Thursday, February 17, 2005


Zeal, n. A certain nervous disorder afflicting the young and inexperienced

Administrivia beckons today, as a Minor Manager informs me that there's some scrutiny focused toward our business unit due to a slow start for the year and we've got to resolve some open project finance issues with regard to Esteemed Client. Perhaps some focus on our Crack Sales Team who spent umpteen dollars on their country club memberships and Super Bowl tickets might be more appropriate, but what the heck do I know? I'm only the guy who's got to make things work. Also trying to line up my next gig, otherwise Minor Manager will surely find something productive for me to do in Pyongyang or Tehran.

In fairness to Lavasoft, I'll post this quote from their press release page regarding AdAware and WhenU.

As a result of recent rumours and speculation by members of the privacy community and the public at large, Lavasoft wants to make clear that it has not and would not collaborate with any companies that have produced content detected by Ad-Aware. Ad-Aware products are designed purely for scanning and removing of suspicious content (at the user’s discretion) and Lavasoft would not ally with adversaries under any circumstances.

WhenU was indeed removed from the database by research in the last definition file. This however was due to WhenU not scoring more than 2 TAC points at the time, 3 points being the minimum score to be included in the database. More information on the Threat Assessment Chart can be found at

The TAC report will be reviewed in more detail by our R&D department and in case it turns out that the removal was incorrect, WhenU will naturally be reintroduced to the database.

In one view, it could be viewed as a guilt by association reaction against Lavasoft, because of WhenU's previous alliance with Yahoo (and based on a friend's machine that has the infamous Yahoo toolbar installed, no commercial anti-spyware solution will zap that). As I've noted here and in other forums my perception has been that AdAware has been more effective lately than Spybot, but the need for a cross-check is still there. I do think that Lavasoft did make a tactical error here, as purveyors such as WhenU won't change their spots, even if a particular evaluation makes them look benign (as I've well known throughout the years, evaluation criteria can be bent, shaped and twisted to make things happen the way the powers that be decree. One notable instance at Stalag 13, I had created a dandy set of evaluation criteria and matrices for an RFP. Based on the objective criteria I labored for months to produce, one particular vendor won. Said vendor was not politically in favor at Stalag 13, and we were under lots of pressure from the C-level to tweak the matrix and points such that Preferred Vendor got the job. It took a lot, and I mean a lot of bullshit to make that happen).

I won't succumb to the knee-jerk reaction of banishing AdAware, but I will monitor the situation.


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