Dispatches from Andyland "Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever!" — The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

December 24, 2006

Password disclosure

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 1:12 am

I heard a an interesting mistake occur on the Penn Jillette radio show for the past couple of days. In last Penn’s Tuesday episode he is talking to a substitute co-host trying to get into his regular co-host’s computer. The co-host can’t log in and Penn says live on the air “the password is Dawkins, that’s his password for everything.”

One Wednesday’s episode, he describes the repercussions of that mistake. As he and his wife were sitting in the living room that evening, he gets an email at his private email address saying “You gave out Goudeau‘s password in the air today. Maybe you should change it.” After realizing his mistake and explaining it to his wife, she then suggests that maybe the should check that out. They try to log in, and the old password doesn’t work. Then she gets an IM from Goudeau

  • “Hi Emily”.
  • “Oh, thank goodness, Goudeau.
    There’s been a problem and”
  • “I’m not Goudeau”.

They then realized that they didn’t quite know what this guy was up to, but he was in a position of considerable power.

  • “Hi, our new friend”
  • “I don’t mean to scare you, but I took over all Goudeau’s accounts.”

He then goes on to explain that he saw other people accessing the account, and figured he had to do something to prevent any further damage. Then he went through the address book to try to figure out who the people were and who he would be trusted to straighten this all out. He tells them the temporary password, and Emily and Penn go about getting control of the accounts again. As they are going that, the stranger has one final piece of advice.”

  • “Don’t go and change all of the passwords to Borlaug… Sadly, I’m serious. I don’t know what you guys might do.”

There are a variety of errors that caused this problem. (Goudeau being careless, Jillette being too impulsive to think of what he was saying and where.) They were really lucky a relatively honest person looked into it to help them out. (I’m a little conflicted about that guy. I’m don’t think he was in the right to check if it worked and look around, but what he did afterwards was more noble than the other people he saw breaking into the accounts. Lots of states have very similar computer crime laws (the telecom companies gave all the states the same template) and there are cases where well meaning access to other people’s accounts has caused lots of legal trouble. Saying “he shouldn’t of done what he did but I’m glad he did it.” feels odd.)

December 18, 2006

Goodbye Joe Barbera

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 8:16 pm

I was working on some internal pieces of Boston.com news feeds, and I came across this story Yogi Bear creator Joe Barbera dies at 95. Its amazing the number of memories that just reading a name can bring up.

I’m very thankful for all that Mr. Barbera has given us over his lifetime.

update:

I was just watching The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and his monologue that I found funny, and only in retrospect seems obvious:

Earlier today famed cartoonist Joe Barbera passed away. He died peacefully, in his sleep, when a large anvil fell on top of him.

December 4, 2006

Milton Acadamy Saturday Program

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 12:22 am

We got an envelope in the mail from Sam’s school. Inside was an application to attend Milton Academy Saturday Program. She’s really excited about being able to go.

Those who do remember history are doomed to recurse into it.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 12:18 am

On Thanksgiving Day, my daughters decided to put on a puppet show (puppets made out of figures drawn on paper, cut out and taped to straws, shown on a puppet stage that was a blanket draped over a couple of chairs.) It was mostly the standard Thanksgiving story, but then at the tail end it got a quick narration piece leading through the Revolutionary War the founding of the US and then to our house, where people celebrated Thanksgiving by giving a puppet show that told …” and the Thanksgiving tale again, and again, and again. (luckily loosing more and more detail each time. By the end she was probably spending about 20 seconds on each one.)
I can’t say that Sam discovered that sort of recursive story in a story. She probably learned it from The Stinky Cheese Man , a favorite book of hers when she was younger (Jack’s Story in particular. Faced with a predicament of the giant threatening to kill Jack unless he tells a story, and threatening to kill Jack after he tells a story; Jack tells a story about being caught by a giant and being forced to tell a story, to which he …) I remember the story used to set her into giggle fits for minutes after getting to that part. A child’s introduction to recursion and infinity.
The next day, I hit a chapter on recursion in the current book I’m reading Godel, Escher, Bach. I read her some excerpts from it (“… even parenthetical comments inside parenthetical comments…”) and got a similar giggle. For all I know huge portions of logic and mathematics are going to be subconsciously tied together in her brain to The Stinky Cheese Man.

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