Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It's not as if this stuff matters

Oh wait. It does.

The Microsoft QA process
From last June, in the Department of Quality Software, "Patch Tuesday disaster breaks Office 2013 for thousands." Way to go, Microsoft!

Of course Microsoft doesn't hold the monopoly (heh!) on buggy, hacker-attracting software. From back in March comes this interesting statistic: "Report: Half of all exploits target Java." It could be just me, but buggy, exploitable products don't seem like the ideal way for Oracle to emulate Mr. Softy.

You practice good computer hygiene, don't you? You have a current security suite on your PC and keep its antivirus definitions up to date? Of course you do. Alas, from just last week, we read that, "Antivirus products riddled with security flaws."

As for the security of the computer network where you work, be of good cheer: your pointy hair boss is on the case. As in: "Execs Watching Porn a Leading Cause of Computer Viruses." And whereas that comes from a late 2013 article, from just last week, "Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior." Your tax dollars at work ...

Finally, one of the more curious features of the software biz has been the granting of patents for mathematical algorithms -- not ordinarily patentable -- when those algorithms happened to have been implemented in software.

In June the Supreme Court -- after having repeatedly chided the Federal Circuit Appeals Court (the Congressionally mandated court for litigating patent cases) about the latter's frequent misinterpretation of the law -- has put down its size 15 quad-E metaphorical foot. To wit: in Alice v. CLS Bank, the court ruled that "An abstract idea is not patentable simply because it is tied to a computer system ... potentially making it more difficult to patent some software in the future." (That quote is from "Supreme Court ruling throws roadblock in the way of software patents"; it's not the words of Supremes themselves.) 

Now I'm back to the novel in progress, in the fond hope my 2002-vintage copy of MS Office is, by 2014, reasonably bug-free.

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