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Current Topic: Technology

Rob Levin of Peer-Directed Projects Center and Freenode Dead.
Topic: Technology 7:13 am EDT, Sep 17, 2006

Levin's death was announced as a "Global Message" on the Freenode IRC network:

[17:16] -christel- [Global Notice] On the 12th September Rob Levin, known to many as Freenode's lilo, was hit by a car while riding his bike. He suffered head injuries and passed away in hospital on the 16th. For more information please visit #freenode-announce

Rob Levin of Peer-Directed Projects Center and Freenode Dead.

Non-Technical Explanation of Mike Lynn's Disclosure
Topic: Technology 1:44 am EDT, Aug  6, 2005

Kudos to MemeStreams user Dagmar for putting together a post with breaks the technical aspects of Lynn's disclosure down in a way that non-technical people can understand. Be sure to click through and read his entire post.

Someone who takes the time to tie a few existing exploits together and utilize a technique similar to what Lynn discovered to make a worm that infects equipment, spends a small amount of time trying to infect other equipment, and then viciously puts the equipment out of commission in the aforementioned fashion, could in a very real sense turn off large chunks of the Internet.

No, I was not joking about the last sentence. If you work in an IT (Information Technology shop) take a moment to look around your office at all the very important equipment you have that just happens to have the Cisco logo on it. (I say "just happens to have the Cisco logo" because the root problem here has nothing to do with Cisco in particular, they're just the first company who have had this weakness uncovered--and as I said earlier, they were already in better shape than most.) Now imagine what would happen if that all that equipment just shut off, and you couldn't get it back up and running any time in the next twelve hours or so. You might think, "well, I will just go to their website and get the updates" but no, no... the Internet connection ran through one of the pieces of equipment that is now down so you can't do that. ...and even if it's not, there's a good chance that the people who your company connects to in order to reach the Internet has equipment that's has been effected, so you still can't get to the website with the updates you need. So you pick up the phone and call the manufacturer, and get to wait on hold for a very long time indeed, because many thousands of other people are just as stuck as you are. FedEx can get things out fast, but they're not nearly instantaneous, and hundreds of thousands of packages all marked "Red Tag, Highest Priority" at once are going to give them fits. Unless you know someone with magic powers of teleportation, you're looking at a very long wait for a package to be delivered by a truck that can fix your problem, and you're going to have to deal with all the upper-management types freaking out in the meantime. (Mind you, if you're lucky, your inter-office email system will also have been shut down by this, so they can only get to you through your cell phone and pager, which limits the number of panicked managers who can get to you at once.)

One message that Dagmar tries to get across in this, that should be spread and embraced, is that equipment (and software) mono-cultures are inherently dangerous. A post on the blog Art Of Noh... [ Read More (0.1k in body) ]

Non-Technical Explanation of Mike Lynn's Disclosure

Verisign Seriously Fucks up by trying to take over the world.
Topic: Technology 7:46 pm EDT, Sep 15, 2003


Verisign Seriously Fucks up by trying to take over the world.

Diebold appears to have conflict
Topic: Technology 6:18 pm EDT, Sep  4, 2003

] A wealthy businessman helping the Ohio Republican Party
] try to win the state in 2004 for President Bush also is
] the head of a company competing for a state contract to
] sell voting machines.
] Walden O'Dell, chief executive of Diebold Inc., told
] Republicans in an Aug. 14 fund-raising letter that he is
] ``committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes
] to the president next year.''

Watch the bouncing ball here. The mainstream press has widely discredited the security analysis of the Diebold's machines because the person that performed it is on the board at a competing company. On the other hand, there is hardly a peep about this. There are 9 links on google news from 6 outlets, 4 small local news stations, and two leftist journals.

Want undeniable proof of press culpability, compare a google news search for "Walden O'Dell" with "Avi Rubin votehere" Not all of the Avi Rubin stories are critical, but we're talking about 63 to 9 here. Furthermore, consider the impact that the blaster worm stories have had on the American mindset. We may not say "this kid created the blaster worm" but we build that association in your head anyway.

The AJC: "Furor over the report was partly defused when the lead researcher acknowledged this week that he failed to disclose that he had stock options in VoteHere, a company that competes with Diebold in the voting-software market, and was a member of VoteHere's technical advisory board."

From ABC: Diebold officials said they were "shocked and disappointed" by Rubin's admissions.

"Diebold Election Systems has consistently questioned the conclusions drawn by the Johns Hopkins-issued report," the company said in a statement. "It is now clear, by Mr. Rubin's own admission, that questions of bias must be considered."

Diebold appears to have conflict

The Google Backlash
Topic: Technology 12:05 pm EDT, Jul  3, 2003

Interesting read on how Google certainly has become a very influential entity and why more and more people are beginning to be disgruntled with it.

s Google's growth provoking a backlash? Industry observers are beginning to think so. A few years ago, they note, it was difficult to find anyone who didn't worship Google, but now many people have a beef with the firm. Some of the complaints are obviously self-serving and maybe even dismissible -- such as those from the Chinese government, say, or the Church of Scientology. But the ire of other groups has more heft. In recent months, the question of how Google should index blogs has become a hot topic online. Google has been attacked by some critics who say the search engine gives blogs too much weight, and others who say it's not giving blogs their due. Then there are webmasters and people in the "search engine optimization" industry, folks whose livelihoods depend on ranking well in Google. With so much riding on the whims of one firm, these people are constantly, pedantically, obsessed with and irritated at Google, sometimes, as in Massa's case, to the point of litigation.

The Google Backlash

Music labels to sue hundreds of music sharers
Topic: Technology 12:04 pm EDT, Jul  3, 2003

] The music industry disclosed aggressive plans Wednesday
] for an unprecedented escalation in its fight against
] Internet piracy, threatening to sue hundreds of
] individual computer users who illegally share music files
] online.
] The Recording Industry Association of America, citing
] substantial sales declines, said it will begin Thursday
] to search Internet file-sharing networks to identify
] users who offer "substantial" collections of MP3-format
] music files for downloading. It expects to file at least
] several hundred lawsuits seeking financial damages within
] eight to 10 weeks.
] Executives for the RIAA, the Washington-based lobbying
] group that represents major labels, would not say how
] many songs on a user's computer will qualify for a
] lawsuit. The new campaign comes just weeks after U.S.
] appeals court rulings requiring Internet providers to
] identify subscribers suspected of illegally sharing music
] and movie files.
] The RIAA's president, Carey Sherman, said tens of
] millions of Internet users of popular file-sharing
] software after Thursday will expose themselves to "the
] real risk of having to face the music."
] "It's stealing. It's both wrong and illegal," Sherman
] said. Alluding to the court decisions, Sherman said
] Internet users who believe they can hide behind an alias
] online were mistaken. "You are not anonymous," Sherman
] said. "We're going to begin taking names."

Send in the goons...

Music labels to sue hundreds of music sharers

Topic: Technology 3:02 pm EDT, May 23, 2003

A nice little piece by Cory Doctorow, even if it is
archival and a littledated. Here's an excerpt which --while not really representative-- I found to be keenly observant.

| Take eBay: every seller there has a damned good reason for
| double-checking their listings for typos and misspellings. Try
| searching for "plam" on eBay. Right now, that turns up nine typoed
| listings for "Plam Pilots." Misspelled listings don't show up in
| correctly-spelled searches and hence garner fewer bids and lower
| sale-prices. You can almost always get a bargain on a Plam Pilot at
| eBay.


The Lemon: History Of The Internet
Topic: Technology 12:30 pm EDT, May 20, 2003

A fairly accurate timeline, er, from some points of view, of the progression that the internet has taken over time.



The Lemon: History Of The Internet

Microsoft and Best Buy accused of scam
Topic: Technology 7:00 pm EDT, May 13, 2003

All your cash are belong to M$OFT

Microsoft and Best Buy accused of scam

Penises have higher bandwidth than cable modems
Topic: Technology 6:00 am EDT, May  3, 2003

Kinda adds new dimension to the tech term "fat pipe", no? :]

] The human genome is about 3,120,000,000 base pairs long,
] so half of that is in each spermatozoa -- 1,560,000,000
] base pairs.
] Each side of these base pairs can either be an
] adenine-thymine or a guanine-cytosine bond, and they can
] be aligned either direction, so there are four choices.
] Four possibilities for a value means it can be fully
] represented with two bits; 00 = guanine, 01 = cytosine,
] and so forth.
] The figures that I've read state the number of sperm in a
] human ejaculation to be anywhere from 50 to 500 million.
] I'm going to go with the number 200,000,000 sperm cells,
] but if anyone knows differently, please tell me.
] Putting these together, the average amount of information
] per ejaculation is 1.560*109 * 2 bits * 2.00*108, which
] comes out to be 6.24*1017 bits. That's about 78,000
] terabytes of data! As a basis of comparison, were the
] entire text content of the Library of Congress to be
] scanned and stored, it would only take up about 20
] terabytes. If you figure that a male orgasm lasts five
] seconds, you get a transmission rate of 15,600 tb/s. In
] comparison, an OC-96 line (like the ones that make up
] much of the backbone of the internet) can move .005 tb/s.
] Cable modems generally transmit somewhere around 1/5000th
] of that.
] If you consider signal to noise, though, the figures come
] out much differently. If only t

Penises have higher bandwidth than cable modems

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