Sunday, August 23, 2009

Random Vocabulary Lesson: Sweat



The above commercial for Bring It On: Fight to the Finish uses the word "sweat" as synonym for worry. "You sweat me because I am a way better cheerleader than you!"

When I was in college it meant you had a crush on someone. "She totally sweats me, dawg," or "I sweat you!" It sounds sticky and gross but is a compliment. I never heard any of my friends say it, but allegedly ultra cool, partyin' hard and clubbin' crowd used it on Facebook.

Urban Dictionary corroborates both uses.

Unfortunately, Old People, this is the kind of word that may make you look older when you use it, so I advise using "sweat" as its original meaning.

Source: Urban Dictionary's "Sweat" definition

Thursday, August 6, 2009

(Random) Lesson: Denial of Service and Twitter

Twitter crashed this morning, shutting down and preventing the world from sharing missives in 140 characters or less—twice, in fact—when hackers attacked the site, bringing a denial-of service (DoS), or Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS), to the site. (Note: This is a "prequel" post, as the blog has not "officially launched." Given today's Twitter outage, I thought it would be a good idea to have this lesson in the archives. Twitter is listed in the Glossary and an article is slated for the future.)

What is a DOS?

Time's Dan Fletcher explains:
DDoS attacks are surprisingly low tech. Using a network of computers (dubbed zombies) controlled by a single master machine, the hacker tries to overwhelm the a website's servers. It's a brute force approach — the network of hacker-controlled computers flood the server with requests for data until the server overloads and comes crashing down.
Fletcher also notes that big sites, such as Yahoo! and CNN, have been the victim of this technique in the past. (He also notes that DoS was used last year during the conflict between Russia and Georgia!)

This method of attack doesn't compromise data; the hackers are not privvy to your protected tweets or passwords, and a DOS is typically a short-term inconvenience. The computers used, however, are. "Zombie computers" are targeted by hackers for their low security, and their are little to zero signs that the computer is infected and looking for braaaains. If you're concerned about your security regarding similar attacks in the future, Lifehacker has a great post about cloud computing.

At the time of this post's drafting, Twitter is back, and @biggayicecream has updated to let me know that he's playing Duran Duran from the truck. Which is good to know, because when I seek the truck next month, following the sound of Simon LeBon may bring me closer to my beloved choinkwich (that's an ice cream sandwich with chocolate cookies, nutella, soft serve, and caramelized bacon).

Resources:
How Did Hackers Cripple Twitter? (Time)
Denial-of-service attack (Wikipedia article)
Twitter Hit By Denial-Of-Service Attack (The Wall Street Journal)
The Hidden Risks of Cloud Computing (Lifehacker)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Comment Policy

This blog is a relaxed atmosphere. However, I come down on trolls and mean people, so this blog, like many, has a comment policy. (I employ policies in my other blogs, you can see the policy for Winsome Icarus here, and my policy the the Examiner.com blog here.)

1. You must sign your name. You don't have to provide your full name, or your real name, but Old People are advised to stick with a consistent alias for clarity and transparency. You are allowed to select ANONYMOUS as an option, but you still must sign your name. (So nothing like "BUTT FACE" or "WOMENS SUCKZ")

2. You may NOT attack any commenters personally. In short, I expect you to behave in the same way you would if we were interacting in person. Take a deep breath and think clearly: If I were in front of you at the grocery store, or sitting on the same bus, would you say this to me in person? (If you argue you would say, "I hope you die!!!1!!#!!1!%1!!*!!" in a face to exchange, I won't believe you.) We are, by nature, rude people, but I expect us all the behave the same way online as we do offline.

3. Please stay on-topic.

Please be aware that your comment may become my "property" after you post it. Trollish comments may be printed out, marked with red pen, and posted as an entry on Winsome Icarus [blog]. I am a nerd and spend the bulk of my hours marking paper with red pen.