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Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 1 hour 11 min ago

Hunting bugs in the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Wednesday 4th of November 2015 11:32:33 AM
Google's Project Zero, which investigates the security of popular software, recently turned its attention to the Galaxy S6 Edge. A week of investigation showed that there are a number of weak points in the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Over the course of a week, we found a total of 11 issues with a serious security impact. Several issues were found in device drivers and image processing, and there were also some logic issues in the device that were high impact and easy-to-exploit. The majority of these issues were fixed on the device we tested via an OTA update within 90 days, though three lower-severity issues remain unfixed. It is promising that the highest severity issues were fixed and updated on-device in a reasonable time frame. I love that Google has Project Zero, and that the Zero team is not afraid of exposing the weaknesses in the company's own products (in this case, Android). Few companies out there would allow this.

Smite, sexism and the soul of esports

Tuesday 3rd of November 2015 09:29:39 PM
Great article at Polygon, looking into the position of women in esports and the abuse they're receiving. Every coaching position she's held has come with abuse. There's the European rival who thinks it's funny to goad her with extravagant compliments about her appearance. There's the South American player who promises to kiss her when they meet at a live event. There's the Israeli player who said he didn't want her advice because she's a woman. And there's the countless spectators who spew insults at her through social media and streaming feeds. But there are also those who recognize her abilities, including her players, other top coaches, senior people at Smite publisher Hi-Rez Studios and commentators who recognize the stamp of her tactics and her influence on improving teams. Aside from the Baghdad Bobs in gaming, we all know the gaming world - and by extension, esports - isn't exactly the most welcoming environment for women. Luckily, it's starting to dawn on the companies in esports, such as Hi-Rez discussed in the linked article, that things need to change, and that steps need to be made to significantly curb the misogyny and abuse. The League of Legends world championships, the most popular esports event in the world, just concluded this weekend. One weekend earlier, the semifinals were held in Brussels. One quite prominent figure in the League of Legends esports community, presenter and interviewer Eefje "Sjokz" Depoortere, is from Belgium, and parent company Riot took the opportunity to play a fantastic spotlight of her at the start of the event, in front of 17000 people and the millions of viewers around the world. The video details the work that she does, and the prominent way in which the spotlight was played - just before the semifinals started - really drove the point home just how important she's become. In an article posted today, Depoortere recalled the moment the video was played. Sjokz had her own fair share of cherished moments throughout the weekend, particularly when a video feature about her life in Belgium and her work at Riot aired in the 17,000-seat arena. "It was very emotional!" she says. "I hadn't thought through that I would be on stage listening to myself! I felt kind of embarrassed, because I thought, 'Oh, these people have to sit through it,' but all the people were quiet. They were actually listening and watching and it was an extremely heartwarming moment for me." The feature touched on some less savoury aspects of being a successful, high-profile woman in a male-dominated industry, particularly sexism and a lack of respect for Sjokz's work, but since it aired she has received a huge influx of support. Even from people who have been less than pleasant in the past. "Some of them wrote to me and they said, 'Hey, I'm actually very sorry. I didn't realise what I was doing. I really respect your work.'" We're a long way off from women being treated matter-of-factly universally throughout esports in particular and gaming in general, but it's at least encouraging to see that steps are being taken. Maybe, just maybe, we'll eventually see women players feel secure and safe enough to compete at the highest levels.

SGI screen fonts converted for OS X

Monday 2nd of November 2015 09:12:56 PM
In 2003 I used PfaEdit, now FontForge, to convert screen to a TrueType font so it'd work on OS X, and I have used it as my standard bitmapped font since. I would have made the conversions public earlier, but I was concerned about whether this would be a licensing violation. It turns out the SGI fonts were released under a MIT license a few months after I initially converted them back in 2003, but I didn’t notice until today. So, here are the fonts for you to download. The SGI font is classic. So memorable.

UK to ban encryption

Monday 2nd of November 2015 09:09:54 PM
British re-elected prime-minister Cameron is continuing his life's mission of invading the British people's privacy and severely restricting their freedoms. Internet and social media companies will be banned from putting customer communications beyond their own reach under new laws to be unveiled on Wednesday. Companies such as Apple, Google and others will no longer be able to offer encryption so advanced that even they cannot decipher it when asked to, the Daily Telegraph can disclose. Measures in the Investigatory Powers Bill will place in law a requirement on tech firms and service providers to be able to provide unencrypted communications to the police or spy agencies if requested through a warrant. How on earth did you Brits manage to not only elect this dangerous man, but also re-elect him?

Blue Lion: new OS/2 distribution due 2016

Monday 2nd of November 2015 04:44:46 PM
Lewis Rosenthal announced at Warpstock that Arca Noae is now licensed by IBM to create a new OS/2 distribution; it is currently codenamed "Blue Lion" and has a tentative release of Q3 2016. It will be based on OS/2 Warp 4.52 (MCP2) and the SMP kernel, with a new installer which does not require floppies or optical media (USB and possibly network installs), the Arca Noae driver updates including ACPI, USB, and MultiMac, and an updated version of SNAP Graphics. Lewis made it clear that there is no agreement between Arca Noae and XEU (formerly Mensys), and they intend to be a better OS/2 distribution than eComstation. Note that eComstation has been effectively dead since December 2013, despite some vague promises earlier this year that 2.2 would finally be released this month. Not sure if the harsh words for eComStation are entirely warranted, but the long, long release cycle for eCS 2.2 and IBM engaging in this new agreement is, honestly, quite telling.

A-EON introduces Tabor and the A1222

Monday 2nd of November 2015 04:36:19 PM
A-EON Technology Ltd is pleased to announce that Tabor, a new powerful, low cost, entry level PowerPC motherboard, which forms part of our A1200 series, is about to undergo beta testing. As part of our drive to create more powerful lower cost, entry level hardware and expand the Next-Generation user base we commissioned Ultra Varisys to create a new PowerPC motherboard. The result is Tabor, a 170 mm x 170 mm mother-board based on a Freescale QorIQ P1022 32-bit e500v2 dual-core PowerPC processor running at 1.2 GHz. Prototypes have already been shipped to key developers and members of A-EON Technology’s Core Linux support team and, as a result, several Linux distributions are already up and running on the Tabor board. Working in cooperation with ACube srl, a beta test programme is about to commence, which is already over-subscribed. Sounds like nice hardware, and it's great the Amiga community, even after all these years, can still buy new machines for AmigaOS 4.

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Tux Machines Again Faces DDOS Attacks

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