who pays for spammers?

Granted, we’re well aware of the spammers out there who send us unwanted emails. And anyone who’s visited a support forum has likely read a slightly newer version of “content spam”. It will appear as what could possibly be a legitimate user’s comment but it usually comes across as a little vague/unspecific. A typical content spam these days might look like:

“your information is really very helpful. I get some interesting knowledge from this article. you may also get important updates from mcafee customer service. keep sharing these type of important suggestions.”

Corporations who pay spammers

  • McAfee
  • Netgear
  • babasupport.org

A call to arms, dear Internet

Do me a favor. Visit https://chathelp.org/mcafee-support/ and chat with McAfee. Let them know that you don’t appreciate their paying for spammers. Let them know that this link was part of some unwanted content spam.

microsoft wants open source extinguished

On June 9th when Microsoft had just purchased github.com, I wrote about how I thought this was something tragic for the world of open source. This morning I awoke to several new security notifications from my repositories there (requiring about an hour of my time to adjust my code):

“We found a potential security vulnerability in a repository for which you have been granted security alert access. Known low severity security vulnerability detected in debug < 2.6.9 defined in package.json.”

On the surface, one might think that Microsoft is trying to make the world a better place. You might think this if you’re an optimist or a friend of them, perhaps. Maybe Microsoft cares about security so much that—having just purchased github—they now want to ratchet up the quality of the collection of software as stored there by most people who don’t like them…?

But if you’re a pessimist or if you’re someone who doesn’t like Microsoft, could there be another reason behind this new diligence they’re trying to bring to code security? It’s not like Microsoft has a great track record in writing bug-free or network-safe code themselves.

“It’s not like Microsoft has a great track record in writing bug-free or network-safe code themselves.”

Strategic sabotage

Richard Nixon was known to do something termed ratfucking in the political world. Wiki even has a page on the subject. It means “political sabotage or dirty tricks”. It would eventually result in his impeachment. In some college circles, a mean-spirited prank is part of the playing field. To me, it feels like many of the players inside Microsoft are the same type of people, those who have no qualms destroying the competition, tripping them up and generally exercising a “whatever it takes” attitude toward their so-called success.

Microsoft’s internal methods:

Steal their air

In a lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Justice turned up an internal tactic used inside Microsoft which describes what they do when they feel that a competitor needs to be removed: “embrace, extend and extinguish”. In other words, 1) embrace open source by buying the main storehouse for its code, 2) create products such as Visual Studio Code which replaces similar free editors and 3) gradually remove the competition by getting rid of it now that you’re in a controlling position.

Appeal to fear

Another tactic they use in the market space is to promote fear with respect to anything the competition could provide. We’re seeing this now in the pseudo-warnings being auto-generated by github.

What this is

What we’re seeing is a direct and strategic beginning to Microsoft’s move to embrace, extend and extinguish github and yet it’s open source itself who is their ultimate target.

The future of gihub and open source

Expect more of the same: dirty politics related to the leading repository site of what Microsoft views as their competition.

and now, a positive outlook on ad content

Since I no longer have an Office 365 subscription I find myself occasionally using their web-based version to fetch my email. How very annoying their galley ads have been lately. They’re too animated, they change faster than you could actually read them. They’re about as obnoxious as they could be.

Since I use Safari as my favorite browser, I just wrote a custom stylesheet to deal a blow to those unwanted ads. I’ve specifically targeted the ones usually delivered by Microsoft’s online Outlook website but it could be edited to remove other content you don’t wish to see.

safari-stylesheet

Safari -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Style Sheet:

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 12.16.38 PM

Result:

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 12.19.24 PM

quadcopters and me

[Apologies for my infrequent posts here lately but this should explain why.]

On the day I purchased my 3D printer, I also bought a print-it-yourself quadcopter kit. It was technically a mistake on my part because the designs in the kit aren’t compatible at all with the 3D printer which was literally kiosk’d together and a mere foot from each other, suggesting otherwise. So the kit’s been sitting here for a full year now.

Rawr…!

I design things. I should be able to design a quadcopter myself. Having been a former software development contractor for the actual company which sells and distributes these kits I can say with 100% transparency: they have no evidence of one of these quadcopters ever successfully taking to the sky. It never worked as designed.

So I’m designing a radically-new quadcopter. I knew a few things about flying since I was in the Air Force once upon a time. It took a few iterations for the propeller mounts but that part is now perfected and the four printed/assembled.

Next up, the enclosures for each propeller had to be created. I spent a fair amount of time on this stage and have the sixteen related parts all printed; they look great.

Sourcing Parts

I may need to source and replace the underlying controller board which would normally go into the copter itself. I note that the “new” part in my kit shows signs of having four strands of LEDs soldered, then summarily clipped off at the board. This is not a new part at all. Initial testing shows me that it doesn’t respond to the remote. I must assume that the vendor who sourced the parts to the aforementioned company just packaged in used/refurbished materials. They must have assumed that nobody would be the wiser.

I note that the “new” part in my kit shows signs of having four strands of LEDs soldered, then summarily clipped off at the board. This is not a new part at all.

Step by Step…

All in all, it’s coming along well. It’s a sexy beast and I’ve got things modular enough to be able to tweak it later when the need arises.

Sorry that there are no pictures but I’m in stealth mode on this one.