Archive for the ‘Geek’ Category

A few random things I found interesting.

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Some by way of the Hacker News Twitter, others from elsewhere.

Nice appreciation of Elmore Leonard from The New York Review of Books.

Brian Krebs goes to Mexico in search of Bluetooth ATM skimmers, part 1.

Fun with software defined radio, or scanners live in vain.

NFL loser update resumes tomorrow.

Art (Acevedo), damn it! watch. (#X of a series)

Friday, September 11th, 2015

In the time I’ve been doing the Art (Acevedo) watch, I don’t think I’ve ever put up a photo of the chief. Some of the articles I’ve linked to may have had photos, but I don’t if people click through, and I don’t think there’s ever been one here.

Until now.

Yes, the chief is kind of a geek.

The chief also has a button installed in his office that makes the noise of the “red alert” alarm in classic Star Trek episodes.


“On the day it opens, do not call me,” he said. “Do not get in my way. I will be at the Alamo Drafthouse with a bucket of buttered popcorn.”

“Do not get in my way.” If someone does, could they be charged with obstruction of justice?

Oliver Sacks.

Monday, August 31st, 2015

NYT. Michiko Kakutani appreciation. LAT. WP. A/V Club.

“The Oliver Sacks Reading List” from The Atlantic.

I like what Kakutani says, and I don’t think I could say it any better:

The world has lost a writer of immense talent and heart, a writer who helped illuminate the wonders, losses and consolations of the human condition.

Dr. Sacks was a personal hero of mine. Unlike most of my personal heros, I actually did get to meet him once. He probably wouldn’t have remembered it, even if he wasn’t famously “face blind”…


DEFCON 23 notes: August 12, 2015.

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

More slides! More stuff!

DEFCON 23 notes: August 11, 2015.

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

The Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek paper, “Remote Exploitation of an Unaltered Passenger Vehicle” is here. Sorry I don’t have much to say beyond that; I’ve been frantically busy all day and haven’t had a chance to review their paper (or much of anything else) yet. But I did want to get this up, because I’ve been waiting for it.

(Also, one of my cow-orkers owns a vulnerable vehicle, and I’ve been giving him a little bit of grief about that. Only a little bit, though, because he has problems with the vehicle that go beyond Miller and Valasek’s work.)

DEFCON 23 notes: August 10, 2015.

Monday, August 10th, 2015

More when I have it; possibly tonight or tomorrow.

DEFCON 23: -2 day notes

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

DEFCON 23 starts Thursday. Black Hat USA 2015 starts tomorrow.

Once again, it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it out to Vegas. Once again, I’m going to try to cover things from 1,500 miles away. It isn’t completely clear to me that anyone other than me is getting any benefit from this, but I’ve been doing this for long enough that I have a hard time stopping now.

Here’s the schedule. There are several presentations that are already getting media attention:

So what would I go see if I was there? What sounds interesting to me?


Wings clipped.

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

The St. Louis Cardinals fired director of scouting Chris Correa yesterday.

Why do I bring this up? Granted, it is, but I don’t cover every minor executive firing.

But this is special. Correa is apparently the team’s first sacrifice in the great hacking scandal.

St. Louis attorney Jim Martin, a former federal prosecutor who is conducting the Cardinals’ internal investigation, declined to say if Correa’s dismissal was linked to the FBI case.
However, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Correa acknowledged breaking into the database to determine whether the Astros had stolen proprietary data from the Cardinals.

If he actually did admit “breaking into the database”, I think being fired is probably the least of his problems…

Today’s bulletin from the Department of WTF?! (#7 in a series)

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

The FBI and Justice Department are investigating members of the front office of the St. Louis Cardinals to determine whether the organization hacked the computer network of the Houston Astros in order to steal player personnel information.

I was going to make a “how parenthetic do you have to be” joke, but the Astros are actually doing okay this year. The Times story seems to be spinning it as the Cardinals being worried about their secrets being compromised:

Investigators believe Cardinals officials, concerned that Mr. Luhnow had taken their idea and proprietary baseball information to the Astros, examined a master list of passwords used by Mr. Luhnow and the other officials who had joined the Astros when they worked for the Cardinals. The Cardinals officials are believed to have used those passwords to gain access to the Astros’ network, law enforcement officials said.

“Luhnow” is Jeff Luhnow, the current Astros general manager and previously a high-ranking member of the Cardinals management team.

I care very little about baseball, but this should be fascinating to watch. As the papers note, this is the first known instance where one team attempted to hack another team’s computer network for competitive advantage. Ignoring the possibility of some people being convicted of actual Federal crimes, what’s MLB going to do about this? Lifetime bans for anyone proven to be involved?

Ironic or not?

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

“Ironic or not?” is a game I used to play with one of my cow orkers at Four Letter Computer Corporation.

During the Great Bobblehead Scandal of 2012, I bought a John Wilkes Booth bobblehead.

I had it on my desk at work until this morning, when I accidentally knocked it onto the floor and…


Yes, Booth broke his ankles. Much like the actual John Wilkes Booth did when he got his foot tangled in the bunting while leaping out of the presidential box at Ford’s Theater.

(Or maybe he broke his leg. Or maybe he didn’t break anything at all in the leap, but his horse injured him later. I’m a little dubious about that story; the evidence for that seems to be “he didn’t run like he had a broken leg”. Well, maybe, but given that he’d just killed the president and was fleeing the scene, adrenaline may have done a great job of hiding a broken leg.)

What really kind of totes my goat is that Booth fell maybe three feet (if that) onto a carpeted office floor. Note to self: don’t buy stuff from “The Bobblehead LLC”.

Ironic or not? Before you answer…

Random notes: April 22, 2015.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

You know, I’m a little tired of this geocentric crud. Why just “Earth Day”? Why not a day for each of the other eight planets as well? I’d try to organize “Pluto Day” on March 13th, but that’s too close to Pi Day. Maybe Neptune Day on September 23rd?

Edited to add: Mike the Musicologist responds.

It’s not Earth as in the planet. It’s earth as in dirt. Or the element.

We need Fire Day, Wind and Waters Days.

Or maybe just an Earth, Wind and Fire Day. But then people would call for a Kool & The Gang Day. Imagine the furor when Average White Band Day is celebrated.

As I told Mike, I’m not sure I can get into Earth, Wind, and Fire Day. But Parliament Funkadelic Day? I’m there.

Serdar Argic, call your office, please.

Stolen bourbon. And anabolic steroids. That seems like an odd mix.

Happy April Fools Day!

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Our policy regarding your personal data:
Please stop sending us your personal data.
We are running out of places to put it.
Is this even yours?
Does anyone recognize whose data this is?
Oh jeez never mind here comes more data.
Why are you doing this?
Please stop.

NSA Tells Public To Reduce Use of Passive Voice In Email

“Congress To Extend Copyright Terms for All Artistic Works to ‘Life of Mickey Mouse plus 70 years.'”

The Internet of Fish.

California’s new state flag.

More later, maybe. It has been a busy morning.