Notes on the .xxx domain launch
  • So the point of this domain is to make filtering out adult websites on that domain easier. If an adult site isn’t on the domain ( for example) no such filtering is possible.* Note that adult sites are not required to switch over. *ETA it’s possible with your standard website blockers, but that software uses a different strategy to block things.
  • The relevant bit here is that the ICM is partnering with McAffee to do a daily scan for malware on every site in the goddamn domain.
  • Why this is bad: 
  • "After verified as malware free .xxx sites can display the McAfee Trustmark, that includes the scan date, to show that your Website passed a security scan by McAfee to provide a more safe and relaxed experience to your customers.”
  • So what if somebody forgets to check for the Trustmark? Or doesn’t know to check? (I mean, whatever the fuck a Trustmark is, you know? It’s not going to be that difficult to fake one and put it on your site.) It seems like this is going to foster a very unhelpful false sense of security for users visiting sites on this domain. 
  • Also: McAffee’s security tools are notoriously subpar and slow. It’s going to tie up network bandwidth and make service on this domain drag, and a Trustmark doesn’t mean much when McAffee’s security is so notoriously shitty. 
Check If Your Android Phone Has Carrier IQ, No Rooting Required | Lifehacker


When we first covered Carrier IQ, the rootkit that can log everything you do on your phone, we detailed how to check and remove Carrier IQ on Android using an app from the developer who discovered the rootkit, but that method required rooting your phone. Voodoo Carrier IQ Detector is a free app available on Android Market that can check for—but not yet remove—the spying software, no root required.

All you have to do is install VooDoo Carrier IQ Detector on your Android device and run it to get the detection score: 0 is best, above zero means Carrier IQ is present and you should seriously consider rooting your phone if you are concerned about the program logging your information or just slowing down your device. (Follow the directions we posted yesterday on your options right now for removal).

VooDoo Carrier IQ doesn’t remove Carrier IQ yet, but it is an easy way to check for it. Developer François Simond has also provided the open source code for the app on Github. And if you’re an iPhone user, you’ll find it easy to turn off Carrier IQ on the iPhone.

[0 for me…yay…]

Here’s a much more user-friendly app than the one I’ve been posting about to detect Carrier IQ. I’m reluctant to encourage inexperienced users to root their phones to remove it - there’s a lot of room for error - but I haven’t heard of another way to turn the app off. I’ll let y’all know if there’s an easier method, but for now, unless you know what you’re doing proceed with caution.


— 640 GB SATA II Hard Drive (7200 RPM)

— NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M 3GB graphics with Optimus

— 17.3 inch HD+ (900p) WLED Display

— Processor: Intel Core i7-2630QM processor (2.00 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 2.90 GHz)

— 6 GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz (2 DIMMs)

People keep telling me this is a good laptop.

I don’t know anything about hardware. :T

Is this a good laptop?

This all looks good but you should also look at user reviews to see how reliable you can expect it to be long-term and compare the battery life with other similar computers - that’s a lot of processing capability so it may/may not live as long unplugged. If your goal is to use it mostly for the internet, music, and writing/storing documents that looks like PLENTY.

So, for future reference, here’s what these terms mean:

Your hard drive is what stores all of your data. If you have a ton of music or movies or documents to store on your computer long-term, you’ll need to shoot for a large one, but average users will typically find they have plenty of space on any computer you could buy today. 640 GB is A LOT OF DATA.

Unless you do a lot of PC gaming, you don’t have to worry about the graphics card. Pretty much everything on the market today will be sufficient for watching or streaming movies, which is the other main thing it would be used for. 

Processor: this is what does the actual computing. Something around 2 or 2.1 GHtz is pretty much standard right now; the main thing you’d want to look for is the number of cores and number of threads. The more cores you have the more things your computer can do at the same time; the more threads you have the faster the cores can do useful stuff. The processor you’re looking at has 4 cores and 8 threads, which is VERY good.

Memory: People get confused on this one because isn’t your hard drive your memory? Yes, but getting data on or off a hard drive is really slow, so your computer has a smaller amount of MUCH faster memory that stores the data of whatever program(s) you’re actually using at the moment. When you click “save” and close a document you’re editing, it’s put on the hard drive; when you open it up again it is copied from the hard drive into the faster main memory, SO, having a lot of main memory means your computer will run faster. 

Which companies are on the Carrier IQ bandwagon? -- Engadget



We stopped supporting Carrier IQ with iOS 5 in most of our products and will remove it completely in a future software update. With any diagnostic data sent to Apple, customers must actively opt-in to share this information, and if they do, the data is sent in an anonymous and encrypted form and does not include any personal information. We never recorded keystrokes, messages or any other personal information for diagnostic data and have no plans to ever do so.


In-line with our privacy policy, we solely use CIQ software data to improve wireless network and service performance.


Statement 1: HTC, like most manufacturers, has an opt-in error reporting function built in to our devices. If your phone experiences an error, you have the option of ‘Telling HTC’ so we can make improvements to our phones. Details about this are in our privacy policy on each device and in order for data to be collected, you have to opt-in. If you do opt-in, we protect your privacy by de-identifying and encrypting the data. HTC is committed to protecting your privacy and that means a commitment to clear opt-in/opt-out as the standard for collecting any information we need to serve you better.

Statement 2: Carrier IQ is required on devices by a number of U.S carriers so if consumers or media have any questions about the practices relating to, or data collected by, Carrier IQ we’d advise them to contact their carrier. It is important to note that HTC is not a customer or partner of Carrier IQ and does not receive data from the application, the company, or carriers that partner with Carrier IQ. HTC is investigating the option to allow consumers to opt-out of data collection by the Carrier IQ application.


Since people are asking — Windows Phones don’t have CarrierIQ on them either.


Nokia is aware of inaccurate reports which state that software from Carrier IQ has been found on Nokia devices. Carrier IQ does not ship products for any Nokia devices, so these reports are wrong.


RIM does not pre-install the Carrier IQ app on BlackBerry smartphones or authorize its carrier partners to install the Carrier IQ app before sales or distribution… RIM also did not develop or commission the development of the Carrier IQ application, and has no involvement in the testing, promotion, or distribution of the app.


Some Samsung mobile phones do include Carrier IQ, but it’s very important to note that it’s up to the carrier to request that Samsung include that software on devices. One other important point is that Samsung does not receive any consumer user information from the phones that are equipped with Carrier IQ.


Carrier IQ provides information that allows Sprint, and other carriers that use it, to analyze our network performance and identify where we should be improving service. We also use the data to understand device performance so we can figure out when issues are occurring. We collect enough information to understand the customer experience with devices on our network and how to address any connection problems, but we do not and cannot look at the contents of messages, photos, videos, etc., using this tool. The information collected is not sold and we don’t provide a direct feed of this data to anyone outside of Sprint.

Sprint is well known for our serious commitment to respecting and protecting the privacy and security of each customer’s personally identifiable information and other customer data. A key element of this involves communicating with our customers about our information privacy practices. The Sprint privacy policy makes it clear we collect information that includes how a device is functioning and how it is being used. Carrier IQ is an integral part of the Sprint service. Sprint uses Carrier IQ to help maintain our network performance.


To be 100% clear: Carrier IQ is *not* on Verizon Wireless phones.


HP does not install nor authorize its partners to embed Carrier IQ on its webOS devices.

Google, which has never shipped CarrierIQ on its Nexus devices:

We do not have an affiliation with CarrierIQ. Android is an open source effort and we do not control how carriers or OEMs customize their devices.


T-Mobile utilizes the Carrier IQ diagnostic tool to troubleshoot device and network performance with the goal of enhancing network reliability and our customers’ experience . T-Mobile does not use this diagnostic tool to obtain the content of text, email or voice messages, or the specific destinations of a customers’ internet activity, nor is the tool used for marketing purposes.

Motorola didn’t have an official statement but did mention that Carrier IQ is only pre-loaded as an operator requirement.

Here we go. List of companies whose phones almost certainly have CIQ on them. Again, if you want to find out if your phone has this spyware on it, you can follow these instructions to detect it and disable most of it.

A hidden app on android phones and blackberries has been monitoring users' texts and geographic location

Referring to yesterday’s post on security: see what I mean? You cannot even trust a fresh-off-the-factory-line machine to not have spyware on it. 

Stuff everybody should know about the Internet PSA

cookies: This is how a website (like tracks users who aren’t logged in. Your browser and the website each have a copy of the cookie, which uniquely identifies you when you visit that site. That’s how Amazon can track items you’ve looked at on their site, that’s how ads on totally unrelated sites (like Facebook) can be tailored to display items you’ve viewed before, etc. Don’t like it? Clear out your cookies frequently. Google the name of your browser and “clear cookies” if you don’t know how to do it.

certificates: You’ve clicked on links and gotten a screen that says “this certificate is not trusted” before? This is a security/encryption thing; there’s a certificate authority that will guarantee (for example) that the site you’re visiting called “” is really and not an interloper that wants your bank data. Tread very carefully here - you should NEVER get this warning when visiting a well-known legitimate site, especially not a site for online shopping. 

firewall: prevents certain types of traffic from reaching the network it protects. For example, there’s a program called telnet that lets someone access a computer remotely. A firewall could block all telnet connections (or make exceptions for telnet connections coming from certain trusted users, or whatever.) If you don’t have one installed you almost certainly should. Same goes for antivirus protection, but I think that one doesn’t need an explanation.

trojan horse: A program that does more than what it’s supposed to. Most commonly attached to things that you can download for free - it could do something like attempt to get your computer’s login info and send it back to the person who wrote the program. This is why I never download tv shows/music illegally and am really careful about things like browser add-ons (which might, say, try to capture your login data for You should ALWAYS stay away from ActiveX and be very careful with Firefox add-ons or new browser toolbars - better yet, use Chrome and remove the temptation for adding bullshit to your browser entirely. 

(Like, for the month that I ran firefox I remember seeing an add-on for changing the color of your toolbar or whatever - who the fuck does that shit for funsies? Nobody. Be skeptical. Also note that completely legitimate companies have put trojan horses on their products before. So, yeah. Trust no one.)

Machine Intelligence


“So how did recursion help ancient humans pull themselves up by their cognitive bootstraps? It allowed us to engage in mental time travel, says Corballis, the recursive operation whereby we recall past episodes into present consciousness and imagine future ones, and sometimes even insert fictions into reality…

…The emerging point is that recursion developed in the mind and need not be expressed in a language. But, as Corballis is at pains to point out, although recursion was critical to the evolution of the human mind, it is not one of those ‘modules’ much beloved of evolutionary psychologists, many of which are said to have evolved in the Pleistocene. Nor did it depend on some genetic mutation or the emergence of some new neuron or brain structure. Instead, he suggests it came of progressive increases in short-term memory and capacity for hierarchical organisation - all dependent in turn on incremental increases in brain size.”

— Liz Else, “Thoughts within thoughts make us human

…Now: ask me if machines can think?

Thinking also requires consciousness and control of the brain. A computer is controlled by the program humans put in it so it has no independent will, and computers are not conscious of their own existence. I make it a hobby to keep abreast of AI research and I can’t say I’ve seen anything that would convince me that a particular robot was conscious of itself or thinking independently. 


 goodforgoodnesssake said: That copy is only an upgrade right? I actually have a copy of ubuntu for an extra old pc I have. I just have not gotten around to installing it.

They have an upgrade and a hard install available. But if you choose ubuntu and that copy you have is more than a year old, you should definitely burn yourself the most recent one onto a blank CD instead of using it. Using an older version was the problem I had when I tried to do my install.

The More You Know

The computer word boot is short for “bootstrap” (itself short for “bootstrap load”). The term bootstrap derives from the idiom: to pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps. The term refers to the fact that a computer cannot run without first loading software but must be running before any software can be loaded, which seems as impossible as to “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.”

I’m reading a textbook about networking published in 1994 and I do a double take every time it mentions bootstrapping the computer.

Posting from ubuntu

I am an idiot and I burned the wrong. freaking. version. to disk. Six hours trying to make the wrong version work.

IBM picked one hell of an idiot to intern with them.

Installing Ubuntu instead of Debian was supposed to be the NON-painful choice

I cannot get it to boot to the desktop and I’ve been trying for 2.5 hours. Shoot me.

What the fuck kind of online backup program sets the maximum data transfer rate to 300 kbps? Who wants to wait 40 hours to back up 4G of data? No one, that’s who. 

It’s going to take me a grand total of three to get the rest backed up. Which is still ridiculous but I’m going to bed so who cares.

All I want in life is for my computer to finish backing up overnight so I can switch to Debian tomorrow morning but it’s looking like it won’t be done until Saturday. I am only backing up 4G of data. This is beyond obnoxious.