Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Walking through the Minneapolis airport, a friend and I came across something… not right. Apparently, the “New and Improved” Internet Access GateStation kiosk had rebooted, and hung with the BIOS displayed. We laughed and walked closer to get a good look. Interesting. It was configured to boot off a USB floppy drive. There couldn’t be […]

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Matt Knox, a talented Ruby instructor and coder, talks about his early days designing and writing adware for Direct Revenue. (Direct Revenue was sued by Eliot Spitzer in 2006 for allegedly surreptitiously installing adware on millions of computers.) S: You wrote adware. You bastard. M: [sheepishly] Yes, I did.  I got to write half of […]

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Last week, the NSA was granted a patent which supposedly allows them to “Spot Network Snoops.”1 At first glance, the patent seems rather obscure and boring. However, it could have major implications for anonymity and privacy on the Internet. Back in 2005, the same NSA inventor, Michael Reifer, and a colleague were granted a patent […]

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Watching Big Brother

Early one recent Sunday, I took the train from Boston to New York City to visit the Transit Museum. When I arrived in New York, it was still too early for the museum to be open. I decided to step outside at Penn Station and grab a sandwich. I was surprised to see these signs: […]

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A few months ago I walked into Radio Shack, looking for a short-range FM transmitter. I asked the woman behind the counter if the store sold FM transmitters. “I don’t know,” she frowned. “The Internet’s down. I can’t access our product catalog.” (Gah!) Weeks later, I walked into a U-Haul to rent a truck. The […]

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Gasoline Glitch

Driving across the country, we took a quick detour into Michigan off of I-90. We stopped at a gas station to fill up. As we pulled up to the pump, Jonathan noticed that the handle was topped with a plastic bag. “Looks like this one’s closed.” Oddly enough, all the pump handles were covered with […]

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GPS and Wall Street

For those of you who didn’t catch the full significance of Jon Warner’s GPS Spoofing demonstration, consider that GPS timing information is crucial for the financial industry: “Banking institutions and Foreign Exchange networks rely heavily on precision timing so a stock order placed on one side of the globe can be received almost instantly in […]

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Oh dear. The word is out now in Cambridge…. Post more if you see ’em…

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Guerilla Public Service

The city of Cambridge got a spelling lesson this week from my remarkable friend Steve, who writes: Not far from my house is one of those temporary trailer-mounted variable message signs, which for the past several weeks has been advising motorists that ALBANY CLOSED @PACIFIC and that they should therefore DETOUR VIA BROOKLIN [There is […]

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Off the Grid

I felt like the luckiest girl at HOPE when bernieS handed me a pair of TriSquare Digital Two-Way Radios (TSX300), a prize given away at his excellent talk, “Off the Grid – Voice/Data Communications” (Skip Arey and bernieS). Ever since the “warrantless wiretapping” FISA Amendements Act was passed by Congress a few weeks ago, I’ve […]

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New TSA Airport ID Requirement

A few weeks ago, TSA announced a major policy change in passenger identification procedures. Up until this point, passengers who refused to show ID were still able to fly, albeit with extra screening. As of June 21, 2008, “passengers that willfully refuse to provide identification at security checkpoint will be denied access to the secure […]

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In 1975, during Congressional hearings about the NSA’s capabilities, Senator Frank Church said: “If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight […]

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Meddlesome Military

While smoking a cigar on the porch this evening, my friend Taylor made an interesting comparison. Apparently, the Bush administration has proposed using very high-resolution military satellites for domestic surveillance. Taylor said that this reminded him of 27 BCE in ancient Rome, when for the first time Roman legions were allowed to be stationed domestically […]

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This evening I went to the Kendall Cinema to watch “Gonzo,” the latest documentary about Hunter S. Thompson. Afterwards, in honor of the doctor, I wrote the following letter to Rolling Stone magazine: To Rolling Stone, Several months ago you began stamping my name and address on piles of dead trees and convincing the United […]

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Green Line

Earlier this week, two Green Line trains crashed. Apparently the young woman who was driving the second train failed to apply the brakes, and smashed into the train ahead which had stopped at a red light. The driver was killed and nine other people were injured. MBTA representatives said that we were very lucky that […]

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Eugenics

Picture the day when our genetic engineering techniques have become effective and practical. Barring regulation, in a capitalist society money will in fact buy better genes. “Better” could mean more resistant to disease, cancer, and other afflictions. It might also mean beauty, size, personality and intelligence.

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Battleground

Technology allows one person to wield the power of many. Technology allows many people to communicate very quickly and effectively. In some ways, these are two opposing factors. If one person can wield the power of many, someday it may be possible for a very small group of people to directly control the daily lives […]

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Intelligence allows us to evolve very rapidly. By the next century, I imagine that direct genetic manipulation will be commonplace, and this will enable us to self-select genetic specific traits for specific social niches. We will undoubtedly develop increasingly sophisticated technologies of communication, and increasingly sophisticated technologies of control. This will spur the arms race […]

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