Recount

Updated on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Recount

I'm on a donation spree. This time to the Jill Stein recount effort. I believe that this will change the outcome of the election as much as I believe that there are real questions about vaccines and autism. But this is clearly making Trump mad. And the madder he gets the sooner he is likely to get himself impeached. Why not help out?

National Popular Vote

Updated on Wednesday, February 1, 2017

National Popular Vote

I just donated to the National Popular Vote campaign. The idea is that if enough states pass enabling legislation they will all throw their electoral college votes behind the popular vote winner. Electoral college neatly short-circuited without any constitutional amendment needed. California is already signed up for this. You can check your state here.

Banana Slug

Updated on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Banana Slug

Sunrise

Sunrise

Trees at Lands End

Trees at Lands End

Rain falling through trees at Lands End, San Francisco.

Multi-plane Camera

News: We Need to Raise Taxes for Shareholders and Cut Them for Companies

West Portal Halloween

West Portal Halloween

Book reviews for October 2016

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017
The Hurricane by Hugh Howey

The Hurricane by Hugh Howey

4/5

Affecting story of a boy (and family) who are forced to disconnect thanks to a category five storm. First non sci-fi Howey that I've read and it's one of his best.

 

Presence by Richard MacManus

Presence by Richard MacManus

2/5

Plodding retread of VR tropes.

 

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

3/5

 

The Elephant in the Room by Jon Ronson

The Elephant in the Room by Jon Ronson

3/5

Jon Ronson visits with the Alt Right. It's good but not a revelation.

 

Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman

Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman

3/5

Everything is getting more complicated. This book suggests we abandon the physics based approach of trying to understand systems in a reductionist way and switch to biological thinking - sample, study the ecology, embrace a glimpse of understanding and forget knowing everything. Gulp.

 

Securing the Internet of Things

Updated on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Securing the Internet of Things

We can’t trust manufactures to build secure connected devices and so routers need to be updated to solve this problem once per network.

The distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on Friday, October 21 was apparently caused by dodgy webcams. But next time it will be Nest or Alexa or Hue - not picking on Google, Amazon or Philips specifically here, those just happen to be the IOT devices currently plugged into my home network. My washing machine and drier would be as well but fortunately LG’s dismal app has saved me from myself by not working for toffee. Oh, I have some DropCams too. And my car is connected. The next attack will probably just come from me.

My fix: update routers to sandbox these devices. A Nest thermostat can only talk to nest.com. If it wants to DDOS Reddit too bad, no connection allowed no matter how badly the device is compromised.

When a new device is connected the router looks it up (MAC address registry?) and then puts it in the appropriate sandbox.

If Nest needs to connect to weather.gov to check the forecast then Google would need to proxy this via nest.com. If the device goes bad it’s only got one domain to attack (so there’s a pretty good incentive for the manufacturer to make sure it doesn’t).

The only downside is new routers or new router firmware. Given the current state of IOT I’d buy one.

As usual if any of my billionaire investor readers are interested get in touch.