The ravens are looking a bit sluggish. Tell Malcolm they need new batteries.

Friday, September 26



Ugh.  Another one?

We dodged Heartbleed because our SSL libraries were older than the bug, but this bug - dubbed Shellshock - is old enough to vote, and the affected program is Bash, the default shell on hundreds of millions of Linux and MacOS X systems all over the world.

Fortunately CPanel updated Bash to the patch release automatically, and Minx itself is designed not to use the shell, ever.  I went so far as to write my own file management library because the default Python library uses the shell to do its work.  I didn't know of this bug at the time, obviously, but passing data from the web to a shell script is fraught with fraughtness and I wanted no part in it.

I think we're safe.  But while this is quick and easy to patch, there are a huge number of potentially affected servers and some of them have reportedly already been hacked.  Be extra cautious for the next few days if anything looks out of place on the sites you visit.  Big names like Amazon are almost certainly safe; it's the little guys who don't have a full-time IT staff who need to scramble.

Well, and the IT guys themselves, which is why I'm up at 3AM.

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Tuesday, September 23


Did USB Just Kill Thunderbolt?

Not quite.

USB 3.0 is pretty neat.  If you're used to USB 2, the performance jump (from 480Mbps half-duplex to 5Gbps full-duplex) can be startling.  And it's cheap and if not ubiquitous, then at least widespread.

The connectors, though, are crap.  One end exists in a weird subspace with 720° rotational symmetry; the other is just plain ugly.

USB Type C fixes that, with a single, simple, compact, reversible connector.  The cable is the same at both ends and works either way up.

Also, it supports USB 3.1, bumping the speed to 10Gbps.

And it supports up to 100W of power, up from 7.5W.

And now it supports DisplayPort.  You can have a 4K monitor at 60Hz plus USB 3.1 over a single USB cable.  Or you can have a 5K monitor at 60Hz, but only with USB 2.0, because it needs all the wires for video data.

There's just one fly in the ointment: At full speed, it's only specified to work over a 1 metre cable.  At half speed, you get 2 metres.  So perfect for docking your laptop or tablet (because you get 100W of power at the same time) but kind of iffy for the desktop.

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Saturday, September 20


Giveaway Bits

I have a few extra game keys to give away thanks to the generosity of Steam, Humble Bundle, and Kickstarter.

So if anyone would like free keys for any of the following, let me know in the comments or drop me an email.
  • Civilization V
  • Wasteland 2 (Steam or GOG) -> RickC
  • Torchlight
  • Batman Arkham Asylum -> Mauser
  • Batman Arkham City -> Wonderduck
  • Batman Arkham Origins -> Gothmog
  • Divine Divinity -> Hypozeuxis
  • Divinity 2
  • Beyond Divinity
  • Divinity: Dragon Commander
  • RPG Maker VX Ace -> Andrew G
  • Scribblenauts
  • Stacking
  • Stonehearth (not Hearthstone, which is a different thing).  This is still in alpha, but I have an alpha gift key. -> Avatar
  • Faerie Solitaire
  • Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
  • Dust: An Elysian Tale -> RickC
  • Ittle Dew
  • Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine (couple of these)
Couple more I forgot about:
  • Shadowrun Returns (two of these)
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall (two of these too)
  • Cities in Motion 2 (one)
Mostly they're giftable Steam keys, so you'll need a Steam account.

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Monday, September 08



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Friday, September 05


Special K

I haven't bought a 4K monitor yet, and Dell just announced a 5K monitor.

The existence of 5K panels also suggests that Apple will release a retina iMac sooner rather than later.  Apple like to exactly double the display resolution for retina models, and this 27" 5K panel does just that.

5K doesn't sound like a lot more than 4K, but that's 5120x2880, up from 3840x2160, so about 70% more pixels.  To put it another way, it's exactly the same ration as the jump from 1920x1080 to 2560x1440.

One caveat: You'll need two DisplayPort 1.2 (or Thunderbolt) outputs to drive this thing at 60Hz.  DisplayPort 1.3 can't arrive too soon!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 06:25 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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