And Boy, WE Sure Feel Safe (7/17/03)

It's not just us, right? Surely there are other people out there who are even now wondering just what the heck the Department of Homeland Security was smoking when it officially named Microsoft as its "primary technology provider" last Tuesday. (Hey, guys, doing drugs finances terrorists! It must be true, because we saw it on TV!) The DHS has just committed itself to a five-year, $90 million contract with Microsoft, who will provide the department with software for roughly 140,000 computers responsible for protecting our national safety. Sadly, folks, this isn't a joke-- or, at least, not the "ha ha" kind, but more the sort of "lock yourself in the basement with a shotgun and forty cases of SpaghettiOs" kind; faithful viewer jedi2187 directed us to a Reuters article confirming the whole sordid story. Sheesh, if this isn't a reason to raise the current threat level from yellow to red, we don't know what is.

Of course, it only gets better (or worse, depending on your perspective) from there. Now that the single company whose association with the word "security" is most often prefixed with the phrase "appalling lack of" is providing tons o' software to the folks responsible for protecting us from the bogeyman, it's only appropriate that it reveal just how boneheaded a mistake the DHS made by tossing $90 mil in Redmond's general direction. Faithful viewer Erok notes an Associated Press article whose headline pretty much says it all: "Microsoft admits critical flaw in nearly all Windows software." And no, they're not just talking about the fact that using it makes you want to shoot yourself.

Get this: apparently just about every version of Windows ever shipped includes a fun little vulnerability that "could allow hackers to seize control of a victim's Windows computer over the Internet, stealing data, deleting files or eavesdropping on emails." Better yet, when they say "nearly all Windows software," they're including the brand spankin' new Windows Server 2003, which Microsoft had previously touted as "its safest ever." (Granted, that's like calling Quaker's latest mix of oatmeal "its tongue-scorchingly spiciest ever," but hey, it's Microsoft.) Ah, so this is what a stonyfaced Microsoft commitment to "Trustworthy Computing" gets us! Terrorists the world over are toasting each other with celebratory Frescas even as you read this.

Of course, Microsoft didn't admit the presence of the flaw until it had a patch ready, but you know how that goes: when it comes to Windows, as soon as you plug one hole, three others pop open. So what's our succinct advice to U.S. citizens now that Microsoft is technologically responsible for protecting us from terrorist attacks? Simple: Run! RUN FOR THE HILLS!!

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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


The above scene was taken from the 7/17/03 episode:

July 17, 2003: Apple beats the analysts and posts a $19 million quarterly profit-- and is just chock full of happy news. Meanwhile, prepares to take on the iTunes Music Store with its own Windows-catering copycat called "iMusic," and Microsoft admits that virtually every version of Windows contains a massive security flaw-- the day after it wins a $90 million, 5-year contract to supply software to the Department of Homeland Security...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4081: Time For The Happy Dance (7/17/03)   Yeeeaaaaahhhhh BUDDY! If you found the time to tune in to Honest Fred Anderson's quarterly conference call with the analysts, you already know that the news is good, the ink is black, and it's nothing but sunshine and smooth sailing from here on in...

  • 4082: Something Sounds Familiar (7/17/03)   Say, did anyone notice just how heavily discussion during that conference call was skewed towards topics of a decidedly musical nature? And there was plenty of good news on that front, too. Consider, for instance, the fact that Apple sold 304,000 iPods this past quarter; not only is that up from 80,000 iPods sold in the previous quarter (and 54,000 sold in the quarter a year before), but it's also almost a third of all iPods ever sold, which certainly suggests that the iPod is still a massively accelerating product...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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