Monthly Archives: September 2011

The near future of the tech industry

I am not into making predictions of the future. Okay, that is not true, I do it all the time, so what the fuck. A few weeks ago HP announced it was selling its PC hardware and mobile device businesses. Michael Dell promptly started antagonising them on Twitter, nearly everyone thought this was a bad idea and their stock plummeted. The HP board of directors fired the CEO in an attempt to sooth queasy investors. What HP didn’t do is abandon the plan to sell off their hardware divisions and become a service company. Upon appointment the new CEO promptly said she planned to follow the plan to restructure the company, the previous CEO was right, he was simply a victim of poor marketing.

This whole ordeal reminds of of another similar decision made by another tech company several years earlier. IBM sold off its PC hardware business to a Chinese company who now uses IBM’s patents to build the Lenovo line. Today it was announced that IBM has now over taken Microsoft as the #2 most valuable tech company in the world. While I can’t foretell the future, I will give even odds that in 5 years HP will be laughing all the way to the bank and Michael Dell will be left wondering what the hell happened.

Noise ratio theory of online identities

I suspect in this day and age, it would be fairly difficult to completely disappear and assume a new identity. Thirty years ago the various databases used by federal, state and local governments were not connected and most were not even computerized. Today, that is not true, you can not obtain a birth certificate of someone who died and with that get a social security number and driver license, as soon as you tried red flags would be going up everywhere. I suppose it is possible, just not very easy.

However, the other day I was thinking it would be pretty easy to lay down a trail or several trails of misinformation. Essentially set up 4 or 5 online lives using your own name, birthday and birth place. Give each one a similar set of interests but vary the information in subtle ways and create each life in a different location and different job.

The process would be fairly easy to implement. Set up 5 email addresses with 5 different free email services. Then take those and set up Facebook  and Twitter accounts, link the accounts so anything you post on Twitter automatically goes to Facebook. While you are at it, activate the location finder in Twitter, then access it using Tor, this will make it look like you are posting from different locations, throw in a job that makes you travel and suddenly your fake life is much more interesting than your real one. Once this is done, start following a celebrity and start retweeting their stuff, occasionally commenting. This will fill Facebook and gain you followers on Twitter.

You could even go a step further and google your name and see what professions your name sakes are in and use those in your profiles. You should be careful with this however, you do not want to be accused of identity theft, you simply want to muddy the waters by making your fake life intersect in minor ways with those who share a name with you.

Keep in mind, this would not foil a professional investigator, but it will probably slow them down, especially if you have been working on these fake lives for a couple of years prior. I think who this would be most effective against is amateurs and stalkers. To be really effective though, you would have to either eliminate your real Facebook and Twitter accounts or start using them to create misinformation as well.

Autumnal Equinox

Today is Autumnal Equinox, I am in the mood for a funky pagan orgy, it will give me an excuse to wear my goat leggings.

Kindle on Linux

So the other day I downloaded the Android SDK, installed it and tried to see if the Kindle ebook app could be made to run in some reasonable fashion. The conclusion I came to was in fact no. The SDK is simply not built for regular end user use, it is built for testing applications. So that went out the door. I have also tried to run the Kindle app under WINE, which did not work at all and I am not really all that fond of WINE anyway. Rarely do Windows programs run properly under WINE and developers tend to use it as an excuse for not porting to Linux.

This left me with two options. First, just use my Windows 7 Virtual Box install to run the app. Second I could break down and use the Kindle Cloud plug in for Chrome. Using Virtualized Windows to run this app, seemed overly complex for such a simple activity. So I opened Chrome, which came installed by default in Lubuntu, went to Amazon and installed the extension. This seemed a much nicer solution to the problem.

By the way, this is my 350th post.

So long “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and good riddance

As of midnight last night the odious “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has come to an end.

Decade in review

I think this goes a long way towards explaining what is happening with the economy.

A couple of things rolling around in my head today

First off, I swapped my main machine OS from Ubuntu to Lubuntu. Lubuntu is a derivative of Ubuntu which uses a different windows manager. I decided to make the swap for a couple of reasons. First, I have been using it on my netbooks for a couple of years and it has come a long way in that time, developmental wise. Second, it preforms much better and uses considerably less resources than the standard Ubuntu install. Finally, I was not all that impressed with Unity, Ubuntu’s new windows manager, but I had not been terribly happy with Gnome lately either. I think my primary complaint here is OS’s seem to be making a shift to tablet computing and I am not ready to make that shift. Fortunately, being a Linux user, I have choices about what I can use.

Next I have been really annoyed by Amazon’s lack of a Linux version of Kindle software. I mean seriously, they support Android and it would probably take them 20 minutes to port the code and if they waved a bong in front of the programmer, it would probably be done in 10. So in the meantime, I have downloaded the Android SDK to see if the Android Kindle app runs in some tolerable way through the Android emulated environment. More on that later.

I just finished reading Green Lantern #1. I was some what sceptical about the whole thing. This series is pretty much a continuation of the previous Green Lantern series, picking up where the old series left off. I believe this is the only DC book which is doing this for the relaunch of their line. My problem going into it was at the end of the last series, Hal Jordan had been kicked out of the Green Lantern Corp for killing Kronos, the renegade Guardian who was about to destroy the universe. Worse, Sinestro, the renegade Green Lantern who made it his life work to destroy the Green Lantern Corp, the Guardian of the Universe and Hal Jordan in particular, had been reinstated as a Green Lantern.  Yeah, it did not really make sense to me either. So the new series picks up with Sinestro going back to his home world and trying to reclaim it from the Sinestro Corp, the very evil being he released on the universe himself. It also follows Hal Jordan as he tries to readjust to life as a normal man trying to pay rent and find a job. Both stories work pretty well, with both characters realizing they were out of their depth and had made some wrong decisions. At the end we are shown Sinestro coming to Hal Jordan for help. I have to say, I am intrigued, I like this book better than all the other relaunch books I have read so far.

Idle minds

Apparently the Social Security office does not open until 9AM. So Here I sit blogging from my phone. In front of me in the distance is an older building. It has character and while not an exciting building, it is somewhat pleasant to look at.

9/11, In Memoriam

A moment of silence please.

RIP: Michael S. Hart inventer of the ebook

Michael S. Hart the founder of Project Gutenberg and the inventor of the ebook died this week. His original intent was to allow the unlimited free distribution of great literature through electronic means. When he was laying the foundations for this, I doubt he envisioned the Kindle or Nook, but neither would exist if it were not for the early work of this man.