Breaking bad in the tech industry

  last edited: Fri, 14 Sep 2018 12:05:26 -0600  
This article relates a typical-sounding story of how good-sounding business plans can go bad under stress.

Fake-cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme lands creator in prison


Josh Garza said his company began with noble intentions, but it "turned into greed."

GAW Miners—which stood for Geniuses at Work—first arrived on the Bitcoin scene in 2014, re-selling mining rigs. While GAW initially began as a legitimate company, it soon shifted to its own cloud-based mining service (ZenMiner). When GAW was unable to fill demand for this service, Garza created something called "hashlets"—a slice of purported mining profits, that would "always make money." As 2014 drew to a close and as the Bitcoin hash rate increased, making it more difficult for miners anywhere to make money, his hardware became obsolete.

As he could no longer pay earlier investors, Garza switched tactics again and introduced GAW's own altcoin, dubbed "PayCoin." He promised a $20 per PayCoin price floor, which he would prop up with a claimed $100 million reserve that did not actually exist. GAW also ran its own cloud-based wallet service (Paybase), cloud-based mining service (ZenMiner), and online discussion board (HashTalk). All were fraudulent, using money that later customers put in to pay out earlier ones.

#tech #CivilJustice #Bitcoin #crime
  last edited: Fri, 14 Sep 2018 12:10:53 -0600  
The GAW scheme reminds me of this story about the "Xbox underground," a group of young Xbox hackers who enjoyed reverse engineering Microsoft products. As their exploits became more profitable, they kept pushing the envelope, even to the point of stealing physical equipment from MS facilities. The story almost carries a sense of excitement and youthful rebellion, kind of like the movie Sneakers, but it lacks the hints of ethical idealism found in that movie, and doesn't end nearly as well.

The Teens Who Hacked Microsoft's Videogame Empire—And Went Too Far


Among those involved in David Pokora's so-called Xbox Underground, one would become an informant, one would become a fugitive, and one would end up dead.

Ban the beerbots

Amidst broad calls to ban research and development of killer military robots, Jeff Flake has found a more sinister threat in robot bartenders.

U.S. Senator Bans Funding for Beerbots That Don’t Exist

#tech #robots #beer


Jeff Flake's
Amazing electrified star chart tapestry

Software Engineer Hacks a Knitting Machine to Create Massive Stellar Map


By hacking a domestic knitting machine, a software engineer advanced modern knitting and made a massive equatorial star map in tapestry form.

#tech #hacking #astronomy
Dropped by Dropbox

  last edited: Wed, 29 Aug 2018 13:04:31 -0600  
I was a paying Dropbox business customer, until this announcement... Maybe now I'll look for an NAS self-hosted cloud option.

Dropbox Is Dropping Support For All Linux File Systems Except Unencrypted Ext4 - Slashdot


New submitter rokahasch writes: Starting today, August 10th, most users of the Dropbox desktop app on Linux have been receiving notifications that their Dropbox will stop syncing starting November. Over at the Dropbox forums, Dropbox have declared that the only Linux filesystem supported for storage...

#tech #cloud
Venmo: probably the worst social media concept so far

Why Are We All Still Using Venmo?


Venmoing may be standard, but here’s why I’ve switched.

Venmo’s insistence on mimicking a social networking app isn't just weird—it can have unnerving consequences. In July, privacy advocate and designer Hang Do Thi Duc released Public by Default, a site that taps into Venmo’s API to highlight how much information can be gathered about you from your public activity on the app. She was able to trace the exact spending habits of a couple in California, documenting what stores they shopped at, when they took their dog to the vet, and when they made loan payments.

#tech #SocialMedia #security
Cool radar/sonar bridge system

  last edited: Fri, 24 Aug 2018 19:52:25 -0600  
MIT Researchers Develop Seamless Underwater-to-Air Communication System


TARF is a new approach to converting sonar to radar without any intermediary steps

#telecommunications #tech
Tyranny of the network

  last edited: Fri, 24 Aug 2018 19:57:23 -0600  
people who have the highest scores are able to amass ever-higher scores, because their high status makes other people generous in their interpretations of their actions (bad things done by "good people" are excused and even lionized) and because high status people are afforded more opportunities to engage in profile-boosting activities, creating a rich-get-richer feedback loop.

Facebook will subject all of its users to "trustworthiness scores," similar to China's Citizen Scores


Every Facebook user will be assigned a “trustworthiness score” derived from a mix of user complaints and secret metrics derived from spying on user activity on the system (Twitter has a…

#tech #SocialMedia #SocialCredit
If I was still using facebook, I'm sure they would decide I was a purveyor of untruth.
Yeah, Uber sucks

  last edited: Fri, 24 Aug 2018 20:16:11 -0600  
While I agree with some of the concerns and criticisms, this feels like another instance of a minimally experienced rank-and-file programmer overestimating their insight and impact.

“What Have We Done?”: Silicon Valley Engineers Fear They've Created a Monster


Gig-economy companies like Uber and Instacart are on the verge of overtaking the traditional economy. And the only people who understand the threat are the ones enabling it.

#tech #SocialJustice #Uber