19 Aug Open Letter: Blasted Worm
You did it; you brought Bill Gates to his tender knees. Oh, yes, you could hear the cries ringing throughout the Microsoft campus. ‘Curses, you worm writer, you!” It echoed among the buildings, all but drowning out the sawing sound of the gnashing of teeth. And beneath the whimpers you could almost hear Billy saying it: “I will, I will, I promise I will stop making money and fix my software.”*
Wow, if only the U.S. antitrust lawyers had thought of this.
And what of “San”? Your confession of love spread from computer to computer across the network, just to reach your one true love. Touching really. San must be proud, must beam at you, knowing the lengths you’ll go to proclaim your devotion.
Yes, your worm was effective, all right. But certainly not as you expected. A team of Microsoft engineers spend a few all-nighters renaming servers and your worm is rendered helpless. The cost to Microsoft was no more than a rounding error on its financial statement. Damage to Microsoft’s reputation? Zero. In fact, in some corners, Microsoft is being praised for reacting quickly to the crisis. Updating system software and issuing warnings and patches in short order. Symantec and Network Associates made a bit of coin on the deal, too. They sold a lot of anti-virus software in the past few days. All in all, it was a pretty good week for the system software and tools providers.
Meanwhile a whole lot of innocent bystanders got screwed. Nearly everyone in my circle of associates lost at least a few hours’ productivity thanks to your brilliant plan to cripple Microsoft. Me? I lost about 60 hours, dropped about $300 on an IT-gun-for- hire. Good timing, too. The DEMOmobile program was due to the designer last week. But, hey, I’m sure she didn’t mind waiting three days while I cursed the big black paperweight my PC had become.
Seriously, my misguided worm-writing friend, what were you thinking?!? If you need to declare your love, hire a skywriter, buy a billboard, take out an ad in “USA Today.” If you want to show Microsoft what good programming is all about, write software that is productive, that contributes positively to the state of the art. Any clown can write garbage that crashes computers. Or was that your point? Frankly, my friend, Microsoft’s software may have security flaws, but it was your wisecracking code that screwed my system, not Microsoft’s.
And if you think for a moment that you are some sort of high-tech hero, think again. The good guys are the engineers at Symantec, Network Associates, Zone Labs, Microsoft, and dozens of other software companies, and the small army of corporate and independent IT guys. These are the ones who jumped into the fray, worked overtime, and helped the Average Joe fix and defend computer systems last week. You? You’re just a punk.
So why don’t you go get a real job and leave the software writing to people who at least intend to do some good. And next time, leave me alone.
Yours in the quest for better software, Chris
* Embedded in the MSBlaster worm was this text:
I just want to say LOVE YOU SAN!!
billy gates why do you make this possible?
Stop making money and fix your software!!
* * * THREE QUESTIONS: LOVIN’ WHERE YOU LIVE * * * * * *
Last week, I posited that the “Milkweed Effect”; would drive tech-savvy people from the centers of innovation — places like Silicon Valley, Boston, and Seattle — to regions known more for quality of life than quality of product development. The column generated some intriguing responses, which I’ve aggregated on my Web site (http://www.cshipley.com/Newsletter.html). The results of the Three Questions Survey, however, were less decisive. While nearly all respondents said their work required that they be present at a specific location, three quarters said they could fulfill their responsibilities to their employer as a contractor as easily as an employee. The lines split 50/50 over where respondents preferred to live. While half plan to stay put, the other half said they’d “prefer the lifestyle afforded by other locales.” Why? Traffic “nightmares 24 hours a day,” long lines, waiting, “surly service,” expensive housing, expensive gasoline. They sound like good reasons to move to me.
Take this week’s Three Question Survey and tell us how the MSBlaster Worm affected you. You’ll find the survey at http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?H4QYH23K8EXLSVGLMRGTBJ7X.
Chris Shipley is the executive producer of NetworkWorld’s DEMO Conferences, Editor of DEMOletter and a technology industry analyst for nearly 20 years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shipley, has covered the personal technology business since 1984 and is regarded as one of the top analysts covering the technology industry today. Shipley has worked as a writer and editor for variety of technology consumer magazines, including PC Week, PC Magazine, PC/Computing, and InfoWorld, US Magazine and Working Woman. She has written two books on communications and Internet technology, has won numerous awards for journalistic excellence, and was named the #1 newsletter editor by Marketing Computers for two years in a row.
In addition to her work with print publications, Shipley has extensive experience in online publishing, having developed online content and communities on every major platform, including AOL and the Web. Before joining IDG, Shipley established a consulting practice to help Silicon Valley technology companies define their media strategies. Shipley is a frequent speaker at technology industry forums, and acts as an advisor to several startup ventures. To subscribe to DEMOletter please visit: http://www.idgexecforums.com/demoletter/index.html
The next DEMO conference is DEMOmobile September 17-19. For more information please visit http://www.idgexecforums.com/demomobile/index.html
This column was reprinted with permission of Network World Inc.
IDG Executive Forums, a division of Network World, Inc., is an information resource company dedicated to serving executives in the high-technology marketplace. Most widely known for producing the high-tech industry’s premiere executive conferences and newsletters, the company provides the industry analysis, information, insights, and networking opportunities its customers need to excel in the fastest-paced marketplace in the world. The company’s products include AGENDA®, DEMO®, DEMOmobile®, DIGITAL SPECTRUM(tm), VORTEX, DEMOletter®, and VORTEX Digest. All registered trademarks are owned by IDG. More information can be found at http:// www.idgef.com .
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