Keep it Classy San Diego

I got to see a preview showing of Anchorman: the legend of Ron Bergundy (Quicktime req’d) courtesy of Popbitch at Vue (the old Warner Village) in Leicester Square earlier on in the week. It is fantastic: the memorable punchlines come thick and fast, Will Ferrells physical humour is great and references to cultural touchstones such as West Side Story are deftly grafted in. I am a big fan of Will Ferrell anyway, but the film had a sterling cast including performances from Luke Wilson, Joe Black, Vince Vaughn, a relatively tolerable Ben Stiller and even cinema hard man Danny Trejo.My reservations about the film is only that I am sure come Christmas time next year I will get tired of people quoting its dialogue; in the same way that

Ali G from the 11 O’Clock Show and the League of Gentlemen were sucked of their creative marrow by the same fools. So I thought I would get in first with the Ron Bergundy sign-off as the article title.Plot spoiler: for all you animal lovers out there, the dog comes back.

In conclusion, by Thor’s hammer you should go and see this film if its the only one you catch this month. This is the film that Austin Powers trilogy should have been.

The Hidden Manifestos

Much of the media coverage online, in print and broadcast has focused on the razmatazz of the party conventions and the soap opera dramatics surrounding their characters. What has been largely missed out has been a critique of their economic policies. The New Yorker magazine has posted an outline of George Bush’s tax policy here. It reads like an unfettered neo-conservative text without any of the social conscience aspect to taxation and government that we have come to expect from the social democratic parties that govern Europe. In addition to benefiting the very rich and adversely affecting the poor and the elderly, the cuts proposed will hollow out the middle classes. What they gain in tax cuts, they will more than lose in increased health insurance, pension allowances, education fees and social security insurance. As many political analysts will tell you, the health and stability of a country depends on an economically strong, vibrant and numerous middle class.

More than its domestic implications to all strata of society, it will also help increase the cultural and political gap between Europe and the United States.

Breaking News

Quattrone elevated to exclusive club. Following his sentencing to 15 to 21 months jail time (which he will be appealing) Frank Quattrone has joined Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky and Martha Stewart to the big stripey house country club for people that are too greedy.

When Frank isn’t working on a chain gang he could put some of that time to good use reading articles from the 2004 Goizeuta Directors Conference on corporate governance. Details are here.

Who the heck is Frank Quattrone anyway?

Frank’s bio from the Stanford Business School advisory board (of which he is or maybe was a member)

Frank Quattrone is former managing director and head of CSFB Technology Group. He was a member of the executive board of CSFB and a member of the investment banking global leadership committee. Mr. Quattrone has 22 years of investment banking experience, including 17 years at Morgan Stanley, where he was managing director and head of the firm’s Global Technology Investment Banking Group, which he helped build from its early days in 1981. Prior to joining CSFB, Mr. Quattrone was a managing director at Deutsche Bank, where he was founder and CEO of DMG Technology Group.

Mr. Quattrone has advised on hundreds of IPOs, common stock and convertible offerings, and merger and acquisition transactions for technology companies including 3Com, Adobe, Agilent, Amazon.com, America Online, Apple, Applied Materials, Ascend, Broadcom, Cisco, Corvis, Cypress, E*Trade, Handspring, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Instinet, Intel, Intuit, KLA/Tencor, Linear Technology, Lucent Technologies, Lycos, National Semiconductor, Netscape, Nortel, Oracle, Pacific Century Cyberworks, Phone.com, Quantum, STMicroelectronics, Siemens, Synopsys, Synoptics, Verisign, Veritas, Wind River, Xilinx, and Zhone.

Mr. Quattrone serves on the boards of directors of 4Charity.com, Packet Design, The Tech Museum of Innovation, and Tech Network, and he serves on the board of Castilleja School. He received his BS degree summa cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar.

If you go out in the woods today….

You’re sure of a big surprise. No, not the teddy bears picnic but geeks and other social undesireables playing life-action D&D (Dungeons and Dragons). Shockingly bad costumes and a strange fat man prancing about throwing crumbled paper towels shouting ‘lightning ball’. Check this out.

Oh Sh!t, CSC & BAE Systems Scupper UK Nuclear Deterrent

From this morning’s edition of online news site The Register. Royal Navy’s capability neutered by stealth. What is really scarey about this is that the political parties have not made any comment. Maybe this has something to do with the millions that Microsoft spends on public affairs and bailing Labour out of the potential white elephant of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, which at the time threatened to be as big a disaster as the Millenium Dome. Orginal article here, interesting bits below

“Almost three years ago the naval systems arm of major UK defence contractor BAE Systems took the decision to standardise future development on Microsoft Windows. an immediate effect was to commit BAE’s joint venture CMS subsidiary, AMS, who specialise in naval Combat Management Systems, to implementing a Windows 2000-based CMS system for the new Type 45 Destroyer.”

“Acting as spokesman for the concerned engineers Gerald Wilson compiled a 50 page dossier detailing the unsuitability of Windows as a foundation for a naval command system, and arguing that BAE’s Unix history and expertise made open source UN*X a logical and viable way forward. The company then made him redundant. In May of this year Wilson reiterated his concerns to the board of BAE Systems at the company’s AGM, pointing out that Windows is “proprietary technology owned by a foreign corporation”, has “many and continuing security flaws”, and is not even warranted by Microsoft itself for safety-related use. Why then, he asked, is AMS “shunning established engineering practice” by developing the Type 45’s CMS on Windows.”

“AMS supports this with copious documentation on the AMS approach to open systems, which can be summarised as open, so long as it uses Windows. Earlier AMS had announced the deployment of Windows on submarine HMS Torbay, together with plans to retrofit Windows to Vanguard class and other attack submarines.”


Vanguard class boats carry Trident nuclear missiles!

“BAE had undergone several structural changes. One consequence was that computer resources were owned and controlled by BAE’s outsourcing partner (Computer Sciences Corporation). CSC’s published policy was to standardise BAE’s computers to use only Microsoft’s proprietary software.”

 

So this decision was based on the fact that the company outsources its PC helpdesks to CSC!

“In April 2002, Bill Gates, acting as Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect, gave extensive testimony under oath to the US Courts. Gates’s testimony included description of the current structure of Microsoft Windows. Snubbing fifty years of progress in computer science, the current structure of Windows abandoned the accepted principles of modular design and reverted instead to the, much deprecated, entangled monolithic approach. Paragraphs 207 to 223 are particularly revealing about Microsoft’s chosen approach (paragraph 216 is difficult to believe!). Anyone with elementary knowledge of computer science can see that Microsoft Windows, as described here by Gates, is inherently insecure by design.”

 

 

“These continual problems demonstrate how, in practice, Windows proves inherently insecure by design. There are many public descriptions of this issue: but a succinct summary is found here: (Does open source software enhance security? – The Register) Although partisan, Greene’s analysis is accurate. Greene distinguishes how the structure of Windows (entangled, monolithic) necessarily compromises its security when compared with the structure of open source UNIX (modular, scaleable). It is simple to infer which structure is preferable for building a safe and secure foundation for an engineered system, such as a naval command system. A more recent example is this recommendation in a recent security advisory from the Computer Emergency Readiness Team, now part of the US Department of Homeland Security. (US-CERT Vulnerability Note VU#713878, 9th June 2004 Microsoft Internet Explorer does not properly validate source of redirected frame).”

Gives the blue screen of death a whole new meaning.