Month: November 2006

The History of Hacking

Interesting video. Should be callced "Phreaking and Hacking" though.

Here’s my experience with both. It was the late 70’s and early 80’s. Ma Bell had not yet completed their transition to out of band signaling, so in-band signaling was still very common. Friend of mine had an Apple II with a Novation CAT modem with a little program called CatFer. CatFer could generate all the MF tones including KP (2600Hz) etc.

Spent lots of time there playing around the network, calling Regional Network Operations Centers (RNOC’s) after relaying the call through several points around the world was quite the trip. Even got to talk to Draper on a conference or two.

I also figured out the algorithm that then Sprint was using for it’s codes for long distance service. So many calls were made gratis via Sprint’s network because of me.

Hacking was a bit different. I did procure a set of user id’s and passwords for the IBM 370 at Brown University when I was a high school student, which I then gave to friends who knew the DOS/VSE running on said system. When they managed to get that 370 to do a core dump, it was major shit since one of those friends father was a Providence police detective. Ooops.

My deal was my first shot at college on their Digital PDP-11/70. Figured out how to get the keys to the kingdom by writing a login simulator and running it on the operator console. Under RSTS/E you could allocate devices including the system console, so that’s precisely what we did. The only access to the 370 on campus was via punch cards which I had to use for a PL/I class, so it didn’t have that immediacy.

Friend of mine and I had a complete email and chat system running on that PDP-11/70.

Well, one night the email system glitched and caused a core dump of the 11/70. I get called into the director of info systems office and had my access revoked. Oh well, didn’t matter, I still had every account name and password on the system as well as the dialup numbers for the system. We fixed the email program and to my knowledge that baby was running for a couple years after I left.

What is it about me?

It doesn’t happen often but when it does I know the situation well. Tonight I’m in the supermarket and this guy comes up to me, introduces himself and before he can get the words out of his mouth I say “Sorry, no cash.” at which point he’s saying “I just want $3”. First of all, learn the difference between want and need. Second of all, just because I might look like an easy mark, I’m a son of a bitch and don’t you forget it.

What I’d like to know is what was it about me that this guy saw, I was just bagging some apples at the time. But then, people ask me for directions all the time, etc. I must look approachable. I’ll have to work on that. I’ve already got it down with Catholic priests – they’re afraid of me.

If they knew about me however, they might think twice. I’m the first generation of the family that wasn’t part of la cosa nostra. I do know I got both the temper, and the thug mannerism when I need them. In general they and karma have served me well through life.

I’ll never forget the incident that happened a little over ten years ago. I was out to dinner with some friends. My friend Chris was a country bumpkin, having grown up and was living in Little Compton, RI. One night we’re having a bite to eat at the Newport Creamery (They’ve been sold, changed, sold again, changed again, ad infinitum) on Smith St. in Providence, RI.

As we’re all walking out to the car this guy approaches us. The first words out of my mouth were “What do you want?” My friend Chris was flabbergasted, couldn’t believe I was that direct. Look, when you grow up in the city you get a little street wise. As above, in addition to temper and thug mannerisms, I also got the ability to smell a rat from a couple miles away.

Chris was also with us the night that the woman was begging for money and another guy in line said he’d give her $2 if she’d blow him. I’m not quite that crude, you have to do or say something pretty bad for me to mouth off.

Reminds me of the time when I was a kid. The local Mobil convenience store was a hangout and this one cashier was a real bitch that loved fucking Providence cops. One day she lit into me about something or another and I let loose. Called her every name in the book.

Couple days later my father is getting gas for his car and she tells him how I was disrespectful to her. His response what that she must have deserved it. Even my dad knows me though sometimes I wonder.

Trigger Happy Policing Was: Cops again: Something about this smells fishy

If you haven’t ever heard it, I suggest you go and find Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues”. You can read the lyrics here and tell me, if we just changed the “Rockets, moon shots” line to “Bogus Wars” how much more relevant would the song be today?

An 88 year old woman has been shot to death by Atlanta police. The old gal did manage to wound three officers and now even the informant comes forward and says that he didn’t tell the cops that drugs were being dealt from Johnston’s home. (There is some debate as to the womans age, more reports are coming in saying she was 92 years old.)

This is yet another instance of police CYA. They screwed up, raided the wrong house and grandma kept her trusty shotgun nearby.

It’s funny – saw the news about this on CNN earlier. Keyron couldn’t figure out why they would shoot an 88 year old woman. I asked him, if his no deceased grandmother wouldn’t have done the same thing and he agreed she would have gone out in a blaze of glory too. Here’s the thing that most people don’t know. The police are a reactive force, they only show up once the event is either happening or is over. The woman they gunned down probably understood this, and when they probably kicked in her door, did what any sane person would do. She grabbed her gun and started blasting. The old saying goes like this: “Shoot first, ask questions later.”

I guess things are a little different down south. But to me, it’s good different. You need to have a healthy dose of wariness when it comes to policing agencies. What’s the old saying, people don’t become police officers because they’re humanitarians? It’s true. At 19 PPD was recruiting, friend of mine begged me to go with him and sign up. Even then I knew it wasn’t a good idea because:

a) If there’s one thing cops have plenty of, it’s time on their hands.
i) What is that other saying, idle hands are the playground of evil?
b) I tend to like people too much to have to enforce rules.

So without further adieu, I’d love to see more oversight of policing agencies because it’s been demonstrated again and again that there’s racial profiling, rights abuses, etc. going on in nearly every department.

First it’s reading about how cops treat epileptics. Tasering isn’t the way things should be done and cops seem a little too eager to use the damned things.

But this one reeks to high heaven. It isn’t mentioned in the article per se, but the people that were shot were black. I would hope that the NYPD gets sued to high heaven on this one. Cops need to learn that deadly force is to be taken as an absolute LAST measure. I’m going to be waiting to see what happens because this story could wake people up once and for all.

First, our law enforcement agencies have been corrupted, but then that has always been the case. The question is, how do we stop the corruption?

Second, when are we going to demand more rigorous training for police officers? Right now the training they receive is pretty light considering the job.

But there’s more on the story here. It stinks even more because now it’s said that they tried to ram an undercover cop, and that they backed into an unmarked police van. This sounds like a CYA thing.

And yet more information is forthcoming. The article says it is unclear whether the undercover police officers identified themselves as police officers.

Back a few years ago Patrollman (posthumously Sargeant) Cornell Young Jr. was gunned down by fellow officers responding to a complaint at a local diner.

Young was in plain clothes, and on coming out of the diner after the suspect, didn’t do what training says you ALWAYS do. Show your badge, not hold your gun gangster style. He died because of his own stupidity and two cops had their lives essentially ruined because not only did they shoot and kill a fellow officer, they shot and killed a fellow officer who happened to be black whose father was a Major in said police department. So it never came out that Sgt. Young was at least partly responsible for his own death.

And I should mention that over the past 20 years ago I have worked with many detectives who were doing details. When they’d move on someone I never heard them identify as police, nor did most produce a badge/identification. With that in mind I can completely believe that these undercovers didn’t immediately produce badges. Even other NYPD detectives are saying this a major Charlie Foxtrot. Holy hell that is about to rain down on the NYPD and it is going to be ugly, rightfully so.

Now of course its coming out that the undercovers had been drinking at the club. I can understand why that would be the case since in order to blend in, you’d need to behave like a regular.

The latest article says that 50 rounds were fired, 21 hitting the car. And interestingly I belive the capacity of standard issue weaponry is 10 rounds and one officer reloaded and emptied a second clip. The response was excessive, as was evidenced by the fact that the police had to trot out that the two men in the hospital had rap sheets. So what, that gave them no right to shoot.

The article referenced above also mentions the involvement of the Reverend Al Sharpton. Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly had better be VERY careful how they handle this. But it appear lately that trigger happy police are everywhere. As I said earlier, we need to make sure police are adequately trained, and also made aware of sanctions for shootings, abuse, etc.

Iraq:The hidden story

The story of what does not get reported in Iraq by the mainstream media.

Although most of us who can think beyond what is for dinner know almost precisely what is going on in Iraq. It is the classic definition of a quagmire, and the premise made by the film is correct. That premise is that if the sheeple knew what was really going on in the red zone, we’d be that less likely to keep our troops there.

The neo-cons have really done it this time. They’ve essentially spawned terrorists for the next generation. Nice of them.

My New Reading List

So being that it’s my birthday I treated myself to a few new books.

First is Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion”. I’ve seen The Root of All Evil as well as interviews with Dawkins so thought it might be an interesting read. I’ll let you know.

Then I got Sam Harris’ “The End of Faith”, if only because I saw Harris interviewed in The God Who Wasn’t There.

Good video, and only an hour. The movie producer/author interviews his former school principal and it gets really interesting. I’d love to do the same except in my case, lots of the teachers and administrators from my time in high school are either dead or no longer at the school.

Picked up Jimmy Carter’s “Our Endangered Values” and then something totally out in left field for me. Left field if you don’t know that I’m very interested in the Depression era and this book “The Worst Hard Time” looks like it’ll be interesting.

In all, about 1,300 pages of reading, the distinct feature of which is that most have works cited or bibliography pages, as well as full text indexes. I guess thats a sign that one is growing up but I still love my fiction too. It’s just that I’m a little jaded when it comes to fiction these days.

I figure those four books will keep me busy reading for the next few days. And then I’ll suffer the withdrawal symptoms.

A Thanksgiving Discovery

The Thanksgiving feast was very good, and my garlic mashed potatoes rock!

Anyhow I made an interesting discovery. We had a little fruit fly problem and nothing we did could get rid of them. It got to the point where I wouldn’t even bring fruit into the house but even still, the little drosophila melanogaster managed to survive.

I even remember high school biology class some 28 years ago. We had a small colony of the little bastards along with food in a sealed plastic tube. At the beginning of the year we gassed them, counted red and white eyes, then back into the tube.

Then some months later we did the same, noting eye color (red, white, pink). It was a genetics experiment to show how eye color is transmitted.

In any case, here’s what I discovered. Want to get rid of a fruity fly infestation? Set out a glass of pinot grigio. At the feast we had glasses of wine and one glass was still about half full. I found a bunch of fruity fly corpses in the wine. Apparently they’re drawn to the scent but they can’t handle their alcohol. Needless to say, our little colony has now been decimated.

Who knew about the OTHER benefits of vino?

Yet another case of to hell with the natives

This is appalling. First of all the medical profession was clueless, something I’m well versed with owing to my inner ear infection. That not one doctor tumbled to the fact that it was in essence heavy metal and radiation poisoning is beyond me, but than that is why I didn’t pursue medicine. It’s almost better to get a Magic 8 Ball and ask it what the problem happens to be. But that the government knew about it and said absolutely nothing is shameful.

I haven’t been a supporter of the Narragansett tribes goal of a casino simply because I know that it isn’t in the best interests of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Not to mention the fact that for better or worse, the leadership of the tribe was asleep at the switch when the elder Senator John Hubbard Chafee put the screws to the tribe through federal legislation that in essence stripped the Naragansetts of their sovereignty.

But they didn’t end up with such a bad deal, the federal government and state both chip millions into the tribe, it’s just that the management of Sachem Thomas is shall we say, somewhat larcenous.

I do draw the line though at knowing something is harming the tribe and not saying something about it, as I’ve amply demonstrated above.

More personal discovery

This one isn’t earth shattering. I just realized where my love of the funk comes from. It was definitely my father. I was surfing videos on YouTube and did a search on Sly and the Family Stone.

Well – I remember raiding dads album collection and recording them to tape, like Average White Band, Sly and the Family Stone, Earth Wind & Fire, and some more obscure groups like Pockets.

Granted, old dad is a bit of a crank in his old age. But then maybe its because as I’ve stated previously, when it comes to social issues I’m lots more like my mom.

So I do have things in common with the old man, if only I could get past the religious fundamentalism.

Bad Bakery Manners – No Donut

So on Saturday the SO bought a coconut custard pie from the local
bakery. We’ve bought them from the same store before and they were
pretty good. This time however, the custard was lumpy and resembled
scrambled eggs more than custard.

He tried to take it back and was told that they couldn’t. Of course his
mistake was doing this all over the phone. It is too easy to fluff off
someone on the phone, not so easy to do it to someone standing in front
of you.

Anyway, I took it back today. The girl at the counter used the same line
and I asked her to call the owner, even said please.

Next this old white haired lady comes out, and is furiously pounding the
register. She hands me the money and says “Don’t you ever step foot in
here again.” to which I replied that she didn’t need to worry, both I
and friends would avoid the bakery.

What the hell happened to customer service? When did it die and why
wasn’t I notified?

In case you’re wondering, its Scialo Brothers Bakery on Atwells Avenue
in Providence, RI.

Land taking

And so the U.S. follows the lead of China. In this video you can see what the government does when it comes to private investment. They evict people with no compensation at all, and simply take the land.

We aren’t so far from that in the United States either. When I look at the recent takings I shake my head. What is the point of owning property when that government of, by and for the people steps in and takes it from you despite your objections?

Did you know that China is properly known as the Peoples Republic of China. What a cruel joke.