July 13th, 2004

Flute

Playing Duckhunt with Eudora and NAV

This never used to happen. I've used Eudora as my email program all my life (well, ever since Penn State turned off VM) and I have been using Norton's AntiVirus automatic protection on my email almost as long. Never had any problems.

In the past year, however, I've been plagued by a very inconvenient mal-interaction between the two programs. I would check my mail, and watch the message area as Eudora began downloading from Penn State's mail server. Then, suddenly, a virus-infected email would cause the download to freeze. The virus was detected, but somehow the detection process paralyzed Eudora. To work around this I would have to note the name of the infected email in Eudora's message window, go to Penn State's mail server with a web-based utility called POPsickle, list and locate the infected email, delete it manually, wait the requisite time before checking email again, and go back to Eudora. If that weren't enough, sometimes there would be another paralyzing email in the queue, forcing me to repeat the process. When I had a large backlog of email, I began guessing in the POPsickle listing which ones might be infected by name alone (the message is not displayed).

A few months ago, I got fed up with this nonsense and looked for better fixes on the net. I found an article that described the problem exactly and suggested a change of settings in Eudora. This fix worked. Sort of. Now, instead of completely halting the download, these troublesome emails (only certain ones, not all virus-infected emails) will pause the download process by posting two warning windows. One window alerts me that a virus was caught. The other will complain that an attachment can not be found. Of course BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN QUARANTINED! Stupid programs! When this happens, I have to click on the first window to close it and click TWICE on the second window to close it. These windows appear in different locations on my screen, so when I have a lot of these emails I feel like I am playing Duck Hunt.

It is almost enough to make me switch from Eudora to web-based mail. I don't know why I am so reluctant to do so. Webmail (or some other web-based email program) is the norm with my students, and I use it when I am out of town. I feel funny about saving my mail on a computer other than my own local machine. Maybe I like to be able to look at saved mail when I am not connected to the net. Which is when? It makes no sense whatsoever.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed
Flute

U.S. Government's business acumen

It's been said that the U.S. federal government makes poorer business decisions than private enterprise because the government is not as accountable to the bottom line. When a business contracts out a job, they want the contracted firm to produce results that lead to profit, given the cost of the contracting. If a private corporation makes poor contracting decisions, they eventually go out of business.

The government, on the other hand, will never go out of business. (Unless there's a revolution.) If a particular government program does not produce results, some individuals may not get re-elected, but the government will still be in business. It will never run out of money as long as it can tax citizens.

I considered this difference in accountability between private enterprise and the U.S. government when I read about the following Iraq contracting deal: http://www.stopwarcoalition.org/news/news_items.php?shownews=268 . I'm not saying the Pentagon necessarily made a bad decision. But it was certainly an interesting decision.
  • Current Music
    Into White - Cat Stevens