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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 40 declined, 7 accepted (47 total, 14.89% accepted)

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Submission + - Ashley Madison Hackers Threaten Release Of All Data Unless Site Closes (

heretic108 writes: According to KrebsOnSecurity, the infamous Ashley Madison affairs hookup website has been hacked by a group calling itself The Impact Team. This group are demanding the immediate and permanent shutdown of Ashley Madison, as well as a related site Established Man, or else they will publicly release all customer personal data.

Submission + - Julian Assange: A Compromise Solution

heretic108 writes: I have today sent this letter to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, proposing a compromise to resolve the ongoing issue of Julian Assange:

Dear Ecuador consular authorities,

I write to you with a suggestion for achieving resolution to the ongoing matter of Australian political activist Julian Assange, who remains effectively imprisoned in your London Embassy:

  • Negotiate a deal with the Swedish and British governments for Mr Assange to be relocated to the Ecuador mainland, but face trial under Swedish law
  • If criminal trial should result in a guilty verdict, then arrange for Mr Assange to serve his sentence within Ecuador's corrections system, under Ecuadorian law, at a facility within Ecuador chosen by the Ecuadorian government
  • At the conclusion of his sentence, or upon being granted parole, Mr Assange to be discharged to live out his life within Ecuador enjoying the political asylum he has previously been granted

Mr Assange does stand accused of sexual offences, for which a guilty verdict and custodial sentences are a probability. He does need to account for these matters. However, he is right to be concerned that his deportation to Sweden runs a high risk of him being handed over to American authorities and facing years of isolation, torture and other abuses.

This suggested compromise solution will offer the opportunity for him to attend to his prosecution and participate in resulting legal remedies, without risk of unjust abuses once Sweden is finished with him.

Thank you for reading this letter. I look forward to your thoughts in this matter.

Submission + - "I beat a patent troll and you can too"

heretic108 writes: Chris Hulls, the CEO of tech startup Life360, received $50m in new funding, only to be almost immediately set upon by a patent troll, Advanced Ground Information Systems.
But unlike other startups who simply pay the ransom (cheaper than a trial, most folks figure), this guy went medieval, attacking not only AGIS's claims, but also their entire patent portfolio. Result? Not only were the troll's patents defeated by a jury, but with the heavy publicity, Life360 sent a clear warning to patent trolls that bullies will not be tolerated, going so far as to offer free legal support to other startups who have fallen victim to this troll.

Submission + - An "inventor's" argument FOR software patents (

heretic108 writes: As the immortal wisdom goes, "know thine enemy". Sadly, however, the enemy is often a group of misguided people who would normally be allies. This (PDF) letter from Independent Inventors of America sets out a so-called "case" for software patents, but the first serious flaws in the argument show in the first couple of paragraphs. It is handy, however, to be familiar with this line of thinking so we can promptly refute it in debate, when engaging with people terrified that weakening software patents will of itself turn us into mere serfs of our new Chinese overlords.

Submission + - Kim Dotcom offers $5m bounty to defeat extradition

heretic108 writes: Internet mega-entrepreneur, uber-gamer and now NZ political corruption-buster and king-maker Kim DotCom has posted a bounty of $5m to anyone who can dig up any dirt which saves him from extradition to the US on his trumped-up "racketeering", "piracy" and "money-laundering" charges.

Conceivably this bounty would be payable not only to government department employees, but also to anyone able to access government servers in the US, New Zealand or elsewhere, or servers of any companies or organisations working with these governments, who can retrieve documents clearly proving corruption in the whole prosecution process, and these documents help materially to derail Kim Dotcom's prosecution, this would most certainly qualify for the bounty.

Submission + - Official DHS "Spy Words" Revealed (

heretic108 writes: The Department of Homeland Security has been forced to reveal its list of words which automatically result in one being spied upon. This list is a precious resource for plugin authors for email programs like Thunderbird, who want to offer an updated counterpart of the old (in)famous Emacs "M-x spook" function.

Submission + - How Facebook can defeat password-demanders 1

heretic108 writes: In response to people like employers who demand Facebook credentials for current and prospective workers, a simple solution would be for Facebook to allow all account holders to create "sandbox accounts". Once you create a sandbox account, you can (from your main account) selectively set your posts, photos, likes etc to be visible or invisible to the sandbox account. You can also choose which of your friends (and your friends' activities) will be visible. For instance, you can set it so Sandy Smith's activities are hidden by default, while Jim Stone's activities are visible by default.
The idea is that when logged in to the sandbox account, there will be nothing to indicate that it's a sandbox login. You will even be able to create a nested sandbox within this sandbox, with no nesting restriction.
With this in place, an employer will never know whether his/her employee or candidate has given up the master password, or just a sandbox password — with the ability to nest the sandboxes, account holders will have plausible deniability and will regain some control over their privacy in the event of duress attacks.

Submission + - Aussie academic builds Get Smart 'shoe phone'

heretic108 writes: One of the main comic devices of TV series Get Smart lead character Maxwell Smart was his mobile shoe phone, which would ring at the most awkward moments and make its user look ridiculous. Thanks to the efforts of an Australian academic, this shoe phone is now a reality. According to inventor Dr Paul Gardner-Stephen, this phone may become available soon on sites such as ThinkGeek.

Submission + - Best non-crippled cellphone?

heretic108 writes: The Nokia 6288 has been an excellent cellphone in all respects except one — its crippleware OS-based restrictions against 3rd party Java MIDP applications. I'm aware that Nokia are not alone in this practice. But what about other cellphones? I'm looking to buy something other than Nokia next time, but want something with similar features, such as large hi-res color screen, 2megapixel or better camera, 3G, memory card expansion, multimedia and small form factor. Can anyone recommend any brands/models of cellphones meeting these criteria, but which are more open to 3rd party application development, and don't require developers to mess around with an expensive and complicated certification process? Or will I have to wait for the first Android phones?

Submission + - Air New Zealand caught in Wikipedia Whitewash

heretic108 writes: Many will remember the tragic Air New Zealand plane crash into Mount Erebus during a scenic Atlantic flight. Investigations at the time eliminated pilot error, placing the blame on the Air New Zealand corporation. Now Air New Zealand has been caught trying to censor the wikipedia article on the incident, in an effort to introduce doubt and reduce its perceived role in the tragedy.
The Internet

Submission + - Designing websites for use by technophobes

heretic108 writes: I've been building a website for a very intelligent but highly technophobic friend/client. To the best of my awareness, the site is pretty easy and intuitive to navigate — I deal with his much-younger and more tech-savvy wife regularly, and she thinks it's fine. But he's just had a look at the site in progress, and is saying I need to 're-do the layout so that it doesn't become a barrier to people' — his clients include a lot of folk who barely know what a mouse is.

So are there any good guides which people can recommend for how to make a website absolutely n00b-friendly, without annoying people of more normal skill levels and without losing some of the better features which more experienced users appreciate?

I thought of adding a big 'how to use this website' link, pointing to a page with a screencast of how to use the site and enjoy its features. Would this go down well with technophobes?

Submission + - XmlRpcFs - Web-mounted linux filesystem

heretic108 writes: Just when we thought we'd seen some weird filesystems, a lone developer in New Zealand has developed and released to the public domain a FUSE Filesystem called XmlRpcFs — a Linux filesystem which allows users to mount a directory on a remote webserver, and gain full read/write access. XmlRpcFs uses a purely http transport, talking XML-RPC to a CGI script on the host, and makes the remote filesystem work transparently like a local directory. Security is still a work in progress, and the developer encourages users to remove the remote CGI script when not in use, and try to access it only via https. Nevertheless, this could be a boon for website developers who use cheap web hosts that don't provide any SSH, scp, rsync or nfs access.

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne