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Archive for February, 2010

Making Developers Liable is a Bad Idea!

February 28th, 2010

I recently ran across an article that will be especially interesting to the geekiest among us. It seems a group of security experts, the SANS Institute, believe that the only way we can ensure that buggy and dangerous software is not released by developers is to hold them all legally liable.

Nearly every attack is enabled by mistakes programmers make that provide a handhold for attackers,” said Alan Paller, Director of Research, SANS Institute. “The only way programming errors can be eradicated is by making software development organizations legally liable for the errors…

Paller is almost certainly correct in this assessment but he is talking as a security professional and not as a consumer, businessman, politician, programmer, etc. A law like this would have a number of very real impacts on you, your neighbor, your brother, your cousin the programmer, and your grandma’s small business.

1) High Cost Software

Why are doctor’s prices so high? One reason has to do with their malpractice insurance. A doctor, or the hospital he works for, is considered to be legally, and financially, responsible for any error they make. If this were applied to software a programmer might be sued because they weren’t very good at their job and wrote buggy software that produced the wrong shipping labels for grandma’s business and now she has to ship duplicate items. Right now she’d probably ask for a refund but with this kind of legislation she might sue for some damages - hopefully a reasonable amount - and win. This means we have to charge more for the software ahead of time, not just to cover the lawsuit cost but also because of the increased cost of development. I’d need to hire more programmers, more testers, and spend more time in development. And, lest you forget this applies to every electronic gadget you own: Microwave, TV, cable box, video game, car, laptop, mp3 player, refrigerator, stove, phone, etc - all more expensive.

2) Longer Product Cycles

You won’t be getting that new iPod every year anymore and Ford won’t be releasing a new truck this year. Now that these companies have to ensure an especially high product quality or face legal repercussions they will be spending a lot longer working on each product and the pace of new technology innovation will slow. Right now, companies are constantly racing to release the newest product before the next guy but this law would put a stop to that. That new TV that uses the new hot web feature, whatever that might be? Expect to wait until after the fad has worn off before your TV supports it.

3) Fewer Products

This should go without saying; While apple is busy making sure their new hotness is safe enough to release and avoid lawsuits they will be making far fewer new products in the future. Enjoy the fact that your favorite company makes 12 levels of the same product all with different features and at different price points allowing you to get the exact model you need and not pay for features you don’t? Say goodbye. If the SANS Institute has it’s way they’ll only be a single model of every product as companies try to combat their skyrocketing development costs.

4) Stagnate Innovation

A friend of mine’s company has recently been working on a small device for monitoring an extreme athletes performance while they jump, spin, twist, flip, and do whatever else they do. In the environment these security professionals envision innovative products like this will never come to market. What if the device provides bad data making a skier believe he/she can complete a maneuver that ends up killing them. Should the makers of the device be held responsible for the malfunction that caused the data that misled the skier? I don’t think so. In this security centric world they imagine no one tries anything new because they are afraid of the consequences when they make a mistake.

5) No More Google, Or Open Source, As We Know It

This may be an inflammatory title but its true. Do you think Google, or Yahoo for that matter, continues to provide the myriad of free services they provide once their legal responsibility for their system’s being compromised? I’m guessing not. No free GMail and no free chat services; What if their software allowed someone to peep into your conversation? Maybe no free search? What happens if a bug in Google’s image search shows obscene content to my daughter, can I sue them?

What about free open source software? Is each contributor to an open source project legally responsible for their individual contributions? Are they all responsible for the entire code-base? The financial burden may be to much to bear without a company behind it. If a law like this is ever passed expect open source to die a fast death.

Author: T.J. Seabrooks Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Bernanke Giving Maxine Waters a Finance Lesson

February 27th, 2010

This is kind of like Einstein trying to explain the theory of relativity to a first grader.


Watch CBS News Videos Online

Apparently it doesn’t take much to get on the House Financial Services Committee. Isn’t there a Home Economics Committee we could put her on? Oh wait, no that would include budgeting which is clearly not anybody in Congress’s strong suit.

Author: Derek Clark Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Paul Ryan for President

February 26th, 2010

Ok, I might be getting a little ahead of myself there, but watch this video and tell me you wouldn’t prefer him to our current President.

Author: Derek Clark Categories: Health Care Tags:

Senate Passes “Jobs Bill” 70-28

February 25th, 2010

The Senate passed the first part of Porkulus II today as they look to pass several more. This bill has a price tag of $15 Billion, which seems like nothing compared to last years stimulus package
that ended up north of $800 billion. But wait, there’s more!

Immediately after the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was readying a package of jobless benefits, state aid and tax breaks that the Senate could take up next week.

But the next bill could carry a much higher price tag, possibly well north of $100 billion.

A draft circulating on Capitol Hill would extend jobless benefits and healthcare subsidies for the unemployed through the end of the year. It would extend aid to states to help pay healthcare costs, and avert a scheduled 21 percent pay cut to doctors who see patients under the Medicare health insurance program.

I’ve said it before and I suspect I will say it again, extending unemployment benefits is counterproductive at some point. We have long since passed that point. As far as helping create jobs, we didn’t do much of that with the first 862 billion, I’m not really sure what they expect to accomplish with 15 billion. Remember the definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior expecting different results. Maybe we should try something new, you know, like maybe not spending money we don’t have.

Author: Derek Clark Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Democrat Hypocrisy at its Finest

February 24th, 2010

Biden: “This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power. It is a fundamental power grab.”

Reid: “No, we are not going to follow the Senate rules, no because of the arrogance of power of this Republican administration.”

Biden: “You may own the field right now, but you won’t own it forever, and I pray God when the Democrats take back control we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing.”

Reid: “Mr. President, the right to extend a debate is never more important than when one party controls Congress and the White House. In these cases the filibuster serves as a check on power and preserves our limited government.”

Just wondering how they feel now that their precious health care bill isn’t going to pass, and they plan to use the same tactics they were fighting against just a few years ago.

Hat tip to Flopping Aces

Author: Derek Clark Categories: Health Care Tags:

Obamacare Bipartisan Meeting is a Joke

February 23rd, 2010

Pretend for a minute that you are the President of the United States. You with me? Ok. Now pretend that you want to have a Bipartisan├é┬« talk about solving the health care problem in America. (Scheduled for Thursday). Please tell me why you would release your plan for health care on Monday? Shouldn’t we talk about things on Thursday and make some decisions then? Oh you mean you couldn’t care less what ideas the GOP have about health care. You say that the GOP is the party of no ideas, and you even post about it on your website.

Now this is pretty entertaining - thanks Save Jersey and Michelle Malkin

The GOP does have some good ideas. They are actually quite similar to what I posted a year ago as solutions to the health care problem. Simple things such as:
1. Letting people shop for health insurance across state lines

2. Allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do.

3. Give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs.

4. End junk lawsuits that contribute to higher health care costs by increasing the number of tests and procedures that physicians sometimes order not because they think it’s good medicine, but because they are afraid of being sued.

Not only would these steps go a long ways towards making health care better, they wouldn’t cost a trillion dollars like Obamacare would. If Obama actually cared to consider any of the ideas from the GOP he wouldn’t have made his proposal 3 days before the meeting. He already has the plan he wants to pass and doesn’t care in the least what the Republicans think. He knows they are going filibuster his plan and he doesn’t really care. If they want this joke of a bill to pass, they will have to do it through reconciliation. If that happens they shouldn’t let the door hit them on the way out after the elections in November.

Author: Derek Clark Categories: Health Care Tags:

Cheney Hospitalized with Chest Pains

February 22nd, 2010

Former Vice President Cheney was hospitalized today with chest pains. He is currently resting at George Washington University Hospital and will be kept overnight for observation. From CNN:

Cheney has a long history of heart problems. He has suffered four heart attacks dating to 1978, when he was 37. He had his second in 1984 and a third in 1988 before undergoing quadruple bypass surgery to unblock his arteries. His fourth heart attack happened in November 2000, after he was elected vice president. At that time, doctors inserted a stent to open an artery.

Doctors in 2001 implanted a heart monitoring device to keep track of his heart rhythm and slow it down if necessary. In 2008, he underwent a procedure to restore his heart to a normal rhythm after doctors found he was experiencing a recurrence of atrial fibrillation.

Hopefully he doesn’t have to rely on government run health care. Get well soon Mr. Vice President.

Author: Derek Clark Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Ronald Reagan and Dreams of Changing the World We Live In

February 21st, 2010

I can feel the pain of those saying we can’t change things, not enough people vote, not enough people care, both parties suck. I feel the same way a lot of the time. That my friend is not the answer though. Big things don’t just happen. People have to dream big dreams and they have to work hard to accomplish them. Ronald Reagan understood that.

Today we face some of the biggest obstacles to progress that we have had face for a long time. We are staring at huge deficits, huge amounts of debt, massive unemployment, and unfunded liabilities such as Medicare and Social Security as far as the eye can see. Reagan faced huge challenges as well and he met them head on. He said a hundred years from now the people reading what he wrote would know whether he succeeded or not. They would know if those nuclear missiles had been fired and they would know if we still have the freedom we are currently accustomed to. That was 34 years ago and his dreams of changing the world we live in were very successful.

A hundred years from now the people living in America will also know if we succeed in our battle. They will know if we found a way out from under our crushing debt or if we failed. They will know if the Ponzi scheme that is social security has collapsed under it’s own weight or if we come up with an alternative. The things we do today and tomorrow will effect the lives of our children and our children’s children. Our dreams can change the world they will have to live in.

Giving up, saying it is too hard and that everyone in Washington is corrupt is not the answer. Somebody has to really have a DESIRE for real change to happen and then the DILIGENCE to MAKE it happen. There are plenty of things that have happened in the last 200+ years in America that people said couldn’t be done. Today we live in a society that has landed on the moon. A society where we can have a live video conference with people in China on devices the size of a book. These were not easy things to accomplish, but they happened because somebody thought they could be done and wouldn’t rest until they were accomplished. That is what we have to do as well.

I’m not suggesting that changing our government is easy, or even that it will necessarily happen, but having a defeatist attitude is certainly not the answer. As long as there are people like us that care enough to fight it then it can still happen. If you have read this far then you care what happens as well. That means at least two of us want things to change. Now we have to go out and make it happen.

Have meaningful conversations with your friends. Talk to them about what is going on and get like minded individuals excited about your dream and my dream. A dream of a country that spends within its means and gets rid of its debt. A dream of a Washington that works towards solving problems instead of playing politics. This isn’t about tea parties and it isn’t about electing Republicans instead of Democrats. It is about bringing the whole country together to want something different. It is about believing in that Shining City on a Hill that Ronald Reagan believed in and that millions of people still do believe in. America was that Shining City on the Hill for the rest of the world for a long time, and it can be again.

If you’ve made it this far and you’re still with me consider sharing this post with a friend or tweeting about it. If you still think we can make a difference consider subscribing to get more posts like this one in the coming days, weeks, and months. We have important elections coming up in November. We need to come together and show the people currently in Washington that we won’t stand for their games and that we are going to take back our country.


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Author: Derek Clark Categories: General Politics Tags: