Archive for October, 2011

Virtual Counterfeiting

Recently I had an interesting conversation, if you can call it that, on Twitter (hey, kids – follow me @mendacities, kthxbai) about how very few things have security designed in or sometimes even included, at least at the beginning. Essentially, there’s a kind of obvious trend for new technology to be exploitable in all kinds of interesting and sometimes alarming ways. Often you want to smack someone and ask what they were thinking.

My view is that visionaries – inventors, designers, the people who come up with new stuff – are, at heart, optimists. They think the best of people, and the idea that their products can be misused and abused and exploited never enters their minds – or if it does, it gets discounted immediately, because they’re, well, optimists.

I think that security-related fields – law enforcement, cyber-security, and so on – attract a lot of deeply bitter cynics who have no romantic ideas about human nature, and understand that there is almost nothing people will not exploit, just because they can.

I mean, consider phone phreaking. Leave aside the blue boxes and the red boxes and the beige boxes and the spotted mauve polkadot boxes with white racing stripes; in the mid 1990s, you could make free local calls on a lot of cellphones by shorting the mouthpiece element, I think it was, to earth ground of the chassis, with a straightened paperclip. The fix, if I recall correctly, was installation of a $0.01 diode. Why hadn’t it been there to begin with? Nobody on the technical side of things were cynical enough to think anyone would ever discover it…

Anyway, here’s a first-hand story of one of the most bone-headed moves ever made by a large American retailer…
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: General, History, Security | on October 27th, 2011 | No Comments »

Now Available: Without A Spark

Well, two short weeks later, the news you’ve been eagerly waiting for:

Without A Spark is now available for sale!

Yes, my charming little novel of life, love, and ecoterror is now available in a large chunk of the western world – from Amazon (.com/ – $9.95/5GBP/EUR 8 ) and Barnes and Noble (on sale for $8.95) and, probably, various other places I’m not aware of. (Just ask your favorite bookmonger for ISBN 1466325402.)

It’s only available as a trade paperback right now. 210 pages. The e-book edition will be coming in early December, in all the usual formats.

Anyone who might for some inexplicable reason want to interview me on a blog or something regarding this, or otherwise assist in my promotional efforts for this book… you know my e-mail addresses. (nemo…slugsite, and/or mendacities…gmail.)

Published in: Geekiness, General | on October 19th, 2011 | No Comments »

Filk Music To Get Your Witch On To

I recently re-read the last Tiffany Aching book by Sir Terry Pratchett, and as a result my uncontrollable tendency to produce atrocious parodies of obscure pop songs burped up this lovely witch-y ditty, called I Think We’re On Loam Now, which will make little sense to folks who haven’t read the books in question. C’est la vie.

Witches? Oh, hells
that’s what they say when we’re together
Please don’t curse me with spells
they don’t understand, now

And so we’re flying just as fast as we can
heading on to more enlightened lands
Trying to get away, into the night

And then you put your arms around me
and we stumbled to the ground
And then you say

I think we’re on loam now
There doesn’t seem to be any stone around
I think we’re on loam now

the beating of our hearts is the only sound

Look at the way we had to hide what we’re doing
’cause what would they say if they truly knew?
And so we’re flying just as fast as we can

I think we’re on loam now
There doesn’t seem to be any stone around
I think we’re on loam now

the beating of our hearts is the only sound

Flying just as fast as we can

I think we’re on loam now
There doesn’t seem to be any stone around
I think we’re on loam now…

Yes, it’s probably a disease…

Published in: General | on October 11th, 2011 | No Comments »

Novel Notes

This is just a quick note for all my loyal readers in the United States that while my newest novel, Without A Spark, won’t “officially” go on sale for a week or two yet, you can order discounted paperback copies now with free shipping and get them in 3-5 days. In other words, you could have a copy of my tale of life, love, and eco-terrorism in your hands before your less-cool friends are even able to place their orders. How cool is that?

Full details are here. It’s a limited-time offer, good basically while the book winds its way through the labyrinth of the distribution system, so take advantage of it before it’s too late.

We’re discussing some sort of special deal for readers outside the U.S., and will post about that when we have the details worked out.

Published in: General | on October 6th, 2011 | No Comments »

Coming Soon

I was making dinner this evening when the UPS driver dropped off a dense little box for me:

Was it – could it be – dare I hope that it was…

Yep. It was.
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: Geekiness, General | on October 4th, 2011 | 4 Comments »