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Cryptography, steganography, movies, cyberculture, travel, games, and too many other hobbies to list!

Mad Number Skillz
Topic: Games 6:24 pm EDT, May  2, 2007


Mad Number Skillz odometer approaching 1,000,000 unique visitors
Topic: Web Design 6:16 pm EDT, May  2, 2007

Well, my page views at are running over 2.2 million right now, but another milestone is coming up with "unique users". As of this writing, the counter is at 999,225.

So, if anyone reading this happens to spot it rollover to 1,000,000 please let me know. I'll give you a cookie or something. ;)

Elonka :)

Wired News: Wikipedia Shakeup: Resignations
Topic: Cyber-Culture 7:19 pm EDT, Mar 23, 2007

Two top employees of the Wikimedia Foundation have resigned, citing disagreements with the board. Both publicly tendered their resignations to the community yesterday on a foundation mailing list, but say their resignations are unrelated and the timing coincidental.

Danny Wool, who has worked out of the foundation's St. Petersburg, Florida, office since October 2005 under the title of grants coordinator, and who is widely regarded as the number two guy at Wikimedia, discussed his resignation first in a message to the foundation list.

That note was later followed by one from Brad Patrick, general counsel and interim Executive Director of the foundation, who resigned formally to the foundation earlier this month but decided to announce it publicly to the community after seeing Wool's note go up. Patrick will continue with the foundation until March 31 and has retained executive headhunting firm Phillips Oppenheim to help find a permanent director for the foundation.

Another good article, by Kim Zetter at Wired :)

(update) The link succumbed to rapid web-rot, and I have updated it to:

Wired News: Wikipedia Shakeup: Resignations

Wikipedia staff changes
Topic: Cyber-Culture 3:20 pm EDT, Mar 22, 2007

Big changes at the Wikimedia main office this week. Danny Wool (sort of a "#2" at Wikipedia, under Jimmy Wales, and one of the prime opposers of my own adminship nomination, as well as the individual who nominated my Wikipedia bio for deletion) has resigned. (resignation letter)

And a new Volunteer Coordinator, Cary Bass (aka Bastique) has been hired.

These are both great changes, IMHO. Danny had been in the middle of several controversial / incidents in the past. I wish him well at his next job, but he just wasn't a good fit at Wikipedia.

Bastique, on the other hand, is a fantastic choice. He's someone who worked his way up from the trenches, to become one of the highest-ranking volunteers at the Wikimedia Commons. He's thoughtful and level-headed, and has the respect of everyone I've talked to. Because of his experience as a volunteer, he's got excellent context with which to manage the ever-growing team of wiki-editors. Plus I think his professionalism and sense of ethics will be a very useful ingredient at Wiki-HQ in Florida.

Congrats, Bastique!

Elonka :)

P.S. Another update: Brad Patrick, the Wikimedia general counsel, is also resigning, effective March 31st.

Wikipedia staff changes

ABC News: Wikipedia editor revealed as fake (March 6, 2007)
Topic: Cyber-Culture 2:48 pm EDT, Mar 22, 2007

An ABC video about the Essjay scandal.

Does anyone know a way to embed this video? Or is that for YouTube only right now?

ABC News: Wikipedia editor revealed as fake (March 6, 2007)

Bradford Anderson / Damian Spinelli : The hacker on General Hospital
Topic: Arts 9:57 pm EDT, Mar 17, 2007
Bradford Anderson, playing the character Damian Spinelli on General Hospital

I am becoming more and more of a fan of Bradford Anderson, who plays the hacker character "Damian Spinelli" on General Hospital.

For those who don't watch GH: Spinelli is a character that was introduced a few months ago, as a college-aged "hacker." Initially just a side character who was introduced to provide an encrypted flash drive as part of a mob storyline, he's been developing a substantial fanbase. I've had fun watching how the writers are wrestling with the character -- *someone* on the writing staff has some geek chops, but they're limited as to what they can portray in the show, targeted as it is towards a mainstream audience that won't understand the majority of the cyberculture in-jokes. And of course there are the usual gaps in accuracy that are needed to keep the story moving along: Spinelli's laptop battery never fails, he always has instant access to high-speed wifi no matter which building he's in, and of course can tap into any hospital database or hotel security system with merely a couple keystrokes. ;)

But the real joy of the character, is watching Anderson's portrayal. He's not your typical soap star, and to be honest, has more Quasimodo in his look than Prince Charming. But the sheer personality that oozes out of him in every scene makes him more fun to watch than any Chippendale's dancer (and face it, Quasimodo is way hotter than any ol' vanilla prince).

I went ahead and wrote most of the Wikipedia bio on Anderson, and was impressed with what I learned. He's a 27-year-old actor out of New Hampshire, with some award-winning stage performances under his belt. He's also got skills in the school of physical comedy, and frequently plays his scenes like he's a high-energy combination of Sean Penn, Don Knotts, and Walter Mitty. He's high IQ comic relief, and a refreshingly original character in the world of soapdom.

The original reaction from some of the critics was, "Who is he, and why did they pick someone so ugly?" but the fan response has been incredibly positive, and fansites are popping up around the internet that are pairing Spinelli with "Lulu Spencer" (the beautiful blonde teenaged daughter of Luke & Laura) and splicing together all kinds of YouTube music videos with every snippet of a Spinelli appearance that's been on the show so far. The buzz is that Anderson has been offered a longer term contract on the show, and I hope he accepts, because I'm hooked on this character. He's my favorite part of GH at the moment, and it's a disappointment when it's not a "Spinelli day."

For those who like to track the fictional portrayals of hackers in pop culture, I recommend tuning in on this guy. He's a lot of fun to watch.

Elonka :)

P.S. For an example of Spinelli dialogue: In one scene, Spinelli visited the home of Lulu Spencer's grandmother, Lesley, who he had never met before. When Lesley opened the door, Spinelli timidly greeted her, and gave her the best compliment that he could think of, which was to shyly tell her, "Your DMV pictures don't do you justice!" :)

Bradford Anderson / Damian Spinelli : The hacker on General Hospital

Argentinian Def Con documentary
Topic: Computer Security 2:53 am EDT, Mar 17, 2007

[ Video Link ]

"Documental sobre los hackers" (documentary about hackers)

From DefCon 2006. 24 minutes long. Pretty watchable even for English-speakers, as most of the interviews are in English with Spanish subtitles.

I don't know the names of everybody that got interviewed, but overall it's a good piece. Covers all the main Def Con elements, from Capture the Flag, to the Wall of Sheep, to the Lockpicking Contest, clips of people from Adam Laurie to Johnny Long to Jeff Moss, and much of the partying in between. ;) Billy Goto can be seen showing off his black badge (permanent free admission, from winning Hacker Jeopardy in a previous year), and my own fleeting seconds of Argentinian fame are around 16:25 (wearing my IGDA T-shirt) and a somewhat inebriated interview clip at 18:05. ;) I love my title description: "Ilanka, diseƱadora de juegos, hacker" ("Elonka: Game designer, hacker.") Only it sounds c00ler in Spanish. ;)

Elonka :)

Argentinian Def Con documentary

Daily Mail - 'Wikipedia - how accurate is the online encyclopedia? '
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:23 pm EDT, Mar 12, 2007

It is one of the 12 most visited websites in the world, indispensable to millions of users. From Aa ('an 80km river in northern France') to ZZ Top ('an American blues rock band'),online encyclopedia Wikipedia has entries on just about everything.

But last week the website was engulfed in controversy after it was revealed that one of its main contributors had faked his qualifications.

. . .

The scandal has thrown the authority of the encyclopedia into doubt. Critics argue that anyone with access to the internet is allowed to edit the entries, though Wikipedia insists that the sheer number of users ensures errors are swiftly corrected.

But not everyone is convinced. Here, four well-known personalities examine their own entries on the website and give their verdicts...

Daily Mail - 'Wikipedia - how accurate is the online encyclopedia? '

Wikipedia editor who posed as professor is Kentucky dropout
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:14 pm EST, Mar  6, 2007

He said that before coming to Wikia, "I was an account manager with a Fortune 20 company, where I worked on a ten person team that managed roughly $500,000,000 in annual sales. Prior to that, I was a paralegal for five years," including "nearly a year with a firm in Louisville that represented doctors in medical licensure matter and a three month special position with a United States Bankruptcy Trustee."

A Centre spokesman confirmed Jordan attended from 2001 to 2003, and a UK spokesman said he was enrolled in the fall semester of 2003 at the former Lexington Community College, now Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

A spokeswoman for U of L said nobody by that name has attended the university since 1920, and a spokeswoman for the U.S. bankruptcy trustee said the office had no record Jordan had worked there.

J. Fox DeMoisey, a lawyer who represents doctors in licensure cases, said Jordan had worked in his office for about six months as a secretary and receptionist.

This article is from the Louisville Journal, with a bit more information on the "real" Ryan Jordan.

Wikipedia editor who posed as professor is Kentucky dropout

Foreign Policy: With Wikipedia, what you see is not always what you get
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:02 am EST, Mar  6, 2007

What's one of the best sections of any newspaper or magazine? The corrections section. In the case of the New Yorker, these come under the heading of the Editors' Note. And the most recent issue has quite the doozy:

Foreign Policy: With Wikipedia, what you see is not always what you get

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