July 30, 2006

A short pause followed by a return

     So I was happy the other day to complete my first really big entry in a while. It was decent, and it made me feel better about my crappy Nintendo DS Revisited article. So anyway, I'm not going to have much today because everything I had was really trite and not worth anything. So while I was browsing around the internet I found a really neat article about using a combination of java and javascript to successfully probe, and hack a system from inside. I'm working on making a proof-of-theory page that will display an educated guess about the make of your router and whether or not it could be opened up to the internet. I'll need a lot of reference material to try and make it forcibly crack a router and display the results, and the important part (actually opening the router) requires information on the forms and how to post them. I should have some idea of my progress later tomorrow. Check back.

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:44 PM | Comments (2)

July 27, 2006

An interesting but bad idea

My puppy went in for surgery last week to get spayed. When I dropped her off, they asked me if I wanted to get her microchipped as well. I told them she'd been microchipped already when she was a baby. If she ever gets lost, all animal services has to do is pass a scanner over her, and immediately they'll know where she lives, and how to contact me. It got me thinking a little bit... how come we don't microchip humans?

I mean, obviously we have the technology. Aside from the obvious uses, such as identifying lost children and corpses (hopefully not one and the same), they could be used for simple identification. We could do away with licenses alltogether. Want to buy alcohol? Just swipe your wrist under a scanner.

Obviously the majority of the people who would object (unless there's something I'm not thinking of) would be the people who have something to hide. Criminals, illegal immigrants, or kids who want to use fake ID's. Which begs the question: do we really care about what these people want anyway? I certainly don't. In fact, I'm all for making it harder for criminals to hide.

Now, I'm not saying we should go as far as being tracked via satellite from space or anything. No cameras in our home or having our emails read. I'm talking strictly about identification, which we all have to carry anyway. But we have to carry lots of it. Our license, our medical insurance cards, our social security card, emergency contact, etc. How many times have you gone out and forgotten your license? It's happened to me a few times.

What if you were in a car accident alone, knocked unconscious and none of your identification carries some important information, like your blood type or medical allergies? What if the EMT could scan your microchip and have that information immediately, along with family members to call and notify?

You could be chipped at a young age, and when you pass your driver's test, they just update the information in the database to reflect that you are legal to drive. And again, when you turn eighteen, or twenty one, the chip will reflect that.

What about if you had to swipe your chip when buying age restricted materials, and your random chip number was attached to the purchase somehow. So when a mother goes and buys her son a bloody, violent M-rated game, and then turns around and starts bitching that the game is violent, we can go to the record and say "Hey moron, YOU bought it for him. Wake up, you stupid shit."

Like I said, unless you're trying to hide something (and there are no legitimate, legal reasons to carry a fake ID), identification is something we all already deal with. So why not make it easier and more efficient?

It's just something I was thinking about.

If you want to weigh in and discuss (maturely and intelligently, please), instead of emailing me, head over to this forum thread I made. As much as I love getting the email, I end up responding with the same thing over and over and over again, and also nobody but me reads your views. This way you can hear other people's points of view.

Unless everyone agrees with me, which would make for a pretty boring discussion. But that never happens anyway.

--Tim of CAD Comics

     It's one of those arguments that I'm not really sure I can win. What do I mean by that? Arguing against it. It's a slow inevitable tide leading towards a single, nationwide ID system. But this here takes it even further. Why not shove a chip in that can just be scanned conveniently to identify you and everything about you? Allow me to insert a shudder here.
     We'll take a minute to look at the pluses. In a lot of ways, yes, it would be more convenient to be able to be scanned and recognized in terms of identification. You'd be able to buy things like beer, porn, guns, and whatnot without a blink of wonder as to whether or not the ID was fake. Criminal, medical, and educational histories would be immediately available, and greatly increase the speed of background checks for things like jobs, prescription medication, and weaponry. But now let's step back. What are the implications of this?
     So all this information couldn't reasonably be stored on a chip inside your body. Today's technology couldn't hold that much information without being oversized thus presenting an issue of surgical insertion and acceptance by the body. Clearly, there would have to be maintained databases with all this sort of information on it. Your chip would, at best, contain an enormously long identification number of some sort that would be used to access that information on nationwide databases (The chips inside of dogs are so convenient because the only place where they would be scanned is in a pound of some sort, where the information would be immediately accessible because all pounds work on one national database; they only have an identification number on the chip). Now, medical databases are being found continually more useful as coordination increases and everyone submits their information. But as recent scandals have proven, those are hardly secure. Tens of thousands of records were stolen only months ago from a company maintaining databases of veteran soldiers medical information. The scandal was huge in that the information lost included names, addresses, and social security numbers. All of the people involved were now at risk for identity theft, and remain so to this day.
     So lets extrapolate a bit here, shall we? Pretending that we did the most simplistic thing possible, everyone would now contain their social security number in a chip somewhere under their skin. Now we all know that the social security number is incredibly important thing, due to the unprecedented amount of access it gives to someone's life. Now we're wearing it at all times. So, you're sitting in a bar. Sure, now when you want to buy that beer you just swipe your wrist under a scanner and boom, it's yours. Identification with that credit card? Bam! Wrist again. Damn that was convenient. You're feeling like crap though because your girlfriend just dumped you. You start chatting up the guy next to you, and you're having a pretty good conversation when you finally introduce yourself. He introduces himself as John, and offers you a handshake. After having a good evening talking about life you part ways. On the way home you realize your wallet is gone. Oh well, no need to worry, no one else has your wrist, so what can they do? The next few weeks are uneventful, until a policeman shows up with a warrant for your arrest. You're not sure what's going on, but you cooperate. The policeman scans your wrist, and sure enough, it's you. What happened? Identity theft. Faster and easier than ever before. That one handshake? The man had a scanner under his sleeve, and now had all the information he could have ever wanted from you. After checking a few databases, all her had to do was use your information for anything he wanted. And I imagine that if a thief were talented, or had the right connections, you could masquerade as someone else by removing your chip. Anyone else remember "Minority Report"? The eyes are a great form of identification, only if they can't be replaced. Sure, it'd be great until someone figured out how to remove, replace, or alter it.
     Now before anyone suggests it, even if another, equally long and confusing string of numbers replaced the idea of a social security number, the idea still holds. Such a number would come to work like a social security number. Or even if it didn't, the kind of information that you'd have access to would still be prodigious. Easily enough to fake being someone else. Why? The information doesn't come with the chip. It's somewhere else. The chip is just a way of getting to that information. Clearly, if it were used for anything more than just name and age, then the amount of information accessible would expand. An ID would have to simply be an ID and nothing more if you didn't want to deal with identity theft issues. And, even if you couldn't get loans with it, if you could rewrite your own chip (or replace it), they could pass as you when buying guns, alcohol, or porn. Even if they couldn't ruin you directly, they could still do enough damage to ruin your reputation, your credit, your medical information, etc. If you had a prescription for steroids someone could use your name to intercept them. The consequences would be disastrous.
     Beyond that, you have to wonder what percentage of the population would reject that (for medical reasons). There are plenty of people who I would imagine wouldn't be able to receive the chip due to medical complications. What would they do? I imagine that it'd be impossible to collar them, and allowing regular ID would defeat the whole point of the system. And even with a perfect, 100% non-rejectable system, how long could it last? Microchipping is an inexpensive investment as it should last for the life of your dog or cat (from here). Should? At most, an animal would live maybe 25 years (and that would be a very old animal). That would be at best a third of the average person's lifespan? And even then, it's a "should," not a "will." I can't imagine much of any system that would last someone's entire life inside their body.
     The only reason that I suggested that this is an argument that I can't win is because this sort of thing is because there is always a "well then maybe they will make a 100% non-rejectable, life-long implant ID that uses encryption technology that can't be broken, huh? What then!" Which, honestly, I couldn't argue against except that I wouldn't like it. This is just a list of limitations on a system. Theoretically these limitations could be overcome, and then there wouldn't be much argument against it, and though I could explain why, it's only blinding paranoia that would make me not want to do it. I guess I should probably link this in the forum thread... buh.

Posted by Kickmyassman at 05:20 PM | Comments (4)

July 26, 2006

Wait for it... Waaait for it...

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:53 PM | Comments (2)

July 25, 2006

Lack of entry

     This would seem to be a memoir cover. I'm in the kids' swing in a park. My hair is too long.

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:38 PM | Comments (2)

July 24, 2006

Trying to pick up the pieces

     So I've never really made much of a name for myself online. I'd like to think that a lot of people enjoy my blog, but it's not much noteworthy. Most of what I say is largely covered elsewhere with more research and forethought and the only real reason to come here is because of the breadth of topics and writing style. My games website updates infrequently, is poorly organized, and the forum on it has few members and is largely ignored. In fact I can honestly say that I haven't done anything very noteworthy in general. But there's some comfort to be taken in that.
     All of that really means that I've left my fields open, and I can simply drop and pick up projects randomly without anyone taking much notice; I have infrequent and often unnoticed spam attacks; and to be frank, I can concentrate on whatever the hell I want to and it doesn't change much. My life remains largely my own, in that I don't have to spend hours or days laboriously working to update some website that I honestly don't care about, I don't have to worry about seeking mass approval for any updates to anything, and I basically spend my time how I wish. Certainly I wish that sites like Scuzzstuff would pick up more popularity, but I'd rather not spend all my time fighting legal battles to keep the games that I collect up on my site.
     So what am I really trying to say here? I've dropped a lot of things over the past year. I simply haven't had enough time to keep up with the stuff I wanted to do and school at the same time. The most obvious sufferer has been this blog and the forum. So now, I'm trying to pick up the pieces.
     This started with an update to my blog. The first one in a while. It made a promise that I'd be updating for at least one week. Solidly. So far I've managed to keep that. Next I put up two more games on Scuzzstuff. Sure, they aren't the most fun things I've put up, but they're fun and they'll do the job of keeping you occupied. And finally, I went back on to the forum which I haven't visited with a worthwhile post in many months. It seems like there's more I have to work on, but I think that for the most part I've caught up in terms of the bigger things I work on. I'll probably be a while in getting back into the regular flow, but it'll get there. I've forgotten what the point I was going to make is so I guess I'll just end it here.

A bit more scatterbrained than usual:

Posted by Kickmyassman at 12:38 PM | Comments (4)

July 23, 2006

Going to bed really early today

     Sorry. The entry for today is here, but it was rather brief simply because I didn't want to stay up later than I had to. Tomorrow I should have more time... I hope.

Posted by Kickmyassman at 08:56 PM | Comments (1)

July 22, 2006


     Ack! I didn't miss today! This was actually the same time that I made the update the other day, it just got messed up. But only because I tried to take a nap before a six hour party. And besides... wait, I'm just making excuses. The point is that I made an entry within 24 hours of completing the previous one.
     So anyway, if you didn't already know from previous entries (I'm actually not sure I mentioned it), I loved HL2 (Half-life 2 for those of you who don't know) and many of it's mods. I was mildly disappointed in the shortness of the game, the occasional glitch, and, most importantly, the lack of innovation in gameplay. That being said, it was only because I had very, very high expectations for Valve; and although they made an impressive game, it didn't quite live up to them. Slowly, but surely, the mods have made the game more interesting (which was expected), and now I quite enjoy it.
     Though this doesn't change the fact that the core of the game was disappointingly short, and to remedy this, Valve is now releasing episodic content. This has lead to the developers having enough time to lovingly make random awesome shit. This lead to Portal. The first game in a long time that I'm actually looking forward to. Little video link at the bottom.

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:11 PM | Comments (1)

July 21, 2006

And without any warning: He's Back

     I will make an entry every day for the next week. Yes I know the blog has been depressingly lacking in updates recently. Yes, I know I said I would get back into it before. No, I don't have any reason why you should believe me this time. I just think that I'll be getting back into it save for Otakon, which is from the fourth to the sixth. So now that that little monster is out of the way, on to updating!
     So the main reason I haven't updated over the past five weeks is that I've been in Japan. I did a lot of crap and took a lot of pictures, but since I didn't have enough time, I didn't do any of the cool virtual tour things. But I feel like a lot of my pictures came out better than last year's. Sure, I also had a lot more blurry ones, but the ones that came out well came out really well. Anyway, a few glimpses into Japan:

This is in a little bamboo park near my first host family's home. They lived in Tokyo, but they made a lot of jokes about how it was the "country" part of Tokyo (there's a lot of farms and whatnot).

Thickest bamboo ever. I give you some perspective here on the thickness, and allow me to point out that this was not even close to the thickest trunk in the park. Oh, and if you didn't already guess, this is more of that same bamboo park that I mentioned in the first picture.

Outside the studio Ghibli museum there was this drain cover. I jut thought it looked nifty.

Sunbeams through the trees in Harajuku. What's Harajuku you ask? Only the hippest place in Tokyo! But in all seriousness it's just a fashion district. This was the path to a temple nearby.

That's right, it's a train destined for Sunshine.

A shot of the trail going up Fuji. Long and winding, isn't it?
As a side note the green on volcanic rocks is always so spectacular.

This was looking down the mountain from the 8th station on mount Fuji at dusk. Very pretty, if not a little bizarre to look down at clouds while on the ground.

In the entryway to the Kabuki theater there were these bizarre light-spheres. Not really sure what they were outside of cool looking.

This store sells a lot of Daruma dolls. They all come without any eyes and the legend is that you fill one in and make a wish, then when your wish is fulfilled, you fill in the second.

This was just a nice shot of the sunset sky while speeding home on the train.

The clouds in Kanagawa were always so fluffy and playful looking. I took way too many pictures of the sky...

Jack and I playing on a strange park playset. I don't know what you'd call it or if we were doing it right, but all of the things in that park seemed oriented at killing children so we dubbed the place "Children Death Park"

The obligatory inari dogs. Attached to a gate.

Probably the most beautiful picture I have. I don't know if there's anything to say about this picture except that it's really good.

     And I'm done. More stuff tomorrow.

Posted by Kickmyassman at 10:13 PM | Comments (5)