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The Doctor's Consultation by Dr. Iain Corness
Camera Class by
Dr Byte's Computer Conundrums
Ask your local US Consul
Family Money: Congratulations ‘PM’!
Managing director of Westminster Portfolio Services (Thailand) Ltd.
What was the Thai stock market doing 10 years ago this
week? Where were people looking for growth stocks? How did the UK market
look at the time? Do you remember? Few will, so don’t worry too much
The only reason I ask the question is because our
sister publication, the Pattaya Mail has just celebrated its 10th
Anniversary! Congratulations ‘PM’! So it seemed appropriate to take a
quick look back at the past decade and what has happened in world markets
and to people’s pockets in that turbulent period of boom and bust.
Back in mid-1993, all investors’ eyes were on the
boom in the ‘Asian Little Dragons’ - Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia
and Thailand, which were enjoying an unprecedented stock market boom that
year. This would - as I predicted - peak right before Chinese New Year in
1994, and then plummet.
Indeed, it had taken just 5 years after the notorious
“Crash of ’87" (sparked by the property scandals in Japan) for
Asia to become the darling of investors once more.
In 1992 Sterling had been under attack by the currency
pirate George Soros and his Quantum fund, which brought so much leverage
to bear that even the Bank of England could not withstand the onslaught,
and had to allow Sterling to float, and plummet some 25% in international
value. Not that that affected Sterling investors at home very much, but it
had a dire effect on the global balance of trade and overseas investments
in Sterling assets.
But history passed, and here we are again with a
relatively strong pound and a weak dollar. What goes around comes around,
they say - if you wait long enough.
The oft-forgotten “Global Meltdown” of 1994 started
with the chairman of the Fed Reserve Bank, Alan Greenspan, and effectively
America’s money manager, unexpectedly raising interest rates in February
’94, which took the markets by surprise and caused an unprecedented 20%
drop in the bond markets. This in turn caused Mr Soros et al to have to
sell off huge holdings in equities to cover their bond exposure (and lose
about $800 million in the process), and started the whole snowball rolling
down the hill, gathering momentum as it went.
Since then we’ve had the Russian Debt Crisis, the
Mexico Peso Crisis, the Argentinean and the Brazilian Money crises, and
various smaller ones - not to mention the demise of LTCM, the infamous
hedge fund that cost the US Federal Reserve some $2.5 Bn to avoid a
meltdown in the US banking system - all of which the stock markets have
somehow survived, despite the TV pundits predicting doom and gloom for the
world economy every time one of these crises occurs and lights up the TV
news, giving the Talking Heads something to talk about as if the financial
world was going to come to a grinding halt overnight.
But back to Asia
In the mid nineties the markets wallowed in the
doldrums for a couple of years before Asia rose again like the Phoenix
from the ashes, and things started to look okay again - until the
“Crisis of ’97", sparked by scandals in Thailand and rumours
about currency speculation in Malaysia (nicely nipped in the bud by the
Malaysian Prime Minister before Mr. Soros’ minions could do to Malaysia
what they’d done a few years earlier to the Bank of England). The crisis
rippled throughout the region, with stock markets losing up to half their
value almost overnight and massive devaluations as well. The economy of
Indonesia was so badly affected that the government fell, and lots of
moneyed people fled the country.
The same nearly happened in Thailand, but swift action
by the government prevented a total collapse of the economy, although some
of the miscreants were able to ‘flee the scene’ and have yet to
The banking reforms which resulted from brave action by
the Prime Minister of the day stabilised the situation, and although we
had a rough couple of years, things did gradually improve. It is
nonetheless estimated that it will take a generation to clear the massive
indebtedness that the government has been forced to assume.
Major Markets in Crisis
It has been the major markets - principally the USA -
that have fuelled the bumps & slides of the past three years, starting
with the collapse of the TMT (technology, media, and telecommunications)
bubble in the 2nd quarter of 2000, about which I warned in this column in
March 2000, which was ignored by most at the time.
Many who had jumped on the dot.com bandwagon in the run
up to the new century had their fingers at least scorched if not seriously
burned when the bubble inevitably burst, and were thereafter reluctant to
This led to massive negative sentiment, which has
continued virtually until now - exacerbated by the accounting scandals
which lost investors so much confidence, and of course the immediate
knee-jerk reaction to the heinous attacks of 9-11. Curiously, although the
stock markets did dip markedly at that point - unsurprisingly - they
recovered remarkably quickly, and (for those chartists amongst you)
returned to the same gradual downward slide quite quickly.
The rally at the beginning of 2002 looked as though it
might continue and get us out of the swamp that the stock markets had been
wallowing in for the past two years. I freely admit that I was one of
those who believed that there couldn’t be a third year of negative
returns from equities (it hadn’t happened for 30 years), and although my
instincts told me “no” I took a bit of a punt and cautiously went back
into major market equities. How wrong I was! Major equity markets in the
first 9 months of 2002 lost over 30% of their value on average.
After unravelling that mess and licking my wounds in
mid 2002, I moved to a conservative stance (bonds and property mostly,
spread geographically), and that ‘safe’ move has saved a lot of the
downside that equities continued to experience last year in the run up to
Big George’s determination to get Sadam Hussein out of his seat of
power, under which might have been hidden a couple of nasty buttons which
none of us wanted to be set off.
So a spread of bonds, gold (always a good alternative
in times of crisis), and selected property funds have been the ‘safe
bet’ that have made money for investors (as opposed to short-term
speculators) in the past six months or so.
Of course sentiment - which did so much to hold back
the stock markets - is now waxing euphoric and declaring that now the
Second Gulf War is over (is it, indeed?), things will soon return to
business as usual, and the rallies in the Dow and FTSE we have seen these
past couple of months will carry us back to the dizzying heights before
all this began.
I wish I could be as optimistic. Perhaps I’m a
cautious old cynic, but I don’t believe the uncertain geopolitical
situation in the Middle East - ignoring the danger of North Korea and the
possibility of that area flaring up again - can lead us to any sense of
political security, nor believe the war is really over: the factions are
still flexing their muscles and the knock-on effect on the world’s
economy could still be far from the positively euphoric that some who look
only at the newspapers and nightly TV news would have us believe. I prefer
to sit on the fence for a little while longer.
Personal Directions: Prayer is a building block
By Christina Dodd,
founder and managing director of Asia Training Associates
Prayer is not exclusively a tool for the faithful or
religious. Last week we touched on spiritual nourishment as a necessary
ingredient to purpose, meaning and happiness in life. As John and Melody
Anderson so well put it in this essay ... prayer is a building block of our
personalities and lives.
“The power of prayer is exalted in selected circles as
the individual’s direct link with the inspiration that communion with a
supreme being or god provides. However, it would be a mistake to consider
prayer as the sole domain of the devoutly religious, for prayer in itself has
little to do with worship as such and much to do with inspiration.
Prayer is effective only when the individual gives themselves over totally to
its power with complete and utter commitment. It is this commitment and indeed
trust, which forms the substance of the praying itself. It is a demonstration
of trust. But more importantly, prayer is the most intimate expression of desire,
if the prayer is sincere.
Looking at desire and the way it tends to lead to
achievement, it is possible to observe that very often, it is those moments of
quiet and seemingly insignificant feelings of desire that can have the most
impact. In daily life, the most powerful examples of desire seem to be those
desires that come and go, almost unnoticed, slipping quietly into the ether to
work their magic.
It is also possible to recognize a distinction between this
kind of desire and those desires that we may be more verbal about, the desires
which might seem to preoccupy us constantly. These persistent desires are not
necessarily less effective, but we tend to attach other feelings to them that
could inhibit the easy attainment of them. Most usually, those small intimate
desires that occur in a moment tend to be desires without additional
attachments. That is to say, they are things that we genuinely desire without
condition, they seem to be without significant implication. We are able to
be unconcerned about these desires and thus, they are easily and quickly
Now, it is not practical to suggest that we can turn every
desire into the sort of desire that occurs in a moment without concern because
many of our desires do have implication for identity and lifestyle. However,
there is much that can be learned from the state of being which characterizes
the fleeting and pure desire. It is a very personal sort of desire, it is a
desire that is often only known to the individual. Not because the individual
seeks to hide it, but because of its fleeting nature and sometimes, its way of
occurring in the form of an impression. This is why it can seem as
though we do not really know that we have the desire. Resonance shows us that
indeed the desire existed prior to its achievement, although it seemed more
akin to an impression than a specific conscious knowledge of something
In these private moments we can be sure that the desire is
genuine, for there is no motivation to manufacture an impression for others,
or to pursue falsehood when there is no one around to perceive it. We are
alone with ourselves and in those moments, provided we do not seek to hide
from our own company or to ignore it, we can be truly honest about what we
want and don’t want. Obviously there is no great panacea to cure the
tendency to distract oneself from these intimate moments alone with the self.
There is no drug to stop the individual hiding from their own thoughts,
feelings and desires, there is no foolproof technique to force an individual
into this honest relationship with their own being. Herein lies the catch.
However, those with an earnest desire for more, will allow these
moments to become very crisp, very clear and very useful.
Prayer then, could be used to great effect as a way of crystallizing
those moments of quiet sincere desire and bringing them into conscious
recognition. But there is another side to prayer, which can prove to be
useful and it requires some sense of a knowledge of oneness. In situations of
greatest challenge, it is possible to be consciously aware of a part of
ourselves, which seems to be responsible for guiding us through difficulties
with a kind of persistent and more enlightened knowledge of what is happening,
what is going to happen and how to make it happen. This is often referred to
as the second mode but in a sense, that is a rather simplistic way of
describing it. For it would seem that with a sense of oneness, it is possible
to feel that, not only does this mode seem to represent a part of ourselves,
but indeed it seems to be a part of everyone and everything else
- a part of the whole essence of life itself. Some might say, a part of God.
Therefore, in all sincerity, it is possible to appeal to
this part of God, a Supreme Being, or life or the universe or whatever, and to
express our desires. But more than this, to ask for help in achieving
them. Indeed to ask for anything at all, with a knowledge and a trust that our
desires will be heard and attended to accordingly. All too often we can forget
to make use of these what could be called the spiritual part of ourselves that
is linked with magical happenings, messages and signs, coincidence and change.
We know that genuine desire is always met with the fulfillment of it. In these
quiet moments, when identity and pretenses are stripped away, when the
individual truly faces themselves, this entreating can be very powerful
and very immediate. And although spiritual is a much misused
word and concept and although it is less than adequate, we must not be afraid
to tap into the spiritual part of ourselves.
We must not forget to venture into these unknown and unseen
forces that seem to guide the course of, not only our lives, but the course of
humanity and the world. If we are part of some spiritual dimension
and that spiritual dimension is part of us, then without it dominating
our lives in a very unnatural and unempowering way, in the way that religion
might, we can allow that spirit to enter our lives and indeed allow our
life to enter it. This union, through the power of prayer, through the
intimate relationship of communing with the unseen dimensions of ourselves,
could surely be interpreted as a fundamental part of living a meaningful life.
For if it was not, why on earth would it exist at all?
If you are interested in finding out more about how our
training programs can assist you or your staff, please contact me at Asia
Training Associates (see advertisement) or by email to christina.dodd @asiatrainingassociates.com
Until next time, have a great week!
The Doctor's Consultation by Dr. Iain
Corness: Cattle Class Syndrome and Aspirin
by Dr. Iain Corness
Air travel is very much part of my fortnightly routine
these days, so it does mean that I am more likely to suffer from Economy
(Cattle) Class Syndrome than before. (I have tried saying that I should fly
Business Class, but the request appears to have fallen on deaf ears.) However,
I do take a daily medication which should mean that I am even less likely to
get the economy problems.
Getting right down to tin-tacks, the Economy Class Syndrome
is just a fancy title for a Deep Venous Thrombosis, or more simply, a blood
clot in a deep vein in the legs. We shorten this to DVT, because we doctors
like acronyms, and what’s more they easier to spell than the long names.
DVT’s occur not just in plane passengers, but in
hospitals in the post operative period. In fact, the latest figures from
Australia would indicate that 50% of people who have orthopaedic surgery are
likely to get a DVT. Even 20% of general surgery patients are in line for this
And this gets me back to my daily medication, prescribed
for me by the new generation’s hope for salvation, the young Dr. Jonathan
Corness, a new breed medico about whom I am very proud - but I digress. Dr.
Jonathan prescribed one of the oldest medications in the world for me -
Aspirin. So why would this up-to-the-minute medico prescribe something as old
hat as Aspirin? Quite simply, because it works!
In therapeutic doses to stop headaches and relieve
arthritis, we are looking at something between 300-600 mgms four times a day
for most people and Aspirin works well here; however, at that dosage you run
the risk of upsetting your stomach, to actual bleeding and ulceration. There
are also people who show allergic reactions to Aspirin, from asthma right the
way through to anaphylactic shock and death! Yes, this is potent medicine.
However, there are other conditions for which Aspirin is
the drug of choice, and not in the big doses either. We are talking here of
100 mgm doses taken once a day only. This way the chances of allergy/asthma
and gastric bleeding are greatly reduced. What the Aspirin does is work on the
aggregation of platelets. This is where the red blood cells sort of form into
clumps and these become clots and are the start of the Deep Vein Thromboses (DVT’s).
And this is what happens in the Economy Class Syndrome, if you are unlucky.
Now medical science has found that by taking 100 mgm of
Aspirin daily you lower your chances of heart attack, something much higher on
my personal risk table than Economy Class Syndrome. You see, clotting can
occur in many areas of the body, and a clot in the coronary arteries can be
extremely life threatening. And life shortening! And yet so easily avoided,
with one little tablet every day. You can buy baby Aspirin, but I used
“Cardiprin” - this is more expensive, but comes in a push-through calendar
pack, which gets me to remember to take it better than just a bottle of
tablets on the breakfast table.
Now getting back to flying, the secret to health in the air
is purely to maintain good circulation and avoid dehydration. To maintain
circulation to the lower legs you should get up and walk around the plane once
every hour. Simple. Dehydration is easy to fix - drink more water, not more
alcohol! That’s it!
I will be coming to Thailand later this year and I am not sure how to
handle the money side of things to take over with me. I have heard that it
is dangerous to use credit cards because there is a lot of credit card
scams. Is this correct? What should I do, I won’t be bringing much with
me because I haven’t got much to spend, but I don’t want to lose it
either! I used to use travellers cheques, but they were really a pain.
What is your suggestion?
Hillary doesn’t have these sort of credit card problems, because Hillary
doesn’t have a credit card, mainly because the lousy editor pays me in
one baht coins, so I just carry it all in my purse. But being serious for
a while, as a tourist, the easiest way to carry money is to have deposited
your holiday money in a debit card account in your country and draw on
that when you are here at ATM’s, as you need it, and then pay cash at
retail outlets. This way, nobody gets your card numbers on a merchant’s
carbon copy, and by using the debit card, rather than “credit” card
you won’t overspend. As far as scams are concerned, we get our fair
share, as do all countries in the world these days. Crime does not
recognise international boundaries! Finally, if you are still worried, you
can try posting large numbers of unmarked notes to Hillary. Just put
“chocolate bars” on the outside of the parcel, and the postman will
not be suspicious. On second thoughts, do include choccy bars, and then I
won’t be tempted to spend your money on chocolates (though champagne
could be a problem)!
I was really staggered the other day when I was helping a young lady in a
bar understand what some falang had written to her. The guy had written
that he was coming back at Christmas and how he was looking forward to
seeing her again, and maybe they could go somewhere together. I said to
her that he sounded like a nice guy, but she didn’t remember him!
“Where he come from?” was the reply. When I said Germany, then she
remembered that it was either George or Robert! How can these girls keep
living like this? Have they no sense of responsibility?
You should not be amazed, it is Hillary who is amazed that there are still
people like you around, who think that there are “rules of
association” with girls in bars. Petal, these girls are working there.
Their “job” is to look after unattached males in return for financial
rewards (and not the editorial one baht coins either - more like the 30
baht gold weight chains). Her George or Robert was just another passing
face in the crowd, but don’t worry, five minutes after he arrives she
will have recognised his wallet and will make up her mind at that time
whether to go away with him on holiday.
Does everybody get the offensive emails I get every day these days? I look
at the strip at the top that tells me I have 20 emails waiting for me
“out there” and I know before I begin to click that half of them will
be rubbish and the other half unforgettable offers or the long lost third
cousin of some assassinated African King offering me a slice of 25.5
million dollars that he had hidden away in Amsterdam. Is there nothing we
can do to stop this? You must get a lot of emails Hillary, what do you do?
Dear Fed Up,
Hillary feels for you, I do, Petal, I do. This rubbish, known as SPAM and
those annoying computer viruses make life for the communicators of this
world very difficult, when today’s technology should have made it very
easy. Some of the servers show you how to split up the incoming mail into
the ones you “may” want and the ones you definitely “don’t”
want, but it does not last long before the system is swamped and useless.
As far as all these relatives of assassinated kings, government officials
and the Office of the National Petroleum Institute in Nigeria are
concerned, it amazes me that these keep on coming up. Hillary gets a
minimum of three every day, including some newer and more inventive ones
that claim to come from Iraq, with untold millions salted away by Saddam
before he turned into a pile of US missile mush. If there is anyone out
there with the answers for Fed Up and Hillary, please write (but don’t
send an email, I’ll probably delete it if I don’t recognise the
Is the food you see on the little wheely carts safe to eat? I often go to
some little places up country but so far I’ve been too afraid to try. Do
you eat hawker food?
Yes, I eat hawker food. In general it is tasty and nutritious and very
cheap. However, it may be a little spicy if you are not used to it. Stick
with omelettes and stir-fries until you are more experienced.
Camera Class: Time Exposure made easy! And no exposure meter either!
by Harry Flashman
How many times have you used the “time exposure” facility
on your camera? Probably the “B” on the dial that stands for the
old-fashioned setting called “bulb” but more on that later. So when was the
last time you tried using a time exposure? Probably “never”! That is the
usual response to that question.
The reason for this is simple. It all sounds too complicated,
you need to have a tripod, don’t know how to work it out, the list goes on. It
is a shame that people feel this way, because you can get some spectacular shots
with time exposure and it really isn’t all that difficult these days. Let me
show you how!
Let’s address the “too technical” first. A camera is
purely a device that lets a certain amount of light fall onto sensitized film
for a predetermined amount of time. This is the old “f8 at 1/60th” sort of
routine (also known as the photojournalists creed - f8 and Be There!). The
number of the “f” stop (the aperture) tells you how large the hole is that
lets the light in, and the 1/60th denotes how long the hole was left open. Is
that really technical? No!
morning sunrise - pic by Ernie Kuehnelt
Way back, film material was so insensitive that the exposure
times were nowhere near as “short” as today. 1/60th was unheard of - it was
more like a fortnight at f8 in those days! With today’s super-sensitive film
materials and printing papers you can get away with “short” time exposures
and you don’t even need to be accurate any more. Near enough is good enough!
There is a thing called “exposure latitude” that is on our side.
What do you need for Time Exposure photography? Well, a
camera is a good start, but it has to be one with “T” or “B” settings.
The “T” setting stands for Time Exposure - one “click” opens the
shutter, the second “click” closes it. “B” originally stood for
“bulb” and the way that works is by holding the shutter release down keeps
the shutter open until you take your finger off, which closes it. Why two
settings? Simple, use “B” for time exposures up to a minute and “T” for
longer ones (mainly because your finger will go numb holding the button down for
What film? The new 400 ASA is fine (but you can use anything,
I generally just use the standard 200 ASA film I use for everything). Now you
may have read about “reciprocity failure” with long time exposures. Give up
reading! It’s photo industry techo-talk and won’t stop you getting good
pictures, it just changes the colours a bit.
The final piece of equipment you need is a tripod, but even
that is not 100% necessary. But it is easier with one.
The important point to grasp, is that all Time Exposure
photography is “hit and miss”. There’s no real way anyone can tell you
exactly “f8 and 24 seconds”. There’s too many variables, but all you have
to do is to take the same scene or picture with several different exposure times
- one of them will be right. Believe me!
Here’s the rough guides. In all of these the aperture (f
stop) is set on f8. Now to take a street scene at night, try 2 seconds, 4
seconds and 8 seconds. For the interior of a room, lit with ordinary light
bulbs, try 5 seconds, 10 seconds and 20 seconds. To take a picture, just before
dawn try 5, 10 and 20 seconds. Now, for a completely dark, night landscape (or
seascape) try 30 seconds, 1 minute and 2 minutes. And for a different sunset,
try one second and half a second.
Make a note of the order your time exposures were shot in,
and jot down the “best” result after you get your films back. Sure, the
colours will be strangely different - but if you wanted a “normal” shot
you’d have taken it in daylight, wouldn’t you? Try time exposure this
Dr Byte's Computer Conundrums
This week I am going to look at two really interesting
areas of debate. The first is the question of internet control, with special
reference to kiddie protection. The other issue is related to Internet
hacking and the attack on the Internet during the 5th July weekend.
Q. Dear Dr Byte,
My son and his best friend were suspended from school
last week because they were caught looking at some pornographic web sites
using their school library computer.
At a meeting with the school principle and their
teachers, we discussed how the school could filter unwanted or objectionable
content and I have agreed to make some recommendations to them. What do you
think? Is there really any way to stop school children accessing
A very worried parent
A. Can you really make the Internet kid-safe?
I was happy to see the U.S. Supreme Court uphold a law
intended to protect children from “objectionable” Internet content. The
ruling goes some distance towards making PCs and the Internet welcome in the
children’s sections of America’s libraries. But I don’t think locking
down libraries will make a dent in the ability of young people to see stuff
that responsible adults don’t want them to. Likewise, that’s all well
and good for the USA, but what about a country like Thailand?
So what can be done to make the Internet more welcome in
homes with children? How do we protect children who come home from school to
an empty house, or whose parents, when they’re home, are too busy to
supervise the kids? Or who rush around to the local cyber cafe and start to
To me, this is like so many other political battles, in
which rich parents demand laws that have little relevance to the real world
where needy children live. It gives those parents the warm feeling of having
done something - after all, their children will be “protected.” But it
does nothing to actually address the real problem - which is that children
don’t always get the supervision and guidance they need and deserve.
Basically, I’d protect kids by locking them out from
anything (and anyone) on the Internet that wasn’t approved in advance. And
this ability should be a default setting on your computer - without parents
having to buy additional software and figure out how to set it up.
The theory here is that people will do the right thing -
in this case, be responsible parents - if you make it easy enough for them.
I can’t do anything about kids left alone with only the TV set as company,
but I think we can make the computer a better alternative.
The software should only allow access to pre-approved
sites and content. I’d also require a “white list” e-mail client that
would only accept mail from pre-approved addresses. Same with instant
messaging: No chats with users who aren’t approved via a parent’s
All new computers should be shipped with filtering
software. That software should be on, by default. It should include
passwords capable of disabling the filtering entirely or just for a
specified period of time, like an hour, when children would be supervised.
It should also include a feature that would limit the total hours of use and
maybe even do things like reward the completion of educational applications
with additional game-playing time.
This software should also be available free to parents
who might not otherwise purchase it as an add-on to the PCs they already
This option is not available now and a lot will depend on
computer OEM manufacturers and Operating Systems like Windows developing and
then including this in every new PC. For now, net filtering software is
available for a cost. The problem with net filters is that the choice of key
words can seriously impact on valid and worthwhile internet searches for
information. A filter can exclude material that is valid.
For example a school project on Flower and Plant
pollination could be very limited if you include the Sex word in the filter.
‘Sex life of the Bumble Bee’ would be a valid subject for this kind of
project, but any search for information on the Bumble Bee would exclude this
material. So you can see, Net Filters have their uses but also have their
Q. Dear Dr Byte
My internet connection has been seriously disrupted for
more than a week, with different days and times of the day, having good and
more often, terrible connections. What’s going on and is my Web Host
Service, ISP or is it someone else that is at fault?
A. Parts of the internet erupted last weekend in a battle
among hackers, as factions disrupted a loosely coordinated “contest”
among other groups trying to vandalise thousands of web sites around the
Unknown attackers for hours knocked offline an
independent security web site, zone-h.org, that was verifying reports of
online vandalism and being used by hackers to tally points for the
competition, which drew warnings last week by the US government and one
Three such vigilante-style attacks forced the hacker
organiser, who identified himself only as “Eleonora67),” to extend the
contest until 0800 AEST today. But with continued attacks disrupting the
ability of vandals to claim credit for their break-ins, some experts said it
could be later this week before damage from this weekend’s hacking would
By late Saturday afternoon, hackers claimed
responsibility for vandalising hundreds of mostly obscure web sites, such as
ones for Security Title Co and the Heart of Montana Realty Services, both of
“We’re just a teeny little company,” said Barb
Asper, whose husband, Don, is one of the owners for Montana Realty. In a
telephone interview, Don Asper called the attack “bothersome,” before he
and his wife contacted the firm’s web site provider to have the vandalised
There were no reports of vandalism involving flagship
internet sites most consumers would recognise, a testament to improved
online security over the past decade inside large corporations, government
agencies and organisations.
“We at least knew it was coming,” said Peter Allor of
Internet Security Systems Inc, which distributed a warning on Thursday about
the contest using an alert system for technology companies. “We took some
efforts to harden our sites.”
Some of the relatively unknown web sites vandalised, such
as one for a church in California, were converted into informal reporting
mechanisms for identifying other hacked sites.
Many security experts said the nickname of the hacker
claiming responsibility for the contest, “Eleonora67),” was unfamiliar.
My thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald for this answer.
If you have any questions you would like answered, or have suggestions you
would like to make, please contact Dr Byte at Chiangmai Mail. Next
time we will be looking at tuning Windows to make it run faster, so get in
touch if you have a particular problem or question in this area.
Ask your local US Consul
Why you give visa to drug girl ... name [deleted] ...
surin home ... live chang mia ... go prison 3 time ... american boyfriend
… name [deleted] ... girl have yaba heroin. Why you give visa ... bad
Dear Mr. 11,
You know the old T-shirt bromide “good girls go to
heaven/bad girls go everywhere”? Well, sometimes, they get to go to
Actually, I’m printing your letter - of course it’s
real; you can’t make this stuff up, folks - because it nicely introduces a
topic I just want to touch upon briefly: fraud.
We/I often get accused of being too suspicious of
applicants, because, after all, whatever happens in good ol’ “Chang
Answer: lots. In the brief two years I’ve been here,
I’ve seen fake US passports, forged US visas bought and sold on the
street, lots and lots of fake job letters, phony bankbooks, letters from
alleged US cardiologists that say things like “applicant must visit, has
pump problem,” and even some Photoshopped (tm) putative holiday pictures
(as in “can’t find my old visa, but here are the snapshots I took”).
We detect some of this because ... well, we’re good.
But for some of it, we depend on tips from you. Often, the tips come in like
this: an email, a fax, an anonymous letter dropped off at the gate, letting
us know about someone’s criminal history or boasts about their intended
upcoming move to the US.
On the other hand, I also want to reassure potential
tipsters (and applicants!) that we take the information for what it is:
unsubstantiated, and subject to verification. In this case, for example, is
it possible that the writer is more upset by Ms. Surin’s American
boyfriend than her supposed prison record? Sure, and the lack of any other
negative information on [name deleted] is why there’s one more “bad
girl” in the Big Apple these days. We have to be suspicious of our
suspicions sometimes, too. It’s a fine line to walk, but all the more
reason why we need all the information we can get.
Keep ‘em coming,
Have a question about visas, passports, travel to the
United States, services for American citizens, or related issues? Ask the
Consul. Send your e-mail to email@example.com with “ask the consul” in
the subject line. If your question isn’t selected, you can get an answer
by calling the Consulate at 053-252-629, from 8 to 4.
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