Tod Emko

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A Word to the Wise About XML

A Word to the Wise About XML

Listen up! This is your security chief talking about XML encryption. I better not catch any of you dozing during my speech, because my Laser Pointer is set to stun!

I have found that our online databases contain some unencrypted XML information. This is unacceptable!

Who is letting our technology be seen by others? I questioned my bridge crew directly, in an e-mail entitled "Who's been violating the Prime Directive?" Surprisingly, it doesn't seem as if too many people have gotten to their e-mails yet to reply, but once I find the culprit, there'll be Gre'Thor to pay!

Now, uploading sensitive information unencrypted is about as dumb as transporting people through a force field. I can see by the uncomfortable, worried grimaces on your faces that you agree; this is no laughing matter.

The W3C Federation is currently working on encryption standards for XML. As XML is always growing in importance, we need to use an encryption method that will protect it from the newest Borg nano-probe technology.

Study the W3C's working draft syntax, cadets. If I catch you using unencrypted XML, I'll suspend your holodeck privileges. I can't stress that enough. I gave that warning to the former marketing director. But as I delivered my impassioned threat, he just looked at me for about five seconds before punching me in the face and quitting. I cannot fault the poor fellow for being such a violent brute. After all, he was a Star Wars fan.

I've accepted the hostilities that come with my job. I often have to defend myself from you crew members, while I thanklessly defend you from unnoticed threats. Whenever I push one of you out of the way to wipe down your filthy monitor, I'm ready to receive an avalanche of profanities. When I give necessary tirades on how ashamed you should feel at your lack of UNIX knowledge, I'm prepared for an ungrateful gnashing of teeth. But you must trust me when I say that the goals and rules I set for you are for you to become an intergalactic explorer.

Remember, it is forbidden to share technology with other, more primitive cultures. If the apelike cultures of the planet Hydran got their hands on our advanced XML information and records, imagine how their future would be irreparably changed. And if our online databases eventually contain anything more than who is on our mailing lists, imagine the greater evolutionary damage we would inflict.

Indeed, forgetting our responsibility as a warp-capable culture has wrought terror upon many a race. The arms race on the planet Neural, the riots of planet Delos, the destruction of the Vaal deity, the list of infractions goes on. Oh, Captain Kirk, how could you have set such a vile example?

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, XML encryption. Fellow Starfleet citizens, there is great danger on the horizon. The danger is not only to our security, but also to the history of prewarp civilizations everywhere. Well, at least to the ones who try to read our XML attachments. The time to remedy the problem is now.

Let me know if you have problems assimilating the official syntax. And please, no jokes about me translating anyone's work to the Klingon language as an alternative. I mean, come on. Get a life.

More Stories By Tod Emko

Tod wrote humor-oriented articles for the Syracuse Herald-Journal and held various writer, editor, and cartoonist positions at other publications before accepting his role as a computer nerd. He has years of experience as a front-end Web developer and Perl programmer, and is now a senior XSL script architect and XML documentation writer for HotJobs.com.

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