Sunday, December 30, 2012

China requires Internet users to register their names

China's government tightened Internet controls with the approval of a law that requires users to register their names after a flood of online complaints about official abuses rattled Communist Party leaders.

Chinese authorities pretend the law will strengthen protections for personal information. But it is more likely to curtail the Internet's status as a forum to complain about the government or publicize corruption.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The entertainment industry's release strategy creates piracy

From The Guardian:

If you want people to buy media, you have to offer it for sale. If it's not for sale, they won't buy it, but many of them will still want to watch or hear or play it, and will turn to the darknet to get – for free – the media that no one will sell to them.

This isn't a surprising research finding. Everyone who's ever run a business or worked in any kind of sales job knows that rule one is to make a product that people want and then offer it at a price they're willing to pay. Doing this won't always make you rich, but no one ever got rich without starting from there.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

25-GPU cluster cracks every standard Windows password in <6 hours

Via ArsTechnica:

A password-cracking expert has unveiled a computer cluster that can cycle through as many as 350 billion guesses per second. It's an almost unprecedented speed that can try every possible Windows passcode in the typical enterprise in less than six hours.

The five-server system uses a relatively new package of virtualization software that harnesses the power of 25 AMD Radeon graphics cards. It achieves the 350 billion-guess-per-second speed when cracking password hashes generated by the NTLM cryptographic algorithm that Microsoft has included in every version of Windows since Server 2003. As a result, it can try an astounding 958 combinations in just 5.5 hours, enough to brute force every possible eight-character password containing upper- and lower-case letters, digits, and symbols. Such password policies are common in many enterprise settings. The same passwords protected by Microsoft's LM algorithm—which many organizations enable for compatibility with older Windows versions—will fall in just six minutes.

The Linux-based GPU cluster runs the Virtual OpenCL cluster platform, which allows the graphics cards to function as if they were running on a single desktop computer. ocl-Hashcat Plus, a freely available password-cracking suite optimized for GPU computing, runs on top, allowing the machine to tackle at least 44 other algorithms at near-unprecedented speeds. In addition to brute-force attacks, the cluster can bring that speed to cracks that use a variety of other techniques, including dictionary attacks containing millions of words.

...the machine is able to make about 63 billion guesses against SHA1, the algorithm used to hash the LinkedIn passwords, versus the 15.5 billion guesses his previous hardware was capable of. The cluster can try 180 billion combinations per second against the widely used MD5 algorithm, which is also about a four-fold improvement over his older system.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Skype hands 16-year-old's personal information to IT company

A police file has recently revealed that, during a police investigation into the Anonymous-sanctioned cyberattacks on PayPal, the Dutch police has received personal data on a young Dutchman through an IT firm which, in its turn, received the data from Skype apparently in an illegal way.

In the file called Operation Talang, the Dutch police had information on two people that allegedly played a part in the attacks on websites belonging to Mastercard, VISA and Paypal by hacker collective Anonymous, following the blocking of donations to Wikileaks in 2011.

Joep Gommers, senior director of global research at the Dutch IT security firm iSIGHT Partners, who was hired by PayPal to investigate the attacks, found out the pseudonym of a 16-year-old boy who apparently was involved in the attacks and contacted Skype to ask for the suspect's account data. According to the police file, Skype handed over, voluntarily and without any court order, the suspect's personal information, such as his user name, real name, e-mail addresses and home address.

"You would imagine that subscriber data aren't simply handed over. They have to be provided when the police has a valid demand or court order, but not in any other case. (...) You can also wonder whether police can use that information if it was acquired this way," said Gerrit-Jan Zwenne, a professor of Law and Information Society in Leiden and a lawyer at Bird & Bird in The Hague.

Skype spokesman reaffirmed that the company was taking privacy very seriously and there would be an investigation in the matter. "It is our policy not to provide customer data unless we are served with valid request from legal authorities, or when legally required to do so, or in the event of a threat to physical safety."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Truth about Green Harddrives

Good advice from an Anandtech poster:

Western Digital BLACK or RED is a minimal consumer drive quality level to be used in any application, and anything less reliable should never be graced with your dollars. Less reliable drives lasting for years in some particular situations is largely a myth - it happens only if certain criteria are meet, namely, low loads and small temp cycling, which rarely occurs in the real world of consumer computing. When looking at Western Digital drives, always stay away from GREEN and BLUE drives, simply because components are designed to last only under certain special conditions, and I believe these special operating conditions in practical terms are just a myth. In essence these manufacturers (marketing honchos) give credence to conditions of "LOW THERMAL CYCLING", which they then decree is a significant portion of the market place, when in reality it really does not exist, and only gives them an excuse to design "only as good as needed" devices. The existence of the low quality drives permits them to charge more than they normally could for the better drives. Don't believe the hype, the more expensive drives are required for good reliability and performance.
Don't ever buy too cheap, if you want to avoid repeated disk crashes, and there is nothing wrong with periodically replacing working drives with new ones periodically to avoid the inevitable disk crashes. Even good drives eventually fail. If the manufacturer specifies a 3y warranty, then replace the drives every 2 years.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Netherlands against ACTA in all its forms

In response to an open letter sent by Bits of Freedom (BoF), the Dutch government has confirmed that it opposes any controversial ACTA-provisions in whatever form.

This confirmation was provoked by the news, only six days after ACTA was rejected by the European Parliament, that a draft text of the Canada – EU Trade Agreement contained provisions that were virtually identical to provisions from ACTA. As the Netherlands set an important example by rejecting ACTA long before the vote in the European Parliament, Bits of Freedom requested the government to do the same with CETA or any agreement alike. And it did.

More specifically in its letter of 17 September 2012, the government – upon BoF request – confirmed that it would not agree to the ACTA-provisions in CETA or any other treaty in which such provisions may appear. It stated:

The European Commission rightly agreed to respect the vote of the European Parliament against ACTA and to observe this vote concerning CETA. ACTA-provisions 27(3) and 27(4) regarding the liability of Internet Service Providers are no longer part of the current draft of CETA. Other provisions relating to the enforcement of intellectual property rights are currently being studied with the aforementioned vote in mind. If provisions do not correspond thereto, they will be changed or deleted.


In light of resolution 288 of the House of Representatives [2], this government will not agree – in whatever agreement this may be – to any ACTA-provisions it voted against. Examples are provisions on the strict enforcement of intellectual property on the internet and provisions that stand in the way of future intellectual property reforms.

The Dutch government further noted that currently there were no other treaties similar to ACTA being negotiated.

This confirmation by the Dutch government is of course very good news. However, due to recent elections, a note of caution is in place: the new government that is currently being formed may decide differently. Seeing the latest positions of the two major parties there is not too much reason for concern: in their election campaign, the liberal party (VVD) took a position against ACTA and similar treaties; the labour party (PvdA) took position only against ACTA but did support resolution 288 (also mentioned above) by which the government was requested to vote against treaties similar to ACTA.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Facebook gives up its face recognition feature in EU

Facebook has decided to give up the controversial face recognition feature in EU. The feature used by Facebook was taking information given by users when tagging friends' faces in photos.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

EU continues to try and sneak ACTA back in through the backdoor

Towards the end of July 2012, a rather strange and surprising e-mail was sent from the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union to the Member States and the European Commission. The e-mail explained that the criminal sanctions provisions of the draft EU/Canada trade agreement are modeled on those in ACTA. This, the General Secretariat of the Council worries, presents a problem as, on the one hand, the conclusion and implementation of CETA are a declared priority of the Union while, on the other, the European Parliament will need to be asked to approve the final text of the Agreement.

Member States told EDRi they were baffled by the e-mail. On the one hand, after all the controversy surrounding ACTA, they could not understand why such a blunt e-mail was sent in the first place. After all of the leaks surrounding ACTA, a more subtle message would have been logical. Secondly, after the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, the task of coordinating such policies is now the responsibility of the Commission, so it was not clear why the Council took it upon itself to even ask the question.

Member States are not the only ones that are somewhat surprised by the Council's e-mail – the European Commission told the press only two weeks previously "that language being negotiated on CETA regarding Internet is now totally different from ACTA." Has the Council been given the wrong draft of CETA? This seems like the only possible explanation. After everything that happened with ACTA, it hardly seems possible that the Commission would be seeking to mislead the public.

Many Member States still do not understand the political problems that surrounded ACTA and are therefore generally not opposed to provisions from ACTA being put into CETA. However, only two Member States clicked on "reply all" when responding to the Council's e-mail – one was a well-known supporter of ACTA from western Europe and, surprisingly, the other was one of the "new" Member States from South-East Europe.

The response from the South-East European member state also raised opposition to the inclusion of camcording in the draft Agreement. Camcording is such a non-issue that it was abandoned by the negotiating parties in ACTA, so it is bizarre that even stronger wording has now made its way into CETA. Even more strange is that a policy has found its way into the draft EU/Canada trade deal that is neither an EU policy nor a Canadian policy, but a US one. Michael Geist points in a blog post to a Wikileaks cable where the US described as "disingenuous" a Canadian claim that their anti-camcording legislation was an independent policy change that was not the result of lobbying pressure from the US.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Belarusian authorities harass online opposition groups

As elections in Belarus approach, independent or pro-opposition journalists and Internet users are harassed by the Belarusian authorities, pressured and even put to jail. The mobile phone company BelCel blocked access to the pro-opposition news websites Charter97 and BelPartizan.

Reporters Without Borders:

"The call for an election boycott by some opposition figures has joined the long list of subjects that are off limits. Those who mention the boycott, such as opposition groups on social networks, are immediately sanctioned. It is illusory to talk of free elections in such a media environment."

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Fanboy Defends Apple's Neo-Mercantilist Course

Apple was once a technology company, but instead of continuing to innovate, Apple is now more and more becoming dependent on the government to help keep its competitors out of the market. Apple's neo-mercantilist moves against Samsung are a good example of this.

Where Steve jobs once said:

We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas

Apple now uses patents to keep its competitors from selling and developing products.

In his article "From Innovation to Rent Seeking", Doug French comments on the madness that is Patents And Copyright:

Instead of spurring innovation, IP [Intellectual Property] appears to be a rat's nest of litigation. For example, Google's chief legal officer, David C. Drummond, estimates that a modern smartphone might be susceptible to as many as 250,000 potential patent claims.

Today, Apple Fanboy Jason D. O'Grady, entirely misses the point and tries to defend Apple's despicable tactics in an article that looks more like an advertisement for Apple than the work of someone with at least a tiny bit of journalistic integrity.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What is OUYA?

The Ouya is an upcoming game console built on the Android mobile OS. Julie Uhrman (CEO of Boxer8) founded the project. She brought in designer Yves BĂ©har to collaborate on the design of the project, and Muffi Ghadiali as product manager. The console is slated for release in March 2013. Boxer8 is expected to provide their own OUYA store for apps and games:

OUYA is a new game console for the TV, powered by Android. We've packed this little box full of power. Developers will have access to OUYA's open design so they can produce their games for the living room, taking advantage of everything the TV has to offer.

Hardware specifications (2012 prototype):

  • Nvidia Tegra 3 (T33) quad-core ARM processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB of internal flash storage
  • HDMI connection to the TV (with support for up to 1080p HD)
  • WiFi (802.11 b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth LE 4.0
  • Ethernet port
  • 1 USB 2.0 port
  • Wireless controller sporting two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button, and 3" touchpad
  • Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" (modified version)

The physical dimensions of the OUYA console are expected to be around the size of a Rubik's cube.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hepting vs AT&T

Hepting v. AT&T is a United States class action lawsuit filed in January 2006 by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) against the telecommunications company AT&T over the installation of NarusInsight, a supercomputer system used by the NSA to record and monitor internet traffic, in AT&T's San Francisco Internet backbone.

In 2002-2003, AT&T permitted and assisted the NSA to install a NarusInsight system in its San Francisco switching center, which was capable of monitoring billions of bits of Internet traffic a second, including the playback of telephone calls routed on the Internet, and thus in effect spying upon the entirety of the communication of many or all American citizens and businesses who use the Internet.

A former AT&T engineer, Mark Klein, attested that a supercomputer built by Narus was installed for the purpose, and that similar systems were also installed in at least Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Mark Klein:

Despite what we are hearing, and considering the public track record of this administration, I simply do not believe their claims that the NSA's spying program is really limited to foreign communications or is otherwise consistent with the NSA's charter or with FISA [...] And unlike the controversy over targeted wiretaps of individuals' phone calls, this potential spying appears to be applied wholesale to all sorts of Internet communications of countless citizens.

The EFF alleges in the suit that AT&T also allowed the NSA to data-mine hundreds of terabytes of client records which included detailed transaction records such as domestic numbers dialed since 2001, and all Internet addresses visited, as well as other content. The EFF's attorney Kevin Bankston states:

Our goal is to go after the people who are making the government's illegal surveillance possible [...] They could not do what they are doing without the help of companies like AT&T. We want to make it clear to AT&T that it is not in their legal or economic interests to violate the law whenever the president asks them to.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Facebook starts monitoring chats

Facebook uses the technology to monitor chats for certain phrases and words which it believes may indicate something is wrong with the exchange.

Depending on the language, suspicious exchanges will be reported to police, revealed Facebook's chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, to Reuters.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Petition the US Government to Force the TSA to Follow the Law

From Bruce Schneier:

In July 2011, a federal appeals court ruled that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had to conduct a notice-and-comment rulemaking on its policy of using "Advanced Imaging Technology" for primary screening at airports. TSA was supposed to publish the policy in the Federal Register, take comments from the public, and justify its policy based on public input. The court told TSA to do all this "promptly." A year later, TSA has not even started that public process. Defying the court, the TSA has not satisfied public concerns about privacy, about costs and delays, security weaknesses, and the potential health effects of these machines. If the government is going to "body-scan" Americans at U.S. airports, President Obama should force the TSA to begin the public process the court ordered.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Collecting antiques for when an EMP strikes.

A few things you may want to collect and store in case an EMP hits your area and fries all modern electronics:

Old fashioned vacuum tube equipment. You can find vacuum tube radios at yard sales, swap meets and on eBay. Take them to a musical instrument amplifier repair shop to get them fixed (A lot of musicians still prefer tube amps).

Old fashioned crystal radios. They don't need batteries! You could put the components in a box, unassembled, then put them together after the EMP.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Anti-WiFi wallpaper that lets cellular and radio through

French researchers have developed a special wallpaper that can block WiFi signals, preventing them from being broadcast beyond the confines of an office or apartment. Unlike other signal-blocking technologies, this anti-WiFi wallpaper only blocks a select set of frequencies used by wireless LANs, and allows cellular phones and other radio waves through. the wallpaper should be available for sale in 2013.

Friday, July 6, 2012

UK snooping law plans may come into contradiction with EC

The plans of the UK government of increasing the police online surveillance powers under the draft Communications Data Bill (CDB), also known as the Snoopers' Chart, might come into contradiction with the European Commission's position on citizens' rights.

If approved, the Communications Data Bill will place innocent citizens under continuous surveillance having all their communications and online activity monitored, all of the time. The government would store information about who's messaging whom, who's a friend to whom on the Internet or what people are searching for on search engines. Police and HM Revenue and Customs officers would have the power to access this information without a judicial warrant.

According to the information appeared in mass-media, the Home Office had a meeting with the largest electronic communications providers in UK that included discussions on the hardware which companies will have to use to monitor traffic flowing through their systems.

Things get more complicated with the design of the system to identify and store traffic data from the webmail services. Thus, the ISPs might have "to route the data via a government-approved 'black box' which will decrypt the message, separate the content from the 'header data', and pass the latter back to the ISP for storage."

It might be a good time to start using 3rd party smtp services and tools like PGP or GPG.

Friday, June 29, 2012

European trade committee voted to reject ACTA

Members of the European Parliament voted to reject the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) by 19 votes to 12. ACTA is a trade agreement, negotiated in secret between Canada, the USA, China, Japan and the EU. If approved, ACTA would allow major corporations and politicians to censor parts of the internet.

Under ACTA, the only forms of communications allowed on the internet would be those government bureaucrats approve.

From its inception, ACTA has been shrouded in secrecy. In the USA, ACTA was signed by president Obama on October 1 2011, despite serious Constitutional concerns. The White House circumvented the necessity to have the treaty confirmed by lawmakers by presenting it an as "executive agreement," although legal scholars have highlighted the dubious nature of this characterization. In the EU, EU Commissioner Karel De Gucht explained on television that the details of what was being suggested by the corporations, that lobbied for ACTA, could not be made public because it would be damaging to the reputations of those corporations.

The supporters of ACTA may have lost this battle, but we must remain vigilant. The idea is not dead, only the specific wording of ACTA. However, as we have seen when in several European countries, the people voted against the Lisbon Treaty, the EU simply changed some of the wording and packaging and later pushed it through anyway. If they manage to do the same thing with ACTA, consumers, small business owners and anyone with an opinion the current government does not like, will wish they had done something to stop ACTA when they still had the chance.

If you have a Twitter account, take a second and use the hashtag #StopACTA to voice your opposition.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Apple wins U.S. sales injunction against Samsung Galaxy Tab

Apple, unable to compete based on the quality of its products, has won a preliminary injunction barring U.S. sales of Samsung's iPad rival, the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Samsung will likely appeal the ruling, though a spokesperson was unavailable for comment at the time of writing to confirm the company's next move.

A Samsung statement said:

Should Apple continue to make legal claims based on such a generic design patent, design innovation and progress in the industry could be restricted.

Apple has a long history of using extremely broad patents to undermine its competitors and hinder innovation. No wonder the #BoycottApple hashtag is winning ground on Twitter.

Is Your Printer Spying On You?

MIT's Media Lab has started a website that helps consumers contact the manufacturer of their printer so they can request that "tracking dots" be eliminated from their machines.

The dots hold information about the serial number, make and model of your printer and were placed there at the behest of the Secret Service -supposedly to help locate counterfeiters. Seeing Yellow, a project by MIT's Media Lab, claims that after contacting the printer manufacturer about how to disable the tracking dots, the Secret Service showed up at one consumer's door asking questions.

Most color laser printers made and sold today intentionally add invisible information to make it easier to determine where (and when) a particular document was printed. This seems to have been done as part of a secret deal between the United States Secret Service and the individual manufacturers. Some of the manufacturers have mentioned the existence of the tracking information in their documentation, and others haven't. None of them have explained exactly how it works or what information is conveyed. No law requires printer companies to help track printer users this way, and no law prevents them from stopping this practice or giving customers a solution to avoid being tracked.

This information is most famously known to be coded by patterns of yellow dots that the printers add to the background of all the pages they print. The yellow dots are hard to see with the naked eye, but can be seen under bright blue light or with a microscope. Their arrangement reveals which printer was used to print a particular document, and sometimes also shows when it was printed. Some of the codes have been understood while others are still mysterious, but none of the printer manufacturers has denied that the dots are intended to help track a particular document to a particular printer (or that they can actually be used for this purpose). This is a direct attack on the privacy of the owners and users of printers, and in particular, on their right to free, anonymous speech.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Microsoft Surface Keynote

Looks like Microsoft is heading for another Epic Fail, but on the upside: more competition in the tablet market will force the other players to keep innovating.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

MacBook Pro with Retina Display is the least repairable laptop

The guys at iFixit took apart a new Macbook pro with Retina display. Their conclusion: it's the least repairable laptop ever.

  • Proprietary Pentalobe screws prevent folks from accessing the machine's internals. That means you need a special screwdriver just to remove the bottom cover.
  • The RAM is soldered to the logic board. Max out at 16GB now, or forever hold your peace—you can't upgrade.
  • The proprietary SSD isn't upgradeable.
  • The lithium-polymer battery is glued rather than screwed into the case, which increases the chances that it'll break during dis-assembly. The battery also covers the trackpad cable, which tremendously increases the chance that a user will shear the cable in the battery removal process.
  • The display assembly is completely fused, and there's no glass protecting it. If anything ever fails inside the display, you will need to replace the entire assembly.

Every Apple fan I know has had at least one massive failure of some kind that has needed serious overhaul or replacement. If they buy the new Macbook Pro, I hope that whatever problem they might one day run into will be covered by Apple Care. Otherwise, it looks like they'll be out of luck... and out of one very expensive laptop.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Concerns over the proposed Communication Bill in UK

Some of the bills presented on 9 May 2012 in the Queen's Speech, in which the Queen reads the government's legislative agenda for the next parliamentary period in front of both Houses of Parliament, raise freedom of expression concerns.

HM the Queen confirmed the intention of the government to introduce the Communications Capabilities Development Programme, a government bill aimed at extending the surveillance of the electronic and telephone communications in UK.

"My government intends to bring forward measures to maintain the ability of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to access vital communications data under strict safeguards to protect the public, subject to scrutiny of draft clauses"

However, the text of the bill does not give clear indications regarding these safeguards.

In a letter addressed to the House of Commons, Reporters Without Borders expressed their opinion that the bill was "disproportionate, dangerous and counter-productive", believing that it "could undermine individual freedoms and potentially lead to widespread abuse." The bill gives intelligence services the right to access - in real time and without prior authorisation - details of telephone calls, text messages, emails, private messages on social networks and websites visited, which means a breach of the individuals' right to privacy. Furthermore, the bill would involve serious legal, technical and financial issues and would contravene international conventions ratified by the United Kingdom.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Videotaping the Police

The most powerful weapon against police misconduct - taping cops with cell-phone cameras - is getting support from the courts, Adam Cohen reports.

When protesters gather in Chicago this week to express their views about the NATO summit, people will be able to videotape the police and post videos of any police misconduct. Recording the police used to be illegal in Illinois. But this month, a federal appeals court ruled that a state wiretap law prohibiting it conflicts with the First Amendment.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

IP-Address Can't Even Identify a State, BitTorrent Judge Rules

The mass-BitTorrent lawsuits that are sweeping the USA are in a heap of trouble according to TorrentFreak. A Californian judge has ruled that geolocation tools are far from accurate and that it's therefore uncertain that his court has jurisdiction over cases involving alleged BitTorrent pirates. As a result, 15 mass-BitTorrent lawsuits were dismissed.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Is Apple planning to sell £150 iPad Mini AT A LOSS?

According to The Daily Mail, Apple is planning to launch an assault against the burgeoning Android tablet market by releasing an 'iPad Mini' - at a loss-making price of around £150.

Sources told Apple fansite iMore that the new tablet will launch in October this year, with Apple potentially selling the sub-$250 tablet at a loss in order to leave no room for competition.

The rumor on the street is that the iPhone 5 will be out in September. I wonder if all this talk about a cheap mini-tablet is nothing more than a clever marketing ploy to put people off buying any till October.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Say No to Smart Meters And The Smart Grid

Power companies around the world have been pushing their clients to accept the installation of so called smart meters. These devices would supposedly allow the power companies to more efficiently measure demand, reduce labor costs and allow customers to switch between electricity providers.

What they neglect to tell you is that there are a lot of problems with the smart meters:

  • Smart meters consume electricity even when you're not. Guess who pays the bill?
  • Smart meters use radio signals to communicate with the the power company. This cause interference with WIFI connections, AM/FM radios, TV remotes etc.
  • The additional radio waves and radiation introduced in peoples' homes cannot be considered healthy
  • Smart meters are not environmentally friendly. They are fully electronic. They sue more power than analogue meters. They contain more harmful components (heavy metals) that cost more to recycle when the smart meter has to be replaced. Smart meters have to replaced more often than analogue meters. Not to mention all the energy and resources that have to be wasted on replacing fully functional analogue meters by the unreliable and hazardous smart meters.

Smart meters are a scam, sold to the public under the cover of "going green".

Monday, April 30, 2012

Quasar: iOS that looks like Windows

Quasar is a jailbreak mod for iOS that gives your iPad moveable, re-sizable, non-full-screen windows, just like a mouse-based desktop operating system.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Apple's dysfunctional iPad 3 battery charger

Apple's iPad 3 is only 90% charged when it says its 100% charged up.

Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate, found while testing the iPad 3's display, "that the batteries do not actually reach full charge when 100% is shown and need up to an extra hour before the charging is done."

After further investigation, Soneira discovered, "when the battery indicator first says 100% the battery is actually only 90% charged and you get 1.2 hours less running time."

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weird toys

In the 1970s, Mattel (same company that sells Barbie) sold a doll called "Growing Up Skipper". Her breasts grew when her arm was turned.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Packet trace analysis in Wireshark

  • Load the trace into wireshark.
  • Select the Statistics menu.
  • Click Endpoints.
  • In the box, turn off Name Resolution (the checkbox near the lower left corner).
  • For a list of all IP addresses choose the IPv4:# tab.
  • To sort by IP address click on the Address header.
  • To see a list of ports used by an address select the TCP or UDP tab. You can sort on Address or Port in this window.

Friday, February 3, 2012

If You Like Internet Privacy, You Might Be A Terrorist

According to the FBI, you might be a terrorist if you try to shield you screen from other viewers. Reading articles like this makes you wonder if there's actually anyone with even the slightest bit of computer knowledge or a clue about computer security working at the FBI.

If You Like Internet Privacy, You Might Be A Terrorist

According to the FBI, you might be

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Next Generation Game Consoles will not allow you to use second hand games

Digital trends reported:
Microsoft is reported to be testing a software or hardware method on the next version of the Xbox hardware designed to halt the ability to play used games. While this report doesn't indicate that this feature will definitely be included in the next version, the appeal to developers and publishers is likely incredibly high. This type of solution would make it vastly more difficult for retailers like Gamestop to resell traded-in games...
and they go:
it's also likely to anger consumers that want to unload old games on sites like eBay and severely harm video game rental services like Gamefly or Redbox.
We predict a serious backlash from consumers.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Sopa Opera Effect or Why I Prefer Plasma Over LCD

We live in this world where LCD TV manufacturers are obsessed with advertising 120/240Hz refresh rates packaged with motion interpolation effects. The 120/240Hz refresh rate is fine for judder reduction. Using a 120/240Hz screen and applying a whole number 5:5 or 10:10 frame repeat does a good job of reducing the film judder and preserving the original image integrity. The problem are the motion interpolation effects (sometimes branded as "Precision Motion"). On a 12 Hz TV with the motion interpolation turned on, this means that 4 out of every 5 frames displayed on the TV were artificially filled in by the TV's video processor, not native to the source. That creates the "soap opera effect". In other words, it makes something originally shot on a 35/70mm film camera look like it was created on a cheap camcorder. That's why I still prefer a PLASMA TV. PLASMAs don't suffer from this kind of problems.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Monster Cables

In my personal opinion, a monster cable is almost always the worst cable you can use... The heavy shielding and thick wires put too much strain on the connectors. This causes them to break way before a cheaper cable would.