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Cadzow News: September 2016

Hello, Good Morning and Welcome

Milestones

We remembered this year that the domain cadzow.com.au is now 20 years old. It was first registered in 1996. Back then, domains were registered manually by Robert Elz who more or less was doing it voluntarily in addition to his full-time job. The eligibility requirements of domains on the .com.au space were relatively tight, and those restrictions remain largely in place today. This has resulted in the Australian domain registry being quite clean of spurious, junk or scam domains.

Last year we noted the 25th anniversary of the incorporation of Cadzow TECH Pty Ltd, but the first invoice was issued in January 1991 so the company has had another 25th anniversary, of sorts.

2016 is also the 15th anniversary of creating our managed services suite — which of course we still provide today. The wider industry spent much of the noughties talking about how resellers needed to transition from “moving boxes” to “providing services” — but we had already started. Actually, although we had a formal fee structure for managing IT from 2001, most of what we did through the 1990s was also based on services.

And finally, Cadzow 2000, our suite of line-of-business applications, is 20 years old this year. In 1996 we took a few design decisions which have held up really well. One, the architecture would not have arbitrary “limits”. For example, instead of following the old practice of providing space for, say, a telephone number, fax number, postal address and delivery address, we provided unlimited space for all sorts of details. There were no limits to comments, transaction line items, or the storage of entries. And we did away with period ageing! Secondly, we built it to connect to small-scale MDB databases or larger-scale Microsoft SQL Server databases without needing to change the internal logic. As we added added web-based front-ends to the system, having the data in SQL Server was very useful.

New Telephone Number

The office has a new phone number — (08) 8431 2912.

ScamWatch

Bundleware is a long-running scam which doesn't get a great deal of attention. This is one of the major ways computers become infested with junk, popups and other rubbish. Scammers take legitimate programs, like Firefox, Acrobat Reader and so forth, and bundle the installers with all sorts of other rubbish that is designed to display ads and hijack your web searches. This generates income for them, and slows down your computer and internet connection. In terms of malware removal, this is the most common incident we have to deal with.

It's easy to fall victim to this, because often the top search hits for common programs are actually ads. For example, in the following search result, the first link is a third-party download package for Firefox. The second link is the legitimate site.

We also receive regular reports from clients about the following scams which still have traction:

  • Unsolicited calls that you have a problem with Outlook;

  • Unsolicited calls (or web popups) that you have a virus;

  • Unsolicited calls that your phone is being switched or needs a plan change.

Additionally, the usual phishing/malware scam emails are becoming much more sophisticated and can look very real, containing real information.

See also the following for more naughtiness: Phishing Trips, Phishing & Email Virus Scams: 2012 Update, Mobile Phone Scams, Newsflash! Scams on Internet!.

Please always check with us anything that you are unsure about, and be “unsure” about almost everything.

Haiku

The passwords we give
Might seem long and weird to you
They will keep you safe

Exotic New Domains Available

Most people are familiar with the usual top-level domains (TLDs) such as .com or .au (which gives rise to .com.au, .org.au etc). So in Australia, organisations generally register a domain that ends in .com.au and they might also register the same name in .com.

In 2005, ICANN introduced a small number new TLDs such as .eu and .mobi, and in recent years has further released hundreds of new TLDs, such as .accountants, .tech, .cafe, .dog. The idea is to create a domain name which instantly conveys the purpose, and there are names designed for almost every business segment.

Part of the idea of this liberalisation of the TLDs has been to break free from the arbitrarily-chosen limits of .com and the various country TLDs (.au, .uk etc). But there has also been a lot of speculative activity in the space, as opposed to legitimate business simply picking a domain that suits them, so the system is going to be full of junk domains fairly quickly.

This means that businesses looking to add some spice to their online identity need to think about what it means for them. In Australia, .com.au names have a good reputation because they are governed tightly, and relatively expensive. So nobody starts using a .com.au address without a proper purpose, and that good reputation immediately registers — however subtly — in the minds of new clients of the business.

On the other hand, a business that starts using a name like smith.accountants does not engender the same trust. For one thing, a lot of people are not familiar with this type of domain name and won't understand it. And for another, for people who do understand, it virtually says “My business is so young I could get this new domain” or “I'm so vain I abandoned my old domain and got this pretty one instead”, neither of which are particularly professional ideas to project.

Still, it's worth some thought as to whether one of these new domains is right for you. Perhaps you could register one and keep it on ice for a while. But be wary; unlike the straight .com.au domains, the exotic domains are fairly unregulated with pricing and there is a lot of bait-and-switch going on. Registrars are offering some of these domains very cheaply for a while, but the long-term price might skyrocket.

Geoff's Old Comedy Section

People often ask why the Monty Python troupe were so different and ultimately so influential. One answer is that their sketch structure didn't rely on traditional beginning/middle/end jokes, with setups and punchlines. They could use any tiny fragment of a comic idea, however briefly. This enabled the original Monty Python's Flying Circus television sketch show to have a much different vibe and to play with comic ideas that had not been otherwise usable. One example is Eric Idle's “Nudge Nudge” sketch, which had been rejected for The Two Ronnies because it “didn't have any jokes in it”.

But another answer is that these chaps were just so good at what they were doing. Consider the “Birth” sequence from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life:

Not only do the 30-year-old jokes in this routine still resonate with anybody who's had involvement with the health system, the Pythons predicted and made a joke about sharing on social media as being more important and interesting than the experience being shared. Genius.


Pike: What do I do if the bomb goes off?
Jones: Well, you'll just have to use your initiative.

Dad's Army, “Something Nasty In The Vault”, by David Croft & Jimmy Perry, 1974.

“Everybody in this room is wearing a uniform, and don't kid yourself”

— Frank Zappa, from the Mothers Of Invention album Burnt Weeny Sandwich, 1970

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