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What will they think of us in the future?

From the fine web comic XKCD. What will they think of us in a few hundred years? Maybe I should go put on a cape.

Spread this number

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 (hexadecimal notation).

What's so magic about this number, you ask? It’s an HD-DVD Processing Key, and it the movie industry would like to censor it to keep monopoly control over the manufacture of HD-DVD players.

This is not the first time the industry has tried to maintain its monopoly by infringing free speech - a few years back there was the DeCSS case, which led to people putting the code on t-shirts to demonstrate the absurdity of trying to censor such information.

Popular Mechanics: "Bring Back Our Knobs"

another drive for a BrowserCam account

As I reported last year, BrowserCam
is a cool service that allows you to obtain screenshots of web sites in a number of different browsers, and even use VNC for live tests.

It is, however, on the spendy side - one day's access is
$24.95, or $499.95 for a year. But they are offering a special for a group purchase via a group of 20 can get a year's access for $25 each. Way cool. Come join us!

shortwave "numbers stations": creepy spy stuff

When I was a kid, my folks got a multi-band radio that picked up not just AM and FM, but shortwave and audio channels from TV. (If memory serves, they got the radio with a big stack of game tickets from an arcade in Atlantic City.)

While we mostly used it to listen to Johnny Walker or Brian and O'Brien in the mornings, or listen in on TV shows while in the tub in the evening, every once in a while I'd fool with the shortwave. Sometimes I'd pick up a weird channel with someone reading numbers, ghostly voices reciting nonsense.

"white noise" generator with sox for Linux

I am a light sleeper. So a while back I was thinking about getting a "white noise" generator for my bedroom.

Then I remembered that my computer sits right across from my bed. Certainly there must be a software option...

Sox is "the swiss army knife of sound processing programs". It comes standard on most GNU/Linux distributions and is available for other platforms.

a tale of social engineering

Very interesting tale of social engineering at

I entered the bank lobby and was immediately greeted by a woman in a small glass-paneled workspace. I mentioned we called earlier, dropped the contact's name, and indicated I was here to service the copier/printer. Without hesitation I was escorted to the machine and left unattended. To make it appear as if I were working on the device, I opened every panel on the machine, pulled all the trays out, and placed my laptop on the glass surface of the copier/printer.

I was approached by a few people who needed to make copies, I apologized for the inconvenience and said the machine might be down for 30-40 minutes. I then disconnected the network cable from the copier/printer and attached my laptop. As soon as my laptop booted up, DHCP provided a network address and I was on the internal network. I started a few of our utilities and started sniffing the traffic on the network.

stock-pumping via website cracking

The Motley Fool reports on a stock-pumping fraud scheme involving a clever use of compromised on-line brokerage accounts:

The new breed of brokerage account hacker isn't looking to milk your account dry. There are safeguards against that, since account redemptions would be delivered in your name to your home. No, a broker hacker is simply after the ability to pump up a thinly traded stock's price by selling your stocks and then using the proceeds to snap up shares of a targeted speculative stock in your account.

More voting machine madness

In another fine piece in Rolling Stone, RFK Jr. shows the state of security and reliability for computerized voting machines:

Georgia law mandates that any change made in voting machines be certified by the state. But thanks to Cox's agreement with Diebold, the company was essentially allowed to certify itself. "It was an unauthorized patch, and they were trying to keep it secret from the state," Hood told me. "We were told not to talk to county personnel about it..."

According to Hood, Diebold employees altered software in some 5,000 machines in DeKalb and Fulton counties - the state's largest Democratic strongholds. To avoid detection, Hood and others on his team entered warehouses early in the morning. "We went in at 7:30 a.m. and were out by 11," Hood says. "There was a universal key to unlock the machines, and it's easy to get access. The machines in the warehouses were unlocked. We had control of everything. The state gave us the keys to the castle, so to speak, and they stayed out of our way."...

tiny Linux boxen reports on single-board computers about the size of a pack of gum, that come with Linux pre-installed. These could be fun!


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