[svlug] sparcstation 5: first steps

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat Jun 2 21:32:01 PDT 2001


begin  Dagmar d'Surreal quotation:

> Well, this where the magic phrase "proper policies and procedures"
> comes into play.

On a good day, those will suffice -- and you won't have people changing
their BIOS passwords before turning the machine back in, resigning, and
then becoming impossible to reach.  And you won't have people changing
their passwords and neglecting to tell their supervisors.  On a good day.

Me, I'd rather not have the feature there to go wrong in the first
place.  I saw how badly people at $PRIOR_FIRM could shoot me in the foot
just with their regular BIOS passwords and lilo passwording, when they 
went home for the day before I got around to working on their company 
workstations.

> Heh.  Your car looks like you might be able to afford something worth
> stealing then.

Dude, you should see it.  The old '83 Honda Accord I used then is still 
around, marooned like a beached whale in my driveway in Menlo Park.
That old rustbucket shot blue flames out of the shot-to-hell muffler for
its final few months, before the engine died completely.  Back around
1987, he unibody got crumpled several inches short by the woman who
rear-ended me at 40 MPH at Fell & Stanyan, and pushed my car into the
one ahead.  (I stopped at the light; she didn't.)  It got dented on all
sides, and trip stripped off it, by drunken clubgoers.  The hood somehow
got sandblasted at some point.  

It basically looks like hell.  Nobody so far has been willing to drive
to suburbs and tow it away for parts, so there it sits.  Don Marti says
the "getaway car" (http://crackmonkey.org/travel.html) needs to be the
Free Software Museum's central exhibit, since I drove pretty much
everyone around in it.  

> In any case, valuables should be kept in the *trunk* or left at home
> if you have a car where one can pull down the back seat easily to get
> into the trunk.

Ja.  But the getaway car's a hatchback.

> Notebook theieves who do target them on a regular basis (and we're
> talking about places like hotels and conference rooms, too, not just
> cars and/or airports) will eventually recognize models that they won't
> be able to resell, and so they're less likely to bother stealing them
> if they recognize them.

Not if they use the most-common trick of just snagging anything that
looks suspciously like a laptop computer's shoulder bag.  For example, a
lot of laptops get stolen this way by pairs of thieves making the snatch
right at airport X-ray security machines.  You put the bag through, and
one thief is on the far side to grab your bad, while the other creates a
diversion to delay you on the outer side.  Thief #1 ducks into the
restroom, puts your bag inside a larger bag, and walks back out to the
public area.  Only later does he look at what he's snagged.

'Sides, thieves usually aren't too bright, or they'd be in a different
line of business.  Here's another anecdote for you:

Around 1986, I was working at an office in Emeryville, commuting from
the Sunset District, S.F.  Often, I'd do so using my ratty old 10-speed 
bicycle I'd constructed in high school from a Peugeot frame I'd bought
for $6 and a pair of ruined wheels I bought for $1 the pair.  (I rebuilt
them with new spokes.)  I crossed the Bay either on BART or the CalTrans 
bike-shuttle van ($1/ride).  And, lacking a good bicycle parking
facility, I stowed the bicycle under the furthest, innermost stairwell
inside my office building on the ground floor, pulled apart and locked
to itself with a Kryptonite U-lock.

One evening, it was gone.  I hiked the very long distance down the
Emeryville marina to Emeryville P.D. headquarters, shaking my head in
wonderment all the way, about what the thief could possibly have been
thinking.  My report was taken by a grizzled old sargeant with a strong
Boston accent.  Me:  "I really don't understand.  This guy had to walk
past 100 metres of open office doors, and then right down Powell Street
Emeryville, visible to the whole town, carrying obviously stolen
property -- for _what_?   A junk bicycle, which would take a ridiculous
amount of work with saws, or Volvo jacks, or freon-freezing, to get the 
lock off.  Why?"  The Boston cop:  "We're not talkin' about a brain
surgeon, here."  Me:  "Oh."

-- 
Cheers,     "Learning Java has been a slow and tortuous process for me.  Every 
Rick Moen   few minutes, I start screaming 'No, you fools!" and have to go
rick at linuxmafia.com       read something from _Structure and Interpretation of
            Computer Programs' to de-stress."   -- The Cube, www.forum3000.org 




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