Monday, October 30, 2006

was it wrong?

Was it wrong for Chris to post his boarding pass generator? One person says (in his blog comments):
I would like to repeat that TSA spokespersons have confirmed that this is not a dangerous security hole. For example, see this story, where "TSA spokesperson Carrie Hanson" is quoted as saying "'Is this a threat to security? The answer is no.'"

At worst, Chris made it marginally easier to exploit a known low-priority security hole that was already ridiculously easy to exploit.

And for this he gets his door broken and house ransacked by the FBI? You can see why I would be shocked and dismayed by this. If this gets as far as a grand jury I will be horrified.

I don't think he was unjustified. I think it is time people realize that there is no reason you need a boarding pass to get to the gates. Frankly, I don't care who is in the airplane seat next to me, so long as airport security did their screening properly and my seat-neighbor isn't going to cause serious trouble.

It disturbs me that the powers that be reacted so swiftly and strongly to something that is not new, misunderstood, or even that critical to security!

Previously: Generating Boarding Passes

Saturday, October 28, 2006

generating boarding passes

Poor Chris. He described how to make a fake boarding pass by twiddling the online-generated passes that are issued by NWA. There's nothing wrong with this -- he didn't actually use them, he just wrote a very simple piece of software that lets anyone generate a fake boarding pass.

Rep. Edward Markey (D- Massachusetts) called for Chris's arrest. Why? Did he do something wrong? This ability to create boarding passes out of thin air is not new! It has been known for years and was in fact pointed out by Sen. Schumer (D-NY) in Feb. 2005.

What the hell? Has it come to this: if someone looks suspicious, we arrest them and work out the details later? The FBI served him with a cease and desist.

They handed me with a written order to remove the boarding pass generator. By the time we were somewhere with internet access, the website had already been taken down.

Reality check: what Chris did was a trivial hack. Anyone who can write simple web application code can create this. Heck, you could make your own boarding pass easily without understanding code at all -- use a web page editor.

If Chris's liberties are violated in this fashion without repercussions, everyone who can edit online boarding passes should also be controlled. Everyone with a computer should get ready to line up to be monitored by the FBI.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Am I narcissistic or what? You can now visit my web site by going to ... and the blog, well just add /blog to the end of it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

me on tv?

I was interviewed today and supposedly will be on TV Friday morning (the 27th) at around 6am. I don't know how long the spot will be, probably short, but if you're awake, tune in! It will air on WTIU, which is channel 5 if you have cable in Bloomington, 30 on the air, and if you're in some other Indiana town... who knows. Look for WTIU.

10/27 19:13 -- UPDATE: The journalist mis-spoke, apparently. The segment aired at 6pm.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

killing in the name of...

For some reason this struck me as strange today.

When did "killing" become a "euphemism" for being in trouble? As in, "my dad is gonna kill me if he finds out." Today I heard a teenage girl scream "I'm going to KILL YOU!" as she ran after a boy who probably told Johnny she liked him.

Obviously, some people think violent video games have something to do with it. Others probably think that violent TV and movies are the culprit. What if there was more sex and less violence? Frankly I would prefer that -- and perhaps "I'm gonna kill you!" will change to "I'm gonna screw you!" or "I'm gonna get naked!"

Maybe we should start teaching our children alternatives to murderous intent. Here are a few I like:

"I'm gonna spit on you!"
"You're going DOWN!"
"I'm gonna pee on you!"
"Dad's gonna steal my car keys when..."
"I'm going to forcefully restrain you until you take that back!"


Monday, October 23, 2006


Active Cookies will be published in NDSS 2007

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I found one of these in my bathroom today. Not dangerous, but really weird looking. Looks like a cross between a hair brush and a house spider.

espresso award

And the Worst Espresso in Town award goes to....

the Bloomington Bagel Company

While they have scrumptious bagels, their espresso lacks, well, a lot of things. Complete absence of crema, medium light roast beans are used, and it is overheated scalding the flavor of the coffee. It actually reminds me of the french press coffee I make -- only I know this came out of their massive (expensive?) espresso machine.

Go there for bagels... bring your own coffee.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I love spam

Abuse may arise bad apples left rots entire Jamie Kalven following excerpt Kicking Pigeon part series.
To Labor Activists Michelle Goldberg Rashid is Khalidi Role Religious Right Affair Hans Johnson telltale habit extremism?
Admitted in United States detains suspected secret is Ciarun in prisons or foreign a why Pakistan Nuclear.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

cafe del mar

cafe del mar Ibiza
Originally uploaded by Ben30.
Hm, so this is the cafe where all the great music comes from....

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Everybody sing: "Crappy birthday to you..."

Actually it hasn't been that bad. My motivation level is around 10%, though, so I didn't make it to Jiffy Lube in time for the $5 early-bird discount. I did pick up some stuff at the store that I needed, and ran over a nail in the Target parking lot. Thankfully there was an auto shop just around the corner so I could quickly get it fixed without driving on a donut for a week.

My car goes in tomorrow to get some new stoppers -- kind of a birthday present to the car, and a well needed repair. A car is kind of scary to drive if you can't stop well.

On another (more mischievous) note, I learned that Qdoba has a "customer card" kind of like the thing you have to use to get normal prices at the grocery store. Only difference is that you can track your purchases on their website (although I notice you can find this feature at too). I wonder if Qdoba sends you "addiction" reminders. Say you buy 2 burritos each week, then take a month off. Maybe they send you a note, "Hey, you must be going through burrito withdrawl... come in today and we'll give you 10% off!"

I wonder how secure their online databases are...

Monday, October 02, 2006

mark z's new work

AAAH! The author of House of Leaves released his next unique artwork in book form. I stumbled upon it in the bookstore today, and couldn't help myself. This guy is my hero (literature-wise) and I've been waiting for this book!

Check out his awesome PR website.