Saturday, November 18, 2006

Stupid website tricks, part IV

As usual, the worst crap is generated by "Human Resources" departments. I logged onto my former employer's retirement website to check on the status. But wait! First I have to "register", because for "security reasons", I can no longer use my SSN as a logonid. Must be part of their commitiment to never reveal your SSN to anyone; unless of course, they pay for it.

Anyway, the tortuous registration process securely identified me by requesting a) part of my SSN, and b) my birthdate. The security enhancement must be subtle. Next screen says they couldn'tsecurely identify me after all! So they request my ZIP Code!, and now everything is secure.

Now begins the tortuous process of creating an acceptable logonid and password. The brilliant security minds here decided that security demands that logonids be 8-20 characters long, with no blanks or "special characters". Oddly, it says that passwords can be from 4-8 characters. So, guess what happens when I enter a five character password? An error message pops up saying "Passwords must be between 006 and 020 characters".

And for the programmer's convenience, I suppose, all the fields are cleared so I can just start over. It's always painfully obvious when the users aren't the customers.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The ultimate tip to the Internet

First if you use Microsoft IE, use it one last time to download Firefox. Otherwise, go away.

Now, get a little extension called "Server Spy". It downloads and installs in less than 10 seconds, and then you will see a new little area on your status bar, that tells you what kind of web server you're talking to (more accurately, the one that served the page you're looking at). If it says Apache, great. Almost anything else, probably fine. But when you see Microsoft IIS, flee!

Almost all screwed-up, bloated, crappy, stupid, brain-dead, dumbass, idiotic websites run on IIS. Sure, you could write a bloated, crappy, stupid, brain-dead, dumbass, idiotic website on Apache, but it would be a lot of work, and it's just natural on IIS.

Worse than the software, the morons who like working on Microsoft software have the common sense of jar of Vaseline. It goes with the territory though. Nothing from Microsoft is released until it has a nearly impenetrable user interface, is bloated with more "features" than you could discover in a year, and is guaranteed to use an astonishing amount of resources. Of course, crashes and security holes are always included, too.

Want more evidence? Almost all "Human Resources" websites run on IIS. Show me one of those that doesn't appear to have been designed by a retarded chimpanzee on crack.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"Democracy" in action

Well, it's been a busy couple of months here in redneck-land. For some reason, my picture has faded almost completely away.

Anyway, on to the point. I "voted" yesterday on one of those new-fangled electronic voting machines. Here's how it worked:

  1. As always, the old ladies look up my name in the register book.
  2. I sign the register book.
  3. They hand me a card... same size as a credit card with a smart chip in it.
  4. I stick this into a slot on the voting machine.
  5. I enter selections on the touch screen. I can "print" my ballot, but I can't touch or keep the paper.
  6. I pull the card out, and give it to a dude sho said he'd take care of it.

So, how do I know whether my vote was actually entered into the system? Answer: I don't, and there's no way for me to know. I haven't seen the programs that run on those machines, I haven't reviewed the chip designs, and I haven't seen a verified chain of custody that shows that the hardware and software are actually what I reviewed. So what's on the card? Who knows?

"It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." -- Stalin