I’m off to America! Some tin-pot little IT start-up called Microsoft has invited me to visit their headquarters in Redmond, Washington (pictured) to find out what they’re doing about security, and in particular their Trustworthy Computing initiatives.
Now if you’re a crusty old network administrator like me, you may think that “Microsoft” and “security” in the same sentence is an oxymoron. A decade ago I was building Linux-based firewalls and, like so many people doing the same, I referred to Windows-based computers as “the targets”. And certainly the vast majority of the world’s malware is targeted at Windows.
But I’ve always though that the simplistic “Windows is bad, m’kay” was a bit, well, simplistic. Information security isn’t just about the technology, it’s also about people. Human factors are also the weakest link. And over the years I’ve found that people who throw around those tired platform-wars slogans usually aren’t up to date when it comes to the things they love to hate.
So, I’m off to Redmond later this month to spend three days with some of Microsoft’s engineers and developers, including briefing sessions with senior executives from Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group.
Continue reading “Visiting Microsoft HQ to talk security: what should I ask?”
Stilgherrian’s links for 04 November 2008 through 09 November 2008, gathered via Twitter and spat onto the page with love and some lemon juice and garlic:
- McDonald’s partners with earthwave to provide Australians with “Family Friendly” internet services | LinuxWorld: A company called earthwave has scored the deal to provide Australia’s McDonald’s stores with “clean” Internet links. That’s more than 720 locations.
- How to nap | Boston.com: A nice overview of how to take effective nap breaks. I’d have congratulated Boston.com on using a good wide-screen format too, but discovered they’ve done it with images rather than live text on the page. Still, it’s good material.
- What’s your profit : pain ratio? | Bad Language: Very apropos for me this week: an article pointing out that some clients simple aren’t worth the trouble.
- Best advice I’ve heard all week | Wired Blogs: A reminder that humans are really very bad at assessing risk.
- Tanner eyes web 2.0 tools | Australian IT: Australia’s federal government says it'll trial online public consultation through blogs and other social media tools. Good luck, guys, because the first thing you’ll have to learn is how to have an authentic conversation with people, rather than just parroting the party line.
- Bush: “Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over” | The Onion: Written when George W Bush was inaugurated in 2001, this is a scarily prescient piece of satire. Well worth a read today.
- Barack Obama’s acceptance: the transcript | Crikey: The full text of Barack Obama’s acceptance speech. Very powerful writing.
- Not Quite Art | ABC TV: The official ABC website for Marcus Westbury’s series Not Quite Art including full downloadable files of all episodes of series 1 and 2 (provided you’re in Australia).
- The next President of the United States | The Big Picture: Boston.com provides yet another glorious photo essay: this time it’s images of the president-elect of the US, some bloke called Barry.
- Australian Internet Censorship | halans.com: Another powerful analogy to explain why centralised Internet censorship is wrong.
- 6 Nov 2008 – Liberation Day | Microsoft Australia: The Australian launch event for Microsoft’s Azure services platform. I blogged this live previously, and will soon write a more reflective post about it. This page now includes the video of Steve Ballmer’s speech.
- Blog censorship silences free speech around the world | Worldfocus: Thirteen/WNET, the respected PBS station in Boston, blogs about Internet censorship censorship and surveillance around the world, including a link to little old me.
- What Ray Ozzie didn’t tell you about Microsoft Azure | The Register: A nice discussion of the problems Microsoft will face selling its new platform Azure when compared with Amazon’s EC2 and Google’s App Engine.
- 750,000 lost jobs? The dodgy digits behind the war on piracy | ars technica: A nice discussion of where the numbers for “what piracy costs us” come from. This is American rather than Australian, but the points are still valid.
- DVD pirating costing industry $1.7b: Debus | ABC News: Australia’s Home Affairs minister Bob Debus parrots the DVD industry’s claim that illegal copying (which they call “piracy”) costs $1.7B. The bogeyman of “child pornography” is raised to make it sound even scarier.
- “Mankind Is No Island” | One Plus One Equals Three: The winning film in the Tropfest New York short film competition, shot using a mobile phone and found typography in Sydney and NY.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is doing his Power to Developers shtick in Sydney today. I’ll be live-blogging it right here.
The Big Deal is that he’s talking about Microsoft’s strategy for cloud computing or “software as a service” (SaaS) — which I notice Microsoft is calling “software-plus-services”. Is there a difference? I think an essay could be written on that point alone!
Now I must admit I’m fairly sceptical about this whole “cloud computing” thing. Not that it’s a Bad Idea, just that it’s nothing new.
Unless your computer isn’t connected to the global grid we call the Internet, then it’s always been about having a service running on a remote computer (“the server”) and some software on your own computer the mediate your access to same (“the client”).
It seems to me, though, that every few years someone wants to make some big song-and-dance about the idea that they’ve put stuff in their data centre for you to access… and this year’s buzzterm is “cloud computing”. Wow.
Still, it’ll be interesting to hear what Mr Ballmer has to say. And probably more amusingly, how he says it.
Continue reading “Live Blog: Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer in Sydney”
I won’t be doing Stilgherrian Live tonight. Instead, I’m covering two presentations via “live blogging”.
Steve Ballmer, CEO of some tin-pot outfit called Microsoft, is doing his Power to Developers presentation at 3.30pm Sydney time. It’s being promoted as a “Liberation Day” and a “live web rally”. Wankers.
Peel away the pseudo-revolutionary bullshit, though, and there’s something worth hearing about: “Microsoft’s vision around Cloud Computing for the software-plus-services world, followed by demo-packed sessions on the new technologies just announced at the Professional Developers Conference — including the much anticipated Azure Services Platform.”
Using “around” as an all-purpose preposition and failing to hyphenate “much-anticipated” confirms Microsoft’s illiteracy, and The Register‘s negative review of Azure has already poisoned my view. We’ll see.
Then tonight from 6.30pm consulting firm Gartner has “Gartner meets you in the blogosphere”. They’re previewing material to be presented at next week’s Gartner Symposium: “emerging trends and technologies… and what to expect in 2009”.
I’ll be live-blogging both events at special pages on this website. The links will be posted soon. Stand by.