“Short and Sour Apples” OR “I’m gonna make this REEEEALLY easy for you…”

1 We Are Not Fucktards Court
Sometown, Pennsylvania 1XXXX-XXXX
USA (We think)

Apple Computer Inc.
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, California 9XXXX

RE: Chen-Gizmodo Warrant / iPhone 4G

CC: sjobs@apple.com
BCC: whoeverthefuckrunsmsftthesedays@microsoft.com
BCC: headdudes@google.com
Dear Apple,

This is NOT RoboCop.


P.S. 10 uber-geek-I-don’t-need-no-stinking-umlaut-points to the first person who isn’t known by me who responds in comment to this letter with what the point is of the above statement.


April 26, 2010 at 20:52 Leave a comment

“S.773, The Cybersecurity Act of 2010” or “WTF DEMS SRSLY”

Good day to you all, and welcome to another fun-filled edition of techSPOUT! Oh man, that was dripping in sarcasm, wasn’t it?

Ok, Senate Bill 773 for 2010. It’s the Cybersecurity Act. Written by Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-Who cares where he’s from at this point, he’s a freaking Rockefeller) and Olympia Snowe (R-From somewhere in the land of flannel and lumberjacks and counties named Aroostook), it’s not a bad looking piece of legislation. That is, until you dig out the gem laying buried in §201(b)(2)(B)…I’ll include the whole of §201 below and bold the part I am talking about.

S.773 of 111th Congress (2010)
“Cybersecurity Act of 2010”
The President–
(1) shall, in collaboration with owners and operators of United States critical infrastructure information systems, sector coordinating councils and relevant governmental agencies, regulatory entities, and nongovernmental organizations, develop and rehearse detailed response and restoration plans that clarify
specific roles, responsibilities, and authorities of government and private sector actors during cybersecurity emergencies, and that identify the types of events
and incidents that would constitute a cybersecurity emergency;
(2) may, in the event of an immediate threat to strategic national interests involving compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information systems—
(A) declare a cybersecurity emergency; and
(B) implement the collaborative emergency
response and restoration plans developed under
paragraph (1);

(3) shall, in the event of a declaration of a cybersecurity emergency—
(A) within 48 hours submit to Congress a
report in writing setting forth—
(i) the circumstances necessitating the
emergency declaration; and
(ii) the estimated scope and duration
of the emergency; and
(B) so long as the cybersecurity emergency
declaration remains in effect, report to the Congress periodically, but in
no event less frequently than once every 30 days, on the status of
emergency as well as on the scope and duration of the emergency.
(c) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—This section does not
authorize, and shall not be construed to authorize, an ex-
pansion of existing Presidential authorities.

Did you get it? Well, if it seems like more legalese and jargon, you’re right. Here’s the gist: President declares “national cybersecurity emergency”, President shut off internet. Yes, it IS that simple. Now, let’s use the attacks on New York, DC, and PA as an example, and we’ll sketch out a short timeline of what happened and what would happen under this bill.

What Happened
8:46:26AM: First Plane into North Tower WTC
8:47AM: TV networks begin to break into coverage with WTC story
8:48AM: People flood net with “Did you hear/ZOMG!!1!” IMs/Emails/Msgs
8:50-8:55AM: People begin tapping into streaming video/audio for news
9:02:54AM: Second Plane into South Tower WTC
9:03:24AM: Collective gasp ends, exponential increase in traffic, both streaming and messaging as well as standard web site views
9:37AM: Pentagon Plane Impact
10:06AM: Shanksville, PA Plane Impact
Next 5 days: Internet helps find people, console people and satisfies data need for people.

What Would Have Happened with Kill Switch Activation
8:46:26AM: First Plane into North Tower WTC
8:47AM: TV networks begin to break into coverage with WTC story
8:48AM: People flood net with “Did you hear/ZOMG!!1!” IMs/Emails/Msgs
8:50-8:55AM: People begin tapping into streaming video/audio for news
9:02:54AM: Second Plane into South Tower WTC
9:03:14AM: President orders internet turned off “in case of it’s use as a mechanism to help carry out these now evident attacks”
9:03:24AM: Collective gasp ends, people attempt to reach out to others or to the web for news and information and find “server not found” messages for every site and service, panic begins as people, without information, believe the outage is part of the attack
9:10AM: President addresses nation, tells them of cybersecurity activation.
9:37AM: Pentagon Plane Impact, but no one finds out for nearly half an hour because the wire services work via internet now and all news is being filtered and delivered via telephone and fax
10:06AM: Shanksville, PA Plane Impact, no one finds out about this one for 2 hours due to seclusion of crash site in southwest Pennsylvania
Next 30 days: Internet stays shut off until President delivers report to Congress, in meantime, much data and information cannot be verified quickly by news services due to lack of connectivity, many hoaxes and false panics cause population to stay home, afraid of more attacks, stock market plummets worse than originally anticipated, production of essentials comes to a near grinding halt, economy collapses amid lack of spending and commerce during the second half of September

Extreme? Maybe only a little. The above illustrates the problems with “shutting off the internet due to crisis” in 2001. Think about how this would affect us now, with VoIP being a primary form of communication and the internet being even more entrenched in our lives as an immediate information source. It strikes fear into me to think this COULD happen.

Here is what I want you to do about this bill: Kill it. How can you do this? Contact your senators (find them at http://www.contactingthecongress.org) and tell them if this bill comes to a vote on the senate floor and they vote yes, then they have lost your vote in the general election. Your best bet to reach your senator is to CALL THEIR OFFICES! Email and fax are tied for second best and postal mail is right out, don’t even consider it if you can help it. Also, while you are at it, call DEMOCRATIC Senator Rockefeller’s office and thank him for turning his back on true information freedom with this bill.

March 31, 2010 at 15:00 1 comment

“I thought this site was called ‘TechSPOUT’…” or “Why we do what we do, how we do it”

For starters, this past weekend I attended the North Carolina Regional Technology Conference known as CarolinaCon 2010. I had an AMAZING time. I ran the ham radio special event station at the event and met so many new people. Thanks to the organizers and everyone in attendance. If YOU want to find out more about the event, go to http://carolinacon.org and also head on over to the CarolinaCon forums at http://forum.nc2600.org and take part!

This week, we will cover something I literally thought of while sitting at my significant other’s nail appointment. (Usual full disclosure notice: I am still there right now. Typing this in the presence of acetone, powdered acrylic and more colors of nail polish than Glenn Beck’s face during a temper tantrum.) I have noticed many people saying “Hey, techSPOUT guy, why the hell is there so much political stuff on there…I thought this site was called ‘techSPOUT’.”

Here’s the explanation. Really easy. There will be a recap. There will NOT be a quiz.

I am a techie, thus the tech.

The rants are a form of spouting off, thus the SPOUT.

I am a techie who is spouting off, thus the techSPOUT.

Get it?

I am a tech, but the spouting will be whatever topic I deem fit for posting. Lately, it’s been primarily politically related, but that doesn’t rule out a technology post, or a post about butter and margarine or any topic I am in the mood to type about.

All of that being said, I lied. Pop quiz.

A. What is Jay? :
B. What does he do? :

Print this page out and write in your answers. Scan them, and send the resulting image to techspout@berkscomp.com and MAYBE you’ll win something. Only if I feel like it.

March 24, 2010 at 15:12 Leave a comment

More to come…

I just wanted to apologize for the delay between posts here at TechSPOUT. I have a few articles in the backlog that I plan on writing, but I haven’t completed them yet. Also, I will be attending the CarolinaCon computer technology conference, so expect a special post from there as well. Sorry again!

March 13, 2010 at 16:43 Leave a comment


I am officially frightened.

Why, you ask?

It’s a fairly well known fact that I am a liberal. Registered Democrat. Activist. Hacker. I don’t think I could be more leftist if I tried.

It is also a known fact that I reside in Pennsylvania. One of the only “Commonwealth” states left in the Union. Archaic laws prevented Sunday sales of alcohol in this state until the middle of the last decade. (Yes, the mid 2000’s.) So oddly, for a majority Democratic state, it stays very conservative.

Within the last few years, we (the Commonwealth) allowed gaming in our state. Slots only. No table games. I’m absolutely fine with that. It means if I want to pull the one-armed bandit I only have to drive an hour now instead of 3-5 hours to go to New Jersey.

The PA Senate passed a table games bill after a nearly year long debate the other day. The PA House of Representatives passed the table games bill today. Governor Ed Rendell is expected to sign a conglomeration of the Senate and House bills tomorrow morning.

Now here’s the rub: As a democrat and leftist, I should be all for this bill getting signed into law. I totally would be, too, if it wasn’t for this one little thing. I’ll paste the text I find a problem here:

§ 1362A. Table game taxes.
(a) Imposition.–
(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3), each
certificate holder shall report to the department and pay
from its daily gross table game revenue, on a form and in the
manner prescribed by the department, a tax of 12% of its
daily gross table game revenue.
(2) In addition to the tax payable under paragraph (1),
each certificate holder shall report to the department and
pay from its daily gross table game revenue, on a form and in
the manner prescribed by the department, a tax of 34% of its
– 130 –
daily gross table game revenue from each table game played on
a fully automated electronic gaming table.
(3) The tax reported and payable under paragraph (1) by
each certificate holder shall be 14% of daily gross table
game revenue for a period of two years following commencement
of table games operations at its licensed facility.

–PA Senate Bill 711-2009 Printers Number 1586, Pages 129-130.

Now, the issue may not be evident just from reading that headache of legalese, so allow me, with my former experience as an incarcerated prison law librarian, to translate for you. (OMG, he was in PRISON?!? LOL.)

Our fine Commonwealth will tax each casino 14% of their total table game revenue for the first 2 years after the casino has commenced table games operations. After that 2 year period, those casinos would be taxed 12% of their table games revenue in perpetuity.

Again, most people would say “AWESOME! Millions of dollars for the state to hand out and to use and PA WILL NEVER BE BROKE AGAIN LIKE WE WERE THIS PAST SUMMER!”, but then most people don’t take the time out to look at what other states tax their casinos for table games. According to research done by a Republican PA Representative and his staff, most other states tax table games at anywhere between 23 and 60 (Yes, SIXTY!) percent.

In this vein, it is fairly obvious to me that my own party mates in the Commonwealth have betrayed me and all of their other constituents only in order to hurriedly pass a table games bill before Governor Rendell takes action he described as “laying off more state workers”. I also feel that in this respect, Governor Rendell (D-Philadelphia) has also betrayed me, as well as all 12+ million residents of Pennsylvania by holding the state legislature hostage in order to pass this bill.

IN CONCLUSION…I feel that the Republicans arguing not the bill itself but arguing that the tax totals are WAY too low are absolutely…*sigh*…correct in doing so. Any real democrat would have noticed that the amounts were too low to make any sense except to maybe hurry and put revenue in the coffers to pay people with. Even then, if the tax amount were higher than 12-14%, I am sure that the Republicans would have complained much less about it. We’re ripping ourselves off at this rate and it’s all the *sigh part two* DEMOCRATS FAULT!

Epilogue: While you are sitting at your favorite casino in Pennsylvania in the near future playing blackjack, remember this, Governor Rendell could have sent the bill back and made the legislature up the amount, but he won’t. He’ll sign it tomorrow morning and only $6-7 of that $50 bet you just lost will go to fix that potholed interstate you came there on. It could have been $10, it could have been $30. If you’re going to lose, better to lose and fix your community with the money.

January 7, 2010 at 00:32 Leave a comment

Operation Chokehold…success? I say YES!

Some saw dead net, some saw working fine. I think my Twitter post says it all…

Twitter from OpChoke SUCCESS!

Until next time, AT&T!

December 19, 2009 at 01:36 Leave a comment

AT&T and Operation Chokehold…it’s NOT TERRORISM!!!

Alright. Okay. I can’t take it anymore.

Since when does organizing a revolution or a protest or whatever you want to call it constitute TERRORISM! (“Oh my gosh, he said the ‘T’ word, everybody PANIC!”

I read a tweet earlier today that likened Operation Chokehold to terrorism. At that point, I had an embolism and twitched my eye for an hour solid. I tweeted a few choice words intended as a response. But before we reveal those words and also the incompetence of AT&T (as though you needed MORE proof) let’s do a little research and knowledge imparting.

What is this “Operation Chokehold”?

On December 14th, 2009, the gentleman who runs the Fake Steve Jobs blog announced the following:

Subject: Operation Chokehold
On Friday, December 18, at noon Pacific time, we will attempt to overwhelm the AT&T data network and bring it to its knees. The goal is to have every iPhone user (or as many as we can) turn on a data intensive app and run that app for one solid hour. Send the message to AT&T that we are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive comments. THe idea is we’ll create a digital flash mob. We’re calling it in Operation Chokehold. Join us and speak truth to power!

Initially it was a gag. A joke. And then the media and AT&T got hip and took off with it. Streisand effect anyone?

People said it was stupid to try to take down the AT&T network. “What about the emergency calls!” exclaimed some. Well, just so you know, 911 on AT&T’s wireless network is handled by their VOICE network. The DATA network which Operation Chokehold is set to affect is a DIFFERENT NETWORK!

So now, Operation Chokehold is real and will happen on Friday.

OK, lesson over. Now, my tweets to the terrorism fear-mongers:

Just read a tweet that said #OperationChokehold would be akin to “terrorism”. It’s pronounced REVOLUTION. It’s how our COUNTRY was founded.

Don’t you think everyone panicked when they dumped the tea into Boston Harbor?

So now instead of tea, it’s AT&T’s wireless bandwidth and infrastructure, and instead of water, it’s into the ether.

It’s the SAME thing people. If we cower and do not adhere to principles, then the users will never have recourse.

The colonists didn’t like the “services” the crown provided for the cost. So, they split from England. GET IT

Hopefully that set them straight. If not, let us try a different approach. How is AT&T reacting to this?

Thanks to my pals at SomethingDifferent.us, I noticed 2 statements from AT&T officials that are pretty much contradictory to each other. This leads me to believe that AT&T has NO BLEEPING CLUE what they are doing, EXCEPT when it comes to screwing their users.

On December 9th, AT&T chairman Ralph De La Vega stated “ The first thing we need to do is educate customers about what represents a megabyte of data” and “ We’re improving systems to give them real time information about there data usage. “ he said “ Longer term, there’s got to be some sort of pricing scheme that addresses the [heavy] users.”

Ok, Chairman DeLaVega is going with every other ISP’s standard tactic and using the 5% using 95% excuse. Well, genius, apparently another in you organization thinks that the users are educated.

“We understand that fakesteve.net is primarily a satirical forum, but there is nothing amusing about advocating that customers attempt to deliberately degrade service on a network that provides critical communications services for more than 80 million customers,” an AT&T spokesman said when contacted by Cult of Mac. “We know that the vast majority of customers will see this action for what it is: an irresponsible and pointless scheme to draw attention to a blog”

Wait. I’m confused. Which is it…our users are dumb or they’ll see the light? Argh.

In conclusion, two things. If you subscribe to AT&T’s data service, SWITCH CARRIERS! iPhone users, I don’t want to hear you complain. Jailbreak, unlock, and find another GSM carrier. (OMG, back to EDGE speed, whatever shall we do? *snicker*)

Lastly, we here at techSPOUT believe you should take part in Operation Chokehold, but don’t be a sheep. Do it because you understand WHY.

“Operation Chokehold” will take place this Friday, December 18th, 2009 at 1200 noon Pacific Time (1500 Eastern, 2000 UTC).

JayEmbee is a hacker/activist and can be reached through this page, or his Twitter account @JayEmbee.

December 17, 2009 at 18:30 Leave a comment

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