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Submission + - Reverse Engineering for fun and not-profit

An anonymous reader writes: Does anybody know of any todo-lists with protocols/file formats for bored REs with too much free time? Ideally something a bit more accessible and in demand than old DOS business apps or the image format for some medical scanner (been there).
I know the first suggestion always is to 'scratch your own itch', but everything I use is either open source or at least open standards — so no itches. Over the years, I've cracked the encryption and analyzed the netcode of a handful of apps and games/MMOs, wrote viewers for their proprietary file formats, etc. and always greatly enjoyed doing that but that was usually just for me personally and I'd love to see someone actually benefit from this.
Open Source

Submission + - Ever Higher Levels of Abstraction - Building the Future With Chef (

Thinkcloud writes: Chef uses the analogy of cookbooks and recipes to provide a hierarchy of configuration scripts. One of the other fundamentals of Chef is that you should be able to download and deploy one of their field tested recipes without needing to know exactly what it is doing, we just need to know that it gives the intended result.

Comment Maybe it's just me (Score 5, Insightful) 563

but I have a fairly modest PC and I couldn't tell you the last time I said "Man, I wish I could render these 64 JPEGs in 4 seconds instead of this lousy 7." As far as I'm concerned, text and image rendering hasn't noticeably changed in 10+ years. But, I suppose you have to have something to make up for alienating your userbase with an interface designed for a machine it's not running.


Submission + - Passport RFID security

Styopa writes: So I've gotten the shiny new RFID passport issued by the US gov't. The government insists it's secure. Hypothesizing that perhaps the government might not be right in this case, is there any homebuilt method of shielding it? Would carrying it wrapped in a layer of alu-foil do anything except make me look like a paranoid at the airport (not that I mind, but I don't want to do that if it's not really going to improve security significantly)? Would the gauge of foil matter? My understanding is that the passport books already include this in their covers/spine, and examining the edge, it DOES seem that there are front/back cover plates laminated in there, but I don't see anything at the spine. I'd rather not have to go buy a Faraday-case of dubious efficacy from a commercial source. Thanks for any advice /. can offer.

Submission + - Hybrid robot controlled by a moth's living brain.

EvilMachine writes: "Charles M. Higgins, an associate professor at the University of Arizona, has created a robot that is controlled by the living brain and the eyes of a moth.

The robot's motion is guided by a tiny electrode implanted in the moth's brain, Higgins said, specifically to a single neuron that is responsible for keeping the moth's vision steady during flight. The neuron transmits electrical signals which are then amplified in the robot's base and through a mathematical formula, a computer translates the signals into action, making the robot move.
Higgins thinks that in 10 to 15 years, such combinations of will be fairly common.

And maybe some day... in an old book... someone will read about this as genesis 1:27 "So god created the Borg...""

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Your code should be more efficient!