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Some unsurprising news
Jan 20th, 2017 by Ken Hagler

Already on probation, Symantec issues more illegit HTTPS certificates [Ars Technica]

As someone who worked for Symantec for sixteen years, I am completely unsurprised by this. Symantec liked to boast of being a security company, but that’s never been anything but an advertising slogan. They’ve never really made any serious effort to be remotely secure.

I’ve moved
Dec 28th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Last weekend I moved to a new apartment. I’d gotten fed up with the terrible management at the last apartment complex, so I left as soon as my lease expired. The new place is about the same size, also has Google Fiber, and has an even better view–I can see Town Lake from my desk.

It’s amazing how cowardly Americans have become
Dec 18th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

4 Schools Go into Lockdown, Call Cops on Man with an Umbrella. It’s a gun! No, it’s a sword!

Whatever it was, two different people spotted a man carrying it near Poly High in Riverside, California. They saw something, and said something. As a result four local schools went into lockdown mode yesterday.

Police hunted for the menacing maniac and finally, according to The Press Enterprise, “a campus supervisor at Poly spotted a man who matched the description given by both callers.”

The weapon he was carrying?

An umbrella.

The lockdowns were lifted, but the threat continues: Rain is in the forecast. [Hit & Run]

That was the high school where I was an inmate in the 1980s. I took ROTC while I was there, which involved about a hundred students marching around with bolt-action rifles (albeit rifles which had been rendered incapable of firing) at least one day a week. No lockdowns were involved.

The end of CityDesk
Dec 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

RIP CityDesk – Joel on Software. In those days all the cool kids wrote their own blogging platforms. I wrote CityDesk. In what turned out to be a monumentally wrong bet, I thought that people would want to blog on Windows, with all the slick WYSIWYG editing goodness that wasn’t yet available in early versions of HTML. CityDesk kept your entire website in a SQL database (Microsoft Jet, the backend of Access) and had a frontend like a word processor. Every time you needed to publish, it generated the entire site as a set of html pages, which it then uploaded to an ftp server for you.

[…]

Over the years the CityDesk code base (VB 6.0, another bad bet) stopped running on the latest versions of Windows. Nobody else cared but by that time I was using a custom version of CityDesk which only ran on Windows XP. So until recently, I had a virtual machine set up with Windows XP running in there, and a copy of CityDesk.

[…]

Matt Mullenweg over at WordPress has been trying to get me to move Joel on Software over to WordPress for so long it’s not even funny. I finally gave in. [Joel on Software]

I used CityDesk myself to manage my main website for a number of years after the sad demise of UserLand Frontier, before finally replacing it with nanoc around the time I moved to Austin in late 2012. It was an unusual product in that it was actually better than any Mac alternative at the time (something that’s usually true only of games).

New job
Dec 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

I’ve just started a new six-month contract as a programmer with Integrity Digital Solutions. I’m in Temple for the week for training, but after that I’ll be working from home. It looks like it will be a pretty good job.

Watch out for hysterical politicians
Oct 7th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Clowns, Kids & Satan. The security expert Bruce Schneier coined a term for this: Movie plot threat. We imagine the threat to our kids is just like the one we’d see, or have seen, in the movies. It’s easier to picture Bozo with a bazooka than a car crash when mom or dad is confused by their GPS (which in our car seems to be about a third of the time), so that’s the threat we focus on…to the point where we start exaggerating unlikely outcomes, or even seeing things. [Free Range KidsFree Range Kids]

Even now there are people being persecuted (especially in New York City) because of laws written by politicians who had confused West Side Story with a documentary. I hate to think what sort of future persecution will result from politicians thinking that Killer Klowns from Outer Space was a documentary.

Not so offline as the Gestapo would like
Sep 21st, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Court: Group’s 3D printer gun files must stay offline for now The federal civil suit originated three years ago when Cody Wilson and his group, Defense Distributed, published designs for the “Liberator,” the world’s first 3D-printed handgun. Within months, Defense Distributed received a letter from the United States Department of State’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, stating that 10 files, including the designs of the Liberator, were in violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This letter came despite the fact that these files had already been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times and continue to circulate online. [Ars Technica]

This reminds me of the 1990s, when the Evil Empire tried to keep encryption technology away from people using the same tactics. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now. Here’s a BitTorrent link to download the files in question.

Cops can’t even fabricate charges right
Sep 19th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Cops record themselves allegedly fabricating charges with suspect’s camera. In a federal civil rights lawsuit, a Connecticut man has shared footage to bolster his claims that police illegally confronted the pedestrian because he was filming one of them. Authorities seized Michael Picard’s camera and his permitted pistol, and the officers involved then accidentally recorded themselves allegedly fabricating charges against the man.

[…]

The tickets Picard got were for the alleged use of a highway by a pedestrian and for allegedly creating a public disturbance for carrying an “exposed loaded sidearm in plain view of passing motorists.” The authorities eventually dismissed the tickets. [Ars Technica]

Note that carrying an exposed loaded sidearm in plain view of passing motorists is perfectly legal in Connecticut as long as you have a carry permit, which Picard did. Not only did the jackboots get caught fabricating charges, they were so stupid that they couldn’t even come up with something that was actually illegal for their lies.

Twenty Years
Sep 17th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

I’ve now had the orange-road.com domain name for twenty years.

The inevitable result of being a good cop
Sep 12th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

West Virginia cop fired for not killing a man with an unloaded gun. He did what police officers are supposed to do — put himself at risk to save a life. [Radley Balko]

What Mader did upon arriving at the scene is a hell of a lot braver course of action than simply opening fire when the suspect doesn’t immediately disarm. What Mader did is in fact exactly what we want cops to do when someone is in crisis. It’s also precisely what law enforcement officers say they do on a daily basis — put themselves at risk in order to save lives. Mader should have been given a medal.

Of course the outcome of this guy being a good cop is completely predictable: he was fired. Also, two other cops showed up who were perfectly willing to murder the guy who Mader wouldn’t.

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