Today I tried to complete an online purchase using my HSBC Visa Card (issued in Hong Kong), and when the merchant redirected me to HSBC for the Verified by Visa page, instead of the password prompt I used to receive, I saw the following:
Thinking that this must be an error (since it used to work fine before), I called up HSBC’s customer service hotline to find out what was going on.
I was shocked to hear that HSBC now officially only supports IE, and no other browsers are supported for Verified by Visa. I asked them what I’m supposed to do if I have a Mac and don’t have IE, and they responded that I’m supposed to use IE or nothing at all.
I asked why Firefox is unsupported since it used to work fine before and they gave a vague response that Firefox cannot exchange data with Visa properly (which does not make sense at all). They also said that their entire online platform is “built for Internet Explorer”.
The message from HSBC Hong Kong is clear: if you’re not using IE, don’t bother making online purchases with our Visa card.
My message to HSBC is this: if you’re not going to support Firefox, don’t count on me using your Visa card to make any purchases (online or offline).
In case anyone wants to comment on this, this is where the complaints need to go:
Attn: Credit Card Services
8 Floor, Block 2 & 3
1 Sham Mong Road
No doubt many of my readers will be aware of the horrendous debacle at India TV which resulted in them broadcasting a report with a fake photo of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS) “performing” the nikah of the Taleban terrorist, Baitullah Mehsud in Afghanistan.
Of course, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS) never performed this nikah and during the time of the said nikah, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS) was in Mumbai, not Afghanistan.
The TV channel has published an apology and also aired an apology for the indicident which can be seen here:
The source image and the doctored image can also be seen below:
India TV Source Image
India TV Fake Image
Without making any attempt to justify what is obviously abhorrent or non-existent editorial control, I do have a suspicion regarding how this came to pass. Rather than a deliberate attempt to slander Dawoodi Bohras, it is more likely the case that the “reporter” (and I use this word in the loosest term possible) did a Google Search on “nikah”, and found these results:
Google Search Results for "nikah"
The first usable photo became the “source” for the doctored “news report”. While this in no means justifies what happened and it should never have happened to begin with, it does mean that objectively, there was likely no intended malice towards Dawoodi Bohras.
Does it excuse the event? Absolutely not. Does it mean that it’s acceptable for news stations to doctor images to fake news events? No way. Everything that happened here should never have happened. But I think it does provide an insight into how it came about.
Yesterday I piloted a Boeing 737-800NG simulator. It was my first attempt at a flight from Hong Kong’s new airport Chek Lap Kok to the now out of service old airport Kai Tak. I control the yoke (steering) and yaw. My co-pilot controls the thrust, flaps and trim (and generally gives me some helpful directions since he’s a pilot and I’m not).
The 737 NG has some pretty sophisticated navigational equipment which is very helpful. One of the nice things was an indicator that shows your turn trajectory and projects it onto a runway extension – very useful for landings at Kai Tak.
Of note is that pilots who landed at Kai Tak back in the day had no such help, making those landings all the more impressive.
My landing is not on the runway centreline, but on the runway and close to where one should hope to land, so I’m happy with that for a first attempt at flying a 737 in a proper sim.
I just upgraded Zainab’s iPhone 2G (purchased from an Apple Store in the US) today from OS version 2.1 to 2.2.1. Originally this iPhone was unlocked using iJailBreak on 1.1.4 and then was jailbroken/unlocked on 2.0/2.1 using PwnageTool.
The instructions I read were to upgrade to 2.2.1 using iTunes and then run QuickPwn to jailbreak/unlock the iPhone 2G. Interestingly, after I upgraded to 2.2.1 using iTunes (without any custom IPSW – downloaded the release from Apple) the phone upgrade went without a hitch and the iPhone remained unlocked after the upgrade. That was a surprise.
Of course the phone is not jailbroken but I have no interest in that and it seems that once an iPhone 2G is unlocked there are at least some circumstances where it will remain so after a normal upgrade using the official IPSW.
So right now she’s using an iPhone 2.G with 2.2.1 OS without any jailbreaks or custom hacks, but with a non AT&T SIM. That’s from my POV ideal and a pleasant surprise.
I am responsible for overseeing the IT infrastructure of an office with about 40 Windows-based computers. We always keep the OS and relevant software patched, though sometimes even keeping Windows/Office/IE patched to the most current level is notenough.
The workarounds provided by Microsoft for this issue are frankly, not acceptable because website functionality with security set to ‘High’ is unacceptable and generate user complaints (and doesn’t even solve the problem completely).
Events like this give me cause to consider a company-wide deployment of Firefox as the default browser. We have no internal applications that rely on IE so this is not a sticking point for us as it is for many corporations. Plus, Firefox has far fewer “vulnerable days” as compared to IE (and when Firefox is vulnerable the potential risk to the system is usually lower).
However, there are a couple of blockers that stop me from taking this step. These include:
Lack of an automated/scriptable way to deploy Firefox that is supported by Mozilla (though bug 231062 has been filed for an MSI install package – almost 5 years later there is still no resolution).
Lack of any way to force Firefox product/security upgrades upon users. Without this, Firefox is arguably even more insecure than IE because at least with IE we can be reasonably sure that updates are being pushed out on schedule.
Lack of any centralised way to make sure plugins are up to date (I will concede that IE is not up to par on this front either).
There are probably a few other points that I can’t think of at the moment. However, our company is an SME with less than 100 computers and I find these issues troubling. Imagine a Fortune 500 company – the problem for them would be multiplied many fold.
I am unhappy about the latest problems with IE and unhappy that there is no patch yet for an exploit that is so clearly in the wild and unhappy that there isn’t even an acceptable way to mitigate the risk.
Having said all this – at the moment I don’t see that switching to an alternative browser is an acceptable solution to this problem for enterprise users for the reasons above.
If work was done to make Firefox more enterprise friendly, this would go a long way towards adoption in the workplace. As it stands, there are just too many reasons not to deploy even though the product is clearly superior from an end user standpoint.
Is Hong Kong the first market in the world to get an iPhone 3G which is both officially unlocked at the time of purchase and not tied to a carrier plan? According to the Apple HK iPhone store page, quite possibly:
iPhone 3G purchased at the Apple Online Store can be activated with any wireless carrier. Simply insert the SIM from your current phone into iPhone 3G and connect to iTunes 8 to complete activation.
They’re not cheap though. The 8GB phone costs HK$5400 (approx US$700) and the 16GB is HK$6200 (approx US$800).
UPDATE (13/09/2008): Seems that there’s no improvement in signal quality. On my way to work today, twice the phone dropped into a “No Service” area. This was in areas that most definitely should have had coverage.
There are a lot of reports out there that Apple’s 2.0.2 OS update for the iPhone fixes reception issues with 3G. Now I don’t know whether the issues are hardware, firmware, or software related (maybe all?), but I do know that the 2.0.2 update does not do anything to fix them, at least not for me here in Hong Kong.
In a city that has mobile coverage everywhere, including on underground trains, the iPhone sometimes shows 1 bar only for network strength in downtown Hong Kong, where most other phones show full signal strength. In areas where other phones have no problems getting reception, iPhone can show “No Service”.
I hope that iPhone OS 2.1 has a solution for these problems. The iPhone is a great computer, but it is lacking as a reliable mobile phone.
I came across this limit today while trying to download an application from the iPhone App Store. Apparently, if an application is over 10MB, the iPhone will not allow you to download it over the celluar data network, requiring you to either download over wifi, or via iTunes on your computer.
This seems like a pretty brain-dead limit, since 10MB is not a lot of data and they’re hyping up 3G so much as being as fast as broadband. Well, what’s the use if you’re artificially disallowed from downloadling more than 10MB?
Chalk one up for the bean counters at AT&T who no doubt convinced Apple to include this “feature”.
The iPhone plans for Hong Kong 3Supreme customers are slightly different from the plans for regular customers. Of note is the handset prices are different, at the higher tier levels no prepayment or any payment for handset at all is required. 3Supreme members can also get their hands on an iPhone before others by booking before 15 July. I got this in the mail today (note that HK$1 = US$0.13):