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Truth about computer security hysteria
Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

Rob Rosenberger

Network Associates telethon fund, part 2

Rob Rosenberger, Vmyths co-founder
Thursday, 15 March 2001 THE TOTAL BILL now stands at $35.11. You'll recall a cute publicity stunt in January when Network Associates forgot to renew their domain name. "RenderMan" (AntiAV.com) realized it faced deactivation due to lack of payment. I covered a $35 fee to keep the domain active. Company bigwig Gene Hodges played along and thanked us for keeping a billion-dollar firm running smoothly.
The best pub­li­city stunts end with a chari­table do­na­tion. Net­work Asso­ciates cut a $1,000 check to the Muscular Dys­trophy Association.
Everyone in the antivirus industry laughed at the humor. Of course, the best publicity stunts end with a charitable donation — so I asked Hodges to send my $35 to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Suddenly the laughing stopped and the paranoia started. People who work for competing antivirus vendors told me to make sure the money went to Jerry's Kids. "You should demand a receipt," they warned. I dismissed their paranoia. "Network Associates will make good on the donation," I huffed, "if only for the tax write-off." Even RenderMan seemed unconcerned. We didn't give the matter a second thought. I later took a phone call from one of Hodges' lieutenants. They needed my mailing address so they could send a copy of the donation letter. They also told me the amount of the donation. I notified RenderMan, who broke the news on his website in big letters:
"NAI DONATES $1000 (US) TO CHARITY!"
Hodges personally oversaw the donation. So much for his competitors' paranoia. However — in a fun tribute to irony — the donation letter arrived with 11¢ postage due. Ha! I bailed out a billion-dollar company yet again.
THIS DONATION TOUCHES me more deeply than you may realize. I first volunteered for the "MDA summer camp program" way back in 1978. Over the years, I've spent a week of my life at camps in Michigan, Chicago, Seattle, and Missouri. Hodges' generosity will do more than just find a cure. It also pays for medical services & wheelchairs ... and it gives "campers" an opportunity to live free for at least one week each year. So forgive me if I "shout out" to Carla, Jeff, Robin, Sandy, "Guess," Roger, Susan, Andrea, and all the other campers & counselors I met over the years. Hey guys, look! I turned $35.11 into a thousand-dollar donation. Call your local MDA office if you want to volunteer for a summer camp program. Tell 'em Gene & I sent you.