Saturday, August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong is dead :-(

A very sad news: Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died today. He will be remembered for his famous "A small step for man, a giant's leap for mankind".

How to Process, Analyze and Visualize Data

Another great course on MIT OpenCourseWare: How to process, analyze and visualize data. Through different examples, fundamental concepts of data analysis and visualisation are presented in a clear way. My favorite part deals with the analysis of text documents.

All the codes are written in python, and it assumes the reader has a working knowledge of the language plus the ability to install some development libraries. A basic understanding of statistics is also of great help.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Struggling to Recover From a Cyberattack

An article in the NY Times: the founder of a company has found that the freshly fired CTO has left some "presents" in the business application, and that he lives mostly off the grid. Now the question is: what to do?

Read the article.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Retrotechtacular: Simulating weather patterns with a logic chip computer

Interesting! I downloaded the technical report onto my kindle for further reading.

Retrotechtacular: Simulating weather patterns with a logic chip computer:

In 1975, [D. L. Slotnick], CS professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faced a problem: meteorologists were collecting a lot more data than current weather simulations could handle. [Slotnick]‘s solution was to build a faster computer to run these atmosphere circulation simulations. The only problem was the computer needed to be built quickly and cheaply, so that meant using off-the-shelf hardware which in 1975 meant TTL logic chips. [Ivan] found the technical report for this project (a massive PDF, you have been warned), and we’re in awe of the scale of this new computer.
One requirement of this computer was to roughly 100 times the computing ability of the IBM 360/95 at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies devoted to the same atmospheric computation tasks. In addition, the computer needed to be programmable in the “high-level” FORTRAN-like language that was used for this atmospheric research.
The result – not to overlook the amazing amount of work that went into the design of this machine – was a computer built out of 210,000 individual logic chips at a total cost of $2.7 Million dollars, or about $10 Million in 2012 dollars. The power consumption of this computer would be crazy – about 90 kilowatts, or enough to power two dozen American houses.

We couldn’t find much information if this computer was actually built, but all the work is right there in the report, ready for any properly funded agency to build an amazingly powerful computer out of logic chips.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Inventor of the 555 timer passes away

That's a sad news. The 555 is one of the first ICs I have used when discovering electronics.

Inventor of the 555 timer passes away:

August 15th 2012, the news was reported that [Hanz Camenzind], the creator of the 555 timer, has passed away.  We are all familiar with 555 timer, but many of you may not be aware that [Hanz] also created the first class D amplifier. Actually, he had over 20 patents under his belt as well as a few books.
He is survived by His Wife, Daughter, and three Sons.

Fixed-wing drone from MIT

Only one word: wow!

Autonomous fixed-wing drone threads the needled in a parking garage:

We’ve got something of a love affair going on with quadcopters, but there’s still room for a little something on the side. This fixed-wing drone can pull off some pretty amazing navigation. MIT’s Robust Robotics Group is showing off the work they’ve done with the plane, culminating in a death-defying flight through a parking garage (video after the break). This may not sound like a huge accomplishment, but consider that the wingspan is over two meters and repeated runs at the same circuit brought it within centimeters of clipping support columns.
Unlike the precision quadcopters which depend on stationary high-speed cameras for feedback, this drone is self-contained. It does depend on starting out with a map of its environment, using this in conjunction with a laser rangefinder and inertial sensors to plot its route and adjust as necessary. We think the thing must have to plan a lot further ahead than a quadcopter since it lacks the ability to put on the breaks and hover. This is, however, one of the strengths of the design. Since it uses a fixed-wing approach it can stay in air much longer than a quadcopter with the same battery capacity.

[via Reddit]

Filed under: robots hacks

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Royal mail in the a...

Another day, another malware. Detection ratio for this one is 1/42 @ 8/15/2012 7:06 EST.

Information about it on Virus Total

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Buffer Overflow

Today's Dilbert is amazing! :-)

For an explanation on the real Buffer Overflow, here is a tutorial.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cisco Switch Security (Introduction)

Networks are the core of all modern computer and information processing infrastructure. Regardless of the level of abstraction used - SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, cloud computing and so forth - networks and network devices still sit in the path of all data transfers.

Securing a network device means that steps will be taken to harden its configuration, ascertain no knowledge can be gained by interrogating the device, that only the authorized personnel will have access to its management interfaces and that it will contribute to the overall security scheme of the organization in a "security in depth" framework.

The result of a compromised network device can be extreme: not only the attacker has the ability to disrupt a corporation's communications, but also to modify the traffic path, sniff the transfers or even alter the data in transit. Scary? Yes and it is only a summary.

Several resources exist that describe how to secure network devices. One of them is the Security Configuration Guides as part of the NSA's Information Assurance program. Some of the steps in these articles are from that guide.

Over the next few weeks, different aspects of switch security will be examined:

  • Section 1 treats of the management console and interface
  • Section 2 addresses the security at the port level 
  • Section 3 examines security at the VLAN level
  • Section 4 deals with two additional layer 2 protocols
  • Section 5 treats of logging and logs
  • Section 6 deals with miscellaneous items