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From User: Decius

I am a hacker and you are afraid and that makes you more dangerous than I ever could be.

Preview added to MemeStreams!
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:13 pm EST, Jan 21, 2008

You can now preview your posts before submitting them. Please let me know if you run into any problems with this.

Preview added to MemeStreams!

Government In Action
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:33 pm EST, Dec 31, 2007


Government In Action

Things that were not to be:
Topic: Society 10:02 pm EST, Dec 10, 2007

Virgil made the list with Wikiscanning. Congratulations, Virgil!

(Interestingly, one of the other ideas was also one Virgil came up with a few years ago, but didn't pursue perhaps due to discouragement from several friends.)

Actually, Virgil's idea was to create so people wouldn't find your note before you killed yourself. Revenue models included creating, and I shit you not, a coffee table book of suicide notes.

It was one of the most surreal conversations I have ever had in my life: Strick and I sitting in the student center at Georgia Tech trying to explain to Virgil that this was a bad idea.

This was back in Summer 2003 or so. Got to give my partner-in-crime credit, he's a visionary!

Things that were not to be:

YouTube - Image Resizing by Seam Carving
Topic: Technology 12:31 pm EDT, Aug 30, 2007

A new technique shows resizing of images while keeping the important features of the image undistorted, also allows you to protect or remove part of the image with anything removed being automagically and seamlessly filled in.


YouTube - Image Resizing by Seam Carving

Real Estate Roller Coaster - Google Video
Topic: Business 6:44 pm EDT, Apr  4, 2007

House prices in the U.S. from 1890 until 2005, plotted as a roller coaster that you ride from a first person perspective. Here is the datasource. Hold on to your hats.

Real Estate Roller Coaster - Google Video

RE: I like it old-school! - An Explanation
Topic: Technology 9:09 pm EST, Feb 15, 2007

Tsudohnimh wrote:
I clicked a link for hot judicial action and I got 0wn3d. I'd like to thank the academy, my parents for warping me, Tom and Nick for letting me do this, and my hero Acidus.

OK, let me explain what the story is with this. Its possible to embed a link in a MemeStreams page to /recommend. When people who are logged in click on it, it will automatically post a message to their MemeStream, and then redirect them back to the page they were looking at. Ironically, this tends to result in lots of clicking, as it seems like the browser has done something wrong. If Acidus had really wanted to be nasty he could have included a redundant link in the posts he was adding to your pages to that people who read your MemeStreams would also spread the post. Its like a meme worm.

This is actually a problem that Rattle and I anticipated when we first built this website. We used to have protection in place that prevented this. It worked by checking to make sure that when you submitted a post the referer header in your http request came from /recommend and not some other page. Unfortunately, we ran into trouble with this feature. Some Internet privacy software screens referer headers out of http requests, and so people who used such software were unable to post. After struggling through the process of explaining to a few users how to fix this problem we decided to disable the security feature for /recommend until we had time to revisit the problem. The security feature is still present in /delete and /edit, because we decided that a self propagating MemeStreams Meme was only a bit of an annoyance, but if someone wrote a javascript that wiped out your whole blog that would be a serious problem. This explains why a few of you have trouble editing or deleting posts sometimes.

We have a fix for this problem which is unlikely to cause problems for people running Internet privacy software. Its checked into subversion. However, we haven't shipped it yet because it is boiled in with a bunch of other changes to the UI that aren't quite ready for release yet. We decided it might be fun to go ahead and let Acidus propagate one of these Memes as he uncovered this issue a few weeks back and advised us on how to implement a better fix. I'd like to say that we're shipping this weekend, but I don't think its going to happen. I'm skiing and Rattle is attending Outerz0ne. Acidus is actually giving a talk at Outerz0ne which includes a discussion of this issue, so its not out of the question that you might see a few more people screwing around with it. Fortunately I don't think you can do anything terribly malicious with this. Its all in good fun.

Hopefully we'll have our update out soon.

RE: I like it old-school! - An Explanation

Captcha Mashup
Topic: Technology 4:11 pm EDT, Aug 14, 2006

"I met my wife on your captcha!!!" -- Steve, from New York

Captcha that makes you pick the hottest person to confirm you are not a robot. Very cool.

Captcha Mashup

RE: Telling the Truth hurts...
Topic: Current Events 2:44 am EDT, May 15, 2006

Dc0de has joined what we have started referring to as "the club." People we know who have received legal threats for saying true things in a public place. This seems to happen a lot to computer security people.

People who use the legal system to squash critics instead of appropriately addressing their criticism in print are operating in a manner that is out of sync with the core values of this nation. I hold this sort of behavior in very poor esteem.

All around scary stuff. Its a sad day when opinions get silenced by lawsuits.

That slander charge is a bitch. I said a lot of very bad, public things about Blackboard, their executives, and the sexual habits of their mothers. Thankfully no one ever pulled that crap on me.

Actually, slander is a growing concern of mine. The way you all have seen me give a presentation at say, Phreaknic, is the same way I give a presentation at BlackHat: rather informal with a fair amount of profanity directed at those who deserve it.

Its only a matter of time before some no talent ass clown somewhere takes offense.

RE: Telling the Truth hurts...

RE: HB 1259 Vetoed!
Topic: Society 11:30 pm EDT, May  9, 2006

Decius wrote:
I just received fairly reliable word that the Georgia Private Investigator Felony Statute has been vetoed by the Governor. Unfortunately I don't have a press link on that, so if anyone out there has a secondary source they can confirm this through, that would be helpful, but it seems like the Governor has heard the message from the technology community and understood the ramifications of this law. Thank you to everyone who communicated with them!


The existing definition of “private detective business,” continued in this bill, in conjunction with the applicable exemptions in the law, fails to exclude from the private investigator licensing requirement many professions that collect information or may be called as expert witnesses in court proceedings. To expand the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony without revision of the existing definitions in the law could result in unintended consequences; I therefore VETO HB1259.

Hell Yeah! Go Tom and his 1337 gubernatorial skillz

RE: HB 1259 Vetoed!

Internet Backlash
Topic: Society 8:00 pm EST, Dec 13, 2005

There is a stupid notion going around that the news media would be better off if anyone and everyone got to make a contribution to it. Blogs and podcasts are examples of this and reader-generated electronic "newspapers" are beginning to spring up. People who should know better see this as democratizing the flow of news and information...

I have been concerned about this new, online "citizen journalism" becoming the source of more disinformation than truth, a concern that actually extends to most of the Internet.

Some people in the media are absolutely giddy about the opportunity to pile a complete and total indictment of the entire Internet on top of this incident. Oh my god! People can express their own views without control from the 4th estate! How will we ever know what is true anymore?!

Check out the headline on this article:

For all its wonders, the world-changing effects of the digital civilization contains a slimy, anarchic undercurrent of democracy run amok.

There is so much that is broken about the perspectives being offered around this incident:

The idea that Wikipedia and encyclopedias are the same kinds of things and their value should be judged by the same criteria.
The idea that Wikipedia must either be 100% reliable or completely useless for any purpose.
The idea that people are not capable of critical thinking and should not be responsible for doing it.
The idea that the alleged connection to the Kennedy Assasination would have been viewed as credible by anyone who isn't nuts.
The idea that internet anonymity is a bad thing.
The idea that "supporting freedom of speech" is compatible with "demanding accountability." (Haven't you people ever heard of the Federalist Papers?!)
The idea that the highly reliable totally awesome 4th estate should be the arbiter of the truth, when in their articles about this VERY incident they have repeatedly twisted this guy's voluntary resignation from his job (which he had to do because of the pressure THEY would put on his employer if he hadn't) so that it appears as if he was fired. "Man looses job over wikipedia prank..."

The biggest problem here is the idea that a national press campaign and the threat of lawsuits are a reasonable way of dealing with a problem on a publically editable wiki! This notion is so irrational that one suspects John Seigenthaler of taking advantage of the opportunity because he wanted to launch a broder attack on the Internet. You gunna sue me for suggesting that, John? Go ahead. Make my fucking day.

Internet Backlash

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