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TI-Nspire Hack Enables User Programming 88 88

An anonymous reader writes "Texas Instruments' most recent, ARM-based series of graphing calculators, the TI-Nspire line, has long resisted users' efforts to run their own software. (Unlike other TI calculator models, which can be programmed either in BASIC, C, or assembly language, the Nspire only supports an extremely limited form of BASIC.) A bug in the Nspire's OS was recently discovered, however, which can be exploited to execute arbitrary machine code. Now the first version of a tool called Ndless has been released, enabling users, for the first time, to write and run their own C and assembly programs on the device. This opens up exciting new possibilities for these devices, which are extremely powerful compared to TI's other calculator offerings, but (thanks to the built-in software's limitations) have hitherto been largely ignored by the calculator programming community."

Comment Re:DMCA Misrepresentation claim viable (Score 4, Informative) 463 463

The keys are not required to access the binary. There is no encryption; the keys are just to verify that the OS image hasn't been corrupted. The entire binary has always been completely accessible from both the PC side (before transferring) as well as on the calculator. Furthermore, the community has had the ability to load its own operating systems on the TI-83 Plus since 2002. TI had stated in 2004 that they had no problem with independent third-party OSes being loaded, as long as (understandably) no one distributed modified TI OS files. The only new development here is that third-party operating systems can now be loaded onto the calculators without any hacks or preparation. In other words, they can be loaded in a user-friendly manner like the TI OS is loaded, and transmitted from calculator-to-calculator without having to run a special program beforehand. This is a huge deal in gaining acceptance for third-party operating systems, because end users do not want to have to pull out a battery during validation or run a strange program before loading the OS. They'd rather just click and be done.

Submission + - RSA keys factored, DMCA takedowns issued-> 2 2

An anonymous reader writes: A month ago, reported smart factoring of the 512-bit RSA key used by TI to sign their TI-83+ OS, which opens the door to seamless installation of open-source third-party OS on TI-83+ calculators. Since then, two other keys found in other TI calculators have been factored by a distributed effort. Several days ago, TI sent DMCA takedown notices to several sites mentioning the keys and their factors. All three keys factored so far have been posted to Wikileaks, and the effort to factor the remaining ones is going on.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - TI-83 Plus 512-bit RSA Key Cracked

Cubeman writes: "The 512-bit RSA key protecting the operating system of TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus calculators has been cracked! Benjamin Moody posted the factorization yesterday, and it has been verified by Brandon Wilson. With the RSA key broken, developers can now release cryptographically signed third-party OSes which will validate on any unmodified calculator. While TI's security protections have previously been broken, all prior hacks required loading an extra program on each calculator. This broken OS key means that the last frontier of TI hacking has finally been achieved. Calculator programmers now have complete control over every area of the calculator and can write any code in any form, even entire operating systems, and distribute them freely on any 83+/84+ calculator in existence. has an article about this as well."

Adult Brains More Flexible Than Previously Thought 123 123

stemceller passed us a link to the official site for Johns Hopkins, which is reporting on some research into cognition. Generally, doctors have understood our best learning to be done at a young age, when the brain has a 'robust flexibility'. As we get older, our brain cells become 'hard-wired' along certain paths and don't move much - if at all. Or, at least, that was the understanding. Research headed by the hospital's Dr. Linden has taken advantage of 'two-photon microscopy', a new technique, to get a new picture inside a mouse's head. "They examined neurons that extend fibers (called axons) to send signals to a brain region called the cerebellum, which helps coordinate movements and sensory information. Like a growing tree, these axons have a primary trunk that runs upward and several smaller branches that sprout out to the sides. But while the main trunk was firmly connected to other target neurons in the cerebellum, stationary as adult axons are generally thought to be, 'the side branches swayed like kite tails in the wind,' says Linden. Over the course of a few hours, individual side branches would elongate, retract and morph in a highly dynamic fashion. These side branches also failed to make conventional connections, or synapses, with adjacent neurons. Furthermore, when a drug was given that produced strong electrical currents in the axons, the motion of the side branches stalled.'"

MMO Bans Men Playing As Women 616 616

jkcity writes "In a bizarre move Aurora Technology the owners of the King of the World MMORPG has taken the unusual step of banning men who play women characters but the ban itself does not stretch to women playing men. If you want to play as a woman now in game you have to prove you are a women via web cam. This is something that people ask for in many mmorpgs I myself have seen people say people who play women in EVE online as being some kind of degenerate but how long can a policy of verification by web cam last since its so easy to get around it doesn't seem to solve much and is an insult to many."

The Twists of History and DNA 337 337

An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times has a piece today talking about the possible connection between genetic evolution and history." From the article: "Trying to explain cultural traits is, of course, a sensitive issue. The descriptions of national character common in the works of 19th-century historians were based on little more than prejudice. Together with unfounded notions of racial superiority they lent support to disastrous policies. But like phrenology, a wrong idea that held a basic truth (the brain's functions are indeed localized), the concept of national character could turn out to be not entirely baseless, at least when applied to societies shaped by specific evolutionary pressures."

"You're a creature of the night, Michael. Wait'll Mom hears about this." -- from the movie "The Lost Boys"