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Man & Computer

Posted on August 9th, 2014 at 21:08 by John Sinteur in category: News

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  1. Ah, the good old days! I was 10 in 1965 🙂


Posted on August 9th, 2014 at 19:52 by John Sinteur in category: Caturday


Late last month, a Siamese cat named Coco went wandering in his suburban Washington, DC neighborhood. He spent three hours exploring nearby backyards. He killed a mouse, whose carcass he thoughtfully brought home to his octogenarian owner, Nancy. And while he was out, Coco mapped dozens of his neighbors’ Wi-Fi networks, identifying four routers that used an old, easily-broken form of encryption and another four that were left entirely unprotected.

Unbeknownst to Coco, he’d been fitted with a collar created by Nancy’s granddaughter’s husband, security researcher Gene Bransfield. And Bransfield had built into that collar a Spark Core chip loaded with his custom-coded firmware, a Wi-Fi card, a tiny GPS module and a battery—everything necessary to map all the networks in the neighborhood that would be vulnerable to any intruder or Wi-Fi mooch with, at most, some simple crypto-cracking tools.

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The US bombing its own guns perfectly sums up America’s total failure in Iraq

Posted on August 9th, 2014 at 13:43 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia


And so now the US has to use American weaponry to destroy the American weaponry it gave Iraqis to make Iraqis safer, in order to make Iraqis safer.

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  1. War is Hell. It is also a very profitable business. Why do you think the MSM likes to beat the drum for war, it is because it makes them money. Making weapons, selling them, making more weapons, selling those and having them used to destroy other weapons is genius a way to make money. Read the Arms of Krupp. It tells the story of a German family that made millions making weapons. They probably still are. Both France and Germany are selling weapons to Russia. How long do you think it will be before NATO is trying to destroy those weapons?

    The mistake made in Afghanistan and Iraq was 1) going there in the first place and 2) thinking we could make them into democracies. We cannot force them to be like us, the sooner we leave them to choose their own fate the better. (The better for us, probably not for them.)

  2. “Leave them to their fate” would be a better way to express it. I don’t think any Afghans or Iraquis will be choosing their own fate.

YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS

Posted on August 9th, 2014 at 10:39 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


There’s a nice little feuilleton in the New York Times looking at why everyone whines about their iPhone slowing down when Apple releases a new variant.

Starting from a personal complaint by a professor, one of his students looks at the incidence for “iPhone slow” in Google Trends and notes that there’s a leap every time a new model is released.

That is released – not announced – so it must come from actual use, rather than just thinking that it isn’t quite up to date.

It’s also noted that releases of new Samsung models do not coincide so strongly with leaps in similar search terms. Obviously there’s something specific to Apple here, and that’s that major upgrades to the iPhone coincide with upgrades to iOS, something which 90 per cent of iPhone users will implement.

Famously, Android users do not tend to upgrade their OS over time. So, we might think that this observed slow-down is a result of trying to run the new OS on old hardware which isn’t quite up to supporting it. And we’d probably be right there.

However, we can now go off on our own and go a little further than this. For what’s really remarkable about these OS upgrades is how good Apple has been at keeping new versions of iOS compatible with old versions of hardware. No one at all would suggest running today’s Samsung bloatware (that bit that floats around on top of Android) on hardware three years old. But it seems perfectly acceptable to be running this year’s iOS on old kit. It’s also at this point that we can wander off into a couple of bits of economics for illumination.

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Oracle Database 12c’s data redaction security smashed live on stage

Posted on August 9th, 2014 at 7:46 by John Sinteur in category: Security


Oracle’s much-ballyhooed data redaction feature in Database 12c is easy to subvert without needing to use exploit code, attendees at Defcon 22 in Las Vegas have heard.

The redaction features in 12c are designed to automatically protect sensitive database material by either totally obscuring column data or partially masking it – for example, recalling just the last four digits of a US social security number when a search query is run.

But according to David Litchfield, security specialist at Datacomm TSS and the author of The Oracle Hacker’s Handbook, the mechanism is so riddled with basic flaws that you don’t even need to execute native exploit code to defeat the redaction – some clever SQL is all that’s needed, we’re told.

“If Oracle has a decent security development lifecycle in place anyone would have found these flaws and stopped them in tracks,” Litchfield said.

“Anyone with a modicum of SQL would have found these bugs.”

Litchfield said that within five minutes of investigating the redactions system, he found serious flaws in the coding. He’s previously documented his findings here [PDF].

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