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Submission + - Backdoors, Anyone?

Anonymous Westley writes: Watched WarGames for the nth time recently, and got to the scene where Jim and Malvin (the "hackers") tell David (Broderick) about backdoors. Which got me thinking: Do people still do this? What about OSS? Is there anyone who has written a backdoor recently, in an OSS or other project? Have you ever found one (in code or on a live application) left by someone else?
Operating Systems

Submission + - Linux vs. Windows System Calls Graphed

cgrayson writes: "On Richard Stiennon's blog on ZDNet, a post titled Why Windows is less secure than Linux shows an interesting graphical comparison between system calls on Linux and Windows.

In its long evolution, Windows has grown so complicated that it is harder to secure. Well these images make the point very well. Both images are a complete map of the system calls that occur when a web server serves up a single page of html with a single picture.

Submission + - Ogg Vorbis gaining industry support

An anonymous reader writes: While Ogg Vorbis format has not seen much popularity in music sales and portable players, it is not an unsupported format in the industry. Toy manufacturers (e.g. speaking dolls), voice warning systems and reactive audio devices exploit Ogg Vorbis for its good quality at small bitrates. As a sign of this, VLSI Solution Oy has just announced VS1000, the first 16 bits DSP device for playing Ogg Vorbis on low power and high volume products. Earlier Ogg Vorbis chips use 32 bits for decoding which consumes more energy than a 16 bit device does. This enables high volume manufacturing of small Ogg Vorbis devices. A list of Ogg Vorbis chips can be found from the Xiph wiki page.

Journal Journal: Cancer Cured? 2

Here's the deal. Researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada found a cheap and easy to produce drug that kills almost all cancers. The drug is dichloroacetate, and since it is already used to treat metabolic disorders, we know it should be no problem to use it for other purposes.

Submission + - Nokia developing diamond-like gadget casing

space_pingu writes: In the future, all gadgets could be coated with tough, diamond-like material. A patent from Nokia — featured in the latest patent round-up from New Scientist — describes a way of infusing plastic cases with a material, structurally similar to diamond, made from coal. Not only is it more scratch and grime-resistant, but it's also cheap and biodegradable. Apparently it also shines like a metal. Nice.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Nigerian Kitten Spam

Chris Dolley writes: "I thought you might like this. It's the kitten version of the Nigerian spam letter.

"I am Fluffy, the favourite kitten of the late president of Nigeria. As you know my late master was very very rich man and he left me all his tuna..."

The rest is here: http://chrisdolley.livejournal.com/65951.html


Resonance (Baen, 2005)
Shift (Baen, 2007)"

Submission + - The most intense source of light on Earth

coldcell writes: In the Oxfordshire countryside, a giant Synchrotron called 'The Diamond' is about to become the most intense source of light on Earth.

From the article: "It looks like a million dollars, though it is worth a lot more. It dazzles, shining more brightly than anything else on the planet. And it is surrounded by the ultimate in boffin bling... The facility has become a world leader, helping to study the resistance-defying properties of superconductors, revealing how catalysts become "poisoned" so they stop making chemicals, providing clues on how to tackle pollution, unveiling some of the metalworking secrets of the ancients, unravelling the stretchy properties of polymers and shedding light on how viruses defend themselves against dehydration."

Submission + - Agere Systems' BluOnyx rocks open-source insides

An anonymous reader writes: The Agere Systems BluOnyx Personal Server was announced a month ago but ThoughtFix, an Internet Tablet blogger, had an interview with Agere at CES in which drills he the engineers over the use scenarios and hackability of the device. Apparently the whole pocket sized device is open-source (Linux and VxWorks) and can serve media to multiple clients over multiple platforms at once over Bluetooth, WiFi, USB, and SDIO. We'll have to keep an eye on this.

Submission + - RFP Site for the Tech Industry

AdkTrek writes: I've recently started my own software company. 99% of my work comes through word of mouth but I was thinking of ways to bring in even more work and take it to the next level.So I figured I would try to find some sites that let companies post RFPs and maybe respond to a couple. The thing is I couldn't find many and the ones I did find were not tech related. Does anyone out there know of good RFP posting websites related to the tech industry? The only thing I found remotely close was Elance.com but that seems more offshore focused and not as legit as I would like.

Submission + - Author of Illuminatus! has died.

OmnipotentEntity writes: "Robert Anton Wilson, or RAW as he was known, a coauthor of the Illuminatus! trilogy (which was the basis of quite a bit of hacker humor) has passed beyond this mortal plane. Some last words posted onto his blog are "Please pardon my levity, I don't see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd." Have fun on your fnord, and dream of Eris good buddy. You'll be missed."

Feed Futuristic Fridge Mimics Tree (wired.com)

The Tree House Fridge looks like a Wile E. Coyote prop -- a multi-chambered whatnot box rather than a big, cold rectangle. Separate branches hold meat, cheese, produce and other stuff -- cool! In Gadget Lab.


Submission + - USB HDTV Tuner Stick for Windows & Linux

Mike writes: "A fairly comprehensive review of the Hauppage WinTV-HVT-950 USB HDTV tuner. Included in the review are specific instructions to install the unit in Linux, with Ubuntu's Edgy Eft. This portable device allows you to watch FREE over the air HDTV broadcasts on your desktop or laptop"

Submission + - Vista Beta Users Get First Taste of DRM

darkonc writes: "Some people testing Microsoft's Windows Vista got an unexpected holiday surprise: their TVs stopped working.... Microsoft blames this on the fact that they only licensed the MPEG2 CODED for RC1 until the end of 2006 (Beta users were told that the software was good until April), but even people with third party decoders can't access their content (both live and stored). This is how "Trusted Computing" is supposed to work. If somebody in Redmond (or elsewhere) decides that you can't use certain content, nothing that you try to do should allow you access — Owning the content, or obtaining the rights by some other path, is no defense.

5 million people downloaded RC1, and some have access to Vista Final or RC2 (100K copies downloaded). The rest will have to wait until the end of January to access their suddenly banned content."

Submission + - BitTornado declares war on BitComet

John Hoffman writes: "I am the administrator of BitTornado, an open-source BitTorrent client. Some time ago I developed a tweak in the protocol that let people seed torrents more efficiently, and many people have benefited from it.
Alas, recently BitComet has been incorporating code designed to game my client into sending them more data than they would normally get. Not only does this reduce torrent performance for the other peers, but they're also stupidly shooting themselves in the foot.
By performing this way BitComet is forcing me to do a lot of work to reduce their predation, and I am therefore declaring war against them, banning their clients from connecting to mine and trying to convince others to do so as well."

Submission + - Ethanol Fuel Cosumption Comparison

blue234 writes: "Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius said the choice of a grand prize is a good one. "By offering an E85 vehicle as a grand prize, the Lottery and its partners are helping promote an industry that is increasingly important to Kansas," said the Governor. "Demand for ethanol is creating a growing market for Kansas grain." Good for the ethanol industry, perhaps, but of questionable value as a way to reduce gasoline consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. According to official EPA fuel-economy ratings, a 2007 GMC Sierra Classic 1500 4WD (Crew Cab) gets 15 mpg in city driving and 19 mpg in highway driving when operating on straight, unleaded gasoline. Operating on E85, those numbers drop to 11 mpg and 14 mpg, respectively. That is about the same as a Hummer H2 (flex-fuel versions of which will become available starting with the 2008-year models) full story"

"Today's robots are very primitive, capable of understanding only a few simple instructions such as 'go left', 'go right', and 'build car'." --John Sladek