Monday, December 26, 2011

Every time Anon (shortened purposefully) leaks stolen information - it makes me feel there aren't enough Clifford Stolls in the world. In the beginning of the Internet, he was a rock star of Internet security/forensics. I ~so~ wanted to be like him when I started my career.

"Clifford Stoll gained worldwide attention as a cyberspace sleuth when he wrote his bestselling book, The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage, the page-turning true story of how he caught a ring of hackers who stole secrets from military computer systems and sold them to the KGB."

"The Cuckoo’s Egg inspired a whole category of books on capturing computer criminals. He began by investigating a 75-cent error in time billing for the university computer lab for which he was systems manager and ended up uncovering a ring of industrial espionage. Working for a year without support from his employers or the government, he eventually tracked the lead to a German spy hacking into American computer networks involved with national security and selling the secrets to the KGB for money and cocaine. "

Having said that - even some of the smartest people can make bad predictions.

"In this Newsweek article from 1995, Clifford Stoll suggested it would be unlikely we’d buy books over the web or read newspapers online.

But he didn’t stop there. He didn’t think Internet shopping would work because the Internet was missing salespeople:

We’re promised instant catalog shopping—just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obsolete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet — which there isn’t — the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople. "
More here.

In 1995 we never imagined Ipads. The closest we got was the Palm Pilot.

In truth I am conflicted about the leaked info. I think someone will eventually get killed, but we also get to find out about a lot of stuff we didn't know.

It is funny Clifford Stoll kinda turned out to be a Luddite. You can't even buy his book The Cuckoo’s Egg on the kindle.


  1. Thanks for the book recommendation! I THINK I may have read it before, but I just went and bought a copy at Amazon for 18¢. Can't beat the internets!

    I had gone and picked a 17¢ copy and put it in my cart, then Leverage came on and I went to watch. Came back to find someone had bought my 17¢ copy. so I had to spend a penny more. Maybe on-line book sellers can thank you for sending customers their way?

    It may not be Stoll that's the Luddite. The book came out last in 2005 in paper and turning a book into a Kindle/Nook/etc version takes more than it'd first appear. Especially if it's not in electroinic form but has to be scanned, proofed, tagged, proofed, checked, etc.

    And it is available in some strange "html version" for only $5.95. Which is more expensive than my nice hardcover copy (with $3.99 postage charge) will cost.

    Happy New Year (late, maybe, but well intentioned.)


  2. That is a nice tie-in. ;) Let me know if you enjoy the book. I didn't actually think anyone would buy a copy. It's from a long time ago. And, I haven't read it in a really long time.

    I was referencing Stoll as a Luddite because he seems to be completely anti computer now. A lot of the old tech guys seem to lean this way. Though Stoll seems more fanatically so. Here.

    If he ever talked at Berkeley - I'd go see him. But, he'd probably be talking more about astronomy.

  3. He's a commentator on MSNBC? He ain't just a Luddite, he's apparently a stupidite. (I just made that word up. Or so I assume, since it got a squiggly underline.)

    I'll write you a book report when I get to the book. It may be a while as there're a lot of books ahead of it. (I keep reading about electronic books taking over printed dead-wood books, and being a bit of a Luddite myself, I gotta buy any book that looks even fairly interesting before it disappears (ha, ha).

    Well... Oregon's won. Too bad. Now comes Stanford. I'll root for them for you Bay area'ers.


    p.s. I'll keep your MIL in my prayers after her stroke. Aren't Mr. S's family from the middle west? Bit of a commute for you two?

    the verification words is "manglys," which is how I often mangly the language.

  4. "He's a commentator on MSNBC?"

    Good spot. I normally skim from the top. So I didn't even catch that. I thought he'd grown rather comfortably into obscurity.

    "It may be a while as"

    Excellent. Sounds like by the time you get around to it - you will have forgotten how you ever learned about the book. In case it sucks.

    "I'll keep your MIL in my prayers after her stroke. Aren't Mr. S's family from the middle west"

    I appreciate that. And here I thought you guys were only minimally paying attention to anything I write. I've only mentioned it a few times. How long have you been reading my blog now?

  5. Oh, I'm sure I'll remember who recommended this book.... I'll have to make sure I read it soon.

    I read everything you post. I usually check in a couple of times a week. More so if "we've got a conversation going on." You're on my "home page" of links along with maybe 25 other blogs (Vodkapundit, Ace of Spades, the Agitator, Instapundit (of course) Althouse, and half a dozen Catholic blogs, plus whatever else adds up to 20 or 25). I leave comments at many of them, but yours is the only one where I actually feel like the blog-owner actually reads the comments.

    I don't know how long I've been reading your stuff. 3 or four years? longer? I think I found you from links to your rants on Amazon's using 400 square foot boxes to ship 3 square inch things. I (don't know about the others) come back for the cars, and the house-flipping stuff (which has been absent for a long time?) and the computer show stuff, and the general snarkiness. But mostly your attitude.

    (Off topic, VT just had a TD taken away from them in their 1st OT vs Michigan... Then a MISSED field goal!) I better get back to the game. (I got a friend in Michigan I promised I watch.)

    Give my best to Mr. S from Long winded John in Pomeroy on the Palouse

  6. "I don't know how long I've been reading your stuff. 3 or four years? longer? I think I found you from links to your rants on Amazon's using 400 square foot boxes to ship 3 square inch things."


    You have been reading for quite a long time. I ~so~ loved those overboxing posts. It almost never happens anymore. It was the best comedy to have one of those boxes show up. You just couldn't believe anyone thought that was okay.

    "and the house-flipping stuff (which has been absent for a long time?) "

    Paused for now I think. They haven't quite beaten the desire out of me. When you don't know what the rules are going to be from day to can't put that kind of money into the market. Which is a shame because the rental market has shown more of a pulse than I have seen in forever.

    I do read all of my comments. Sometimes comments can be the best part of a blog. I always try to comment. Sometimes however, I don't have anything witty or interesting to add. And sometimes I'm completely gridlocked in my brain. In my head sometimes things seem funny, and then you get them into text and think - that sucks.

    Thank you for your kind comments. I really didn't know you had been reading so long. I thought a year or two maybe.

  7. Hey I'm back! I hope you get notified when an older post gets another comment.

    I got the stoll book in the middle of last week. So it took about 10 days from reading this post to getting the book from back east via book rate.

    I really liked it. How can you NOT like someone whose two 'e-mail addresses' at the end of the introduction were Compuserve and Genie? I started reading Friday and finished Saturday (only yesterday?). It really is one of those 'reads like a fictional suspense novel' stories. The hardest part is reading, having him describe something he did, then remember that, oh, yeah, it was 1985 not 2011.

    I also liked a book (only 5 years old) about the history of a company that wrote a word processor (remember those?) for the TRS-80.

    I don't remember if I had more to write, but I have to go as my kid just reminded me I was going to de-virus her computer and had promised her she could use mine. Youngest is a freshman (freshwoman?) in college. Somedays I miss 1978 and my Radio Shack Model I.