Shame on Corel

I loath Corel. Not because they haven’t had some good products that I’ve used, but I don’t use them anymore.  However as I’ve tried to reduce my flow of e-mail, I have tried to use their opt-out message.  I would hope that it was legitimate.  Its says:

You are receiving this email because you requested to receive information regarding Corel products and special offers or you subscribe to a Corel e-newsletter. If you wish to unsubscribe from this email or otherwise change your Corel email communications settings, please click here.

I have clicked.  I give up.  Now for every unique message they send, I get four copies.  Easy enough to blacklist in my mail filters, and I have.  But shame on Corel!

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Archiving and Time Stamping

The World Wide Web has become a vast store of information.  Unfortunately content comes and goes, and the most interesting information becomes lost.  Of greater concern is that even if captured at the time, an evil doer (GWB deserves some credit for introducing this key phrase, essential to the work of the IGotW) can deny that it ever existed and that the IGotW just made it up.

As we begin unraveling the sorry history of the UWRP, we need tools…

A key one is waybackmachine.org.  Bless Rocky and Bullwinkle.  For many reasons, it can and will produce material of limited evidentiary value, except for those portions that are hard-coded into the page source.  But often that is enough.  We will make substantial and good use of this tool, keeping in mind these limitations.

A second is time stamping using a time stamping authority.  I use e-timestamp.com for the work of IGotW (and other tasks).  Of course, it is possible to capture digital documents and alter them.  But a capture of document in both source and as rendered, both time stamped, with supportive confirmation of a tool like the waybackmachine goes a long way to meet a preponderance of the evidence standard.    Beyond that base level of confirmation, time stamping of computer logs and caches provides robust accountability.

I welcome suggestions for strengthening the accuracy and provenance of digital records we gather.

Future Retiree: Beware

At is October 2010 meeting, the Finance, Audits and Facilities Committee of the UW Regents considered three items concerning the UW Retirement Plan, UWRP, which covers faculty, librarians, and professional staff.

Item 7 is information to motivate future action: the rarely available, quasi-defined benefit became a significant liability during the peak of the 2008 economic downturn.  Item 6 reconstituted the composition of a  committee, the “Fund Review Committee,” (FRC) that reviews performance of allowed investment vehicles and recommends changes to the Provost/Executive Vice President for consideration by the Regents.  Item 5 is the one of concern and it seems to be running in the dark.  Let the IGotW (that would be the Inspector General of the World; I love this unexpected acronym) shed some light on the activities of the FRC.

In Item 5 scroll right to the bottom about consultation with campus.  Have you been consulted?  Have you ever heard of the Fund Review Committee?  For your amusement view this overview of the UW Retirement Program.  Scan the right hand column of Topics and click on Fund Review Committee.  Is this anything resembling a transparent process?

We will soon begin our series: “Fiduciary Responsibility and the UW Retirement Program”

Start Your Engines

Thanks to a wonderful gift, the Inspector General of the World has its own custom domain name:  inspectorgeneraloftheworld.org.  And today I completed all of the administrative tasks to get it working.  It will be another month before I can begin to inspect in earnest.  In the meantime bookmark the link!

Washington State Board of Geographic Names

This is a stub, waiting to gain future energy:

Crosscut reported on the demise of the Washington State Board of Geographic Names:

“Here’s one shocker that’s gone under the radar: the elimination of the Washington State Board on Geographic Names. Washington now becomes the only state in the union without a local names board or naming authority.”

“So, Washington state has seceded from the national process, abandoned its leadership role, and it’s now open season on place names.”

Of note is the observation that the budget of this board had been zeroed already.  The action of the legislature saves the governor from appointing a board composed of volunteers giving service to the state with the delegated authority of the state.  Now the governor can review this requests?  Or what?  Does that cost more or less?  Let’s find out…

Hello World!

Welcome to my new blog “Inspector General of the World”.  As I start out, I have a day job so my inspections may come slowly, but I am poised for retirement and inspecting a few hours a day can become routine.

So visit “About”, which explains what the Inspector General of the World does.