Why I hate calling my business a startup

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What is wrong with being ordinary?

The window on the street

There are many annoying things about advertising.

How loud and in your face it can be,

Chemist Warehouse small (Because billboards don’t have wheels)

The way you are sold a product through an (often highly polished and unrealistic) image of a coveted lifestyle,

stupid car ad 2

And the way women’s heads are periodically removed from their bodies:

headless body messes with minds swanston st giant headless lady

But one theme in advertising that has been bothering me lately is this: That to be ordinary – to be anything remotely like anyone else – is unacceptable.

seen not herd toyota ad

coke ad 3


oscar de la renta extraordinary Picture4

Advertising is something I try not to pay too much attention to, mainly because when I look at most ads the standards they imply through photos such as those above strike me as unfair and unrealistic. Like a strange pseudo-reality, or a fictional narrative in which one has to suspend one’s disbelief to get very far, ads frustrate me from how removed they often are from everyday life.

And yet…

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Millions of Satellite Receivers are Low-Hanging Fruit for Botnets

Hackaday

Satellite television is prevalent in Europe and Northern Africa. This is delivered through a Set Top Box (STB) which uses a card reader to decode the scrambled satellite signals. You need to buy a card if you want to watch. But you know how people like to get something for nothing. This is being exploited by hackers and the result is millions of these Set Top Boxes just waiting to form into botnets.

This was the topic of [Sofiane Talmat’s] talk at DEF CON 23. He also gave this talk earlier in the week at BlackHat and has published his slides (PDF).

stb-hardwareThe Hardware in Satellite receivers is running Linux. They use a card reader to pull in a Code Word (CW) which decodes the signal coming in through the satellite radio.

An entire black market has grown up around these Code Words. Instead of purchasing a valid card, people are…

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