Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Hacking Underworld

I'm back at my parents' place in Houston and it kind of sucks to be away from Austin. Yesterday was an excruciating experience taking two van loads to storage in the hot sun and then another van load back to Houston. I really have too much crap. I'm glad it's done and over with now and look forward to exploring some C++. Anyway, I wanted to share this great article that starts out as a story about how authorities take down crazy hacker groups. These are guys who make millions of dollars off of stealing identities and trading credit card information and passwords. I highly reccomend reading it because it's interesting how the heirarchy and operation of these groups is reminiscent of the mafia. It's great that authorities are coming together for once to fight cybercrime but it's sad that the damage done last year was over $17 billion. It's horrible because it makes you more scared to use sites like eBay and it forces us to be ultra careful about everything. Not only do I have to keep up a firewall and carefully choose the e-mails I open but now I have to carefully sift through IMs I get to make sure it's not a virus. What's the cyberworld coming to? It's despicable for people to make their living off of the work of others and it's one of those things the bible clearly bans (it was misconstrued in older times as referring to tax collectors, but that's an incorrect interpretation). I think it'd be a cool job to have if I got good enough at security that I could become a hacker hunter myself, but it's just one of many options I hope to explore someday.

Alas, there is more to talk about for nerds today. There's an immersive article here about the future of television detailing many things that are available today but just not widespread enough. Stuff like HDTV and determining your own schedule of shows and the connection to the internet (IPTV) and stuff like that, so give it a look if you have a few minutes. Speaking of developments in tv, first we were able to download special episodes of shows on our cell phones and now there's a pilot program in the U.K. offering 9 channels on cell phones for a nominal monthly subscription fee. I'd like to watch some tv to help kill time on the buss to class and stuff. The always ignorant MPAA has blamed BitTorrent for the rapid spread of Revenge of the Sith the night before its opening. First of all, BitTorrent is just a means and I believe the programmer is sincerely more interested in the possibilities of torrents rather than piracy and second of all Episode III set a record with its $50 million made on opening day and shattered expectations by making over $100 million this weekend; how much greedier could they get? Decentralized torrent networks like probably aren't helping the situation. Lastly, I found this article detailing why Microsoft is no longer feared to be intriguing. The writer posits that the anti-trust trial and the bureacracy of the company (as shown in the Longhorn delays) has made it less weighty and I think it may be partially true but it's hard to gauge.

Not a terrible amount of movie news today, but I already mentioned the amazing gross that Star Wars brought in. Making over $150 million in just four days is extremely impressive (beating out previous record holder Matrix Reloaded) and I'm sure the dropoff next weekend won't be too much. The winners of the 2005 Cannes Film Festival have been announced and the only American winner is a movie I'm sure none of you have heard of. Oh well, we still have next year! Apparently progress is being made on Ender's Game, which is notable because I've only heard the best things about the Orson Welles novel and I haven't heard any news on the film for a while. I guess working with child actors is even harder than you would think. The screenwriter of Fight Club has gained the rights to an upcoming crime/mystery novel called How To Be Bad which seems to have themes similar to Fight Club and should be totally sweet given the right director. Lastly, you can see all the tv shows that have been cancelled and renewed over here in a big list and I'm relieved at some of their choices. There's actually even chatter that Futurama may put some more episodes on DVD, which could lead to a return to normal television. Anyway, don't forget to watch the 2 hour season finale of 24 tomorrow night at 7PM CST on Fox.

Before I conclude I want to bring up Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's concerns with froth in the housing market. Basically, too much activity in housing could lead to a bubble due to speculation. This has happened in Japan recently and would be analogous to the stock market crash except in housing. Though the conerns are local and not national, it's an interesting pattern to bear witness to. If you feel bogged down by economics though you may want to read Freakonomics.

And now for some Unconscious Mutterings:

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Heimlich::Maneuver
  2. Gesture::Wild getulations (a memory from high school English)
  3. Party::Time! ;)
  4. Cuddle::Spooning (it's because I learned what this actually meant last week)
  5. Room with a view::Nice hotel
  6. Sebastian::A character in The Little Mermaid
  7. Ooooh::Aaaah, only at Mattress Giant!
  8. Sigh::Gasp
  9. Two fish, three fish::Blue fish (Dr. Seuss came to mind)
  10. Cake or death::Cake

To conclude, I thought I'd leave you with what I'd do if I ever got a chance to go to E3:


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