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The CIA Hack – From Borepatch

My friend Borepatch is an Internet security professional.  And a fine blogger and good friend.

Here’s what he has to say about the latest Wikileaks CIA revelations:

(Here’s a hint – the media is less-than-accurate!)

CIA Hack details – beware of what you read in the media

The media has a poor track record of getting security stories right, and the CIA Wikileaks document dump is no exception.  For example, they don’t hack your TV over the network:

The CIA didn’t remotely hack a TV. The docs are clear that they can update the software running on the TV using a USB drive. There’s no evidence of them doing so remotely over the Internet. If you aren’t afraid of the CIA breaking in an installing a listening device, then you should’t be afraid of the CIA installing listening software.

So as long as you’re not worried about a CIA operative breaking into your house, this specific exploit isn’t going to be aimed at you.  Does this mean you should hook your smart TV up to the ‘net?  Ohhellsno.  Just no.

And this is pretty interesting:

There’s no false flags. In several places, the CIA talks about making sure that what they do isn’t so unique, so it can’t be attributed to them. However, Wikileaks’s press release hints that the “UMBRAGE” program is deliberately stealing techniques from Russia to use as a false-flag operation. This is nonsense. For example, the DNC hack attribution was live command-and-control servers simultaneously used against different Russian targets — not a few snippets of code. [More here]

Like I said, it’s hard to get stories like this right and mostly the Press doesn’t.  There are more examples at the link.

I’ve no expertise in this area, but I trust Borepatch.

You gotta trust someone, right?

The Best Laid Schemes Of Mice And Men

aft gang agley* (oft go awry – Robert Burns, the poet laureate of Scotland)

I’d plans to ‘improve’ and edit my blog, prior to the Sixth Blogoversary (March 5).  I definitely need to edit out of The Usual Suspects (my blogroll) those who are no longer blogging, or have left the grid.

I have not yet done that. 😦

A general observation of my blogging world – It saddens my to two of the finest bloggers out there (Brigid and Tamara) have had to change their blogging formats to by invitation only (in Brigid’s case) and no comments allowed (in Tam’s), both allowing for responses in other venues (FB and Borepatch guest blogging status (in Brigid’s case).

Because of attacks in print by certain blog readers!

I’ve had a few spammers in my six years, but considering the difference in volume and quality of Brigid and Tamara vs. Guffaw, it’s completely understandable I’ve had many fewer.

I will continue my lowly blog, until it no longer is physically possible, or I lose the need for morning discipline and structure.

We come now to one of my first Internet-blogging friends.  Rev. Paul.  Paul lives in Alaska with his family, and has been a virulent supporter of both this blog and this blogger!  His blog Way Up North is rife with tales of the weather, local crime, politics, and moose pictures(!)  And often religiously-themed (he IS a Rev., after all) messages of hope for all, whether religious or not.

He announced recently he will be cutting back from almost daily posting to occasionally.  Because reasons.

And, this too, makes me sad.

All three of these fine folks have been anchors for me, have given me much which to aspire, and have supported me to a degree they will never know.

It was said a few years back that blogging is going the way of the dinosaur, what with FB, Snapchat, Flickr, Google+, Twitter, and numerous other avenues almost daily being added to the list of social networking.

To all fellow bloggers and friends out there, please keep blogging, reading and commenting.

I’m to old to change formats!  😛

*”Tae a Moose, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough[1] (English: “To a Mouse“)(Wikipedia)

From a name-long-forgotten children’s joke book:  “Robert Burns wrote ‘To A Field Mouse’.

“I bet he didn’t get an answer!”

(The fact this was a joke book for grade school children further shows how the American public education system has failed.  Ask any grade school (or junior high, or even high school) student who Robert Burns was, or what ‘To A Field Mouse’ is.)

I’ll bet you won’t get an answer!

The Mouse On The Drain

(not to be confused with The Mouse On The Moon, or other Duchy of Grand Fenwick tales!)

“Welcome to the drain, gentlemen!”  😛

My roommate and I share both household upkeep and maintenance.  To the best of our abilities.  Between disabilities, health conditions, arthritis, age, pain and shared whining, sometimes things are not as pristine as either of us would like.

(The fact we both have an over-sufficient amount of ‘stuff’ doesn’t help, either!)

Of course, this had little to do with today’s story…

Being the male in the house, many (not all) of the yuckier tasks fall to me.  And sometimes, it’s just the “luck of the draw”.

Today was one of those days.

The past couple of days while visiting the shower, I noticed what we always called when I was married (back in the 80’s) the mouse on the drain.  That is, a disc of hair jetsam on top of the drain grate, starting to inhibit shower drainage.

Back in the 80’s, it was roughly the size of a half dollar, and easily disposed of.

And, of course, not wearing my corrective lenses in the shower, it could have been something else – as in this case it was, a small round grey plastic comb.  (My roomie and I share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom.)

And she does many hair-related things in there, with a multitude of chemicals and preparations.  I have shampoo and conditioner.

Fast forward to this morning.  Having picked up the plastic comb, I thought I’d be free of the ‘mouse on the drain’.

Not so fast, there, bucko!

The real mouse on the drain – or, in this case the rat or nutria(!), had wrapped itself into the workings of the grate, and was hanging (yuch!) down into the drain proper!!  And the shower floor was beginning to fill with water!

Fortunately, my hair is in need of cutting and is maybe a third of an inch long.  So, I’m thinking I’m not the main culprit. (ignoring body hair additions here for discretion).

I was able to complete my shower and listened to the slow-but-inevitable noisy drainage, fortunately before it crested into the bathroom proper.  Then, I picked up a proper tool to remove the drain cover (a long hemostat that is left in the bath for this very purpose – what earlier functions it may have had I can only imagine!  🙂  )

And took it upon myself to remove the long, tangled, fist-sized wet hair clumps from the grate and dispose of them.

After having done that, I policed the opening of the drain pipe for any additional hair/soap remnant escapees.

And replaced the grate.

I washed my hands and exited the bath.

I’m hoping next time I will notice the impending crest a day or so sooner.  And be able leave the mouse on the drain for someone else…

😛

Bittersweet

It’s February 8th.

Regular readers might remember this is my daughter Molly’s birthday.  In this case her 34th.  Sadly, she only made it to her 12th.  😦

(The twenty-second anniversary of the accident that took her from us is in about five weeks.)

Molly 1986 2

I try to remember happier birthdays.

Last year, another element was added to this date.

Bob Hall, my dear friend whom I met when were worked as private investigators together, who before had attended junior high and high school with my then wife-to-be, and later managed the Legendary Gun gun store (where I worked part time, for a while) in 2016 passed into eternity.  Complications from cancer.

See, I told you this time of year sucked for me.

People we care about love, passing way before their time is a travesty!

Please take the opportunity today to hug those close to you, and tell them you love them.

You never know…

 

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming! 

We’re told Life is a series of events. Which we are told to frame as ‘challenges’.

And sometimes I frame these events negatively.  Because I’m neurotic.

About six weeks ago, our laundry dryer went tango uniform. And we have been air drying, and to get our laundry dried.  Difficult in a 1200 sq. ft. townhouse full of stuff and animals!  Alternately going to a fluff-and-fold place.   When we could afford it.

Frankly, it’s been a P. I. T. A.!   And, as most of you know, we live ‘paycheck to paycheck’.

And don’t have funds for replacement or even repair. So we have to live with what we get.

And sometimes, that sucks! (NO, this is NOT a bleg!)

But, sometimes fate, and friends, intervene.

I was sharing our predicament with a dear friend, and she suddenly remembered they had an ‘extra’ dryer on their back patio! And asked me if I wanted theirs.

We were (of course) floored and extremely grateful.

Saturday, Kevin (my friend’s husband who happens to be an engineer) not only delivered but installed the dryer!

And it didn’t work.  😦

Fortunately, being an engineer, he diagnosed the problem (the door switch failed), ran to the appliance parts store, obtained the replacement, installed it, and got the dryer running!

I am humbled and thankful to believe I have such wonderful people as Tomi and Kevin in my life.

And now our clothes are not crunchy when dried!   🙂

Kenmore!

Many Thanks, Tomi and Kevin!

It’s Here! 

Thanks to your generosity!  The electronic controller for our lift chair is here, is installed and actually WORKS!

The chair now not only lifts the operator, but can recline fully to horizontal.

This means Judy will have a place to sleep and recover following her shoulder surgery.

She will also be getting an ‘ice jacket’ which is to help with the pain.

We cannot say thank you enough! 

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

My most sincere and deepest thanks for the responses to my bleg posted below!

Not just the practical, but the prayers and good thoughts, as well.

One of the things about the Internet that never ceases to amaze me, is with all the political and religious divisiveness that one sees on the computer screen, when difficulties occur, people step up!

We now have enough funding to obtain a replacement controller for the lift chair, as well as some other needed items, like the shoulder cooling vest my roommate will need following her surgery.

She and I are both overwhelmed, and very grateful!

thank-you

Happy New Year?

2017Happy 2017.

Say, didn’t we do this just a year ago, and the year before that?

And so on, and so on…

Seriously, best wishes for a Happy New Year to my family, my friends, my FB friends and especially my Internet and blog friends!

Most years fail to meet expectations at some point, but 2016 (for me, anyway) was particularly bad.

(There is no need to account for the negative items here.)

Thus, I’ve great hopes for 2017.

It does say something about the human condition, for all the pessimism, depression, war, disease, man’s-inhumanity-to-man, that EVERY YEAR we return to this ritual of celebrating the onset of a new year with positive hope for the future.

Either we’re optimists, or insane. (“Insanity – repeating the same behavior, expecting different results.” ( attributed to Albert Einstein)

Today, right now, I vote for optimism.

What other choice is there?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

To all my friends and family near and far.

And, to all my Jewish friends,

HAPPY HANUKKAH!

And to my ‘other’ friends,

Joyous Solstice (belatedly)

And Best Wishes for a Safe and Healthy return for those in service to this Great Republic!

And to everyone, regardless,

PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TO MEN

Let’s hope 2017 is a better year for everyone.

Guffaw

img_1633

Christmas Eve at my niece’s last night!

But Wait! There’s MORE!

(Oft heard tag line on late-night TV infomercials)

And, apparently, my Life!  🙂

Dave the Genius Mechanic was in town last night, and collected me for our all-less-often dinner out together at Red Devil.

We get together a few times a year to trade stories about the progression (regression) in our lives, friends, relatives, etc.  His work, not mine. (as I am on disability).  Sometimes we touch on taboo topics like politics, too.

With his busy interstate work/home schedule, and his many other interests (like boat building), his shooting has taken a back burner.  As far as I know, he’s not shot or purchased a firearm in some time.

Dave was kind enough to loan me a gun when I was ‘gun poor‘ in the distant past.  I’d sold all my handguns, and was in need of one for a security guard job.  I carried her for a number of years, and even shot her competitively.

Eventually, she was returned to him, no worse for wear.  (Well, hardly!)

SO, Dave’s in town, and going through his stuff, and finds this gun.  It occurs to him that he’s shot and carried her much less than yours truly.  And he really doesn’t have a use for her…

PLUS, he read my recent post regarding my roommate’s gift to me of one of her firearms.  And for him, that cinched it!

As he dropped me off after dinner, Dave announced “I have something for you.” (in that understated, low-key Midwest style of his).  And he reached into his trunk and hands me THIS!

ruger_security_six_357

not exactly as pictured

A revolver I carried and shot a lot, but never owned!  But, now I do.  (Dave mentioned something about Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday when he gave her to me.)

She needs improved stocks, and maybe a little gunsmithing.  But, she’s mine.

In 2009, I had over 50 firearms.  Then came the vault burglary.  Until Thanksgiving, I had two firearms.  Now I have FOUR.

Sure, I still rent a room, have a beater car, etc.  But my firearm inventory has doubled!

And, more importantly, I have friends!

Thank you, Dave!

(for the uninitiated, she’s a 1972 Ruger Security Six – old frame)

 

 

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…