Be on the wave or under it
The News Ė 09/08/03
Iím (Still) In Pieces, Bits and Pieces
The demands of starting up the newly-renamed The WiMAX Guys wireless
networking company have eaten into my SNS time, so below are some
short takes on recent technology developments.
For those who wonder why weíre no longer The WiFi Guys, itís
got something to do with government inefficiency and lip service
to the Web. The Minnesota Secretary of Stateís office has an online
database of all companies in the state. When we checked the database,
there was no registration of The WiFi Guys. But when we applied
for the name, we were told it had been registered in January.
Dismayed, we protested that the name was available on their online
database. ďOh, you canít go by the Web,Ē we were told. Turns out
the online database was more than six months out of date. (It
has since been updated.)
So the upshot is, we wasted some advertising and have lots of
business cards with a name we canít use. Not exactly what a startup
- Shameless Self-Promotion Dept.:
Itís here: A new company from StratVantage Ė The WiMAX Guys.
The business has two parts. The first is targeted at consumers
and small businesses who buy the wireless networking gear, but
canít get it to work. We visit and get it up and running fast.
The second part of the business is new installs for people who
want to set up wireless hotspots. Check out the Website at www.TheWiMAXGuys.com.
Iíve written another article for Fawcette Technical Publicationsí
Enterprise Architect magazine. This oneís on a best practices
sharing effort called Project Avalanche. My feature article,
Computing Takes Off in the Enterprise, was published in
the inaugural issue of Enterprise Architect. (Registration required
My article, ďInnovative Marketers Target Unwired CustomersĒ
was published in the NetSuds
Coming Soon: A new eBook, Be On the Wave Or Under Itô
will collect the best of SNSí insights over the last couple
of years, along with additional material from CTOMentor white
papers and new material. It will make a great gift (Halloween?)
for associates and friends in need of a guide to the latest
and greatest technology. Watch for more information in upcoming
Several issues ago I debuted SNS Begware, an opportunity for
you, gentle reader, to express your appreciation by tipping
your server via PayPal. See the sidebar for more info. Total
in the kitty so far: $76.48. Thanks Jacqueline!
I repurposed and adapted an article about the wireless service
known as Short Messaging Service (SMS) for the Reside newsletter.
Itís entitled, Wherever
they go, there you are and it points out how marketers
can use Ė carefully Ė this new way to contact their customers.
StratVantage has been accepted as a member of the World Wide
Web Chamber of Commerce and now displays their logo on our Websites.
In addition, Iím featured in Manyworldsí Thought
Leader Showcase, which lists a few of the white papers Iíve
- Windows OS Joke: Alert
SNS Reader Andy Stevko sent
along this hilarious parody of a Microsoft security advisory.
You may need to be a techie to get all the humor, and itís quite
long, but I laughed out loud upon reading it.
Title: Ongoing Compromises of the
Windows Operating Environment
Date: 20 August 2003
- Microsoft Windows 3.1
- Microsoft Windows 95
- Microsoft Windows 98
- Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
- Microsoft Windows SE
- Microsoft Windows ME
- Microsoft Windows 2000
- Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
- Microsoft Windows XP
- Microsoft Windows Server 2003
Impact: Run code of the attacker's
Max Risk: Important
Bulletin: MS02-0401 (REVISED)
Microsoft encourages customers to
review Security Information at: http://www.microsoft.com/security
on a regular basis, and subscribe to CERT/CC bulletins at http://www.cert.org.
Microsoft Windows is a collection
of software components that enable users to experience the Internet.
All components share a common series of interfaces that taken
together comprise the Windows Operating Environment.
By default, Internet Explorer is enabled on all
systems running Microsoft Windows. (It should be noted that there
are substantial issues with Internet Explorer reported; users
should consult the Microsoft Security Resource Center to obtain
the appropriate patches.)
Insecure scripting languages such as VBScripting
are used throughout the Microsoft Windows Operating Environment
and included in many Microsoft applications such as Microsoft
Office. Users have reported that it is difficult, if not impossible,
to completely remove such scripting features even though they
are proven to be regularly exploitable, thus making it likely
they will be subject to repeated exploitation.
Microsoft products often integrate with the operating
system internals, meaning that by installing new software, particularly
from Microsoft, the operating system may become modified and thus
provide an opportunity to introduce new vulnerabilities or exploit
trusted relationships within the Windows Operating Environment.
As such, many applications are difficult to uninstall completely
from a computer since they may be serving as patches to the underlying
Improper software development has facilitated repeated
security incidents resulting in the loss of customer information,
e-mail addresses, system downtime, and customer productivity in
environments based on the Microsoft Windows Operating Environment.
User misconfiguration is also a factor.
Microsoft products are often rushed to market without
a thorough check of the software quality. Buffer overflows are
one result of this issue, and after several years of high-profile
incidents, continue to impact the technology community instead
of being fixed once and for all. Microsoft notes that it frequently
releases patches to existing patches and believes this is the
best way for users to stay protected given Microsoft's current
software development and business practices.
Due to the frequency of patches and critical fixes
being released to the user community, it's quite likely that many
network administrators are hesitant to install such patches, since
the cure may be worse than the original problem, or even create
new ones, as evidenced by issues arising from several Windows
Service Packs over the years.
Despite advances in marketing a concept of "Trustworthy
Computing" it is unlikely that there will be any single solution
to remedy the many issues associated with the security and stability
of Microsoft products.
Microsoft prides itself on innovation
and consistency in developing new and exciting software products.
Over the years, customers have come to expect this as a hallmark
of how Microsoft does business. The fact that each new security
incident resulting from Microsoft products presents a higher degree
of danger to the Internet community is one example of our ability
to produce software products in a consistent manner with regard
to quality assurance, reliability, and security. We reiterate
our pledge to provide software products with a consistent level
of quality to our customers worldwide.
For an attack against Microsoft Operating Environment
to be successful, the user/victim must be running an exploitable
version of Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Windows systems operating in closed network
environments stand a somewhat higher chance of survivability when
new security incidents regarding Microsoft products is reported
than other, more exposed systems. Systems that are not connected
to a network are most secure from such network-based exploits.
† - No patches are available to fix
this vulnerability. However, there are three technical actions
for users to take to increase their level of operating system
and information security:
(1) Boot the affected computer
from a floppy disk.
(2) At the command prompt,
type "format c: /sys." For more severely-damaged systems,
run the FDISK command. (Visit http://fdisk.radified.com/
for information on this Microsoft-produced disk utility.)
(3) Once complete, decide
on what non-Microsoft operating system you would like to use instead.
Some suggested ones are Linux and Mac OSX. (Note that users will
need new hardware to take full advantage of Mac OSX.) Users are
strongly advised to avoid anything with the words "SCO"
or "UnixWare" in it, as these words represent a company
that's almost as greedy and evil as we are at Microsoft.
This Advisory supersedes Microsoft
Security Bulletin MS02-0401 "Local User Actions May Provide
Unauthorized Remote Access" dated 1 April 2002. This Bulletin
may be found at http://www.infowarrior.org/articles/2002-04.html.
Microsoft thanks Richard Forno for
reporting this issue to us and for working with us to help protect
customers. Richard Forno (www.infowarrior.org)
thanks the internet community for recognizing a belated (but quite
truthful) April Fools' joke when they see it. :) He further thanks
Microsoft for producing products that not only keep him and his
friends employed as IT and security professonals but continue
to pollute the Internet and adversely impact on people not even
Thanks a bunch, guys.
THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE MICROSOFT
KNOWLEDGE BASE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY
OF ANY KIND. MICROSOFT DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EITHER EXPRESS
OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS
FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL MICROSOFT CORPORATION
OR ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER INCLUDING
DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, LOSS OF BUSINESS
PROFITS OR SPECIAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF MICROSOFT CORPORATION OR ITS
SUPPLIERS HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
SOME STATES DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
FOR CONSEQUENTIAL OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES SO THE FOREGOING LIMITATION
MAY NOT APPLY. MICROSOFT HAS NO KNOWLEDGE OF THIS APRIL FOOLS
SATIRE AND HAS NOT ENDORSED IT, NOR DID THIS 'SECURITY BULLETIN'
ORIGINATE FROM ANY MICROSOFT OFFICE. IT'S A SATIRE -- SO READ
IT, LAUGH, AND HOPEFULLY LEARN FROM IT. :) MICROSOFT IS A TRADEMARK
OF MICROSOFT CORP.
- Speaking Of Alert SNS Readers: You may
not know it, but you, gentle reader, are part of a secret international
cabal whose members use special signs to acknowledge one another
in public. Recently Alert SNS Reader Roger Hamm was in a training
session at which students each had computers. The student sitting
next to him, upon noticing Rogerís login, passed him a note
which said, ďAlert SNS Reader.Ē Turns out Alert SNS Reader Robert
Koerner had never met Roger, despite talking on the phone with
him many times over the years. OK, guys, now letís work on a
- TW to Drop AOL? From
the How the Mighty Have Fallen Dept. comes news that
AOL Time Warner is considering dropping the AOL from their name.
Whatever happened to synergy?
- Take This Quiz: There
are those who think extremely talented programmers are antisocial
and very strange. Take this fun quiz and see if you can determine
if the pictures are of inventors of programming languages or
- Wi-Fi Hotspot Wave Spreading:
In the last two months organizations as varied as the Minneapolis Park System, Sprint, Baby Bell
Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, McDonalds,
and the Ft.
Lauderdale Airport have announced plans to provide public
wireless hotspots. Chip giant Intel will offer
free Wi-Fi access via thousands of U.S. hotspots during ďOne
Unwired DayĒ on September 25. Intel will sponsor festivals in
New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle, with live music,
product demonstrations and drawings for laptops, wireless home
networking products and access cards. Even voice is going Wi-Fi,
with Motorola and NEC America announcing
they plan to develop a wireless office phone that will be able
to make phone calls through both cellular networks and through
Voice over WLAN (VoWLAN, stupid acronym alert) networks
People are setting up their own wireless networks at an ever-increating
rate, according to Synergy
Research Group, which reports that second quarter sales
for wireless LAN equipment hit $563.5 million, up 33% from last
year. In contrast, research firm Parks Associates says
the U.S. hotspot market could generate revenues of $800 million
Wi-Fi Picture Frames: Each week seems
to bring yet another way to unwire your life. Alert SNS Reader
Pete Simpson (my partner in The WiMAX Guys) sends along an item
about a relic of the dotcom craziness: the digital picture frame. The Wallflower wireless picture frame
is a 12-inch 1,024 pixels by 768 pixels LCD display surrounded
by a picture frame. It connects to a Wi-Fi wireless home network
and can download pictures to its own hard drive.
The unit detects the network present
and automatically configures itself. The Wallflower is pricey,
starting at $649 for three different frame styles, and $699
for the Black Rose frame style.
- Code Reuse Causes Embarrassment:
I didnít know if I totally believed this story, sent along by
Alert SNS Reader Andy Stevko, as it sounds too much like an
urban legend. As the story goes, developers at the Australian
Defense Science & Technology Organization's Land Operations/Simulation
were asked to model kangaroo movements and reactions to helicopters.
Since coders are universally lazy, the developers decided to
reuse some code originally used to model infantry detachments.
They changed the mapped icon from a soldier to a kangaroo, and
increased the figures' speed of movement.
In a demonstration of the simulation for some visiting American
pilots, they buzzed the virtual kangaroos with a virtual helicopter.
ďThe kangaroos scattered, as predicted, and the visiting Americans
nodded appreciatively... then did a double-take as the kangaroos
reappeared from behind a hill and launched a barrage of Stinger
missiles at the hapless helicopter. (Apparently the programmers
had forgotten to remove that part of the infantry coding.)Ē
Whenever I have doubts about a story like this that sounds too
good to be true, I check it out at the Urban Legend Reference
Pages at www.snopes.com. See what
they have to say about this story by following the link below.
Legend Reference Pages
- Single Use Digital Cameras:
From the Who Asked For It? Dept. comes an item about
the Ritz Camera chain which has apparently developed a new one-time
use digital camera called the Dakota Digital. The device is
priced like traditional disposable film cameras and offers high
quality picture results, but has no LCD screen for image previewing.
So whatís the appeal of this camera for retailers like Walgreens,
which is testing the camera in all 140 stores in Wisconsin,
and Walt Disney World, which this fall will stock the single
use digital camera in its hotels and theme parks? The camera
does not connect to a computer. Users must take the camera in
for processing, where they can get prints within 15 minutes
and receive a CD of the digital images.
- Free Nanotube White Paper:
Alert SNS Reader Roger Hamm sends along a link to a free white
paper on nanotubes, miniscule tubes formed by carbon atoms in
a ring configuration.
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