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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why Facebook and other socnets should be 100% secure (even with stuff you make public)

“100 Million Facebook Users Data Collated into One Giant-Ass File” from thetechpete:

The harvest has begun.. Ron Bowes is from Canada, and he is a security consultant. Just this week, Mr. Bowes changed the world as we know it, perhaps ever damning the word “privacy” into the trash heap of history. And how did he do it? Using the very data that people knowingly and happily gave up themselves on Facebook..

Bowes collated 100 million Facebook users’ names, addresses, and unique ID numberson a single 2.8 gig file and posted it online..Facebook also enabled this grand release of private data.


I would quit Facebook in a New York second if only I could convince my family and friends who treat the site like a religion to quit, too.

Maybe I should bite the bullet and set the good example.  The problem with that is simple: FB as lame as it is, is great for networking.  Plus, it saves me money on business cards—I barely give them out. I just tell them the socnets I’m on and they find me if they want to.

I just wish Zuckerberg wasn’t such a douche with our stuff.

See, I get that I make my info public. 

What I don’t like is how Facebook and other socnets make it so easy for other things to be done with my info. 

I don’t know if it there needs to be a law against it or if Facebook and other socnets should be forced to give us the ability to not just block all info from being public but to also prohibit the info from being copyable by anyone.  I put my content out there for people to view it where I want them to—I don’t like the idea of my content being in some massive list or on some other site that doesn’t share revenue with me.  This may be a brave new world, but I’ve got bills to pay, just like everyone else.  Let me control my shit—the least you can do is pay me for it when you use it.

100 Million Facebook Users Data Collated into One Giant-Ass File

The harvest has begun.. Ron Bowes is from Canada, and he is a security consultant. Just this week, Mr. Bowes changed the world as we know it, perhaps ever damning the word “privacy” into the trash heap of history. And how did he do it? Using the very data that people knowingly and happily gave up themselves on Facebook..

Bowes collated 100 million Facebook users’ names, addresses, and unique ID numberson a single 2.8 gig file and posted it online..Facebook also enabled this grand release of private data.


I would quit Facebook in a New York second if only I could convince my family and friends who treat the site like a religion to quit, too.

Maybe I should bite the bullet and set the good example.  The problem with that is simple: FB as lame as it is, is great for networking.  Plus, it saves me money on business cards—I barely give them out. I just tell them the socnets I’m on and they find me if they want to.

I just wish Zuckerberg wasn’t such a douche with our stuff.

Testing out Sugru with a Kindle cable, iPhone cable and a custom Munny toy. (UPDATED)

Back in June I came across a post on featuring this stuff called “Sugru” and posted about how cool this stuff looked.  Recently we placed an order and it just arrived today, so I decided to give it a try.  Check out to find out the specifics of what Sugru is or just check out the pics below and you should make sense of it just fine.

Sugru comes in 5-gram packets (or “sachets” as they’re called on the official website). Here’s what one looks like:

In the background in the above pic you can see the Kindle 2 cable I decided to test the Sugru on.  I hadn’t used my Kindle in a month or two and recently connected it to my MacBook Pro—and as I did, the casing on the cable just beneath each plug had become so brittle it  partially shattered.

Here’s what it looks like once you cut it open:

Sugru feels like Play-Doh crossed with Silly Putty—but much more like Play-Doh.

And here’s the Kindle cable once the Sugru has been smeared on:

And here’s the other end of the same Kindle cable:

And here’s my wife’s iPhone cable with the same treatment.  Both ends of that cable’s casing had broken, but not as bad as my Kindle cable:

And here’s a before-shot of the other end of my wife’s iPhone cable before I put the Sugru on:

And here’s with the Sugru on:

And finally, I tried it out on a custom Munny toy I’ve been working on for a while, but ran into difficulty on. I cut a hole in his butt for part of the project I no longer want to do, so I thought I’d see how Sugru would do at filling the hole:

UPDATE #1: Here’s a pic of the Munny’s butt before I added the Sugru:

The hacked electronics on the other side of that USB port ended up being to tricky to deal with so I opted to simplify things.  Hence, the hole to be plugged…


So, all of the Sugru is curing now and I’ll take more pics tomorrow and post ‘em so you can see how things turned out.

UPDATE #2:  The Sugru has cured but I haven’t had time to post new pics, but I will hopefully get to it later today (20100803 ET).

Friday, July 30, 2010

More fodder for the argument that Republicans are total deceitful hypocrites who will wrap themselves in the flag at one moment and tear it to pieces the next. Every Republican should be ashamed for not passing this bill which would (as I understand it) cover medical care for 911 emergency responders—as in, the people who were responding to the attacks on September 11, 2001.From officialssay:Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), yelling at House Republicans who opposed a bill that would provide $7.4 billion in health care and compensation to 9/11 rescue workers. The bill failed.Huh, so my congressman is being investigated for ethics violations, meanwhile, my friends out in Brooklyn get this guy. I may have picked the wrong neighborhood to move to! :)Still, nice to see a dude actually doing his job!Seriously, Republicans—are you guys really so scummy?? What else did the bill do that allowed you to rationalize not paying for health care for 911 responders?? Free condoms for teens? Free abortions for all? What??This guy needs to get knighted or sainted or something…

The Ultimate Contrarian Conclusion: The Big Bang Never Happened

The Big Bang Theory is being reconsidered, believe it or not.  This is big because it doesn’t change just what science has been teaching us, but it also calls into question the classic religious explanation for the universe.  But first, check out the science (or just skip past it to get to my take on how this slams Christianity, hard).

“Model describes universe with no big bang, no beginning, and no end” from unknownskywalker:

By suggesting that mass, time, and length can be converted into one another as the universe evolves, a new study has proposed a new class of cosmological models that may fit observations of the universe better than the current big bang model.

Wun-Yi Shu, an associate professor at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, explains that the new models emerge from a new perspective of some of the most basic entities: time, space, mass, and length. In his proposal, time and space can be converted into one another, with a varying speed of light as the conversion factor. Mass and length are also interchangeable, with the conversion factor depending on both a varying gravitational “constant” and a varying speed of light (G/c²).

Basically, as the universe expands, time is converted into space, and mass is converted into length. As the universe contracts, the opposite occurs.

The speed of light is simply a conversion factor between time and space in spacetime. It is simply one of the properties of the spacetime geometry. Since the universe is expanding, the conversion factor somehow varies in accordance with the evolution of the universe, hence the speed of light varies with cosmic time.

The newly proposed models have four distinguishing features:

  • The speed of light and the gravitational “constant” are not constant, but vary with the evolution of the universe.

  • Time has no beginning and no end; i.e., there is neither a big bang nor a big crunch singularity.

  • The spatial section of the universe is a 3-sphere [a higher-dimensional analogue of a sphere], ruling out the possibility of a flat or hyperboloid geometry.

  • The universe experiences phases of both acceleration and deceleration.

The models were tested against current cosmological observations of Type Ia supernovae that have revealed that the universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating rate. Because acceleration is an inherent part of this model, it fits the redshift data of the observed supernovae quite well. In contrast, the currently accepted big bang model does not fit the data, which has caused scientists to search for other explanations such as dark energy that theoretically makes up 75% of the mass-energy of the universe.

The new models may also account for other problems faced by the standard big bang model. For instance, the flatness problem arises in the big bang model from the observation that a seemingly flat universe such as ours requires finely tuned initial conditions. But because the universe is a 3-sphere in this models, the flatness problem “disappears automatically.”

Similarly, the horizon problem occurs in standard cosmology because it should not be possible for distant places in the universe to share the same physical properties (as they do), since it should require communication faster than the speed of light due to their great distances. However, the models solve this problem due to their lack of big bang origin and intrinsic acceleration.

Essentially, this work is a theory about how the magnitudes of the three basic physical dimensions, mass, time, and length, are converted into each other, or equivalently, a theory about how the geometry of spacetime and the distribution of mass-energy interact.

Source: | Read the full story at The Physics ArXiv Blog
The paper is available via

OK, so remember what how Christianity says the universe was created?  You know, that bit about the “let their be light” thing?  Well, up until now, you could sorta see how it fits with science.  I  mean, sure, you have to squint a little, but it’s there.

But now science seems to be suggesting that not only was there never a Big Bang, but that there was no beginning to the universe and there won’t be an end.  So, not only was their no “let their be light” moment (aka no birth of the universe), but there was no point at which the universe did not exist, therefore there’s no way God could have created it.

I kind of like this theory better than the Big Bang since it doesn’t seem to need Dark Energy (I thought it was “Dark Matter”) to make it work.  I also love how everything converts into everything else—mass into time, time in length, length into mass—it’s all so elegant and logical. 

Of course, understanding what a 3-sphere looks like will take me a bit to work out. O_O

USG asks Wikileaks, politely, to stop, so the USG can continue to get away with stuff.

screencap source:

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today that all the White House can do to stop the website Wikileaks from publishing more top secret documents is ask.

“We can do nothing but implore the person that has those classified, top secret documents not to post anymore,” Gibbs said this morning on NBC’s “Today Show.”

Awwww, don’tcha just feel so sorry for them?

Yeah, me neither!

NEWSFLASH: Hey Gibbs! You guys COULD just clean up your act around the world and, oh, I don’t know… STOP LYING TO US.

If everything the USMil did abroad was moral, then there would be no reason for the leaks to continue, right?

It’s like that oft used reasoning Republicans use when they justify more Big Brothery laws: if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about!

Well, I much prefer that excuse when pointed at the government since they’re supposed to answer to us—not the other way around.

You know what they say about sunshine…

My Apple iPhone/iPod/iEverything-related Wishlist

“Dear Steve,” from brentbillock:
My top four requests for Apple.

  1. Voice Control  on iPhone for more than just music and calling. For example: “Launch Maps,” “Create Email,” “Open Google,” or “Turn On Bluetooth.” Invoking Voice Memos with Voice Control seems especially obvious.

  2. In iTunes, please let me delete a terrible song, no matter what playlist I’m in when I hear it. Now I have to go find it in the “Music” view.

  3. In iTunes/iPhone integration, please sync smart playlists with “live updating.” That’s the whole point of smart playlists. I shouldn’t have to turn it off in order to take those tunes with me.

  4. Direct access to photos and videos shot with iPhone. This “iPhoto to iMovie which may or may not coordinate with iTunes” process is ridiculously clumsy. Please let me drag and drop and decide later what application I want to use.

It’s only because so much of the UX is done so well that small problems like this annoy me.

How about a single application to rule them all? Instead of iPhoto, iTunes and iMovie, how ‘bout just iApp that allows you to just stay in one app?

Better yet, why not just integrate these apps into Finder?

Why bother with the illusion of an application at all?  Or is it all because of the iTunes Store?  Well, that shouldn’t rule out the iApp to rule them all, then.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

J-Media of the Day for July 29, 2010: K-On! Eps 3 & 4

More K-On! Caps!!  I keep trying to limit them, but there are so many awesomely strange moments on that show.

Wait for it…

Aw yeah, that’s correct… O_o

Mio-chan’s got that right.

Imouto always are!! >_O ^_^

Wait for it…


Yet Mugi is the blonde… wha?

That’s part of the problem…. >_<

I’m a writer, I know exactly how Yui feels…

No comment…

There is something that resonates with everyone in these characters, strangely enough—like the bed-head above.

See? How often have you put on swim goggles, grabbed a pitchfork and screamed “Yeah! Let’s play!” this week?

The katakana spelled in romaji is: “boin”  That’s really the Japanese word for “big breasts” not “busty.”


She feels shame and therefore has no eyes yet asks if we can see.


I think I’ll stop posting caps from K-On! now.

One more:

Yui’s shirt says in romaji: “oshiyan” or in English: “ocean”.

ThePeteHacks: Kindle 2 Handmade Book Cover

So, after a few months of owning a Kindle 2, I noticed that it was getting a little scuffed up, even though I was wrapping it in a bandanna whenever I’d toss it into my bag to bring it somewhere.  So, I decided it needed a cover.  I did some browsing on Amazon and quickly discovered that every K2 cover seemed overpriced to me.  So, I did what any self-respecting hacker/customizer/DIYer would do and that’s hack together a perfectly reasonable cover from stuff I had laying around.

I also loved the idea of making my Kindle 2 look more like a high school text book than a high tech e-book reader, so I decided it should be made, mostly, from a grocery bag.  However, that brown paper feels pretty abrasive to me, so I used a couple of thin sheets of foam I had left over from an unboxing of another cool gadget and added them to the mix.

Have a look at the pics:

Obviously, I added some stickers to dress it up a bit.  I had planned to make it look even more high-schooly by drawing on it.  But since I’ve decided to give my Kindle 2 to my mom thanks to never using it, myself, (I have too many paperbacks I have yet to read and they take precedence), I’ll be leaving it up to my mom to take the design further if she wants to.

Yep that’s a paperclip that is slipped through a slit in the brown paper cover, itself, so it is never loose (or loseable).  The “rope” (paper strand) is just a long, thick strip of brown paper folded in half and then held that way with celo tape (I think I used the glossy Scotch tape because it sticks to the paper better than the transparent kind). The “DISOBEY” sticker comes from fellow-Flickrer Andres Musta. He’s a great artist. Check his stuff out.

Here’s a close up of the edge flap:

And here’s with the edge flap folded back after untying the paper strand:

Here’s the cover open with the Kindle 2’s screen, nav buttons and keyboard exposed:

You can see the foam sheet I folded over and cut so that the screen and keyboard would not have bare grocery-bag-paper rubbing against them when the Kindle 2 was in my bag.  I think I folded the foam over twice. Here’s a closer shot of the foam:

Here you can see another type of foam sheeting I used to wrap the Kindle 2 in before slipping it into the brown paper cover:

Here’s the area of the thin foam sheet that I cut away to allow the power switch and the headphone jack to be accessible. It’s a little ghetto looking, but it’s tough foam to cut neatly (or maybe my X-acto blade is finally getting dull?):

And here’s a shot of the exact opposite edge of the Kindle 2—the port for the USB cable and the tiny LED indicator that lights up when the K2 is plugged in:

And here is a shot of the empty brown-paper-case.  You can see that I used a Trader Joe’s grocery bag for the project :) and you can see where the paper strand is attached to the cover:

Finally, here’s a close up of the paper strand—I cut two slits, slipped the strand through and then taped it up.

I was pretty happy with how it worked out. So much so that I also made a similar cover for my eee PC 4g netbook.  I’ll have to post pics of that at some point.

From poptech:

THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD is a screwball true story about two gonzo political activists who, posing as top executives of giant corporations, lie their way into big business conferences and pull off the world’s most outrageous pranks. This peer-to-peer special edition of the film is unique: it is preceded by an EXCLUSIVE VIDEO of the Yes Men impersonating the United States Chamber of Commerce. Because the Yes Men are being sued for this stunt, p2p is the only way that this film will get seen.

The Yes Men Fix The World, Peer-To-Peer Edition (via laughingsquid)

The Yes Men are masters at impersonating business leaders and smuggling stories to the public to expose big business wrong-doing. In 2006 the The Yes Men gave us a behind the scenes look at their special flavor of activism.

Wow—so they’re getting sued for a stunt that isn’t in the movie which is resulting in the movie not getting a regular distribution deal?  I’m not sure I follow that logic, but what the hell? FREE MOVIE!




Apple Launches New Product in Glasgow

The ibusker. Waiting lists are filling up all over Eastern Europe.

via- pietrach

This just made me laugh…

…in a sad, disdainful way, at the decay of the western world.


#WTFObama: Indirect Ban Limits Abortions by Women in High-Risk Insurance Pools

Gotta love this kind of shit—the USG decides it’s OK to allow insurance companies the ability to deny certain people with certain types of pre-existing conditions.  For a black man, Obama really doesn’t seem to get how economics and race work.


Obama bans abortion for women in high-risk insurance pools




“We need you to act immediately to undo a disturbing decision from the Obama administration. Remember all the hard work you and other ACLU activists did to defeat Rep. Stupak’s draconian abortion coverage ban during the health care debate?

Well now, the White House has decided to voluntarily impose the ban for all women in the newly-created high risk insurance pools. What is disappointing is that there is nothing in the law that requires the Obama administration to impose this broad and highly restrictive abortion ban. It doesn’t allow states to choose to cover abortion and it doesn’t even give women the option to buy abortion coverage using their own money.”

Ask President Obama WHY his administration is restricting coverage for vulnerable women.

So, once again, it’s OK to kill people in other countries to protect our freedom, in general, but killing unborn babies is NOT OK in order to protect our individual freedom.


contrararian:christiannightmares:Moral Majority co-founder Tim LaHaye tells Mike Huckabee that we are living in the End Times and that Obama is bringing us “closer to the apocalypse”Jesus. Feck.Holy Christ. Why do we let people like this on TV, but swear words and sex are not. Mike Huckabee actually asked that man if we were living in the End Times.Just think about that for a second.It’s things like this that make me wish it were true.


4 Types of Bloggers (via nevver)

shooshee: it’s funny because it’s true

I love statements like this because I’m almost always proof of them NOT being true.

I’ve been blogging since before it was called “blogging” (that’s 1997/8ish).  Somewhere around 2000, I started using GreyMatter to blog with. Before then I was just editing raw HTML on a weekly basis.  I stuck with GreyMatter up to November of 2004. I switched to WordPress then and used it until last September when I got fed up with having to update the damn thing so many times a year, thus watching my layouts and plugins break, forcing me to do loads of extra work just to keep things functioning from one month to the next.

I’m on Tumblr not because I’m lazy, but because I’m tired of working so hard just to provide content I believe in.  I’m not lazy and I’m tired of seeing myself and people like myself being categorized as such by a bunch of judgmental assholes who think they can determine why the people in the world do what they do.

It’s like people who think Twitter is just for people to post about when they take a dump. Or like people who think it’s right for them to decide what is interesting and what isn’t.

I’m pretty sure I understand why people do this—it’s out of a fear of uncertainty.  This kind of judgmental behavior seems to make people feel more safe, more secure about themselves to be able to judge other people and other things as one way or another.  It creates the illusion of a stable reality, when really, reality isn’t all that stable.

So, don’t call me lazy because I use Tumblr.  I have over ten Tumblr blogs I do my best to post to on a regular basis.  Does that sound like “lazy” to you?  To me, it seems like I simply have different priorities.  I’d rather work hard on content and than on keeping my site’s back-end up-to-date with the whims of code devs who insist on fixing things that aren’t broken and then force you to deal with nag messages until you do.

Sorry to get off on a rant here, but generalizations like this hurt everyone who actually gives a crap about what they do on the web, regardless of where they do it.  It belittles our efforts to help make the world a better place (whether through snarky frivolity or cogent commentary) and disrespects the time sacrificed by us to do so, most of the time, with little or no monetary benefit. 

We do it because we are passionate for the work. So, please, we “Internet-types” take enough shit.  Let’s not dump more on each other.

So, I’d rather believe in a world of “polytypical” bloggers—a world where bloggers all blog the way they do for various reasons of their own—some good and some bad.

Yes, I know the original post is just a joke, but I think it’s a mistake to say nothing while we bloggers become the butt of what used to be jokes making fun of the Polish or of lawyers.

Hey, we’re nowhere as bad as those guys.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We’ll increasingly be defined by what we say no to.

We’ll increasingly be defined by what we say no to.

Paul Graham on addiction. (via gtmcknight)

This quote applies to every aspect of modern life in the western world, IMO.

Ah, Farscape, why did you get canceled??

Ah, Farscape, why did you get canceled??

I really wish I knew…

J-Media of the Day for July 28, 2010 pt 2: Heroman Ep 17

Heroman, if you don’t know, was created by Stan Lee and has a good number of American motifs running through the series.  However, the show is still pretty Japanesey, in my opinion, and I mean that in a good way.  It’s pretty violent and kind of clever. There’s a lot of frivolity that I could do without, but hey, it is a kid show and I’m just glad it’s got truly heroic and tragic characters in it—not just stupid characters like most American shows.
Anyway, on with the caps:

Just a little Americany here:

Red eyes, trench coat—that can mean only one thing! EVIIIL!

For the jaded older sister, she’s become quite a fangirl:

Denton gets dramatic:

GLKS: Gratuitous Lina Kawaii Shot #1:

Something to look forward to:

GLKS: Gratuitous Lina Kawaii Shot #2:

GLKS: Gratuitous Lina Kawaii Shot #3:

GLKS: Gratuitous Lina Kawaii Shot #4:

GLKS: Gratuitous Lina Kawaii Shot #5:

Sorry, last one for this post!

One of my favorite things about this show is when Denton speaks English:


It must sound to me just like I’d sound to a Japanese person when I say “mochidon!”

The character design for the female teacher is kinda crazy, though. I’d NEVER have gotten anything above a D grade in her class because of her double-d’s:

I do love Heroman’s ambiguous looks he gives:

Joey making the call:

Heroman and his hand:

Ah, dichotomies!  I love ‘em:

And hey, check it out—this shot is in the end titles and is essentially, just south of my old neighborhood in LA.  That’s the LA Federal Building to the upper right—where my local post office was:

It’s a little surreal seeing stuff in anime based on my old home town—but cool :)