Friday October 31st, 2014

Drones for damage assessment

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State Farm seeks FAA permission to test drones for doing damage assessment during natural disasters, apparently following USAA doing the same.

Back when I did my CERT class, they talked about how after a major disaster, emergency response services would largely be tied up for quite a while doing damage assessment and triage determinations, and I thought about autonomous aerial photography, it's interesting to see that the insurance companies are headed that way.

Internet of Things which disregarded

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The Internet of Things which disregarded the advice of their mother, fell in with a bad crowd, had many perilous adventures, but ended safe

Thursday October 30th, 2014

Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things ... That Shall Not Be Named.

Windows config

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Because it's possible that I'll be provisioning a new Windows machine sometime in the near future: Shawn's notes on setting up a new Windows machine, which uses the Chocolately machine package manager for Windows.

Wednesday October 29th, 2014

We need a universal I've already voted

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We need a universal "I've already voted absentee" signal to send canvassers with literature and robo-callers and push-pollers.

So does leaving flyers (ie

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So does leaving flyers (ie: litter) on the porch count as canvassing or soliciting (counter to our "no..." sign)? Grrr.

So a bunch of people have been linking to 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman (YouTube video, 1:57) a project of the Hollaback campaign to end street harassment.

If you're male, it's worth two minutes of your time, if you're female you've probably lived it, but as I watched it I realized...

This is a level of social awareness that wasn't technologically possible 30 years ago. To start with, you couldn't hide a VHS camera, let alone a Betamax rig. The idea of 10 hours of video edited down? Even with an A/B roll deck it'd be a long ass project.

There are definitely down-sides to living in the panopticon, but dash cams, cell phone cameras, projects like this: All amazing, and changing society in ways that we don't necessarily recognize, but I think are strongly for the better.

(Additional: Slate claims Hollaback's look at street harassment in NYC edited out the white guys.)

Honor killings

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Just in case you haven't read it yet: Judy Haiven's "‘Honour killings’ in the West" letter to the editor in the Toronto Star.

Yep, talk about those backwards Middle Easterners all you want, we've got "honor killings" here in the industrialized west too.

Ebola quarantine

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Quoting Jim Wright on Facebook:

From the Didn't Really Think This One Through Department:

"Maine officials have ordered [nurse Kaci Hickox] to hole up at home until 21 days have passed since she last contacted an Ebola victim where she was volunteering in Sierra Leone. And a state trooper stationed outside her home told NBC News that Hickox will be arrested if she walks outside."

A state trooper stationed outside her home said Hickox will be arrested if she walks outside.

He'll arrest her, if she walks outside.

And THEN what?

No really, think about that. After they arrest her, then what?

Are they going to put her in the back of a police cruiser and take her to jail? Are they going to process her into the penal system, you know, fingerprints and all of that? This woman they're all so afraid of? The one that might have OMFG! ZOMBIE PLAGUE! What if she wipes a booger on the fingerprint sheet? And then what? Will Maine build a secure biological isolation ward in the local jail? Or are they going to put her into General Population WITH OTHER PEOPLE? Or are they going to stuff her into another tent? Who's going to guard her? Cops in biohazard suits?

But yeah, let's arrest her. Good idea.

Maybe, and this is just a thought, maybe they could find a medical professional who has direct experience treating Ebola in Africa to advise them ...

Oh wait.


I visualize the scene in the police car like this:

From the backseat: <sneeze! COUGH COUGH!>

Cop: For God's sake, Lady, Cover your mouth!

From the backseat: <sniffle> Sorry, can't. Handcuffs you know...

CurrentC breach

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Oh this is awesome!

So Rite Aid, CVS, Wal*Mart, Best Buy and others have decided that they're not going to take Apple Pay, largely because they're building a competing payment system called "CurrentC".

CurrentC just had their first data breach:

Just hours after publishing a blog post answering some questions about its upcoming CurrentC mobile payments system and touting the security of its cloud-based storage of sensitive information, the company behind the effort, Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) has alerted users of unauthorized access to their email addresses.

Location codes

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his might be of particular interest to Meuon: A project out of Google for generating location codes for places that have streets, but no formal addressing system.

From the FAQ:

More than half the world's urban dwellers live on streets that don't have formal names. We expect these codes will be mostly used by people in areas lacking street addresses, but could also be used in areas that are mapped but where street name data is not widely available or where both formal and informal names exist.

Also related, but different: Missing Maps: nothing less than a human genome project for cities

Tuesday October 28th, 2014

Strategic Caution Reserve

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The terrorists have won: All you have to do is put up a WiFi SSID to cancel a flight: LA to London flight held on ground for 3 hours and then canceled when a passenger noticed an "al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork" (sic) Wifi network available on their phone.

There's some evidence on the cell phones on airplanes are a bad idea side of the balance sheet...

Among other places, via JWZ who noted the "about of an abundance of caution" line, to which user nooj replied:

I wish there wasn't such an abundance of caution. Can we ration it? Is there a U.S. Strategic Caution Reserve?


Lunar Photography with smart phones

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DIY iPhone Telescope Adapter Mount for Moon Photos with Final Product (YouTube) and, for completeness, the author uses RegiStax to stack video frames for noise and motion blur reduction.

A little truth for Halloween: RT Amy Spiker (@ASpiker):

Who cares about wearing a costume 1 day a year? It's more impressive that I masquerade as an adult with my shit together the other 364 days

Just another Sonoma County sunrise

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Just another Sonoma County sunrise

WTF iCloud?

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iCloud Uploads Local Data Outside of iCloud Drive.

If you're using a Mac you may be uploading way more stuff to iCloud than you thought.

Monday October 27th, 2014

Okay, now it's really time to enable HTTPS on my sites: Verizon wireless inserting tracking headers into web traffic

staying relevant

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RT Auntie Scraghands ‏@solmaru:

If it doesn't have butch women or sexually flexible men i just... don't care anymore.

How to win the lottery

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Darius Kazemi, Tiny Subversions - XOXO Festival (2014) (YouTube). Yes, it's long. Yes, the first 15 minutes seem like just a stand-up routine, the end, from about 18 minutes, pulls together some interesting notes.

In a way this is similar to how Nassim Nicholas Taleb has been talking about investing... Interesting ideas here.

Via a lot of places, but the MeFi entry is what finally got me to watch it.

Ebola security theater

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Schluter Kerdi assembly information

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Need a place to stash this for building our shower/tub surround when we do the bathroom remodel later this month (and so that I can build a parts list): Schluter Kerdi Board shower handbook (PDF), specifically page 18. And I think we'll want a couple of the "Schluter®-KERDI-BOARD-SN Shower Niche" assemblies.

big UX challenge is not newer

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The big UX challenge is not "newer better" interfaces, it's using the ones users are familiar with in new ways.

Sunday October 26th, 2014

worst thing about GamerGate Realizing

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The worst thing about GamerGate? Realizing that we've got a generation of young men who can say "ethics in journalism" with a straight face

Exploit in strings

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Really? Don't run "strings" on untrusted files. Apparently at some point some yahoo had the brilliant idea to make the "strings" utility try to understand the structure of files, rather than just looking for strings. Bugs in "libfd" allows for arbitrary code execution from well crafted files.

"strings -a" does what "strings" should do, so is safe.

Saturday October 25th, 2014

Tracking energy costs

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Tracking energy costs: Anyone got a suggestion for big beefy solar attic fan solutions that can move a lot of air?

Either Amazon is serving up pop-unders

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Either Amazon is serving up pop-unders, or my Chrome browser on Ubuntu is infected. This is disturbing.

Reminder: PowerPoint is bad for your business, but it's also an exploit vector:

Police stealing nude photos from phones

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Yet another reason to not let the cops have access to your smartphone, ever:

As this newspaper first reported earlier this week, the investigation began with a single incident: Harrington's conduct during the Aug. 29 arrest of the San Ramon woman. The woman discovered that photos had been stolen from her phone five days after her release, when she noticed on her iPad that the photos had been sent to an unknown number. A record of the messages had been deleted from her iPhone, but the phone had been synced to the iPad.

Friday October 24th, 2014

Tale of Momentum and Inertia http

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A Tale of Momentum and Inertia

Okay, go ahead and read the comments...

4chan for vendetta

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RT Hartley of Darkness ‏@NedHartley:

Comics people, it's over. He's not called V any more, he's 4chan man (via @jlist)


Edit: Damn it, it's fake.

Guy Fieri quote Sonoma is this close

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Guy Fieri quote? Sonoma is this close to having a t-shirt shop...

Old Masters

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RT Atom Vincent ‏@Child_Labor:

I heard a good joke about Ebola today...but you won't get it.

TOR compromising binaries

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TOR exit node that's hot-patching binaries with malware.

At DerbyCon this year I gave a presentation of my binary patching framework, BDF. Many binaries are hosted without any transport layer security encryption. Some binaries are signed to prevent modification, but most are not. During that presentation, I talked about the MITM patching of binaries during download, and showed how easy it was using BDFProxy. I also mentioned that similar techniques are probably already in use on the Internet.

I had only circumstantial evidence until recently.

Thursday October 23rd, 2014

Tried to register the Twitter account

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Tried to register the Twitter account "💩". Disappointed that they just allow ASCII letters and numbers...

Won't be too many years before the only

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Won't be too many years before the only remaining business model is delivering ads from other companies selling ad delivery.

Why your project failed

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RT Simon Harris ‏@haruki_zaemon

Projects that failed under Waterfall were killed by Waterfall.

Projects that failed under Agile weren’t done properly.

no ice, ice, baby

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Love it when we see long established medical lore start to fall: Why ice doesn’t help an injury, and could make it worse.

Research on the efficacy of ice is, in fact, more tepid than many might think. “Ice is commonly used after acute muscle strains, but there are no clinical studies of its effectiveness,” noted a 2012 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Some studies say this practice could be counterproductive in the long run. “Topical cooling (icing) . . . seems not to improve but, rather, delay recovery from eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage,” according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Via Larry Burton.

RT Conan O'Brien ‏@ConanOBrien

I picked out my Halloween costume. I’m going as “Slutty Madeleine Albright.”

RT Madeleine Albright ‏@madeleine

.@ConanOBrien I'm considering going as hunky Conan O'Brien - but that might be too far fetched.


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Realization: If Internet weren't included in my job, we'd be paying about the same for Internet as for electricity *and* gas. Average Comcast bill approaches twice that.

cars as refrigerators

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Enrique Peñalosa (Mayor of Bogota, Colombia) in SF: A Livable Streets Visionary Shares His Wisdom, for this observation about parking and automobiles:

Peñalosa pointed out that there’s no other piece of personal property for which the public provides free space for its storage. When someone buys a refrigerator, for example, the public isn’t obligated to provide a kitchen.

“Asking, ‘where should we park?,’ is like asking where you should put your clothes or your food,” he said, eliciting chuckles and applause from the packed crowd at SPUR.

Good reminder

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Good reminder: When you use SMS for 2 factor auth, you're giving (local!) law enforcement DOS capability over your communications channel.

design & features

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Intercom: This is not a map:

Peter Drucker is famous for saying “The customer rarely buys what the company thinks it’s selling”. The implication of this quote is that to improve a product you must first understand what it is being used for.


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Check-build - Verifies that your NodeJS project follow team conventions, is well written and secure.

Gonna be doing another NodeJS and JavaScript from the command-line talk shortly, figure I should update it.

always been at war

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USA Today: Special report: America's perpetual state of emergency:

An emergency declared by President Jimmy Carter on the 10th day of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 remains in effect almost 35 years later.

Shoplifting from distance runners

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Bwahahaha! Rock/Creek employee chases, catches shoplifter

Rock/Creek is known, among other things, for its sponsorship of ultra-distance trail runs, including its Thunder Rock 100-miler held in May. And some of its employees are serious runners.

Dude, you can get away with that shit at REI, but not Rock/Creek... (A Chattanooga outdoor gear store I used to frequent).

Playboy models decades later

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Wednesday October 22nd, 2014

I'm discussing some business things going on in W. Africa and asked why "Ford" (not his real name), whome is intelligent, helpful and wants to get things done is not taken seriously. Answer: "He is in/from the wrong tribe."

Tribes here are serious and well defined social/family things, but it makes me think how much we create our own tribes and do the same thing. Clothing, vernacular, jewelry, hairstyle, theology...

The difference is: we can change our tribes with a little effort, and often belong to several.

Marijuana doesn't lower your IQ

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Washington Post: No, marijuana use doesn’t lower your IQ. About a study from the Claire Mokrysz of the College of London.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer has a slightly different take on the press release, pointing out that very heavy use among teenagers may have as much as a 3% impact. But this is dwarfed by other factors, like alcohol use.

FTDI driver and bogus chips

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Careful: Windows FTDI drivers are intentionally bricking devices that use counterfeit FTDI chips.

The workaround for this driver update is to download the FT232 config tool from the FTDI website on a WinXP or Linux box, change the PID of the fake chip, and never using the new driver on a modern Windows system. There will surely be an automated tool to fix these chips automatically, but until then, take a good look at what Windows Update is installing – it’s very hard to tell if your devices have a fake FTDI chip by just looking at them.

MeFi has more linkage

Attacking DNS settings

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expectations of aging

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NY Times: What if age is nothing but a mind set?.

Of course much of this is a puff piece for a Langer's summer camp for retired people, but I might want to read Bruce Grierson's What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Happier Lives

Creepy Text Theatre

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Twitter the source of all evil

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Saudi Arabia's top Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh says Twitter is "the source of all evil and devastation".;_ylt=AwrBJSDqj0ZUhkUA0znQtDMD

Turned on my computer 45 minutes before

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Turned on my computer 45 minutes before the webinar, see "Configuring Windows updates 32%", wondering if it'll be usable in time...