Vegard Skjefstad

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Let’s Hack A City!

If medical equipment isn’t a big enough target for you, why not hack a city?

A while ago I went on one of my familiar rants. The subject was how ridiculously easy it is to hack medical equipment, with medical device maker Meditronic’s pace maker programming devices being the concrete example. Even though I wrote the post in August, it’s still very relevant. Just a couple of days ago,  Meditronic made headlines again when they issued a statement saying that their CareLink line of pace maker programming devices is actually vulnerable to attacks.

The first news of vulnerable Meditronic equipment dropped during the annual Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. But medical equipment was not the only Black Hat target. Far from it. Another interesting subject of hacking was “smart” cities.

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Short Stories

How Twitter’s new 280 character limit can actually be used for good.

Earlier this year, Twitter extended its tweet character limit from 140 to 280 characters. Many users, including myself, thought it was a bad move. My argument was that it wouldn’t lead to more content, but rather more overhead. Turns out I was wrong. While it might be the case for a few of the accounts I follow, some Twitter accounts have found a glorious way of using the 280 characters limit for good: Short stories.

When writing short stories, 280 characters give the author a lot more leverage than 140 characters.

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Press Play On Tape

The Internet Archive’s free Commodore 64 games collection is open for business.

If you’ve heard of the Internet Archive, there’s a good chance it’s because of their Wayback Machine. Since 1996, it’s been slurping up every site it has come across on the internet. The sites are archived, and everyone can browse through historically accurate versions of all the archived webpages. Wonder what Google looked like in 1998, when it only did internet searches, and wasn’t evil? The Wayback Machine’s got you covered.

But the Internet Archive is more than just the Wayback Machine. A lot more. In addition to websites, the archive contains millions of videos, audio files, images, TV shows, eBooks, text, and a whole lot more. My favorite, though? The Internet Archive Software Collection.

The software collection has close to three hundred thousand files, covering every platform from MS-DOS to the Apple II. The real gems in the collection, however, are the games. You’ll find classic arcade games, and games for platforms like the ZX Spectrum, Atari 2600, Sega Genesis, Amstrad GX-4000, and many more.

Now, the Internet Archive has also started archiving games for the computer that broke the European home computer market wide open: The amazing Commodore 64.

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Podcasts: What I’m Listening To Now

A shorter work commute means a picky podcast list.

When I changed projects a month ago, my work commute was cut down by about 30 minutes. While that is great, it also means 30 minutes less each day for podcast listening. My backlog started to grow, so I decided to get rid of the least interesting podcasts in my library.

The podcasts I removed turned out to be some of the more popular ones. This American Life, Freakonomics Radio, and Radiolab were all booted from the playlist. Instead, I’ve made room for a few less-known gems from the podcast jungle. There really are a lot of great podcasts out there. But the because of the shear number of podcasts on the internet, they often drown in the noise.

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October One-liners

It’s the first of October, which means it’s time for some more funny one-liners. If you like these, the entire collection might be of interest.

  • “I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.” — Stephen Bishop
  • “I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” — Irvin S. Cobb
  • “Accept that some days you are the pigeon, and some days you are the statue.” — Dilbert
  • Playing with a toddler is half play and half self-defense.
  • I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid.
  • Life is what happens outside your smartphone.
  • If a guy remembered your eye color after the first date, then you probably have small breasts.
  • An architect’s dream is an engineer’s nightmare.
  • Bad choices often turn into good stories.
  • Some people dress to impress, some people undress to impress.
  • Someone is going to be that guy that dies a few minutes before we discover immortality.
  • My life is a constant shift between trying to fall asleep and trying to wake up.
  • Whatever you do always give 100 %, unless you’re donating blood.
  • “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” — Alan Moore
  • If I had a dollar for every girl that found me unattractive, they would eventually find me attractive.
  • “In 1969 I gave up women and alcohol – It was the worst 20 minutes of my life.” — George Best

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