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The Isoblog. Posts

Science March (vs. Placebo March)

Science March

»The numbers for the Science March seem high, but we won’t know until we compare it to the numbers at the placebo march that’s also happening.

I honestly feel bad for the people on the Placebo March, who thought they were at the Science March, but double blind testing is important.

I head the placebo marchers feel like they’re making a difference even after they’re told they’re at the placebo march.«

I am confused – it’s a science march, but in April. And the Placebo thing, that’s a concert, right?

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Militant capitalist attacked german soccer bus

The bomb attack on the bus of the german soccer club BVB has been solved. The attacker was not an islamist extremist, as the fake letters found on site suggested. They also weren’t Neo-Nazis, as the fake letters to two german newspapers claimed. The perpetrator was instead a militant capitalist who tried to influence BVB stock in order, after he purchased 15k put options on BVB stock.

An english language article with background can be found at the BBC.

It is unclear if German legislation will now call on a ban on radical capitalist education camps in german universities, or what kind of extreme vetting will be instituted in order to handle the problem.

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Understanding sysdig

The open source sysdig is a piece of software that does not quite, but almost, what strace or oprofile do: It instrument the kernel, and traces system calls as well as a few other kernel activities.

It does not utilize the ptrace(2) kernel facility, though, but its own interface. This interface picks up data in the kernel and writes it into a ring buffer.

A userspace component extracts this data, interprets, filters and formats it, and then shows it. If the data source outpaces the userspace, the ring buffer overflows and events are lost, but the actual production workload is never slowed down.

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Bose Connect App creates illegal listening profiles

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Bose, by Kyle Zak, on the grounds of the Bose Connect App for their wireless headphones creating illegal listening profiles, and sharing data with data miners.

1. Defendant Bose manufactures and sells high-end wireless headphones and speakers. To fully operate its wireless products, customers must download Defendant’s “Bose Connect” mobile application from the Apple App or Google Play stores and install it on their smartphones. With Bose Connect, customers can “pair” their smartphones with their Bose wireless products, which allows them to access and control their settings and features.

2. Unbeknownst to its customers, however, Defendant designed Bose Connect to (i) collect and record the titles of the music and audio files its customers choose to play through their Bose wireless products and (ii) transmit such data along with other personal identifiers to third-parties—including a data miner—without its customers’ knowledge or consent.

Affected are all users of the Bose Connect App, that is minimum users of the QuietComfort 35, SoundSport Wireless, Sound Sport Pulse Wireless, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, and SoundLink Color II (“Bose Wireless Products”), but possibly more.

Fun Fact: The German adjective meaning “evil” is “böse”.

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Perceptual Ad Highlighter

Perceptual Ad Highlighter is a Chrome Plugin that detects and highlights ads using image/layout recognition on a rendered page/DOM tree.

As law required that ad-content is marked and visually identifyable as promoted content, the plugin renders the page and then visually analyzes the page layout to detect and mark ads.

The source is available on Github, and a paper describes the technology (PDF).

To turn this into a proper ad-blocker, a dual buffering approach would be necessary, in which the full page is rendered into a hidden buffer, including all ads. The perceptual adblocker would then identify the parts of the page that are content and copy them over into a secondary page that is shown to the user sans advertising. The extension could also simulate user interaction with the hidden page to fool robot detection Javascript.

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Native Ad Blocking in Chrome

According to an article in The Verge, Google is rumored to implement native adblocking in Chrome.

The option would be opt-in, and it would remove any and all “unacceptable” ads as defined by Coalition for Better Ads industry group. Those types of ads include pop-up ads, autoplay videos, and what are known as prestitial ads, or those ads that are often fullscreen and show up before you’re taken to the homepage or desired website.

The majority of web users have installed adblockers by now, and adblockers have been increasingly recognized as a malware fighting tool, preventing drive-by exploits by targeted malvertising.

Native Adblocking would be a good way for Google to control the agenda, and to push the Coalition for Better Ads style of advertising – a way for the advertising industry to reign in the wild-west style of user profiling, malvertising, and generally making web browing a bad experience.

This is definitively a step into the right direction, but too little, too late.

 

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