Mac Users, Beware!

A new malware variant is doing the rounds. Calling itself “Apple Security Center”, it tells you your Mac is infected. It isn’t infected. But as a counter showing the number of viruses “found” rapidly rises, it will offer to clean your computer. Don’t agree to let it!

Oh, you did. Damn. Well now you are infected.

It’s like inviting a vampire in. Modern computers are designed so that software can’t just install itself, it needs interaction from the user. So malware (that is, evil software) can’t do any harm until you give it permission. Now Mac and Linux are more common, and Windows is a great deal tougher than it used to be, malware is increasingly forced to focus on the one major remaining weakness of all computer systems. This is what techies like to call the PBCAK – the Problem Between Chair And Keyboard. In other words, you. Sometimes called scareware, things like “Apple Security Center” attempt to mindgame you into infecting your own computer.

Stop and think. It’s a Mac, it is quite to very unlikely that it has a virus. And anyway, who the heck is in any position to know what’s on your computer? If you did not install an antivirus program – and even now you really don’t need to – then you will not get virus warnings. Not real ones anyway.

Coke Ads, Life

The Two Infallible Powers - The Pope Bovril
God I love this mad old advert

Imagine that. The 125th anniversary of Coca Cola. We tend to think of that brand as symbolic of the modern world. It’s strange to remember that it’s a weird holdout from the Victorian era, like Bovril or Beecham‘s Powders. Perhaps this means it actually is an excellent product. We’ll never really know – how can you possibly separate the actual drink from its image and its history?

Hmm. Maybe there is a way. Apparently Osama bin Laden and his cohorts were fond of the stuff. If someone so vehemently opposed to everything the product is associated with still enjoys it, then surely the only explanation is that it is an objectively good beverage.

Well OK, it might also mean that Bin Laden was deeply conflicted and/or hypocritical. But still, you can’t help feeling that Coca Cola missed an opportunity for the most amazing celebrity endorsement ever.

Liberals Off The Agenda

Manchester Town Hall
London's Big Ben. Or Westminster Abbey maybe. Who the hell is on the picture desk?

It just shows how long the UK’s Liberals have been away from the cutting edge of politics. They asked for mold-breaking electoral reform but, too eager to get into government for the first time in almost a century, settled for a rederendum on change so half-assed that some reformers even campaigned against it. And somehow they end up with most of the blame for the cuts too. Their old rivals slit them up like a fish.

I guess that’s about it for one of the great historic political party. Twits.

Vote Yes You Idiots

OK United Kingdomites. You face a choice, and there is only one right answer. Your electoral system is a heap of horseshit. You can stick with being very poorly represented, or you can introduce a system which is better. Not a lot better, but better.

Look at what just happened to Canada. An unpopular Conservative government fell and the vote swung to the left – but the Conservatives got back in! The opposition was split between a centre and a left party, and though the left made huge gains, the centre one remained big enough to split the vote. That is your system, that’s what it does. It delivered a government that 3 in 5 Canadians despise.

Choose AV if you don’t want minority rule. Clear?

Now Everything Is Right Again

So you work until dawn, sleep halfway through the next day, wake up to find Osama Bin Laden has been killed. Not sure for a minute if I didn’t travel back in time in a dream. Really not too surprised that the eighth most common search mentioning his name was “Who is Bin Laden?” Ten years. You have to ask if George Bush was ever actually trying to find him at all.

And then you have to ask if that wasn’t such a bad idea.

Good Morning, Afternoon

A nice spot to have breakfast. Admittedly it’s the time of day when most people are having Sunday dinner, but I was up until 8.00. Thwarted just when I thought I was finished by a hard disk error. I’ll spare you the gory details.

(Edited to add: That there by the way is Neachtains, my local pub, and a view down Quay Street. Just out of shot is the river and Galway Bay.)