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Slashback: Embed, Dougal, FireWire 254

Slashback this evening brings you a few corrections, updates, amplifications and reversals -- read on for more on the Xbox key cracking project, the new version of FireWire, and more.

Reality is just an illustrator's concept. In regards to the speculative piece about what animals will look like in the future, Ken Colangelo writes: "The author of After Man was Dougal Dixon, not Dougal Adams. He's got a pretty long track record as an amazing bio-illustrator.

He had, at one point, spoken of a book he was working on called "Man After Man" I believe. This would discuss what man would evolve into. In any case, I am probably his biggest (only?) fan and would appreciate it if you'd tell slashdot to correct his name ... This guy clearly needs to be working in speculative evolution again, now that computer graphics have caught up to his abilities. Animal Planet just doesn't seem to be that great at it."

A bit more on that secret FireWire, since it's no longer secret. cwill1004 writes "As was speculated yesterday, it turns out that Apple is indeed including a new higher-speed FireWire on its new laptops. Dubbed IEEE1394b, it appears to be primarily for external storage devices. One article on the Storage Supersite says that LaCie, Maxtor, SmartDisk, and Indigita have already hopped on board. The best part: IEEE1394b is backwards compatible, and available on both Mac and PC."

Perl undoes simplicity itself. ljb writes " I've re-written Tom Murphy's 'embed' bit-flipping program in Perl. At 76 characters (shorter than a standard 80-character width terminal line), I believe this qualifies as a Perl "one-liner". Heck, you could even fit this on an old IBM punchcard (ignoring character set limitations). Here's the Perl script --
$/=\4;map{?OS/2?|$f&&$f++==2?$c-=2+vec($_,0,32)/4: ++$c||s/../\0\0/s;print}<>"

So get distributed crackin' ... scubacuda writes "On. Off. Now it's on again? According to PC World (et al), The Neo Project again tackles the challenge of cracking Microsoft's encryption key."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Embed, Dougal, FireWire

Comments Filter:
  • by RebelTycoon ( 584591 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:07PM (#5051408) Homepage
    ljb and his Perl code from hell...

    Here's the Perl script --
    $/=\4;map{?OS/2?|$f&&$f++==2?$c-=2+vec($_,0,32 )/4: ++$c||s/../\0\0/s;print}"


    we can all sleep better knowing that bits can flip in 76 characters... I hope this was a school assignment!

    I guess some people find pleasure in this.. Personally I prefer women.
  • "Compatible" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gorimek ( 61128 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:11PM (#5051419) Homepage
    The new Firewire is signal compatible, but it has a new plug. So you need adapters to plug old cables into the new PowerBooks.

    Haven't heard of why they did this, but I guess they had a reason. Hopefully a good one.
    • Re:"Compatible" (Score:5, Informative)

      by mbessey ( 304651 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:20PM (#5051476) Homepage Journal
      Just so you know:
      There is one "classic" Firewire port and one Firewire 800 port on the 17" Powerbook. So no need for an adapter.

      I remember hearing somewhere that the Powerbook comes with an adapter so you can plug old Firewire cables into the Firewire 800 port, but I couldn't find any confirmation of that on the Apple site.

      -Mark
    • Re:"Compatible" (Score:4, Informative)

      by isolenz ( 466129 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:22PM (#5051490)
      The new Firewire is signal compatible, but it has a new plug. So you need adapters to plug old cables into the new PowerBooks.

      Actually, the new powerbooks (as awesome as they are) come complete with an 1394 AND 1394b connections. So users won't need adapters, they'll just have two ports for their firewire peripherals. If the user takes up all the bandwidth on the 400mb/s port, he can then get an adapter for the 800mb/s and keep on adding new devices.

      Apple will think of any problem like this before release, and then fix it.

      -isolenz
    • Very compatible (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Shishio ( 540577 )
      The new Powerbooks that have the new Firewire (Firewire800, if you will) also have a standard Firewire port. Both original and Firewire800 devices can be plugged in at once, but as you posted, there is also an adapter to convert the newer port to original Firewire.

      Surprisingly, I haven't seen much said about the possibility of much faster Firewire RAIDs. Using the adapter to have the Firewire800 port act as a second Firewire bus would get some great speeds.
      BareFeats [barefeats.com] does a lot of work testing Firewire RAID setups. There should be some tests there once the new Powerbooks are more readily available.
    • Re:"Compatible" (Score:5, Informative)

      by 90XDoubleSide ( 522791 ) <ninetyxdoubleside AT hailmail DOT net> on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:30PM (#5051534)
      Firewire 800 uses 9 pins instead of 6, and it uses optical cable to get longer range (100 meters on FW800 vs. 4.5 on FW400 and 5 on USB2). See the Apple FireWire page [apple.com].
    • Re:"Compatible" (Score:4, Informative)

      by emoon ( 30871 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @09:54PM (#5052248) Homepage
      From Macintouch discussion on the new PowerBooks [macintouch.com]
      As the name implies, it is an 800Mbps implementation of the IEEE-1394b standard. It utilizes a new connector, dubbed bilingual, and developed specifically to support the new interface. As before, there are connections for signals as well as power. There is still no guaranteed power spec for supplied bus power. With an appropriate adaptor, FireWire 800 bilingual connections can be used with legacy 6-pin or 4-pin connections, now dubbed FireWire 400.

      FireWire 800 peripherals should be compatible with existing, slower devices provided the right adaptor cable is used. LaCie FireWire 800 products (see separate announcement) include 2 cables - a "FireWire 800 to FireWire 800" and a "FireWire 800 to FireWire 400 (6-pin)". The FireWire 800 connector is called bilingual, as it signifies the interface is compatible with legacy as well as new, faster interfaces.

      IEEE-1394b also specifies a "beta" connector option. This is for FireWire interfaces that cannot be used at the lower, legacy and compatible speeds. Detailed information is available at the Molex website.

      So the new plug is a feature enhancement, not a brazen way to force people to buy new cables...whenever someone ships FireWire 800 only products
  • bitflipping (Score:3, Funny)

    by banks ( 205655 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:15PM (#5051448) Homepage
    Perhaps ljb is running his bit-flipping script on The Neo Project....

    On, Off, On, Off.....
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:18PM (#5051462)
    Cheating is the bane of online gaming.

    I find closed systems distasteful, too, but wouldn't it help out a lot with cheating?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      No. Even if the source is closed, someone will generally find a way to intercept the protocol (like the quake aimbot proxy cheats).... Stuff like that... Open source just lets everyone look over and fix vulnerabilities.
    • by Derek ( 1525 )
      I find closed systems distasteful, too, but wouldn't it help out a lot with cheating?
      Sure, the same way that the new homeland security act will help prevent terrorism...

      -Derek

  • Man after Man (Score:5, Informative)

    by potaz ( 211754 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:19PM (#5051470) Homepage
    He did finish the book "Man after Man". The basic idea was that we genetically engineer about 3 or 4 different races (plain dwellers, undersea people, etc.) and then end up dying off when the magnetic poles reverse. The rest of the book shows how these races evolve over the next thousands of years. Pretty neat stuff, lots of pictures and thought put into it.
  • by Dougthebug ( 625695 ) <dgray.ucsc@edu> on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:21PM (#5051481) Homepage
    While I think most distributed computing projects are pretty cool, this xBox thing seems like a waste of time.

    Microsoft will have gone open source by the time they break that key...
  • Firewire 800 uses a different port/connector. Yes, you can connect(legacy) Firewire 400, but you will need an adapter at the port.
  • Man after Man (Score:2, Informative)

    by SWestrup ( 28661 )
    I have both "After Man" and "Man after Man" by Dougal Dixon. The first is, IMHO, a much better read than the second.

    My main problem with the second is that it assumes that man will have a brief fling with genetic engineering, creating a few new subspecies, and then die out due to genetic flaws. After that, other than a bit of 'Animal Husbandry' by one subspecies on another, no directed evolution takes place. Frankly, I found this so unlikely a scenario that I was completely unable to suspend belief and enjoy the book for the speculation that it was.

    The First book was MUCH better. It simply assumes that man wipes himself out by some (unspecified) means, as well as taking every endagered species with him. The book then tries to imagine how evolution might fill all of the resultant vacant ecological niches. Many of the animals are interesting and even when implausible, are fascinating to wonder about.
    • I have read both books and sgree with you. I think my favorite "After Man" animal was the land-bat (I don't know the name, it's been years since I read the book) who's wings had evolved into legs, thus having the beast walk on its hands. While unlikely, it was interesting.
      • It was the Night Stalker, Manambulus perhorridus. Dixon proposed that bats had colonised a newly formed island (Batavia), and their descendents later filled many niches. ('The streamlined aquatic surbat is descended fom a conventional flying bat ancestor. Its flippers, formed from what once were wings have become stubby and muscular')

        Dixon also wrote The New Dinosaurs about the continued evoluton of the dinosaurs (at the expense of the mammals).
  • 0=1

    I am a COMPUTER GOD!

  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:39PM (#5051575) Journal
    Firewire would be nice if more devices supported it. Unfortunately, Firewire is looking like SCSI, and USB is looking like IDE/ATA.

    Sure, no one who knows what they are talking about would argue that USB is better, but they will say that USB comes with more computers, and is cheaper for device manufacturers because of it's compatibility modes. eg. You won't see a firewire mouse with a $1 tranciever that allows it to plug right into PS/2--or a Firewire to Parallel & Serial adapter.

    I really think Firewire missed the boat on making it easy and cheap for device manufactuers to add Firewire support to their devices... USB obviously didn't.

    Firewire's main advantage is it's speed (which still doesn't come close to Ethernet--which further narrows Firewire's market) over USB, but I suspect, if they don't do a better job enticing device makers, Firewire could just as well disappear in favor of USB everywhere.
    • by tbmaddux ( 145207 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @08:02PM (#5051699) Homepage Journal
      You won't see a firewire mouse...
      Well, good! What mouse needs to transmit data on the order of gigabits per second (IEEE 1394b specs with speeds of 0.8, 1.6, 3.2 Gbps which BTW also refutes your claim that its speed doesn't come close to Ethernet)?

      Apple has it right. Use USB for low-power low-bandwidth serial devices like mice, most printers and scanners, and heck even Zip drives, and use FireWire for the high-bandwidth peripherals. The connectors are small enough that our laptops can handle multiples of each. So bring 'em all!

      FYI, an old but still accurate response to the announcement of USB 2.0 [mackido.com] from David Every.

      • What mouse needs to transmit data on the order of gigabits per second (IEEE 1394b specs with speeds of 0.8, 1.6, 3.2 Gbps which BTW also refutes your claim that its speed doesn't come close to Ethernet)?

        I was using a mouse as an example... You could say the same for Printers, Scanners, Hard Drives, etc. USB has made it easy for device makers, Firewire has not.

        As for speed, ethernet is faster, even if not the $2 card in your desktop PC. I'd be willing to bet that ethernet is faster that FW even if you only compare performance verses the price. In addition, ethernet can support FAR more devices, goes over longer distance without amplification than FW can, and ethernet essentially go infinitely when it is repeated (eg. hubs, switches, and a few routers).

        And I could care less about what anyone thinks about USB2... My point wasn't that USB was better or worse than FW, just that USB has done a much better job of getting device manufactuers onboard.
    • by unicorn ( 8060 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @08:19PM (#5051798)
      I was in Best Buy, or The Good Guys the other day, and happened to see a display of stereo equipment. The manufacturer was pitching the product line as using Firewire to interconnect all the devices. Personally I think this is a great design. Suddenly each device has a power cord, and a single data cable. And then the reciever has a "hub" built in. FAR less spaghetti behind the system, FAR less opportunities for noise to leak into the wiring, etc.
      • The other cool part of A/V connection using Firewire is when they add HAVi [havi.org] on top of it. This basiaclly allows units to identify each other over the FW connection. Then, a HAVi enabled TV can actually control a HAVi enabled device (receiver, Digital VHS deck, etc.)
      • I was in Best Buy, or The Good Guys the other day, and happened to see a display of stereo equipment. The manufacturer was pitching the product line as using Firewire to interconnect all the devices. Personally I think this is a great design. Suddenly each device has a power cord, and a single data cable. And then the reciever has a "hub" built in. FAR less spaghetti behind the system, FAR less opportunities for noise to leak into the wiring, etc.

        The manufacturer is mitsubishi, they call it Net Command [mitsubishi-tv.com] and they have all their pro. equipment firewire enabled. When you connect any device, it appears in a device manager-like screen where you can choose to send video and/or sound to any connected device that can output video and/or sound. Very cool, and WAAAAY better than RCA, coax, S-Video, or Component.

    • Hym... Did Intel get an Emmy for USB 2.0??
      Can you diasy chain 63 devices over USB 2.0??
      Can you shoot uncommpressed video over USB 2.0??

      • Hym... Did I say USB 2.0 was technically better than Firewire?
        Can you read something without reading your own agenda into it?
        Do you see Firewire ports on printers, scanners, digital (still) cameras?
    • USB was designed to reduce cable clutter for the myriad of low speed devices that live near a computer. In this role one of the main concerns was reducing the cost of the peripherals. Firewire was never designed to fill this niche and isn't particularily good at it. Theres no real need to connect your mouse to your keyboard and have them talk to each other independant of a host but a firewire implementation must be able to do this (I believe). USB is much better for cheap and low speed than firewire will ever be.

      But USB isn't good at high end. USB 2 has a higher theoretical bandwidth than firewire 400 but currently no host controller has gotten close to the theory. USB device can't talk to each other without a host controller. USB cable lengths are really short when compared with firewire. USB can't supply as much power to devices as firewire.

      There's no reason why firewire and USB can't coexist and there are enough people interested in each standard to see them survive. Firewire while more expensive is not so expensive (for relatively little gain, like SCSI) as to be for people who are spending other peoples money. And firewire is starting to come as standard on higher end motherboards and multimedia cards (as well as standard on Macs) so it's getting better market penetration now.

      And remember, Intel invented USB but it was headed for the dust bin of history until Apple adopted it.

      • I'll ignore all the rest of your off-topic post, but this:

        There's no reason why firewire and USB can't coexist and there are enough people interested in each standard to see them survive.

        There's no reason why SCSI and IDE and there are enough people interested in each standard to see them survive.

        That said, try taking your SCSI CD-burner and plugging it into someone else's computer. This is MUCH MORE of a problem when dealing with USB/Firewire as they are external devices, and designed to be taken everywhere.

        Firewire has it's niche where it will likely be for a few years no matter what happens, but if it doesn't expand it's market, it could very well be killed off, or pushed into an even smaller niche as USB takes over.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:41PM (#5051584)
    Seriously, rsa-2048 is like giving a million monkeys a million type writers, its not going to work.

    Encryption is powerful for a reason, people DON'T want their files being crax0red. rc5-72 projects gonna take 3000 YEARS to crack.

    The "standard", 128-bit is 2^64 times stronger than 64 bit. it is FUTILE to even TRY and crack it. Once somethings encrypted with it, the ONLY way to crack it is to comprimise the key.

    RSA-2048 on the other hand, requires factorisation of huge numbers that are not computable with todays computers, unless you have a couple of trillion orders of magnatude of the current age of the universe to spare.

    IT'S Microsoft's box, It's what THEY are in control with, IT'S THEIR Black box! Microsoft Isnt gonna let any old idiot write crap for its machine, If you wanna put linux on a console, get a Playstation 2 and the OFFICAL KIT!
  • "man after man" (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hubert_Shrump ( 256081 ) <cobranet.gmail@com> on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:48PM (#5051622) Journal
    He did finish it.

    My copy says (C) 1990

    It's not just creepy anymore.

  • prime multiples: Calc and store every prime number and then in turn divide them into the key to see which ones crack it.

    I realise that the overhead is mainly in calculating the primes but you would only need to do that once. And the savings would be in the more times you use it to crack keys. How many primes are there that can produce a 2048 bit kit after all?

    Oh yeah, Im no mathematician.

  • by MichaelCrawford ( 610140 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @08:04PM (#5051708) Homepage Journal
    Here are articles about WiebeTech's [wiebetech.com] announcement of 1394b support:

    WiebeTech also now supports ATA-6 (large IDE drives) in its FireWire bridge product line.

    (WiebeTech is my consulting client. I did the firmware and user interface for FireWire Encrypt).

  • by Chymaera ( 607989 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @08:12PM (#5051760)
    Tom7's haiku still takes the cake with regards to brevity:

    The OS/2 chunk
    has a bit for embedding.
    Set it to zero.

    52, by my count, counting spaces--beat that!

  • by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @08:32PM (#5051858) Homepage

    His one-liner doesn't seem to update the checksum? There is a checksum someplace in there.

    How do I know this interesting fact? Because last year I tried writing my own one-liner, but couldn't squeeze it down to one line because of the checksum.

    Here's what I came up with at the time, which according to diff produces identical output to the C code:

    $/=$_;s''$_=<>;?OS/2?g;$n=pos>>2;$f=-n+1,32);-f/2+ 4,16)=0;(-n
    ,32))=unpack"x$f%32C".-n+2,32),$_;pri nt';s'-'vec($_,$'g;eval

    121 bytes if you take out the newlines. And any slashdot-inserted spaces.

    No, I have no idea how it works any more. The code is placed in $_, the '-' is not as it seems, eval() runs the code in $_, and that's all I can tell you. Welcome to Perl!

    • If you examine Tom Murphy's program, you'll see that he neglects to update the file checksum and actually miscalculates the OS/2 table checksum. When I asked him how it was that his program still worked, he indicated that most applications seem to simply ignore the checksum values.

      Well, heck, I was looking at it and if I take out the checksum that makes it a scant 64 bytes:

      $/=$_;$_=<>;?OS/2?g;(vec$_,(vec$_,(pos>>2)+1,32)/2 +4,16)=0;print

      And since the eval trick is gone, it's a little less obfuscated. I'm sure a bona-fide perl guru could shrink it by a few more bytes.

      I know nothing about TrueType so who knows if that always works.

    • I've been told that the checksum isn't actually checked by windows -- apparently, my program updates it incorrectly (using an 8-bit sum instead of a 32-bit one) and doesn't update some other global header checksum. I haven't fixed the program in case I ever end up going to court over it (where it might matter that I haven't touched the page in 6 years), and because it works anyway...
  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @09:20PM (#5052091) Homepage Journal
    This is a windows only issue, but why is it that the DV manufacturers decided in their infinite wisdom to make it so you could only capture in one format (DV)?

    I used to love using my analog BT878 card to do software mpeg compression while I captured. It saved me a ton of disk space and let me capture many different things.

    The recomended disk space for 2 hours of DV is 30 gigs. Since I had no other option I just went out and bought an 80 gig drive.

    So I guess my question to the 1394b creators is, will I be able to software compress a DV stream as I capture it? Or will I have to use oodles of disk space like I do now.
    • DV is already compressed. Each frame is compressed individually for a constant data rate of 25 megabits per seconds.

      Some video editing programs (like Final Cut) allow you to edit the video while it is still on the DV tape, then render it to a Quicktime movie directly. You do not need an intermediate copy on the hard disk.
    • The general idea is that you only use lossy interframe compression once, when you're all done editing and are producing final output. Otherwise, you get artifacts from multiple compression/decompression passes.
    • Misunderstanding on your part when you use the word 'capture'.

      "This is a windows only issues, but why is it that the DV manufacturers decided in their infinite wisdom to make it so you could only record in one format (DV)?"

      DV is the format the recording is stored on the tape. There *is* no 'capture' method when you transfer to the PC. Now, what you want is a program that converts from the DV stream into your codec of choice *before* it is stored onto the drive.
    • DV manufacturers decided in their infinite wisdom to make it so you could only capture in one format (DV)?

      Um, what would you expect a DV manufacturer to make?

      will I be able to software compress a DV stream as I capture it?

      A DV stream is already digital, you don't need to "capture" it. And it's already compressed (it's similar to MJPEG). And there are actually two DV formats (well, more than that if you count NTSC vs PAL), 25 Mb/sec (the usual) and higher quality 50 Mb/sec used in high end professional gear.

      Oh, and not all Firewire video is DV. There are some applications (notably machine vision) where you don't want any compression artifacts, so you run an uncompressed data stream over the wire. Requires specialized gear.

      my question to the 1394b creators

      All of which has nothing to do with 1394b. DV over 1394a only uses 100 Mb/sec of bandwidth, and a lot of that is empty packets (the main constraint is the timing, if you're sending real-time video you use an isochronous channel on the firewire). 1394b probably (I haven't looked at that part of the spec) means you can run more isochronous channels at the same time, for simultaneous real-time video streams, but I don't know for sure. Either way the DV format doesn't change.

  • Rather than going to his dinosaur-centric homepage, you're much better off learning about Dougal Dixon's works on Amazon [amazon.com]. This reveals a book called The Future is Wild which uses computer graphics in a project much like After Man (and note that the co-author's last name is "Adams", perhaps fueling the original mistake). As well, we find that Man After Man was not only completed in 1990, it is now out-of-print. Plus you can pick up the companion book to the show The Wild World of the Future. And if you dig deep enough (hit #43), The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution. Amazing this Internet thing, isn't it?

    Anyway, now that I'm done karma-whoring, allow me to discuss After Man:

    I first discovered this book at my local library as a child, and it has since been taken out multiple times by each of my younger siblings. This is perhaps one of the great coffee-table books ever: even a single page is interesting, it is captivating no matter what your age or gender, and it's even educational! I can't think of a better textbook for introducing evolution to younger children. And it's even drawn and annotated in the style of Victorian zoologists. Perhaps my only complaint is all the boring birds: IIRC, only one of the flighted birds is physically unusual (it has feathers that extend its beak profile for catching insects).

  • What new features are there that really make me go "wow!"

    1) Promised speed. The current 800 isn't so great a leap, but the specs to 3200 are, shall we say, DAMN FAST.

    2) Link length. 100 m? That's more than anyone needs for, well, anything. Still, the old limits were a bit small for some things, like my old workplace's FireWire network for swapping big A/V projects. We needed two or three repeaters for one run, and that was rather annoying.

    3) Loops are now allowed. Before, a logical loop was a bog no-no. Now, Apple says you can have redundant connections for added reliability. COOL, I say. It's a rather unique topology, and these are all features USB can't come close to.
    • "2) Link length. 100 m? That's more than anyone needs for, well, anything."

      My bet is that FW2 has great benifits with Firewire over IP [slashdot.org]. Yes, there are really nifty benifits with hardware connections such as hard drives and such, but with 800 speeds that reach 100m can make your LAN really smoke!

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