WMA DRM Patched!

Sigh…

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=3999

You know, does it strike anyone else as a tad odd that MS patched this in THREE DAYS, when their OS and browser have had security issues that have lingered for MONTHS?  Don’t suppose that has *anything* to do with Zune coming out, do you?

Unbelieveable list of priorities they have over there in Redmond… just absolutely unbelieveable.

[EDIT] You know, something just occurred to me.  $10 says the guy that cracked WMA is getting a check from Apple.  I mean, why would he bother cracking WMA when it’s a lap dog compared to the 800lb gorilla that is itunes and m3p.  Logically, m3p should’ve been his target – and anyone else wanting to disable DRM.

Behold the Cray XT3

The Jaguar Oak Ridge National Labs lives…

http://www.cray.com/products/xt3/index.html

It may not exactly be Lawrence-Livermore’s BlueGene/L , but… oh… what’s that I spy under the hood on that Processing Element? It can’t be… YES… It’s an AMD Opteron. Indeed! Why do you think Cray uses Opty’s? Because you can’t beat them in the performace and scalability department, that’s why.

The BlueGenes, in case you were wondering, are based on the PowerPC, which my high school pal Magnus worked on (so I can’t knock ’em).

Per the article in DailyTech:
“Jaguar now has the capacity to perform at 54 teraflops up from the supercomputers previous peak of 25 teraflops.

The upgrade was part of a multiphase $200M USD contact between the Department of Energy — which runs ORNL — and Cray Inc. The first phase included replacing Jaguar’s 5,212 processors with new dual core Opteron parts as well as doubling memory capacity. Engineers also upgraded the high speed interconnects between the machines to increase overall throughput.

In November Cray Inc. and ORNL hope to complete phase two of the project which will increase performance to 100 teraflops. Phase three will further increase Jaguar’s performance to a final 250 teraflops by the end of 2007. In 2008 ORNL will install a new supercomputer currently code-named Baker that will be able to perform up One petaflop 4 times faster than Jaguar after all of its upgrades are complete.”

RIAA Followup

So after all the bad press reflected in my last RIAA post, they decided to drop the suit against the grieving family of the deceased defendant.  And you know what?  The fact that it took bad press for them to drop the case makes me hate them more.  Doing the right thing because it’s the ring thing to do is one matter, but doing it to make yourself look good is another matter entirely.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060815-7507.htmlMaybe I need to create a “RIAA Idiocy” category… hmm.

Schneier’s Comments on Airline Security

This is an excellent commentary by Bruce Scheiner – thought it deserved posting the full text here instead of a link to a URL:

“Last Week’s Terrorism Arrests”
From CRYPTO-GRAM, August 15, 2006
by Bruce Schneier

Hours-long waits in the security line. Ridiculous prohibitions on what you can carry on board. Last week’s foiling of a major terrorist plot and the subsequent airport security changes graphically illustrates the difference between effective security and security theater.

None of the airplane security measures implemented because of 9/11 — no-fly lists, secondary screening, prohibitions against pocket knives and corkscrews — had anything to do with last week’s arrests. And they wouldn’t have prevented the planned attacks, had the terrorists not been arrested. A national ID card wouldn’t have made a difference, either.

Instead, the arrests are a victory for old-fashioned intelligence and investigation. Details are still secret, but police in at least two countries were watching the terrorists for a long time. They followed leads, figured out who was talking to whom, and slowly pieced together both the network and the plot.

The new airplane security measures focus on that plot, because authorities believe they have not captured everyone involved. It’s reasonable to assume that a few lone plotters, knowing their compatriots are in jail and fearing their own arrest, would try to finish the job on their own. The authorities are not being public with the details — much of the “explosive liquid” story doesn’t hang together — but the excessive security measures seem prudent.

But only temporarily. Banning box cutters since 9/11, or taking off our shoes since Richard Reid, has not made us any safer. And a long-term prohibition against liquid carry-on items won’t make us safer, either. It’s not just that there are ways around the rules, it’s that focusing on tactics is a losing proposition.

It’s easy to defend against what terrorists planned last time, but it’s shortsighted. If we spend billions fielding liquid-analysis machines in airports and the terrorists use solid explosives, we’ve wasted our money. If they target shopping malls, we’ve wasted our money. Focusing on tactics simply forces the terrorists to make a minor modification in their plans. There are too many targets — stadiums, schools, theaters, churches, the long line of densely packed people in front of airport security — and too many ways to kill people.

Security measures that attempt to guess correctly don’t work, because invariably we will guess wrong. It’s not security, it’s security theater: measures designed to make us feel safer but not actually safer.

Airport security is the last line of defense, and not a very good one at that. Sure, it’ll catch the sloppy and the stupid — and that’s a good enough reason not to do away with it entirely — but it won’t catch a well-planned plot. We can’t keep weapons out of prisons; we can’t possibly keep them off airplanes.

The goal of a terrorist is to cause terror. Last week’s arrests demonstrate how real security doesn’t focus on possible terrorist tactics, but on the terrorists themselves. It’s a victory for intelligence and investigation, and a dramatic demonstration of how investments in these areas pay off.

And what can you do to help? Don’t be terrorized. They terrorize more of us if they kill some of us, but the dead are beside the point. If we give in to fear, the terrorists achieve their goal even if they are arrested. If we refuse to be terrorized, then they lose — even if their attacks succeed.

New airline security rules:
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/08/new_airline_sec.html
http://www.educatedguesswork.org/movabletype/archives/2006/08/threat_modellin_1.html or http://tinyurl.com/nxqe4

Getting inside the terrorists’ heads (funny cartoon):
http://www.wondermark.com/d/220.html

The DHS declares an entire state of matter a security risk:
http://cosmicvariance.com/2006/08/12/liquid/

And here’s a good commentary on being scared:
http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2006/08/wait-arent-you-scared.html

A version of this article originally appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
http://www.startribune.com/562/story/609687.html

The Oswald Photo Gallery is Online

After experimenting with several gallery packages, I’ve gone with Coppermine. You can get to the Oswald Photo Gallery through the link in the “Personal” group on the right, or in the “Family Pictures” section of the “Individual Items” group. I’ll be working on integrating it a little better with the WordPress Kubrick theme I’m using here, but that’s going to take a LONG time.

http://oswald.us/coppermine/index.php

Once you’re in the gallery, you can get back over here by clicking on the “@” in the menu and choosing the “Home” link. Note that the house icon in the toolbar takes you back to the Gallery front page – not back to the oswald.us home page.