So... it's been a while since I blogged - and i'll detail more on that elsewhere - but I felt singularly inspired after a story my wife told me tonight, about NZ Couriers. Again.
She arrived home yesterday afternoon shortly after 4pm to find some courier-delivered packages on the doorstep.
This on it's own wouldn't be a problem except that at least one of them was 'signature required'. That is, it's not meant to be delivered unless someone signs for it.
So Liz hits up the NZ Couriers website and does a track-trace on the delivery ID - to discover that it was signed for at 2.25pm - when she wasn't home!! (I know this as she was in the CBD with me... !)
Seriously, what the hell?
So... Delivery guy forges the addressee's signature and just leaves it on the doorstep. Today Liz gets a response from NZ Couriers to say that this is "industry standard practisr". Err... Wut?
Not the first time we've had problems with NZ Couriers, to be honest. Late last year Liz ordered an item from a company based in Penrose and was to have it couriered to to our home in Birkdale. The company tried to tell us that if we wanted delivery during the month of December we'd be best to pick it up from their depot (in Mt Wellington). (For those who aren't aware, Mt Wellington and Penrose are immediately adjacent, on the wrong side of the Harbour Bridge from Birkdale!) Track-and-tracing of the item at the time showed that it never got beyond being picked up by the courier. Then they couldn't find it. Then after much nagging on our part, the courier finally found it and delivered it... but had to get his teenage daughter to come to our door as he couldn't face up to us!!
There's a certain resonant truth in this "LulzSec" article by Patrick Grey, the man behind Risky Business, a Security Blogger and Podcaster known to the NZ 'scene'.
It's hilarious. Hilarious because it's so true.
In my opinion it is possible to build a 'secure' system - but there's a couple of caveats.
1) Security comes in many layers; electronic security is just one. If someone can get physical access to your gear, your network, your workstations or servers... you're toast.
2) Any system with external connectivity is reduced in security, Firewalls or no Firewalls. IPSEC or no IPSEC.
3) Any system with Internet connectivity is worse again.
Note that 2 and 3 are different. Ultimately the Internet has to be looked at as a 'wild, wild west of computers' and one has to accept that by being online, you've got a big target painted on you. All you can do is reduce your profile. Much like dodging criminals in our fine city's dodgier neighbourhoods. Nod to Metlstorm's 'low hanging fruit' presentation from Kiwicon 2009.... if your fruit hang low they will be harvested, along with all the goodness contained therein.
So if you want a truly secure environment, connectivity to the Internet should be seen as a) optional, and b) risky. And if you're on the Internet, accept that there's definate limitations to the level of security you can expect.
This goes double, and perhaps even triple, for anyone actively using Facebook or its ilk. How much of your personal data is on there? How much faith are you putting in a megacorp who's in the 'we're so big the individual doesn't matter' camp?
Clare Curran, an MP in Dunedin and the Labour ICT spokesperson, has blogged in response to last night's dramas around the new Copyright legislation.
Her blog on the Labour Blog Site Red Alert refers to her comments at the second reading on her own website and on review I see where she's coming from.
So Clare, I say to you this:
- As noted by one of the people who responded to Red Alert you have indeed 'played the hand you were dealt'.
- It could indeed be argued that Labour's position created a 'better law'.
- The law is still flawed
- The method in which it was introduced was also flawed (though for many of us who marvel at how slowly the wheels turn, perhaps it's just a nice change to see law change enacted relatively quickly).
- None of this excuses leveraging the Christchurch Earthquake to get the law passed without fair notice to those who care, who are numerous, and
- Labour were not vocal enough about this last point.
You do mention it in your speech, so credit and respect to you. And I do understand what you're trying to achieve in playing closer to the middle of the field.
But we've got a lemon piece of legislation here in at least some respects, and we've had it passed into law in a very, very cheeky fashion. I do hope you're making it known to your opposition in parliament that the populace disapproves.
BlakJak.net returns to the Blackout in protest of the Government taking advantage of Parliamentary Urgency to get the Copyright law passed.
Once again I lose confidence in the New Zealand Government (and anyone who knows me, knows that I like to give the benefit of the doubt to the art of 'due process').
This time it's all over the news, and Twitter has been a storm of it. The introduction of the Controversial Internet File Sharing Law whilst the Government is operating in 'Urgency' (obstensibly to allow the response to the Christchurch Earthquake to be sped-up) is beyond cheeky; it's a disgrace.
Last night I was reading the tweets of folks who were watching Parliamentary TV and was struck by a reported truth; that many MP's are ignorant of Internet related matters. Seriously, comparing the Internet to Skynet? (see the video at the above URL).
Perhaps obviously, it's the youngest MP's who 'get it'. The Green's Gareth Hughes in particular scored a lot of brownie points amongst the twitter-folk I follow for actually making some sane comments (video now below). Labour's ICT spokesperson Clare Curran also apparently was talking some sense, but this doesn't explain why Labour didn't oppose the governments behavior more actively (sorry Clare, but you want to be 'strategic' ? Are you defending the Nats here?)
Even David Farrar who is himself a Nat, criticised the Governments moves here. He appears to have more faith than I retain, however, in the remainder of the process actually holding any value for Kiwis.
Melissa Lee on the other hand, it was pointed out, made an absolute idiot of herself, as did Katrina Shanks. Revised Stuff Article has plenty of useful commentary.
So read the facts, folks, and be warned... trouble is brewing.
Gareth Hughes's speech now on Youtube... worthy of your time!! (A shame the rest of Parliament pretty much ignored him by all accounts.)
Yes I may well be voting Green at the next election, and it sounds like plenty of my IT-industry colleagues may consider the same.
The BlakJak.net server is to be relocated again; this time because it's current landlord is moving house, and the server has to move with it!
We're working to minimise impact (which, of course, impacts on our own services as well as the folks we host) but at this stage I can advise as follows:
- Moving-out of the current premesis kicks off on Saturday 26 February.
- The Internet Connection should remain available until Monday 28 February.
- At some stage (time unable to be accurately determined) on Monday 28 February, skyhawk.blakjak.net will be physically taken down and moved to its new premesis.
- The same day, it's backhaul link (a TelstraClear cable connect in Wellington at present) is to be moved from current premesis to new premesis. It's likely that this will involve an IP address change as well, but this is unconfirmed.
- In preparation for the possibility of IP change, DNS TTL's have been lowered. Downtime will be kept to an absolute minimum but you should expect the server to be offline for several hours on the Monday during the transition phase.
The aim is of course to minimise impact (to you and also to ourselves) so with this in mind, David's put a bit of work into a contingency option.
If we struggle with connectivity during the transition, the server will be placed online over whatever means are available, and a rather cleverly architectured VPN + Proxy arrangement will kick in. The result should be that most services (in particular mail and web) will come back even as we work to fix the issues. (Of course, DNS will still be working for all domain names as they're redundantly hosted, any email sent will be queued, etc).
If the contingency plan referenced above is needed, please note additional flow-on effects:
-- It's possible that the non-host record (eg http://blakjak.net as opposed to http://www.blakjak.net) for sites we host will not work immediately.
I was surprised at the stink that the use of the term in a Police Media Release apparently caused.
Mainstream Media in NZ didn't use the term themselves in much of their coverage but the Police themselves issued an apology.
Growing up in Manurewa - the middle of South Auckland and a cultural melting-pot of ethnicities and skin colours - I didn't think twice when folks used the term.
So I was surprised at the furore that erupted here.
Good grief folks, is this the PC brigade gone-mad - or is there something to this in your opinion?