Archive for March 9th, 2012

March 9, 2012

Don’t Make Me Think



Don’t Make Me Think is a book by Steve Krug about human-computer interaction and web usability. The book’s premise is that a good software program or web site should let users accomplish their intended tasks as easily and directly as possible. Krug points out that people are good at satisficing, or taking the first available solution to their problem, so design should take advantage of this.

He frequently cites as an example of a well-designed web site that manages to allow high-quality interaction, even though the site gets bigger and more complex every day. The book itself is intended to be an example of concision (brevity) and well-focused writing. The goal, according to the book’s introduction, was to make a text that could be read by an executive on a two-hour flight of an airplane.

March 9, 2012

Do What I Mean

don't make me think

DWIM (‘Do What I Mean‘) computer systems attempt to anticipate what users intend to do, correcting trivial errors automatically rather than blindly executing users’ explicit but incorrect input. The term was coined by Lisp programmer Warren Teitelman in 1966. Teitelman’s DWIM package ‘correct[ed] errors automatically or with minor user intervention,’ similarly to a spell checker for natural language. Teitelman and his Xerox PARC colleague Larry Masinter later described this philosophy:

‘Although most users think of DWIM as a single identifiable package, it embodies a pervasive philosophy of user interface design: at the user interface level, system facilities should make reasonable interpretations when given unrecognized input. …the style of interface used throughout Interlisp allows the user to omit various parameters and have these default to reasonable values… DWIM is an embodiment of the idea that the user is interacting with an agent who attempts to interpret the user’s request from contextual information. Since we want the user to feel that he is conversing with the system, he should not be stopped and forced to correct himself or give additional information in situations where the correction or information is obvious.’

March 9, 2012

Unix Philosophy


The Unix philosophy [yoo-niks] is a set of cultural norms and philosophical approaches to developing software based on the experience of leading developers of the Unix operating system. Doug McIlroy, the inventor of Unix, summarized the philosophy as follows: ‘Write programs that do one thing and do it well.’ Additional credos include: ‘Write programs to work together. Write programs to handle text streams, because that is a universal interface.’

Richard P. Gabriel, an expert on the Lisp programming language, suggests that a key advantage of Unix was that it embodied a design philosophy he termed ‘worse is better,’ in which simplicity of both the interface and the implementation are more important than any other attributes of the system—including correctness, consistency, and completeness. Gabriel argues that this design style has key evolutionary advantages, though he questions the quality of some results.

March 9, 2012

Low Orbit Ion Cannon

Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) is an open source network stress testing and denial-of-service attack application. LOIC was initially developed by Praetox Technologies, but was later released into the public domain, and now is hosted on several open source platforms. It’s named after a fictitious weapon from the ‘Command & Conquer’ series of video games.

The software has inspired the creation of an independent JavaScript version, enabling a DoS from a web browser. LOIC performs a DoS attack (or when used by multiple individuals, a DDoS attack) on a target site by flooding the server with TCP packets or UDP packets with the intention of disrupting the service of a particular host. People have used LOIC to join voluntary botnets. LOIC attacks are easily identified in system logs, and the attack can be tracked down to the individual users IP address.

March 9, 2012


Topiary, real name Jake Davis, is a hacker and self-described ‘Simple prankster turned swank garden hedge. Worked with Anonymous, LulzSec, and other such paragons of intense cyber victory.’ He is an associate of the Internet group Anonymous, which have publicly claimed various online attacks, including hacking HBGary, Westboro Baptist Church, and Gawker. They have also claimed responsibility for the defacing of government websites in countries such as Zimbabwe, Syria, Tunisia, Ireland, and Egypt. 18-year Jake Davis was arrested in Scotland in 2011.

Police confiscated a Dell laptop and a 100-gigabyte hard drive that had 16 different virtual machines. The hard drive also contained details relating to an attack on Sony and hundreds of thousands of email addresses and passwords were found on the computer. A London court released Davis on bail under the conditions that he live under curfew with his mother and have no access to the Internet. His lawyer stated that, while his client did help publicize LulzSec and Anonymous attacks, he lacks the technical skills to have been anything but a sympathizer. After his arrest, Anonymous launched a ‘Free Topiary’ campaign.

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March 9, 2012

The Jester


The Jester (th3j35t3r) is a computer vigilante who describes himself as a grey hat ‘hacktivist.’ He claimed responsibility for attacks on WikiLeaks, 4chan, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Islamist websites. He claims to be acting out of American patriotism. The Jester uses a denial-of-service (DoS) tool known as ‘XerXeS,’ that he claims to have developed.

One of The Jester’s habits is to tweet ‘TANGO DOWN’ on Twitter whenever he successfully takes down a website. The Jester had stated that he was a former soldier and had served in Afghanistan and elsewhere.The Jester claims to have originally developed his DoS script as a means to test and harden servers. After learning from an article that Jihadists were using the Internet to recruit and coordinate terror cells, The Jester resolved to disrupting online communications between Jihadists. He weaponized his script and created a front-end known as ‘XerXeS’ in order to solve the script’s usability problems.

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March 9, 2012



Sabu, real name Hector Xavier Monsegur (b. 1983), is an American computer hacker and the founder of the hacking group LulzSec. LulzSec intervened in the affairs of organizations such as News Corporation, Stratfor, British and American law enforcement bodies, and Irish political party Fine Gael.

Sabu later turned informant for the FBI, working with the agency for over ten months to aid them in identifying other hackers from Lulzsec and related groups. His online handle is a reference to a professional wrestler. Monsegur was based out of a housing project on the lower east side of Manhattan while operating as Sabu; he is currently in a witness protection program.

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