Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
What's the story with these ads on Slashdot? Check out our new blog post to find out. ×

Security Hole In Windows 7 UAC 388

An anonymous reader writes "A prolific blogger is warning of a possible security hole in the latest beta version of Windows 7. Long Zheng has posted both a description and a proof of concept for an issue that could allow an attacker to skirt the User Account Control component in the new version of Windows. The problem, explains Zheng, is that UAC itself is controlled through system settings. This can allow an attacker to completely disable the protections without user notification. Zheng notes that the issue can be easily fixed by changing the UAC setting to notify users when Windows settings are altered, and that Microsoft could remedy the problem by prompting the user when the UAC setting is altered."

Comment Why use PS3s? (Score 3, Insightful) 211

Why would you want to use PS3s for a homebrew supercomputing cluster if it means you have to write and optimize code for the SPEs to get benefit out of it? The PS3's linux environment doesn't let you utilize the GPU or all of the built-in SPEs and it doesn't have a lot of RAM available either. It seems like it would be cheaper to build a cluster out of commodity PC parts, and maybe use GPUs+CUDA to get more muscle without having to completely hand-roll your own accelerated computation code (since CUDA is roughly C). I can't imagine that the PS3 would end up cheaper for these purposes, considering it includes a Blu-Ray player along with a bunch of other things you're not going to be using.


Richard Garriott Quits NCSoft 149

unc0nn3ct3d writes "In a shocking update on the seemingly endless troubles plaguing NCSoft, Richard Garriott — the king of online games, creator of The Ultima Series (and consequentially Ultima Online), as well as the recently troubled Tabula Rasa — has announced that he would be stepping down from his position at NCSoft. Apparently motivated by his recent trip into space, perhaps he has found a higher purpose while orbiting so high above the earth."

Microsoft Adding jQuery To Visual Studio 67

Tim Anderson writes "Microsoft's Scott Guthrie, Corporate VP of the .NET developer division, announced that the open source jQuery Javascript library will be integrated into Visual Studio, the main Windows development tool. Further, Microsoft will treat jQuery as a supported product within technical support contracts, and will use jQuery to build new controls for ASP.NET, its web platform."

Comment Re:Why Microsoft Dislikes Intel Graphics (Score 5, Informative) 434

That's interesting, but this article is about someone who doesn't work for Microsoft anymore, and hates Intel graphics chips for the same reason any other game developer hates them: They're utter garbage.

I'll enumerate the primary reasons quickly, since I don't expect you to be intimately familiar with the relationship between graphics programmers and graphics driver developers (it's drastically different from Intel's relationship with the X developers):

1) Intel graphics drivers are possibly the most inconsistent drivers on the market. Any given user with a particular Intel chipset might have one of a hundred different driver configurations, as a result of the fact that the chips are bundled with different motherboards which then come with their own driver package... and when you add pre-built machine vendors into the mix the situation is only worse. If their driver quality was extremely high across the board, this wouldn't be an issue, but...

2) Intel graphics drivers have a bad stability track record, at least on Windows. They have a tendency to return invalid/nonsensical error codes from driver calls that shouldn't be able to fail, or to silently fail out inside a driver call instead of returning the error code they're supposed to... resulting in graphics programmers having to special-case handling of individual Intel graphics chipsets (and even driver revisions). In my case, I ended up just having to shut off entire blocks of my hardware-accelerated pipeline on Intel chipsets and replace them with custom software implementations to avoid the incredible hassle involved in coming up with specific fixes. (The wide variety of chipsets and drivers out there meant that for my particular project - an indie game - it was impossible to ensure that I had worked around every bug a user was likely to hit, so I had to just opt out of hardware accel in problem areas entirely).

3) Intel graphics chipsets have sub-par performance across the board, despite marketing claims otherwise. This is mostly problematic for people developing 'cutting-edge' games software, where it creates a 'he-said-she-said' situation with a game developer/publisher claiming that a user's video chipset is insufficient to run a game while Intel claims the complete opposite. (in most cases, Intel is lying.) This is particularly troublesome in areas like support for cutting-edge shader technology, where an Intel chipset may 'support' a feature like Pixel Shader Model 3.0 but implement it in such a way to make it completely unusable. Users don't benefit from this, and neither do developers.

4) Intel graphics chipsets harm the add-on graphics market by discouraging users from picking up a (significantly better) bargain video card from NVidia/ATI for $50 and dropping it into their machine. This hurts everyone because even though that bargain card is significantly better (and most likely more reliable), the user already 'paid' for the integrated chipset on their motherboard, and the documentation that comes with it attempts to make them believe that they don't need a video card. I consider this a dramatic step backward compared to the situation years ago, when integrated graphics chipsets were unheard of and people instead had the option of 'bargain 2d' video cards like Trident or Matrox that would do everything needed for desktop 2D, but also had the option of fairly affordable 3D accelerator cards if they wanted to play games occasionally.

On the bright side, most integrated ATI/NVidia GPUs these days are mature enough to be able to run games acceptably and meet the needs of a typical user. The only thing really holding the market back here, in my opinion, is Intel's insistence on marketing inferior products instead of partnering with ATI or NVidia to please their customers.

Of course, this is unrelated to your point that their Linux/Free Software support is superb, as is their documentation - I'm inclined to agree with you here, but it unfortunately doesn't do much to outweigh their other grievous sins.
XBox (Games)

Xbox DRM and the Red Ring of Death 147

manekineko2 writes "In the latest case warning of the perils of investing in DRM'd media, an owner of an Xbox 360 reports that after his Xbox suffered the infamous Red Ring of Death, it was replaced by a new system with a different serial number. Upon receiving his replacement, he found that he could only access the media he had purchased from a specific account. He also received the run-around for months from customer service before his case was escalated, only to be informed that there is no ETA for a resolution, there is no way to receive status updates on the process, and there is no compensation that will be granted. Given claims that the Xbox 360 defect rate is as high as 1 in 3, has anyone on Slashdot gone through this as well after getting their system exchanged?" Update: 02/14 17:11 GMT by Z : An emailing user noted that the original summary was not very accurate; rephrased to be more in-line with the situation.

HD Monitor Causes DRM Issues with Netflix 540

Jeremiah Cornelius points us to Davis Freeberg's blog, where he discusses his "nightmare scenario" of losing access to his DRM-protected purchases by upgrading his PC monitor. "When I called them they confirmed my worst fears. In order to access the Watch Now service, I had to give Microsoft's DRM sniffing program access to all of the files on my hard drive. If the software found any non-Netflix video files, it would revoke my rights to the content and invalidate the DRM. This means that I would lose all the movies that I've purchased from Amazon's Unbox, just to troubleshoot the issue. Because my computer allows me to send an unrestricted HDTV feed to my monitor, Hollywood has decided to revoke my ability to stream 480 resolution video files from Netflix. In order to fix my problem, Netflix recommended that I downgrade to a lower res VGA setup."

C# Memory Leak Torpedoed Princeton's DARPA Chances 560

nil0lab writes "In a case of 20/20 hindsight, Princeton DARPA Grand Challenge team member Bryan Cattle reflects on how their code failed to forget obstacles it had passed. It was written in Microsoft's C#, which isn't supposed to let you have memory leaks. 'We kept noticing that the computer would begin to bog down after extended periods of driving. This problem was pernicious because it only showed up after 40 minutes to an hour of driving around and collecting obstacles. The computer performance would just gradually slow down until the car just simply stopped responding, usually with the gas pedal down, and would just drive off into the bush until we pulled the plug. We looked through the code on paper, literally line by line, and just couldn't for the life of us imagine what the problem was.'"

New Sensor Finds Leaks in Spacecraft 115

Roland Piquepaille writes "With financial support from NASA, Iowa State University (ISU) engineers have developed a sensor to quickly find leaks in a spacecraft. This sensor locates an air leak by listening to the noise generated by the air rushing out of the leak and includes an array of 64 elements that detects vibrations as they radiate along the spacecraft. Because astronauts cannot hear the noise caused by escaping air, NASA needed to design a system to help them. As one ISU researcher said, 'NASA wants to be able to find these leaks. Fixing them is easy. But the question is, "Where is the leak?"' Now that this sensor has successfully been tested on the ground, NASA is evaluating a proposal to build a prototype of the leak detection system for future missions.

Best Platform For Hobbyist Mobile Development? 143

An anonymous reader notes a blog entry, possibly his own, comparing and evaluating 8 mobile platforms from the point of view of their suitability for a hobbyist programmer. Covered are iPhone, Java ME, Windows Mobile, Linux, Palm, Brew, Symbian, and Blackberry. The writer seems open-minded and is a strong fan of free software, but he gives the edge to Windows Mobile for this class of developer.

The Hard Science of Making Videogames 194

twoblackeyes writes "PopSci delves into the 10 greatest technical challenges faced by game developers today, and the technology that will hopefully make them a thing of the past. At the top of every dev's wish list is increased realism: realisitic fire, water, enemy AI, material physics, etc. Here directly from the developers where the tech stands today, and where it will likely be tomorrow. '4. Artificial Intelligence - Problem: Once upon a time, the bad guys in videogames wandered around mindlessly, shooting at you while they waited to die. That doesn't cut it anymore. Players demand sophisticated enemies to fight and reliable in-game allies with which to fight them. Thing is, it's freaking complicated, and it eats up processor speed. "We're faking just enough smarts to make it work," says Mathieu Mazerole, lead engineer on Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed. Status: Imbuing characters in a game with lifelike decision-making ability involves employing the kind of high-level logic theories--learning decision trees, mobile navigation, finite-state machine models--used by top robotics engineers.'"

Skype Blames Microsoft Patch Tuesday for Outage 286

brajesh writes to tell us that Skype has blamed its outage over the last week on Microsoft's Patch Tuesday. Apparently the huge numbers of computers rebooting (and the resulting flood of login requests) revealed a problem with the network allocation algorithm resulting in a couple days of downtime. Skype further stressed that there was no malicious activity and user security was never in any danger.
The Internet

Comcast Hinders BitTorrent Traffic 537

FsG writes "Over the past few weeks, more and more Comcast users have reported that their BitTorrent traffic is severely throttled and they are totally unable to seed. Comcast doesn't seem to discriminate between legitimate and infringing torrent traffic, and most of the BitTorrent encryption techniques in use today aren't helping. If more ISPs adopt their strategy, could this mean the end of BitTorrent?"

panic: kernel trap (ignored)