Wednesday, July 31, 2013

To Drill Down...

Any questions?

Addendum: The NY Times just posted a piece describing the extent of the NSA's push to eavesdrop the world. Needless to say, quite ambitious and eminently doable give just how powerful and persuasive systems and the net have become in the 21st century.

Seems the eminent Mr. Snowden has been right all along regarding the emergent surveillance state, courtesy the NSA. As a bonus, click here to download the complete XKS manual. Who knows, we, the great unwashed, could use something as user friendly and as powerful as this to sift through the never ending cascade of emails that inundate us 24/7. :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pass the Salt, Please

Surveillance 24/7-  Phase II, is set to go live if the article titled  Feds Tell Web Firms To Turn Over User Account Passwordscourtesy Information Clearing Houseis correct.

July 26, 2013 "Information Clearing House - "CNet" -  The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet companies divulge users' stored passwords, according to two industry sources familiar with these orders, which represent an escalation in surveillance techniques that has not previously been disclosed.

If the government is able to determine a person's password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user. Obtaining it also would aid in deciphering encrypted devices in situations where passwords are reused...

Some of the government orders demand not only a user's password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt, according to a person familiar with the requests. A salt is a random string of letters or numbers used to make it more difficult to reverse the encryption process and determine the original password. Other orders demand the secret question codes often associated with user accounts.

It gets better.

Some details remain unclear, including when the requests began and whether the government demands are always targeted at individuals or seek entire password database dumps. The Patriot Act has been used to demand entire database dumps of phone call logs, and critics have suggested its use is broader. "The authority of the government is essentially limitless" under that law, Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who serves on the Senate Intelligence committee, said at a Washington event this week.

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” 
― George Orwell, 1984


It's a sad day. The Oil Drum is going away, a site yours truly admired and used as a valuable resource when talking about peak oil and the consequences of what happens when demand for fossil fuel energy outstrips supply. What made the drum different was the way it presented complex data in ways that could be understood by rubes like me.

As per the wont of BRT, Peak Fish, the supplier of the graphic above, is a new resource BRT will use as Peak Fish "takes hard to locate, difficult to understand public data and displays it in a way that's readable and visually appealing."

Works for me. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm Dreaming of a ... :)

As Why Evolution is True would say...

A Simple Matter of Perspective

When looking at this glorious image, courtesy of NASA's Cassini Mission to Saturn, the tiny pale dot seen in the picture is earth or, as Carl Sagan said so eloquently in Pale Blue Dot,

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

Make you think doesn't it?

The Folly of Going Private

When taxpayers lose control of public services, in this case, the fubar known as Chicago's Parking Situation, something done without the knowledge of said tax payers, bad things happen, and then some. 

Matt Taibbi, in his incendiary book, 'Griftopia': Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America, expands upon this dubious practice of privatizing public services with details on the various Wall Street deals that bankrupted America, in collusion with government, in ways that boggle the mind.


Get the book, you'll learn a lot. I did and I have.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Shuffle

The ingenuity of Goldman Sachs in gaming the system never ceases to amaze. To whit:

Simply unreal but injecting unnecessary cost into various business operations in order to get a little extra has become the way America does business, just see Government to see how the real pros make it happen.

The Unnecessary Atomization of Knowledge

The NYTimes just posted an interesting article tiled, Losing Our Way in the World, an excellent piece on showing how people seemingly lack knowledge on how to integrate discrete nuggets of data into a comprehensive framework as seen by the quote below.

Creative people, in this writers's opinion, avoid this subtle trap as synthesizing new ideas necessarily involve integrating the parts into a comprehensive whole dictated by the specific discipline in which the creative act is housed whether it be composing a masterful work like So What or conceptualizing the theory of relativity while riding on a tram, something education should teach the young in this connected age of the web. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Thinking like a bug

Common sense or, Thinking like a bug, can give rise to, in this case, a really cool solution to mosquitoes, particularly with a summer as wet and as hot as this one has been.

Thanks NYTimes, I needed that. :) 

Patent Trolls

Patent Trolls, you know, the companies who make money by suing rather then innovating, is big time business as articulated by the NYTimes in a post titled Have Patent, Will Sue: An Alert to Corporate America.

The problem with this centers on the fact, only the lawyers profit, not tech, and certainly not innovation as seen by the stupid interface lawsuits going back and forth from Apple and Samsung.

Yours truly has a patent pending, maybe when it goes live, I can either take the low road and become a patent troll or the high, by innovating. I'll take the 2nd because innovating is a hell of lot more interesting and beneficial then the first option, a course akin to getting something for nothing, something that just seems wrong if you ask me.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Adrift - A glimpse Into Wonder

Fog, forever mysterious and wondrous, shows it's hidden beauty through the lens of Simon Christen

Crazy Fast

Crazy fast kind of explains it to me. :)

Interfaces @ 50

Hard to believe but sci-fi interface design has been around for 50+ years, something pretty amazing without question. This info graphic from infographicjournal shows just how far tech has evolved regarding the front end side of hardware ranging from the quasi schlock of Lost in Space to the incandescent 2001, the greatest science fiction film of all time. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

A True Visionary

True visionaries are as rare as natural black pearls, occurrences of each being most mysterious but ever present with society never knowing when such an entity possessing these singular qualities will show up. Jobs, Einstein, Davis and Tesla, being members of this exceedingly rare breed, changed society in ways that cannot be quantified, must now include Douglas C. Engelbart, a computer visionary who intuitively knew what computers could become 20+ years before the advent of systems able to be accessed by means extending beyond the ubiquitous punch card based on the mechanics of the 18th century Jacquard loom.

Because he had read Vannevar Bush's amazing 1945 paper As We May Think, the first expression of what the web would eventually become 50 years later, (BRT The Memex) Engelbart took Bush's ideas to the next level by conceptualizing networked machines able to drive the internet that Bush was talking about using a keyboard, mouse and display to make it happen, hardware conceived of in his mind years before tech would catch up with his unique vision. To make sure such hardware could actually be developed, Engelbart invented the mouse, the device we know and love, as the prime interface driver for all things digital in the connected age of the web. Click here to see The Mother of All Demos to see why. Addendum, here is the Stamford University version of The MOAD. :)

Seen above are Englebart's patent drawings of the mouse and how it connected to a computer complete with keyboard and display. Said patent was approved on November 17th from a paper he gave to the patent office on June 21, 1967. Click here to see the patent. 

Monday, July 01, 2013

Being Green

Look at this picture carefully and then read the caption below, sent to me by a good friend of mine talking about how it was back in the day. :)

I do remember some of these things so at least my memory hasn't left me though my hearing has. :)