SPUG: Meetings at Amazon

Ken Meyer kmeyer at blarg.net
Fri Sep 24 18:37:45 CDT 2004

CJ --

Thanks for the thoughtful reply.  A couple of points:

1) First, David answered a message that I addressed to you as if it had been
personally addressed to him.  Now you are, in at least part of this mail,
answering a message I addressed to Andy as if I had addressed you.  There's
not a thing bad or impolite about anyone on this list contributing his or
her opinion to any discussion, and your comments in this case specifically
are very valuable.  However, in cases where someone may be pointing out some
sort of alleged misstatement made in another post, please don't take it
personally unless you are on the "To-list" -- everyone.

2) I think there's still some disconnect about my suggestion for the use of
WiFi.  The whole idea was to have NO need whatsoever for a connection to ANY
Amazon wire or wireless network.  The intent is to remain ENTIRELY
INDEPENDENT of Amazon's resources while still providing a connection to the
public Internet for the benefit of accessing presentations, downloading Perl
files, whatever.

Andy says that, even so, it might be frowned on by Amazon; though I really
can't see why, I think that's fine and I had already suggested that someone
should do the inquiry that you apparently have been doing.

Of course this is all moot if the conference room is electromagnetically
shielded, on purpose or for practical purposes, or if there is no active
node that springs up, even with 12 dB of antenna gain, etc.  I would scan
the entire horizon for AP's before giving up; an SWN node on South Cap Hill
might well not be the only available resource.

Keep up the good work.

Ken Meyer

-----Original Message-----

From: CJ Collier [mailto:cjcollier at colliertech.org]
Sent: Friday, September 24, 2004 1:28 PM
To: kmeyer at blarg.net
Cc: Andrew Sweger; carswell at gmail.com; spug-list at pm.org

Subject: RE: SPUG: Meetings at Amazon

Heya Ken,

> [# My suggestion in my previous posting, and as shown excerpted below,
> indicates that I did in fact suggest inquiry with management about the use
> of WiFi, and that it might be prudent to have a direct employee of some
> seniority do it (to minimize the potential for just being "blown-off").
> Here it is:

Thanks for the suggestion.  I think I'll be an okay contact for this.
I've contacted one of our security engineers here, and I'll keep you
posted on the results of my enquiry.  Doubtful we'll be "blown-off" as
this move is pretty high profile.

> [# "...so they were able to see outside without having access to the
> school's internal network.  Perhaps you could investigate that
> even via some person who is not a new employee such as you apparently

The short and sweet is that Amazon does not provide this network
functionality, and will not start providing it just because a group that
happens to meet here would benefit.

I will concede that it's not just an idea that we don't have time to
implement correctly;  It's an interesting idea that we don't have time
to implement correctly.

> [# I know that the length of my messages may invite a cursory read, but
> before you take specific exception to their content, you would be
> well-advised to review them thoroughly.

Rest assured I did.  I did not reply to the items which would take too
much time to explain why they could not be addressed, nor the points
that were off-topic.  And I will continue that trend.

> [# Now, in addition, my "Whoa there..." comment was actually directed at
> as a result of his observation:

> [# I interpret this comment as suggesting a connection between SPUG's use
> WiFi and Amazon's intranet, i.e. that we would attach an AP to the Amazon
> internal network.  If I misinterpreted this statement, then the point is
> "inoperative" in a "no-fault mode".  David responded to me off-line,
> apparently feeling that the remarks were directed at him and perceiving
> context incorrectly. OK, stuff happens.

Whether you intend it to be or not, a wireless connection beamed in
Amazon's window coupled with a connection to Amazon's network is a
security concern.  I would prefer to minimize these, and thus recommend
not going down this path.

Note also that there are no active Seattle Wireless nodes on the south
side of Capitol hill.  There is no line of site from our meeting room to
anyone with an antenna capable of making the link.  Before this is even
feasible, we would need to provide a link on the south side of Cap Hill.

> [# Now, this grumpiness is unfortunate, given that I have simply been
> to brainstorm a solution that would improve the quality of meetings
> potentially held at Amazon.  In point of fact, I'm surprised that a
> is apparently not permanently installed in every conference room there,
> which could be used under the proper conditions and restrictions.

Thank you for your brainstorming; it is greatly appreciated.  After
submitting an idea, please listen to comments by folks who would be able
to implement such ideas.

> [# I suggest that David and CJ spend their discretionary time inquiring
> discretely about the possibilities, and if at all possible, do so without
> generating an edict that would be difficult to overturn.  If problems are
> encountered, I would be happy to try to engage Jeff himself, unabashedly
> playing the "Hi, from a fellow Princeton alumnus" card, which is in fact
> case.
> "]

I have been inquiring about these subjects.  Discretely.  I have not
been posting these discussions to the list.  I will keep you updated as
I hear back from security.


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