If this really is a former Tesla I.T. guy posting the ugly truth, Elon's bad week just got worse

Hoo boy. Read the rest

How machine learning engineers can detect and debug algorithmic bias

Ben Lorica, O'Reilly's chief data scientist, has posted slides and notes from his talk at last December's Strata Data Conference in Singapore, "We need to build machine learning tools to augment machine learning engineers." Read the rest

NYPD has no backup for its seized property database, recording millions in annual seizures

The Property and Evidence Tracking System (PETS) is the NYPD's huge database where it stores ownership information on the millions in New Yorkers' property it takes charge of every year (including about $68m in cash and counting), through evidence collection and asset forfeiture. Read the rest

There's an evil clown donut delivery service in Texas

That revamped IT film is bringing clowns, downright terrifying ones, right back into the pop culture spotlight.

One donut shop in Texas is leveraging the trend by offering a scary clown delivery service. On Monday and Tuesday, September 25 and 26, you can have Hurts Donut (great name!) in the Dallas suburb of Frisco do the dirty deed for you. And by "dirty deed," I mean "have an evil clown deliver your friends donuts."

In an interview with Dallas area site GuideLive, Hurts Donut co-owner Kas Clegg denies the service was directly inspired by IT clown Pennywise, "We always try to keep up with the trends, and clowns are trending right now... We just love scary clowns."

Have future enemies in the Frisco area? Call 469-214-8001 to schedule delivery. The clown delivery fee is $5 in addition to the regular delivery fee of $5. So, $10 plus whatever the donuts cost.

The donut shop notes on Facebook, "If we have enough interest in surrounding communities, let us know in the comments below, we may pick a day for out of town clown deliveries as well!"

Thanks, Chris!

Previously: Steven King's "It" hurting the clown business Read the rest

20% of Manchester police systems run Windows XP

Manchester boasts England's second-largest police-force (after London) and some of the nation's shittiest IT. Read the rest

Equifax has terrible information security practices, and that resulted in multiple breaches

Equifax's world-beating breach of 143 million Americans' sensitive personal and financial information was the result of the company's failure to patch a two-month-old bug in Apache Struts, despite multiple reports of the bug being exploited in the wild. Read the rest

Police "terrified" by red balloons tied to grates

People are tying red balloons to sewer grates and it's getting on the cops' nerves because no-one wants to untie them and they end up having to do it.

Police are asking the “local prankster” not to continue placing the balloons on the grates, similar to the movie “It” which comes out on Friday.

In a post on Facebook, the Lititz Borough Police Department say they know the movie is coming to theaters in a couple days and give the prankster creativity for promoting the movie.

“We want the local prankster to know that we were completely terrified as we removed these balloons and respectfully request they do not do that again,” the post read.

From their Facebook page:

Read the rest

Trailer for Stephen King's It (2017)

Pennywise and his real-world imitators may be thanked for putting an early end to the Pokemon Go fad last year, but the real fruit of It's labor is the forthcoming TV film version of Steven King's classic horror book. Here's the trailer.

There's a high bar to meet, but it's worth remembering that the original miniseries was pretty dull when Tim Curry wasn't on-screen. Read the rest

That big Amazon S3 outage was caused by a typo, company admits

On Monday, many websites, news services, publishing platforms, and other internet-connected things that use Amazons AWS platform went dark. The cause can finally be revealed. Read the rest

All of IT development summed up in one image

This picture grid brilliantly sums up the attitudes in nearly every IT office I've ever worked in. This is the oldest reference to it I can find. Read the rest

Why are the data-formats in Star Wars such an awful mess? Because filmmakers make movies about filmmaking

Sarah Jeong's long, terrifyingly thorough analysis of the data-formats in the Star Wars universe is both hilarious and insightful, and illustrates the difference between the burgeoning technological realism of shows like Mr Robot and the long tradition of science fiction media to treat computers as plot devices, rather than things that audiences are familiar with. Read the rest

How it feels to be under DDoS attack

At this week's O'Reilly Velocity conference in Santa Clara, Artur Bergman, founder and CTO, told the story of how he got involved in starting a denial-of-service-resistant CDN -- a personal story about helping his old company cope with a titanic DDoS attack that brought it and its upstream provider to their knees. Read the rest

Air Force tried harder, now says that giant database can be recovered

Last week, the Air Force announced that it had lost 12 years' worth of records of whistleblower reports, freedom of information requests, and corruption investigations because of unrecoverable database corruption that not even its contractor, Lockheed-Martin, could unsnarl. Read the rest

Microsoft spams corporate users with messages denigrating their IT departments

If your company hasn't "upgraded" your computer to Windows 10 -- a tendril of what Shoshana Zuboff calls surveillance capitalism masquerading as a "free OS" -- you may start receiving messages from Microsoft telling you that your IT department is holding you back: "Your system administrator has blocked upgrades on this PC. Check with your system administrator about upgrading this PC to Windows 10." Read the rest

Parenting and sysadminning are remarkably similar

Six years ago, I wrote a column comparing IT managers' prohibitions on using your own devices and applications to abstinence-only sex ed: a high-handed approach that leaves its audience ignorant and resentful, and dedicated to undermining you behind your back. Read the rest

First issue of new feminist hacker zine

Audrey writes, "The Recompiler is a new feminist hacker magazine dedicated to learning about technology in a fun and inclusive way. The first issue of the magazine is now online, with articles about glitchy art, 80s tech, SSL bugs, and the flaws in DNS." Read the rest

With faked degrees, U.S. tech official ran law enforcement data systems for years. Then he resigned, got a new gov job.

“A key Interior technology official who had access to sensitive systems for over five years had lied about his education, submitting falsified college transcripts produced by an online service.”

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