The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Authenticate all you want, but pointing to a Wikipedia article does not authentication make

From
"Alice Walton" <joy.ege@manginasal.com>
To
Recipients <joy.ege@manginasal.com>
Subject
YOUR GIFT
Date
Fri, 20 Oct 2017 23:03:10 +0100

I, Alice Walton authenticate this email, you can read about me on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Walton ,

I write to you because I intend to give to you a portion of my Net-worth which I have been banking. I want to cede it out as gift, hoping it would be of help to you and others too. Respond to this email: info4walmart11@gmail.com

With joy,
Alice Walton

Methinks someone has been watching “Mr. Robot” a bit too closely. Just like I'm sure that Alice Walton didn't really send me that email.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Blade Runner 2049

Bunny and I just saw “Blade Runner 2049” and I have to say, I'm conflicted—I don't know if I liked it or not. Don't get me wrong, the movie is just as visually stunning as the original Blade Runner, the cast and script are just as good if not better (exposition is handled much better than in the original).

And as a sequel, it works. There are two major versions of “Blade Runner”—the happy human Deckard and long living replicant Rachael ending, and the ambiguous, maybe human, maybe replicant Deckard and replicant Rachael with short replicant lives ending. And “Blade Runner 2049” works as a sequel to both versions. Ridley Scott, director of “Blade Runner,” has stated that he considers Deckard a replicant, while Harrison Ford, who plays Deckard in both movies, says that Deckard is not a replicant. “Blade Runner 2049” calls out that dichotomy and it's still ambiguous whether Deckard is a replicant or not.

And it's not like it's missing iconic scenes—there's the scene between Deckard and Wallace (this movie's possibly evil captialist overlord played by Jared Leto; I'm sure Deckard's saying “Her eyes were green!” will go down as a quotable moment). Then there's the scene between Lieutenant Joshi (played by Robin Wright) and replicant Luv (played by Sylvia Hoeks as this movie's Roy Batty) showing why it's not a good idea for a human to go up against a replicant, and finally the love scene between the main character “K” (played by Ryan Gosling) and his holographic girlfriend Joi (played by Ana de Armas)—that scene was completely mind blowing for how it was done.

So if the movie is so good, why am I still so conflicted? I think it comes down to mismanaged expectations. Contrary to what others may believe, I don't think “Blade Runner 2049” is even close to being neo-noir. The original “Blade Runner” was very much noir (or neo-noir if you will) with a dark tone and (in at least one version) an ambiguous ending. “Blade Runner 2049?” Not so much. Yes, it's bleak with it's post-apocalyptic feeling but the ending isn't quite so ambiguous (Deckard notwithstanding) and in fact, does have (in a way, if you squint just right), an uplifting ending (but to say more would be to spoil the movie).

So neo-noir, I don't buy.

And it doesn't feel like the type of story Philip K. Dick would write. His book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was the basis for “Blade Runner” and it shows to some extent the themes that PKD writes about, there's even less of that in this movie, in my opinion. The story in “Blade Runner 2049” just doesn't seem very Philip K. Dicksian to me.

And it's those two things that have me conflicted about the movie, and they're both about my expectations of what a “Blade Runner” sequel should be.

So, it it worth seeing in the theater? Yes, if just for the cinematography alone.

Also, if you have some forty minutes to kill, there's a discussion of the movie (with spoilers! Oh are there spoilers!) with Adam Savage (of Mythbusters fame), where he gives in movie evidence (using both “Blade Runner” and “Blade Runner 2049”) of why Deckard is a replicant (which works for either version of “Blade Runner”). I think it's worth listening to.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

“I aint' got no DDoS. You ain't got no DDoS. We ain't got no DDoS. Where the hell's the DDoS?”

It's October 1st, and my server is still up and running. No DDoS is happening as far as I can see. It appears that the “threat” was indeed, a joke. Not only did I not pay the danegeld, but I didn't have to move my site to Cloudflare.

And that Bitcoin address I was mailed? Still no funds in it (I decided to make the Bitcoin address known—no reason to hide it), which makes me feel better about the whole thing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Wake up! Time for DDoS

From
"MrSmith" <maillist@mailserver.com>
To
<root@conman.org>
Subject
DDoS Warning
Date
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 22:08:05 +0400

Hello, root@conman.org

FORWARD THIS MAIL TO WHOEVER IS IMPORTANT IN YOUR COMPANY AND CAN MAKE DECISION!

We are Phantom Squad

Your network will be DDoS-ed starting Sept 30st 2017 if you don’t pay protection fee - 0.2 Bitcoin @ 1W5FWQjvHGMkaPeuR4SvRNojsv64WgJNt.

If you don’t pay by Sept 30st 2017, attack will start, yours service going down permanently price to stop will increase to 20 BTC and will go up 10 BTC for every day of attack.

This is not a joke.

Not quite as dramatic as the last email I received from a black-hat cracker but I do have to wonder—why me?

I'm not a company. I don't make money from this blog. Heck, I don't make any money from my website at all. So why target me? It doesn't make sense—I'm not a big enough target. Why not go after something with a bit more money, like a sports gambling site?

I mean, if this is the same Phantom Squad that took down XBox Live and PlayStaton Network over Christmas of 2015, then yes, this could be bad. But as far as I could tell, that's the only attack Phantom Squad has done and they've been very quiet since. This might even be a scam.

I talked with my hosting company, and they said not to worry. If it happens, just give them a call and they can start working with their upstream provider to mitigate the attack. And under no circumstance am I to pay the danegeld (which at the time of writing, 0.2 BTC is worth $802.46).

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Survival, day 6

When the power goes out for the neighborhood, it's always the same few score of houses that are without power. Bunny and I suspect it's because we're at the tail end of our particular power grid and there's a critical breaker tripped or wire down that is feeding our neighborhood. And because of the low number of houses affected by our particular outage, it's likely we would be one of the last group of people FPL will fix due to Hurricane Irma. We're expecting sometime around tomorrow evening.

Also of concern here at Chez Boca is the Internet connection. It went out first, and from what we heard from The Monopolistic Phone Company, it wouldn't be until next week before we get the land line fixed (we have DSL).

We're roughing it here. And I don't even like camping!

So this morning as I was sleeping, something in my hind-brain noticed that it wasn't as miserably hot and humid in the bedroom—it actually felt cool! What? I look—and there's the alarm clock blinking. Blinking? Blinking … this means somethi—POWER!

We have POWER!

Oh that sweet sweet air conditioning! Praise be FPL!

That still meant we have a week or so before we get Internet connectivity back, but lo', it too, was back up!

Praise be The Monopolisic … er … no. I just can't praise the Monopolistic Phone Company.

Anyway, all is right with the world (or at least our little corner of it). We have Internet. We have power. What could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Survival, day 3

We're still on generator power, so we aren't completely dying in the heat and humidity, just mostly dying in the heat and humidity with a few fans to keep us company.

So I get word that The Ft. Lauderdale Office of the Corporation has power, which means Internet and more importantly, air conditioning! The elevators aren't working, but hey, what's eight flights of stairs when there's sweet sweet A/C at the end?

A XXXXXXX ton of stairs, that's what.

But hey, that sweet sweet air conditioning!

It's also amazing that our office received a ton of water damage. Yes, we're on the eighth floor of a ten story building, and no, none of the windows were smashed. The office does have a patio and the doors aren't exactly water tight so there was several inches of standing water in that portion of the office.

But other than the standing water and non-working elevators, things are fine at The Ft. Lauderdale Office of the Corporation.

The neighborhood around Chez Boca isn't too bad either. Yes, there were tons of downed branches and palm fronds (and one house with an uprooted banyan tree that miraculously missed the house) but no real significant damage. And the traffic to the Ft. Lauderdale Office of the Corporation wasn't insane or even heavy. I'll have to enjoy that while I can, because Real Soon Now™ “The Season” starts and traffic really becomes a mess.

So other than the lack of power, things could be worse. And for that, I am thankful.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

“And why did you skip high school?” “Because I was governor of Vermont.”

BRISTOL - Whether by design or accident, Vermont's founders imposed no age requirement on those who could run for governor of this state.

The constitutional quirk paved the way for Ethan Sonneborn, 13, of Bristol, to announce this summer that he's running for governor.

Eligible candidates must have simply lived in Vermont for four years before the election — "which I’ve tripled, and then some," said Sonneborn, a 13-year resident of Vermont.

[H]e admits it will be challenging to travel the state and simultaneously attend eighth grade. Hitting the campaign trail will mean getting rides from his parents. But he expects that ultimately his age will be an asset, not a liability.

"We elected our oldest president ever," Sonneborn said, "and he tweets like a kindergartner."

Via Jason Kottke, Meet the 13-year old running for Vermont governor

I'm like, this is amusing! Bunny is like, “Of course, it's Vermont!

More power to you, Ethan Sonneborn.

Obligatory Picture

[Here I am, enjoying my vacaton in a rain forest.]

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site: http://boston.conman.org/, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

http://boston.conman.org/2000/08/01

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name, symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.

Copyright © 1999-2017 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.