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Opening Fixed-Code Garage Doors With a Toy In 10 Seconds 105 105

Trailrunner7 writes: It may be time to upgrade your garage door opener. Security researcher Samy Kamkar has developed a new technique that enables him to open almost any garage door that uses a fixed code–and he implemented it on a $12 child's toy. The attack Kamkar devised, known as OpenSesame, reduces the amount of time it takes to guess the fixed code for a garage door from several minutes down to less than 10 seconds. Most openers in commercially available garage door openers have a set of 12 dip switches, which are binary, and provide a total of 4,096 possible code combinations. This is a highly limited keyspace and is open to brute-force attacks. But even on such a small keyspace, those attacks take some time.

With a simple brute-force attack, that would take 29 minutes, Kamkar said. To begin reducing that time, he eliminated the retransmission of each code, bringing the time down to about six minutes. He then removed the wait period after each code is sent, which reduced the time even further, to about three minutes. Looking to further reduce the time, Kamkar discovered that many garage door openers use a technique known as a bit shift register. This means that when the opener receives a 12-bit code, it will test that code, and if it's incorrect, the opener will then shift out one bit and pull in one bit of the next code transmitted.

Kamkar implemented an algorithm known as the De Bruijn sequence to automate this process and then loaded his code onto a now-discontinued toy called the Mattel IM-ME. The toy was designed as a short-range texting device for kids, but Kamkar reprogrammed it using the GoodFET adapter built by Travis Goodspeed. Once that was done, Kamkar tested the device against a variety of garage door openers and discovered that the technique worked on systems manufactured by several companies, including Nortek and NSCD. It also works on older systems made by Chamberlain, Liftmaster, Stanley, Delta-3, and Moore-O-Matic.

Comment: This is incredible (Score 2) 85 85

Never thought I see to live these energies... and now for 3 years we will get some interesting effects.

Actually what will be the most interesting is that after three years NOTHING HAPPENS, that is to say that our knowledge of Physics is fairly complete. However nature has a way of surprising us.

Comment: Well, not exactly (Score 2) 61 61

There are no "Frontiers" in Physics. Reality is just what it is, no more, no less. You can't really have 'frontiers' if there is no subject to limit.

However, our knowledge of these laws and of Physics is somewhat limited. So the headline should read: "Testing the frontiers of our knowledge of Physics". But I guess it couldn't fit in a tweet or whatever.

In any case, very exciting times.

Comment: Re: This one will be easier (Score 3, Informative) 129 129

Actually no. Elop came in 2011, when Nokia was still selling more phones than Samsung and Apple. However *Android* had just begun to have majority of marketshare.

During his tenure Nokia's marketshare went from 38% to 3% (yes, that is right, 3 percent) source..

Elop was a disaster and got paid a 18.8 million dollar bonus on his departure from Nokia.

Comment: Airline price search is actually quite complicated (Score 1) 126 126

You would think that a simple search of a cheap fare would be a relatively easy task. It actually is quite difficult.

I recently read this article from ITA systems which makes this sort of software: [pdf warning]: here. Very interesting read and shows that airline pricing is not as simple as it sounds.

In the pricing of a ticket one has to take care of not only of fuel, food, personnel and aircraft, but also landing fees, luggage handling fees and the rest. It is no wonder that some pricing looks a little arcane to the customer - because it is.

Comment: Re:Muscle memory - where UI designers go wrong (Score 1) 140 140

The tiller was used because the first cars were about as slow as boats, so they were steered with a tiller like boats. However as cars became faster and more powerful the tiller was no longer adequate, and thus the wheel was adopted as it simply worked better. Yet your example only proves the point: since the 19th century there has been NO CHANGE in this UI for steering a car. Once the wheel was invented, no one wanted to go back to the tiller and no one even invented some other way to steer a car. There is something optimal in the use of the steering wheel that makes any other refinements and changes useless.

Similarly the first graphic UI's were full of experimentation. Even the first Mac OS's had the menu bar in the window, but was moved out in early beta phase as the idea was that it was easier on the user to simply look always in the same place for the applications' commands, and has remained there ever since. Windows traditionally had the menu bar inside the window, with very little exceptions. However your example shows the same thing I am trying to get across: they DON'T change once they've made a decision.

X11 window managers actually gives you more choice - you can have either way or both. I think an argument can be made for either one. It seems that today, at least in Linux land, there is a tendancy to put the menu bar as something permanent on top (at least in Unity), but many desktops still keep the in-window menu bar.

To be honest I don't even like Mac OS X or Windows style menu bars. I actually use i3-wm as my hands are always on the keyboard. The mouse is a useless thing in my honest opinion, but for drawing and things like that it is indeed useful. Most of my work is at the keyboard, so I like the UI to be controllable with the keyboard. The menu bar is for some users needed, but I have different work habits from the era before we had X11 so I would say I'm more an exception than the rule.

In any case, my point stands: if it works for the user, don't change it. Every change involves an investment of time and energy which must be considered - is the amount of time to be gained by this new UI really worth the time it takes to learn it?

Obligatory XKCD

Comment: Re:Muscle memory - where UI designers go wrong (Score 1) 140 140

The majority of users are not teenagers. And in reality we older fellows actually work for a living and make money for our companies. We are the actual USERS of the equipment.

Most teenagers are using computers for video games. It really doesn't matter what the OS GUI is like for this. If they complain about the "old GUI" it's often because they are too lazy to learn how to use it.

And furthermore "the better UI" simply sucks. Proof in point.

Any sane GUI designer would be wiser to think of the actual users, and not just what is a "subjectively better UI". There is a reason why things have been done the way they are for so long, and to ignore these reason is simply stupid.

+ - SpaceX to try a first stage recovery again on April 13

schwit1 writes: In its next launch on Monday, SpaceX will once again try to safely land its first stage on an ocean barge, allowing it to reuse that stage on later flights.

Monday afternoon is certainly going to be an exciting day for space cadets. First, at 4 pm (Eastern) the head of ULA will reveal the design of that company's new rocket. Then, at 4:33 pm (Eastern), SpaceX will launch Dragon to ISS while attempting to return the first stage safely.

Comment: Re:Ada (Score 4, Insightful) 211 211

No. Ada already has a very basic syntax, which if you look at the Ada example is so much like Rust that really I fail to see any significant difference. Ada is also completely buzz-word compliant. It has also been used to make real projects, and even has a ANSI Standard since 1983. Rust can't even guarantee a feature set, nor even a stable keyword set.

Wish them luck, but frankly it's a bit like reinventing the wheel. I guess it's what hipsters do when they skip CS 102 in order to 'find themselves' - try to 'reinvent' what they should have learned in college.

Comment: Re: Garbage collectors help (Score 1) 60 60

The death of Symbolics was in some ways the catalyst to the death of the AI industry and LISP in general. Although the company was (very) badly managed, RMS is responsible for a lot of the infighting and political grandstanding that basically killed the company. With the death of Symbolics and the consequent poison-pill of coding politics, programming in LISP just became unprofitable and eventually died out. Granted there are many other factors, but this was one of them.

I invite you to read the history of the MIT AI lab to see a bit of the shit that happened there.

RMS hasn't programmed anything for a long time. He is more of an activist than engineer - always has been, always will be.

No skis take rocks like rental skis!