Archive for the ‘Geek’ Category

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 sportsfirings.com, 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…

booth

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.
Help.

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.

Art, damn it, art! watch. (#47 in a series)

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Headline:

Dead Drops: what to do if you see a USB stick sticking out of a wall

Stop! Don’t touch! Tell an adult!

But I digress.

But in 2010, Berlin-based artist Aram Bartholl decided to adapt the idea for public use. His Dead Drops involve people hiding USB flash drives in cities around the world and embedding them into walls, fences and kerbs. The idea is that you look up their location, access the drive, and do what you see fit with the files – add your own, remove or copy them over.

I’m not going to say this is the dumbest idea I’ve heard recently. But it is in the top 100.

(Per the DeadDrops.com database, there are six of these within 100 km of Austin. Five are marked as broken or missing. The sixth is actually in Bastrop. While it is marked as working, the status hasn’t been updated since 2011.)

Nimoy.

Friday, February 27th, 2015

For the historical record: NYT. LAT. WP. A/V Club. Lawrence.

Other people have pointed this out, too, but he went beyond Spock. He replaced Martin Landau in the original “Mission: Impossible”, and is described as being one of the more memorable “Columbo” villains.

And here’s a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore I ran across while searching for “M:I” episode openings featuring Nimoy:

Kids, ask your parents about Y2K.

One more for the road:

Merry Christmas to me!

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

I’m actually starting to get into the spirit of the season, believe it or not.

Part of the reason is that I got an early sort-of-but-not-really “Christmas present” over the weekend, which will be blogged in due time.

And then there’s this, which I think is really cool:

…mathematicians have made the first substantial progress in 76 years on the reverse question: How far apart can consecutive primes be? The average spacing between primes approaches infinity as you travel up the number line, but in any finite list of numbers, the biggest prime gap could be much larger than the average. No one has been able to establish how large these gaps can be.

Besides the fact that I have an amateur interest in prime numbers, this is also a famous Paul Erdős problem.

Even cooler: one of the guys who solved this problem, Terence Tao, has a direct connection to Erdős:

In 1985, Tao, then a 10-year-old prodigy, met Erdős at a math event. “He treated me as an equal,” recalled Tao, who in 2006 won a Fields Medal, widely seen as the highest honor in mathematics. “He talked very serious mathematics to me.” This is the first Erdős prize problem Tao has been able to solve, he said. “So that’s kind of cool.”

(Someone on my Christmas list is getting this as part of their present; I’ll let you know how that goes over.)

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (part 2)

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

The “First Annual Very Nicest Awards” from Very Nice Website (aka John Moltz, one of the four authentic geniuses the Internet has produced).

Won’t you consider murdering and eating a duck this holiday season?

The Incomparable takes on “The Star Wars Holiday Special”.

Random notes: December 5, 2014.

Friday, December 5th, 2014

The 76ers, turning the fundamental belief system of sports on its head, do not mind losing. A lot.

However, they did screw up their chances of going 0-82. Philadelphia is now 1-17.

Anybody out there missing a pony?

Public service announcement: if you get an “order confirmation” email from someplace like Costco or Home Depot, and you didn’t place an online order, and the email doesn’t contain specific details about which store you should pick it up at, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T CLICK ON THE LINKS!

I’m sure most of my readers are smart enough to figure this out on their own, but I wanted to mention it here for reasons.

I heartily endorse this event or product. (#12 in a series)

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door, by Brian Krebs.

Blogger, with occasional Krebs.

Blogger, with occasional Krebs.

I actually haven’t read the book yet. (It is at the top of the pile.) But Krebs did a signing here in Austin last night, and he came across as a really nice affable guy. I didn’t get a chance to talk with him much: I’d estimate there were 150 people there for the signing, many of whom were purchasing multiple copies of the book, so time was limited. But he signed everyone’s book, and even posed for photos with those who wanted, and in general it was just a swell experience. Based on that, I have few qualms about recommending that you purchase the book.

TMQ Watch: November 4, 2014.

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Authentic games. Voting. Space: not a frontier, at least for man. All this and more in this week’s TMQ, after the jump…

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