11.10

Run, Legacy Media, Run!

Glenn Raynolds’ wrap up from Blogworld Expo in Las Vegas:

It really underscored to me how big and diverse the blogosphere has become. There were lots of big bloggers I barely knew of, because they’re in areas I don’t follow. Some tech folks were telling me that they liked it because, going to the tech conferences, they saw the same people every time. I think a lot of political-blogger types felt the same way. There was plenty of cross-fertilization.

But the bottom line is that the blogging pond has gotten very big, and there are a lot of big fish in it now. I think that’s a huge success for the blogosphere.

I would agree and I believe the blogger’s effect on news and information is still defining its self. Just two years ago there were a handful of blogs I kept up with on a daily basis and of those I pretty much kept up with all the posts and comments. Of that handful, just two remain that I follow that closely: Instapundit and Tim Blair. I still tune in now and again to many of the old favorites, such as Althouse, Hot Air, Gateway Pundit, Iowahawk, The Anchoress and the Advice Goddess. But the time that had been spent keeping up with the second tier blogs has been supplanted by time spent at a variety of excellent blogs related to my business and industry. Two years ago, there wasn’t much out there in the blogosphere related to my business. At least not much beyond the posting of code samples, requests for technical support and rants against Microsoft and such. Today, there are a number of excellent blogs related to software design, development and security. Joel Spolsky and Bruce Schneier are no longer such lonely examples in the blogosphere.

The adaptability of the blogosphere, where evolutionary rules prevail more so than the revolutionary, is not its only advantage over the legacy media. The blogosphere, I believe, will host a diversity of which the politically correct congregation cannot even conceive. When an environment of diversity exists without fear of reprisal or repression by guilt, there can be true dialog and understanding.

In the blogosphere there are no suicide bombers to be fearful of, entitled, unfocused hunger strikers receive the collective yawn and laughter they deserve, lies are exposed, and justice prevails. In the legacy media, you’ll find support of terrorists tactics (bombers, snipers, use of human shields), exaggerated importance of trite stories, fabrication, lies, bias disguised as journalism and efforts to incite lynch mob frenzies among their readers. True, you may find this among bloggers. But other bloggers will expose such bloggers. Legacy media does not do this to its own.

I have great faith in the general population’s distaste for being duped like this and judging from the falling circulation and stock prices among the major US papers as well as the anti-war bombs being cranked out by Hollywood, I’d say the general population is catching on to what a shabby product the legacy media is producing. And for those that see, the blogosphere is there to catch them.

2007.11.01

Not Your Father’s IDE

That’s Integrated Development Environment to you non-software developer types. More generally, I’m referring to most of the marketing material for developer tools originating from the Great Northwest. I’m seeing more and more of this stuff with the ninja-kung-fu-martial-arts theme.

“Use our tools and be an instant black belt master of codi-fu on that next killer app!”

Much of the code I see from the younger set of developers, those that are a generation behind me and who have never known of a world without a wide web, is indeed quite killer. As in the “killed the project” kind of lethality. The IDE wrapped around the .NET languages has become a warm blanket for new developers which insulates them from the consequences of sloppy design until much too late in the development process.

I came to software development just at the end of assembler’s run and when C was it. Memory was still scarce but there was a lot more wiggle room in 640KB than there was in 64KB. A bad design still failed early and a good developer understood how design effected performance. Not only did you need to know the language, you needed to understand the hardware as well. These days, systemic knowledge is a tertiary concern if it’s considered at all.

“Black Belt Programmer” is a phrase that has always made me wince. The discipline required to achieve a black belt rank in most martial arts is considerably greater than the discipline required to become an excellent software developer. I can make this call because I actually have a real-life black belt rank in a martial art (currently, 3rd Dan in Aikido) and sustain an excellent quality of life as a software developer (so presumably I’m good at that, too. Right?)

So I’m not buying into this ninja marketing hype, yet that’s what is selling to them that’s buying. Will “evil code assassins” replace “debuggers?” Will my work day be interrupted with Kato-like tests (à la Inspector Clouseau) of my skill and attentiveness? Hiiiiiieeeeeee-YA!

Leaves me with the feeling I’m not long for this world of main stream software development.

2007.10.30

Project Valour-IT – 2007

It’s time again to contribute to Project Valour-IT (Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops). Like last year, I’ve kicked in $100 and joined the Marines (gotta support the boots on the ground) lead by Soldiers’ Angel – Holly Aho.

This is a good use of technology. The voice recognition software is quite impressive and continues to improve.

Please note:

Division among military teams is purely for the purpose of friendly competition. Any blogger may join any team and all money raised supports the wounded as needed, regardless of branch of service.

2007.10.09

Nothing Says “We Care!” To Your Customers Like A Good CYA Strategy

Saw this article on the front page of the September 7-13 dead tree edition of the Denver Business Journal: “Rising laptop thefts push prevention initiatives“.

It’s not enough simply to call in the IT people or have an expert run a “penetration test” of your company’s network, say lawyers who specialize in data security.

They insist that executives need legal as well as technical advice up front. They say companies face new data-security laws as well as evolving legal notions of what precautions they need to take.

That sounds really good. It’s a difficult task and requires a team effort. But hold on there…

[Bryan Cunningham, a principal of the Denver law firm Morgan & Cunningham] cites a key advantage to bringing in lawyers up front: “If you hire a law firm to supervise the process, even if there are technical engineers involved, then the process will be covered by attorney-client privilege.”

He noted that in a lawsuit following a data theft, plaintiffs usually seek a company’s records of “all the [data-security] recommendations that were made [before the breach] and whether or not you followed them. And if you go and hire technical consultants only, all that information gets turned over in discovery. [But] if you have it through a law firm, it’s generally not.”

So there you have it. Park the problem behind a lawyer straight away. But why stop there? Why not implement a corporate-wide strategy to shield all manner of mistakes, mishaps and negligence behind attorney-client privilege. Have attorneys supervise your employees and “consult” on safety issues. Cover the whole supply chain and service path while your at it. No more embarrassing or expensive issues falling out of discovery related to bad employee behavior, OSHA violations, service incompetence or product problems.

In actuality, this article is poorly titled. This isn’t a “prevention initiative” for data security, it’s a preemptive initiative for corporate irresponsibility.

This approach is a disincentive for businesses to provide adequate data security. It’s much more cost effective to pay a team of attorneys to “supervise” the data center than it is to implement and maintain a data security strategy (as the article notes, the threats are constantly changing and so must the security strategy.) What does a corporation care about 100,000 customer credit card records they let loose into the wild if they’re shielded by attorney-client privilege and not likely to be held accountable or responsible? Rather than caring about prevention, they will care more about squashing any news of such a loss. And this, I grant you, is a brilliant strategy for accomplishing just that.

[Edit History]

2008.05.26

Grammar fixes.

2007.09.28

Friday Morning Snapdragons

Snapdragons


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