It Gets Worse

This morning, the Times’ Michael S. Schmidt reported that Comey left a fantastic paper trail before he was fired:

President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.

The existence of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.

Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. The memo was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.

There’s also this incredible buried lede:

Alone in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump began the discussion by condemning leaks to the news media, saying that Mr. Comey should consider putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information, according to one of Mr. Comey’s associates.

An Idiot’s Guide to Mishandling Classified Information

Absolutely insane series of events.

Yesterday the Washington Post’s Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe reported that Trump gave classified information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in front of the Russian press during their jovial meeting at the White House:

The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.

“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

This isn’t the first time the embarrassment has mishandled classified information, but the follow-up was so flawed.

The LA Times’ Michael A. Memoli and Noah Bierman quoting the national security advisor:

McMaster said Trump “wasn’t even aware” of the source of the information and again called “the premise” of a Washington Post report that Trump had improperly shared highly classified intelligence “false.”

This morning, the embarrassment confirmed the original article:

That isn’t how that works. The president casually gave classified information to a foreign adversary in front of their state media.

Alex Tizon’s Story of Slavery in America and the Philippines

Heartbreaking story from Alex Tizon:

To our American neighbors, we were model immigrants, a poster family. They told us so. My father had a law degree, my mother was on her way to becoming a doctor, and my siblings and I got good grades and always said “please” and “thank you.” We never talked about Lola. Our secret went to the core of who we were and, at least for us kids, who we wanted to be.

Everybody has family secrets when they’re growing up, but I don’t think I know anyone with anything like this in their past. Then there’s the awful editor’s note:

And we were heartbroken to learn on Friday, March 24, that Alex Tizon had died. His story editor here at the magazine, Denise Kersten Wills, found out late that evening that Alex had been found dead in his home in Eugene, Oregon. He had died in his sleep, of natural causes. He was 57 years old.

National Embarrassment Threatens Former FBI Director With Blackmail

After lying about his predecessor recording his calls, Trump has threatened to release secret recordings of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey:

If the White House records something it can be subpoenaed as Nixon’s recordings were during Watergate.

HP’s Built-in Keystroke Logger

Many HP laptops have a built-in keylogger in their audio drivers according to computer security firm Modzero AG (via Ars’ Dan Goodin). Keyloggers record what you type, typically covertly, for the purposes of someone else getting access to that text data later on. In this case the researches did not find any malicious capability in the driver that uploads the recorded text to a remote location, but it is very easy to access the data coming out of the driver by anyone who has access to your computer.

It would make it very easy for a piece of malware on your computer to track what you type without jumping through extra steps.

That HP shipped this audio driver on their laptops to thousands or millions of customers since 2015 is very worrying.

You can test your HP laptop for this vulnerability by checking the list of affected models after the break or just delete these files if they’re installed on your computer:
C:\Users\Public\MicTray.log
C:\Windows\System32\MicTray64.exe
C:\Windows\System32\MicTray.exe

Continue reading “HP’s Built-in Keystroke Logger”

Block’hood Neighborhood Builder Out

This neighborhood building sim, Block’hood, from Plethora Project and Devolver, looks like it could be good. Just now out of Steam’s Early Access program with a story mode and promises of more to come.

If you want to build a neighborhood in a sandbox mode or build and grow old with your boar friend in the story mode, you can do so on Windows, Mac, and Linux on Steam. It’s supposed to be $15 but the price hasn’t been updated yet and is still showing as $10 (before the launch 25% discount) for me.

Owlchemy Labs Scooped Up By Google

In your latest sign that VR software development is totally unsustainable as a standalone business, Owlchemy Labs has been bought by Google:

Today, we’re thrilled to welcome Owlchemy Labs to Google. They’ve created award-winning games like Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality which have really thoughtful interactive experiences that are responsive, intuitive, and feel natural. They’ve helped set a high bar for what engagement can be like in virtual worlds, and do it all with a great sense of humor!

This doesn’t bode well for Owlchemy’s future output. I look forward to their shares vesting and the developer’s inevitable exit back to independent companies who actually make games again.

IO Interactive Dropped From Square-Enix

Square-Enix put out the amazing Hitman (2016) last year, I love that game and it’s disappointing to hear that Square-Enix is dropping IO and probably will end up keeping IO’s creations:

To maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward, we are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios. As a result, the Company has regrettably decided to withdraw from the business of IO INTERACTIVE A/S, a wholly?owned subsidiary and a Danish corporation, as of March 31, 2017. This decision has resulted in booking of the extraordinary loss amounting to 4,898 million yen, including disposition of the content production account related to the business and impairment loss of intangible assets, in the financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.

As a result of this the Company started discussions with potential new investors and is currently in negotiations to secure this investment. Whilst there can be no guarantees that the negotiations will be concluded successfully, they are being explored since this is in the best interests of our shareholders, the studio and the industry as a whole.

That loss is almost 43 million in US dollars. To paraphrase Moe Szyslak, you don’t leave the lid off of a pickle-jar like IO Interactive.

More Details About Comey

The WSJ’s Shane Harris and Carol E. Lee:

Mr. Comey started receiving daily instead of weekly updates on the investigation, beginning at least three weeks ago, according to people with knowledge of the matter and the progress of the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe. Mr. Comey was concerned by information showing possible evidence of collusion, according to these people.

The collusion might be entirely overstated, but the cover-up is amazing.