Work to live, live to work.

Hey everyone,

A note that I’m still alive. I’m doing some miscellaneous things on the internet. You can learn about my streaming video games on the various platforms over at my gaming blog, Play the Game.

For those that want to know the other parts of my life. I’m still single. I’m still living alone. I work as a programmer at a major enterprise. I don’t mention their name now because in no way do I want to come across as a representative of that company. My thoughts on this blog are my own. My hobbies are my own. They don’t own me, and I don’t live and breath with them….

Except for a week ago. I’ve always said to myself that I wouldn’t be that guy that lived to work. I worked 75 hours last week. Sadly I don’t think I got done everything I honestly should have in that amount of time. Seriously. I always doubt myself, this isn’t new to me. I really should have gotten my project done at work. I didn’t however.

That said, I am developing for a hobby as well. Many projects on the mind, but the one I was focusing on until recently was a chat bot for the Twitch platform, although I had ideas to throw it at Mixer (what was Beam) and integrate services like Discord as well. The primary function at this time is to serve sounds triggered by chat. For instance, a “!sound no” would push a sound of “no no no” over my stream. In itself, it’s not useful, but it could be entertaining, and it engages chatters. You can really try and find more out as I build up the site over here. I am calling the bot Alfred.

As for other things, I’ve paid for game making courses and need to spend some time on that. I thought about streaming some programming as well. Either developing Alfred, or developing my own basic games. I haven’t committed to either yet.

Naturally, during the summer, school has taken a back seat. This time it may be more permanent than I thought would happen. I’m not a great student, apparently. Enjoying school wasn’t an option apparently. Oh well, I have the job. I’m looking to succeed in that field. I think I’m doing well.

Anyway, that’s a quick update. I’ve got many updates, and little time to deal with it. School stopped. Work is a little overwhelming.

BLUBoT Reviews – Rant

Well, today I decided to log into the Google Play console for my Android applications. I did so to unpublish a Twitch specific application. I decided to focus on a Windows application instead.

While in the console, I saw that BLUBoT was still there, of course. No reason for it not to be. For those that don’t know, I’m a nerd. I programmed robots under a National Science Foundation grant, attached to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While I did so, I created an Android application that utilized the bluetooth chip HC-05 connected to a CEENBoT and allowed you to drive the CEENBoT around from your phone. Very cool accomplishment on my part.

That said, I decided to use a PS3 remote control interface for the mechanism to control it. Makes sense? Why re-invent the wheel. The rant comes from the fact that people don’t read. Right in the description, it says that the application is not for a PS3 connection, which is technically impossible. Yet people download, try to connect to the PS3, and fail to do so. Then return and leave a one star review for an application that they mistakenly downloaded and wasted their own time.

To be clear, I did not mislead the intent of the application for more downloads. Seriously, there are no ads, the source code for it is online and I have no reason to troll for downloads. Yet, it’s been downloaded nearly 100,000 times. Cool… I guess.

It’s very hard to innovate when the general public can’t even understand simple concepts like reading what an application does before downloading it. No wonder malware on phones is a big issue when a bug is found in the Android OS, or iOS. (Apple users are not immune to this, fanbois).

The best part are those reviews that say “Works great on my PS3!” Wait…. what? I shake my head…

Anyway, it’s 1:30am, I work in the morning. Time for bed… Got any of your own review situations that make you think the world is doomed? Comment below!

Thoughts on the Hackers Manifesto

The Hackers Manifesto, known as The conscious of a Hacker, was written in 1986, the year of my birth. While still older than I, I think it still applies. The question came up from Hak5 (http://www.hak5.org) on if something like this, written so long ago, applies today?

The Hackers Manifesto, linked here, reads as follows:

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
The following was written shortly after my arrest...

                       \/\The Conscience of a Hacker/\/

                                      by

                               +++The Mentor+++

                          Written on January 8, 1986
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

        Another one got caught today, it's all over the papers.  "Teenager
Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal", "Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering"...
        Damn kids.  They're all alike.

        But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950's technobrain,
ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker?  Did you ever wonder what
made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?
        I am a hacker, enter my world...
        Mine is a world that begins with school... I'm smarter than most of
the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me...
        Damn underachiever.  They're all alike.

        I'm in junior high or high school.  I've listened to teachers explain
for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction.  I understand it.  "No, Ms.
Smith, I didn't show my work.  I did it in my head..."
        Damn kid.  Probably copied it.  They're all alike.

        I made a discovery today.  I found a computer.  Wait a second, this is
cool.  It does what I want it to.  If it makes a mistake, it's because I
screwed it up.  Not because it doesn't like me...
                Or feels threatened by me...
                Or thinks I'm a smart ass...
                Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...
        Damn kid.  All he does is play games.  They're all alike.

        And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing through
the phone line like heroin through an addict's veins, an electronic pulse is
sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought... a board is
found.
        "This is it... this is where I belong..."
        I know everyone here... even if I've never met them, never talked to
them, may never hear from them again... I know you all...
        Damn kid.  Tying up the phone line again.  They're all alike...

        You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby food at
school when we hungered for steak... the bits of meat that you did let slip
through were pre-chewed and tasteless.  We've been dominated by sadists, or
ignored by the apathetic.  The few that had something to teach found us will-
ing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.

        This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the
beauty of the baud.  We make use of a service already existing without paying
for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and
you call us criminals.  We explore... and you call us criminals.  We seek
after knowledge... and you call us criminals.  We exist without skin color,
without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals.
You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us
and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals.

        Yes, I am a criminal.  My crime is that of curiosity.  My crime is
that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like.
My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me
for.

        I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto.  You may stop this individual,
but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike.

                               +++The Mentor+++

Now, it certainly does intimidate some into thinking that the term “hacking” means criminal aspects. Exploration of a system, for instance, without permission certainly is illegal. My argument into the application of something like this was a little more broad. Engineers solve problems. Hackers are nothing more than (dark?) engineers. While the focus of “hackers” are computer security, the term originally meant doing something that a system didn’t intend for us to do. This meant taking a device created by someone for the purpose of entertaining a child, for instance, and making it do something that interests someone other than a child. Maybe hooking it up to the net and chatting with friends, adding a wire and programming it. Hacking a furby comes to mind, the annoying little pricks (furby’s not the hackers).

The term became known as computer security criminals by mass media. While hackers did explore systems they weren’t meant to, rarely did they do damage. They just got into a system because they can. That’s why you can “hack” linux with hitting backspace 28 times, because a hacker checked it out. Fact is that this isn’t a viable option to “hack” into a bank. It simply means that you can control a box (computer) in a way that wasn’t intended. It’s a bug. It’s a bug that needs to be fixed and would have been left for more malicious purposes (by the NSA, or criminals alike) if it hadn’t been explored and publicized. Of course, I believe in the rule that once you have physical access to hardware (through social engineering or theft), all bets are off anyway. This is why your workplace may post signs that say “No tailgating”. As a note to those that don’t see these or don’t understand these, “tailgating” is someone walking in with a person who scanned their badge or is other authorized, without presenting their own authorization. If you’ve worked in places that had work badges that required to be scanned before going into a building, a social engineer might walk in behind you, taking advantage of your desire to be nice by holding the door open for them.

The hackers manifesto did detail a mindset. This is my argument, and why I feel it’s a timeless piece of writing. It shall apply in digital ages, just as much as it did in the analog. It’ll apply in the quantum ages as well. It’s a mindset of exploration. We have seen this mindset in humans before. From the time we left our caves, to the time we launched into space to walk on the moon, or send a probe to the far reaches of the universe. To this day, we continue to explore, with SpaceX perfecting its drone landing pad in the middle of the ocean, just so they can be more efficient.

So why did I start in on this rant? Because Hak5 asked… does it still apply? I’ll be looking forward to other opinions while I observe the Facebook post and continue to observe the slightly darker side of the internet, Computer Security. Feel free to discuss here as well!

%d bloggers like this: