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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Since we’re on the topic of bullshit….

Stop the DRM in HTML5
More than 29,500 people have signed.

Hollywood is at it again. Its latest ploy to take over the Web? Use its influence at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to weave Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) into HTML5 — in other words, into the very fabric of the Web. Millions of Internet users came together to defeat SOPA/PIPA, but now Big Media moguls are going through non-governmental channels to try to sneak digital restrictions into every interaction we have online. Giants like Netflix, Google, Microsoft, and the BBC are all rallying behind this disastrous proposal, which flies in the face of the W3C’s mission to “lead the World Wide Web to its full potential.”

So get on over here, read more and sign the petition!


On Cyber Monday, millions of Americans will take to the Internet in search of the newest gadgets to bestow upon their loved ones. Most of these “gifts” are trojan horses that will spy on their recipients, prevent them from doing what they want with their device, or maybe even block access to their favorite books or music.

Defective by Design (a project of the Free Software Foundation) is proud to introduce a map through this minefield: our 2013 Giving Guide. The Giving Guide features gifts that will not only make your recipients jump for joy; these gifts will also protect their freedom.

Here are some of the gift ideas based on the 2013 Giving Guide:

  • Give DRM-free eBooks that your loved ones can share, and that can’t be remotely removed from their eReaders.
  • Create a memorable family album using MediaGoblin, which allows you to keep your family photos private and will never use DRM to restrict access.
  • Instead of a gift card for iTunes, which uses DRM on everything it sells except music, give a membership to the Free Software Foundation, or make a donation on behalf of a friend to another worthy organization, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation or Creative Commons.

You can give copies of the Giving Guide to friends and family to encourage them to get you gifts that respect your freedom. And as you do your own holiday shopping, think about giving the gift of free software, and the hardware that supports it, to your loved ones.

If you plan to “give freely” this year, shout it from the rooftops! Please share the Giving Guide with your networks on and other social media sites you use (we’re using the hashtag #givefreely).




My little cynical note:

“Cyber Monday”??  What the hell is that?

Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday after Thanksgiving in the United States. The term “Cyber Monday” was created by marketing companies to persuade people to shop online. – Wikipedia

Oh, just another bullshit marketing tool.  Ok, that’s what I thought.  Carry on.  The FSF is worthy of supporting though.

If you are using IE, you had best be taking a look at this site

Stop using an outdated/insecure browser! (Not to mention stupid website that only work with IE….totally opposite of what the Internet means).

Employees of, a domain registry, had apparently accepted a fax as a valid application to change the DNS entries for certain domains. It appears that the fax was not checked for authenticity.

Read the whole thing here:


International Space Station Infected With USB Stick Malware Carried on Board by Russian Astronauts

 By : Subscribe to David’s RSS feed | November 11, 2013 11:22 AM GMT

Renowned security expert Eugene Kaspersky reveals that the International Space Station was infected by a USB stick carried into space by a Russian astronaut.

International Space Station Infected USB stick carried by russian Astronaut

the International Space Station was infected by malware held on a USB stick and carried by Russian astronauts (Reuters)

Russian security expert Eugene Kaspersky has also told journalists that the infamous Stuxnet had infected an unnamed Russian nuclear plant and that in terms of cyber-espionage “all the data is stolen globally… at least twice.”

Kaspersky revealed that Russian astronauts carried a removable device into space which infected systems on the space station. He did not elaborate on the impact of the infection on operations of the International Space Station (ISS).

Kaspersky said he had been told that from time to time there were “virus epidemics” on the station.

Kaspersky doesn’t give any details about when the infection he was told about took place, but it appears as if it was prior to May of this year when the United Space Alliance, the group which oversees the operaiton of the ISS, moved all systems entirely to Linux to make them more “stable and reliable.”

Windows XP

Prior to this move the “dozens of laptops” used on board the space station had been using Windows XP, which is inherently more vulnerable to infection from malware than Linux.

According to Kaspersky the infections occurred on laptops used by scientists who used Windows as their main platform and carried USB sticks into space when visiting the ISS.

The ISS’s control systems (known generally as SCADA systems) were already running various flavours of Linux prior to this switch for laptops last May.

According to a report on ExtremeTech, as far back as 2008 a Windows XP laptop was brought onto the ISS by a Russian astronaut infected with the W32.Gammima.AG worm, which quickly spread to other laptops on the station – all of which were running Windows XP.


The Russian said this example shows that not being connected to the internet does not prevent you from being infected. In another example, Kaspersky revealed that an unnamed Russian nuclear facility, which is also cut off from the public internet, was infected with the infamous Stuxnet malware.

Eugene Kaspersky Speaking Press Club, Canbera

Founder of Kaspersky security company, Eugene Kaspersky, reveals the International Space Station was infected with malware carried on USB sticks. (Screengrab)

Quoting an employee of the plant, Kaspersky said:

“[The staffer said] their nuclear plant network which was disconnected from the internet … was badly infected by Stuxnet. So unfortunately these people who were responsible for offensive technologies, they recognise cyber weapons as an opportunity.”


Stuxnet is one of the most infamous pieces of malware ever created, though it was never designed to come to the attention of the public.

Never officially confirmed by either government, the widely-held belief is that Stuxnet was created jointly by the US and Israeli governments to target and disable the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility in Iran, in a bid to disrupt the country’s development of nuclear weapons.

The malware was introduced to the Natanz facility, which is also disconnected from the internet, through a USB stick and went on to force centrifuges to spin out of control and cause physcial damage to the plant.

Stuxnet only became known to the public when an employee of the Natanz facility took an infected work laptop home and connected to the internet, with the malware quickly spreading around the globe infecting millions of PCs.


Kaspersky told the Press Club that creating malware like Stuxnet, Gauss, Flame and Red October is a highly complex process which would cost up to $10 million to develop.

Speaking about cyber-crime, Kaspersky said that half of all criminal malware was written in Chinese, with a third written in Spanish or Portuguese. Kaspersky added that Russian-based malware was the next most prevalent threat, but that it was also the most sophisticated.

He also added that Chinese malware authors were not very interested in security with some adding social media accounts and personal photos on servers hosting the malware.

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Oh Great….now we are going backwards with tech…..again…(see any ‘notebook’ processing capability compared to desktop…)


At last week’s Digital Contents Expo 2012 held in Tokyo, cutting edge technology company Kyocera unveiled something that will no doubt appeal to tablet and smartphone users the world over, potentially changing the way we use our modern-day gadgets forever.

The company has produced an intelligent touch screen that mimics a variety of sensations, from soft and squidy jelly, to rigid, clicky buttons. What does this mean for handsome folk you and me? It means all the speed and convenience of touch screens, but with fewer inaccuracies and silly– albeit amusing- typing mistakes. It could also mean that our beloved touch screens will become far more versatile in the future, not to mention becoming accessible to a much larger audience.

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Some of these captchas I run across are really goofy. uses a combo of ‘retype the words’ and ‘answer the question’.

I was quite annoyed when it said answer “I have fallen” and I replied “and I can’t get up” then was told that failed….. 😦

I ran across an odd article the other day and it was about a Mysterious Barge that is supposedly owned by Google.

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard on Wednesday visited the mysterious “Google barge” floating in San Francisco Bay, but the agency would not reveal anything about the tech giant’s hush-hush vessel.

GTY 186321586

I didn’t think too much of it and figured it would make the tech rounds once there was some sort of public release of details.  Then I ran into a random blog which had some curious postings that really started putting things together.

Data centre in a shipping container:

And earlier in this posting:

Google: Cyberpunk as hell

Slashdot links to Bob Cringely’s usual brand of wild conjecture, this week about Google. But, man, this paragraph plays right to everything that I find exciting about computers:

The probable answer lies in one of Google’s underground parking garages in Mountain View. There, in a secret area off-limits even to regular GoogleFolk, is a shipping container. But it isn’t just any shipping container. This shipping container is a prototype data center. Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box. We’re talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig.

Remember that X-Files episode (perhaps one of the ones scripted by William Gibson) with a secret shipping container down at the docks full of busy rack-mount hardware and workstations?


So, guess we kinda already know what is in the barge then huh?  Some sick amount of CPUs stuffed into an endless supply of cooling fluid.  Next up, environment report that Google is now the cause of the ocean’s water temperature rise.