Time To Patch Your Krap

Tricky as it might be to exploit, as far as internet security vulnerabilities go I’m not sure it gets much worse than Krack. Thankfully Carin and I are above buying shit like kettles and cookie jars and socks that require connectivity, so we’re probably good once we Windows Update the computers, upgrade the iPhones to iOS11 and our ISP pushes a fix to our modem. But boy, what a mess. One that, no matter how good we all are about patching, could very well screw up the internet in all sorts of fun and exciting ways for years to come. Good times.

A VULNERABILITY IN Wi-Fi encryption has sent the entire tech industry scrambling; the so-called Krack attack affects nearly every wireless device to some extent, leaving them subject to hijacked internet connections. In terms of scope, it doesn’t get much worse—especially for the Internet of Things.

The extent of the Krack fallout remains to be seen. Security analysts say it’s a tricky vulnerability to take advantage of, and major platforms like iOS, macOS, and Windows are either unaffected or have already been patched. But given the millions of routers and other IoT devices that will likely never see a fix, the true cost of Krack could play out for years.

Whatever advice you may have heard for dealing with Krack, only one actually has tangible benefit: Patch your devices. (You can find a running list of companies that have provided one here.)

If you have an iPhone, Mac, or Windows computer, you really should patch right now. If you have an Android device, an update’s in the offing, though it may take some time to reach you if you have anything but a Pixel or Nexus. But after that, you’re all set! Those are in good shape.

But your router? Your security camera? Your internet-connected garage door? Get comfy.

Could That Be Made Today?

Gill is back and wondering about television, specifically what shows from the old days would look like now if they could even get made.

My pick for best show that may not get made today is Bizarre.

It gave us Super Dave Osborne, was a platform for some excellent comedians who wound up being pretty famous and featured some very funny sketches, but I’m not sure how well the Bigot Family and some of the more sexist stuff would fly in these times, especially on network television.

For almost seventy years TV has been an integral part of our lives from those classic cartoons to those smut driven reality shows we watch many things for many reasons.

My Question

What did you race home after school for, sneak out of bed and curl up on your mom’s lap, or what in the case of our immigrant readers taught you pre-playground English?

The Answer

Well, that depends on the time period you grew up in, whether you had cable, or in my case were restricted from certain programs due to certain elements.

Ok I Was Thinking Again

What would our favorite childhood shows be like taken out of the decade they were made in and plopped in to the 2017.

The Brady Bunch

Originally airing from 1969-1974 this wholesome look at a blended family may look more like this today. Stepmom to Greg, Peter, and Bobby Carol runs the company, Mike, stepdad to Marsha, Jan, and Cindy works from home as an internet consultant. Greg, is a closeted homosexual, Peter is stoned half the time, and Bobby is in a hard core band called Living Neon Snot. Marsha! Marsha! Marsha! Spends hours at the like mall maxing out Mike’s credit cards shopping for that perfect Kardashian look, Jan is constantly getting fat shamed by older sister leading to an eating disorder, Cindy is a little hipster in the making.

Danger Bay

In the mid 1980’s a Canadian show, yes friends I’m moving this cut and paste party north of the 49th Paralell. I watched this show at the time, and thought little of it, but fifteen years later once fully grown I noticed some things. All the bad people, well about 90% were American or some non-white foreigner. Here’s what it would look like today, Nicole would probably have a love for science, and carry with her some, maybe not all her Canadian Nationalist ideas, Jona, her older brother would go down to a school in California on a tennis scholarship, and not only meet but fall in love with a girl in a wheelchair. Grant and JL would pretty much stay the same.

Just Reboot It!

Family Ties was a show I loved as a child in the mid 1980’s, but how would it fair today? Steve and Aleis would stay pretty much the same, cool, without having to try hard. The jury’s still out on if Alex P would be a Trump Republican, Malery would still be not only fashion savvy, but have some computer smarts, Jennifer, the Thom Boy, and one I most related too, would start out Thom Boy and become hipster or maybe Goth, Little Andy, well, he has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair.


What show from your childhood would make it today, which one wouldn’t, and which do you think deserves a 2010’s remake?

Commenting By Email Is Back, Hopefully Better Than Ever

If you’ve been coming here a while, perhaps you remember Echo. It was a really slick commenting system we used for a time back in our Blogger days until the folks that ran it decided to screw a bunch of us the hell over.

One of Echo’s best features was the ability to let you not only subscribe to comment notifications by email, but also reply to those emails to post comments in response without having to go back to the site over and over again. Since the incident, that’s always been a thing we’ve wanted to bring back, and today, I think we have.

We’re testing something called Replyable, and it would be cool if you’d help us out. So if you get a second, leave a comment on something, be sure to subscribe and then use the reply dealy in the messages you get to leave more comments and help us make sure this all works. If it does, maybe we can bring our poor comments section back to a happier time when it was a thing people actually wanted to use. Or maybe that’s a lofty goal and that time has passed. Either way, we’d still like to know if it works at all so we know whether to keep it around for those times when somebody shows up and is all like “oh hey, a comments section. Let’s roast these people.”

This Boils My Potatoes

Gill has a question. I’m not going to answer it myself since complaining about shit is one of the reasons this place exists and anything that’s already happened has likely been covered, but the rest of you can feel free to have at it.

Do you have pet peeves, or things that make you just want to dump a glass of ice water on someone? Of course, everyone does. If you have a disability you might have some of these potato boilers as I call them.

In Someone Else’s Shoes

One day I was talking to a friend of mine, and he asked what my pet peeves were. I told him that I hate when people assume:

  1. That I know or want to hang out with their blind cousin.
  2. That I don’t wash frequently, and bring bed bugs.
  3. That because I’m blind it’s ok to say something like “wow! Your smart` in a tone that means “you don’t have brain damage? I thought all blind people did.”
  4. That I always have someone with me.
  5. That it’s ok to violate me with out asking. E.G. if I’m standing minding my own business at the street corner don’t just grab me!

He thought about it for a moment and before I get to his I must give background. My friend was born in Cambodia in 1979 during the reign of The Khmer Rouge. At three weeks old a bomb hit his home leaving him with severe burns to 70% of his body and traumatic brain injury. Here’s what he considered his potato boilers.

  1. When someone suggests that it’s a good idea for him to go kill himself to end his pain.
  2. That he’s Chinese, even though some relatives of his came from there hundreds of years ago, he self identifies as Cambodian.
  3. That his mom could give a good pedicure, come on people it’s 2017 let’s be civilized here!
  4. That one or both of his parents committed horrible sins and that’s why he is the way he is.
  5. That he can’t speak English very well.

My challenge for you is to tell me some of your potato boilers {pet peeves} let’s start a discussion.

Come On, Man! You Lied About Everything Else!

I don’t wanna be that guy, but fuck it, I’m gonna be that guy. Now where’d I put my tiny violin?

A Mexican man who spent almost two decades living in the United States was deported back to his home country late Tuesday, separating him from his US-born wife, who voted for President Donald Trump.
Roberto Beristain, 43, had been in custody since he was detained on Feb. 6 during a routine check-in with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. After spending almost two months in detention centers across six states, the Indiana resident was suddenly taken alone to Juarez, Mexico, late Tuesday night, he said in a statement released by his attorneys, who had filed legal petitions requesting his release.

Under Obama-era directives, ICE had concentrated mainly on deporting criminals and those who posed a threat to public safety. However, following President Trump’s signing of an executive order in January on immigration, emboldened ICE agents have been detaining hundreds of undocumented immigrants, including those not charged with any crimes.
Helen Beristain told Indiana Public Media she voted for Trump, believing he would not deport “good people.”
“[Trump] did say the good people would not be deported, the good people would be checked,” she said.

Huh. So you can’t trust a mentally unstable bigot. How about that.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel pretty terrible for Roberto. Sure he technically broke the law, but in the process he seems to have made a better life for himself and his family, something everyone should strive to do no matter where they are or how they got there.

But Helen? She can get fucked. Trump didn’t exactly hide who he was on the campaign trail, and anyone who had been alive for more than ten minutes could see that an immigration system under his control wasn’t going to have the word restraint in its mission statement unless it was in the shackling section. If you voted for him based on that track record, you deserve to live in your own private hell when the bulbous sack of Cheeto dust decides he’s going to follow through on something and it bites you on the ass. It’s just too bad you had to take one of the “good people” there with you.

Keister Surprise

I know in the grand scheme of things Kinder Surprise eggs are pretty small, but you know what’s even smaller? Your exit hatch. So the fact that now current Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre resident Damian O’Reilly seems to have set an unofficial record by managing to fit eight of them into his is, in its own way, almost as impressive as it is stupid.

O’Reilly figured the quickest way to get arrested would be to throw a rock at a police cruiser in front of the courthouse and, sure enough, he got the job done in minutes flat. It helped that he was already on probation, so when he was arrested, he was held for bail and shipped off to the old Innes Road jail. 
And that’s where his plot unravelled.
It’s not known if the guard noticed O’Reilly was in some discomfort but whatever the reason, the guard had suspicions that O’Reilly might be smuggling drugs. The young inmate was escorted to dry cell No. 9. A dry cell has no plumbing and guards will either attempt to seize the contraband or wait for it to be expelled.
In this case, it was O’Reilly himself who, once alone in the dry cell, removed eight Kinder Surprise eggs from his rectum. A guard had to then collect the eggs and photograph them before securing them inside the Ottawa police drug safe at the jail.

In all, the eight eggs contained 59 grams of marijuana, a gram of MDMA, tobacco, rolling papers and matches.

Earlier reports that O’Reilly *was* the drug safe are erroneous.

by the way, if Drug Safe isn’t his nickname by the time I hit publish on this, there’s something wrong with this world.

Anyway, O’Reilly pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and was sentenced to sit in jail for a year and some change, although standing may be more comfortable for a while.

As for the possible record mentioned above, he doubled it. The previous mark was set by an unidentified man in 2010 who only managed four, the friggin amateur.

My Love For This Team Is A Burning Love. To The Second And Third Degree, To Be Specific

There’s nothing wrong with making a friendly wager on a sporting event. I’ve been known to bet a few bucks or a dinner here and there. And if fire didn’t scare the living shit out of me and if the things weren’t so god damned expensive, I could maaaaaaaaaaybe see myself making a loser burns the jersey bet like this couple made on last weekend’s Cowboys Packers game. I could also see myself perhaps getting a little buzzed up while watching said Cowboys Packers game because hey, why not? But what I absolutely, positively, 100% cannot see myself doing is lighting the poor sumbitch on fire and then putting it on.

A witness told Sebastian Daily, “He was set on fire after losing a bet on the Cowboys game … Skin was hanging off his arm and back.”
The man suffered third-degree burns on his right arm and right hand and second-degree burns to his back.
When the woman’s team won, her husband went outside to light his jersey on fire. He told deputies that he was drunk and tried to put the jersey on while it was burning.
Family members pulled the jersey off the man at the Vero Beach residence and rushed him to the Indian River Medical Center.

The Site Was Hacked, But You’re Probably Ok

Never have the words the system is down been more appropriate. Ug.

If you happened to stop around these parts yesterday, you’re probably wondering where the hell we went. The short answer is offline, because we got hacked. Twice.

The first one happened on Sunday. I learned of it while I was on a train and couldn’t do anything about it, which is an amazing feeling, let me tell you. Fortunately fixing it was a pretty simple matter once I got home, so simple that most of you likely didn’t even notice it. The site didn’t even have to go down for more than the time it took me to make some necessary edits.

But that, it turns out, was just a warm-up.

Monday morning I awoke to another email from DreamHost, the wonderful (I mean that sincerely) company that keeps us running alerting me to a second hack, complete with a list of potentially compromised files as long as your arm. Happy Thanksgiving to us. After a wee bit of panic and substantially more investigation, we discovered that somebody somewhere had designs on making us into a hub for all sorts of nasties. Malware, porn, a haphazardly knocked together fake version of Fox News…you name it. But between DreamHost’s security monitoring detecting and locking things down, me when I was around, Carin who was sick and really should have been resting and our buddy James who is far beyond awesome, we *think* everything is ok now. Time will tell, but so far so good.

Alright, Steve. We’re glad you’re back, but what does this mean for us?

Not much, more than likely. If you’re worried I’ll give you the standard advice about scanning the devices you come here with for viruses and spyware, but best we can tell none of you should have been harmed in any way. But since we’re not precisely sure how whoever this was backdoored their way in, what you may notice are some site features possibly coming and going from time to time. Right now you can’t get comments by email, for instance. Aside from that though, you should be able to carry on tolerating our existence/hatereading us as you always have.

If for some reason you do have any questions or concerns, leave a comment or drop Carin or I a line. I’ll be getting nervous every time my email goes off for a little while, but don’t let that stop you from sending one.

The Only Cranberry Sauce Recipe You Will Ever Need

From wherever we are, Carin and I would like to wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving. Seriously, we don’t know where we are right now. If all has gone according to plan we’re at home, resting off the weekend trip we took in order to play with babies and eat turkey with her family and preparing for the start of a day trip to play with babies and eat turkey with mine, who live much closer. If things haven’t gone according to plan, then well…I dunno. Your guess is as good as mine. Actually that’s a lie. My guess will be better because we’re there and you’re sitting here wondering what the hell I’m talking about.

But as you sit there wondering about that and awaiting whatever the holiday has in store for you, please enjoy our best wishes and this lovely cranberry sauce recipe courtesy of Rex Murphy, a Canadian institution if ever there was one.

Talk to you all soon…probably.

Take WebAIM’s 2017 Screen Reader User Survey

If you use screen reading software for any reason, you might want to take this survey and have your say about the directions that accessible technologies may head in the future. It’s 30 questions long and should take you 10 to 15 minutes to complete, it says here.

The following survey is a follow-up to previous WebAIM Screen Reader User Surveys conducted December 2008, September 2009, December 2010, May 2012, January 2014, and July 2015. This survey is primarily intended to collect new information and track updates/trends from previous surveys. By completing this survey you will help inform development choices for those creating accessible web content and web standards. All screen reader users, even those who use screen readers only for evaluation and testing, are invited to participate.
The survey will remain open through November 1, 2017. No personally identifying information is collected. When submitted, your browser version and operating system will be collected. Results will be reported as aggregated summaries and will be published late 2017. Your participation is purely voluntary and you can choose to stop at any time. This is a research study that is of minimal risk. It has been approved by Utah State University’s Institutional Review Board (#8809). There are 30 brief questions that will take approximately 10-15 minutes. The benefit in taking this survey is that your experiences and opinions could help the field better design for accessibility. The risk includes the time you will take away from your day.

The data collected here is widely read by and very valuable to many organizations, so that risk is certainly one worth taking.