Short Time-lapse Musings

Its 10:30 PM right now… looking out the window the night is covered in fog. This fog has been around for the past week or so, sometimes during the day the sun might break through, or the fog may take a nap, but in the evening and for the rest of each night, it’ll hang round. Actually, I like it especially when the glow from the streetlights reflects off the fog creating a kind of a serine night scene…

Its 10:35 PM right now… and I am really tired. I have been working on a number of work and school related projects including a business plan. The projects are due next week… not so exciting, however, the business plan is pretty exciting. I have a great team. We have been able to really refine the plan and I think it’s a really strong plan. We are going to submit it to at least one business plan competition and we really do believe it has a chance to make it to the final round to be held next year. If that works out, that would be awesome…

Its 10:40 PM right now… and I am thinking that maybe its about time to go to bed. Normally 10:40 PM is really not that late for me, but I have been pushing myself these last few weeks and so it’s all catching up with me… I need some good rest. Maybe this Thanksgiving I’ll sleep in till about 9:30 PM… then of course I’ll wake up feeling guilty about wasting the first part of the morning…

Its 10:43 PM right now… gotta add this post, go take a hot shower then hop into bed…

Google’s Business Plan… Have No Business Plan

The BBC online has a great article titled “Google searches for the future”. This is a really interesting article on Google and how the company is mapping out its growth and development. This quote summarizes the main point of the article.

Google’s business plan seems to be a simple one: its people start things, and then work out how to make money out of them. This is an internet land grab of extraordinary dimensions.

To me, this raises an interesting question in that, if Google does not really have an overall business plan in the business/MBA sense of the word, how can other companies determine what they are trying to do and respond effectivly

And… the Sony Saga Continues…

Microsoft’s next security update will detect and remove Sony’s rootkit, while Boing Boing has an interesting posting of what they titled as “Sony anti-customer technology roundup and time-line”

Meanwhile, some organizations’ IT departments are now assessing whether the rootkit is a potential threat to their systems as employees bring on Sony CDs to play at work on the office computers….

Sony Backs Down… Well Sort off…

Sony announced yesterday (Friday) that it was suspending the production of the CDs that have the copyright protection rootkit that was exploited by virus writers. On one hand, this is good news. On the other hand, I am once again thinking, what are they thinking? Rather than just suspend the production of the above CDs, they need to stop production completely, then go back to the drawing board and figure out how to compete in this new economy.

Sony and many like-minded companies seem to forget that one very important aspect of business, that business environment will always evolve. Old threats will disappear, but new threats will always show up. It seems that when companies are young, they seem to better grasp this fact than when they become a mature company.

These firms always talk about how they only hire the “best and the brightest”. Well, when you hire the best and brightest, you better make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Its time for Sony’s B&B went back to the drawing board to figure out how they can compete effectively in this new environment rather than relying on sneaky tricks that would eventually result in undermining the trust of and alienating their customer base. A good example of someone who understands that the current environment has changed is Apple’s wonder guy, Steve Jobs, who as developed a great new business model in response to the new threat.

When you think about it, it is really remarkable that Apple’s iPods has such a huge market share when Apple’s computers command a relatively small share of the overall desktop market. Maybe Sony should hire Jobs as a consultant…

I think we will all be watching to see how this all plays out for Sony and their products especially in terms of sales of Sony Music CDs. If the majority of their customers are unaware of the controversy, that would be fine for Sony, however, because of the internet, word gets around fast and so it comes down to how many people will become aware of this issue… time will tell

Trojans Now Capitalize on Sony’s Rootkit

It was bound to happen! According to this article on ZDNet, Trojans that take advantage of Sony’s rootkit have been spotted online. The article says that the initial version didn’t work too well, but variants that improved on the initial version quickly appeared thereafter. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that Sony’s idea of installing a rootkit on their consumer’s computers is a really, really bad idea. At the very least, this is going to be a public relations nightmare for Sony.

For those of you who somehow have not heard of this controversy, maybe I should give you a quick background. In the recent past few weeks or so, Sony has been marketing copyright/DRM protected CDs that when popped into the PCs CD drive, the user would be asked to click through a consent form after which the software would then automatically install a rootkit software hidden deep down on the hard drive. You can read more on the actual deals here. Unfortunately, for Sony, Mark Russinovich, an experienced software developer discovered the rootkit hidden on his computer while testing some security software he was writing. You can read about how he discovered this here.

What I don’t really understand is how the Sony engineers actually expected to get away with this maneuver. I find really astounding that someone (or some group) within Sony actually approved this action without thinking about the short/medium term implications. At the time of the discovery, computer security experts immediately warned that virus writers could or would create Trojans that could/would piggyback on Sony’s rootkit. And this is what has now happened.

Despite the backlash in some quarters, an number of positives developments have occurred. First, some anti-virus firms have also included the rootkit as spyware in their definitions. Second, Sony actually did an about turn on this and has posted a fix on its website to help expose the rootkit on one’s computer. However, according to ZDNet, to actually completely remove the rootkit from one’s system, one would have to call up Sony for assistance. Either which way, the damage may have been done. In fact, I smell another Harvard Business strategy case study waiting to be written.

Switching from Windows to Whatever

I was reading this article via Slashdot about over 1 million Windows users converting to Mac so far this year. There are a number of reasons they speculate may be the reason. However, there is one thing about Windows that really bothers me, and that is all the insecurity associated with Windows. On my laptop, I have no less than 6 applications checking for spyware, trojans, viruses, keyloggers and other forms of malware. Now, some of these applications are interfearing with the running of my computer and slowing it down, but when you’re online, you really have no choice. In light of this, I would gladly switch to an alternative… except there really is no alternative for me right now.

You may have been following my adventures with Ubuntu, but it will be a while before I can even think of switching completely to Linux. One thing I hope for sure is that Windows Vista (by the way, who on earth came up with that name??) will be much better security wise. I am tired of running all this extra stuff on my computer just so I can surf the web and check email….

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