Blog entries from February, 2006

new addition: SPARCstation IPC

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006 at 11:17pm

Sun SPARCstation IPCTwo days ago I posted that the shortest duration between getting a new item and putting up photos of it was just under a week. The shortest duration is now one day as I have just put up photos of the SPARCstation IPC that I got yesterday.

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new addition: MessagePad 2000

Monday, February 20th, 2006 at 11:53pm

Apple MessagePad 2000This evening I got around to taking some photos of the MessagePad 2000 that I bought earlier in the month. This must be the shortest period between getting a new item for my collection and putting up photos of it.

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update: SGI O2

Sunday, February 12th, 2006 at 05:01pm

SGI O2A little over a week ago I acquired two new SGI systems and it is only now that I have been able to update the page for the O2 with photos I took this afternoon.

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Bystander effect

Saturday, February 11th, 2006 at 11:41am

Earlier this week I decided that it was about time that I stopped reading fiction novels and resume working my way through my (growing) pile of ‘educational’ books as it had been at least six months (probably more based on this post from last April) since I read the first chapter of Emotional Design. I am nearing the end of the book and although it has has been pretty interesting so far there has not been much of immediate practical use. Fortunately I will eventually be able to apply what I have learnt as my subconscious processes all of the information over time.

One item that immediately stuck me was the discussion about bystander effect (Norman refers to it as bystander apathy) as we have been guilty of that at work a number of times, most recently a few weeks ago. What happens is that the project is well on its way to failure but even though each member of the project team has concerns (this was elicited afterwards) no one says anything, mostly because they feel that their concerns are unfounded if no one else is expressing them as well. Most of the time this has led to a product that is costly to maintain but in a few cases (where someone outside the project team says something) we have been able to fix most of the problems before it is rolled to production.

I found the description of how airline crews constantly question each others actions (they treat it as a mark of respect not lack of trust) to be very interesting as that is similar to the reviews we introduced into our processes. Unfortunately I think we consider it as a lack of trust as they don’t often get done which means the quality suffers and ultimately the project fails. (I consider them a failure as they are unmaintainable but others consider a project a success the moment it gets client sign-off in production.)

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A change of SPAM strategy

Friday, February 10th, 2006 at 07:12pm

Back when I first setup this domain I configured a catch-all email address so that I could simply make up a unique email address on the fly when one was required for website registrations and similar uses. This has become unworkable as a few months ago someone started to use my domain in the from addresses which meant that all the bounce messages (not picked up by SpamAssassin) came to me, in the hundreds.

At one point (before I did some analysis and found out that most of the messages used different addresses) I considered changig the mail server config so these addresses were dropped. This accounts to a default permit policy which is the first of six dumb security ideas.

So what have I done? First I extracted all of the addresses that were used to send me the emails that I have retained, about 70 all up but a number of those are questionable, and created forwarding rules so that mesages send to these addresses will be forwarded on. Eventually I will remove the catch-all which will mean all of the unwanted emails will be dropped but in the interim I changed the catch-all to be my gmail account (that I never really used) so I can be sure I didn’t miss any addresses.

This does mean that I will need to create a new forwarding rule whenever I make up a new address but in the greater scheme I don’t do that very often and that small inconvenice will be overweighed by the huge reduction in the amount of spam I need to deal with.

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