September 26, 2006

Oh I wish I were…

     Today, it happened. I woke up, and it was true. I was it. I knew what would happen: everyone would love me. I could never get tired of that aroma. Man, I can’t believe it. So I jumped out of bed, and I put on my… well, I guess you could call it my “clothes,” but you know what I mean. I ran downstairs:
     “Mom, look!” I yelled.
     “What? John, what am I looking a-OHMYGOD!” The look of surprise was priceless, “but-I-wha-how-when, ooooooooh John!” She was so happy for me, I knew she would be. She had on the strangest expression, and kept it the whole time I ate breakfast, and then I looked at the clock.
     “Oh man I’m gonna miss the bus!”
     “Wait! John, you need to-”
     “I know mom I have to grab my bag, I’ll see you after school!”
     “No wait!” she chased me out the door, “John you can’t go out likr that..” The sound of the cars drowned her out, I didn’t hear what she said. But it wasn’t really that important, I mean, what could go wrong today, right? This was the best day of my life.
     I was almost late for the bus, so everyone was already inside, I hopped in.
     “Whooooooooooooa…” came the collective sigh from the bus.
     “Hey guys! It’s me! John!”
     “Whoa really? John, DUDE!” “Really weird!” “Come on guys I told you things like this could happen” “No way! John?” “What?” “No.”
     “No seriously!” I took my usual spot. Everyone was looking; I could tell I was the center of attention today. Michael was sitting next to me today, he couldn’t seem to keep he jaw off the floor.
     “Do… do you feel any… you know… different?” he asked.
     “Well, not really. I mean, it’s kind weird with the tail end, and it kinda feels like I don’t have any clothes on, but come on! It’s not that different.” He didn’t seem very reassured, but I could tell he was amazed.
     We eventually made it to school, and I managed to draw all the traffic to a crawl. I saw lots of people on their cell-phones. Everyone was staring though. Everyone was in love with me, I could feel it.
     Class didn’t really happen. The teacher took one look at me, yelped, and ran up to the main office. He was going to tell everybody! Everybody would see. We all messed around and lots of people asked me questions. It was so cool. And then it was lunch.
     I went through the line as usual and was eating lunch with everyone else, when suddenly, some ketchup splattered on me. I laughed and started to get it off, when someone pushed me over.
     “Hey man, that’s not cool!” I said indignantly, “who pushes a guy from behind?” But everyone was looking at me. “Wha… what’s everyone looking at?” Some ketchup got in my eyes, and mustard, then relish. “H-Hey! What are you guys doing.” It didn’t hurt, but I felt it disappear. Then another, and another. “Cut it out you guys, seriously!” I could even feel them gnawing on the bun, and then I realized: it sucks to be an Oscar Mayer Weiner.

Posted by Kickmyassman at 09:24 AM | Comments (2)

September 16, 2006

The Internet is for revealing all your secrets?

     So I write quite often about how blogging should be about things besides yourself, and the main reason I said it was because you’re boring. Now, though that is my honest opinion, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other reasons. Unsurprisingly, one of those reasons is coming clear now, and is one of the reasons I’m so paranoid with all of my "personal" information. Sure, it’s not very difficult to find my name, address, or phone number if you take a look around the internet, but this isn’t what I mean by "personal" information. What I mean by personal information is that I don’t have pictures of my friends with their full names next to it. I don’t have pictures of myself in revealing positions. I don’t talk about doing illegal things. I don’t reveal things that would damage my reputation in the work world.
     Okay, that's not entirely true. I'm sure that if I ever decided to work for Microsoft or Google there would be considerable issues with the information on my blog. But in the larger sense, outside of companies that I have directly noted, I would more than likely not have any issues if someone "found" my website. Many people now days have facebook and myspace accounts and post their preferences in music, porn, alcohol, sex, cigarettes, and work. And many of those people post their preferences in things like alcohol and cigarettes while they're still in high school. Now, this normally doesn't mean a whole lot because most parents and teachers (at the hig school level) aren't exactly capable of making it into these more "private" areas, as was the intention of facebook and myspace, but this doesn't mean that people with more skills can't make it. And it's becoming more and more evident that it doesn't take so much skill, as much as resource. "Even though companies are loath to admit it publicly, researching candidates on social networks is becoming easy and prevalent as entering their names into Google" (1). There is no real privacy on the internet unless you're truly experienced in getting on and covering your tracks. Almost everything about the internet is all about making sure that if need be, traceable. The only things that really go against this are IRC channels, and even then an administrator could conceivably go back and look through logs to find who did what, but it's not often that IRC admins are up to it.
     Thus I implore you, don't be an idiot. The internet is all public domain, and even more than that, you'll find that most of what you say is logged by someone, somewhere. If not the obvious places like the Internet Archive then on someone's computer who thought it funny. Either way watch what you say. You never know who's looking on.

Works Cited (MLA Format)
Sone, Brad and McCauley, Lauren. "Put Your Best Face Forward." Newsweek: How to Get Into College, 2007: 56-60.

Posted by Kickmyassman at 05:17 PM | Comments (3)

September 12, 2006

And Google has crossed the line

     Google said something that is beyond belief. They have decided that the best way to get more advertising info is by eavesdropping. Anyone with a Google application on their computer can look forward to having their microphone randomly activated at any time to grab sound clips and ship the information back to Google, allowing for more targeted ads.


If I am not the first, allow me to say: what the fuck.

     Google was little more then a lingering threat when I last discussed it: it was only threatening to those of us paranoid to extrapolate out to an outrageous degree. But now it's in-your-face "we don't give a fuck about privacy." Sure, it's a neat concept to grab random clips of audio, filter out background noise, and then identify what ad would best suit that blurb, but it's threatening for anyone who isn't doing a final project in college. I will publicly announce right here: I will no longer have any type of Google software installed on any of my computers. The only thing I had before this was Google talk, but this is just plain sinister. The government would only need to grab the company and instantly we would have big brother on our hands, and I'm not willing to see it happen. I'm taking a stand against google. Albeit a small one, but I'm slowly going to work Google out of everything that I do.
     I have no doubt that Google will either retract its statement or try and play up the fact that it is totally irreversible and the sound files never make it to Google, but I don't care. This is a step above and beyond what any advertiser should ever be allowed to take. This is fucking SPYING. They could catch you having sex and use it to sell you condoms, or listening to porn to sell you porn and penis enlargement pills. They could hear you watching Smallville and offer you the DVDs. They could hear you listening to a copy of your favorite music and offer you more CDs. Or they could hear you say the word "bomb" and burst into your house in the middle of the night and arrest you. They could hear you say "free copy of windows" and contact Microsoft on your behalf as a computer to "watch." Starting to see a problem? Even if it started out being benign, the effectiveness may provoke longer clips, and higher quality ones. It stops being possible to have the home user's computer handle the strain of filtering out sounds and making a graph, so it starts being transmitted back raw to Google. And one day, in court, a recording of you will be pulled from Google's massive databases of information along with search logs, chat records, and emails leaving you completely exposed. Things pulled out of context twisted against you. But what can you do? Your whole life is on Google.

I, for one, won't be this person.

Extra info in the extended entry.

     The first thing that came out of our mouths when we heard that Google is working on a system that listens to what's on your TV playing in the background, and then serves you relevant adverts, was "that's cool, but dangerous".
     The idea appeared in Technology Review citing Peter Norvig, director of research at Google, who says these ideas will show up eventually in real Google products - sooner rather than later.
     The idea is to use the existing PC microphone to listen to whatever is heard in the background, be it music, your phone going off or the TV turned down. The PC then identifies it, using fingerprinting, and then shows you relevant content, whether that's adverts or search results, or a chat room on the subject.
     And, of course, we wouldn’t put it past Google to store that information away, along with the search terms it keeps that you've used, and the web pages you have visited, to help it create a personalised profile that feeds you just the right kind of adverts/content. And given that it is trying to develop alternative approaches to TV advertising, it could go the extra step and help send "content relevant" advertising to your TV as well.
     We suspect that such a world would be rather eerie, with a constant feeling of déjà vu every time anyone watched TV.
     Technology Review said Google talked about this software in Europe last June, and that it breaks sound into a five-second snippets to pick out audio from a TV, reducing the snippet to a digital "fingerprint", which it matches on an internet server.
     Given the furore caused when AOL released searches on the internet, there might be more than a few civil liberties activists less than happy for Google to put this idea into practice. Also, given that Google provides the software link between its search software and the microphone, it's a small step to making the same link to any webcams attached to the PC.
     Pretty soon the security industry is going to find a way to hijack the Google feed and use it for full on espionage.
     Google says that its fingerprinting technology makes it impossible for the company (or anyone else) to eavesdrop on other sounds in the room, such as personal conversations, because the conversion to a fingerprint is made on the PC, and a fingerprint can't be reversed, as it's only an identity.
     But we should think that "spyware" might take on an extra meaning if someone less scrupulous decided on a similar piece of software.
     The Google program converts sound into graphs, weeds out background noise, and reduces the graphs to key features that can then be translated into just four bytes of information, so that the fingerprints for an entire year of television programming would add up to no more than a few gigabytes, the company said.
     Meanwhile, in an unconnected announcement this week, Google said it has signed a multi-year agreement with online auction giant eBay, to provide text-based advertising outside the US.
     The companies also plan to launch a "click-to-call" advertising function on eBay using Skype and Google Talk.

     Copyright © 2006, Faultline
Article taken from here

Posted by Kickmyassman at 12:53 AM | Comments (4)

September 10, 2006

Finally back up and running...

     Well... for the most part anyway. Powweb appears to give incredibly strict access to their log files so that the whole thing has gone from just being a few simple questions to a seven day ordeal that has escalated to the server administrators. I have no idea why the questions "Where did v6.txt actually run from?" and "what script actually downloaded and/or ran it?" seem to be proving damn near impossible questions to answer. From the experience I had running a server out of my basement for nearly six months before I couldn't handle the bandwidth issues, this should be stuff that's right out in the front of most log files. Especially if it was such a problem that it warranted shutting off my service. It seems like they might have even had stack traces or something similar that would have lots of information about the issue. But no, apparently no one ever needs to know these things. Their servers run flawlessly all the time, with no concerns for attacks. And when these problems come around they run around like chickens with their heads cut off.
     To be honest the service has been completely fantastic for me except for the last two weeks. I managed to move over to the new server without too much fuss, their scripts for transfering me were less then apt to deal with my hand scripted items, but I managed to smooth out most of the issues and I'm back up and running... albeit still under attack to some degree.

Posted by Kickmyassman at 07:25 PM | Comments (0)