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Does anyone else notice their back door doesn't lock?

Written by Gordon Fecyk, 4/25/2006

I live in a tough neighbourhood where residents don't care about their own physical security.

Why should I expect them to care about their own digital security?

[Listen to MP3 Audio] I LIVE IN A TOUGH NEIGHBOURHOOD as far as Winnipeg, Manitoba goes. Anyone who's bothered to look up's contact information, or read my own business cards for that matter, probably knows this.

Bear with me folks. This will lead to commentary on bad design.

I routinely observe adolescent boys carousing along the street at night, batting at trees they pass or even the occasional truck window. I see younger children playing near the street in the day. The local Anglican church hosts a soup line every morning. Merely one block away, our province's capital building attracts tourists and bureaucrats alike, and this tough little corner of Winnipeg is conveniently obscured from their view.

Yet the people who live here know all about security, either from observing the neighbourhood at night or having had possessions stolen before. They know how important it is to lock doors, bring in the children at night, set alarms, all that common dwelling and business security wisdom. "Good fences make good neighbours," very much applies here.

At least, that was what I thought until about a couple months ago.

THE STREET THUGS KNOW THIS ALREADY so I'm sure telling the rest of the world won't add harm to anyone in my building. The back door doesn't always lock. In fact, it fails to lock so often that every time I pass it I make a concious effort to lock it.

Yes, I've reported this to my caretaker. Yes, I've also reported this to my landlord. And yes, I've pointed it out to my fellow residents if they happen to be around when I push the door closed. Yet the door still doesn't lock. They haven't fixed it.

I would have thought enough concern for security would force the landlord or the caretaker to fix their broken lock. My caretaker's response? No one else told me about this.

No one else? Nobody else who lives in this building bothered to tell the caretaker, or the landlord, or the city, or the bureaucrats one block away, that their building's security is compromised.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Within one of Winnipeg's toughest neighbourhoods lives some of Winnipeg's most apathetic residents.

There are many WebEx customers that push out installs on a monthly basis and this is the first complaint that I have seen with the MSI installer.

Really?! Does anyone else not notice these design problems?

HERE'S WHERE IT LEADS TO BAD DESIGN. WebEx Comunications, formerly Activetouch, Incorporated, recently made some changes to their WebEx line of conferencing products. These changes finally allow a limited user to use their meeting manager, training manager and playback software without hacking security settings. The administrator installs the software, and the users can use it.

Even better: WebEx's software comes packaged using Windows Installer technology, so Group Policy administrators can install it without having to go to each computer in a network. Yes, they also admitted that they update their WebEx line of software fairly frequently, almost as often as Microsoft updates Windows. But at least using Windows Installer, or MSI packages, an admin can push updates fairly frequently, right?

Wrong. The installer, if used with Group Policy, doesn't even create program shortcuts. Heck it doesn't even install everything for all users. When the administrator installs the MSI package for their Training Manager onto a Windows 2000 or Windows XP computer, they still have to "reinstall" the Training Manager by joining a meeting.

Okay, okay, the technician who took my support request explained that the WebEx system "verifies" the installation before using it. Why, then, did program shortcuts only show up after this "verification" process? Sounds like an installation process to me. And why did program shortcuts only show up for the administrator who installed it?

Here's the kicker. The technician went on to explain: There are many WebEx customers that push out installs on a monthly basis and this is the first complaint that I have seen with the MSI installer. I have to admit I don't follow every designer's bad designs on a monthly basis, but is this really the first complaint?

Does anyone else not notice these blatant design problems? Does no one else use Group Policy to install software? Does no one else check to make sure software updates and new installations work for their users? Does everyone use the local admin hack other so-called "experts" use to make badly designed programs work in their networks?

Does anyone else notice that their back door doesn't always lock?

Ewww, I'm starting to sound like Steve Gibson!

AMAZING. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. Here I am trying to teach safe computing to my clients, while I live in a neighbourhood where residents don't even care about their own physical security. Why should I expect them to care about their own digital security?

Then again, these are the same residents who don't bother moving their cars during a city-wide snow clearing parking ban, and who subsequently blame the city when the police issue them parking tickets. I'll bet they also blame Microsoft every time their computers get a virus.

Does anyone else notice that the typical fine for illegal parking, and the typical fee for computer virus removal is about the same? Coincidence?!

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