27 June 2011

Doing it for the LULZ: calling it quits after only 50 days.

In all seriousness, I do not think that anybody really truly believes that LulzSec have called it quits after only 50 days. Maybe had decided to quit while they were ahead. Maybe after hacking CIA.gov that they all had a FBI party buses parked in front of their homes. Maybe after the last arrest they have decided that they just need to lay low for a bit. Who knows?

The fact that Ryan Cleary, has already been arrested and appeared in court may have been something to do with this. (scared pussies).There is a very large question as to how much LulzSec was cooperating with Anonymous.

Really the staying power of LulzSec was quite disappointing, they're not exactly anonymous, Al Qaeda or the red brigade. However I do have to say that they cause the biggest splash on hacking scene for as many years as I can remember.

Many people question how effective their attacks were, or how serious their contribution was their contribution to hacktivism. There are many out there in the blogosphere who are now forming their own conspiracy theories that the whole thing was a government set up, so that the US Senate can force through more totalitarian anti-hacking measures. But let's face it, conspiracy theories is what Internet does best.

Many hactivists are angry because LulzSec was nothing more special than a bunch of script kiddies, who only attacked the very weak without any real justifiable cause. Indeed this was part of LulzSec mission statement, to point out the gaping holes that exist in the computer systems of some of the world's biggest corporations and governments. One thing is for sure, I do not believe that any Sony executive, security expert, or shareholder will see any lulz in of this experience. 

Something I really do not understand is why it LulzSec would attempt to attack a series of large game companies. I can understand why they would attack banks, the American government, or other like institutions. But these guys play games, and shall while they might be pissed off about some aspects of DRM, I'm not quite sure how the outright theft and resale of customers private details and credit card numbers achieves an anti-DRM message.  If anything quite the opposite.

I guess that's why they did it, just for the lulz.

I personally expect to see LulzSec again in the near future. I do not believe that the Lulz boat has cast off for good.

-Tetracarbon out.

Look who have the last laugh:
The FBI raids innocent firms - but it's hard to see through the Fog-of-internet-War when we you are fighting in the Cloud.

Ulgh... the Economist got it wrong.  An errata states it was a Latvian crime ring and not LulzSec.  This post now is retrospectively pointless.  Sorry! Even the Economist screws up from time to time.

25 June 2011

Educational Webcomics

Let's have a look at some Web comics that you may be able to use for your classes:

PhD Comics http://www.phdcomics.com/
PhD Comics have been a long time favorite. Very funny, and very relevant, unfortunately, PhD comics looks down on undergraduates, and therefore is unuseful for the vast majority of my teaching (mainly because I teach undergraduates).

Even still I think Ph.D. comics is one of the highest quality web comics on the web, and something that I very much relate to. (Even if it's not updated super frequently)

23 June 2011

Teaching standards - a response to a student's email

This semester I received an e-mail from a student who was thanking me for the effort I have put into the course of the semester, but more importantly started denigrating his work, and the value of the institution I work at.  The feeling was "second class students for a second rate school."

Here is my response: 


Dear Student

Thank you for your kind words.  I really am committed to trying to make this a better experience for students – teaching and learning just is not what it needs to be. I am by no means perfect, I can’t spell, I make mistakes and I am slow to do mental arithmetic.  I have a bad memory so I can not remember every tiny detail. 

BUT I do work hard.  Spelling and rapid addition/subtraction means I use MS Word and Excel to do things I do badly.  And if I can’t remember the exact section in tax act, or the exact citation – then I look it up.  By looking it up I have guaranteed that I have made no mistakes and I am using the most recent information.

Even if you are weak in some areas, lots of hard work and street smarts means that your flaws can not hold you back.

Hard work and drive is the key.  The world will very quickly forget the lazy.

Please do not think that Holmesglen is “below average” – there is a generally bad attitude that you have to look down or be ashamed of Holmesglen because it’s not <bigNameUni>.  RUBBISH!  (In my experience) the teaching in those institutions is WORSE.  I have been to 2 of the G of 8 schools, and I can tell you that the teaching is not exactly great.  For that you pay at least 4 times the price, you get better resources, but let’s face it, how many students read the text book from cover-to-cover? However you do buy a brandname at the big schools.  150 years of graduates means that they are well known.  Holmesglen has only 2 years of graduates.  Being relatively unknown does not mean you are weak.

Key idea: you think the quality of teaching is bad at Holmesglen?  I can pretty much guarantee you it’s certainly not better anywhere else.

Teaching needs to change.  School needs to ripped up and start again.  Really, it’s only student demand that can drive this change.