Tactical mountain bike!

That thar is a Mon-ti-gyoo bye-cycle.

Gear, Live » No Comments

The fight over the supercomputer in your pocket, body, car, etc…

55025940 ca38f4e5f2 450x360 The fight over the supercomputer in your pocket, body, car, etc...

This is the center of the next war. (img by Phil Gold)

Cory Doctorow gives an interesting and in-depth talk about the future of computing. We’ve talked before about the double-edgedness of computing devices, but didn’t talk about the other side: the people who want you to use the devices you buy only in the prescribed manner. Check it:

Know, Make » No Comments

Support the CIA’s TrapWire Kickstarter!

CIA agents tell you why you should donate to TrapWire: so they can get precogs and so you can have influence in the agency.

Fight » No Comments

How to do what you’re told

This looks amazing and more than a little sickening. Even if it weren’t based on actual events, I could easily see this shit happening.

Before you do what you’re told, think about who’s doing the telling and what exactly they’re telling you.

Fight » 1 Comment

Why you should control your own digital infrastructure

46693067 d17cfa768f 450x337 Why you should control your own digital infrastructure

I bet this is what Gmail really looks like. (img by glacial23)

Wiki inventor Ward Cunningham cuts right to the heart of something that’s been bugging me for a while:

“If people don’t control their own infrastructure, they get needy,” he says. They’re at the mercy of service providers who can disappear, impose rules that constrain creativity and/or make it difficult to backup content that you’ve created. “It’s good to simplify things, but they shouldn’t be simplified in such a way as to make the user helpless.”

I use Google for everything. My browser is Chrome, my many email accounts are Gmail, my docs live in GDrive. What can I do if something goes wrong? Say Google changes their privacy policy to something that feels a little more evil. Or Facebook pushes through some change to their interface that I don’t like. Or my mobile phone carrier starts using my whereabouts to market at me?

Can I take my data and run? Theoretically. But to where? Most of us, even those born before computers did everything seamlessly for us, don’t know. I’m a fairly smart guy, and I’ve done my share tinkering with computers, but I’m still helpless.

Cunningham’s come up with a solution to his particular problem (a centralized wiki): he’s gone on to launch the federated wiki, naturally hosted on github, a federated version control system that I still don’t quite understand. His solution requires that you have your own webserver. Which tweaked my “too complicated” default response until I thought about it for a second.

The “consumer/customer” mindset and habit is really hard to break. I don’t want to jailbreak/root my phone. I don’t want to have to run my own email server. That shit’s a lot of work. But more and more, I’m thinking it’s smart work.

Stay tuned. I’m going to have to change some habits, learn some stuff, translate documentation into human-readable forms, and keep you posted on how things go.

Do, Features, Know » No Comments

Court Grants Feds Warrantless Access to Utility Records

3531668253 8e298bcfd0 450x450 Court Grants Feds Warrantless Access to Utility Records

Warrant? Shut up and give me your damned electric bill. (img by Electronic Frontier Foundation)

tl;dr The Man can get your utility records, plus bank and CC info, sans warrant,

@Wired:

Utilities must hand over customer records — which include credit card numbers, phone numbers and power consumption data — to the authorities without court warrants if drug agents believe they are “relevant” to an investigation, a federal appeals court says.

The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 allows the authorities to make demands for that data in the form of an administrative subpoena, with no judicial oversight. In this instance, the Drug Enforcement Administration sought the records of three Golden Valley Electric Association customers in Fairbanks, Alaska suspected of growing marijuana indoors.

“The information subpoenaed does not need to be relevant to a crime; in fact, it may be used to dissipate any suspicion of a crime,” Judge William Fletcher wrote for the unanimous, three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “The information subpoenaed need only be relevant to an agency investigation. Energy consumption records can be relevant to an investigation into a suspected drug crime.”

The decision appears to be an end-run around the Supreme Court’s 2001 ruling requiring the authorities to obtain search warrants to employ thermal-imaging devices to detect indoor marijuana-growing operations. The court ruled that the imaging devices, used outside a house, carry the potential to “shrink the realm of guaranteed privacy.”

In the case decided Tuesday, the utility, with 44,000 meters, objected to the subpoenas. Among other things, it alleged that a probable-cause warrant from a judge was required, and that its privacy policy protected the confidentiality of its customers’ records. It also said the government went too far when requesting credit card numbers and other banking information associated with customer accounts.

Read the rest at Wired Threat Level

Fight, Headlines, Know » No Comments