Swedes, creeds, and dirty deeds

Got an opinion on Google Profiles, Swedish pirates, our antiquated legal system, or Twitter's swine flu obsession? You're not alone. Here's the best of what Cringesters had to say on these and other topics.

I write, you read. You write, I read. Amazing how that works, isn't it?  In fact, I've been remiss in keeping up with my correspondence, so I thought I'd pick some of the best of what the residents of Cringeville had to say about my blog lately. Needless to say, they don't often agree.

First, Cringester C. H. offered this view of Google Profiles ("Your own private Google"):

With the amount of identity theft these days why in God's name or anyone else's would someone want one of these things. Despite how highly Google thinks of themselves and their security bad stuff happens. Why give out more unique information than is necessary to get by on a daily basis?

[ Got amazing IT tales, real-life experiences, lessons learned the hard way, or war stories from the trenches? Submit it to InfoWorld's Off the Record blog. If we publish your story, we'll send you a $50 American Express gift card. ]

On the other hand, A. M. says she's had a Profile for years, and it helps her drum up work:

As a nanny receiving around a third of my income from extra babysitting jobs, I've found some parents want to know what I'm up to online, except my social profiles (except Twitter and Blogger) are private, and my MySpace e-mail is one that no one knows since I don't even have it anymore! Now they can see info controlled by me.

J. W. agrees with my contention that our legal system is mired in the 19th century ("The wrong arm of the law") and served up a 10-point plan for reforming the court system (I'll spare you the details). He writes:

Having to recently deal with the "Legal" system in a divorce case, I can tell you firsthand that they are so far behind it's not funny....  lawyers don't like computers for one reason. If a client "learns" the process, like I did, we then can take control of the entire process (which I did) and stuff it to them (which I did).

Meanwhile, D. B. seems to believe that supporting U.S. record companies by opposing Pirate Bay would lead to free health care in the United States:

Please campaign for Healthcare to be Free in the U.S. as it is in Sweden. Until then, by supporting the "Pirate Bay" site you are stopping the money from going to Labels and Studios that traditionally fund Artists and Liberal causes whose political voice has been severely diminished by such sites during the Bush right-wing years when we needed it most. You are funding businessmen selling advertising at these sites and making millions in profit by not paying Hollywood for their content.

It gets even wackier from there. ("Please buy this CD, turn your head, and cough. Oops, sorry for the cold hands.")

H. T. enjoyed my post on Twitter hysteria ("One swine flu over the cuckoo's nest"). She writes:

What's worse than stupid people and those who prey on them is the fact that we have SO MANY stupid people with too much sensationalistic propaganda being thrown at them, and they're just lapping it all up. This in turn causes reasonable people to have to pay attention to this, especially large employers and the like, out of fear of insurance/legal liabilities, which in turn scares the stupid people even more, and makes normally reasonable people jittery -- it's a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle.

J. T., however, begs to differ:

Oh come on.  Have you actually read the comments? Most users/posters are facetious and sarcastic. Nobody seems to be panicked and certainly not promoting panic on Twitter.

Finally, I heard back from Vladimir Katalov, CEO of ElcomSoft, of whom I wrote earlier this week ("Spies, damned spies, and security") after his tiny company got into a scuffle of sorts with PGP Corp. at the Infosecurity Europe trade show.

I'd asked whether his company's PGP password recovery program -- which uses a PC's graphics processing unit to do the number crunching necessary for cracking passwords -- could be used to gain illicit access to another person's PGP-encrypted data. His cheerful answer:

Yes, for sure our product can be used for evil. Like any other tool. (My favorite example is the hammer: you can use it for its main purpose, but can also break someone's head.)

You think maybe this is the real reason PGP Corp. was so upset? Hammer meet nail. Or possibly sickle.

(I should note that ElcomSoft's booth sat directly across the show floor from PGP's. Thanks to John Leyden of The Reg for that interesting tidbit.)

Katalov said Reed Exhibitions did in fact supply alternate posters for his company's booth (after PGP Corp. demanded the original ones come down), so it didn't have to sit naked for three days. Vlad the imbiber adds:

We're going to make a gift (guess what... right -- bottle of vodka :) to the person from [PGP] who complained to Reed about our booth. Just as 'thanks' for helping us with marketing :)

Hey, if I had to choose between partying with the suits at PGP and my comrades at ElcomSoft, I know which ones I'd pick. A big spasiba to all the Cringesters who've written me (including those not quoted here). Dasvedanya y'all.

Got a bone to pick about what I've written -- or should be writing about? Post your thoughts below or e-mail me: cringe@infoworld.com.

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