Ministry of Propaganda

Ministry of Propaganda - 28/Feb/2004: "A Bunch of Links"

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A Bunch of Links

A few things I found interesting over the last few days:

Biometrics -vs- The Disposable Terrorist

The Economist has a good write up about biometrics in its recent Technology Quarterly. It gives a very good overview of the state of the technology and what it can and can't achieve. My interpretation of their conclusions is that the technology is improving but by far not ready for widespread deployment.

Another aspect highlighted in the Economist essay is the question if the technology actually helps to achieve the goals it is supposed to help achieving, in particular in the fight against terrorism. The Economist questions this, but the argument is really driven home in another essay I found recently: Biometrics won't catch Disposable Terrorists (found at Bruce Schneier's Cryptogram Newsletter)

Old Economy personalisation?

Extreme personalization is the entry in the Fast Company Now blog that caught my attention. It links to a report about handwritten personalised letters as a marketing instrument. Yes, you read that right, handwritten. Apparently they have an very high response rate compared to "traditional" direct mail marketing.

Especially if the research about the recipients is right I can believe that, considering some of the junk mail (and I'm not talking spam here) I receive. Why are banks sending me offers for all kind of loans and debt consolidations when it should be fairly easy for them to find out that I don't have any debts? Why is a book club sending me an invitation to join it when I just left it (and their terms & conditions state that I can't rejoin for six month after leaving)?

Dumb spam filters and dumb users

Not sure where I found this one (possibly Techdirt): Sending e-mail can be a struggle if your name has a 4-letter word. Unfortunately I can in a way relate to it: On one of my other sites I have a guestbook with a rudimentary "bad words filter". It filters bad words and replaces them with ####. It also picks them up as part of words, which caused a problem when someone from wanted to leave their e-mail address...

But not only spam filters can be dumb, a lot of dumb users still help propagating viruses and trojans. While I don't expect everyone to become a computer expert I'm still amazed how many people open suspicious attachments and the like. After all a lot of these make the main news and every time they drum it into people that you shouldn't open these attachments, how you can identify them etc. But they still open them. Are all these people so ignorant that they don't hear about it? What else can be done to make them listen?

End of entry

Entry trivia

Dodgy picture of the moment:

Picture of a very young Armin eating berries

Young Armin seems to like berries. Especially if they were served to him and he didn't have to walk. Even though he could walk (as other pictures from the same holiday indicate)

End of entry trivia

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