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Entries by tag: tech

I think it was the combination of the slant of light (harsh, noon-ish), the neighborhood (commercial, very busy, not really prosperous), and the business I walked into (the office/warehouse of a small online merchant of miscellaneous stuff), but I felt sudden and very strong nostalgia for a particular type of software, those very ad hoc, never quite successful, weirdly specialized utilities and programs from the dBase III/ASCII dialog interfaces on monochrome screens era.

Remember those? They usually were but one step above something somebody wrote for an acquaintance's particular needs, both in terms of design and sometimes even literally. Before the internet, when they might have physical addresses for you to mail checks, would come in a floppy disk but no manuals, perhaps as part of the monthly bundle of who-knows-what with your thick, ads-filled computer magazine. Every one with a wholly different interface and convention, each function key, and even PgUp/PgDn, etc, doing something highly specific. You'd get to know every nook and cranny of them, because you spent a lot of time with each, doing only the task they were meant to do, and they didn't have that many nooks and crannies, comparatively, so it was possible in a way it no longer is.

I know I remember those as stimulating and creative because that's what they were at the time, and that my past self would be thrilled to know the kind of software I use every day, but the feeling is still there.

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As the article says: Worst. Bug. Ever.

Short version: for Android phones with firmware version 1.0 TC4-RC29 or earlier,

There's a root shell using the console as stdin, so all input on the physical keyboard on the phone is being interpreted by that shell (regardless of what application is being displayed, and regardless of whether it is responding to those keyboard presses itself).


In other words: you type 'reboot' on any bundled Android application, the phone reboots. Type 'telnetd', and you get a telnet daemon up and running as root.

Yes, I can't quite wrap my mind around it either.

If this is true (jwz post here, cf the link referenced there), this has to be one of the most embarrassing security bugs in the history of IT.

There's only one possible label for this: EPIC FAIL.

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Flying cars are boring.

India's use of brain scans in courts dismays critics.

In my opinion, the specific technology used here isn't credible (no peer review or independent replication), but

a. It's possible that at some point there will be a forensically useful brain scanner of some sort.
b. I had wrongly assumed that scientific/technological barriers would fall before legal ones (but then, polygraphs have never been scientifically validated either -in fact, they are quite discredited- but this hasn't made them less popular among law enforcement groups). I vastly underestimated the power over governments of the illusion of control.

Most of the time I whine about the world not being strange enough for my tastes, but there are fleeting moments of sanity in which I wonder what the heck is wrong with me.

They pass away quickly, though.

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cass, can you not
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