EuroIS/PraxIS July 2001

Managing reality in Information Systems - strategies for success

Systems Modelling Ltd. http://www.sysmod.com

IN THIS ISSUE

Welcome - Now Eurois at YahooGroups

Euro features

The secret of eurozone inflation?
The Mars Bar Index
The potential systemic pressures of the changeover
Eurobarometer survey May 2001
How to get the euro symbol in DOS

Information Security

Hackers deface European Commission site
Denial of Service attacks reported by Steve Gibson

On the lighter side

19 Web links in this newsletter

About this newsletter, Feedback, and Archives

Disclaimer

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WELCOME

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Patrick O'Beirne, Editor


Euro Features

Are you sure your software applications can support all the requirements for the business changeover to the euro? Get an independent assessment on their "compliance" or "euro-readiness" with our euro software certification service. [4]

The secret of eurozone inflation? 

Inflation in the eurozone has been increasing for all kinds of macro-economic reasons that economists love to dissect. It is already more than a percentage point above its 2% ceiling. But are they missing a hidden source pushing prices up - or should we say rounding up?

The changeover to the euro will mean that all the psychological price points beloved of retailers like 19.99 or convenient cash amounts like 2.00 will be lost in conversion. Ireland has the least enviable position - it is the only country in the Eurozone where the numeric value of prices will seem to increase because the euro is worth only 0.787564 Irish pounds. 10 pounds becomes 12.70 euro, not a convenient number. If the UK joins, the pound sterling would show an even greater increase. 

There are indications that some organisations are taking a tactical view of the changeover. Like the footballers who believe in "getting the retaliation in first", hospital charges, newspapers, and other prices have been rising to odd levels - which on inspection turn out to round down to psychological euro price points. Others are planning changes in product sizes and specifications to achieve desirable price points.

The Guardian reported under "Unilever pumps up euro inflation fears" [5] that Unilever has admitted that the phasing-out of national currencies had prompted it to bring forward price increases. The multinational's action added to expectations that firms would exploit the confusion caused by the change to the single currency in the first six weeks of next year to round up prices. Unilever - whose brands include Dove, Wall's ice-cream, Flora, Persil, Domestos and Calvin Klein cosmetics - said it was bringing forward price rises in order not to add to the confusion that will accompany the currency changeover. 

Euro-missers

Dutch retailers that use the switch to euro notes and coins as a cover for putting up prices are named and shamed on Consumentenbond [6] , Europe's largest national consumer association. This Dutch language website lists offenders under "EuroMissers" - organisations reported by its 640,000 members for a variety of faults, such as providing inadequate information to consumers, or rounding up prices.

There is nothing stopping a shop having one price on 31st Dec 2001 and a different one on 1 Jan 2002; after all, at present supermarkets change hundreds of prices every week. It will be up to consumers and their lobby organisations to keep a watch on price trends.

The Mars Bar Index

Euro-zone Price Check [7] Source: FT Bureaux 7 June 2001 reports the cost of a 64.5g Mars "Snickers" chocolate bar in select Euro-zone capitals:

Paris:    FFr6.50 - €0.99 
Rome:      L1,500 - €0.77 
Athens:     Dr200 - €0.59 
Amsterdam: Fl1.25 - €0.57
Madrid:    Pta 95 - €0.57 
Brussels:   22BFr - €0.55 
Dublin:       40p - €0.51
Berlin:       Dm1 - €0.51
 

Check out our EMU/Euro index page [2] for other news items. I recommend Euro-Impact [8] as a prime source of in-depth euro reporting and analysis. Here is a sample from their content syndicated through EUbusiness.com: 

The potential systemic pressures of the changeover to the euro [9]

FEE has identified a number of potential problem areas relating to public and investor confidence and work overload. The key points are:

Eurobarometer survey May 2001

The latest European Commission opinion survey Eurobarometer (361K PDF) [10] suggests that more people now believe the euro will bring them advantages rather than disadvantages.

The Commission's seventh "Flash Eurobarometer" survey of 6,531 people in May 2001, found 47 per cent of those questioned saw personal advantages from the euro against 41 per cent seeing disadvantages would predominate. 

The Commission cautioned that  "there is still a great deal to be done in informing, training and confidence-building for 306m citizens". They point out that in Greece and Italy there is low understanding of the value of the euro in terms of their national currency. 

Only 14% of respondents in Ireland and Portugal have tried to remember prices in euro. The Euro Changeover Board of Ireland (ECBI) which is spending on communications per capita about ten times the average of the other eurozone countries, is now going to tender to supply every citizen with a euro converter.

Testing the ATMs - or the ECB? [11] (FT)

Didier Reynders, the Belgian finance minister, has taken over as president of the Ecofin council of EU finance ministers. He suggested an informal approach to circumvent the refusal of the European Central Bank and Ecofin ministers to front-load euro notes to the general public. "All ATMs will have to be working perfectly on January 1, so why not have some tests?" He is in contact with the banking sector to find ways of allowing the public to obtain "small amounts" of E5, E10 and E20 notes in advance.

The FT reports that an internal European Commission document, circulated among retail groups this week,  concluded that, even in the most favourable circumstances, the notes would reach only 4 per cent of Greeks and Italians on the first day, while in the best case - Ireland - 26 per cent penetration was forecast. By the fifth day, the Irish and Finns would be fully supplied with euro notes, but they would have reached only 24 per cent of Greeks.

How to get the euro symbol in DOS

Microsoft do not offer the euro symbol in MSDOS. I have come across workarounds from Columbia University and Uwe Sieber in Germany.

A Columbia University Wordperfect support [12] page shows how to get the euro symbol in MS-DOS and all varieties of Windows DOS and Windows command prompts. Firstly, backup the existing files ega.cpi and keyboard.sys. Then visit the IBM PC DOS 7 Y2K patch FTP site [13]:  Download the file dos7??y2.exe dated 12/15/1998 12:00AM 1,362,732 bytes. (?? is the country code, US for USA and UK PCs) Run it to extract the file DOSUPDAT.EXE, then run that to extract EGA.CPI and KEYBOARD.SYS which replace the files of the same name in the C:\Windows\Command directory. The IBM euro symbol looks rather odd, the top and bottom curves of the E have curious excrescences.

NewDOS.FON from Uwe Sieber [14] contains four new OEM-fonts for the DOS-Box and Consoles, freeware for private use. They are available with Codepages 437, 850, 865 and 852. A licence is required for commercial use and full-screen versions.

This year is the last chance for companies to make the euro changeover, so we remind you of our euro training and IT consultancy services in  euro compliance software testing and BASDA certification [3], and the book+CD on euro conversion [1], to help you succeed!


Information Security

Hackers deface European Commission site (IDG)

IDG reports [15] that in June, Dutch hackers defaced SaferInternet.org, a Web site sponsored by the European Commission that promotes a safer Internet. They inserted two hyperlinks, one to a Web site for Hackers at Large 2001, an event to be held in the Netherlands in August, and one to a database elsewhere on SaferInternet.org. The database, which can be downloaded by following the link, reportedly contains about 475 e-mail addresses of people who subscribe to the SaferInternet.org mailing list. The holes were linked to known vulnerabilities in Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Information Server, which one would have expected the UK-based web design company to have prevented.

What a Denial of Service attack feels like

Steve Gibson of Gibson Research reports that during the first few weeks of May, GRC.COM was the target of several distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks launched by a 13-year-old hacker using a tool he did not write. Using this tool, "Wicked" commanded multiple sustained attacks from 474 security-compromised Windows-based PC's. Read his log of the events [16] and transcript of his interaction with the hacker.

It could  get worse in future; Steve adds "For no good reason whatsoever, Microsoft has equipped Windows 2000 and XP with the ability FOR ANY APPLICATION to generate incredibly malicious Internet traffic, including spoofed source IP's and SYN-flooding full scale Denial of Service (DoS) attacks!". 


Project Management Proverbs

Good estimators aren't modest: if it's huge they say so. 

Parkinson and Murphy are alive and well - and working on your project. 

For a bit more than proverbs, read the Businesseurope article on time management techniques [17] Working long hours does not necessarily equate to increased productivity.


The lighter side

If B2B sounds like a rock band and low-hanging fruit sounds like lunch, then you're a Jargon Survivor. Seehow Jargon Offenders are punished on Death By Jargon [18], from Hoover's Online. The Jargon Challenge game requires ActiveX and is supported by Internet Explorer version 5 and above, and Netscape 4.74 and above - the game may take a minute or so to load.

The Brains Trust [19] is a UK satire site variously described as "British son of The Onion" - Guardian ; "Wit & chutzpah" - Independent ; "Doesn't pull punches" - Telegraph "Takes the prize for cutting edge Web-based satire" - OJR ; "Funniest satire site on the web" - BBC Online

 


WEB LINKS

[1] http://www.sysmod.com/maneuris.htm Managing the Euro in Information Systems: Strategies for Success

[2] http://www.sysmod.com/emu.htm Euro & EMU index page

[3] http://www.sysmod.com/basda.htm BASDA approve SML as software tester for EMU Accreditation

[4] http://www.sysmod.com/eurocert.htm Euro compliance software certification service

[5] http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,513121,00.html Unilever pumps up euro inflation fears

[6] www.consumentenbond.nl Dutch Consumer body

[7] http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3M58KTONC&live=true FT Mars Bar Price Index

[8] http://www.eubusiness.com/finance/euroimpact.html Euro-Impact purchase online from EUBusiness

[9] http://www.eubusiness.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=49658 The potential systemic pressures of the changeover to the euro (FEE)

[10]  http://europa.eu.int/comm/economy_finance/document/euro/00500_en.pdf Eurobarometer survey May 2001

[11]  

http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT38PX0RIOC&live=true&tagid=ZZZAFZAVA0C&subheading=europe Testing the ATMs - FT

[12] www.columbia.edu/~em36/wpdos/eurodos.html How to get the IBM PC euro symbol in MS DOS

[13] ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/ps/products/dos/fixes/dos7.0/year2000/ IBM PC OS Y2K Patch FTP site

[14] www.uwe-sieber.de/dosfon_e.html Uwe Sieber's Windows DOS box fonts with the euro symbol

[15] http://www.idg.net/ic_623148_1794_9-10000.html Hackes deface EC site

[16] http://grc.com/dos/grcdos.htm Detailed report on a DoS attack on GRC.com

[17] http://www.businesseurope.com/cmn/viewdoc.jsp?cat=op&docid=be_Doing_02Apr2001_162757910 Time management techniques

[18] http://www.deathbyjargon.com The Jargon Challenge

[19] http://www.thebrainstrust.co.uk/  The Brains Trust UK satire site

Patrick O'Beirne

Copyright 2001 Systems Modelling Limited, http://www.sysmod.com . Reproduction allowed provided the report is copied in its entirety and with this copyright notice.

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ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

"Praxis" means model or example, from the Greek verb "to do". The name is chosen to reflect our focus on practical solutions to IS problems, avoiding hype. If you like acronyms, think of it as "Patrick's reports and analysis across Information Systems".

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