We’re Not in the Business of Understanding our User

A few years ago I wrote about sometimes your product is useful to people in ways you didn’t know—and that you’d be smart to recognise that and capitalize on itn (What Your Product Does You Might Not Know About, 2007). One of the examples I cited was ZoneAlarm, a very popular firewall that was bought …

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What Your Product Does You Might Not Know About

Empty vodka bottles used for selling petrol, Bali Tools often serve purposes the designers didn’t necessarily intend — increasing their stickiness for users but in a way not clearly understood by the creator. Take the System Tray in Windows for example (and in the bar, whatever it’s called, in Macs.) And this array currently sitting …

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The “Sharing Files Thing” Gets Cheaper

It’s a growing space, as the marketing types call it, and it’s not surprising
that Laplink, best known for their linking of laps (shurely “laptops”? – ed),
have decided to make the basic edition of their file sharing appliactions,
ShareDirect, free. Previously available online for $40, the program can
now be downloaded for nothing. It’s not a bad application, — you just
invite trusted contacts to view and download them from the folders you
designate. The files never leave the safety of your hard drive until you
invite someone to download them from you directly. All files are protected
by 128-bit encryption, and can securely travel through

A Lesson From the Underground

Security is as much about giving people information as it is about building security systems. That’s the message from the managing director of the London Undergound, Tim O’Toole, but it could as easily apply to personal computer security. Don Phillips’ piece in today’s International Herald Tribune could offer useful lessons to software developers and anyone trying …

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Why Hasn’t China Cracked Down on Its Rainmen?

Another mainstream media look at the alleged “Titan Rain” cyberwar strategy of the Chinese, where organised, highly disciplined and experienced gangs ferret around in Western computers. This one is from today’s Guardian Unlimited — Smash and grab, the hi-tech way: Sources involved in tracking down the gang say the Chinese group is just one of …

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When Firewalls Move

Here’s the details on the Zone Alarm deal I promised a couple of days back: Effective immediately, Sygate and Kerio users switching to ZoneAlarm Pro will receive a $20 instant rebate, over 40% off the retail price of $49.95. “A firewall is the most essential, fundamental element of protection against hackers,” said Laura Yecies, general …

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Zone Labs to Offer Sygate, Kerio Users a Deal

From a press release emailed to me by Zone Labs, makers of Zone Alarm: The personal firewall market is currently undergoing a major shift, with Symantec set to retire the Sygate line of personal firewalls tomorrow (including the free version and Sygate Pro), and Kerio discontinuing its personal firewall at the end of December to …

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ZoneAlarm’s Impressive About-turn, Or How To Do Blog PR Right

A day ago I vented my disappointment at a sneaky marketing gambit inside ZoneAlarm’s otherwise excellent free firewall software, which scared the user into running an external spyware scanner in the hope of getting them to upgrade. This morning I received word from their PR department that this promotion “has been turned off. The wording was not …

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ZoneAlarm’s Sneaky Spyware Scare?

(See a more recent post on this for an update. ZoneAlarm no longer has this ‘feature’.) I’m a big fan, and user, of ZoneAlarm firewalls. Their interface is clean, clear and I like the system tray icon which doubles as a traffic monitor. But sometimes they do things that don’t, in my view, help educate …

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Fame At Last, Or Under Attack?

Here’s an example of how social engineering can be more important than technical sophistication. It’s an email with a credible from address, credible header, credible subject line, credible contents: From: john@flexiprint.co.uk Subject: Photo Approval Needed Hello, Your photograph was forwarded to us as part of an article we are publishing for our May edition of …

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