Saturday, June 25, 2005

Business Week Update on Cell Processor

Business Week has a short article on IBM and partner's plans for capitalizing on the Cell processor.

BW depicts the departure of Apple from the PPC fold as a blow to IBM, which does not tally with my reading of the situation. Other than that, it's an informative piece, as far as it goes.


Friday, June 24, 2005

Port spike may portend an attack, experts say | Tech News on ZDNet

Port spike may portend an attack, experts say | Tech News on ZDNet: "A surge in scanning on a port associated with a Windows flaw patched last week suggests that a mass worm attack may be imminent, experts said."
Are your Windows Updates all done?

nVidia Ups the Graphics Ante

The nVidia GeForce 7800 GTX graphics processor takes a modest improvement in specs and delivers a whole lot more performance -- leaving rival ATI behind in the extreme-gaming benchmarks.

This version of nVidia's graphics processor benefits from a detailed performance profile of 1,300 games. In essence, nVidia spent its time tuning and preening the internal architecture to make operations more efficient and faster. Worth noticing is the hardware assist to video processing. In a couple of generations, I can see a nVidia offloading the weighty task of high-definition television (HDTV) encoding and decoding -- just as HDTV takes off.

If you live or die by frames-per-second -- and all gamers do -- then this this $600 graphics card is for you.

A Layman's Guide to How CPUs Work

This is a concise article describing how a modern microprocessor works.

If you never had the aptitude for the graduate-level electrical engineering version, this article will definitely spice up your cocktail party conversations because now you'll know how a 4-way set-associative cache works.

Phishing With Javascript: Every Browser is Vulnerable

No fixes yet except for Opera. The Javascript "feature", available in Microsoft, Apple, and open source browsers, let's a hacker redirect a Java input field to the hacker's site. That would enable phishing attacks -- especially with domain name overrides.

I do not know whether this hack works with secure hypertext (SHTML).

All this is just another reminder to take a good look at the pages you enter your password or credit card number into.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Microsoft OS Critical Security Problem in SMB

eWeek reports Symantec is seeing a large increase in port scanning on TCP/IP port 445, which is involved in a critical fix released by Microsoft last week. Stmantec believes hackers may be planning a major attack against the majority of Microsoft users -- who have not yet applied the out-of-monthly-cycle patches.

It is probably a wise idea to lock down your machine with the Microsoft patches.

Huge Churn in World's Supercomputer Market

For the first time since the Top 500 List was issued in 1993, all 500 computers listed could handle a teraflop, or a trillion calculations per second. Number 500 on the list can crunch 1.17 teraflops. No supercomputer on the 1997 Top 500 List would now qualify.

The rapid increase in compute power among the most powerful supercomputers means that 201 of the 500 computers listed on the last Top500 list in November 2004 have fallen out of the rankings.

IBM supercomputers rank No. 1 and No. 2 on the list -- and account for six of the top 10. The Power-based Blue Gene machines have gained a considerable reputation. IBM's Blue Gene/L, currently the world's fastest computer, is capable of handling 136.8 trillion calculations per second. It is located at Lawrence Livermore Labs in California doing nuclear weapons simulations.

IBM also dominates the low-end, with 193 systems running on low-cost Linux software and composed of hundreds or thousands of mass-market computer chips from Intel and AMD. The big winner is Intel, whose low-cost, mass-produced microprocessor sare now used in 333 of the top 500 supercomputers, up from 287 only a year ago.

HP fell to 26 percent, or 131 of the most powerful supercomputers ranked in the semi-annual Top 500 List, down from 170, or 34 percent, just six months ago.

The Peoples Republic of China now has 19 supercomputers on the Top 500 list, just behind Japan with 23 machines.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Javascript dialogue box flaw affects ALL browsers

A flaw allowing untrusted sites to harvest personal information, such as passwords, after you've left that site and gone to a trusted one, such as a bank site, affects all browsers except Opera v8.01 (just released). Secunia has a test on their web site to see if your browser is vulnerable.

The flaw has to do with how browsers handle javascript dialogue boxes. Everyone is working on a fix. Stay tuned.


The Rise and Fall of Installation Procedures

We don't often talk about installation woes any more, unless we're mentioning dependency problems in Linux. Once, though, it was a tremendous issue, affecting all users. It was also a tremendous PITA, if you know what I mean. When the Windows Registry made it's appearance, we all cheered. Well, most of us, anyway.

Here is a complete history of installation procedures, written succinctly and well. It is neither a short nor an easy read, but I found it particularly interesting and informative. If you have the inclination, go for it. I guarantee you will learn a lot.


Another Mac mini Update-KVM

Click title for the KVM I got.
Well with a KVM that can do USB, the Mac worked. Only problem, hit scroll lock to change to a different PC, brings up shut down on the Mac. LOL. The KVM I got has push buttons so not a big deal. Otherwise, worked fine.
I did have one strange problem with the new KVM. It has built in "beeps". My computers are in my bedroom. About 5 hours after I shut everything down, KVM started beeping and would not stop until I turned on a computer. lol. I think it may have been an oldish P3 I have leaking power through the KVM? Go figure. I pulled power to the p3 for now and all is well. So far.

Windows XP64 is a non standard OS, Canon says

Windows XP64 is a non standard OS, Canon says: "Now think very carefully if you wanna upgrade"
I have said this a few times, I will NOT upgrade to WindowsXP64 until it is more main stream. How about you?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Drive-By Download Sites Chauffeur Spyware

Drive-By Download Sites Chauffeur Spyware: "Increasingly, spyware is making its way onto users' systems through so-called drive-by-download sites using nefarious methods that circumvent disclosure."
I don't know how a web site like these could be shut down, it can be run on their own server someplace over seas. All we can do is watch out for them.

Spyware Danger Meets Rootkit Stealth

Spyware Danger Meets Rootkit Stealth: "The makers of one common spyware program are borrowing techniques from another type of malicious program, known as 'rootkits,' to help evade detection on systems they infect, spyware experts say."
I for one would love to see laws stopping spyware. Now they are learning tricks from hackers.

InformationWeek > Privacy > Government Collected Personal Data On Airline Passengers > June 20, 2005

InformationWeek > Privacy > Government Collected Personal Data On Airline Passengers > June 20, 2005: "WASHINGTON (AP)--The federal agency in charge of aviation security collected extensive personal information about airline passengers even though Congress forbade it and officials said they wouldn't do it, according to documents obtained Monday by The Associated Press. "
Are you on their list? I bet I am. :(

Inventor of integrated circuit dies

Jack Kilby has died. It's not possible to catalog the ways in which his invention of the integrated circuit has changed our world. I certainly would not be blogging here without it.

Jack Scoop! Smile for the Google 3D mapping truck Scoop! Smile for the Google 3D mapping truck Did you smile as Google came by your house in the truck taking pictures?

Security tools face increased attack | Tech News on ZDNet

Security tools face increased attack | Tech News on ZDNet: "As the pool of easily exploitable Windows security bugs dries up, hackers are looking for holes in security software to break into PCs, analysts said. "
Are you all up to date? Windows Updates had some last week!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Lost credit data improperly kept, company admits

Today we learn that CardSystems was not following MasterCard and Visa rules. All the good security procedures and rules in the world mean nothing if they are not followed.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

OnComputers Podcast

This is the On Computers podcast for 06-19-2005. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.