Monday, August 15, 2011

A brief interview with the Chief Communications Officer for BART, Linton Johnson

After an interview with a DJ equipment retailer on Market, I decided to walk down to the Civic Center and scope out the Pre-Protest activity.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only were the local news affiliates present, but also CNN. CNN doesn't actually have a San Francisco presence, so they had to bring that huge truck (which made me envious) down from Sonoma.  The police have already blocked off a lane on market and there were officers (both uniformed and undercover) walking around.  I talked with one of the techs before he turned me over to Linton Johnson. The interview was very much ad hoc, so I'll go over the finer points.

How do you plan on avoiding a similar situation from that of last week?
As long as people don't become unruly, there won't be any problems.
I'm talking specifically about turning off cell service.
Right, as long as the protest doesn't get out of hand, we won't have to do that again.
I want to let you know that the intention to have a peaceful demonstration.
My question is, what needs to occur before you shut off service?
I can't tell you that.
My question is, what it the threshold?
I can't tell you that.
You don't know or you can't?
I won't.
Can the police tell me?
You can ask, but I don't think there are any guidelines set in place.
What is the probability?
I can't tell you that.
OK. The number 9,000 has been thrown around and I think we both know that this won't happen. Even so, what if 2,000 people show up?  If the protest does get out of hand, let's hope it doesn't, and people get hurt, how will they be able to call 911?
We have a strong police presence. You can see them. We all have radios and there are phones down on the platforms where they can call up. These things are far more reliable than any cell phone and we can react faster than a call to 911.
Well, that's convenient for you, but what is your contigency plan if people do get hurt?
We have one ambulance stationed here and another one in Oakland.
2 ambulances for an estimated 2000 people. Do you think that will be enough?
I hope so.
What about the people who aren't even involved with the protest? How are they supposed to call home to say that they will be late?
We've operated BART safely for 34 years without cell service. One day won't make much of a difference.
You probably said that last week and now look where we are. What will be the response for protesters on the street level?
That is totally within their right to do so.
At what point do they not have a right to protest?
Once they step inside the Fare Gates.
And then?
I have another interview to do.
Thank you Mr. Johnson

My overall feeling is that he was having more fun talking with CNN than some anonymous blogger. Fair enough, but I also got the impression that he was a little drunk with power. Maybe I came off a little adversarial, but I was looking for a mild acceptance that BART has mishandled the entire situation. He was not about to give any ground to anyone because he had the government behind him. He came off as condescending.  I would estimate that he thinks we are a joke.

I need to let everyone know that the government presence is sizable and they are very serious. They will arrest people. If anyone sets foot inside the Fare Gates, they will arrest you. I have a feeling that they have already shut down cell service.

Good luck people. Let's keep this safe.  Please.

Linton Johnson
Chief Communications Officer
Department Manager, Communications
510-464-7139 (office)
510-473-6479 (mobile)
510-899-2285 (pager)

yes, the dude has a pager!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Navigating the clumsy inconsistancies of Google

I am a daily user of many Google services: Gmail, Calendar, Voice, Music, Plus, Picasa, Blogger, etc.  My home page is iGoogle and I like being able to customize my news feeds. I like the new understated color scheme. I like the idea of the new navigation bar at the top of each Google property, but it is completely flawed because of the tchotchke integration of each service. While I like the idea of "beta" services, Google has a way of not changing the UI. I'm going to talk about the bar. Some people don't like that it's black and there are ways of changing it to other colors. As long it's not pink, I don't care.

On my iGoogle home page I have this:

Before I had a Plus account it simply said +You as if to taunt me. Now Google legitimizes me because of my membership. Thanks.

The next entry tells me that I'm on the "web" with an orange highlight. OK. I think telling me this is like having a "start" button when it should say "menu", but there are a lot of grandmas out there and this is their maiden voyage.  Here's the problem, it's not a "home" button that will take you back to iGoogle. If you navigate away from your home page, this button will take you to a blank Google search page. For those folks that don't utilize iGoogle, this will seem normal. For those of us that know how to design a website, this is stupid-easy to fix.

The next entry is actually an "image" search button, not a link to Picasa. At first I was under the impression that this was a Services Navigations bar because of the Plus and Gmail links, but whatever. An easier way of doing this would be to place a button below the search box that says, "Image Search"  This button actually takes you to a blank Google page where you enter your search in a box. Isn't that the same as entering your criteria in the box afforded and then selecting "images" (on the left side) once the results come back?

Look at the listings here. Don't they seem eerily similar to the ones in in my bar?  Wouldn't it be more useful to have this on every page (especially iGoogle) instead of on the quick launch bar?

The next entry has the same problem as Images. First, it should be called YouTube and not Videos. Second, it should take me to YouTube and not a blank search page.  Does Google not have a marketing department?

"Maps" could be eliminated by adding it to the afore mentioned left side list. Why it's not there is a mystery to me.  I usually punch an address into the browser search bar and it gives me a map and other listings.

The News button is broken in so many ways. First, it should be called iGoogle because it's a news feed.  Second, if there is anything left over in the search bar, clicking this button will give you all of the news pertaining to the address you just looked up on Maps.  In my case, I would have thought that there would be more articles about homicidal maniacs in my apartment building, but there were no search results.

Good ol' Gmail.... For most people it's the only useful link featured.  Let's click on it and see what happens!

Normally I would truncate an expletive to declare my confusion, but in this case... What The Fuck????

Not only has it changed colors, but it now lists some services that were useful from the beginning like, Calendar, Documents (Google Docs), Photos (Picasa) and Reader (which should be a part of iGoogle).  Web has completely traversed the menu and is as ineffective as before simply because almost every browser has a search bar.

Now I'm going to click on the "more" button and see what I get.

I've spoken my peace regarding YouTube (Videos) and Picasa (Images).  But look at the order in which these services are listed.  Now go back to your home Google page and click on "more".

Again!!!  What The Fuck?  Everything is in a different order and segmented without rationality. Shouldn't Reader be next to Books?  Shouldn't Books just be called Reader?  Translate is more important than YouTube?  Really?

Google is now going to confuse you even more.  Go ahead and click on "even more".  WHAT THE FUCK? What happened to the Navbar? Also, remember when I told you that I use Voice and Music?  Well, there's a link to Voice, but not to Music.  Since I use Voice for EVERYTHING, wouldn't it be grand to have a link to that in the Navbar? Instead, I've made links to them in my Firefox Bookmarks toolbar.

Because I want my Home button in Firefox to be on the left side near my navigation buttons, I had to make a link to it as well.  I would switch over to Google Chrome simply for the Voice extension and the Home/refresh button locations, but it lacks a search bar. This is another Google rant all together. The point is, the only way I can tell if I have a text or VM is to always have my Gmail open and then switch over to Voice, or use a desktop tool that Google recently put the kibosh on.  I still have it and won't ever give it up unless something better comes out.

But wait!  There's more!  Since I spend so much time on Google and have this nifty little bar, wouldn't it be great if all of my notifications of texts, voicemails, emails, + responses, and the such were delivered in one convenient location?  It could look something like this:

Well, this works great if you have a + account, but for the other services that you use.... you're out of luck. Instead of showing me a picture of myself, give me separate notification boxes for the various SOCIAL TOOLS I use, like email and voice.  I write this blog and it would be great if I was notified of any comments made to it.

I have many points to make about Google and the way they seem to fall ass-backwards into success. I think the problem here is that Google is simply so big that the different departments never talk to each other.  When I log into Google, they should know exactly what I use and with what frequency.  I should be able to customize the bar to fit my needs, in the order that makes sense to me. Google has always tried to keep it simple by delivering text ads, but they never thought about integration of the many pet projects they roll out.

As a final example, I want to show you what I get when I go to Picasa.

I've been with Google since the Popup Blocking Toolbar and I just became +You again.  Thanks.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Myths of Phones and Planes

You board the plane, sit down, and are talking to someone on your phone.  Maybe you're talking to a loved one.  Maybe you're talking to your boss. The flight attendant comes by and asks you to turn off your phone. For more than one reason this is a reasonable request. But if you ask, "Why?", you are told that it could interfere with the communications in the cockpit. Most people just accept this and comply. Tek saavy folks regard this claim as totally idiotic.

First of all, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not exlude all Personal Electronic Devices (PED's), such as voice recorders and pacemakers. However, they do stipulate that all other PED's be powered off below altitudes of 10,000 feet because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the one calling the shots. There are some very good reasons for this far-reaching rule. Here are the facts:

When you travel from one cell tower to another, a "Hand-Off" occurs. At this point, your phone changes radio frequencies without you knowing it. Code / Time Division Multiple Access (CDMA, TDMA) structures are known to be "soft" and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) are known to be "Hard".  It's all in the name. CDMA (Verizon and Sprint) frequencies are shared, whereas GSM (AT&T and T-Mobile) use dedicated frequencies. Both have their benefits and downfalls. Using a CDMA phone on the freeway will (almost) always ensure a service interuption free conversation, but you might hear someone else's converstation in the process (or feedback).  With GSM you (probably) won't get any of the clutter but might get dropped because the switch between your phone and the tower may not take place as rapidly as needed. Why does this matter when you're on an airplane?

Cell towers transmit frequencies in wattage according to area/usage. The average altitude ceiling for such radio waves is about 8,000 feet. The problem occurs when you try to make a call and the towers are trying to switch as fast as your are traveling (below 10K feet it ranges from 140-250 kts.). At these speeds, your frequency is used among multiple towers.  If you are able to connect with the tower, it is designed to send out a burst of wattage to keep you connected. This wattage burst and sharing MIGHT cause a tower network to become unstable, which is bad for terrestrial users. The fact is that over 10K feet, you will probably be unable to connect your call. In no way does this interfere with cockpit transpondance.  Why? Because aviation VOR/COM systems communicate between 2.8-3 khz (High Frequency), 108-136 Mhz (VHF), and some between 136-156 Mhz

The average cell phone cooresponds on a frequency range of 1700-1900 Mhz. The FCC prohibits (free) public transmission usage between 700-850 Mhz on airplanes because these are frequencies dedicated to companies that license in-plane cell service. The frequency happens to be one of those "Citizen Bands" but with greater consequence.  The fact is that these frequencies have a stronger amplitude and are given a much larger wattage allowance and are able to reach a plane at higher altitudes. Think of it like this:  You can hear the car with bass better than you can one filled with tweeters.  Why? Because low frequencies penatrate easier.  You're CDMA 4G phone (Moto Droid X) falls right into this category.  However, there aren't any restrictions for private aircraft and PED's that use these systems. GPS communication systems operate on 1.2 Ghz and 1.5 Ghz. The worse that will happen (on smaller unsheilded crafts) is that the pilot will hear static over the speakers when your phone rings, at which point you will be told to shut up and enjoy the ride.

What about Wifi? Normal consumer electronics are usually 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz and far beyond the GPS spectrums and VOR/COM/Radar transmissions. I want to also point out that commercial aircraft sometimes have microwave ovens, which are known to interfere with WiFi transmissions. If the Microwave oven doesn't interfere with communications, neither will your laptop/phone.

There are have been reports of interference due to PED's while in flight. The FAA and FCC have even gone so far as to purchase the offending phone and test it. The main problem I've seen is that the FAA forbids testing of VOR/COM systems while airborn, so these tests were performed on the ground and the results have NEVER been duplicated. It is entirely possible that a PED could cause interference, but without duplicating the exact conditions (altitude, speed and geography), it's impossible to be prove causation. In fact, there have been numerous tests where planes were bombarded with high wattage signals and not one of them was conclusive.

Now that we know that it is improbable that a simple PED could cause any type of interuption between Air Traffic Control (ATF) and a commercial transponder, let's talk about the reality of the situation.

When cell phones started proliferating in the 1990's, many people talked on their phones because it was a status symbol. "Look at me!  I'm on a plane AND I'm talking to someone"!!!!  I know it sounds stupid now, but it was true. These people would run their mouths and annoy everyone around them, just as they do today. Because it was a status symbol, people were in fact paying attention to them and not the flight attendant trying to give out instructions in the case of a water landing.  Grandma was freaking out because she's afraid of flying and Talky McMouth is adding undue stress. Instead of telling the passenger to STFU because it's annoying, they took a safety/fear approach. "There are electronics in the cockpit and one in your hand. That phone could interupt everything and make us crash.  You don't want to die, do you"?  Think about it, before reading this article did you know what frequencies are used for airline communications? So, this argument seems logical because the average person lacks critical thought.  The point is this.

The FCC does not want you to use your phone on a plane because the higher you get, the more likely it will interfere with ground based cell systems/devices. The FAA doesn't want you talking on the phone during the most critical times of flight. Talking on the phone increases the chance of Air-Rage.

Turn off your stupid phone on an airplane. There is no reason to use your laptop/tablet because whatever you need to do can wait a few minutes. The most dangereous period of flying is landing and planes hit air-pockets all the time.  When they ask you to wear your seat belt, do it.  There are two things that are unneeded during ascent/descent.

1. People flying around the cabin because they weren't wearing their seat belts
2. Electronics flying around the cabin because they weren't secured.

This is all very much about death and injury.  In these post 9/11 days, where a bottle of water isn't allowed through a security check point, why would they ever allow anything on a plane that could possibly bring it down?  They wouldn't.  However, explaining the actual reasons requires an article and the flight attandents don't have the time or resources to explain it every time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why it's important to wait for "The News"

On May 16, 2011, MG Siegler of TechCrunch wrote an article burning Google and other news aggregation sites for their inability to keep up with current news.  Fair enough. Sometimes one company breaks a story and other organizations follow suit using the very same information.  Because Reuters is obviously larger than Techcrunch, they often get listed instead of the original source.  Sometimes a company like Sony will post an update to their blog and the identical content will be listed from another source.  Again, this is a fair complaint.  Obviously Sony wants people to read their website and not others.


In February, Google updated their algorithm to give lower priority to "content farms" and those that use clever search engine manipulations (ahem, JCPenney).  In the process, they inadvertently listed Google Places as a webspam site.  A host of original-source sites saw a dramatic drop in visitation and obviously made a stink about it.  Obviously. Mistakes were made and a lot were corrected.


Today, Ryan Cleary was arrested by Scotland Yard for allegedly creating and deploying a "botnet" used against the British SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency) site. Because the Telegraph is a British site and were the first major site to report it, everyone followed their lead and re-reported the same content. They claimed that this man is a lead member of the Hacktivist group LulzSec.  You know LulzSec... They are the ones that recently took down the CIA and Senate websites.  Here's the problem:  LulzSec isn't denying that Cleary may have tried to deploy a DDoS attack on SOCA.  What they are saying is that if Cleary did attempt anything, it was after SOCA shut down the servers THEMSELVES.  Moreover, Scotland Yard is now denying that Cleary had anything to do with the attack. LulzSec hasn't denied affiliation with Cleary.  It turns out that Cleary is a shut-in (agoraphobic) that runs one of the IRC servers.

On the 10th of June I wrote an article about how news organizations often report untruthful information because they simply don't know what they are talking about.  It's important to actually listen to what is being said by the police without jumping to conclusions.  Let's face it, LulzSec is just the latest patsy for journalists that try their hand at reporting technology.  It's also important to listen to the "terrorists" and take them seriously when they say, "Yeah.  Whatever. It wasn't us". Trust me, hackers LOVE to brag.

I have one important point to make.  How hard do you think it would be to take down the NY Times or the Telegraph if groups like Anonymous and LulzSec can take down Sony, CIA, banks and large portions of a country's infrastructure?

Maybe it's a good thing that search engines like Google wait a while before listing a news flash.  If they can comb through the misinformation, it is of much benefit.  However, many people don't bother to research the reporting of journalists.  Why would they?  These are respectable outlets, right?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Luke Skywalker is Lame

One could say that Lucas is to blame for this character, but let's assume that young Skywalker is a real person. Don't misunderstand, I love Star Wars. I grew up with it and I swear I spent hours trying to envoke my inner telekinetic powers. But I was a kid and prone to do stupid things, much like Luke. We've all played a certain game at some point in our lives: "Who Would you rather be"... Luke or Han Solo? It's always Solo. Luke or Vader? Easy, Vader. Solo or Vader? Oh, tough one!!! I think I would rather be the Princess than Luke, given the choice.

LIke Admiral Ozzel, he's as clumsy as he is stupid.

Episode IV, "A New Hope"

His first whining words say it all, "But I was going to Tashi [sic] Station to pick up some power converters". Shut up and take the droids to the garage like Uncle Owen told you. In the garage he is then seen playing with a model Imperial Space Shuttle. How old are you? No wonder Uncle Owen doesn't want him to join the academy, he doesn't even have the right toys. Upon entering what is most likely his first trip to a bar, he manages to piss off two creatures by looking like a fish out of water and Obi Wan had to come to the rescue. Fast forward to the scene where Luke finds himself in the garbage compartment with the Princess, Solo and Chewy. He feels something move past his leg and yet doesn't move to high ground and gets sucked into the nasty refuse. This theme plays itself out over and over again throughout the series. Upon escape he sees Obi Wan killed by Vader and screams, "NO", giving away their position and endangering the posse. Again, SHUT UP! Obviously being chased by the Empire, he decides that pining over the death of his short term friend is more important than escape. It's a good thing Solo slapped him out of his funk and made him take the controls of a gun. In the final battle, we see Skywalker trying to destroy the Death Star. The target is a 2 meter shaft along the equator and what does our supposed hero do? Instead of firing directly at it, he decides that traveling horizontally is a better idea. He misses the first shot but doesn't learn the lesson. Luckily he hits the spot on the second approach. This theme repeats itself in the next movie.

Two most important rules about going clubbing:
1. Don't bring the droids
2. Don't touch the bartender.

Episode V, "The Empire Strikes Back"

Definitely the best movie ever, even in light of Luke's ridiculous behavior. In the beginning we see Luke and Han searching for lifeforms on their Ton-Ton's. Luke sees what he thinks is a meteorite and decides to investigate, as if meteorites are uncommon. I mean, for real! With all of the meteorites in the system it would be difficult to see approaching ships. His Ton-Ton starts freaking out and Luke gets bitch slapped by a huge Yeti (<-- lifeform?). For a guy that possess "The Force", his horse is better attuned to danger. Next we see him hanging upside down in the Yeti cave. He harnesses his special powers, retrieving his light saber, freeing himself and slicing the monster's arm off. The arm slicing thing is another topic all together. What does he do next? He leaves the cave! WTF are you doing? Get back in the cave and finish the job, it's cold outside. Kill the Yeti and start a fire. You've got a light saber, it's literally DISARMED... I think I see a way out. He then collapses and hears Obi Wan telling him to go to the Dagobah System. Here, let me rewrite this exchange: "Luke. Luke! Wake up dumbass. You will go to the Dagobah System. There you will learn common sense from Yoda, the Jedi Master who instructed me. He will teach you things like staying in the fucking cave when it's cold outside". It's a good thing Solo shows up to save his sorry ass... again. Instead of repeating words like, "Yoda" and "Dagobah System", he should have said things like, "Cave" and "Fire" and "One Armed Yeti". The Empire then wages a land war using Imperial Walkers which is stupid for many reasons, notably being that tall quadrupeds on ice is a bad idea. Luke doesn't seem to learn from his earlier mistakes because he uses the same tactic as seen in Episode 4. Instead of hitting them from the top or from behind, he approaches them directly on a horizontal pitch. But then he learns that wrapping a cable around the feet will fall the walkers. Ya' think? He gets shot down (predictable) and is almost crushed by a walker when he discovers that he can throw a rope up to the belly of the walker, open it like a Ton-Ton (Solo Style) and throw a grenade inside. I think I see a couple ways out of this problem. On his way to the Dagobah System, R2D2 offers to take the helm and Luke refuses. At which point he wrecks his X-Wing fighter into the marsh (predictable). In the final sword fight, Vader throws debris at him using "The Force", which we know Luke is capable of doing himself. Sure, Luke gets in one good shot but then he loses his hand (Lucas has a hand fetish). After he gets his ass kicked, he starts crying upon hearing the news that Vader is his Father. In order to solve all of his problems, he attempts suicide but can't even manage that. How does one fail by dropping from a cloud city? He gets his sorry ass saved once more, this time by Sissy.

can you say "over-acting"?

Episode VI, "Return of the Jedi"

What an idiot! He shows up to Jabba's compound without knowing that the Princess and Lando are already there. More, he apperently shows up unarmed. What happened to his light saber? He's either arrogant or simply stupid.  What did he think, that Jabba the Gangsta' wasn't going to be armed to the teeth? [If Jabba had teeth, he would have had Grillz]. A light saber would have come in really handy against the dungeon monster, which he was required to fight when Fatboy O.G. opened the floor from underneath him (even C3PO saw it coming). Instead, he uses a bone from an earlier victim and shoves it in its mouth.  Good thing he had a rock to throw at the contol panel (I'm thinking "The Force" would have been more useful). We learn later that R2D2 had the light saber all along when it was propelled to Luke during the sand monster escape. Can you see the same solution that I do? It's called, "Being Pro-Active".  It was sad when Yoda died, but not to Luke. He pined over "Old Ben", who taught him almost nothing, much less than Yoda, who taught him everything. This movie will always be accredited to the hairy, Wizard of Oz munchkins that save the day. Actually, Luke has a very limited role in this episode (Thanks George). What's interesting is that he doesn't actually defeat the Emperor, Vader does. After Luke gives away that he has a sister, he get's his hat handed to him through a series of electrocutions and then Daddy comes to his rescue. The only cool points that Luke gets is making the Oompa Loompas believe that C3PO was a golden God.  On the other hand... they were already tied to the stake and about to be dinner. Again... Be Pro-Active. The scariest thing was when he learned that Leia was his Sister and he didn't freak out about the kiss in Episode 5.

You are unwise to lower your defenses

Next I'll discuss what a complete asshole C3PO is (for being a diplomatic droid) and what R2D2 is actually saying. Well, maybe not. It's mostly comprised of phrases like, "Shut up, metal dick" and "Luke, you are a crying moron like your Father".

Note:  "Rebel Alliance" is just another way of saying "Terrorist Organization".

Friday, June 10, 2011

Three arrested for "Hacking" Sony - or - Journalists try their hand at crime fighting

It was bound to happen. Someone was eventually going to get caught with bloody hands and a weapon and the "Journalists" would link them to other heinous crimes. In this case, it's a home server in Spain and the sloppy work of some vigilantes.

Today, Spanish authorities arrested three men in suspected connection with DDoS attacks against various European banks and Government sites.  They are also being accused of participating in DDoS attacks against certain Sony servers in the past 30 days. They are also being accused of being members of the loosely affiliated group, Anonymous.  OK, fair enough.  All three accusations can be true. However, it is not clear whether they participated in the data mining operation that Sony experienced in April.  What is clear is that most reporters of technology don't know WTF they are talking about or how to report their "facts".

When Sony was attacked in late April 2011, it was done using a SQL injection method and the unique security data of an estimated 77 million users was found unencrypted. Sony discovered the intrusion and shut down the entire Playstation and Qriocity networks.  Let's be clear.  This was not a DDoS attack of any kind.

Today, major news outlets reported that the suspects used a program called LOIC to bring down Sony servers as well as the sites for various Spanish banks and government sites.  The banks? Possibly.  The Gov sites?  Possibly.  Sony?  Nope.  The attacks on PSN after the first huge hack were orchestrated using the information that was obtained from the original intrusion. Moreover, they linked Anonymous to the Sony attacks which they have denied over and over.

Let me put this accusation in perspective.  Let's say that Cartel A has a history of burning down the businesses of it's enemies. Then, your house gets broken into and everyone blames Cartel A.  Cartel A says, "Nope.  We don't steal.  We burn".  Then it turns out that a few gangsters from Cartel A have formed another crime ring, Cartel B.  Cartel B breaks into your house, steals your stuff, and accidentally leaves a lighter with fingerprints behind.  Claiming that these few gangsters used a flamethrower to steal your TV is irresponsible and libelous.

Later in the day, Spanish authorities corrected the journalistic mishaps and clearly stated that, "They have not been associated with the recent attacks on the Playstation Network".  Well, that's good of them to clear that up.  But the genie is already out of the bottle and public perception is really difficult to alter.

You may be asking yourself why I am so upset about this. Am I not defending "criminals"?  Sure, you can look at hackers two different ways.

1. They rob and steal and are generally unproductive. They are terrorists with objectives that most disagree with.
2.  They are fighting for issues that most people don't understand.  They are known as "hacktivists".

I am in both groups.  I think that if Sony goes after a kid for tricking out his ride and thumbs their nose at his friends while keeping the doors unlocked at the business, then they deserve what they get. However, I do not agree with stealing the vitals of customers who's only mission is to play games and watch movies.

But all of the damage hasn't propelled Sony to say, "OK.  Enough.  We're sorry.  We will change our ways".  Sure, they apologized to their user base for the inconvenience and for leaving the doors open at the bank. But they haven't said that they will stop litigating people for tricking their rides. It's this kind of arrogance that keeps putting corporations in trouble.

I am reminded of a scene in the movie "A Bugs Life".  The main villain tosses a single nut at the head of his subordinate and asks, "Did that hurt"? He answers, "no", and then gets pummeled by a silo of nuts.  The villain makes the connection that you can mess with one ant, but if all of the ants unionize you'll get hurt.  So, who is the real villain here?  The big grasshopper or the colony of ants?

Every time a journalist throws accusations at a group that proclaims innocence, they hack the news outlet.  Every time a politician throws accusations at a group that proclaims innocence, they end up hacking the politician. Every time the RIAA sues a kid for downloading music, they get hacked.  Every time Sony and the other media conglomerates have tried to legalize hacking (like installing rootkits on our cd's), they get shut down.

Stop blaming hackers to hide the fact that you're an incompetent asshole!

Update: All three suspects have been released without a bond obligation.