Tech and Net News and Opinion, Monday, 5 December 2011
This week we will discuss things net, tech and kewl including “earthscrapers”, a printer hack, a hybrid hard drive, a Grooveshark whistleblower, hackers hit the UN and Global Chokepoint. We wish to warn the listener in advance that there is some material in this podcast that would be considered not safe for work or children.
We started off with a few tracks, some fun and funny Christmas Music:
- Podsafe Christmas Song from Jonathan Coulton featuring Len, Knora (of Jawbone Radio) and Adam Curry
- Three from Joel Kopischke (Music Alley):
- I Got Yule Babe
- That’s A Menorah
- Shopping Mall Of Broken Dreams
Earthscrapers Dig Deep
A post at Slashdot points to EcoImagination which has a very interesting article regarding a new concept in building. Dubbed an “earthscraper”, the building actually takes the concept of a sky scraper and flips it.
The idea dates back to 2009 and will create an 82,000 square foot building, 65 stories deep. By deep we literally mean the structure will be going down into the ground and not skyward as most do. It is described to be shaped like an inverted pyramid. One of the objectives is to reduce urban sprawl. The concept building is reported to be constructed in Mexico City. The building is expected to conserve energy and water.
- Some more traditional Christmas Music from Kevin MacLeod:
- Silent Night
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas
- Oh Xmas
Tracking Censorship Through Copyright
Cory Doctorow, certainly amongst the most knowledgeable on this topic, has a post over at Boing! Boing! which informs us that a global coalition of activist groups has formed Global Chokepoints to monitor and report how, when and where copyright law proposals are being used as censorship tools.
Quoting the organization’s web site:
Global Chokepoints is an online resource created to document and monitor global proposals to turn Internet intermediaries into copyright police. These proposals harm Internet users’ rights of privacy, due process and freedom of expression, and endanger the future of the free and open Internet.
The web site currently has links to activities in ; Chile, Columbia, European Union, France, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, The United Kingdom and the United States of America.
- Then a few from our guest and friend, Jamie Gray
- Right as Rain
- Every Time You Fall
- Like A Wheel
- Lights Out
- Play Me A Smile
- On a Sunny Day
Hackers Hit UN Staff and Post Information
According to Physorg.com, a group of hackers has gathered information regarding United Nations staff and posted it on pastebin. The group called “Team Poison” obtained email IDs and passwords. The short article termed the group hacktivist but did not say anything about what the organizations cause was. The UN did not make any comment or statement.
Millions of Printers Vulnerable to Hack
A post at Hacker News has some pretty frightening news. Researchers at Columbia University report that they have discovered a new class of printer hacks. Hacks are one thing, but getting more specific, a hacker could actually send commands to a printer so frantic that it is possible to make it ignite! The printer could also be used to steal identities by using it like a copier.
HP was made aware of the problem which revolves around printer firmware. However, HP has doubts that this would be a factor in the real world. HP also said that it is rather hard to comment with out further research. Physorg.com has an article which states that HP claims the report is “sensational and inaccurate”
According to the article, millions of printers are potentially vulnerable, quote “tens of millions” according to Colombia University. Reading more at MSNBC, it is reported that the flaw is specific to Hewlett-Packard Laser Jet lines and not easily fixed.
Similar stories have also popped up at:
- What Child Is This (Greensleeves)
- The First Noel
- O Holy Night
Anonymous Whistle Blower May be Identified
Torrent Freak notes that a commenter, anonymous, over at digital music news may be identified. The commenter left a comment claiming that there actually was copyright infringement occurring at Grooveshark. Grooveshark asked that the comment information be left intact. The article states that there has been no similar communication from Universal.
A few things to consider regarding this matter are; what information the blog actually keeps on commenters, was the commenter a person with actual knowledge of real information or just an instigator and can the comment be traced back to the actual commenter or just the person who pays the bill.
We played some more Christmas Music
- Gonna Be Christmas by Bob Burger
- Santa Claus Is Coming to Town by Jim Jeffrey
- We Three Kings by Derek K. Miller
Hybrid Hard Drive Nears Solid State Drive Speeds
ArsTechnica reports that a hybrid drive from Seagate is close to the speed of solid state drives. The article cites benchmarchs form Extreme Tech and Laptop Magazine. The drive can load programs, boot and open files nearly a fast as a SSD. The drive uses a smaller amount of flash memory to access more recent data to enhance performance. It also has a special area on the flash memory for Windows booting to increase boot speed.
ArsTechnica states the weak point is lower performance under stress tests. The drive is hoped to be a more economic solution for those wanting faster speed but not the pricey cost of true SSD.
Some instrumentals from Kevin MacLeod:
- Up on a Housetop
- Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairies
- Angels We Have Heard (piano)
We changed it up and went with some adult oriented comedy. Paul and Storm:
- Live at The Beachland – Grandma Cooked the Dog
- Domino’s Pizza
- Live at The Beachland – Ones and Zeros
- Live at The Beachland – Mothers Day Song
At the request of one of our listeners, we played one more by Jamie Gray, On a Sunny Day.
We closed out the show with a few from Sick of Sarah, recorded live in Cleveland, Ohio at The Pirate’s Cove.
- Over Exposed
- Hello, Good Morning (Sent Out to Lumpy)
- Podcasts of Christmas 002 – Not Safe for Work of Children (indienation.fm)
- Tech and Net – News and Opinion – Episode 001 (indienation.fm)
- HP slams ‘sensational’ reports about LaserJet printer hack vulnerability (physorg.com)
- Security researchers say HP printers vulnerable to hackers (infoworld.com)