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Mozilla: VoxelJS, AiC and Mozilla B-Team

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla VR Blog: VoxelJS: Chunking Magic

    A couple of weeks ago I relaunched VoxelJS with modern ThreeJS and modules support. Today I'm going to talk a little bit about how VoxelJS works internally, specifically how voxels are represented and drawn. This is the key magic part of a voxel engine and I owe a tremendous debt to Max Ogden, James Halliday and Mikola Lysenko

    Voxels are represented by numbers in a large three dimensional array. Each number says what type of block goes in that block slot, with 0 representing empty. The challenge is how to represent a potentially infinite set of voxels without slowing the computer to a crawl. The only way to do this is to load just a portion of the world at a time.

  • AiC: Collaborative summary documents

    One of my goals was that we could, at least for a moment, disconnect people from their particular position and turn their attention towards the goal of achieving a shared and complete summary. I didn’t feel that we were very succesful in this goal.

    For one thing, most participants simply left comments on parts they disagreed with; they didn’t themselves suggest alternate wording. That meant that I personally had to take their complaint and try to find some “middle ground” that accommodated the concern but preserved the original point. This was stressful for me and a lot of work. More importantly, it meant that most people continued to interact with the document as advocates for their point-of-view, rather than trying to step back and advocate for the completeness of the summary.

    In other words: when you see a sentence you disagree with, it is easy to say that you disagree with it. It is much harder to rephrase it in a way that you do agree with – but which still preserves (what you believe to be) the original intent. Doing so requires you to think about what the other person likely meant, and how you can preserve that.

    However, one possible reason that people may have been reluctant to offer suggestions is that, often, it was hard to make “small edits” that addressed people’s concerns. Especially early on, I found that, in order to address some comment, I would have to make larger restructurings. For example, taking a small sentence and expanding it to a bullet point of its own.

    Finally, some people who were active on the thread didn’t participate in the doc. Or, if they did, they did so by leaving comments on the original GitHub thread. This is not surprising: I was asking people to do something new and unfamiliar. Also, this whole process played out relatively quickly, and I suspect some people just didn’t even see the document before it was done.

    If I were to do this again, I would want to start it earlier in the process. I would also want to consider synchronous meetings, where we could go try to process edits as a group (but I think it would take some thought to figure out how to run such a meeting).

    In terms of functioning asynchronously, I would probably change to use a Google Doc instead of a Dropbox Paper. Google Docs have a better workflow for suggesting edits, I believe, as well, as a richer permissions model.

    Finally, I would try to draw a harder line in trying to get people to “own” the document and suggest edits of their own. I think the challenge of trying to neutrally represent someone else’s point of view is pretty powerful.

  • Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day!

    Bugfixes + enabling the new security feature for API keys.

More in Tux Machines

Security Leftovers

  • Why Are Cryptographers Being Denied Entry into the US?

    Is there some cryptographer blacklist? Is something else going on? A lot of us would like to know.

  • Security Engineering: Third Edition

    Today I put online a chapter on Who is the Opponent, which draws together what we learned from Snowden and others about the capabilities of state actors, together with what we’ve learned about cybercrime actors as a result of running the Cambridge Cybercrime Centre. Isn’t it odd that almost six years after Snowden, nobody’s tried to pull together what we learned into a coherent summary?

    There’s also a chapter on Surveillance or Privacy which looks at policy. What’s the privacy landscape now, and what might we expect from the tussles over data retention, government backdoors and censorship more generally?

  • Google halts some business with China's Huawei: report

    Huawei will reportedly no longer be able to access Android updates, the Gmail app, the Google Play store and new versions of Google phones outside of China.

  • Google restricts Huawei's use of Android

    Existing Huawei smartphone users will be able to update apps and push through security fixes, as well as update Google Play services.

    But when Google launches the next version of Android later this year, it may not be available on Huawei devices.

    Future Huawei devices may no longer have apps such as YouTube and Maps.

  • Forget Huawei, The Internet Of Things Is The Real Security Threat
    We've noted for a while how a lot of the US protectionist security hysteria surrounding Huawei isn't supported by much in the way of hard data. And while it's certainly possible that Huawei helps the Chinese government spy, the reality is that Chinese (or any other) intelligence services don't really need to rely on Huawei to spy on the American public. Why? Because people around the world keep connecting millions of internet of broken things devices to their home and business networks that lack even the most rudimentary of security and privacy protections. Week after week we've documented how these devices are being built with both privacy and security as a distant afterthought, resulting in everything from your television to your refrigerator creating both new attack vectors and wonderful new surveillance opportunities for hackers and state actors.

today's howtos

Android Leftovers

A Look At The MDS Cost On Xeon, EPYC & Xeon Total Impact Of Affected CPU Vulnerabilities

This weekend I posted a number of benchmarks looking at the performance impact of the new MDS/Zombieload vulnerabilities that also included a look at the overall cost of Spectre/Meltdown/L1TF/MDS on Intel desktop CPUs and AMD CPUs (Spectre). In this article are similar benchmarks but turning the attention now to Intel Xeon hardware and also comparing those total mitigation costs against AMD EPYC with its Spectre mitigations. This article offers a look at the MDS/Zombieload mitigations on a 1st Gen Skylake Xeon Scalable server as well as a Kabylake Xeon E3 server for reference. Following that is a look at the total CPU vulnerability mitigation costs for 1st Gen Xeon Scalable, 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake), and an AMD EPYC 2P server as well for its Spectre mitigations. As expected given Intel's guidance last week of their latest Xeon processors being mitigated for MDS, indeed, the dual Xeon Platinum 8280 Cascade Lake server reported it was not affected by the MDS mitigations and thus not enabled. So for the MDS tests up first it's just some reference results using a dual Xeon Gold 6138 Skylake server running Ubuntu 19.04 with the Linux 5.0 patched kernel and reference results side-by-side for a separate Xeon E3-1275 v6 server. Read more