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February 07 2014

Ben Horowitz’s Bitcoin Bet
bitcoin vaultToday in bitcoin ephemera I present this interesting bet between VC Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz and Felix Salmon, noted bitcoin curmudgeon. Ben has invested in multiple bitcoin startups while Felix has a really cool name and is a well-known economics writer.

February 04 2014

The FAA Shuts Down Beer-Delivery Drone
JeMKs8ZNIce fishermen on Lake Waconia in Minnesota were pleasantly surprised when a Wisconsin brewery, Lakemaid, flew a twelve-pack of their frothy suds over the icy wastes to their warm fishing cabins using a hefty, remote-controlled quadcopter. It was a match made in zero-degree weather: the brewery took orders and flew their drones out to the fishermen who, in turn, didn't have to trudge to the shore for liquid refreshment. The FAA, however, didn't find the arrangement so appealing.

August 09 2013

Presenting The Funniest Vines Of 2013 (Thus Far)
It's Friday in August and you know what that means: another episode in our semi-regular series entitled "Justify The Continued Existence Of Vine In The Face Of Massive Competition In The Video Sharing Space By Highlighting A Number Of Very Funny Short Videos By Vine Users!" Today we bring you the funniest Vines in 2013 so far, as chosen by some dude.

August 06 2013

TC Alum Drew Olanoff Talks To The Conan O'Brien Show About Google Glass
It's with a tear in my eye that I share this little snippet with you - our own Drew Olanoff, who now works at Yahoo! with most of the rest of Palo Alto, talking to Conan O'Brien about Google Glass. Drew (the Drewster we called him) runs through some of the cooler features including how to make a call, how to find directions, and, in the end, how to go with grace and dignity.

April 30 2012


I, For One, Welcome Our Remote-Controlled Robotic Fire-Breathing Dragon Overlords

A bit of silly for your Monday morning: this is a flying, RC-controlled robotic dragon that actually breathes fire and sounds like a monstrous squeal demon as it takes off. The Dragon took a year to build and won Best In Show at the Toledo RC event, Weak Signals.

A modeler named Rick Hamel built the dragon and painted over 600 airbrushed scales on its plastic carapace. Sadly, he did not use it to cover his private parts after hatching it in a funeral pyre a la the Khaleesi

via Hobbymedia

April 20 2012


What Would You Do For A TCTV Interview? Digital Ocean Employee Does 100 Pushups [TCTV]

Yesterday at New York Tech Day we met with quite a few great companies including Digital Ocean. These guys are pretty established in the cloud space. They offer OS agnostic cloud servers and are giving away some service space for free to NYTD participants and their minimum package is $5 a month. Pretty basic stuff.

But what they wouldn’t do for a TC mention! One of their employees, Mitch, explained that he was the in-office push-up master so we asked him to do 100 push-ups while we interviewed someone else from the team. Two minutes later and Mitch was done, the pitch was complete, and we all realized that we should all be doing pushups instead of startups if we want to look as beefy as Mitch.

Thanks, incidentally, Mitch, for being such a good sport.

April 18 2012

Microsoft PM “Resigns” Via Video, Joins Justin Kan’s New Startup Exec
Exec, the new TaskRabbit competitor from's co-founder, Justin Kan, has just hired a new designer it seems. Or so she sings. In a video posted to YouTube by one Karen X. Cheng, she sings and strums - rather nicely, in fact - to the tune of "Bye, Bye Miss American Pie" about  how she's leaving behind her job Microsoft, where she spent three years compiling Excel code, and is now "hopping on a plane to San Francisco" to join Exec. "The next time that I touch a spec will be at a startup called Exec. My PM days have expired, I've taken a job as a designer." Now that's going out with a bang!

January 20 2012


Skyrim (Not Really) Ported To The TI-84 Calculator

Are you ready to destroy the Dragons of Skyrim with your trusty orcish arrows and shortsword? Do you wish to hop on your trusty horse and ride endlessly up steep slopes and through wooded glens? Do you have a TI-84 graphing calculator? Well you’re kind of in luck.

An intrepid Skyrim fan created a Skyrim simulator that is basically a text adventure game with a few clever graphics. It definitely doesn’t recreate the glorious sky of a Skyrim sunset or the spooky caverns of Kolskeggr Mine but you can at least while away the hours in Social Studies.

If your teacher isn’t paying attention today in Calculus, you can grab the program here and live the adventure, albeit in a very truncated way.

via Kotaku

August 11 2011


February 11 2011


Ligatt Rap

Security researcher Chris John Riley has decided to respond to death threats and lawsuits from Georgia security consultancy Ligatt and its proprietor Gregory Evans, but not in kind. Instead he's written and recorded a rap song:

December 16 2010


Colbert Explains Cyberwar

On the Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert provided some background on “the First Great Cyberwar” as the hacktivist collective Anonymous has dubbed it, the “Defend Assange” sub-mission of Operation Payback. Operation Payback started as a fight against anti-piracy measures, but has moved to attacking web sites seen to be impeding Wikileaks in its mission to release diplomatic cables via distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. This includes sites that have frozen donations to Wikipedia like PayPal or Mastercard and the web sites of law enforcement and politicians either acting against or speaking out against Wikileaks or Anonymous itself.

“America is at Cyberwar, and lolcats says ‘I can has WMD’s?’” -Stephen Colbert

His guest in explaining the problem, Omar Wasow, presented himself well. Wasow is apparently best known from appearances on the Oprah Winfrey show, where he explained aspects of the Internet.

I just wish it had been an actual information security expert on the show. Wasow mentioned many of the right examples (the Gawker breach from earlier this week, DDoS attacks on Georgia) but forgot to mention Colbert’s own human distributed denial of service (DDoS) on Conservapedia.

“Time’s person of the year is Mark Zuckerberg. Sorry Julian Assange, I guess you didn’t violate enough people’s privacy.” – Stephen Colbert

The Colbert ReportMon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30cWorld War 3.0 – Omar Wasowwww.colbertnation.comColbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>March to Keep Fear Alive

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December 11 2010


Anonymous Releases Very Unanonymous Press Release

Today, December 10th, Anonymous, an Internet gathering, released a press release which you can read below. In it, a description is provided of what Anonymous is about, what Operation Payback is, and where the media is getting it wrong. Also in it, its author forgot to remove his name in the pdf’s Meta information.

Press Release

ANON OPS: A Press Release

Document Properties

Um, Alex Tapanaris…?

Document Author: Alex Tapanaris

Full Press Release Text

ANON OPS: A Press Release December 10, 2010

Who is Anonymous In their most recent public statement, WikiLeaks is the only group of people to identify Anonymous correctly. Anonymous is not a group, but rather an Internet gathering.

Both Anonymous and the media that is covering it are aware of the percieved dissent between individuals in the gathering. This does not, however, mean that the command structure of Anonymous is failing for a simple reason: Anonymous has a very loose and decentralized command structure that operates on ideas rather than directives.

We do not believe that a similar movement exists in the world today and as such we have to learn by trial and error. We are now in the process of better communicating some core values to the individual atoms that comprise Anonymous – we also want to take this opportunity to communicate a message to the media, so that the average Internet Citizen can get to know who we are and what we represent.

Anonymous is not a group of hackers. We are average Interent Citizens ourselves and our motivation is a collective sense of being fed up with all the minor and major injustices we witness every day.

We do not want to steal your personal information or credit card numbers. We also do not seek to attack critical infrastructure of companies such as Mastercard, Visa, PayPal or Amazon. Our current goal is to raise awareness about WikiLeaks and the underhanded methods employed by the above companies to impair WikiLeaks’ ability to function.

What is Operation: Payback As stated above, the point of Operation: Payback was never to target critical infrastructure of any of the companies or organizations affected. Rather than doing that, we focused on their corporate websites, which is to say, their online “public face”. It is a symbolic action – as blogger and academic Evgeny Morozov put it, a legitimate expression of dissent.

The background to the attacks on PayPal and the calls to attack Amazon, which was until recently WikiLeaks’ DNS provider, was one of the first companies to drop support for WikiLeaks. On December 9th, reported that were hosting the recently leaked diplomatic cables in e-book form. ( has since ceased selling the bundle of the diplomatic cables.)

After this piece of news circulated, parts of Anonymous on Twitter asked for to be targetted. The attack never occured.

While it is indeed possible that Anonymous may not have been able to take down in a DDoS attack, this is not the only reason the attack never occured. After the attack was so advertised in the media, we felt that it would affect people such as consumers in a negative way and make them feel threatened by Anonymous. Simply put, attacking a major online retailer when people are buying presents for their loved ones, would be in bad taste.

The continuing attacks on PayPal are already tested and preferable: while not damaging their ability to process payments, they are successful in slowing their network down just enough for people to notice and thus, we achieve our goal of raising awareness.

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August 10 2010


It’s Official: The Best Bosses Read TechCrunch!

A young lady named Jennifer – the Internet is now hunting down her last name – sent a selection of thirty-three photos to her entire office of twenty people detailing why she’s quitting. Mostly it was because of a man named Spencer who called her a HOPA (go ahead and look it up or just look at the pictures) but you’ll note one important slide in her presentation.

That’s right: Spencer was a TechCrunch reader!

Spencer spent 5.3 hours spent on TechCrunch. That’s a good hour a day, every day. Take this as a “recommended dosage” and increase as necessary. Also, don’t be a Spencer. Also, hire this young lady. She seems to know her stuff, especially if she was thoughtful enough to spy on her own spiteful boss.

via TheChive

Tags: TC funny

May 21 2010


For Access Call, or Walk Right In

Courtesy of security rock star Rik Ferguson comes the below picture of a data room (server room) at the airport in Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo International Airport). Presumably the door sign should read “For Access Call…or Just Walk In”.

On a more serious note, in this age of discomfort surrounding airport security, why does Africa’s largest airport have a door sign viewable from a public area that clearly labels where to find sensitive equipment? Wait, why is the data room accessible from a public area at all? These are questions for airport officials I guess.

They have been notified.

Open Door at the Data Room in the airport at Johannesburg, South Africa

Open Door at the Data Room in the airport at Johannesburg, South Africa.

Remember: self closing doors, man traps, “keep door closed” signs, and caning server administrators who leave doors open are effective deterrents for this kind of behavior.

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Happy 30th Birthday Pac-Man, Google Style

Hat’s off to Google for unveiling perhaps the greatest tribute today to the 30th anniversary of the iconic video game Pac-Man. Google revealed its first “doodle” or temporary logo change back in 1998, with the first animated logo appearing on Newton’s birthday earlier this year. At this rate of increasing complexity, the Google logo should be sentient by 2012.

For the birthdays of one of the most successful video games of all time, Google reveals perhaps its most complex logo of all time, a full featured playable version of the game for the next 48 hours:

Go to, and click the logo or the Insert Coin button.

Go to, and click the logo or the Insert Coin button.

Hit “Insert Coin” twice and Mrs. Pac-Man will show up too.


The original 1980 Pac-Man.

The original 1980 version of Pac-Man.

Pac-Man was first released on May 22nd, 1980, thirty years ago today, by Namco in Japan. According to Guinness, Pac-Man is the most successful coin-operated video game of all time. It sold more than 100,000 units in 1980 and kids pumped more than $1 billion dollars in quarters into the arcade game in its first fifteen months. It was played more then 10 billion times in the first twenty years from its release.

End Game

At level 256, things get messy.

At level 256, things get messy.

Due to a programming glitch the game ends at level 256, although that’s not much of an issue because few in history have ever gotten a perfect score. Billy Mitchell played the first verified perfect game in 1999. In 2009 David Race became the sixth and currently last person known to achieve a perfect score.

Notice we said ‘verified perfect game’? That’s because in 1982 an 8 year old named Jeffrey Yee allegedly received a congratulatory letter from then President Ronald Reagan congratulating him for the record score of 6,131,940 points. There’s a problem though, that score would only be possible by passing level 256, the famous impassable split-screen bug shown at left.

Pizza & Puck-Man

Toru Iwatani was the primary developer of the game in 1979, and has related the apocryphal story that the main character was designed after looking at a pizza that was missing a slice. In reality the character is a rounding and simplification of the Japanese character for kuchi, or mouth. The original name, pronounced pakku-man, is a take off of the Japanese phrase paku-paku taberu where the words paku-paku describe the sound of a mouth eating.

The game was released under the name Puck-Man, but modified for the game’s North American release to Pac-Man as it was feared that arcade machines would be vandalized by modifying the ‘P’ to an ‘F’.

Those Ghosts

“Google doodler Ryan Germick and I made sure to include Pac-Man’s original game logic, graphics and sounds, bring back ghosts’ individual personalities, and even recreate original bugs from this 1980’s masterpiece,”
- Marcin Wichary, Usability, Google

Original Monster Names.

Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde are the four ghost monsters, the antagonists of the game. Each has its own personality derived from movement patterns, as derivable from both past efforts to reverse engineer the game as well as the Japanese translations of their original names:

Name: Color: Translation: Blinky Red Chaser Pinky Pink Ambusher Inky Cyan Fickle Clyde Orange Stupid


You can go play Pac-Man a few blocks from Praetorian’s main office down at the Chinatown Fair Video Arcade on Mott Street.

With that we leave you with the painful 80’s tribute song Pac-Man Fever by Buckner and Garcia in honor of the day. Enjoy.

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May 14 2010


Best Information Security Commercial Evah…

Say what you will about LIGATT security, the publicly traded (around 0.0004) Georgia company headed by self styled security expert and convicted felon (federal conspiracy and wire fraud) Gregory Evans: they are responsible for what might be the greatest information security commercial ever created.

As you can see, the protagonist is down on his luck, but he has a plan to change that. It starts by sitting outside your house with a laptop while you sleep, and attacking your wireless…well, just watch:

At one point its unclear whether he’s going to crack a WEP key or someone’s head with the way he’s holding that laptop.

And where did that laptop come from in the driveway anyway?

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April 16 2010


Bo Dietl Lost His Guns


Richard “Bo” Dietl lost his guns. The former NYPD Detective and media contributor on Fox News and the Don Imus show, founder of Beau Dietl & Associates, subject of a film where he was played by Stephen Baldwin, and Chairman of the New York State Security Guard Advisory Council was featured on Jon Stewart’s show for being himself burglarized. What’s funny is that his description of what happened, particularly his focus on the security measures he had in place but that weren’t used, follow the well worn pattern of responses one typically hears after an information security breach (but we were PCI compliant, we had IDS in place, it was a sophisticated attacker, everyone gets hacked, and so forth).

Back Story

Bo Dietl had his guns (9 handguns and a shotgun) stolen from his 1 Penn Plaza office sometime between November 2007 and last January according to his time frame. He spends time in the clip showing us his office’s four hour safe (fire protection is given in hours), the safe the guns were next to, not in. The shot gun was on top of a bookshelf.

The Daily Show, 04/15/2010

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon – Thurs 11p / 10cHe’s Come Ungunnedwww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Beau Dietl & Associates

The firm primarily handles personnel and physical security, and has a list of firms, events, and celebrities for which they have provided personal protection.

Unfortunately when Bo starts advising on information security, the wheels fall off the wagon:


A laugh on a Friday along with two important lessons: the best security measures don’t work when they’re not actually used, and practice what you preach.

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April 02 2010


RFC 5841: TCP Option to Denote Packet Mood

Just a quick note to mention that RFC 5841 was released yesterday:

In an attempt to anthropomorphize the bit streams on countless physical layer networks throughout the world, we propose a TCP option to express packet mood.
Packets cannot feel. They are created for the the purpose of moving data from one system to another. However, it is clear that in specific situations some measure of emotion can be inferred or added. For instance, a packet that is retransmitted to resend data for a packet for which no ACK was received could be described as an ‘angry’ packet, or a ‘frustrated’ packet (if it is not the first retransmission for instance). So how can these kinds of feelings be conveyed in the packets themselves. This can be addressed by adding TCP options to the TCP header, using ASCII characters that encode commonly used “emoticons” to convey packet mood.

February 26 2010


Microsoft’s Google Attack Patch?

Noted journalist and friend of the blog George V. Hulme shared the picture below from CNBC, perhaps the most amusing way seen thus far of describing the patch for the 'Aurora bug' that famously affected Google late last year.

February 25 2010


A Brief Reminder, Passwords Have Been Around Forever

The much maligned password has existed for thousands of years, for example the Greek historian Polybius described their use in the Roman military before the birth of Christ. To illustrate the point here is a clip, the password scene, from the 1932 Marx Brothers movie "Horse Feathers".
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