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Comment Posting doesn't match up with the speed of light (Score 1) 158

The entire circumference of the globe is about 24000 miles, which takes light 128ms (in a vacuum). The article's claim that the current time to send a packet from London to Tokyo is 230ms therefore seems doubtful. In this time, light can go 42840 miles in a vacuum -- or nearly twice around the the entire distance around the world (24091 miles). Light in a fiber is about 35% slower, but this still leaves time for 37177 miles.

Submission + - FPGA Bistream Security Broken (iacr.org)

NumberField writes: Researchers in Germany released a pair of papers documenting severe power analysis vulnerabilities in the bitstream encryption of multiple Xilinx FPGAs. The problem exposes products using FPGAs to cloning, hardware Trojan insertion, and reverse engineering. Unfortunately, there is no easy downloadable fix, as hardware changes are required. These papers are also a reminder that differential power analysis (DPA) remains a potent threat to unprotected hardware devices. On the FPGA front, only Actel seems to be tackling the DPA issue so far, although their FPGAs are much smaller than Xilinx's.

Comment Wide aspect ratios are an even bigger problem (Score 1) 666

Glossy vs. matte is a minor issue compared to the ever-widening aspect ratios. Except for watching movies, the usefulness of a screen is determined by its vertical size. The 4:3 aspect ratio is by far the most useful. 16:10 is dramatically worse. 16:9 is an evil plot to prevent computer users from doing their jobs. Yet, the LCD industry is increasingly cranking out displays that are wider and shorter. The pinnacle of laptop displays was the Thinkpad T60's FlexView (aka IPS) 1600x1200 display. It's all been downhill since then. Interestingly, though, Apple seems to have figured this out. The 4:3 aspect ratio IPS display on the iPad is gorgeous -- and the right aspect ratio. The iPad display is a classic example of what makes Apple successful -- they push component manufacturers to produce what consumers desire, as opposed to assembling the cheapest components into an cheap, inelegant commodity product.

Submission + - Keys leaking through the air at RSA 1

NumberField writes: The RSA Conference is underway in San Francisco. A theme among the opening speakers is that the attackers are winning, and even well-funded organizations like NASDAQ can't secure their networks reliably. The show floor is lively, but dominated by the typical firewalls and "compliance solutions". One interesting exception is a scary side channel analysis demo in the Cryptography Research booth using GNU Radio to capture secret keys from various smartphones from about 10 feet away. (The method is related to early computer music using AM radio interference.)

Submission + - Apple to Keep 30% of Magazine Subscription Revenue 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: The Guardian reports that Apple has launched a new subscription service for magazines, newspapers and music bought through its App Store, expanding the model developed for Rupert Murdoch's iPad newspaper and will keep 30% of the revenue from subscriptions if the subscription is purchased through Apple. "Our philosophy is simple – when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30% share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100% and Apple earns nothing," says Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, who is presently taking a medical leave of absence from the company. "All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same – or better – offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one click right in the app." Apple's control over its App Store payments plan has long been a cause for concern for content companies. Publishers want to have access to subscriber data which can provide lucrative demographics on which to base advertising campaigns and targeted reader offers. Apple says customers purchasing a subscription through its App Store will be given the option of providing the publisher with their names, email addresses and zip codes. The use of such information will be governed by the publisher's privacy policy rather than Apple's.

Comment Will high school grades determine kids' destinies? (Score 4, Interesting) 256

College want their admissions process to become a proxy for due diligence in hiring. ("Sally went to XYZ college, so she's more likely to be a valuable employee than Bob who went to a less selective school.") While this makes sense a little bit, it's also scary. For example, does this mean that what kids do in high school will increasingly set their destinies for life? Are XYZ graduates actually better employees, or is it just marketing?

Comment Assumes a CALL to the NULL ptr (not any reference) (Score 3, Interesting) 139

I was intrigued by the ./ posting, which claimed that the tutorial would show how to exploit any NULL pointer dereference. The actual article, however, requires a CALL to the NULL pointer. While some NULL pointer bugs are function pointers, many are not. Kernel code that merely reads or writes data to a NULL pointer will not be exploitable as shown.

Submission + - Notebook screens keep getting wider and shorter

NumberField writes: A few years ago, all major notebook makers switched from 4:3 displays to 16:10 displays. Now, they are transitioning to 16:9 aspect ratios. The reason: consumers buy laptops based on the diagonal width of the display, and displays with wider aspect ratios cost less because their area is smaller. For example, a 4:3 display has 12% more screen area and 22% more vertical size than a 16:9 display of the same diagonal size. Users who do word processing, web browsing, or code development, and other vertical applications are frustrated. If the trend continues, soon we'll be viewing the electronic world through a very wide, but vertically tiny, slit.

Submission + - 1000 HD-DVD Indies: Free HD disc burning to DVD+R (createspace.com)

NumberField writes: In an effort to revive the HD-DVD format, Microsoft and Amazon/CreateSpace are offering to make up to 1000 HD-DVD movies for free. The service burns video to legacy DVD+R media, so duration is limited to ~60 minutes. The high definition discs will play on most HD-DVD players (though obviously not DVD/Blu-ray players). Is this a token effort to gloss over HD-DVD's lack of mainstream titles and poor showing in the format war against Blu-ray? Or will the free offer resuscitate HD-DVD through the power of independent producers?

Submission + - Microsoft wants both HD-DVD and Blu-ray to go away

An anonymous reader writes: At the Digital Hollywood conference, Richard Doherty of Microsoft stated that Redmond wants both HD DVD and Blu-ray to go away, saying "I don't know that [HD] will be delivered on an optical disc in five to 10 years. At Microsoft, we'd rather it wasn't [on a disc]." Does this mean that Microsoft's backing of the underdog HD DVD format is intended to delay HD DVD and Blu-ray from gaining traction to create a market for Windows Media Player/DRM? Microsoft's leading role in AACS also didn't help either format — the highly-publicized security collapse of AACS has been a massive embarassment for both HD DVD and Blu-ray.

Submission + - Tough new optical disc coatings

An anonymous reader writes: As everyone who uses Netflix knows, scratches on DVD are frustrating and create significant customer support costs. Blu-ray is the first major disc format to address the problem. The chemistry [1] [2] [3] behind these coatings a radical-curing urethane(meth)acrylate and a curing monomer, and is applied unformly over the disc. The results are impressive — this video shows a Blu-ray disc surviving steel wool and a pizza cutter, which would have destroyed traditionally-coated formats (e.g., CDs, DVD, or HD-DVD). Fewer scratched discs also means less waste.

Submission + - Mooninite "Bombs" Setoff Copyright Battle

buckminster writes: "If you had any doubt about America's national priorities, consider this: Yesterday's bomb scare has become today's copyright violation. Those Aqua Teen Hunger Force signs that brought Boston to a halt earlier this week are now setting off copyright alarms on eBay. It's strange because the signs being auctioned are apparently authentic. Which means they aren't copies, and as a result are not in violation of copyright. Could it be that someone just wants these signs to go away so they won't suffer any more embarrassment? Medialoper has the details in How To Copyright An Atomic Bomb."

Adult Brains Grow From Specialist Use 260

Xemu writes "Researchers at University College of London's Institute of Neurology have discovered that taxi drivers grow more brain cells in the area associated with memory. Dr Eleanor Maguire says, 'We believe the brain increased in gray matter volume because of the huge amount of data memorized.' She warns against the use of GPS and says it will possibly affect the brain changes seen in this study. This research is the first to show that the brains of adults can grow in response to specialist use." London cabbies, unlike their American counterparts, have to learn the layout of streets and the locations of thousands of places of interest in order to get a license.

Submission + - Microsoft's Laws of Physics

An anonymous reader writes: It's fun to revisit Microsoft's past hype. First, read Jim Allchin's 2001 interview ("Windows XP is dramatically more secure... We have gone through all code and, in an automated way, found places where there could be buffer overflow, and those have been removed"). Next, browse the buffer overrun bugs in XP. Finally, read Allchin's lastest on Vista security. Another funny example: read how Microsoft's Amir Majidimehr used to boost HD-DVD and claim that 50GB Blu-ray discs violate the laws of physics, then observe that these impossible 50GB Blu-ray discs started shipping last October and lots are for sale now. Anyone have more fun Microsoft before/after examples?

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