Friday Morning: Nasty Habits

I got nasty habits; I take tea at three.
— Mick Jagger

Hah. Just be careful what water you use to make that tea, Mick. Could be an entirely different realm of nasty.

Late start here, too much to read this morning. I’ll keep updating this as I write. Start your day off, though, by reading Marcy’s post from last night. The claws are coming out, the life boats are getting punctured.

Many WordPress-powered sites infected with ransomware
Your next assignment this morning: check and update applications as out-of-date versions of Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader, Microsoft Silverlight, or Internet Explorer are most prone to this new wave of ransomware affecting WordPress sites. Back up all your data files to offline media in case you are hit with ransomware, and make it a habit to back up data files more frequently.

Planes inbound to the UK from regions with Zika virus may be sprayed
Take one tightly-closed oversized can, spray interior with insecticide, then insert humans before sealing for several hours. This sounds like a spectacularly bad idea to me. What about you? Yet this is what the UK is poised to do with planes flying in from areas with frequent Zika infections.

Comcast a possible smartphone service provider
NO. I don’t even have Comcast, yet I think this company is one of the worst suited to offering smartphones and service to their users. The company has expressed interest in bidding on spectrum for wireless, however. Comcast has struggled for years with one of — if not THE — worst reps for customer service. How do they think they will manage to expand their service offering without pissing off more customers?

AT&T obstructing muni broadband
No surprise here that AT&T is lobbying hard against more broadband, especially that offered by communities. The public knows there’s a problem with marketplace competition when they don’t have multiple choices for broadband, and they want solutions even if they have to build it themselves. When AT&T annoys a Republican lawmaker while squelching competition, they’ve gone too far. Keep an eye on this one as it may shape muni broadband everywhere.

Volkswagen roundup
VW delayed both its earnings report scheduled March 10th and its annual meeting scheduled April 21. The car maker says it needs more time to assess impact of the emissions control scandal on its books. New dates for the report and meeting have not been announced.

Volkswagen Financial Services, the banking arm of VW’s holding company structure which finances auto sales and leases, suffers from the ongoing scandal. Ratings firms have downgraded both the bank and parent firm. Not mentioned in the article: potential negative impact of emissions control scandal on VW’s captive reinsurer, Volkswagen Insurance Company Ltd (VICO).

Both the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency filed a civil suit against VW in Detroit this week. Separate criminal charges are still possible.

That’s a wrap, I’m all caught up on my usual read-feed. Get nasty as you want come 5:00 p.m. because it’s Friday!

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
6 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    Airplanes and critters. I wonder if I could get through security with a bag of bugs. Snakes on a plane, anyone?

  2. bloopie2 says:

    This Volkswagen thing is getting h-u-g-e. Is there a possibility it will bring down the Company? And I wonder what lessons it holds for other businesses that might have one such weak point in them, that will topple them Are there experts or analysts or consultants available, who can look at a company and identify those points? Kind of like the FBI looking at all their records of your life and picking out one misstep that if publicized will ruin you.

  3. Rayne says:

    bloopie2 — VW won’t fail because it’s one of those Too Big To Fail companies in Germany. One in ten jobs in Germany is VW or related to VW in some way. The problem is making this right; they can’t sell these POS passenger diesel vehicles without a fix, and they don’t know how to fix it without greatly affecting the performance of the vehicle. They’ll come to some sort of agreement with U.S. government, but it will hurt market share here. U.S. will NOT be made whole.

    Auditors do the kind of work you describe. Some businesses, like insurance and banking, have many layers of auditors. A reinsurer I once worked at could have a handful of external auditors from several states, U.S. Treasury, state treasury, rating agencies, as well as both internal auditors and contracted auditors looking at the books at the same time. Internal auditors tried to stay ahead of the rest, to make sure everything was square before external auditors, agencies, licensing bodies came in. But automotive industry has fewer audit points — only the books, and for continuing quality certifications like ISO. ISO certification (if any) awarded to VW may not have covered the electronic control unit manufacturing process, and may not have been audited. Or may simply have slipped by, just as it did with U.S. state regulatory agencies checking emissions.

    Risk managers also look for vulnerabilities and exposures, but I can see where this would have been missed — nobody dreamed VW would attempt to cheat at this scale.

  4. haarmeyer says:

    “Take one tightly-closed oversized can, spray interior with insecticide, then insert humans before sealing for several hours. This sounds like a spectacularly bad idea to me.”

    Not a lot different from the mandatory insecticide bombs they walk down the aisles with on all flights landing in India. Been there, done that, it’s Indian law.

    But then, I was never in favor of turning the Zika virus into a modern-day version of the Salem witch trials in the first place.

  5. Rayne says:

    lefty665 (12:21) — LOL Thanks, but I don’t know if I want my crazy-assed tweets mucking up the mostly sane tweets from the rest of the team. When I get my crey on, I can swamp them.

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