Browsing articles in "Blog Posts"

Branded Bugs and Serious (LACK) of Security

May 9, 2014   //   by mmalone   //   Blog Posts  //  Comments Off on Branded Bugs and Serious (LACK) of Security

As far as I know, the crushing Heartbleed Bug was the first that had it's own 'Brand' associated with it.

First, it was most certainly as critical as it sounds. Among the major issues is the fact that the bug has been out there for a few years. Internet years are like dog years, so really, more like 18 years it's been out. How many banks could traditional bank robbers rob if they had 18 years and were invisible? A lot. 

Second, it wasn't 'Target' or 'TJ Maxx' that had the problem, it was nearly every company out there. Think of the volume of lawsuits that are possible. 

Anyway, this terror actually has a cute logo! OMG, LOL. I'm curious to see if there are further bugs that get their own branding and logo or if it was only this one. I suspect many future ones will. Even the NSA brands their internal systems with fun names! PRISM, MAINWAY, NUCLEON, etc. 

So, who is the face of the hacks related to the opportunities this bug created?

This unlucky spelling bee winner/computer programming student pulled a few hundred personal accounts out of the Canadian tax agency CRA. I'm sure what he did is wrong, but really, that's not the person you're going to want to look for when searching for people who exploited the Branded Bug. In fact, the smarter people will just not get caught. 

So, what's next, a bug with a smiley face? The dollar sign bug?

Hollis Interactive visits MAGFest

Jan 10, 2014   //   by Max Hann   //   Blog Posts  //  Comments Off on Hollis Interactive visits MAGFest

This past weekend saw art meet technology at MAGFest, an annual festival celebrating music and gaming. Held in National Harbor, Maryland, the convention featured a massive selection of console and arcade games on display, live music nearly every hour across multiple stages, and panels featuring composers and other game industry insiders.

The arcade featured dozens of classic arcade and pinball machines from the American Classic Arcade Museum (native to New Hampshire, oddly enough!) alongside a smattering of eccentric Japanese rhythm games provided by Bemani Invasion, and virtually every home console and retro computer you can think of.


In addition to the arcade, the expo hall also featured venders selling vintage games and consoles, nerdy tee-shirts, and fan-drawn posters. In addition, a few booths were selling quirkier fare, like hand-knit stuffed animals and hats, and in one case, lego sculptures of classic game sprites.

Musicial guests include Random, a hip-hop artist who got the nickname "Mega Ran" for rapping over the 8-bit Mega Man game soundtrack, Brentalfloss, a comedian and songwriter known for writing lyrics to the tunes of popular game music, along with more than 2 dozen other bands performing game music in rock, jazz, and classical styles, and some "chiptune" musicians who perform original songs using the sound processors from classic consoles. Industry guests included veteran composer Tommy Tallarico, indie game "Bastion" composer and sound designer Darren Korb, and a variety of voice actors, developers, composers, and web personalities from all sides of the industry.

All in all, it was exciting to be at a convention so fully driven by fan energy. Unlike major industry events like E3 and PAX, MAGFest has no real place for major game developers and other corporate entities trying to get gamers excited about the next big thing. Instead, the festival is dominated by a sense of celebration of the past, present, and future of the medium.

When machines take over. [That’s right now actually.]

Dec 17, 2013   //   by mmalone   //   Blog Posts  //  Comments Off on When machines take over. [That’s right now actually.]

There is a new report from Incapsula that shows bot traffic up yet again. (Basically, a lot of web traffic is 'not human'.)

Here is their graph with the results of their research. There is a more detailed on on their blog, linked above.

Adweek had a great article about the amount of 'questionable' traffic that is out there:

And a few weeks ago WSJ had an article that showed how fake or automated twitter traffic works.

Ultimately you have bots filling out forms just to pump more spam out, in addition to comment spam, which is also automated….

The next step will be automated bots that both buy AND sell traffic that they create. Unless someone created a machine to do that already. 





Don’t look now at your Facebook stats!

Dec 13, 2013   //   by mmalone   //   Blog Posts  //  Comments Off on Don’t look now at your Facebook stats!

Ignite says reach down 44% since December 1. Ouch.

Facebook works when you have a combination of paid and organic reach, but take away the organic piece and the paid looks ridiculously out of whack.

Thanks for reading, I'm going to go post this on Facebook for the 3 people it will reach. 





How to crash your bicycle [company]

Dec 12, 2013   //   by mmalone   //   Blog Posts  //  Comments Off on How to crash your bicycle [company]

Specialized Bicycles sued a small Canadian merchant for using the name of a small French town in his company name. Specialized thought it owned the trademark, but in fact only leased the trademark from the worldwide owner. It did not even own what it was trying to protect. 

The story went viral. The Specialized Facebook page had 1000's of negative comments. 5 days of nothing from Specialized, then a weak apology from the CEO. 

There are a lot of passionate groups of people in the world. Painters, skydivers, surfers, ruby on rails developers, skateboarders, start up freaks, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialists, Pinterest addicts, personal coaches – I could go on. 

Near the top of the list is bicycle riders. They are organized, fit, and passionate. Passionate about their bikes, their space, and others in their group. The NY Times did a study and learned that even the worlds fastest quick draw gun slinger could not move their arm as fast as a casual cyclist could when flipping off a car that just cut he or she off. That's survival passion. 

So if you're one of the biggest brands, pissing off the entire group of people who make up your market is a bad idea. Waiting 5 days and giving an apology for suing someone for using a name YOU DON'T OWN BUT STILL SUED FOR, is just stupid. 

If you piss off your entire customer base, 5 days is too long to respond. 

If you were our client, it wouldn't take us 5 days to give you good advice in a case like this.  😉


More if you're inclined.

Update: The seriously painful video of the apology.


Hey everyone, don’t forget that we deliver quickly even without the dronies!!

Dec 3, 2013   //   by mmalone   //   Blog Posts  //  Comments Off on Hey everyone, don’t forget that we deliver quickly even without the dronies!!

Wonder how much Amazon paid CBS to have 60 Minutes puff this to the masses? 


Don’t mail UR DNA says FDA (Stop disrupting us!)

Nov 25, 2013   //   by mmalone   //   Blog Posts  //  Comments Off on Don’t mail UR DNA says FDA (Stop disrupting us!)

What if the FDA (Or, another Federal Agency…) just tells you to stop doing 90% of your business?

UPDATE!: Looks like the FDA gave them plenty of time to address this. Years in fact.–sector.html


When you think about disruption of traditional businesses via web based channels, you tend to think of the big things first, wiping out a huge industry. But the reality is that traditional businesses and systems can be equally disrupted by a collection of smaller cuts, such as in heathecare. What if you find out you have a high risk for cancer via a $99 test? What if you can have elective surgery to reduce or eliminate that risk and you can have the surgery overseas for a fraction of the cost in the US?

Anyway, it looks like the FDA put a stop to the $99 test. It has to be temporarily as an army of smart lawyers will figure out a way around this sooner or later. 

I wonder if the FDA itself can be disrupted to some degree by cheap tests and smart lawyers?

The FDA told 23andMe to cease sending DNA all over the place (that sort of should be illegal anyway, right?? Gross either way.)

At the time of this writing, 23andme has no update about the ruling. 

Does it make sense to have a random web company test your DNA and tell you that you have a huge risk of cancer? What if they send you someone else's results and you've told your boss to shove it already and you're headed to your boat to sail around the world before you die?

Bloomberg reported:!


10 Things I/’d like to see in the Google Winter Wonderlab stores.

Nov 22, 2013   //   by mmalone   //   Blog Posts  //  2 Comments

10 Things I'd like to see in the Google Winter Wonderlab stores. (If you haven't seen, google is setting up pop up stores in some locations for the holiday season). 

  2. The old youtube commenting system back.
  3. An off button for Google+.
  4. The ability to post a photo from Google+ to Facebook without resorting to passing the photo through three apps to get there.
  5. Free coffee.
  6. A cheap Chromebook that doesn't feel like it came out of a box of cereal.
  7. An option for my Chromecast to automatically switch my TV back to the correct input when I switch my device from TV back to iPad.
  8. A video of Sergey Brin and Larry Page reciting this to each other, face to face: Don't be evil.
  9. The amount of emissions Google Exec planes give off, printed on the front door, with quotes from the founders about global warming.
  10. Bikes! Everyone should have a bike!

These models are very happy. Can anyone be that happy with a store that only has 4 products in it?


All that effort Google, and this is all you came up with? 


Your TV is watching you. Really.

Nov 21, 2013   //   by mmalone   //   Blog Posts  //  Comments Off on Your TV is watching you. Really.

Your private files are being beamed to somewhere in LG land. 

Whoa. Now my TV knows that I have endless videos of old trucks on adventures, and crappy videos of my kids racing bicycles. (Accompanied by the frightening voice of a waay overcafienated father urging them on). 

And in addition to my TV, my TV manufacturer knows what I'm watching as well. 

If you want to get the details straight from the source, you can check out DoctorBeet over in the UK.

What an interesting find. 

His LG Smart TV was even smarter than he could have imagined as it's sending details of not only his viewing habits, but also file information from his private USB drive inserted into the TV! So creepy!

Yes, you are being watched, and not just by the NSA. 

Santander: We will burn your money.

Nov 18, 2013   //   by mmalone   //   Blog Posts  //  Comments Off on Santander: We will burn your money.

Their logo seems a really, really odd choice for a bank. To me it says:

Santander: We will burn your money.


Santander seems to be advertising extensively in the US lately. Maybe they should have spent some of those resources on their logo rather than advertising. 


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