Monthly Archives: January 2013

[VIDEO] Kids Need to Learn Programming
Date Created: January 21, 2013  Date Modified: January 21, 2013

The message here–that everyone should learn to code, seems to me to be lost in the presenter over marketing his Scratch software, but that could be years of Flash bias talking.

I agree tho, kids should be taught to code, in the same way kids are taught to read, write and execute. Maybe CSS for Babies is a good place to start?

This rant was posted in Software, Web on by .

[LINK] CSS For Babies, reviewed by CSS Tricks
Date Created: January 21, 2013  Date Modified: January 21, 2013

The folk over at CSS Tricks made my afternoon with this review of a CSS textbook: CSS for Babies.

I have a feeling I will be seeing a hard copy in some friends bookshelf 🙂

This rant was posted in Web on by .

New Media and Democracy: From Trolls to Bots
Date Created: January 20, 2013  Date Modified: January 20, 2013

As mentioned in my earlier New Media and Democracy posts, the conservative coalition have had no qualms about enlisting the help from their young supporters to muddy the waters of political discourse, well it seems they have stepped up their game and hired a coder to automate their trolling with the use of bots.

Tiphereth Gloria, social media expert with VML Australia, said the bot evidence presented in the Storify post appeared to be accurate and she believes it pointed to a Liberal Party campaign. The fake accounts appeared to be part of a “propaganda war” effort to “increase share of voice of anti-Labor sentiment”.

Separately, other spam bot accounts are more blatant. One suspected anti-Labor bot Twitter profile with over 88,000 tweets is @LaborDirt, which pumps out a constant stream of anti-Labor content. Anti-Gillard account @GI-Gillard has reportedly been retweeted by the same bots that retweeted Mr Hunt’s tweet.
Source: SMH

A Storify user calling themself The Geek has followed this a little closer than I have:

Update 1: Since publishing this story earlier, I have put together a growing list of LNP Bots here:
https://twitter.com/geeksrulz/greg-hunt-bots/members
Also at last count 19 January 2013, there were about 40 genuine retweets out of 175 in total for this tweet. The Bots are tweeting via an app or platform called “The People’s Voice”. Has anyone heard of this? Contact me @geeksrulz on Twitter.
Update 2: I tweeted a link last night to my storify feature is.gd/3r9Xj1 to @GregHuntMP for comment. No response so far.
Update 3: Since shining a light on this single tweet by Greg Hunt, the retweets have jumped to 192. They are by real LNP supporters who are possibly coming to Greg Hunt’s rescue to even up the ratio between spambots and real people.

Update 4: It appears that Twitter has finally acted and they have suspended the spambots that were identified. With friends like these, who needs enemies.

Update 5: Henk Luf is threatening to sue me for using his name in this feature. (Oops just did it again.) I have threatened to sue him back if he keeps using my name in his political tweets. Please go to the special Henk Luf section below if you can be bothered. See, spambots are missing out on all the fun that real people have 🙂
Update 6: Finally a response from Greg Hunt via @bennpackham. Greg Hunt says he hasn’t got the technical skills to pull off such a ruse. Fair point. I wonder how he managed to get his website up and running.
http://storify.com/geeksrulz/the-desperation-of-a-liberal-mp

He goes on to point out further details of this troll, and even gives an example of another Conservative MP doing the same…

Can we make legaslative provisions to prevent this type of trolling? or will we just be making an over-regulated online media? I dont have a solution to this other that teach ethics in Computer Science 101.

GreenScreen Updates
Date Created: January 17, 2013  Date Modified: January 27, 2013

the GreenScreen child theme I made for this blog has been updated and the project is now hosted on github. The repository with the CSS and lack of release notes can be easily found.

The theme now supports Disqus comments and is almost ready for live deployment.

UPDATE 27.1.13: I have added the github commits RSS to the right hand widget area on this and the plugin page…

[REPORT] Redefining Information Warfare Boundaries for an Army in a Wireless World
Date Created: January 16, 2013  Date Modified: January 16, 2013

An old proverb: You don’t defeat nations with armies, you defeat them with ideas; Its a sad state of the internet when one nation spends more money on defence than all nations on earth combined, and consider the digital realm to be their battleground.

As a term, information warfare, or IW, remains in use worldwide, in the militaries of other countries as well as in some of the U.S. military services. The Navy now has an IW officer position, which it advertises as involving “attacking, defending and exploiting networks to capitalize on vulnerabilities in the information environment” (U.S. Navy, undated)…

…Social networks, as part of the information environment, are also a part of such conflicts or struggles. As noted by LTG Michael Vane, “Army forces operate in and among human populations, facing hybrid threats that are innovative, networked, and technologically-savvy” (TRADOC, 2010a, p. i). Internet-assisted social networking is now a part of the operational environment, as events in Egypt, Moldova, Iran, and even Pittsburgh have made clear. Social networks are a growing and increasingly relevant element of the information environment…

…Harkening back to the birth of the information operations concept out of command and control warfare in the late 1990s, this doctrine aggregates the areas of electronic warfare (EW), computer network operations (CNO), psychological operations (PSYOP), military deception (MILDEC), and operations security (OPSEC) as core capabilities, despite the fact that some of these concepts are quite dissimilar.
http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/MG1100/MG1113/RAND_MG1113.pdf

As net citizens, as world citizens; we need to fight this war on ideas with bigger and better ideas. The IP is mightyer than the sword.

Finally we have reached the 21st century
Date Created: January 15, 2013  Date Modified: January 24, 2013

After seeing Lawnmowerman in the 90’s (even before) I have wanted a VR headset. I remember reading in a PC mag 20 years ago about a system that was commercially available at the time that could run… the original DOOM. This new product includes OOTB support for DOOM 3 BFG Edition:

DOOM 3 BFG Edition and Hawken are the only official Oculus-ready titles that have been announced as of November 1, 2012. We hope there are plenty of game developers who soon integrate Oculus technology into their upcoming titles and begin creating new games designed specifically for virtual reality!

also from the FAQ:

Libraries, headers, documentation, and samples for integrating the Oculus Rift with any game. We’ll also include out-of-the-box Unreal Engine and Unity integrations. The Oculus SDK will support PC (Windows) at launch.

From the Oculus FAQ

Dont care too much about Doom 3–when I was reading it for Games Art and Design, I really didnt enjoy it; Im nostalgic for the original but I found 3 “disconnected” and dated, still its a Gamne I own and have modded with. Unity intergration will be fun with the framework being used by many indy developers, but Unreal is where this product will likley shine being that the engine is the core of many games on the market.

This rant was posted in Doom, Games, Modding, Playstation, Tech, Video, Xbox on by .

RIP: Aaron Swartz
Date Created: January 13, 2013  Date Modified: January 20, 2013

On January 25, to support the Aaron Swartz Memorial blackout, this site will only display this post.

Being peroccupied with social commitments meant I only found about this today, but over the weekend one of the technocrati, Aaron Swzrtz had passed away–alledgedly a suicide.

Aaron Swartz co-developed the RSS standard that all us bloggers love, was a co-founder of reddit and an advocate of open information;

Somewhere in there, Aaron’s recklessness put him right in harm’s way. Aaron snuck into MIT and planted a laptop in a utility closet, used it to download a lot of journal articles (many in the public domain), and then snuck in and retrieved it. This sort of thing is pretty par for the course around MIT, and though Aaron wasn’t an MIT student, he was a fixture in the Cambridge hacker scene, and associated with Harvard, and generally part of that gang, and Aaron hadn’t done anything with the articles (yet), so it seemed likely that it would just fizzle out.

Instead, they threw the book at him. Even though MIT and JSTOR (the journal publisher) backed down, the prosecution kept on. I heard lots of theories: the feds who’d tried unsuccessfully to nail him for the PACER/RECAP stunt had a serious hate-on for him; the feds were chasing down all the Cambridge hackers who had any connection to Bradley Manning in the hopes of turning one of them, and other, less credible theories. A couple of lawyers close to the case told me that they thought Aaron would go to jail.
http://boingboing.net/2013/01/12/rip-aaron-swartz.html

as Lessig states:

Aaron had literally done nothing in his life “to make money.” He was fortunate Reddit turned out as it did, but from his work building the RSS standard, to his work architecting Creative Commons, to his work liberating public records, to his work building a free public library, to his work supporting Change Congress/FixCongressFirst/Rootstrikers, and then Demand Progress, Aaron was always and only working for (at least his conception of) the public good. He was brilliant, and funny. A kid genius. A soul, a conscience, the source of a question I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think? That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying. I get wrong. But I also get proportionality. And if you don’t get both, you don’t deserve to have the power of the United States government behind you.
http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/40347463044/prosecutor-as-bully

UPDATE 15.1.12: The first thing in Google Reader this morning (well after I read yesturdays XKCD) was an Ars article about how charges against Mr Swartz have been dropped. A petition has been set up on the Whitehouse website calling for the removal of the prosecutor who was handeling the Swartz case.

Anon have voiced their condolences on a couple of MIT websites, showing just how much this man was respected in the web community

After MIT President L. Rafael Reif issued a statement this afternoon promising a “thorough analysis of MIT’s involvement from the time that we first perceived unusual activity on our network in fall 2010 up to the present,” Anonymous targeted at least two MIT Web sites. Lacking the loose-knit group’s usual feisty language, the message posted on the Web site was a call for reform in the memory of the late Internet activist.
After calling the prosecution of Swartz “a grotesque miscarriage of justice” and “a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for,” Anonymous outlined its list of goals under a section labeled “Our wishes:”

  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of computer crime laws, and the overzealous prosecutors who use them.
  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of copyright and intellectual property law, returning it to the proper principles of common good to the many, rather than private gain to the few.
  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for greater recognition of the oppression and injustices heaped daily by certain persons and institutions of authority upon anyone who dares to stand up and be counted for their beliefs, and for greater solidarity and mutual aid in response.
  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for a renewed and unwavering commitment to a free and unfettered internet, spared from censorship with equality of access and franchise for all.

CNET has contacted MIT for comment on the apparent hacking and will update this report when we learn more.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57563752-93/anonymous-hacks-mit-after-aaron-swartzs-suicide/

Academics are showing their respects too–by posting copy-protected joyurnal articles on twitter, which has gained momentum in the past few days; some only hearing of Swartz after his passing but still greatly supportive of his open-information initative.

The PDF campaign was born out of a desire to honor Swartz’s memory and his battle for open access to documents on the Internet, said Micah Allen, a researcher in the fields of brain plasticity, cognitive neuroscience, and cognitive science.

“A fitting tribute to Aaron might be a mass protest uploading of copyright-protected research articles,” Allen wrote yesterday on Reddit. “Dump them on Gdocs, tweet the link. Think of the great blu-ray encoding protest but on a bigger scale for research articles.”

As of Sunday morning, it appeared that hundreds were participating in the protest/tribute, posting links to thousands of documents on Twitter using the hashtag #pdftribute, the creation of which Allen attributed to Eva Vivalt and Jessica Richman.

“It gives us some action to take in response to our sorrow and frustration about Aaron’s death,” Richman told CNET. “I had met him several times and have friends that knew him well. It’s a tragic loss.”
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57563701-93/researchers-honor-swartzs-memory-with-pdf-protest/

No doubt this will continue to be the talk of the web for some time still.

[REPORT] Crisis and Escalation in Cyberspace
Date Created: January 10, 2013  Date Modified: January 10, 2013

RAND released this report Crisis and Escalation in Cyberspace, which focuses on state sponsored cyberoperations…

In the past 20 years, there have been plenty of instances of cybercrime and cyberespionage. But there have been only three and a half cyberattacks that could even conceivably rise to the level of a cyberwar: the DDOS attacks against Estonia in 2007, a similar attack on Georgia in 2008, the Stuxnet worm (2009–2010), and perhaps a cyberattack on Syria radar prefatory to an Israeli air strike on a supposed nuclear reactor in 2007. 20 Of these, all but one (Stuxnet) was unaccompanied by violence, which tends to create its own tensions. In part for this reason, none of these engendered a cybercrisis of the sort discussed here. As for generalizations about computer intrusion, they are based on reported cases; they exclude unreported proprietary or classified material.http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2012/RAND_MG1215.pdf

I feel that they are ignoring a few other incidents, but it is RAND so they would be unlikley to bring up Fukishima.

The first instinct of the policymakers was to get ahead of the crisis by taking ownership of it; this they did by constantly pressing for new powers. Extraordinary powers, of course, require extraordinary circumstances to justify…

False flag much??

[REPORT] The Google books settlement: a private contract in the absence of adequate copyright law
Date Created: January 10, 2013  Date Modified: January 10, 2013

I missed work yesturday so I had a lot of catching up to do today, this piked my interest because it references Lessig in the first sentence (and we all love Law professors who can internet like a pro). I will give it a more indepth read tonight when I have a bit more time…

The Google Books settlement has been hailed as an audacious and brilliant move by proponents and critics alike (Lessig, 2010; Samuelson, 2009a). Google’s goal of digitizing up to 20 million books drawn from participating libraries has been recast to cut authors and publishers in on the deal. With one comprehensive and complex legal document, Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers have crafted a deal that could transform the digital marketplace for books and could give Google a legal—and exclusive—method to clear rights for some copyrighted works neither it nor anyone else could acquire any other way, excepting changes to U.S. copyright legislation. The following discussion considers the circumstances that led to this settlement and explores its primary components, focusing on the amended class action settlement agreement of November 13, 2009, which in many respects remains similar to the original agreement of October 28, 2008. The settlement makes positive steps in the tricky areas of public access and digital rights, but it remains open to serious legal, economic, and cultural criticisms.
http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/viewFile/29/44