Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Justification for Your Paranoia

First, let's talk about SQUIRRELS!

Yes, squirrels are responsible for more data outages than any other cause short of human error on the part of the people in charge of operating said datacenter. This helpful tidbit courtesy of the VirtualHosting.com blog.

Now, don't get me wrong, squirrels are awesome, and I would in no way condone violence against these adorable furry creatures as a way of improving you uptime. In fact, here are some awesome photographs of squirrels by one of my favorite local photographers cum web-developers. Still, if squirrels can cause that much damage, you should be worried about your data when these adorable furry critters come calling. You never know what else they might be up to...

And now for our usual list of things...

1. A snippet of a discussion with my boss and my boss's boss:
"The way I see it US companies fall into two categories, those that know they've been hacked by the Chinese, and those that have been hacked by the Chinese and don't know it."
"To be honest, I'm not really worried about Chinese hackers. They at least want to be quiet about it and are not out to cause damage."
"Yeah, the Chinese are only after trade secrets, and we don't have any IP to be concerned about."
That pretty much sums it up--If you only use Open Sourced technology, or don't care about having a technological edge on your competition, Chinese hackers are no threat. It's so easy...

2. I just spent an hour making a 'password security awareness' survey and all I can think of is:
If only it was as easy as 'Don't be like these guys'.
3. This seems like a great idea on the surface...

Until you stop and think and realize that this one app is intercepting all of your calls, e-mail, text messages, social-media posts, and calendar information...potentially on every device you own. 
Way to just hand over everything with a nice pretty bow on it.
If you want a more privacy-friendly way to go offline for a while, you could just stick your phone in a privacy pouch (a pocket Faraday cage). Just make sure to turn the device off as well, so your phone doesn't die looking for a network.
...or you could just turn it off and get on with your life.
4. My favorite online streaming music site is dead, or soon will be.
Up until last week, for those that wanted to stream music, without creating accounts, or listening to adds, or having to listen to randomized 'you might like this' pseudo-radio-station nonsense, there is (or was, or will-have-been) no better site than Grooveshark.com. Grooveshark is simple to use and gets directly to the point of what music-streaming should be: search for an album or a song, immediately play that album or song.
Unfortunately, Grooveshark, since it began in 2007, has always been outside of the recording-industry authorized channels. It started with a seed of all the music the companies employees could download, with a "stream now, license later" kind of mentality. They never got around to the 'license' part of that idea...
Nor will they get the opportunity it seems. A US District Court just handed down a brutal (if apt) ruling against Grooveshark in a case filed by nine record labels. The chances that Grooveshark will make it out of this without being shuttered is practically nil.
Time for me to go find a new source from which to stream that music that I want, when I want it, without paying for it (shouldn't take too long)... 
5.  Even spies need their coffee...
There is, at least, one place in the US where even the baristas are barred from asking for your name and no one will ever ask you to sign up for a 'customer rewards card'.