Yeah, Trustworthy THIS, Bill (1/31/03)

Say, do you remember about a year ago when the press "somehow" got hold of an email message Bill Gates sent to his minions about how Microsoft was going to make "Trustworthy Computing" its top priority, and emphasize security over features in all development moving forward? Yeah, those were good times; nothing like a little raucous comedy to brighten up an otherwise dreary winter, right? Of course, at the time, once we'd wiped away the tears of mirth and walked off the cramps in our sides, we figured it'd be a nice gesture to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt; after all, maybe nobody told them about worldwide catastrophic infestations of viruses such as Melissa, ILOVEYOU, Nimda, and the countless others that repeatedly bring the Windows world to its raw, scabby knees. But now that Bill had shown them the light, hey, maybe Microsoft would get its act together.

MMMMMMPPPPHHHHHBWAAAA-HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAA!! Hee hee... (snif) There, see what we mean about mirth in winter? Don't you feel much better now?

Anyway, it's just over a year later, and the biggest result of Mr. Bill's call to arms appears to be that whenever there's a virus outbreak exploiting some Microsoftian security flaw, a spokesperson for the Redmondites immediately denies ultimate responsibility. Usually he or she mentions that a patch for said vulnerability has been available for some time, and the company certainly can't help it if its customers aren't conscientious about researching and applying the latest security patches. Of course, we figure that staying on top of all these security flaws and plugging holes on otherwise stable production servers probably requires a sysadmin to spend about twenty-six hours a day just chasing down and applying patches, but heck, that's certainly not Microsoft's fault.

Well, prepare for a karmic smackdown of the most delicious kind. A Reuters article about how experts believe Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative to be "failing" notes that, as usual, Microsoft places the blame for this past week's "SQL Slammer" worm outbreak squarely on the shoulders of the lazy, ignorant customers who could have eliminated their vulnerability to the attack if they had simply installed a patch that's been available since at least last June. Mmmm, makes sense, right? Except that among those lazy, ignorant customers that failed to install the patch was a certain large software concern headquartered in the U.S. Pacific Northwest whose name rhymes with "Squicrosoft." Yup, Microsoft itself has been forced to admit that it "should have done a better job" keeping its servers up to date; as it stands, the CTO of Counterpane Internet Security notes that "Microsoft was completely hosed" by Slammer for two days. Trustworthy Computing, indeed.

The way we see it, there are at least three really cool things to come out of this interesting little development. The first is the aforementioned winter mirth-- gotta love that mirth. The second is Microsoft being forced to admit that it has "egg on [its] face" (although, according to Reuters, at least Billy-Boy managed to avoid getting hit by a pie again). And the third is that at least one CTO out there is "thinking of switching from Windows to the Macintosh platform because of all the security issues." Do we sense a new tack to the Switch campaign brewing?

SceneLink (3911)
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The above scene was taken from the 1/31/03 episode:

January 31, 2003: Apple finally gets around to posting iMovie 3 and iPhoto 2-- six days late, but moving fast. Meanwhile, Microsoft gets "hosed" by the Slammer worm because it forgot to install its own security patches, and Donny Osmond finds himself envying Jack Osbourne's mysterious 40 GB iPod...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3910: Time To Chew Bandwidth (1/31/03)   Hey all you digital lifestyle fiends, fire up that clickin' finger: both iPhoto 2 and iMovie 3 are finally available for download from Apple's servers, either as standalone installers or by running Software Update...

  • 3912: Them Celebrities Get It All (1/31/03)   Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do! And by "Lucy," we mean "Steve." (Call it a term of endearment.) What's all this about Jack Osbourne walking around with a 40 GB iPod in his pocket? In case you haven't yet spotted it, points out that in the "Behind The Scenes" video clips of that new Osbournes-Meet-The-Osmonds Pepsi Twist commercial (the one we're feverishly working on bringing back in time to show to Black Sabbath Ozzy, just to give him a glimpse into his future and then videotape his head caving in), there's a moment when Donny Osmond admits pangs of jealousy because while his own 'Pod is a 20 GB model, Jack's packs a 40 GB drive-- which is noteworthy in part because we'd have thought that any blood relative of "Suicide Solution" Ozzy coming within five feet of Donny's Pearly Whites of Goodness and Light(TM) would lead to the instantaneous collapse of the time-space continuum, but mostly because 40 GB iPods aren't available to mere mortals yet...

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