St. Vincent is our first indie MixTape after the successful Instant Karma launch. Check her music and schedule out. If you love Annie's music, please put it on your blog, MySpace, Facebook or other social network.
I love her music.
St. Vincent is our first indie MixTape after the successful Instant Karma launch. Check her music and schedule out. If you love Annie's music, please put it on your blog, MySpace, Facebook or other social network.
I love her music.
Here's the Amnesty International page on our Instant Karma MixTape widget: http://www.amnestyusa.org/Take_Action_Online/Get_the_Instant_Karma_Mixtape/page.do?id=1031079&n1=4&n2=40
After many months of planning and hard work from many organizations, artists, music industry professionals, designers, lawyers and many more, I am pleased to announce the availability of a special edition GoodStorm MixTape specifically developed to help spread the word about Amnesty International's work in Darfur, Sudan.
We specially designed and coded the Instant Karma MixTape using our unique technologies and capabilities. We worked with a team that Amnesty International brought together: Warner Music, Apple iTunes, HUGE, Artists First and hundreds of good people with the unselfish goal of being part of a solution to a grave situation ~ Darfur.
Take a look at the 310 pixel version...
Instant Karma MixTape 310 pixel width
We wanted to contribute a technology to help reach the greatest number of people. We have hopes of getting to as many people as possible so we can raise both money and awareness about the greatest tragedy of our current times.
At first, we wanted to use the Instant Karma campaign to highlight our technologies but we set aside our own company goals and bias to use only our technologies because our Darfur effort is not marketing platform. It would have been a golden opportunity fo us but Apple iTunes volunteered to distribute the Instant Karma music collection using their technologies and perhaps most important ~ Apple so generously agreed to give 98% of all the total sales to Amnesty International's efforts to stop the genocide in Darfur. At the end of the day, it was not a technology issue for GoodStorm. It was about being part of a movement of good folks. We are so humbled by Apple's generosity. Likewise, we are in awe of Warner Music's hard work curating and producing Instant Karma. Perhaps most important, we want to acknowledge and thank Yoko Ono for donating all the rights and royalties to John Lennon's amazing music to Amnesty International and their Darfur work. Last but not the least, our thanks to all the artists who made this possible with their unselflish and wonderful renditions of Lennon's music.
Our technology is so small compared to the work of many but we believe our MixTape can make a difference in the viral internet campaign. We hope you use it, put it on your blogs and social networks to help spread the word and raise money. We are grateful to Wordpress, Facebook and SixApart for allowing the MixTape widget in their platforms.
The MixTape is special in it's goal and music. It features some of the world's greatest artists and allows you to spread the word by forwarding it to your friends and family. Best of all people can buy great music and feel good that you have done something great and good for the world. It is also very easy to install and host on your blog or social network. If your social network does not allow you to install a MixTape, ask them to permit it. They can do it if you ask.
But enough talk, try it out and please help by posting it on your favorite blogs and social networks.
Spread the word by posting the MixTape player, buying the music or by signing the petition that is on the MixTape widget. Explore the music, learn how you can help and join the fight against genocide.
It will be available in 3 sizes (310 px as seen above, 240 px and 160 px) to fit any blog or social network. We are finishing sidebar integration for TypePad, WordPress and tight integration with Facebook.
Before I go, here are the 240 and 160 pixel version.:
Instant Karma MixTape 240 pixel width
Instant Karma MixTape 160 pixel width
A Geeky Note:
This was developed using Flash, Actionscript, a bit of AJAX and php. Apache, Linux, mySQL on the back end. The hardest part was backend engineering. A record label, artist or a fan who makes a MixTape has full command and control of how to present music, podcasts or videos. It is essentially a way to present or securely sell digital media (MP3s, podcasts or even video). The publisher gets full reports of all sales and other site statistics such as views, plays, etc...
If you want to build your own MixTape, please come to http://music.goodstorm.com.
Technorati Tags: Aerosmith, Amnesty International, Apple, Avril Lavigne, Ben Harper, Big & Rich, Black Eyed Peas, Christina Aguilera, Corinne Bailey Rae, Darfur, Dhani Harrison, distributed computing, ecommerce, GoodStorm, Green Day, iTunes, Jack Johnson, Jack's Mannequin, Jackson Browne, Jaguares, Jakob Dylan, Lenny Kravitz, Los Lonely Boys, Matisyahu, Mick Fleetwood, MixTape, Postal Service, R.E.M., Regina Spektor, Sierra Leone Refuge All-Stars, Snow Patrol, The Flaming Lips, U2, Yobie, Youssou N'Dour
It's not everyday that you meet a true hero. I had the great fortune to be invited to a luncheon with a great woman, Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala. For those of you who do not know, Rigoberta won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. She came over for a lunch to ask for help as she seeks the presidency of Guatemala.
For those of you who do not know her background, here is a little information I took from the Nobel Prize page.
"Rigoberta Menchú was born on January 9, 1959 to a poor Indian peasant family and raised in the Quiche branch of the Mayan culture. In her early years she helped with the family farm work, either in the northern highlands where her family lived, or on the Pacific coast, where both adults and children went to pick coffee on the big plantations.
Rigoberta Menchú soon became involved in social reform activities through the Catholic Church, and became prominent in the women's rights movement when still only a teenager. Such reform work aroused considerable opposition in influential circles, especially after a guerilla organization established itself in the area. The Menchú family was accused of taking part in guerrilla activities and Rigoberta's father, Vicente, was imprisoned and tortured for allegedly having participated in the execution of a local plantation owner. After his release, he joined the recently founded Committee of the Peasant Union (CUC).
In 1979, Rigoberta, too, joined the CUC. That year her brother was arrested, tortured and killed by the army. The following year, her father was killed when security forces in the capital stormed the Spanish Embassy where he and some other peasants were staying. Shortly afterwards, her mother also died after having been arrested, tortured and raped. Rigoberta became increasingly active in the CUC, and taught herself Spanish as well as other Mayan languages than her native Quiche. In 1980, she figured prominently in a strike the CUC organized for better conditions for farm workers on the Pacific coast, and on May 1, 1981, she was active in large demonstrations in the capital. She joined the radical 31st of January Popular Front, in which her contribution chiefly consisted of educating the Indian peasant population in resistance to massive military oppression.
In 1981, Rigoberta Menchú had to go into hiding in Guatemala, and then flee to Mexico. That marked the beginning of a new phase in her life: as the organizer abroad of resistance to oppression in Guatemala and the struggle for Indian peasant peoples' rights. In 1982, she took part in the founding of the joint opposition body, The United Representation of the Guatemalan Opposition (RUOG). In 1983, she told her life story to Elisabeth Burgos Debray. The resulting book, called in English, I, Rigoberta Menchú, is a gripping human document which attracted considerable international attention. In 1986, Rigoberta Menchú became a member of the National Coordinating Committee of the CUC, and the following year she performed as the narrator in a powerful film called When the Mountains Tremble, about the struggles and sufferings of the Maya people. On at least three occasions, Rigoberta Menchú has returned to Guatemala to plead the cause of the Indian peasants, but death threats have forced her to return into exile.
Over the years, Rigoberta Menchú has become widely known as a leading advocate of Indian rights and ethno-cultural reconciliation, not only in Guatemala but in the Western Hemisphere generally, and her work has earned her several international awards."
It was truly a privilege to be with with a person who hopefully will become the president of Guatemala.
I’m really excited about a new name and a new set of Web tools for collecting and mining the collective knowledge and wisdom of the online community – “crowdsourcing.” People were crowdsourcing long before the Web, of course, but only with people they knew or knew of. Now we’re all wired into the conversation, and where cynics might expect 100% Babel we often find flashes of brilliance.
One of the first formal applications of online crowdsourcing – Assignment Zero – is an experiment in journalism. Until the rise of Web 2.0, journalism was a tightly restricted medieval craft guild that monopolized the practice of newsgathering and reporting. Its motto: “And that’s the way it is,” always delivered in the weighty baritone of TV anchor certainty. Assignment Zero, a collaboration between Wired magazine and a New York University journalism professor, Jay Rosen, is smashing the palace gates to let amateurs get their hands on the means of news production & news distribution to see what happens.
You know journalists: the most fascinating stories they encounter are found in the mirror. So it’s not totally surprising that the first crowdsourced story Assignment Zero is tackling is…(wait for it) crowdsourcing.
Assignment Zero has set up a online newsroom where citizen-journalists interested in reporting on crowdsourcing – and several other topics – can get oriented, hear a pep-talk from the editor, and choose an assignment from among the many sub-stories that, put together, make up the whole story. Professional editors will monitor the reporting, then wrap the best material into one large, coherent report. As the metas metastasize, Wired will then run a feature article on the Assignment Zero experiment, using material crowdsourced by the amateur experimenters themselves. Whew.
Here’s why I’m excited about the intersection of Goodstorm and crowdsourcing: as I said in my last post, launching Goodstorm got me thinking a lot about the nature and properties of good. Last time I kicked around some thoughts on the spiritual and metaphysical nature of good, but those aren’t the parts of good that I’m most interested in.
I’m trying to put together an actionable guide to being good that redefines and refreshes “good” the way Goodstorm is redefining and refreshing “capitalism.” We’ve got to take back the power and meaning of our words.
Real capitalism isn’t oligopoly (hear that, Halliburton?), and real good isn’t some watery broth of pop psychology and comfort food for the soul. Real good(ness) has the power to save lives and make a difference in the world. It’s a power that’s re-emerging on a global basis – thank goodness. We are part of that process.
So here’s an invitation to crowdsource the art of good. Help Goodstorm fight for the highest meaning of good with the greatest power of all: ideas that work. I’m looking for the wisdom of our crowd when it comes to active ideas for being a good friend, a good spouse/lover/partner, a good pet owner, a good businessperson, a good investor, a good shopper, a good farmer, a good driver, a good citizen…of a community, a country, the world.
I’ll be posting great ideas I come across, and great ideas and commentary sourced from the wise & generous Goodstorm crowd. As someone said, we are smarter than me.
(In addition to being a great sound bite, We Are Smarter Than Me is a crowdsourced book-in-progress on how the emergence of community and social networks will change the future rules of business.)
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the nature and properties of good. I’m deeply interested in what readers of this blog have to say on the subject. I’m looking for enlightenment!
“Good” is part of our name (GoodStorm) and good is what we hope will come out of it. The genesis of the company was 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, which was, in so many ways, a bad storm. My co-founders and I were watching the multi-level human horrors of Katrina on TV, and committed ourselves on the spot to counteracting the evil of that bad storm with an active and activist GoodStorm of our own.
We’re business people… Internet entrepreneurs. We don’t believe that simply giving money away is “good,” nor does it change much. If we gave away all our collective money, it wouldn’t make a dent in the world’s misery. But if we can lend a hand by refreshing capitalism to empower people to make a difference in their worlds – become the change they want to see, as Gandhi said – that’s a good start.
I’ve been thinking not only about how to do good – the mission of the company – but about the very nature and transformative power of good itself. In a world where the elemental struggle is supposedly between good and evil, light and darkness – where good is ostensibly the good guy – good has been getting some rotten press lately. Where to start? How about “good guys finish last,” and all its cynical derivatives. How did good get so uncool?
It’s like, “Dude, sure the meek will inherit the earth. But two hours later, the powerful will come around and grab it right back.”
GoodStorm is just one element of a worldwide movement away from that kind of self-defeating cynicism and toward a brighter historical moment. The movement – progressives, activists, NGOs, philanthropists, environmentalists, educators, and so on – is fighting to take back our global culture from dark forces that tend to celebrate the worst in people.
Celebrating the worst is poison soul-candy, a form of ethical prurience – people getting the wrong kind of thrill wallowing in the worst humanity has to offer (I’m thinking here…24-hour-a-day Anna Nicole coverage, Britney obsession, gigantic ratings for the snarky nastiness of “American Idol,” reality shows that pick up where carnival freak shows left off, etc.).
Why is this happening? Because people have lost touch with the ecstatic, erotic, superior thrill of good. I’m not talking the talcum-powder, pinch-mouthed good of the official painted saints and deities. I’m not talking Mother Theresa, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, Lao Tzu, Hillel, Yahweh, or Zoroaster (I’m not ruling them out, either). Good is not a leafy vegetable you’re forced to eat for your own…uh, good no matter how bad it tastes. Good is the most savory thing on the universe’s menu, but too many of us have lost our taste for it. Thus this conversation.
Ever since I was in college in the Philippines – where I studied (broadcast) communications and political science between "detention time" as a political dissident under the Marcos regime, complete with Gitmo-style torture (more on that in a future post) – I’ve been fascinated by Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, a military treatise that, 2,500 years after its writing in about 515 B.C., has become something of a user’s manual and strategic guide to life in our times.
Next to the Bible, The Art of War is one of the best-selling works of all time. Amazon is awash in derivative books applying Sun Tzu’s military stratagems to business and social situations, and many colleges offer full-semester courses in the timeless wisdom and contemporary applications of Sun Tzu.
It’s true that many of us feel like modern life is a battle, that the earth is a 360-degree war zone, and that we’re constantly fending off enemies. But is war truly humanity’s default state? Is war the actual nature of things, or simply a reflection of what we’ve done to ourselves, and an indication of what good things we must do now to bring good back as the golden, muscular force I believe it is?
Writing in The New York Times recently, columnist David Brooks summed up the cynics’ view of the world, arguing that “the belief in natural human goodness is fading.” [http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=F00B13F63F5A0C7B8DDDAB0894DF404482] Brooks wrote:
Sometimes a big idea fades so imperceptibly from public consciousness you don’t even notice until it has almost disappeared. Such is the fate of the belief in natural human goodness.
This belief, most often associated with Jean-Jacques Rousseau [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Jacques_Rousseau]…had gigantic ramifications over the years. It led…to the belief that bourgeois social conventions are repressive and soul-destroying. It contributed to romantic revolts against tradition and etiquette…whether 19th-century Parisian bohemians or 20th-century beatniks and hippies…It led people to hit the road, do drugs, form communes and explore free love in order to unleash their authentic selves.
In education, it led to progressive reforms, in which children were liberated to follow their natural instincts. Politically, it led to radical social engineering efforts (welfare, the War on Poverty, etc.)…to reshape institutions in order to create a New Man. Therapeutically, it led to an emphasis of feelings over reason, self-esteem over self-discipline.
Over the past 30 years or so, however, this belief in natural goodness has been discarded…because of the failure of just about every social program that was inspired by it, from the communes to progressive education on up.
But the big blow came at the hands of science. From the content of our genes, the nature of our neurons and the lessons of evolutionary biology, it has become clear that nature is filled with competition and conflicts of interest….
Human beings operate according to preset epigenetic rules, which dispose people to act in certain ways. We strive for dominance and undermine radical egalitarian dreams. We’re tribal…This is a darker if more realistic view of human nature.
Brooks concluded that Rousseau – with his idea that good was the basic nature of things – was wrong, and that Thomas Hobbes, the 17th-century English social philosopher [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Hobbes], was right. Hobbes held that the essential nature of human life was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Oh, snap!
Gloomy stuff. Depressing, conservative stuff. Very much of the dark realpolitik of that ultimate cynic Henry Kissinger, who once observed, “We have no friends, only interests.” But then…the very next day in The Times, the cavalry of good rode into battle with banners flying in the golden sun:
David Barash, an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington, wrote:
David Brooks is half right in asserting that evolutionary biology shows human beings to be selfish, nasty and competitive by nature.
In the process, he conveniently doesn’t mention the other half: the adaptive outcome…is often achieved by organisms behaving altruistically toward one another, enhancing the success of other(s), such as relatives, reciprocating friends, and even, on occasion, unrelated individuals within the social group.
William Flesch, a professor of English at Brandeis, and the author of a forthcoming book about contemporary biological theories of human altruism, wrote:
David Brooks is reading the wrong evolutionary psychologists. We compete for status, true, but paradoxically the way we display status is by showing that we can afford to be generous to one another.
As all consumers of fiction know, heroes help people, and those who help others are those we all acknowledge as heroes. It would be a shame if pessimism distorted our views of the altruism and helpfulness that are embedded so deeply in human nature.
Michael Eigen, the editor of The Psychoanalytic Review, wrote:
David Brooks describes human nature in terms of stock binaries like Hobbes versus Rousseau….Such categories represent diverse tendencies of our nature. It is not a matter of one or the other, or of making a choice as to which is more basic.
To put who we are in terms of one tendency versus another is to maintain an all-too-prevalent dissociative attitude that has played havoc with our sense of self for a good part of our history.
I believe that evolution requires us to get beneath such categories and begin to partner the profound interweaving of multiple tendencies that give human nature the plasticity and persistence it demonstrates.
So maybe it isn’t Hobbes or Rousseau to the exclusion of the other. Maybe it’s a swirling mélange of selfishness and altruism, realpolitik nasty and empowering good.
And what I’ve been wondering for years is this: If The Art of War is such a big best-seller because it teaches people how to win through fighting and conflict, might there be a use in the world for, say, The Art of Good, which would show people how to win through being good – to one’s family, friends, spouses, partners, lovers, business associates, society at large, even one’s pets?
Do we need a sort of latter-day good book – no, not that one – that demonstrates how goodness – properly framed – is a nourishing virus that spreads life’s riches along the lines of, “the more there is, the more everyone gets”?
Is it time for a rebirth and a refresh of goodness, the way we at GoodStorm are trying to refresh capitalism to make it work for everyone, not just the oligarchy? Is there a way to show…to prove…that goodness not only benefits others, which in itself is worthy, but in the end benefits oneself?
I’d like to hear from you on these questions. What do you think the nature of good is? How can we be good to each other?
Does it matter?
I need your wisdom.
Technorati Tags: altruism, Anna Nicole Smith, bad, being nice, Britney, columnist David Brooks, David Barash, David Brooks, evil, good, goodness, Henry Kissinger, Katrina, Michael Eigen, philanthrophy, rants, Rousseau, the art of good, the good book, Thomas Hobbes, William Flesch, yobie
Ok... I did not make Rolling Stone Magazine or the Daily Show but I made it to become the cover boy of Venture Capital Journal.
Ok... I never said it was exciting. The story inside just talked about my penchant for investing in consumer product and retail companies. I guess that's why I started GoodStorm with apparel, music, movies, books and games.
I just wish I can do downloadable music so I can give Apple a run for it's money. Hmmm... What do you about that idea? Downloadable music with a Capitalism Done Right backdrop. Inspiring!
Here is a podcast on GoodStorm. I was interviewed on Serius Radio's Business Shrink program.
Leading change and transformation for a large organization is extremely challenging but professionally and personally rewarding . These are videos that I did when I was at Ernst and Young.
It's very corporate but it was exciting to be one of the leaders of a firm-wide transformational process. If you would like to see me in action in a corporate environment. Click on the link below. It will bring up a Quicktime movie.
Also once upon a time I was really into information security. 20/20 did a piece on financial systems security and it featured me and my team breaking into a very very large financial institution... legally of course!
We just released GoodStorm's Tshirt Wizard on TechCrunch.com and our traffic has spiked big time! Get one for your own website or blog.
A little background on the app itself: foremost, it gives anyone the opportunity to easily design and buy their own custom T-shirts directly from your website. We differ from other on-demand T-shirt applications in two big ways: our app can be installed on most any webpage and we offer the lowest base prices for T-shirts anywhere. That means resellers can make a decent profit even on a $15 shirt, sold right on their own website.
Resellers can also customize the look of their creator and choose how much profit they want to make on each shirt sold. For your reference, here are some of the key highlights and benefits:
* Customize your Wizard with one of over a dozen cool themes.
* Set your prices and keep 100% of the profit from every sale.
* Standalone creator can be installed on almost any website.
* Free to install and use - no designs needed.
* Your visitors design and purchase shirts directly from your website.
* We handle inventory, print-pack-ship, and all customer service.
* Upload your custom photos or designs.
* Write in your own text in a variety of fonts and colors.
* Don't have your own artwork? Use our clipart.
* Design and purchase without creating a user account.
This is bad news for democracy.
The Baltimore Sun reported that Diebold's current source code was stolen and mysteriously showed up in the mail of a retired Maryland legislator.
Here's the article: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-te.md.voting20oct20,0,5237249.story
I wrote a very long post titled "Outsourcing To Hell" and as a TV show aired, I am not only right but I also did not sound enough alarms. My principal concern was rogue programming code in critical systems but as this ZDNet Asia article shows security problems can also be very low tech in nature.
As I follow the threads in Doom9 (which BTW is a great site!) about viodentia and FairUse4WM, it seems that there are sudden bulletin board lurkers (...myself included) hanging around. That's not so strange. What's funny is some folks (who are obvious agents for the dark side) seem to be suddenly posting and baiting viodentia to show his source code.
Whoever is investigating this alleged theft of source code must be a junior code monkey from the dark side. You DO NOT need source code to study software internals. Whoever is asking for the source code or wants the source code should spring out the corporate credit card and buy a copy of DevPartner (formerly SoftIce).
It reminds me of the bumbling investigators HP hired to sniff out the boardroom leaks. At least the dark side can send some competent folks to ferret out viodentia but then again what's the point?
It is my opinion the dark side's DRM implementation has fundamental architectural problems need rebuilding from scratch! Patching is just a hacking challenge. Bottom line, either re-write the current DRM implementation or drop it entirely. Putting out bad software is worse than DRM itself.
The real point is DRM could create a consumer nightmare. As long as there are those who are willing to challenge DRM system and software, the possibility of "bricking" consumer devices looms. It is criminal to knowingly write and distribute software that will break systems and hardware but people do it anyway. Although destructive, bricking devices is the ultimate malicious hack.
This is not a science fiction story. There is a malicious software that goes around bricking Sony PSPs. Imagine bricked iPods and Zunes. It would be the ultimate product recall.
Remember hacking is just time, intent, motive and skill.
BTW, this is another t-shirt that you can buy from Defective by Design.
Technorati Tags: bad design, Brazil, brick, bricking hardware, copy protection, defective by design, FairUse4WM 1.3, fundamentally flawed architecture, good hack, hack, hacking, iPod, microsoft DRM, rjamorim, security, viodentia, Zune
This was sent to me by some friends and I thought it was amusing. Many years ago, I co-authored a very interesting article on Windows NT that details the weakness of Windows NT security so I know a little bit ;) about security.
It's been a while since I tinkered with encryption stuff but it seems to me that based on the description set forth by viodentia, he/she did not and does not need any access to the source code as Microsoft alleges in their federal lawsuit. In my opinion, it is totally not necessary to see the source code to execute this hack.
For those of you who are real software and crypto geeks, you know that the explanation makes perfect sense and leads one to suspect the allegations of source code theft. But then again, this is merely my opinion.
Another opinion, Microsoft does not need a patch, they need a full overhaul of the DRM architecture if they want to fix this very elegant hack.
To poke a little fun, I am featuring two very cool shirts from Defective By Design. Click on the designs to buy the shirts.
By the way, here' s the explanation by viodentia:
"This new version uses a new extraction approach, courtesy of c0redump.
The method no longer requires the selection of a DRM protected file,
and should retrieve all ECC keys at once.
FairUse4WM has been my own creation, and has never involved Microsoft source code. I link with Microsoft's static libraries provided with the compiler and various platform SDK files.
Thanks for Rjamorim for graciously hosting in Brazil.
Viodentia's further explanation in doom9.org shows he/she knows his/her stuff...
To appreciate the technology behind the hack, you'll have to trace the thread at: http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=114916
Last opinion, Microsoft can fix it but to claim someone stole the source code to execute the hack leads me to believe that some marketing person talked to the legal guys. The techies would not allege this given the explanation by viodentia.
No instructional here but consider the following scenarios.
A smart card resembles a credit card in size and shape, but inside it is completely different. First of all, it has an inside -- a normal credit card is a simple piece of plastic. The inside of a smart card usually contains an embedded microprocessor. The microprocessor is under a gold contact pad on one side of the card. Think of the microprocessor as replacing the usual magnetic stripe on a credit card or debit card.
Magnetic stripe technology remains in wide use in the United States except for voter smart cards that do not use the mag stripes. The stripe is really
not the best place to store sensitive information. A smart card
carries the intelligence.
The microprocessor on the smart card is usually there for security but it can carry any payload it is designed for.
The host computer and card reader actually "talk" to the
microprocessor. The microprocessor enforces access to the data on the
card. If the host computer read and wrote the smart card's random
access memory, it would be no different than a diskette or thumbdrive.
Smarts cards may have up to 8 KB of RAM, 346 kilobytes of ROM,
256 kilobytes of programmable ROM, and a 16-bit microprocessor. The
smart card uses a serial interface and receives its power from external
sources like a card reader. The processor uses a limited instruction
set but can be configured to do any application.
The demonstration that Ed Felton and company from Princeton University demonstrate that given access to a machine which thousands of electoral volunteers do during the election season that it is trivial to hack the code in a machine.
The fact is if you have the intent, time, motive and skill... one can hack anything.
Reverse engineering is trivial if you are an accomplished software engineer. Check this out: http://www.acm.uiuc.edu/sigmil/RevEng/
If you can hack the machine and are able to introduce a polymorphic and self-deleting virus such as the one demonstrated by the Princeton team, you can also hack it to allow the voting machine to "accept" specially configured smart cards to do whatever you want the darn machine to do. It could have special executables. It could force buffer overflows a favorite fault injection technique. Bottom line is you can do a lot with a 256K capable microprocessor.
By the way, most of the voting machine companies would never be able to detect specially constructed viruses because there is no such thing as virus protection for the operating systems that these machines use. If Windows XP could be hacked by some Bulgarian teenager, what would the possibilities be for a desperate politician or political party? Perhaps even a construction company that would benefit from a multi-billion dollar bond measure?
This would give new meaning to technical hacking and social engineering... imagine hacking a country, state or bond measure.
If the voting machine companies want to prove me wrong, then they should open their source code for public inspection.
I dare the voting machine companies to expose their software to prove they are secure.
BTW, here's a list of tools that can be useful for reverse engineering code.
No instructional here but consider the following scenarios.What Is a smart card?
A smart card resembles a credit card in size and shape, but inside it is completely different. First of all, it has an inside -- a normal credit card is a simple piece of plastic.
The inside of a smart card usually contains an embedded microprocessor. The microprocessor is under a gold contact pad on one side of the card. Think of the microprocessor as replacing the usual magnetic stripe on a credit card or debit card.
Magnetic stripe technology remains in wide use in the United States except for voter smart cards that do not use the mag stripes. The stripe is really not the best place to store sensitive information.
A smart card carries the intelligence.
The microprocessor on the smart card is usually there for security but it can carry any payload it is designed for. The host computer and card reader actually "talk" to the microprocessor. The microprocessor enforces access to the data on the card. If the host computer read and wrote the smart card's random access memory, it would be no different than a diskette or thumbdrive.
Smarts cards may have up to 8 KB of RAM, 346 kilobytes of ROM, 256 kilobytes of programmable ROM, and a 16-bit microprocessor. The smart card uses a serial interface and receives its power from external sources like a card reader. The processor uses a limited instruction set but can be configured to do any application.I learned how to program when computers had 256K of memory and we wrote pretty complex spreadsheets on the IBM personal PC platform.
http://oimanager.de/sn.htm (Internet Extensions)
Dan Wallach and Doug Jones have just released some findings on their analysis of ITA certification documents for four of the major vendors (Diebold, ES&S, Hart InterCivic, and Sequoia). The documents were redacted by the Colorado Attorney General and Colorado Secretary of State. and
The documents are worth a read and I'll let you draw your own conclusions from Dan and Doug's work.
Download them here:
Here's an interesting article... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/21/AR2006092101800.html
I am not a lawyer but having filed numerous patents, trademarks and copyrights with the US Patent and Trademark Office, I have been told that all original written work have implied copyrights, Copyrights are the weakest of all intellectual property protections although if properly executed, they are as powerful as trademarks or patents.
Original work is always copyrighted. I am not sure about derivative works. Maybe a lawyer can comment on this blog about derivative works.
A student who writes an original paper on the impeachment process or genetic mutations has an implied copyright to his work and it cannot be used or exploited for any other purpose other than the student's original intent. In most cases, the purpose is to satisfy the requirements of course work.
In my humble opinion, students do not surrender rights to their copyrighted work to anyone other than the teacher or professor and perhaps the school for the SOLE purpose of satisfying course work. The school has no right to submit the copyrighted work to any another company for such company's archiving and further using the copyrighted works as part of a database which is used for commercial gain.
The only ones arguing that the practice is legal are school administrators who were caught with their pants down and the company who is using the original, copyrighted work of students for commercial gain. In my opinion, no one has the right to appropriate the copyrighted original work of anyone for commercial gain without properly compensating the copyright owner.
As a matter of conjecture and personal opinion: If it is true that 60% of student works are plagiarized, then 40% of content of turnitin.com's database could be students' copyrighted works. I can guess that copyrighted works have no releases from their authors and are being used for commercial gain without paying the students/authors/copyright owners. This could be one of the biggest breaches of copyright law in history.
I am not sure who is cheating in this controversy. I am on the students side!
If you need a great, reliable and downright HONEST commercial and residential plumber in the Bay Area, call Philip Barnett.
Why I posted this? Well, I needed some plumbing work done on my kitchen sink. I called 5 plumbers and stumbled upon Phil's ad on Craigslist. Not one of the 5 plumbers I called would give an estimate for their work. They all insisted on coming over before giving an estimate. I replied that I wanted to replace the trap under the kitchen sink (...pretty standard plumbing work, I thought) and yet NOT one of the first 5 would give an estimate.
Phil Barnett not only gave a quote, he was on time, prompt, courteous and fixed 2 clogged sinks, snaked my sewer line and fixed a leaking garden faucet.
Great work Phil! You've won a customer for life.
It's almost eerie to read the Delaration of Independence. I have highlighted the passages that gave me pause. I hope that if you read this, you will pause to reflect on our times.
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776.
THIRTEEN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
WHEN, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's GOD entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that Governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.
HE has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good.
HE has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
HE has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature, a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyranny only.
HE has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures.
HE has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People.
HE has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining, in the mean Time, exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions within.
HE has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
HE has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
HE has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries.
HE has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance.
HE has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the Consent of our Legislatures.
HE has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
HE has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
FOR quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us:
FOR protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
FOR cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World:
FOR imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
FOR depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury:
FOR transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended Offences:
FOR abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an arbitrary Government, and enlarging its Boundaries, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute Rule into these Colonies:
FOR taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
FOR suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever.
HE has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection, and waging War against us.
HE has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.
HE is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the Works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny, already begun with Circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation.
HE has constrained our Fellow-Citizens, taken Captive on the high Seas, to bear Arms against their Country, to become the Executioners of their Friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
HE has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes, and Conditions.
IN every Stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every Act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People.
NOR have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them, from Time to Time, of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our Connexions and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of Consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the Rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connexion between them and the State of Great-Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of Right do. And for the Support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honour.
GEORGIA, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, Geo. Walton.
NORTH-CAROLINA, Wm. Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn.
SOUTH-CAROLINA, Edward Rutledge, Thos Heyward, junr. Thomas Lynch, junr. Arthur Middleton.
MARYLAND, Samuel Chase, Wm. Paca, Thos. Stone, Charles Carroll, of Carrollton.
VIRGINIA, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Ths. Jefferson, Benja. Harrison, Thos. Nelson, jr. Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton.
PENNSYLVANIA, Robt. Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benja. Franklin, John Morton, Geo. Clymer, Jas. Smith, Geo. Taylor, James Wilson, Geo. Ross.
DELAWARE, Caesar Rodney, Geo. Read.
NEW-YORK, Wm. Floyd, Phil. Livingston, Frank Lewis, Lewis Morris.
NEW-JERSEY, Richd. Stockton, Jno. Witherspoon, Fras. Hopkinson, John Hart, Abra. Clark.
NEW-HAMPSHIRE, Josiah Bartlett, Wm. Whipple, Matthew Thornton.
MASSACHUSETTS-BAY, Saml. Adams, John Adams, Robt. Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry.
RHODE-ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE, &c. Step. Hopkins, William Ellery.
CONNECTICUT, Roger Sherman, Saml. Huntington, Wm. Williams, Oliver Wolcott.
IN CONGRESS, JANUARY 18, 1777.
THAT an authenticated Copy of the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCY, with the Names of the MEMBERS of CONGRESS, subscribing the same, be sent to each of the UNITED STATES, and that they be desired to have the same put on RECORD.
By Order of CONGRESS,
JOHN HANCOCK, President.
BALTIMORE, in MARYLAND: Printed by MARY KATHARINE GODDARD.
Outsourcing is best described as the race to the bottom line. Most if not all of the Fortune 1000 have outsourced or are contemplating the transfer of many business functions to countries outside the United States. It is big business. The largest US companies, IBM, EDS, Accenture as well as emerging global players such as Infosys, Tata and Wipro are all in the game. Everything from call centers, medical transcription services to programming of critical software is being sent overseas to deliver incredible cost savings to corporations, public and private, large and small.
It is difficult not to listen to the siren song of outsourcing. Promises of up to 80% cost savings on a company’s non-core activities are just too hard to ignore. Several factors come into play - global competition, a near maniacal push towards optimum performance characterized by cost savings and efficiency and the demand for greater growth and profits all play into the hands of companies who promise incredible cost savings to America’s corporations. Unfortunately the push to higher profits and greater savings and cost efficiencies often come with greatly magnified risks.
Even the most American of companies cannot ignore the trend. “If we don’t do it, we will be killed on prices by our competition” carps one giant consulting company executive. Unabashed free traders likewise add fuel to the fire by arguing that in a global economy with borders blurred by the Internet, the outsourcing trend is an inevitable consequence of progress.
In a world transformed by global terrorism, it is clear that uncontrolled, unabashed and unregulated move to outsourcing plays into the hands of those who see the current world order as fundamentally wrong and immoral. Unlike the movement of industries like Nike shoes from Portland and Levis jeans from San Francisco to China and the Philippines, the outsourcing of information processing intensive industries will inevitably bite and mangle the hands that feed it.
It is one thing to stamp automobile body parts in Korea, assemble bicycles in Taiwan or manufacture t-shirts from Ecuador and bring them back to the world’s largest market, the United States. It is a wholly different dynamic and a far more gruesome scenario when we send deeply personal and private health care, personal and corporate financial information to Bangalore, Kiev, Hyderabad, Shanghai or Islamabad. It is even more frightening that many critical system and application software and imbedded systems are being coded in countries by people who may not have the sophistication to write secure code or conversely, even worse have the evil knack and skill to create backdoors and Trojans that very few can find.
We struggled through our own complex legislative and political processes to create and pass landmark legislation such as HIPAA, Gramm-Bliley-Leach and Sarbanes-Oaxley yet we send the most precious bulk, not just pieces of information, to the most politically unstable and volatile regions of the world that are all rife with economic disparities that best described as worlds of mass poverty. One wonders about the wisdom of sending terabytes of information into places like India and Pakistan, who have gone to war over patches of wastelands, have nuclear warheads pointed at each other, fundamentally have hated each other for hundreds of years and where religious zealots of all sects are as prolific as dirt.
Further the countries that are the largest beneficiaries of the global outsourcing trend have lax laws and non-existent enforcement against those who may use the information for ill gain. What effect or deterrent does the US computer crime statutes have on a foreign call center agent making $90 a week (…or a month in some places)? There are hundreds of thousands of these folks who can harvest your full personal profile including your social security number and latest bout with genital herpes.
Imagine selling the information for $1 a name to someone’s distant third cousin (…and unabashed identity thief) in some US city (…or Europe) who can pick up the information from a computer system in a Kinkos or public library. When you have hundreds of thousands of platinum cardholder names with complete information, $100 a month becomes tip money. Shredding your mail and guarding your mailbox to guard against identity theft becomes a “why-bother?” issue.
With Internet banking showing no signs of slowing down it is not only possible to move monies out of unsuspecting accounts in seconds but also very easily turn it into untraceable yet highly negotiable assets such as precious metals, diamonds or RAM chips. Money laundering used to be the trade of corrupt bankers and financial wizards. Today it takes an Internet connection, greed or disdain for what the free world stands for to transfer huge amounts of money to unsavory people and uses.
An even more deadly and evil scenario is possible when all this information is accessible to those who consider the United States the great Satan. With the advances in laser color printing, holographic reproductions, smart chips and RFID (radio frequency identification chips) being globally available, it may be possible to steal identities without ever setting foot in the United States. These advances are greatly magnified by some grave technological shortcomings like the inability to trace cell phone calls in a globally connected telecom world. Almost anywhere in Europe and Asia, you can buy fully charged cellular phone GSM SIM cards from street hawkers that work perfectly well in the US. Even in the US, our “advanced wireless networks” cannot trace a 911 call to respond to emergencies. We can only tremble in disgust and fear on what is possible.
Consider that an act of stealing a “little information” (or a lot) from any system has been trivialized by progress in storage technology and the Internet. USB (universal serial bus) and Firewire ports make copying gigabytes of information child’s play into small handy hard drives or flash memory devices. Most of these overseas customer contact and support centers that handle the millions of inquiries by the John and Jane Does of Cedar Rapids, Iowa have computers that are connected to the internet and make the transfer of bits of information or even whole files and directories an inconsequential matter. Add a little sophisticated computer memory cache management and the act is 100% undetectable even by the spooks at the National Security Agency.
Publicly and globally available peer-to-peer file transfer and computing capabilities have already demonstrated both the great benefits and unmitigated information anarchy that is possible. Global peer-to-peer and/or grid computing systems are being used to crack genomic sequences at costs and speeds that could not even be imagined 20 years ago. On the other side, peer-to-peer software has decimated the economics of the moribund music and recording industry forcing it to turn to litigation and abuse of the subpoena process to attempt to intimidate 12-year olds from downloading the latest Eminem song. The crux of the matter is clear --- It is not getting harder to steal information; it is becoming so trifling and easy that it has lost the edge of danger, illegality and ethics. The proverbial genie is out of the bottle.
Free traders and efficiency wonks see no difference between a cashmere sweater or a can opener and the health records or financial information of a housewife, US senator or corporate executive. Very little retrospect points to a trend that is patently dangerous to the national security and interest of the United States and the civilized world in general. A Bush administration official pronounced on television recently, “…We have to be right all of the time. Our enemies only have to be right once”.
There are has always been the notion of “do-the-right-thing”. The right thing to do is to regulate the transfer of information systems and data overseas. Even after the cold war, we still do not freely transfer the knowledge needed to create weapons of mass destruction to China or Russia. Why do we transfer potentially millions of terabytes of critical personal, financial and corporate information overseas? Why do we send critical system, application and imbedded software to be coded in programming sweatshops without systems or processes to positively assure us of their security?
Surely we will all migrate to a true global economy. We are at the crucible of economic history and our fate will be determined by the wisdom of decisions we and our leaders make. Globalization is not only possible, it is here and will continue to happen. But the pace of globalization should not be driven by the bottom line. We have the ability to make decisions to either dangerously speed up the pace or proceed with prudence and caution. It should be done when we are ready and assured that social, political, economic and security concerns have been fully addressed by all parties involved.
Being the one to say, “I told you so!” or “Didn’t I warn you?” means nothing to those of us who collectively see the writing on the wall. Defenders of the information outsourcing trend are not driven by strategic intent to defend the United States or the civilized world as whole. They are motivated by selfish intentions to be messiahs of the bottom line and slaves to the quarterly reports. All they care about is winning the race to the bottom.
As far as I am concerned, they can go straight to hell.
Here I go again... I have never figured out why people want to restrict fair use of music... If you're interested in finding out what we're about to unleash into the music scene, sign up on mecommerce.goodstorm.com and rock with us soon.
Awesome! I have long said it is trivial to write a virus to change the results of an election. However because of legal limitations specifically DMCA and trade secret arguements and the threat of lawsuits, legitimate research is being stifled at the expense of American democracy.
Check this... download it, host it, YouTube it, people have to see this!
Ohio is not enough. Gotta do Maryland too! Oh shucks... It's not even a swing state.
Excuse my sick wry humor today as our country is once again victimized by shoddy technology. Do we want this in November 2006? Or November 2008? Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, you can't think this is good for our democracy.
2004 was not enough?
If you're following Ohio... check these out:
How do you do a recount without a printout?
Some election printers left no backup data
Monday, September 11, 2006
Plain Dealer Reporter
Paper printouts in Cuyahoga County's election machines are supposed to be backup records if someone disputes vote tallies on the electronic memory cards.
But what happens in a recount if the printer malfunctions or - as happened last May - election workers load paper incorrectly, leaving machines without a paper record?
The Ohio secretary of state's office says the solution is to print out the vote tallies from the memory cards to create a new paper record.
That solution robs voters of an independent backup record - a paper printout from a memory card is guaranteed to match what's on the memory card.
"Aren't you defeating the purpose of the paper trail?" Bob Bennett, chairman of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, wondered during a recent meeting.
The secretary of state's office is not happy about the solution, but spokesman James Lee said it's the best option available after poll workers fumbled so badly in operating the machines in the spring primary election.
"Once that occurs you have to look at the facts. . . . and the evidence as it exists," Lee said. "That's what you're seeing here . . . the election officials attempting to make the best out of a bad situation."
So on May 26, as Cuyahoga County elections officials grappled with how to conduct a recount in an election where the paper record was flawed, Judy Grady, the director of elections at the secretary of state's office said in an e-mail they should reproduce the paper record from the memory card.
Reproducing the paper record seems to conflict with Ohio law, which requires a "voter verified paper audit trail" in electronic voting machines, according to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office.
"The law clearly directs that for recounts, the paper trail is the official ballot of votes cast on electronic voting machines," said David Lambert, head of the civil division for the county prosecutor's office.
"While the secretary of state has broad authority to issue advice and directives to county board of elections, that authority does not include giving advice that runs contrary to the statute."
The elections board has asked the secretary of state to formalize the re-creation policy in a directive.
Lambert said Ohio's administrative code mentions the issue of the paper trail being lost or destroyed, but "it doesn't tell you what to do in those cases."
Cleveland teacher Bill Ritter does not like what the county did in his case. He ran for the 14th Ohio House District against Mike Foley, executive director of the Cleveland Tenants Organization, and was declared the winner in the unofficial count.
But after the official count, Foley was declared the winner. Ritter requested a recount, which showed him losing by 176 votes. But that recount involved some machines with missing or damaged printouts.
"They opened canisters and there was no paper inside," Ritter said.
The Board of Elections generated new printouts from memory cards. Ritter said workers had problems re-creating the paper trail, with some printouts remade more than once.
"There's no way that they know what the votes really were," Ritter said.
This is hilarious and sobering at the same time.
One comment, when you send a person a letter or an email and the said letter and email does not explicitly declare and demand the privacy of said communications, it is the property of the recipient and I believe the recipient can do what he/she wants with it.
You may get a modicum of privacy expectations by attaching a signature on your email like:
"This email message (including attachments, if any) is intended for the exclusive use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, proprietary , confidential and exempt from disclosure. The intended recipient may not republish, reprint or resend the contents of this email without explicit and written permission of the sender. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender and erase this e-mail message immediately."
Joe Lieberman lost his party's nomination so he decided to start his own political party. Heck, I guess I can start my party and draft my version of a dream presidential and vice-presidential ticket.
I am tired of the regular news media especially on television with the right-wing Faux News, and limp MSNBC and CNN all sounding alike. Frankly, if you're smart enough there are only two "news" shows that accurately report and comment on US and global current events: The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. If you haven't seen the shows, check them out. The two shows are worth the cost of cable or satellite TV.
So I am starting a Draft Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert movement. We'll start by asking people to buy this uber-cool shirt. We'll then start a blog or web site to initiate a letter writing campaign to convince Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to give up their day jobs and run for President and Vice-President in 2008.
I know I am on to something if this online poll is is an indication of the popular will. If you support this, please vote on the survey. It's better than the Iowa caucus.
What do you think?
Ohio voting officials hired the Election Science Institute to investigate the elections that were just held in Cuyahoga County. So ESI brings in researchers and scientists to check the results out and guess what happened? I will let the reports speak for themselves.
Democracy is in danger my friends... once again. This time, democracy's demise might be fatal. If you care, download and distribute these documents to as many folks as you can.
Here is an article from the Columbus Dispatch. Notice how Ken "Uncle Tom" Blackwell responds to the findings. I heard a rumor when Blackwell looses his run for Ohio governor, he will be joining Diebold as a board member or paid consultant.
The BradBlog has been following electoral issues for a long time. Here is his blog's take on the ESI work.
Here are ESI's reports that were presented to Cuyahoga County officials... unredacted of course.
Finally, here is an analysis by the electoral activist community.
Pass it on.
If you care a bit to support those who work hard to get people to the polls, please buy these awesome shirts.
After attending the Bandwidth Conference, my eyes opened wide to the many challenges the music industry faces from multiple dimensions. I am going to begin writing about my thoughts and observations and maybe elicit some honest debate.
Here's the start...
So it's LimeWire next... The RIAA has just sued LimeWire for copyright infringement much like lawsuits against Napster and Grokster.
LimeWire is proposing to do audio/digital fingerprinting (sometimes called a digital watermark) as their DRM methodology. I guess this technology is the lesser of all evils compared to platform limiting Apple or Microsoft DRM schemes. My opposition to this DRM method is based on practical experience having personally designed such a system in 1998. It is prone to abuse particularly in these times when governments around the world routinely use terrorism as justification to infringe on privacy and civil liberties. Think of Sony's rootkit debacle magnified a million fold. Digital watermarking/fingerprinting is a very bad idea that takes us closer to Orwell.
I have nothing against DRM per se except it reminds me of Linus' blanket. DRM does little to stop the bad guys who will continuously steal music and video without regard to intellectual property and copyright law. Last weekend in the Alameda flea market, there were several folks selling the latest CDs for pennies on the dollar. I doubt they observed intellectual property laws.
DRM does not make honest folks more honest. It just restricts the fair use rights of honest music fans.
DRM also has very negative effect on the music ecosystem. While you can argue there are many DRM schemes, the practical reality is there is only one: Apple's DRM which creates a monopolistic ecosystem wherein the prices are set by Apple. All the labels including Sony, EMI, Universal and Warner are held hostage by Apple.
There is no other way to describe the situation. The price lock that Apple wields has detrimental trickle down effects on other music retailers, distributors, labels and artists. The price is artificial and does not allow market forces to set the economic watermarks. I am not against any form of music but it seems clear to me that John Legend's latest album might fetch more than .99 cents versus some religious chant by right-wing wannabe rockers. There is no way to do this in the current monopolistic environment.
Even more economically devastating is the backward DRM'ed subscription model that other digital music retailers use. They claim it's great for consumers. What about the artists do work hard only to get 0.0003 cents per subscribed track? Session players, publishers and other music ecosystem participants all have to share the pittance.
I was once a corporate strategist so rants (...even my own) don't impress me. In a few weeks, I will publish a practical business roadmap to eliminate DRM in a "Capitalism Done Right" framework.
Elliot Buskirk from Wired News wrote a commentary on Zune and Microsoft's Play For Sure DRM scheme.
Elliot had great insights but he missed a fundamental observation that non-DRMed MP3 format music plays across all MP3 player platforms including iPods, SanDisk's Sensa players and virtually all digital music hardware platforms. In addition, all mobile phones in the next 18 months will have MP3 capabilities as a standard feature.
I suspect that hardware vendors were enticed by Microsoft with coop advertising dollars plus the promise of technology support for subscriptions and other marketing schemes. It is still hard to understand why many hardware companies fell for Microsoft's DRM promises only to find themselves being abandoned to the ash bin of broken and obsolete technologies.
On the idea of a SanDisk-type hardware manufacturer buying a Napster ~ That's like taking a sledge hammer and hitting your own head. Why would a smart person buy a package that leads them to a technological dead end? It's like buying a Microsoft Windows 3.1 and WordPerfect for your nifty little dual core laptop.
On the other hand, there is such a thing as masochism and maybe the digital music hardware companies are fans of this business lifestyle. I hope not.
After two days at the Music and Technology Bandwidth Conference, I am even more convinced that record labels will abandon DRM sooner rather than later. Labels have already seen the bad results of allowing one company to dominate the market, taking away all pricing power from both the labels and the buying public.
On a whole other rant, Music Gremlin just released what could possibly be the ugliest MP3 player on the market.
The business model seems to be a subscription system which is oppressive to labels, distributors and artists alike. Artists suffer in the digital market with the minuscule take from subscription-based services.
Another thing, whoever did the branding for this ugly beast must be hoping that no one remembers one of the world's ugliest car: the dreaded ugly AMC Gremlin or the dumb 1984 movie: Gremlins. My theory is that the AMC Gremlin was singularly responsible for the collapse of the American auto industry. I hope the Music Gremlin folks did not pay anyone to name this product.
Capitalism Done Right applies to all. We're going to unleash a GoodStorm on the digital music scene.
This is one hot MP3 player, emphasis on MP3 player! I love the features...
I can load up a bunch of GoodStorm no-DRM MP3 music on this puppy.
But there has been talk in the blogosphere that sound quality is not to par with the iPod nano. That said, I will buy one as soon as it's available and do a side by side test. I'll be using an scope and also do a blind listening test.
Today George Bush has decided to trump science again in favor of the right wing religious zealots who keep saying that Plan B causes abortions. Read the Washington Post article and clearly you'll find that even the media thinks this medical and science issue has turned into another crusade for the ultra-right wing of the Republican Party.
The zealots are equating the Plan B to RU-486! Are these zealots mad? I can understand anti-abortion radicals going against RU-486 but Plan B is not the same. The science is different, the chemistry is not the same and Plan B does not even remotely come close to affecting a fertilized egg. Plan B prevents the fertilization of an egg.
Send email to the White House, congresspeople and senators and ask them to tell the FDA to approve Plan B as an over-the-counter drug and support BitchPhD's campaign to get the drug approved as an over-the-counter item not an across-the-counter drug.
This campaign is critically important because the FDA will come up with a final ruling in the next few weeks.
Other bloggers who support this campaign include:
Go ahead and go to the Bitch PhD's GoodStorm store and buy BitchPhD's Plan B shirt!
Here's my favorite design.
Also if you're woman who needs emergency contraception, go to the Emergency Contraception Website.
Plan B is better than being sorry for a pregnancy you do not want.
Science over politics!!!
OK this is just not a book. This is the most awesome, truly collectible Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie book. If you don't know Alan Moore, he is the author of V for Vendetta. I collect his works as they are not only good fiction reads but also has beautiful illustrations. This is not a children's book. This is for adults only and is risque. You can reserve your copy here right now on my blog. It will ship to you when it is released.
I believe I can get a bump up in allocation if I get enough orders. As usual, GoodStorm will not charge your credit card until it ships. We will however get pre-authorization on your card.
Ok, here's a little more background on "Lost Girls". This has been 16 years in development, the complete LOST GIRLS by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie has finally shipped to the printer, and will be hitting stores in August!
This will be the most expensive book Top Shelf has ever published, with the first printing costing almost $200K. Why so expensive? Because Lost Girls will be published as three, 112-page, super-deluxe, oversized (9" x 12") clothbound hardcover volumes, each wrapped in a beautiful dust jacket, with all three volumes sealed and shrink-wrapped in a gorgeous slipcase. The entire epic published -- all at once -- as an art object for the ages.
And to help raise the money to pay for this print run, we've decided to offer a Signed & Numbered edition, limited to 500 copies, that will be autographed by both Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie. This is a Top Shelf website exclusive, and the money raised through this advance sale will allow Alan Moore to finance the project.
Advance orders of this special edition will ship out as soon as they arrive from the printer. But please note that this special edition will likely sell out before the summer release date, and quite possibly within days of this announcement, so pre-ordering is highly recommended.
To see what the slipcase and volumes will look like, click on either edition below and then click on PREVIEW.
If you want the signed copy go to LOST GIRLS (Signed & Numbered Edition, limited to 500 copies) http://www.topshelfcomix.com/catalog.php?type=12&title=479
-- $150.00 (US) + Shipping, FOR ADULTS ONLY, A Web Exclusive
I will not have the signed and numbered edition. I will only have regular edition. There are no discounts for this book.
I have never written about feminist issues because I am not a woman. That said, I have two wonderful daughters who are smart, witty and I can say with certainty that my 20-year old is a dyed-in-the-wool feminist.
I write this because I started educating myself about a drug called Plan B that is pending FDA approval. After scouring reading materials on the drug, I am stunned at the disinformation campaign some right wing nuts and religious zealots have unleashed to politically pressure the FDA into withholding it's approval to make Plan B an over-the-counter and accessible birth control drug.
Of course the zealots are equating the Plan B to RU-486! Are these zealots mad? I can understand anti-abortion radicals going against RU-486 but Plan B is not the same. The science is different, the chemistry is not the same and Plan B does not even remotely come close to affecting a fertilized egg.
Plan B is a high concentration of regular birth control pills which essentially has been available since the 1960's. Plan B is an emergency contraceptive that can still prevent a pregnancy after contraceptive failure or unprotected sex. Emergency contraception is a backup method for preventing pregnancy and is not for routine use. Plan B can reduce your chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex.
Plan B is used to prevent pregnancy, it will not work if you are already pregnant, and it will not affect an existing pregnancy. Despite all the medical and scientific facts, there are still zealots and morons who oppose making it freely available over-the-counter because they claim it will lead to promiscuity and abortions.
The right wing nuts who say there is no global warming and that mercury emission standards should be abolished are the very same idiots who are trying to pressure the political appointees at the FDA to ignore science in favor of their twisted sense of morals.
So here's the deal, send email to your congress people and senators and ask them to tell the FDA to approve Plan B as an over-the-counter drug and support BitchPhD's campaign to get the drug approved as an over-the-counter item not an across-the-counter drug. The distinction is critically important.
Other bloggers who support this campaign include:
Even as a dad who does not want to think of my daughters getting pregnant at a young age, I worry much more about making it difficult for them to control their bodies and destinies. After all, I am raising smart and independent women who can manage their own destinies.
Oh... BTW, go the Bitch PhD's GoodStorm store and buy BitchPhD's Plan B shirt!
Also if you're woman who needs emergency contraception, go to the Emergency Contraception Website. Plan B is better than being sorry for a pregnancy you do not want.
Ever since 9/11 and 7/7, both the US and Great Britain have put in a lot of effort to create an aura and belief that we are secure: stronger cockpit doors, taking shoes off, banning nail clippers and nail files and last Thursday banning liquids and gels.
This is all a massive kabuki and shadow puppet show to convince all of us that we are more secure. This all is based on a purely western concept ~ that all people have their survival instincts and desire for self preservation intact.
Terrorists who want to hurt us and destroy our way of life have no concept of survival or self preservation. Their concepts and deeply held beliefs are spiritual and religious. They believe that their martyrdom will result in divinity and eternal bliss.
We have hundreds of prisons in the United States and yet the highest incidence of drug addiction happens in the prisons. Weapons of all sorts manage to make their way into our nation's jails. Cocaine which is not made in the United States is abundant in the streets. All this contraband is smuggled to the jails or into the country by ordinary miscreants and criminal elements. Yet, they find numerous ways to get knives and shanks into jails and cocaine on to our streets.
Back to the terrorists: these are people who are willing to give their lives up for eternal bliss. So what would stop them from making TATP or any other powerful explosive and inserting them into body cavities or swallowing them while wrapped in rubber condoms? The answer is absolutely nothing. In fact, from a terrorist handler's point of view, it would signal the ultimate commitment to jihad.
So instead of scaring the American, British and almost the entire civilized world, we should focus our security investments into building real intelligence capabilities:
Security spending has become a pork barrel exercise of buying useless technologies that are nothing more than symbols of excess and our paramount lack of understanding of who the real enemies are.
Ten thousand American citizen TSA personnel, baggage x-rays and puffer machines won't stop a jihadist with one pound of explosive in their bodies. On the contrary, it inspires the jihadist to go to a fully committed state of martyrdom which guarantees sick dreams of 48 virgins.
We should not be afraid of the terrorists. We should outsmart them with equally cunning intelligence, an understanding of their twisted minds and common sense spending. Using terrorism and fear for political gain is stupid, irresponsible and doomed to failure.
Billions of dollars will not stop peroxide and acetone or the next terrorists. Smart people with a deep understanding of the terrorist mind have better chance in ferreting them out than a billion dollar puffer machine.
Buying a Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert 2008 shirt has a better chance of stopping terrorism.
Million dollar snake oil is still snake oil.
If anyone thinks blogging and NetRoots are not real, ask independent candidate Joe Lieberman how he feels.
Joe Lieberman is a traitor to the Democratic Party.
The Blog Herald did a good synopsis of a session Pat McCarthy and I did at WordCamp 2006. I was very impressed by the organization of the entire conference ~ great looking GoodStorm t-shirts, delicious barbecue and wicked smart people. To Matt Mullenweg of WordPress ~ A huge kudos!
I met a lot of great folks, got interviewed by The Blogging Times and left even more committed to the purpose behind GoodStorm.
If you read German, please read this blog:
My German is good enough to read and understand this is a great post about GoodStorm but my German is also bad enough not to attempt a professional transalation.
This blog makes me miss my days in Berlin and how much I miss the drinking beer with my German friends during Oktoberfest.
GoodStorm has sponsored the second Blogher http://www.blogher.org conference. It is an honor for us. This is especially great for me because my daughter Ayla and her friend Amanda (who are both interning for GoodStorm this summer) are manning our booth.
It is wonderful to see the empowerment that the Internet and blogging has provided to women. GoodStorm hopes to continue supporting the great work of all women bloggers world-wide.
Ok, now for a little GoodGeeking on MeCommerce™. First things first: a big huge shout out to the MeCommerce beta participants. Thank you… thank you… thank you!!! Your comments during the last 3 weeks have led to dozens of improvements. No quality assurance team could have done better. The wisdom of the crowds live!
The pop-up product details window has been released. This appears on the order frame, and on the product/ISBN/UPC search page.
In two weeks or so, a blog/website partner can write up information or a review on the products that he or she sells.
I have picked out some features and bugs that we improved based on beta user feedback.
Load/Save feature on Create page: People were not happy that they could not save their product lists so we responded quickly to this. So now people can save their lists and rotate them as they see fit.
Merchant FAQ and home page changes: This should have been obvious to us because we got hundreds of the same questions over and over again. Since we improved the FAQ, general questions dropped dramatically. The bad news is we miss all the questions: So ask any question, what’s our horoscopes? …name of the GoodStorm mascot? …the weather in San Francisco. Really, you can ask us anything and we’ll try to answer.
Inventory updating/integration with our search engine: Another duh! missed item. After agreeing to ship some orders out, we found that they were not available so we tightened our real-time inventory systems. It will be hard to perfect this because we have a very fluid and dynamic inventory but we think we’re as good as it gets here.
Fixed bug in searches that was causing some product boxes to only fill with half of the tags, and then the remaining as random: Ok this was just plain annoying and we squashed this bug with gusto!
"Shipped" email notices fixed: People who ordered were wondering what happened to their order.
Automate credit card captures at shipment notification time: “You mean we need to get paid to do Capitalism Done Right?”
Added option to disable the "support this website" text at top of product box: Some folks really hated the “support my website” message. Someone said they felt like they were begging. Sorry about making you feel that way.
Re-arranged Create page, including a full preview box so you can see how your product serving box would look like. A lot of people wanted this feature.
We also released version 1 of the basic MeCommerce API. If you’re developer, we think you’ll really appreciate this API. It will only get better. Moreover, there is documentation, plus a developer registration page.
For developers on the program, the script function you currently use is unchanged, except that it defaults to returning in the XML format now. That function can return as XML, JSON, or plain. The catalog search does XML or JSON.
Finally the MeCommerce API with developer registration, logging, and queries: This was a big win for us. We heard through the geekvine that Mambo (http://www.mamboserver.com/) and Joomla (http://www.joomla.org/) developed extensions for their respective environments using our MeCommerce API. We can’t wait to see the final implementation.
We will have a lot more coming in the next few weeks and we are confident that we are on our way to empowering people, non-profits, small companies, really everyone who shares our philosophy of doing good whenever and wherever we can.
Point of impulse first came out as a concept as early as 2001 except no one really paid attention. Most Internet companies have innovated and programmed thousands of lines of computer code to get a transaction closer to the impulse point but only if it happens on their respective sites. The impulse point is relevant if it happens in their site otherwise, they're not interested as it may even benefit a potential competitor. The interesting perspective is that point of impulse can only controlled by a customer not by a site operator. Certainly, one can build enticements for customers to impulsively buy, register or act in some other fashion but the final decision always belongs to the customer, a human being.
In lemming-like fashion, everyone’s model of Internet prosperity is based on the accumulation of traffic and page views at some centralized destination website. The model is certainly valid and has lead to the creation of affiliate or click-through models wherein a usually larger web site pays some other sites some amount of monies to direct traffic back in order to consolidate traffic. It has also spawned annoying pop-up advertising and even more nefarious, spyware.
The first real challenge to this model was the development of the social networking sites wherein people can maintain unique identities, look and feel in some controlled environment. Social networking sites find that by nurturing many small sites which individually attract meaningless traffic, they build massive destination sites that consolidate eyeballs. However, we think that the irrelevant or contextual advertising flood will eventually destroy customer base it seeks to exploit. Simply put irrelevant advertising is annoying.
The latest phenomenon is hyper-fast growth of individual blogging and converting blogs from exercises in pure self expression to viable enterprises and in some cases big businesses in their own right. Less than 1% will become really big and 3% will build business around themselves. The DailyKos, TechCrunch and the Huffington Post are just the first emergent models of big success.
There will be more blogs and the vast majority of them will be small to medium traffic sites. But we cannot ignore their numbers and growth. More important, we cannot ignore the voices they represent. They are also very intimate with their readers. These blogs are the first democratic voices of the individual in the information age. These smaller sites are the sweet spot for GoodStorm.
GoodStorm’s business model thrives on the opposite of the consolidated traffic-aggregating model. To us, it’s about pushing the experience and value creation opportunities to the end nodes: blogs, non-profits, individual and small company websites. J. D. Davidson and L. M. Rees-Mogg had some interesting observations in their book, The Sovereign Individual. They predict that the information age will eventually liberate themselves from the notions of government.
While I don’t believe that we will achieve the realization of the sovereign individual any time soon (or necessarily at all), the rapid growth of the blogosphere presages the weakening of larger Internet players. Traffic becomes more dispersed and commerce itself will move to the end points of the Internet rather than the inflexible centers of power. GoodStorm will move rapidly to try and provide the diverse products, services and tools of commerce to empower and reward the end nodes: the blogger and smaller web sites.
MeCommerce™ is only our opening salvo. It is the beginning of our 96% doctrine.
My personal mission and GoodStorm’s mission are aligned and we intend to hack capitalism itself. We will force equity and fairness in the transaction chain so everyone makes a decent cut while still delivering value for the customer. Our beta program has been a phenomenal success and our beta testers continue to devise new ways to upset the status quo by their innovative feature requests and bug hunting. At the end of our beta, we can convincingly say that MeCommerce™ was truly the result community collaboration.