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Wednesday Morning (4 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 10-January-2018  00:33:18 (GMT +10) - by Agg

The big story of the last week or so has of course been the Intel CPU Security Flaw. There's an explanation of the actual problem in this article. To make this not be a problem for a CPU, the promise is that all this speculative execution leaves no trace. The assumption is that if it failed, it was like the attempt was never made. All effects are rolled back. This assumption, which turns out to be false, is key to understanding Meltdown/Spectre. Apple have confirmed that their products are affected also. Basically you just have to wait for your various systems to be updated.

AMD have issued a statement as well, thanks Lt. Sniper. When AMD learned that researchers had discovered a new CPU attack targeting the speculative execution functionality used by multiple chip companies’ products, we immediately engaged across the ecosystem to address the teams’ findings. The research team identified three variants within the speculative execution research. The below grid details the specific variants detailed in the research and the AMD response details.

The real-world problem is that any fix will cause a performance issue, particularly for servers. Intel has admitted that performance issues will be “highly workload-dependent,” and that further software updates should help. Some Linux admins are reporting performance impacts, and it’s clear we’re only just starting to understand how this could impact internet services. TechSpot have looked into Windows 10 performance before and after the patch. Anyway, keep up to date with this thread.

One additional aspect concerns the CEO selling Intel stock with awkward timing. Intel Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich’s sale of a chunk of company stock in the fourth quarter of last year has prompted questions about the transaction’s timing because it happened after the discovery that modern processors are vulnerable to hackers. Seems to just be coincidence tho. Probably.

A few people sent word that Internode have ended their usenet service. Update 09/01/2018: Due to changes in the underlying wholesale service, this service has been discontinued and is no longer available. Customers that wish to continue using NNTP usenet news services will need seek access to the service from a third-party provider.

NVIDIA will be dropping 32-bit support soon. The time has come for gamers and enthusiasts to ditch their 32-bit operating system (assuming you haven't already), because NVIDIA has announced that it will no longer support drivers for these operating systems. If you have been hobbling along on an old 32-bit version of an OS to save some money, perhaps Santa can bring you a 64-bit OS. NIVIDIA says that support will end after the 390 driver release.

Here's a cool article about cracking 45-year-old encryption. We've been archiving a bunch of old Xerox Alto disk packs from the 1970s. A few of them turned out to be password-protected, so I needed to figure out how to get around the password protection. I've developed a way to disable password protection, as well as a program to find the password instantly.

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All original content copyright James Rolfe. All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.