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Comment Re:GPGPU (Score 1) 38

The plans Intel had for Larabee seemed like a good idea. Take an old Pentium core, add a bunch of fast special-purpose instructions specifically designed for doing the sorts of operations that 3D graphics require, stick a bunch of these cores on a single chip and add a few special blocks for certain operations (as well as stuff to actually display stuff on the screen)

It sounded like an interesting idea (and would have been a LOT more open than anything from AMD or NVIDIA) but Intel decided to cancel the project because they didn't think they could match AMD or NVIDIA on price.

Comment Stop using Flash for ads (Score 1) 237

If the ad networks stopped using Flash for ads and switched to only using HTML5, the amount of nasty stuff would drop dramatically. Are there exploits in browsers where a dodgy non-Flash ad could get in? Sure there are. But its much harder for malware to exploit those holes, especially if you keep your browser up-to-date (and aren't doing something stupid like connecting a browser that is no longer receiving security updates to the open internet)

At the very least, a non-Flash malware ad would need a bunch of different exploits for various different browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer at the very least) and different versions of those browsers (an explot that works on IE6 on Windows XP isn't going to work on IE11 on Windows 10 for example). Also, non-Flash ads will (by virtue of their HTML/JS source being visible) be easier for ad networks to vet and examine for dodgy stuff.

Comment This can only be good for security (Score 1) 221

I would be willing to bet that by far the vast majority of cases where advertizing networks are spewing out malware (either because they have been hacked or because they didn't properly review an ad that contained malware) are using exploits in Flash to get their malware installed on victims PCs. If more ad networks (especially the really big players like Yahoo, Google/DoubleClick, Microsoft etc) drop Flash and stop serving Flash ads, it will be much harder for malware authors to use dodgy Flash files as a vector for their attacks.

Yes browsers can have security holes in their HTML5 implementations but to exploit that a malware author would need to sniff the OS and browser versions and feed the correct malware to the user depending on which exploits they are potentially vulnerable (which is both harder for malware authors to do and easier for ad networks to detect)

Comment Re:Demand segmentation 101 (Score 1) 378

That doesn't happen here in Australia.
When I booked a return flight recently, I was shown all the possible flight choices for my outbound leg (and their costs) and all the possible flight choices for my return leg (and their costs). What flight I picked for my outbound leg had no effect on the costs offered for the return leg and vice versa.

Comment Computer lab in high scool (Score 1) 136

My first real experience of Linux was seeing other people installing Linux on a machine in the computer lab at school. (probably around Windows 3.x time frame and I think possibly some version of RedHat). I didn't actually get to use it though (I did spend a lot of time in those labs and got busted trying to pirate Visual Basic off the Windows machines :)

I also had experience with it at University with various courses that involved Linux in some way.

As for personal use, my first use of Linux was installing some version of Mandriva (exactly what hardware I ran it on I don't have a clue). After that I installed Gentoo on an old Pentium 4 box that a family member no longer needed (ironically it was a computer that used to be mine before I sold it to said family member as an upgrade to whatever they had at the time).

I used that Gentoo box for some brief development work for a Motorola Z6 linux phone (including kernel compilation). At some point something went bad in the system and I didn't do anything with it for a while.

Then after I took it to a repair shop who cleaned out all the dust and gunk, redid the thermal goop on the CPU and replaced the busted video card with a working card my system started working again and I used that system to do a lot of software work for my Nokia N900 linux phone (software work that has made a number of other N900 enthusiasts very happy).

That system lasted all the way until just before xmas 2013 when I moved to the other side of Australia and decided the old clunker of a PC wasn't worth moving (especially since I only had a really old really heavy CRT monitor that I was using with it).

Since then my use of Linux has been confined to my Nokia N900, a VMWare VM I set up for N900 development (which I haven't used since I bought an SSD and re-installed Windows) and various interactions of various sorts with computers I dont own out there in the cloud :)

Would love to get back into Gentoo again though but I dont have any hardware I can run it on (maybe if I ever get enough money I can upgrade this Core 2 Duo to a nice Core i7 or something and use the Core 2 Duo as a Gentoo box :)

Comment Re:It's patch-able in principle (Score 2) 87

The way this works is that when you start one of the cars with this security hardware in it a chip in your car key talks to a chip inside the cars computer using secrets stored in both chips. If the secrets match, the car will start.

What the researchers figured out was a way to start the car without having the correct key.

Even if they had chips that were 100% compatible in hardware and software but with a new more secure algorithm, the cost to replace all of the chips in every car and every key (and to program the cars and keys with the correct secrets so that the right keys will open the right cars) would be astronomical.

Comment Re:Memo to authors - put pre-prints in escrow abro (Score 1) 87

The issue here is that this isn't like a piece of computer software where you can disclose the vulnerability to the vendor, give them a few months to push a patch and then go public.

The only way for Volkswagen and the many other car makers using this Megamos cryptography chip can fix their cars to not be vulnerable would be to replace both the computer system responsible for the immobilizer AND the keys/remotes/etc that talk to it. That would be a VERY expensive exercise.

And what about cars that are old enough where its just not possible to redesign the computer module and run a new production run (e.g. the computer module may rely on other components that you cant get anymore)

Or trying to find every single example of a car (whether made by Volkswagen or otherwise) that contains one of these vulnerable security chips so that it can have its system replaced?

Comment Re:IBM started this trend (Score 1) 40

Edison used his patents on motion picture cameras to control the film industry though litigation. In fact, his lawsuits forced many many film producers who didn't like Edison (or couldn't get a patent license from Edison) to move away to places like California (where it was harder for Edison to sue them and where the judges were less friendly to patent holders)

So yes he WAS very litigious. But no, he wasn't really a patent troll in that he actually produced many of the things he invented and patented.

"Sometimes insanity is the only alternative" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.