36 Chambers – The Legendary Journeys: Execution to the max!

April 30, 2012

Snipe Hunting, The Political Version

Filed under: Curmudgeonliness, Economics — Kevin Feasel @ 6:00 pm

President Obama is snipe hunting, looking for “oil speculators,” those evil people who cause energy and gasoline prices to go up.  Oddly enough, he’s not looking for Steven Chu or his own bureaucracy, which have made it more difficult to create supply and made it more expensive to produce energy in the United States.

Going after “oil speculators” is the way out for people who don’t understand basic economics.  John Hinderaker has more.

April 29, 2012

Security Notes

Filed under: (In)Security — Kevin Feasel @ 6:00 pm

The remainder of the Browns’ draft

Filed under: RTFBS, Sports — Tony Demchak @ 3:37 am

I’m not sure what to think of Tom Heckert as a drafter. He seems to get fixated on certain guys and takes them whenever he can get them, which means that he’ll get slammed a lot for reaches. That strategy can work great in Madden if you’ve scouted somebody nobody else has, but a couple of his picks are head scratchers. Coverage of the first round is here.

Second round:

Mitchell Schwartz, OT, Cal — This is one of those weird reaches. He’s played right tackle before (which is where he’ll play with the Browns), but he doesn’t seem to have the raw talent of Cordy Glenn or Jonathan Martin, two guys taken after him. He’s supposed to be NFL-ready now, and he’ll get the job at RT. It’s not a terrible move, but why not take players with more talent if they’re available?

Third round:

John Hughes, DT, Cincinnati — If the second round pick was out of left field, this one comes from Mars. Absolutely NOBODY else had this guy on their boards. At all. He’s strictly a rotational guy, and the scouting report from NFL.com says things like “lazy” and “poor effort.” He’s a decent run stopper. That’s about it.

Fourth round:

Travis Benjamin, WR, Miami — Everybody insisted the Browns needed speed at wideout — Benjamin was the fastest player at the combine (4.36 40 yard dash). He’s tiny (5’10”,  172 lbs) and apparently gets miffed easily by press coverage. Has some return ability, which is always nice.

James-Michael Jones, ILB, Nevada — A great run stopping linebacker, with good fundamentals and a great tackler. Not a ball-hawk, but he could be a starter someday. He played inside and outside, and there’s always the certainty chance that D’Qwell Jackson gets hurt.

Fifth round:

Ryan Miller, OG, Colorado — He’s huge. 6’7″, 321 lbs. A very solid guard that some teams apparently wanted to move out to tackle since he’s, you know, huge. Might have some technique concerns, but he’s a fifth round pick, will probably just be a backup and maybe be the guy that gets stuff down from the top shelf.

Sixth round: 

Emmanuel Acho, OLB, Texas — A very good pass rusher, but has a lot of difficulties in things like pass coverage. Probably a purely situational guy, but the Browns aren’t overflowing with pass rushers.

Billy Winn, DT, Boise State — Extremely talented player with character concerns. A little small for a DT (under 300 lbs), but tall (6’4″). Technique concerns and lack of effort caused him to slide.

Seventh round:

Trevin Wade, DB, Arizona — See Winn above, only he’s a DB and a much bigger jerk. Did very well his sophomore season, stunk the junior year, and was okay his senior year. If he can control his attitude, he could be a very good one.

Brad Smelley, TE, Alabama — Heh heh heh heh. His name is Smelley. Other than that, I know bupkis. He’s apparently a reasonably decent #2 guy.

That’s the entirety of the Browns’ draft. A lot of places give the Browns a “B” grade; I’m okay with that, sort of. They “filled” most of our needs, in that they got warm bodies who wear the right uniform number. Hughes still baffles me, and I like the idea of an uber-fast wideout, but we really needed somebody with more overall ability. Schwartz is an example of drafting for need over best player available; I like the idea and the player, just not where we took him. A couple of character guys here too. Overall, the Browns got three Day-1 starters (assuming Weeden gets the job on day one), good depth at defensive tackle and linebacker, and a freakin’ huge guard. The only skill player I’m unreservedly excited about is Trent Richardson. The only player I’m unreservedly angry about is Hughes. (Fun fact: he was second to last among all DTs who were graded! And we took him in the third round!)

I think it’s clear Weeden will make or break this draft for a lot of people, and I’m one of them. I think Tom Brady would have had a losing record with last years’ supporting cast, with only one legitimate NFL wide receiver in Greg Little and a running game that makes grown men cry (in the bad way). Richardson should fix the latter, and our offensive line is better. Maybe Weeden is Kurt Warner 2.0; maybe he’s Chris Wenke. He has talent, unlike Wenke, but he never bagged groceries (that I know of), so obviously I can’t tell if he’s the next Warner.

I’m going to give the Browns entire draft, at the moment, a C++. If The Walrus gets over his bromance with Seneca Wallace, who’s apparently a dick and refused to help Colt transition last year (unless he was honest and told Colt, “Dude, I have no idea what I’m doing either. Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe better!), I’ll feel better about the season.

April 28, 2012

Buffalo’s Draft

Filed under: Sports — Kevin Feasel @ 8:19 pm

I was happy with last year’s draft.  I didn’t want to jump the gun like our resident Penguatroll, so I waited for all of the picks to come in.

So a quick reminder of last year:  Buffalo drafted pretty well.  Dareus had a very nice rookie season, Aaron Williams did a very good job and can compete for an outside CB or at least slot job.  Da’Norris Searcy was underrated and did fine.  Kelvin Sheppard is the middle linebacker, and although I’m not sure that he’s totally ready for it, he wasn’t lost last year at least.  Chris Hairston got hurt, but he still has the inside chance at that LT job.

Now for this year.  Stephon Gilmore was a bit of a surprise for me, as I was expecting the Bills to focus on LT.  I wasn’t happy with him at the time of selection (especially because McGee, Florence, and Williams were pretty decent last year), but thinking about it some more, I think it was a good choice, especially because the Bills were able to snag Cordy Glenn in the second round.  There are some doubts about whether Glenn will ever be a left tackle, but at worst, he should be a solid right tackle, which Buffalo also needs.  In the fifth round, they also picked up Zebrie Sanders, who should be a solid line upgrade as well, probably as a swingman.

TJ Graham is really, really fast.  Buffalo needs a really, really fast wide receiver, but will he actually be any good?  I don’t expect Lee Evans, but I would like to see a lot better than Roscoe Parrish.

The 4th round saw the Bills draft Nigel Bradham and Ron Brooks.  Bradham sounds like a physical specimen but has awareness problems.  Brooks, meanwhile, is pretty fast and although he was never a starter, that was just because he was playing behind guys like Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne.  I’d give Brooks about a 40% chance of being the nickel cornerback within two years.

After that, meh.  Tank Carder is a run-stopping linebacker.  Michael Lombardi likes him a lot, but I don’t know if he’ll be fast enough to stick in the big leagues; on the other hand, Buffalo still needs some run stopping help, and at least he could be a short-yardage linebacker.  Mark Asper is probably a run-blocking guard on a team with a bunch of decent to good guards.  Finally, John Potter kicks the ball for a living, so nobody cares.

I’ll give Chris Brown credit:  he nailed a bunch of the day 3 picks.  He had Sanders, Bradham,  and Carder dead to rights, and he picked Glenn the night before.

It’s absurd to grade a draft the day of, but I think they did pretty well overall.  They don’t have any team-changers like Dareus, but they did improve at several positions of need and gained some important offensive line depth.  I don’t see them as a playoff team, but 9-7 isn’t out of reach this year.

Macs Can’t Possibly Get Hacked…Right?

Filed under: (In)Security — Kevin Feasel @ 6:00 pm

Thank you, Flashback, for being a great reminder that just because you’re on a down-market platform doesn’t mean you can’t get hacked.  Brian Krebs has a nice blog post on this, and John Strand has a video of a Mac getting hacked.  If you own a Mac, you should watch this and update your system pronto.

April 27, 2012

CAT.Net In Visual Studio 2010

Filed under: (In)Security, Programming & Work — Kevin Feasel @ 6:00 pm

One of the best Visual Studio 2008 plug-ins was CAT.Net.  It would let you analyze your .Net applications and find potential security vulnerabilities, including cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and buffer overflows.  Microsoft was going to put out a VS2010 release, but it never quite got released.  Fortunately, there is a nice way of running CAT.Net in Visual Studio 2010.  I was able to install the 32-bit version; with the 64-bit version, I wasn’t able to find a Microsoft.ACESec.CATNet.AddIn file.

If you’re going to install CAT.Net, you should also get the FXCop ASP.Net Security rules.  There are rule sets for web forms and MVC, because the default security ruleset in Visual Studio isn’t really all that security-oriented.  This is probably the best ruleset out there for security checks; unfortunately, even it is pretty wanting and has not been updated in a while.

Regardless, after you install the rules, you’ll need to create your own ruleset.  To do that, open up Visual Studio 2010 and go to File –> New File –>Code Analysis Rule Set.  The default Microsoft rules are in C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Team Tools\Static Analysis Tools\Rule Sets.  If you’re on a 32-bit machine, the path won’t include (x86) but should otherwise be the same.  Creating a rule set will let you run code analysis using these new rules.

April 26, 2012

Browns draft (thus far)

Filed under: RTFBS, Sports — Tony Demchak @ 11:06 pm

The Browns made two picks in the first round. Cleveland traded some later round picks to go from #4 to #3; given that we got Trent Richardson out of the deal and lost only a 4th, 5th, and 7th round pick, I’m totally okay with that. Given one of the categories for this post — RTFBS, or Run the Fuckin’ Ball, Stupid — I’m delighted that we received the only true every down back in the draft. There is a small part of me that says “Tony, you know the Browns needed a right tackle, and Matt Kalil would have been dynamite.” Still, running backs that touch the ball 25-30 times a game don’t grow on trees, and so I give the Browns a thumbs up on that pick.

I’m a little more concerned about the second pick, QB Brandon Weedon. He’s 28, or about two years younger than I am. He’s immensely talented from a drop back and pass standpoint, although he’s supposedly “meh” outside the pocket. That’s fine. So why aren’t I more excited? Simple: Colt McCoy.

I’ve defended McCoy a number of times on this blog. I think he’s a product of bad circumstances, not a bad QB, and there is a difference. McCoy isn’t Tom Brady or Peyton Manning; he is also not Charlie Frye or Derek Anderson (minus 2007). I think he can still be a very competent starter. He’s no “franchise QB”, but he is extremely competent, and it still kind of bothers me that the Browns have given up on him so quickly.

I also really wanted to see the Browns get an elite WR or OT in the first round. Riley Reiff would have been a tremendous choice. I like the guard that fell to Pittsburgh, too. A couple of picks earlier, Kendall Wright was available. I understand there are plenty of superb options for both in the second round, and maybe that’s true. I admit I’m not quite as knowledgeable about college ball as I was in the past, and apart from the first round, I’ve not examined many mock drafts.

Weedon may very easily defeat Colt McCoy in training camp. This may even end up good for Colt; he was forced to start before he was ready, and he’ll get a little bit of seasoning behind Weedon. Weedon may totally surprise me, start for 10 years, and give the Browns a Super Bowl. I’m just hesitant to sign off on the pick now (not that I need to, since I don’t work for the Browns.) I also think he would have been available in the second round

So, thus far: Richardson, A+ — Weedon, C+ (possibly as high as B+ depending on his performance).

Not Just TSA

Filed under: (In)Security, Economics — Kevin Feasel @ 6:00 pm

The Department of Homeland Security in general is, shall we say, sometimes problematic, like in this case.  Do read the judge’s summary, because it’s a fun read.

Also think about the economic incentives relating to asset seizure.

The latest enemy: Don McLeroy

Filed under: Enemies — Tony Demchak @ 12:51 am

Here’s a clip of this idiot from the Colbert Report.

I love the Colbert Report. The only things I usually skip are his musical guests because I hate musical guests.  I want to be informed or entertained through comedy. Leave music for other shows. Anyway, this is the first time in a long time I couldn’t finish this interview. The tipping point? Stephen asks the moron if he thinks that dinosaurs and human beings coexisted. His idiot response:

“Well yes, that is my belief.”

There is nothing more intellectually cowardly than hiding behind “faith” or “belief” so that you can pretend you aren’t wrong. The coexistence of dinosaurs and humans is not a “belief”, it is a verifiable fact. Guess what? Didn’t happen.

See, human beings (i.e. Homo sapiens) originated roughly 200,000 years ago. The dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. Do the math. To put it another way, you are far, far less wrong, chronologically, if you insist that the Trojan War was over nuclear weapons or that woolly mammoths had laser cannons mounted on them. (I’ll give you a moment to savor the sheer awesomeness of the second example.)

Let’s pretend that you believe that Bible is 100% factually accurate and that the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Given how awesome dinosaurs are, there should be hundreds of verses of humans and dinosaurs frolicking together in meadows (or, you know, dinosaurs eating people.) So, here’s the results from a search for “lizard.” Do you want to argue “great lizard” might mean dinosaur? Knock yourself out. If that’s the case, here is the entirety of the Bible’s claim re: dinosaurs:

Dinosaurs are not good eatin’.

The Koran doesn’t mention dinosaurs either. Sorry.

We are left, therefore, with three possible alternatives. 1) Don McLeroy is a Highlander and personally witnessed dinosaurs eating people (or people eating dinosaurs). 2) Don McLeroy doesn’t actually understand English and is a poorly trained chimp. 3) Don McLeroy is taking advantage of a politically correct culture that discourages anybody from arguing with anybody that uses the word “belief” or “faith” to preface a statement.

If you think I’m being unfair to McLeroy, the man who almost singlehandedly determined what ended up in high school textbooks? It is my  belief that he’s a cowardly idiot.

Check and mate. QED, motherfucker.

April 25, 2012

Mid-Week Security Notes

Filed under: (In)Security — Kevin Feasel @ 6:00 pm
  • How much is a 0-day vulnerability worth?  I don’t know if I necessarily trust these figures.  It would seem to me that 0-day vulnerabilities are a pretty thin market, so it’s tough for me to say that these are “real” prices.
  • Now they’ve gone too far:  targeting Mass Effect 3 users?  Monsters!
  • Spam is down year-over-year.  The source article cites a few government-related reasons, but one that I would bring up is the expansion of anti-spam efforts.  With GMail, they’ve gotten to the point where I have probably about 0.1% false positive and 0.1% false negative results (in other words, of ever 1000 spam e-mails I receive, roughly 1 fails to get past the spam check; and of every 1000 messages marked as spam, roughly 1 was incorrectly sent there).  To the extent that this applies for other people, that certainly drops the value of spam.
  • A study of GreenSQL users indicate that a majority of SMBs go with them out of fear of SQL injection attacks.  It makes sense, considering that SQL injection can get you fined.  In addition, RockYou violated COPPA*.
* – Thereby leading me to say, in my best Ah-nuld voice, “Get to the COPPA!”
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