Louise Mensch, MP, brands me a spammer.

So after my latest round of tweets with Corby MP Louise Mensch nee. Bagshawe, she has effectively called me a spammer and forbade me from tweeting her any longer (or I’ll be blocked). So be it. I won’t tweet her any more.

She has invited me to email her – but why would I do that? That just makes everything private – and I can be more easily ignored in private.   I did highlight the latest copyright infringements on Menshn to her, however that has yet to be rectified on the site.

So, since I’m now apparently a spammer it is time to question Ms. Mensch’s understanding of a few words.

1. Democracy. You would think a Member of Parliament would get this one right. Apparently not.

We’ll take Wikipedia’s opening paragraph:

Democracy is an egalitarian form of government in which all the citizens of a nation together determine public policy, the laws and the actions of their state, requiring that all citizens (meeting certain qualifications) have an equal opportunity to express their opinion.

 

2. Censorship.

Again, lets take Wikipedia’s opening paragraph:

Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body.

3. spam. (using lowercase because Hormel trademark requests the capitalised version remain for the lunch meat product).

Again with Wikipedia:

Spam is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately. While the most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media…

So, I’m not quite sure what the metaJesus thing is all about – but basically I’m a spammer.

All my messages (see previous blog posts), including *everything* on Menshn and tweets has been critical comment. Pointing our flaws in their web site, security, and actual Copyright Infringement. Not complaints; and most certainly not spam by any definition.

Is there a lesson here? Yes. If you talk about something that Mensch doesn’t want to talk about or hear, Louise will define your message as “spam”, delete, block or otherwise censor you. Thereby enabling Menshn to claim they do not censor (except when they want to).

Ironic however, that Louise doesn’t want me to tweet her, yet does invite me to comment via email – which is closer to the definition of spam!

Perhaps one of her Corby constituents will pass her a dictionary. It appears she may have use of one.

I will not be tweeting this message to Louise or I’ll be blocked from her twitter feed also, but please feel free to let her know yourself.

I’m also done with Menshn. I am obviously not welcome as my preferred topics of conversation are not catered for.

Further examples of Copyright Infringement by Menshn

Following on from my earlier article on Copyright Infringement by Menshn and a find on Menshn co-founder Luke Bozier’s personal web site, I found a few more copyrighted images that Menshn are using without proper attribution.

When you create an account on Menshn, you get randomly assigned a profile picture from their library of, supposedly, Creative Commons images. Except, Menshn’s view of Creative Commons appears to amount to “I found it on the Internet so it must be OK”.

Here’s one of Eleanor Roosevelt, original image is owned by “onecle” with a license of “Attribution, Share-alike”. Menshn has no Attribution.

 

Here is another one of a cast of Susan B. Anthony, original image owned by “cliff1066TM”, again with an Attribution license.

Menshn’s other co-founder, Louise Mensch has at least taken some interest in my articles – so I expect they will be gone* soon.  (*rather replaced, because if they are deleted, many individuals are going to have a broken profile picture).

Now taking bets on how long it’ll take before I get bored of all this. (#joke, lest I fall foul of some gambling law somewhere)

 

First rule of Menshn is talk about Menshn, unless you are on Menshn.

  1. The first rule of menshn is you do talk about menshn. Please feel free to invite your friends, spread the word, and post about us on Facebook and Twitter.   (c) Menshn, Screenshot below:

Yet, if you do talk about Menshn within Menshn – you will get banned.

Yes, I got banned. I talked about Menshn in the Menshnabout room (and before that existed, the politics ones).

Here is Menshn co-founder admitting this (because all I ever posted in Menshn were messages about Menshn, mostly critical, or pointing out that they were committing Copyright Infringement offences).

 

Edit: Found a cool plugin that lets me import tweets as comments, so I have pulled in the relevant conversations from twitter. Louise did not post what you see below, I used the plugin to pull them in.

Let’s use Wikipedia’s page on Censorship, which defined it thus:

Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body.

In this case, the controlling body is Menshn, or to be more precise, its co-founders and staff. The speech or public communication is criticism of Menshn. Menshn admits it will block this speech. Therefore, Menshn engages in censorship. Q.E.D.

Now, would any reasonable person be able to say Censorship does not exist on Menshn? I believe the evidence speaks for itself and the evidence is damning.

 

Why Menshn will fail

One of the driving factors of social media is the human need to be heard. The belief that somewhere, out there, someone is not just interested in what you say, but more fundamentally, has the ability to hear (or see) what you say (and write).

When the Social Media platform fails in that most fundamental of principles then you have to wonder about its long term prospects for survival.

I created several different accounts on Menshn, using different browsers and networks to simulate how multiple individuals would interact. (note that the rules do not prohibit this)

One thing stood out above all others – any posts by these accounts in any “room” or topic, does not appear in that room. Even when I wait hours, none of the posts appeared visible to the other accounts watching that room.  The posts are visible to the account who posted the message – just not anyone else. That, my friends, reduces the confidence in the service and as others begin to realise the futility of their efforts will result in the demise of the network.

When you lose the trust of the public, the network is doomed.

Abiding by the first rule of Menshn, please spread this article. 🙂

The first rule of menshn is you do talk about menshn. Please feel free to invite your friends, spread the word, and post about us on Facebook and Twitter.

 Final note: I did not, and do not, engage in any unauthorised intrusion attempts to collect any information in my research. All research is purely from observations that could be made by any individual.

Blog change to WordPress

Well, I thought after calling out Menshn for security flaws, I ought to check if my Movable Type was up to date. It wasn’t and one of the changelogs suggested I should upgrade.

However, the upgrade went badly leaving me unable to login at the blog level, or anyone to comment. Admin area was fine.

My upgrade path to Movable Type 5 was blocked because they decided to remove Postgres support. So it put it into the same camp as WordPress. Conveniently there is a PG4WP “plugin” (hack) that lets (most of) WordPress work on Postgres, yay!

Cut to the chase, WP + PG4WP installed. Blog exported/imported. Comments migrated – however I lost a few comments because of a bug in the WP Import incorrectly creating SQL for some articles. Didn’t like the <span style=”color: rgb(0, 0, 187);”> one little bit.I recreated the 4 missing entries manually, but the comments from the originals refused to import.

A mod_rewrite rule to strip the .html from the old MT page urls, and things should be up and running.

 

 

 

Luke Bozier of Menshn has form on Copyright Infringement

3rd in my series of articles about Menshn.

So, today (or last night), Luke Bozier blocked me on twitter. Seems like a pointless act since anyone not logged into twitter can read all his posts anyway.  However, it did cause me to google his name and I came up with two personal web sites of his for his blog at:
Out of interest I had a click through some articles and came across an image on:
Well no, not murder, but yes Copyright Infringement.
You see the image of the Chernobyl Guard is (c) Trey Ratcliff at http://www.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-433927398 (article https://stuckincustoms.com/2007/02/02/nuclear-winter-in-chernobyl/) and all he asks for the use of the image is Attribution. However, Luke Bozier does not provide that attribution.
Screenshot of Luke’s site at the time of this article (because Luke is quite efficient at removing the images when I call him out on his law breaking).

Menshn does not censor, Allegedly.

Officially:

40-menshn-loiuse-nocensorship.jpg
However, my messages on menshn.com do not appear to be visible to others. Compare this screenshot of the same “menshnabout” topic/room.
On the left is Firefox – not logged in. On the right is Chrome – my account logged in.
42-menshn-hidden-messages-thumb-500x230-41.jpg
My message is only visible to me when logged in.
And, I checked…. Private Mode is Off.
Am I being singled out or is there a more widespread censoring going on?

Menshn and another security issue

On June 19, menshn.com launched giving me a couple of days to have a look around, but not enough time to write up any serious thoughts before going on vacation.  The site launched only in the US and visitors from the UK and elsewhere were greeted with a holding page. However, like many technically aware individuals, geographic barriers are no match to those with VPNs, VPSes or just a simple web proxy.

Initially, only three “topics” were available, a (US) Election2012 topic and one each for Obama and Romney.

Menshn has taken a bit of a battering on Twitter over, I guess, pretty much every aspect of the site imaginable.

Some don’t like the owners, one UK Conservative Member of Parliament, Louise Mensch, and a former Labour advisor Luke Bozier. However, the primary focus of much of the complaints are the web site’s numerous and shocking security flaws.

I believe I was one of the first (if not the first) to highlight the Cross Site Scripting Security flaws. Though I did not actively demonstrate (exploit) it having previously burned in this area, others such as James Coglan have demonstrated the complete lack of data validation that abounds on Menshn.

The site launched without using a SSL Certificate allowing passwords to pass in plain text – a flaw I missed – but ably spotted by Suggy and Andrew White.

Also prior to going on vacation I highlighted two examples of Copyright Infringement to both Louise and Luke. The first was the alleged unauthorised use of the Obama HOPE poster which I screen captured here:

I was completely ignored.


Then Menshn created a new topic “Women” for which they used another image of a “thoughtful woman”:

Note – screen cap of Menshn is on left; the same image I found on Elite Dating Agency site (using Google image search, honest!).  I tweeted to Luke, who responded that the image was Creative Commons. However, this I doubted as I can generally spot a professional image and eventually found the real source as a Premium Stock Image that they could have paid just $9.99 to use. The image soon disappeared from Menshn without further comment from Menshn.

Edit: Just found another image on Menshn – the image for the UKPolitics topic – that does not adhere to the Copyright owner’s license:

The original image is owned by Kevin Shakespeare with the license of “Attribution, Non-Commercial, and No Derivative Works”. Another Menshn fail.

I like to think I’ve educated them a little on Copyright law.

And finally, the straw that breaks the camels back.

Back from vacation, try to login, but of course I forgot the password and so used the “forgot my password”.  Now all normal security conscious web sites will create an encrypted, time limited, one-time use token or URL that you can use to reset your password and email that to you.

No, not Menshn. Menshn will email your actual password in plain text.

The horror. Not only does this mean your password flying through the world’s email servers (making it available to all sorts of Government interception) it also means that Menshn is storing your password inside its database using at best a two-way reversible encryption, or at worst in plain text.

Either way – it is a security disaster,  A breach of the web site means all users and all passwords are exposed in plain text (with the reversal key available from the forgot password code). Luke should read http://www.phptherightway.com/#password_hashing_with_bcrypt .

An awesome coder he is not.

Post publication edit: This article has been mentioned in Business Insider –

We Speak To The British Politician Behind The Controversial 180-Character ‘Twitter-Killer’ Menshn

 

Amusing, True Near Death Experience.

Those who know me will know that there have been two important events occurring in my life this week. 1) Tiling my kitchen, and 2) Trying to buy a HP TouchPad.

As part of tiling the kitchen, significant other wanted to replace all the standard white wall sockets with Stainless Steel ones to match the rest of the kitchen colour scheme. I was safely over half way through this task, having disconnected the socket mains supply, when a van pulled up bearing HP TouchPad goodness. Thus the next 30 minutes of my life was accounted for.

Upon returning to the kitchen tasks I came to the Cooker 40A switch. I disconnected the ring main from the switch and proceeded to move the wires so that I kept the supply and load pairs apart when BUZZZZZZ and 240 Volts of high energy goodness shot through my hand and up my arm.

Yes folks, TouchPad caused me to forget to flip the cooker ring circuit in the fuse box.

Cue me jumping back, dropping tools and collapsing to the floor in a bout of Arrrrgh.

Wife said “Stop it, you’ll scare the kids.”.

Kids run in asking what happened and wife explains that Daddy electrocuted himself.

Six year old Lauren asked “Could you see his bones?”.

What 16TB raw space looks like at home

I’ve been looking for some home backup solutions over the past couple of months. This has led me down both the do-it-yourself route and buying a ready-made solution.

One of my requirements was that I wanted the solution to be more than just storage – otherwise I would have purchased a straight NAS box from the likes of Qnap, Netgear or if feeling rich Drobo. Most of these dedicated NAS boxes can be “rooted” to allow ssh access , however their CPUs are generally underpowered for general purpose use.

Other requirements were that I wanted a reasonably small form factor and to be able to use at least 4 SATA hard drives, preferably with hot swap ability. Hardware raid was not a requirement because I intended on using a Linux distribution with mdadm software raid.

In the end, I ended up building two boxes.
The first, a home build, based on the CFI A7879 chassis CFI_A7879_1with a Gigabyte GA-D525TUD Dual Core Atom Mini-ITX Board.

GA-D525TUD

The second was a off-the-shelf HP ProLiant Microserver which, to be brutally honest, was because HP were offering £100 cashback deal on it. This made the server much cheaper than you could possibly build yourself from components.

HP_Microserver
I added 4GB ram to each box (total 5GB in the HP box because it comes with 1GB).The CFI boot drive is a 8GB (30MB/sec) CompactFlash card mounted as an
IDE drive. The HP boot drive is a 16GB Sandisk Cruzer USB stick.

Finally added 4 x 2TB Samsung F4EG HD204UI drives to each box.

The CFI box has 8TB in RAID5 providing 5.4TB usable. The HP has 8TB in RAID6 providing 3.6TB usable space.

If there is more interest, I’ll write up the build process is more detail with pictures.

For now – here are some shots of my utility shelf.

IMG_20110411_173250

IMG_20110411_173740