LTE Weaknesses (PDF) — ShmooCon talk about how weak LTE is: a lot of unencrypted exchanges between handset and basestation, cheap and easy to fake up a basestation.
Analyzo — Find and Compare the Best Tools for your Startup it claims. We’re in an age of software surplus: more projects, startups, apps, and tools than we can keep in our heads. There’s a place for curated lists, which is why every week brings a new one.
How to Keep the NSA Out — NSA’s head of Tailored Access Operations (aka attacking other countries) gives some generic security advice, and some interesting glimpses. “Don’t assume a crack is too small to be noticed, or too small to be exploited,” he said. If you do a penetration test of your network and 97 things pass the test but three esoteric things fail, don’t think they don’t matter. Those are the ones the NSA, and other nation-state attackers will seize on, he explained. “We need that first crack, that first seam. And we’re going to look and look and look for that esoteric kind of edge case to break open and crack in.”
You Can’t Destroy a Village to Save It (EFF) — EFF have a clever compromise for W3C’s proposal for DRM on the Web. [T]he W3C could have its cake and eat it, too. It could adopt a rule that requires members who help make DRM standards to promise not to sue people who report bugs in tools that conform to those standards, nor could they sue people just for making a standards-based tool that connected to theirs. They could make DRM, but only if they made sure that they took steps to stop that DRM from being used to attack the open Web. I hope the W3C take it.
Copyright Law Shouldn’t Keep Me From Fixing a Tractor (Slate) — When a farmer friend of mine wanted to know if there was a way to tweak the copyrighted software of his broken tractor, I knew it was going to be rough. The only way to get around the DMCA’s restriction on software tinkering is to ask the Copyright Office for an exemption at the Section 1201 Rulemaking, an arduous proceeding that takes place just once every three years.
License to Drive — I have difficulty viewing No Drive Day as imminent. We’re maybe 95% there, but that last 5% will be a lengthy slog.
Object Lessons — Bogost and Schaberg edit a series about the hidden lives of ordinary things, from advocates to attendants, heresies to shares. For anyone who cares about products.
A Data Programming CS1 Course (PDF) — We have found that students can be motivated to learn programming and computer science concepts in order to analyze DNA, predict the outcome of elections, detect fraudulent data, suggest friends in a social network, determine the authorship of documents, and more. The approach is more than just a collection of “nifty assignments”; rather, it affects the choice of topics and pedagogy.
Cars and the Future (Ben Thompson) — This generational pattern of adoption will, in the history books, look sudden, even as it seems to unfold ever so slowly for those of us in the here and now — especially those of us working in technology. The pace of change in the technology industry — which is young, hugely driven by Moore’s Law, and which has largely catered to change-embracing geeks — is likely the true aberration. After all, the biggest mistake consistently made by technologists is forgetting that for most people technology is a means to an end, and for all the benefits we can list when it comes to over-the-top video or a network of on-demand self-driving vehicles, change and the abandonment of long-held ideals like the open road and a bit of TV after supper is an end most would prefer to avoid.
CES 2016 Observations for Product People — The big challenge is no surprise. Software development is unable to keep up with the hardware. What is going to separate one device from another or one company from another will be the software execution, not just the choice of chipset or specs for a peripheral/sensor. It would be hard to overstate the clear opportunity to build winning products using stronger software relative to competitors. Said another way, spending too many cycles on hardware pits you against the supply chain for most products. The whole piece is solid.
Science on a Sphere — for when you want to see global data visualised without 2-D projection distortion.
Lebowsky and Sterling’s 2016 State of the World — These physical barriers will suffer the “Fukushima effect:” the dikes you built to resist the tsunami only hold those catastrophic waters in, once the almighty wave comes over the top. Also, the industrial complex you are trying to protect from natural disaster becomes the source of a secondary, artificial disaster. (via BoingBoing)
End-to-End Arguments in System Design (PDF) — End-to-end arguments are a kind of “Occam’s razor” when it comes to choosing the functions to be provided in a communication subsystem. Because the communication subsystem is frequently specified before applications that use the subsystem are known, the designer may be tempted to “help” the users by taking on more function than necessary. Awareness of end-to-end arguments can help to reduce such temptations.
Visual Genome — a data set, a knowledge base, an ongoing effort to connect structured image concepts to language.
Google’s Software Defined Networking — [What was the biggest risk you faced rolling out the network? …] we were breaking the fate-sharing principle—which is to say we were putting ourselves in a situation where either the controller could fail without the switch failing, or the switch could fail without the controller failing. That generally leads to big problems in distributed computing, as many people learned the hard way once remote procedure calls became a dominant paradigm.
Philips Backtrack on Lightbulb DRM — In view of the sentiment expressed by our customers, we have decided to reverse the software upgrade so that lights from other brands continue to work as they did before with the Philips Hue system.
Pwning Tomorrow — EFF Publishes SF Anthology. You can expect liberties and freedoms to feature.
Distributed Reactive Programming (A Paper a Day) — this week’s focus on reactive programming has been eye-opening for me. I find the implementation details less interesting than the simple notion that we can define different consistency models for reactive programs and reason about them.
Attacking HTTP/2 Implementations — Our talk focused on threats, attack vectors, and vulnerabilities found during the course of our research. Two Firefox, two Apache Traffic Server (ATS), and four Node-http2 vulnerabilities will be discussed alongside the release of the first public HTTP/2 fuzzer. We showed how these bugs were found, their root cause, why they occur, and how to trigger them.
The Autonomous Winter is Coming — The future of any given manufacturer will be determined by how successfully they manage their brands in a market split between Mobility customers and Driving customers.
How Will We Live? — we tend to imbue technology with the ideals of the people who have created it, and the messages of those who market it. However, creators and marketeers only ever set the affordances and suggest a use case. A technology’s true impact will always be defined by those who use it. Whether that’s knitting groups or fascist regimes, technology becomes an amplifier and accelerator of the social, cultural, and political values of the groups who use it, not those who made it. And it will continue to be used in ways you can never imagine.
Fortunate People Say No (Ian Bogost) — you have to say ‘yes’ for a long while before you can earn the right to say ‘no.’ Even then, you usually can’t say ‘no’ at whim. By the time you can say ‘no’ indiscriminately, then you’re already so super-privileged that being able to say ‘no’ is not a prerequisite of success, but a result of it. (via Austin Kleon) (via Cory Doctorow)
The Thing From The Future (Stuart Candy) — a game for creating thought-provoking artifacts from the future. Design fiction idea generator, in other words.
Apple’s Incredible Platform Advantage (Steve Cheney) — the best people in chip design no longer want to work at Intel or Qualcomm. They want to work at Apple. I have plenty of friends in the Valley who affirm this. Sure Apple products are cooler. But Apple has also surpassed Intel in performance. This is insane. A device company – which makes CPUs for internal use – surpassing Intel, the world’s largest chip maker that practically invented the CPU and has thousands of customers.
Data Center’s Days are Numbered — Adrian Cockroft says, the investments going into bolstering security on AWS and other clouds are set to pay off to the point where within five years, “it will be impossible to get security certification if you’re not running in the cloud because the tools designed for data centers are sloppily put together and can’t offer the auditing for PCI and other regulators.”
A Peek Inside IBM’s R&D Lab — IBM still has a physics department, but at this point, almost every physicist is somehow linked to a product plan or customer plan.
The Hit Charade (MIT TR) — Spotify’s deep-learning system still has to be trained using millions of example songs, and it would be perplexed by a bold new style of music. What’s more, such algorithms cannot arrange songs in a creative way. Nor can they distinguish between a truly original piece and yet another me-too imitation of a popular sound. Johnson acknowledges this limitation, and he says human expertise will remain a key part of Spotify’s algorithms for the foreseeable future.
The Future of War is the Distant Past (John Birmingham) — the Naval Academy is hedging against the future by creating cybersecurity midshipmen, and by requiring every midshipman to learn how to do celestial navigation.
What Happens Next Will Amaze You (Maciej Ceglowski) — the next in Maciej’s amazing series of keynotes, where he’s building a convincing case for fixing the Web.
Ashley Madison’s Fembot Con (Gizmodo) — As documents from company e-mails now reveal, 80% of first purchases on Ashley Madison were a result of a man trying to contact a bot, or reading a message from one.
Why Futurism Has a Cultural Blindspot (Nautilus) — As the psychologist George Lowenstein and colleagues have argued, in a phenomenon they termed “projection bias,” people “tend to exaggerate the degree to which their future tastes will resemble their current tastes.”
Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm (Quartz) — The robotic arm is connected by wires that link up to the wearer’s motor cortex — the part of the brain that controls muscle movement — and sensory cortex, which identifies tactile sensations when you touch things. The wires from the motor cortex allow the wearer to control the motion of the robot arm, and pressure sensors in the arm that connect back into the sensory cortex give the wearer the sensation that they are touching something.