Grabbing the tiger by the tail

If you grab the tiger by the tail, you had better be damned sure that you have it under control or else you are liable to get bitten. A fascinating cyber tussle has been unfolding over the past few weeks between Aaron Barr, the CEO of security firm HBGary, and Anonymous, a group of hackers and cyber activists/vigilantes/criminals.  Ars Technica has an outstanding overview of what has unfolded up to now, however there is still more to come. Aaron Barr took it upon himself to infiltrate Anonymous.  His stated reason for doing so was as a research project, however his [... read the rest ...]

Quick hits: OMG it’s almost Christmas edition

It sure would be nice if Christmas presents bought and wrapped themselves, Christmas cards wrote themselves, and Christmas cookies baked themselves – but alas, all of these things take time, and so more pleasurable activities like gaming and blogging fall by the wayside.  The Internet doesn’t slow down though, so here are a stocking-full of links to check out. (And hey, before you read through these, maybe throw on a batch of Cranberry Magic Bars… you won’t regret it.) Kiddie Porn Barbie I have no idea how a Barbie Doll with an embedded camera ever made it into production let [... read the rest ...]

Of infringement, ripples, and liberty

I spent all of the afternoon renaming projects in a large source controlled Visual Studio solution, which amounts to torture.  As such my brain is a pile of mush and I’m in no shape to write anything coherent.  Thankfully I do have a backlog of interesting links to pass along. Blatant theft The Internet as a whole has jumped to the defence of Monica Gaudio, who had one of her articles ripped off by Cooks Source magazine.  While the plagiarism is bad enough on its own, the attitude of the magazine’s editor when confronted by Ms. Gaudio was appalling: But [... read the rest ...]

I’m having one of those totally random days where I can’t keep my attention focused on any single thing; I guess that makes the name of my blog all the more appropriate.  It’s articles like this one that make me wonder when one of you is going to complain that I gave you a bad case of mental whiplash. Onwards! I didn’t vote yesterday There was a municipal election in my city yesterday and I didn’t bother to make a trip to the polls.  Writing for The Volunteer, Terrence Watson lays out the case against performing “my civic duty” far [... read the rest ...]

I am more than a little sick of companies and their “binding” Terms of Use documents that consumers are forced to “agree” to prior to using things that they have spent their money on. Software companies are the most egregious offenders, inundating consumers with lengthy text boxes filled with legalese gibberish that they know a tiny minority of users will ever read. People are so used to “agreeing” to terms, that they treat Terms of Use agreements like they do email spam: crap to click past to get to the real content. For a particularly galling example, consider Hotmail’s Terms [... read the rest ...]

EA's public service

Electronic Arts, as a large company in the video game industry, gets bashed around a fair bit by fans and the gaming press.  (Or, as is the case this week, attention seekers.)   While much of the negativity is well-deserved, EA doesn’t always use its position and wealth as a force for evil. Back in June of this year Tim Langdell, a legal parasite and trademark troll, sued EA for alleged infringement of his “Edge” series of trademarks that he has claimed ownership of since the mid 1980′s.  These trademarks, of which there are seven, apply to a mix of [... read the rest ...]

Facebook for law enforcement

In the aftermath of the Toronto G20 riots, police have released photographs of the ten most wanted vandals.  The ten protesters depicted in the images are all seen destroying public property, and presumably it would be fairly easy to build a case against them in court. This got me thinking:  It shouldn’t be that difficult to build a piece of software that crawls through public profiles on Facebook and uses some facial recognition software to pick out people who strongly resemble the photographs of the wanted rioters.  There is certainly a precedent for law enforcement agencies using social networking sites [... read the rest ...]

Should there be an inquiry into G20 police tactics?

During the evening of June 27th riots broke out in downtown Toronto as the G20 protest that had been going on predictably transformed from a peaceful demonstration to an orgy of smashing, burning, and looting.  Riot police responded – ineffectually according to most – and it took hours for the destruction to come to a halt.  The subsequent days saw the Toronto Police force, assisted by cops from the rest of the country, crack down in an unprecedented manner, robbing the citizens of Toronto of their basic rights, detaining large peaceful groups using kettling tactics, and verbally and physically abusing [... read the rest ...]

Originally posted: January 13, 2005. 12:50am As a part of my ongoing journey to learn more about my family’s history, specifically our contribution to the armed forces, I ran across an interesting individual who I am anxious to learn more about. Delmer Brown Peterkin fought in the Boer War as a young man. He must have performed admirably, because I found out yesterday through my great aunt that Delmer had been recommended for a Victoria Cross as a result of his actions in combat. Although he did not receive the medal in the end (only four Canadians did), he must [... read the rest ...]

In lieu of a meaningful post today I have a collection of smaller links.  This week has been busy so far and will only get busier between now and Saturday, so I wouldn’t expect much in the way of deep thinking from me until at least Sunday.  Thankfully it’s not a bad sort of busy: I played Ultimate Frisbee last night, and have games tonight and tomorrow which lead into an all day charity beach tournament on Saturday (there’s nothing more fun than laying out on sand). I’d also like to point out that I end up highlighting a lot [... read the rest ...]

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