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Submission + - IE6 Finally Falls Under 5% Market Share 2

An anonymous reader writes: The latest market share numbers from Net Applications show Internet Explorer was the biggest winner last month. Between August and September, IE gained 0.19 percentage points (from 57.60 percent to 57.79 percent), Firefox slipped 0.22 percentage points (from 18.80 percent to 18.58 percent), and Chrome dipped 0.02 percentage points (from 16.00 percent to 15.98 percent). IE6 slipped a huge 1.22 percentage points to 4.86 percent. This means it has finally fallen below the 5 percent mark, which we weren’t expecting till sometime later this year. Microsoft itself confirms the milestone occurred during September 2013.

Submission + - Everyday Cryptography

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When Bruce Schneier first published Applied Cryptographyin 1994, it was a watershed event, given that is was one of the first comprehensive texts on the topic that existed outside of the military.

In the nearly 20 years since the book came out, a lot has changed in the world of encryption and cryptography. A number of books have been written to fill that gap and Everyday Cryptography: Fundamental Principles and Applicationsis one of them that have recently been published.

While the title Everyday Cryptographymay give the impression that this is an introductory text; that is not the case. Author Keith Martin is the director of the information security group at Royal Holloway, a division of the University of London, and the book is meant for information security professionals in addition to being used as a main reference for a principles of cryptography course. The book is also a great reference for those studying for the CISSP exam.

While the book notes that almost no prior knowledge of mathematics is required since the book deliberately avoids the details of the mathematical techniques underpinning cryptographic mechanisms. That might be a bit of a misnomer as the book does get into the mathematics of cryptography. While the mathematics in the book is not overwhelming, they are certainly not underwhelming. For those that want a deeper look, the book includes an appendix for many of the mathematical concepts detailed in the book.

Two benefits of the book are that it stresses practical aspects of cryptography and real-world scenarios. The mathematics detailed avoids number throaty with a focus on practicability. It also shows how cryptography is used as the underlying technology behind information security, rather than simply focusing on the abstracts of the potential of cryptography.

With that, the books 13 (made up of 4 parts) chapters provide a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice around all as aspects of contemporary cryptography. Each of the chapters end with a summary, detailed lists of items for further reading, and sets of penetration questions that challenge the reader. Readers are advised to spend time on these questions as it is often easy for the reader to feel that they understand the material. The questions can quickly humble the reader and show them that it may not be the case.

Part 1 is titled Setting the Sceneand provides a comprehensive introduction to the fundamental of cryptography. Chapter 1 (freely available here) details the basic principles about cryptography and provides a high-level introduction.

Chapter 2 provides a good overview of the history of cryptography. It details a number of obsolete, yet historically relevant ciphers, such as the Vigenère cipher from the 1500's, to the Playfair cipher from the mid-1800's and others. Martin provides a good overview of the cryptanalysis of the Vigenère cipher and lessons learned from it.

Chapters 4-9 comprise part 2, and provide a thorough overview of the various forms of encryption (symmetric and asymmetric) and digital signatures. This section gets into some of the deeper mathematics of cryptography. While the author states that almost no prior knowledge of mathematics is needed; those without a background will surely be confused by some of the material.

Chapter 7 closes with a good overview of the relationship between digital signatures and handwritten signatures. The author notes the importance of resisting any temptation to consider digital signatures as a direct electronic equivalentof handwritten signatures. He then provides a detailed outline of the environmental, security, practical and flexibility differences between them.

Key management is one of the most important aspects of cryptography and often the most difficult to execute on. Part of the difficulty around key management is at the user level, with key updates, passphrase management and more. Ultimately, effective key management is essential to the underlying security of the cryptosystem. The 2 chapters in part 3 provide a thorough synopsis of the fundamentals of key management.

Part 4 closes the book with two chapters on practical cryptographic applications. Chapter 12 details how cryptography can be used on the internet, secure payment cards, video broadcasting and more.

The book concludes with an appendix on the mathematics of cryptography, which takes a look at the basic mathematical concepts the underlie some of the material in the book.

This book is not for the fainthearted and is not an introductory text on the topic. It is meant for the advanced reader or someone taking a college level course. For such a reader serious about a significant overview of the essentials on the topic, Everyday Cryptography: Fundamental Principles and Applicationsis an excellent reference.

Ben Rothkeis the author of Computer Security: 20 Things Every Employee Should Know."

Submission + - As Gas Prices Soar So Does City Biking

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Jason Dearen writes that as California’s gas prices hit record highs, the millions of dollars spent in recent years on commuter bike lanes and public transportation projects in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other major cities are being seen in a new light by many drivers with San Francisco seeing a 71-percent increase in cyclists in the past five years and Los Angeles reporting a 32 percent increase from 2009-2011. Both findings gibe with the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey, which found a 63 percent increase in bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2010 in the nation's 70 largest cities. "In some ways it's a perfect storm of events that is starting to take place," says Claire Bowin, head of policy planning for Los Angeles' planning department. Getting people out of cars "is a very daunting task, but on other hand we have largely benefited from a growing community here that is demanding these things. We're not just sitting here in our ivory tower saying people should bike." Los Angles is building almost 1,600 miles of bike infrastructure over the next five years (PDF) and Los Angeles County's Metrolink, which features open train cars for bike riders is seeing record ridership. Changing attitudes about cars caused by climate change is helping these efforts as people in their twenties and thirties have adopted biking in larger numbers than previous generations (PDF). "I think all these factors are coming together at this moment in time to create a renaissance in bicycling as a mode of transportation.," according to Susan Handy. "Whether it will be a passing fad or a lasting trend, time will tell, but I'm betting on the latter.""
XBox (Games)

Submission + - Hope for gamers over thirty (

talien79 writes: "For gamers over looking for a like-minded adult community of gamers, there's hope. In this article, the Hartford Examiner participates in a Geezer Gamer podcast and interviews one of its members."
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - A $99 Graphics Card Might Be All You Need ( 1

Vigile writes: With the release of AMD's latest budget graphics card, the Radeon HD 4770, the GPU giant is bringing a lot of technology to the table. The card sports the world's first 40nm GPU (beating out CPUs to a new process technology for the first time), GDDR5 memory and 640 stream processors all for under $100. What is even more interesting is that as PC gaming has evolved it appears that a $99 graphics card is all you really need to play the latest PC titles if you are comfortable with a resolution of 1920x1200 or below. Since so few PC gamers have screens larger than that could the world of high-end PC graphics simply go away?

Journal Journal: Spotlight Upgrades in Leopard 356

Mac OS 10.5 Leopard is set to feature several new enhancements to Spotlight, Apple's desktop search, according to ComputerWorld. These include searching across multiple networked Macs, parental search snooping, server spotlight indexing, boolean search, (sorely needed) better application launching, and quick look previews.

Comment Re:LCD (Score 2, Informative) 356

Wow. Someone is selling a DVD that you can download for free. Check out the plasma/lcd forum at htt:// and download the image for free.

I recently upgraded my 2 year old Panasonic 42" plasma to a Panasonic 50" plasma. Even though I play lots of console games, I've never seen any sign of burn-in or image retention on either one. I followed the advice posted at avsforum, lowering my brightness and contrast (which matched my Video Essentials calibration results anyway) and just used common sense. Not only have the static images not burnt in 'very fast', they haven't burnt in at all.

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