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Can Wardialing help in a war?
First off, finals are over and I'm back to being human for a few months (yay!). Second I still love RIFE and now I'll have time to use it. Thrid and the point of this post is can the old BBS days trick of Wardialing to find connections help in a war?

What I mean is there have been several articles posted on bombs being set off remotely by cell phones in Iraq and other places like Bangladesh. I was just wondering if it would be possible to have the phone company periodically just ring all the phones and set off the bombs before they're supposed to detonate. Obviously using simple triangulation, etc. the possible canidates for dialing could be lowered, but either way it's still the principle that's interesting.

Might be better than using cell phone jammers. If nothing else it would make the detonators more complex and harder to build instead of a simple 5V or whatever pulse off the phones speaker there would have to be some kind of tone reader to check for key presses or at least a counter for X rings.

posted by Tyler Pitchford in war_quips. on Dec 5, 2006 10:04 PM : 38 comments [permalink]
The fairytale of Ruby, her magical kingdom, and the mutilation of poor elseif
Once upon a time there was a beautiful thing born and it was known as Logic. Eventually, Logic gave birth to a beautiful baby Computers. Now, Computers gave birth to many things, but this story focuses on part of it's bastard step child --programming languages and it's cousin software development.

Now programming languages was very promiscuous and had many many bastard children of it's own. One was the demon seed known as Perl. However, evil can change it's stripes in this magical land and eventually from Perl arose a somewhat less evil descendant. This somewhat less evil descendant was named "Ruby."

Eventually, Ruby, the somewhat less evil descendant of the demon seed Perl, developed a kingdom and a large following (mostly from her vast rail network). Many wars were waged between Ruby's kingdom and those of the somewhat evil PHP, a bastard child of C++, who himself was a bastard child C, and so on. These wars lasted many years, but they're not the focus of this story. No, this story focuses on Ruby.

Now, Ruby, with her vast kingdom made many decrees. Some where simple such as "Types shall not be found in my kingdom!, unless they're for conversions?” Other degrees were to appease her kingdom and it's vast population of characters.

One example, was Ruby's degree: "No character shall not have a meaning in our kingdom!"
To which the people cried "Not even ! ?"
Ruby replied "No, ! shall be factorial AND not"
"What of @?" they said next.
"@ shall define class members" she replied
"And |, what of smelly old | ?" the pondered,
"Ah, a tough one, but | shall have a use in iterators"
... this went on for awhile as there were a lot of characters to be appointed.

Near the end one character spoke up, little ^, and asked Ruby for a meaning. Poor little ^ said to Ruby, "Your majesty, I've been known around the world to represent the exponential operation and I'd like have the same meaning in your kingdom."

Ruby, who had a brief affair with ** several years earlier; told poor little ^ to go to hell and appointed ** as the exponential operator. Poor little ^ was left with only being useful as a regular expression operator and eventually committed suicide. Poor little guy. Many in the kingdom were furious and confused about Ruby's decision to select ** over brave little carrot and swore off Ruby and her kingdom forever.

Eventually, an underground began to form in the kingdom. They tried for years to over throw ** as the exponential operator but failed. The operators of the underground were two nobles named If and Else. If and Else were lovers and were recently blessed with a child. If and Else, being subjects of a kingdom founded by a distant relative of Logic, name their child Elseif --a token of their undying love for each other and honor to the legend of Logic.

The wars fought between the underground and Ruby's armies were amazing, even more so then those waged between the Ruby's kingdom and PHP, but there is no time to describe them here. Eventually, the leaders of the movement If and Else were caught along with their two greatest generals, the twins { and }. Being slightly evil, really pissed off by the underground's attacks, and insulted by the fact that anyone in her kingdom would question her decision to appoint ** over ^, Ruby came up with a horrific plan to teach any dissenters a lesson.

First, she imprisoned If and Else's generals, { and }, to work with smelly old | for all eternity. Next, and the most dastardly of all, Ruby ordered Elseif’s e cut off in front of the whole kingdom. Yes! Poor newborn’s e was cut off Poor and waived around for all to see. Poor little Elseif, now forever more only Elsif was forever ruined by Queen Ruby and never could find meaning in life. Yes, it was a sad day for all. The entire kingdom wept, developers fled upon hearing the news and If and Else could not believe Ruby would commit such a horrific act and begged to be executed immediately. In a misguided attempt to honor Elsif, Interpreter, a good friend of the family, refused to throw an error or warning if Elseif’s name was ever used.

However, reaching deeper into her well of evil, Ruby declared one final punishment. Ruby stayed If and Else's executions and ordered them to live with end --the most annoying of all Ruby's kingdom for all eternity.

And all wept again.
posted by Tyler Pitchford on Jul 20, 2006 10:45 PM : 68 comments [permalink]
Closed source can keep you out of jail
The choice of Closed vs. Open source can keep you out of jail. Florida recently decided that evidence from a Breathalyzer test could not be introduced because the source code was closed. The court found that the lack of source code, denied the accused the right to determine if the machine accurately calculated his Alcohol levels. I found it an extremely interesting issue and I figured others might too.

If you've read my Blog you know I'm a law student and software designer. I'm probably best known for being the co-founder of the Azureus, an open-source bit torrent client. I'd consider myself an open source proponent, but by no means am I an open source zealot, though I think I may be changing. What interested me about this case is the conflict between Open vs. Closed source and it's impact on a humans freedom. No freedom to get a job, freedom to information, but literally the possibility of someone going to jail. This is about a person’s right to confront their accuser. As we've privatized the justice system, we seem to have forgotten that these machines, radar guns, breathalyzers, DNA analysis, etc. are used to convict people of crimes, serious crimes. These people have the right to confront their accusers, but if they're not made of Silicon.


posted by Tyler Pitchford in law on Feb 11, 2006 4:15 AM : 7 comments [permalink]
Software and Reputations
I do work for a . They're a reputation engine site, think ebay's feedback, but without being tied to any one company. The concept is to create a reputation that you can take anywhere. Interesting concept, I think, but I wanted to know what others think.

Anyway, their site is built on ASP / IIS (ugh) and I'm trying to get them over to RIFE. I remember many an hour spent working with their developers to build Mail Queues, RSS feeds, CSS, blah blah blah. When I look at RIFE and Ikarma, I realize how much time would have been saved, oh well.

Here's what the badge looks like, I want a dynamic image showing my stars, but it'll be another week or two until the Web 2.0 stuff rolls out. Whenever that's released I'll have my API to the ratings data and can have my way with the badges, woo.

So what does everyone think of a portable reputation engine? I know it's trite but I really like playing with the network viewer, heh.
posted by Tyler Pitchford in RIFE on Feb 10, 2006 6:16 AM : 3 comments [permalink]
Dynamic Image Generation / OSCache
Managed to get OSCache and Dynamic Image Generation going with RIFE. Found a slight issue with GIF (damn you patents), but worked it out. Now I can generate, scale, cache, and serve out Images (Jpeg, Gif, Png, whatever else I want to integrate) on the fly with RIFE.

I'll try to write up an article tomorrow, after I finish my reading for class, on how to setup this system. Bevin helped me with some of the finer details. The beauty of the way RIFE handles dynamic content generation is you can feed ANYTHING directly to a client without temp files, or swapping to disk at all, everything can be fed through memory. As a matter of fact, Bevin showed me a shot of a video streaming live to a client without the need to hold much of anything in memory (gotta get some more info on that one).

Ok, I'll try to do a better job explaining this tomorrow. However, let me say the system is amazingly versitile and the ability to generate, cache, and serve out dynamic content (note: without temp files, without database backends, automatic expiration based on usage, etc.) opens the door to amazing possibilities. How many of us have worked at companies that needed dynamic document generation.

I remember one company where they pulled the values out of a COBOL database, fed it to a PDF construction system, it got stored to a temp directory on the server, then it was served out to the requester. The system worked, but whenever there was an issue a temp file was left on disk, when someone else wanted the document (same values) another one was generated, stored, etc.

Anyway, hopefully more on this tomorrow.

posted by Tyler Pitchford in RIFE on Jan 29, 2006 10:18 AM : 2 comments [permalink]

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