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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

RE: This thing still on?
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:01 pm EDT, Apr 20, 2014

Rattle wrote:
Before Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook took over, there was something really special here for a handful of us. I like knowing all that content is still "out there".

My ears are still on out here. I share the same sentiments as you.

RE: This thing still on?

RE: Edward Snowden NSA Snow Job - POLITICO Magazine
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:13 pm EST, Feb  1, 2014

Decius wrote:
I'm really getting sick of the rationalizations of the surveillance state.


The people who do need to take responsibility for the fact that a public discussion of these issues didn't come about through a proper process in the first place. The attempt to focus attention on Snowden's flaws is an attempt to divert attention away from that fact.

And on the other hand you have "the people" willingly using shit like this:

Why is the Facebook app requesting permission to access features on my Android?

Read your text messages (SMS or MMS) - If you add a phone number to your account, this allows us to confirm your phone number automatically by finding the confirmation code that we send via text message.

Download files without notification - This allows us to improve the app experience by pre-loading News Feed content.

Read/write your contacts - These permissions allow you to import your phone’s contacts to Facebook and sync your Facebook contacts to your phone.

Add or modify calendar events and send email to guests without owners’ knowledge - This allows you to see your Facebook events in your phone’s calendar.

Read calendar events plus confidential information - This allows the app to show your calendar availability (based on your phone’s calendar) when you’re viewing an event on Facebook.

Most of the self absorbed glowing gadget fondling generation could not care less about real privacy, arm flailing criticism of NSA spying not withstanding. If they did, they wouldn't be handing their phone over to Facebook in exchange for the dribbling stream of Pavlovian hits of electronic social interaction.

I'm all for complete domestic spying by the NSA, CIA, FBI, and whatever other stupid scary three letter acronym they can come up with if they would do this one simple thing: Run signals intelligence and tracking of people using their goddamn cell phones they can't put down for 5 minutes while they are piloting a 2000+ pound steel projectile at 80 mph, veering into my lane and causing me to have to turn every day's commute into a real life video game of "dodge the encroaching Range Rover." Use that data to kill the phones of people who are within 100 yards of me while I'm driving. I don't want to play an ADD fueled game of chicken with my life, thanks.

RE: Edward Snowden NSA Snow Job - POLITICO Magazine

Greenwald's partner detained for carrying stolen classified docs
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:31 pm EDT, Aug 19, 2013

Looks like there's more to this story. Still not sure how this equates to "terrorism" though.

First, as we learned from The Guardian itself, Miranda was not just traveling or on vacation -- he was specifically visiting Laura Poitras, a U.S. film-maker based in Berlin who had also received many of the stolen documents from Snowden:

While in Berlin, Miranda had visited Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has also been working on the Snowden files with Greenwald and the Guardian.

And then, after finding out that Poitras was working with the same stolen, classified materials as Greenwald, we subsequently learned from the New York Times that Poitras is in the practice of using others to transport and hold her sensitive materials for her:

After being detained repeatedly, Poitras began taking steps to protect her data, asking a traveling companion to carry her laptop, leaving her notebooks overseas with friends or in safe deposit boxes. She would wipe her computers and cellphones clean so that there would be nothing for the authorities to see. Or she encrypted her data, so that law enforcement could not read any files they might get hold of. These security preparations could take a day or more before her travels.

So, already the story sounds much different than Greenwald's initial claims. And now we learn, again from the NYT, as now confirmed by Greennwald himself, that Greenwald and Poitras were, in fact, using Miranda as a mule to transport the stolen classified documents:

Mr. Miranda was in Berlin to deliver documents related to Mr. Greenwald’s investigation into government surveillance to Ms. Poitras, Mr. Greenwald said. Ms. Poitras, in turn, gave Mr. Miranda different documents to pass to Mr. Greenwald. Those documents, which were stored on encrypted thumb drives, were confiscated by airport security, Mr. Greenwald said. All of the documents came from the trove of materials provided to the two journalists by Mr. Snowden.

Greenwald's partner detained for carrying stolen classified docs

Linked Out
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:48 pm EDT, Mar 10, 2013

I'm having something similar to Decius' inexplicable Twitter lockout experience a while back. Signed up for LinkedIn a couple of days ago. I've been diligently building out my network like they encourage you to do. I signed in this morning and I got this:

Account Restricted | LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn account has been temporarily restricted

Contact our customer service team to get this resolved as soon as possible.

Clicking the link to the "customer service team" takes you to a generic form that asks for your name and email address. It auto-populates the subject line with "Account High Restricted" and the form says "Your Question"

When you submit you get:

Your question has been submitted to LinkedIn

The ticket reference number for your question is: #

You've successfully submitted your question, and we'll send you a confirmation email soon.

Go to your Support History page to check out your ticket.

What's really funny is when you click the link for "Support History" it loops you back to "Your LinkedIn account has been temporarily restricted.

I love mediated online social mechanisms with arbitrary kill switches!

Training the Next Generation: Predator Toy Drone at Amazon
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:19 pm EST, Jan  6, 2013

Some reviews:

My son is very interested in joining the Imperial forces when he grows up. He says he's not sure if he wants to help police the homeland or if he wants to invade foreign countries. So I thought a new Predator drone toy would be a nice gift for him. These drones are used both domestically and internationally, to spy on people and assassinate them at the Emperor's discretion. He just loves flying his drone around our house, dropping Hellfire missiles on Scruffy, our dog. He kept saying that Scruffy was a terror suspect and needed to be taken out. I asked him if Scruffy should get a trial first, and he quoted Lindsay Graham, Imperial Senator: "Shut up Scruffy, you don't get a trial!" I was so proud. I think I'll buy him some video games that promote martial law for Christmas.


I bought this for my son and he spent countless, blissful hours simulating massacres of weddings, funerals, and other family gatherings of brown skinned foreigners! He even realized that if he circled the drone back around on the first responders, his effective kill rate soared! Neat-o!


This is the best toy ever. Finally, I can pretend that I'm a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize!
It's like I'm sitting right there in the White House with my very own kill list!

Training the Next Generation: Predator Toy Drone at Amazon

The Great Decoupling of the US Economy
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:04 am EST, Dec 16, 2012

Our argument, in brief, is that digital technologies have been able to do routine work for a while now. This allows them to substitute for less-skilled and -educated workers, and puts a lot of downward pressure on the median wage. As computers and robots get more and more powerful while simultaneously getting cheaper and more widespread this phenomenon spreads, to the point where economically rational employers prefer buying more technology over hiring more workers. In other words, they prefer capital over labor. This preference affects both wages and job volumes. And the situation will only accelerate as robots and computers learn to do more and more, and to take over jobs that we currently think of not as ‘routine,’ but as requiring a lot of skill and/or education.


computers are now doing many things that used to be the domain of people only. The pace and scale of this encroachment into human skills is relatively recent and has profound economic implications. Perhaps the most important of these is that while digital progress grows the overall economic pie, it can do so while leaving some people, or even a lot of them, worse off.

The Great Decoupling of the US Economy

Netflow stuff
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:06 pm EDT, Jun 18, 2012

SevOne discussing different ways of deduplicating netflow:

Netflow Deduplication Demystified

Plixer blog about flow stitching and RFC 5103 (bidirectional netflow)

Bidirectional NetFlow or NetFlow Stitching: Implementing RFC 5103

When I was messing around with this stuff the trickiest part to get right was accounting for drift between exports from multiple hops in the path. The export times and bytes of each flow are always going to vary slightly at each hop. My experience is with V5. For TCP packets you get a hint about connection state from the ANDed flags field. UDP was more complicated because you don't get those connection state hints and have to make other assumptions like seeing the source port change on a "different" flow, but not every protocol obeys that. IKE come to mind with both source and dest port being 500. Good luck making any sense of TFTP or some of the RPC protocols with only V5 records.

Deduplication and stitching are fun engineering problems and I think Lancope gets it right for the most part.

Best aha moment for me was discovering how ICMP is reported in flows. The source port field is set to 0 and the high and low bytes of the destination port field are used to encode the type/code tuple: 256*[Type] + [Code]. Clever. A play out of the old FTP protocol book ;)

Topic: Miscellaneous 11:46 pm EST, Feb  6, 2012

Here's that decentralized social media project I was talking about at Shmoo


'Blow away' text lands Muslim in Canada jail
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:28 pm EST, Feb  3, 2012

A Muslim businessman in Canada became a terror suspect for telling his sales staff in a text message to "blow away" the competition at a New York City trade show, a religious association said Friday.

Moroccan-born Saad Allami, who works as a telecommunications company sales manager, was arrested three days after he sent the message in January 2011 and detained while police searched his home, said the Muslim Council of Montreal.

Add this to that guy who was refused entry into the US because of a twit that he was going to "destroy" Los Angeles (meaning he was going to party hard.)

The FBI also wants you to report specific ethnicity of people doing suspicious things like using encryption, shielding their screens, using VOIP, paying in cash, and signing into Comcast while at a cafe that provides Internet access.

The global bureau of pre-crime is coming together quite nicely.

'Blow away' text lands Muslim in Canada jail

Mixed Case DNS Queries
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:58 pm EST, Jan 17, 2012

Academic paper here:

I'm not really on board with this kludge.

Mixed Case DNS Queries

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