Sunday, March 18, 2007

Detroit - Rock City

I love it here in Texas, but sometimes I get a little homesick for all the favorites I had as a kid. Anyone out there who grew up in the Detroit Area in the late '70s and '80s remember:
  • "WRIF, The home of rock and roll, BABY!"
    • The "Live at Hart Plaza" local music concert series
    • JJ and the Morning Crew
    • "It's me, Arthur P" Penhollow "The Grand Poobah of Rock and Roll"
    • The Dick the Bruiser Band
    • D.R.E.A.D - Detroit Rockers Engaged in the Abolition of Disco
  • WABX and the Steve Dahl show
  • WWWW - W4 changing from Album-Oriented Rock to Country and Western with no warning on a Monday morning
  • Marshall Crenshaw
  • Muggsy
  • The Romantics before they made it big
  • Bob Seger selling out 5 shows at Cobo in one day
  • The Numerous Ted Nugent Tours - except the one at the Acoustically Imperfect Pontiac Silverdome where The Cars were the opening band and they both sounded terrible in the nose-bleed seats
  • Ted Nugent's campaign to make "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" the Michigan state song? (I still have a letter from Gov. William Milliken's office outline why that would not be an appropriate song)
  • I could go on for a while on this list ...
My friend Ron, who still lives near where we grew up, sent me a link which caused me to remember those days. Motor City Rock 1980-1990 is a site dedicated to "Preserving Detroit's Local Music Scene." They've done a great job of cataloging information about the bands of the Detroit area of that era with pictures, discographies, club dates and even some MP3s. There are a lot of cities which claim to have the "greatest live music scene" but I doubt any city can compare to Detroit back in those days and this site gives a lot of proof to how vibrant the Detroit music scene was.

It seems to me that every club had live music at least once a week, and there were plenty of concert venues both large and small. The site boasts it has 860 bands cataloged, and I would not doubt that in the least. I am even a former member of a few long-haired rock and roll garage bands - which unfortunately never got past the garage stage of development.

Another site sent to me by an old Army friend who grew up in the Detroit Area is Detroit Memories. This site is a collection of lists of things Detroit from the '50s through the '70s. There is even a link to an on-line store where you can order goodies only available from Detroit (Faygo Rock and Rye, anyone?). I have to admit, I have to have a Vernor's fix everyone once in a while, so I hop down to my local HEB and get a 6-pack from time to time. HEB is the only store I know in Central Texas which sells Vernor's, a long-time Detroit favorite still only available on a limited basis outside Michigan.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

More RFID Security News

Nixed: Black Hat talk on RFID access badge risks

ACLU, Outrage Fill in the Silence at Black Hat RFID Session

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who has grave concerns about the security of using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology being used as a form of official ID. During a recent conference, IOActive, a small security firm, was to give a talk on the inherent lack of security in an RFID badge system used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). IOActive has its officed in the same building as FEMA and was curious about how good their security using RFID was.

The people at IOActive were quite successful in showing how vulnerable the RFID badges used are. So successful were they, that the company which developed the system used by FEMA, HID Global, threatened legal action against IOActive if they proceeded with their talk under the guise of protecting their intellectual property. IOActive, being a relatively small company which doesn't have access to legions of attorneys, were forced to skip the portion of their talk which directly illustrated the inherent weaknesses in the badge system HID Global markets, and which is used to access the FEMA offices in the building shared with IOActive.

Even the ACLU took note of this incident. They did their own experiments with RFID technology and found that the RFID standards currently planned to fulfill requirements of the Real ID Act are inherently flawed and will cause more problems than it will solve. As I have pointed out before here and here, it would be remarkably easy for someone to build an RFID reader, walk through a crowd of people carrying RFID enabled devices and gather a large amount of personal information which has the potential of enabling the "bad guys" to steal the identities of the people in that crowd.

I highly encourage everyone to educate themselves on RFID; how it works, how it's used now and how it might be mandated for use later. I believe everyone can understand enough about how it works to be as concerned as I am that it is not a good idea to use a means of personal identification.