Archive for PEBKAC

All becoming one

We are told that eventually all this Web stuff will be mobile, that desktops and laptops and tablets and phones will all handle the same material in exactly the same way.

That time has not come. American Express sent out a survey request to some of its customers (including me) that contained this warning:

Please note that this survey is best completed using a computer. You may experience some technical problems if you use a tablet or smartphone due to limitations with these devices and their software.

And the inequality goes in both directions. An editor at Merriam-Webster sent this up:

Happy convergence, I conclude, is a long way away.

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Featured features are buggy

Back in the summertime, the icemaker in my aging refrigerator went troppo; I finally got around to getting it fixed last week. There was, in the interim, a sensible workaround: the ever-popular ice tray, four of which got filled up daily to meet my cold-beverage needs. Not everyone, however, can solve fridge problems this simply:

I have a Samsung RF4289HARS refrigerator. The Google calendar app on it has been working perfectly since I purchased the refrigerator August 2012. However, with the latest changes in Google Calendar API, I can no longer sign in to my calendar. I receive a message stating “Please check your email in Google Calendar website”. I can sign in fine on my home PC and have no problem seeing the calendar on my phone. Perhaps this is a Samsung issue, but I thought I would try here first. Has anyone else experienced this problem and what was the solution?

Now maybe it’s just me, but I have this weird notion that the function of that big box in the kitchen is to keep stuff cold, not to remind you of your comings and goings. Then again, I paid less than $700 for my fridge more than a decade ago. Clearly it’s not going to have the incredible array of functions on — wait, what?

As announced since July, an old version of the calendar API has been shut down. (version 3 has been announced then, and version 1 has now been deactivated)

This effected everything that relied on the old version of the calendar API (that was even deprecated back then as v2 was already around!) Not only fridges, but everything that relied on v1. Everything provided with updates by the manufacturer should be fine as Google even provided a migration guide for the software makers (it’s part of the doc for v3), and of course the stock android apps for calendar have been updated directly by Google.

But it’s up to the device manufacturers to push those updates out to your devices. Google can’t and wouldn’t push firmware updates to other companies devices.

This thread started over a year ago. Apparently there are a lot of people with this problem:

I called the tech guy and he said that this part number DA97-11828A is the new part number (sorry got it confused). Apparently, the panel, board and dispenser paddles were originally sold separately and had their own older part numbers (pre 2013). I guess the dispenser paddles can still be ordered separately (for $50). But this new $300-$400 part bundle replaces the previously separate parts. I guess as it’s aged they don’t ship it separately anymore. So the guy said if you get this new part number, you are getting new stock. But the realist in me (who was told everything under sun by Samsung Support) feels obliged to tell you that it could also have been luck that I got a new one (if the service guy doesn’t really know what he’s talking about). I did look on the old part and there were no distinguishable part numbers or version numbers that I could discern. So I hope I’ve helped. Like I said in my first post, I had a few hundred bucks in my pocket and while I was fixing the other problem, I took a chance. The service guy did say that new part actually came with 2.690 (which my old one had 2.550) and it updated just after the installer replaced it. So the software update did work to 2.750 on the new board. So fingers are crossed that if there are new updates in the future, they will download with the new board.

At one level, I want to see these folks get the services they paid for, because dammit, that’s the American Way. Still, a part of me wants to see their mayonnaise spoil, just because.

(Via Popular Mechanics.)

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Different angle of approach

Received in the mailbox yesterday:

Dear Customer

Your invoice appears below. Please remit payment at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your business – we appreciate it very much.

Edith Dejesus Courier Service

By “below,” they mean “inside this ZIP file,” and when I looked inside that ZIP file I saw a lone .js file.

O disfrabjous day! Now they’re sending out JavaScripts to wreck your computers and your lives.


At least HAL has a job

Assuming, of course, that General Motors can build this particular structure:

General Motors this month filed a patent application for a navigation system that can gauge how effective it is in frustrating guiding drivers based on their eye movements and how well those drivers follow directions.

The patent application filed Dec. 3 details a navigation system that watches “visual focus, the driver vocalizations and the driver emotions, along with vehicle system parameters from a data bus … to evaluate driver satisfaction with navigation guidance and determine driver behavior.”

Ideally, this should improve the performance of the nav system. But what’s more likely to happen is this:

The patent application also details a location-based “promotional offers for businesses near a destination or route of the driver,” to offer you a cookie at a nearby Arby’s to forget that it ever got you lost in the first place.

You do this to me, OnStar, and you’ll get more than eye movements, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

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We all have reservations

Especially about stuff like this:

Somebody had to have signed off on that — illegibly, no doubt.

(Via @SwiftOnSecurity.)

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This may very well happen to you

And given the near-exhaustion of IPv4 addresses, it probably will at some point:

(Via Lesley Carhart, who suggests burning down the bar.)

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42nd and Deadness

It started some time around nine-thirty. The sysadmin hadn’t arrived yet, but the network guy was on it: nobody anywhere on our network had anything resembling Internet access. We’ve had some wonky hardware in the past, so he steeled himself to go rummaging around the switch panel, when a cry came down the line from the phone bank: no calls in or out. Since we’re a VoIP operation, the combination of the two problems meant only one of one thing: our Internet provider, the local cable company, had turned a deaf ear, or something, to us.

A cell call to the usual robot voice disclosed that yes, this is a problem in your area, and we expect it to be fixed by 11:45. It was not. The sysadmin, whose persistence exceeds mine by an order of magnitude, eventually made it past the usual choke points on the phone tree to an actual person, who said that about 400 customers were affected, and things should be back to normal by 1:00. “Well, it’s one o’clock somewhere,” I said.

Service was restored somewhere between five and six, long after most of us had bailed out for the day. I’m not particularly far behind on anything, but some of the other departments seem to be in deep kimchi, and El Jefe apparently had to endure a call (on his cell) from Camp Slobbovia asking what the fark was going on. I do not envy the man.

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Yes, those were the days

The most jarring aspect of this, I think, is the fact that it’s 2015:

Then again, having put up a Web site in 1996, perhaps I shouldn’t say anything.

(Via the ineffable @SwiftOnSecurity.)


The risk you run

There ain’t no party like a Microsoft party:

A word to the sufficient is wise.

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The fix you need when you need it

Well played, Apple:

Microsoft must be watching.

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It’s like roaming, only worse

In the early days of wireless, you paid dearly if you wandered onto someone else’s network. Today — well, nothing much has changed:

Apple was slapped with a class-action suit on Friday, claiming that the company failed to properly warn users that the new Wi-Fi Assist feature in iOS 9 will use data from their cellular plan.

In the complaint, plaintiffs William Scott Phillips and Suzanne Schmidt Phillips allege that because of costs related to Wi-Fi Assist, the “overall amount in controversy exceeds” $5 million. Filed in a U.S. District Court in San Jose on Friday, the suit was first discovered by AppleInsider.

Once users update to iOS 9, Wi-Fi Assist is turned on by default. Its goal is [to] ensure a smooth Internet experience, switching to cellular data in the event that the user is connected to a weak Wi-Fi signal.

And if there’s one thing people fear, it’s running up the meter on their data plans. Does this fear motivate them to seek out possible data drainage? Not sufficiently, one might conclude:

The complaint asserts that Apple did not properly explain Wi-Fi Assist on its website until only after a “flood of articles” were written about unintended cellular data use. For the plaintiffs, that addition to the website was too little, too late.

After all, Apple customers can’t be expected to receive the gospel from anyone other than Apple itself, am I right?

The logical next question: “Does Samsung do something like this?” Well, of course.


Thwartin’ Norton

Yes, folks, it’s another class-action suit:

You have received this email because records of Symantec Corp. or Digital River, Inc. indicate that you may have purchased Extended Download Service for Norton products (“EDS”) or Norton Download Insurance (“NDI”).

A proposed settlement has been reached with Symantec and Digital River in a class action alleging that Defendants misrepresented that EDS and NDI were necessary if a customer wanted to redownload their Norton software more than 60 days after purchase and failed to disclose that customers could redownload their Norton software for free or buy EDS later if needed. Defendants deny any wrongdoing. The case has proceeded as a class action on behalf of All Persons in the United States Who Purchased Extended Download Services for Norton Products or Norton Download Insurance Between January 24, 2005 and March 10, 2011 (the “Class Period”). Defendants have agreed to pay $60 million into a settlement fund to settle this action. Class members who submit a valid Claim Form through the settlement website,, will receive a cash payment of $50 for each separate purchase of EDS or NDI they made during the Class Period, subject to pro rata reduction if the total claims exceed the Net Settlement Fund.

A Hearing will be held on January 19, 2016 at 11:00 a.m., or another day set by the Court, before the Honorable John R. Tunheim, United States District Judge for the District of Minnesota, in Courtroom 15, 300 South Fourth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55415, for the purpose of determining whether the proposed settlement of the above-captioned litigation should be approved.

I am not, technically, part of this class: I was a Norton user — on the laptop, anyway — until 2004, but I never bought that particular package. (Digital River is some sort of software fulfillment house; I’ve purchased a number of software packages from several brands through DR.) I mention this in case you hadn’t heard; I also passed it on to @SwiftOnSecurity, because it’s bound to provoke a smile.



There’s a browser called eFast, and basically, you don’t want any part of it:

… a hijacker that installs a new browser rather than hijacking an existing one. It even attempts to replace Chrome if that is already installed. To make sure that you will use your new browser, eFast makes itself the default browser and takes over some file-associations. File-associations are settings that determine which program will run when files with a certain extension are opened.

And they’re betting you won’t notice the difference:

The installer for eFast also deletes all the shortcuts to Google Chrome on your taskbar and desktop, most likely hoping to confuse the user with their very similar icons. And not just the icons look alike. The newly installed browser feels and looks very much like Chrome, no doubt because they used the Chromium open source Projects to build this browser. It isn’t until you look in the settings that you spot the “about eFast” entry in the menu (or if you type “chrome://chrome” in the address bar).

Why would they go to this much trouble to make a Chrome clone?

Given the similarity to Chrome it is very hard to tell why a user would choose this copy-cat over the real Chrome. Very likely not for the advertisements this hijacker shows them, especially seeing that they get nothing really worthwhile in return.


(Via @SwiftOnSecurity.)


One of your own

“How much does it cost to have a site like yours?” asked nobody, nowhere.

What they really want is to know about a really spiffy-looking site, and if they’re interested in running WordPress, this is the most pertinent information I’ve seen:

If you do it yourself (which you totally can if you know how to use the internet, can point and click, can follow instructions and have a little cash and a little patience), you are eventually going to become a WordPress Expert. Maybe not a ninja-level-can-work-on-any-site expert, but you’ll learn enough to know exactly how to maintain everything about your own site. To do it RIGHT and set yourself up for success and future growth, it’s going to cost you a few hundred dollars.

If you are going to hire someone, you either marry a unicorn OR you hire WordPress Expert AND a designer. Your WordPress expert sets up your site for you (and they should ask TONS of questions about your business so they build everything you don’t even know you need), and hire a graphic designer to create your brand for you, and your WordPress Expert will implement the brand on the site for you.

The unicorn of my dreams, of course, wouldn’t have me on a bet.

That said, I did DIY this place, and it didn’t cost a whole lot of actual cash, but headaches and sweat surely count for something on the ledger.

Still, an Expert with her shingle out might come in at any conceivable price point. There’s a local production house with a WP Expert and a graphic designer in-house, and they’re really, really good, but they ain’t exactly cheap, if you know what I mean, and they have enough experience to be able to charge you for it.


We’re surrounded

As a survivor of quadraphonics, four decades ago, I can certainly relate to this:

Seems there are two common audio standards. One is known as 2.0 and the other is known as 5.1. If you have an older system like mine, 5.1 doesn’t work, you need to use 2.0. The language selection menu on the DVD offers four selections (as noted above). English 2 is the only one that uses 2.0, the others all use 5.1, which sort of explains why English 2 is the only one that would give us any dialog last night. Well, that’s nice to know, but it doesn’t really help. So I look at the DVD player menu, which is different than the menu that comes from the DVD. I poke around and finally find the HDMI audio switch that controls whether the audio is sent out to the TV or not. The TV is connected to the DVD player with an HDMI cable, which is capable of handling both audio and video. Since the DVD player is also a home theater sound system, there is no reason to send the audio to the TV, EXCEPT THAT TURNING IT ON FIXES THE PROBLEM.

In those heady days of quad, we had three different audio standards, none of them even marginally compatible. I’m thinking things have improved over 40 years, give or take, oh, any digital-protection scheme you can name.

Me, I have a tendency to mess with things. I have, for instance, one of these contraptions:

Soundmatters’ tagline, “One box, two wires, and $300 make any TV a home theater,” sums up the Mainstage’s appeal. This set-top powered speaker is refreshingly simple to install and use. For big sound anywhere in your home or office, just add the Mainstage to a digital or analog source, such as a DVD player or a TV — you’ll have a complete virtual-surround system. We like the $299 Mainstage’s trim good looks and hearty audio, but don’t expect the unit to deliver surround effects like a true multispeaker ensemble. In cramped quarters, however, where a 5.1 setup is out of the question, the Mainstage will serve with distinction.

A 5.1 setup is definitely out of the question in my usual viewing room, which turns out to be the master bedroom.

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You leave our revenue stream alone

Is anyone truly surprised at this?

Fixed, a mobile app that fights parking tickets and other traffic citations on users’ behalf, has had its parking ticket operations blocked in three of its top cities, San Francisco, Oakland and L.A. after the cities increased the measures they were taking to block Fixed from accessing their parking ticket websites.

Quelle surprise. How was this supposed to work, anyway?

Using its app, Fixed customers could snap a photo of their parking ticket using their phone’s camera, and then Fixed would check against a variety of common errors before writing a customized letter to the city on the user’s behalf. The app also cleverly tapped into Google Street View to check to see if the city had the proper signage in place in the area a ticket was received … Founder David Hegarty once noted that over half of tickets have an issue that would make them invalid.

And we can’t have that, can we? You might assume that cooperation from municipalities would be marginal at best, and you would be correct:

[T]he cities haven’t been welcoming to an app that was aimed at helping locals not pay their tickets by automating the process of jumping through legal loopholes. When Fixed began faxing its submissions to [San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency] last year, the agency emailed the startup to stop using their fax machine. When Fixed pointed out that it was legal to do so, the agency simply shut off their fax.

Things escalated after that, but Fixed has finally thrown in the towel — at least in those three cities. Other Fixed functions continue, for now.

(Via @fussfactory.)


Ending the period of mourning

The sad story — okay, it’s not that sad — begins this way:

My mom’s iPad recently cratered. It wasn’t a huge deal, since it was a hand-me-down of my 1st generation model, and I replaced it with another hand-me-down of my 2nd gen tablet.

At least this keeps the supply lines clear. But what to do with the corpse?

I was able to coax it to life just long enough to wipe it clean and destroy the SIM chip, and I planned to drop it off in the dead electronics box at Best Buy for recycling. But then I had a brilliant thought: “what do guys do when their stuff breaks beyond repair?” The answer is pretty obvious. They shoot it!

And so he shot it. Gory details — okay, they’re not that gory — at the link.

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The deader zone

My office at 42nd and Treadmill, festooned as it is with forty-odd years’ worth of wiring, some of which might not actually connect anything anymore, is utterly immune to T-Mobile’s cell signal, despite being within two and a half miles of an Interstate. The only GSM carrier that gets through is AT&T, and I surmise it’s because there’s a tower only a couple of blocks away that probably belongs to them and them alone. Meanwhile, I lament:

I’d be happy to get a consistent bar and a half from my desk at work, and speed be damned.

Now I’m assuming I’m reading the display correctly: there’s this antenna-shaped thing at the far end, and then one to four bars off to the right to indicate signal strength. Once in a very blue moon I get an actual bar, and I can remember an incident in which I had two bars, simply because it was the only time it ever happened. As a rule, I keep the phone off at work, not so much because I need to look busy, but because when it’s searching for its home network, it uses about three times as much battery. So when I was preparing to leave the shop yesterday, I fished the phone out of my bag and turned it on.

And stared in disbelief. Usually there’s a “Searching…” message on the phone until such time as it actually connects, and a three-bar display which I assume is actually AT&T’s network on the same frequency band. This time, no message, and there was one bar — to the left of the antenna-shaped thing.

Ladies and germs, for the first time in my life, I have had Minus One Bar. If it’s possible to have worse coverage than that, it probably requires leaving the troposphere. Still, as always, by the time I made it out to the parking lot, I was up to the usual two-bar minimum.


Redmond, destroyer of browsers

Once again, Microsoft is killing off old versions of Internet Explorer:

Beginning January 12, 2016, only the current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates. Microsoft recommends that customers running older versions of Internet Explorer upgrade to the most recent version, which is Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.

This does not mean that the last dozen or so Vista users on earth have to upgrade — IE 9 is still supported on Vista if you have Service Pack 2 — but you’re still going to be urged to get Win10 and Edge.

The sysadmin, informed of this, muttered a deep imprecation against those neo-Luddites still using IE 8.

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Rhymes with “bombast”

Turns out, even people who have never used Comcast hate Comcast:

My late mother-in-law had Comcast for years in Chattanooga before moving in with the wife and me. Comcast kept her old email address open and forwarding to her new Gmail address.

Now though, we want to either stop the forwarding, or close the email account. Neither is possible.

Literally. There are no forwarding controls on Comcast’s webmail interface — the link purportedly pointing to forwarding controls doesn’t go to forwarding controls. And if you try calling customer service…?

Let’s just say it’s probably not worth the effort to try. It might, however, be worth five bucks to outsource the task:

AirPaper will handle all the nastiness of nixing your Comcast plan for a mere $5. $5 for peace of mind and a bit of sanity feels like a steal.

The geniuses (or masochists) behind this are Earl St Sauver and Eli Pollak, two Bay Area tech gurus who, from the sound of it, have paid their own iron price in dealing with phone trees and unhelpful customer service operators. Now they just want to help other people avoid the hassle of canceling their cable plans.

Two of their next three schemes have to do with doing business in San Francisco, which should tell you something about doing business in San Francisco.

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Flow gauge?

One of the more exasperating aspects of the Internet of Things is that nobody is seriously asking “Why this Thing?” And maybe you can justify this, but I can’t, and neither can Gadgette:

Don’t get us wrong, we’ve nothing against menstrual cups — lots of women find them useful and planet-friendly — but why on earth would you want to link that to the internet?

Are you hoping for stats like “so far this year, you’ve bled enough to recreate the Huey Lewis scene in American Psycho“? Or perhaps you’d like to gamify your menses: “Kate shed 10ml more than you this month! Up your game, girlfriend.”

We’re kidding, of course, but that’s actually not far off what the Looncup is offering.

Perhaps I’m not the one to pass judgment on this contraption. So I’ll continue to quote the woman who wrote that piece:

Does this mean we’re going to get a notification in the middle of a meeting saying “Your cup runneth over”? Is the colour represented on a Pantone chart of vermilion hues? “Last month you were Pepperoni but this month you’re a bit more Lobster”? What happens if the app gets hacked and someone puts our periods on PasteBin?!?

I’m guessing this is intended as a marker, so something like the fridge that emails you to tell you you’re out of eggs will seem normal by comparison. (Now beer, that I can understand.)

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Totally unintellectual property

As are most such laws these days, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is designed to give the Really Stupid an advantage in a court of law, to the extent we have courts of law anymore.

What do I mean by “Really Stupid”? Here’s a blatant — yet not particularly unusual — example:

In an attempt to make it harder for people to find pirated copies of its movies, Paramount Pictures has tried to remove several uTorrent forum posts from Google’s search results. However, it turns out that none of the threads that were called out as unlawful actually link to copyright infringing material.

Just mentioning a word that’s in the title is apparently enough to upset Paramount’s little digital militia:

[A] user pointed out that he was “clueless” about something. This apparently rang alarm bells at Paramount’s content protection company who assumed that this person was referring to a pirated copy [of] the film Clueless.

Google’s response? According to TorrentFreak, they whitelisted the entire uTorrent domain. Apparently there’s only so much stupidity Google is willing to tolerate.

(Via Consumerist.)

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I got to let them know

Should they stay or should they go? This is pretty much exactly the way they put it in their email:

We can take a hint. We hate unwanted email almost as much as we hate feeling needy or neglected. Bothering you is the last thing we want. If you’d still like to receive emails from us, just let us know by clicking below. If not, no hard feelings, but please be honest and tell us so we can move on.

The ball is in your court: If you do not select either of these options, we’ll be forced to part ways and clear you off our subscriber list.

Passive-aggressive much?

I decided to opt in, just this once. (Tease, tease, tease.)

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Going for maximum meta

And the snake takes another yummy bite of tail:

Who didn’t see this coming? (Besides me, I mean.)


Too good a tool

Bad news in the mailbox from the Fortress of Bezosity:

The Amazon MP3 Downloader is no longer available as of today. We’re sorry for any inconvenience!

As an alternative, you can download your music directly through your web browser. To help make this easier, we’ve completely redesigned web browser downloading. It now gives you the option to download albums and multiple tracks at the same time using .ZIP files. ZIP is a file format that compresses content for quicker transfer.

If .ZIP files save any transfer time, it’s because they move several files under a single filename; actual compression of an .mp3 music file, already compressed to begin with, is next to nil. The last musical .ZIP file I acquired, Go Home Productions’ Sleazy Egyptian EP, managed to get 9-percent compression on a couple of tracks, which is amazingly high.

The real bummer, for me anyway, is that the Downloader was smart enough to find one’s iTunes directory and install the files on the fly, even while they were being tossed into the Amazon MP3 folder.

Oh, yes, this trick is still doable — with the Amazon Music app. I suppose I’ll have to see if this works on the desktop, because it definitely won’t work on my Dumbphone.


No extra screws in the package

What’s the opposite of a pimp? Let’s see:

A Japanese-based company Softbank, which has created Pepper the robot, has forced customers to sign a document forbidding its owners from using the humanoid for sexual purposes, as well as creating sexy apps.

To tell you the truth, she doesn’t do a thing for me:

“Pepper is a social robot able to converse with you, recognize and react to your emotions, move and live autonomously,” the developer’s website states.

Well, some of your emotions, I suppose. The phrase “I am not programmed to respond in this area” comes immediately to mind.

Pepper is now available for use at home, though people have found that communication is really her only asset, as her domestic skills, such as cleaning or cooking are severely lacking.

Who’s buying this humanoid?

Currently Pepper is available for purchase for Japanese residents only and they must be older than 20.

And they must have the yen equivalent of $2,000 US, and perhaps an indulgence from the Space Pope.

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Lookin’ out my backdoor

Cisco is attempting to deal with something called SYNful Knock:

SYNful Knock is a type of persistent malware that allows an attacker to gain control of an affected device and compromise its integrity with a modified Cisco IOS software image. It was described by Mandiant as having different modules enabled via the HTTP protocol and triggered by crafted TCP packets sent to the device.

Security type Blind Seeker opines:

There are really only two host-based artifacts that can give away the implant; the modification of the TLB (Translation Lookaside Buffer) attributes from Read-only to Read/Write, and the fact that the actors will ascertain what features of the IOS are not being used to determine what functionality to remove in order to fit their backdoor into the IOS image, without affecting the size of the image. Your network admins aren’t ever going to care about the memory attributes of the TLB, and unless there is a sudden need to change their entire network, those unused features that were deleted to make room for the backdoor aren’t gonna be missed either. Even assuming that the network admin notices that a particular feature isn’t working on a router, they’re more likely to go “Huh, that’s weird..” and engage Cisco technical support and/or just nuke and re-image the router than they would be to say ZOMG NATION-STATE BACKDOOR.

This is consistent with standard network-admin practice:

Networking gear exists in a realm of if it ain’t broken, save the running config, back it up somewhere, and NEVER TOUCH THIS AGAIN.

Exactly so.

(Via @SwiftOnSecurity.)

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Hardware issues

“Shopping, sex, and shopping for sex,” said Penn Jillette once upon a time, “propel all new technology.” Today, gender-swapping is cumbersome and expensive; tomorrow, maybe not so much. In the meantime, there’s always Adobe Photoshop.


Block that ad!

Blocking of online ads, says TechCrunch, is on the rise:

There are now 198 million global active users of ad blocking software, up 41 percent from 12 months ago, according to a recent report by PageFair and Adobe. The report also estimates that ad blocking will cost publishers $22 billion in revenue this year.

Some caveats: PageFair isn’t an objective industry observer, since its business revolves around helping publishers circumvent these blockers. Also, the impact on mobile may be reduced as more content is distributed on apps and social networks. Lastly, there have been arguments that ad blocking won’t hurt publishers as badly as you might think, because the ad business has always been “lossy,” with lots of wasted money, whether you’re talking about TV or print.

See, for instance, department-store magnate John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

There are sites for which I gladly turn off the blocker. Equestria Daily is one; I shut it down on Fark for a while, but found that some of their sneakier ad-placement suppliers had found ways to crash my browser with horribly designed garbage.

And there are sites for which I will probably never turn it off, such as, on the basis that I give their parent company somewhere upwards of $200 a year and should be exempt from that crap for that reason alone.

Besides, there are people in desperate need of an object lesson here:

Harry Kargman, the founder and CEO of mobile ad company Kargo, agreed that in many cases, online ads have created “a bad consumer experience — from an annoyance perspective, a privacy perspective, a usability perspective.” At the same time, he said that as the industry works to solve these problems, it also needs to convince people that when you use an ad blocker, “That’s stealing. It’s no different than ripping music. It’s no different than pirating movies.”

Horse doodles. You want an analogy that fits? It’s pushing the next station on the car radio the moment you hear that douchebag from [much-hated auto dealership].

(Via Daily Pundit.)

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A price far above rubies (3)

I have never quite trusted a printer’s estimate of how much ink is left before you have to spend more money, and apparently my suspicions are well-founded:

You should know this:

[T]he Epson 9900 is a professional grade printer that costs thousands of dollars. Each 700 ml ink cartridge can cost nearly $100, and a full set runs well over $1,000. As a popular fine art printing company, Bellevue has had 4 of the 9900 printers.

Then again, it could be worse. Before I destroyed it in a fit of pique it got to the end of its abbreviated lifecycle, I had a DeskJet which used the HP 56 cartridge, which ran $1.84 per milliliter, versus 14 cents for these Epsons.

(Via Fark.)

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