April 9th, 2014

Epic Fail

Voices Carry

This is why you should always read the fine print.

Kate Mulgrew is an actress who has been around a while.  I knew her as Mrs. Columbo.  Most people, however, know her as Captain Janeway from Star Trek:  Voyager.  The problem with Trek gigs is finding something to do when the run is over.  Not everyone gets to do the movies.

Mulgrew took some voice acting work, providing the narration for a documentary movie.  She claims she didn't know about the movie, the man behind it, and she was misled.  She says if she'd known then what she knows now, she never would have done it.  And I believe her.

The reason I say I believe her is because of the movie.  It's called The Principle, and basically states that we live in a geocentric universe.  What that means is the Earth is the center of the universe.

Yeah.  This was disproven for centuries.  Hell, the movie talks about the universe being created by God, and the Catholic church itself disproved the geocentric universe theory.  Not didn't believe it, DISPROVED it.

The movie is the work of one Robert Sungenis.  Sungenis is an ultra-conservative (bordering on fascist) who writes a blog called "Galileo Was Wrong" (for a Catholic, he sure has his Catholic history wrong).  He's also a raving anti-Semite.  No shit.  He is a Holocaust denier who claims no one has proven a single Jew, let alone 6 million of them, were killed in Germany.  He also claims that the Jews conspired with Satan to rule the world.  His local bishop told him to quit trash talking the Jews, then ordered him to stop referring to his movement as "Catholic" because Sungenis criticized a catechism related to Judaism.

TL;DR -- the guy's an asshole.

When the trailer was released, people contacted Mulgrew to ask, "Excuse me, but WTF are you doing?"  She put out a statement saying that she was misled, she had no idea what the documentary was actually about or about Sungenis.  And she's not the only one.  Lawrence Krauss is a well-respected scientist who appears in the movie, apparently against his will.  "For all who asked:  Some clips of me apparently were mined for movie on geocentrism," he Tweeted.  "So stupid does disservice to word nonsense.  Ignore it."

Man, Janeway never did get any respect, did she?

Who Watches The Watchmen?

Before I get to my point, I want to repeat a story I've told before.  It's been a while, and I have new readers, so bear with me.

My mom, for some unknown reason, is a huge fan of Nancy Grace, a woman who makes me want to put a gun to my head.  One time, when I was supposed to meet them for dinner, I used my RAD kit to make a Linux app, the Nancy Grace Missing Toddler app.  It ran on my desktop, and I told my mom it activated when a child went missing and Grace was going to discuss it on her show.  The app went on alert at that moment, and sure enough, there was a missing child featured on Grace's show that night.  The truth, however, was that the app just went off at random intervals, and it was a complete coincidence that this happened.  But that didn't stop my mom from pestering me for a Windows version of the app.

I bring this up because of an Android app called Virus Shield.  As Android becomes the dominant operating system in the computing sphere, crackers have started targeting it with viruses and malware.  Google makes it way too easy for apps to get out of the sandbox and nab your data, and since they aren't trying so hard, others are coming up with anti-virus software to combat this stuff (anti-virus for a Linux-based OS.  Good going, Google).

Virus Shield was one of the most popular apps in this regard.  For $3.99, the app would display a shield icon with either an X to say malware had been detected or a checkmark to say you were clean.  It had more than 10,000 downloads and was #1 on the new paid apps chart, 4.7 star rating on Google Play.

Well, guess what?  Android Police just found out the software didn't do anything other than display the shield icon.  Literally.  They dove into the code.  There is not a single line that detects or eliminates malware.  It is a total scam.

This is supposedly why you should get your apps through Google Play instead of sideloading.  Most of your Android viruses and malware come from cracked software that gets sideloaded, but Google maintains that the stuff on Google Play is verified virus and malware free.  But thieves, instead of going after identity theft, are doing just fine going old school and selling the AV equivalent of snake oil.

If Google really wants a great reputation, they need some way to stop blatant scams like this from happening.  No wonder Linus kicked Android out of the Linux kernel repository.