Modern Dystopia

Tag Archive: Blogging

PornStarNames invade Twitter

I’m not surprised really, Twitter is, after all a perfect medium for a meme like this. But the name game isn’t a new one, hell I think I remember first figuring out my Porn Star Name when I was in early high school, a long long time before the internet existed as we know it.

But now…wow! Paranoia is brought to new levels. Warnings abound now on Twitter about how revealing your PornStarName is akin to giving those nasty hackers/crackers/russian mafia you credit card number and PIN. Well, get over it. A couple of things to think about…

1) I’ve never seen Street names used as security questions in over 17yrs online IT work. Occasionally pet names, yes but think about it…

2) If you DO use these things as passwords, security answers, then you’d be pretty damn stupid to start typing them out anywhere, I hate to say people deserve to have ID stolen, but if you’re going to be that daft, then maybe you do.

I think someone mentioned something about mother’s maiden name being aprt of the game, and if someone’s trying to slip that in, then yes, I’d be a bit more concerned. It was never part of the game, and may be an obvious attempt at social engineering, but again, you wouldn’t be that stupid in the first place would you. I mean, does anyone actually USE their mother’s maiden name as a security question answer? It’s probably one of the least secure items you could use to start with, easily discovered by any really interested person.

PornStarNames is a laugh itss been doing the rounds since long before the internet, just because it made it to Twitter, no need to think it’s some great social engineering scam, it’s not.

Have a laugh, at your own expense and others, and if you have, foolishly, used any of this information as a password or security question somewhere, then surely you’ll see those letters appear on the screen before you and know it’s not a good idea to share.

The Search for Traffic

Millions of blogs, so why read this one? I update infrequently, I don’t talk about any particular subject. But seriously, my ego would love to think that the occasional person found what I had to say interesting!

So I’m signing myself up at a number of places, and trying to generate a bit of traffic.

One of those places is Technorati, my profile there is here: Technorati Profile

I’ll add others as I go. In the meantime, have a browse, stumble my posts, and spread the word in your Facebook or MySpace.

Add to Technorati Favorites

The end of the world as we know it?

It’s almost time for CERN to turn on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). On the 10th of Sept. 2008 they will shoot the first beam the whole way around this 27km ring. hell they won’t even be colliding anything when they first get the beast up and running!
The pseudo science, fringe dwellers and panic merchants have created quite a lot of hype about how this could mean the end of the world, or indeed the universe. Do you really believe that insignificant little man, on this insignificant little blue green planet out here in some backwater of the milky way can build a machine capable of destroying the universe?

LHC Open day 2008

LHC Open day 2008

Last night I watched a very interesting interview with Prof. Brian Cox on the ABC show Enough Rope. He equated the energy of a collision with that of a mosquito flying into your face. the trick is of course that this energy is being concentrated in such a tiny tiny space, in such an infinitesimal fraction of a second. Amazing things could possibly happen in that fraction of a second. Scientists postulate that they may be able to recreate conditions like those a billionth of a second after the Big Bang. Perhaps even micro Black Holes, Strangelets, or worm holes to other dimensions. But if we do see such phenomena, it will be on a very small scale, and it’s interaction with Earth will be negligible or virtually non-existant. All safely contained with systems that have been in planning and construction for over 20 years.

So what are the potential risks of the LHC? Well a Wikipedia article details some of the activities of the LHC, and another looks at the safety of the LHC. CERN themselves address the safety of the LHC. Really folks, there’s nothing to worry about, we’ve got more chance of blowing ourselves up with nuclear weapons than destroying the world with a micro Black Hole.

I myself am looking forward to the scientific discoveries that could be made from this ambitious experiment (or ongoing series of experiments). I’ll be watching live webcasts from CERN and leaving my brown paper bags for my groceries.

Global Updates – Not Quite.

Why is it so hard do do such a simle thing?

I’m about to head of to France, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to take advantage of all the modern gadgets and tools at my disposal. My plan seemed simple, use my mobile to quickly update my blog with images and movies of my travels.I spent a bit of time the other night setting it up, my Flickr account accepts uploads via email and now automatically posts those updates on my Blog, which in turn updates my Twitter status.

The next step was to get a cost estimate on the data usage. Well in theory, I should be able to check my data usage with Telstra, and with a cost per Mb calculate just how much a video or image upload would cost me. 2 hours on hold and being transferred around the Telstra help centers, and I’m giving up. For some reason, telstra have no records of any data usage on my phone since the 20th of last month. Of course, they’re happy to tell me I’ll get billed for it, when they find it. but those test emails have been to no avail. They can’t tell me how big they were.

In the end it’s academic. I found out how much the data rates for International roaming are. 1.5c/Kb. yes, that’s right, over $15/Mb !! A single image upload could cost me $40+ from my 5MP phone. Even sending compressed ones would be ridiculous. Let alone uploading short movie clips.

With this relevation, I went looking around for other oprions. Surely there must be some plans with the dta centric traveller in mind. But no. Other carriers like Three, Optus and Virgin are even more expensive at 2c/Kb. No-ones data plans cover international roaming, so your paying for every byte! Three actually have what ‘looks’ lie a good deal, until you realise that it covers only a few counties, none of which are France!

In the USA, AT&T have a couple of plans that would almost suit. Even then you’re looking at at least US$100 / month for about 20Mb of international data.

So, no instant blog updates from me. I’ll have to wait until I’m in airports with free wireless on my laptop, or actually at my mum’s place and using her internet.

The age of global communications, wireless internet and all these other fantastic things is upon us, but it’s not ready for the masses yet. It’s still a tool for the well funded business traveller.

oh, and if anyone can offer suggestions, find a way for me to accomplish what I seek to do, I’d love to hear from you.

Face Value

I’m sitting here, reading a few posts, exchanging emails, just wasting a few moments as you do and I’ve been inspired to write a little something on how often we do, or don’t take things at face value.

two seperate cases:

First, there is the story that’s doing the rounds atthe moment about a Redback Spider catching a small snake. i first saw it here and then it came through on the usual email chain letter train. I even reposted the link on my facebook account, figured it was pretty interesting. But I took it on “face value” and didn’t think to question the veracity of the story. However someone else did and I soon got an email from a friend, ‘it’s not a Red Back, it’s a Black Widow, and therefore American” (I’m paraphrasing BTW)

That made me think, “what’s the difference?”

So I went looking, first I followed the original blog story back to it’s source, and unfortunately it didn’t go too far and seeemd to be an unacknowledged repost even then. I read other peoples comments on the stories, and came up with a couple of things that could be checked. The type of Snake, and the type of spider. Someone mentioned the possibility that it was a South African snake, an Aurora House Snake so I checked out both the snake and the spider. The spider, it’s a tough call, could be A Redback, a Black Widow, a Button Spider, or one of many variants on the genus Latrodectus. The snake though, note that distinctive orange strip seen clearly in the picture below…

Spider Eats Snake

So a bit of research, and a story, that on ‘face value’ seems legit, is suddenly quite probably not an Australian story at all, and the spider is in all likely hood not a Redback, but another similar spider of that genus.

but what of the other side of the coin, the inability of some to talke something at ‘face value’.

This is my second point. Even in the comments for this spider story I saw people write “It’s a fake, it’s a photoshop”. If yuo surf/stuble about the web as much as I do you’ll notice it seems to be the catch cry of a jaded generation. So used to things being faked, they can’t accept occasionally that marvelous things can and will be caught on camera. That nature is often more beautiful, or more spectacular than one could ever imagine.

Sometimes you do just have to enjoy the image beforeyou, take it as you see and, and not cry ‘photoshop!” just because you’ve never seen soemthing like it before. hell it doesn’t have to be nature that’s weird…. tell me what you think of this. yes, it’s a crap post, but yet the ONLY comment asks… “photshopped?” I mean come on. A dodgy photo taken on a wet day of some idiot’s stupid car, why the f*** would anyone BOTHER! (of course you could say the same about the car in the photo.)

Anyway, to all you who cry “photoshop!” take a moment to enjoy things at face value. open your eyes to the world a bit. and if a photo is a clever photoshop fake, applaud the clever SOB who pulled it off.