Xah Programing Blog Archive 2010-11

Unix zip Utility Path Problem (commentary)

A very detailed explanation of keyboard switch mechanisms, key label printing tech, etc.

Mechanical Keyboard Guide By Manyak. At Source

For 70 articles on keyboarding, see: Keyboards, Layouts, Hotkeys, Macros, RSI.

Pirate Bay Guilty Verdict Upheld By Jared Newman, PCWorld. At Source

See also: Software Piracy, Open Source, Free Software, Copyright.

A unprecedented, military-grade virus that attacks nation states. Stuxnet.

Stuxnet is a Windows-specific computer worm first discovered in June 2010 by VirusBlokAda, a security firm based in Belarus. It is the first discovered worm that spies on and reprograms industrial systems,[1] the first to include a programmable logic controller (PLC) rootkit,[2] and the first to target critical industrial infrastructure.[3] It was specifically written to attack Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems used to control and monitor industrial processes.[4] Stuxnet includes the capability to reprogram the PLCs and hide its changes.[5]

The worm's probable target has been said to have been high value infrastructures in Iran using Siemens control systems.[6][7] According to news reports the infestation by this worm might have damaged Iran's nuclear facilities in Natanz[8][9] and eventually delayed the start up of Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant.[10] Siemens has stated, however, that the worm has not in fact caused any damage.[11]

Russian digital security company Kaspersky Labs released a statement that described Stuxnet as "a working and fearsome prototype of a cyber-weapon that will lead to the creation of a new arms race in the world." Kevin Hogan, Senior Director of Security Response at Symantec, noted that 60% of the infected computers worldwide were in Iran, suggesting its industrial plants were the target.[12] Kaspersky Labs concluded that the attacks could only have been conducted "with nation-state support", making Iran the first target of real cyberwarfare.[13][14][15]

thanks to Meow Cat for the news.

Discovered Microsoft Kinect device.

“Kinect Treatment of Windows 7”

Detail at: Microsoft Kinect Device.

Recently, met a online friend “meow cat”, who's into the underground hacking stuff.

Learned recently about 2 old-time hackers. Fravia (Francesco Vianello (1952 – 2009)) and Captain Crunch (John Draper b1944).

I think the Fravia guy is idiotic. Typical of those underground, conspiracy theory, anarchy type of crowd.

Also, learned a lot about internet video chat service sites. Tinychat and quite few others. Quite amazing. I thought it might take few min to setup. Actually, it's instaneous. In 20 seconds, you see 9 videos of teenagers (mostly girls) on webcam, simultaneously. (and you can broadcast yourself too) And there are hundreds or thousands of rooms, each particular to a topic, or personal friends or groups.

The internet really is going into a second wave of advancement. I'd call it the second dot com wave. All things are free again, with huge number of startups. Starting in late 2000s.

truly ergonomic keyboard
“Truly Ergonomic Keyboard”.

How to Chose Ergonomic Keyboards (gallery; review)

CCleaner is really a fantastic tool. In a easy way, it lets you delete all the cache and temp files of various browsers and Windows files. If you do it manually, you'll have to find it all over your disk, or thru various browser Preference interfaces. It also lets you clean your Registry, and lets you disable or delete the startup program settings, far better interface than the tiny window of “msconfig”.

Here's some startup processes i removed recently:

See also:

Discovered that Logitech came out with a new version of their trackball.

Logitech Wireless Trackball M570 2-s
“Logitech Wireless Trackball” Buy at amazon

For review, see: Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball

Installed “Auto Copy” extensions to Google Chrome (Source) and Firefox (Source). Fantastic!

Razer Naga gaming mouse
“Razer Naga Gaming Mouse”

Computer coder's heaven: A mouse with 17 programable buttons: MMO Mouses. And if you are more of a keyboard macro type of guy, you need: Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard. Forget about your Emacs key chords. Actually, i'd suggest a gaming keyboard, except that there are no good ergonomic ones.

Mathematica 8 is released.

I got Mathematica 7 this month, as a gift from Wolfram Research. (before they released 8) (Thanks Wolfram) I haven't actively been coding Mathematica since about 2000. In the coming months, i'll update my tens of Mathematica packages on my site to Mathematica 7.

Mathematica started in 1988 as a so-called computer algebra system. Namely, it lets you do things like solve equations, factor polynomials, do integration, derivative, etc. But, due to Stephen's design, it is also a full featured general programing language, much based on lisp. (he probably would not admit it) But since about late 1990s, Mathematica is more marketed as a technical computing platfrom — a system for doing any technical computation. The reason is simple: because as a math system, the market is very limited, but as a system for any technical computation, it widens its potential audience by some 10 fold or 100. Since mid 2000s, it became increasingly more broad. Although i haven't actively been coding Mathematica, but some quick look at Mathematica 7, it is really fantastic. Dynamic visualization, data center of all technical info, and this year Wolfram Alpha.

Here's things i've done with Mathematica, all or almost all graphics in the following projects are generated by Mathematica version 3 (~1998) or 4 (~2002):

Outline Rendering in 3D Models (POV-Ray) (commentary)

Collada is a 3D file format adopted by Second Life in its upcoming mesh feature. Quote from Wikipedia:

COLLADA is a COLLAborative Design Activity for establishing an interchange file format for interactive 3D applications. COLLADA defines an open standard XML schema for exchanging digital assets among various graphics software applications. COLLADA documents that describe digital assets are XML files, usually identified with a .dae (digital asset exchange) filename extension.

.obj is another common format, but it is for storing basically just mesh data. Quote:

OBJ (or .OBJ) is a geometry definition file format first developed by Wavefront Technologies for its Advanced Visualizer animation package. The file format is open and has been adopted by other 3D graphics application vendors. For the most part it is a universally accepted format.

The OBJ file format is a simple data-format that represents 3D geometry alone — namely, the position of each vertex, the UV position of each texture coordinate vertex, normals, and the faces that make each polygon defined as a list of vertices, and texture vertices. Vertices are stored in a counter-clockwise order by default, making explicit declaration of normals unnecessary.

Here's a sample format for “.obj”:

 # List of Vertices, with (x,y,z) coordinates.
  v 0.123 0.234 0.345
  v …

  # Texture coordinates, in (u,v[,w]) coordinates, w is optional.
  vt 0.500 -1.352 [0.234]
  vt …

  # Normals in (x,y,z) form; normals might not be unit.
  vn 0.707 0.000 0.707
  vn …

  # Face Definitions (see below)
  f 1 2 3
  f 3/1 4/2 5/3
  f 6/4/1 3/5/3 7/6/5
  f …

What's Point-free Programing? (point-free function syntax) (tutorial; essay; language design)

Discovered a new programing language. Factor (programming language)

I discovered it because it mentioned ErgoEmacs. See: Source.

2 months ago, i found a fantastic mouse:

Cyborg RAT 5 gaming mouse 2
Cyborg RAT 5 gaming mouse. Buy at amazon

But reading amazon reviews today, it seems to have its problems. For video review and detail, see: Mad Catz RAT 5 Gaming Mouse.

The Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000, is the cheapest (~$17), yet best keyboard, beats those fancy expensive ones. I'm undecided if i prefer this to my other $50 bucks Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. The Comfort Curve is cited on StackOverflow to be among top 5 keyboards. However, it's also known to have defective key problem.

I just discovered a way to fix it. See: Fix Defective Keys in Comfort Curve Keyboard. Whack it!

Apple Macbook Air Review

Google Chrome is fantastic. I think even better than Firefox.

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