Category: Technology


…after you’ve been hit with a survey scam.

I’m blogging this because I’m seeing a few more Facebook friends than usual getting hit with these kind of scams.

My prior post (“Cross-hairs, targets, and surveyor symbols…”) has generated a bit of interest.  I originally started composing that post on my Facebook account and parts of it got picked up by Dana Loesch and pushed up to Big Journalism.  (That was cool!)

Blogging for me is just a way to let me record thoughts that I suspect I may want to refer to in future conversations because I dislike repeating myself.  It’s easier to throw a link at someone and let them read what I’ve written previously.  Regardless, I don’t expect my posts to go anywhere but I’m amused that this one did because many people have fallen into a logic trap in it.  And I REALLY love it when that happens…especially when they trap up the faux-intellectual like this one did.  This trap wasn’t intentionally set…this time…but originated from my desire to keep the post brief.

Here’s the trap: Cross-hairs are a component of surveyor symbols.  Now that the trap has been set…albeit, unintentionally…let’s spring it.

What this all comes down to may be summed up in a phrase that faux-intellectuals like to quote frequently: “Correlation does not imply Causation”.  You see, it’s a matter of which came first: cross-hairs in surveying or cross-hairs on weapons?

Surveying has been around since at least as long as recorded history…more than 5,000 years…and cross-hairs (more precisely, Reticles) have been used in surveying for some time as well.  I believe the origin of Reticles comes from an instrument known as a Theodolite, which itself dates back to at least A.D. 1512.  The Theodolite itself owes it’s existence to instruments such as the Astrolabe (150 B.C.).  So, when were Reticles first used on firearms?  That would be sometime between 1835 and 1840 when the telescopic sight (a.k.a., Scope) was invented for the rifle.

So what we have here is an instance of cross-application of technology.  Cross-hairs are not violent, they’re just cross-hairs.  So where does this association with cross-hairs and violence come from?  Well, let’s look to Hollywood where the use of a view through a scope has been used as a dramatic device for some time.  The leap from cinematic device to symbol of violence, however, exists only in the mind of the individual.  History doesn’t make that connection.

So what’s the bottom-line here?  The bottom-line is that how a person reacts to a symbol is a view into the mind of the person and not a commentary on the value of the symbol, nor the use of the symbol, nor on the state of mind of the person who utilizes the symbol.  If you look upon a symbol and see violence, then the violence is in your mind…not in the symbol or the person who used it.  This is a Rorschach Test and a lot of people failed it.

**UPDATE**  Oh, and for those who still disagree, please uninstall any graphics programs you may have on your computer, such as Paint.  Scary cross-hairs are frequently used for things such as the Select tool.

Actually, I’m just posting these so that I can find them in the future.  These are some of those topics that just come up every so often that leaves me looking for where I found them in the first place.

“Cain And Abel routing”: How to use Cain & Abel for DNS poisoning and hacking

“SQL Injection – Walking through walls.”: Techniques for doing SQL injection

Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) is one of my favorite freebies. It scans your computer for installed programs and notifies you when they are out of date. This makes keeping your computer FULLY patched much easier and greatly reduces the opportunity for malware to take over your computer.

Well, a new version just came out on Monday (12/20/2010) with a nice new look and the ability for Secunia PSI to automatically update that out-of-date software…you don’t even have to update the software yourself. Previously, this was pretty much a manual process, albeit the fact that it at least TOLD you that you were running out-of-date software was a fantastic leap forward.

Free to use, easy to use, and something I highly recommend running on your computer.

In other forums I’ve had posts and discussions about Net Neutrality. Originally, it was being pushed through Legislation but, now that this route has failed, the Administration is pushing for it through Regulation directly from the FCC. Much has been said about Net Neutrality so many are confused. To help clear up the confusion, I’m posting the following video that explains the major concerns about it in easy to understand terms and examples.

(And a quick note to those of you who consider yourself religious and/or are in the ministry: You need to get off the sidelines because this is aimed directly at YOU.)

(**UPDATE** The FCC approved the Net Neutrality rules on 12/21/2010 along a 3-2 split decision that divided along corresponding Democrat-Republican lines. On the plus side, Congress has stated that they will oppose the new rules and seek to defund the FCC if necessary.)

Finally found a nice Q and A from Bruce Schneier, security guru, about the TSA security procedures. As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s security theater and absolutely worthless. The new full-body scanners provide no more security than what previous screening scanners (metal detectors) and techniques provided. In fact, they make the situation worse because they give the impression that people are more secure…and that actually DECREASES security.

Check out Bruce’s Q&A on Popular Mechanics’ article here.

…and it’s for the Android, BlackBerry, or iPhone…FREE!  The site (here) also provides a nice guide to voter fraud PDF document (here).