LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You Know You're DOOMED When...
you look in your mini-bar and only see one word... Pepsi.
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
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In This Issue...
Mysore Day Off
Hot on the heals of the U.S. Veterans Administration losing a laptop with the names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth for 26.5 million veterans, hotels.com has done virtually the same screw up for 243,000 of its customers.
An Ernst & Young employee, doing an audit, walked out hotels.com's door with a laptop full of customer data. The car of this person was stolen and the laptop was in the car. This story could only be better if the car was parked in front of a strip club.
What I don't get is why hotels.com allows the data about their customers (including credit card information) to leave the building. Why does the Ernst & Young employee need the credit card data to do the audit? Why can't the Ernst & Young employee do the audit in the hotels.com building? Why did the Ernst & Young employee leave a laptop with unencrypted yet very sensitive data unattended in a car?
If you think I'm being just a bit too picky, I'm not. It isn't like this hasn't happened before. The number of data loss stories is piling up, and yet Corporate America and the government keep screwing us over and over again, yet not learning from the mistakes. (To be fair, you don't hear about those companies who forbid their auditors from taking data from the building.)
hotels.com needs to be punished. Yes, it's very nice that they sent letters to their customers offering free identity theft protection, blah, blah, blah. They are still responsible for causing a quarter of a million people to have to do something about their mistake. Any company who screws up in this fashion in this day and age is not a company we can trust with our data. Identity theft is a nightmare that is extremely hard to recover from. hotels.com needs to feel the pain. I say no business for them. Any company with Swiss Cheese security needs to die.
Every city has one attribute which defines it. Bangalore's defining attribute is the traffic. It is so intense that it makes Boston drivers look like a bunch of pansies. After all, in Boston they stay in their own lane. In Bangalore one lane will usually contain one car and at least two motor bikes. Sometimes, two cars if motor bikes can't be found. I'm not sure why they bother to paint the lanes on the road. This is a complete free for all, and surprisingly I have only seen one traffic accident. Top speeds appear to be about 30 KPH, but you get a better illusion of speed as the car next to you passes with only inches to spare (and sometimes going in the opposite direction).
There are traffic lights in India, but they are not as strictly enforced as I am used to. For instance, if my driver has managed to push his way to the front of the pack at the red light, he'll be anxiously awaiting the light change. But he won't wait for it.
Each traffic light has a count down clock. If you have a green light, the count down tells you how long the light will remain green, and vise versa for red. As we wait at the red light, all eyes are on the clock, when it changes from 6 to 5, every one stomps on the gas and takes off! The light is still red, but the race is on!
Every sort of vehicle is trying to win this race, from the buses, to the motorized ricshaws. Everyone is leaning on their horn trying to intimidate the other drivers out of their way. This is why I have a driver, and not a rental car. If I had a car, I'd be taking hostages.
Bangalore is not, as many people call it, the Sillycon Valley of India. To me, The Valley is an incubator which bares new ideas, and technology with the midwifery of Venture Capital, and the stimulous of Diet Coke. Bangalore is not an incubator. It is where technology goes to be put to work. But just as it is important to leave The Valley from time to time, it is important to get out of Bangalore to see more of India.
A WTHAIS QA Manager is also in town, and gave me a call. He was headed for the palace at Mysore, and invited me to join him. Finally, after 18 days of breathing some of the worst air on the planet, I left Bangalore, for considerably cleaner air.
One of the Bangalore QA staff, his wife, and their daughter picked us up after breakfast and drove the three hours to Mysore. After lunch, they planned to take their daughter to the zoo after dropping the QA Manager and I at the Palace.
The Lakshmi Vilas Palace at Mysore was the home of the local Maharaja and his family. In 1947, as India re-gained its independence, the new government told all of the Maharajas that their services were no longer required. The palaces were taken away, and a monthly stipend was paid to each. In 1947, 3000 rupees per month was a lot of money, but 60 years later it is about 68 dollars US. (The stipend was never adjusted for inflation.)
It costs 20 rupees for admission to the palace. You can use your camera on the grounds, but are not allowed to take it inside. You must check your camera and pay a 5 rupee fee for the locker. You also may not wear your shoes inside the palace and can check them for 4 rupees. Camera-less and bare-foot, we were ready to tour.
An older Indian man approached us and asked if we would like a guide for 250 rupees each. This was more than 12 times the admission price, but the man did have a government badge, and fee schedule. We figured a guide would help us understand what we were seeing.
The palace interior is spectacular. What a shame that photography is not allowed. Some buildings are filled with boring square rooms. The Lakshmi Vilas Palace has grand hallways with arced ceilings, octagonal chambers used for weddings, stained glass domes, and 28 large paintings depicting a royal procession through the streets of Mysore.
Some of the paintings have a surprise. If you observe the shadows, the implied position of the sun, people's faces, hands, shoes, the heads of horses and elephants, then walk to the other side of the painting, all of these appear to have shifted. The paintings were created with a forced perspective which always keeps the implied position of the sun over your shoulder, and the principles of the paintings facing you. Most of the people touring the palace just walk past these paintings. The 500 rupees we had paid ensured that we didn't miss this magic.
After the palace tour, we retrieved our cameras and shoes and took pictures around the grounds. Then we were to call our hosts who were at the zoo to let them know we were ready to move on. But we found that my mobile phone was unable to find a signal. We sat at the rendezvous point until our hosts arrived.
Jacko Enters Clinic For Annual "Dose of Reality"
Doctors Report Popular Singer Developing Resistance to Treatment.
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"Is there anything we shouldn't do with German customers?"
"Don't sound French!"
"You have a point, but as usual, you are wrong."
"I was named after my father's girlfriend."
"I do dumb, really well."
The crowd is turning ugly.
(They pay me to think. These are my thoughts. Do you think they are getting their money's worth?)
Remember: The Crapolla contains my personal opinions. That's right they're mine, so get your own! And you kids get off my lawn!
Although written with the software professional in mind, my mind tends to wander all over the place, and I sometimes write about politics, mass stoopidity, dumb things I saw, and whatever else comes to mind.
From time to time, I use salty language, thus The Crapolla is not intended for children, or certain people in the Bush Administration.
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