Bloomberg published a big article last year about Chinese infiltration of American computer hardware. Reportedly, servers at Amazon and Apple were manufactured with a covert chip that could report back to China anything that passed through the server. It was explosive and widely publicized, but also a little suspect. Now it seeems Bloomberg has sent another reporter to follow up on the story.
According to informed sources, Bloomberg has continued reporting the blockbuster story that it broke on Oct. 4, including a very recent round of inquiries from a Bloomberg News/Bloomberg Businessweek investigative reporter. In emails to employees at Apple, Bloomberg’s Ben Elgin has requested “discreet” input on the alleged hack. “My colleagues’ story from last month (Super Micro) has sparked a lot of pushback,” Elgin wrote on Nov. 19 to one Apple employee. “I’ve been asked to join the research effort here to do more digging on this … and I would value hearing your thoughts (whatever they may be) and guidance, as I get my bearings.”
One person who spoke with Elgin told the Erik Wemple Blog that the Bloomberg reporter made clear that he wasn’t part of the reporting team that produced “The Big Hack.” The goal of this effort, Elgin told the potential source, was to get to “ground truth”; if Elgin heard from 10 or so sources that “The Big Hack” was itself a piece of hackery, he would send that message up his chain of command. The potential source told Elgin that the denials of “The Big Hack” were “100 percent right.”
A couple of folding cameras we inherited.
The one on the right is an Agfa. I don’t know what the one on the left is. The lens is a Rodenstock. The shutter is a Pronto, made by Gauthier. The AGC logo apparently stands for Alfred Gauthier Calmbach, and also refers to the shutter (the shutter people sure got a lot of branding on this camera).
Via the National Institute of Health, a 1991 study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine identified horse-riding is more dangerous than motorcycle riding.
Horse-riding carries a high participant morbidity and mortality. Whereas a motor-cyclist can expect a serious incident at the rate of 1 per 7000h, the horse-rider can expect a serious accident once in every 350h, i.e. 20 times as dangerous as motor-cycling.
From the fish shell design document:
Every configuration option in a program is a place where the program is too stupid to figure out for itself what the user really wants, and should be considered a failure of both the program and the programmer who implemented it.
If any program could go wild with user configuration options, a shell program could. Its notable that fish explicilty tries to avoid this.
I retired from active involvement in C++ at the end of 2015, and in the ensuing two and a half years, I’ve forgotten enough details of the language that I am no longer able to properly evaluate bug reports regarding the technical aspects of my books. C++ is a large, intricate language with features that interact in complex and subtle ways, and I no longer trust myself to keep all the relevant facts in mind.
In case you don’t know him, he’s not particularly old (born 1959, which makes him 59 as of this writing), and in good health as far as I know. So this is a statement about the complexity of C++, and not about Scott Meyers, who is still as sharp and brilliant as the day he retired.
One of the criticisms of C++ has always been its complexity. There are so many “gotchas,” special cases, and unexpected side-effects that it seems impossible that a single person could keep it all in her head. This seems like a good illustration of the extent to which that is true.
I’m in a period of Japanophilia. Recently the Austin Film Society showed all six installments of Lone Wolf and Cub, which were excellent.
This weekend they’re playing Lady Snowblood. I have never seen it but am very excited. Apparently it’s an inspiration for Kill Bill, but I won’t hold that against it.
We recently cancelled our cable TV. We’re an Apple household, so we get most our stuff from AppleTV apps now. In addition to the usual Netflix and Amazon, here’s what we use.
iTunes: We purchased episodes of The Expanse (which airs on SyFy) on iTunes. We’ll have to do the same thing if we want to watch Better Call Saul. That, or wait for it to come on Netflix.
HDHomeRun: This is a TV tuner with an Ethernet port. An app on the AppleTV streams the video. This is working great for local broadcast channels. We use it the occasional live sports broadcast, a few network shows (The Good Place and Saturday Night Live come to mind), the BBC stuff that airs on PBS, and whatever else might show up on broadcast.
Channels DVR: This works with the HDHomeRun and runs on my QNAP NAS (which I already had). It writes the digital broadcast stream to the NAS and comes with an AppleTV app which ties it all together. The same app can either stream the broadcast from the tuner, or stream recorded shows from the NAS. The DVR service costs $8/month, which give you the schedule data and the ability to sechedule a season pass, etc. The price is on the high side for comparable services. There’s no contract, so I can switch if I figure out a better service.
I tried Hulu, both with and without the live TV option. Neither one was completely satisfactory. For example, I didn’t watch the first episode of The Good Place Season 2 soon enough, and it becase unavailable. A broadcast show unavailable? What am I paying for? That won’t be a problem if I record a broadcast off my HDHomeRun.
There’s one more service we use that isn’t generally available–membership to the Austin Film Society. They have a membership level that comes with free movie tickets for a montly fee. We live a few minutes away from their new theater, and we average about two films a week.
What’s missing is premium cable. We have no HBO or Showtime. If we had HBO, we would have watched the latest season of Silicon Valley and Westworld. There’s enough other stuff on that I can’t say I miss it too much. When Game of Thrones comes on, we will subscribe to HBO Now, but until then we have plenty of stuff to watch.
As everyone knows, the number one reason for poor craftsmanship is poor tools. To that end, I am addressing my poor blogging output by changing the blogging platform. I have moved from Wordpress to Jekyll.
Joking aside, WordPress is powerful in lots of ways, but it does require care and feeding. For a business website, I would spend money on dedicated WordPress hosting that takes care of it. For a personal site, I don’t want to spent the money, nor do I want to spend the time to do it myself.
So here I am with a new Jekyll site. Most of the content is ported over, but not all of it came over cleanly. There’s some mangled posts. Also, I still have to find a solution to move the images over. Things may appear a bit under construction for a while.
If you’ve ever tried to research web hosting, you’re probably noticed the disreputable nature of hosting reviews. Most review sites are riddled with affiliate links, which calls into question all the reviews and ratings.
When I was shopping for managed WordPress hosting, one site I’ve come to trust is Review Signal. They now have a 2018 edition of their WordPress hosting benchmarks. I have a Lightning Base account based on their recommendation, and I’m very happy with it. I had never heard about the company before I read about them in Review Signal.
I’ve also tried Pressable. They rank highly, and their interface was nicer than Lighting Base. They are also a Texas comany. But I only have one site I really need top-tier hosting for, and Lightning Base had better pricing for that use case.
According to a 2008 RAND Corporation study evaluating the New York Police Department’s firearm training, between 1998 and 2006, the average hit rate during gunfights was just 18 percent. When suspects did not return fire, police officers hit their targets 30 percent of the time.
Jia Tolentino at the New Yorker laments that blogging is over:
Blogging, that much-maligned pastime, is gradually but surely disappearing from the Internet, and so, consequently, is a lot of online freedom and fun.
As evidence she cites the closing of
- Awl & Hairpin
Those are her idea of blogs? If you had asked me for an example of a blog, none of those would have come up.
Michael Tsai on Swift:
I like Swift. But, having programmed in probably more than a dozen languages, I would not classify Swift as easy to learn. It’s at the end with the harder ones like C++.
People see the
I suspect [the trump team] now fear[s] (no doubt rightly) that Trump officials lied during their interviews with the Special Counsel’s office and the investigators already had the emails that proved they were lying. That’s a real sinking feeling for everyone involved.
There’s been no demonstration yet that it actually is helpful in conducting economic transactions. There’s no anchor for its value. You know, unlike pieces of paper with dead presidents on them, those are anchored by the fact that you can use them to pay taxes. There’s not anchor for bitcoin.
On Wednesday morning, the media erupted with calls of “Thank you!” to Black women for showing up. But as Kamala Harris said, we need to do more than congratulate them. “Let’s address issues that disproportionately affect Black women—like pay disparity, housing & under-representation in elected office,” she tweeted. ‘Tis the season, after all, and supporting black women should be at the top of your list. There are many organizations and causes that could use our support.
In research beginning in the mid-1990s, when I was a professor at the University of Virginia, my colleagues and I asked 77 college students and 70 people from the nearby community to keep diaries of all the lies they told every day for a week. … One category of lies was so small that when we reported the results, we just tucked them into a footnote. Those were cruel lies, told to hurt or disparage others. … An astonishing 50 percent of Trump’s lies were hurtful or disparaging.
(Via Daring Fireball.)
A quick test to post from MarsEdit
While some people were delighted to spot music star Ed Sheeran in Sunday night’s Game of Thrones season seven premiere, others were less enthusiastic, arguing that the singer’s cameo struck a jarring note in the show’s fantasy world.
I’m a big Game of Thrones fan, but never heard of Ed Sheeran, much less knew his face or voice. The thing that stuck out at me was not the extraneous singing, but the excessive niceness of the Lannister soldiers. There is no precedent for a crew of such squeaky-clean soldiers. That was outrageous. But the Ed Sheeran cameo? That fit right in.
If you saw David Lynch’s Mullholland Falls and thought, “too conventional,” then Funeral Parade of Roses is a film for you. Describing it as a transsexual love triange set in 60’s Japan makes it appear more conventional than it is. It pulls just about every cinematic trick in the book and runs them through a narrative blender. The nonlinear narrative removes any orientation the viewer might hope for at the beginning of each scene. Some scenes seem to fit the narrative, only to be revealed as movie sets by a crew of young film radicals making a movie about transsexuals. An argument between two characters is shown in on-screen speech bubbles. Fights are sped up, Benny-Hill style, complete with organ circus music. It ends with a revalation of incest and gory visuals of a transsexual blinding herself with a knife.