Boston Subway fare cards cracked.

Just came across this story by way of SF writer Charles Stross's blog:

Wireless subway cards cracked

Riders of Boston's T and London's Tube take note - the prepaid cards you use to pay subway fares have been cracked.

Karsten Nohl, a computer science researcher at the University of Virginia, claims to have broken the encryption used by the RFID (radio frequency identification) chip found in the Charlie Card on the Boston T subway system and in the Oyster Card on the London Underground.

All the world's a game

Turn your web surfing into a competition and social springboard. Technology Review:

To make surfing the Web a more social and lighthearted experience ... designers are grafting a massively multiplayer online game on top of ordinary Web browsing. Players rack up points as they visit sites, devise themed missions that lead other players through sets of websites, and leave notes for one another--all of it invisible to nonplayers. GameLayers calls its game PMOG, for "passively multiplayer online game," because "we're layering games on top of things that are already there," says CEO and cofounder Justin Hall...

Technology Review likes the iPhone SDK

Tech Review:

Anyone who uses an iPhone will soon reap the benefits of the phone's new capabilities--from accessing business e-mail, to running familiar desktop programs, to exploiting the built-in accelerometer for new gesture-based interfaces.

Fortune magazine on "Conference 2.0" and the SXSW attendee uprisings.

Fortune magazine gives a preliminary take on the result of the attendee uprisings at SXSW.

"The entire un-conference movement started from the frustration with terrible interviews and terrible panels," said Chris Heuer, a social media consultant in San Francisco who has run his own un-conferences, such as Web 2.1, which he runs for free during the high-priced and exclusive Web 2.0 conference. "People finally feel empowered to take control."

1and1 mod_rewrite suddenly doesn't work

This morning I discovered that the mod_rewrite configs that I'd setup on my uncontrolled airspace website, and which have been working for over a year, were no longer working.

It's been over 12 hours with no response from my hosting service's support people.

I've been searching the web all day for others with this problem. Just now I found this note from a user who had a similar problem 3 years ago. .htaccess was giving a lot of 404 errors, and none of the mod_rewrite rules were working. It turns out that 1and1 (without telling me) enabled the apache Multiviews setting, which plays havoc with the rewrite rules... The solution? Disabling MultiViews in this directory by adding this line to the .htaccess file:

Options -MultiViews

I added that line to my htaccess file, and it started working again immediately.

I think the time is coming to leave behind.

TWIT excellent

A couple years ago the technology podcast TWIT rehabilitated my opinion of John Dvorak. I had no use for him, then I heard him talking every week, and discovered his was more interesting than I'd thought.

Now it's doing it all over again with Jason Calcanis.

BTW, TWIT #135 "Zuck This" is the best ep of TWIT that I've heard in a long time.

Apple iPhone SDK Announced

Somewhat delayed, but looking like its worth the wait, Apple announced it's iPhone (and iTouch) software development kit today.

First impression is that it's pretty good.

Supports the dev of all sorts of apps.

One thing I'm a little iffy on is the requirement to distribute apps through the new Apple "App Store". The good news is it seems pretty open. Apple will distribute most apps (no porn, no hacker apps) in return for 30% of the price. Price determined by the developer. Free apps distributed at no charge by Apple.

Apps for the iPhone will also run on the iTouch device too.

Since I'm on the verge of becoming an iPhone owner, I'm sure I'll have more to say about this as time goes on.

Watching pre-season baseball on

I signed up for's video service so I can watch some of the pre-season games. Their video player is by far the poorest system I've seen.

The video quality is fuzzy. The frame rate is choppy. The screen blacks out on a regular basis. Murphy's Law: the image will skip frames at just the moment you want to see a pitch cross the plate, or a player reach for a challenging play.

I'm tempted to cancel this thing right away and try to get my $$ back ($20 per month), but I'll probably give it another chance and see how it works with one of its own games. This one is from ESPN.