Where credit is due

Today is Sunday. Jaws was released 46 years ago today.

Google and Apple are beginning to restrict how advertisers track us on the Internet. In response, advertisers are trying to find new ways to track us. Get ready for an arms race.

Following up on yesterday’s rant about the Globe and it’s seeming aversion to crime reporting, the paper did cover two crime related stories today, albeit via police press releases. The first involved an arrest for gun possession and the other a human trafficking case. Nice to see them at least paying attention.

ItalyGate is back in the news. It’s pretty wacky stuff but it made it to the desk of the former president’s Chief of Staff. How does something like that even happen?

When a company gets hit with a ransomware attack, and pays to get its data back, you would assume that they would change their security protocols. Many do, but not always in ways that are effective. In fact, a Cybereason Global Ransomware study indicates that 80% of companies that go through this process get hit a second time. Pretty discouraging.

And I love dogs, probably more than the next guy. Kitt did his job and was a good boy. But this is a bit over the top.

From the ivory tower

Good morning Saturday. The word of the day is abrupt.

The Wall Street Journal went to the beach. “Six pack abs, red Solo cups, thongs-a-plenty.” Where could it be? Ipanema? Diamond Head? Bondi? Nope, it was M Street beach.

The Globe doesn’t think people are interested in good police work so they don’t report on it. Maybe they’re right, maybe people only want to read the bad stories about the police and don’t want to know about crime around them. But Live Boston is out there covering this stuff. Universal Hub also keeps an eye on crime. One important takeaway is that guns are way too common on the streets and in the hands of young people.

MassNotify is finally up and running. But some Android users are complaining that the app is installing itself without user permission or knowledge. Weird.

Mayoral candidates are airing their ideas for fixing the problems of the Methadone Mile, which was toured by Essaibi-George and a globe photographer. What a mess. It looks like the Long Island bridge is no longer a viable solution. Most candidates are focused on increasing services. Duh. Michelle Wu apparently wants to spread the disfunction out across the city. That might not a great idea for winning over neighborhood voters.

And the budget is back before the City Council, just in time for July 1st.

Feeding time

Friday. It’s a wrap.

We’re number two! (Drats! Beaten by New Jersey.)

Sometimes a windfall comes with headaches. The Governor wants to divvy up $5 billion in federal assistance with the legislature. Legislators want it all. Baker is ready to start spending. He’s identified a number of critical needs that can be addressed quickly. Lawmakers want to be more “deliberate” with the money, spending it over time. Meanwhile, groups who haven’t been targeted for any of the funds are already complaining.

One password. That’s all that was protecting some of New York’s most confidential data.

I thought we had completely decoded the human genome. I was wrong. Actually, there was about 8% of our DNA that scientists put aside because it was extra challenging to decode and it wasn’t thought to be all that important. Now they’ve completed that last bit and scientists are sorting through it with the hope of finding something interesting.

And you could do worse than accepting book recommendations from David Deutsch.


Big Brother in motion

It’s Thursday. Don’t forget to eat your vegetables.

James Aloisi says it’s time to lose the masks on public transportation.

The Globe reports on couple of local tech companies that are joining up to track driver behavior for insurance companies. “Both companies’ core products are apps on smartphones that use the sensors in the phones to collect data about how people are driving, such as whether they are speeding, frequently braking hard, or picking up their phones to text when they should be paying attention to the road.” Uh-oh. Some people are going to get a big premium hike.

Brian Krebs tells the strange tale of Alla Witte, a 55 year old mother of two who was writing the code for a ransomware gang. A real-life Walter White.

New polling for Boston’s mayoral race shows the power of incumbency. Kim Janey now leads slightly over Michelle Wu. Then again, another poll puts Essaibi George in the lead. So it’s really too early to tell. But the front runners are at least starting to come into focus. Adam Gaffin rounds up other election news.

And advertisers want into your dreams. You might want to move that smart speaker out of the bedroom.

Change from within

Wednesday. We’re at the hump.

Bruce Mohl ran the numbers on Uber and Lyft ridership during the pandemic. It wasn’t pretty.

PERF’s Chuck Wexler calls it an evolving crisis. Across the country, police are opting for early retirement, enmasse. At the same time, violent crime is rising. Sure sounds like an evolving crisis. And as they say, crisis is just another word for opportunity. It seems to me that people who feel strongly about police reform should now be submitting applications to their local departments, so they can be the change. We haven’t seen much of that so far. Or maybe the feds could set up a Peace Corps-like program for recruitment, training and certification that local police can hire from. (Right now, the military serves that purpose but that’s not sustainable.) In any case, we shouldn’t let this ‘crisis’ go to waste. There are some real opportunities at hand.

Remember BloggerCon? Dave Winer does. I do too. The first two were held at the Berkman Center at Harvard. Those were heady days. Then came Facebook and Twitter, etc. The rest is history. But some of us dinosaurs are still plugging away at independent blogs.

Eric Adams, the ex-New York cop who’s running for mayor, wants to stand out from the incumbent. But he still may get de Blasio’s endorsement, whether he wants it or not.

And meet the new Windows. Looks a lot like the old Windows.

Making excuses

Happy Tuesday. Today’s word is fealty.

The Washington Post reports that places with low vaccination rates have higher rates of covid, especially in the rural west and deep south. To quote Gomer Pyle, “surprise, surprise, surprise.”

Rachael Rollins took a shot at EOPS for not moving fast enough on developing a new statewide case tracking system for prosecutors and courts. Or, I should say, a statewide case tracking system – nothing exists currently. Prosecutors mostly use paper folders. In 2021.

The Wall Street Journal asks a good question: As we move more and more from fossil fuels to electric, are we sure that our electric supply infrastructure will hold up?

That FBI sting, where they distributed a anonymous messaging app and then monitored criminal communications over it, led to hundreds of arrests across the globe. But because of the 1st Amendment they couldn’t listen in on American citizens so none of the arrests happened in the US. Also, in Ireland, where there is no restriction on testifying against oneself, police have solved the encrypted device problem by passing a law: Give up your password or go to jail.

And Google Workspace, previously a paid service for business users, is now available to anyone with a Google account. So that’s good news.

Going off track

Monday comes quick. And it’s Flag Day.

Here’s more on the Delta flight that was diverted because of a disruptive passenger who turned out to be an off-duty flight attendant. It’s getting pretty rowdy up there.

Danielle Allen is considering a run for governor. She’s a professor of ethics at Harvard. Ethics and government… an interesting combination. It’s one thing to study the Trolly Problem, another to handle a different real-life version of it every day.

Next year‘s covid could be crime.

I think most people at any given time would say they want to leave their jobs, so I wouldn’t read too much into the surveys quoted in this story about the coming great resignation. But even if only some of the sentiment is true it could signal a new era of employment benefits and work/life balance. Meanwhile, on Nantucket, 8th graders might be pressed into the workforce due to a worker shortage.

And it’s official: Mayim Bialik is the new champion at hosting Jeopardy. At least as far as I’m concerned.

Safe harbor

Today is Sunday. A day of rest.

Are you a natural short sleeper? Apparently there’s a gene for that and scientists think they’ve found it.

After almost two weeks, the Steamship Authority systems are back and old ferry reservation data has been restored. A spokesperson wouldn’t tell the Globe how they resolved the problem but from the outside it looks like they paid a ransom. If they did, as a government-owned entity, they should be a little more transparent, don’t you think?

It’s a match made in the stars: cryptocurrency speculation and astrology.

Daniel Howley has a primer on two-factor authentication and Josephine Wolff reveals 5 myths about ransomware, one of which is why two-factor is only one tool to prevent an attack.

And the Times wants to know why the IRS rarely audits private equities firms. I know, right?

A whale of a tale

A little rain on this Saturday morning. Good for the garden.

The Winthrop Center development downtown will be Passive House certified. That will make it the largest office building in the world with the certification.

While diving for lobsters off the coast of Provincetown, Mike Packard was swallowed whole by a humpback whale. Apparently he was not a very tasty treat for the whale who, after a few minutes, regurgitated him back into the waves. An amazing story and quite an experience – for Packard and the whale.

Kevin Beaumont is right. Cybersecurity is hard. Too hard.

With restaurants shutting down or reducing capacity during the pandemic, oyster farmers were facing a tough time. But there’s a silver lining to the story.

And Spencer Buell waded through RMV vanity plate applications to find which ones were rejected and why. The person at the Registry who has to review and research those applications has a very weird job.

Following the money

A sunny Friday. Today’s word is poignant.

A Google-developed AI is building its own, better, AI. And so it begins.

Acting Mayor Kim Janey is the top fundraiser in the race for the permanent position. Assibi George is next in line. I typed each into the OPCF site and added “police” to the employer field for some interesting results, especially as relates to who was not chosen as police commissioner last week.

Was half of the pandemic relief money really stolen, as Axios reports? Al Tompkins found some skeptics.

The Times tells us that bitcoin can be traced. Of course it can. The whole idea behind bitcoin is the public ledger. It’s a record of transactions for all to see. Without the public ledger the currency would have no value. And since it’s all public, the movement of money can be tracked. Who owns the bitcoin is ‘technically’ unknown, but there are plenty of tricks available to figure that out too.

And a UFO-ologist warns us not to be fooled by the upcoming Pentagon report. OK.