PROFESSIONAL NERD.

PERSONAL BLOG.

What I'm Reading - 5/2/2018

What I'm Reading - 5/2/2018

Three to five links every weekday - it's just habit by this point.

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A GANG OF TEEN HACKERS SNATCHED THE KEYS TO MICROSOFT'S VIDEOGAME EMPIRE. THEN THEY WENT TOO FAR.

... Pokora had long been aware that his misdeeds had angered some powerful interests, and not just within the gaming industry; in the course of seeking out all things Xbox, he and his associates had wormed into American military networks too. But in those early hours after his arrest, Pokora had no clue just how much legal wrath he’d brought upon his head: For eight months he’d been under sealed indictment for conspiring to steal as much as $1 billion worth of intellectual property, and federal prosecutors were intent on making him the first foreign hacker to be convicted for the theft of American trade secrets. Several of his friends and colleagues would end up being pulled into the vortex of trouble he’d helped create; one would become an informant, one would become a fugitive, and one would end up dead. ...


NASA SENDING ROBOTIC GEOLOGIST TO MARS TO DIG SUPER DEEP

... Six years after last landing on Mars, NASA is sending a robotic geologist to dig deeper than ever before to take the planet’s temperature.

The Mars InSight spacecraft, set to launch this weekend, will also take the planet’s pulse by making the first measurements of “marsquakes.” And to check its reflexes, scientists will track the wobbly rotation of Mars on its axis to better understand the size and makeup of its core.

The lander’s instruments will allow scientists “to stare down deep into the planet,” said the mission’s chief scientist, Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. ...


GAMES MAKE QUITTERS OF US ALL, AND THAT’S OK

... It’s an odd paradox, but it’s true: You don’t need to finish a game to have fully played it. Of course, that’s counterintuitive for a number of reasons. We’re talking about a medium premised on the very idea of victory. We want to value completion, not just resolution. If you get bored of a TV show and stop watching it, you forgo the gratification of narrative closure. But if you quit a game without beating it, the loss is more literal: You have elected to fail.

At the same time, video games belong to their own category. We treat them differently from any other art or entertainment. If you tell someone you’ve read a novel when you only read half, you are rolling the dice, and you know it. You didn’t read that book. If you fall asleep midway through a movie, you invalidate the experience of seeing it. You can’t really have a serious opinion on either work of art without attaching major caveats.

But if you play just five hours of Far Cry 5, you will likely understand what the whole game is about, warts and all. You’ll feel the fluidity of its combat and the giddiness of its emergent gameplay — and also its glib world-building and stupid plot. If someone were to ask for your opinion on it, giving one wouldn’t seem so out of place. ...


ARM DESIGNS ANTI-TAMPERING AND SOFTWARE ISOLATION INTO ITS PROCESSORS

... ARM is so concerned about security breaches that it’s now designing security into its chips. The chip design company is announcing today that its ARM Cortex-M35P processor has both anti-tampering technology and software isolation built into it on a chip level.

The tech will bring smart card levels of security to emerging applications such as smart metering, door locks, and automotive devices. The security measures will help protect the internet of things (IoT), or everyday objects that are smart and connected.

The idea is to protect systems on the silicon level against increasingly prevalent physical attacks on hardware systems. Hackers can use devices such as power and electromagnetic analysis to figure out what is happening in chips without such protections — and that puts data at risk. ...


‘SMARTLENS’ APP CREATED BY A HIGH SCHOOLER IS A STEP TOWARDS ALL-PURPOSE VISUAL SEARCH

... The idea is simple, of course: You point your phone’s camera at something and the app attempts to identify it using an enormous but highly optimized classification agent trained on tens of millions of images. It connects to Wikipedia and Amazon to let you immediately learn more about what you’ve ID’ed, or buy it.

It recognizes more than 17,000 objects — things like different species of fruit and flower, landmarks, tools and so on. The app had little trouble telling an apple from a (weird-looking) mango, a banana from a plantain and even identified the pistachios I’d ordered as a snack. Later, in my own testing, I found it quite useful for identifying the plants springing up in my neighborhood: periwinkles, anemones, wood sorrel, it got them all, though not without the occasional hesitation. ...

What I'm Reading - 5/8/2018

What I'm Reading - 5/8/2018

What I'm Reading - 5/1/2018

What I'm Reading - 5/1/2018