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Data Storage

Windows 7 Hard Drive and SSD Performance Analyzed 248

bigwophh writes "Despite the fact that Windows 7 is based on many of the same core elements as Vista, Microsoft claims it is a different sort of animal and that it should be looked at in a fresh, new light, especially in terms of performance. With that in mind, this article looks at how various types of disks perform under Windows 7, both the traditional platter-based variety and newer solid state disks. Disk performance between Vista and Win7 is compared using a hard drive and an SSD. SSD performance with and without TRIM enabled is tested. Application performance is also tested on a variety of drives. Looking at the performance data, it seems MS has succeeded in improving Windows 7 disk performance, particularly with regard to solid state drives."
Image

Burglar Nabbed By Backup Program 98

Bruce Perens writes "A Berkeley, California, burglar engineered his own arrest, and that of his girlfriend, when he stole a laptop and used it as his personal computer. He didn't realize that the laptop had an automatic backup program, and that the photos he took were being copied to his victim's backup repository. Berkeley police recognized him, and his location, from the photos."
Television

Rabbit Ears To Stage a Comeback Thanks To DTV 265

Jeffrey Breen writes "Like Monty Python's Killer Rabbit, cheap indoor antennas seem harmless to satellite and cable providers. But with the digital TV transition in the US, rabbit ears can suddenly provide digital-perfect pictures, many more channels, and even on-screen program guides. Already feeling pressure as suddenly budget-conscious consumers shed premium channels, providers must now get creative to protect their low-end as well."
Hardware Hacking

Reverse Engineering a Missile Launcher Toy's Interface 118

nitro writes "A fairly in-depth technical report by the security researchers at TippingPoint was released on how to reverse engineer the proprietary protocol for controlling a USB missile-launching toy system. They develop an iPhone application to control the device. 'The hardware is coupled with a simple GUI controller written in Delphi (MissileLauncher.exe) and a USB Human Interface Device (HID) interface written in C++ (USBHID.dll). The toys lost their allure within minutes of harassing my team with a barrage of soft missile shots. That same night I thought I would be able to extend the fun factor by coding up a programmatic interface to the launchers in Python. ... One interesting thing is that we have a lot more granular control of the turret movement now than we did with the original GUI. I wrote two simple loops to count the number of possible horizontal and vertical ticks and the results were 947 horizontal and 91 vertical versus 54 and 10 from the original GUI respectively. Granular control allows you to slowly and quietly reposition the turret for stealthy attacks.'"
Security

Hiding a Rootkit In System Management Mode 119

Sniper223 notes a PC World article on a new kind of rootkit recently developed by researchers, which will be demoed at Black Hat in August. The rootkit runs in System Management Mode, a longtime feature of x86 architecture that allows for code to run in a locked part of memory. It is said to be harder to detect, potentially, than VM-based rootkits. The article notes that the technique is unlikely to lead to widespread expoitation: "Being divorced from the operating system makes the SMM rootkit stealthy, but it also means that hackers have to write this driver code expressly for the system they are attacking."
Bug

The 25-Year-Old BSD Bug 213

sproketboy writes with news that a developer named Marc Balmer has recently fixed a bug in a bit of BSD code which is roughly 25 years old. In addition to the OSnews summary, you can read Balmer's comments and a technical description of the bug. "This code will not work as expected when seeking to the second entry of a block where the first has been deleted: seekdir() calls readdir() which happily skips the first entry (it has inode set to zero), and advance to the second entry. When the user now calls readdir() to read the directory entry to which he just seekdir()ed, he does not get the second entry but the third. Much to my surprise I not only found this problem in all other BSDs or BSD derived systems like Mac OS X, but also in very old BSD versions. I first checked 4.4BSD Lite 2, and Otto confirmed it is also in 4.2BSD. The bug has been around for roughly 25 years or more."
Supercomputing

Purdue Plans a 1-Day Supercomputer "Barnraising" 97

An anonymous reader points out an article which says that "Purdue University says it will only need one day to install the largest supercomputer on a Big Ten campus. The so-called 'electronic barn-raising' will take place May 5 and involved more than 200 employees. The computer will be about the size of a semi trailer. Vice President for Information Technology at Purdue Gerry McCartney says it will be built in a single day to keep science and engineering researchers from facing a lengthy downtime." Another anonymous reader adds "To generate interest on campus, the organizers created a spoof movie trailer called 'Installation Day.'"
Transportation

Strict Order Boarding Would Get Planes in the Sky Faster 880

electrostatic writes "In a Nature.com oldie-but-goodie, a physicist says he has solved a problem that costs airlines millions every year: what is the quickest way to get passengers aboard an aircraft? Boarding is a serious issue for airlines, particularly those operating short flights that run several times a day, yet boarding times have steadily increased for decades. Back in 2005 Jason Steffen of the Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois said the method used by many airlines to this day is almost the worst. 'The best way to board, according to the researchers, would be a row-by-row, seat-by-seat, strict order. That would mean everyone lines up, row 25 first. I can't imagine fliers will go for that. Next best, they say, would be boarding all the window seats first, followed by those in the aisle. Obviously that's not practical, at least for couples or families traveling together.'"
Cellphones

iPhone SDK May Be 1-3 Weeks Late 157

tuxeater123 writes "According to a blog posting at BusinessWeek.com, the iPhone SDK could be pushed back by another 1-3 weeks. Unfortunately, the evidence provided, such as the media announcements that are usually made before most Apple releases, suggests that this may indeed be true. Apple usually sticks to their announced deadlines, however they have been known to break them occasionally."
Announcements

2008 Turing Award Winners Announced 66

The Association for Computing Machinery has announced the 2008 Turing Award Winners. Edmund M. Clarke, Allen Emerson, and Joseph Sifakis received the award for their work on an automated method for finding design errors in computer hardware and software. "Model Checking is a type of "formal verification" that analyzes the logic underlying a design, much as a mathematician uses a proof to determine that a theorem is correct. Far from hit or miss, Model Checking considers every possible state of a hardware or software design and determines if it is consistent with the designer's specifications. Clarke and Emerson originated the idea of Model Checking at Harvard in 1981. They developed a theoretical technique for determining whether an abstract model of a hardware or software design satisfies a formal specification, given as a formula in Temporal Logic, a notation for describing possible sequences of events. Moreover, when the system fails the specification, it could identify a counterexample to show the source of the problem. Numerous model checking systems have been implemented, such as Spin at Bell Labs."

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