All entries for January 2006

January 28, 2006

Why are email clients so dumm?

Talking about malicious programs spread by emails.

Apparently one called "BlackWorm" or Nyxem.E has infected more than 300,000 Windows computers worldwide. Standard email clients (such as Microsoft Outlook, Firefox etc) are dumm enough to allow uses to run anything that comes in over the internet.

Are there any scenarios where anyone short of a systems programmer would legitimately receive such powerful software?

The fact that an attachment contains software which is capable of doing serious damage to your computer is clearly indicated by its MIME (corresponding to .exe, .com, .bat, .msp, .msi etc in Windows-speak – "BlackWorm" uses .pif). Why don't email clients simply refuse to open them?


January 17, 2006

Personal Tutors

There's a view in the University that Personal Tutors are the cornerstone of the Student Welfare System.

Isn't "welfare" the U.S. name for the dole/social security/income support or whatever it is called these days? Many people are too proud to go on welfare. Isn't there a stigma?

Why is there a stigma about welfare? I suppose it's a device to ration take up. There just isn't enough for everyone to get something, so it's useful to dissuade people from applying. Being patronised puts some people off.

Might it not have the opposite effect on others?

Being patronised is all about talking to someone about a problem who's convinced that they know best for you and you know nothing. But then what happens when a new problem arises? Having being persuaded that you know nothing and are helpless in the face of adversity, there's nothing you can do but go back for more instruction.

So while some are put off, others develop helplessness and dependency.


January 10, 2006

Times journo – what a clown!

Sunday 8th Jan – 4 cyclists wearing helmets are killed by a skidding car in North Wales. See link

Sunday 9th Jan Lewis Smith writing in the Times:

[...]
Cycling campaigners have been pressing the Government to make the wearing of helmets compulsory while riding.
[...]
see link

All the cycling campaigners I know are dead against compulsion – i.e. making cycling without a helmet illegal. The helmet compulsion brigade are just a bunch of anti-cycling clowns, who not only hate cycling but want to scare other people off it as well.


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