Main Page

From iGeek
Jump to: navigation, search

Recent Posts

Cracking

Piracy.png

Cracking is the black art of removing copy protection from other people's programs. There are many "pirates" (people that use software without buying it) -- but far fewer crackers. Cracking requires enormous dedication and patience. It was far easier in yesteryear (systems were simpler) -- but now days there are better tools, so in some ways that makes it easier.

Cracking is often a battle of wits and patience, where the cracker removes all of the copy-protection code or figures out ways around it. At least it is a game for the cracker -- the companies that have their software cracked find it far from "fun" or "amusing".

Easter Eggs

Binaryeasteregg.jpg

What are easter eggs, and where do they come from? And I'm not talking about the physical ones in springtime, I'm talking about hidden features or credits in software.

Firewalls

Firewall1.png

What is a FireWall? In a structure or a car, the firewall is something that protects one area from another - usually in case of a fire. The firewall stops or at least slows the fire from spreading by being a physical barrier. In computers and networking it basically does the same thing, but the "fire" that it is trying to slow/stop is an intruder or security leak.

The network administrator turns on or configures this network barrier (firewall) between one network (or area of the network) and another. The firewall blocks everything, except for what it is configured to let through. This can seriously hamper intruders and increase security. To understand this better, let's get a little geeky.

Hacking

Hacking.jpg

It is not that hard to hack into a network/machine - far easier than people realize, yet far harder than the movies make it seem. It can get very complex -- but there are usually "easier" in's that the hard brute force methods. There are many levels to a break in -- from the ballsy "impersonating an employee" and just walking around a company (badges are easy to create, and don't slow most people down) -- to stealing network traffic and analyzing it. There are thousands of ways to get in, and the more complex the counter measures, the more potential holes there are (but the harder they may be to find).

How Secure are you?

HowSecure.jpg

How secure are your devices from intruders? The answer is "it depends", on a lot of things, like what machine you have, what you do, and so on. The short answer is in order of safety (from least secure to most), you'd go: Windows, Unix, Mac, Android/Chrome, IOS. And the OS's are more secure than the Apps you run -- so iOS running only Apps from their Store is going to be a lot safer than a machine that's running software downloaded at random from the Internet.

Passwords

Password1.jpeg

The reason there's so many annoying password requirements, is because passwords are so instrumental to security (and human nature is so predictable). That being said, most of those annoying password requirements are doing it wrong, and just annoying customers.

Privacy

Privacy2.jpeg

Privacy and the web: how safe is your info?

The other night I was watching a Television show that discussed computers and privacy, and like a geek, I was getting annoyed and talking back to the show; it seems that Hollywood needs to get better technology consultants instead of terrorizing the public with misinformation and calling it entertainment. If I didn't know better, I'd be paranoid too. But I'm not, so it's more mock-worthy than helpful.

Phreaking

Phreaking.png

Are you out of your phreaking minds?

Phreaking is when people (hackers) figure out how to break the phone companies security, to get access to control the phones. Most often used to make free phone calls, or get operator powers. Network hacking is breaking in (usually looking around without doing harm). Cracking is defeating copy protection in someone else's code. But there is far less moral ambiguity about phreaking -- almost all phreaks get free phone calls, and that is something the law (and the phone company) frowned upon -- seriously. The phone company dedicated resources to countering phreaking, and hunting down phreaks. It became the blackest of the black computer "arts", and through improvements in security, and commoditization of long distance phone call costs, it largely doesn't exist any more.

Virus, Worms, Trojans

VirusWormsTrojans.jpg

Virus, Worms and Trojans, some various hacker terms/attacks explained (simply).

Genius is Insanity

Insanity2.jpg

I.Q., E.Q, A.Q., and B.S.

  • What is sanity? It basically means, "being reasonable" and "normal", as judged by the masses (or "in accordance with how the majority think").
  • What is Genius? It basically means an abnormal IQ, to the point where the person is ≈1.5 times as "logical" as the average person, or basically testing beyond the 98th percentile (3rd or 4th deviation).

Do you notice any conflict between these two definitions? If you are that much smarter or different in how you think, what are the chances that you will think and perceive things the same as the "average"? The answer is, "not bloody likely".

Law of the henhouse

Henhouse.png

Chicken coops and society. In a hen house (chicken coop), chickens set a "pecking order" (who is the king of the roost), and who is beneath them. They also can get weird, and will see any "difference" from the norm as a "bad" thing. Weakness not only means attack by one, but sometimes by many. And any weakness or uniqueness is often responded to by a gang attack. Often chickens will not stop until the "deformed" or injured are killed, and genetic normalcy is safeguarded.

Humans are not so different.

Ego

Ego-chess.jpg

What amazes me is that one of the most important things in a beings life, their own ego and sense of self, is one of the most ignored areas of their lives. People often run on autopilot of their emotions. To me, to be consciousness means to be aware of your surroundings. You, your body, and your personality is your closest surrounding. Thus people that aren't aware of their own motivations and actions, are ignoring who and what they are, and are by definition subconscious (below consciousness). This is probably far greater than half the people most of the time, and too many people all of the time.

Fighting Spirit

FightingSpirit.png

Fights are often more mental than physical. It is a battle of wills, and an important factor is who has the most to lose. This is a reason that you don't want to corner wild animals, or wild humans. If they have no path out, then they are much tougher combatants.

Pacifism

Pacifism4.jpg

Pacifism: when is fighting is better than the alternative? These are my thoughts. To me, the aggressor is not the one that throws the first punch, but the one who insists on fighting -- and it is not the person who won't fight because they can't win, but is the person who tries to avoid fights and exhausts all alternatives despite knowing that they would probably win.

Ethics of a fight

Ethics board.jpg

Ethics of a fight: know yourself, and know others. Since nobody wins a fight, the best way to avoid loosing one, is by not getting in one. To avoid doing that you should understand your motive and theirs, understand aggression, escalation and take responsibility for your actions and even reactions.

Legalities of a fight

LegalitiesOfFight.jpg

If you thought the fight was over when the last punch was thrown, you don't know much about the law and societies need for justice. Legalities are different than realities. Laws vary from state to state, and sometimes city to city. It is hard to prove "your intent" or the intent of "the other guy". So just like it is best to avoid a physical fight, it is also best to avoid a legal fight. The law rarely looks at either person as a hero... they more see two people who weren't smart enough to avoid combat, and each side is trying to prove the other side was worse.

James Mitose

James-Mitose.jpg

James Mitose was an Japanese American that learned the hard way about our legal system and how the public views Martial Artists. He is well known in some Martial Arts circles, because he brought Kenpo/Kempo over to Hawaii and the mainland from Japan, and is one of the important Masters of the art.

Female Geeks

Girlgeek.png

Why are there so few female geeks? Sexism is a part of life.

Some who don't know me might call me a sexist pig. Not because I think one gender is better than the other, I just think everything in life is about tradeoffs. Genders are not better or worse, but there are differences. I don't just mean different as in input vs. output, or physical differences, I mean that we are fundamentally different in how we behave, what motivates us, how we think, as well as how our environment effects (and changes) us. This helps explain why there are so few Female Geeks.

You are what you do

WeAreWhatWeDo.png

If you haven't read it, I suggest you read my article "Ends and means". The point is that humans have the ability to rationalize anything, for the sake of the greater good, but it their actions are how we measure them, not the ends they achieved. That gets us into this article's point; my personal belief that "you are what you do". Your actions, and your persona are inseparable.

It doesn't matter what you think you are, or wish you were, it matters what you are doing. If you steal, for whatever reasons, then you are a thief. If you assault someone, or intimidate someone, then you are a bully. If you lie, it doesn't matter why; you are still a liar. We will always have reasons and rationalizations for our actions; but what matters is what our actions are. Your actions define who you are at a given time in your life.

Ends and means

EndsAndMeans1.jpg

Ends and the means: which justifies which?

Many people believe that the ends can justify the means. That if you are doing a really good thing, or stopping a really bad thing, that you can use any means to achieve or stop those ends; since the ends are or so severe. Sounds reasonable; but they are wrong. What that really says is that they want their goals so bad that they will compromise their beliefs to get there, or don't have the right beliefs in the first place. They'll probably only succeed in achieving the wrong end in the process.

Richard Nixon

Nixon.jpeg
It reminds me of what my Grandfather once told me back in about 1979. "Richard Nixon was an immoral bastard, but a great President. Jimmy Carter is a moral man, but a lousy fucking President. See, all politicians are corrupt assholes, so they didn't like Nixon but they understood and could work with him, because he was one of them. But Jimmy Carter was a nice honest guy, so they couldn't trust him to be corrupt, they didn't understand him, thus he couldn't anything done. You need a corrupt asshole to get anything done in Washington".

Net Neutrality

NetrNeutBarrytheCableGuy.jpg

We had no net neutrality for the first 60+ years of networking, the Obama admin invents a few "regulations" in 2015 to protect us from imaginary demons under the bed and non-problems that weren't happening, and people act like repeal of that will be end of days? I'm not buying it.

Going back to those libertarian cowboy era of 2015, is unlikely to end freedom on the web, or be anything that anyone notices. And if Comcast/ATT/etc do something that gets on consumers nerves, THEN we can regulate in a far more targeted way that claiming government should control what can browse to "protect us" from evil telcos.

Dumb Democrats and Evil Republicans

RepOrDem.png

They say Republicans think Democrats are dumb, while Democrats think Republicans are evil. But why? The answer is surprisingly easy.

  • Democrat know they want to help people, so they think anyone who doesn't like their ideas on how to do so must be evil.
  • Republicans know they want to help people -- so when Democrats call them evil (or greedy, racist, etc), and they know better and that Democrats can't accept that, then they know that Democrats are just stupid.

So Republicans know Democrats are dumb, because Democrats think Republicans are evil.

Gropegate

WarOnWomen2.jpg

"Gropegate" is a completely overloaded term, since the most popular way to slander a political opponent in recent years, is to accuse them of sexual harassment.. then trounce out one or more Women with claims ranging from "he said something that they felt was to sexually forward", to "he used his position to intimidate me into sleeping with him", all the way to various kinds of rape to slur their integrity. Thus there is no "one" gropegate -- there's Clinton, Schwarzenegger, Trump ("grabbing pussy" comments on tape, or specifically one of the women on a plane that said he did it to her), everyone in Hollywood, the media, and all those that helped them.

Roy Moore

RoyMoore2.jpg

Roy Moore is the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat, in a highly contested race. He's run multiple campaigns for decades, with nothing coming to light, until after Harvey Weinstein scandal made sexual harassment into the career ending activity du jour. The left hates him with a blind seething passion for his positions against Gay Marriage, and for the 10 commandments, and for switching from their party, and WaPo timed a hit piece to do the most damage it could to him, and to help the DNC. The only question is whether the allegations are true, or just true enough for WaPo's quality standards.

USA Today

ChainsawBayonet.png

USAToday has a long history of dumb, and they should have been renamed USSA (United Socialist States of America) because that seems to be their bend/lean. But here's an example of their dumb.

Islamic Phrases

Islamic.png

I'm not a cunning linguist, nor a middle eastern expert -- but my Dad is Iranian and Muslim, as is 1/2 my family, and being "not from here" means I've been more observant of different cultures than most.

When you say "Fuck you" to someone, it rarely means want to copulate with them. And when middle easterners say some phrases like Death to America", it probably shouldn't be literally translated either. While other phrases like "Allahu Ahbar", should probably be parsed quite carefully, and noted in context. Those that don't, are probably trying to propagandize you on something, like the NYT or CNN does.

White Privilege

WhitePriv2.jpg

The idea of White Privilege is to pretend that Jaden Smith, or Barack Obama's kids, have fewer opportunities than some poor, white, son-of-meth-head does, by nature of skin color. Of course that's complete bullshit. The facts are that many black individuals will have far more opportunities than many white ones, and many black sub-groups well outperform many white-sub-groups. Asians outperform whites. Black immigrants outperform both the black and white national averages, because they're not handicapped with black gang-culture. So while there is some minor burden of color, they are far outweighed by individual or sub-group advantages. Thus the people that repeat the fallacy of "white privilege" are either racists, idiots, or racist idiots -- none with a clue on the way the real world works.

New York Times

NYTbullshit.png
A never great News Agency has become a shadow of their former self: admittedly biased by their own Ombudsman and editors, as well as exposed confessions. They still have occasionally good content, but that can't make up for their more frequent bad, or their willingness to deceive, commit lies of omission, or present things in a biased way.

The Foreigner (2017)

TheForeigner.jpeg

If a Chinese Production company, watched too much Jack Bauer (24) and too many American Revenge films, then made an action movie about that happening with the IRA in the UK, this is exactly what that movie would look like.

Blade Runner (1982) (2017)

BladeRunner.jpeg
Some movies hold up better as a memory, than in rewatching them. Blade runner did that for me. It wasn't bad, and was iconic for its day. But it's nearly 2019 and I'm not sure how they thought we were going to advance that fast, or how mega-buildings would look 50 years old, only 27 years in the future. It was also wrong on a lot of futurism. But it's both entertaining for its day, and a great story and visual today. If you don't mind a bit of noir. The sequel (2049) took all the worst parts of the first (plodding, dark, self-indulgent: visually and plot-wise), with none of the freshness. It was an hour longer than it needed to be. So while won't be the worst movie I see all year, it won't break the top 20 either.

Politicizing Sports

Kneeling.jpg

Progressives seem unhappy when anyone else is happy and not waving their flags of anti-patriotism. They see some injustice in the world (real or imagined) and they feel compelled to lecture and spoil anyone else's good time. Nothing demonstrates this more than the recent politicization of sports -- with the completely expected consequences that this alienates enough of the audience, to ruin it for everyone.


You probably think...

SoVain.png

The dumbest phrases in the English language often begin with "you probably think...".

When someone begins with that phrase, I usually give them a warning, and if it happens again, I block them.

What that phrase actually means is, "I don't know what you think, and I don't care or I would ask you, I just want to grandstand and tell others what you think... because what you actually think is probably beyond my ability to argue with". Because if they cared about what I thought, or they had any interest in an actual conversation or growth, they would ask me what I thought and try to engage, instead of trying to disengage and provoke, by telling others what they think I think.

Attacking the Source

AdHominem1.jpg

When people can't refute the points made, their ego often demands a response. Since they don't have an intelligent one, they let loose their inner child, and attack either the source or the author. I get that a lot. I take it as a compliment. It means my arguments are so well formed that they can't find a better response than claiming something silly, like, "iGeek looks like Wikipedia, but is biased", or "who is that guy", and so on. It's cute, like watching a 5 year old (their emotional bretheren) throwing a tantrum on the toy/candy aisle because Mommy won't buy them something they want".

American Assassin (2017)

AmericanAssasin.jpeg

A completely predictable, but not unwatchable super-spy movie.

You've seen the story line so many times, you know it by heart. Mitch Rapp loves his fiancé, who is killed by terrorists in front of his eyes (if this is a spoiler, you haven't watched the trailer). So of course he decides to become the baddest mo-fo in the world to get them back. You can practically hear "Eye of the Tiger" playing, while he's doing one-handed clap pushups and beating people up in his MMA classes. Then CIA Deputy Director is impressed by his moxy, and so brings him into a super-secret double-good special ops group, under the tutelage of Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). And you know Stan is good, because he doesn't fear liability lawsuits when he disregards all common sense safety practices, like playing with live ammo and real knives. Lastly, they're going after a super-duper good ghost, who has to be Hurley's ex-protige.

Zero Sum and the Government

Zero-sum.jpg

While discussing progressive "solutions" the other day, someone said my problem was that I saw government as a zero sum game. Where every dollar you used to help one person, came from the pocket of someone else, so there could never be a net win for society. I explained that it is much worse than that: when government is involved, because there's overhead, waste, fraud, work rules, politics, and other things that dissolve efficiency, freedom, pride and value, as part of the transaction, it is always a negative-sum (lose-lose) game. That isn't to say there aren't winners, there's just always far more losers: because of how the system works.

New Jersey and the Economist

Nj-economics.png

For each $1.00 New Jersey gets back from the fed, they have to give the fed $1.64, they have to pay $.18 in compliance costs, and the government borrows about $.81 of that dollar, and sticks New Jersey with the debt obligation. On top of that, federal work-rules and controls means that dollar is actually only about as effective as $.60 would be if it was under local or private hiring practices.

Progressives see the $.60 of real value as a net win. Anyone else, can see that you paid about $2.63 to get it.

Progressives think you can make it up in volume: if you just continued to lose $2.00 for each $.60 of value you get out of the system, you'd eventually come out ahead. Non-progressives recognize the seen versus the unseen (The Broken Window Fallacy) and the $2.00 of hurt you did, for each $.60 in help.

Jesus Fucking Christ

JesusFuckingChrist.jpg

There was a comment that Democrats are "learning" to hate God, and that's a danger to them both morally and politically. But it's much worse than that. The party of identity politics (that divides us for votes) has not come to this behavior recently. They decided long ago, that if the establishment believes X, it must be wrong (unless they're the establishment). And the other side is worthy of contempt and mocking, while proclaiming their sides superior tolerance, political correctness and respect. And nothing demonstrates this more than the Hunky Jesus Contest.

A Monster Calls (2016)

MonsterCalls.jpeg

One of the best movies, I've seen all year. (I caught this on HBO in 2017).

It's a bit of a downer, using tragedy to remind people of what's important in life -- but the messages are beautiful and on-target, if you can handle a movie that's showing the human spirit through the trials that life (and death) throws at it, and a child's shock and frustrations at the powerless of human condition.

DACA

ObamaDACA1.jpg

Do you love the Constitution and Rule of Law, or do you prefer a corrupt political tyranny (where the President has the powers to write/nullify law)? Pick one.

If you support DACA then you aren't compassionate, you just picked the latter.

North Korea

BadChoices.png

I sometimes call myself a radical centrist. It's not because I like playing devil's advocate for the sake of being argumentative, it's that many people see the world in extremes: their way or the wrong way. Thus when people are arguing a cartoon version of the world (the U.S. or a President is always wrong/right), I just want to point out that it's a lot more nuanced than that -- and usually they respond with a reductio ad absurdum response, "if you're not completely against X, then I must be for it" (or vise versa). I wish the world that was that simple, but it isn't. North Korea is the perfect example of that.

Obamacare is a Republican Idea

ACAisRepublican.png

There’s an oft repeated lie, that the Affordable Care Act (ACA / Obamacare) was modeled after a Republican plan. People that say this are either liars, DNC mouthpieces, or people completely unaware of the actual facts and are just repeating what they’ve been told by DNC mouthpieces. This debunks that tripe.

Joe Arpaio Pardon

Arpaiokarma.png
I'm not a Judge Arpaio fan or foe. Some of his ideas about justice aren't horrible. Some of his implementations definitely were. But the thing that matters in his Pardon is none of those biases or activities that others want to bring to the table, but just whether he was being treated fairly in this case or not.

Free Speech and the 1A

ISISorNot.jpg

There is no "hate speech" exclusion for the first amendment (1A). And almost every effort to curb the 1A has been bad. Destroying public property because it "offends you", is no exception. And if you start destroying others tributes, then why should any be allowed?

Before you grease a slippery slope, the reasonable ask, "what's at the bottom?"

Dunkirk (2017)

Dunkirk.jpeg

This wasn't bad, but it was a bit of mismanaged expectations. Many will go in expecting a Historical War and action movie -- what they'll get is a vignette movie telling 3 different stories, with overlapping timelines. A British soldier pooping and fleeing from the pending german advance (over a week), a British guy with a boat coming to save them (over a day), and a RAF pilot (over an hour), and how those stories intersect. If it sounds overly complex, it is, but the stories individually aren't bad -- the same with the movie.

Charlottesville Race Riot

AntifaDoughboy.jpeg

There's always two sides to History, that of the informed and the other side. The latter may be well intentioned, but if they don't know why something is happening, then their anger, frustration and venting is all misdirected at the wrong thing. Hate is taught, and the left is being taught hate through the media (disinformation). Just about everything the left has raged against (in Charlottesville) shows which side they're on.

Google Firing

JamesDamore.jpg

This is the story of Media Lies, Google Hypocrisy, and what happens when someone (James Damore) decides to tell the truth in Progressive America, "Burn the witch, after all, he said the same thing that science, common sense, and Google's own lawyers say in court!" Google encourages people to speak their minds, then fires them if they don't say what they want, then claims they're still all about free speech, just not THAT! In the end, Google proved they're not only an echo chamber, but one with blindfolds, guns and itchy trigger fingers.

Mummy (2017)

Mummy.jpeg

The Mummy got lousy ratings at 16/43 (Reviewers/Viewers) on Rotten Tomatoes. While I wouldn't exactly call it good, I'm not sure it stank quite that badly either. It sort of the opening salvo in Universal's, "The Dark Universe", which is basically Frankenstein (+Bride of), Wolfman, Dracula, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Creature from Black Lagoon. All the old horror film classics. This one tries to modernize the story, and use a big action name (Tom Cruise) as a douchebag (not a stretch). But there while it was horrible, there was a lot for snowflakes to get offended by.

Malevolent liberty or benevolent tyranny

Trolley problem.png

Malevolent liberty is better than benevolent tyranny. A lot of this boils down to the Trolly Problem: a thought experiment in ethics that goes like this: a runaway trolley is going to kill five people tied to one set of tracks, or you can flip a level where it will go to a side track and kill one person. Which is more ethical? For me, the victims not having a say in what you do, is where much of the problem is. In Liberty, they choose. In Tyranny, you choose for them.

Trump v. Tranny Brigade

TrumpTransTweet.png

Here's my opinion on Trump's trans-army ban. I'm not a fan of that action, but it is blown way out of proportion, it was mostly the Democrats fault, and of all the things to get irritated with him on, this doesn't make the top 10. And the more hysterical the left gets about this, the more I flip from being opposed to his stupidty, to being more pissed about theirs. Keep balance and perspective. This goes into why.

Vaccines and Anti-Vaxxers

Vaxxers.jpg

I hardly have a dog in this fight, and don't have a problem (in theory) with either side -- but both sides can be preachy and wrong. While I'm no anti-Vaxxer (I've gotten all mine, I don't think vaccines are the cause of autism, and I would get them for my imaginary kids), I find the anti-Vax crowd has points that the anti-anti-vax crowd is either unwilling or incapable of understanding (their arguments are more simplistic and focused around the cult of authority). There are extremes and idiots on both sides, but I usually throw out the outliers and listen to the moderates on both sides, and the anti-Vaxxers I know, are far more well reasoned than the anti-anti-Vaxxers, at least based on the arguments both sides have presented. That could just be the circle of libertarian minded friends, or many articles I've read. But I've searched and found few anti-anti-vaxxers that were well informed or willing to concede valid points. To me, it's not ignorance that's a problem, but willful ignorance mixed with preachy sanctimony that gets on my nerves. This article has a few reminders on these facts.