Friday, March 28, 2014

Nvidia Shield Price cut to $200

I was pleasantly surprised today, when I noticed Nvidia Shield is only $200 now!

This may be a temporary price drop though

I am shopping for an Android device, since I need WiFi calling (inadequate reception in my home) Nexus 5 phone won't work for me, since stock Android phones don't support WiFi calling on Tmobile.

So have been thinking about Nexus 7, or getting non Nexus Android phone from Tmobile that has support for WiFi calling.

Started thinking about the Nvidia Shield again today, and was surprised to see it was in the news again, and price had dropped when I Googled.

Additional resources:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Security & Hacking: Ars article "Ancient Linux Servers"

Ars article "Ancient Linux Servers", worth reading.

They reference Cisco blog post

In addition to the articles, I found many of the comments on the Ars article worth reading, though I suggest reading all of them, I have quoted a few of the best ones IMVHO.

Note I use brackets [] to indicate comments or links I have have inserted in original quote:

"Not updating systems is bad practice that too many admins still go by. When I came onboard with my current employer it took a great culture shift to get everybody to understand why security updates are so important. One year later and are update cycle is nearly perfected.

There is no excuse for this anymore. Virtualize your servers, snapshot VMs before making changes, update and revert if a problem occurs. Clone a VM and build a test environment to check before doing it in production. For every excuse there are established best practices and mitigation techniques to deal with them.

"I'm a Linux fan. Glad its around.

But, Linux made lots of headway as a cheap secure alternative to Microsoft. If I had a penny for every time someone said, "We'll be fine, it's a Linux box we're deploying on the internet and not a Microsoft server" ....

The thing is, like the Mac, Linux has been viewed as bulletproof. In 2007, I was working through the SANS 560 course and we utilized a publicly available kernel exploit for 2.6 to gain root. It was beautiful, just compile, run and BOOM, you were root. Linux was never bulletproof.

This is simply more (unnecessary) evidence that when we decide a platform is secure, we become complacent and end up in this situation. Anything with software should be treated as vulnerable as long as it has power and network connectivity.

SunnyD posted:
"Here's the problem when it comes to updating infrastructure systems like these for system administrators:

It's not a matter of security, it's a matter of "If it ain't broke, don't you even dare try to fix it."

If history as sysadmins has taught us nothing it's that the constant cycle of updates, especially on mission-critical machines, puts our job security on the lines. Especially when a lot of these machines are running custom code with dependencies that end up being the very security liabilities that get patched.

Responding directly to SunnyD's comment:

There is a concept for this, it's called "technical debt"[Cliff: Wikipedia Technical Debt]. I'm not saying it's any one person's fault, but it is a flawed system. Keeping pushing off the problem until you're painted into a corner."

There are also many comments from people that cover some of the real world limitations with implementing the best practices.

Though I am a long way from being an expert on computer & internet security, at best I'd consider myself an apprentice.

I think these exploits & the comments quoted above clearly illustrate that Linux has vulnerabilities like any OS, something I have been certain was true for some time.

But still felt troubled when I would see the oft repeated "Linux is more secure".

That always felt like simple security through obscurity, which we know is no security at all.

There are certainly different tradeoffs between operating systems, not sure more can be objectively claimed.

Except perhaps, that certain OS tend to be better fit for certain types of applications, but IMO that is just a restatement of the differing tradeoffs.

Should also be realized that smart hackers can certainly look at Best Practices as a starting point for attacks, so defenders certainly should as well.

Some Best Practices resources:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Security & Hacking: Windigo compromises 25+ thousand Unix & Linux servers

Detailed report for experts

More general audience article

As anyone who is seriously into Computer Security or Hacking knows, it really doesn't matter what OS your running, they are all vulnerable to attacks.

Though staying patched & updated are critical regardless of OS, funny (scary) tidbit from the pdf was a few people browsing net with Windows 98, and at least one on Windows 95!


Not that old is bad, but generally old means not maintained.

Windows Phone 8 T-mobile & Lumia Black update on Lumia 521

If you haven't heard, Lumia has new update/upgrade for all Lumia Windows Phone 8 (WP8 for short) devices getting rolled out.

It is called Lumia Black, official link

Yesterday it became available for Lumia 521, which is the T-mobile specif version of the Lumia 520.

WP8 devices revice both OS updates from Microsoft, and firmware updates from device manufacture.  Lumia Black is a firmware update.

Today I updated my Lumia 521, it took about 3 minutes for download on my WiFi, but 5+ minutes for install prep stage.

Then several minutes for reboot & final installation, sorry I didn't get more precise times dealing with IRL issues.

First call I made, using WiFi calling,phone did random reboot!

Made me laugh pretty hard, but random reboot are pretty common with this device.  At least weekly, often more frequent than that.

Call was made & worked fine after reboot.

Internet browsing seems a little snappier than prior to Lumia Black update.

Native Podcast app seems to be working fine.

If anyone has any questions, leave a comment & I'll do my best to answer.

Nearing end of my year long use of Lumia 521, to better learn the major phone OS I am planning to switch to Android later this year, already had lot of experience with Blackberry (old Pearl & newer Bold).

Have almost year of experience with iOS on a 5th generation iPod Touch, plus I provide tech support for my girlfriend who has been using an iPhone 5s since Fall 2013.

Lumia Black:

Lumia 521 & 520 specs:

General WP8 Resources:

Monday, March 10, 2014

iOS 7.1 released

I've already updated my 5th Gen iPod Touch, no problems so far, do like Bold Text setting working in more (most?) places now.

Haven't played with it enough to say more yet.

Additional information in links below.


Rotterdam aka Rooterdam streaming fun games tonight


For those that haven't heard, NASL has dropped SC2, and casting for NASL was only regular work Rotterdam had, so from what I understand, he is trying to stream more.

He is doing lotta of silly and fun stuff tonight.

Seen Nexus Cannon rush tonight, in addition to the trademark Rottie Tempest rush vs Terran.