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Posts tagged anonymous

Aug 28 '11

Cleaning up Android’s Contacts, but at what cost?

So, remember earlier this month when I listed a short list of android apps that still won’t store on the SD card, and how on the top of that list was Contact Storage? There is a solution for that but it comes at a price. The easy part is going to GMail or Yahoo! Mail and making sure your contacts are up to date followed by creating the .vcf file via the Import/Export feature (in this case Export) on the Contacts application on your Android device. The hard part is pressing “clear data” in the applications manager then re-importing your contacts from the .vcf file.

While the problem allegedly stems from Facebook being a memory hog during data synchronization with Facebook contacts, the solution that Carl Eisenstein proposed does not really solve the problem, it only offers a temporary fix. As sure enough, instead of Contact Storage setting off the Low Space alert, the Browser set it off this time. And the data it cached wasn’t nearly large enough to prompt the warning. Reguardless, I flushed the Browser’s cache.

Eisenstein’s solution also wiped out a few contacts I was sure the .vcf file would have saved and reloaded some old contacts I was certain I removed from my Gmail Contacts. It also wiped the call log.

There is no doubt that in the near future, I will still have issues with “Low Memory Space” that will ultimately cause my text messages to be blocked because there is “Not enough space to receive text messages”.

Something is going on in the background that is ultimately occupying what should be free space. It’s just not listed on the list of apps and it is making other things like desktop apps and the list of apps in the app menu to take forever to load. In one instance, I was in the middle of a phone call and the phone restarted. In another instance, I couldn’t swipe the green phone icon to answer a call, so the phone kept on ringing. Then there was the call that went straight to voice mail despite the fact that the ringer was on high volume. The phone did not ring.

Don’t get me started on how I can’t use WiFi to connect to my home network anymore with my phone.

There is clearly some sabotage going on. Slowly but surely more unorthodox things seem to be occuring, and they will continue to happen since none of the major phone providers seem to want to hire a in-house telephone technician to fix phones. There is only so much that some kid behind a computer screen can do with a program that should be accessible to anyone who owns a cellphone can do before it’s rightful physician is someone with an Electrical Engineering degree and a set of tiny screwdrivers.

Of course, the corporate/accounting/marketing folks will think it is more profitable to send your device to some one-sized fits all “repair center” who will fix everyphone with an individual diagnosis as blaming every medical condition a human could ever have on Lupus. And as we all know, it’s never Lupus.

Who knows how many perfectly good electronic devices are in a West-African dump because of this slow, impersonal system of electronic repair? Especially with more devices that won’t let you back up EVERYTHING?

I ultimately believe it is time for some techies (especially those who have been forced into unemployment or “slave labor” jobs) to take up offering their services to start their own business. You have the skills to pay the bills. You’re not going to get that job you wanted making chips for AMD. Your not going to be designing the newest fastest operating systems, programs, or electronic components for folks at Motorola, Texas Instruments, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, or Radio Shack. Not as long as the people who run these companies (who aren’t techies, they are shareholders and capitalists who are really running these companies…into the ground) are in charge.

Our only hope at this point to preserve technological freedom is to void the warranty. Root that phone! So what if you have to pay extra to get the next one. You can tell the guy at the phone store that the folks who set the rules for Intellectual Property to cover their asses clearly had no respect for either YOUR Intelect or YOUR Property.

If they had, maybe you could recover everything you have or store ALL of your data to the SD card. If you can run a Linux distro from a jump drive, there should be no excuse for not saving all of your data and protecting it from marketers and data minors or even the folks who claim “the law has the right to go into your phone without a warrant” (which as an American, you should know that you have the right to keep your data private even if it is stored in the cloud or some offsite server.)

It is time we assert our rights as techies to tell the folks who are making money off our silent consent we’re done being quiet and compliant. We pay them too much and get too little.

If there is one thing this capitalist system hates it is producers, creators, makers, developers, and folks who come up with new ideas that the profiteers will sue the inventors just to keep their “disruptive technology” off the market. The capitalists seem to be all for “free market principals” until someone new comes along with something new that takes away the power they stole from someone else or whenever the voice of the people ask the government to step in an create laws that level the playing field. (Funny, they have no problem with telling government to make laws that let private industry get away with murder, but when the government makes a law stating “murder is illegal” the profiteers are the first in line to demand the law to be repealed or weakened with exceptions.)

But I suppose my post has strayed from the point of the original subject of this post.

We just deserve better than what we have right now. We should be thriving, not surviving.

Someday, soon I hope, we will make an active change in this country. One that is active and scares the living crap out of the industrialists who’ve clandestinely run this country in their favor. One that shows the lockstep congressmen that they’ve become the very thing they disdained for decades during the Cold War. That individual choice is better than manufactured hivemind disenfranchisement and manipulation.

Hackers don’t need to bring down the Internet. That would be stupid. Generally the folks taking down the internet are the Chinese cyberterrorists or the industrialists who make up the absurd speculations that hackers want to destroy the internet. (What sort of idiot who calls himself or herself a “hacker” and wants to take down the internet? That’s like setting fire to the playground you play on. Really stupid!)

The point I guess for the rest of this post is that hackers don’t destroy the internet, corporations do (See @athome when they wiped out Excite.com ten years ago. Corporations are not people, however, just like people, if they use the Internet for evil, the hacker community will do what it must to preserve the freedom of the Internet and to expunge anyone who abuses it for power and profit.

Maybe after Anonymous deals with Karl Rove, they can do something about the IP and Patent people who seem more interest in creating new jobs for their legal padding department and less in the assembly line and programming department.

In the mean time, I just want my phone to work without drama.

3 notes View comments Tags: anonymous corporate theivery karl rove hackers political strife android facebook void your warranty techies unite

Aug 10 '11

How to prepare for Anonymous’s Facebook Takedown

For the most part, I’ve been keeping my distance from whatever Anonymous does. While I doubt a whole lot of people reading this would think fondly of Anonymous, or support whatever they are doing, when Anonymous is committed to doing something they want to do, they will do it, even if it means some of their members get to take a ride in “the FBI partyvan”.

We’ve seen the FBI, NSA, and various government agencies go after people who they believe are part of Anonymous, but where actually sympathizers in the nosebleed section who got caught throwing trash on the field.

However, Anonymous’s goal to take down Facebook on November 5th is epicly huge, quite audacious, and will likely result in an FBI sting that would be reminicent of the grand car chase scene from The Blues Brothers.

As much as the gawkers would like to watch this disaster the same way a storm chaser likes watching a tornado, the threat that Anonymous proposed is like being told about an EF5 inside a Category 5 hurricane just minutes after an Atlantic Tsunami is triggered by an earthquake off the coast of Puerto Rico and it’s all about to hit New York City during rush hour when there is a multi-car accident blocking the only road out of town.

The best advice to prepare for Anonymous is to back up as much of your Facebook data as possible then GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY!

Today’s post is about how to prepare for what would be the largest computer hacking event of our time, that we can only hope will not happen.

First, why are they doing this? We’ll, let’s watch their video.

So how much of this video is true? Sadly all of it. Facebook HAS been selling out your private data to corporations, some of whom are not in this country and may include countries that are banned from international commerce with the United States by the United States Department of State. Syria is one of them. In addition, some of these corporations work as private contractors for the National Security Agency. So private industry (the same private industry that sunk the economy and helps get bickering politicians into office to cause gridlock and depression) has once again made the government into the bad guy for profit and self-interests.

Mark Zuckerburg, co-founder of Facebook, has been spending a bit more time in China for reasons not related to his fiance who is Chinese-American. Mainly, there was talk about how he wanted to do business within China, which means doing business with the xenophobic Chinese Government. Most likely to offshore the company as it tries to open up Facebook to the Chinese market. (It worked so well for Google and Microsoft, right?)

If that wasn’t bad enough, Randi Zuckerburg, Mark’s sister and CFO of Facebook, recently made comments about how the Internet should do away with anonymity. For all the older Net-citizens (the folks who grew up making goofy screen names for themselves and using the dial-up modem at all hours), this is a threat to keeping one’s Internet Life from intruding upon their Real Life. Anonymous seems to understand that.

Anyone who uses the Internet should have two different accounts. One where you use your real name for doing stuff for your work and for business and so on. The other such that NOTHING related to your In-Real-Life (IRL) activities has any association with your leisure activities. Unfortunately, most of the people on the Internet do not do this. The results generally come back to haunt them especially if some vindictive jerk from your past decides to link both of those lives together then make up a terrible lie that could potentially ruin you.

Also, any company, corporation, third party or whatever that is collecting your information regardless if it is for business or leisure is an enemy to anyone on the Internet. Anonymous knows this, which is why whenever they do whatever it is that they do it is not to chose sides based on what is good and what is evil, but more or less on what defines freedom and what defines servitude.

Anonymous has no side. Take last month for example when they hacked into Monsanto (one of the largest labs based in St. Louis dedicated to Genetically Modifying crops that could potentially threaten the ecosystem more than protect it) then a few weeks later they hacked the Missouri Sheriffs Association as well as several other law enforcement agencies most of which were based in the state of Missouri. One could say that hacking Monsanto and MSA was wrong. But one was in protest of the environment via hacktivism and the other was against the folks who tracked down and arrested the hacktivists who did it. It’s quite clear that Anonymous is a very complex organization, not just in its structure but on its principals.

But to threaten to take down Facebook is very serious. And the fact that Anonymous has the ability and the resources to pull off such a daunting task is also very serious.

On one hand, you want to support them for their efforts to send a message to Facebook and the companies that are picking up information about you (most likely every time Facebook changes its privacy policies, security setting, or whatever else they should really be announcing more publicly first but aren’t). On the other hand, you don’t want to support them as you want to keep using Facebook to contact your friends, organize events, and do other stuff online with other people.

So the whole purpose of Anonymous is based on doing things for paradoxical reasons.

Even if you do not agree with that, and even if you still don’t get it, the best thing to do anyway is to back up your data and put it somewhere offline for safekeeping. And that is what this second part of this post is all about.

In this part of the post, I will show you how to back up SOME (not most or all) of your Facebook data. (If you want to get all of it you will either need to hack Facebook (which could get you arrested…in this case for something completely stupid!) or socially engineer your way into the NSA (which likely will end badly if you get caught.) Until the laws for doing these things are not punishable by prison-time and other punishments that are far more severe than what most murderers and serial rapists get (especially if it involves getting back ALL of YOUR personal information that the cheesy “here are your photos back, sorry they are corrupted” attitude from some corporation that’s given the real and undamaged ones to strangers), you will first need to start with doing the simple things that you can get back. (As much as we’d like to kill all the Intellectual Property lawyers who steal the rest of your stuff with all of there legalese-doublespeak by dunking them into a pool of sharks with laser beams attached to their heads, we can’t do that…yet.)

  1. Log into Facebook. (We’ll assume you’ve done this.)

  2. In the upper right corner click the “Account” tab, then select “Account Settings” from the drop down menu.

  3. You should be looking at the “General” Account Settings panel. Near the bottom of the list of your general account settings in the right/larger column, there should be a link that says “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” Click that.

  4. You should be looking at the “Download your information” page. You really need to read what will be saved and what won’t be save when you create the archive of all your information. This is important! Once you’ve read through all of that, you should then click “Start My Archive”.

  5. Another prompt will show up asking if you really want to do it. Again click “Start My Archive”.

    You will then want to click “Okay” in the next prompt.

  6. The next part is the waiting. Notice the timestamp in this photo. This may take a while.

  7. A Few hours later, you should get an e-mail with a link to the archive file. Click it!

  8. Doesn’t this page look familiar? Most likely. Only this time there is a password form. Type in your Facebook password into the form then press “Continue”.

  9. Finally, the last step. Click “Download Archive” then save the zip file.

Despite my pessimism earlier, most of the stuff uploaded seems to accounted for, except for the stuff I posted elsewhere. For that, you may want to encourage you’re friends to back up their Facebook account (by sharing this page). It might be possibly to save pages you created like this.

Now if only I could back up my e-mail with this ease. Someone should get on that.

Hopefully things will be OK and Anonymous will change their mind or redirect their target from Facebook to the folks trying to exploit people on Facebook.

Good luck, and see you on November 6th with this issue.

7 notes View comments Tags: anonymous facebook CYA how to disaster preparedness data backup

Apr 18 '11

Help Save Encyclopedia Dramatica’s Softwarez Pages!

While I certainly do not enjoy shock websites, Encyclopedia Dramatica was different.

Squirreled away in one of the corners of the offensive and vulgar website was a treasure trove of raw internet history and well documented (or satired) resources regarding programming, computer security, the Internet, some of the most infamous hackers and events that preceded and defined the time period that will likely be known as the Golden Age of Lulz.

It is during that period between 2004 and 2011 when ED (as it is sometimes called), a large amount of Internet Drama occurred. It was during this period that the hacker group Anonymous came to be and this week Anonymous launched an effort to recover as much of ED as possible that was callously and foolishly deleted last week by ED’s creator Sherrod “Girlvinyl” DeGrippo who is replacing ED with a new website Oh Internet.

While Anonymous is more interested in saving the entirety of ED, my interests is to save the articles regarding the Softwarez Category.

I created a Wikia website to recover as much of the informational content from ED’s Softwarez Pages. The site is Softwarez.Wikia.com. Because Wikia will likely have objections to the vulgarities that were on the pages (most of which were images that were destroy), textual content will be edited to be less offensive to abide by Wikia’s TOS but preserve as much of the snarky satirical writing as possible. (Aparently, Wikia has ED on a spam filter. I can’t imagine why.)

Unfortunately for ED’s former Softwarez Portal Czar, SadMonkey who probably joined the site last year, the existance of the Softwarez Portal was not archived on Archive.org where a cache of much of the Softwarez Category (NSFW) and pages linking to that page was made in 2009.

Anonymous claims they have an archive of the site from February 2011, but I don’t feel like downloading all that other stuff Anonymous is trying to save, especially since most of the content in the archive they have is lumped into one big torrent which may contain files I certainly do not wish to download.

If that wasn’t enough, Anonymous claims that Ms. DeGrippo sent a DCMA takedown notice against the operators of the Anonymous operated backup site EncyclopediaDramatica.CH (NSFW!) claiming that she owns the copyright of the contents from the old website and that creating a backup, clone, or recreation of the site’s contents is a violation of DCMA. However, Anonymous has defied this DCMA takedown and with good reason as ED was a community contributed website, and the content that was added to the site, as they stated, “belongs to the writers”.

ED was known for receiving many DCMA takedowns for content related to personal data (known as “dox”), actual copyright violations, or because a contributor took it too fair with their jeering. Anonymous sees DeGrippo’s DCMA notice as ironic and contradictory to the very thing she supported for nearly seven years.

Anonymous is now working with the Web Ecology Project and Archive Team to quickly restore the website. These’s sites have connections with Jason Scott, who has been an active supporter of saving historical internet content, and (like myself) have much resent for Yahoo!’s actions regarding the elimination of GeoCities which Archive.org, ReoCities, GeoCities.WS and Oocities have preserved.

Meanwhile, if anyone wants to help bring back some Softwarez stuff, help recover information and clean it up a bit by joining Softwarez.wikia.com.

6 notes View comments Tags: Anonymous Archive Team Encyclopedia Dramatica GeoCities Oh Internet Softwarez Web Ecology Project frivolous DMCA complaints Golden Age of Lulz