Internet Explorer exploits in the wild

According to F-Secure, there are now exploits running the ‘net at large for the latest Internet Explorer security vulnerability.  If for some reason you don’t want to run Mozilla, please consider switching to Opera or some other browser.  Just don’t use Internet Explorer.  I know all browsers have security problems at times, but do you really need to keep using the one with the most problems?  In any situation where you control what software you run, please change your browser.  It will make the ‘net better for all of us.

[tags]IE insecurity, Internet Explorer vulnerability[/tags]

Universal loves customers?

(via Engadget)

Now here I go, just minutes after posting my rantish article about Universal hating digital distribution and customers, I find this article indicating Universal won’t downsample their next-gen hi-definition DVDs when displaying on non-HDMI capable hi-def TV sets. At least, not initially. How odd that the movie studioes demand this feature which will force downsampling on non-HDMI sets, and then all but Warner Home Video announce they won’t be using the feature (again, at least no initially). Could this be an indication that movie studios believe fans will use their products legally given the chance? Or is it just a move by the studios to avoid pissing off the hi-def early adopters who are going to be so important in the early success of next-gen optical technology? I’m betting on the latter, but I’m just cynical that way.

New software included on both Blu-ray and HD-DVD releases, however, will automatically slash the image, making it only marginally better than current DVDs, unless consumers have a relatively new connector and cable called HDMI to hook up players to their televisions. Only one in 20 HD sets sold to early adopters over the past few years has the right version of the connector. Only 15% of new sets sold this year will include it, and deliver the full 1080 resolution capable of showing such detail.

Sony execs say a majority of Blu-ray content, at least initially, will play at the highest resolution possible on a consumer’s HDTV, regardless of how the player is hooked up. Four major studios — Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Disney, and Paramount say they initially will not use the new copy protection on their releases. Universal execs told BusinessWeek on Mar. 21 that they, too, will forego the protection. Execs at Warner Brothers declined to comment, but sources with knowledge of the studio’s plans say “at least some” of the 20 HD-DVD releases planned through April will use the software. “What do you have then? A very expensive DVD player,” says Sony Senior Vice-President Tim Baxter.

[tags]hi-def TV, next-gen optical media[/tags]

Universal hates digital distribution (and customers)

(via The Consumerist)

I will admit to being in love with the “Company X hates blah” general title, but it just seems so many companies don’t want customers, or don’t want customers to have a good experience.  This latest is based on the news that Universal pictures is going to offer movies for download starting next month.  That doesn’t sound bad, until you look in to pricing.  The first movie available will be King Kong, for the amazing price of $35.  The same movie I can get from for $15 and rip to digital format myself using free tools, I can download in a Digital Restriction Mangled (DRM) format for only $35.  I can’t decide if Universal is doing this to show how much they hate consumers, to show the market how “selling downloadable movies doesn’t work,” or if the executives in charge of this just have no clue how this works.  I’m pretty sure those are the only three choices, but I’m willing to entertain other options if my readers have other thoughts. Continue reading Universal hates digital distribution (and customers)

Wired – best accidental discoveries

The 10 greatest accidental discoveries, according to Wired magazine.

1. Viagra
Men being treated for erectile dysfunction should salute the working stiffs of Merthyr Tydfil, the Welsh hamlet where, in 1992 trials, the gravity-defying side effects of a new angina drug first popped up. Previously, the blue-collar town was known for producing a different kind of iron.

4. Penicillin
Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming was researching the flu in 1928 when he noticed that a blue-green mold had infected one of his petri dishes – and killed the staphylococcus bacteria growing in it. All hail sloppy lab work!

[tags]Accidental discoveries[/tags]

Surprisingly, 42 may indeed be the answer

(via Slashdot)

Very interesting article over at the Seed magazine web site.  It’s a great discussion of number theory, placement of primes, the relationship between heavy elements’ energy patterns and prime number locations, the Riemann Hypothesis.

There is an important sequence of numbers called “the moments of the Riemann zeta function.” Although we know abstractly how to define it, mathematicians have had great difficulty explicitly calculating the numbers in the sequence. We have known since the 1920s that the first two numbers are 1 and 2, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that mathematicians conjectured that the third number in the sequence may be 42—a figure greatly significant to those well-versed in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

It would also prove to be significant in confirming the connection between primes and quantum physics. Using the connection, Keating and Snaith not only explained why the answer to life, the universe and the third moment of the Riemann zeta function should be 42, but also provided a formula to predict all the numbers in the sequence. Prior to this breakthrough, the evidence for a connection between quantum physics and the primes was based solely on interesting statistical comparisons. But mathematicians are very suspicious of statistics. We like things to be exact. Keating and Snaith had used physics to make a very precise prediction that left no room for the power of statistics to see patterns where there are none.

But I have to admit, I’m not certain I believe that solving the Riemann Hypothesis will allow one to crack Internet encryption (bad reference to TV show involving math).

[tags]42, H^2G^2, Hitchhiker’s Guide, Riemann Hypothesis, 42[/tags]

Half-Life 2: Episode 1 delayed

OK, is anyone surprised?  I mean, we are talking about Valve, after all.  And speaking of Valve, has anyone seen Team Fortress 2 yet?   🙂

Half-Life 2: Episode One is now due out on May 31st according to Valve, although it’ll still launch simultaneously on Steam and at retail, priced $19.99.

Speaking to Game Informer at GDC last week, marketing director Doug Lombardi confirmed the slip – Valve had previously been targeting an April 24th launch.

[tags]Half-Life 2, HL2, Valve[/tags]