To Tech Supporters everywhere:
SuperMac records a certain number of technical support calls at random,
to keep tabs on customer satisfaction. By wild "luck", they managed to
catch the following conversation on tape.
Some poor SuperMac TechSport got a call from some middle level
official..from the legitimate government of Trinidad. The fellow spoke very
good English, and fairly calmly described the problem.
It seemed that there was a coup attempt in progress at that moment.
However, the national armory for that city was kept in the same building
as the Legislature, and it seems that there was a combination lock on the
door to the armory. Of the people in the capitol city that day, only the
Chief of the Capitol Guard and the Chief Armorer knew the combination
to the lock, and they had already been killed.
So, this officer of the government of Trinidad continued, the problem is
this. The combination to the lock is stored in a file on the Macintosh , but
the file has been encrypted with the SuperMac product called Sentinel.
Was there any chance, he asked, that there was a "back door" to the
application, so they could get the combination, open the armoury door,
and defend the Capitol Building and the legitimately elected government
of Trinidad against the insurgents?
All the while he is asking this in a very calm voice, there is the sound of
gunfire in the background. The Technical Support guy put the person on
hold. A phone call to the phone company verified that the origin of the call
was in fact Trinidad. Meanwhile, there was this mad scramble to see if
anybody knew of any "back doors" in the Sentinel program.
As it turned out, Sentinel uses DES to encrypt the files, and there was no
known back door. The Tech Support fellow told the customer that aside
from trying to guess the password, there was no way through Sentinel,
and that they'd be better off trying to physically destroy the lock.
The official was very polite, thanked him for the effort, and hung up. That
night, the legitimate government of Trinidad fell. One of the BBC
reporters mentioned that the casualties seemed heaviest in the capitol,
where for some reason, there seemed to be little return fire from the
O.K., so they shouldn't have kept the combination in so precarious a
fashion. But it does place, "I can't see my Microsoft Mail server"
complaints in a different sort of perspective, does it not?