👍 Sad Cobra

Bitcoin.org held for ransom; forced to pay in Bitcoin | no one cares who invented Bitcoin anyway | Audacity is probably not spyware, relax

👍 Sad Cobra

Greetings children of the singularity. As you may have noticed (but just in case you hadn't) I now take donations for this newsletter. Currently I write it for free, and have to fit it around other commitments. If writing Horrific/Terrific was my actual job, think how much more alluring it would be 😱.

You can pay me £4 p/m or £40 p/a to give me more time to work on Horrific/Terrific, and receive this highly exceptional mug.

Don't you think you deserve both a better newsletter, and something to drink out of that isn't from IKEA for once?

Anyway, this week was good, finally! 👍. But, you know, I didn't have much time this week so it's possible I missed all the bad stuff.

  • Audacity isn't spyware, have a seat nerds
  • Some really boring men fight over who invented Bitcoin, and look silly
  • A story in a story: someone called Cobra is forced to pay a ransom in Bitcoin to save their website which is about how to buy and sell Bitcoin.

💰 I cannot begin to describe how full of nonsense this DDoS attack is...

👩‍🏫 Firstly, what is a DDoS Attack? (skip this if you already know; do not email me about my explanation being wrong because it is not wrong, thank you)

  • It stands for distributed denial of service attack, and it's when a hacker clumps together an army of machines (by infecting them with malware) and uses them to spam the shit out of a target server — thus rendering it useless.
  • IRL example: It's like getting a hundred of your friends to block the entrance to Starbucks so that no one can get coffee. A classic morning commute prank.

So anyway, someone did a DDoS attack on bitcoin.org — a website set up to help people buy and sell bitcoin more easily — and the ransom was.... 0.5 Bitcoin (approx. $17k). Here are the toppings that make this nonsense pizza what it is:

  • Bitcoin.org has been around pretty much as long as Bitcoin itself.
  • The person who runs bitcoin.org goes under the pseudonym 'Cobra', because those deeply enmeshed in the crypto scene have lost the ability to cringe at themselves.
  • Cobra is being sued for copyright infringement by an entitled white man who claims to be the true inventor of Bitcoin. Cobra lost because they didn't turn up to court 😬.

Copyright infringement? This just keeps getting JUICIER. Yep, this whole story basically centres around a collection of maniacs fighting for clout in a very small, very niche, very annoying world: cryptocurrency.

It's widely accepted that Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto (the pseudonym that the inventor of Bitcoin uses), but rather a sad, desperate man trying to pass as an interesting, cool man. Instead of just buckling down and actually trying to produce interesting work, Craig prefers suing anyone who hosts the Bitcoin white paper on their site because apparently... he wrote it.

This miserable attempt to appear relevant hadn't worked very well until very recently when Cobra — the dingus — decided not to turn up to court, in order to preserve their anonymity. Staying hidden behind a pseudonym is apparently the number one priority in the crypto community. Craig won by default, and Cobra had to take down the white paper. So now, Craig Wright looks... right. Well he's NOT. He's Craig WRONG.

It's also hard not to assume that Cobra is staying quiet and anonymous so that we all think they invented Bitcoin. So who do we believe? Neither. Because we don't care — giving these two toddlers attention only encourages them. I'd rather save my energy for something fun, thanks (e.g. bottomless brunch, having sex with my hot girlfriend, being a cool and awesome writer — all things that Craig and Cobra have 0 experience in.)

🔇 Honestly, the Audacity...

This week there was a mini open-source explosion about Audacity (audio editing software) changing their privacy policy, and effectively becoming spyware. This really annoying article talks about how awful it is that the desktop app now collects data. Georgia's key take-aways for you to regurgitate at your next mixer:

☝️ ONE: basically all software collects data, this is nothing new – stop calling it spyware pls. I cannot imagine the vertigo you must be experiencing, way up there on your high-horse.

✌️ TWO: 'spyware' has got to be stupidest, most misleading portmanteau to come out of 2002. The definition of spyware is essentially a piece of software that finds it's way onto your system, and collects data about you without your consent — I basically just described Google Analytics.

🤟 THREE: this much more measured article will explain that the data Audacity will collect is very normal and hardly of note at all. If the Audacity community care so much about their data being collected without their consent, why not attack an organisation who does this at scale, and actually has too much power (point two mentions Google, hint hint).

Clearly these audio fanatics have left their ability to reason on mute. So please, savvy colleagues, do not get caught up in the 'Audacity is now spyware' panic. Unless something radically changes, all software will collect data, and Audacity is probably on the kinder end of this.

That brings us to the end of this episode slightly sooner than usual — I was very pressed for time this week so couldn't do a lot of my typical obsessive collating of tech gossip. Consider throwing money at this problem so that I may serve you more consistently in the future.

Stay tubular x

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