Expires Faster Than Milk

It’s amazing how quickly things become useless and outdated on the Internet. What is worse is people usually choose one of the first five search results and consider it Gospel no matter how horribly out of date it is. Recently I got a bit nostalgic for some of the DOS work I used to do. Greenleaf libraries were a mainstay in my development tool chest no matter what compiler I was using.

There CommLib product was awesome. Data Windows provided a rather great ASCII graphics mouse enabled user interface. The Greenleaf Database library was also quite a treasure. I never owned a copy of their Functions or Super Functions products. Part of me wonders if that isn’t what morphed into the Boost library or at least the inspiration behind it.

Kids today don’t understand. They come to C/C++ with quite an arsenal of string, date, and time functions. It wasn’t always so. In the early days we were all rolling our own. Part of it was ego, but the major part was compiler vendors didn’t provide much in the way of support and there was no standard. You also aren’t old enough to remember when Janet Reno, with Hillary Clinton whispering in her ear, committed a crime against the human species not putting Bill Gates in prison AND allowing Microsoft to trademark Windows in the software world DESPITE numerous DOS based windowing libraries predating the Microsoft claim.

The result of this was Microsoft’s lawyers sending threatening letters to each and every software vendor with “Window” or “Windows” in their product name even when that product existed years before Microsoft shipped Windows. Most of these companies were small so the threat of an 800-pound gorilla was enough to get them to pull the product. I don’t know of one which renamed their product and kept going. I don’t believe this round of Microsoft criminal activity allowed for that option.

These threats went deep. Like Jihadists trying to purge all historical artifacts which disprove their claim, the legal threats and historical destruction ran amuck with the blessings of both the Clinton’s and Janet reno.

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I clicked on some of those Dr. Dobb links and they don’t work anymore. The Dr. Dobb’s site still exists and is being archived for posterity, but those links don’t work. It appears that only Google’s blatant for profit copyright infringement has thus far escaped the purge of the Microsoft lawyers.

boosk links

I clicked on some of those books.google.com links and they worked. That EDM2 link worked as well. There they flag all GreenLeaf products as “discontinued.” That’s been both true and false over the years. Greenleaf folded up, for a few years, then, some other shop began selling at least the database library and perhaps a few others. Then I lost track of it.

Part of this mental journey came from wondering if any of the Functions or Super Functions would still serve a purpose today as well as very fond memories of CommLib, having exchanged many emails with Mark, Ruby and I believe someone named Billy back in the day. Putting it mildly, I was probably viewed as a support nightmare. I was replacing burnt EPROM embedded systems with cast-off PCs running DOS so I was pushing the libraries. I was also using the much stricter Watcom and they were using the rather lax Borland.

While, technically, CommLib is “discontinued,” I happily found Mark Nelson’s “Dr. Dobb’s” article about “Any Serial Port.” At some point I know I’m going to find myself on an embedded Linux project which isn’t using Qt and I will be more than willing to take a serious look at what the project has to offer.

If submitting stuff to the Qt project wasn’t such a royal pain in the ass, I might even be willing to hack the QSerialPort class to give it the features everyone needs. Features CommLib had back in the days of DOS. A double ring buffer which understands the concept of a record, be it a fixed length record, or one bounded by begin and end characters. Doesn’t matter if you are reading from a truck scale or some other source, everyone needs that.

Hey, while I’m on the topic, I certainly hope vendors of truck scales have finally stopped several bad practices. CommLib, at the time, didn’t recognize multiple character begin and end markers. Scale vendors would do one of two thing:

  1. Put the CRC byte in front of the ending byte without restricting the range of CRC values so it could have the same value as the ending marker.
  2. Put the CRC byte after the ending marker so your “record” logic couldn’t retrieve everything it needed to process the read without doing an extra one-byte read.

For those of you who don’t think it is a problem, try, within the limits of 16-bit DOS, the configuration information for 7 different scale brands, each one of which uses a different packet format, baud and frequency rate. Any one of these scales can be on any port.

Damn! I was a geek back then.

I do hope the Greenleaf crew has prospered in their lives after Greenleaf. I have fond memories of all the misspent hours in front of my AST Premium 286 putting their products to work.

Information, like youth, really does expire faster than milk.

 

DNC – Rigger’s Remorse

The DNC has to have a serious Rigger’s Remorse hangover this morning. If they hadn’t rigged the primary against Bernie Sanders he would have gotten all of the people who hated Hillary and the people who can’t stand Trump. In short, he was assured a landslide victory, but corruption played a part time and time again.

Of course the scope of this Rigger’s Remorse cannot yet be known. Yes, we know what Wikileaks has exposed, but, a goodly number of DNC elite will most likely be going to prison over Indiana voter fraud as well as for all the other states that investigation spills over into. As the saying goes with big banks  never have ‘just one’ cockroach. I’m sure that same 25 registration quota/incentive/mandate was employed at other voter registration “organizations” tied to the Democratic party.

More importantly, Hillary will not have the shield of the White House like her husband did when it comes to facing her perjury and other charges. It will be much more difficult, if not completely impossible for her to Rush Limbaugh out of it.

It will be interesting to see if Trump also goes after the Wall Street bankers and puts a few of them behind bars as well. Previous administrations found them too big to prosecute.

 

Hillary – Disbarred and Behind Bars?

One has to wonder just how low the ethical and moral threshold is of the Arkansas Bar Association. I mean if you can blatantly commit perjury without ever facing disbarment proceedings, what kind of “self policing” organization is that?

We as a nation are just days away from a choice between bad and worse, well, if you limit yourself to just the two major parties. I’ve already voted by mail and didn’t vote for either party if there was any other choice. What the talking heads and spin doctors haven’t been talking about is that this election is that the major qualification _any_ candidate can have is not belonging to either party.

One thing which has really annoyed me are the television personalities on the Jerry Springer network (also known as CNN) claiming they will move to Canada if Trump is elected. Personally, as long as they are finally off the air, I don’t care where they move.

The Jerry Springer network has been noticeably silent about the college educated people leaving the country if Hillary wins. I spoke to one yesterday and have been considering it myself. I’ve known the person I spoke with for years. We’ve even worked together at a couple of client sites. He has already contacted the Irish consulate and began the process of obtaining his Irish citizenship. Yes, he is moving to Ireland. Yet another college educated IT worker bailing from the U.S.

Why? A criminal enterprise is being allowed to run for the presidency. No, that is not too harsh of a phrase. Yet another FBI investigation is ongoing. Just like her husband she committed perjury. Oh, I’m sure there will be any number of lawyers trying to claim otherwise, but, as children we were all taught deliberately lying under oath is perjury and deliberately destroying evidence is obstruction.

Having lived in a country where the president (Bill) appeared to be constantly under criminal investigation, many college educated Americans don’t want to do it again. Television personalities can make all of the claims they want as to leaving the country, as a whole, the country will not care or miss them. Elected officials and policy makers who have been claiming for years we have a shortage of STEM graduates should care if there is an exodus of college educated STEM graduates based on the outcome of this election.

So here we sit. In a country where a lawyer is not disbarred for perjury, a political party can conspire to rig a primary, and where it is very difficult to put a sitting president in prison.

There has to be at least one higher up in the DNC who has finally smelled the tea brewing. Had they not conspired against Bernie he would be the candidate and Trump would be polling in the single digits. Now we all have to ask if the Justice Department has enough ethics to put a sitting president behind bars if Hillary wins.

Do we really want to be Brazil?

What is a “Government Issued Phone?”

Yes, Hillary greased up and slipped through the fingers of justice again, just like her hubby is prone to do.

Yes, Tim Cook of Apple decided the company could make more money protecting terrorists and pedophiles than it ever could helping to protect global citizens from them.

All of this should leave the average citizen wondering why everyone isn’t trying to get out of America and questioning the sanity of those trying to get in. It left me a bit befuddled. Mostly because I didn’t get around to reading the mid-April issue of Time discussing James Comey, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation until after the clandestine tarmac meeting of Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch.

Something in this article stuck with me. I made a note to write a blog post about it, but thankfully I re-read the section which triggered both the writer and IT analyst portions of my brain.

That event merged with the second big challenge of his tenure: the danger of criminals and terrorists “going dark” as encryption becomes more widely used. Comey says the use of encrypted smartphones means his agents can’t collect evidence to prosecute and prevent crimes and terrorist attacks, even when they have a court warrant. Comey, who uses a government-issued phone for work and has an iPhone for personal use, told the House in February, “These phones are wonderful. I love them.” But he argued two days earlier that there are “increasing situations where we cannot, with lawful court orders, read the communications of terrorists, gangbangers, pedophiles–all different kinds of bad people.”

When I first read that paragraph I took it to mean the Federal government was actually purchasing and issuing iPhones which seemed like a very bad thing. The concept that the White House or FBI may be letting foreign manufactured tech products into the building sets off every kind of alarm imaginable. I don’t care who claims to be loading what software onto any device once it hits these shores, they cannot know for certain what is actually on them.

The truth is many of today’s tiny tech gadgets have multi-layer boards. You have all see just how small a 16 or 32GB MicroSD card is. Try to image just how tiny something would be which doesn’t need an enclosure, has 2GB or less of storage along with a tiny single purpose “counter switch” of some kind. Something which will just receive time of day ticks from the system clock until a zero-day is reached, at which point the hidden drive becomes primary, device reboots, runs the code, then might even reboot back to the original “drive” waiting for zero-day to come again.

Laugh all you want. With today’s board layout software, if you have a 3-5 layer board, putting something that small into a middle layer where it cannot be seen just takes a bit of time. If the part never shows up on the bill of materials and the client never has to pay for it, they won’t know. Don’t believe me? Take a look at those dumb-ass watches from Apple and Fitbit people are plunking down money for. Look how much is crammed into there. Now, imagine if you will an ordinary digital watch. Something which sells for under $20 and just tells time, maybe has a stopwatch as well. Just how much extra could you cram into there?

To honestly begin to understand why this article set my mind working, you probably should read “A Dangerous Element” from fellow author Gregory Lamb. Before we had the movie “Zero Day” we had this novel about StuxNet.

So, skipping for a moment our Federal government possibly letting foreign made tech devices into sensitive areas where they could zero-day at any moment via an undetectable hardware trigger, perhaps appearing to only freeze the screen for a bit (who hasn’t had that happen) unleashing all kinds of carnage into an air-gapped system, let’s consider the larger questions:

  1. What is a “government issue phone?”
  2. Is the U.S. government insisting 100% of that phone, including the chips, boards and touch screens be manufactured in the U.S.?
  3. Not just have a U.S. based company’s name on it, but physically ensuring all production occurs within our borders?
  4. Are all branches of the Federal government required to use this “government issued phone” or are their different “government issued phones” for different people? Some get a flip, others get a dumb-phone, etc. Are they all from the same manufacturer?
  5. Why would China bother to hack an iPhone when it is more effective to hide a hardware entry point during manufacture?
  6. If a dumb-phone were secure, would it need encryption?

Disappointed With Democratic Convention

While I really did like the political cartoon I saw with a caption “The Duel” where both party mascots shot themselves in the foot, I must say I was horribly disappointed with Monday night at the Democratic convention. The Republican convention was at least good fake reality, entertaining enough to watch the whole thing. Kind of like eating that entire bag of Doritos knowing full well you shouldn’t but doing it anyway.

The first major disappointment was when Sarah Silverman was on stage with that other comedian saying

“To the Bernie-or-bust people: You’re being ridiculous.”

The only ridiculous part about it was they were chanting “Bernie, Bernie, Bernie” instead of shouting:

Lock her up!

Lock her up!

Lock her up!

The massive and unforgivable disappointment came when the NPR/PBS News Hour team had Hillary’s campaign person in the studio spouting spin and not one of them ask the legitimate question:

Since it has now been proven Hillary could not win without a rigged election will she now step aside and let the rightful winner accept the nomination?

It’s a legitimate question. Every time Bernie Sanders won a state media people came up to him and said “You had a great night, when are you going to drop out?” I’m not a Democrat but I have to hand it to Bernie. He sat down at a table and played a game to completion knowing the deck had been stacked against him with every hand. Basically, he won.

Does the Democratic party have enough delusion to believe it can rig an entire national election? They’ve already proven that’s the only way Hillary could win their own primary. Do they honestly believe they can rig a general election too?

We all know the Clinton dictionary doesn’t include definitions for the words honesty, integrity and ethics. A candidate which had even one of those traits would bow out in the face of the WikiLeaks information. People can say what they wish about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and they will. This is twice now that his site exposed a big stinky pile.

One thing which always amazes me is the media an officials who always try to spin this into a “hackers are bad people” discussion. I spent roughly 30 years in IT. This isn’t a problem with hackers. This is and will always be a management problem. Management buying the lowest priced mass marketed pile of shit to handle email, store credit card and/or identity information all because it is cheap and they can get low wage workers to support it. The high priced proprietary systems generally don’t have these problems. This was the DNC. They spend tens and probably hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising but they couldn’t afford a decent closed email system? Nobody there ever heard of an “air gap” or a “one pipe mote,” seriously?

Monday night had a single bright spot. A floor interview with a Bernie delegate said she was going to vote for Jill Stein. It makes sense. More of her platform is Bernie’s than the token few planks Hillary adopted. We all know those platform planks for the two major parties tend to get thrown on a truck and hauled out of town after the election. Little if anything ever gets done about the ones which actually matter to voters. Seriously, how many decades have we been hearing about Social Security and Medicare needing to be “fixed” as a plank in presidential elections?

In case you haven’t guessed, I watched only a few minutes last night and won’t be watching anymore. It appears obvious the Democratic Party would rather bludgeon forward with the one candidate Donald Trump can beat instead of choosing the candidate who could beat him.

Yes, it really is time for Hillary to #FeelTheBern