While most tackle the beautiful fjords of Norway in the summer, Norway in the winter is a majestic and authentic place to visit. My wife and I flew into Tromsø and made our way down through Evenes, ultimately to the Lofoten islands at the very tip of the world. Along the way, we stayed in some fantastic historical hotels, such as the Sandtorgholmen Hotel, and the Elliassen Rorbuer (old, renovated fishing cabins). Beautiful, snow-covered mountains, frozen, ice-covered fjords, moose, feeding wild reindeer, and a quiet, snowy world were just a small part of our incredible trip. Because we were the only tourists crazy enough to attempt Norway’s icy and snowy roads in the winter (which require spiked tires, by law, just to drive on), we wound up with a quiet and authentic local-town experience getting to know all of the locals. We were introduced to about a dozen locals and invited to sit down for a Christmas dinner, and made many new friends in the area, finally practicing a Norwegian Juletre (Christmas tree) lighting, with traditional hand holding and marching around the tree, singing songs, the winter brought us some wonderful new people as well as sights.
The back window out of our rorbuer cabin was breathtaking, and quite frankly surreal. The panorama in this photo is the exact view we had out of our back window, just feet away from the fjord. Stick your head out and you can feel the arctic air blowing, the snow falling, hear snow gulls flying, and absolutely nothing else – a still, quiet world. Norway is just an incredible place to visit, and given both our new friends, and the fact that much of my wife’s heritage lies in this Scandinavian country, we’ll likely be back.
Recently, Quarkslab exposed design flaws in Apple’s iMessage protocol demonstrating that Apple does, despite its vehement denial, have the technical capability to intercept private iMessage traffic if they so desired, or were coerced to under a court order. The iMessage protocol is touted to use end-to-end encryption, however Quarkslab revealed in their research that the asymmetric keys generated to perform this encryption are exchanged through key directory servers centrally managed by Apple, which allow for substitute keys to be injected to allow eavesdropping to be performed. Similarly, the group revealed that certificate pinning, a very common and easy-to-implement certificate chain security mechanism, was not implemented in iMessage, potentially allowing malicious parties to perform MiTM attacks against iMessage in the same fashion. While the Quarkslab demonstration required physical access to the device in order to load a managed configuration, a MiTM is also theoretically possible by any party capable of either forging, or ordering the forgery of a certificate through one of the many certificate authorities built into the iOS TrustStore, either through a compromised certificate authority, or by court order. A number of such abuses have recently plagued the industry, and made national news[2, 3, 4].
I’ve registered http://www.leadchucker.com which forwards to the Ballistic application website, in the event you wanted to give out the URL to people, and not have to spell my last name. :)
I’ve taken the evening to rewrite Nescaline, my open source NES emulator, for iOS 7, and incorporate the Nestopia core for much more accurate emulation. It runs incredibly well on my 5 and 5S devices. Source code is available here. Information on the project can be found at this link.
As it turns out, the same mechanism that provides your iOS 7 device with a potential back door can also be used to help secure your device should it ever fall into the wrong hands. This article is a brief how-to on using Apple’s Configurator utility to lock your device down so that no other devices can pair with it, even if you leave your device unlocked, or are coerced into unlocking it yourself with a passcode or a fingerprint. By pair-locking your device, you’re effectively disabling every logical forensics tool on the market by preventing it from talking to your iOS device, at least without first being able to undo this lock with pairing records from your desktop machine. This is a great technique for protecting your device from nosy coworkers, or cops in some states that have started grabbing your call history at traffic stops. Whatever the reason, pair locking will likely leave the person dumbfounded as to why their program doesn’t work, and you can easily just play dumb while trying not to snicker. The best thing about this technique is, unlike my previous technique using pairlock, this one doesn’t require jailbreaking your phone. You can do it right now with that shiny new iOS 7 device.
With iOS 7 and the new 5s come a few new security mechanisms, including a snazzy fingerprint reader and a built-in “trust” mechanism to help prevent juice jacking. Most people aren’t aware, however, that with so much new consumer security also come new back doors in order to give enterprises access to corporate devices. These back doors are in your phone’s firmware, whether it’s company owned or not, and their security mechanisms are likely also within the reach of others, such as government agencies or malicious hackers. One particular back door appears to bypass both the passcode lock screen as well as the fingerprint locking mechanism, to grant enterprises access to their devices while locked. But at what cost to the overall security of consumer devices?
Ballistic 4.4 is now pending approval in the App Store, and brings with it support for iOS 7′s new flat user interface. When running iOS 4, 5, or 6, Ballistic will continue to work and look like it always has. Those who use Ballistic extensively might want to wait a few days for version 4.4 to be approved by Apple before upgrading to iOS 7, as you’ll need this update for Ballistic to run properly. A gallery of screenshots demonstrate the new user interface below. Please note, some users might not like the new user interface; the user interface elements are all dictated by Apple, and the developer has very little control over this. If you don’t like the new look that iOS 7 brings, you’ll want to remain at iOS 6 or lower. There is nothing that I can do as a developer to make Apple’s UI components look like old versions of the operating system. On the other hand, if you like iOS 7′s new UI, then you’ll love what I’ve done with Ballistic to support it. For a full set of screenshots, click here.
JD of Warrior Instruments (@PlayWarrior) built this custom Isabella 6-String for me. It is Quilt Maple with a Maple and Purple Heart tone block, Ash body, Bartolini custom pickups, Pope electronics (Mike, you rock) complete with coil tap switch, B and E through-body string mounting, wooden knobs and pickup covers, locking instrument jack, and chrome hardware. I opted out of pearl inlays to keep the fretboard consistent and warm; he did an incredible job with the markers and 12th fret sword inlay. This is an absolutely incredible bass with an unbelievable tonal range, when connected to the right equipment. It’s low action and contoured neck make it extremely playable, and great for both thumping as well as intricate, textured playing.
Many churches today don’t act like churches. They sell a product – maybe even a brand. The product is usually the pastor; the brand is sometimes the style, or the denomination itself. Some probably mean well, but in the end, many of today’s “mega churches” and those aspiring to be, focus all of their energy on appealing to people’s desire to hear rock star sermons, great music, and everything else people want to enjoy… And have most sadly sacrificed distractions like any prayer beyond the topic of the message, personal relationships, humility, apprenticeship, true growth, and many other characteristics the church is called to have, in exchange for a glitzy, culturally appealing fan club. I am in no way against the church being culturally relevant, but at what cost, and at what point does the church stop being a church, and instead a product that is consumed? Rather than church being a place where people are consumed by God, many mega churches have become places where people become the consumers.
Gorgeous canyons, incredible rock formations, balancing boulders, resorts hidden away between cliffs, a cabin with a private beach on the Colorado River, and breathtaking sunsets greet my wife and I this summer. We are truly blessed to be able to witness so many amazing sights together. The spectacular sunsets are breathtaking and beyond what we captured in Key West last month; the mid-west is like an entirely different, unexplored world for us. Half of these photos are mine, and half were shot by my wife; I must give her props this trip for some of the best photos.