Blog Index for July 2018

Example phishing attempt - bogus try at grabbing $10,000 in BTC

(July 20, 2018) In the interest of exposing scammers let me share a phishing attempt I just recieved. The email includes a lot of technological-sounding phrases that are a threat to reveal compromising information. The supposed kompromat would be deleted if one sent some BTC to a named address, otherwise it'll be shared to all my friends.

Guccifer 2.0 and fake Romania connections to Russia hacking 2016 USA elections

(July 16, 2018) Last Friday (July 13, 2018), the Meuller team issued an indictment of a handfull of Russian GRU agents who are claimed to have hacked the DNC and DCCC servers, then distributed stolen information in an attempt to discredit the Hillary Clinton campaign. Or maybe the goal was to have Donald Trump elected President, which did happen. In any case a big figure in the story is Guccifer 2.0, who purported to be a Romanian hacker, but the Meuller team claims was actually Russian agents. This seems like an interesting angle to explore a bit.

A Technologists Deep Dive into indictment detailing Russia's Hacking of the 2016 USA elections

(July 14, 2018) Since the 2016 USA elections evidence is piling up that Russia's Intelligence services attacked the election process with an attempt to derail Hillary Clinton's candidacy. Evidence is piling up in other countries about similar cybersecurity attacks by Russia against other elections. On Friday, the special prosecutors office investigating the USA election hacking (Robert Meuller's team) released an indictment laying out the Russian Intelligence service officers involved, and more importantly the technology and techniques being used. In part this story is about misapplying technology in order to create more chaos and confusion in the world.

Apple updates MacBook Pro specs to 8th Gen CPUs

(July 12, 2018) Apple has updated the specs on the MacBook Pro line, addressing an issue raised a few days ago by a commentator claiming Apple is screwing its customers. The 8th Gen CPU's for laptops have been available since last fall, 9 months ago, and gave a huge performance boost. But, Apple was taking its own sweet time updating the laptops to use the 8th Gen CPU's, and in the meantime Apple's customers were paying the premium price for hardware that's inferior to laptops from other makers. Apple has fixed that today with new laptops incorporating those 8th Gen CPU's.

Gemini PDA reinvisions the Palmtop PDA form factor, bringing a real keyboard to a modern mobile device

(July 10, 2018) The new Gemini PDA is like a Psion 5 reimagined for the modern age. Among the currently available computing devices, there is no equivalent to the clamshell PDA's of old. Instead we have touch screen phones with large screens and soft keyboards. The keyboard is very useful, obviously, and soft on-screen keyboards don't quite cut it. Therefore one hopes the Gemini PDA might encourage other newfangled palmtop computers to appear.

In China, facial recognition technology is used to create a Big Brother tracking system

(July 10, 2018)

Modern technology is gifting society with many wonders, including democratization by giving more creative power to individuals. In some countries the Internet is not allowed to be used for democratization, but for authoritarian control. One particular area is facial recognition technology which is how social media networks like Facebook can automatically tag your pictures with your friends. That same technology can be aimed at a crowd, and used to implement real-time tracking of where folks walk throughout a city. Supposedly the benefit is catching wrong-doers, but in every movie about ubiquitous monitoring the government doesn't use the information for the benefit of all, but to squash freedom.

Looking at a huge astrophotography telecscope, The Explore Scientific ED140 CF APO home

(July 10, 2018) This home astrophotography telescope is what you'd upgrade to after several years experience with smaller telescopes. It has a carbon fiber body that keeps the weight of the scope to 20 lbs, even though it is a large telescope.

Apple may be screwing itself by how Apple overcharges its customers

(July 10, 2018) Apple's computers are overpriced, and offer lackluster performance compared to the competition which has updated to 8th generation CPU's. Apple's phone products are designed to be expensive to buy, and expensive to own. Apple foists hardware choices on us, like that touch bar, which are of questionable value, and are highly priced.