Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A Contrary Opinion On Computer Etiquette

I am vastly amused by this little kerfuffle going on elsewhere in the borderland between Blogovia and Blogistan.

After an odd episode earlier this morning, it seems Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund returned to Bloggers' Corner later this afternoon, this time knowing full well that the unoccupied computers left on the tables were private property, belonging to the bloggers. He hopped on another open laptop, again without asking permission from its owner, and took about a half hour to file a story, even as the blogger whose computer he'd commandeered stood waiting.

It seems to me that journalists who walk away from their computers in public, without even locking out access to them, are implicitly offering the use of their computers to anyone in the room. And if they aren't locking them to the table, then the offer is even more stupid.

This is the reason why the people who design these devices go to all the extra trouble of putting lockpoints on mobile computer cases and they write all this extra code for locking the keyboard, screen and mouse so that you have to enter a password to get access to the computer after leaving it unattended.

If you don't want John Fund to use your computer to file his stories, then don't leave your computer unattended and unlocked around him. How fscking difficult is this concept for you to learn?

Update: Oh good grief— it just keeps getting sillier. Fund now claims he was the victim of a practical joke.

And for the record, yes— I do recognize that unattended personal computers are still private property even when they are left open to access by anyone in public. Still, I continue to boggle my poor little mind: what the fsck are these people thinking? I would NEVER in a million years think it would be safe to leave my personal mobile computer open and unlocked for anyone to use while I wandered around any kind of convention. But, ye Ghods— the Conservative Political Action Conference? At a venue like that, I'd carry the damned thing into the toilet stalls with me. (You never know what kind of software pathogens your system is likely to pick up being groped and fondled by the people who go to those things.)

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