Why Are Coders Angry?

This is an excerpt from a much longer article, by writer and programmer Paul Ford, called What is Code. This part caught my attention.

It sometimes appears that everyone in coding has a beef. You can feel it coming off the Web pages. There are a lot of defensive postscripts added in response to outrage. “People have reacted strongly to this post,” they’ll read. “I did not mean to imply that Java sucks.”

Languages have agendas. People glom onto them. Blunt talk is seen as a good quality in a developer, a sign of an “engineering mindset”—spit out every opinion as quickly as possible, the sooner to reach a technical consensus. Expect to be told you’re wrong; expect to tell other people they’re wrong. (Masculine anger, bluntly expressed, is part of the industry.)

Coding is a culture of blurters. This can yield fast decisions, but it penalizes people who need to quietly compose their thoughts, rewarding fast-twitch thinkers who harrumph efficiently. Programmer job interviews, which often include abstract and meaningless questions that must be answered immediately on a whiteboard, typify this culture. Regular meetings can become sniping matches about things that don’t matter. The shorthand term for that is “bikeshedding.” (Who cares what color the bike shed is painted? Well?…)

Code culture is very, very broad, but the geographic and cultural core is the Silicon Valley engine of progress. The Valley mythologizes young geniuses with vast sums. To its credit, this culture works; to its shame, it doesn’t work for everyone.

At any moment some new thing could catch fire and disrupt the tribal ebb and flow. Instagram was written in Python and sold for $700 million?, so Python had a moment of glory. The next mind-blowing app could show up, written in some new language—and start everyone taking that more seriously. Within 18 months your skills could be, if not quite valueless, suspect.Paul Ford

Brian Krebs reporting on the Target data breach

A First Look at the Target Intrusion, Malware — Krebs on Security by Brian Krebs

The source close to the Target investigation said that at the time this POS malware was installed in Target’s environment (sometime prior to Nov. 27, 2013), none of the 40-plus commercial antivirus tools used to scan malware at virustotal.com flagged the POS malware (or any related hacking tools that were used in the intrusion) as malicious. “They were customized to avoid detection and for use in specific environments,” the source said.

That source and one other involved in the investigation who also asked not to be named said the POS malware appears to be nearly identical to a piece of code sold on cybercrime forums called BlackPOS, a relatively crude but effective crimeware product. BlackPOS is a specialized piece of malware designed to be installed on POS devices and record all data from credit and debit cards swiped through the infected system.

According the author of BlackPOS — an individual who uses a variety of nicknames, including “Antikiller” — the POS malware is roughly 207 kilobytes in size and is designed to bypass firewall software. The barebones “budget version” of the crimeware costs $1,800, while a more feature-rich “full version” — including options for encrypting stolen data, for example — runs $2,300.

Charging users

How did Exposure crack the photosharing code? By charging its users.

“We don’t understand why companies get started with no business model to sustain themselves,” [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"][Luke] Beard says. “We would never want to throw sponsored content or advertisements in front of someone’s content that they spend a lot of time crafting in our tool.”Pando Daily