Pure Win – Monitoring Comcast’s Failures

So this is the greatest thing I have read in ages; for those too lazy to click a person having lots of problems with Comcast took it upon themselves to create a python script that ran a speed test and if certain conditions were met would send a tweet to Comcast complaining about not getting what they paid for.  Unfortunately there are lots of people getting paid to fellate Comcast and they flocked to the r/technology thread on Reddit to remind OP that he should be grateful for paying a pile of cash for “up to 150 Mbit” like he is somehow blessed to have the absolute worst company in the US as his ISP.  Naturally I grabbed the code and set it up on my development box to run every 15 minutes so hopefully in like a week or so I can generate a fancy graph to see just how bad Comcast is boning me on my already high monthly bill.

Four Years of Conditioning

So I just started a new job and its made me realize a few things. First is that I was at the previous gig for far too long, just over 4 years to be precise. That is an awful long time now that I actually sit down and think about it, four years of driving an hour each way to get paid enough to make ends meet and buy a house along the way. A whopping 49 months of dodging crazy drivers on the highway, sitting in traffic behind an accident and twitching at every deer on the side of the road at night.

Despite that long duration its taken only a few days at the new place to realize just how badly I have been messed up by the previous employer. Its not even that the direct supervisor or manager were bad people, to be honest their hands were mostly tied by the corporate structure in place that moved at the pace of drunken dinosaurs in tar. One of the biggest things is the change in lighting, the new office is so bright it sometimes bothers my eyes if I don’t look at something dull like a piece of paper or my matte black new Dell laptop. While I’m thinking about laptops let me contrast the previous with the new; HP Elitebook i5 w/ 4GB of RAM and Windows 7 x32 (with a flat out refusal to update to x64) versus a brand new Dell i7 w/ a 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM and an x64 version of Windows. You would think over 4 years the hardware would have been updated but somewhere along the line a policy was put in place that you had to justify updated equipment, so instead of getting a new machine at 3 years I was told to suck it up.

Without going through every little difference the main point I am making is that I didn’t realize how bad I really had it at the previous job until I finally left. Sure I miss the people I worked with, they were probably the only reason I managed to make it to the four year mark. But now I can’t help but shake this feeling that the other shoe is waiting to drop at the new job, that some dark secret or terrible truth is waiting to spring free when I finally let my guard down and accept that not every employer is a monolithic behemoth of bureaucracy that that treats its employees more like prison inmates than actual free people doing a service for them. This of course is not healthy in the least bit, but it is what it is and I have to fight every day to not let that negative voice inside my head be the loudest.

ComputerCOP and your local police force.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/09/computercop-dangerous-internet-safety-software-hundreds-police-agencies

The fact that the police are distributing this software is absurd (most of them barely know how to use a computer beyond basic web surfing) but the fact that they are pissing away our money on it is the real salt in the wound. I really hope anybody who reads this takes a moment to check if their local agency has taken part in distributing this spyware and does their part to raise local awareness to the flagrant violation of privacy as well as the absurd waste of tax payer money on an attempt to further erode our rights.

Intuit holds your data hostage

So I recently started the process of applying for a home loan to buy a house and during the process I was asked to produce tax documents from the past 3 or 4 years. The past 3 years weren’t much of a problem till I got to the last year I filed using TurboTax’s website to file, since I hadn’t used them in several years they basically locked me out of access to my return paperwork; every road basically said I could file with the IRS to get the documents (which we all know might take the better part of a month) or I could shell out about 50$ to Intuit to purchase the current years basic ‘product’ just to get access to prior year returns. After going around and around with the website in hopes of finding another way I was left with no choice but to pay the extortion fee to access my information so I could print off my return and provide it to my mortgage originator. The moral of the story is to always check out who you are doing business with and what kind of policies for accessing historical data they have so you don’t end up getting scammed out of money for essentially nothing.

Attention PC Brigrade!

poster_hoe_lg

If you look at this poster and find yourself nodding in self-affirming-righteousness please do the rest of the fucking world a favor and jump in front of a bus, because meat-sacks like YOU are the reason we have a whole generation of fucking chicken shit spineless worms being raised instead of well adjusted humans who know how to handle their fucking shit!

Beating the dead horse?

“If Congress won’t act, we’ll fight for a new Congress,” Biden said. “It’s that simple. But we’re going to get this done.”

Those are the words of Vice President Joe Biden regarding gun control; they simply don’t give a shit that the elected representatives of the people have NOT supported their agenda enough to get it to pass, they will keep pushing until they get their way.  Unfortunately there will be no stopping this move as the recently confirmed head of the BATFE Todd Jones is firmly in the pocket of the administration, so much so that Democrats threatened to rewrite the rules of the Senate in order to make sure he got into the position.  Make no mistake people they ARE coming for your guns, its just going to be a much slower process than some folks anticipated but they still are pushing the goal of disarmament.

 

Its Over

EDIT: So according to this it was an employer that tipped off the police, but my rant still stands

Michele Catalano was looking for information online about pressure cookers. Her husband, in the same time frame, was Googling backpacks. Wednesday morning, six men from a joint terrorism task force showed up at their house to see if they were terrorists. Which prompts the question: How’d the government know what they were Googling?

 

policestate

I wish I could say this was from The Onion, or maybe some other satirical blog but sadly its a real 
thing. The picture above this from the confrontation by ‘local police’ with the Catalano family, all over what two people (probably on different computers in different rooms) searched for.  Backpacks and Pressure cookers are now verboten searches under the watchful eyes of the National Security Agency it seems and if you look for them too close together you will be paid a visit.  Since I fit the profile of most ‘lone wolfs’ I wonder if they would visit me if I started reading up on pressure cookers for canning (cause hey, who doesn’t like to save some money) and camping packs because I work a sedentary IT job and should probably get out of the house more often and into nature for exercise.  

I can’t even really properly express how angry and sick this story makes me.  We are lead to believe that we are having our privacy forcefully taken for our own good, yet supposedly there are 99 out of 100 incidents where this was just a wild goose chase initiated by an over-zealous spy agency who gets its jollies off monitoring every single thing we do online.  At this point I am angry at more people than I can count; Congress for letting this happen and implicitly endorsing it, and the people of the country as a whole for not demanding and GETTING an end to this blatant violation of our rights.  We have had larger protests over more niche issues like gay rights or abortion than things that impact all of us like PRISM and the spying on of every single man, woman and child in this country.  If that doesn’t show the cracks in the foundation of our society then I don’t know what does; our priorities are so screwed up we can’t even see the water as it continues to boil us collectively.  Sadly I know this rant falls on deaf ears; chances are one day my nephew or his children will look back and wonder why we left them such a fucked up world and the only mercy will be that I wont be alive to have to try to make some kind of excuse for why my generation proved to be the most spineless in the history of the nation and failed to right a terrible wrong when we had our noses rubbed in it like a dog who shit in the house.

Simple integrity script

So I came into work today and my inbox had a wonderful little gift; a co-worker had made changes to some of my code that was considered production without providing me a log of what changes he made, just a general not of what sub-folder might contain changes that were naturally NOT included in the git repository.  Naturally I was so pissed about this that I considered doing bodily harm to inanimate objects while screaming profanity, then I got busy actually finding all the things he changed.  All I had to work from was the bash history showing me every file he touched, so I manually diff’ed them against files from the repo that I knew he hadn’t touched only to find out he did more looking than touching, but that was probably a godsend really once I realized he was changing commented out code (hope he didn’t expect to see anything actually change).

After I got all the non-changes found and replicated in the repo by hand (obviously hes not up to speed with such things as version control) I decided I was done fucking around with undocumented changes to live production code which could have all kinds of nasty consequences, thus the following quick and dirty script was created.

Just change the path that find uses to whatever location you would like to keep track of and make the email actually something that works, slap it in a @daily crontab and you should be golden.  Its not anything fancy like tripwire or the like but at least hopefully it will save someone else from having to do a bunch of manual work diffing files wondering which were edited and which were just looked at.  I would have liked to simply lock the reject out who managed to cause this whole mess in the first place but I don’t think the boss would appreciate me circumventing the chain of command to start decreeing who works on what, even if they are total morons who probably shouldn’t be allowed to touch production systems in the first place.

Goodbye 4th Amendment!

nsa-usa-fail

I don’t even know what to say anymore, its beyond disgusting that these people are willing to let their rights be stripped away all for a perceived benefit that has yet to truly bear fruit.  Previously I considered the death of the US to coincide with the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care act (hint: raping of the Commerce Clause) but perhaps this would be a more appropriate date; the day the American people decided to give up their 4th Amendment rights without so much as a whimper of a fight.

The Truth Will Set You Free (or at least it was supposed to!)

I’ve been telling people for literally years now that the NSA monitors every single piece of communication in the US and people just looked at me like I was crazy; looks like its time for them to eat some  crow!.  I would love to say I feel vindicated to finally have proof to hold up to those who doubted me, but honestly its just sad on the whole.  The fact is there is NO privacy in this country anymbig-brother-is-watching-you4ore, you can’t even have a phone conversation with someone without the federal government snooping in on it.  

The sick tragedy of all of this is that nobody will stand up and demand change, demand the NSA stop its blatant pissing on the 4th Amendment.  Nobody will demand the head of the NSA be busted to hell and back over this, no one will call for resignations and criminal charges and NOBODY will stop and think that maybe the government has finally gotten so far out of control that it needs to be slapped and hard.

No, people will just go on keeping their heads in the sand or repeating the vile bullshit line “if you have nothing to hide whats the problem?”  This will be accepted as the price of “fighting terrorism” as so many of our (s)elected officials seem to think, but its not.  If you haven’t deleted your facebook already, if you aren’t so seething with anger and rage at the government that you want to burn it down now please do me a favor: walk into traffic in front of a speeding truck because you are a waste of human flesh and are part of the reason we have this kind of bullshit going on in the first fucking place.