A Man Charges Police With a Broom…

So get this:

Earlier today [March 3rd], police officers in Longmont, Colorado showed up at the home of John Sena to deliver a $20,000 traffic warrant to Melissa Sena.

When they knocked on the door, there was no answer for 15 minutes. A baby’s cries could be heard so thinking that the child may have been left home alone, officers entered the home.

John Sena charged at them with a broom, forcing the police into the corner of the yard.

He was promptly stun-gunned.

‘Murricah.

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It’s like broomball, only… assaulting police officers.

When Moving Into The Cloud

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“The Cloud” is becoming a greater part of today’s technology every day.

The cloud. By definition, it’s “the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet).” (Wikipedia(And for the sake of clarity, “The Cloud” isn’t a very exact term. It’s more like multiple clouds, each covered by a provider.) Essentially, this means that anything you save to the cloud from, say, your laptop, will be stored on a server somewhere, and hence accessible to you from any of your devices. Nifty idea, right? In theory, yeah.

But thinking more practically, entrusting your data to another party that can move it to anywhere they please isn’t the best idea, security-wise. When it comes to the security of your data, the cloud is like Windows… okay, I’m sorry. But my point was illustrated by Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder of Apple, during an August 2012 speech in Washington, D.C.: “With the cloud, you don’t own anything. You already signed it away [through the terms of service].”

But hey, it’s always that other guy, right? Maybe. But keep in mind two things:

  1. Even if you aren’t directly hacked, your information is no longer solely your property. At best, it’s been duplicated and stored away; at worst, used maliciously. But once you check the little “I Accept” box, you are giving up your freedom.
  2. You’re “that other guy” to everybody else. 

Take writer Mat Honan. In his own words:

“In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.”

You could look at this a few ways. Honan does admit that “[His] accounts were daisy-chained together.” Taking over one account gave the hackers enough information to compromise the next, and so on, until they reached their ultimate goal. Also, the fact that the last four digits of his credit card number (the ones “unimportant” enough to be displayed publicly by Amazon) are enough for Apple to verify your identity and allow you to remotely change your password. (Keep in mind that NPR updated their article on Honan after it was published noting that “Amazon has reportedly updated its security procedures so it no longer will allow users to change their email address or a credit card number using only a current email, address and name. And Apple has ordered its support staff to immediately stop processing phoned requests to change AppleID passwords, Wired reported.”) Closing this disconnect is an important step in the right direction, but it isn’t my point.

Although on one level this is a corporate problem, the bigger, scarier picture is that you’re not in control of your data when it becomes part of the cloud. 

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Google’s new Chromebook syncs all user data to the cloud.

So what do you do? Google, Amazon, and Apple are all pushing for cloud computing to become the norm. The Chromebook, Google’s $249 laptop, is 100% cloud-based; its hard drive is used by the OS rather than to store user data. Windows 8 is one of the most cloud-centric operating systems ever developed.

Yes, cloud computing helps keep life connected. Snap a picture here, and if you have WiFi or a data connection, you can access it over there. No more emailing to yourself or dumping your stuff on a memory stick. But are you willing to sacrifice your security, privacy, and the general ability to sleep soundly at night for convenience?

Today’s problem is the fact that we push for a world of instant gratification. We want it, and we want it now. Everybody does. And what better way to make this fantasy of “superconnection” reality that storing everything in near-infinite, practically invisible storage space? I mean, who cares about that air-conditioned server room tucked away somewhere, holding the pictures of your one-year-old daughter’s birthday, as long as you can get the pictures of your one-year-old daughter’s birthday anytime you want?

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Just the entire lives of thousands of people.

But I think we need to step back. Silicon memory is replacing the neural kind. The Internet and technology do amazing things that can save lives, but there’s another side to the spectrum, that of the havoc that can be wreaked with a computer, phone, and Internet connection. The possibility for malicious behavior has always been a part of technology since its beginning – modern or not – and the opportunities grow with the advances.

So, what’s my point?

I believe that we need to give up the conveniences of the cloud to an extent. Technology grows constantly, and the world with it, and there’s no way to evade innovation fully. I don’t mean living in a cave on an uninhabited island in the Mediterranean. I do mean thinking before you give away your privacy. It’s possible that cloud computing is here to stay, but I’d advise (at the very least) being very careful of what you commit to a faceless storage provider. That’s first and foremost – if you can help it, don’t send data that you couldn’t live without into the cloud. Also, learn from Mat Honan and distinguish between your accounts. Don’t “daisy-chain” them together; rather, be certain that if one was compromised, you’d at least know that it wouldn’t help a hacker get into your other accounts. It might be annoying, but today you need more than just password protection, unless it’s something like }\U{3Ffnd$L_RTepH5e/^po{ofWQyN%U#L_},Xgn39z4w!SN7MR?Rct=xx]BdU9. But most people don’t use these. I think.

And that’s all I’ve really got for you. If you think there’s anything I can add, or if you’re a grammar Nazi and you’ve got some problems with this article, please comment – any feedback as to how I can improve helps me out tremendously. It’s a big topic that I’ve been hearing a lot about, so there was my take. If you’d like, give me yours; I’d be glad to hear it.

So, to conclude with style, and intelligently referencing my title; don’t be too eager when moving into the cloud.

 

This article is incredible – it’s quick and powerful, a frightening look into the future of technological progress. I’ll give you my take on the subject, too.

L.M. Sacasas

I’m allergic to hyperbole. That said, Evgeny Morozov identifies one of the most important challenges we face in the coming years:

“There are many contexts in which smart technologies are unambiguously useful and even lifesaving. Smart belts that monitor the balance of the elderly and smart carpets that detect falls seem to fall in this category. The problem with many smart technologies is that their designers, in the quest to root out the imperfections of the human condition, seldom stop to ask how much frustration, failure and regret is required for happiness and achievement to retain any meaning.

It’s great when the things around us run smoothly, but it’s even better when they don’t do so by default. That, after all, is how we gain the space to make decisions—many of them undoubtedly wrongheaded—and, through trial and error, to mature into responsible adults, tolerant of compromise and complexity.”

Exactly right.

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Entry 1 “Hello World, Apparently”

Oh, right.

Oh, right. Hi.

Hey there.

So this is my first entry – I’m restating that for the sake of having something to open this with. Sorry. But you’ve wandered over to this lonely corner of the Internet, so please, hang around for a little while. I don’t have much any other content at the moment, but this page will grow soon – and, if I do it right, it’ll end up being something worth reading.

So here are some things I will not blog about:

  1. Normal, clichéd things. Except this Hello World-style entry. It’s a requirement.
  2. Things you already knew a lot about.
  3. Anything that won’t make you think or smile.

I want to keep this fresh, interesting, and worth clicking around. I’m open to most anything, and I’ll post photos, short pieces, and general interesting or funny tidbits.

Ooh, and travel, too. Think Southeast Asia – that’ll be soon.

So, I think that’s everything required for an official first entry. Please do me a favor and comment with anything you’d like me to do/say/post/eat. I’ll probably honor your request.

So if you like this single, lovely entry, then please follow my blog for more.

And if you don’t like anything about me… please, please follow my blog. I hope I can change your mind.

Thanks for visiting.