Posts Tagged ‘isec’

1. Giving You More Control

Facebook had some very interesting announcements last week. Probably the most analysed was the creation of groups. The post also contained a paragraph missed by most – whic says that you can now export your facebook data ! To me it looks like a bigger news 🙂 Ofcourse it is not in a immediately machine translatable form but still it is cool ! It is currently not possible to import it back but its a great move forward. Kudos to facebook. In line with the tradition that all new facebook announcements come with some issues, Groups also seems to have lot. For a humorous account check out Facebook new groups feature rife with abuse . In a related issue, some people realized that Facebook app on smartphones sync more information than expected – In case if you use the app check out Is the Facebook App Playing Fast and Loose With Your Personal Data? .

2. Amazon Amps Up Apps Rivalry

This is a surprising move from Amazon – Not sure what is their ultimate aims are : Will it just stop with providing proper recommendations to users or will it be a rigorous process like Apple. Also will there be additional APIs that allow app developers and make the app Amazon distributed only ? We will know soon the success of this move.

3. Change to BIOS will make for PCs that boot in seconds

The much hyped EFI technology atlast seems to get used in a wider scale. Now that the recent versions of Ubuntu have around 10 second boot times it should be interesting see the new boot times.

4. Stuxnet: Fact vs. theory

Stuxnet seems to have captured the imagination of public much like Conficker. This post discusses some of the fact and myths.

5. G2 Detects When Rooted and Reinstalls Stock OS

Hmm this is a bit worrying as I was planning to move to an Android smartphone sooner or later !


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Biweekly Links – 09-24-2010

1. Why Our Schools Suck, The Movie
I have started hearing about the documentary ‘Waiting for Superman’ from different blog posts. I have not yet see but the premise is promising.

2. The Twitter hack: how it started and how it worked
Some technical details about this week’s Twitter XSS hack.

3. Facebook Hopes Credits Make Dollars
Now that most of the important Facebook applications has started using facebook credits , I wonder what’s next. I always think that in-app purchases are only the low hanging fruit. I keep thinking how else these can be used – lets see if Facebook figures out more creative usages.

4. Researcher Claims ‘Evercookie’ Can’t Be Removed
Kamkar did some neat hack in Defcon 2010 which I linked in a previous biweekly link. The latest exploit is relatively simple and I think it should be easy to prevent by proper settings. But the idea is very creative. Talking about security, another news circling is this : Blockbuster Worm Aimed for Infrastructure, But No Proof Iran Nukes Were Target.

5. Comparing Spamhaus with Proactive Connection Throttling
Some hard problems seems to have simple enough working solutions !

6. Netezza shows there’s more than one way to handle Big Data
I first learned about Netezza from Daniel Abadi’s post. They seem to have some really nifty ideas like hardware accelerated DBMS and more. The strength of IBM’s analytic unit is growing more and more 🙂

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Biweekly Links – 09-13-2010

1. Grilo: Integrating Multimedia Content in Your Application
Grilo is one the new projects in Linux I am pretty excited about (other being lightspark and systemd). Grilo tries to solve a problem that is going to become more dire. Hopefully, developing plugins will become more easier as it matures. I can think of lot of cool projects using it.

2. YouTube Instant. The last two days ….
YTInstant is all the rage for the last few days and this post talks about the various news articles on it. In case you did not know, YTInstant brings Google Instantish features to youtube. I tested it and it worked great ! I felt autoplaying videos – especially videos for partial searches was very jarring 🙂 I was curious about how he solved the API limit. He got around it by the clever use of script tag. Take a look at his page !

3. How Ubuntu is Made
This post talks the tools Ubuntu team uses to manage and communicate with the distributed development environment. The tools that I found interesting were  Gobby tool and Mumble. I was especially impressed with Mumble. Looks like a very nifty tool.

4. How to make password-guessing more difficult: The popularity oracle
One of the provocative ideas of recent time. I first read about it in Michael Mitzenmacher’s blog. The idea looks cool and it will be interesting if there is adoptation by some big service. Even the recent XKCD comic talks about it.

5. A story about updates and people
A thoughtful post about different Linux users, their expectations and how to have different Linux update policies to suit each of them. These thoughts especially resonated with me because I do not know why my non CS, non techie Ubuntu using friends has to be forced to be decided if they want to update or not. Atleast in Ubuntu, I think Software Center must be updated so that it offers an option to update relevant packages for particular "software" rather than showing all packages and ask user to decide. It was gratifying to see good discussion for this article – hopefully something will change and make Linux easier to use and update.

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1. Carnegie Mellon Tries Crowd sourcing To Develop Optimal Electric Car Formulac
In a very interesting move, CMU tries to do a NetFlix by crowd sourcing the problem to find efficient current flow between an electric car’s components. I have my doubts if this will be ultimately successful. The price seems to be just right. But this seems to be a fairly intricate problem and also needs some knowledge of coding which might dramatically reduce the potential audience. I would have preferred a Foldit like approach which made the designing stuff (in that case protein folding) more like a game which would have lowered the barrier for entry and also increased competitiveness.

2. A Taxonomy of Social Networking Data
An insightful classification of the data that we make available to social networks. I would have preferred a longer exposition that talked about user expectations, monetary potential of individual data (from social network point of view) etc but still it does gives you something to think about. Hopefully the people behind Diaspora are reading this !

3. Firefox 4 Beta Adds Multi-touch Support
In one of the big news, Firefox supports multi touch – I am still not sure what this holds for the future but it is exciting to see Firefox bringing multi touch into the arena. In the other cool news, Multi-touch Support Lands in Maverick . Doubly sweet !

4. A Chip That Digests Data and Calculates the Odds
In one of the surprising news recently, an MIT start-up introduced "plans" to build a chip that uses probability directly instead of approximating using digital bits. As of now, I am skeptical about the claims – Even if they can build the chip, I do not see any one other than academia / big companies like Google/Amazon etc will have an use case for it.  I have to say their other product which corrects errors in flash memory seems more practical and cool. Lets see how this pans out.

5. Google never removed Oracle from its index
Lot of ink was written last week about how Google removed Oracle from its index as Oracle sued Google. It was a very neat homograph prank and the mechanisms used is given in the linked post.

6. With McAfee Deal, Intel Looks for Edge
I am baffled at this deal like many others – I do not see a need for Intel to buy McAfee for almost $8 billion ! This deal almost completely depletes Intel’s free cash. Hopefully Intel has a good plan to utilize McAfee !

7. Facebook Unveils a Service to Announce Where Users Are
FaceBook has launched the widely expected location services. It is pretty surprising that it almost steals all its ideas from Foursquare. Looks like another Microsoft Vs Netscape scenario to me.

8. Reanimated ‘Junk’ DNA Is Found to Cause Disease
A neat discovery in genetics. Although the discovery almost resembles a patient detective, I am a bit worried about the really long time they took to find the culprit. Hopefully this discovery will produce enough knowledge to speed up things in future.

9. Simplifying the Lives of Web Users
This is post by David Pogue about OpenDNS. I have been using their name servers for some time but did not knew they had so many features. Sweet !

10. I read a few funny tweets – 1) Welcome to the new decade: Java is a restricted platform, Google is evil, Apple is a monopoly and Microsoft are the underdogs (from @phil_nash)  and 2) The main idea of "Inception": if you run a VM inside a VM inside a VM inside a VM, everything will be very slow (from @myzt) .

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1. Choosing the number of clusters II: Diminishing Returns and the ROC curve
A nice intuition for ROC curve and how to use it to choose number of clusters.

2. A beautiful model (of the stock market)
Quite interesting post which argues at the macro level, stock market is quite well behaved and predictable 🙂

3. Square Dancing
An intuitive proof to Pythagoras theorem.

4. Law Enforcement Appliance Subverts SSL
This attack is quite clever – a straight forward man in the middle attack which allows any one to observe all the transactions you make to any targeted website. It does require co-operation from both ISP and CAs but that should be easy for at least the feds. A more shocking vulnerability is this – Vulnerabilities Allow Attacker to Impersonate Any Website . Clever use of nulls to get a certificate for a fake domain from CAs.

5. Interesting Math Problems
A nice set of interest math problems . Got the link from Sriram.

6. A single sperm has 37.5MB of DNA information in it. That means that a normal ejaculation represents a data transfer of 1,587.5TB
Mostly tongue in cheek geek humor.

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1. Detecting suspicious account activity
Nice try by Google. I am curious about the factors used for the decision.

2. How to Get Into Stanford with B’s on Your Transcript: Failed Simulations & the Surprising Psychology of Impressiveness
An interesting post about admission decisions – I do agree partially with the author’s The Failed Simulation Effect theory.

3. A DIY Guide to Going Nuclear
A fantastic and satirical post on going Nuclear. Got it from Schneier.

4. Less is more. But still less
There are lot of debates going about Lucid Lynx. This post discusses one issue which has got the most attention. PS : In case if you want to try out Lucid Lynx Beta1 check out my post – Upgrading to Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) from Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)

5. Justin.tv’s Live Video Broadcasting Architecture
A nice overview about Justin.tv’s architecture. It made several good points like how many of Youtube’s scalability techniques are not applicable here. Making real time streaming systems is a complex beast and this post throws some light over their internals. Their use of Ruby on Rails as their app server surprised me the most 🙂

6. IPhone App to Sidestep AT&T
Looks like an interesting app ! None of my friends have bought it yet but I am still willing to take Pogue’s word for it 🙂

7. John Tate wins the Abel Prize 2010
John Tate wins Abel prize for his work on Number Theory. The post has a nice discussion about primes.

8. Pwn2Own 2010
I have not found any good links on Pwn2Own 2010 . I will put one if I find it. The expected news is that all major platforms fell.

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