Aug 042014

I have got an ezcap USB 2.0 DVB-T stick a while ago. Why what’s so special about a DVB-T receiver you say? Well device contains a Software Defined Radio (SDR), a Realtek RTL2832U, that is a radio interface that can be controlled using software. The drawback is that the this is only a receiver and that for some of you the radio spectrum might be to limited. But hey it’s cheap!


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May 202014

An opinion from an SemiAccurate author about the irrelevance of Microsoft.

For the past few decades, Microsoft has been a monopoly with one game plan, leverage what they have to exclude competition. If someone had a good idea, Microsoft would come out with a barely functional copy, give it away, and shut out the income stream of the innovator. Novell, Netscape, Pen, and countless others were crushed by this one dirty trick, and the hardware world bowed to Redmond’s whims. -Charlie Demerjian, SemiAccurate


John Chambers (CEO Cisco Systems) has written a letter to the president of the United States of America after photos were leaked showing possible NSA personnel modifying Cisco networking equipment.

Warning of an erosion of confidence in the products of the U.S. technology industry, John Chambers, the CEO of networking giant Cisco Systems, has asked President Obama to intervene to curtail the surveillance activities of the National Security Agency. -Arik Hesseldahl, Re/code

Apr 292014

My latest system build is mainly focussed towards desktop virtualisation purposes, file compression, audio/video encoding and general purpose computing.

  • Highly threaded
  • Loads of RAM
  • Enough storage

I don’t really care about lots of graphics performance. Not even for video encoding, the best (as in quality) video encoders still run on the CPU.

System Specifications

  • Intel® Core™ i7-4770 Processor (8M Cache, up to 3.90 GHz)
  • Cooler Master Hyper TX3
  • Asus H87M-PRO
  • 4x Kingston 8GB 1600 MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL9 DIMM
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 ST3000DM001 3TB
  • Samsung SH-224DB
  • Cooler Master Silencio 352
  • Cooler Master XtraFlo 120 (extra front intake fan)
  • Corsair Builder CX430 Bronze

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Apr 282014

If you are up to date about the current web browser security threats you have probably heard about the latest zero day exploit on Internet Explorer. Microsoft published CVE-2014-1776 and several recommendations to mitigate this attack, this sadly requires you to cripple your web browsing experience. At the time of writing, Microsoft did not fix this issue. Also note that Windows XP users will not receive any update, these users should definitely switch to an alternative web browser.

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Mar 172014

An article on EmbeddedGurus describes different ways a stackoverflow should be handled in embedded software.

When the stack overflows, memory beyond the stack bound gets corrupted and your code will eventually fail. If you are lucky, your program will crash quickly. If you are less lucky, however, your program will limp along in some crippled state, not quite dead but not fully functional either. -Miro Samek, EmbeddedGurus


After success in the embedded market, ARM took a next step in also becoming a platform for servers. Recently the Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) was released which should improve the consistency on ARM based servers.

This is an important week for ARM’s push into server platforms. On Tuesday AMD announced their Opteron A1100 “Seattle” ARM processor will begin sampling in March, and yesterday ARM announced availability of Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) document for ARM servers. -Grant, Secret Lab

In an attempt to strengthen the entry of ARM processors into the server market, British chip designer ARM has put together the Server Base System Architecture (SBSA), a definition of a standard platform for ARM-based servers. This move should reduce the abundant variation and complexity that has hitherto been a feature of ARM systems. SBSA was assembled by ARM along with its partners, including HP, Dell, AMD, Citrix, and Microsoft. -Peter Bright, Ars Technica

Feb 172014

Some of the speakers who cancelled their talk at RSA 2014 Conference are now hosting their own conference that goes by the name “TrustyCon“.

Security and privacy professionals have set up a trust-based conference to rival the RSA Conference, which they are boycotting over an alleged deal between the EMC-owned company and the US National Security Agency. TrustyCon will be held on 27 February at AMC Metreon in San Francisco, which is located just down the road from the Moscone Center where RSA Conference is taking place between 24 and 28 February. -Tom Brewster, TechWeek Europe


Plan 9 has been released under the GNU General Public License.

The University of California, Berkeley, has been authorised by Alcatel-Lucent to release all Plan 9 software previously governed by the Lucent Public License, Version 1.02 under the GNU General Public License, Version 2. You can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; version 2 of the License. -TopSpin, Slashdot

Jan 202014

Yey! Python has been declared as the language of the year by the PYPL index, the data is provided by Google Trends.

Python is the “language of the year” according to the PYPL index: it had the biggest increase in popularity share in 2013. PHP had the biggest decline. Meanwhile, Java continues to have the highest popularity share among the programming languages. -PYPL

Other sources on programming language popularity, such as TOIBE, are reporting a small decline on Python popularity. However the latter also reports on an increase in Visual Basic .NET’s popularity, so I would take these results with a cup of tea.


As some know, the RC4 cipher is broken but still used by many websites. The best practice is to disable it. This will probably break encryption for some websites but hey, it’s already broken…

This has probably been blogged, reblogged, and reblogged again. Anyway… The RC4 cipher is considered broken, however many https websites still use it as default and Firefox even displays these connections as “high grade encryption”. What can you do? Disable RC4 in the Firefox configuration! -Andreas, the dilfridge blog


Following $10 million gift received by the RSA, many speakers are withdrawing from the 2014 RSA conference. For many cryptographers, giving a talk at an event run by a company that deliberately weakens it’s security is immoral.

The only thing stopping corporations from putting NSA backdoors into their products is the risk of getting caught. RSA got caught backdooring BSAFE. If nobody seems to care, if RSA doesn’t suffer consequences, then nothing will stop other corporations from following suit. -Robert Graham, Errata Security


Phoronix is a nice place to get insight in the future of open source software, an recent article focusses on the Linux 3.14 and it’s possible features.

We’re finally nearing the end of the Linux 3.13 development cycle and while this kernel delivers on many exciting improvements, we already can’t wait to start talking more about the Linux 3.14 kernel with the continuous evolution of open-source software. The Linux 3.14 kernel merge window isn’t even open let alone the final release of the Linux 3.13 kernel, but here’s a glimpse at some of the features we know that are queued up right now to be merged into Linux 3.14 or stand chances to be merged into this next kernel release. -Michael Larabel, Phoronix


Almost all modern web browsers have some sort of extension feature which allows for third party developers to extend a browsers functionality. Recently adware vendors are buying chrome extensions and shipping these with ads. The auto-update feature distributes the malware to the end users.

While Chrome itself is updated automatically by Google, that update process also includes Chrome’s extensions, which are updated by the extension owners. This means that it’s up to the user to decide if the owner of an extension is trustworthy or not, since you are basically giving them permission to push new code out to your browser whenever they feel like it. To make matters worse, ownership of a Chrome extension can be transferred to another party, and users are never informed when an ownership change happens. Malware and adware vendors have caught wind of this and have started showing up at the doors of extension authors, looking to buy their extensions. Once the deal is done and the ownership of the extension is transferred, the new owners can issue an ad-filled update over Chrome’s update service, which sends the adware out to every user of that extension. -Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica

Nov 012013

An article that was recently published on SemiAccurate reveals the plans that AMD haves for hQ or Heterogeneous Queuing, the next step in merging the CPU and the GPU.

Conceptually speaking hQ is a pretty simple idea to explain because at its most basic level all it does is allow the GPU to send tasks to the CPU. Of course this simple thing to explain has a lot of tech behind it, simplicity is usually the product of a lot of hard work. Before hQ the CPU could place tasks on to the GPU’s queue but not the other way around


IBM and Libeliam have presented their “Internet of Things” starter kit. The Waspmote Mote Runner Networking Kit is available for €1,500 and the Lab Kit is priced at €2,550.

IBM and Libelium, a wireless sensor network hardware provider, today released an Internet of Things Starter Kit to enable dozens of sensor applications ranging from monitoring parking spaces or air pollution to providing assistance for the elderly. Created by IBM scientists and Libelium engineers to ease application development, testing, and scalability of wireless sensor networks (WSN), the new Internet of Things Starter Kit integrates Libelium’s Waspmote wireless sensor platform with IBM’s Mote Runner software and 6LoWPAN, which allows every single sensor and device to connect directly to the Internet using the new IPv6 protocol.


Further, Monty at has released Part 4 of the “Introduction to Daalaseries, covering the prediction of chroma planes. Must read for those who are interested in image compression or those who are curious about the next generation open source video codec.

There’s obvious perceptual value to Chroma from Luma prediction, but the technique proposed for HEVC wouldn’t work in Daala. Even if the computational cost didn’t concern us, it requires reconstructed pixels in the spatial domain, and we’d run into all the same lapping-related logistical problems that prevent us from performing intra prediction in space rather than frequency. Thus, we need to perform Chroma from Luma in the frequency domain, just like intra prediction. As it turns out, a frequency-domain Chroma from Luma is considerably easier and faster than the spatial counterpart.


Oct 262013

A very interesting presentation from Julien Goodwin, a network engineer at Google, explaining important things every sysadmin should know. Presentation is about 30 minutes and contains a lot of “non textbook” information.


  • What breaks traceroute
  • Packet fragmentation and MTUs
  • Anycasting
  • Geolocation
  • NAT and security
  • Leaking private IP addresses
  • IPv6 is already running in your network