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Shooter Boys and At-Risk Girls | VICE
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:44 pm EST, Feb  5, 2013

In December, a New Jersey schoolboy was arrested for drawing in class.

In the post-Sandy Hook rage to blame anything (guns, video games, internet-addicted youth) the easiest thing to blame is always the kid who fails at the blankly inoffensive ideals of childhood. This 16-year-old drew a glove shooting flames. The police searched his house. They found the sort of gutted machines that hint at a proclivity for engineering. He was arrested on December 18, and was still in juvenile hall when papers ran the story on the 28th.

This handily sums up what's wrong with the way administrations are handling kids. I feel lucky in that when I was in high school, administration really didn't know what to do with me other than sit watchfully and be thankful I would make it through my senior year's classes without even needing to look up from whatever non-class-related thing I was reading or working on at the time.

Some kids differ from other kids. Surprise, surprise--they're a lot like actual people in that respect. The only thing that comes from treating kids like there's something wrong with them when they do things that the adults around them aren't smart enough to do or comprehend is disenfranchisement. They very quickly stop giving even one single fuck about what the adults want and will not only actively ignore them but rebel against them just as hard as the adults try to reshape their activities into something 'more normal'. More importantly, it teaches them to distrust authority of all kinds, because "authority" perpetually distrusts them and never demonstrates any unwillingness to break it's own rules or any remorse at having done so "for the sake of the children".

Nevermind that there's a substantial body of "normal adults" running around loose in the job market with less mental maturity than they had when they graduated from high school.

Case example: One of the more level-headed kids I know sports a mohawk and is going to an "alternative" school because of a rather minor transgression that I'm suprised they did more than give him a stern look and perhaps a day of suspension over. The lesson he's learned is to not trust them, and that he's actually not nearly as fucked up as even he thought he might be. Thankfully he's going to be spending his senior year in a regular high school, where administration will hopefully not try to pigeon-hole him. He'll give them A's and B's easily if they just let him be.

Shooter Boys and At-Risk Girls | VICE

More reasons to restart the patent system
Topic: Science 11:47 am EST, Nov 29, 2012

So, basically, here's a patent on using metal-impregnated fabrics to interact with a capacitive touchscreen. Nothing really new here, just an obvious solution to a technical problem which perhaps was counted as an "invention" based on the following factors:

1. They filed for a patent.
2. They used a large number of big words.
3. They specifically mention a number of very fancy-sounding conductive materials.
4. They cited specific electrical values, which clearly means that science was involved.

I stumbled across this thing with one Google search after five minutes of experimentation to figure out what I needed to do with my gloves so that I wouldn't need to take them off to work my screen. Simple answer: I needed to use a conductor to my actual fingertip, and I felt the shiny silver metalized thread I had around could maybe be done with something fancier.

Five fucking minutes. Obvious problem... gloves making touchscreen useless, and obvious solution... make fingertip ground to wearer.

I could literally put a blob of JB Quik on my glove fingertip and then spend a few moments stabbing pinholes through it and the glove tip so that the conductive epoxy is smeared through the holes and would be touching my fingertip once dried, and it would work.

More reasons to restart the patent system

First, they came for the webcasters...
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:26 am EDT, Aug 24, 2012

Traditional broadcast radio, you're next.

Rep. Jerry Nadler has proposed a bill that effectively turns the cost of royalties being paid by cable and satellite music services to eleven. The bill will probably eventually make it into law, thanks to how effective our system of lobbyists is at turning corporate interest into reality through bribery.

...and don't say we didn't tell you it would happen.

First, they came for the webcasters...

"I am [smoking] more [really great pot] than I've been in a long time"
Topic: Software Development 11:05 am EDT, Aug 23, 2012

I can think of no other explanation for this than what appears in the title.

"I am [smoking] more [really great pot] than I've been in a long time"

SRP won't protect stolen passwords--give me money.
Topic: Video Games 11:49 am EDT, Aug 10, 2012

So, this is actually kind of crap, but reading it is an exercise in playing "Spot the Motive". The author goes on about how Blizzard's password breach is a terrible thing because SRP-enciphered passwords can still be brute-forced, so everyone should change their passwords immediately before their account explodes and sharp pieces of flaming shrapnel wind up in your eyes.

He wants Blizzard to actually retract their previous statements (which certainly seemed to be pretty accurate) and become equally shrill about THE DANGERZ!

Honestly, fuck this guy.

He concludes his blog post with a very limp-wristed full disclosure of sorts:

"The sad truth is that the state-of-the-art ‘best practices’ in the industry currently fail to adequately protect users’ passwords from being stolen. It is my personal mission, and the mission of my company TapLink, to ultimately provide the software, infrastructure, and education which will allow companies, large and small, to successfully defend from this sort of attack.

In other words, "I think everyone's passwords are unsafe and they should pay us money."

...which is a load of shit, because we're talking about static fucking passwords, which are nearly obsolete anyway.

At no point does he even briefly mention that Blizz has been subsidizing hardware tokens for their users for ages now, and anyone who cares enough will have gotten one (because they're a $10 one-time purchase for a game that costs $15/month anyway) which means those people do not have to give a single tinker's damn about rushing out to change their static password before goldfarmers can scatter their virtual loots to the four corners of the virtual-earth.

I implore anyone who is a member of immediately ensure your old password is not being used on any other sites, and you should never use that same password again. You should also verify your secret question/answer that you used on is not reused elsewhere as well."

So... we've been going on at people about password reuse for some time now. it's fairly shallow to act as if this were timely and accurate advice relevant to the current situation of passwords possibly being cracked. People should have already not been reusing their passwords or secret questions anywhere else. It's not something we should have to keep telling people every hour of the day--it's clear they're either listening or they aren't going to care until they've gotten their fingers burned, possibly more than once.

"To Mike Morhaime and the Blizzard security team, I would request immediate retraction or clarification on your statement about the difficulty of extracting passwords from the stolen database. The message to your users should be clear: you’re passwords have almost certainly been cracked, and you should take immediate action."... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]

SRP won't protect stolen passwords--give me money.

Intelligent questions for a stupid situation
Topic: Current Events 12:52 pm EDT, Aug  7, 2012

Who, specifically, is pushing so hard to have Richard O'Dwyer extradited from the UK to the US to stand trial on something a judge would probably refuse to sit in on anyway since O'Dwyer was actually complying with the DMCA, and he didn't even have to.

We need to lean on those people to make them stop this madness, immediately. A large part of the reason this country exists is because we got sick of people in the UK making decisions about the lives of people in the colonies. This sort of hypocrisy is utterly unacceptable.

Verizon tells insane lies
Topic: Current Events 3:37 pm EDT, Jul  3, 2012

So, Verizon claims the traffic going across their network is their "speech" which makes restrictions on their speech a constitutional issue.

Okay, fine.

They can use QoS. Let them try and QoS traffic and go attempt to shake Google down for money, because maybe that will be enough to protect them from all the lawsuits and investigations as a result of them losing common carrier protections and being held liable for "their speech".

Problem solved, bitches.

Verizon tells insane lies

Topic: Current Events 4:11 pm EDT, Jun  8, 2012

Right so... Stuxnet was gov't/military. It got rustled because anti-malware people were paying attention and managed to fit the pieces together.

...yet antivir companies seemed to universally "miss" the pieces.

Now we've got Flame, which shows every sign of being basically the same kind of setup, except this time there's no obvious payload. Oh and it's signed by a "rogue" certficate. Nah...

"Normal" criminals don't screw around much. They compromise hosts and start using them.

...and now that the media is catching on a bit early, a module went out to very carefully scrub the machine of all traces of the malware?

Does the word 'scuttle' have any meaning to anyone anymore? How the crap can this possibly be confusing anyone who has supposedly been paying attention.

I'm sure the agency that's doing this is pretty irritated right now but, well... maybe they'll have better luck not being spotted the next time around.

IANA needs to be dot-FIRED.
Topic: Philosophy 3:30 pm EDT, Jun  1, 2012

I think perhaps it's time for the Internet as a whole to just go ahead and declare the IANA to be dot-fired. They are no longer deserving of the mandate they were given.

Originally, the IANA just didn't actually have a whole lot of power. Mainly they were run by some really obsessive people who put a rather boring face on what would otherwise likely be viewed as "a pack of lunatic engineers making up solutions on the spot". Over time, their attention to detail and obsessive care for the future became more trusted and most people just followed their hyper-detailed suggestions as if they were the laws of physics and all was well with the Internet. If the IANA said it, you could usually bank on that it was well thought out and would be in everyone's benefit to follow it to the letter.
They defined which netblocks people should use for what, managed a whole bunch of boring adminstrative functions, declared what domain names made sense and which ones didn't, and just generally handled things from a 10,000 foot and 1,000 year perspective. This type of planning is needed for a large network, because an inflexible step in the wrong direction not only can but will eventually turn into a serious roadblock.

During the 90's, some shrewd politicians started leaning on them, because here were these guys who "controlled" this massively global communications network and no one (that the politicians cared about) had actually given them the right to do so. There was quite a bit of posturing and hand-waving in front of the media about how these people who were controlled by no one (or were entirely controlled by the US, or the DoD depending on who was doing the wailing) were in turn in "complete control of the internet" and oh my what chaos that could cause if they weren't brought under someone else's oversight immediately. Usually these claims were made by people who very transparently did want that type of control over the entire internet.

What the people even pretending to listen to the power-grabbing politicians failed to take into account was that the IANA's primary source of authority (far above and beyond any old grants lying around) was that we trusted their decisions. When all was said and done, IANA nearly always made fairly reasonable decisions that put the health of the Internet first and foremost (and when they weren't quite there you could at least tell they were trying). They would spend a long time worrying about something, and then eventually come back with some proposals, and we (the people of the Internet) gradually came to trust that they had the best interest of the Internet in mind and would never fall prey to temptations posed by petty local political arguments. So, rather obviously attempts to
wrest "control of the internet" away from IANA fell flat when it came time to talk to engineers who were actively adding to the Internet and generally trusted IA... [ Read More (0.7k in body) ]

More on Paul 'Douchebag' Christoforo
Topic: Video Games 12:20 pm EST, Dec 30, 2011

So, contrary to claims that the incident from earlier in this week was a one-time thing, we have another tale of epic shipping delays and wild prevarications coming from Mr. Christoforo.

Frankly, if the reporters who've interviewed him knew about this and didn't call him on his lies, they should feel deep shame.

More on Paul 'Douchebag' Christoforo

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