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Google's Doubleclick Ad Servers Exposed Millions of Computers To Malware

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:Just say block (150 comments)

If it doesn't respond, isn't that an instant "not available", why would there be a timeout? I try a connect, I instantly get nothing, browser realizes it has to skip. Also, this all happens in the kernel, not even hitting a device driver.

Why that would be slower than going to google/doubleclick, having them decide on an ad, and sending to me?

11 hours ago

Google's Doubleclick Ad Servers Exposed Millions of Computers To Malware

cant_get_a_good_nick Popular Zedo? Really? (150 comments)

I worked at Zedo pretty early on. I did a year there, pretty much exactly year 2000 (now coworkers now know who I am).

I was their C guy, did an apache module for the adserver, and some mild javascript work until they got a better Javascript coder than me. I also helped out a bit in Java and DB work, and most of the Linux/FreeBSD sysadmin for a bit. We were in a small live-work loft in SOMA where I walked through two slums to get to work.

In the beginning, it was about "choice". We had a small on page ad client. At first a Java one, then a Javascript one, with a GUI that let you choose your ad. It was new, different, and a way to try to get people the ads they want and not have to keep huge track of users. (You can check the patent out if you like though I can tell you this was theoretical design and it wasn't built this way). It put the emphasis on the ad, not on the tracking. Ads needed to be designed to be engaging or they'd just be skipped. We kept track of your ad choices, not your pages. It was fun, true startup culture. We were going after the (then) mighty Doubleclick, railing the fact that they stored too much info. I remember tailing the server logs on our first paying gig, cheering as I noticed the URI fragment for the first ad clickthru. We checked the guys IP address, noticed he had an ICQ run webserver on his box, and talked to him over ICQ thanking him for clicking. In hindsight, yeah, that must have freaked him out.

We didn't see Google coming to crush the ad market at all. I had already left but Im sure Google's elephant sized footprints in the market made them radically change their business plan. I didn't talk to them much, and on the web I read stories about intrusive Zedo cookies, heard them called "king of the popunder" and heard stories about "popup blocker blockers". This made me a bit sad, why do all that? But I guess you either do that, or throw in the towel and close up shop. I can't say what I'd do if it was my savings on the line.

As an aside (always a tangent!) I had an 8MM videocamera. Though I filmed some stuff in San Francisco (hey Dave, any news on the video for me?) I always wanted to film us. But I couldn't both work and film. I was actually slightly pissed when came out. Hey that was my idea! But you can't objectively film what you're in.

11 hours ago

Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:Well, if you're going to push... (156 comments)

I know in some places (southern US mostly)...

"what do you want to drink"
"a coke"
"what kind of coke, cola, sprite...?"

4 days ago

Google Hangouts Gets Google Voice Integration And Free VoIP Calls

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:Hangouts is, in turn, part of plus, right? (162 comments)

Yeah, i'm reposting...

Though iOS Hangouts had the ability to do Hangouts => POTS lines before, it seems to now be able to go from Hangouts => Hangouts now, using gmail addy/gplus account as a key. Think "Facetime audio". In theory this could be revolutionary, you can make calls without a phone number or even a plan (Wifi phone only) to a big subset of Gmail users (those with hangouts). In practice, this is meh. So many people had this before Hangouts, now it becomes Yet Another Friend Network I Need To Worry About.

It also has the ability to take incoming calls. Not sure how this works... My iPad got some incoming calls before. I didn't bother learning how to turn this off, i just deleted Hangouts off my iPad. Also revolutionary for iPod plus users.. maybe 4 years ago. iPod + Hangouts => WiFi phone. In practice, very "hey, me TOO" at this point.

It also gets a new tone you hear during calling out. The new one is more phone-y (yes, it's a word). Its really the only reason i knew it was an updated app. Very meh on the iOS side.

5 days ago

Google Hangouts Gets Google Voice Integration And Free VoIP Calls

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:Hangouts is, in turn, part of plus, right? (162 comments)

Same here.
Im not sure what hangouts got.

Google voice looks like an icon and UI facelift, zero in the functionality department. The biggie disappointment, no improvement to MMS support.
Know one thing i found? Multiple recipient SMS is really MMS underneath, which means Im screwed on any group texts to my Google Voice number. I've had different treatment of MMS in the same day, I really don't know how they do MMS.

about a week ago

Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:I need definitions (499 comments)

The sad thing is, the entire Democratic party may be painted as a terrorist group.

A while back, there were a bunch of protesters at Vieques, Puerto Rican naval firing range, to shut it down for ecological and other reasons. Oddly, people who stood their ground and put themselves in harms way were declared as terrorists. Hmm, you stand up to some guy with a gun, and because there is a possibility of violence, *you're* the terrorist.

Anyways, the people there were Democrats. Now painted as terrorists, anyone in the Democratic Party now has ties to them. We could outlaw the Democratic Party, have Obama investigated for terrorist ties! Jokes aside, we cant even check to see if this is true - the U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act makes it possible to suspect and investigate 50% of our population for terrorism, but does not allow us to know if it's happening.

As an aside, since you can send money through the Post Office (Money Order), and therefore you may fund terrorism through there, anything you do through the Post Office is subject to investigation. Some minor function of the Post Office (i didn't know they even did Money Orders until I heard about possible investigations) means that the other 99.999% of the Post Office functions (like, actual mail) can be deeply scrutinized, I think without warrants.

This is what happens when you have a) a definition of "evil actions" that necessitate spying shifts and grows day by day, minute by minute b) a definition of "connection" that becomes broader and broader and more tenuous day by day.

about a week ago

Google Hangouts Gets Google Voice Integration And Free VoIP Calls

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:Deprecating the telephone system (162 comments)

I fear a world where I have to install 10 different apps to talk to people.

On my wife's phone, she has ways to talk to her folks (international)
Skype Video Call
Skype Audio Call
Skype Messaging
FaceTime Video
FaceTime Audio
Line Message
Line Video Call
Line Audio Call

That's just the free stuff - not counting SMS or normal phone calls, which have tariffs. And of course we could download WhatsApp, and all the other guys.

about two weeks ago

Google Hangouts Gets Google Voice Integration And Free VoIP Calls

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:Hangouts is, in turn, part of plus, right? (162 comments)

In short, Hangouts will not use your call minutes. It does use data, so may eat up your data plan if you're not on Wifi. It's a fairly efficient protocol, so you may not notice the hit to your data cap.

Wow, even "in short" is too long....

Longer explanation:

Google Voice and Hangouts are two separate things stuck together, with a little bit of GooglePlus paste. It makes things a bit confusing, since they both do "voice and text communication".

Google Voice was a purchased product, Grand Central. Grand Central grew up before smartphones and the cell plans back then were very different than we know today. As such, it's very phone number centric, and there are features to optimize costs based on rules that are no longer current, so the features make less sense today.

Think Grand Central/Google Voice as "product for geeks to do cool things for dumbphones" It did for phones what every programmer wants to do always; it created an abstraction layer, or in English, a virtual manipulable phone number. For incoming calls, that meant: trying any of possible multiple "real" phones to find you, call screening, and voicemail. For outgoing calls, it allowed calls from any of your "real" phones to look like it came from your virtual (this was clunky, oy!) and also helped with long distance - you called a "local" number and typically got better rates than from your phone company. Also, when you made a call, you were calling "cell" numbers out, back when carriers price differentiated on that. Or you could have outgoing calls look originate by a call to YOUR phone, from your virtual number. This helped when you could get the "5 friends I talk to for free" or whatever plans. All of this kind of clunky and confusing. I juggled all this, because it was worth it for me to have a personal virtual number mapped to my work phone, and then had only one device to carry.

For Google Voice, to make an outbound call on a smartphone, you'd go into the Google Voice app, tell it to call some number. Google Voice would contact Google servers, and (depending on settings) Google would call you and make the outbound call, or you would dial out (to yet another virtual number, hosted at Google). THIS IS WHERE THE VOICE MINUTES YOU READ ABOUT CAME FROM. All these calls used cell minutes, either inbound or outbound.

Now, Hangouts was invented as a Skype competitor. To really compete, it needed to be your messaging app. SMS? Sure, lets bake that in, and tightly integrate with both SMS and Google Plus, two very different beasts. What could possibly go wrong? Skype out? Well, we can do that. Lets have data only, VoIP dialing to POTS lines, and lets use the Google Voice number.

So, now my phone has a Google Voice app and a Google Hangouts app. Both can make calls out, in different ways, looking like the same number. Both can make SMS out. Google Voice has SMS as data out, but incoming can come in as "true" SMS as well. How can that be confusing? Oh, and Incoming SMS for "classic" Google Voice came from a "virtual Google phone number" not from your friend, so you could text back to the virtual number and they'd get from your Google Voice number. But.. incoming calls always came from their real number, unless you configured it to come from *your* virtual number... As I write this out I marvel at how I kept this in my head straight for so long. My Phone Book is littered with "GVoice" entries, the virtual numbers that every contact you get an SMS from or dial out to gets mapped by Google. Confused yet?

So, Google Voice still does the normal phone line juggle, so uses cell minutes (this is what you asked about). Google Hangouts uses VoIP, probably using WebRTC. It's a new protocol, and last time i checked, most VoIP apps (including Asterisk) haven't been able to connect with it. On iOS/iPhone, outgoing calls on Hangouts are VoIP only, no audio minutes. Incoming calls are through normal cell service. And all of this can change without notice. Confused? :)

about two weeks ago

Google Hangouts Gets Google Voice Integration And Free VoIP Calls

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:Hangouts is, in turn, part of plus, right? (162 comments)

Just to clarify - the iOS hangouts app had VoIP => POTS capabilities before this. I think the Android app is catching up.

Calls to US POTS lines are free. I haven't looked at SkypeOut in a while, but that may be an advantage. No per-call charge, no monthly fee, just free. International calls are decently cheap.

I've used the Hangouts VoIP capabilities a lot. I was on vacation internationally, and I made a phone call to a US phone line over WiFi, no long distance charges.

Also, I have TMobile. I have a dead spot around my house. All the shiny shiny metal shiny at my work office makes a nice Faraday Cage - our corporate account is Verizon and they had to install an antenna interior to the building - and it makes a nice dead spot at work. Most of my outgoing calls in either place tend to be WiFI, either Hangouts or Audio-Only FaceTime as appropriate. Of course the TMobile Wifi calling on iOS 8 will reduce the need for this shuffle significantly.

about two weeks ago

Under the Apple Hype Machine, Amazon Drops Fire Phone Price To 99 Cents

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:Fire = Zune (134 comments)

Err, not quite like any Android phone. You don't get to install a lot of apps.

Google/Android has two tiers of "openSource" when it comes to Android. If you play by their rules, you get cool stuff like the Play Store, Google Maps, and Google Now, and others. If you fork (FireOS, Tizen to a lesser extent) you get none of those, and you need to build them out, since those are the expectations (especially maps) for a modern smartphone. This is why Samsung is licensing mapping data itself - it doesn't want to feel beholden to Google on everything.

Remember, it's not just that you can't use the Google Maps app. You can't use any app that uses the Google Maps API. Foursquare (or whatever it is this week), unusable - unless they come out with a FireOS version. Smaller developers won't target FireOS because of lack of resources for the porting.

about two weeks ago

Microsoft Shutting Down MSN Messenger After 15 Years of Service

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:The ones who grew up using MSN? (127 comments)

When I started college, the Internet was pretty much just college to college, and there was no web yet.. that was a few years away. Files? You searched FTP space with Archie. Or glued stuff together with a Netnews/Usenet client.

As far as chat goes, our first chats were on our mainframe, a program called tell, You could message folks, and evel leave messages (though the "answering machine" was lossy, you couldn't assume delivery). In theory tell could work to other Universities over a network called BITNET which existed just a bit pre-TCP/IP Internet. In practice, neither I nor anyone I knew had any contacts at other BITNET UNIs. Then everyone got on IRC. It was a bit odd to see all these non-technical people stare at a computer all day over IRC. I had friends that literally sat next to each other for hours, not turning around to talk to the person 2 feet away from them, but talking on IRC.

I have a soft spot for ICQ. My first contact with the woman now my wife was over ICQ random chat. No romance at first; both of us were dating people at the time. We just BSed for a bit. But once we met face to face, we started dating pretty fast after that.

about three weeks ago

Mozilla To Support Public Key Pinning In Firefox 32

cant_get_a_good_nick I hope you can turn this off (90 comments)

We've had some source code theft recently at my job, so we have an SSL MITM proxy that generates a work SSL cert for everything. At first I hated it, but it is a work comp, and they provide a dirty LAN, so just bring your device if you want to browse your mail.

But, this would break Google searches for me. I wouldn't be able to look at any Google site, no Google searches, no wikipedia, no stackoverflow on my work comp with this. Make this a hard to find, no normal person would be able to find it, only geeks can flip the switch, config to turn this off please.

about three weeks ago

Chromium 37 Launches With Major Security Fixes, 64-bit Windows Support

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:Stability improvements? (113 comments)

Though I'm sure there are other reasons (maybe better 64 bit tools?) you self answer a bit. Your Point #2 means Chrome crashes early and obviously, making any pointer bugs quicker to be squashed. This means the bugs get fixed fast, fewer make it to Release builds, and you should crash less.

Another reason may be heap size. Even if you don't fill free memory, you can fragment it. Picture what you can put in one 5 gallon bucket, vs what you can put in 5 x 1 gallon buckets. Much less flexible. So if 32 but chrome gets tight on memory becuase of web pages seen and closes, seen and closed and memory fragmented, it may just give up and crash/exit.

about three weeks ago

Chromium 37 Launches With Major Security Fixes, 64-bit Windows Support

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:Chromium 37? (113 comments)

:) sorry, no mod points today.....

about three weeks ago

Chromium 37 Launches With Major Security Fixes, 64-bit Windows Support

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:Hello, it is 2014 (113 comments)

Moving to 64 bit means your entire ecosystem needs to move to 64 bit. Is every plug in, including every corporate internal plugin migrated to 32 bit? Even IE still has both builds, for this reason.

about three weeks ago

Chromium 37 Launches With Major Security Fixes, 64-bit Windows Support

cant_get_a_good_nick Netflix support? (113 comments)

I remember some Chromium build that had Netflix support, a.k.a streaming DRM support. Did this make the cut?

about three weeks ago

Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:My opinion on the matter. (826 comments)

Recent? Emacs always felt to me of a huge cluster of code rather than the small tool thing. Just a huge jumble of code.

To be honest, I'm not sure what that means in the argument. Emacs is almost as old as UNIX, older than Linux. Does that mean you shouldn't run it on a UNIX system? I don't, but to each their own. But to pretend that systemd is the beginning of a run down a hill to ruin is kind of odd. There have been big monolithic code blobs dropped on Linux for years. X, the various GUI desktop managers spring to mind.

about three weeks ago

Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:I'd pay it but... (611 comments)

Or movies.

In the few times where I want to go to a movie at the theaters for the huge screen and better sound, paying $25 for 2 people to sit and watch, I get bombarded by: local restaurant ads, TV ads (if i wanted to watch TV, I wouldn't be in the theater), movie ads, Coke ads, etc. At least the trailers for movies are somewhat entertaining.

It will always be "yeah, i get money by directly charging for content, but I can get more by directly charging for content AND showing ads".

Greed? Dunno, it's capitalism. It's kind of baked in the system. If you were selling a bike, and you were selling it for 50, and someone offered you 100 for it, would you back off and say "no, it's 50". Would you leave money on the table? Or would you rationalize it as an extra 50 that you could do something cool with. If you had kids, would you give that 50 back. If you had a company that you had to pay salaries for your 15 developers, would you turn ad money down? These aren't so easy decisions.

Well, one is easy. Fuck Comcast. They truly are greedy. And they don't pay employees well, so you can't even tell yourself, "yeah, I'm being gouged by a corporation, but at least their employees are eating well". No, they aren't.

about a month ago

Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:Please stop and think (359 comments)

I was reading this, and the first thing that popped in my head wasn't the Ebola outbreak, but the Syphilis Experiments here in the US. That and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, in which her cells were taken from her and experimented with, without consent or notice, much less compensation. If you've read the book, her kids are still wary of hospitals because of the lies and stonewalling from them. Other than the last line (actually the first phrase only of the last line) of the first paragraph would not work in the US.

about a month ago

Sniffing Out Billions In US Currency Smuggled Across the Border To Mexico

cant_get_a_good_nick Re:Wont matter (158 comments)

Sounds like a bunch of bullshit to justify expenditures on cool new technology which will be quickly mothballed after its found to be useless or ruled by the courts to not be justification for extra scrutiny.

The scary thing is, that's my best case scenario. Worst case? It's used for witch hunts. We have warrantless spying now, do you think they'll put this down once it's pushed back by a court? Maybe it won't be used in court, but just enough to justify "extra scrutiny" of someone, put them on a watchlist they can't get off of.

about a month ago



How Do I Secure Windows XP for my Mom?

cant_get_a_good_nick cant_get_a_good_nick writes  |  more than 6 years ago

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) writes "As the family tech geek, everyone asks me how to get rid of viruses. As I explain malware and the difference between the infection vectors of worms, trojans, and viruses, their eyes (understandably) glaze over. And I can't even tell them what's the best freeware anti-virus + anti-spyware + anti-malware-of-the-day for Windows (I'm a Linux geek myself). I moved my sister from a public IP to a private IP, and saw her eyes wander the room when I tried to explain why it's better for her.

Faced with the choices of getting a family that just understands tech (not gonna happen) getting them to move off Windows (not gonna happen) or letting them get infected (I don't want to happen), what are the best resources for getting a Windows machine relatively safe, and keeping it so? The more i look at this, the more I need to explain malware, DHCP, firewalls, rootkit, Windows update (but avoid WGA), the more I hear them ask for a magic bullet to make it all go away. How can I make Windows security as simple as possible?"


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