Weekly Update: 2019-08-11 to 2019-08-17

New Attack exploiting serious Bluetooth weakness can intercept sensitive data

Pretty much worst case scenario. Invisible to the end user, reduces the complexity and cracks the password. Patches are out from vendors, waiting on the Bluetooth SIG to response, as this is a problem with the spec. Ouch.

Don’t Forget That The Recent Russian Nuclear Accident Happened While Developing A Truly Insane Weapon

The US researched a similar weapon, but it was too awful even for them:

The Flying Crowbar was a nuclear-powered scramjet missile, capable of flying at hypersonic speeds with an almost indefinite range, spewing extremely radioactive exhaust and nuclear bombs all over the place.

Intel may actually be in real trouble

First it was AMD EPYC (Rome) and now Intel’s 10mm chips aren’t exactly blowing people away:

“If it were not for the vast increase in memory speed, moving from LPDDR3-2133 to LPDDR4X-3733, one might have predicted that the Core i7-1065G7 Ice Lake processor and the Core i7-8565U Whisky Lake processor would have performed equally…the one area where Ice Lake excels in is graphics.”
— anandtech

and now there may be yet another speculative execution flaw in Intel CPU: SWAPGS

Performance Matters

This story really highlights how software performance matters. Fractions of a second matter. Writing good software interfaces means building latency as close to zero as possible, either through optimizations or asynchronous processing with user feedback or whatever else you can come up with.

via blog

Study Blames Rise In Teens Who Need Glasses On Excessive Screen Time

I can’t say I’m surprised, it certainly reinforces what I assumed to be true. I think we will need some more, larger studies: this included 2,000 British parents including 678 parents of teens 13-16.

We checked and yup, it’s no longer 2001. And yet you can pwn a Windows box via Notepad.exe

And now for your weekly microsoft schadenfreude.

Building The Default x86_64 Linux Kernel In Just 16 Seconds

As someone who remembers 2 hour kernel + module builds in the 90s, this is really hard to wrap my head around. Sure, even my desktop machine in the last couple of years has been able to get that down well under 10 minutes, this is just mind boggling to me.

No silly tricks here, this is built using the default ("defconfig") - but I’m sure the Intel Optane 900p NVMe drives certainly don’t hurt. Especially because the author believes it is I/O bound.

The Past, Present and Future of Python


Elon Musk continues to bring the future into the present.

MANRS Observatory: Monitoring the State of Internet Routing Security

Routing security (read: BGP) will continue to be a serious issue for the forseeable future. Projects like MANRS will provide another tool to help monitor the state of routing security on the Internet.

Commodore’s Forgotten UNIX Workstation

The CBM-900 was introduced at CeBIT in 1985 and it was a workstation and server computer, based on the Z8001 CPU and ran a SRV4 UNIX clone called coherent which was developed by Mark Williams Company (MWC). Approximately 300-500 prototypes were produced and then recalled for destruction, but, apparently at least one survived, somehow. The story of Coherent I think is even more fascinating. It was a UNIX clone, but without every paying any AT&T licensing. AT&T eventually came to see if they were infringing on their source, and even Dennis Ritchie seemed to be convinced it wasn’t an outright copy as he was unable to find some obscure bugs he was aware of in UNIX at the time.

Episode 931: The IT Guy Vs. The Con Artist

Fascinating story about a guy who helped take down a scam call center that targeted elderly US residents with fake lottery winnings.


Japan’s NEC shows ‘flying car’ hovering steadily for minute

I can’t imagine that we’re more than 5-10 years from this being a commercial reality, if only for the extremely wealthy. Even something with a 20-30 minute flight time, flying in a straight line, can cover a huge amount of distance and can certainly get someone from the suburbs into the city. I live only a couple miles from the office, but with traffic that can mean 20 or even 30 minutes.

Samsung spent years trolling Apple in commercials. Now it’s cloning an iPhone feature it mocked and has deleted the ads.

I certainly don’t like the idea of removing the headphone jack. I’d take a larger phone with a headphone jack and a bigger battery, personally. But this is certainly nothing if not ironic.

Quote about programming languages from Bjarne Stroustrup

There are only two kinds of languages: the ones people complain about and the ones nobodoy uses.

The Version Museum

See old versions of websites and popular software.

A Walk In Hong Kong

A detailed look at how the protests in Hong Kong operate from an outsiders view who was visiting Hong Kong. Incredible efficiency and coordination.

via blog

The Unix Koans of Master Foo

Always a fun read from esr. If it’s been a few years, check them out again.


Page Out! - new e-zine

Wow, a "new e-zine" ? Havne’t heard that since the late 90s. Really interesting format, topics have to cover no more than one page. Lots of fun things in this issue, still flipping through it. Really feels like old zines from back in the day, but obviously with modern content and a little less teen-angst.