About media leakers

I wonder about media leakers.

I'm not talking about whistleblowers, who reveal coverups by governments and corporations that are keeping secrets of bad or illegal actions.

I'm talking about people who "confidentially source" to the media details of business negotiations, media productions, and gossip of private heartache.   Things that are private and confidential for a reason, will be revealed when they are properly baked, and that do nobody any good for being revealed early, except maybe for a burst of clickstream traffic for the "news" source that "scooped" it.

I know a fair number of secrets.  Some of them are close friends' private heartaches, which are theirs to reveal, if ever.  And some of them are business negotiation secrets incidental to my job, and a few of them part of my job to know.   I actually go out of my way to avoid learning things I shouldn't need to know at my employer, just so as to firewall myself from even the appearance of impropriety.

Any of them, if I "confidentially sourced" them to the tech press, would do nothing but cost money that is not mine for no honest gain to anybody, possibly prevent good things that I would like to have happen from happening, and would betray my own principles I try to hold myself to

So, why do other people do it?


A temporary mistake

I don't care about business models, I care about applications, and at true billion user trillion device scale the only scaling pattern that succeeds is user visible federation.

Email, the DNS, the HTML/HTTP hyperlink, XMPP, and the blockchain have no rent seeking gatekeeper business model, and do not require billion dollar data centers.

The past 15 year drive to unitary silo'ed apps with a rent-seeking gatekeeper has been a mistake that has diverted too much engineering effort towards just keeping them running instead delivering user-desired features and value, and has been driven by the corrupting need of VCs for their mythical billion dollar exits, and the telco encouraged temporary exhaustion of global address space and thus a temporary breaking of the end to end principle.

This is temporary, unsustainable, and not scalable to 10 billion users.


If your bank calls you, hang up and call them back

Important public service announcement: if you ever get a call from your bank or your payment card's security department, hang up on them, and call back via the number printed on your payment card.

I just got a call from a blocked number claiming to be my bank's security department, alerting me that my card was locked, and to press 0 to transfer to an agent for assistance. I hung up on them, and then called the number printed on my card. My bank's *actual* security department let me know they are fully aware of this ongoing phishing attempt, and thanked me for knowing not to fall for it.


Editors betraying their own authors

Some editors from Tor Books have been lobbying online to the electors for the World Science Fiction Society Hugo Awards to vote against some works published by Tor.

I wonder if anyone has told the marketing department at Tor about this, or has told the owners over at Holtzbrinck? Come to think of it, this is probably a violation of publishing contract that Tor signed with those authors. I'm sure some agents are realizing that, and are starting to write threatening emails...

This gets funnier, and funnier, and funnier...


Regarding Lenovo preinstalling SSL-breaking MITM on their machines

One of my fears day-to-day is that my own employer will make a similar mistake. This could have so easily been my employer, instead of Lenovo. And I have no standing or ability in my employer to prevent it, especially not pro-actively. Nobody does, in any of the Windows OEMs.

The OEM gets paid for every instance that gets shipped, and for every instance that gets run, and for every demo preload that gets upgraded to a paying user.

And when something like this happens, the tech and infosec savvy people in an OEM company will run headlong into the people who have bonuses and promotions riding on "cultivating" the "relationships" with the "partners" that wrote the shit. Ripping the software out, backing out the damage, and apologizing will negatively impact their salary, so they will go to the mat and break out all the corporate political long knives to stonewall the issue.

I hate everything about OEM preloads. I tell people that when they do buy a retail Windows machine, they should immediately take it to a Microsoft Store and purchase a "Signature Editions" Windows reload. The staff there will take the new machine, scrub off the OEM install, install a fresh clean lean un-crapified Windows, and then put the old valid license key back on the machine. (Since they are Microsoft, they can generate and load valid license keys at will.)

Or if you can't stomach paying Microsoft $99 to give you the machine you thought you had already bought, at least download a copy of "PC Decrapifier" and immediately run it on your new machine the very first time you turn it on.


Mark's Stories: Talking to tech press reporters in China

I've waited over a year to tell this story. And I'm going to leave out some details that are in my notes, for obvious reasons.

In November 2013, the OpenStack Summit was held in Hong Kong. My employer worked with their publicity and media relations groups and companies to arrange some interviews with the Chinese technical press with some "thought leaders" in my company, and I was tapped as one of people to participate. What was arranged was a panel interview, were all of the reporters and all of the interviewees all met all at once all at the same time in a meeting room at the conference center.

I showed up early to review the briefs and messaging, much to the relief of the marketing and publicity people.

At the stroke of the minute, one reporter showed up. I will not name them, or their employer. Their manner pinged all my rapid impressions that they were very capable. They were impeccably attired. Their questions were insightful, and each one lead logically from our answers and the earlier, and revealed that they had read the briefs as well, and was pretty familiar with OpenStack, with how the summit works, with my employer, and what my employer had publically said in the past about working with OpenStack and with open source. Their English was very good, though accented, and they took copious rapid notes while listening.

About 10 minutes later, all the other reporters showed up, late, about a dozen of them, with a female translater in tow. They were all male. Several of them were obviously hung over. I'm pretty sure several of them were still intoxicated. A couple were significantly overweight, which was odd for me to see on a Chinese man. They all arranged themselves in a phalenx behind one guy, who asked all the questions, from a notebook, via the translator. His questions were much less insightful, most of them were already answered by our advanced brief doc, and they were much more "fluffy", and much more about "why should China care?" He took no notes, and some of the men arranged behind him did take some.

The reporter we had been working with earlier sat silently in the corner, head down, eyes down.

I asked later, and had my suspicions confirmed. The excellent reporter we had been speaking to first, represented the *only* mostly independent tech press outlet represented. All the other quote reporters unquote represented state controlled media companies, or represented media outlets that were owned by state or army owned enterprises.

For obvious reasons, I am not naming anybody here, not even my own employer.

But, that was an interesting and illuminating experience, and is apparently just part of the facts of life when dealing with China.


Why podcasts don't work for me

Why podcasts don't work for me:

I don't have a driving commute, so when it is the case that I am driving, it's either a short trip, or I have passengers, or I'm going to an unfamiliar place so I have to pay attention to navigation. Plus my car time is irregularly scheduled. And to top it off, my car's audio doesn't have an aux input of any sort.

When I'm not driving a car, I'm usually reading, writing, doing work with my hands, exercising, meditating, thinking deeply about something, sleeping, or talking with someone. None of these activities are compatible with listening to a podcast.

And finally, podcasts are too slow and too linear. I can read well formatted text an order of magnitude faster than someone can speak clearly.

Plus my reading style is to constantly jump backwards while reading ahead, constructing lists and building up the "idea structures" that the text is presenting, and then if the text was interesting and useful enough, jump back an entire section or chapter or the whole work and reread it again, filling in the structure that I built the first time. There are probably people out there that can do the same thing in one pass, memorizing the text in one flat read or as it's dictated to them, but I am not that smart.

In other words, if a podcast is that awesome, please also translate it into an essay, or even just a cleaned transcript, and I will read that instead.