PraxIS June 2002

Managing reality in Information Systems - strategies for success       ISSN 1649-2374

Systems Modelling Ltd.


Welcome and reader survey

Internet features
EU Directive adopted - anti-spam?
Cumulative Patch for Internet Explorer - must get
Microsoft Releases Your Personal Hotmail Info
More Google features from their labs

Euro features
BoE: Practical Issues Arising from the Euro: May 2002
Town in Wales enters Eurozone
 (plus a free euro calculator for two readers!)

Risk Management
'Advance fee' fraudsters - let the games begin 

On the lighter side 
The worst of the web
Welsh place name pronunciation

26 Web links in this newsletter
About this newsletter and Archives
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Please take the reader survey contained in this issue - that's how I know what interests you!


EU Directive adopted - anti-spam? 

The European Parliament vote on 30 May paved the way for an end to unsolicited email originating in Europe. The new EU directive on protection of personal data in electronic communications sets a world-wide precedent by adopting an opt-in system for e-mail, faxes and automated calling systems. However, civil liberties groups are concerned about powers to sieze ISP data logs. And of course spammers will continue using open relays in Korea and China.

The document: (along with an interesting record of the text changes) can be downloaded from the EU parliament press site. "Report on the Council common position for adopting a European Parliament and Council directive concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector"

What do you think? You can vote in the EBusiness poll: 

Cumulative Patch for Internet Explorer - must get

Microsoft (Q321232) Date: 15 May 2002 Software: Internet Explorer Impact: Six new vulnerabilities, the most serious of which could allow code of attacker's choice to run. Max Risk: Critical Bulletin: MS02-023 Microsoft encourages customers to review the Security Bulletin at: 

Microsoft Releases Your Personal Hotmail Info

The Eastside Journal, in Bellevue, Washington reports 

"Under Account Information, Hotmail has added three new boxes asking to 'Share my e-mail address','Share my first and last names',' and 'Share my other registration information.'
If you sign up for a new account, none of those boxes are checked. You would have to check them yourself to allow, or ``opt in'' to, the information sharing.
But if you already have a Hotmail account, Microsoft has checked two of the new boxes for you, allowing it to share your e-mail address and the other registration data such as your gender, occupation and birth date."

How to sign up for a free Hotmail account without divulging your personal information: 

Microsoft faces Brussels privacy inquiry (Financial Times) 
"The Commission has launched an investigation into whether Microsoft's .NET passport system, which collects personal information when users log on to particular websites, complies with data protection laws."

More Google features from their labs does what it says. Try typing in a word (or more) and see what sets it belongs to.

PWC loses PWC.COM reported that PriceWaterhouseCoopers lost their domain name to a cybersquatter.  It could happen to you ... think about it, is the email address you registered for the administrative contact still valid?  Be sure you have checked and updated all your registration contact details.



We value your feedback. Simply copy and paste the following section into a new email message and send your reply to ISSUES (at) SYSMOD (dot) COM

What is the main BUSINESS challenge (strategy, marketing, finance, people) that you would like to overcome?

What is the main OPERATIONS problem (production, sales, distribution) you would like solved right now?

What is the main TECHNOLOGY issue (IT/IS, Internet, software) you would like to have help with?

For everyone who responds, if you would like to mention a web site you think would be of value to my readers, please let me know and I'll list them as space permits. Thank you! Patrick O'Beirne, Editor


BoE: Practical Issues Arising from the Euro: May 2002 

"The completion of the euro changeover provides an opportunity that will not recur to learn from the experience of the first wave, and to draw lessons in case the UK joins EMU as a later entrant. This edition of Practical Issues focuses exclusively on the completion of the changeover: how it worked in practice; what lessons can be drawn from central and commercial banks in the euro area; and to what extent they would apply in the UK, bearing in mind that the UK position would differ from first-wave countries in a number of respects."
There are some interesting statistics such as the free loans to the exchequer. Central banks expect that up to 5% of legacy notes will never be returned, a value of about 400M euro. By contrast, out of 116 billion legacy coins outstanding with a value of €16.3 billion on 1 January, around 30%-40% will never be returned.

There are few glitches to report. In the early afternoon of 2 January, a software fault caused a temporary breakdown of the central system in Austria through which POS terminals and ATMs operate. The conversion procedure contained a bug which materialised only when transactions reached 1,000 per minute. The cause was quickly identified and resolved, so that the system was working again within 65 minutes.

In Germany, "There were only minor teething problems in a few banks, which took a few days at most to correct. Some arose when different IT programmes were run at the same time, and might have been eliminated altogether by end-to-end testing of all systems in advance, though this would have been expensive."

In Italy, "travel agents were not initially able to issue railway tickets to customers owing to a problem with the software provided by the state railway company: the euro conversion programme incorporated price increases, and when the price increases were rescinded at a late stage, the software required amendment."

Of most interest to UK readers (and perhaps Sweden and Denmark too) is the third section, on the lessons learnt from the changeover.

The UK changeover would be a major event, which would be hugely complex – a much larger and more complex operation than Y2K. 

The period of notice before entry would probably be shorter in the UK than the first wave 
The transition period would also be shorter in the UK 
Preparations for the mass changeover in the UK would be completed later in the transition 
The number of dividend payments in euro would have to be limited, before banks’ preparations for the mass changeover were complete 
Euro notes would be available in the UK before E-day

Town in Wales enters Eurozone (briefly) 
"Llangollen, a small market town in North Wales, will make the euro a valid currency in a series of shops, pubs and restaurants from 9-14 July to coincide with the international musical Eisteddfod."

The interesting point is, what exchange rate will they offer? Will the town fix on a single rate or will each shop set its own rate?  To assist choral participants, I'll post a free euro conversion pocket electronic calculator to the first person in the eurozone to email me asking for the converter for someone going to Llangollen. To be fair, I'll also offer one to the first reader in Wales to email me. (To check that you're in Wales, tell me how you pronounce "Llangollen";  for readers who wonder why I ask, see the last item below!)




'Advance fee' fraudsters - let the games begin 

I have reported before (Praxis March 2001) on the "Nigerian" fraud which illustrates how greedy fools and their money are so easily parted ( ). A variation is an email from a "Special Forces Commando" in Afghanistan who's found $36 million in drug money while on patrol, and who wants your help in moving the cash.

In a new twist, Lester Haines describes the new sport of Nigerian scambaiting: which lists the following sites where people play with the scammers. (I wonder about the risks in playing with criminals, whether in Dublin, New York, Sicily or Nigeria, you don't know who they might know near you) a catalogue of the scams
 A case study complete with sound files of the telephone conversations.
     is Jonathan Land's one man crusade against spam, including an epic and entertaining correspondence with one Dr Hamza Kalu.
The woman writer leads Kizombe Kamara on with hilarious results.


On the lighter side

Can you suggest a page worse than this?  (protect your eyes ;-))

Welsh pronunciation

Regrettably, the village of Llanfair P.G. in Wales has not kept up its domain name, probably the longest URL in the world:  reveals that the name is a fabrication for tourists but you can still learn how to pronounce it at  There is a 1MB mp3 lesson on pronunciation at 


Copyright 2002 Systems Modelling Limited, . Reproduction allowed provided the newsletter is copied in its entirety and with this copyright notice.

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Patrick O'Beirne, Editor

"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".


To read previous issues of this newsletter please visit our web site at


This newsletter is prepared in good faith and the information has been taken from observation and other sources believed to be reliable. Systems Modelling Ltd. (SML) does not represent expressly or by implication the accuracy, truthfulness or reliability of any information provided. It is a condition of use that users accept that SML has no liability for any errors, inaccuracies or omissions. The information is not intended to constitute legal or professional advice. You should consult a professional at Systems Modelling Ltd. directly for advice that is specifically tailored to your particular circumstances.

Copyright (c) SML 2002

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