02 Apr

Forbes – Transocean Execs Get Bonuses after ‘Best Year in Safety,’ Despite Gulf Oil Disaster

Transocean Ltd., owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, awarded millions of dollars in bonuses to its executives after “the best year in safety performance in our company’s history,” according to an annual report and proxy statement released yesterday.

Eleven people were killed, including nine Transocean employees, in the April 20 explosion and collapse of the rig, which gushed crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 86 days.

via Forbes – Transocean Execs Get Bonuses after ‘Best Year in Safety,’ Despite Gulf Oil Disaster. So the question must be asked how many employees die and how many environmental catastrophes are created in a bad year for safety?

24 Mar

Bad Astronomy – Next up for Congress: repeal the law of gravity

Today, House Republicans made it clear just how antiscience they are (as if we didn’t know already): they voted down a simple amendment declaring the reality of climate change. Not that it was human-caused, or dangerous, just that it existed. Which it does.

Y’know, whenever I use the term denier (as in "global warming denier") I get lots of comments accusing me of using a loaded word. But it’s not: it’s precise, and given what we’re seeing in Congress, it’s the exact word to use.

via Bad Astronomy – Next up for Congress: repeal the law of gravity. I’ve been trying thing of something to put here but can’t.

13 Mar

VeriFone – VeriFone Releases Open Letter to the Industry and Consumers

Today is a wake-up call to consumers and the payments industry. Last year, a start-up named Square introduced a credit card reader for smartphones with the goal of making it very easy for anyone to accept credit cards through a mobile device. Seems like a great idea, but there is a serious security flaw that Square has overlooked that places consumers in dire risk.

In less than an hour, any reasonably skilled programmer can write an application that will "skim" – or steal – a consumer’s financial and personal information right off the card utilizing an easily obtained Square card reader. How do we know? We did it. Tested on sample Square card readers with our own personal credit cards, we wrote an application in less than an hour that did exactly this.

Let me explain how easy it is to exploit the vulnerability.

via VeriFone – VeriFone Releases Open Letter to the Industry and Consumers. Let me explain how easy it is to get this same information had you card over to a waiter like you do everywhere. The information contained in the magnetic strips is the same as what is on the card itself. What a bunch of FUD from VeriFone because Square is cheaper and a more awesome mobile point of sale system. Square responds beautifully calling them out and detailing just how secure their system is.

13 Dec

Forbes – The Real Lessons Of Gawker’s Security Mess

Despite this, they do not really seem to be acknowledging the scale of what happened. They still try to put some blame back on users, suggesting that if they had a weak password they might be compromised. Well, that really does not make much of a difference when you expose the entire database table and have way too much faith in the 34 year old encryption algorithm reported to be used to safeguard the data. In truth, they had over a month to find this problem but diagnosed the early warning signs in November improperly, were very obviously breached (and told they were breach by others) on Saturday, and it still took until Monday afternoon to say anything to their user base. And in the meantime their representatives were releasing statements via Twitter up until Saturday evening that were either partially or totally incorrect.

via Forbes – The Real Lessons Of Gawker’s Security Mess. Basically whatever bad/stupid thing Gawker could have done they did including ignoring the problem. Perhaps their lowest moment comes when accounts of their users are posted on an internet forum and their response is well, who cares it’s “just the peasants”.

In perhaps a good example of don’t write it if you wouldn’t want someone to read it, this screenshot from the attackers showed up on thenextweb.com, detailing a conversation from July 22nd between internal Gawker employees noting that usernames and passwords for Gawker users had shown up on 4 chan. In the chat, Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan, after hearing that it is just Gawker users who have been compromised, remarks “oh, well. unimportant”. Gawker’s Richard Lawson wants to know if the breach is limited to “just the peasants?”

Hopefully this is another in the long list of reminders to use secure, safe passwords, perhaps more importantly use a tool like 1Password to generate random passwords for every site you log into.

04 Mar

Brooklyn DA clears ACORN in video scandal – Feministing

The Brooklyn District Attorney's said Monday that ACORN employees caught on tape advising conservative videographers James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles did not commit a crime. That's right, the video that was used as evidence to halt federal funding to ACORN and nearly led to the community organization's collapse doesn't actually contain criminal activity.

via Brooklyn DA clears ACORN in video scandal – Feministing. In case you cared.

23 Feb

iPhone developers angry as Apple purges adult apps – BBC News

Thousands of apps with adult-themed content have been removed from the store since Friday although some, such as one from Playboy, remain.

via BBC News – iPhone developers angry as Apple purges adult apps. This is stupid and insane. Apple is treating their consumers worse than the film industry does. All applications listed here are rated 17+ and you are required to authorize the application. Also to any parents that wish to complain, you can force your children to not be able to install applications past a certain rating. And again the stupid thing is that applications from what I’ll refer to as established companies (ie. Playboy and Sports Illustrated) is allowed but apps from other companies is not.

11 Feb

Sarah Palin crib notes mocked by White House aide – BBC News

A White House aide has appeared at a briefing with the words “hope” and “change” written on his hand in a jibe at Republican Sarah Palin.

via BBC News – Sarah Palin crib notes mocked by White House aide. Just petty people, everyone knows that Sarah Palin shouldn’t have done it, that it in no way makes her look presidential or even professional (imagine a CEO doing that, yeah), so why mock?

11 Mar

My response to Glen Beck’s silly “We surround them”

Glen Beck not too long ago did a silly little thing in which he posted a list of 9 statements and said that if you believe in them to send in a picture for him to do display them or something.

This is my response to the list.

  1. America is good. Right a country is now a person and is good. And that person has never overthrown multiple governments that torture/murder/enslave/eliminate due process all so that they support us and not Russia? And what the heck does good even mean?
  2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life. – Please, I don’t believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny but I believe in a man 2,000 yrs ago that someone how died and rose again. And just happens that half of the belief structure of my faith has been written in the past 500 yrs. Or the now 15% who are atheists.
  3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday. Well at least more honest than the last time I cheated on my taxes or the last time I work on personal stuff while on company time.
  4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government. Right, I get to beat my kids, my husband gets to rape me and my daughter, control what my kids think, because I know better than thousands of other people that really having a house that is about to fall apart is good survival instict, oh and teaching my kids that the earth is the center of the universe is what I want to do. We wouldn’t want the government trying to provide for a more just and educated society, much more fun teaching kids to hate and not understand or listen to logic and reason.
  5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it. Except for the president, you know because he is allowed to break the law at will and not be held accountable for it. Oh and the people who help him break the law they get medals. Or if you are rich enough and have a really good reason for doing what you did, then it’s all cool.
  6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results. Except if you are gay, female, black, trans-gender, bisexual, or really just think or act different, then you have no equal freedoms and thus defiantly no equal results. Oh and just because you were raised in a poor school district and thus received a poor education means you should some how magically overcome a limited education expect there are no libraries for you to educate yourself at because:
  7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable. Yes they can it’s called taxes, and next time you feel reluctant to pay taxes because you want to hold onto what’s yours we’ll go back to pre-government days and let you fight to hold onto it and see how that works out. I really only want my friends to get the benefits of what I make and I really don’t want to try and help society advance by providing education, or help for people who are less well off than I am, unless they go to one of my pre-approved charities will they will be told they have to believe in God to get a warm bed and meal.
  8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion. – Unless you disagree with me, or with what America does or what the President (unless he’s a Democrat), or you can make stupid jokes about it and call the person fat, ugly, stupid, claim they should fail, etc.
  9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me. Unless they lie their way into a war, torture innocent people, tap my phone and record what I do online and where I travel overseas.
27 Jan

The Complex Made Simple

For work, I had a piece of code that needed to calculate if a certain date fell in between two other days. So I started out writing out this big long function to calculate if a date fell first within the same year as either of the two dates, and if so within the two months, and within the two days. It was ugly, inaccurate, complex and just plain stupid of me to do it that way.

I knew there had to be an easier way so off to PHP.net I went and sure enough there is strtotime. Strtotime converts a string into a Unix timestamp. Turning my function into this:

function in_between_two_dates($first_date, $second_date, $third_date)
{
if(strtotime($first_date) >= strtotime($second_date) && strtotime($first_date) <= strtotime($third_date) )
{ return true; }
else return false;
}

Remember when in doubt: KISS (Keep it simple stupid).