Mr Prosser: But, Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months.
Arthur: Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anybody or anything.
Mr Prosser: But the plans were on display…
Arthur: On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.
Mr Prosser: That’s the display department.
Arthur: With a torch.
Mr Prosser: The lights had probably gone out.
Arthur: So had the stairs.
Mr Prosser: But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?
Arthur: Yes yes I did. It was on display at the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying beware of the leopard.

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Something odd happened on Tuesday.

I accidentally hit one of my bookmarks to the Vatican Bible that was not working a few days ago and to my surprise the page came up.

Given the disappearance of scripture from the site this caught me completely by surprise.

My first thought was that it was an old cache page so I tried it on my other computer and sure enough the same Psalm page came up.

This threw me off so I wondered if the Vatican decided pulling the bible was a bad idea after all so I headed back to the main vatican page, followed the reference link to scripture but I still got this page:

That was even stranger At this point I went back to the page on the 2nd computer and decided to try to get to the front page of the bible from the Psalm page that worked and this came up:

then I tested the links on the page, they all worked.

Now feeling really confused I went back to the wayback machine and checked to see if their capture had caught scripture as back up but the latest capture still showed this:

Finally I had a thought, instead of accessing the bible through the reference link as normal try a search for the term “Bible” in the search box on the main page.  So that’s what I did, and here is the page that came up

Here’s the weird thing, if you click on the first result, you get the bible front page as if it was never gone.  If you click the 2nd result you get the “local episcopal” page from the reference link.

So the question on the floor is this:  What on earth is going on?  If you are still referring people to the local sites and not providing a link to the Bible, why put sacred scripture back up if you’re going to make it tough to find?

Two logical answers come to mind

A charitable suggestion would be that people realized that even though they wanted people to go to local sites for scripture, every single document on the Vatican site since it went up that had existing links to the former online scripture became dead once it was pulled.  Fixing all those links would be an expensive, time consuming and frankly herculean task. So given the choice between fixing those links or putting scripture back up without a direct link to it they choose the latter.  If I had been their tech advisor that’s certainly the advice I’d have given to fix the problem.

A much less charitable explanation would be that the Vatican didn’t like the blowback from pulling the Bible but didn’t want to link to it, so they put it back up without a direct link to allow a spokesman to say “Of COURSE sacred scripture is available at our site, we just prefer you to use our local sites translation.” or in other words: “Beware of the Leopard!”

Of course it’s also possible that these explanations aren’t mutually exclusive.

Either way I’m happy as it means I don’t have to make changes to the links of my ebook or my regular book, however if you bought  copy thinking was now a collector’s item, you’re out of luck.

And for the sake of the readers I’ll put the link back to the vatican Bible both here and on the blog sans wayback machine so if you want to get to the Bible on the Vatican you can without worrying about fast felines.

Cue Arthur Dent:

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4th Doctor: Scringe stone found in a dead man’s pocket? A lost mine? A phony map. Are people still falling for that old guff? I mean, are they?
1st Romana: You mean you didn’t believe his story?
4th Doctor:  No.
1st Romana: But he had such an honest face.
4th Doctor: Romana, you can’t be a successful crook with a dishonest face, can you. 

Doctor Who, The Ribos Operation part 1 1978

While I haven’t been doing tech now for several years, given the great hack of 2017 I think it’s one again time to give you several pretty basic rules on password security, that, if followed by John Podesta and the DNC, would likely have the media looking for a different conspiracy to blame Hillary Clinton’s defeat on.

Rule Number 1:  If it has a computer in it and said computer connects wirelessly to any other, it’s hackable:

Your phone, your game system (and at the rate we’re going pretty soon your car and toaster) are all basically computers, accessing the net and being accessed.  Any such systems need to be treated as such when it comes to keeping sensitive info or opening attachments or setting passwords.

Me I don’t connect my cell phone to the net, I don’t use it for email, hell I generally don’t keep it charged or on unless I’m traveling.  I use it as a phone when I need a phone, that’s it.

Rule Number 2:  If you live in the first world and have a credit or debit card you ARE worth hacking.  

A lot of people figure because they’re just average folks without a lot of money hacking you isn’t worth someone’s time hacking or spamming you remember (per gallup figures) that the median per capita income in Nigeria is $493, That for a quarter of the nations of the world $100 represents the median monthly per capita income of a person.

If my temp warehouse job paying just over minimum wage with no bennies  pays above the median annual household income of all but 23 countries in the world, higher than Spain, Italy, Portugal and nearly double the median annual household income of Russia is enough to draw the ladies from Cape Verde to work & make 13 times the per capita GDP of their nation, how much more tempting is just sitting at home and trying to make such money without traveling thousands of miles and learning a new language and culture.

And remember we’re talking median incomes meaning there are plenty of people who make less.  If you are taken for a few hundred that might get you angry, but it’s more than most folks see in a month and if you can be taken for a few thousand for most such folks, they’ve hit the lottery.

Rule Number 3:  Your passwords are only as secure as the least careful person who knows them 

There are plenty of people who don’t bother to change default password or use something like their birthday or their phone number or address as a password, but even if your password is a Klingon phrase translated into Esperanto using a book cipher from an obscure 11th century Arab poet, if you give it out to Harold to check his email on your tablet it’s only as secure as Harold keeps it.

Rule Number 4:  Your home and business network is only as secure as the least careful person on it

Even the most careful person slips up on occasion, think how often the least careful person does and remember any shared platform means your security is dependent on every other person on it.

Rule Number 5:  Rule Number 4 about business networks applies to your bank, to Amazon, to your electric company and anyone else who stores your credit card info.

I would be Very careful about who you allow to keep a stored credit card on file and how many people you allow such info.  if you think it’s a pain just remember the number of hours you have to work to earn that $100 , $1000 or $10000 again or the number of hours you have to spend on the phone to get a phony charge credited.

Rule Number 6:  Attachments and links in unsolicited emails (even from friends) are your enemy.

This is also known as the “John Podesta Rule”  If you have an attachment that claims to be from a bank or a friend or amazon  or the electric company you don’t click on said links or open said attachments until you email them back (at the address you have stored) or call them (at the number online NOT the number provided in the email) to confirm it.  And if you get an email from a friend and it consists only of a link make it a point to email your friend back and let them know they’ve been hacked.

Rule Number 7:  NEVER EVER CLICK ON A “VERIFY ACCOUNT OR PASSWORD” LINK IN AN EMAIL AND ENTER YOUR ACCOUNT OR PASSWORD INFO

That is an old one but it still takes in plenty of people.  the IRS, your bank, comcast, amazon et/all aren’t going to be sending you unsolicited emails like this.  It’s one thing when you set up an account to get a “click here to verify” while doing so, it’s quite another to get one a week, a month or a year later.  If you’re not comfortable simply deleting these emails call the company or organization in question, they would likely like to get info on these hacks.

Rule Number 8:  Open wi-fi to the pubic is just that, open to the public

If you are using an open wi-fi network in a public don’t you dare be buying stuff online or entering your credit card info, particularly in a big city.  That’s just asking for it.

Rule Number 9:  Run the updates

It doesn’t matter if a software or OS maker has found and fixed a vulnerability in a piece of software if your system never updates to install the fix as those who fell for yesterday’s superhack discovered:

The security holes it exploits were disclosed several weeks ago by TheShadowBrokers, a mysterious group that has published what it says are hacking tools used by the NSA as part of its intelligence-gathering.

Shortly after that disclosure, Microsoft announced that it had already issued software “patches” for those holes. But many companies and individuals haven’t installed the fixes yet or are using older versions of Windows that Microsoft no longer supports and didn’t fix.

By Kaspersky Lab’s count, the malware struck at least 74 countries. In addition to Russia, the biggest targets appeared to be Ukraine and India, nations where it is common to find older, unpatched versions of Windows in use, according to the security firm.

Note again the vulnerability of older systems that patches weren’t made for

Rule Number 10:  Apple devices are not immune

Amazingly there are still some people who think that if their device is made by Apple it can’t get a virus and are therefore safe, let me remind them:  1.  Most attacks these days are on the software run on an operating system rather than an OS itself  2.  If someone has your password they don’t need a virus.  It’s a corollary to rules 4 & 5.  Your system is only as secure as the least secure program you run on it.

Now it’s likely the big worldwide hack used tactics more advanced than any of this, furthermore none of these tips guarantee that you will never be hacked any more than locking your doors and windows guarantees your house will never be broken into but if you remember these steps and earn to  recognize unsafe behavior then over time you will be more likely to spot a scam when it comes.


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Are Russian hackers an actual threat to democracy? Or are US intelligence agencies with “deep state” factions opposed to the government the bigger threat? And what do the Vault 7 revelations along with others coming out since the change of administration tell us about the Democrats’ constant finger pointing and fear mongering?

When the Intelligence Community is Weaponized by the Political Powers that Be

Is it unreasonable to think that intelligence agencies that were capturing all metadata on emails and phone calls wouldn’t spy on a political rival they thought was a threat to their legacy?

It is alleged that the Obama administration used spy agencies to monitor and occasionally go after reporters, in addition to using the Espionage Act more than any prior administration. The Obama Administration hacked reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s computer because she was investigating Benghazi. In 2013, the Obama Administration spied on the Associated Press. The FBI labeled one journalist, James Rosen, an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal case for reporting on matters and, according to a 2016 New York Times article, issued subpoenas to force reporters to reveal their sources and testify in criminal cases.

And they didn’t just use intelligence agencies to monitor the press. They were also used to spy on Angela Merkel, the head of Germany, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and several dozen other heads of nations. Nor did Obama limit his spying to our allies. The NSA spied on Congress during the negotiations on the Iran Nuclear Deal.

The Political Left’s Own Laxness with National Security

The Office of Personnel Management was copied in its entirety (and all subsequent updates) and sent via an “internet superhighway” to China because they didn’t bother to vet IT security contractors for foreign intelligence connections. This provided the Chinese with detailed personnel files of everyone with a security clearance from military contractors to government officials.

In February 2017, three Pakistani brothers were discovered to have compromised the computers of several House committee members. They were working as IT employees of the DNC and gained access to the computers of members of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees. They funneled the data to external servers while taking money from nations like sources in Iraq.

And that’s aside from Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State having an unmonitored, unprotected email server in her home in violation of all IT security and classified data handling regulations, which was likely hacked by half a dozen nations. For example, such servers are supposed to be in a classified space, supported by people with appropriate clearance, and have documented backups to protect the information from loss in case of a hard drive failure.

Conclusion

The transformation of U.S. intelligence agencies into a surveillance state is concerning. While Russian hackers are an actual threat, the democrat party’s constant breach of privacy over the last few years was also a threat to democracy. And a sizable shadow government, a literal fifth column, sitting in the intelligence agencies already used to violating the law and using the information they have to attack critics actively working to undermine the sitting President is the greatest threat to our democracy we have faced in generations.

It is an aim of every person to attract many people to their website and in the process get many customers. Well, this is usually a very tough and challenging task since for a website to be popular it has to be highly ranked and I is a tough work to make a website highly ranked. In search for a solution, many people turn to black-hat SEOs who charge very less and promise good outcomes. They produce very many links which refer the website therefore making the website popular and helps it in making up keywords. It also helps to improve the ranking of a website to a better ranking. However, tables turn later and the situation gets messy as Google penguin detects the scum links which leads to the website being penalized and ranked lowly. The website suffers a lot and it makes it hard for it to catch up and make more customers again later. Well, understanding all these situations and shortcomings, seo company Kansas City becomes the perfect solution to all that. We offer good services and help our customers prosper in getting as many clients as possible.

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We produce links that are of high quality which tend to go to your site and help in ranking your website. As known, Google will detect these links and tend to penalize the website and also put it back to its low rank and for this reason we create Personal Broadcasting Network. Through the Personal Broadcasting Network, the content produced by the website produces links going to your website and also social network. Google finds these networks genuine and hence does not detect them as spams which makes your website high ranked consistently, popular hence producing you with a lot of clients. This saves you the trouble of penalties and low ranking as found in many situations.

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This flashback post stands up well because there is a reason why warranties are the length they are.


What a difference a year makes

When mentioning my Inspirion 1150 in the past I’ve said it never gave me any trouble. My warranty ran out three weeks ago.

On Saturday I installed a friends copy of CIV IV to see if the graphics card of my laptop could handle it and sad to say the wife will NOT be getting me it for Christmas (and as we’ve established I’m too cheap to buy a new pc just for a game).

This morning I was coming into work early to cover for a friend, booted up my laptop and rushed to do something that was going to take 10 minutes. I figured no problem, by the time I was back it would be booted and ready to log in. Instead I found a highly interesting blue screen of death.

If the problem persists I might reinstall the system files from the cd or run a sfc scannow

I restarted the system and it came up but the timing reminded me of this Day-by-Daycartoon below.

day by day 10-23-2005.gif

Eric always buys extended warranties with laptops, I didn’t. We will soon see if he is right and I am toast.

Posted by Peter at November 14, 2005 09:18 AM

************

The Chris Muir Comment on that post is worth reprinting as well:

********

Peter, as a product designer who is well-versed with production methods, I can tell you for a fact that products today are very carefully engineered for a certain amount of time and no more.

I can recall the good ol’ MaBell phones that would take a tank round before they’d break. No more, it’s all crap from China.

I thought I’d type this out quick like as the warranty on this Mac I’m using sta

Posted by: chris Muir at November 14, 2005 12:22 PM

********

ah memories

Another old Lightfrog/Hiwired post with tech advice that stands up to the test of time:


Tis the season to choose wisely

An awful lot of money is going to be spent on new computers in the next 25 days or so.

My basic advice is simple:

Figure out what you want your system to do.Figure out what hardware is necessary to do it.

Splurge on the ram since it is the thing that will extend the useful life of the computer the most.

That’s basically it. For example all my next Desktop needs to be able to do is to:

Run the office suite (every one out there does)Play DVD’s (any DVD drive will do)

Play CIV IV with more than the min specs

Thats basically all I’m looking for so other than a good video card I’ll be easy to please.

If you want more detailed advice PC WORLD and CNET both have useful buying guides.

Posted by Peter at November 29, 2005 07:40 PMT

********************

Bit of Irony,  a new laptop is on my Christmas list and while the DVD drive is not as important (I’m thinking of using this one as a dedicated iTunes machine and importing my Big Finish Dr. Who CD’s here) however one of my requirements is a machine that can pay Civilization six beyond the min requirements.

Back in 2005 when I worked for HiWired we started a tech blog that was unique at the time, providing some free tech advice to customers and non customers alike who needed it. Today I found myself looking at some old posts from the HiWired Blog and wondered how many of those posts stood the test of time. I think this one on trusting what you see on the net, particularly given the whole “fake news” debate, does, although some of the links are a tad dead.


Where are all the Moon Maidens?

For the fun of it I did a google search for “wireless network security” this is the result of the search.

You might notice that the #1 link is from a site called practically networked which is an excellent reference site, however when you read the article you will note that quite a few of the pieces of advice are contrary to things we’ve said before.

There was a time when this article would have been good advice but it’s old,that hasn’t stopped it from being #1 on the google list. If you hit the “I’m feeling lucky” button and followed the advice your system would be hackable in minutes.

If you are old enough you might remember the old Beverly Hillbillies episode where Jethro decides to go to the moon because it’s full of moon maidens. When Elly asks how he know this he says:

They wouldn’t print it in a comic book if it wasn’t true

Don’t be Jethro on the net.

Posted by Peter at August 15, 2005 04:51 PM

******************************************

I think I might repost more of these over time, I forgot just how much tech blogging I used to do when I wasn’t doing it for me.

Cybersecurity has definitely been in the headlines lately because both businesses and government agencies have been hacked and valuable data has been stolen about everyone from employees and politicians to consumers. But big businesses, in particular, are under a greater threat from cyber attacks, and with more people sharing a lot of information about themselves online and with the businesses that they make purchases from, companies need to do whatever they can to keep their information secure.

The Importance of Cybersecurity in the World of Business

Cybersecurity has always been an important topic for all types of businesses. This is why networks, such as an MPLS network, needs to have the right security in place. And this is why businesses make it a point to hire only the very best IT teams, such as Masergy, who know exactly how to set up and create a secure network. Without the right security products and protocols in place, hackers can more easily attack business networks and steal a lot of valuable information that can put both the business and its consumers at risk.

The New Cyber Threats That Businesses Are Facing

These days, the cyber threats seem to be more intense than ever, so businesses need to be more diligent when it comes to securing their data at all times. For example, companies of all sizes and from all industries now face threats that include machine-to-machine attacks, headless worms, the jailbreaking of cloud servers, two-faced malware, and ghostware that hackers can use to actually conceal their attacks so you don’t even see them coming.

Some of the Big Businesses That Have Been Affected

As of the early part of 2015, there were already several big businesses that had been the victims of cyber attacks. These companies were from a variety of industries, and they included Target, Michaels, Community Health Systems, JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, Staples, Sony Pictures, Anthem, and Primera Blue Cross. When these cyber attacks happened, they made headlines because a lot of data was breached and a lot of consumers’ personal information was made vulnerable.

What You Can Do

Every business should have a cyber security strategy in place. This includes using high quality anti-virus software and educating employees on what they shouldn’t be clicking on when they use the Internet while working. Unknown links or suspicious attachments should never be clicked on and downloaded, even if they’re from someone you know. And make it a point to keep all software, operating systems, and apps up-to-date to have the latest patches and security measures.

If you own a business, you need to take steps to secure yourself from the threat of a variety of cyber attacks. The bigger you are and the more data that you have stored on your network, the more important it will be to protect yourself. Therefore, make it a point to learn not only about the threats that you have to watch out for, but also the steps that you can take to always remain in control and prevent attacks from happening in the first place.

Captain Kirk:  According to him, there’s a creature of some sort down here, a humanoid.
Mr. Spock:  Lieutenant Uhura communicated that information. I ordered re-confirmation on our sensors. They indicate no living creature on this planet. I suggest, Captain, that you’ve been lied to.
Lazarus: Captain, you yourself said there were no other explanations. Why do you give credence to this man?
Mr. Spock:   I fail to comprehend your indignation, sir. I’ve simply made the logical deduction that you are a liar.

Star Trek The Alternative Factor 1967

Just two days ago we posted on the appearance of the FreeStacy Movement in the pages and website of USA today (Alexa ranking is 316 worldwide and 70 in the US with 116,407 sites linking in.)

I daresay there might be a few people around the country who will be hearing about #freestacy and Robert Stacy McCain for the first time today. That’s what happens when one of the top 70 websites in the country writes about it.

So congratulations to Twitter, Anita Sarkeesian and company. Your new Trust and Safety council continues to get more and more national and even international fame.

48 hours later just a few hours before my plans to take DaWife to Maine resulted not in me outside of Knight’s quilt shop in a rocking chair reading the collected CS Lewis as my wife shopped but at a rest stop full of syringes on the ground outside of Chelmsford watching assorted tractor trailers and waiting for AAA to tow us home the CEO of Twitter was gracing the today show saying this

The key exchange being this:

Matt Lauer: Let me ask you point blank, does twitter censor the comments of its users, does it hide what it would consider inflammatory comments whether they be social or political?
Jack Dorsey: Absolutely not,

Given that the CEO has publicly said this on a national TV show I went back to tweetdeck to check on Robert Stacy McCain to see if his account has been restored.

jack is a liar

It has not been.

Now I suppose one can try and parse that statement claiming that as Robert Stacy McCain has been suspended he technically is no longer a user so a “user” is no longer being censored.

But given the evidence I’m with Spock the logical deduction is he is a liar and not just a liar but a liar willing to lie to a national audience with a straight face.

I’m surprised he’s not running for office.

Update: A question for Matt Lauer. Jack Dorsey lied to your face and to your audience on national TV. What will you do about it?
*****************************************************************

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Via Elder of Ziyon let me tell you about a company called Asal technologies

“We have a window of opportunity to demonstrate our skills,” said Murad Tahboub, CEO of Asal Technologies, a Palestinian outsourcing company that works with Comply and a handful of other Israeli-based companies. “The more people know about us … the more comfortable they will be in doing business with us.” This is easier said than done. Comply’s office in Hod Hasharon is only about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Asal Technologies in the West Bank city of Ramallah – but they are worlds apart.

and when it comes down to outsourcing code for Israeli companies there is a real advantage to going local it when not surrounded

 

In the past three years, however, some have turned to Palestinian engineers and programmers. They are cheaper, ambitious, work in the same time zone, and – surprisingly to many Israelis – are similar to them.

“The cultural gap is much smaller than we would think,” said Gai Anbar, chief executive of Comply, an Israeli start-up in this central Israeli town that develops software for global pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Teva.

 

Well of course it is, you live in the same area, generally speak the same language and have many of the same concerns. If you check out their web site and twitter feed it looks like any other tech company, but the most important page is the careers page:

Client project:A large international software company is building new products and technologies and is seeking senior and junior software engineers to join an outsourcing project at ASAL Technologies.

The details:

B.Sc. in computer science, software/computer engineering, or related disciplines.
Strong knowledge in core computer science areas.
Solid object-oriented programming skills and OO design patterns.
Strong theory/algorithms and very good understanding on how to apply advanced knowledge to solve real problems.
Hands-on experience in agile software development, mobile applications, and multiple release cycles.
Strong analytical and organizational skills.
Methodical approaches to solving technical challenges with high attention to detail and data accuracy.
Highly motivated and self-reliant individual with true willingness to learn and work as part of a team.
Strong communication skills (oral and written) with the ability to act proactively.
Extra credit: Experience with mobile application development, cloud services, web scripting languages, Android, and Microsoft platforms/technologies.
Experience with mobile personal assistants is a plus.

The kicker, these jobs are located in Ramallah/Rawabi and the West Bank

Of all the stories of the middle east I suspect this is the one which is of the greatest threat to Hamas & the PA, first of all it destroys the false narrative out there:

Do you have internet?
Yes. We do have internet and electricity. Over the past 60 years, the West Bank had not sustained any outages due to political reasons. Currently ASAL Technologies has two fiber optic cables from two different ISPs to ensure 24/7 internet connectivity. And short term plans are to move the headquarters of ASAL Technologies to Rawabi -the first Palestinian smart city- where the infrastructure of the whole city has been optimized to meet international standards.

It’s an odd question to ask a software company, if they didn’t have internet they couldn’t operate now could they?

But how can you do business amid the violence and oppression?

Does the political situation affect your work?
No. Though it is hard to visualize if one hasn’t visited Palestine, the reality is that the political situation does not affect our ability to conduct business as usual with all of our clients. And to ensure that our employees can always access their workplace, we opened up a new branch in north of Palestine, and future plans are to open up yet another branch in the south.

You mean to say the evil jooes aren’t stopping you from making your business successful? Well put me in the laundry and pre-soak me 15 minutes!

All of these shatters the careful helpless meme built up concerning Israel. That’s bad for the PA, but the real threat to them is this:

If you have a class of Palestinians unshackled from the “death to Jews” mentality and furthermore not dependent on either terror dollars from Iran or handouts from the west for a living the entire dynamic changes.

I’ve said before that there is no limits to what the Arabs can achieve if they abandon their “death to the Jews” mantra and concentrate on making a better life where they are, these guys have the  potential to prove it.

I suspect ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad et/al  doesn’t approve they’d rather teach kids to stab jews. and as for the BDS movement it will have them going Kryten

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what most of them are worth.