Internet Explorer 10 Exploitable: Both More & Less Than Hype

Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2012 - 04:19 PM |
Tagged: Malware, IE10, flash

Recent statements from Microsoft show that they are not afraid to wait a little bit before shipping patches with their bundled Flash in Internet Explorer 10. The issue is more contained than is let on by Ars Technica – but also raises a bigger security issue for all of us at all times.

By far the worst enemy for security is complacency.

I often pick on Apple for their security practices. They are perceived as being secure despite their horrendous record of handling security updates – delaying a critical patch for privately disclosed vulnerabilities until after its reveal at Blackhat because Apple could not devote the programmer to the task.

That mentality has been everywhere – from Sony to Microsoft in the Windows XP era to Macromedia & Adobe.

In this case the issue is that Microsoft has been delaying updates to the built in copy of Adobe Flash preinstalled with Internet Explorer 10. Once a patch has been released attackers are able to figure out what the patch fixes and potentially exploit it for those who have yet to update. There are quite a few subtle caveats with this story which need to be discussed before opinions are made.

windowsupdate.png

... Relatively speaking...

First and foremost – Flash support on the Metro-based Internet Explorer 10 is limited to a whitelist. Flash is not exposed to websites which have not been flagged by Microsoft as safe and requiring backwards compatibility with Flash.

Websites become compromised all the time. Should one of the whitelisted websites get attacked it could become forced to serve a Flash applet to its users. The delay between Adobe and Microsoft patching dates gives the attackers a window to exploit all IE10 users until the whitelisted website notices. Attacks like these are very commonplace recently.

As an aside – there is quite a bit of confusion over Internet Explorer 10 on the desktop. According to the RTM evaluation it appears as though the only way to update Flash for Internet Explorer is through Windows Update even when not using the Metro browser. The whitelist is also in effect for Windows on the desktop although it seems like users are able to add their own exemptions. It appears like user-set exemptions is unique to the desktop version of IE.

It is disconcerting to see a platform become complacent to potential security issues intentionally. To be fair it is entirely possible that Google Chrome could have similar issues as they too handle Adobe Flash integration. Unlike IE10, Google Chrome does allow you to disable the built in Flash and manage your updates directly from Adobe although the process is far too complicated for most users.

Source: Ars Technica

Prepare to be shocked ... ARM has negative things to say about Intel Inside phones

Subject: General Tech | September 7, 2012 - 02:27 PM |
Tagged: arm, Intel, atom, atom z2460, ARM Army

It is hard to believe that competing tech companies might make comments about their competitors that could be construed as negative but it has happened today as ARM calls Intel power hungry.  From what DigiTimes could gather, a VP at ARM suggested that the Atom architecture consumes more power in total than ARM processors, though he stayed away from any comment about processing power per watt.  This could well be because handset makers describe the Z2460 as more powerful than the ARM and only slightly less power efficient, something the ARM Army would rather was not mentioned.  In the coming months consumers will get a chance to compare this for themselves as Windows 8 phones running on both Intel and ARM hardware will become available for direct comparison.

ARM-chip3.jpg

"While Intel has been making efforts to tap the handset processor market, the company still has a long way to go to catch up with ARM in terms of power consumption, according to Noel Hurley, vice president for Marketing & Strategy, Processor Division, ARM."

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Source: DigiTimes

Come on AMD, spill the beans on Steamroller already

Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2012 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: vishera, trinity, Steamroller, piledriver, hot chips, bulldozer, amd, Abu Dhabi

You've seen the slides everywhere and read through what Josh could observe and predict from those slides but at the end of Hot Chips will still know little more about the core everyone is waiting for.  The slides show a core little changed from Bulldozer, which is exactly what we've been expecting as AMD has always described Steamroller as a refined Bulldozer design, improving the existing architecture as opposed to a complete redesign.  SemiAccurate did pull out one little gem which might mean good news for both AMD and consumers which pertains to the high density libraries slide.  The 30% decrease in size and power consumption seems to have been implemented by simply using the high density libraries that AMD uses for GPUs.  As this library already exists, AMD didn't need to spend money to develop it, they essentially managed this 30% improvement with a button press, as SemiAccurate put it.  This could well mean that Steamroller will either come out at a comparatively low price or will give AMD higher profit margins ... or a mix of both.

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"With that in mind, the HDL slide was rather interesting. AMD is claiming that if you rebuild Bulldozer with an HDL library, the resulting chip has a 30% decrease in size and power use. To AMD at least, this is worth a full shrink, but we only buy that claim if it is 30% smaller and 30% less power hungry, not 30% in aggregate. That said, it is a massive gain with just a button press.

AMD should be applauded, or it would have been, but during the keynote, the one thing that kept going through my mind was, “Why didn’t they do this 5 years ago?”. If you can get 30% from changing out a library to the ones you build your GPUs with, didn’t someone test this out before you decided on layout tools?"

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Source: SemiAccurate

Podcast #217 - Corsair AX1200i Power Supply, Video Games as Art, Wireless Charging and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2012 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: wireless charging, VIVO, thunderbolt, podcast, k90, k60, corsair, black mesa, ax1200i, asus

PC Perspective Podcast #217 - 09/06/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the Corsair AX1200i Power Supply, Video Games as Art, Wireless Charging and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malvantano and Scott Michaud

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

A big thanks goes to our friends at ALXTech.net for hosting our PC Perspective gaming server!  Find out how you can get a game server for just $0.65/slot by visiting http://alxtech.net/pcper/!!

Program length: 1:24:36

Program Schedule:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:01:55 Corsair AX1200i Power Supply review
    2. 0:09:00 Lucid Virtu MVP for mobile
    3. 0:19:25 Corsair K60 and K90 Keyboard review
    4. 0:28:50 Video Games Do Not Want to be Art?
  2. 0:38:20 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:39:20 Wireless charging is close!
    2. 0:44:13 Western Digital 2TB Thunderbolt MyBook
    3. 0:47:20 Arctic MC101 Trinity based HTPC
    4. 0:48:50 ASUS shows Vivo tablets at IFA
    5. 0:53:30 Ultrabook with 2560x1440 display from Samsung
    6. 0:56:10 Lower Power IVB coming soon
    7. 0:57:30 The ASUS Eee PC line is gone...
    8. 1:02:30 ASUS launches "Powered by ASUS" systems
  4. Closing:
    1. 1:08:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Apple iPad HDMI adapter
      2. Jeremy: Almost as long to develop as Duke Nukem but way cheaper and so much better
      3. Josh: $155 for people with patience...
      4. Allyn: Storage Testbed! Z77, baby.
      5. Scott: Wacom Cintiq 22HD (video)
      6. Also -- Arctic Silver 5 -- does it expire?
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

... and Black Mesa makes it out before Half Life 3

Subject: General Tech | September 5, 2012 - 04:08 PM |
Tagged: valve, source engine, black mesa, half life 3, mod, gaming

We've been waiting close to a decade for the remake of the original Half Life using the Source Engine and entitled Black Mesa.  The mod project is a total rebuild of the original game, with larger areas a tweaked storyline and all of the eye candy that the Source Engine can provide.  If all goes to plan we are a mere 9 days from the scheduled release on Sept. 14th and you will be able to play through until the big battle of the Lambda Core, Xen isn't quite ready yet and is still in development.  We will also see new multiplayer maps at some time in the future but not quite yet.  If this doesn't get your blood pumping then check out all the links at the article on Hexus and watch the trailer below.  Still no news on Half Life Episode 3.

"The first release of Black Mesa will take place on 14th September 2012. This is a total conversion of Half Life 2 based upon ye olde 1998 classic Half Life brought up to date with an improved version of Valve’s Source Engine. The Black Mesa mod project started in 2004 following fan disappointment with the official Half Life: Source (2004) - it didn’t improve the eye candy to the full potential of the Source engine. Black Mesa will have improved graphics, more realistic physics and environmental effects, also some storylines will be tweaked and maps enlarged."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: Hexus

Fee PHI fo fum; Intel changes the smell of a Pentium

Subject: General Tech | September 5, 2012 - 03:49 PM |
Tagged: Xeon Phi, xeon, larrabee, knights corner, Intel, hot chips

The Register is back with more information from Hot Chips about Intel's Xeon Phi coprocessor, which seems to be much more than just a GPU in drag.  Inside the shell you will find at least 50 cores and at least 8GB of GDDR5 graphics, wwith the cores being very heavily modified 22-nanometer Tri-Gate process Pentium P54C chips clocked somewhere between 1.2-1.6GHz.  There is a brand new Vector Processing Unit which processes 512-bit SIMD instructions and sports an Extended Math Unit to handle calculations with hardware not software.  Read on for more details about the high-speed ring interconnects that allow these chips to communicate among themselves and with the Xeon server it will be a part of.

ElReg_intel_xeon_phi_block_diagram.jpg

"Intel has been showing off the performance of the "Knights Corner" x86-based coprocessor for so long that it's easy to forget that it is not yet a product you can actually buy. Back in June, Knights Corner was branded as the "Xeon Phi", making it clear that Phi was a Xeon coprocessor even if it does not bear a lot of resemblance to the Xeon processors at the heart of the vast majority of the world's servers."

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Source: The Register
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

I say let the world go to hell

… but I should always have my tea. (Notes From Underground, 1864)

You can praise video games as art to justify its impact on your life – but do you really consider it art?

VidGameArtLogo.png

Best before the servers are taken down, because you're probably not playing it after.

Art allows the author to express their humanity and permits the user to consider that perspective. We become cultured when we experiment with and to some extent understand difficult human nature problems. Ideas are transmitted about topics which we cannot otherwise understand. We are affected positively as humans in society when these issues are raised in a safe medium.

Video games, unlike most other mediums, encourage the user to coat the creation with their own expressions. The player can influence the content through their dialogue and decision-tree choices. The player can accomplish challenges in their own unique way and talk about it over the water cooler. The player can also embed their own content as a direct form of expression. The medium will also mature as we further learn how to leverage interactivity to open a dialogue for these artistic topics in completely new ways and not necessarily in a single direction.

Consciously or otherwise – users will express themselves.

With all of the potential for art that the medium allows it is a shame that – time and time again – the industry and its users neuter its artistic capabilities in the name of greed, simplicity, or merely fear.

Care to guess where I am headed? Buckle in.

Deal for September 4th - Plextor 256GB SSD for $195

Subject: General Tech, Storage | September 4, 2012 - 06:11 PM |
Tagged: ssd, plextor, deal of the day

Today's deal comes from TigerDirect and will allow you jump on the SSD bandwagon for a more than reasonable price.  How does a 256GB Plextor M5 series SSD for just $195 with free shipping sound? 

deal0904.png

Source: LogicBuy

ASUS kills the Eee PC and shrinks the Atom market

Subject: General Tech | September 4, 2012 - 02:43 PM |
Tagged: asus, acer, Intel, atom, eee pc

2012 has been a very tough year to be a manufacture of mobile products and not too easy on the designers either.  We started off with the Ultraboook form factor, specifically the challenge to make parts which could allow the ultrathin design to be functional in the real world while still aiming for that $1000 price point.  The prices of SSDs have come down and the processors have also marginally dropped in price but the materials required to make a sturdy chassis of exceptional thinness have not. 

Then Microsoft decided to make things interesting with their Surface tablet, which is a wonderful platform to show off Windows 8 on but not the best way to maintain a relationship with mobile manufacturers.  Regardless of the price that Microsoft chooses to release the Surface at, each Surface sale represents a lost sale for another mobile manufacturer.  Acer, for one has had no problems voicing their complaints about a software company muscling into hardware territory.

Today we heard from DigiTimes that ASUS is dropping their Eee PC line, along with Intel's Atom processor and Acer is dropping netbooks altogether.  While part of the problem with the Intel's Atom is that it has always had a hard time providing users with the computing experience they desire, dropping the entire form factor implies more problems that simply performance.  Manufacturers could build netbooks with AMD's Trinity or even NVIDIA's Tegra depending on the agreements in place with Intel, however the two top tier mobile manufactures have straight out dropped the form factor, with only MSI staying in the market.  While the netbook may have only been of use to a certain younger crowd with limited money and expectations there were certain Eee PC models designed for the desktop which made decent low powered internet access machines which are also going the way of the dinosaur which may be missed a little by a larger audience. 

The effective death of the netbook will have an effect on manufacturers like Pegatron and some sections of Intel, the real question is whether the end user will even notice or if they were already only considering a 13" laptop or Ultrabook.

 

asus-eee-pc-1008p-pink.jpg

"Intel may be forced to adjust its roadmap for PC-use Atom processors as the top-2 netbook vendors – Asustek Computer and Acer – both plan to stop manufacturing related products, according to sources from notebook players.

Asustek is already set to halt its Eee PC product line and officially phase out from the IT industry after completely digesting any remaining inventory. As for Acer, so far, the company has not yet made any plans to open new netbook projects, indicating that the vendor may also plan to step out of the market."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: DigiTimes
Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Externals

Corsair manufactures a wide variety of components and peripherals for PC enthusiasts. They essentially target the most enthusiastic customers in whatever market they enter – breaking the ice with the coldest and harshest critics who are never above nitpicking faults and flaws. Despite tossing their first generation products to the sharks they perform uncharacteristically well for a new contender almost every time. They look before they leap.

IMG_2014.jpg

The Corsair K60 and K90 were launched simultaneously and represent Corsair’s first attempt at producing a mechanical keyboard. Corsair has included media keys, a metal volume wheel, and a Windows-key lock on both keyboards if you find yourself yelling, “I HATE THIS KEY!” at your desktop because your game is now minimized and cannot receive your hatred.

 

IMG_2028.jpg

Rubberized when down, not when up -- but stable either way.

I never said I wasn't one of the nitpickers.

Both keyboards are built around an aluminum chassis with a nonslip coating to each key. Each keycap has a sharply defined edges compared to the more round edges found on a Razer Blackwidow and other similar keyboards. Neither keyboard has rubberized tips on their ergonomic flaps although slipping has not been an issue in my testing.

Check in after the break to learn more about Corsair's first mechanical keyboards.