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Thursday Night (6 Comments) (link)
 Thursday, 13-June-2019  23:53:11 (GMT +10) - by Agg

OCAU member SiliconAngel has some concerns about Broadband Performance Measurement, and outlined them in this thread. The Broadband Monitoring Programme seeks to provide real-world data sampled from consumer Internet services so that Retail Service Provider (RSP) products can be compared by an independent body (the ACCC) and the results are published publicly. The ACCC has commissioned SamKnows to conduct this data collection using ‘whitebox’ devices that are pre-configured and are simply connected to the end user’s router. As one of the participants of this programme, I quickly noticed the data being collected and reported by my whitebox showed my connection performance was implausibly low.

I was addicted to the game Star Control back in the Amiga days but hadn't thought about it much since then - seems it's still hot (intellectual) property. Stardock's Brad Wardell and original Star Control creators Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III announced over the weekend that all parties have reached an amicable settlement in the tangled web of lawsuits between them and Stardock, which stretch back almost two years.

Boneburner sent in some space-based goodness: Thanks to a webcam installed in Nasa’s Mars Rover clean room – the public can watch this vehicle being painstakingly assembled. Called Seeing 2020, the Stream is live 24/7 and every Monday to Thursday between 11.am and 4pm PDT, the public can pose questions to be answered by the JPL crew or the social media team to answer. Discussion thread here, more info here and here.

Closer to home, von Stalheim taunted me with yet another flying car I don't have. :) The newly named Aska -- Japanese for flying bird -- will be the size of a large SUV when on the road and will fit three passengers, said Chief Executive Maki Kaplinsky. Passengers will drive to a nearby open area the size of a few parking spaces, most likely a designated spot near a highway or in a big parking lot. There, the Aska will extend its wings, take off vertically and fly autonomously for a typical range up to 150 miles -- no pilot required.

Here's a new hack I hadn't heard about: rowhammering. Rowhammer attacks work by rapidly accessing—or hammering—physical rows inside vulnerable chips in ways that cause bits in neighboring rows to flip, meaning 1s turn to 0s and vice versa. The attacks work because as capacitors become closer together, they more quickly leak the electrical charges that store the bits. At one time, these bit flips were little more than an exotic crashing phenomenon that was known to be triggered only by cosmic rays. But when induced with surgical precision, as researchers have demonstrated over the past four years, Rowhammer can have potentially serious effects on the security of the devices that use the vulnerable chips.

Speaking of hacks, British pop gargantuans Radiohead recently released hours of MiniDisc audio to thwart a hacker's threats to release them. Radiohead have released a vast collection of unreleased tracks made during the sessions for 1997 album OK Computer, after a MiniDisc archive owned by frontman Thom Yorke was hacked last week by an unnamed person, who reportedly asked for a $150,000 ransom to return the recordings.

In this digital world it's hard to think of data as being genuinely lost, but it's been revealed that thousands of music master recordings, most of which there are no other copies of, were destroyed in a fire a decade ago. Eleven years ago this month, a fire ripped through a part of Universal Studios Hollywood. At the time, the company said that the blaze had destroyed the theme park’s “King Kong” attraction and a video vault that contained only copies of old works. But, according to an article published on Tuesday by The New York Times Magazine, the fire also tore through an archive housing treasured audio recordings, amounting to what the piece described as “the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.”

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