Monthly Archives: October 2021

The Insane Innovation of TI Calculator Hobbyists

Source: Hacker News

Article note: TI's z80 and 68k calculators really are a weird and wonderful little ecosystem, and is definitely a lot of clever people's entry point into thinking like a programmer. I hadn't paid it much mind in the last decade or so, but it still seems to be a thing.
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PLOS2021: ISO-C became unusable for operating systems

Source: Hacker News

Article note: This is a pretty nifty paper, and some of the HN discussion is interesting too (...and a lot of it is people who seem to think the underlying hardware of computers is free magic). Watching theory folks, hardware folks, and application programmers collide in C is always a good show, because each of them look at behaviors and say "of course it should do x"... and the x is different for all of them. Rust is the first language I've seen that can _compellingly_ do the kind of low-level stuff that C is the default for without requiring an enormous amount of outside-the-language support (...written in C or assembly) to actually interface the hardware AND still be at least as optimizable as C, but theirs is very hard-won in terms of platform code compared to C's "the language definition is to do what the host hardware does" approach.
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One America News founder claimed he started network at AT&T’s request

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: Well, it's _mostly_ a platforming argument, but there is still a noticeable bit of "Disassembled abusive (but productive) monopoly reassembling itself like a Terminator, in the image of the modern even-more abusive and parasitic monopoly, funding an anti-government propaganda network."
Eagle-trimmed logo for One American News Network.

Enlarge (credit: One America News Network)

A Reuters report published today with the title "How AT&T helped build far-right One America News" alleges that the telecom giant played a significant role "in creating and funding OAN, a network that continues to spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic."

While there's no evidence or allegation that AT&T played a direct role in creating OAN, Reuters points to a court case in which OAN's founder said he created the network after AT&T "told us they wanted a conservative network." OAN also apparently gets the vast majority of its revenue from a carriage deal with the AT&T-owned DirecTV, which is by far the largest cable or satellite TV provider that carries the channel. OAN is carried by providers including DirecTV, AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS, and CenturyLink, but not by large cable operators such as Comcast, Charter, and Cox.

OAN owner Herring Networks claimed in a 2016 lawsuit that AT&T promised to carry OAN on DirecTV in exchange for OAN's public support of AT&T's attempt to purchase the satellite provider, which required government approval. OAN's lawsuit claimed that AT&T reneged on the deal once its purchase of DirecTV was finalized in 2015. OAN finally got on DirecTV in 2017, weeks after agreeing to drop its lawsuit against AT&T. Herring also claimed in court that AT&T in 2013 proposed acquiring a 5 percent ownership stake in Herring, but that purchase was never made.

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Twitch source code and creator payouts part of massive leak

Source: The Verge - All Posts

Article note: Huh. It'll be interesting to see what happens with the fallout of the payout information, and whether anyone does some (possibly firewalled through a document/implement clean room process) interop work for the platform.
Illustration by William Joel / The Verge

Twitch appears to have been hacked, leaking source code for the company’s streaming service, an unreleased Steam competitor from Amazon Game Studios, and details of creator payouts. An anonymous poster on the 4chan messaging board has released a 125GB torrent, which they claim includes the entirety of Twitch and its commit history.

The poster claims the leak is designed to “foster more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space.” The Verge is able to confirm that the leak is legitimate, and includes code that is as recent as this week. Video Games Chronicle first reported details on the leak earlier today.

The leak includes the following:

  • 3 years worth of details regarding creator payouts on Twitch.
  • The entirety of...

Continue reading…

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Company that routes SMS for all major US carriers was hacked for five years

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: ...Our infrastructure is such bullshit.
A woman's hand holding a smartphone.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | d3sign)

Syniverse, a company that routes hundreds of billions of text messages every year for hundreds of carriers including Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T, revealed to government regulators that a hacker gained unauthorized access to its databases for five years. Syniverse and carriers have not said whether the hacker had access to customers' text messages.

A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week said that "in May 2021, Syniverse became aware of unauthorized access to its operational and information technology systems by an unknown individual or organization. Promptly upon Syniverse's detection of the unauthorized access, Syniverse launched an internal investigation, notified law enforcement, commenced remedial actions and engaged the services of specialized legal counsel and other incident response professionals."

Syniverse said that its "investigation revealed that the unauthorized access began in May 2016" and "that the individual or organization gained unauthorized access to databases within its network on several occasions, and that login information allowing access to or from its Electronic Data Transfer ('EDT') environment was compromised for approximately 235 of its customers."

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Activists Are Designing Mesh Networks To Deploy During Civil Unrest

Source: Slashdot

Article note: This is something I muse about for fun pretty often. What if we built a peer-to-peer wireless network that we could fiddle with independent of commercial transit? What if it had network properties that looked different than the current internet (eg. store-and-forward? information centered?)? What if we _intentionally_ built technical protections/limitations into it (eg. fancy transport level crypto, nodes identified by cryptographic nonces for anonymity? users with IDs rather than nodes? some kind of peer attestation scheme?)? It's a fucklot of work to play with anything like that so I never get past musing, but it looks like these folks are making some preliminary inroads on a scheme that hits a lot of those points.

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: [O]rganizers and programmers with the Mycelium Mesh Project are [...] designing a decentralized, off-grid mesh network for text communications that could be deployed quickly during government-induced blackouts or natural disasters. Mesh networks, a form of intranet distributed across various nodes rather than a central internet provider, have the potential to decrease our collective reliance on telecommunication conglomerates like Spectrum and Verizon. During a civil unrest situation, government operatives could theoretically disconnect established commercial mesh networks by raiding activists' homes and destroying their nodes or super nodes. The Mycelium Mesh Project is addressing this potential weak link by developing a system that could be deployed at a moment's notice in non-locations, such as on abandoned buildings, tree tops, electric boxes and utility poles. Nodes would be cheap, run independently of the power grid, and could be produced with materials that can be obtained locally. So far, the collective has successfully sent and received text messages across thirteen miles during field testing around Atlanta, Georgia with nodes powered by rechargeable batteries harvested from disposable vapes. [...] The Mycelium Mesh Project is still in its relatively early stages of development. Messages aren't encrypted -- a necessary feature for activists -- and the model isn't ready for long-range use. But developers are hopeful that their open-source model will promote cooperation amongst like-minded coders. "The network that we all use will work pretty much fine in 99.9% of the cases. But then when it doesn't, it's a real big problem," Marlon Kautz, an organizer and developer with the project, told Motherboard. "The authorities' control over our communications infrastructure can just completely determine what is politically possible in a situation where the future is really up for grabs, where people are making a move to change things in a serious and radical way." "This is anti-capitalist work, which is non-commercial. We are not trying to start a business," Kautz explained. "We're explicitly trying to take advantage of open source type concepts. So not not only do we want the code that we're developing to be open source, but our entire production model will be."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Alexa, Ring, and Astro: Where’s My Privacy, Amazon?

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Amazon's products really are creepy spybots. Also, reminder, in the US large scale private surveillance is BOTH private surveillance and government surveillance with extra steps, because the 3rd party doctrine is overbroad.
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