a thoughtful web.
Share good ideas and conversation.   Login or Take a Tour!
goobster's badges
goobster  ·  106 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Republican senator says ‘democracy isn’t the objective’ of US system  ·  

My Mom was head of the US Chamber of Commerce for the Western United States for 14 years.

You got nothin'. Sit down.

goobster  ·  173 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 393rd Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately"  ·  

Y'all can just skip the rest of my comment here, because I'm going to be talking about something that literally nobody will click on, and will forever taint everything I ever post again to Hubski with a stain of "ok, sure goobster, but you made that one post to the weekly music post, remember? So we can't really believe anything you ever say again..."

.

.

.

.

.

.

I've been listening to a lot of Blue Oyster Cult recently. They were one of my three favorite bands as a kid (Sabbath, AC/DC, BOC), I've seen them live multiple times in multiple different decades, and I've owned a large portion of their catalog.

They are the original swords-and-sorcery bar band. Their songs are often mystical Tolkein-esque stories of magic and swords and other shit I have zero time or patience for. Their musicianship is basically the best bar band in the world; they can play like motherfuckers, but don't show off. They just execute, and produce rockin', interesting music.

So here's my BOC playlist for those who have only ever heard "Godzilla" or "Burning for You" from Saturday Night Live.

-

Veteran of the Psychic Wars

This one surprised me. I know the song well. But in a COVID world, it takes on a real poignance and timeliness that the original song didn't have. It struck me.

-

Black Blade

Just a great rock song... the story would be a fantastic movie. The hero just wants to be a Casanova, but he happens across a dark sword that takes over, and turns him into a hellion of murder and destruction. A fun twist of the genre that let's you look into the "bad guy" and see the world from his perspective, rather than the good guy, who needs to defeat him.

-

7 Screaming Diz Busters

No, I don't know what a Diz Buster is. But this is some virtuosic 1970's lead guitar riffing that any band of the era would be proud of. Lyrics are funny as shit, too.

-

The Red and the Black

What band has EVER recorded an ode to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and their ability to "always get their man"? And NOBODY has ever rocked as hard whilst doing so. (Greatest song intro, too!)

-

Career of Evil

Is completely unexpected. Just read the lyrics.

-

Astronomy

Finally, this is BOC's magnum opus. A Pink Floyd style wide-ranging song with an almost orchestral arrangement of parts and sections. The live version from Some Enchanted Evening is transcendent, and the definitive version of this track. Just wonderful.

-

(NOTE: Blue Oyster Cult stopped writing new music in 2001, and still spends 11 months of every year on the road. It is what they do. It is who they are. They are a road band that plays live. And their catalog of good songs is so huge, they don't even have setlists anymore. They just play whatever they want to on that particular night. They sell a single piece of merchandise: a t-shirt reminiscent of their first album cover that says "Blue Oyster Cult - On Tour Forever".)

https://images.app.goo.gl/ZwWpjanNz13Pjm3u8

goobster  ·  359 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hey Hubski, tell me a story about your dad  ·  

Ok.

For those who have seen the movie Ford vs Ferrari that came out recently, my Dad is kinda involved in that.

The race in Southern California early in the movie, where Ken Miles is initially disqualified because his trunk is too small? And he takes a hammer to the inside of the trunk to stretch it out and meet the rulebook?

Carroll Shelby was in a race the same day, driving a 7-liter Maserati.

My dad was also racing his Corvette there the same day (not a photo of my dad):

The thing is that there were only 5 "modified" class vehicles like the Maserati at the track that day - not enough to have a full race of their own - so the track decided to add the 5 Modifieds to the Stock class that my Dad was in.

Now, there's no way a stock race car can compete with a modified-class car. For example, the Modifieds all arrive on a trailer and are not street-legal. The stock-class cars have to be street legal, like my Dad's Corvette; he drove his car to the race that day.

So the Track Officials told everyone that this was going to be like LeMans, where several different class of cars are racing at the same time, but there are actually different races going on... the Modifieds will have a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place according to their finishes, and the Stock-cars will have their own 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies, regardless of where the Modifieds finish.

BY NO MEANS were the Stock cars to try to compete with the Modified class cars! It was dangerous and pointless, so the Stockers should look for the Modifieds coming up in their rear view mirror, and let them pass. DON'T TRY AND RACE THE MODIFIEDS.

At the second corner, Carroll Shelby was in first place with his Maserati, and my Dad was in 2nd place in his Corvette. Over the next two laps the two of them pulled away from the rest of the field, and were on their own.

The 7-liter Maserati was a MONSTER powerhouse, of course, and could do a billion miles an hour on the straights. But a 7-liter engine is HEAVY, and it was slow through the corners.

On the other hand, my Dad's Corvette was nimble and quick (the first production car with a fiberglass body, IIRC), and able to get through the corners fast, but did not have the top speed of the Maserati.

Willow Springs Race Track has two long straight-ish sections, and some nice tight corners:

So Shelby would come out of Turn 9 and push the throttle to Mach 10 as he came to the Start/Finish line, then have to brake hard into Turn 1, where my Dad would catch up and stay ahead into Turn 6.

Then the fire-breathing 7-liter Maserati would blow by my Dad up to Turn 7, feather it a bit to get through Turn 8, brake hard for Turn 9, and turn on the rockets again approaching the Start/Finish line.

Throughout the 20-plus laps of the race, the two diced back and forth like this.

But my Dad noticed that Shelby had to feather the throttle a bit and scrub off some speed to get through Turn 8. My Dad figured that if he could get through 5 and 6 quicker, he could stay closer to Shelby on 7, pass him in 8, stay ahead through 9 as Shelby had to brake hard, and possibly stretch it out enough to beat Shelby to the Start/Finish line.

Now, remember, they are two different class vehicles in completely different races, that just happen to be running at the same time on the same track. The two of them COULD HAVE just driven normally and both taken 1st Place in each of their races.

But NOOOOOOOoOooOooOoOOoooo... these guys are RACERS.

So they are 2 laps from the end of the race.

Dad makes his move.

HARD out of Turn 4.

Don't let off through Turn 5.

Shelby isn't even in his rear view mirror, as my dad comes in HOT to Turn 6...

... and runs wide, and clips the outside rail with his left front fender. No biggie. A little broken fiberglass. No structural damage.

And he guns for Turns 7 and 8...

... and it WORKS.

Carroll Shelby can't get past my Dad before Turn 9. My Dad is in the lead, carrying more speed into the corner, and comes out at full throttle ahead of Shelby on the front straight for the first time.

He crosses the Start/Finish line ahead of Carroll Shelby and passes the white flag (last lap indicator) first!!

THIS IS GOING TO WORK. HE CAN BEAT SHELBY'S MODIFIED-CLASS MASERATI IN A STOCK CAR!!!

As my dad passes the Start/Finish line he notices the flagger is waving TWO flags at my Dad... the white flag, indicating the last lap, and a rolled black flag, too!

He thinks: Black flag: eliminated from race! But wait... it was ROLLED... that means something... SHIT... what does that mean? Do I have to stop? Do I continue racing?!? WHAT DO I DO?!?"

He's still ahead of Shelby and coming up to the corners where he needs to commit to his previous stunt to stay ahead of Shelby, and cross the Start/Finish in first place overall.....

But that rolled black flag! What does it mean!??

He flutters the throttle going into 5, doesn't carry the speed he needs to stay ahead between Turns 6 and 7... and the Maserati blows by him.

Shelby throws my dad a puzzled look as he passes. Carroll knows my dad beat him, and has slowed down, and is wondering why...

Shelby crosses the finish line first taking 1st overall, my dad crosses just behind him taking 1st in the Stock ("Production") class.

They see each other in the pits later. Shelby nods. My dad nods. They go their separate ways.

(Footnote: A rolled black flag means that there is damage to your vehicle that is being reviewed by race officials, and you may have to leave the track... but they haven't decided yet. So KEEP RACING. When my Dad clipped the wall and damaged the fender, race officials were concerned that his tire/wheel might have been damaged, and were waiting for him to come around past them again on the track so they could see the damage and make a determination of whether it was just cosmetic damage, or if he needed to be Black Flagged and pulled out of the race immediately. They determined his vehicle was safe to continue racing; he didn't need to slow or stop.)

goobster  ·  404 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski, what is your ideal for personal wealth?  ·  

Growing up in San Francisco and being a part of the 80's-90's computer boom there, and the rise of the internet and IPO's, I know quite a few super-rich people.

Or, I USED to.

The problem when you are a wimpy little geek who whips up a piece of software, and then sells it for $100m to Google, is that now everyone "knows" you have $100m in cash in your pocket, and you were living fine on $75k/year, so you have "extra" money to give to them for their loony project.

So you stop reading emails. And returning calls. And get a private cell number. And isolate.

Because you still are, at your core, an introvert who thinks an ideal week is sleeping during the day, ordering a pizza, and sitting up in your living room all night coding, or playing games. And avoiding all human contact.

The balance in the bank account doesn't change that part of your personality.

Unless... you become a colossal dick, and abuse the large number of extraordinarily hot women who suddenly find you attractive, after you have had zero game your ENTIRE life. And you become "entitled" to this type of treatment by women, and expect it from ALL women... including the ones that work for you. Because you have never managed another person before, and now you are the CEO of a huge corporation and have to give interviews and fend off hot women and drugs and your senses get dulled from the constant stimulation and really all you wanna do is order a pizza and sit in your living room and have a 15-hour CoD session...

So yeah...

After a tipping point, it's not about the quantity of money, it's about the quality of what you do with that money.

I'm at that tipping point of comfort, simply because my house is paid off. That's $1800-2500 a month that is NOT going out to a mortgage company. That is a LIFE-CHANGING amount of money for something like 97% of the American population.

Saturday I went to this fantastic block in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle, where a friend of mine has bought ALL of the warehouses on the street and converted the entire street into artists studios. Blacksmiths. Painters. Sculptors. Ceramicists. Woodworkers. Sound artists. Fire arts. Everything.

I was able to buy each of the pieces that really spoke to me, and support a local artist. I have these things in my home now - along with others I have acquired over my lifetime - and will cherish these items, not just for their beauty/utility/whatever, but because I was able to use my money to support a local artist... who uses local materials... who pays rent to a friend of mine... who is creating a vibrant arts community in my city... which is being swallowed by Amazon and Google and Expedia and and and...

And the kicker is, that I make about 10% over the median income in my city.

I am not "rich". I am not "wealthy". But I am comfortable (barring any health issues that come up), and I'm good with that.

goobster  ·  900 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Internet was a mistake  ·  

I think this video misses the key point. (Like all of the pithy web video stuff produced by people who weren't there when it happened, pontificating on What Went Wrong.)

Here it is in a nutshell: AOL is to blame.

Back in the day of the early web, there were isolated islands of network interaction, that didn't really cross over very much. BBS. Fido. Gopher. AOL. WWW. Telnet. Archie. eWorld. The WeLL.

Each of these interactive tools were synonymous with the communities that used them. You used the Fido tool to log in to FidoNET. You used Gopher to find Gopher servers and transfer files and mail. AOL, eWorld, and The WeLL were servers you logged in to, and participated with those communities in those spaces.

The World Wide Web broke this model, and HTTP-based sites were now able to share files and data between the different tools and servers. You could write an HTTP front end to your FidoNET server, and people could use NCSA Mosaic to log in to your FidoNET, and see/transfer files in a visual tool, rather than command-line only.

Everyone using the World Wide Web had their own site.

Every single person was a CREATOR of some sort.

Maybe it was a list of porn sites. Maybe it was a list of parts for old BMW airhead motorcycles. Maybe it was ASCII art pictures.

Whatever it was, the same tool you used to browse other sites, was the tool you used to create your own site.

And, by default, everyone's Bookmarks List was public. That's how you found stuff. You went to someone's site, clicked on their Links page, and saw what sites they had links to. Click, click, click... rabbit hole!

Along came AOL.

America Online was originally just email. But they also created a custom, curated environment, where people could get movie listings, read news, and send messages to each other.

They business model was to charge by the hour, for the connection to AOL's servers. So they wanted you to stay logged in, and clicking around their properties, so they got to charge you for the access.

After much debate, AOL opened up their "walled garden", and allowed their users to VIEW and BROWSE the world wide web.

The change happened almost overnight.

People (like myself) had their own web servers running. Mine was on an old Mac SE I had in the corner of my bedroom, with a dedicated modem and phone line.

Suddenly, my $15/month phone bill for that line, and service, shot up to more than $50/month.

Other people, who had been serving their web sites for years, were suddenly hit with thousands of dollars in service fees from their ISP due to huge traffic spikes.

ALL of this activity was from the AOL people, who were not CREATING anything. They saw the internet as TV, and just consumed, consumed, consumed all of our paid-for content, for free.

Sure, AOL subscribers paid their AOL access fee, but AOL paid us web sites ZILCH, and we were forced to shut down, or monetize our sites to pay for the bandwidth AOL's looky-lous were consuming.

This is where the utility of the web ended.

Now, you needed to monetize your site. You had to measure "views", and run ads, and give up space on your site where CONTENT used to be, and serve flashing GIFs that advertisers paid you a fraction-of-a-cent per click.

Once that happened, the altruistic, creative, and generous nature of the web was destroyed. If you offered quality content for free, you were on the hook for enormous ISP hosting bills. If you monetized your site, you were in a constant war with your users that still continues today.

AOL fucked it by inviting "spectators" to simply look, without participating.

AOL turned the internet into TV.

goobster  ·  1016 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 11, 2018  ·  

We all have doubts about ourselves. If we didn't we'd all be dicks like Trump.

Doubt isn't a bad thing in and of itself. But it shouldn't hang around. Don't feed it.

Look it in the eye, evaluate it with a clear head, learn what you can from it, and then discard it. Doubt is a reminder to look inward from time to time, and make sure you are who you think you are.

Doubt is a fortune cookie fortune: Interesting in the moment, but useless in the long run.

(And by the by... the "sad panda" visual that appeared in my head almost made me spit out my coffee, it was so funny! Thank you for that!)

goobster  ·  1074 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 14, 2018  ·  

Hey Pubs. Just a water for me, barkeep... I'm still not remembering to drink enough water every day.

Keto.

I can deny it no longer... I have actually lost more than 20 pounds now. That means that - for the first time in my life - I weigh less than I did before.

From a skinny 175lbs in 1987, to 269lbs at Christmas 2017, I have always gotten heavier. Amortized over time, that's only about 3lbs/year, but of course the weight did not gracefully grow over time. It grew rapidly, then leveled out for a few years at the "new normal" weight, until something happened and it went up again.

For the first time in my life, my weight is going the other direction.

I had to put several pairs of pants into storage. (Note: I wanted to get rid of them. But my wife insisted we keep them until we know whether I am going to keep the weight off or not.)

I am maybe 2 months away from departing the land of XL, and purchasing L shirts... for the first time since the 1990's.

I feel better.

I don't "crash" at 2:PM every day.

I no longer eat two antacid tablets every night.

I don't fart prolifically anymore.

My diet has changed significantly, and I now strongly identify with Michael Pollan's quip, "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much."

I haven't started working out or stretching regularly. Which I planned to do Feb 1. Not sure why I haven't started, but I need to get on that.

The road to "Fit and 50" is looking pretty good right now.

Food Perspective.

Mushroom hunters talk about "putting on their mushroom eyes" when they go mushroom hunting.

You go out to where the mushrooms should be, and you see nothing. Damn. Wrong place? Was someone already here? Am I at the wrong elevation?

Then they just go calm and stop moving for a few minutes. Scan the landscape. Be still.

POP! Oh! There's one! ... and another!... oh! there's another one!... woah... they are EVERYWHERE! Holy crap I am STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF SO MANY MUSHROOMS!!

With my new diet, which generally avoids most carbs and sugars, I have my "Carb Eyes" on.

Vending machine? Nothing in there edible.

Coffee shop? Nothing in there either, except black drip coffee, espresso shot, or an almond-milk latte.

Restaurant? Side dishes start to look REALLY tasty... and main courses look heavy and unpleasant. "Can I just get these two sides, and a steak?"

And now, I will post this message, and walk out into the lobby where my company is providing everyone with ... Valentine's Cupcakes. And I am going to enjoy the shit out one of those carbo-sugar bombs.

Because carbo-sugar bombs are AMAZING treats.

But that's what they should be: Treats. Not Food.

goobster  ·  1382 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: rd95's poorly written, crummy career advice  ·  

There's some good solid advice in there. And I think I can add something valuable to what you said: Perspective.

You don't hear people 30-plus years old asking this question. Because they realize it isn't the right question to ask. By the time you are in your 30's, pretty much nobody you know will be working in the field/job that is written on their college degree.

Life is a river. You start off trying to build a dam, and make the river conform to your view of what it should look like. But water is consistent, persistent, strong, and devious. Your every effort to make life conform to your view will fail, and eventually you will get swept downstream.

Some people try to stop. They bash into rocks. They grasp at low-hanging branches and try to stop the water from dragging them further downstream.

Other people go "woohoo! whitewater rafting!!" and look downstream and try to pick a line that looks like the most fun.

These are the people who inspire you. They are the people enjoying life, and who seem to have amazing opportunities drop in their lap.

Schooling, clubs, hobbies, and interests are what you build your boat out of.

Then you get thrown into the water and head downstream.

What skills do you have? Do you communicate well with other people? Do you like to learn? Do you keep your word? Are you an enjoyable person to be around?

Then your boat will float, and you will find the journey enjoyable. The more flexible and amenable you are to life and it's ever-changing dynamics, the more opportunities that will be presented to you, and the more chances you will have to find something that you truly enjoy.

The less flexible, personable, pleasant you are, the less opportunities will come up. Because you are narrowly skilled, and unpleasant to be around, and therefore fit into only a small portion of the available roles out there in the world.

From where I'm sitting, just short of 50 years old, I can tell you that the river widens, slows, and empties into a big placid lake, where you can kinda paddle wherever you want. If you built a good boat.

I don't even recall all the jobs I have had, the places I have worked, the people I have fallen in and out of love with... all that is back there, up the hill, in the rapids on that river somewhere.

Looking back up that river, I can see the path I took now, but it was not apparent to me at the time. I was simply presented with interesting opportunities because I had a wide range of skills, I was funny, and people liked talking to me. They liked having me around, so they would overlook any technical/skills limitations, and just said, "Eh. You'll learn it on the job. It isn't hard."

This is, of course, my advice based on my experience.

Like RD95 says, life isn't lived in a house you built in college; it is a long series of building projects that you live within while building. Some rooms you may never visit again. Some you may crack the door open 30 years later and find a new passion for, and others you may visit every single day.

The only constant is change. Either find a way to embrace that, or live frustrated for the rest of your life.

goobster  ·  1456 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 0 of 38 members of the Texas congressional delegation support the border wall  ·  

Oh, there's no question it won't get built. For 3 reasons:

1. It's impossible. The reason there is not a contiguous wall now, is because the terrain does not allow a contiguous wall to be built. Something like 900 miles of that border is simply the Rio Grande River. Rivers move. Walls don't. So if you build the wall far inland inside of America (thereby walling off any American access to the Rio Grande itself, bythefuckingway), to try and put the wall far enough away from the river that the river doesn't eventually wash up against the wall and undermine it and make it fall over.

2. It will make the US smaller. You can't build the wall in Mexico, because you don't own Mexico. But there are thousands of American's property who bump up against the border. Now you need to pay every one of those people to take their land (and build a 50-foot wall on the south side, which will block the sun and cause your lawn to die), or even better, seize their land using Eminent Domain! Now, I don't know how well you know Texans, but they ain't gonna take kindly to the U.S. Government coming in a seizing their land and building a big fucking wall (that they don't want) on it. That ain't going to go well for anybody.

3. It's a bogeyman. The "problem" the wall "fixes" is apparently "illegal immigration". Thing is, for the last fifty years, illegal immigration has been going down, and in the last 8 years - due to Obama's truly nasty treatment of immigrants - there is a net outflow of illegal immigrants from America. We LOSE more illegals every year - by their own choice, not through deportations - than we gain.

80% of illegal immigrants arrive in America by fucking airplane, anyway! I don't care how tall or "yuge" your wall is... it ain't stopping airplanes.

A wall can't do anything about the thousands of tunnels that bring people and drugs UNDER the border into America. And this happens in places where we HAVE a well-defended wall, and Border Guards! Build a 50-foot wall in the boonies, and you will find 51-foot ladders. (There's a great Border Guard podcast that talks about when the current wall was raised from 13 to 20 feet. They collected so many 21-foot ladders they ran out of ROOM at the border guard's dispatching offices.)

Not to mention that every single agricultural business from Arizona to Ohio is going to have a fucking conniption when they can't get enough seasonal workers to pick their harvest before shit goes bad. Because I guarantee you that perky little cheerleader Madison and high school track star Curt, aren't going to pick cabbages for $20/day.

No, in short, the wall will never be built. Because at some point, some business has to place a bid for the project (or their part of it). Their engineers will go out there, look at the terrain, design something that will kinda hold up under most conditions (see: New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina to see how well THAT works out) and the numbers don't balance.

Illegal immigration MAKES the US an enormous amount of money. Cutting off that flow of money will affect big business, and those people will go knocking on the Oval Office door, and have some very nasty words to say to Tinyhands McDickpunch.

The economy is the American God. If you fuck with the economy, you go down. Period.

goobster  ·  1480 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 4, 2017  ·  

I read through the whole thread, and all of your responses, and I see one thing that has not been mentioned: Agency.

You had no agency in "cheeks" asking if the man with you was your dad.

You have no agency in the actions your brother is taking on your behalf.

Rest assured, Cheeks will lose his job. I have friends who are in both Management and Training at Goodwill, and one strike is enough to put you on the black list. They aren't hiring the cream of the crop at Goodwill. They are giving people an opportunity to pull themselves out of whatever hole they are in, by providing free job training, counseling, and other services people need to get back on their feet. So they have a very quick fuse. If you cause any sort of problem, you are out. There is always another person waiting behind you for the opportunity, and Goodwill needs to get people through the system and trained so they become productive employees, as opposed to unproductive trainees.

This man will now lose access to that opportunity permanently, because there was a claim made against him.

Goodwill will do the right thing and talk to your brother about the experience, and will do most of this verbally instead of in a written format, because it is a discovery process.

However all of these actions and activities are being taken on your behalf, because your brother has robbed you of your agency in this situation.

You chose to simply ignore Cheek's request. That was you taking the action you felt was appropriate to the situation.

I have no horse in this race, or have a position to defend in this situation. I'm just stating the facts in a way that might encourage you to take an active role - to regain your agency - in this situation.

I equate your brother taking action on your behalf as equally as demeaning to you as Cheeks' initial comment hitting on you. These are two men who have acted in their own interest, with you as the fulcrum.

Personally, I would not be happy in that place. I would feel used. That's my $0.02.

goobster  ·  1662 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 9.3M Patient Records Hacked  ·  

I used to work at F5, so I got to be in some really scary meetings where people talked about a variety of attack types.

Ransomware and other attacks like it are still just basically the digital form of smash-n-grabs. It's like the late-night attack on the jewelry store, where someone bashes in the window, takes a fistful of shiny, and disappears into the night to sell that shiny to someone else.

What's scary are the tactical attacks.

CyberFighters were the first that I am aware of. They knew that banks had insurance against attacks. So they would DDoS the bank's site and charge a rate slightly less than the insurance would pay out. Sustained attacks over hours and days would eventually get the banks to cough up cash.

Blunt, but effective.

Then another group started launching DDoS attacks against banks, but it turns out these were just a front for the real crime, which was happening behind the scenes. A bank's web site gets DDoS'ed, and everyone is scrambling to redirect traffic to Akamai, profile the attack packets and teaching their ADC's to dump packets matching those attributes, etc.

And the phone rings constantly.

On one of these calls, "Eugene" with a weird accent, is on the phone from the branch office in New York is getting whacked and can't get access to his DNS. So he asks for the IP Address for the back end system they are re-routing traffic to, as a quick-fix to get around the DNS.

Shit. Eugene tries to log in, but his login isn't working because the Active Directory server needs to talk to the DNS, but the DNS is saturated by the ongoing DDoS. "Do you have a login that works without Active Directory, so I can get in?"

The hassled sysadmin has nine different Terminal sessions open on six different machines, and Akamai is on the other line, and the phone keeps slipping off his shoulder... so he gives Eugene the credentials to log in, bypassing the DNS and tunneling around the ADC directly into the control server or firewall in the DMZ.

... and five months later, a junior sysadmin is running some cleanup on some hard disks which were mis-configured in this old server over here, and they notice a couple gigs of text files in a weird numbered directory. Looks like log files, but, she goes ahead and TOPs the first hundred lines of the first file and sees... names... social security numbers... addresses... doctor's names... prescriptions...

She greps the directory for text strings in the format xxx-xx-xxxx, and gets hundreds of thousands of hits.

The junior sysadmin locks down the permissions on the disk. She copies the log files over to her personal directory. Checks the accesses... huge numbers of IP Addresses that start with 5.8.x.x ...

Eventually someone figures out what happened, and the DDoS attack was a distraction for the social-engineering hack from "Eugene", who then got behind the back doors, and made himself comfortable inside their data center, siphoning off data constantly for months.

These attacks aren't new. They are ongoing today.

It's just nobody talks about them because of what it would do to their stock prices. So everyone keeps these breaches under wraps.

And this is going on all the time.

goobster  ·  1678 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: So I'm going to Kosovo??  ·  

Congratulations! I lived (in Prishtine) and worked in Kosovo (at Film City) for a while when I was a civilian contractor with KFOR.

Kosovo was rough then - 12/13 years ago - and really the ass end of the world. Power for a couple of hours a day, every third or fourth day, often no running water, and the Albanian mafia running basically everything. (The whole thing in Kosovo was a proxy war between the Albanian mafia and the EU, and largely unrelated to the problems in the northern parts of the Balkans. The Albanians were trying to annex the land by trafficking shitloads of Albanians in, and claiming they had "always lived there", and the EU/US were just trying to get everyone to stop shooting long enough that they could have a reasonable conversation with Serbia about the region, and wondering what the fuck the Albanians were going on about.)

The one power plant was coal-fired, and it made the snow was bright yellow from all the soot and pollution in the air.

My friend ran the - what was it called then? International Security Center, or whatever? - where they housed and tried all the criminals. Nice guy from Texas, ex-cop, ex-military, and a grandfather. Talk about a shitty job, man. Working in a craptastic place like Kosovo, doing a thankless job, for an organization that wished he didn't need to exist, a public that was against him, and genuine war criminals were the people he got to hang out with on a daily basis. Man... that was hard work.

Good luck with it. The bureaucracy is inconceivably Byzantine (appropriate, considering the history of the region) but I expect the best introduction to the current situation there is understanding how it went from Yugoslavia to the mess it is now, and the best way to do that is to read my friend Adam LeBor's book, "Milosevic"

It really will be a good primer to understanding the tribal underpinnings of everything you are getting into there.

Good luck. And thank you for doing the good and important work that needs to happen there. I did my part with UXO awareness, but that was all I could manage before I got out.

goobster  ·  1738 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Stephen Fry's Blog post on Social Media.  ·  

I've been online since the early 1980's. Bulletin Board Systems. Email. The WELL. Usenet. Hand-coded web sites. eWorld. Tribe. LiveJournal. MySpace. Blogger. The original incarnation of Tumblr. Facebook. Blah blah blah.

What every commenter has missed in this thread, is the fact that Stephen Fry's article has nothing to do with technology... it's a love song to the rebellious nature of youth. And that it is the rebels who move the world forward. Not the sheep following along single-file behind the leader. He mourns the loss of the rebellious spirit of youth.

Women wore pants to rebel.

Rebels rejected the 2.5 kids and a white picket fence "nuclear family" and embraced communes, roommates, and living alone.

Punks tried to tear down every societal norm to rebel.

Metal heads applied skill and craft to rebellious ideas and tools and developed a finely honed precision to their rebellion.

Grunge rejected the precision of metal and went sloppy. Both in clothing and technology.

Rap rebelled against the structure of a band, and the assumption the front man should sing.

Every single one of these things were driven by the young, rebelling against the ways of the old.

Stephen Fry makes the simple point that the most common thing - the thing that Advertisers love, the thing the mass media has fully embraced, the thing even your parents are doing - is Social Media. So the most rebellious thing you could do is dump these tools of the modern bourgeoisie, and go analog.

Talk in person.

Make things with your hands.

Don't buy in to the machine and become a cog in their wheel... opt out! You don't HAVE to be on social media. You don't HAVE to have email.

The case he makes is that people like he and I have lived in both worlds, and by personal experience we know that both are valuable. But being electronically connected is now the norm. Adults today have grown up with screens and internet connections. These are today's Normal.

But rebellion is about fighting against the norm.

So the most rebellious thing one can do now is opt out of the digital advert-verse, and engage people in a real way. Face to face. Don't offer up your eyes, your mind, your time, and your soul, to advertisers, just to get another momentary endorphin jag.

The comments in this thread are really pretty funny to me. And a bit sad and pathetic at the same time... seeing people clutch so hard to something, as it cuts into their hands and the blood runs down their arms and they cry "I'm fine! Don't touch me!" and cower in the corner...

The internet is a tool.

A needle is a tool.

Put heroin in the needle, and you'll become unhealthily obsessed with the tool.

Put yourself on social media, and your internet becomes an obsession, rather than a tool. Now YOU are a tool of the advertisers. Rebel. Don't offer yourself up to be lied to. Go where they can't get you. Rebel.

goobster  ·  1741 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Daydreams of leaving  ·  

kleinbl00 called me out because I am an American who pulled up stakes and moved to Budapest, Hungary on a whim, and stayed there for the better part of a decade.

So here's the trick. Both of you become certified English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers for Berlitz. (Or get an ESL certificate.)

Now you have a job anywhere you want to go in the world. You can walk into any Berlitz school and pick up a few hours a week. That will grow into more and more hours, and you will basically make a good college student-level salary.

The key thing is that you will MEET AND LIVE WITH THE LOCALS.

The big mistake that every single American thinks is that they have some sort of exalted way of life, or quality of life that is unmatched in the world, and that's just pure bullshit.

When you make a college student salary in any other country in the world, you are making a living wage. It's basic, but you have enough money to do the basic stuff. And since you are not going to the American Tourist spots, you are paying local prices for your needs... food, clothing, etc.

So you hang out in Prague for three months. Then you hop the train a couple hours south to Bratislava and hang there. It's cheap, and fun, and you love hiking in the hills, so you wind up staying for a year or so.

Then you go to Budapest and do the same thing. Or maybe zip over to the Baltics for the summer, and live it up in Tallinn in Estonia, then beat it down to Croatia for the winter.

Anytime you go anywhere, you jump on a train. You pay $20 to $90 to go anywhere. Or you find a RyanAir flight deal, and pay 20 GBP to fly to someplace crazy, like Morocco and chill there for a bit.

English is everywhere. And there is nothing you can't do without some goofy pantomime, some broken English, and some good-natured foreigner. (The ONLY time I got stumped was when I told a guy I was from San Francisco, and he tried to ask about earthquakes, and I just couldn't get it. Then the tram came, we laughed, got on board, and he slapped me on the back and we parted with a hearty smile.)

You and your wife are both good at something. You don't need a degree to prove it, but you will probably need a degree to get the right to stay permanently in any country. Fortunately, all school is free (and in English) in both the Netherlands and Sweden, so, shit... go there for a couple of years, enroll in school, get an education while working at whatever college students do there, and then go ANYWHERE.

And, being professional Nomads is WAY EASIER THAN YOU THINK. Especially if you have each other. Because the only problem my nomad friends have, is they sometimes feel lonely, and want to share a deeper experience with someone else. You and your wife have each other.

Here's the shitty part. This is incredibly fucking easy. You are going to agonize about it, and worry every detail, and make sure you buy exactly the right pack, and pocket knife, and notebook, and underwear... and you will travel for a week, and it will be stolen. And you'll never get it back. And you will have to wing it on the road, and scramble to replace things with whatever you can find, and there's no REI so you can't get those great socks anywhere, but there's this guy you met from Australia who told you about this place over in the Garment District of this city near by, and you can get there for, like... how much does that exchange to? Two dollars?... and you go, and you find things that work just as well, and you continue on your journey... and realize that YOU GOT THIS. Life can throw anything at you, and you don't even speak the language, but goddamnit motherfucker, I GOT MYSELF TO THAT NEIGHBORHOOD AND I BOUGHT MORE GODDAMN SOCKS!!! I AM A KING!!!! COME AT ME WORLD!!!

And shit will CHANGE in your brain. And you will become a citizen of the whole goddamn WORLD, not just one dopey little country that thinks it's shit don't stink.

And then you will look up and realize that it's been 4 years, and you could go ANYWHERE ON THE PLANET, and you get to CHOOSE now where you want to go. Your life is not dictated by keeping up with your high school friends, or whatever reality TV bullshit is driving the sale of those highwater pants, and you have friends you can visit in Perth, or Cape Town, or Minneapolis, or Hvar, or Berlin, and you travel, and see your friends... and then suddenly you have a job at a cool little startup in Barcelona. And then they want to give you an equity stake in the business, and then... hey... maybe I'll sell my motorcycle and stay in Barcelona. And then it's 7 years after that, and people visit YOU and wish THEY could do the amazing things that YOU AND YOUR WIFE have done, and how BRAVE you must me, and....

You will just shake your head at them sadly and vaguely remember when you thought that, too.