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Comment Windows still important (Score 5, Interesting) 214

While I don't doubt that moving some of their infrastructure to a Linux environment would yield nothing but gains for them, the fact remains that a ton of those guys are wedded to Excel. Many have spent years fine tuning massive VB macros.

I have the same problem at my work. I want to automate and speed up a lot of the reporting my coworkers do by moving the processing over to one of our Linux servers, but Excel is always a problem. Some of our people actually see Excel as a platform in itself. It's become kind of a joke among some of us there. "Excel would make a great Operating System if only it had a decent spreadsheet."
Some of our macros can take upwards of twenty minutes to run.

I suppose they could use OpenOffice-server, and I've considered playing around with it, but it seems like too much unnecessary overhead. Right now I think I'm gonna give JExcelAPI a whirl as soon as I get a break in between projects.

Comment The Video Shows the Holy Grail of Sat Hacking (Score 5, Informative) 160

I spent years hacking satellite television, from the early days, the glory days of the H and HU cards and then left the scene when DTV killed with the P4 card and lawsuits. I've written my own 3Ms and emulators. What Chris has done in this video really is the ultimate holy grail of smart card hacking. The security layer he is referring to, at least on NDS cards, is sort of a sticky layer that when you attempt to pull off the coating to access the bus, it simply rips up many of the thin wires on the chip and you're SOL. This is enough to discourage casual hackers and those without good resources. It also, as he mentions late in the video, eliminates the need for using "glitching", which was accomplished using a specially programmed Atmel chip and some software, to attempt to oscillate the voltage in such a manner that allows you to read/write to the card without having a properly signed packet. Dumping ROMs is exceptionally difficult to do, even with the thoroughly hacked HU cards, and he can just casually do it with his setup. Makes me think he could also dump the ASIC, something even in the heyday of DTV hacking, was never accomplished. This would eliminate the need for an access card at all- once you've dumped the ROMs, got a valid EEPROM, all you need to do is emulate the ASIC and opcodes for the processor (which on the HU card was a Texas Instruments TMS370 chip with a modified instruction set).
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Wi-Fi Piggybacking Widespread (net-security.org)

BaCa writes: Sophos has revealed new research into the use of other people's Wi-Fi networks to piggyback onto the internet without payment. The research shows that 54 percent of computer users have admitted breaking the law, by using someone else's wireless internet access without permission.

Submission + - Adobe to unclutter Photoshop UI (tekwasp.com)

spotplace writes: It's not common to see a company blast their own product for failing to adapt to times and people's necessities, unless they're trying to give you a reason to buy the latest and greatest of said product. That's exactly what Adobe has done. John Nack, senior product manager at Adobe, says the old Photoshop interface doesn't cut it anymore: "I sometimes joke that looking at some parts of the app is like counting the rings in a tree: you can gauge when certain features arrived by the dimensions & style of the dialog. No one wants to work with — or work on — some shambling, bloated monster of a program."

Submission + - Neuro-Reckoning may Reduce MMOG Time Lag

Hugh Pickens writes: "Time lag can cause some very strange behavior in massively multiplayer online games when players' actions onscreen become slow and jerky. New techniques are on the way to reduce the problem of lag time in MMOGs when a player's computer can't keep up with changes in a shared online world. Games like Quake use a technique called dead reckoning and while traditional dead-reckoning systems that assume that a game character will maintain the velocity and direction that it has at the moment an update is sent to all other participating computers; dead reckoning works best for movement and shooting and less well for erratic actions such as interacting with objects or with other players. Read the abstract of new technique called "neuro-reckoning" that may improve the predictive process by installing a neural network in each player's computer to predict fast, jerky actions."

Submission + - SAS CEO Blasts Old-School Schooling

theodp writes: "What does SAS CEO Dr. Jim Goodnight have in common with 47% of high school dropouts? A belief that school is boring. Marking the 50th anniversary of Sputnik with a call for renewed emphasis on science and technology in America's schools, Goodnight finds today's kids ill-served by old-school schooling: 'Today's generation of kids is the most technology savvy group that this country has ever produced. They are born with an iPod in one hand and a cell phone in another. They're text messaging, e-mailing, instant messaging. They're on MySpace, YouTube & Google. They've got Nintendo Wiis, Game Boys, PlayStations. Their world is one of total interactivity. They're in constant communication with each other, but when they go to school, they are told to leave those 'toys' at home. They're not to be used in school. Instead, the system continues teaching as if these kids belong to the last century, by standing in front of a blackboard.'"

Submission + - Why municipal wi-fi networks have been such a flop

Jake writes: Hi,
Jake Melville from Slate.com here. Today, we published a story on the failed effort of municipal Wi-Fi efforts. We thought that you and your readers might enjoy it, given your recent coverage of the wi-fi issue and tech trends.
The story can be found here: http://www.slate.com/id/2174858/
Thanks very much,
Jake Melville

Submission + - FAA gets a big-screen touch screen

Matt writes: "Northrop Grumman best known for missile systems and other military gear for many years has been selling the TouchTable as part of what it calls an "integrated collaboration environment." They delivered their TouchTable to the Federal Aviation Administration last month and will showcase their technologies next week at a defense conference in London. There are two versions of the TouchTable; one with an 84-inch screen (1600x1200 resolution), the other with a 45-inch screen (1920x1080 resolution). Moving a hand across the surface pans the display, two fingers moving apart zooms it out, and two fingers moving together zooms it in. This simple interface allows users to easily change a view from miles above the Earth to a detailed layout of a single city block."

Submission + - USPTO Imposes 'Undue Hardship' on 1-Click Lawyers

theodp writes: "Looks like Amazon's high-priced Silicon Valley attorneys will have to endure the 'undue hardship' of awakening early next Thursday morning to defend CEO Jeff Bezos' 1-Click patent in a Video Hearing before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences. The attorneys' plea for a 1 p.m. ET start time drew a be-there-at-9-or-be-square response from the USPTO. The 1-Click patent has fallen into disfavor lately with USPTO Examiners, who no longer have the same boss who once sent a 1-Click love letter to the WSJ arguing that the merits of Amazon's patent were proven by a contest run by a Jeff Bezos-financed company, an argument that was later rejected by Congress."

Submission + - Google Geek's Famous Photos (nytimes.com)

kiracatgirl writes: Here's a fun story about a relatively unknown Google employee and his hobby — taking photographs of himself with famous visitors to Google's headquarters. His gallery is posted on the walls at Google HQ, but is also available for our viewing pleasure at his online photo album.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Teen hacks $84 million porn filter in 30 minutes

An anonymous reader writes: Tom Wood, a Year 10 Australian student has cracked the federal government's $84-million Internet porn filter in just 30 minutes. He can deactivate the filter in several clicks in such a way that the software's icon is not deleted which will make his parents believe the filter is still working. Tom says it is a matter of time before some computer-savvy kid puts the bypass on the Internet for others to use.

Submission + - Lunar Eclipse Next Tuesday Morning (space.com)

Raver32 writes: "Tuesday morning, Aug. 28 brings us the second total lunar eclipse of 2007. Those living in the Western Hemisphere and eastern Asia will be able to partake in at least some of this sky show. The very best viewing region for viewing this eclipse will fall across the Pacific Rim, including the West Coast of the United States and Canada, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand and eastern Australia. All these places will be able to see the complete eclipse from start to finish. Europeans will miss out on the entire show, as the Moon will be below the horizon during their mid and late morning hours."

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