1. Random knowledge II.

    25 January 2007

    If you turn on the Xscreensaver module called Sonar while you're running a packet monitoring application (such as TCPdump), people are less likely to think you're doing anything shady, because "Only hacker tools don't have GUIs." Always hack your shell's personal configuration file (~/.bash_profile, for example) to change your shellprompt if you use GNU screen. That way you can tell what shells you've left open are single-access shells and which shells are multiplexed through a single connection with screen. It can get confusing sometimes. Because a shell run inside a GNU screen metaterminal sets an environment variable called $WINDOW, you …

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  2. Random knowledge I.

    25 January 2007

    If you're a Newton user, you've no doubt considered picking up the ObEx stack for NewtonOS, which allows your MessagePad to communicate with other PDAs, such as the Palm Pilot or the HP Jornadas. I highly suggest that you spend the $40us to do so, you won't regret it. It can be tricky at first to get working, though. I spent a good bit of today trying to figure out how to beam entries from the Dates application to a Palm Vx unit, and here's how I did it: First, you need to set up the time at which to …

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  3. "The Constitution.. it does not mean what you think it means."

    25 January 2007

    This should be enough to give anyone pause: Alberto Gonzalez, the Attorney General of the United States of America argued before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Constitituion does not grant habeas corpus rights, but only says that they can be suspended. Let's think about this a little: Saying that a right can be suspended implicitly states that there is a right that can be suspended to begin with. Senator Arlen Specter, who headed up the committe, nearly went into a fitof apoplexy when he heard this after asking if Gonzalez's logic took a wrong turn at Albequerqe: "The Constitution …

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  4. What is your light cone?

    25 January 2007

    Here's an interesting website that I found during a random search: Have you ever wondered how far the information you've generated has travelled in the universe? Now you can find out - this website will calculate all of the known starts within your light cone, which ones have been reached, and which ones that information has yet to reach, and displays it in the form of an RSS feed that you can import into a reader or aggregator. Nifty.

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  5. What is your light cone?

    25 January 2007

    Here's an interesting website that I found during a random search: Have you ever wondered how far the information you've generated has travelled in the universe? Now you can find out - this website will calculate all of the known starts within your light cone, which ones have been reached, and which ones that information has yet to reach, and displays it in the form of an RSS feed that you can import into a reader or aggregator. Nifty.

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  6. Retinal prostheses now being tested on felines.

    25 January 2007

    Prosthetic retinas are leaving the experimental stage and now are in live animal testing to shake the bugs out. A number of housecats with a condition similiar to retinitis pigmentosa, which causes blindness by killing the rod and cone cells that make up the retinas have been implanted with silicon chips 2mm on a side that replicate some of the functions of organic retinas. The chips are covered with microscopic photodiodes that register light levels, produce miniscule electrical impulses, and feed directly into the optic nerve. Similiar implants have been used in a small number of humans with this disorder …

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  7. Blu-Ray DVD copy protection cracked!

    25 January 2007

    First HD DVDs were cracked; now Muslix64 has gone for an encore and cracked the protection on Blu-Ray DVD's so that they can be ripped in unencrypted form. It seems that he didn't even need a Blu-Ray player to figure out how to do it, he found an attack that sidesteps the AACS (Advanced Access Content System, which does anything but let you access content) by finding the key used to encrypt the media data hidden inside the cyphertext. To prove that he was successful, he posted a ripped copy of Lord of War to the Net, which was subsequently …

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  8. Intel is the first to market with a consumer implementation of 802.11n.

    25 January 2007

    Intel has released an implementation of the draft 802.11n wireless networking protocol for laptops and other portable devices. 802.11n has five times the maximum data throughput of 802.11g, topping out at 270 megabits per second. On top of that, their 802.11n chipset uses less power than the other wi-fi implementations out there, which can give laptops an extra hour of runtime on battery, which is a huge selling point.

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