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Jun 26, 2012

Adobe Brackets, an Open Source Code Editor Built in HTML, CSS, JavaScript

Adobe is very keen on HTML5 and the open web in general. This isn't just PR talk, it realized that Flash won't cut it for a lot longer and started supporting HTML5 in a big way. One example is the Brackets code editor which is available under an MIT license on Git Hub.

The editor is intended for HTML, CSS and JavaScript, but it's in the early stages and a lot more functionality is planned. What's more, modularity and extensibility are at the core of the design and there's no reason why users can't expand the editor's functionality to support more languages. Of course, HTML editors are a dime a dozen, what makes Brackets special is that it's actually built with HTML and JavaScript. In fact, the Adobe developers use Brackets to code for the editor in the most extreme example of eating your own dogfood.

For now, Brackets is available as a stand-alone app, i.e. it doesn't run in the browser, since some of the APIs that handle local files aren't as robust as they need to be. But that is one big goal for the team. One interesting idea in Brackets is that everything should happen in place. There are no complicated menus, no buttons, nothing. When you need to edit a few lines of CSS that are imported from another file, you can do it in-line while you're editing the HTML file. It gets better, everything you write you can test right away in a browser. Obviously, with web content that's always true. But what's great is that any change you do to the code is reflected, in real-time, in the browser, no refresh necessary. This should really speed up testing new layouts, colors, debugging features and so on. Brackets is a promising project, Adobe seems to be excited about it and the best part about it is that you can grab the source code and start using it and even improving it straight-away.

Adobe Brackets
Image credits to Adobe

Introducing Brackets a new open source code editor for the web. -- http://github.com/adobe/brackets
Video credits to Adobe

Sapphire Intros AMD Radeon HD 7870 FleX Video Card

Traditional AMD video card and mainboard manufacturing partner Sapphire has just announced the new Sapphire HD 7870 Flex Edition video card, on its official website. The new addition to Sapphire’s AMD Radeon product lineup comes with dual BIOS and the efficient Dual-X cooling system.

The new card features the cool AMD “Pitcairn” GPU that runs at the default 1000 MHZ frequency and uses 2 GB of on board GDDR5 memory clocked at 4800 MHz effective. For the enthusiasts gunning for maximum performance, a new version of the Sapphire’s TriXX overclocking tool is also added in the box along with the standard accessories.

There are four heatpipes taking care of the GPU cooling and two fans that blow air through the cooling fins. The card occupies two adjacent expansion slots and features HDMI 1.4a, dual DVI and DisplayPort connectivity on the I/O panel.

Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 7870 FleX GHz Edition
Images credits to Sapphire

Coming in Q3: AMD 4GHz Vishera FX 8350

AMD’s Piledriver architecture is bringing a whole lot of improvements to the original Bulldozer core. In fact, Piledriver is exactly what Bulldozer was supposed to be when it was first launched a year ago.

Reported by FudzillaAMD is planning a Q3 launch for its Piledriver-based FX 8350 processor. We believe that if Piledriver’s enhanced clock mesh seen in Trinity is applied to the FX processors also, the highest clocked model will most likely surpass, or at least equal, the 4 GHz frequency. The SOI manufacturing enhancements, along with the architecture improvements brought by Piledriver, have managed to get AMD’s APUs from 2,9 GHz to a high 3,8 GHz. Llano’s top model was clocked at a base frequency of 2900 MHz, while desktop Trinity processors are expected to work at frequencies of around 3800 MHz. That’s a 31 percent frequency improvement. We don’t expect AMD’s FX Piledriver processors to have a base clock of 4,7 GHz, but we do see the possibility of a 4 GHz base clock that would represent only a 11 percent increase over FX 8150’s base clock.

The desktop Trinity processors have a usual maximum TDP of 100 watts, but on the high end AM3+ camp, a TDP of about 140 watts is quite high, but not unheard of. Basically, if AMD manages to get the same clockspeed improvements on the AM3+ platform as they did on the FM2 architecture, the new Vishera 32nm processors will be able to reach at least the 4 GHz mark. Back in the days of Pentium 4 we were used to hear uninformed amateurs say that they bought Intel processors because they were cool, lasted long and worked at a higher frequency. Once AMD manages to “hypnotize” buyers with its marketing team, the new Volan platform should achieve high sales on the same principle. The CPUs will work at very high frequencies and that’s a fact. The irony dictates that they will be just as “cool” as Pentium 4 used to be and will last longer than Intel’s Ivy Bridge CPUs, just as Intel’s Pentium 4 CPUs lasted longer than AMD’s Athlon64.

AMD's FX 8150 Processor
Image credits to Legitreviews

Test: 3 Tb/s Wireless

There is a great deal of expectation when we talk about the new wireless devices belonging to the novel 802.11ac standard. It was said that WirelessAC is the first “Gigabit Wireless” standard, but it seems that scientists are not satisfied with the results and are working hard at the “Terabit Wireless” standard.

We don’t see 802.11ac as true “gigabit wireless,” because when using a single antenna on the AP and a single antenna on the receiving device, only 0.4 Gb/s data rates can be achieved. So we could say that we’re not satisfied with the current WirelessAC standard either. Scientists at NASA and many other universities in China, US and Israel have reported by Gizmodo tested a wireless signal able to transfer data at an amazing 2.56 Tb/s data rate.

The teams were able to pack eight data streams in the same single signal using orbital angular momentum (OAM). The results were first published in Nature magazine.

orbital angular momentum graph
Image credits to Engadget

Acer Sandy Bridge NetBook

Acer has decided to build a decent netbook, and that’s probably detrimental to the usual battery life expected from netbooks in general. The new device is powered by a modest-performing Celeron B877 processor and features a 11.6” screen.

The new netbook from Acer, Fudzilla reported quite a bit heavier than the usual netbook, but unfortunately it doesn’t feature the useful DVD-Writer. In fact, the TravelMate B113 is heavy enough not to fit in the UltraBook category either, but that is also excluded by the device’s thickness. The TravelMate B113 is a very peculiar device. It doesn’t look like an UltraBook, can’t last as long as a netbook, and it doesn’t have a propped ODD drive just like any notebook should have. This is device clearly targeted for the cash-strapped buyers that need more performance than a netbook can provide, but that don’t mind the lower battery life and the lack of the ODD.

The new TravelMate B113 series feature 4 GB of DDR3 RAM memory, a 500 GB hard disk drive, Wireless N and USB 3.0 connectivity, along with HDMI and a 4400mAh battery. The screen features the mediocre 1366 by 768 pixel resolution and the whole thing weighs in at 1.88 Kg. That’s about 4.14 pounds, and it is clearly too much to be considered an UltraBook. In our humble opinion, Acer could have included an optical disc drive in the design, as there are quite a lot of laptops that come with an ODD in the €450 ~ €560 price range of the TravelMate B113. In US dollars, that is around $563 to $700, which is quite pricey by our standards. The more capable versions come with a 1.3GHz Pentium B967 or a Core i3-2377M working at 1.5GHz.

Acer TravelMate B113
Image credits to Fudzilla

Acer TravelMate B113
Image credits to Fudzilla

RSA SecurID bypassed, Access Cryptographic Keys only in 13 Minutes

Experts from France, Italy, the UK, and Norway have released the results of a study which demonstrates that the flaws present in many of the popular security devices, such as the RSA’s SecureID 800, can be leveraged to obtain the precious cryptographic keys.

In a paper called “Efficient padding oracle attacks on cryptographic hardware,” researchers Romain Bardou, Lorenzo Simionato, Graham Steel, Joe-Kai Tsay, Riccardo Focardi and Yusuke Kawamoto detail the vulnerabilities that expose the imported keys from various cryptographic devices that rely on the PKCS#11 standard. They describe the method they used, the padding oracle attack, as a “particular type of side channel attack where the attacker is assumed to have access to an oracle which returns true just when a chosen ciphertext corresponds to a correctly padded plaintext under a given scheme.” By creating an optimized version of Bleichenbacher’s attack, the researchers have been able to prove that tokens such as the RSA SecurID, the Aladdin eTokenPro, the Gemalto Cyberflex, the Safenet Ikey 2032 and the Siemens CardOS can be cracked in a short period of time.

Surprisingly, the attack in the RSA’s device took only 13 minutes to complete, while the ones on Aladdin and Siemens took about 21 minutes. Safenet and Gemalto tokens were cracked in 88, respectively 92 minutes. The initial variant of the Bleichenbacher attack required millions of decryption attempts, explained Matthew Green, a research professor at Johns Hopkins University. However, the new version only requires thousands or tens of thousands of attempts. This paper is just one of many that show that the PKCS#1v1.5 padding for RSA encryption is highly insecure, a fact reinforced by Green, who believes that the past two years haven’t been the best for the industry.

The most worrying thing is that tokens that rely on this technology are utilized by numerous organizations to access restricted networks and perform other sensitive operations. That’s why the scientists recommend a few countermeasures to the Bleichenbacher and Vaudenay attacks.

Oracle details and attack times
Image credits to Project-Team Prosecco

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