Off Topic


TWITTER SUPPORTTwitter is well known to be fairly insecure. I was hacked a couple of years ago and even now I still get direct messages from people that they clearly haven’t sent me themselves. In fact Age posted the other day about his recent twitter hacking experience. Twitter was under pressure for a long while to introduce a two-factor authentication but it took them forever – however once they did I enabled it pretty quickly.

For those who have yet to experience it, every time you try to login you get a text message or have to approve the request via the app. I chose the app authentication as although I could post to twitter by sms, I never received my authentication codes. All went well until without thinking properly (or backing up the app…) I wiped my phone and installed a new ROM. Sadly, when installing a new OS on my PC I never follow the advice of creating a backup disc and I treated the advice from twitter with the same disrespect and didn’t save any backup codes. They would have granted my access to my account through the app as before and all would have been well with the world.

As it is, I lost all access to my account. Twitter were pretty good though and within a couple of days, I had followed their instructions. Luckily as I was able to post via sms I could prove I was the account holder and they temporarily removed the two factor authentication and I was able to login – a word of warning though – had I not had the option to post by text then there was no guarantee that they could have got me back in. Their support pages state that if you can not prove account ownership then they will not help you regain access and you are left with only the option of setting up a new account. Whilst that would not have been the end of the world for me, it could be problematic for some so make sure that you do as you are told and generate a backup code.

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Last night while sitting happily watching the latest episode of Top Gear with my wife, my pocket vibrated and I got the news that my Twitter account had been hacked. A couple of helpful followers had mentioned me to say they’d received a weird direct message from me. I looked and sure enough, I’d sent out a weird tweet and a few DM’s. I immediately turned on my PC and went into action.

e-online-twitter-hack

Over time I’ve seen plenty of people hacked, from friends to journalists to tech people. No one is safe, but I was a bit annoyed as I thought I’d be relatively careful. I was aware however that my passwords were lacking in optimal security. But I was being carefree about it, why would anyone bother hacking me? It’s not like I have many followers or popularity. So I left the task of improving my password to another day – typical procrastination. I’m sure you’re guilty of it too. Password security is a hassle. Having to have multiple passwords and remember them all, but not just that, to actually use something that’s secure – not your birthday, your cat’s name or ‘password1’. Obviously I hadn’t been that lax, my password was a mix of letters and numbers and not dictionary words, but it still wasn’t sufficient.

The other usual way people get caught out on Twitter is phishing links and dodgy DM’s. I’ve always taken care to avoid clicking links, especially from accounts that look suspicious, but even from people I know where they’ve just sent a link and nothing else. Not only are my friends not that lazy, they’re more sensible.

Anyway…

Repairing The Damage

Obviously the first step in dealing with the issue was to go and change my password, then go about fixing the rest of the problems – apologising to followers and messages, deleting new follows (the hacker had followed a load of random accounts) and then moving onto securing more of my online presence. I spent an hour on it, but I feel a bit more comfortable now.

I’ve written before about using Keypass to create safe and secure passwords but I’d foolishly not followed my own advice across the board. Now was the time to do just that. So I booted it up and set about generating long, complicated and intricate passwords. Set to 25 characters, with numbers, letters, special characters, spaces and brackets my old password was replaced by a new uber password. I then discovered that Twitter has a two-factor authentication system that I wasn’t aware of. So that’s setup too.

twitter-authenitication

 

Under security and privacy, there’s a login security section where you can require Twitter to send verification emails to your phone. This means that even if someone does break my new super password then they’ll still fall down as they won’t be able to get the verification code as well.

Being Paranoid

Once that was done, I checked the apps (and removed any I didn’t trust), checked my profile, links and email address, then moved on elsewhere. I later came back and removed followers and blocked certain people, but I won’t both you with that.

On the basis that Twitter was so easily hacked I thought it was a good time to protect other things rather than get burned again. Twitter was connected to my Yahoo! email address, but luckily I’d already set that up with a good password (and different from Twitter) so I was pretty sure that was secure. But just to be sure I changed that as well. Then Gmail, Facebook, Paypal, Ebay, Amazon, Ebuyer, Steam, the list goes on. Each of those accounts now has a password so long and complicated I couldn’t possibly tell you what it is.

Side note – Keypass lets you generate unique passwords with a variety of settings including length, complexity and more. You can then copy and paste these onto the websites and save to keep your account secure. I used a different password for each and saved them all into my password database. However, Paypal was a major pain, you can’t copy and paste when resetting your Paypal password, so if you want a mega secure password you have to manually type out every letter, character and number. This was a massive hassle, but hopefully worth it. Paypal does have two-factor authentication as well now, so I’d recommend using that.

The moral of this story is to do this before you get into trouble. It doesn’t take long really and it ensures your passwords are secure and unique across the board. So many sites are getting hacked lately, if one gets attacked you’re leaving yourself wide open to getting hacked elsewhere.

If you need a horror story to scare you into action (as mine is a bit ‘meh’) then I’d recommend reading about how @N got stolen by social engineering, stubborness and foolishness (using a domain email address rather than Gmail).

 

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google-glass-wallpaper-hd

 

 

Google Glass is one of those great inventions, one that might even be well before it’s time. It’s the sort of tech that could potentially change our lives and yet people are already frowning, wringing their hands and generally kicking up a stink about the potential invasion of privacy Glass presents. And that’s what’s really frustrating me – not the fact that I can’t actually get my hands on a pair yet. Yes, Glass is $1,500 for a developer/explorer edition and that’s prohibitive in itself, but it’s the people that are ruining Glass before it even becomes main stream.

The reasons Glass is potentially great (for me) is two-fold:

  1. Hands-free photography in the moment – that is you see something great happening and don’t have to fumble in your pocket for your phone, unlock it, find the camera app, oh no, wait, the moment’s gone. There’d be no more missing those amazing moments with Glass – my son’s first words, my cats fighting, an awesome car that’s driving by, a cool sunset, whatever. Glass opens up a world of photography possibilities.
  2. Heads-up navigation display – Google Maps Navigation is awesome. I’ve always thought so. It’s smart, handy and easy-to-use. But having to look down, sideways or even up to look at my phone screen while driving is impractical and a pain. Having to find a suitable dock/holder for your phone (and possibly replace that every two years when you upgrade) is also an inconvenience. So having navigation right there, just in front of your eye is fantastic.

Alas, both these simple things, that I love (and are the main appeals of Glass in my humble opinion) are exactly the things that people are kicking up a fuss over.

Here’s the highlights:

Pretty disheartening stuff really. Perhaps we can have cybernetic implants instead?

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Google has many hidden talents. For those in the know – that is mostly the geeks, search marketeers and Google aficionados – there are a few things you can do to get Google to return you really specific results.

Google has a level of semantic search integration meaning they return the information you are looking for right in the top of the search results. There’s no messing around, no clicking on links. The most pertinent information is right there at your fingertips. Semantic search appears for a number of different searches, far too many to list here. But one of my favourites is for definitions.

If you don’t know, if you type define: followed by a word into Google you’ll get the definition of that word (according to the Internet). The results are always useful and sometimes amusing (especially when it picks up Urban Dictionary as the source.

image

This recent search even shows usage for the word over time. Not that I needed to know that.

Anyway, define: a helpful tool if you don’t have a dictionary nearby.

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Saw this on BoingBoing and just had to share it:

timetraveller

Some are apparently suggesting that his get up doesn’t fit the era, but the argument against such a hypothesis are also believable.

The outfit could also be found 70 years ago. Being used as we are to our contemporary fashion, we look at the man and assume he’s wearing a stamped T-shirt, something that would be indeed out of place (or time). But if you look carefully, you can see that he’s actually wearing (or could as well be wearing) a sweatshirt. And sweatshirts with bordered emblems were not uncommon in the 1940s – in fact you can find those in other photos from the same exhibit.

Read more over at BoingBoing.

The outfit could also be found 70 years ago. Being used as we are to our contemporary fashion, we look at the man and assume he’s wearing a stamped T-shirt, something that would be indeed out of place (or time). But if you look carefully, you can see that he’s actually wearing (or could as well be wearing) a sweatshirt. And sweatshirts with bordered emblems were not uncommon in the 1940s – in fact you can find those in other photos from the same exhibit.

Time traveler caught in 1940 photo?

Process shots of famous Grace Jones album cover

201004161608 Mister Jalopy says of Jean-Paul Goude’s website: “Dazzling work held captive by the worst website interface.”

How-to: 2-Mile Camera Remote

Make: Online’s Kipkay built a 2-mile camera remote, following the instructions in MAKE Vol. 15. Make Weekend Project: 2-Mile Camera Remote

Purdy junkbots from Andrea Petrachi

Junkbot artist Andrea Petrachi has the true gift for conjuring the inner friendly robot from random piles of techno-detritus. A rare and increasingly valuable skill. Andrea Petrachi (via Make)

Every comic is funnier with “Christ, what an asshole” for a punchline

Robert sez, “As a followup to Cory’s post on the fact that New Yorker cartoons can be captioned with ‘Christ, what an asshole’ without compromising their comedic value: I discovered that it works on virtually every comic, old and new.” Christ, It Works for Everything

Coachella: Xeni hosting LA Times Brand X webcast all weekend

coach2.jpg coach1.jpg I’m at the Coachella Oasis (a giant, sprawling, endless rave taking place at the lavish desert manse formerly inhabited by Merv Griffin) setting up a weekend-long webcast with Richard Metzger for Brand X, the alt-culture publication of the Los Angeles Times. From 12-5 today, Saturday, and Sunday, artists performing at Coachella will be dropping by, and I’ll be taking your questions and streaming video live all weekend. Here’s the Ustream link, mostly just ambient party setup Friday. It’s hot and sunny here, with a chance of frolicking models in the pool. Tomorrow at noon is when all the artists show up to hang out with us for interviews. This place is *insane*. There’s a giant man-made lake with water birds, lots of horses and llamas, and someone’s telling me unicorns and longcats and pedobears, too. Deejays will be spinning live here, including will.i.am, Flying Lotus, DJ Nobody, Gaslamp Killer, Nosaj Thing, DJ Ed Ski, and many others. The Coachella festival lineup is nuts. Gary Numan, Jay-Z, Gorillaz, LCD Soundsystem, PiL, The Specials, Echo and the Bunnymen, Them Crooked Vultures, MGMT, Die Antwoord, Thom Yorke, Tiësto, Imogen Heap, Major Lazer, Faith No More, Benny Benassi, Hot Chip, DEVO, Sly Stone, Mike Snow, David Guetta, King Khan & the Shrines, Aterciopelados… (¡¡¡¡!!!!) I’m try to wrangle as many of the artists as possible, tell me in the comments who you’d most like to have me interview (and what you’d like to ask them!) Brand X: Live from the Coachella Oasis, and live embed is after the jump. And a snapshot: Here’s me, Metzger, and our Philip from Newtek, the company that makes the Tricaster live video system we’ll be using to broadcast all the fun.

Sinister moon landing t-shirt

201004161307 The title of this shirt is “Houston we have a problem.” Even though the company is called Public Domain, it says “All designs are the exclusive copyrighted property of Public Domain Clothing.”

Q&A with Peter Gleick: how to be more water efficient (part 2)

Peter Gleick.jpegEarlier today at the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, I caught up with Peter Gleick, co-founder and president of the Pacific Institute, to find out how we can make sure the world doesn’t run out of water. (I first wrote about Gleick and the water problem yesterday.) How are we going to sustain our water supply if the population of the world continues to grow? I’m a big believer that we have to deal with population, and we don’t talk about it enough. But I also believe that, no matter what the population is, we have a responsibility to meet basic human needs for water. We have to look through a much broader lens than saying this is only a population problem. What can we do to save water? One of the panelists mentioned that eating bananas in the winter is bad for the world water supply, for example. All sorts of things that we do have water implications that we often don’t understand. It takes a lot of water to grow food. That water often comes from regions that don’t have much water, like the Middle East. They grow a lot of bananas in Jordan, one of the water poorest countries in the world. Should Jordan be spending its limited water supply to grow bananas for rich people to eat in the winter? I’m not going to answer that, but there are water implications in everything we do. Here’s another connection people don’t make. It takes a lot of energy to provide the water goods and services we demand. It takes a lot of energy to move water, to collect and treat water, and to use water. One of the things we realized in the last couple of years is that some of the smartest ways to save energy and reduce climate change may be to save water — to rethink the way we use water in our homes, industry, and agriculture.

God game: SimCity urban planning taken to terrifying extreme

Not a half-step away from yesterday’s Dwarf Fortress mega-construction — but somehow with a much darker core — TheImperar’s over-meticulously constructed Sim City 3000 island paradise/hell is “inspired by the wheel of life and death” and supports an apparently unheard-of six million+ population (“more residents than Hong Kong”, notes Julian Dibbell). Watching the work that went into the magnum opus feels a bit like wandering into the hastily-abandoned studio apartment of an evil genius, or, worse, having your eyelids propped open and being forced to behold his magnificent wonder. Anyway, it’s the most drama you’ll see squeezed from a pile of skyscrapers and ideally-placed libraries all week, probably. [via RockPaperShotgun, via Julian Dibbell]

Jenny Hart’s art show opens May 1 in Austin

201004161115 Our friend Jenny Hart, who owns the Sublime Stitching embroidery kit business, has a solo art show of amazing drawings that opens on May 1 at Domy Books in Austin, TX.

These are drawings based on year-book photos of various students from my high school. I grew up and attended school in the same town throughout my life and went from daycare to graduation with many of the same kids from this farming town. Despite the access FaceBook offers, I have no idea where most of these people are today.

Study Hall Drawings — new work by Jenny Hart

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Maintenance man chops off tree branch his ladder is leaning on, sues employer

While pruning a tree on the grounds of a hotel where he worked, Peter Aspinall, 64, sawed off the branch that his ladder was leaning on. He fell and suffered injuries that required surgery. Now he’s sued the hotel. From The Telegraph: He took the action after health and safety inspectors concluded the hotel failed to carry out a risk assessment on the dangers of pruning. They also said that his employer should have given him training on where to place the ladder… David Walton, mitigating, said the hotel … more

ACTA goes public

Michael Geist sez, The New Zealand round of ACTA [ed: the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty being negotiated outside of the United Nations] negotiations concluded earlier today with participants promising to release the draft text next week. This obviously represents a major new development that reflects the mounting global pressure for greater transparency that built in the weeks leading up to the negotiations. Since the text has already been leaked, the importance of th… more

Willie Nelson is high while on Larry King show

Willie Nelson tells Larry King he is stoned as they speak. It reminds me of the time Timothy Leary was at a press conference and a reporter asked him: “When was the last time you took LSD?” and Leary said, “I’m tripping now.”… more

Nose-dwelling leech

Researchers have discovered a species of leech that has a “particularly unpleasant habit of infesting humans,” most notably in people’s noses. The team of scientists published their study of this animal in in the Public Library of Science. The “clinical presentations” are not for the faint-of-heart. From PLoS: A new genus and species of leech from Perú was found feeding from the nasopharynx of humans. Unlike any other leech previously described, this new taxon has but a single jaw with very large teeth. P… more

UK LibDems pledge to repeal the Digital Economy Bill

Nick Clegg, leader of the UK Liberal Democrats party, has pledged to repeal the odious Digital Economy Act, which was rushed through without substantial debate before Parliament adjourned for the election. Time to start asking the other party leaders and MPs if they’ll support the repeal of the DEAct and a revisiting of the issues from the bottom up: Q: Will you reconsider the Digital Economy Bill considering the manner it was pushed through, without proper scrutiny, the lack of MPs in attendance at the B… more

Interlocking Lego rings in Boing Boing Bazaar

Swatch New in the Boing Boing Bazaar: Rubygirl makes these interlocking sterling silver rings by sandcasting Lego bricks. One Lego brick set rightside-up and one Lego brick set upside-down are the basis for this awesome interlocking ring set. (Please note: These rings DO fit together. However, because metal is more rigid than the original plastic pieces, they do NOT click into place.) The Lego bricks were hand cast using a process called sand casting. This casting technique is unique in that while the original … more

Talk like Sinatra

As Cory Doctorow has pointed out here on Boing Boing, Brett and Kate McKay’s The Art of Manliness is an essential resource for all things manly. Cory blogged the site’s “Dictionary of Manly 19th Century Vernacular,” but my tastes run more to “Talk Like Frank Sinatra.” I should point out that I’ve done my own research in this area. In 1987, on my way to Las Vegas to write about the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon for Newsweek — a telethon at which Sinatra himself appeared, albeit on video — I spent a good part of… more

Superbrothers’ Sword & Sworcery EP goes full HD

Superbrothers takes a surprising turn and remasters his upcoming iPhone adventure Sword & Sworcery EP with “detailed surfacing, complex lighting & credible 3D”. (Actually, obviously, a wicked lovingly modeled and photographed Lego sculpture by Clay Morrow.) Previously:One to watch: new details on Superbrothers’ iPhone adventure Sword … Less Talk, More Rock: a manifesto by indie game dev Superbrothers … … more

National Pickle Week kicks off

Swatch Once in a while we must report on serious news. (Via Lileks. Thanks, Coop!) … more

Reducing the World’s Suck with Henry Jenkins

Photo: Deney Terrio USC Professor Henry Jenkins is a hard-core fan with hard-core fans. I should know. I’m one of the audience members who stalked him at a conference a few years ago after his keynote, hoping to have a conversation about a paper he’d just published at the time. It was an argument for a whole new way of thinking about literacy. Reading, writing, and understanding words on a page won’t cut it anymore. In a digitized world, Henry says young people need new skills that go way beyond basic com… more

Computer built into a guitar amp — 07:50 Friday — 31 comments
This means war: Big Content’s war on democracy — 05:19 Friday — 50 comments
GlobalGiving.org’s Mari Kuraishi on personalized philanthropy driven by natural disasters — 04:40 Friday — 8 comments
Video-game shoppers surrender their immortal souls — 04:24 Friday — 29 comments
Gail Carriger & Blake Charlton at the SF in SF reading series — 04:10 Friday — 0 comments
Croatian girl wakes up from coma speaking fluent German — 02:15 Friday — 29 comments
20yo woman banned from drinking — 01:55 Friday — 51 comments
Printing from the iPad — 10:07 Thursday — 20 comments
Peter Gleick on the human right to water (part 1) — 06:00 Thursday — 52 comments
Copying is not theft: now with studio-recorded audio! — 01:32 Thursday — 171 comments
Colossal turing machine made in city-building game — 12:38 Thursday — 46 comments
99 16-bit problems: Studio Joho animation on the post-princess epilogue — 12:00 Thursday — 39 comments
Jay-Z parody feat. Robert Frost — 11:40 Thursday — 29 comments
Hexane and soyburgers: a retraction — 11:33 Thursday — 89 comments
Apple blocks Pulitzer-winning political cartoonist from iStore for “ridiculing public figures” — 11:02 Thursday — 113 comments

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  • “On the ground it’s mostly just high silica dirt, with a percentage of carbon-silica compounds. The sulphur compounds become acid rain. It isn’t very interesting at all in most locations, on account of humans producing so much crap already. In the 70s we would never notice the effects. Now, with gasoline quality cleaned up slightly… we probably won’t significantly notice them either. Volcanos (especially icelandic ones) CAN produce mind-boggling amounts of crap, but this one isn’t. It’s just inconvenient…”
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  • “Wow – sounds awesome. Did 2nd Edition Wild Talents ever ship? I picked up the Essential Edition at Gen Con a couple of years ago and never heard if the final version ever came out… Incidentally – the Arc Dream guys are cool as hell. Shane Ivey ran us through a Godlike scenario that same year and it was loads of fun….”
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  • “As we all have learned from the Terminator series it’s that Time Travel requires that you wear no clothing at all. So I surmise that this man is indeed still a time traveler he just picked up the clothes along the way to the ‘gathering’. Nuff said….”
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I love Mustachio, it makes the web even more hilarious.

I’ve got pretty much every browser under the sun at work – it’s part of my job after all. Safari, IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome, IE tester, blah, blah, blah, each has it’s own use but all get used at one point or another. Chrome has a few apps installed. Just for giggles I installed Mustachio, but I keep forgetting it’s there and turned on. So when I browse a website, sometimes I’m greeted by some rather dashing moustaches on people that otherwise wouldn’t have them and it makes me smile. It’s the little things that brighten up your day.

When I discovered this  yesterday, the woman at the top of the page was sporting a corker.

mustache

If you’re using Chrome, give it a try, it’ll brighten your life – be warned it doesn’t work all the time, which is even better because you’ll forget it’s on, then BAM, a website full of moustaches.

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