@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar



I'm a techie & attorney.

Been on the net a long time.

I have a Norbert Wiener Award for Social and Professional Responsibility, and I've been a Fellow of Law and Technology at CalTech & Loyola/Marymount Law.

And yes, I am that person who was elected to the ICANN Board of Directors and who ended up suing them to see the financials (I won, hands down.)

Everything there is to know about me is on my personal and company websites:



This profile is from a federated server and may be incomplete. Browse more on the original instance.

karlauerbach, to random
@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

While I am harping on the subject of internet social media based on self-publishing rather than large republishing companies like Fbook, Twitter, etc...

I am quite concerned about the raw records that form the history of our times simply vanishing, irretrievably, as people age and die.

In earlier days things were recorded with relative permanence on paper (or stone). Not so today - one's entire life's work can vanish in few microseconds.

Not just the media or the storage of today are impermanent, but we have created a clock-driven scythe in the form of ICANN's utterly stupid domain name renewal system. There are as many potential domain names as electrons in the universe, but ICANN rules require leasing them in 1 to 10 year increments, thus undermining much of the means of referencing our already weakly permanent digital creations.

(I won't harp on how impermanent and fragile are our database driven, dynamically constructed, web pages.)

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@happyborg @volkris I really want permanent DNS, take a look at my somewhat joke, but also serious proposal at https://cavebear.com/eweregistry/

Permanent content is a hope more than a reality - too many formats keep changing. That's why I have my own stuff in HUGO which uses flat file input to generate a tree of very portable files that can be run - just via a directory copy (tar, rsync, etc) as a Document Root under Apache or Ngnix or pretty much any other web server.

Accessibility is also troubled - IP addresses change whether IPv4 or IPv6. That's why DNS permanence is important. But even TLS is troubled - the IETF has deprecated digest algorithms and that has left some web services (particularly on IoT devices) unusable by many browsers. (I preserve some old systems as VMs just to solve this issue.)

joebeone, to random
@joebeone@techpolicy.social avatar

Last week, the @internetsociety filed an amicus brief before the Supreme Court of México, in Richter v. Google, an important case in intermediary liability on the Mexican Internet, and our first non-US legal intervention. 1/

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@joebeone @internetsociety On the other hand, consider if we had an internet that didn't have the IPv4 address limitations and was more like IPv6. In that world everyone who could afford a Raspberry Pi could be a direct publisher.

The existence of intermediaries was perhaps somewhat driven by the difficulty of self-publishing, a difficulty that is fading with the deployment of no-NAT IPv6 and increasing upstream bandwidths to individuals' homes.

I am aware that intermediaries also exist because they are convenient and can amortize costs over a larger base. Those attributes perhaps [and probably] dominate my self-publish argument.

Nevertheless, the net has evolved to a point where is quite feasible for nice means of publishing and discussing to be constructed without intermediary holding and redistributing content produced by others. Distributed systems, such as Mastodon take a partial step in that direction.

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@danyork @joebeone @internetsociety Resource discovery on the net is an interesting research topic.

I came at the problem a couple of decades back by asking "what is the best existing resource discovery system?"

My answer was "Insects and pheromones".

I posited a system in which resource announcement packets would be randomly generated and forwarded, subject to a time-to-live TTL. That had the nice property of proximity - you were more likely to "smell" a resource if you were closer to it. Multiple announcements could fit into a single packet.

"Designated noses" could act as collectors and could advertise themselves the same way.

The problem I had was encoding the announcements into the space of UDP packets. It can take a lot of bits - nothing close to what is available in a pheromone molecule.

I want to resume the project, one of many I have on ice (others have to do with self-healing/homeostasis of the net, and increase robustness/reduced brittleness.)

karlauerbach, to random
@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

First words spoken to us when we arrived (by car, from New Mexico) in Texas this afternoon:

"Are you US citizens?"

karlauerbach, to random
@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

Today would be a good day for TFG to be taken into custody for violating gag orders.

Today would be a good day to declare that TFG has missed his bond requirements and begin execution of judgement on his various properties and accounts.

Today would be a good day for all media to stop publishing photos of TFG and, instead, all use one (and the same one) of those black/white engraved images like the WSJ used to use.

lauren, to random
@lauren@mastodon.laurenweinstein.org avatar

Call me an uncouth animal if you wish, but as far as I'm concerned there is nothing on this planet that is more satisfying to eat than a good quality beef, rare cheeseburger. There, I said it.

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@lauren Just had one (but medium rather than rare.)

dangillmor, (edited ) to random
@dangillmor@mastodon.social avatar

The endlessly spinning wheel in Ubuntu software update has returned me to the command line, which no average user of a modern operating system should ever, ever have to use...

Update: To be clear (I apparently wasn't clear enough), I often use the command line. What I was trying to say is that "regular" (i.e. non-nerdy) folks should never have to do this.

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@dangillmor I could say that "Friends do not let friends use Ubuntu" but I won't - I am a fan of Red Hat/Fedora.

About half of the updates I see are "google-chrome-stable" - so often that I seriously doubt the "stable" part.

I live at the command line - usually tcsh or bash. I can get a lot more done, a lot faster that way.

cstross, to random
@cstross@wandering.shop avatar

I wonder how much data you could route through these if you used the capsules to carry 8Tb or greater SSDs between i/o terminals?

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@cstross Or as Elon would call them - Mini Hyperloops.

mattblaze, to random
@mattblaze@federate.social avatar

Today I've been scolded on Mastodon by different strangers for:

  • Failing to apologize for, or justify my use of, Twitter/X (I don't actually use Twitter/X).

  • Lacking sufficient propriety in expressing my refusal to justify my use of Twitter/X, which I don't use.

  • Posting insufficiently interesting things because I was too busy exceeding the bounds of propriety when I refused to justify my use of Twitter/X, which I don't use.

I think people need to adjust their expectations of my feed.

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@mattblaze I have heard that your MySpace page has not been properly maintained.

glynmoody, to random
@glynmoody@mastodon.social avatar

‘Feeble, desperate, mentally unfit’: #Biden changes tack to mock #Trump - https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/mar/30/biden-insults-trump-campaign "The Republican contender lowered the tone of electoral politics in 2016 – now the Democratic president has left the high road to take him on at his own game" damn right....

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@glynmoody Usually the "lower road" stuff is done by the VP candidate, leaving the Pres. candidate the ability to take the high road and shine.

karlauerbach, to random
@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@SteveBellovin Today you posted a note about how someone appears to have injected a Trojan into the source of XV. And there was another post about the increase in complex tool chains and dependencies that are larding-up the software many of us use.

That made me wonder about whether national security bodies - intelligence, military, or other - or social movements, e.g. ISI) might be injecting similar things into source trees.

It would be relatively easy to hide such things, particularly via the tool chains or Makefiles - like who is going to notice a sed script in a autoconfig part of a build chain?

Like good spies, such things could be planted years in advance and only triggered, if ever, when desired.

This is not an open source issue, it is a ubiquitous issue. And in light of Ken Thompson's "Reflections on Trust" some of these could be quite invisible in some kinds of source code.

I am very nervous about the vulnerability and brittleness of our new world of tech as a utility.

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@SteveBellovin @mattblaze Yeah, xv vs xz - I have a tough time with the alphabet.

SteveBellovin, to random
@SteveBellovin@mastodon.lawprofs.org avatar

If you use Homebrew on MacOS, you're affected—do 'brew update' and 'brew upgrade’.

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@SteveBellovin Must be a lot of people doing that now because it is slow.

mattblaze, to photography
@mattblaze@federate.social avatar

Gramercy Park, NYC, 2020.

Private pixels, for residents and their accompanied guests only, please, at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattblaze/49594943761

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@mattblaze Do they try to enforce rules against of photos taken from the public areas around (and outside of) the park?

lauren, to random
@lauren@mastodon.laurenweinstein.org avatar

It's worth noting that the "couldn't see the forest for the trees" horrible decision making that led to the rapid "hiring and firing" fiasco at NBC, is very much in play in many Big Tech C-suites as well. EXACTLY the same muddled thinking from people who are blind to the ramifications of their decisions that seemed "oh so wonderful" at the time, but to any unbiased outside observers were obvious disasters.

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@lauren Perhaps it is a fable that we humans are an intelligent species?

AbandonedAmerica, to random
@AbandonedAmerica@mastodon.social avatar

Twilight at an abandoned Six Flags

More at https://www.abandonedamerica.us/six-flags-new-orleans

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@AbandonedAmerica Your photo of the abandoned roller coaster wants me to find an old boom box, a recording of a busy amusement part with prominent roller coaster sounds, a timer and some batteries - and set it up so that at a random time between midnight and 1am it plays as if the place were haunted. (I would entertain an assertion that the place is actually haunted as well.)

lauren, to threads
@lauren@mastodon.laurenweinstein.org avatar

Feeding trash into is the functional equivalent of when Tom Sawyer got the other kids to whitewash the fence for him for free. Only in this case Tom is Zuckerberg and his cohorts, laughing at the "Fediverse" rubes.

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@lauren I have concern that a Threads feed into the Mastodon mesh will have negative impacts on the bailing-wire-and-duct-tape low-budget provisioning of the Mastodon infrastructure.

I, myself, often take a look at the foreign feeds that seem to bring into my instance things from other instances to which someone on my instance is following. In other words, I have a concern - not one that is well educated - that even if one person on my instance follows someone on Threads that that could cause a bunch of stuff to come to my instance and overwhelm it even though I myself am not following anyone on Threads.

I once shot my company on the old Internet multicast MBONE when we got into a situation in which all MBONE traffic was being pumped to us even though we had no IGMP subscribers. We were sort of in the same place as Dave Mills when one of his little PDP 11/03's fuzzygators ended up as the route for all ARPAnet traffic.

jvagle, to random
@jvagle@mastodon.lawprofs.org avatar

30 years.

I’m feeling suddenly very old. https://mastodon.social/

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@jvagle Don't feel so old - I worked on computers with vacuum tubes.

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@SteveBellovin @jvagle I missed the granddaddy of vacuum tube monsters, the ANS-FQ7. I worked in the building where it had lived.

(The successor computer, the ANS-FQ32 - there was exactly one. It was perhaps the most powerful machine on the planet. That triggered ARPA to start looking at a sharing network and thus helped lead to the ARPAnet.)

My first "real" computer was an IBM 7094 - that's 709-T-4 with the T for "transistor".

A Univac SS90 I used had magnetic amplifiers (and drum memory); it had vacuum tubes in the printer.

Jan Gatwick, who I worked with, build computers out of mechanical relays in Norway during WW-II to analyze acid-etched vials that were put in drill strings in order figure out where the drill bit was - he got stopped by German guards as he tried to carry books of numbers between Norway and Denmark - they thought he was a spy.

At UCLA we put in a bid to port Unix to their differential analyzer - nobody seemed to realize that we were joking.


karlauerbach, to random
@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

What time of day on Monday (is it Monday) that TFG's things will be available for siezure?

karlauerbach, to random
@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

Why do so many "Contact us" portals (particularly for government bodies) squish paragraphs together into one giant, unreadable block of text?

What reason could there possibly be for doing such an awful thing.

Good writing uses paragraphs to structure the expression. Squishing the original paragraphs into a single block hides that structure and makes it much harder for the recipient to parse.

It is a dumb thing and I wish governments and corporate "contact us" portals would stop living in the teletype era.

karlauerbach, to random
@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

This scares me - We are at the start of the politics-by-maga-thug era, a la Germany in 1932.

It is my sense that we are in a for a bloodbath - and not a metaphorical one but rather one with real, human blood on the ground - with increasing violence, intensity, size, and frequency - as we approach and hold the November elections - my guess is that the peak will occur on the day after the election.

We are not prepared, not even close.


lauren, to random
@lauren@mastodon.laurenweinstein.org avatar

Thought for the Day: Never argue with antimatter.

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@lauren Just wait until you run into some dontmatter.

(Our dinner gatherings often have a period where we hear the latest in the physics of the double darks - dark matter/dark energy. One of our friends is one of the theoretical physicists who came up with these ideas back in the 1980s.)

lauren, (edited ) to random
@lauren@mastodon.laurenweinstein.org avatar

I've pretty much finished drafting my comments against AT&T's proposals to end landlines and more here in California, despite their decades of monopoly privileges, broken promises, and other terrible behaviors that have all been slaps in the faces of Californians. I'll probably file it online at the CPUC tomorrow morning. There may be a slight trembling of the spacetime continuum when I do so. Please ignore any brief inter-dimensional oddities that may occur.

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@lauren Did you print it out onto a Mobius strip so that once they start reading it they will never reach the bottom?

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