October 24th, 2005

full steam ahead

Left hand, right hand, phishing hand

I like competitions (even though I rarely win). I bet the people who get taken in by phishing emails like competitions too; the idea of something for nothing makes the 419 scams and the $12.42 in your Paypal messages attractive (the inverse of the ironic implied threat that you'll lose money if you don't click the link to secure your account). Best practice is never to click links in email even if you're sure you know where they go because if you type in the URL you know it's www.paypal.com and not a creative mistyping like paypaI or rnary@sandm. October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, sponsored by the FTC, the NCSA, Microsoft and the like... So is it really a good idea for Hotmail to run a competition where you sign up for an email reminder to get another chance to win - by clicking a link in the email?

Fun figures

I write quite a lot of 'big number' pieces - pick a few interesting statistics and splash the numbers around - so I collect figures as I go along. Looking back at my notes from the Intel Developer Forum the one that still makes me laugh is that a baby accumulates 16" of documentation in 6 weeks in the US health system. Rather more depressing is that the last 20% of our lives generates 80% of our medcal needs and costs (80:20 seems to be a fractal principle of life). Also scary: 34% of families in the US take a laptop on holiday and 50% would consider it. Before they used visualisations, 80% of the times Halliburton drilled a $100 million hole they wouldn't find oil; now they jet 70% of the time (insert political comment about efficiency vs invasion). During the development of Centrino, Intel found 3,000 bugs in the way systems connected to wireless access points. With most WiFi 30-50% of the data rate is used up for addressing. (That's enough figures - Ed)