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This is now my technical-only blog, my non-technical blog is here.

18 September 2007

Office Ethics II - Company Resources

I will try in this post to focus on company resources that people sometimes use for non-business activities.

As you know, most of us have telephones on our desks, but the point is that many people use these phones to call their friends or relatives. It's a bit easier for me as we have mobile allowance in my company. And I haven't paid any penny for my mobile calls for the last four years or so. So I normally use my mobile phone even for business and international calls as it is easier. But I believe that if there weren't that mobile allowance, I am still not supposed to use the company phone for non-business calls.

I also don't think that I am supposed to use to use the printers there in order to print private documents and stuff. The same for the photo copiers and ... ehm scanner. Look, I am not sure about the scanner, as I consider it a permanent resource, ie. it doesn't have a significant running cost.

One more thing, the Office Boys and Messengers. Is it ok to send them out to buy you some stuff or get you some papers from somewhere? As for me, we have a policy that we can send them to do such personal stuff, as long as they have nothing to do. And such orders will take the lowest priority if they have other stuff to do. But I believe that if there isn't such policy in a certain company, then people are not supposed to send them.

Finally, I think companies shall try to define a certain policy for such issues. As they may allow their employees to use the available resources there within certain limits. But as long as there isn't such policy, people are not suppose to use the resources there without permission.

You can read the previous post, Office Ethics I - Internet, here.

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16 September 2007

MSN Personal Messages III

This is the third episode, of "MSN Personal Messages" series.

* No good deed goes unpunished.
* A hungry man is an angry man.
* People lose their health to make money, then lose their money to get their health back.
* To be absolutely certain about something, one must know everything or nothing about it.
* Don't wake up a hungry tiger.
* Life is nothing but a big test.
* You are what you eat.
* We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are.
* I am not what you are searching for.
* Impossible is nothing.
* It's only after we have lost everything, that we are free to do anything.
* I am not supposed to love you, just because you love me.
* You can have anything in life if you are going to sacrifice everything else for it. And you might not have it after all.
* All of us search for love, but some of us, after we've found it, wish we hadn't.
* A man is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed.
* Love is for the Lucky and the Brave.
* There is nothing more dangerous than an idea, when it's the only one you have.

See episodes one, and two.

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15 September 2007

Office Ethics I - Internet

You know, it's now Ramadan here, and people try to improve themselves during this holy month, they try to get closer to Allah (God), and do good things. And this inspired me to pick a new topic to talk about here, let me call it "Office Ethics".

I'll mainly focus on questions like, Is it ethical to do so and so?, and most of the time I'll wait for your answers, because I am not a preacher and I need your feedback to guide me.

Most of us have Internet connectivity at work, they work on PC's and they have IM's there such as MSN, AOL, etc. They are also allowed to surf the Internet and download music. So the question is, when you are supposed to work from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, is it ethical to do non-business activities during the working hours, like chatting with your friends, checking your Facebook profile, watching videos on YouTube, downloading movies, etc?

You may say that it is not ethical for sure, and you are wasting your time. But on the other, we are humans not machines, we cannot work continuously without taking any rest. For me it is a bit more clear. In the company I work in now, there is some kind of unwritten agreement, that people are allowed to was as much time as they want as long as they finish their tasks in time. Some other companies have certain softwares to block MSN, and P2P applications as well as blocking some web sites, but for sure they cannot block everything. I used to work in one of those companies before, but when I needed some rest I used to grab a paper and pen and start drawing. So at the end of they day, people are going to waste their time even if you lock them in a cages and order them to work continuously. The funny thing is that in that company I used to leave at 5:00 PM sharp, but now I can stay for many hours after 5:00 without being pissed off. I am also more productive in my current job.

But, is it all about delaying your tasks!? Sometimes people download movies and stuff from the internet, and this may slow down their co-workers connection, and affect their business related online activities. Sometimes your chit-chat may disclose some of your companies secrets? I hate it when people send me jokes and religious-stuff on my business email.

So finally, I want you to tell me:

* Is it ok to do non-business online activities during your working hours? (Yes - No - Yes, with limits, please mention them)
* Is it ok to send jokes and funny mails to your friends or co-workers on their business mail?
* How can you tell if downloading a movie, or doing a voice call is going to harm your co-workers connectivity? Aren't we supposed not to use those bandwidth intensive applications at work?

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05 September 2007

Blog Hacking

I've received the following question a while ago, so I think it'd be nice to publish it here.
Amre El-Abyad said:

Dear Tarek,
What iss the best way to protect one's blog against hacking?
And here is my answer:
Dear Amr,
First of all make sure that you have a strong password that no one can guess easily.
Also, some Add-On's and Widgets are not trusted, they can bring you Advertisements and steal your account credentials (user name and password), especially those free Toolbars and the untrusted programs that people add to their browsers.
Make sure you have the latest Antivirus in order to protect yourself from key-loggers and the other Malwares.
Sometimes Antiviruses cannot protect you from every single Malware, so having a personal Firewall as an extra layer of security can block those softwares from contacting their original servers back.

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