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Paul Cowan
Works at Google
Attended Swinburne University of Technology
Lives in Sydney, Australia
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Paul Cowan

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As a CS professional, it naturally behooves me not to refer to other CS professionals as incompetent nincompoops.

However, in the absence of any evidence that Lenovo and/or Superfish are, in fact, professionals in any capacity, I shall go ahead: Lenovo and Superfish are incompetent nincompoops.

If you have a Lenovo laptop with "VisualDiscovery" pre-installed: congratulations, your machine basically comes Pre-Pwnt For Your Convenience. Have fun with your online banking!

This is idiocy.
 
Lenovo pre-installs a web proxy that injects ads. It MITMs HTTPS traffic by installing its own trusted root certificate.

Always install your OS manually. Don't trust the OEM's version.

EDIT:  Holy shit, apparently it's the same key for all installs: https://twitter.com/fugueish/status/568258997578371072

(The private key is necessarily present on the machine. So basically if the key is not public already it will be shortly, and anyone will be able to spoof any web site to Lenovo users.)

EDIT2: Uninstalling the app does NOT remove the certificate. https://twitter.com/metsfan/status/568265468173107200
Ok, I will take a look at ESET. Thanks   Yes, VisualDiscovery is part of the bundled software in my lenovo laptop.. It is from a developer called Superfish. More info here: http://systemexplorer.net/file-database/file/visualdiscovery-exe   [Moderator note: Moved from another discussion and title cha...
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Paul Cowan

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Photos of the security drills held to practice for when zoo animals escape. I laughed at the first one for two solid minutes. And then I got to the second one…
In some zoos in Japan and China, staff members perform regular security drills to practice their response to a large animal escape by using costumed zookeepers as the fugitive animals. Individuals in furry costumes or pairs in full-size mockups of larger animals run through zoo property, sometimes inflicting mock injuries, as fellow zookeepers work to surround, subdue, and recapture them.
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#7 I knew it, I knew they had real dragons.
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Paul Cowan

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A while ago, a Reddit thread turned up this rather wonderful image of what would happen if the Mercator projection extended beyond the usual ~80 degrees latitude, if there was a scattering of coins at the South Pole: http://i.imgur.com/ccESqAc.png (and, extended: http://i.imgur.com/Crb32Lf.png)

Even better, the thread turned up this beauty, a site which can use any point on earth as the "pole" in a Mercator projection. Really helps the distortion hit home.
An interactive playground to explore the extreme distortions of the Mercator projection. Set any point on Earth as the new North Pole. Warp the map in real-time. See the world in a whole new way.
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Paul Cowan

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No matter how highly-paid an engineer is, they're still a sucker for a nice bit of swag. Very excited to get this from the Updog team at work!
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send shirts please :)
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Paul Cowan

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I had such good results with my last LazyPlus, so: LazyPlus, what should I use for diagramming my home network? I don't want anything fancy, just a nicely laid-out diagram showing me hostnames, subnets, maybe MAC addresses, etc.

Bonus points awarded for free-as-in-speech, free-as-in-beer, cross-platform, and (especially) automated - i.e. I point it at my network and it gives me at the very least MAC and IP addresses and hostnames, with me going along later and choosing whether each thing is a router or a desktop or a wii or whatever so I get the right pretty pictures.

Something which snarfs my network config into a graphviz DOT file or whatever is probably fine. As long as I don't have to write it myself, because laziness.
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I worked on one of these for work a good hmmm 8-10 years ago now. Its not free though. I like https://www.gliffy.com/  But it isn't going to sniff your network and create the diagram. 
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Paul Cowan

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The autonomous drone ships intended to recover the SpaceX boosters are being named after ships from Iain M Banks' Culture series. There are no words for how awesome this is.

(h/t +Yonatan Zunger)
 
GCU Just Read the Instructions and GCU Of Course I Still Love You are both from The Player of Games. IIRC they were involved in blackmailing Morat Gurgeh into his mission to the Empire of Azad.
In tribute to sci-fi author Iain M. Banks, SpaceX founder Elon Musk names two of his drone ships after ships from Banks' Culture novels.
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+James McGill YES
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"In lieu of a traditional hospital gown, Jamie would prefer to be dressed like Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer."

(h/t +Anthony Zana)
 
We are opposed to torture/gluten. Please provide WiFi so we can check what you say against Wikipedia and our favorite mom blogs. Jamie would like Jeff to do the pushing whenever possible. We strongly prefer a girl. In the event of a Cesarean, please practice Western medicine. We will not be vaccinating our baby. Please vaccinate all other babies on this floor.
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Oh, me too... 
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Paul Cowan

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For +Cory Altheide, currently working on his PhD thesis in the rapidly-growing field of study "Crappy Android Gaming Crowdfunded Bullshit".
ZRRO Ltd. is raising funds for ZRRO - Touch your TV from the couch! on Kickstarter! ZRRO's amazing hover and touch controller lets you play ALL 1M Android games and apps directly on your TV just like a huge tablet!
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urrghhh....
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Paul Cowan

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Hello friends!

I think we all agree that cancer is an utter bastard. The last few years have been particularly bastardly for my family (with multiple family members battling a variety of different cancers, including some very nasty ones), and in the last couple of months it struck again, this time in my immediate family. My family and friends have, for the last few years, participated in the Australian Cancer Council's "Relay for Life", an 18-hour walking relay to raise money, and you can bet your arse we'll be doing it again this year.

The money raised is used directly for cancer research, as well as to fund early screening programs, information programs, short-term accommodation for people undergoing cancer treatment, and so on.

I won't hassle you all (maybe a couple of reshares of this in different-timezone-friendly times, to get decent visibility), but if anyone feels like donating (my donation page is below), it would mean a lot to me, my family, and of course the ultimate recipients, cancer victims.

(Googlers reading this, note that the Cancer Council of Victoria is eligible for Google's donation-matching).

Thanks in advance. Love you all.
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Oh boo. I have had a couple of people donate from the US, maybe they cheated :)

Thanks for trying anyway!
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Paul Cowan

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If it's any consolation, I really do feel quite bad for laughing so hard at this.
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Addictive and simultaneously the most wrong comic ever.
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Paul Cowan

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Today, you could use the Uber app to request a delivery of kittens to your home or office. Someone at work organised a delivery as a reward for their team, and I got to tag along. BEST DAY EVER

(This is almost enough to make you forgive Uber for otherwise being a pretty unpleasant company. On one hand... terrible marketing, creepy, unpleasant labour practices and awful market maniuplation. On the other hand.. CONVENIENCE AND KITTEHS. Just.. you know... don't think about what they'll do to the kittens at the end of the day, probably).
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Lunch today WAS dim sims...
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Paul Cowan

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"But whichever highly communicable and formerly wiped-out disease that I opt to resurrect with a vengeance, it is a highly personal decision that only I and my family have the liberty to make."

h/t +Ken Wehr 
 
"I might choose to unleash rubella on thousands upon thousands of helpless people, and that’s my decision as a parent."
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No probs =)
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In his circles
382 people
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1,163 people
Sebastian Mauer's profile photo
Edz B. Fabroquez's profile photo
Dennis Mar's profile photo
Ashwini Oruganti (ashfall)'s profile photo
adis hadisman's profile photo
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Education
  • Swinburne University of Technology
  • Cobram Secondary College
  • Diamond Valley Secondary College
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Apps with Google+ Sign-in
Work
Occupation
Site Reliability Chappy
Employment
  • Google
    Site Reliability Chappy, present
  • property.com.au
  • wishlist.com.au
  • Philips PTS
  • Aconex
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Sydney, Australia
Previously
Melbourne, Australia - Cobram, Australia
Nothing spectacular, but probably the best local fish & chippery in Greensborough/Watsonia. Good Friday night takeaway.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Amazing store with one of the best ranges of whisky I've seen in a long time. Knowledgeable staff who are happy to share some single-malt expertise. Also a big range of wines, spirits and mixers, though I was too captivated by the whisky to pay much heed.
Quality: ExcellentAppeal: ExcellentService: Very Good
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Museum full of old arcade and pinball machines. From the old peepshow-style titillating flipshows to old mechanical arcade games to more modern pinball machines through to some relatively recent arcade games, it's got it all. Highlights for me were the old mechanical games (I pumped a bucketload of money into Pikes Peak, a game where you try to get marbles to the top of a hill without them rolling down, and a wonderfully complex baseball simulation game from the 1930s, where half the fun was trying to work out how the hell it all worked) and discovering that, despite being 20 years out of practice, I'm still pretty damn good at Spy Hunter. Turn up, change a crapload of quarters, and enjoy.
• • •
Appeal: ExcellentFacilities: ExcellentService: Very Good
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Small, intimate bar with an OK range of beer and a much better range of spirits. Not the best example of its breed, but definitely the kind of place Melbourne does so well.
Atmosphere: GoodDecor: Very GoodService: Good
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
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I'll admit, I'm not the world's biggest fan of Greek/Turkish/Maltese food; I'm totally down with big hunks of meat but I'm not big on seafood, olives, or eggplant (all of which you know are going to feature heavily). However, St Katherine's was marvelous. The service was exceptional (friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive, without being cloying), and the food was excellent. It doesn't make the mistake of straying too far from the template (there's nothing too 'experimental' which would be a risky move with such a simple cuisine), but just makes some classic dishes with top quality ingredients, wonderful preparation, and just enough of a 'twist' to justify the not-inconsiderable prices. You can order a la carte, or choose 3 fixed-price menus of varying extravagance. We went for the 4-course 'feast' option (the largest), and didn't regret it. We were stuffed full of truly great food, and could barely walk at the end of the meal. The roast chicken (so succulent!), the beef rump (perfectly cooked) and the 'ancient grains' salad (honestly one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten) were all highlights. One tip: be sure not to skip the dessert. The desserts are _amazing_, and deservedly famous.
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Food: ExcellentDecor: Very GoodService: Excellent
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Awesome and inspiring collection of colourful, witty and politically pointed murals; worth checking out if you're in the area.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
I love a good hot dog. These weren't good hot dogs.
Food: Poor - FairDecor: Poor - FairService: Good
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago