Interwebnet Insecurity


Oh, dear worst-reader, here yet another exchange I recently had with a dear old friend. As you know, from other exchanges (here and here), sometimes we get places–intellectual places. But other times we just ramble on. The point is, ramble, worst-writer. Yeah, that’s the point. Anywho. I know you’re probably wondering if any of this is actually real. It could, obviously, just as well, be played out in my mind. Obviously. As I sit each wasted day, lingering in my demise and lusting in my failure, it is hard not to talk to myself. But that is neither here nor there. What’s important is that I’ve managed, thru therapy and other self-medicating means, to stop having these conversations in the bathroom and in front of the mirror. Or something like that. So here we go. Oh. Before I forget. This worst-works best if you start at the bottom. Rant on, baby. And good luck.


Dear Old Friend,

Well, then, I guess that about covers it. No good answers. (Even though I provided a pretty good one.) Nomatter. As usual, let’s pack it up then and go to the mall.



Dear Worstwriter,

Good stuff. So there are no real current answers. Maybe this is a place to throw some billions of those newly printed Fed Dollars. Invest in what it takes to move commerce to some “network” and open the “internet” to what it should be.

Your Old Friend


Dear Old Friend,
You have an interesting idea with ‘central registry’ but it’s not feasible at the IP level. I also wouldn’t trust a central repository of that kind of data–hence that’s why the Internet evolved like it did. Perhaps here we are back at a point you made a while ago, something about inventing a new Internet. Btw, the .com or .net or .gov, etc., domains are not constructed to manage information the way you’re suggesting. DHCP and DNS are already stretched to their limits. There are simply too many users of the Internet today and too many internet addresses to turn all that upside-down. The solution to privacy is much simpler, in fact. For one, the issue of privacy doesn’t start with Internet users or internet addresses–even though there is encryption. The whole problem is nothing more than law-makers in collusion with corporations–both trying to guarantee profits before anything else. So the solution is Net Neutrality. Making it illegal for cellular carriers to own cellular data would be a place to start. Making it illegal for ISPs to monopolize Internet access is another place to start. Also, it should be illegal for the government, without a due process (a warrant) to see where I’ve been on the Internet. And I should have the right to determine what information Google, Apple, ISP, etc., is allowed to keep from my Internet usage. As far as anonymous payment is concerned, PayPal is a no-go. Paypal emulates banks. Bitcoin and/or crypto-currency is the answer and it already scares the shit out of the status-quo. Combine crypto-currency with Torrent technology and you can over-ride the open-ness of the Internet when needed. Btw, the thing holding back Bitcoin right now is it’s complexity. I equate this somewhat to the complexity of the Gold standard (not Gold, persay, but the established Gold standard that Nixon got rid of). Bitcoin is gold. Someone will eventually turn it into a gold standard and then that standard will be superseded by something else, which is where we are today with monetary policy. But the thing with Bitcoin, or, more importantly, crypto-currency, is that no one can own the so-called blockchain or the way the codes is generated to create value, i.e. no central bank. Or maybe not. I still need to give that some more thought.



Interesting WW,

Yea I see your point. Now every social media to commerce site needs all this personal information just to allow access. Then hackers steal it.

So why don’t you propose a “central registry” like the folks who house the .xyz databases. The central registry will have the necessary identification credentials for every participant. Then you get a user id number, like an IP number that IS your permanent internet identity, just a number. Every transaction you make or what ever you do, simply uses this number, which for monitory purposes can be linked to the central registry, where your preferred payment solution/s are stored. You could choose bitcoin or a credit card or a debit system or some virtual currency like a paypal account. Whatever you want.

Anyway, then all companies are off the hook, nobody knows who you are, all transactions are antonymous and only subpoena for a particular suspected criminal event can get records, which incidentally are all encrypted.


Your Old Friend


Dear Old Friend,

I agree with “the Internet was never meant to handle secure transactions.” But I do not agree with “nor (does the Internet) preserve an individuals privacy.” When I first started using the Internet the multitude of ISPs alone enabled a level of security that most can’t even comprehend today. The problem therefore is the consolidation of Internet access. Whether I used Compuserve or some local German ISP back in 1994 that was routed through some guys basement server, my identity was never part of Internet access. I remember my first purchase on the internet, too. I bought a CD with a Linux install from the US. I was probably using Compuserve at the time and an analogue modem. Without having to register with the website (which is standard today) that was selling what I wanted, I just gave them my (German) credit card info and within ten days I got my CD (and had a blast trying to figure out how to install Linux on one of my old Macs). Anyway. The Internet could easily provide secure identity and privacy but users do not insist on it and because of that politicians have answered the beck and call of corporations to NOT make laws protecting privacy. Privacy could actually be easy.



Hi WW,

Well it is still called a “crises” but I liked this point:

The Internet was never meant to handle secure transactions, nor preserve an individual’s privacy. Our rush to leverage the Internet for legit commerce has spawned marginally ethical business ventures while also creating vast criminal opportunities. (Links have been removed to protect the innocent.)

Ok, so is somebody actually saying what is obvious for a change?

Your Old Friend

Security Data Ukraine

black_redAnother contribution to the Interwebnets containing an email exchange with an old friend. At times this friend brings the best out of me but other times s/he does not. Nomatter. The point is to think, express those thoughts, get them down for re-reading and then figure out what drove worst-moi to write/contribute in the first place. Or something like that. Don’t forget, for proper chronology, start at the bottom. Good luck. Rant on.

Dear Old Friend,

The reason there cannot be a completely different/separate Interwebnet for, as you put it, B2B, is because the Interwebnet protocol is not there. Could someone invent it anew? Maybe. But at this point it’s irrelevant. The reason for that is the environment that gave way to the Interwebnet is gone. No one will take the financial risk to actually try to (re)invent it or duplicate it. And why should they? And don’t forget, the reason the Interwebnet is what it is–is because it is open, it is decentralized. Which also means, no one will ever be able to close it down, either. You might be able to shut parts of it down, by turning off electrical switches and servers, but that will only effect compartments (i.e. countries, phone networks, etc.) Like everybody else using it, businesses have been on a free-ride from the get-go if they use Interwebnet protocols and now that they are being called-out on it, by hackers, it’s too late for them to do anything about it. Hence, all the fear mongering for security is not about you and me being afraid–which is what I’ve never talked about–but about scaring the companies to either invest or buy into the security scam. That’s why the articles and graphs you read are all on sites like MarketWatch and WSJ–fear is the only thing keeping the “markets” going. Which brings me to your point about encryption. Encryption is not the answer. They’ve tried that. They tried it with DVDs, CDs, DRM, etc., and even the credit card swipe devices at Target and Wal-Mart. Encryption will work for the individual and things like email (remember I offered that we try it?) but for the data exchange that is required by the whole Interwebnet, encryption will be too complex to employ at the scale the Interwebnet operates. And get this! The powers-that-be DO NOT want total encryption. Government must ride the slippery slope of ideology and politics dictated by dollars, my friend. As I’m sure you’re aware. Full encryption would mean that government couldn’t monitor everything. And, yes, they (govt.) even monitor and spy on bank transactions. Remember, it’s not only about encrypting the data but also enabling encryption in both software and hardware for the entire Interwebnet. To do that you’re talking about a huge cost, mostly made up of man-hours–and with the level of globalization that we live in, there is no way people would be hired to fulfill the level of man-hours required to make it all happen. Just consider what all — ALLLLLLLL — router/modem manufacturers will have to do to put hardware encryption into their devices. Dude, it is so NOT going to happen. Not to mention the fact that hardware encryption is probably easier to break than software–just ask the the NSA about that. The way we use technology today was not invented by any one person or company–it has grown out of the magic of open-ness and decentralization. That cannot be cracked or broken or controlled.


Hey Worst-Writer,

The only thing I can say about the data on the Internet thing is that since I ran my company back in the 1990’s all business was moving that way. All B to B transactions have been on networks for much longer then the average consumer’s interaction with networks. Even if a completely separate network were established for BtoB channels, there are still hacks. There are hacks everywhere but there is no turning back. Everyone expects everything to be accessible. From travel to buying a scarf to looking up tax data or bank accounts. The access is expected and there.

From my perspective, the real technology would be in encryption. I may be wrong but I don’t think it would be hard for companies to pull from networks all but immediately necessary data. Then you massively encrypt all of it. Every log in would have to run algorithms to very or authenticate every “user” access. If someone wants to use a proxy etc. they don’t get access, plain and simple. The only people who get access are the ones that pass a set of protocols and after that, what they can access is limited. Archive data can be obtained but only through a series of proper protocols, which can all be automated… I mean everyone has processing power in their computers that would allow all of this. Internet connections would have to be more robust so places like developing countries and much of the US people would complain and have to find other solutions. But for the most part, It seems to me security should not be the problem it is but till now the approach to security has just not been taken a seriously as it should and what is called “security” is actually just “prevention of access” not true security. Anyway, that is my 2 cents.

I still don’t see the fear mongering cause I don’t know anybody, anybody, anybody who fears anything when it comes to credit card data etc. There is no privacy any more, everything everyone does is monitored and every savvy marketing company knows everything about you, your habits, health, location etc and I don’t know many complaining. There is no fear in security from a consumer perspective. Corporate’s need to do a better job but please tell me WHO benefits from SOME UNNAMED person spreading “fear” about security?

Your Friend

Dear Old Friend,

I can only continuing saying that the whole data-thing is a hoax. I don’t believe a word of it. Do with it what you will. What’s really going on is fear mongering. Fear-mongering to support an industry that thrives and earns on that fear because it’s easy to earn from. The first article I ever published, which was almost fifteen years ago, began with: if your business needs security don’t put your data on open networks. That might be a far cry away from the closed world of credit card fraud but the gist is the same. When I stopped working back in 2002 the only industry that could have potentially hired me was data security. Since then the whole idea of “risk management” has exploded, whether it’s about managing the risk of investment or the risk of a data security breach, the operation of such activity is the same. This is simply what happens when there’s no creativity left in the market, when all business runs on laurels, when everything has been marginalized to the hilt. Game over — so you better at least be secure. It’s all bullshit.

As far as the Ukraine… I think this is a test for Germany. I believe that Merkel has cut a deal with Russia/Putin that leaves the Ukrainians hanging but energy flowing–and the US has approved that deal (because internationally Obama is a few shy of a six-pack). The EU press, the German press and the pacified anti-war hippies are blowing this way out of proportion. Sure, people are dying, but when was that not the case in these countries since the collapse of the Soviet Union (or even before that)? Remember Yugoslavia or Hungary or Georgia? Those in the Ukraine that are “western” oriented have screwed themselves. They have chosen as their leaders people who are probably as brutal if not more-so than Putin. The oligarchs of Ukraine are gorillas, man. I read recently that it was probably one of those gorillas that shot down the Malaysian plane, he was the one who owned the Russian-made missiles capable of doing it–and the nutbags serving him actually thought they were shooting down a Russian spy plane because the pilots of that flight diverted their course to avoid flying over water (Malaysian airlines hasn’t had much luck recently flying over water!) and the guys running the missiles weren’t told that. Also, Ukrainians should have known that Putin wouldn’t allow their country to side with NATO–which is the ultimate threat to Russia, ain’t it? Just look at what happened to Georgia. I think the situation is dire for Ukraine but I don’t think this will turn Europe into pre-ww1 situation. Putin will probably contain this, probably with brute force, but in the end it will be contained. The EU is not going to war over this. Of course, it doesn’t help that the only significant contribution of Ukraine to EU are its ports for energy distribution from Russia.


Hey Worst-Writer,

Bloomberg is not fear mongering. This is not MSNBC or FOX this is Bloomberg and corporate america is literally under attack for data. The fact that card data is so prevalent that criminals only get a few cents to at most a couple dollars for every “live” card number shows that. The damage is to merchants not the consumer so this is not fear mongering. Nobody, I mean no individual I know is really afraid of it cause the banks and merchants take a hit not the consumer.

Anyway, my barrage of info on the subject is just to indicate how prevalent it is and how versatile the criminals are.

What the Fuck is up in Ukraine? They are up to like 3,000 dead. There is a fucking war going on there… The markets keep going higher and nobody seems to give a damn. It is real man, this is not Syria or Iraq or Lybia or Yemen… These are Ukrainians, people with real weapons, who know how to make them, not some fuckers who live in mud huts and have no technological means to product a damn microwave let alone weapons. These guys are part of the race of people who can do some real fucking damage when they go to war… It’s got to stop.

Your Friend

Dear Old Friend,

It is an interesting graph… if you like red on black.

So, do you think, because I’m a registered user of Evernote (but I never use the krapp), that that’s how the crooks got my German credit card number this summer and used it to try to buy stuff at a Canadian Target store when I was in Virginia, USA? Numbers that indicate that what-ever million user information was stolen means nothing in the context of these two graphs. If they listed what damage was done to individual card holders I might be interested. Otherwise, again, this is only fear mongering.


Hey Worst-Writer,

Look at this graphic:

Pretty amazing eh?

Your Friend

Examples Of Ignorance

It’s 2014–if you’ve forgotten. Or maybe you avoid the clock all the same. Nomatter, dear worst-reader. For today we have yet another example of American’t ignorance and how that ignorance rules/governs everything. Or maybe not. First. The situation. Or should I call it: Reality? Either way, in 2014 a huge chunk of America still has no decent Interwebnet connectivity. The fact that an even bigger chunk has inadequate connectivity we won’t address here. Yet who would have guessed that it takes a conservative politician–in this case a politician in the form of one of them republicans–to bring the good news (and I don’t mean religious) to someone’s ears. The politician is potentially seeing the light regarding the anti-competitive nature that is the US economy. Or maybe she only sees all the nutjob constituents who elected her and who might have woken up to the fact that the Interwebnets is important and it’s about time they get some. Or maybe not. The thing to keep in mind about this post and the link below is that if you look beyond the lines, get informed about what’s going on, etc., this is as good as it gets in 2014 as far as technology goes in America. Add to that the fact that there were and still are millions upon millions of Americans who would have gladly voted for the likes of Mitt Romney & Co.–who carries the conservative mantra that corporations are people and therefore should have the same inalienable rights as people–nomatter what the consequence–and that is exactly how the telecom company who is fighting the idear that a state municipality should supply its citizens Interwebnet connectivity because the corporation won’t… Well. Nuff said. Good luck suckers. Rant on.

How big telecom smothers city-run broadband | Center for Public Integrity.

Scavenger Econ

Oh, dear worst-reader, we are living in scavenger times. These are times where all that is left are scraps. You know, the scraps left over by the other half. You know, the haves and the have-mores. Oh, how they laugh and giggle as we jostle around, tinker to nowhere, continue on our beloved pathway of apathy, disdain, sweetened hatred. It is, dear worst-reader, the year AD twenty-fourteen and I’m no longer shocked that the other week my credit card was cancelled. When I asked the haves and the have-mores (the bank) why they cancelled my card, they said it was because there was a suspicious transaction on it from Canada and they were trying to protect me. Well thank you very much, powers-that-be. Except I was no where near Canada at the time and they knew that. And I have since cleared up the whole ordeal–except the embarrassing moment when that clerk yelled through the store that my card was cancelled. But I digress. In the meantime, I continue to try and understand credit card fraud–which has brought me to a few other conclusions–all of which I won’t bore you with here. Or maybe I will. From what I’ve read so far, see links below, the credit card industry isn’t the only one dealing in scavenger economics. But there is something that I’m NOT reading about in all this. Did you know, dear worst-reader, that most of the news serves only to produce fear which in turn is supposed to make certain people react to that fear? Fear drives the world’s economy now. Indeed. Spreading fear is really the only driver of “markets” in scavenger economics. Have I said that enough? Then there’s the idear that banks (the haves and the have-mores) know precisely how credit cards are used by their customers. They have a plethora of mine-able customer data that The Googles–and even the NSA–can only dream about. Stealing a credit card number, name and expiration date is one thing but claiming that there can be rampant fraud on that card because someone copied that data from a network is something else. Banks don’t have this under control by now? Which means that credit card fraud is really exactly that. The fraud is being perpetrated by the banks to protect what’s left of scavenger profits. I mean, come on. The way people are handed credit cards–like sweets to a baby–if that doesn’t have scavenger all over it I don’t know what does. With that in mind, here’s the thing that the “market” doesn’t want to discuss but is happy if you are afeared. In a scavenger economy, where money can’t flow anymore, corporations either protect their profits–because those profits are widely accepted as an entitlement–or they must find new profits. Which brings me to the scavenger tech world. Just have a look at what’s going on with USB, the Universal Serial Bus standard that has long since worn out its welcome where all hardware makers can question the entitlement of licensing fees. It’s been recently discovered that USB devices have all been built with programmable ROMS. Really? What a curious and most certainly convenient discovery. Convenient because it’s a way/excuse for hardware makers to make something obsolete and thereby introduce something new that will cost us all more money. And so. The part to make you afeared is simple. The firmware that drives USB devices and enables them to interact with PCs can be changed/modified. The tech world is scrambling right now over this. If it’s true you can literally steal a USB keyboard from a bank, modify the ROM of the keyboard’s USB connection, get it back into the bank where it’s hooked up to the banks computer and then rob the place. Are you afraid yet and willing to pay more for the next SAFE technology? But I say, just like credit card fraud, this is all Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. These industries are suffering under the scourge of our scavenger economy. What corporations consider entitlements are being threatened. USB is dying. Banks don’t want profits infringed upon by having to pay more for secure cards. What to do, what to do? I know what I’m gonna do. It’s time for a cold one. And. Rant on.

The article that spreads fear | MarketWatch

Credit Card Act 2009 | Wiki

Credit Card Fraud | Wiki

Chip based cards already available | Arstechnica

Oh no! Hackers Can Exploit USB Devices | Deutsche Welle

Evil USB, We’re Gonna Miss You | Arstechnica

Happy Failure

Schadenfreude? Maybe. Read link to article below and the links it links to. I know that wishing ills to others has its payback. But I guess I’m willing to accept that consequence. At least in this case. What better example is there of the greater-than-though meritless workforce of my grand united mistakes than those who “work” at Microsoft? Having worked in the confusion of the silly dotcom boom of yesteryear, I experienced first hand how America turned “work” into compulsive behaviorism. Behemoths like Microsoft and not excluding IBM, Oracle, various major consulting firms (I worked for two of them), were all at the forefront of turning the clueless American workforce into the dip-shit machine they have become. How deserving. When I exited it all at the end of the 90s I wished it good riddance. I suppose, having been blinded and stunned at the ten-plus years of work that I had invested, I was also wishing it well–because I had found a way to get out. But then the years went by. I realized that it was my own poor judgement to quit. All I did was hurt myself. Obviously, today, I’m better off than if I would have stayed in it. And if I had to do it again I would probably do it almost the same. But still. All the Automatons that I left behind, all those semi-humans who never had an original creative thought in their lives–oh, how they hung on. They took loans to get “advanced” degrees. They listened to their bosses who got to where they are by playing musical chairs better than others. They churned with the currents and they did what all do. Propagate, get drunk, go for a jog or watch Ellen/Oprah/RealityTV. And then. They laughed and joked on their weekend pauses or dictated vacations. Unlike me, they rode it out to get to where we are now: massive stock market bubbles that enable companies to ONLY borrow money to pay their bills, the cost of living skyrockets to match the burden of quantitative easing that matches exuberant national, state and personal debt obligations, etc. Indeed. The west is literally annihilating itself, lead by American’t, and no one still participating in it sees a thing. Ha. Ha. Ha. I’m laughing. Oh well. Failing upwards has that effect. I guess. So it’s time for me to plan my Africa vacation. Yeah, baby. Jump ship if you can. Otherwise. Good luck suckers. Rant on.

Microsoft To Layoff 18,000 Automatons |

My Dotcom Book

As bad as things were at the end of the 20th century, the beginning of the 21st century is obviously worse. But there was some good in the 1990s that’s easy to forget. Anyone remember the Dotcom boom? I’m still waiting for the definitive book to be written about why the new-economy was so easily gobbled up by the old-economy. Yeah, that’s how I see it. The old beat-out the new–and we are stuck with living in the shit of the old. Well. If I ever get around to writing that book, here’s one reason I’ll cite as to why American’t decided to go back to its lusts of petroleum and war for the basis of consuming to survive. Or something like that.

The Supreme Court’s baffling tech illiteracy is becoming a big problem –

Ronald McDonald Meets The Amazon

Bezos gave away a children’s book to the audience to accompany intro of new smart phone. So. Like. Does that mean he’s trying to get the kids hooked like a certain fast-food seller did with a clown? Nomatter. New phone looks great, very impressed with evolving eco-system Amazon products are connected to. But there is something creepy about it all: hardware being born out of a shopping portal? Weird. Still. So glad there is competition in this arena. Except for one thing. This is stupid expensive.

Amazon Fire Phone: hands-on with the ultimate buying machine | The Verge.

Is This Huge

NSA spying? Privacy? Digital footprint? Why isn’t this being covered more? Is there any other hardware maker that has ever offered something like this? It is in its infancy but the more I worst-think about it the more worst-baffled I get. Apple is offering a way to protect your privacy by randomly generating identifier codes (MAC addresses) that routers can pick as your device scans for a wifi connection–which is something like a dream-come-true for shopping marketeers. And it’s included in iOS8. Obviously there is probably something self-serving behind this, like Apple’s iBeacon. But still…

A tiny technical change in iOS 8 could stop marketers spying on you – Quartz.

Stop Advertisers From Following You.

Obsoletism 101

Even though worst-writer knows they’re coming, he’s relieved there were no hardware announcements at today’s WWDC14, Apple’s developer conference. Reason? I dread all Apple announcements because they are only another indication that the krapp I’ve bought so-far is that much closer to what Apple does best: making krapp obsolete. Sure. In a day or three or maybe in a few weeks, hardware announcements are inevitable. Till then I’m good. But then again. I do like the “continuity” krapp Apple’s just announced even though I won’t be able to take advantage of it because, well, my hardware, most of which is from 2010 and 2011, won’t work with it. Way to go Apple. You’re so good it hurts. Seriously. You’re the best maker of the best throw-away krapp there is.

Apple announces iOS 8 with widgets and OS X Continuity | The Verge.

Confused Success

As a locked-in take-my-money Apple slave (not to demean the real slaves putting these devices together), I have no fear in the following claim: there is love to be found for Microsoft’s Surface. Last year, with my 2010 MacBookPro reaching it’s limits, I had to make a decision. First, even though a new MacBookAir was in the plan, I didn’t want to afford one. Second, what to do? Take a step back and think things through. Result? Installed new SSD on my old MBP. Result? Wow. Never thought such an inexpensive upgrade/modification could save the day. But there was still something missing. The more and more I read about, heard about, and watched my better half use her iPad, I was itching to enter that world–which is another reason I find the frivolous, standardised premium pricing of laptops such a turn-off. Again, I love Microsoft’s Surface. I think. Or do I just love the whole new post-pc bullshit that finally galvanizes the wonders of cloud computing? Heck, I would spend a few moments here or there in any tech department of any store fiddling with the Surface. I watched youtube reviews and read various articles about it, too. It just seemed like Microsoft, by doing the same but repackaging it, putting a new coat on it, etc., might be on to something. I love the optional keyboard and the stylus rocks, too. Input was always my biggest gripe on the iPad. But there is a different turn-off with the Surface. It is a real deal killer (for moi). It is the fact that this device will 1) never be a replacement for a a productive laptop and 2) like all other devices, it is typically overpriced. Indeed. The monopoly, cabal industry that Microsoft/Intel have sewn lives on in the Surface. Which brings me to Microsoft’s biggest problem: Steve Jobs was right. In fact, Steve Jobs is the first to break the Microsoft/Intel cabal (if you ask me). He really nailed it (to Microsoft) with the iPad. Unlike its Macs, it does not depend on the cabal. And the fact that it is/can be half the price of the Surface… Wow. So let’s put it all together, dear worst-reader. I love the new Surface 3. But an aging laptop, a productivity machine, can be revived with cheap upgrades (in my case it was both an SSD and a new battery which was less than $400). My 2010 MBP now boots in less than 10 seconds and runs all day (I’m not kidding) on a single battery charge. A few months after that, realizing I saved money by not buying a new over-priced laptop, I broke down and bought a refurbished iPad4 from the US apple store. I’ve been using it for the better part of six months and I love it. I got one with 64GB and Cellular–for under $500. I even bought a marked down keyboard for it–as third-party add-ons are currently heavily discounted because of iPadAir. Although it’s not the productivity device I’d like it to be, it is the perfect device for supplementing the productivity of my laptop. I use the iPad to read, read and read. I use it to collect links to articles and even post to my blog. I also use it as my only email device and it’s perfect for video calling with my mother in the States. And it’s also fantastic when it comes to the cloud. So that I won’t bore you with all it can do. I use my laptop for all my writing and most of my blog posting. I use my iPad for everything else. Everything.

Microsoft Introduces Thinner Surface Pro 3 with 12″ Display Starting at $799 – Mac Rumors.

But, seriously, will it replace laptops?

Good luck Microsoft.

Rant on.


Worst Question #287


Dear WorstWriter,

It seems as if the move in corporate america is to host clouds that do NOT access / use the public internet. I would say all the technology that has made the internet what it is means it is time to employ this technology “off internet” for the future movement of data. Leave the “internet” to applications like ordering a taxi or pizza or sharing your pictures and all “real” information will migrate to networks where you will have to pay to play so to speak. What do you think? Is the “cloud” just a harbinger of the future where if you are not “locked” into someone’s “cloud” then you will have nothing but TV on the internet (or Facebook like BS)? And what about those “clouds”? What real information will you actually have access to? Pretty much nothing useful, no research, information that is useful outside of commercial uses. The original Internet is like “bad currency” and it will drive out “good” meaning anything useful will move on… The original “internet” is like smoking, addictive but useless and more harmful then good…

Here’s an article that recently motivated this question. I’m confused about Microsoft’s strategy.

Yours, a concerned shitizen and former corporatist.

Dear Corporatist and respected Shitizen,

I feel the struggle inside you. I especially know what it’s like to be rejected on a whim and have to live your life as a former corporatist where your living standard has been robbed and you feel as though you know exactly who the robber is. But I digress. On to more relevant things.

Barring any changes to basic TCP/IP and HTTP protocols the Internwebnet, or Internet–as most worst-mortals refer to it–is safe. Allow me to start with a brief and nebulous explanation of The Cloud. First, it is nothing but a natural recurring technology based on open, distributed and decentralized networking. Second, the cloud as a technology is not owned (is not proprietary) but how it used can be owned. See Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud, etc. In my humble worst-opinion, Google Chromebook is the best example of proprietary hardware and software utilising this new aspect of technology. The Cloud is brilliant and worthwhile–as long as you stick with the worst-writer mantra: if you have personal info that you want to be private keep it off an open, distributed, decentralized network. That said, I am using the cloud more and more. In fact, I’ve spent the last few months getting all my work in the cloud. It’s only about 1GB of text data but now I can access, edit and work on it all from any internet connected device. The cloud has little to do with the problems of the internet.

Here the problems a’la worstwriter.

Problem #1: Net Neutrality.

Politicians are trying desperately to govern, i.e. get money for Internet use by Internet hogs, or, as I like to call them: providers of video. Personally, video should get its own internet. I could live happily with an Internet and less video. Anywho. Netflix is the biggest video packet culprit. YouTube is pretty bad, too. Old school media companies hate video on the Internet (but not like I hate it). ISPs hate it, too. Netflix is the single biggest bandwidth hog on the Internet and the old economy wants them taxed. The argument for old school regarding Netflix is a typical centralized, almost mafia-like argument: You wanna play you gotta pay. Netflix’s pie has surprised them all and now there are many that think they deserve a piece of that pie. Keep in mind, government has already succeeded in fully controlling mobile/cellular data (our loss suckers). But here’s the problem (the government and old school have) that we all should be VERY thankful for. The basic infrastructure of the Internet is by default decentralised and distributed. It CANNOT be centralized–even though the government and corporations are trying their best to do so. Politicians will have a tough time controlling the Internet because of its very nature. But what the government can do is help old school get a piece of the pie.

Problem #2: Edward Snowden.

The article you sent has little to do with the cloud but instead is a marketing ploy for/by Microsoft & Co. to counter what was exposed by Edward Snowden. I’m sure you’re not hearing (through US media) about how Snowden’s NSA leak has been devastating to US technology companies. Snowden revealed that countries and international business cannot trust US technology industry because it is in cahoots with the NSA. Have you heard about Cicso turning over it’s routers to NSA to have them install back-door technology on them before shipping to customers? Also exposed was the fact that what the NSA gathers/collects is not used for national security. It is used for corporate espionage. Here a nice (shame of me) vid with 3rd grade level explanation of Snowden ordeal.

Side note: Heck, recently Google got shot down by EU saying Google has to give control of my google data back to me.

If you think Microsoft will/can succeed with its new system, buy it’s stock.

Good luck, Shitizen.

Rant on.

-Tommi (aka worstwriter)

Laugh It Off

facebook strategyWhy I indirectly use Facebook and other FB wannabees. For me, FB first caught my attention because of all the share links available on whatever website I was reading. Those buttons were initially a great way to manage bookmarks as up to that point I had been using Delicious, which is cumbersome and monotonous. Share buttons have subsequently been replaced by “tweet” buttons. (Twitter, btw, seems to be a company that got social networking right–and it’s not even a social service, it’s a micro-blog service.) Now I just get a kick out of being able to re-post links to content from my blog automatically via wordpress. And every once-a-once I conveniently use FB messages. Personally, I got nothing against the “social” phenomenon of FB–which is code for advertising and parsing web use. Heck, I don’t even care about anonymity (because the internet is and forever will be nothing more than an extension of original telephony and that too was never anonymous. But I digress.) In my humble worst opinion, Facebook really is nothing more than what AOL wanted to be but couldn’t be simply because Interwebnet users at the time were wise enough to laugh it off. As this new generation of Interwebnets users comes onboard, i.e. those who missed the CompuServe days with dial-up modems and/or those grasshoppers incapable of investigating what this digital age is really supposed to be about, it’s been easy for FB to manipulate and conjure. Still. I think FB’s days are numbered. I, for one, am amused and soddened at the fact that my beloved Interwebnets is on the verge of collapse. But that’s a different issue. FB’s obvious problem now is its stock evaluation and an already tarnished rep. Time will tell where it goes but it ain’t looking good. Who knows, maybe FB can make a few more billion useless dollar purchases. I’ve already stopped using WhatsApp. Nomatter.


Ten Reasons

For the fifth grader

Take It To Eleven

Last but not least

Good luck.

Rant on.


Newz #001


Heard today that blogging was dying. Can that be? worst-Writer’s compulsion to write has been waning, that’s for sure. But does that mean there’s no more room for worst-Writing? Maybe they should just change the name. Indeed. Just change it from blogging to WORSTWRITING. It’s a lot better than trying to explain to young dunces where the word blog actually comes from. No matter.

This is beginning of new category here at worstWriter.

Links of the day.

Good luck. And. Rant on.

Papa Bear Tech Hug

First post in 2014. Happy worst-new-year! Now. On to the more important worst-stuff.

Don’t you just wanna hug this guy! For worstWriter, Kim Dotcom, aka Kim Schmitz from Kiel, is a rare case of self-aggrandisement that is A-OK. I really luv this guy. Reason? No matter what he does, no matter what drives him, he always seems real and authentic. At least to me he seems real. Real as in, you know, you really do see what you get. I guess it’s the German in him. And believe me, under the right circustance, you couldn’t help but sit down and have a cold one with this guy. So what if he stands in front of a yacht on the shoreline and dances around. Or he circles his Mercedes while carrying a high powered rifle. Big deal. He’s just a geek and I’ll bet he’s a damn friendly one. So let’s all try and get together and have a Bier und Bratwurst with Kim. Hugs everywhere. Obviously he’s gotta lot to hug. Wouldn’t that be cool!

But that’s not what I wanted to blog about today, dear worst-reader. This tech geek from Kiel made it on to 60 Minutes. That’s a pretty big deal. Even if the TV news hour is trying to make Kim look like a bad guy, hats off to Dotcom once again. This guy rocks. Although if you watch the vid you might get the feeling that after being raided at the behest of the greed mongering film industry, that was able to purchase some extravagent over-reach by hiring national police entities, as though government has never been at the beck-n-call of profiteers (just look at the US military fighting for oil company profits), that a bit of humility and fear might just tame a once wild soul. Golly, I hope not.

Rejectd by his home country, Germany (and they will never realize what they’ve lost), Kim Dotcom is out there doing stuff. And he’s deserves credit for it. Sure, it might be better if he did stuff that didn’t evolve around file sharing, but since he can’t seem to let that go,  why not let him run with it. Wait. What am I saying? As though it would even matter if worstWriter said anything about file sharing or Kim Dotcom. But here’s the thing. Kim Dotcom is worth admiring because, unlike other file sharing technology, he was and is blatant about trying to make a buck on it. Which makes sense and you would think that the movie industry would/could try to learn from him about how to actually get their digital world in order instead of maintaining the status quo where renting videos or copying vinyl onto cassette tapes is as advanced as things should get.

Oh well. Why do the authorities and greed mongers try and squash Kim? This reminds me so much of those days when Microsoft bitched & moaned about how its first few versions of Windows were pirated like there was no tomorrow. And yet without all that piracy Windows would have never made it on half the computers being used in basements all across American’t. Which means the reality is Microsoft actually gained from piracy and it didn’t lose. Which also means, well, we’re not really dealing with piracy, per se. And it’s especially not stealing–as the police entities for hire at the behest of movie moguls would like people to think. Again. Sharing is not stealing. Duplicating something is not stealing. And. According to this article, in 2013 Hollywood raked-in over $10b for its mostly mindless, two-hour take-me-away cinemotography. Of those billions in revenues, they (the powers that be) also claim that $500m was lost to illegal downloads. What a crock of shit, eh.

2014-01-09 14.16.15

The real thing is, the $500m Hollywood claims to have lost to the likes of Kim Dotcom or Pirate Bay, etc., is fiction. It’s a lie. The people that duplicate and share digital media are being wrongly targeted and all because the fuddy-duddies and greed mongers of the status quo are incapable of actually learning from people like Kim Dotcom. You can’t lose $500m to people who wouldn’t have paid for the krapp in the first place.

Rant on.


Hungry For More

As mentioned here, I was hungry for more when I finished Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs. The book really didn’t get into anything down & dirty about the man or Apple, which made it a disappointment. Obviously I’m not alone in wanting more about Steve Jobs and also more about the nit & gritty of the Apple circus. A circus, btw, that the late/great American PT Barnum would/could be proud of. For, as you’all know, America is the land where a sucker is born every minute. Long live and die “designed by Apple in Cupertino”, baby. It’s not only a post-PC world, it’s a world on the brink of perfecting slave labor, debt consumption and living the high-life with grand gadgets. Oh well.

Enter Leander Kahney from Cult of Mac and his new book “Jony Ive – The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products”. Although it’s just joined my reading list, I’m not as yet motivated to move it up in front of the others on the list. But I might get to it around Xmas/New Year or when the Kindle price motivates me more. In the mean time, see the MacBreak Weekly where Kahney is interviewed and presents a few nuggets of what can be expected from this book.

To give you an idear of what worstWriter is interested in go to 30:27 in the above vid. Leo nails it when explaining the design intricacies of the MacPro. I am fortunate to own one of these devices. In fact, to the chagrin of many around the world, I practically stole my MacPro from a retailer last spring. For the longest time this machine had been in a showroom full of marked-down tower PCs. Over a period of a half (or so) year, I watched the store mark the price of it down until it hit €1500 (from €2600). I polished up my balls that day and asked for the department manager. I offered him €1200. He thought for a few mintues, realising he was never gonna sell it when he couldn’t even sell Windows i5 towers that were €1000 or less. And to my surprise, he took my offer. And I assure you, dear worstReader, if I could, and if my wife wasn’t in the way ;-), this device would be in my bed. That’s how friggin beautiful it is. Anyway.

Tommi's MacPro

As I was saying, Leo on MacBreak Weekly nails it. Apple, Jony Ive & Co. are obviously obsessed with DESIGN. And as far as I’m concerned, more power to ’em. The detail of milling the front aluminum cover of the MacPro is easy to miss. But the metal bends at the top, which means the milling machines had to cut the holes so that they wouldn’t be distorted when bent for the fit. I know that to many people that means nothing, especially when the heart of this device is based on technology that barely lives for a few years. Still. I have a MacPro. It’s like a tractor trailer on a highway of (Apple) sports cars, but I don’t care. Not only the design detail can be seen in the cheese grater front but just pop open the case. The motherboard, the daughterboard that houses the CPU, the cables, the drive bays, the on/off switch… It’s breathtaking.

But don’t worry. I do have a life. I think. And with that in mind. I digress.

At this point in time & space, and after failing to get a job in the world of industrial design so many years ago, back in the day when I tried to wriggle my way into a work-for-the-man career–I actually had a series of job interviews at Frog Design–I’m very impressed with the career of Jony Ives. And he obviously holds a lot of the nit & gritty about this awesomely influential corporate behemoth that can (almost) print its own money. So if you’re interested keep checking back for a review of yet another book about über-company #1 and the über-people that make it all happen.

Rant on.


Other Means

Kindle prohibitions

Digital dark ages in Germaninland? Or as Angie likes to put it (and I’m paraphrasing): To Germans the Internet is Neuland. With that in mind, I’ve been considering getting a tablet for a while now. But a few things have been holding me back. For one, my experience with a third gen Kindle hasn’t been all that great. As a reader it’s almost perfect. As a device that is meant to connect wirelessly to unlimited content, it’s a mess. Also, with the roar of technology I find it a bit overkill to have both a Kindle and a tablet. Indeed. The Post-PC era is upon us and that includes the idear of a tablet replacing not only my Kindle but potentially my ageing MacBook. Or am I off base here? Nomatter. While shopping for a tablet I happened across something that caught my attention and makes me ask: who exactly is Post-PC? Is it a he or a she? And will it/she eventually try to mate with me?

Focus, dear worst-reader, on the screenshot above. Keep in mind that I just got back from traveling and experienced exactly what is explained in the text. Here a short worst-translation from the yellow box:

If you are traveling with your Kindle Fire HDX you will only have access to the content you downloaded in Germany. You can connect to WiFi and also purchase books and apps on Amazon. In order to purchase films and TV shows from LOVEFiLM you must be in Germany.   

So. Let’s have a closer look at these three sentences, shall we?

  • “If you are traveling with your Kindle Fire HDX you will only have access to the content you downloaded in Germany.”

This means that if you’re travelling outside of Germany you better purchase and download the content you want to read before you leave the country. Wow. Doesn’t sound like a mobile device to me. And what if I read all the books I downloaded in Germany and want to buy another one while not in Germany? I think the only logical response from Amazon to that is: shit-outta-luck, bitch!

  • “You can connect to WiFi and also purchase books and apps on Amazon.”

They are saying that you can download books but they are not saying you can buy them while traveling, and they specifically leave out mention of 3G.

  • “In order to purchase films and TV shows from LOVEFiLM you must be in Germany.”

This sentence is the only one that really makes any sense. You must be in Germany to buy film and TV content. Is it me or does anyone else out there in worst-land feel the ropes around our digital necks tightening?

What Amazon is saying here, obviously at the behest of German regulators and overseers of the German state controlled media, is that in order for you to utilise the technology offered by Amazon and its tablet, you must be in Germany to do so. And you must also not expect anything different than the status quo of publishers and content owners using technology to sell you what they’ve always sold you. I can attest to the fact that that is wholly true. While in Morocco the 3G of my Kindle didn’t work at all. And there were two more books I was planning on reading while traveling. Luckily I had my MacBook with me and my hotel room had an ethernet connection. Using my Mac and ethernet I was able to connect to and buy a book. After that I was able to find a place in the hotel that had WiFi where I could then download my purchase to my Kindle. Wow. What a hassle in this technology driven world, eh? And all because German regulators are in control of everything. And to think that German technocrats are all sitting around in their historic offices in their historic buildings thinking about the next bratwurst and pils they’ll stuff in their fat ass faces! Indeed, dear worst-reader. Germany is the most prosperous country in the shithole of Eurowasteland and none of that prosperity has anything whatsoever to do with progress or technology.

But before I really lose my cool. What can we take from all the hassle put out by German regulators? 1) It’s not worth it to pay the extra money for the 3G technology of a German Kindle. 2) Make sure you know exactly what digital content you want before leaving Germany and make sure you download it before you travel. 3) For Germans, as with most other advancements, the Post-PC era ain’t quite here yet. Tough shit, eh! I guess there’s still not enough reason to consider why so many people (excluding yours truly, of course) resort to other means to download their digital content. Indeed. All the wrong people are controlling our digital world. And all those same controlling people want to prevent the future.


Rant on.


Awash In Projection

zombie customersAs I’ve waddled down the creek of trying-to-say, failing to say before, one of the main reason I’m skeptical regarding the significance of Edward Snowden and his data dump–which we all have to wait to see based on advertising revenues of those who posses the data–is that I’m not sure what exactly motivated him to do what he has done. I’m not trying to question his patriotism. I’m sure he is as confused as any subordinate in the land of the almost free. But here’s the thing. What is clear about today’s American’t culture of failiing-upwards and corporate dysfunction mixed with greed that runs on gasoline and mall visits with over charged credit cards, is that a once great but now only militarily great nation must figure out how to address all that ails it. Indeed, that is a dilemma above and beyond spying and one that is much more complicated.

For worst-writer where all this began is fairly clear. It all began with the modern interpretation of American’t conservative politics and the fact that so few people are actually capable of getting to the truth of what’s really going on–let alone the fact that so many people don’t really give a hoot about what truth is and how it affects them, hence the success of conservatism and it’s promotion of a consume-to-survive society. This leads to the question of where or when or if any of this nonsense will ever end. The answer to that question is two-fold. First, it will end when the funny business is over. That is, when all the humour has been sucked out and all that one can face is laughter without a cause–because that usually leads to tumultuous tears. (And tears, btw, are usually the only way to get really, really stupid people to actually think about anything–nomatter if it can be measured in milliseconds.) At that moment everything will dissolve like toilet paper in spiralling water and you will stare at regretting what you ate the night(s) before. Second. Once the funny stuff is done, then it’s time to face the piper. In this case the piper is called psychological projection. Remember, a drunk never drinks too much–until AA helps with the realisation. Eventually the pot calling the kettle black has to stop. What about that old saying of never throwing stones when you’re standing in a glass house? No? None of that working for you, dear worst-reader?

Ok. Here’s the thing. As you can read in the slide above, psychological projection is alive and well in the gallows of American’t spying bureaucracy. And ain’t it all funny? I mean, come on. As an iPhone owner I laughed. People who buy iPhones are zombies. But so are people who shop at WalMart or pay almost as much for their car as their mortgage or rent. And what about people who work for a government that creates things like the NSA, i.e. Big Brother incarnate? Not pictured here (see links below) is another slide where Apple’s 1984 ad is used as a way to communicate the idear that Apple itself has become Big Brother. (When in fact, the ad was portraying companies like IBM as Big Brother. More on Big Brother here.) Anyways. The thing I’m trying to get at is this. The summer of 2013 should go down in history as the summer of spying and how it became fashionable. For look who is being spied upon and look who is doing the spying and then look at who is revealing this to us all. Or something like that.


Rant on.


Braver Soul

Barry Super Obama

There’s too much focus on “whistle blowing” these days turning the whole thing into a dizzying drama of silliness. Which makes it all (conveniently) very distracting. Since it’s common knowledge that spying has been part of our everyday lives since 2001, that is, since American’ts stood stupefied in ignorant-bliss to the ramifications of the Patriot Act, we’ll have to wait for the dust of history to clear before we know if what all these cowardly whistle blowers actually reveal will make a difference. To worst-writer, it won’t make a difference because, as was the case with Daniel Ellsberg, history still repeated itself. Heck, even back then rational thinking Amerians knew that Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, was all a big fat monkey lie. And so… Drunk on consuming to survive American’t went with the flow. And. Subsequently. The war in Afghanistan exceeded both time and money the war in Vietnam. So I suppose the new American’t motto shouldn’t be life & liberty but instead stay stupid and vote your emotions. And nothing changes ever.

The shutting down of Lavabit stirred worst-writer’s thought this weekend. Here we have, dear worst-reader, a great example of the residual effect of grand-standing, disingenuous whistle blowing. The encrypted email service Lavabit, born out of the paranoia that the wizard of Google was spying on gmail users, was used by Edward Snowden to send email. Under pressure from the US government, Ladar Levinson simply shut down the service instead of turning over his servers for illegal inspection. That means, for the sake of the US Constitution, for the sake of all things private and personal, for the sake of men ruled by law as opposed to being ruled by other men, Levinson is taking a stand that even my cynical mind can empathise with. Indeed. This is an example of doing the right thing and standing up for what you do like a real man should and not running away to Russia like a wuss. My only concern now is that all these great digital minds are gonna go to waste on account they all have to run from big brother.

And remember: the truth might eventually possibly perhaps set us all free but it don’t have to.

Newz links:

Vid to watch:

Rant on.


Innovation Dead On Arrival

Subtitle: Real Digital Pop.

Update: Berlin Polizei want the perpetrators. Go figure.

How to kill innovation? Worst-writer needs to write a book about how they killed innovation. Reason? I think I’ve lived through the killing. That’s right. I worked for at least two dot-coms back in the day. And I have no qualms in saying that the dot-com era was systematically killed by government and bankers who conspired to prevent the birth of an obviously liberal but also stink-rich new class of innovators. The old school couldn’t have any of that. Say. I’ve already got a title for the book. I’ll call it “IDA And The Fat Happy Face”. IDA stands for innovation dead on arrival. The fat happy face is either mine or Kim Dotcom’s. And speaking of Dotcom, I really like this guy. The problem is, I only wish Dotcom would fight his battles using something other than getting rich(er) off file sharing. But then again, I think he probably tried to fight battles in Germany and was crushed and that’s why he was raided by US-lead authorities in New Zealand who think copyright is the reason for crushing all (digital) innovation. I know. Did I just contradict myself? Here’s the thing. It’s probably true that there is some kind of a conspiracy going on in the upper echelons of western power regarding innovation. All western countries are part of the conspiracy, with American’t leading the way. But the basis on which all the crushing is taking place has to do essentially with one thing and one thing only. Consuming. Would it be possible that the best way to counter government control would be to consume less? I know. Worst-writer is a dreamer and a contradictionalist. Hey! Cool. I just made that word up. Coin it. And send me a quarter every time you use it.

Rock on Dotcom.

Rant on.



There is a culture worth not forgetting. Especially when you know that culture is being forced to reach its end. For you see. There is an alternate universe to the baby boomer war-mongers that are going to be our demise. Indeed. There was once a group of hippies, even though some weren’t exactly hippies. Well. They were tech hippies. And. They changed the world. Also. They became a culture. A fruity culture. A culture not to fear. A fruit (of life and achievement) named Woz. And the Woz fruit was eaten. And the Woz voice was not heard. It’s really a scam what’s going on in the western world right now driven by the ethos of post nine-one-one American’t. But what are we (who think differently) gonna do? I’m not sure. But I know this. If it weren’t for Woz, I never would have rented that Segway just to see how cool it really is. Thanks for everything Woz! You will forever change the world.

Rant on.


Google Skynet

Watched part of 2013 Google I/O yesterday. Wow. That was weird. Is it me or does Larry Page look a little like an ageing Terminator from Skynet that didn’t pass quality control? He certainly has a voice of a Terminator (caused by vocal chord paralysis). I was wondering if, at the end of his keynote yesterday, he’d say “I’ll be back”.  Anywho. Some believe that no other tech company in the world could be the real version of Skynet from the movie Terminator. Think again.

Other than his strange stage persona, including a really weird form of eye hopping that culminated in looking up to the ceiling to get answers to questions, Larry Page might just be the quintessential computer scientist. Either that or he’s completely beaten-out Zuckerberg at being the new Steve Jobs. Wait. Scratch that. At the least, Page seems to be more of a tech geek than Bill Gates and Steve Jobs combined, forget Zuckerberg. But will that also be his downfall? The expectations the industry has for this guy must be overwhelming. Are rivals shivering in their boots? I think not. But there was a moment during a question and answer session where Page talks about the difficulty working with Oracle. The way he spoke about Oracle was both condescending and demeaning. Was Larry Ellison watching? Anywho. I have to admit, I’ve been following Google recently and this company is the only company doing ANYTHING in the tech world today. Seriously. Laugh–as so many do–at Google Glass or Google Car, but there is no denying, compared to all the others in the tech industry, including Apple and Microsoft, this company is not standing still. Reason enough to be afraid, very afraid when the Google machine becomes aware and sends its first Terminator back in time to kill the mother of the savior.

Rant on.


Bottom Slippery Slope

In the movie “In The Line of Fire” the bad guy (John Malkovich) makes what looks like a double barrel .38 caliber hand gun out of plastic. (Sarcasm on.) How original will new fangled 3D gun makers get? Oh, and btw, can’t they call it something other than 3D gun printing? Sounds wussy.

Is it time, dear worst-reader, to try and set some things straight? Articles on 3D gun printing are startin’ to get to me. What’s the big deal here? Seriously. Let the kids have fun in their sandboxes of violence luving galore. Who cares. But then again…

Here’s your worst-thought for the day: Guns and marriage are the same thing. What do you think about that? Do I need to back that up with some pseudo imperial evidence? Ok. You asked for it. Marriage is an institution and has been around for a long time. Ditto for guns. Marriage is the joining of two things sanctioned by religion and government. Ditto for guns. Guns give the beholder a feeling of power and control over someone else. Ditto for Marriage. Guns are regulated and controlled yet that doesn’t seem to stop their proliferation. Ditto for… Well, you get the picture. And I should probably stop there before I get into the lustful and biological aspect of these two identical things. But here’s another thing about all the gun craziness in American’t today. Since American’t failed miserably to find the right course of action not only after 9/11 but after also “winning” the cold war, that is, since American’t has proven that it can only chose the easy wrong path as opposed to the difficult right path, when it comes to governance, when will people start recognising that they have long since reach the bottom of a slippery slope? Meaning, legislation this or that, it’s probably way too late to legislate guns. At least legislate them enough to stop the carnage that is American’t daily life. American’ts reaction to its own making will forever be the same. Hard looking in a mirror, eh. But here’s a small tip. Instead of staying the same and grieving over (y)our mirrored image, why not try moving to another slope and perhaps one that’s not so slippery. Just sayin’.

Oh. One more thing. These new fangled 3D printers are cool. But making lego-like guns ain’t nothing new. I had a uncle once that moulded a gun barrel out of plastic in the 1970s. Yeah, it was almost just like what Malkovich did in the movie In The Line of Fire. My uncle’s version was a double barrel but a .22 caliber, the movie version looks like .38 caliber, and you literally held the barrel in one hand and jammed the firing pin with the other. Not as sophisticated as hollywood prop makers. Luckily he never even tried firing it (I don’t think). But he did die in Canada (after running away from American’t). Whatever. Rest in peace, Uncle.



Rant on.


Cyberwar Rock-N-Roll

Here’s the scenario. It’s 1999. I’m working as a PM consultant and our client is (really big tech company). The job is to install a test environment of our software. Our software has been purchased by (really big tech company) because we have something they need in order to complete their massive drive to get on the Internets and be what was then called an e-commerce player. The thing is, as big as this tech company was, like most dinosaurs, they were a bit behind in the whole Internets thing. This was my third install but it was also my first big league install. That is, at the previous two installs there was some leeway and room for error. But those days were gone. I had to get this install right without delay which meant that when we hit the “run” command all systems did exactly that. And let me tell you, the whole thing felt real heavy.

Lawrence (names have been changed to protect family members still living) was my engineer. He was from Suffolk originally but somehow fell in love with some chick from Munich and they both lived in Belgium. At the time I was living in Düsseltal. Since Lawrence and I were consultants it didn’t really matter where we lived. Our motto in a world of out-sourcing run amok: be where ever you can give your bank transfer code to get paid. The small dot com that we worked for liked what we did and so they kept us together on projects like this. And so, we were stuck in the SW of Germanland, not far from the Black Forest.

I arrived by plane and then taxi. Lawrence arrived in his new Jaguar X-10. We were assigned a ten square meter glass enclosure in the middle of a football field sized hall filled with automaton cubicles that were all meticulously categorized via huge signs suspended from a fifteen meter ceiling. The signs read “Customer Service” or “OS Operations” or “Printing Products” or “C++” or “Unix”, etc. Details aside, the thing to remember is that Lawrence and I were in a place that could only be compared to the gallows of the Roman Coliseum during games. For that is how we felt, that is how we were motivated. We didn’t care if we were out-sourced gladiators either. We had one up on all the salaried employees in that huge, multiple football field size room: they had called us!

The ten square meter room was made of plexiglass and it had no roof. It was labeled “Installer Box” and everything in it was (supposed to be) disconnected from the rest of (really big tech company). Our job was simple. Install our software, get it working, prove that it works, turn it over to the client and then they’ll call us when they need us. That’s pretty much how I got 2k Euros/day back then. But that’s neither here nor there. Upon arrival at (really big tech company) we were debriefed on protocol and told several times that virus and malicious code contamination was of the highest priority. The thing is, we had a lot of code with us. For this install we had twenty-five CDs. Each CD had to be unzipped and copied to a CPU. Even though I was a relatively useless participant at this point, because I was just the PM, the install and the compile and run process took about four hours. Once that was done and I got the green light from Lawrence, I would then notify the client (the PM is the front man). Then the geeks would surround us and we’d turn the switch and they all would get goo-goo-eyed at our brilliance; a few would even ask if we had any job openings.

Now, dear worst reader, with that little scenario in mind, let’s worst write today about computer security. As I’ve said, there is one major thing that most people never even think about when it comes to the gadgets they use on a daily basis which makes them no different than the big gadgets governments and corporations use. Software does not work. Let me put that another way. Software can never work. Wait. One more try. Software must fail. Did I make that clear? The problem is, as clear as I made that, it ain’t the half of the potential problem at hand. There is one other thing that’s really, really sucky about software. There is no way to prevent software from being completely immune to malicious code.

The fact is, while we were installing software on supposedly “secure” machines in an install-box there was/is no way, if we were willing, (really big tech company) could have prevented us from disrupting their entire network system. Plexiglass encased room or not, while I sat there and patiently waited for Lawrence to complete the daunting task of our install, I counted at least three significant breaches in their security that would have allowed me a major hacker home-run.

The first breach was that prior to our using the install-box someone else had used it and forgot his/her external disk drive. The second breach was that one of the computers in the room had at some point been connected to the company’s network recently because I could see the connection in the network preferences. Either a network cable had been run into the room or someone had taken that PC somewhere else in the building. In fact, I knew the date of the connection (the previous work day) and I also could access the network address code. I could also see in the preference panel that this network connection was made on a regular basis so there was no reason to believe that it wouldn’t be connected again. The third breach, and this was the doozy!, was that although we thought, after the install and setup, that we’d be working from dumb terminals, our hosts told us to go ahead and work directly from the PC that we installed on, which meant that we would have to be given administrator access to it above and beyond just installing our system. Trust among colleagues all on the same team, eh.

As if the war on terror ain’t enough, there has to be something in the wings to preoccupy the paranoid mindset of all future warriors. And in this case the preoccupation might have been worth it. The lack of security mentioned above represents a best case scenario for hackers the world over to find ways to get access to computers in order to partake in the up and coming cyber wars. With encryption technology it’s actually not that easy to get access to systems via networks. The best way to do it is to have direct physical access to those systems. And sense software simply doesn’t work, a system must be constantly accessed by someone, somehow. Of course, my scenario was then (1999) and this is now. Have things changed? The great thing about computers, other than design and screen clarity, nothing changes. During the time I was helping companies get online so they could sell shit, I had noidear that the breaches I discovered would turn out to be the same ones used years later to bring down the computer controlled centrifuges the Iranians were using to process uranium. The thing is, computer experts all know that software is the problem. They also are well aware of the potential for being attacked. One of the easiest ways to prevent such an attack is to simply not give access to the system. What a pickle they all must be in, eh. Obviously, when I was installing our system at (really big tech company) they thought they were secure by putting us in a install-box. The reality is, if I wanted to, I could have easily injected malicious code into their network by one, two or all three breaches in their security.

When I read this arstechnica article I couldn’t help but recall my dot com days while bored in an install-box, looking busy and waiting for Lawrence to do his thing. Wow, I thought, nothing has changed; if you get access to the system it’s easy as pie to take it down. According to an upcoming book by David Sanger, “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power”, the Americans and/or the Israelis were able, through a double agent, to inject malicious code, probably via a simple USB stick, into German made CPUs that controlled centrifuges. The code tells the centrifuges to over-spin, which ends up breaking them. A whole bunch of these really expensive and hard to get centrifuges were taken down, practically halting the Iranians ability to continue with their nuclear ambitions. The details of what this code does is mind-boggling. But what’s more amazing is the secret agent-like method that was employed to get the code into the system. Oh. And from what they are reporting, there is one thing the brilliant hackers forgot. A way to turn the code off. Even though it did what it was supposed to do, it didn’t stop there. Supposedly it’s out in the Internets as you read this. But who really cares. We’re on the right side of all these wars, right?



Rant on.


Just Keep It Techi

Woz Mike Daisey

Have to call out one of my favorite podcasts. Went on vacation for a few weeks. Didn’t take anything that would allow me to connect to the Internets like I do on a daily basis while not on vacation. Vacation is vacation, right? (But I did take my Kindle and read like a madman!) When vacation was over, there was a nerve or two commanding me to get back online. There is an effect of not having heard any tech news for two weeks. But let me backtrack for a sec. Just as I was leaving for vacation Mike Daisey was in the news and being called-out for not being a journalist. That didn’t surprise me. Heck, I even downloaded the text to his one-man show onto my Kindle (but didn’t get to reading it while on vacation). Sun, fun, scuba was just ahead of me. So. Back to the present. When I heard the podcast from my favorite Macintosh show, from the twit-network, I went through the roof. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The red box in the pic above in no way indicates how it was attempted to completely disqualify Mike Daisey’s criticism. It was Andy Ihnatko that did most of the batshit talk, defacing Daisey’s work. I guess I’m disappointed in that – but somehow not surprised. Being complicit is a hard pill to swallow.

Having grown up in the land of bullshit, the one ability it ingrained in me is to think for myself – and I did exactly that the whole time Daisey made headlines with his fascinating and unconventional freakshow. I knew from the get-go Daisey was full of bullshit – in fact, I have to admit that he’s much better at it than most, including moi. But that’s ok. It’s not as though – even for a sec or two – that I thought that he wasn’t anything other than a bullshit showman. Isn’t that what American’t has given the world in the past (insert time frame here) years? And even though his bullshit stinks like all others, at least anything he says or does on a stage in a theater will harm no one yet might just get some to think – with or without a few things thrown in that ain’t quite truth. I mean, come on. What would you rather have? Mike Daisey or Fox News?

Now get this. Can you imagine a land of bullshitters starting to actually think? Hats off to Daisey for such an achievement. An achievement, in and of itself, that is practically a miracle in the land of be-me, be-like-me or else you lose, sucker! With that in mind. The be-like-me guys on the panal of this show should have never talked about this. Seriously. You should have just ignored it, fellows. This has been out of your league since 1984 became like 1984. Or you should have provided a bit more praise. It would have been that easy – just praise the bullshitter. Indeed, there is something to the adage: keep your mouth shut if you don’t want people to know how … how you might be lacking in the ability to be objective.

The fact that Daisey attacked one of the best examples out there of how corporatism has relegated The United Mistakes of American’t to being a 2nd world nation (on its way to being 3rd, baby) is/was enough for me, no matter what Daisey’s theatrics, pseudo-journalism or bullshit culminate in. I too have followed the complacent, unoriginal, big-brother theatrics of Apple for years. Whether Daisey made up a few things or not in the context of criticizing the emodiment of fail-upwards corporatism means absolutely nothing in a land that is represented by the same corporatist principles at all levels of government, community and individuality. The thing that attracted me to Daisey’s bullshit was that potentially automatons might see the complex truth about things like the compulsive behaviorism that is the first step in earning opportunity to potentially get a job or career with even the slightest living standard. Let me say that again. In American’t you first and foremost must earn opportunity. Once you’ve done that it’s up to others who will judge you whether or not you can eventually graduate to actually someday having a living standard. Think about what that means. Everything in the land of the pseudo-free is a commodity now. Even opportunity. Yeah, baby. It’s no longer an issue of working hard and rising from dish washer to millionaire. The unoriginality of American’t economics post cold-war – promulgated by the so-called baby boomer generation –  means that you have to somehow find a way to elbow someone else out of the way who is already struggling to wash dishes, somehow acquire access to those dishes, and then proceed to earn the privilege of washing them. And so. Comfortably forget concepts like achieve or merit. You compete with twenty cents an hour employees in a far off land that make the gadgets that make your life and they are totally at ease with washing dishes. Oh. And let’s not forget. Of course. (Sarcasm on?) Everyone knows that there is a drug obsessed Steve Jobs in us all. (Sarcasm off?) Yeah, baby. Way to go Automaton American’t!

The Apple success story is such a diabolical joke that only in a place of mindless jokester can it be on any pedestal where others can look down and krapp on those questioning it (or questioning everything else). In its essence, the lack of questioning everything is what Daisey was attacking. Since, obviously, this panel and all the rest of us that use Apple products are complicit, I reckon it feels better to burn the crazy-bitch-witch (Mike Daisey) instead of waking up to yet another alarm regarding impending fail-upwards doom. Again. Way to go American’t automatons. You/we have found another way of not looking at truth, justice and the rod that is ramming you/us.

Thank you Mike Daisey! Keep up the good bullshit work.


Rant on.


Related post here.