January 25th, 2014

Ctrl+Alt+Del - Scott & Ted

Turning the function of an innocent system into paranoia.

If you want to avoid being more informed, and by proxy more paranoid, you may want to avoid this post.

Recently I bought a 3DS and have started playing around with it. They encourage you to leave it on and carry it around with you. As a computer software developer and reader of news about bot nets, device hacks, and surveillance this got me to thinking about the implications of this. Many people likely take these devices to work, near potentially sensitive networks and systems, and near open wifi. If someone were to hijack these devices via that 'streetpass' system they could spread a bot net far and wide fairly quickly and most people would never even realize it. They could be commanded to initiate denial attacks, rip through unprotected systems, plant backdoors, track individuals, and do any number of other undesirable things. Entities we may trust could be doing this to us right now.

This then got me to thinking about how easy it would be track someone with common technology available to any person on the street. It wouldn't take much; think about any item that you regularly carry around with you. Your coat. Your shoes. Your pants. Your purse or backpack. Your wallet. Any of these items could have a tracking device inserted into them and most people don't have the capability to detect them. Devices that could provide an ping signal aren't that expensive. The real cost is in attaching them to the population at large, but infiltrating and tracking a single individual or group of people would be trivial.

I guess this goes to say that if someone wants to track you then they probably already at. The broad tracking of 'meta' data, phone calls, and cell phone locations is just their icing on the cake to hold everyone hostage at once instead of just specifically tailored targets.
Ctrl+Alt+Del - Scott & Ted

Changing habits and making change happen

'The last time you used this software was 382 days ago'
'The last time you used this mode of the software was 441 days ago'
o_o' That's not particularly encouraging to think about, though it makes a good point about why I'm feeling a need for change. This morning I turned on the WiiFit and was greeted by those numbers. I set it for a 30 minute workout of various yoga and exercise items and felt a little weak in the legs and arms afterward.

I've started changing up some of my habits. The latest is getting back to the WiiFit. I've started brushing my teeth twice a day and rinsing my face off in the evening for the past couple of weeks. I've begun researching therapists to help talk through some feelings I've been having lately (no, not suicidal ones, but thanks for asking).

I'm trying to get out of my shell, interacting with the world at large more. In fact, just earlier today I made my first attempt at posting to r/GayBrosGoneMild [because GayBrosGoneWild, unlike the straight version, is almost nothing but penises and butts] (and reddit in general) and accidentally posted it to imgur to the public gallery as well where it got a few comments. Neither place has turned into a huge hit but I didn't really expect it to. It's really just a boring selfie so let's just leave it at that for now. (Sidenote: It actually takes me more effort to make a safe-for-work picture than a NSFW because I have to put clothes on first! hahaha) (More on those another time)

This article on USA Today 'At Work: Learning from strangers' talking about the implications of "Don't talk to strangers" in the adult world has gotten me thinking more positively about interacting with random people for whatever reason. I've still got a ways to go before I approach random people on the street and strike up a conversation but I feel like this is the right direction to head.

Speaking of random people on the street, yesterday while I was out and about for lunch a few people were making more eye contact than normal. There was this one guy at a Starbucks who was reading a book yet kept looking up every few seconds. I kind of regret not sitting down next to him and asking about the book he clearly wasn't reading. :-P

I've made travel arrangements to visit Boston for a week the first week of February. I started chatting with someone on Reddit a few weeks ago and things progressed to the point I decided to throw caution to the wind and see about meeting in person. Even if nothing major happens there, or for whatever I get ditched, I'll still be starting my first week of a new contract and exploring the city in the off hours so I won't be idle. I've also gotten tickets to the Boston Symphony Orchestra for while I'm there.

I'm making tentative plans (in my head) to visit Philidelphia, and the Pennsylvania / DC area in general, in a few months once the weather starts to warm up. I want to spend a couple of weeks in the area so I'll look at non-hotel temporary housing situations or what have you.

I think that's about it for now. Not terribly exciting but there you have it.