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Comment: Missing from the summary (Score 3, Insightful) 348

by Photo_Nut (#32534062) Attached to: Google Researcher Issues How-To On Attacking XP

Missing from the summary is that not only are they documenting the exploit in detail, but they are also providing a hack to patch the hole.

The point of releasing this "Five day exploit" which has been vulnerable for 9 years now (XP was released in 2001) is to point out that Microsoft needs to do a better job responding to security threats and that the closed source model is less robust to these kinds of threats. Had this been open source, they could have simply issued a patch to a mailing list to close the hole.

No compiled software is safe from someone with the means and the motivation to modify it. Having the source code does not make it any easier or harder to exploit, but it does make it easier to patch exploits and allows for more people to examine the code for exploits.

Comment: Re:HPC Community (Score 4, Interesting) 739

by Photo_Nut (#31654314) Attached to: "Install Other OS" Feature Removed From the PS3

I went to the National HPC conference about 2 weeks ago. Read this abstract of this talk. The director of the research lab in Rome, NY with all the PS3's stated that the new slim PS3 won't support Linux and answered your question - selling Linux boxes lowers the attach rate, so they are looking at other options.

I was representing one of the vendors at the show, and he stopped by our booth and asked a bunch of questions about the hardware we had on display. The AF doesn't mess around. If game hardware has cutting edge performance, they use it. :^)

GPUs are some of the most interesting devices to code for - most people write programs for one core, where a thread is a big heavy weight thing. In GPUs, threads are your basic unit of computation, and the world is upside down. Want to make a loop 100X faster - in some cases you can do it by creating more threads and synchronizing them with a barrier to keep threads going. Don't hold onto calculations for long - recomputing them can be order of 50X faster vs making a lookup to global memory and recomputing frees up the registers so you have less register pressure/can get more threads executing simultaneously. Between the ATI Cypress (1600 cores) and the new GF100 based chips (448-512 cores), writing code that runs on these devices makes C++ seem like child's play.

And the development environments are all V1.

Comment: Re:Relief Valve Necessary? (Score 1) 215

by Photo_Nut (#29411205) Attached to: Students Take Pictures From Space On $150 Budget

This approach allows one to start with a FULL FILLUP at ground level, and likely achieve much greater altitude than the apparently current scenario of having to operate between the static boundaries of "just enough" fill to ascend at start, and "pop pressure" at what is stated to be about 20 miles up. I'm not a physicist insofar as lift calcs, but common sense would seem to dictate that the pressure relief setup could yield MUCH higher apogees?

Maybe it could go higher, but wouldn't this setup also prevent the balloon from popping? So the baloon would still be inflated, and it would reach a certain altitude and at some point it would be buoyant. It could stay at that altitude for a long, long time. At some point, you need to pop the balloon.

Maybe you could get higher if you used 2 balloons and inflated each of them to less PSI so that they would have less force to pop them. I have to wonder though, at some point, the lack of atmosphere kicks in... It would seem to be an interesting launch strategy for a light-weight space ship, though -- use a balloon to lift it to altitude, and then launch the ship.

Comment: Confusing the service with the client... (Score 5, Informative) 230

by Photo_Nut (#29032139) Attached to: Reports of IE Hijacking NXDOMAINs, Routing To Bing

Domain hijacking is a huge deal for me.

Your description is confusing the browser trying to resolve your broken DNS request with an ISP hijacking your DNS request.

Primarily, when I'm on an internet connection that's hijacking the domain, if I type 'amazon', firefox first checks if I have an amazon in my searchdomain (ie: amazon.example.com)

No. When you're on an internet connection that's hijacking the domain, amazon resolves to a 'service' provided by your ISP even though it's not a registered domain.

, and if not, it tries adding a .com, then a www. and a .com...

What you mean is that if your ISP's DNS service works correctly and tells you that amazon.com doesn't exist, your web browser (Firefox in this case) has some heuristic for trying other DNS queries in an attempt to help you, and when those queries are exhausted it takes you to a search engine.

if the ISP is hijacking it, I get an answer to 'amazon' with the hijacked page. This means that I have to type the .com every time.

Which is what you should have written first.

So you have to type .com when you mean amazon.com. Yeah, that's like saying that I have to write Plymouth, MA next to 02364 on my address. The postal service is run by people, and usually, they can figure it out, but if the address is wrong, it's your fault, even if they helpfully fix it for you.

with a browser doing the same thing, I could be trying to connect to my primary server (wolverine) and if I mistype the webaddress, it redirects me to bing, changing my URL bar to the bing URL which means that when I've typed 'wolverine/some/really/long/path?with=variables' I have to go type that whole thing over again to correct it rather than just fixing it in the addressbar.

So turn off the feature which searches with the default search engine when your DNS query fails.

If you want to bypass DNS for your machines, put your own entries in your "/etc/hosts file" (%WINDIR%\System32\drivers\etc\hosts on Windows). Also, you can run your own DNS service locally.

so, hijacking the DNS is a BITCH and is totally annoying all the time.

Only if you aren't technically savvy enough to use a web browser. After you type amazon.com in once into IE or Firefox or Chrome these days, the autocompletion helpers from your recent history usually have enough context that shift+enter (in IE anyway, not sure about the others) takes you where you want to go.

The real problem with DNS servers hijacking broken requests is that they lie to network tools, not just web browsers. This can cause serious problems. DNS is used for more than just HTTP.

Comment: But it's obvious! (Score 1) 250

by Photo_Nut (#29021081) Attached to: Music Labels Working On Digital Album Format

If the iPod/iPhone software doesn't play this new music industry format then why should we care? Yet another file format - where's the value in it? There's value in making a competitor to iTMS that cuts out Apple from the profit stream and works with other devices (iPod, iPhone, Zune, Sansa, etc) and other phones. The value there is cutting out the middle man - make songs cheaper, and give more profit to the artists.

Everything else is just simply uninteresting. If the music industry wants my money, it has to offer me something I want. Reinventing the wheel on an ASX or PLS file format is not it. Both of these playlist file formats are just lists of filenames/URLs.

Comment: Test Driven Development, and Business... (Score 1) 582

by Photo_Nut (#28979355) Attached to: Bing Search Tainted By Pro-Microsoft Results

It's unsurprising that Bing would reflect a Microsoft centric view - Microsoft employees wrote it and Microsoft employees were the first to test its algorithms. It probably was seeded on Microsoft sites and MS content probably gets extra positive modifiers, including things like Microsoft's MSDN, Blogs, etc. Google has been working with a lot more shares of the search engine pool and for a longer time, so theoretically, they are able to refine their processes for indexing and searching better. Also, it's 80-90% of Google's business, whereas Microsoft has several other business units making money.

Microsoft going after Ad revenue has more avenues such as XBox 360 and Zune HD and Windows Mobile and Hotmail and MSN also it has partnerships with Yahoo and Facebook. Google has YouTube and GMail and Google Apps and it has the AdSense platform and Blogger and Orkut.

Microsoft does have more resources. Obviously, the results will reflect what Microsoft spends its resources on, and Microsoft has indicated publicly that this is an area it will continue to invest resources on until it wins, and it apparently is winning market share at the moment.

Microsoft information from http://moneycentral.msn.com/companyreport?Symbol=US:MSFT
Employees: 93,000
Last 12M Sales: $58.4B
Income: $14.6B

Google information from http://moneycentral.msn.com/companyreport?Symbol=US:GOOG
Employees: 19,786
Last 12M Sales: $22.3B
Income: $4.6B

Comment: Let me know when... (Score 1) 307

by Photo_Nut (#28872871) Attached to: P2P Network Exposes Obama's Safehouse Location

Let me know when the government bans all forms of communication...

Until then, the problem with secret information is always going to be a matter of trusting the people who you share the secret. Secret service routes and secret emergency locations are secret for a reason, but this kind of breach of security is not due to the technology used to leek it, but rather due to the people who leaked it.

Rather than going after P2P technology, the government should be looking into who leaked this information and making it easier to discover and prove who leaked it, and then put them in front of a firing squad.

And any members of congress looking at technology tools and thinking that the tools did the sharing and not the people using them are themselves tools of an uneducated public. We need a better education system, but we're not going to get one by electing uninformed politicians whose only issue is whether women have a right to emergency procedures if they involve the termination of a pregnancy. Running for the US government is a popularity contest, and once people make it there, the job becomes lining ones pocket through lobbying.

Sure, I may be over dramatizing to make a point... Did you expect anything less on Slashdot? :)

Comment: Re:Once again, Apple shows themselves to be Evil (Score 1) 541

by Photo_Nut (#28859839) Attached to: Apple Kills Google Voice Apps On the iPhone

The only reason I can see for buying an Apple product is that they have excellent marketing. They do a fantastic job of luring in the mindless masses who don't have the wherewithal to actually think through the consequences of their purchases. When I buy something I want to control it.

When I buy something, I want it to *work*, and I want to *use* it.

Microsoft's XBox 360 console for example is a great device, and although I'd like to be able to run arbitrary software on it, unless I can break it, it's only going to run stuff approved by Microsoft. That being said, I think the device is powerful, the games are fun, and the arcade offers lots of choices of HD content. The price is reasonable, and if I want to program the device, there's the XNA Creators club. The Nintendo Wii has some titles that I love. I have both systems. I also have a DS and a GBA and a PSP. Each of them have fun games.

The Apple OS is based on BSD, and it is programmable, and so is the iPhone. You can pay Apple or just jailbreak it. Windows isn't free, and it can be easily compromised without anti-virus/anti-malware software unless you are careful and lucky. Android and the Palm Pre are based on Linux, but I like the iPhone. For a phone based on WebKit, the iPhone's web browser and integration into the UI just feels better to me. And the 65,000 apps in the app store head start that Apple has vs the Pre is a no brainer as a developer.

Apple playing traffic cop is a reality of publishing to the device. However, having an entity limiting the apps that get allowed into the store can act as a "quality bar" - maybe Apple rejects x% of apps on any given submission, but those rejections have the potential to make it so that only "higher quality" apps make it into the store.

I do disagree with the notion of duplication of software that already exists within the device. My iPhone 3G can record video. Cydia unlocked an app called Cycorder which can do that. It's not as high quality as the 3GS, and the app can't edit the video (another app can upload it to youtube). But on the whole, I like being able to record video with my 3G. Even if Apple's future product plans include that feature. I say that someone like Google should have made a patent on searching via voice and then sued Apple or had a contract in writing. I don't know, maybe if Google suddenly removed Maps and Google search access from all iPhones in retaliation, Apple would take a beating from its customers... It's not going to happen, though. If Steve Jobs's iPhone stopped searching the web and stopped getting Google maps, it would be funny.

Comment: Re:free software and open source (Score 1) 634

by Photo_Nut (#28825275) Attached to: Linus Calls Microsoft Hatred "a Disease"

You're confusing choice with freedom. We are primarily free-software supporters. The software the driver is written for is non-free by any FOSS supporter's standards (weather from free or open camp). There is no benefit regarding the user's freedom (as defined by 4 freedoms - use, copy, study, modify+redistribute) in including the above in the kernel.

I call BS. There is benefit to the user for all 4 freedoms. It's source code. It's useful.

Just because the driver works with something which is not free/open does not mean the driver itself is not free/open. By your logic, *all* device drivers in Linux are not free, and don't provide benefit. So you shouldn't buy a proprietary CPU, motherboard, RAM, GPU, etc...

If Linus rejected code that supported proprietary hardware or proprietary software he would be a hypocrite. Linus is a pragmatic person - he values the contributions of code which will add value to Linux. Device drivers that make Linux run better under VMs on Windows are valuable. For example, I recently installed Ubuntu under Virtual PC on my PC. It would be great if that experience were better. I'm selfish. VirtualPC is a free download. My laptop came with Windows. I want to run Ubuntu under a VM with better support. I don't care *who* adds the code. I care that it adds value to my experience.

Comment: Re:a hack (Score 1) 459

by Photo_Nut (#28767215) Attached to: Delete Data On Netbook If Stolen?

What happens when you forget about the hack that you put something highly combustible in your device and try and take said device through the airport TSA checkpoint? I suppose if the answer is that the theif takes said device through TSA checkpoint then it's funny, but what if the theif sells the device to some unsuspecting victim?

Setting up a netbook to be a bomb is not just a bad idea, but it's likely to be illegal in many ways.

A good idea might be to put a keylogger which uploads to a web site into the netbook. Get your theif to give you their passwords and information, then use that information against them.

Comment: Don't let limits cloud your thinking... (Score 1) 281

by Photo_Nut (#28488929) Attached to: New Lithium-Air Battery Delivers 10 Times the Energy Density

Batteries suck. There have been many times when batteries would be "10 times" more better than some previous generation. But they never are. Batteries would only be good if cellular phone could run at least a MONTH on them.

Seriously? A month? How about a solar cell that makes you not have to plug in your cell phone ever, or a motion generator that uses your movement to charge the phone?

Part of the battery life problem isn't the battery - it's the efficiency of the device being powered. If we can reduce the current/power consumption of phones by a factor of 3, and improve the capacity of the battery by a factor of 3 then we have a 9 times better story. That's realistic to expect by 2020.

Devices like the Amazon Kindle have huge power savings compared to laptops because the screen device isn't active. Once we get write ability (like a magnetic pen or maybe capacative touch) added to that kind of device, we will be well on the way to achieving "paper" computers. The prices on these new technologies will drop as they mature and economies of scale kick in. You can bet that the competition in the market place for cheaper and lower powered devices will bear fruit.

Comment: More to it than that. (Score 5, Insightful) 601

by Photo_Nut (#28474591) Attached to: How To Get Out of Developer's Block?

Your motivation to work on something has to come from within. That being said, if you are in a depressed mood (understandable in these times), then you are less likely to be productive. I suggest going out for a run, getting your blood pumping, etc. Sometimes caffeine helps. Music helps. Minimizing distractions helps - web browser, cell phone, etc.

One thing you can do if you want motivation is to reward completing the boring or hard tasks with easier, more fun tasks. Mix up the hard problems you have to solve with minor annoyances. That way, if you can't concentrate on a hard problem, you can at least make some progress. Making progress is the way to get through the doldrums.

Go to bed early, next to a window facing East. Wake up in sunlight.

You might also take the approach that video games do - track the work you do. Reward yourself for making milestones.

Comment: Why am I not surprised... (Score 2, Interesting) 461

by Photo_Nut (#28430381) Attached to: ASCAP Wants To Be Paid When Your Phone Rings

This has got to be the dumbest thing I've heard.

Next, they will sue any device capable of making sounds in public. Phones are just the beginning, how about iPods, car makers, "boom box" (portable stereo system) makers. While I'd love it if the guys blasting their audio in their car would stop the noise pollution when I'm in their vacinity, I don't think suing them for publicly performing a copywritten work will effect change... And I don't think AT&T is to blame here.

Copyright is a temporary monopoly given to content creators on their works so that they can earn money without being ripped off. It is not intended to be used to stranglehold any company making a device which can play a sound to pay an extortion fee to a group representing content creators.

A continuing flow of paper is sufficient to continue the flow of paper. -- Dyer

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