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Things look so innocent in the duck pond, don't they?
The first and last duty of a teacher is to impart knowledge and encourage the quest for it. The one crime that can never be forgiven is to thwart that inspiration in a student. And one must never be dismissive of a question or supply a simplified answer that stifles all subsequent inquisitiveness and grossly distorts or fundamentally misrepresents the truth.
Not everyone works in the teaching profession yet all of us are called on to function as teachers from time to time. Studies unequivocally conclude that children of parents who encourage them to ask questions end up being a lot smarter than their peers.
Conversely children of parents who never have the time or the inclination to answer questions with their children end up being less keen on learning things.
This carries over to the school systems as well. Teachers not cut out to be teachers should simply put not work as teachers. And yet we all know how seldom that happens.
And this carries over to the world of journalism as well. And it's especially crucial in the world of IT where we're all children in one way or another.
Yet IT journalists are not expected to actually know anything about IT. They're expected to be accredited journalists but nothing more.
'Niklas Natt och Dag' (Nicholas Night and Day) is a journalist working for IDG.se, part of the huge IDG group. He's no better and no worse than the other journalists at IDG.se and no better and no worse than IT journalists in general.
But that's pretty bad.
IDG.se have recently begun a series on the big 'viruses' of the Internet age. What's amazing about this series is how people react to it. They trust what they read.
Part one of this series is about the ILOVEYOU worm: the monster that started it all off right around the corner from the New Millennium. It was the final bell for Windows and Microsoft 'standalone' technology. Apple were still struggling with a comeback and Linux was still difficult to install. Ubuntu hadn't quite made it to market and the domination of Linux/Apache on the web server was still a bit farther off.
ILOVEYOU was based on the trojan Barok. It was an oversimplified Windows script. It caused an estimated $5.5 billion in damages at the time. It hit Microsoft Outlook and worked only on Microsoft Windows. It was lethal.
But here's what 'Nicholas Day and Night' has to say about ILOVEYOU.
'ILOVEYOU is in a way a virus what not only had bad effects; it also clearly demonstrated that the world is a place that thirsts for love.'
'The virus led to problems for many major corporations because virus protection wasn't as updated as it is today.'
Too right. For since then things have really calmed down in the World of Windows. What's that we hear about Conficker.E? Fighter planes being knocked out, battleships being crippled, operating theatres sabotaged - such is the world where virus protection for Windows is more 'updated'. You go, Mr Day and Night.
'Today we're used to not opening attachments from unknown senders.'
Mr Night and Day used Johan Jarl from F-Secure for his story. Night and Day even includes a pinup of the dude. Bit of casual product promotion for F-Secure. F-Secure are already renowned in the non-Windows world for their total incompetence when it comes to Unix.
And we all know the golden rule of the antivirus industry: never mention Unix. Scare the shit out of people so they keep buying your useless products but never repeat never whisper a word about how easy things are as soon as you leave Windows.
The AV cottage industry have tried for years to scare the Unix people into buying their products for those platforms. But to no avail. People running Unix are too smart for those charlatans.
If the world of tomorrow grows up and abandons Windows then Johan Jarl and his colleagues worldwide will be out of their jobs and on the chow line and they know it.
So of course it's expected Jarl and others will give a 'limited' version of the truth to journalists like Niklas. But Niklas is supposed to know that and weigh the skew in what he's told with the results of his own research.
But that's but a pipe dream for students of IT and the readers of IDG.se.
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