Paco Hope My Random Musings and Rants


I Pwned Your Server

If you haven't seen some of the great comedy videos made with "text-to-video" software Plotagon (or its predecessor Xtra Normal), you should. They basically involve deadpan, computer voices reading some fairly funny scripts.

Likewise, if you haven't seen the article about #ScumbagPenTester, it's worth a read. It inspired me to make this.

I Pwned Your Server

Wear headphones. The language is NSFW.



Skype for iPad as Business App of the Year? Puhleeze.

The folks over at IT Pro had their IT Pro Awards 2011 recently. They awarded a few different honours. Some innovative, others pretty predictable. I struggle to care that Microsoft won "Vendor of the Year"? What does that even mean? And if it's a category that Microsoft won, who else even had a chance of winning it? Oracle? IBM? HP? And those are 4 of the biggest anyways, so it's not like this award will create some new recognition or awareness of a vendor.

The only thing I think awards are useful for is if you understand why they are awarded. What did candidate A have that candidate B did not? The IT Pro awards appear to be a simple popularity contest. That is, random web site visitors had a set of candidates to choose from, and they chose for whatever reason. If the candidates were judged on criteria (e.g., originality, fitness for purpose, reliability, value for money) I would love to see how the winners (and losers) scored. But these awards are meaningless. There's no judging. Just popularity of clicks.

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Portrait of a Failed Security Dashboard

The Department of Homeland Security announced that it was discontinuing its color-coded security advisory system today. In the software security world we often try to have big dashboards with red, yellow, and green indicating important things about our software. This is a great example of where such dashboards fail.


Funny math, microwaves, and user interface

I've been contemplating the math that my microwave uses. It's kinda weird. If you forget that it works on time values instead of regular integers, you can get some surprising responses.

My microwave oven is digital, so I enter a set of numbers to indicate the cooking time. I'm not sure if all microwaves are like mine, but mine will accept integer values that are not logical clock values. I can enter, for example, 75, and it will run for 75 seconds. If you forget, for an instant, that you're dealing with clock values, the inputs and outputs (what you type and how long it runs) can seem pretty weird.


Time warp: when facebook’s localization goes wrong

Time Warp

Time Warp

Facebook is savvy about time zones and the fact that its users span the globe. But notice this conversation I had with a friend. He sent it at 12:39am on October 21st. I replied 3 hours earlier. 🙂 Now, if you look at our profiles, Roy and I live in the same time zone. Normally this would never happen. But, I happen to be in the UK when this happened. I think I replied a couple hours after his message, but at you'll see, it's essentially impossible to know, given what I see.