Donkey Kong for DaughterThis weekend, Bangor joins cities across the US in a National Day of Civic Hacking, brainstorming and building technical solutions to local problems. In other good news, you can now rescue Mario in Donkey Kong as Pauline.

On the downside, you can also open hotel rooms with an Arduino and hack commercial aircraft with a cell phone. Oh, and Anonymous hacked their way into a Mexican standoff with Los Zetas narco lords.


The Good

Maine Civic Hack Day

June 1-2, 2013

Who: Maine Hacker Club, in collaboration with the City of Bangor, The University of Maine System & The Maine Discovery Museum

What: A gathering of 50-70 technologists with the goal of prototyping solutions to a curated list of local community problems in a 30 hour programming sprint.

Where: Eastern Maine Development Corporation, 40 Harlow Street in Downtown Bangor

When: 7:30 AM June 1st until 5:00PM June 2nd, 2013

Why: To unite our technical community around the goal of solving local problems and a greater civic good. To make Bangor one of the cities participating in the National Day of Civic Hacking.

If you are a student, faculty or staff member of any of the UMaine System campuses you can attend for free using the code UMSYSTEM

This is a non-profit event in accordance with the Random Hacks of Kindness event guidelines. Any excess funds (if there are any) will be donated to charity after the event.

Government.Activity.on .Github illHow GitHub Helps You Hack the Government | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com

The document wasn’t that important. It was a form for transit subsidy requests. And the change was tiny, a typo fix. Iceeey suggested the agency change the line “Daily rountrip cost” to “Daily roundtrip cost”….

The document had been published on the software code collaboration website GitHub, with the express idea that it could be hacked, commented on, and improved in public just like open source software.

With this simple bug fix — called a “pull request” in GitHub parlance — a longstanding wall between the government and its citizens crumbled….

This shift encompasses not just government documents but software too. GitHub and other tools are allowing agencies to openly collaborate with outside programmers in ways they rarely have in the past. In 2009, there were just nine government-backed source code projects hosted on GitHub. Today, there are more than 350.

“You’re starting to see a lot of the activity that I think has been happening more quietly and will be talked about more publicly now,” says GitHub’s Doll. “I’ve seen cross-agency pull requests where one agency will notice that there is this project that another agency is working on, and in sort of an adorable way, they’re asking: ‘Gee, can I use this?’ In the open source ethos, it’s: ‘Of course, you can use this.’”

RIGHT: US government use of GitHub.

Dad Hacks “Donkey Kong” – Now Pauline Rescues Mario – Slashdot

“What do you do when your daughter wants the girl to be the hero of your old video game? If you’re Mike Mika, you hack the game ROM to reverse the roles. He even changed the ‘M’ at the top of the screen to a ‘P.’”

Why I Hacked Donkey Kong for My Daughter | Game|Life | Wired.com

One day after work, she asked to play Donkey Kong, only this time she raised a pretty innocent and simple question: “How can I play as the girl? I want to save Mario!”

It made sense. We had just played Super Mario Bros. 2 on the NES a few days before, and she became obsessed with playing as Princess Toadstool. So to go back to Donkey Kong, I can see how natural it seemed to ask the question. I explained to her that Donkey Kong, while similar, is not the same game. On this occasion, I really could tell that she was disappointed. She really liked Donkey Kong, and really liked playing as Princess Toadstool. We left it at that and moved on.

But that question! It kept nagging at me. Kids ask parents all the time for things that just aren’t possible. But this time, this was different. I’m a game developer by day. I could do this.

The Bad

Hijacking Airplanes With an Android Phone – Slashdot

Until today, hacking and hijacking planes by pressing a few buttons on an Android mobile app has been the stuff of over-the-top blockbuster movies. However, the talk that security researcher and commercial airplane pilot Hugo Teso delivered today at the Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam has brought it into the realm of reality and has given us one more thing to worry about and fear

Open Millions of Hotel Rooms With Arduino – Slashdot

‘With how stupidly simple this is, it wouldn’t surprise me if a thousand other people have found this same vulnerability and sold it to other governments,’ says Brocious. ‘An intern at the NSA could find this in five minutes.’”

The Ugly

Social Netwar | Beyond The Beyond | Wired.com

“In the fall of 2011, two clandestine non-state groups–a hacktivist collective and a Mexican drug cartel–stared each other down in the digital domain, with potentially fatal real world consequences for both sides. Los Zetas, a Mexican drug trafficking organization composed of former members of Mexico’s Special Forces, kidnapped a member of Anonymous, the global hacking group, in Veracruz on October 6th. In retaliation, Anonymous threatened to publicize online the personal information of Los Zetas and their associates, from taxi drivers to high-ranking politicians, unless Los Zetas freed their abductee by November 5th. The release of this information on the Internet would have exposed members of Los Zetas to not only possible arrest by Mexican authorities, but also to assassination by rival cartels. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Los Zetas then attempted to “reverse hack” Anonymous to uncover some of its members and to threaten them with death. As a consequence, a few members of Anonymous sought to call off the operation and disavowed those members who wanted to go forward. With time running out and locked in a stalemate, Los Zetas released their kidnap victim on November 4th with an online warning that they would kill ten innocent people for each name that Anonymous might subsequently publicize. Anonymous called off its operation; each side appeared to step back from the brink.

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