Mashup Idea of the Day

With yesterday’s unsalted password dump at LinkedIn (seriously LinkedIn, wtf are you doing not salting your passwords?), the password dump of eHarmony and today’s suspected compromise at, this would be an ideal time to provide a service that tells the truth behind an eHarmony profile simply by matching email addresses and passwords.

For example you could enter an eHarmony profile ID in, and it would check the user’s LinkedIn and profiles. A sample output could be:

“Sorry love, you know that 28-year-old, dashing, handsome, eco-friendly power company executive who loves 80s and 90s ballads whilst sunset walks on the beach, kittens and surprise weekends away? He’s actually a married 45-year-old IT Support Executive who’s favourite hobby is being Waldorf on World of Warcraft (as per the Twitter feed connected to his LinkedIn account). His favourite bands are Slayer and Megadeath, but recently has been listening to the Eurovision Song Contest Dusseldorf 2011 CD … a lot.”

Not a bad idea, hey? Please send all revenues from this service, if you implement it, to one of my nominated charities. Or buy me a book from my Kindle Wish List.

Opinion – What are common concerns about adopting cloud computing?

I am yet to be convinced that the current "Cloud Computing" wave is little more than vendor-driven marketing hype, driven by technologists that are chasing business revenue through the promise of "bottom line cost savings" – whilst conveniently ignoring business-critical issues such as Information (and not just IT) Security.

As a colleague highlighted to me recently, all Cloud Computing is, in reality, outsourcing IT to shared infrastructure – running your stuff on other people's kit via an internet connection. It is easy to see how the Outsourcing vision has rarely delivered the promised business value to the customer, as promised during the sales cycle from consultancies, offshoring shops and global system integrators. Whilst there has undoubtedly been costs savings in technology and skills acquisition; these savings have been negated by the increased overhead of "managing" the outsourced provider … re-insourcing is common even here in Australia.

The recent CA/Ponemon Survey around Cloud Computing Security highlighted some distribing issues – that the majority of Cloud proivders regard Information Security as the customers' problem and responsibility to deal with, rather than theirs: Gideon's blog is a nice summary at http://www.rationalsurvivability…. Sahil, this is in direct contrast to your Myth #8 (although to be fair SaaS != "Cloud" per se!)

One example is avaiability. Until CSPs increase the business value of their service through some sort of shared risk, shared reward model with the customer I can't see how businesses can justify the Cloud for anything above non-sensitive information. Look at Amazon EC2's compensation for its lack of availaility – 10 days hosting credit. Does this even come close to the estimated lost revenue for its major customers who were affected?

The Australian Government's Defence Signals Directorate have an excellent guidence note for organisations considering cloud. I would like to see CSPs review this – particularly para. 17 onwards – and if they can come up with a commercially viable answer to questions such as these, then the implementaiton of on-demand Cloud Computing may live up to the promise:…

What are common concerns about adopting cloud computing?

So the cows DO get confused by Daylight Savings Time!

Well, a few days ago I had a little rant about Daylight Savings Time in SE Queensland and how I couldn’t believe that some people in the Outback thought that the cows would get confused if we changed the clocks for some parts of the year.

Well, I was wrong. The Gold Coast Bulletin’s online editor pointed me in the direction of the report, so I could check it out. You can download the 273-page (erm … I should mention its actually 273-slides) report that the jurno referred to. Search for the word confuse and we actually do get 3 hits:

  • p80: Not suited to farming sector (e.g. milking cows; confuses livestock)
  • p199: Does not suit farmers/rural sector (confuses animals/ milking times)
  • p201: Does not suit farmers/rural sector (confuses animals/ milking times) (5% compared to nil).

And in each of those tables, if you do the maths, you can see that its more than just one or two respondents who actually believe the cows would get confused if the clocks went back or forward an hour.

Not really sure what to say … so I’ll just say that I am currently ROTFLMAO*!!!

*  and I do wish that someone would tell these Americans
   how to spell the word arse properly.

Opinion: Daylight Savings Time in SE Queensland

The issue of Daylight Savings Time for South-East Queensland has continually dogged the State Government and local pollies, including the new premier, Anna Bligh.

It is a very controversial topic. Indeed having lived in South East Queensland for a couple of years now, I know how much of a pain it is to get woken up by the strong sun at 5.30am and for it to be night again by 6pm. And, given our physical location of just above the 30 degree latitude, these times remain approximately the same throughout the year.

The pro-DST lobby, on the other hand, cite the cost to local businesses for not being “in sync” with businesses and government in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra; the personal cost to people who have to go to work meetings in those cities when they observe DST (i.e. they have to take the 5am flight out of Brisbane instead of the 6am flight to arrive on time … which generally means having to fly down the night before); and the impact it has in general health-wise on the population of the Gold Coast, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

The anti-daylight savings time lobby, predominately those from the Tropical and Regional areas, have some good arguments against implementing it; mostly complaining about Brisbanites and Business continually whining until they get their way. To her credit, Anna Bligh has decided that there will no longer be a referendum on this, as she needs to govern the whole of Queensland, and not just the South-East corner.

I personally am divided on this issue. On the one hand, it would be a lot nicer to have a beer after work as night falls; and not having to wake up early due to the bright sunlight or having to catch a stupidly early flight to comply with Qantas’ and Virgin’s view to schedule their flights around Mexican Standard Time (erm – sorry I mean Daylight Savings Time in NSW and VIC). But on the other hand, in Tropical and Regional QLD the introduction of DST would impact their communities even worse. Apparently, the curtains would fade faster and the cows would get confused.

I guess just because of my tounge-in-cheek anti-Southern State views I guess I would have to oppose the introduction of DST, I mean how can anyone like a sport where two teams just kick the ball to each other? And of course, it certainly puts Queensland on the map of the world, we officially have our own time zone (UTC+1000 Brisbane).

Still, a great article from a pro-DST journo which claims in the 273-page Government Report into the issue:

[…] showed the reasons some people were against moving clocks forward were as petty as ‘it would be no benefit to me’.

One woman said it just meant her husband would stay in the pub longer and, despite Premier Anna Bligh’s denials, some farmers were still concerned their livestock would get confused.

I would just love to see this report, but not been able to find it. Can anyone who does post a link?

If a couple of hundred retirees in the outback have blocked Daylight Savings Time just because they want to stop hubby staying in the pub longer and the cows getting confused, I would be p!ssing myself laughing about that for the rest of the week.

Chasers War on Sydney APEC Security: The Video

It was aired last night on the ABC. Media reports say that over 2.3 million people watched it last night, just in the Capital Cities alone. Which, I find amazing given that this is over 10% of the Australian population, and Wednesday evenings are usually reserved for the pub quiz or a barbie.

Those of you in Australia can download the full episode from the ABC, those internationally can find a higher-quality video, and those who are too lazy can just see it below.

Chasers’ War on Sydney APEC Security

Well, it had to happen didn’t it.

The Federal and NSW Governments spent over $250m on securing the Sydney CBD for the ongoing 2007 APEC Summit.

Two of the Chaser’s War on Everything guys, not only did they get waved through two checkpoints and posing as the Canadian motorcade, thy got as far as near Dubya’s hotel before being stopped, arrested and charged under the APEC Act.

The APEC Act restricts people from being in the “secure area” without justification during the summit (a case of guilty until you prove yourself innocent?). Even the ABC’s own report states that they didn’t intend to get as far as they did.

True, Chas being dressed up as Bin Laden during the stunt probably didn’t help, but is bloody funny.

This incident is highly embarrasing for the police, federal and state governments who have essentially fallen for the old trick of Social Engineering to bypass Security measures. For example, the media are reporting that it was due to a “breakdown in communication”, but surely they could have checked to see if the Canadians were in town in the first place (the Canadian PM hasn’t even arrived in Australia yet).

Of course, its not the only Security gaffe so far. Two “unauthorised” men were arrested for being in the hotel lobby when Dubya arrived. Two members of the Labor party were issued police passes for the security zone.

With the global media (so far: CNN, el Reg via Reuters, Australian, etc) already covering the story, I believe its likely that they will be made an example of when they front court in Early October.

Hopefully, these minor gaffes will jolt the authorities into a proper state of alert, against real risks or threats. Personally, i can’t wait until next weeks’ episode of The Chaser as they’ll be taking the piss big time.

We Wish England Was Australia…

Australian Culture at its finest, on the road to the upcoming Rugby World Cup. Our local rum-maker, Bundaberg Rum, has come up with an advert with a load of English People wishing that England was Australia. And, of course, its Pom-Bashing at its finest. 😀

Although Duncan MacLeod, on his TV adverts site, notes that the tune is sung to that of Jupiter, from the Planets Suite by Holst; English fans will also remember that it was also the Theme Tune to the 1999 Rugby World Cup broadcast on ITV, as well as many other World Cups; surely there is the implcit meaning in there that the Wallabies will totally whip the Poms on the field?

Comment: Emergency Supplies for Flood-Hit NSW

Few Australians will not be aware of the devastating storms that battered New South Wales last week, unfortunately claiming a number of lives and millions of dollars in damage as the Hunter River burst its banks and flooded many towns in the NSW Central Coast. Indeed, the storms have been reported widely across the world, and have been the worst to hit the region for over 30 years.

Now, in the latest of my series of Why I Love Australia, I’d also like to comment upon the fact that for the two major Eastern States (Queensland and New South Wales), there is an annual rugby tournament which is fiercly contested, called State of Origin.

Although by rights I should gloat about Queensland’s glorious victory over NSW last night, ending a the “hoodoo curse” of QLD never beating NSW at the Telstra Stadium in Sydney; I won’t out of respect for the NSW supporters who are extremely annoyed at losing the series for the second year running. (heehee).

However, what I would like to point out is the predicament that those affected by the NSW Storms/Floods were in. With the local watering holes flooded out, how could the local community support the Blues in the match? Well, thanks to the State Emergency Service,  the day was saved by emergency rations of beer being delivered by boat and helicopter, just in time for the match.

This is a great example of Australian mateship. No matter how difficult the situation, no matter how hard times we fall upon, I love the fact that you’re always there to help a fellow Aussie in dire times of need (for example, when a disaster occurs, in times of need, or most importantly, when the hotel runs out of beer). So thanks to the SES, the beer was in the pub in time for Origin II.

Doesn’t it make you proud.

Unfortunately, the way the BBC reported the same story simply makes us sound like a nation of alcoholics. Bloody poms.