from the musical-winged-horse dept
If you've tried Kim Dotcom's new Mega service, you know that apart from solid design and an impressive amount of free storage, it's pretty underwhelming. But the trigger-happy anti-piracy group StopFileLockers doesn't agree, instead demanding it be shut down and leading PaulT to serve up our most insightful comment of the week:
Well, they might as well make these accusations - they're almost certainly based on the same level of evidence as the ones they make against most other services and users. Why wait for the evidence when the evidence you'll later produce will either be faulty or non-existent.
That makes about as much sense as "StopFTPServers", both in terms of what it will realistically do to stop piracy and in terms of the perfectly legal operations they haven't considered that they're trying to attack. Paid entertainment industry shill, at least he's honest about it upfront.
Meanwhile, when long-standing suspicions that the prosecution of Aaron Swartz was all about Carmen Ortiz "sending a message" were unsurprisingly confirmed, Jesse took second place by decoding said message:
Evidently the message Carmen was sending is:
"I have more power than I can responsibly handle and someone desperately needs to rein me in."
These stories and more like them are the fallout of the war on computing, from which we take our two editor's choices. First up is an anonymous commenter, who posed our examples of the ongoing war in a different light by removing the computers:
So if you remove the "computer" part of the equation you end up with something like this:
Aaron Swartz walked up to buy something from a cashier. They had a penny tray that said, "Take what you want." After taking a handful of pennies he was charged with theft.
Andrew Auernheimer was talking with an AT&T rep. The rep would give out all their customer information if you said the customers' number. After trying several numbers he ends up with information from multiple customers. I guess AT&T's honesty system wasn't very robust.
Meanwhile, up in Canada, Ahmed Al-Khabaz found that the door to the student records was unlocked. He let them know about the security problem and initially they were happy. A few days later he checked to see if the door was unlocked and open still only to find out that it's illegal to look inside open doors.
The moral of the story is that free isn't, open doors are secure by default and AT&T sucks.
Some stories have morals, while others offer clarity. If you're a fan of physicist Richard Feynman (as both Mike and I have been for a long time) you know that he's chock full of the latter. So Richard was an easy choice when he brought a classic Feynman tale to the comments:
Read Feynman's autobiography.
Look at the bits about safecracking (pp77-83) and the holes in the physical security fence (pp65-66)."Colonel," I said, in a serious tone, "let me tell you something about these locks: When the door to the safe or the top drawer of the filing cabinet is left open, it's very easy for someone to get the combination. That's what I did while you were reading my report, just to demonstrate the danger. You should insist that everybody keep their filing cabinet drawers locked while they're working, because when they're open, they're very, very vulnerable."....Unfortunately this is nothing to do with computers. It is an old fashioned (analogue if you like - but actually that is a horrible misuse of the word) problem re-incarnated in digital guise.
The next time I went to Oak Ridge, all the secretaries and people who knew who I was were telling me, "Don't come through here! Don't come through here!" The colonel had sent a note around to everyone in the plant which said, "During his last visit, was Mr. Feynman at any time in your office, near your office, or walking through your office?" Some people answered yes; others said no. The ones who said yes got another note: "Please change the combination of your safe." That was his solution: I was the danger.
The so called "old people who don't understand" won't die off - they will be replaced by a new generation of people who don't understand.
(The complete tales of Feynman's time at Oak Ridge, especially his antics with the safes, are some of the most enjoyable stories you'll ever hear from one of history's greatest geniuses.)
Over on the funny side, people were quite taken with the closing line of Tim Cushing's post about the CBS/Dish debacle, in which he left the network staring at a self-inflicted foot wound. This inspired Big Al to deliver our funniest comment of the week, responding to a comment observing that CBS has somewhat fallen from grace:
"They could practically walk on water. Not so much now, though."
Not surprising with all the holes in their feet.
Meanwhile, the news that Antigua may be getting ready to antagonize the US with an official "pirate" site caused Cpt. ICE Enforcer to spring into action. He took the second funniest spot—not with his initial salvo, but with his response to a commenter who questioned him about twice misspelling "gambling" as "gabling":
The letter M was intentionally redacted for your protection. Recent studies showed that including the letter M increased the chances of gambling addiction due to the sound of Mmmm And it's link to Sexual almost Orgasmic thoughts.
The Android marketplace is full of questionable apps, malware and outright sleaze
[Runs out to get an Android phone]
Finally, though it's totally unfair for the editor's choice to go to one of our official regular contributors, I'm making an exception this week because it would be even more unfair to ignore Tim Cushing's take on the GEMA logo:
Yet another savvy move by GEMA in its ongoing effort to alienate the entire world, following closely on the heels of its updated corporate logo.
That's all for this week—see you tomorrow!