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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Morning News: The Next 48 Hours in Ukraine, High School Horror in Pittsburgh, and Reset Your Damn Passwords!

Posted by on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 8:59 AM

The whole world is worried about Ukraine.
  • Tomas Marquez/Shutterstock
  • The whole world is worried about Ukraine.

Ukraine vs. Russia: "Ukrainian acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Wednesday that the separatist protests in Ukraine's eastern region would be resolved within 48 hours—either through negotiations or the use of force," reports CNN. "At the same time, Russia insisted that the presence of its troops just over the border was no reason to worry."

"I saw body parts flying in the air": Massive bomb blast near a fruit and vegetable market on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad kills at least 21, injures dozens more.

Meanwhile in Pittsburgh: High-school stabbing spree leaves at least 20 students wounded.

In Better News: Mariners win home opener!

Change Your Online Passwords: Tech firms urge people to change all their passwords after the discovery of a major security flaw.

And Secure Your Wifi!: So some creep can't download kiddie porn using your network.

Mike Huckabee: Dropping hints about 2016, issuing denials about his flagrant homophobia.

Not So Green in Green Lake: "For decades, neighbors living near an eccentric Green Lake chemist had no idea they were living next to a home containing staggering amounts of dangerous, poisonous, and even explosive chemicals," reports KIRO.

Gravity Sucks: UW frat member found unconscious under open window. (Also, are aware how freakishly often frat people fall from dangerous heights? It's a fucking epidemic!)

Finally, happy birthday to the late, great Carl Perkins, the "King of Rockabilly" and rock n' roll pioneer, who was born on this day in 1932.


Comments (19) RSS

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dnt trust me 1
Disturbing to be an outkast again, but while the whole world is worrying about ukraine, how come I'm not?
Posted by dnt trust me on April 9, 2014 at 9:05 AM · Report this
fletc3her 2
Gravity is just a theory.
Posted by fletc3her on April 9, 2014 at 9:16 AM · Report this
AFinch 3
The OpenSSL vulnerability isn't quite the big deal being pushed in much of the media. You can check whether or not a site is vulnerable here.
Posted by AFinch on April 9, 2014 at 9:43 AM · Report this

I also regularly check my logs and real time monitor to see if there are any unknown connections. I name my devices like Android phone, Win8 laptop, Chromecast, Kindle, tablet so I can tell which ones are mine.

Typically you can remote admin your wifi router with a browser at

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 9, 2014 at 9:43 AM · Report this
AFinch 5
Last item reminds me: a guy I worked with (both waited tables) was a frat boy and fell to his death, very very drunk, from the 3rd story roof. Great guy, but out of control drunk and I came to see it as a kind of suicide by accident (versus, say, "suicide by cop").
Posted by AFinch on April 9, 2014 at 9:52 AM · Report this
Falling from open windows is one of the most common types of frat-related injuries. Yet they continue to be reluctant to build railings. What's up with that?
Posted by Charlie Mas on April 9, 2014 at 9:53 AM · Report this
A lot of experts have been urging people to wait to change their passwords. If you fix the password before the security is patched, you're handing the password to those exploiting the flaw, if indeed there is anyone exploiting it.

"However, once an affected website has fixed the problem on their end, users can protect themselves by changing their passwords. Attackers might have intercepted user passwords in the meantime, and Felten says there's probably no way for users to tell whether anyone intercepted their passwords."…
Posted by frozenfrog on April 9, 2014 at 9:57 AM · Report this
seattlestew 8
I recall that in the late-90s, early-00s, it seemed like there were a slough of balcony collapses that would injure/maim/kill innumerable reveling college kids each year.………

In fact, it looks like this guy has made a business of it:

Posted by seattlestew on April 9, 2014 at 10:01 AM · Report this
seattlestew 9
Also, I hope the kid ends up alright. But I think this

"UW Police Chief John Vinson said police haven't been able to talk to Renken to find out exactly what happened, but said alcohol may have been involved."

should be taken off the board in Vegas.
Posted by seattlestew on April 9, 2014 at 10:04 AM · Report this
@ 3 How do you find your server hostname?
Posted by dkjndmsahksdhksal on April 9, 2014 at 10:19 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 11
I'm Mike Huckabee and I'm not trying to be some wacko out there but I want to make you all slaves to the bible. Sound good?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on April 9, 2014 at 10:32 AM · Report this
AFinch 12
@10: you plug in the URL for the website or mailserver (IMAP and SMTP can use TLS/SSL which is vulnerable). Eg:

This only applies to sites with encryption. Are you visiting encrypted sites, or do you host one yourself (or through a hosting company)?
Posted by AFinch on April 9, 2014 at 10:39 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 13
Look, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but ALL of your encryption protocols have backdoors built into them.

Your tax dollars at work
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 9, 2014 at 10:39 AM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 14
@4: You don't need to do that if your WiFi uses an encryption key. Right click on the connection and click properties.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on April 9, 2014 at 10:40 AM · Report this
AFinch 15
@13 - not true. Several, in particular those a local Seattle Company have developed alongside NIST and the NSA, are quite backdoored. But there are other ciphers which do not include a backdoor. I'd take OpenSSL over the US commercial implementations any day...'cause I can review the code.
Posted by AFinch on April 9, 2014 at 10:50 AM · Report this
Since most of the writers and editors at The Stranger appear to use Mac, you may not have noticed that Microsoft abandoned millions of Windows XP users yesterday and left them a link to an extortion letter on their desktop.

Microsoft gave its victims three options.

1. Pay for a new version of Windows 8.1 and Office 2013 and try to upgrade your existing machine. Of course, since neither piece of software was designed to run on Windows XP machines, you shouldn't expect good performance or anything resembling a responsive operating system.

2. Buy a new computer with Windows 8.1 and Office 2013 already installed. Don't you have $500-$2,000 burning a hole in your pocket?

3. Keep using Windows XP until it gets hacked to bits or simply fails. Good luck, suckers!

If GM or Toyota had offered this type of response instead of a recall of their flawed vehicles, they would be facing a lawsuit and a government investigation. Imagine being told by the dealership with a grin on their face that you simply have to buy a new car, buy a new engine that may not fit or work in your car or keep driving the recalled car that you bought from them until it gives out or blows up on you.

Microsoft could have offered an annual license for a reasonable amount (say $20) to continue supporting Windows XP. With millions and millions of Windows XP users they would be making a profit even at that price.

It did not.

Microsoft could have released its abandoned operating system to an open source foundation to be maintained for the millions of Windows XP users.

It did not.

Apple's latest upgrade to Mac OS X was free, and the previous upgrade to Mac OS X was only $20. Apple continues to provide support for all Mac OS X users. If you have an older version of Apple's office suite called iWork, they still support it. If you want to upgrade your office applications to the newest version, it will cost you $20 for each app.

If Apple can do it, Microsoft can too.

Next week, Ubuntu, one of the most popular versions of the Linux OS, will release their newest version of the operating system. It comes bundled with LibreOffice, which unlike Microsoft Office 2013, is actually fully compatible with ALL versions of Office from 2003 forward. Microsoft has abandoned all Office 2003 users. Ubuntu also comes bundled with Mozilla's Firefox (internet browser) and Thunderbird (email client), and it offers thousands of other apps to install and use with a simple point and click.

Ubuntu is free, always has been and always will be. LibreOffice is free. Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird - both free. All of these open source apps that you can install on Ubuntu are available in free versions.

And, unlike Windows 8.1, Ubuntu will actually install and run on your old Windows XP machine; there's even a "light" version of Ubuntu that will run on really old Windows XP machines. Microsoft's solutions for those customers - NOTHING.

Microsoft could have, should have released the Windows XP operating system to the open source community. It is abandoning it and has no intention of using it as part of Windows 8.1 or newer versions of Windows...ever.

So, if you're feeling abandoned, dumped and extorted, there's an easy solution - Stop Using Microsoft.

If you can afford to purchase a new computer, take a look at Apple Mac or Google Chromebook.

If you can't afford to buy a new computer, upgrade to Ubuntu. The new version will be released next week - that's right next week. It's fast, easy, stable and secure. It's free as always, and no one gets abandoned by Ubuntu's community.

Microsoft said its goodbye; so, let it go. You're going to be so much happier without them.
Posted by Upgrade to Apple Mac, or Google Chromebook on April 9, 2014 at 2:25 PM · Report this


Tell that to all of the IT guys and network specialists who've been working overtime for the last several days fixing this mess.

Sure, the solution is simple, but when you multiply it over millions and millions and millions of servers, clients and applications, it's one helluva slog.

What, exactly, would constitute a "big deal" in your view? Just curious.
Posted by Not Apocalypse, But Still A Big Deal on April 9, 2014 at 2:52 PM · Report this
SchmuckyTheCat 18
@16, Windows XP is 13 years old. Time to move on. That Microsoft continued supporting it, even with code updates, this long is longer than Mac or Ubuntu.

Ubuntu LTS (long term support), even on enterprise server products, is only five years.

Mac OS X abandons users regularly, go ahead and tell me how well your Power PC versions of Photoshop run in 2014. Go ahead and bring your 2001 era jelly bean iMac to the genius counter and tell them you need to update your OS. For $20. Go ahead.

While I believe the IT industry as a whole needs to take a long look at how technology integrates into manufacturing, services, and retail on a long term basis, it is an industry failure not a single company. Microsoft went above and beyond industry norms with XP. Take your anti-evangelism lies and shove off.
Posted by SchmuckyTheCat on April 9, 2014 at 7:02 PM · Report this

Apparently, you're a well-kept cat with deep pockets, but the reality remains that millions and millions of people with perfectly good hardware that they purchased with arguably what remains an acceptable operating system simply do not have the financial resources to pay for the two upgrade paths that Microsoft has now forced upon them.

By the way, Microsoft didn't extend the end of support for Windows XP out of the kindness of its heart. It did so because it was forced by its hardware partners to keep selling it when Vista turned out to be a complete failure. In other words Microsoft sold Windows XP longer than any version; so, it has had to support it longer.

Reality, puss. You can run, but you can't hide from it.

We're not talking about a fraction of a percentage point of the marketplace like older Macs or Linux machines. Windows XP still - right now, today - has more users than Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Mac OS X combined...COMBINED.

We're talking about 27% of ALL Windows computers. We're talking about 44% of ALL desktop computers. We're talking about millions and millions of computers and users.


And, many of them have no real options because they don't fit in that middle-class sweet spot of Microsoft's demographic business model.

That's reality, Schmucky, even if it's not your reality.

Microsoft could have continued support for Windows XP with a special, annual license for these customers.

Even though it could have made them hundreds of millions of dollars, Microsoft decided not to do it.


Microsoft could have placed Windows XP into the hands of an open source foundation that would have continued support for this product until it aged naturally out of use.

Microsoft has not done so. Why?

The movement to encourage Microsoft to make Windows XP open source in the same manner as they have done with .Net is still being promoted to them, without much progress.

Microsoft's resisting making its second most-popular operating system open source, but it has no problem just killing it off.


Why wouldn't Microsoft make Windows XP open source?

What do they have to gain by keeping it under lock and key when they've abandoned Windows XP?

Since Windows XP is no longer part of Microsoft's future development plans for Windows 8.1 and beyond, one has to wonder why they would rather keep it under lock and key while leaving millions upon millions of users with an unsupported operating system unless, of course, they have an ulterior motive.

Hmm, I wonder what the motive is?

Windows XP has not died a natural death; it did not slowly go extinct as users moved away from it. It's still very much alive and surprisingly well.

Microsoft forced Windows XP into obsolescence because it has the power as a monopoly to do so.

Computers are no longer simply a luxury or toy in our society. Just like the phone became essential to life and work in America, the computer has become a necessity. If you don't have one of some kind or, at least, have access to one, life and work become very challenging.

With so many people being negatively impacted by this decision, it may be time for the government to step into the situation and "help" Microsoft to do the right thing - make Windows XP open source or continue support for it, even at a fair price, until Windows XP shrinks considerably in market share...hell, at least until it is smaller in market share than Windows 8/8.1.

If you want to purr your ass up against the billionaire and millionaire bottoms of Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond as their personal apologists, feel free, Schmucky. You'll please forgive me, though, if I don't want to wallow in that overflowing littebox with you.
Posted by Scat, AristoCat! on April 9, 2014 at 10:34 PM · Report this

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