Archive for December, 2007

Threats to privacy in 2007

Well there are no 2 ways about it, the world is entering the age of data and even if you want to protect data, you inevitably have to provide it to sites/insurance salesman/girlfriend/devil. While the latter 3 are not so harmful the first one can be quite a death threat. So how to ensure that your account has not been hacked and your life stolen from under your feet:

  • GMAIL hacked:

    Open your Gmail account settings and check your filters. If you find a weird filter which was not made by you , then your account was HACKED.

    This was a nifty little trick to hack the gmail javascript and add a filter that sends mails as designated by the hacker to a particular account. The emails are also deleted hence you cannot retrieve them. Moreinfo here. (Google has fixed the vulnerability but if your account was hacked you will still have to manually correct it). Curse google for not being a little more vocal about it and tell its users.

  • Google reader hacked:

    Go to your google reader and unshare all items

    Okay Okay the reader is not hacked but Google has started its new share feature that not only allows you to force your shared items on your friends “All items” list, but also to all the folks that you have ever contacted(mailed, send gtalk request to). So if are privy about your shared items in any other mode (besides all and none) you cannot do so with current Google reader settings. There are workarounds(http://googlereader.blogspot.com/2007/12/managing-your-shared-items.html) but I am more of a better safe then sorry kind of guy ūüėÄ

  • Taking over of double click:

    Pray

    Google’s attempt to buy out display ad service DoubleClick has received the approval of the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), although it still faces European antitrust scrutiny(I trust in Europe).
    The ¬£1.56 billion deal has been heavily-criticized for potentially reducing the options open to web marketers and endanger web user privacy. There is nothing you can do about that except pray to god that the big brother(Google) doesn’t take over

  • What privacy??

    “you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, modify, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting Google services”

    Ya thats true for Picasa, Google groups and many such services, including google apps.

  • General privacy concern:

    Well, use MSN atleast you’ll die in peace

    http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd%5B347%5D=x-347-553961 I don’t think more needs to be said

There are many other threats out there to privacy. But bottom line is that in this age of data, stricter privacy laws are in demand, because as you can see from above not much can be done to protect your data(besides not using the service at all). Protection of IP needs to take front row, the more social we get , more problems will emerge. So you can either put your head in sand and hope that your data is not being used, or stand up straight and take action.

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Deserializing data into a dynamically loaded Assembly

What does scripting languages like php, Perl, python offer over compiled languages? Well if you ask me i would say the ease of development. Make a change in the code and then see the change reflected quickly. This is one of the main reason why scripting is preferred in the web environment. Majority of the websites these days are powered by php in the LAMP stack. Performance of scripted language is far lower than any compiled binary. Compare that with the ASP.NET. The scripts are compiled into MSIL and run on the .NET runtime. Even without caching the ASP framework is almost 2-3 times faster than the Apache on php with mysql. I am not a MS fan-boy nor an open source evangelist.  I had the privilege on doing extensive development on both platforms. There are times when i wished for a platform which had the best of both worlds. When php scores on flexibility for advanced developers. ASP.NET scores on its default ability to separate UI from Logic. Enough of this Web programming. Let me get into what i started out to do.

I had been working on a .NET project where¬† a DLL A.dll is being used by two different applications. On one application i create an object of a class C inside A.dll, fill its members and serialize it into a binary stream using the standard .NET serializer¬† and save it into a file. On the second application when i get a request to load the data from the file, I dynamically load the Assembly A.dll. Then i open the file that i saved the byte dump then deserialized it back into an object of the class. Sounds easy, Not so… I was getting an Exception.
System.Runtime.Serialization.SerializationException: Unable to find assembly ‘A’.¬†

Then i compiled the dll with the application and checked whether its working.  I then got another exception while casting the Deserialized object into a variable of type A.C

Unable to cast type A.C into A.C. 

What the hell!!!¬† That was my first impression. This was one of the least helpful messages the Visual Studio debugger threw at me. I then tried searching for related resources online in vain.¬† That’s when i came across this elegant solution involving AppDomains and Serialization Binders. Needless to say my deserialization worked on the dynamically loaded assembly. You can find more details about creating AppDomains here.

I am attaching my C# code below. Hope this proves helpful to you. Look at the serialization binder class in the Deserialize function. The binder class allows you to change the type to which you want to deserialize the byte array to.

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Power consumption to define the next generation in computation

The period between 2000 and 2004 had Intel and its rival AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) beefing up their silicon platters with more and more transistors. With Intel winning the GHz Race (http://www.zdnet.co.uk/tsearch/gigahertz+1ghz+barrier.htm).

Both Intel and AMD continued to push forward in their race to beat the 2Ghz. The main stream consumers suffered frequent system shutdowns owing to their molten cpus. It was not until the exploding athlon on Toms Hardware that AMD realized that they needed to get back to the drawing board. Out came the AMD64bit line of cpus. The Intel camp also were busy melting the silicon wafers.  Still the gigahertz race was on. The heated cpu cores from their prescot line of Pentium 4 processor showed the inevitable futility of the Gigahertz race. There was a big lull period during 2004 and 2005 during which both Intel and AMD couldnt push their processor speeds and ratings past the 4Ghz. That was when the giants realized that one core is retro and multi core is the new Pentium.

Putting more and more cores on a single die means more power consumption. Power efficient processor designs decreases the cost to run data centers and huge computing clouds. Given the fact that we would be running out of oil in the next few decades. Its onus own our part to decrease our energy consumption

Here is some of the recent developments of an economy conscious about power usage.

  • Apple to adopt Intel’s ultra-mobile PC platform : This is an exclusive report of Apple insider. A 1 Watt processor is going to bring a paradigm shift in the way we use computers. Something which is already shaken by the apple iPhone. It is going to make mobile platform as the main stay in computation.
  • Solid State Hard drives : These drives run at twice the speed with 10 times lower latency and more than 60% less power compared to top of the line hard disks of today. Mass adoption would hopefully bring the price down. Apple is already looking to put in their their mac book pro line of notebooks.
  • MIT Students run super computer using pedal power : A virtual nuclear fusion reaction was modelled on a super computer running for 20 minutes on bicycle power pedalled by 10 cyclists from MIT. I wonder how they have time for all these pet projects between course work

Ubuntu: Bridging the gap of linux usability

GNU license (whether 1 or 2 or…) makes sense to¬†few. But whats more important in this world is compatibility. As Linux grows, the¬†arrogance of few¬†are blocking the freedom that comes with it. Its sad when somebody giving something as “free” also wants people using it to be bound by their philosophy, its like a religion being forced upon others.

Recently bought a PCI-express gigabit ethernet card(Agere chipset ET1310)].  I put it in linux (secretly  praying for a stable driver), reboot and pop goes ubuntu, restricted driver found, turns out the restricted driver is put up, under BSD license. And so another day goes by where ubuntu saves countless hours of setup time and futile searching and debugging, thanx to a few people who can accept other people for not following their philosophy as bible.

Windows XP SP3: What is all the fuss about?

Microsoft has released the release¬†client of¬† its latest service pack¬†3 here.¬†I cant¬†find¬†anything¬†new¬†in it(despite several claims) …¬†and¬†definately¬†none¬†of¬†the¬†highly¬†desired¬†features¬†are¬†released(complete¬†details¬†in¬†white¬†paper)

Though the improved Wifi security is bound to be an essential  upgrade, but some of the basic ones like IE7 were left out .. Difficult to figure out ,what is going on in redmond these days (Copying in Vista! approve or deny  )

Express Myself

I’d prefer you get to know me by my work rather than some introduction(try identity 2.0 btw). This blog will encompass a broad range of interests,¬†people¬†interested¬†in¬†only¬†subset¬†can¬†use¬†tags¬†to¬†ensure¬†that¬†the¬†right¬†content¬†reaches¬†them. Important¬†events¬†in¬†technology¬†,¬†personal management¬†¬†and¬†politics are likely to be discussed. Comment and let us know if you like something. lets start an see where it goes…

Express Myself

I once set out to start my own website and blog only to have it decorated and deserted in a weeks time. People ask me why now? why all of a sudden? Don’t you learn from past mistakes? Well two reasons… one to record my life and thoughts as i happen to enjoy both and have a multitude of the latter which would make sense once it is documented. The second being able to keep track of the interesting things that happen around me. Overburdened by the world wide web and inefficient storage of web- browsers. I chose to put up as a record the content out there hidden from common sight by the search engines(No bias here)

The concept of “Express yourself”, the anthem of the past century, a motto of the freedom movement, later passed as a law of rights in the legislatures and embossed into the constitutions of a democratic country and which danced into the limelights of the Hollywood by Madonna and that brought the mobile revolution in India through Airtel and forked the most powerful free press of the world by means of blogs which has lately used by Ithink app on facebook created by Minekey; all capture the inner desire of human beings for nothing but to express themselves. And that is my idea.