Home Users: A Public Health Problem?

In his latest Counterpane, Bruce Schneier argues that the ISP should shoulder the burden of “protecting” home users from spam, viruses and provide a “clean pipe”.
I can’t disagree with this more.
Bruce’ point of view is coloured by his having a competent IT administration department, that if Bruce requires something, will be adjusted to his needs (Bruce is the boss after all).
Having been the end user of a large corporate IT department, where everything is done for the lowest common denominator, for expert users this is a crushing blow to productivity and utility. I want my ISP to provide me with an unfiltered, unfettered pipe that is my own problem to deal with.
Bruce claims that “I wonder about those who say “educate the users.” Have they tried? Have they ever met an actual user? It’s unrealistic to expect home users to be responsible for their own security. They don’t have the expertise, and they’re not going to learn. And it’s not just user actions we need to worry about; these computers are insecure right out of the box.
I wonder if they said the same thing about motor vehicles, or horses when they were introduced ?
I believe that educating the users is the _only_ way to have viable interconnectivity, and if that means that ISPs act as gatekeepers to prevent users who can’t clean up their own mess, then they can block their outgoing traffic.
Currently there is no incentive for users to clean up their act. Give them an incentive, revoke their licence to internet, but don’t put the burden of cost and loss of utility onto users who are quite capable of looking after their own back yard.
My Mum & Dad are pretty good examples of “the average internet users”. I got them to install AVG at the start, and have left them to their own devices. Twice a year they have a local IT guy come to their place and he either reformats and re-installs Windows, or does a thorough checkup and repair of their systems. I think it costs them about $50 each time, plus a cup of coffee.
We don’t think it’s strange that we have education to learn to drive a car, nor do we think it’s strange that we take our cars for a regular service (2-3 times a year).
Yet, when it comes to computers, the users are impossible to educate ? I’d say there is no effective incentives or repercussions for non-educated users.
Give them an incentive, turn off their pipe. That’ll give a bit of a push for people to stop leeching off the help desks of the ISPs (“I can’t find my spacebar with a map and 2 hands”) and take a bit of personal responsibility.
Or, get the fuck off the internet. If my Mum & Dad can do it, anybody can. It’s just that they have some degree of personal pride to make sure they know what is going on, and not perpetuate the “nanny state” thinking so prevalent in society these days.
Edit: It appears that Marcus Ranum has already written a similar response here

Why some recruitment agencies are pond scum

I got this unsolicited turd in my email today. I’ve reproduced it in it’s entirety because I want to make sure that nobody has any dealings with these morons.
First of all, my CV is almost entirely Java, secondly I explicitly have put on my website that if you contact me, you’d better have done your research.
Finally, the one thing that caps it all off, is the atrocious spelling and grammar. What a pack of idiots. If you’re an employer, do yourself a favour and have nothing to do with these guys.
Fucking recruiters, damn leeches.
——————————————-
Dear Jon Eaves,
Greetings!! We come across your CV in internet. We have an immediate
opportunity with major financial institution in SYDNEY CBD for C++
professionals.
We believe you do have the required skill set. Permanent and Contract
both opportunities are existing.
Client offers competitive rates.
If you are looking for change in your career, please do forward your
updated CV immediately.
Thanks
Regards
Narendra Kamalapuri, HR Director
ZSoft Technologies Pty Ltd
4/12, Russell Street
Strathfield
NSW-2135
Mob:0404 247 270
————————————————————-

Names

I read with great amusement this article on TheAge.com. It’s an opinion piece about “Why do some wives still change their names?”.
Except that it’s not really opinion, it’s an old fashioned rant by the author towards women who have changed their names, and how they’re letting all the feminists down. It reminds me strongly of the rants of the evils of drugs and alcohol by people who’ve never had the opportunity to experience it first hand, and are so jealous to be in the position to make such a decision.
Now, I’m guilty of the same sorts of rants, and as such, I feel that I’m a good position to respond in kind.
Dear Catherine Deveny, you’re guilty of the worst form of stereotyping. You can’t imagine that a couple could have come to some form of consensus that is contrary to your position.
You’ve painted all these women, which include my beautiful wife, as some form of puppet to my wishes and desires. You’ve trivialised the decisions that we, as a couple, went through in deciding what we wanted to do when we got married and what the future might hold.
How dare you describe my wife as “deeply insecure, deeply conservative or deeply stupid. And in deep denial.” when you don’t even know her.
For those of my dear friends who know my wife, they would laugh at the suggestion that I could own my wife.
For your benefit, I’ll outline what happens when a normal couple, living in a normal relationship make important decisions. We talk about it.
In this case I was extra sensitive about name changing because my wife had already been married, and I was very keen to ensure that she didn’t feel that she had to do anything in that regard. I even offered to change my name to her surname. Does that make me deeply insecure, deeply conservative or deeply stupid ? Because every time this story has been relayed, people have expressed how beautiful and romantic it was.
At the end of the day, I’m a practical person, and it had far less to do with romanticism, than it had to do with living life. How many of your friend with 3 surnames have tried to query a Gas Bill in the name of the other partner ? Get emergency assistance ? Convince the hospital at 7pm that the husband with the smashed elbow is really your husband, and you can go and visit him ? If they’re willing on every level to deal with that crap, then they’re a better person than me. I’ve got better things to do with my time than to deal with the dissonance that exists in bureaucracy when the exceptions to the norm are encountered.
So, that was my reasons for our family (which at that stage was only 2) having the same surname.
My wife also wanted our surname to be the same, but for different reasons. She wanted to have children, and wanted them to grow up with a feeling of identity, of belonging and clanship. She wanted them to have some concrete form of this which they could hold on to. You see, for both our families we are very proud of this identity, as I am sure are all families who have grown up in a loving and sharing environment.
She raised the issues of school, naming of the children. Is it “Eaves” or “McConnell” or “McConnell-Eaves” or “Eaves-McConnell” ? How will other children react when they find out that daddy or mummy has a different name ? Will that be harder for our children than it needs to be ?
Finally the decision came down to my wife about which surname, and she decided that she wanted our family to take my surname. The reason still brings tears to my eyes, and I’m not sure if she remembers the conversation, but I sure do.
“Our two families are the best families in the whole world. Our family name has lots of children and grandchildren to continue it, and your family only has you, and your brother. It’s very important to me that your name continues to exist.”
I don’t know about too many people, but that doesn’t sound “deeply insecure, deeply conservative or deeply stupid. And in deep denial”.
Maybe it’s just not being “deeply jealous” of the opportunity to have somebody to share that choice with.