I make films. I'm also a nerd.

Posts in technology:

Advice, Five Years Old

The Guardian asks a very earnest question (or is it?):

As Google search results throw up more and more ads, using SEO to reach your audience is becoming increasingly futile. Could social media optimisation be the answer?

The answer: yes. In 2008. Also, the cited article is clickbait. In 2008.

Cars Can Get Hacked Too

Reuters :

Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek say they will publish detailed blueprints of techniques for attacking critical systems in the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape in a 100-page white paper, following several months of research they conducted with a grant from the U.S. government.


They said they devised ways to force a Toyota Prius to brake suddenly at 80 miles an hour, jerk its steering wheel, or accelerate the engine. They also say they can disable the brakes of a Ford Escape traveling at very slow speeds, so that the car keeps moving no matter how hard the driver presses the pedal.

Put an Internet-connected computer into something, and somebody will find a way to hack it. Maybe it’s not the best idea to connect every object in the world after all.

Twitter Fakes Tweets From Real Users to Promote Its Own Ads


The tweets look completely real, but SFGate discovered that while the Twitter users who are featured are real, their tweets are not. The users featured raving about TV commercials never said anything of the kind, and were unaware their profile pics and accounts were being presented in a post on Twitter’s blog sent out to hundreds of thousands via the @Twitterads Twitter account and retweeted to more than 1.5 million.

I previously would have thought that only Facebook could be this slimy. Go ahead, Twitter, start talking me out of using your service.

SIM Card Vulnerability Opens Millions of Phones to Attack

Pierluigi Paganini writes, for Security Affairs :

A serious vulnerability on SIM cards used in some mobile phones has been found, exploiting the flaw an attacker could eavesdrop on phone conversations, could install malicious applications on the device or it could impersonalize handset’s owner. The discovery is very concerning, the vulnerability could compromise the security for 750 million mobile phones.

You can barely look around recently without encountering yet another potentially disatrous security breach which affects millions of unsuspecting people. As Moore’s Law leads to faster and faster computation—while our encryption methods seem to advance and propagate at a slower rate—breaches and catastrophes are only going to become more and more common1.

Nohl revealed that it is possible to exploit the vulnerability in less than two minutes using a common PC.

In the words of the great philosopher, “yikes!”

  1. Get ready for a neverending stream of calls from your mother, your father, your aunt, your cousin, that one guy you used to work with who knows you’re some kind of geek or something, your neighbor’s friend, etc. 

Ubuntu Edge Is A Smartphone / Computer Hybrid

Perhaps I should say that it will be (or even that it only might someday be) a smartphone / computer hybrid, since it’s currently just an Indiegogo campaign, and may never see the light of day.

This sort of hybrid usually sounds like a great idea on paper, but past experiments with it have not turned out that well.

Build Your Own Cell Phone With an Arduino

Instructables user "xiaobo__" has shared detailed instructions from which to build a fully functional cellular phone using an Arduino Uno microcontroller, a number of other off-the-shelf parts, and a 3D-printed plastic case.

The design actually seems pretty practical, even if a little clunky by today’s standards. Don’t give me the crazy eye when I say that I might actually take a crack at something like this.

Your Work Is Worth Less Every Day

I’ve never been able to muster full agreement with a lot of Jaron Lanier’s arguments, but in his recent appearance on the IEEE Spectrum‘s "Techwise Conversations" podcast, he raises a number of incredibly pertinent and timely questions regarding the sinking of the Western economy amid the massive growth in efficiencies of production due to technological automation and/or creative decentralization. When our media is crowdsourced, and almost nobody pays for (or is payed for) any of it, how can we expect anything other than mass impoverishment? Why would anyone get paid when robots do all the work?

The Surface RT Died Because It Sucked

Cody Fink at Macstories :

[U]ltimately Microsoft decided people wanted their desktops on their tablets so they could use Office, forgetting that that’s the thing people wanted to get away from. The irony is that the tablet that was supposed to offer more choice than the iPad ended being the compromised experience.

Yeah. Show me a single person, anywhere, who actually likes using Microsoft Office. And it was their selling point.

A Few Honest Questions About Google’s Future

  1. If this Reuters story has all of its facts straight, what exactly is Google’s long-term strategy?
  2. By a very wide margin, ad revenue is where Google’s money comes from—but the cited article says that these revenues are shrinking. Given the fact that Facebook, Twitter, and mobile apps are diminishing the puissance of the open Web as an advertising platform, what’s the next move? Does Larry Page have some kind of underwear-gnome-like plan which eludes the foresight of outside eyes?
  3. Will Google suddenly start raking in money thanks to a social network that no one uses?
  4. Is flushing $13 billion down a world-sized toilet in exchange for an unprofitable hardware manufacturer suddenly going to become a brilliant idea?
  5. What is their silver lining—where is Google’s next profitable breakthrough? Is it the douchegoggles? Really?

QuickReminder 1.1 – Quick iOS Reminders

Thanks in large part to a suggestion from Philip Mozolak on App.net, I’ve edited my QuickReminder script for Pythonista so that it plays a short audio notification upon the successful scheduling of a new reminder. It’s a minor tweak, but I think the additional feedback improves the experience of using the script quite a bit.

If you’ve been using the original script, all you need to do in order to update is copy the contents of the gist and paste them into your QuickReminder.py file in Pythonista.

Thanks, Moze.