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Month: July 2017

Illegal and undocumented instructions

Illegal and undocumented instructions are not a new thing. The Commodore 64 CPU, a 6502 with a few additional I/O lines, was known to have them, and since on current CPUs we can completely VLSI simulate a 6502 in Javascript we also understand where they come from. has a wonderful article on this.

So how about current CPUs? Modern CPUs are vastly bigger and more complicated than a 6502, and they are also set up very differently. So simulation is not taking us anywhere, but we can fuzz.

Sandsifter is such a CPU fuzzer:


The great Diesel Massacre in Germany

It’s going to be a Post-Diesel Society in Germany, quickly: Drive reports on the sales ban for the Porsche Cayenne. Porsche is kind of the fall guy here – not many of these cars are being sold, but the engine is actually an Audi one. Drive (and many others) report:

Germany’s federal motor transport authority, the KBA (Kraftfahrtbundesamt), has placed a registration ban on the Porsche Cayenne Diesel due to the discovery of what it describes as suspect emission manipulation software.

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Fertig gelesen: For We Are Many

Bob is making what he was built for: more Bobs.

Bob is in fact a dead computer programmer back from the destroyed and near inhabitable Planet Earth, who has been turned into an upload inhabiting a Von Neumann probe. His mission is to explore strange new world, going where nothing has gone before and make more of himself. You can read more of his Genesis in We Are Legion, Part 1 of the Bobiverse series.


Zero Factor Authentication

Dear Internet, Today I Learned that oath-toolkit exists in Homebrew.

So, this is a thing:

$ brew install oath-toolkit
$ alias totp='oathtool --totp -b YOURSECRET32BLA | pbcopy'

And so is this:

#! /usr/bin/env expect -f
set totp [ exec oathtool --totp -b MYSECRET7W22 ]
spawn ssh
expect "Password:"
sleep 1
send "thisIsN0t1GoodPaszwort@\r"
expect "Two Factor Token:"
sleep 1
send "$totp\n"

Yup, it’s totally possible to laugh and cry at the same time.


Fertig gelesen: War Factory

War Factory is the second of three Books in Neal Ashers Transformation Sequence, a trilogy set in his Polity Universe (Part 1 Review: Dark Intelligence in German language).

The storyline continues with the characters and themes of the first book – it’s about atonement and redemption. And as we learn, not just about the redemption of Penny Royal, but also about the aftermath of the Human-Prador war and the redemption of the various persons (Human, Haiman, Prador and AI) that have been damaged by the war. We see in fact a lot more of the prador, and how the war affected them personally, and as a society.

The pacing is still slow in places, and not a lot of plot is happening, but there is a lot of background and development. Considering that this is the bridge book in a trilogy, it’s actually pretty good and satisfying.

War Factory“, Neal Asher, EUR 5.99

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An abundance of IOPS and Zero Jitter

Two weeks ago, I wrote about The Data Center in the Age of Abundance and claimed that IOPS are – among other things – a solved problem.

What does a solved problem look like? Here is a benchmark running 100k random writes of 4K per second, with zero Jitter, at 350µs end-to-end write latency across six switches.

Databases really like reliably timed writes like these.

Maximum queue depth would be 48, the system is not touching that.


Financial dynamics of a shift to BEV transport

The German Language podcast Lage der Nation has published an interview with Axel Friedrich on Dieselgate.

Axel Friedrich has been a department lead in the German Umweltbundesamt until 2008, now working with BUND and other environmental NGOs in Germany and instrumental in uncovering Dieselgate on the German side.

The interview contains some very interesting remarks on rental car companies and car maker owned car leasing companies, and how the shape the car market. A deprecation of Diesel cars by those leasing companies is instrumental to transforming the car maret and in promoting the shift to BEVs.

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