Yesterday we had a day-long outage of on one of Canada’s 3 national mobile operators. This had a huge follow-on impact to every sector of society, from uber eats to people eagerly waiting their vaccine appointment. It has become a very important part of our society this Internet and Mobile thing.

Now, Rogers has not announced which item failed. But given the scope and impact it would be something central (HSS, HLR, VLR, something like that). So its possible that my below suggestion would not have addressed this particular case, but nonetheless, what i feel we need is a mandated peering and roaming within Canada.

Why? Well, your Roger’s phone is perfectly capable of working on the Telus or Bell network. Gone are the days of CDMA vs GSM. So, there are many failure modes for which this could have been mostly a non-issue. Perhaps capacity, slow down, but, life would have gone on. A failed P-GW, a failed backhaul, your phone should be able to switch carrier, and, the carriers should figure out the $ amongst themselves.

On this subject, peering. All carriers in Canada, fixed, mobile, should be required to perform settlement free peering with each other at a set of IXP. Similar reason, resilience, reliance.

What say you?

In 2019 Tesla reduced the range of their cars with a software update. This was to address an issue of fires (that last little bit of full on a battery is hard to get right w/ temperature, manufacturing variation, etc). So, when our Chevy Bolt got a similar announcement, I was unsurprised. GM released the notice, but I suggested to my wife to just ignore it, they have a 2nd fix coming which restores the range by changing some other charging parameters. My rationale: we don’t live in a hot climate, its not damaged, the odds of it hitting were low, why reduce the range?

Well, yesterday my wife had to drop the car for service for a different thing (3.5 years, first service! EV are great!). And, well, they forced the change on her. Sigh. But, they made a “minor” mistake. Instead of reducing the range by 5%, they set the range to 5%. Yeah, no fooling. She could hardly make it all the way home from the dealer. After a couple hours on the charger, well, we are “fully charged” and set for 39km. But, well, it goes into limp mode around 10km, so more like 29k.

Range anxiety? Suddenly its here! Instead of the better part of 500km, we can drive to the highway!

Progress! get off my lawn.

OK brace yourself. There are cat pictures on the Internet. And, apparently we have been running out. So, let’s bring some deepfake machine learning AI GAN tech to bear. https://thiscatdoesnotexist.com/. Each time you refresh that you get a different fake cat.

This is the pinnacle of human achievement. What the Egyptians set in place with their worship rites and sphinx statues. The raison d’etre for Nvidia (who posted stylegan for this reason).. The reason matrix math was invented.

Next step, cross-post these pictures into kittenwar.com and start the culture war.

And yes, the below images are of non-existent-machine-generated-cats.

sim phish

Another day another breach. ~550M facebook users have their, well, everything including their colonscopy results, released online for cheap. And, this includes (for many) their phone number. Should you care?

Yes. In a word. Facebook bought WhatsApp, and is trying to force users to accept a weakened privacy policy. And WhatsApp has your phone number as the key. You know, the same phone number you used with your Bank to call you in case you forget your password? The one you used for 2-factor authentication because you through SS7 was secure?

Fortunately its the work of minutes for someone to steal your phone number by walking in to a phone shop in a mall and knowing one or two facts that are *in the same breach*. “I lost my sim”. OK, we just need to verify your account, first name, last name, date of birth, phone number, here you go. Boom, now they go to your bank, click the “i forgot my password”, and, well, the bank txt them a link to reset it.

So, head on over to https://haveibeenpwned.com/ and enter your phone number (in E.164 format I think, side note: all phone numbers start with a + sign and then a country code or you are doing it wrong… go fix your address book now). The good folks there will tell you if you’ve been breached. Welcome to the public domain.

While you’re at it, open up your WhatsApp, and add me on Signal. Same phone number. After may, whatsapp will die for me.

Tire Nail

What was intended as a nice long bike ride to soak in the 13C sunshine became a somewhat less interesting walk home. The culprit? a nail, the arch enemy of the tire since Robert William Thomson’s 1845 invention.

Fortunately I have a bottle of slime in stock. Half in the front (as a preventitive for next time), half in the rear (as a repair for this nail).

Tires have come a long way. From the original, which had rubber tubes inside a leather tire. Yup that’s right, today we have steel-belted, back then they just had belted đŸ™‚

It used to be that people got multiple flat tires per year. Today, its very rare. Better technology (and maybe better roads).

Still, no solace on my walk back home to install the slime.

At least it’s not been stolen yet!