04-04 Contents: eVoting, Security awareness training, Ecommerce in Europe, IT contracting rates, Devil's guide to spreadsheets, Euro myths & stereotypes
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Systems Modelling Ltd.: Managing reality in Information Systems - strategies for success
1) Risk management
Irish Computer Society submission to Commission on E-Voting
Security awareness and training materials
2) Internet and e-business
Eurobarometer Survey: Issues Relating To Business And Consumer E-Commerce
3) Contractors talk about rates
What's the average rate for contract IT work?
4) The Devil's guide to spreadsheet creation
5) On the lighter side
Euro myths and European stereotypes
14 Web links in this newsletter
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www.stdlib.net/~colmmacc/cev_submissions/submissions_summary.html Colm MacCarthaigh's list of the submissions.
www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,62655,00.html Kim Zetter, Wired News, 12 Mar 2004 tells a story related to this: One Sequoia Optech electronic machine used to count optical-scan paper absentee ballots in the 2 March 2004 California primary in Napa County failed to record votes on some ballots. This was detected by chance in a random 1% recount. Kim Alexander said the county was lucky that the problem occurred on a system with a paper trail. "If the problem had occurred with their electronic ballots or with the tabulation software (which sits on the County server), they would have been hard pressed to reconstruct their election. Or, they might not have ever known there was a problem at all."
The Irish Times of 3 March summarised the submissions: "with more than 90 per cent of the submissions highlighting flaws, only 10 of the 157 expressed satisfaction with the Nedap-Powervote system. However, the Department said it was satisfied that the system would be ready for safe, secure and efficient use in June." Mr David Algeo, a retired businessman and academic, said the Government "seems to prefer an incontestable result of uncertain accuracy to an accurate result that risks being challenged because of known errors".
The politician's mind is to have no choice, so you can't question the outcome. That point of view is that if there are problems, best not knowing about them, otherwise you have the "appalling vista" of the loss of public confidence. The engineer's mind is to have a cross check so you at least know when there are problems. That POV is that not knowing how bad something is, and therefore accepting an unknown risk, is always worse than knowing just how bad it is and accepting that known risk.
http://members.impulse.net/~sate/posters.html William Uttenweiler posted to the security-awareness yahoogroup this link to 64 security awareness posters. "Are employees walking right past your security education bulletin board because your posters have been displayed for so long they have become invisible? "
http://security.arizona.edu/awareness.html Melissa Guenther designed the presentations for a campus environment - very open and decentralized. Wireless Security (.ppt) Office Security (.ppt) Risk Assessment, Backups & Data Classification (.ppt) Introduction to Security Awareness (.ppt) Beginners Guide to Computer Security (.ppt) Blaster Worm and So Big Virus Campus Post Morte (.ppt) Email Threats, Precautions and Etiquette (.ppt) Identity Theft (.ppt) Internet Security, Use & Safe Web Browsing (.ppt) Password Construction and Management (.ppt) Phone Fraud (.ppt) Social Engineering (.ppt) Software Piracy and Copyright Infringement (.ppt)
http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/220 A Home User's Security Checklist for Windows "Most people don't secure their computers or act in a secure manner, and the main reason is that the average user just doesn't know what to do. Here is a checklist on security for home computer users that you can share with your friends, family, churches and clubs." By Scott Granneman Feb 13 2004
One of the most popular threads on the Irish Developer's Network ( www.irishdev.com ) is "70K is the average wage". Not many agree...
"From my experience I know of a number of  contractors taking €400 a day. A number of organisations paying as little as €200 a day. Plus a number of high-skills imports not accepting below €550 a day."
"Ah, those were the days. I had a short 6 week contract in  18 months ago on 375 p.d. Now to even get to the interview I've had to drop it to c.200 p.d."
This was discussed in the Open list recently, and here a few pithy comments:
"And after a few years, the whole 'being your own boss' thing fails to make up for the fact that you haven't earned as little cash as you are now since you were just out of college."
"The real danger with entrepreneurship of any description is not that we will go bust, but that we will not. That we will live from hand to mouth indefinitely, never realizing that were we to do the maths we would be better off working a MacJob."
"The Average Industrial Wage in Ireland in 2001 was eur24,490 or 120/day (200 day year) - an employer's cost for this *average* employee would therefore be around 200/day. So, if you're charging e200/day you're just about covering your costs on the basis of the average industrial wage."
"Plumber 1 Full days work 200 including 2 follow up visits Carpenter for fitting solid wood floors 200 per day x 4 days Different Carpenter for fitting kitchen and doing some plumbing and electrical work 200 per day x 7 days Spark for wiring 250 per day"
1. Just do it. Jump in and do it. The users will have to accept whatever you
2. Fire, then aim. You know what is really needed without having to ask.
3. Never simplify (that just makes it easier for other people to get your job); just keep adding bits without removing old stuff.
4. Deadlines live on.
5. Documentation is for wimps; specifications are for the timid.
6. Don't obtain test data; whatever the spreadsheet result is, is right.
7. Don't protect the sheet; that restricts the users' right to improve your formulas by typing in what they want.
8. Don't fill in the properties sheet, they'll find out you were the author.
9. VBA (Very Buggy Application) debugging is easy; just keep making changes until something appears to work, then your responsibility is finished.
10. Never use in-cell comments or help text on the page; users should just know what to do.
11. If you know what units of measure are used, you can safely assume everybody else does too.
12. Mix input data with calculation cells to keep the users on their toes.
13. Never mix absolute and relative references, it can shorten billable time.
14. Hide some data in cells so that when users trip over it, their respect for your cleverness increases.
15. If asked to do a test run, ask "Don't you trust me?"
16. Format with as many decorative colours and styles as possible, to relieve boredom.
17. Don't keep backup copies of different versions of a spreadsheet, the latest is always the best.
18. Hardcode constants in formulas; after all, they don't change.
19. Cross-tot checking is merely redundant calculation.
20. To test a spreadsheet, you only need to check whether the answers look reasonable.
The consequences for falling for some or all of the above temptations are described in more than thirty spreadsheet problems at http://www.eusprig.org/stories.htm
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Thank you! Patrick O'Beirne, Editor
Just to perpetuate some myths a bit longer, here are links related to national stereotyping:
http://alcyone.cc.uch.gr/~kosmas/PerfEu/PerfEu.html "The perfect European should be..." cartoon
"Cooking like a Brit; Discreet as a Dane; Available as a Belgian; Sober as the Irish; Humorous as a German; Generous as a Dutchman; Talkative as a Finn; Famous as a Luxembourger; Driving like the French; Organized as a Greek; Humble as a Spaniard; Patient as an Austrian; Controlled as an Italian; Flexible as a Swede; Technical as a Portuguese."
http://perso.club-internet.fr/hwelty/France/Intercultural.html Intercultural differences – a psychological analysis of French versus American stereotypes of each other.
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