strredwolf: (Coffee)
2017-07-04 06:25 pm

Fixing the DMCA

So as I am reminded of every so often, I see the DMCA being abused.  Just taking items down for even a short while and marking up an account, maybe even causing it's removal, is disruptive if the report doesn't match the actual item it's reporting down.  Remember, you can DMCA any Youtube video down, and it goes down... until the counter-claim is sent.  There seems to be two groups that are doing this:  big corporations and small fraudsters.

The issue though is how to fix it such that it makes it expensive to abuse the DMCA... and yet let small frys like independent artists with a legit complaint through.  That is the big issue that I'm racking my head against.

My main idea... would only truly work in the big corp situation where DMCA complaints are robo-filed.  The solution there is that past a "velocity threshold" your complaints must be followed up with a written and signed-by-a-lawyer notice that is faxed or mailed to Youtube within 5 business days.  The notice must state that the writer is the owner of the copyrighted work that the complaint is for, and has been reviewed by a lawyer to verify it is a violation.  This will slow down if not stop faulty DMCA complaints.

But what about the small fraudsters, and the indie artists with legitimate complaints? 

First, the context of the work should be taken into account.  Youtube's parent, Alphabet (aka Google), has the means to detect if the work in question is being used in a review or commentary.  Others most likely will need human review.  But action or inaction taken as part of a DMCA investigation should never be considered "editorial" or "curation" and should always fall under the "safe harbor" provision.

That said, a reputation system could help here.  Should the fraudster be detected with a high amount of illegitimate complaints, the person should be subjected to require the paperwork, just as in the case of the high-velocity complaint system.

The indie artist who has a high reputation in this regard would still be allowed to issue regular (aka current) DMCA notices.  Should the artist be found truly to be wronged on a massive scale, requiring bulk take-downs, then a human on the provider's end will be required.

I doubt this is perfect, but it definitely shaves off a ton of issues with the DMCA.

strredwolf: (Coffee)
2017-06-25 07:44 am
Entry tags:

Secure group chatting coffee-thoughts

Reading the happenings of having a (MTA Maryland) MARC train set being leased to (NYC MTA) Long Island Railroad (aka LIRR) to help with summer crunches... got me thinking about exclusive local communications though cell phones, and eventually onto secure group communications.  I'll try to put it in laymans terms for those non-geeks, using some old standard-ish terminology.

Alice and Bob want to send letters back and forth, but know Craig (that NSA narc) is snooping around.  What do they do?

Well, they encrypt their messages.  To make it hard for Craig to snoop, they use what is called Public Key Encryption.  Alice makes two keys, one she keeps herself (private) and one she gives to Bob (public).  Bob does the same, giving a key to Alice.  When Alice encrypts a message, she uses her private key and Bob's public key.  When Bob gets it, he uses his private key and her public key.  The algorithm used allows this scheme to work.

Of course, I'm simplifying the issue, especially in cases where Craig may of dressed up like Bob and got in the middle of things.  But that's the essence of secure encryption.  SSL/TLS connections (used in that HTTPS connection you go to Amazon or your bank with) use PKE with a few administrative levels to make sure Craig isn't going to steal out of Bob's bank.

But what if Alice has more friends with a similar interest?  What if they want a group chat with Elen, Frank, George, and Helen about their dearly departed friend Zoe?

They could swap public keys, and have every push out every message... but that wastes time and bandwidth.

They could go though one person, like Xavier.... or is that Craig in disguise again?

Or... Alice could make another pair of keys for the group, and send both to everyone (but Craig, because he's a dick) via the existing secure messaging.  Everyone would send using their personal private key but the group chat public key, and decrypt using the sender's public key and the group chat's private key.  All they would need is someone to relay the chat to save bandwidth... and Xavier volunteered for that (the geek -- he doesn't even save connection logs).  Craig would have nothing because he wouldn't even see the group chat key being sent.
strredwolf: (Default)
2017-05-29 08:49 am

On Keureg machines

So after a year and change with owning a Keureg machine (ether OEM or a Mr. Coffee licensed machine) I have a few good thoughts about it. Namely...
  • The difference in savings between using a Keureg vs just brewing your own with a regular drip brewer is dependent on how much coffee you and others drink, and what blends you and others drink.  If it's just you and you drink massive amounts, the regular drip is best.  But if you're in a household that doesn't drink a lot of coffee, and some even drink tea... the Keureg may be better off.
  • That said, a larger (but still small) Keureg that can take the K-Mug cups is worth while.
  • OMG HOT WATER FOR CUP OF NOODLES AND RAMEN!!!
  • A small version (like the Mr. Coffee built one I have) that heats the water and brews on demand, or gives you hot water, would be perfect for hotels.  I can actually see a smaller than Mr. Coffee version with a two-digit LCD display.  You pour in what you want (up to 16 oz), put in your K-cup (or a dummy cup for hot water), tell hit how much with the up-and-down buttons, and hit brew. LCD display will animate to indicate heating (raising up lines), brewing (going around in a circle), and done ("OK").  
Needless to say, the Keureg's are here to stay.
strredwolf: (Coffee)
2017-05-23 08:40 am

Baltimore at 4:45am last year

 Baltimore at 4:45am
 
Unlike most folk my age, I am cursed with a job that requires the occasional odd-hour service.  A function I do not like but carry it out dutifully.
 
I'm a programmer.  I solve digital problems.  Like how are you going to release and test a new set of software and web site that the world has never seen except in previews for a major Internet Services company, with an overseas team at the same time?  Oh, and you can't drive and you need to be in the office to do it?
 
You overnight in Baltimore and get into the office by 5am.
 
I stay at a half-decent hotel for the night, a few blocks away from the job site.  Check in, sleep fitfully, check out.
 
Baltimore at 4:45am.  It is quiet.  It is dark.  There are few people around, namely waiting at bus stops to be picked up by the first runs.  Blacks.  No hookers. No nightlife. No owls. One looking out around a set of tour buses blocking a stop for the 3.  I go up and make my right onto Baltimore Street.  A lone Asian, walking alone, destination unknown. I don't stop to ask.  I don't need to know.  I have to get to work.
 
The subway isn't open, and I doubt the light rail is ether.  I know there's no MARC service.  It's why I overnighted in Baltimore.  The air is crisp and dry and cool, verging on cold. I haul my backpack and overnight bag down the street.  Around the closed station. Blacks waiting.  Not many, but keeping to themselves.  A bus rumbles up Charles. Waiting, waiting, waiting. I hit the intersection and cross with the light. 
 
Nothing is open.  Chinese place is lunch and dinner only.  Rebooted New York buffet and grill doesn't open until 6.  Coffee shop doesn't open until 7.  I keep moving.  Starbucks isn't open.  The McDonalds closed while construction was going on next door.  It can go.  I cross Baltimore and then St. Paul.  I can use coffee.  I have to be at work at 5am.  They have coffee.
 
I make it up to the office at 4:54am, and two coworkers are there with the boss. The boss passes a peice of paper around for breakfast orders.  I scratch down my order after looking it up online. Everyone puts theirs in.  I hunker down with a cup of decent coffee and say a silent prayer to St. Offrans. 
 
We let the site fly.  The core is good and proven, but the visible parts fumble and falter.  I push a change through.  Off shore team pushes changes as well. Test, fix, push, retest.  It stablizes around 2:30pm.  We call it a release and go home at 3.
 
I grab the first train home.  It is light.  I get off at the airport, meet my ride, and get a late lunch.  I am tired.  I am hungry.  I chow on Burgerking and suck down Coke.  Forget beer.  That is for tomorrow.  Today I am spent. Tomorrow, fire fighting.  I collapse into bed early.  A drone of a fan that is constant, never changing, never giving up or giving in.  Never taking orders from something too close to be useful.  
 
Baltimore can have 4:45am.  
strredwolf: (Default)
2017-05-17 08:31 pm

Finally, a Special Prosecutor.

With enough shenanigans coming out of the White House, the Department of Justice broke down and finally appointed a special prosecutor. And this one's a good one, someone who even President Obama kept around as FBI Director for two more years past his 10 year term w/Congressional approval before having to appoint Comey. 


About time!
strredwolf: (Cerebus)
2017-05-07 03:09 pm
Entry tags:

THRONG: On the Road

In the middle of the night, on the road, a horse calls back to the back of the bus.

"LIGHTS!" the horse yells. "GET UP!"

"whaaaaa...." a voice moans... "Hauler? What is it..."

"I'm almost out of time for driving."

"Oh... yeah... Okay, pull over somewhere, and let me get a cup of coffee in me..."

"We're out, but there's a 24-hour McDonalds ahead. I think I got enough time to get there."

"Yeah, just don't speed while I'm getting out of the bunk. I gotta get dressed..."

-----

A cabbit woke up to the door of the bus closing....and the smell of coffee and some food.  Shi got up out of hir bunk, and carefully moved over to the front of the bus.

"Wha..." shi said, noticing Hauler on the couch and Lights up and dressed, about to take the seat. 

Lights noticed hir and said, "Killer, you want to know before coffee or after?"

"What time is it..."

"5am.  We're near the venue but I have to take over.  Hauler here ran out of FTA time."

"Oh, okay.  Coffee first.  Then... um..."

"I paid for breakfast."

"Give Jade the receipt when she wakes up."

"All right.  Get dressed, I'll get Bessie the rest of the way."

"Okay."  Killer went back, pulling hir drawer open, before turning again and saying "Lights?"

"Yes Killer?"

"Thanks."

"Your welcome, hon."
strredwolf: (Coffee)
2017-04-10 08:51 pm

On RMFC's demize...

This was forseen and repeated before. We know the pattern by now, but this time it's deeper than that.

As you can guess, Rocky Mountain Fur Con cancelled it's 2017 event. The reason? History, documented history, has come back to bite them.

I could rehash everything, but there's an excellent, well researched article up on Dogpatch Press: http://dogpatch.press/2017/04/10/rocky-mountain-fur-con-threat/ RMFC backs neo-nazis, sex offender to intimidate critic for reporting threat. The title could be called sensationalist... but read into it. It steps you through the fact-finding through public government sources.

The furry community is tolerant of the weird and eccentric. But the hateful, fascist, anti-inclusionist? The line is drawn there.

And what do you do when your management and security goes beyond that line? And actually includes the staff there, thinking it knows better? And it gets called out because of it?

I bet the hotel got antsy, and required more security plus a ban on the "Furry Raiders." The problem is, they're part of RMFC... so https://twitter.com/RMFC_Denver/status/851594433468526593 they cancelled the con.

Didn't we see this before? Yes, with Rainfurrest. That one was a solid mismanagement from RAiN, the organizing group. RAiN ended up killing Rainfurrest after a protracted battle with public perception.

RFMC goes even deeper, in which it goes all the way to it's organizer Midwest Anthropomorphic Arts Corp (MAAC). At least they shut down early... but this time, they may still be in hot water as one party to this story has lawyered up...

Edit 9:31pm EDT: Turns out they were behind on their filing of taxes, and an accountant spotted the error. It jived with how MAAC was being operated. https://www.flayrah.com/6903/rocky-mountain-fur-con-canceled-following-neo-nazi-associations-tax-irregularities Flayrah has coverage on this angle.
strredwolf: (Huh?)
2016-12-31 10:01 pm

An opinion on fake news...

2016 came and had numerous problems. A disenchanted population picked a radical candidate for President... and slowly it's biting into people's butts.

One of the reasons why is the concept of "fake news," or reports with little or no proof to back them up. In other words, if they were pulled into the courts, the writers and "news organizations" would be liable for damages. It would be parody or opinion, but without all the indicators that it was.

And there's already a court case to test that theory, Mann v. CEI and National Review. It's about climate research and two columnists efforts to discredit it despite tons of verification about the research (namely, that temperatures that were steady in centuries before has risen drastically in the last century, aka the 1900's). It's going to go to trial, because of one question: The article were written as fact, but are they really true? The appeals court thinks no, but wants a ruling in a trial that would probe the articles first.

That's how you would attach the fake news problem: Fact check the articles of fake news, verify that there's no obvious disclaimer, and then sue them for fraud. The more evidence you have that says the article is fake means the writers have to present their sources... or pay up.

Will this pass the 1st Amendment? Well, since Pizzagate turned into real gunfire at a DC area pizza shop, there is considerable interest by the government to tap it down. But this means ethical reporters have to keep their sources on hand, in case the lawyers come knocking. It's going to take time and several court cases to create a compromise.

The kicker? You don't need to government to even legislate this. A few well funded groups may be able to pull together a class action lawsuit that'll take care of the mess... and may even make a profit. Can you say "Put your money where your mouth is?"
strredwolf: (Coffee)
2016-05-25 08:03 pm

Capital One ATMs don't want any other bank cards in your wallet.

A few weeks ago (because I just rememberd this) I had needed to pull cash.  So I find a Capital One ATM and try to use it.

Try being the operative word.  Unlike any other ATM which immediately asks you for your PIN, this one ate my M&T Bank debit card... and waited there.

And waited...

And waited...

And then asked if I wanted Debit or Credit.  WTF?!? I'm not at a grocery store.  I'm not buying some already obsolete technology from a Best Buy Kiosk.  Hell, I'm not getting snacks from a repurposed RedBox Grocery machine.  I want CASH. MONEY.  From MY ACCOUNT.  And this Capital One ATM has the AUDACITY to ask for debit or credit?!? What's next? Wrapped in paper or plastic?

I told it to eject my card, which it did, after another long pause to contemplate life.

Samuel L. Jackson can kiss my damn ass if he keeps asking "What's in my wallet?"  Because if they run that bank like they programmed that ATM, then the answer is "NOTHING FROM CAPITAL ONE!"

For reference, this was the ATM at 200 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21202.
strredwolf: (Coffee)
2016-05-08 10:01 am

Canmephian Thoughts: Criminal Correction System

Recently, I've been interested enough to fill in some more details of the Canmephian universe, especially what happens on Canmeph 3.  While we've looked at the judicial system, what happens to criminals?

They go into the criminal correction system, which is an extremely regulated system.  It is one of the few that have this level of regulation due to constant abuse.

When a criminal is convicted for a single crime for the first time, the general assumption (unless ordered by the courts) is "Okay, you've made a mistake somewhere.  Lets have you fix that."  Any other time, ether a second or more offense, a massive crime spree, etc, the assumption goes to "What the !)@*#( is wrong with you in your brain?!?"

Ether way, you're going into solitary, which is a circular cell up-ended and gravity controlled so that you have to have rope and tools to get out.  You have one bed, one toilet, one chair, one desk with an embedded terminal in it, and a food elevator.  Your only interaction with anybody is with an A.I., who knows about your case.

The A.I. will by default let you access a book library, some basic office applications, and will tutor you in various courses in case you do not have a high-school diploma (and thus update your education records to boot).  If you behave yourself, you can have limited communications.

The A.I. is also a bit of a psychologist, medic and lawyer.  It can monitor and diagnose your health and mental status, call for full medical attention, and debate anything.  If you somehow prove to it that you were wrongly convicted, it can call for a reinvestigation by the SputWolfSkunks.

The latter is important because there are times where the A.I. has questioned why a person was in jail in the first place.  The A.I. knows how to tease information out of a person, and can find details (or lack there of), which could have been missed by the judicial system or investigators.

For instance:

  • A case like Ahmed Sayed would of had not only been appealed (numerous bits of data missing) but also had the judge, police, prosecutor, and a witness run through a few hearings themselves.

strredwolf: (CuteFace)
2016-03-12 04:02 pm

On Gun Control, Part 3

So a study of laws across the US and their effectiveness was made, and the results released.  While you can read the research, let me simplify it.  There are three laws that if applied nationally, would reduce gun shootings 90%:

  1. Background check for all firearm purchases at national level.

  2. Background check for all ammo purchases at national level.

  3. Requirement to identify all firearms (aka stamp serial number).

That's it.  Simple, right?

You still can get all the weapons, and all the ammo, if you can pass the background check.  Plus, it's a national check, which overcomes any work-arounds by traveling to another state, and firearms can be tracable.

This is interesting, and I'll have to check into it more.
strredwolf: (Hmmmmmmm)
2015-12-26 09:01 pm

Rainfurrest likely in Spokane... ooooh-kay...

We got some notices from Rainfurrest on their site that after a hotel-canceling incident (involving a rather public showing by a babyfur) the convention is likely moving to Spokane, WA -- the incident and the reaction left a bad taste in Seattle's mouth.  There goes going to Seattle and tromp around Peganthyrus' stomping grounds.

But I have two questions, one I can easily answer.

The first is, will Rainfurrest adopt the Anthrocon standard for dealing with incidents like this?  The standard in short is, if someone causes an incident, they are immediately banned from the convention for life, and removed from the hotel.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  You're gone forever.  There is no word on if Rainfurrest will adopt that.

The second question is, how would a trip out there be?

That thankfully can be answered.  Lets assume that negotions take place and we finalize on the Spokane Convention Center.  Southwest flies out there, but not direct from Baltimore -- there will be one stop (Chicago most likely). But there, taking transit, you will need to take the #60 bus out to The Plaza and transfer to the #25.  From there, get off at the Division @ Spokane Falls Blvd. Cross Division, cross Browne, then cross Spokane Falls.  The hotel's a Courtyard by Hilton.  In short, not quite easy, but do-able.

Spokane could use some light rail transit, though...
strredwolf: (Hmmmmmmm)
2015-12-06 11:51 pm

Following up on gun control.

I got some feedback!  And I'm in a mindset to answer it.  Do note, I have shot .22 rifles before and was a young NRA member.

To summarize my suggestion:

  1. Scrap the entire mess and start over.

  2. Digitize all criminal, mental health, gun permit, sales, and ownership records.

  3. Classify all weapons.

  4. Require weapon registration.

  5. Starting at a set date, require gun buyers to have gun operation training.

  6. Also at the set date, require gun shops to require a reason for the purchase, and to immedately background check.

  7. At set intervals from purchase, require certified gun clubs to hold "clean and test" certifications.

  8. Regularly revisit and reset purchase limits.

  9. Arrested?  Suspended.  Convicted? Revoked and weapons seised. Still convicted? Melted.

With that, here's some feedback and answers, which I'll try to condense and keep brief:

  1. You want to scrap the 2nd Amendment as well?!? Actually, when I wrote that, it was with the understanding that this admendment cannot be removed (it's actually very difficult to do it, but it can be done). So for now, the 2nd Amendment stands.  You do have the right to bear arms.  But the courts have said that this right can be limited.

  2. Digitizing is going to take a long time. Yes, but it has to be done. I don't expect it to be done overnight.  It just has to be done.

  3. The act of classifying things is going to get very political very fast. Very valid concern.  Plus there's too much of a range... but it has to be done.

  4. Who do we trust with the registration info if we can't trust the government? That's a very sticky question, because if you try to give it to a non-governmental agency, you have to involve regulation smilar to PCI (banking) and HIPPA (medical record) regulations -- and frankly put, I'm trying to avoid too much regulation.  Plus, you can't really make it all public, because it makes it easy for all the radical anti-gun advocates to harrass people.  It has to be privately held, with adjustments to the Freedom of Information Act to create a class of information that requires a court order even for the government to see it.  As I said, it's sticky.

  5. Who's going to set the standards of certification and training? That's the thing.  I said have the NRA do it because the NRA is supposedly a "subject matter expert." If the NRA has dropped their earlier efforts and have become a pure lobbying association, then they ether need to pick it back up again or the military will be pressed into certifcation and training... and that will only piss off the NRA more.  If the NRA was truly intelegent, they'll be involved on this from day one, no questions asked.  They can't act like Democrats and just throw money at it anymore. (You might say this is my evil plan to get them to publicly do something other than lobbying).

  6. Who or what will determine is a "valid" reason to purchase a gun?  Appealing the decision is going to be costly. That's the thing, and you know it's hard to get any set of guidelines or regulations right over time (see the revisit section). But the other side to that is there's not much oversight on setting things... except in the courts.  It's going to get litigated, and you have to allow for that.

  7. Where are the gun clubs?  There's not many as you may think. A valid point. Several services held by the government will be needed (although some already exist, like Hap Baker Gun Range held by Carrol County, MD officers).  Both the clubs and services will need expansion... which will be expensive (but I didn't say these ideas were cheap ether).

  8. NO NOT ARBITRARY LIMITS!!! That's the thing I want work around, because the anti-gun advocates will want limits.  However, if you haven't gotten the idea, is that I want an practical limit set organically, which will place the "arbitrary" limits very very high.  Six rifles and four pistols to me, to go out on a Saturday and spend a good day at the range, is a two weekend job (spreading them out, of course).  If you're dedicated, you're already out there most weekends practicing! Too many would be when you can't shoot all of them over the span of time (in terms of years).  If you will allow me one arbitrary limit, that span would be five years.  Five years to clean, oil, and shoot all the firearms you have.  If you're that dedicated, go for it.  But if you can't do them all over five years, you got too many.  But that's still a limit! Which is why I want to require revisiting them because things change with time!

  9. But we can agree on melting the guns after all the appeals are done.


strredwolf: (Coffee)
2015-12-03 09:35 am

On gun control, again.

So you know about the three shootings that happened just recently (two yesterday, one about a week back).  The NY Daily News sums up the nation's frustration: What the GOP is doing isn't working (which is, from looking all the way back at history, is praying that it just goes away).

Let's actually fix this.  But we can't have a simple solution.  The problem is really multiple problems that are complex:

  • Current federal regulation doesn't cover all weapons... and it's hamstrung because all background checks are to be done manually via checking paper, not computerized.

  • State regulation doesn't help ether as while they cover more, getting a gun permit is a harry mess.  For example, Maryland has you fill out a form and wait a week.  The form can be filled out by you or by the gun shop.  It then has to be sent to the police who tap it in and do a background check... which you see above, takes too long.

  • An untrained idiot can get a gun, as well as someone with undiagnozed mental health issues.

So?  Here's my comprehensive solution.

  1. Scrap the entire mess and start over.  Just yank it out.  It's not working, and no patching is going to fix this mess.

  2. Digitize all criminal, mental health, gun permit, sales, and ownership records. This will speed background checks and investigations.

  3. Classify all weapons. This includes anything that can be converted into military-grade hardware. This will allow you to properly set limits on ownership.

  4. Require weapon registration. When it's sold, there's a digital paper trail.

  5. Starting at a set date, require gun buyers to have gun operation training. Yes, you want to shoot a gun? You're going to bootcamp, get trained by the NRA, get certified, and THEN you can get your permit.  This proves you can be responsible.  Plus, if you got issues, this is the first line to get them detected and treated.  This means the NRA actually has to put money in to certify trainers! Who said they're not going to get involved? I'm going to drag them into this mess.  Existing owners can just test out, but this test must be done in person!

  6. Also at the set date, require gun shops to require a reason for the purchase, and to immedately background check. You got your certifications and permits?  Because everything from the federal down to state is in one central database, the gun shop can do the background check.  So make them.  The reason for the purchase is also put in, as well as your intended purchase.  If your check "bounces" (red flags), you're SOL and your problem has to be litigated.  If your check is conditional (yellow flaged), then you will be told what to do to get it green flagged.  A court order presented to the gun shop can be one way to clear a yellow flag.

  7. At set intervals from purchase, require certified gun clubs to hold "clean and test" certifications. This allows gun owners to reprove their responsiblity by cleaning and test firing their weapons.  Plus, if someone's mental stability is in question, it can be reported and investigated.

  8. Regularly revisit and reset purchase limits. The ATF can take on this role.  The goal is never to "fire and forget," because new weapons happen all the time.

  9. Arrested?  Suspended.  Convicted? Revoked and weapons seised. Still convicted? Melted. If you're arrested, your certifications get suspended (red flagged). If you're convicted, the red flag sticks until you serve your sentence and you retrain, or if you appeal and succeed (which then goes yellow for a set time).  All weapons that you have bought are seized. If you are still convicted after a year (or you run out of appeals), your weapons are melted down.

As you can see, I'm not for more regulation.  I'm for different regulation, because what we got ain't working!
 
strredwolf: (CuteFace)
2015-11-28 06:03 pm

On better search engines.

Every *!)@$*( time I go on DA and search for something, I'm pissed off because its NEVER relevant.

For instance, I know there's three breasted artwork on DA.  There's morphs and drawings.  But searching for it is CRAP.  Instead of "three breast" I get "three AND breast" which matches "three ladies from Bombay clad in wool on top of a Taj Ma Hal replica.  Each one points to various gargoyle creatures objecting to how they have an exposed breast."

In other words, how close the words are together is key, and DA ignores it.  I mean, how simple could it be to add that in?!?

Without any knowledge of DA's setup:

SELECT art_id, INSTR(desc, "three")-INSTR(desc,"breast") AS closeness FROM artwork WHERE desc LIKE "%three%" AND desc LIKE "%breast%" ORDER BY closeness;

...relatively easily, if you build a query on the fly.
strredwolf: (Coffee)
2015-10-09 09:17 pm

Freddie Grey

I think it's a good time to express some views on the Freddie Grey case.

Namely, it's high time a federal audit ocurred on the entire Baltimore City goverment.  It's that screwed up.
strredwolf: (CuteFace)
2015-08-08 06:31 pm

This Memory Sinkhole exploit requires you to get a new PC to fix.

Okay, unlike some things, I'm not going to bore you with details.  This one's a doozy and if I was a security expert, I would of downloaded in my pants now.  It's that bad if you got way-old Intel hardware... or AMD hardware.

If you got Intel hardware, you need to see what chip archetecture it is:

  • On Windows, download the CPUID CPU-Z program. Install it and run it. If it says you're on AMD hardware, you're vunerable.  Otherwise, you're looking for the CPU's Code Name.  If it doesn't start with the following, you're likely vunerable:  Haswell, Skylake, Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Merrifield, Moorefield, Bay Trail, Avoton, Rangeley

  • On Linux, run "cat /proc/cpuinfo | less" on the command line.  If the "Model name" says AMD, you're vunerable.  Otherwise look for the CPU family  and model number.  If the CPU family is not 6, or the model number is below 42, you're vunerable.

  • On MacOS X, go Apple Menu >> About This Mac.  If your Mac is late 2011 to now, you're safe.

I repeat, if you're on AMD hardware, you're vunerable.

And if you're vunerable, right now the only cure is to migrate to the lastest (post 2013) Intel hardware.

The short end of it is, it's a flaw in how the CPU's were designed that allows a hacker to get into your PC without ANYTHING to stop it.  Intel fixed it in late 2011 in the Sandy Bridge archetecture, and is working on fixes at the microcode level to the older PCs... but AMD hasn't responded to any responsible disclosure.

The techies and programmers can get more details here: https://github.com/xoreaxeaxeax/sinkhole
strredwolf: (Coffee)
2015-07-25 09:21 am

What the f*** is wrong with you, 2? Did you touch the third rail?

I've held back from all the controversy and the noise, mainly to get things shaken out, get all the details refined.  Now I feel this is the right time to make my statement.  I've come to the conclusion that one question must be asked:

WHAT THE F*** IS WRONG WITH YOU, 2 THE RANTING GRYPHON?!?

Seriously.  The last time I saw 2 in concert was in 2010, and 2 was struggling. It was like he didn't have enough material and wasn't researched nor rehearsed properly. It was off the cuff... and it was starting to fall flat.  That method of delivery made me rethink going to 2's rants.

Fast forward to today, and I'm seeing allusions of 2 being Donald Trump... but not in a good way.  It was like 2 was being caught in a lie. He is stammering, flailing, trying to come up with not the best responce but one that will placate the masses.  And he is failing.  He may of tried to lay a trap for his critics, but they saw it a mile ahead, and instead used it on him.  Anything he's saying now only makes 2's problems worse.

This isn't the 2 of the aughts. Something changed, and not for the better.  I think 2 touched a third rail topic without taking precautions, and we're now seeing the aftermath.

Before I go on, let me define "third rail topic."  If you know about most subway lines, the subway train cars get their power from a high-voltage, high amperage third rail.  Touch it without depowering it, and you more than likely die.  Take a topic that is so highly charged, and just talk about it without doing your research, and kiss your talking/political carrer good-bye.  That is a third rail topic.

Rape is a third rail topic, for obvious reasons.  Mental issues, like depression and suicide, can safely be called a third rail topic now.  Other stand-up commedians have a difficult time handling those topics, so much that only a few have put in the research to do it properly (ie, getting the proper equipment to depower the third rail).

2 didn't do that, and is getting promptly fried.  From much of the aftermath, it sounds like 2's still holding on to the third rail. If he doesn't let go, he's going to turn into ash.

Thus, What the fuck is wrong with you, 2? Why are you still touching the third rail?
strredwolf: (Growwwwlllll)
2015-03-08 05:47 pm

Why I'm pissed at Amtrak right now.

Saturday (March 7th) an Amtrak heading northbound to NYC broke down hard... and it's impacts are going to be felt until Wednesday.  And I'm going to feel it as well.

Call this an angry post, but also call this a precursor to the I Ride the Penn Line blog I'm slowly working on.  A deep dive.

So take MTA's message to everyone (hit the spoiler):

Late Friday evening, an Amtrak train traveling on the northbound track (Track #1) adjacent to the platform at Odenton experienced a mechanical failure of the rear wheels on the last car. This failure caused significant damage to a mile and a half of track, including two track swtiches. This has rendered Track #1 out of service between a point just south of Bowie State and a point just north of Odenton.

The southbound track (Track #3) has been out of service for several weeks for scheduled trackwork. As previously announced, this track is returning to service Monday morning. However, now MARC Penn Line service is faced with continued two-track operation for an eight mile stretch between Bowie and Odenton due to the damage to Track #1.

In addition to the damage to Track #1 itself, the low-level platform used to access the middle track (Track #2) was damaged as well, so the northbound platform is completely inaccessible to MARC trains. Therefore, all MARC trains will have to use the southbound platform, significantly reducing capacity.


So how much detail can we gleam out of it?  Quite a bit!  But we need some more facts first.

Here's a Wikimapia link to the two switches that were hit, both in Amtrak's GROVE Interlocking.  The interlocking (or group of switches between tracks) allows trains to switch between tracks 1 (which is northbound on the right hand side of the tracks), 2 (middle track), and 3 (left hand side, southbound) in both directions.  The arrangement is such that you can literally switch from track 1 to track 2 and back to track 1.  So there's two track switches connected to the northbound track at GROVE.

I use Odenton in a reverse-rush capability, so I'm usually on the northbound side to grab train 406 at 7:38am up to Baltimore.  I know (and you can verify by following the track down to Odenton itself) that there are only two low level platforms: one all the way north on the southbound side, and one all the way south on the northbound side.

The distance from the northern-most point of GROVE to the southernmost point of the low-level platform?  About 1.5 miles, give a few feet.

Amtrak, when the press got to them, essentially said that the train derailed from Odenton to GROVE, damaging the track between those two points, and tearing up the wooden low-level platform that bridged track 1 so folks could get on track 2.  There were no injuries, and a seperate train was dispatched to rescue the passengers and get them going back up.

So we can surmize that the Amtrak train's last car derailed just as it was approaching Odenton, damaged track 1 enough that Odenton's Northbound platform can't be used at all, and damaged the two northbound-connected switches at GROVE.  And since there's no platform anymore northbound, all the trains must use the southbound platform, which will be fully open for rush service since they finished work on track 3 this weekend.

What is Amtrak and MARC going to do, now that it's back to two-track service between Odenton and Bowie for three more days? (MTA says this is the stretch that w/o saying the names of the interlocks, is between GROVE and BOWIE, the latter being just south of the station).

Well, since they can't use the Northbound side of Odenton anymore:

  • Two track service between FULTON (north of West Baltimore station, by Fulton Street) and BOWIE until they get GROVE's switches and track repaired.  This is probably what's happening on the weekend, because there's no weekend service at Odenton or Bowie.

  • Once GROVE is repaired, cancel service to Bowie (looks like there's no low-levels there) and make Odenton rush-direction only on the Southbound platform.  This means reverse rush will always use track 2.

But wait!  There's more!  MARC will bypass Odenton on some rush trains, offer a shuttle bus to Savage from Odenton that takes 35 minutes each way, and encourage use of the crowded Camden Line.

Um... what about a shuttle bus from Odenton to BWI airport that takes 15 minutes and meets the train at BWI, leaving early at Odenton?

So the way things are going, I'm probably going to be grabbing the train at BWI, which means I won't get coffee until most likely I get in the office.  I'm going to miss the ladies at White Rabbit...
strredwolf: (CuteFace)
2015-02-22 09:30 pm

How to at least qualify for the Oscars.


  1. Do not do a remake of an existing film. You're going to fail at making it "better than the origional" and the film is going to suck.  It's going to be compared to the original, and if that one is "one of the greats," then the remakes are automatically going to be crap. (see: Total Recall, most any superhero movies)

  2. Similarly, don't reboot the entire series repeatedly. They are hit-and-miss these days (see: Hulk, Spiderman, Batman, Superman, most any superhero series).

  3. If you're doing an adaptation, stick close to the original. If it's a book, don't change the script without good reason.  If it's a cartoon, FFS don't make it live action! If it's a comic book series, STOP REBOOTING IT LIKE THEY DO IN PRINT!

  4. CG effects should never scream "I'M COMPUTER GENERATED!" Instead it should be quietly whispering "uncanny valley."

  5. Infact, never CG a scene when conventional techniques are cheaper and get the better shot. This includes using live trained bats and well-fed wildlife. The green screen isn't your friend.

  6. However, don't go supercheap. You'll end up with The Blair Witch Project or even worse, Manos: Hands of Fate.  Yeah, iPhones and GoPros can do a decent job, but that's not Oscar level material!

  7. Never force a movie into one style when it can be done better in another. Scooby Doo sucked as a live-action/CGI film.  Mighty Morphing Power Rangers would of been better tolerated if it didn't pull a Godzilla every 20 minutes and instead have been animated.

  8. If you're doing a sequel to a movie that's fairly stand-alone, it's going to suck. Such sequels never work out well.

  9. If a movie has a tie-in to a sequel to be released later, it better be in a three-movie series. After three, you're done, wait five years and do a second three-movie series.  Otherwise you get audience burn-out and your movie will suck.

  10. "If it's horrible, it's bound to be a hit" only applies to cult classics.  Snakes on a Plane became an instant cult classic, but cult classics don't get any Oscar nominations. Manos: Hands of Fate is most likely banned from the Oscars for just being cookie-tossing bad.