Ranting and raving and carrying on

Just a few random thoughts about random stuff. Warning - may contain profanity

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Location: Toronto-ish, Ontario, Canada

Just a guy... Bit of a geek, but who isn't these days?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Day two in blogspace

As I mentioned in my first post, I work in IT Security as a hacker. From this, you can probably gather that I know a lot about computers. Either that, or the company I work for is completely incompetent. But they seem to make bucketloads of money every year (not that I see that much of it, relatively speaking...), so they can't be too stupid.

Anyway, to further "establish my credentials" in the computer industry, I used to teach computer programming at a small college (more about that another time), and also used to provide tech support at a major Canadian university.

All of this means I have a few opinions about computers in general. Actually, I have a few opinions about many things, as anyone who reads this blog regularly will find. But today I want to talk about computers.

I want to say two things to the populace at large with respect to computers...

First, I am truly sorry for the state of the computer industry today, both software and hardware. We can do better, and we should do better. It is within our grasp to make software easy to use, useful, and secure, and to make both software and hardware a heck of a lot more intuitive, cheaper, and less cryptic. And yet we don't, generally for profit considerations. It's expensive to test the hell out of software, and there's pressure (typically from shareholders, but often from the user community as well) to ship NOW, not in 3 months. Linux is part of the answer, but Linux can have a steep learning curve. Being on the Internet shouldn't be like learning to drive - you shouldn't need to take classes and pass an exam. Except maybe you should, which brings me to my second statement.

Get the heck off of the Internet, and don't come back until you know how to behave. Seriously, I was on the 'net back in the early 90s, when most of you were too busy watching TV to even consider the idea of e-mail and web surfing. There has always been an unwritten code of conduct about how to behave on the net, but since "world + dog" discovered this thing it's gone to hell in a handbasket. Here's a few places to start. Learn how to compose a proper e-mail - heck, just learn the rules of grammar and spelling and I'll be happy. Learn why you shouldn't type ALL IN CAPS all the time, or use the "blink" tag in your Geocities webpage (or why you shouldn't even use Geocities). Understand that you aren't doing anyone a favour by forwarding them that e-mail about Bill Gates giving them a million dollars to forward that e-mail, or the one about the "Good Times" virus. Ask me permission before you send me great big huge e-mail attachments that fill my in-box and take forever to download. And understand that, while you can see and reach "the whole world" via the Internet, most of us have our own lives, and don't really care that much about yours. Don't post (to web, newsgroups, or even blogs) unless you've got something to say. And by something to say, I don't mean "I got an A in my math test".

That's all from me for now. More later.