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Journal Journal: Italian judge rules HP must refund preinstalled Windows

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera is reporting that an Italian judge has ruled in a recent case, where a buyer of a Compaq notebook asked HP to refund for the unwanted preinstalled Microsoft software. The judge ruled against HP, that was trying to use Microsoft's EULA as a basis for their refusal: the (italian) EULA indeed clearly states that

if the end user is not willing to abide by this EULA [...] he shall immediately contact the producer to get info for giving back the product and obtaining refunds.

HP defended , claiming the terms of their contract with Microsoft; the judge ruled that the end user request may not be dismissed based on a contract between HP and Microsoft, since this latter is unknown to the end user. The end user, a member of ADUC (a consumer organization) was given 90euro for Windows and 50euro for Works; this is just a small symbolical amount, but it is a huge signal to HP and all other major vendor; in defending, HP claimed that the license and contract to Microsoft is unilaterally written by Microsoft; the judge ruled that nonetheless, HP is to be held accountable by the EULA; the ruling seem to suggest that it may be time for vendors to address this situation.
Note that the Italian version of the EULA differs from the U.S.A. version, that states


and does not specify who the enduser should ask the refund to.


Journal Journal: The co-inventor of the TV remote, Robert Adler, passed away

CNN reports that Robert Adler, who co-invented the device that made the couch potato possible, died Thursday at 93. Adler was a prolific inventor, earning more than 180 U.S. patents. He was best known for his 1956 Zenith Space Command remote control, which helped make TV a truly sedentary pastime. Few people today would imagine that that remote was ultrasound, and did not need batteries to operate.
The Media

Journal Journal: HPP - The Hacker Profiling Project

Italian news are again talking of The Hacker Profiling Project ( slashdot story here ).
What I do not like of the HPP project is that it identifies "hacker" with "someone who intrudes into systems" ; whereas I identify it more as "someone who creates and modifies computer software or computer hardware" (and wikipedia as well ). And what I do not like of media is that they do not perceive the difference.

Journal Journal: Dumb security quiz

While I was reading an article in CNNMoney, I saw and run
the "security quiz" at ... only to find it quite dumb, and funny;
so I wrote whis open letter to the authors of the quiz, that I want to share with you /.ers

I ran through your security quiz and I found it somewhat dumb. Why do I
say so?

Because I scored 10 / 100 - and yet I run a secure host, that
serves multiple contents on Internet !

If you want to understand more, read your quiz as follows, alongside
to my comments (and have a laugh, please).

"Quiz How safe is your computer?"

A: my computer is very safe: it is standing on a firm support, has
backup power, and will (probably) not catch fire in the near future.

What you want to say is:
"how safe is your OS?"
But, then, your quiz is missing the question
0) do you use Microsoft Windows?
After that, all other questions are screwed up. See why in the

"1) My computer has anti-virus software installed."

Virus? What is a virus? I have been using my OS for 9 years and never
got a virus. I got some security problems: in 1999 my host was hacked
(because I was not expert enogh to know the importance of installing
security updates); yet I have never ever seen a virus in my OS.

"2. My computer has a firewall program installed."

Who needs it? InterNet clients can access on my host only through the
services that I have activated; if a cracker wants to break in my
system, it will need to abuse a fault in one of the above services; in
this case, a firewall will not stop him; after that the cracker may as
well deactivate any firewall that I set up.

There is now a widespread idea that a firewall will protect Windows XP
from viruses and attacks; this is b***t, as your article " Firms warn
of new Mydoom worm" clearly testifies.

"3. I always read the "terms of agreement" before I download free software."

I often do, but not always, so I got 0 points nonetheless. Anyway I
  do not think that all sw that contains viruses/spywire is advertising
  this in the "terms of agreement". If you think so then you must be
  living in wonderland.

"4. I always click "yes" when I'm prompted by my software vendors (like Microsoft) to update my security. "

I answer "true" to this. So I score my 10 points.
But I would prefer the question
"I know what a "security update", and I actively check and install
any available "security update" for my OS and applications
(or, a tool in the OS does this for me)."

"5. I only open e-mail attachments if I am expecting them."

It depends; sometimes, if they look funny, I save them
and I open them with some tools to see what the latest virus is up to.
So I score 0.

"6. My e-mail is configured to allow for only text-only messages."

Nope. My mail client is "Mozilla", and it is configured to show
HTML message, but to ignore JavaScript and such,
and to avoid downloading images from remote http servers;
so it is reasonably secure, and yet I do not lose the possibility
of viewing HTML. Why don't you use "Mozilla" or "Thunderbird", too?

"7. I always turn my computer off when I'm not using it because I have
      continuous Internet access."

You joking? And shutdown my 3 web sites?

Anyway, most of the virues enter in the PC when the user is using it;
so this question is quite dumb, sounds like:
"I have the safest system of the world, indeed I keep it off power 24/7"

"8. I saved my passwords in a file on my hard drive."

Yes, it is called '/etc/shadow'. :-)

And there is a similar file in Windows XP as well!

The point is: any modern OS has accounts with passwords, and they are
stored (surprise!) in the hard drive.

So this question 8 is on a dead heat with q.7 for the award "Dumbest
Question in a Security Quiz"


Journal Journal: procmail statistics

if you use procmail, you may like this snippet of shell script:
first_time=`head $LOG | grep '^From' | \
head -1 | cut -d' ' -f3-`
first_ctime=`date -d"$first_time" '+%s'`
last_ctime=`date '+%s'`
echo EMAIL Statistics, average messages per day
egrep '^ *Folder' $LOG | awk '{print $2}' |\
sort | uniq -c | \
awk '{ print $1 * 86400 / ( '$last_ctime' - '$first_ctime' ) " " $2 }'

I had set the procmail rule
* ^X-Spam-Level: \*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*
and I found out that spamassassin dunks ~130 messages a day into /dev/null WOW that is a lot more than I would think.
I have put the above script in ~/etc/cron.weekly (see previous post).

Journal Journal: own cron jobs

to have your own personal cron jobs, use

EDITOR=emacs crontab -e

to edit your crontab, and add

# m h dom mon dow user command
25 6 * * * run-parts --report $HOME/etc/cron.daily
47 6 * * 7 run-parts --report $HOME/etc/cron.weekly
52 6 1 * * run-parts --report $HOME/etc/cron.monthly

then , create the above directories, with

mkdir -p ~/etc/cron.{weekly,monthly,daily}

Any script or program that you put in the above dirs will be executed as expected. Warning this works well on computers that are always on; otherwise, you need anacron.

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