chou hanging out in the under arm of an enormous lime-green buddha statue at a little modern art exhibit we visited while in bangkok.
Monday, December 08, 2008
chou hanging out in the under arm of an enormous lime-green buddha statue at a little modern art exhibit we visited while in bangkok.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
i don't think i would say that the air was electric, but there was a definite sense of excitement running through the crowd and a nice feeling of community. venice isn't really a battleground community, even for prop 8. when we lean, we go wayyyyyy left until our feet are wet in the beach sand. anyways, we cast our vote after being registered by our neighbor, irene, and set about on our separate ways to work: jane to rosemead and me to culver city.
on the way in, i had a call with our localization team in dublin, ireland about quality concerns (we had issues with finnish translation in the main UI, embarrassing for the locals when showing the product to the finn media). while i'm sure this doesn't matter to anyone, the point of mentioning this is that the call was preceded by 10 minutes of discussion with the irish team about the elections. the 2 women from dublin mentioned that they were going to stay up to see the election results and were thinking it was going to be an obama blow-out win. i hedged: "i think it's going to be very close, down to the wire..."
this got me to thinking about all of my travels this year and the ppl i had spoken to about the elections along the way. the japanese media consultant, german cab driver, norwegian journalist and many, many others. they were all very clear about who they thought we should elect. i remember explaining this to jonathan once, how sometimes people transcend what they are and become symbols-- such that their individual capabilities are ultimately somewhat less important than what they represent: hope, change. this is of course a slippery position, as it can easily turn against you, but with enough substance behind the icon i cannot imagine a more potent leader.
once at work, just like any other day, i kept on eye on my igoogle home page, full of market updates, my gmail inbox, tech news & the latest featured youtube videos. i also popped up the CNN page to keep an eye on the latest happenings. i was expecting exit polls, but quickly remembered (with some prompting) the inaccuracies and woes of the primary season which condemned them to the sidelines. so while i refreshed the page frequently and anxiously waited along with the rest of the world, the day slipped by.
a couple states came in while i was still at work, attending a last meeting. it was split so far, but none of the battleground state results were in yet. i entered the meeting room late and quipped that chuck norris had just pulled ahead of ron paul. i checked out of the meeting a little early as it was trailing off into minutiae and headed home to meet up with jane. we'd decided that neither of us felt like cooking and wanted to be out in the community when the results came in. we walked down to one of our local hangouts in venice, hal's bar and grill, which is a little over a mile away. by the time we had left, it was starting to look good for obama-- they'd predicted that he would take pennsylvania and he had sealed up some important eastern seabord states while mccain racked up a number of wins in the south, such as kentucky.
hal's was packed with people gathered around the 2 tvs behind the bar. we eventually found a corner table in the small bar area where we could barely see the TV. if the sense of excitement was tangible at the polling station, it coursed through hal's in loud conversations & cheers every time a new state was announced for obama. of course there were boos for the states that slipped to mccain. again, venice is not what you would call a "swing" city :-) the man with the loud voice started calculating the possibilities, exclaiming how close obama was to victory. our african american waitress seemed unflappable, keeping a cool demeanor & focused on her job.
while we were wrapping up our wine and burgers, the election was called for obama. jubilant cheers erupted from across the bar and outside the restaurant. an african american woman in the bar, tears in her eyes, hugged our waitress and anyone else who seemed equally moved. jane and i exchanged broad smiles, put on our coats and headed home.
while on the way home, cars honked and cheered, independent of the ethnicity of the passengers. people walking by smiled knowingly, we did the same. when we passed the firehouse sushi restaurant, we caught mccain's concesssion speech. moments later, dorian called. we'd discussed the election for many months and he, as his facebook profile called out, was speechless.
at home we watched obama's acceptance speech-- flawless in words and delivery. he and his family looked every bit the part, their joy and confidence spilling over to the viewers and certainly the people assembled in grant park in chicago. i remember seeing oprah straining to get a view of the stage and thinking that our lakers tickets this coming weekend aren't so bad afterall if that's the best seat oprah can muster :-)
i wound down the evening by working on my concept checkpoint deck for the friday's presentation while listening to CNN and watching people's election commentary on facebook. the next day, the moment arrived when it all sunk in the most deeply for me. i was glancing through igoogle when i spotted this article from the LA times. as i read it, i remembered every person i met throughout the past 12 months across the globe who pinned their hopes on the americans electing obama. i think their hopes were never so much about obama the person, but about the ability of the people to have a voice against the establishment-- to affect real change when things were wrong, broken by greed and abuse of power. it was also about breaking with a past pock-marked with racism, an emphatic statement that everyone is equal and anything is possible.
what this means for me is that the next time i step onto foreign soil, i can do so with a little more confidence, knowing that we've done the best we can to begin to right the course of our country. i also hope it means that when we have children, i can point back to a historic moment i was a part of, and explain what happeneed when a new day broke for our country.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
i don't know - lily allen - i don't know single
hott 2 deff - lyrics born - everywhere at once
jesus and mary - martha wainwright - i know you're married but i have feelings too
indago (jez collin mix) - carmen rizzo feat. ladybug mecca - the lost art of the idle moment
think back - galatic feat. chali2na - from the corner to the block
hustle up - galatic - from the corner to the block
big jumps - emiliana torrini - me and armini
jungle drum - emiliana torrini - me and armini
thanks to you (dj cakeface remix) - copeland - dressed up and in line
so many ways - gelka - so many ways single
arcadia - apparat - walls
so special - bomb the bass - so special single
Thursday, September 18, 2008
From: Culver City Site Events
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 6:51 PM
Subject: From Facilities - Film Shoot- 22 Sept
Sony Pictures will be doing a location shoot in the warehouse lot across Slauson Ave (5933 Slauson Avenue) north of the 800-900 Buildings. Filming will commence on Monday Sept 22nd 7am-8pm. Filming will involve pyrotechnic work- shooting and explosive devices but in a contained area within the lot so it should not disturb occupants. Sony has permits in place and a fire safety officer will oversee the pyrotechnic work.
somehow i don't think this sort of thing happens in our springfield, oregon or orem, utah offices...
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
"... and the streamlined UI provides the industry's best customer experience when combined with smart scheduling and silent mode."
"kyoo wa, norton 2009..."
what's on the next slide anyways?
i see, more stuff on usability.
that's really sort of out of order, was that me or can i blame it on pr?
dammit, that's my slide. ah well...
time for a drink of water.
is that guy in the 3rd row asleep or just tired?
his neck just bounced off his chest, definitely sleeping.
i wonder if i could get away with checking my email on my phone...
... nope. turned it off and way too conspicuous.
(big pause by interpreter)
ok, here we go...
(interpreter starts back in)
phew. how did those 5 sentences turn into a full state of the union address in japanese?
is she getting it right? i think i just heard something about an eggplant.
maybe she said the UI is the color of an eggplant.
i hate eggplant, but it's not nearly as bad in japan as it is in the US.
it's smaller and less smushy.
maybe i could try some for dinner, tempura style.
what are we having for dinner anyways?
i need some sake.
that way, if the eggplant is bad, i can just kill it with a swig.
ok, that has to be it.
unreal. she's definitely making stuff up.
time for another drink of water.
i'm 2/3 of the way done with my water. shoot.
let the race b/w my dry throat and my bladder begin!
check out that guy in the 5th row towards the back.
he's sort of like mr. fuji with donald trump's comb over. yikes.
how can his friends not tell him how bad his hair is?
it's sort of like have toilet paper stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
speaking of toilet paper, is anyone really going to think that manga toilet paper roll souvenirs are as clever as you think they are?
"now every year we conduct usability testing but this year..."
Sunday, September 14, 2008
it's not that i've run out of things to say. far from it.only that the weight of responsibilities and concerns sometimes inhibit the words.the products have launched and i am on a plane back from tokyo.
more on this later.i could not force my fingers to do more work with a gun to my head. burnt 100% toasty right now.time for a break.
so here come all the suppressed syllables of recent weeks.
i finally remembered to get my haircut before doing media in japan. why? nearly every journalist totes around a camera and takes fotos of you to accompany their story. it's interesting doing media in japan; one of the better aspects is that the japanese are genuinely interested in talking about products and want to know about the people behind them. US tech media have to take their product news with a spoonful of sugar (usually fodder on the latest trends or something), otherwise they feel like they are being sold. anyways, i was asked if i ever had a security problem myself, how old i was/where i was born, what my favorite anime was and what omiyage i was bringing back. the journo was stoked when i proudly reported that i had 3 rolls of authentic manga toilet paper i was hustling back into the country for gifts :-)
so lilo is a lesbian. think disney is lining up a "herbie 2" for her? ahem. at least she chose mark ronson's sister. i wouldn't bet sarah palin's lipstick on the longevity of this relationship. now that's a debate i'd like to see; can we get lilo on the camera with sarah palin to discuss foreign policy, stem cell research and immigration? it's be more entertaining and as insightful as the rubbish we hear from the election coverage thus far. how can i have watched politics since the beginning of the year and still be so clueless on where the 2 candidates stand on critical issues? instead we get mccain in faux outrage over an analogy obama used which thousands of other people use every day. does he think just b/c it was part of the punchline of a palin's "tougher than nails" hockey mom joke that every mention of cosmetics is now somehow tied to his campaign?
i saw another black widow the other day in the garage. i decided to test the theory that they were far too fast to be simply stomped out of existence. squish. myth busted. turns out all of that flourocarbon induced torching was lots of fun, but unnecessary. i can't tell you how disappointing this was.
my laptop died. well, at least nearly. i was lucky enough to score an x300. having used a macbook air, i can tell you the x300 not nearly as sexy. it's a helluva a lot more biz ready though and i am now addicted to logging in with my finger via biometrics. after 1 week, logging in with a user/pass seems crude and clumsy. it's funny how unexpected conveniences can become compelling, necessary. good food for thought as we plan next year's releases.
after far too long an absence emiliana torrini is finally set to release a new album. the single she released, "me and armini", is a winner. jaunty reggae flavored beat with a few nice effects punctuated by her breathy vocals. just downloaded the full length from amazon, the rest of the camel from fat freddy's drop is hopefully next. until then, vampire weekend, yoav, pacifika, and apparat remain in heavy rotation.
someone tell me why we never hear people talking about keeping insanely smart people in the country when immigration control is brought up. andy grove i believe once said we should staple a green card to every diploma we hand out for an advanced degree. bravo. i've played hockey with a bunch of guys who were masters and phd students at UCLA for the better part of 9 years now. i've watched a few of them come and go due to the difficulty of getting through the convoluted, restrictive employment process we have established for non-citizens. one of them was an exceptionally good winger, so double bummer when he left :-) i shudder to think of how many brilliant ppl we have educated only to send them back home or someone else due to our inability to get out of our own way.
whole foods opened last week about a 5 minute walk from our place. we've already had breakfast, lunch, dinner and jane did a wine-tasting there this past week while i was in tokyo. the first time we walked in it was like the clouds parted, the sky rent open and god smiled upon us. we had always joked about the 5 dollar bananas they sell and all the other overpriced products but i'll be damned if we have not swallowed the lure hook, line and sinker. the placement of the store is interesting-- it's right b/w a 99 cent store and laundrymat! 2 weeks before it opened jane and i saw a homeless guy walking down the street while peeing himself. if he did that now, the whole foods security guards would take him down faster than valencia foreclosure, lest his presence soil the organic figs by mere proximity 40 feet from the produce aisle. if i have to choose b/w the homeless guy urinating on the sidewalk and overpriced fruit, ring me up another 5 dollar banana, carlos.
Monday, August 25, 2008
get it up (radioclit remix) - santogold feat. MIA & gorilla zoe - top ranking
l.e.s. artistes (XXXchange remix) - santogold - top ranking
office boy (architecture in helsinki mix) - bondo do role - marina gasolina
marina gasolina - bondo do role - marina gasolina
replica - beck - modern guilt
dusty boots - bookashade - the sun and the neon lights
holdon - apparat -walls
over and over - apparat -walls
club thing (RAC remix) - yoav - club thing e.p.
worthless - dido - cafe del mar volumen ocho
no memory of time - eva be feat. joe dukie - no memory of time e.p.
cool me down - black seeds - enter the dojo
bob marley sublime medley - jack johnson - bootleg
spanish harlem - aretha franklin - 30 greatest hits
Friday, July 25, 2008
i hate spiders. yes, i realize they play an essential role in the circle of life and all that crap, but they're hideous, they make a mess, and they bite. so when i saw my new little renter here to the right, the "live and let live" approach was simply not going to cut it. i went off to the gym and began formulating my plan to evict my new tenant, senorita arana mas fea.
i didn't have time tuesday morning to do anything, but i cast a nervous glance over to her web and saw that she was absent. i then noticed i'd left my car windows open. i looked around the car (paranoia, i know) and then nervously hopped in, vowing that something had to be done quickly.
tuesday evening was shot so wednesday morning i snapped the foto. after 2 snaps she was on to me and snuck into the box. game on, sister. i hatched my first plan at this point, which was to drop the phone book on her. a vestige of the pre-internet days, i figured it was as good a use as any for the tome and heavy enough to squish her nicely. i left for jury duty and work.
now that evening i was to catch up with my longtime pal chuck who lived in bursely hall with me my freshman year. he is a man of obscure knowledge and considerable skill-- everything from piloting a helicopter and building small aircraft to scuba and sky diving. while chuck and i were figuring out where to go for drinks and dinner, i asked him if he wanted to see a freakin' huge black widow. he immediately replied that he has a bunch of them at his place too, but complied and check it out with me.
chuck: "yeah, she's pretty big"
me: "sorta freaky huh?"
chuck: "want to get rid of her?"
me: "yes! what are you thinking?"
(at this point, i realized how silly my phone book plan sounded)
chuck: "do you have some WD-40 and a lighter?"
(cue the a-team music)
me: "i think so, let's check"
(grabbing lighter, looking for wd-40 can...)
me: "will this work? it says 'highly flammable'"?
(chuck tested it and it produced an impressive burst of flames)
chuck: "here we go..."
chuck dispensed a stream of industrial lubricant sponsored hell-fire at the super spider and she instinctively did the arachnid equivalent of a stop, drop and roll. he promptly stomped her with his boot and left a long squishy mark of spider guts on the garage floor. done deal.
maybe some day when global warming has claimed the polar bears and penguins which are somehow tied to black widow spiders in an intricate butterfly effect that would make national geographic proud i will mourn the loss of these poisonous little beasts. until then, i'm going to keep my car windows closed in the garage and a can of spray lubricant in the garage.
Monday, July 14, 2008
strawberry swing - coldplay - viva la vida
lovers in tokyo - coldplay - viva la vida
libertad - pacifika - asuncion
starfish and coffee - prince - sign o' the times
charlotte - booka shade - the sun and the neon light
restless (fake blood remix) - UNKLE - restless E.P.
ocean - pearl jam - ten
mother nature - the orb - the dream
bryn - vampire weekend - vampire weekend
a punk - vampire weekend - vampire weekend
love revolution - bitter:sweet - drama
pro nails (bag raider's mix) - kid sister - pro nails remixes
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
firefox 3. gmail is now so fast its scary. the ie8 beta does not impress, but it is beta after all.
legoland in carlsbad. first classy amusement park i've been too in a long time. not for anyone over 5-6 really, but well done.
yo venice. every neighborhood should have this, expertly done. informative and has the flavor of the community.
off to see shipwrecked at the geffen on friday and thievery+bebel on sunday at the bowl. is it friday yet? :)
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The trip began with soup dumplings at a nearby restaurant with Alex, his girlfriend and family. It’s a telling fact of our global community that I can have one of my best friends for 16 years and never have met his parents! This was resolved over traditional Taiwanese pork dumplings whose soupy interior was piping hot and really tasty. Dinner that night was also local fare—I got to try the hot pot Alex had told me about for so long. It’s a sort of bouillabaisse served in a steel pot that was split to allow for 2 flavors of broth. One of the broths was fairly mellow but nice, the other was one of the most unique flavors I’ve tasted in a long time. It was spicy, but in a very herbal way that was both odd and yummy. If you ate too much of it without using the nearby vinegar and ginger dip, it actually numbed your tongue like an anesthetic. Into the broth we threw in a variety of vegetables, tofu, and meat.
Taipei 101 is really an impressive engineering feat—but not that interesting beyond the technical marvel of having such an enormously tall edifice on a volcanic island buffeted by strong winds and rocked by the occasional earthquake. The top level observation deck that was outdoors tested my fear of heights. Once again, I failed the test and exited after circling it nervously one time around. The “super big wind damper” was a highlight, it’s basically a giant steel ball hooked up to hydraulics used to keep the building from swaying too much.
The photo here is of a painting posted in a very visible location when you enter the hotel. Alex told me that it was placed there to ward off evil spirits. Specifically, he stated “they must have trouble with ghosts.” Hrm. I got more of an explanation when one of my colleagues informed me that the locals avoid the Grand Hyatt as it is believed to be haunted by the spirits of those that were killed in a prisoner of war camp that was previously at the same location. I’m open to the idea of ghosts and had a curious incident in my room where a light came on unexpectedly while I was in bed watching TV. I may very well have accidentally turned it on by bumping one of the controls I later found near the bed, but this would have been tricky to do. Interesting!
Here’s me riding the giant cat statue in conference room we used for the workshop we were hosting. Yeehawwwwwwwww super kitty! We took a team photo with all of us mounted on the feline after sneaking in around midnight and passing a very nervous looking hotel employee.
Earlier in the evening I had arranged with the help of a local to take the entire workshop team out for massages. After 9 days on the road and far too many evenings spent sitting in the bar, we needed something different and relaxing before the big event the next day. It ended up being a pretty unique experience, as all 6 of us (all men but 1) were ushered into the same room for our massages. Comedy ensued as the little old men pounded our buttocks throughout the session, even going so far as to rhythmically pound out a bongo beat on our collective behinds at one point.
The sun is coming up outside the window in my economy class seat now and I’m about to embark on one those strange time zone twisted days that last far too long. I’ve got a little more work to do before landing in San Francisco for a brief layover en route to LAX so I’ll hang up my blogger hat for now.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
beautiful lie - yoav - charmed and strange
prana - tom middleton - lifetracks
best for last - adele -19
the zone - j-live feat. chali 2na - then what happened
deep water - portishead - third
garoto (steve cobby solid doc rerub) - cusmos - g-stone online selection
sol - pacifika - asuncion
mercy - duffy - rockferry
you are not through - evil nine - you can be special too
viva la vida - coldplay - viva la vida
going strong - makeba mooncycle - nightmares on wax presents wax on records
il serpente - kraak and smaak - plastic people
shakatakadoodub - kruder and dorfmeister - shakatakadoodub single
Saturday, June 07, 2008
somewhat humorously, as i was writing this we hit some turbulence on the plane (tokyo->taipei) and the 40ish looking japanese woman to my right grabbed my arm in fright and held it. like i was saying, this isn't bad, just a little distracting to say the least. truth be told after all this time flying i still get freaked out by turbulence. this might be due to losing my old pal mark stoehl on flight back from china when i was 20. i could also just be a big sissy :-)
coming to asia for me means visiting dear, old friends and revisting a time in my life when i had just graduated from university. in spring of 96, i had locked up a job at deloitte & touche in los angeles and had nearly limitless excitement for what lied ahead: an unwritten future full of palm trees, beautiful west coast women & a career in high-tech at a time when the internet boom was just beginning to blossom. looking back, i can't imagine a time in my life of more optimism and enthusiasm.
with all of this ahead of me, i focused at the time on wrapping up a couple jobs to fill my college student coffers before taking off for a summer of travel to singapore, indonesia, malaysia, and japan. i was working as a freelance web developer for a shady cat out of chicago my sister had introduced me to as well as a programmer for a professor at umich who wanted to analyze search engine results. way before google become a titan, i wrote a delphi application that parsed search engine results from hotbot, alta vista, yahoo, etc. in order to analyze their relative effectiveness. i was also polishing a web server log analysis tool i'd originally started in borland paradox for producing usage metrics for the biz school. we were actually using this to justify why we needed a website and procure add'l investment for developing the site. oh man, have times changed...
while i'm tempted to write a chronology of my summer travels, i don't remember my time so much as an itinerary as a collection of vivid snapshots in my memory. more of a series of loose photos than a video, so to speak. i recall my first taste of durian at jeffrey's parents' apartment in singapore, walking through crowded markets and garishly colored indian temples next to high tech shopping malls filled with chinese and malay singaporeans. along with jeff and his friends, arthur, wee teck and his eventual wife yen wuah, we traveled to bintan to spend a sun burnt weekend playing on the beach in bintan, indonesia.
i spent the lion's share of my travel that summer in japan, traveling from tokyo to fukuoka and back. sitting at the train station at some remote japanese city, traveling down to fukuoka to see my pal victor, a shinkansen shot through like a rocket, blowing back even my short-cropped hair. going through japan on my own was a rush, not only was the freedom intoxicating but i had spent 2 years of intensive japanese lessons and it felt great to finally use some of what i'd learned. there are those that accuse me of being an asia-phile b/c of this and my marriage to a korean, but i undertook japanese purely as an intellectual challenge having already excelled in all the romance languages and feeling like this would be the ultimate linguistic mountain to climb. to be honest, while i have very fond memories of asia i will likely always consider latino culture closer to my heart.
i remember going to see fuji-san with alex roberts, his mother and a shinto priestess who was her neighbor who had befriended me. her driving was so terrible that we all arrived at the base of the mountain nauseous and simply glad that we were no longer in the car, jerking along to the palsy of her seemingly spastic foot on the brake. i still have the ceramic & stone tea glasses she gave me before i left japan and i hope i always do. they serve as a beautiful, occasional reminder for me of this time in my life when we bring them out for a picnic or special occasion.
i will never forget going to a festival around a lake in fukuoka with victor and his then girlfriend. we ate fried tako (can never remember the name!), watched fireworks and drank entirely too much beer en route to closing out the evening with the best late night ramen noodles i've ever eaten. victor drove a cheap scooter that somewhat impossibly bore both of our weight down narrow streets and tight corners. i haven't a clue what ever happened to victor; unlike jeffrey, alex roberts and chou, he has faded out of my life with no clear means of retrieving his acquaintance. i admit this with no sorrow, it's inevitable and has happened with even closer friends. the tides of time seem to polish certain friendships into further relief and beauty while it carries others away with the retreating water.
there is a small garden somewhere in kyoto that has left a mark on me i hope to carry to the end of my days. i don't think it is a major landmark and may not live on a tourist map at all, but i recall walking up a narrow, stone street with alex roberts and finding a small entry way into a pristine buddhist garden. it was experty manicured and verdant green, the result of meticulous care and thoughtful design. as we sat and meditated, the occasional "clop" of the wooden mechanism for scaring off the deer broke the silence. the japanese name for this completely escapes me, but it fills with water from a source above it and only when weighted down with sufficient water does it drop to another wooden stick whose sloped angle encourages the water to drop from the tube that had just been filled by falling, gurgling water. it's an oddly musical, beautiful sound set against a backdrop of almost uninterrupted silence.
i just looked up and realized i've killed an hour or so writing this and have filled a couple pages already :-) time to wrap it up. off to taipei to make some new memories with alex chou.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
rec'd this in my inbox (junk) this morning:
I allow myself to get in touch with you regarding the MOHO project set up by students and professors from Stanford and two among the best universities in France (Centrale Paris Engineering School and ESSEC Business School).
the moho project? really?
director: sumthin' ain't workin' in this video dawg...
rap artist: we need moho up in here!
something clearly got lost in the translation. don't the students at the finest french universities keep up with pop culture? those french dubbed versions of 'boyz in the hood" aren't selling themselves...
lastly, haiku humor
In Japan, they have replaced the impersonal and unhelpful Microsoft error messages with Haiku Poetry messages. Haiku Poetry has strict construction rules: Each poem has only 17 Syllables - 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, 5 in the Third. They are used to communicate a timeless message, often achieving a wistful, yearning, and powerful insight through extreme brevity.
Here are some actual error messages from Japan. Aren't these better than "your computer has performed an illegal operation?"
The web site you seek
Cannot be located, but
Countless more exist.
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.
Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.
Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.
Your file was so big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.
Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.
A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.
Three things are certain
Death, taxes and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.
You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.
Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.
Having been erased,
The document you're seeking
Must now be retyped.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
last nite ended at a restaurant called "nak won" on vermont in k-town. i didn't want to go really but jane wanted to and far be it from me to deny the soon-to-be bday girl from some late nite korean food. hodori was the goal, but nak won is next door and not a bad second place when you just want to eat and go. hodori's main attraction is the fact that they are open 24x7 and that the food is unoffensive & cheap. contrasted with nak won which is only cheap and open 24x7.
kimchee kal guk soo at 2am turns into a late morning so i piled out of bed late while jane slumbered off her hang-over (sort of). i was designated driver last nite and angling for a morning run. i cranked out a 6.5 miler including a few rounds of stairs and a fast mile on the samohi track. wrapped it up with some stretching and few rounds of wii boxing.
i made us lunch of bbq kabobs, corn and spinach salad. the multi-colored little potatoes from yesterdays farmer's mkt worked out in place of chicken. while kabobing, chatted with my old pal chuck who is a stunt man/actor who told me about his role in a forthcoming gi joe blockbuster. as interesting as it seems, i would not trade my predictable income for his occasional last minute stint on "lost" in hawaii yet not knowing when the mortgage money is going to run out.
we ate lunch while listening to the new tom middleton cd "lifetracks" i downloaded from emusic, quite legally i might add. this served as a break from the excellent yoav cd "charmed and strange" i've been binging on all weekend after getting it in the mail from kcrw on friday. check out "club thing" and "beautiful lie" from yoaz's new cd, if nothing else.
the afternoon was reading and resting on the deck upstairs along with some work. really hot today, something like 90s and hotter inland. we then headed off to "celebrity bingo" at my hair stylist's salon. he dresses in drag for these and goes by the name of "geneva deveraux", see the pic below. it started well beyond fashionably late (like an hour late) and we didn't win squat but we did hang out with faith evan's husband while faith belted out numbers and letters with richard... er, geneva. if you win, you shout out "bingo, bitch!" and then ppl throw their wadded up bingo cards at you.
i then dropped a tired jane off at home and headed over to "tengu" in sta monica for a quick drink with my longtime pal dimitry. him and his little group "zona" have a couple house singles out that are reasonably successful abroad and after an hour at his friend's bday party, we left and he played me their new tracks. it's well produced, catchy house stuff. not bad at all. i dropped him off so he could get back to his little model friend "antonio" (all looks, no brains) and i could get home to wind down.
back to school tomorrow. this is not a normal weekend, but not that unusual either. the oddball mix of people, culture and the arts in LA makes it one of my favorite places on the planet. i wouldn't trade life in lala land for any place else :-)
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
i had dinner last nite with a couple friends, one of which is on the OC dating scene. he was with a woman for a while, but she had broken it off with him a couple days before *via text message*. ouch! she now refuses to take his calls. is this normal now? has texting infiltrated the rest of the relationship as well? for example, is there "text sex" like there is "phone sex"? hmmmm... glad i'm not on the dating scene.
jane and i saw iron man sunday evening and it was fantastic. best flick i've seen since juno last year. great acting, perfectly cast, lots of action, well-paced, etc.
... why do ppl still have office phones? i never use mine and it has a message that says "i don't check this, just call my cell". after 3 years, not a single person has abused this. the bigger issue is that i now get locked out every 4 months since i can't remember the stupid passcode. sigh...
... there is something in the UK that produces amazing female vocalists of late. yes, there is amy winehouse, but what about corrinne bailey-rae? and lily allen (not a great voice, but a big talent nonetheless)? i've been listening to duffy's "rockferry" which is an epic, wonderful single. adele seems great as well, i've nabbed 2 of her tracks from "19", "make you believe" and the funky "best for last". i see santogold is finally catching a little wind in her sails too.
alright, my email is locked and loaded and i'm already mid-way through digging my way out before the morning's exercise. happy tuesday!
Friday, May 09, 2008
hunter - portishead - third
killing in the name of - rage against the machine - rage against the machine
the cowboy and his sub - jon kennedy - demons
paranoid android - sia - exit music (radiohead tribute)
the funky drummer - plump djs with a skillz - funk hits the fan e.p.
planetary (club mix) - booka shade - planetary e.p.
four sticks - led zeppelin - IV
china - tori amos - precious things
crooked - evil nine - you can be special too
rockferry - duffy - rockferry
sinead o'connor - john, i love you - universal mother
gothia limone (remix) - embee - send someone away e.p.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
It’s been a while since the last time I jotted down my thoughts in advance of an FTC workshop, but here I am again tapping away at the keyboard on my laptop on my way to Washington D.C. I’m doing last minute preparation for being on a panel tomorrow at FTC’s mobile marketplace workshop with another security professional from US CERT and an academic/engineer. While I’m normally guided by a slide deck, slides are verboeten on panels like this and the most important thing to be armed with is well-formed thoughts. So in the spirit of cementing the thoughts in my head after doing a few days of research and mulling things over, here’s my notes on the questions I’m expecting tomorrow.fair warning: this ended up pretty techie...
Who are the stakeholders in the mobile security market?
The carriers – it’s their job to keep the networks clean and running smoothly. Since they often get paid by how much services you use, they have a high level of incentive to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
The handset manufacturers – they are responsible for making sure the hardware is designed with at least basic defenses in mind. For example, it would be great if they had onboard encryption, but they should at least make sure that the combination of the OS & hardware provide sufficient support for security related aspects of protocols such as GSM and UTMS.
The OS vendor – they have the same responsibility as the handset manufacturers to make sure all the basics are covered, but since they are also application providers (and service providers to phone applications) they have all the normal software security concerns (buffer overflows, dos conditions, etc.). Code re-use for windows exemplifies this, as the old IGMP DoS flaw was a direct carry over to Windows Mobile 5. Mobile OS have many years of security expertise to draw on from the PC space—in some areas the lessons seem to have been learned (code signing is standard), in other areas, they have not. There are also new issues here related to privacy & mobility, such as location tracking, which really are a bit different than the PC space (which assumes your device is not terribly mobile, probably not true anymore with laptop sales outpacing desktop sales, but I still carry my phone more places than my little thinkpad x60.
The user – given the movement of attacks to exploiting people, no matter how good a job the above players do, the user has to make the right decisions about what data to store on their phone (how sensitive?), how to protect it (use a password?), what to install on it (can I trust this file claiming to be a background or ringtone?), and what to connect it to (hotspot, Bluetooth device, etc.). The biggest risk here is loss or theft, phones are lost at 15 times the rate of a PC! Hence, the most important thing you can do is carefully consider how much sensitive data you store on your phone, password protect your phone, and use encryption when it is available. I use a password on my phone and store most of my sensitive data in other places, like on my lappie or in a file in gmail (not the best, but better than in a flat file in my phone).
Note that in systems that accommodate payment by phone, as you now see in Japan, you also have the merchants and more importantly the payment processor in the mix. Nothing really new here, just all the same security practices you would expect from players accustomed to handling credit cards and other payment instruments.
What is the future of malware & mobile phones? How is it different from PCs?
Homogeneous OS: Windows
At least 4 different OS (RIM, Apple, Symbian, Windows Moile), 1 with the most market share is Symbian at 65% -- Linux is out there too, and what about Motorola’s OS?
Conclusion: threats cannot spread as easily since they cannot assume a single, dominant OS.
Hardware abstracted from the OS: Single threat will run on any Windows-supported hardware (AMD, Intel processors make no difference as long as long as it is the same bit rating)
Hardware and OS more tightly linked—at least differences across platform force application development challenges such that you cannot compile for Symbian and then expect it to run across all Symbian devices—has to be recompiled for the specific processor used on the phone if not the phone itself
Conclusion: not only can threats not assume a single OS, but even on that OS, threats cannot cross processor architectures (i.e.in 05, CommWarrior could not jump from a Nokia phone to a Sony Ericsson phone via BT or MMS, even though both used Symbian Series 60).
Phones are not used for cash transactions in most places—yet. The data they store on average is more useful for spammers than anyone else.
Conclusion: there is less incentive for malware to afflict a mobile phone since the authors cannot directly monetize their theft.
Unauthorized installs quite easy along with exploits or fake alerts
Code-signing and platform issues (mentioned above) make this difficult, forcing attackers to resort to trickery and low volume attacks
Apple gates this by forcing everything through iTunes (all apps have to register and be sold via iTunes). Symbian forces applications to be signed by them.
MSFT has code-signing with Windows Mobile 6, unsigned apps will prompt the user once and will not have access to certain “dangerous” APIs.
J2ME could facilitate this, but would have to vulnerable and installed on the vast majority of devices—and you would have to have a static IP address or some vector of exploit, such as a popular browser like FireFox. J2ME attacks will force prompts for every dangerous action, so social engineering a la RedBrowser may be effective, but self-replicating malware is unlikely.
RIM uses same model as J2ME.
Conclusion: Unauthorized, silent installs are unlikely without physical theft of a phone itself due to the level of control the OS/device manufacturers exert over the handset.
No money trail for spamming
If someone is spamming via your phone, many users will receive an “out of whack” bill (SMS is not free for many), funny charges or have a monthly bill they are accustomed to receiving.
Conclusion: Not foolproof, but it’s harder to remain unnoticed on a phone when spamming.
Proximity unlimited—completely remote attacks are du rigueur
Remote attacks are possible today with repeaters and antennas, but there are still geographic limitations.
ISPs serve as the transportation network—many of them and they sprang up quickly. Sharing relationship were new as they were not well acquainted with one another and intensely competitive.
This is how phishing “takedown” services proliferate, basically they are go-betweens across ISPs for brands asking for fraud sites to be taken down. If ISPs had better fraud detection services and coordination, phishing would not be the problem that it is. Not to mention the existence of rogue ISPs like the Russian Business Network.
Telcos are the transportation networks—while very competitive, they have longstanding relationships and are more likely to work together to solve resolve a large threat than an ISP.
What does the market for phone-based security services look like?
§ Easy data encryption and backup
§ Potentially includes privacy services
§ Identity protection
§ Safety services for file download & install, hotspot access, etc.
§ Parental controls (centralized, across devices)
What can consumers do to protect themselves?
1. Don’t store sensitive info on your phone.
Names and addresses are understandable, but don’t put your SSN and CC data on your phone. At least not unencrypyted.
2. Password protect your phone.
It’s irritating, but it will prevent most data theft if the phone is lost or stolen.
3. Back-up your phone data.
You never know when you will need it.
4. Set your device’s Bluetooth to undiscoverable.
Will prevent unsolicited requests and will not affected paired devices.
5. Don’t accept incoming BlueTooth requests unless you asked for it.
No good can come from it.
6. Review your monthly bill for any funny business.
Will help you identify fraudulent charges/spam impact.
7. Don’t install files from untrusted sources on your phone.
Might affect your phone performance, stability, or security.
§ Watch for transaction increases to drive more malware author incentive
§ Watch for IPv6 and dedicated IP addresses—promises for more issues and concern
§ Malware itself is not likely to target an OS platform, but rather the web which is quickly becoming the platform for all devices.
o Windows has been the target of choice b/c it is pervasive, the web is becoming this today given the proliferation of devices and increased functionality (i.e. web 2.0)
o Attackers in the future will aim for the web since it offers the biggest return, but even these attacks will be language specific (unless you can get at a global ad network)
§ Threats will therefore “merge” from the PC world to phones and other web-enabled devices where they will exhibit traits we are already seeing today
o More reliant on deception than technology exploits
o Service specific
o Language specific
And they will likely be non-persistent “flash” attacks.
So we won’t have to worry too much about self-replicating malware, but malware and spyware will be a worry, especially those that focus on install via deception (Trojans).
§ Nonetheless, we think the market is much broader than malware protection alone, it encompasses
o Easy data encryption and backup
o Potentially includes privacy services
o Identity protection
o Safety services for file download & install, hotspot access, etc.
o Parental controls (centralized, across devices)
Sunday, May 04, 2008
oh yeah, i turned in a respectable time of 44:30, around 7:18 per mile. not bad, but i was hoping for something in the 43 range, which would have required more training or more likely a rocket pack :-)
edit: results are up now. i ended up with a 44:20 finish. it's only 10 seconds less, but i'll take it!
Saturday, May 03, 2008
1. use silent or vibrate mode on your mobile phone in the office
it's hard enough to focus on what your doing with IM, email and 2 phones (land line and a mobile) vying for your attention, you certainly don't need someone else's phone binging off every 30 minutes as my old office mate's used to do when he forgot to take it to meetings with him. i resolved the problem by threatening to flush it down the toilet.
2. don't put IM on your mobile phone
you can already text ppl from your phone to get that groovy sense of immediate gratification, why would you need IM? and you can use the web from your phone (at least ppl with a smartphone can), as well as email. do you really need IM on your mobile? i say give it up.
3. it's ok not to answer your phone
and i've yet to miss an important call.really. just b/c you can be accessible damn near anywhere, doesn't mean you should be. i can't tell you how many times i've walked into a public restroom and i can hear someone yapping away with their pal while sitting on the can. yuck. this is an extreme case, but i've become accustomed to leaving my phone at home on the weekend or shutting it off in the evening. it feels really good, try it.
4. don't invite ppl to join facebook groups
i think i have something like 18 group invitations pending, everything from joining the struggle vampires versus the zombies to the purdue women's lacrosse team. i'm over it. i've yet to figure out why i even need facebook groups.
5. don't call a bluetooth headset "a bluetooth"
this little gem came from a certain family member lately who will remain unnamed. bluetooth is a wireless protocol, not a device. it can connect your phone to your car, a keyboard to a computer, and the your digital picture frame to a phantom image of the virgin of guadalupe (ok, this one may take additional help from a psychic, but you get the idea). unless your willing to call a website "an HTTP", let's nip this one in the bud.
6. bluetooth headset <> fashion accessory
i said it before but apparently i'm losing this battle: i don't care how groovy and matchy your headset is, chances are you look really silly wearing it in your ear when your not talking. i've started seeing this all the time now, it's nutty. ever tried having a conversation with someone who is wearing it in their ear? first, the ear blinks every 5 seconds which i find really distracting while trying to maintain eye contact. secondly, you are often left to wonder if they've just picked up their phone and are speaking to you or someone else. lastly, it just seems rude that i am right in front of you and having a conversation yet i can be instantly interrupted and trumped by anyone who dials you up on your mobile to see what your favorite pizza topping is.
7. don't text, email or otherwise type while driving
the only exception to this is when stuck in traffic. this one is an obvious no-no, but i will admit to having done it.
8. keep your VM greeting 2 sentences or less
you can't always zing past every VM greeting, so for the love of god, pls keep it brief. 2 sentences or less is perfect. i don't need to know how to send you a fax, know how much you really want me to have a wonderful day, or hear your favorite quote from charles dickens. the related request here is to keep your VM messages short. not nearly as offensive and sometimes you just have to ramble a little but always appreciated.
9. don't just use your phone # as your VM greeting
i know you may not like hearing your recorded voice (not many ppl do, including myself), but i often wonder if i called the right person when i don't have any sort of aural clue when leaving a message. if you don't want a custom greeting, how about just your name? or getting someone else to say it?
10. mute while typing on a conference call
this happens once a day: i'm on a conference call with a slew of people, and someone is multitasking by hammering away on their keyboard. nothing wrong with multitasking, i do it just as much as the next person, however, you have to consider the noise factor of what your doing. nothing seems to be quite as rampant or popular as pounding out emails, IMs or anything else that requires frequent typing while pretending to listen in to the guy from finance explain budgetary procedure #71. it's just too damn loud. mute if you're going to type. or fold clothes. or dust the wood in the room. or rip your old CDs. i do all of these and they make very little noise to the ppl on the call.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
anyways, i finally gave in and plopped myself in front of my desktop computer to read personal email and do take a look at the news. an article called "the world in 2058" caught my eye. first off, it has a long section with vint cerf whom is one of my faves, sort of the jimmy choo of technology in janespeak. while i have to consider what the future will bring for security products and i spend a lot of brain cycles on it, i admittedly don't consider much beyond my field and if i'm still working on security products in 2058 i'd be sorely disappointed (i've promised myself this is my last job in the field i joined in 95/96).
so what did the big brains have to say?
we'll get to travel at the speed of light - i'm all for getting to places faster, but we haven't really even figured out how to safely travel by car at 70 mph yet. we were doing just fine until mobile phones came into the picture. now, every time someone weaves into a nearby lane or bumps the car in front of them, you see in their hands a phone or 'berry that was receiving more attention than their driving. now, imagine this at lightspeed! what the heck happens when you give into temptation and text your pal while traveling from NYC->TYO, only to bump into someone from Shanghai? i don't know the answer, but i'm betting you don't just bump off of them video game style and offer a polite apology.
we'll have nano devices inside us - i'm all for this. i'm thinking i could have a little gyrosleeping agent which recognized that my artificially enhanced six-pack abdomen had flipped over on its side to indulge in a little fetal position while catching a few z's. it would then smooth everything out, released some chemical or pushing some body buttons that would basically tell my lower back to piss off for a bit while i sleep how *i want to sleep*, not how it allows me to. oh yeah, and if i could get a nano device which would power up my anemic slapshot, count me in. how about one that travels to where the middle of my back itches when jane isn't around to help out? i can see my whole body as a freakin' 405 of little nano devices zipping around to cure ailments and shortcomings i simply shrug off today.
a few other interesting things were the mention that terrorism and climate change are pretty much in check by that time. not that we've "solved them" but that the planet doesn't yield under the weight of climate change and we adapt around it and terrorism is recognized as a police and not a military function. mind you, combating it means giving up fundamental privacy rights, which is mentioned as a "thorny" issue. uh yeah. banksy has done some brilliant art on privacy lately with his "one nation under cctv" graf. it also turns out that blue is the new green and we end up with a water shortage after we deal with all this sticky climate change stuff. hmmmmmm... desalination anyone?
after all of this, i'm left with a very simple longing for the future: can anyone make a really good rum raisin ice cream in 2058 that won't gird my nano-tricked out buttocks with a new layer of fat?