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It is kind of amazing how Wikipedia manages to survive given all the anti-reality tendencies of the human race.  Religion, extreme right and left politics – wikipedia manages to muddle through most of the time and present a version of truth that is mostly acceptable.  More amazing is that the editors are more or less, like you and me.

Listen and watch Zittrain explain how the useful Wikipedia is and how it could be used in the future as a hands on tool for participatory citizenship.

monitorsAsk any IT professional about security and you can almost always prepare yourself for a story or three about people using strongly encrypted passwords such as ‘password’ or ‘admin’.  Or if it is a particularly good day, helping people understand that encrypted functions exist…  Here is story from CBC.ca about how fallible people actually are when it comes to all this new fangled technology.

“Insecam.com, a new website, is broadcasting online private security camera footage from thousands of spots across Canada — all without the knowledge of the people who own and operate the cameras.

Insecam.com has feeds from internet protocol cameras (or IP cameras) all over the world.

“This is one of a series of websites that have been around for a while that basically go through and troll the internet for open ports,” said Tod Maffin, a tech columnist based in Vancouver. “Until fairly recently that information was just kind of held for people’s own curiosity, but now, as we’re seeing, this site and other ones as well are posting their findings.”

It is fairly amazing, you can spy on people across the world. Most are fairly uninteresting; parking garages and the like, but a couple are in residential areas and stuff. Crazy.

“Many of these cameras come with default passwords to access the footage on a website while you’re away — and often people fail to change them.

That’s where Insecam comes in. The site accesses the feeds using default passwords and broadcasts them.

CBC News watched several feeds from various locations in Winnipeg on Friday, including a car insurance sales office, a candy store, a tattoo parlour and others aimed at people’s front doors, backyards and properties.”

A word to the wise when it comes to technology. RTFM. (Read the Flippn’ Manual)  Oh, and use a difficult to guess password.

I’ll treasure my special snowflake status as a special needs teacher until the teaching profession succumbs to the efficient robo-teachers of the future. :>  I’m guessing that behavioural robot teachers will air-deploy Valium and whatever else is required to maintain the learning environment.

 

We, as a species have had the capacity to end ourselves quite completely since the late 1940’s.  We often have our greatest minds working highly creative ways of ending human life.  What bothers me the most about this quick video is the amount of ingenuity necessary to bring these designs from the blackboard to reality and then to mass production.  Imagine if we could harness this impulse for technology and innovation that saves peoples lives instead of ending them

Some relevant background given the recent publicity of how much our governments pry into our personal lives.

Whatever your take on recent revelations about government spying on our phone calls and Internet activity, there’s no denying that Big Brother is bigger and less brotherly than we thought. What’s the resulting cost to our privacy — and more so, our democracy? Lawrence Lessig joins Bill to discuss the implications of our government’s actions.

Yet another reminder about the permanence of your digital comings and goings.  Some of the reasons mentioned here are why I choose to blog under a pseudonym :)

 

An explosion and/or fire at Shaw Court in Calgary has knocked out a significant quantity of telecommunications equipment, affecting not only bank machines and radio stations, but stuff like 911 service and the program that tells ambulances which hospital they should take a patient to.

Calgary Fire Department spokesperson Jayson Doyscher tells OpenFile: “the sprinklers have been keeping the fires in that room at bay. Just due to the amount of electrical equipment in there, we’re trying to make sure that we can secure it so firefighters aren’t at risk before they go into that room.”

I’m going to repeat the salient bit:

…SPRINKLERS…in that room…ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT…

SPRINKLERS…ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT
SPRINKLERS + ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT?!

LOLWHUT?

Normally when you talk about mission-critical infrastructure, you’re talking about stuff like the servers that handle banking and the stock market.  And for that kind of thing, the technology exists to have redundant servers in multiple locations that can fail-over almost seamlessly if something like this happens.   We don’t have all the details, but chances are some of this stuff is weirdass old mainframes and actual physical mechanical switches that can’t be failed over quite so easily.  Still, why in the name of the Invisible Pink Unicorn and the Flying Spaghetti Monster would you put sprinklers in with them?  I mean, I know the obvious answer, which is that halon is expensive.  But whose brilliant idea was it to cut this particular corner? Maybe it’s just me, but I think 911 service is a bit more important than the stock market.

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