The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Breaking Radio Silence

Well … not that I'm actually coming to you on the meter wave of space or anything, but yes, my self-imposed exile has finally ended.

What happened?

After posting the small bit about car accessories I found myself too aggravated to write for the next few days (although I did complain a bit on a mailing list) and when I finally calmed down about that a few days later, the work involved in getting caught up just overwhelmed me.

And then that was followed by a few more days of aggravation, followed by a few more days of an ever-growing backlog of possible posts, followed by a day or so of aggravation, by a few more days of an ever-growing backlog of possible posts, followed by …

Scrap all that and just start back up.

Cold Boot Attacks on Encryption Keys

I've never given much thought to just how “dynamic” dynamic RAM is. I remember as a teenager reading up on computer design (back when it involved picking a CPU and designing the motherboard) and one of the darker aspects revolved around keeping the dynamic RAM refreshed else it lose its contents. Granted, all that was involved was ensuring certain pins got hit every unteen µseconds, but ensuring that involved a timing circuit, a counter circuit and synchronization circuit with the CPU.

And it was made clear that if this “refresh cycle” didn't happen, the dynamic RAM would quickly lose its contents to a sea of zeros (there did exist “static RAM,” which didn't need a refresh cycle, and was faster to read and write, but it was hideously expensive, even factoring into account the refresh circuit needed by dynamic RAM).

Never would I expect dynamic RAM to last seconds past power loss, much less minutes.

Boy, was I wrong (link via Xenophilia). This has some severe security implications. Yikes!

Apparently, the heat doesn't bother him either

Hof began a lifelong quest to see just how far his abilities would take him. In January of 1999 he traveled 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle to run a half-marathon in his bare feet. Three years later, dressed only in a swimsuit, he dove under the ice at the North Pole and earned a Guinness World Record for the longest amount of time swimming under the ice: 80 meters, almost twice the length of an Olympic-sized pool.

When he didn't experience frostbite or hypothermia, the body's usual reactions to extreme cold, his extraordinary ability started to get the attention of doctors who specialize in extreme medicine.

Dr. Ken Kamler, author of “Surviving the Extremes,” has treated dozens of people who tried to climb Mount Everest, and instead nearly died from the frigid temperatures. He couldn't believe it when he got word of a Dutchman making the ascent with no protection other than a pair of shorts.

Via Flares into Darkness, Iceman on Everest: ‘It Was Easy’

This is for Wlofie, who's had to endure the asphalt- melting weather here in Lower Sheol.

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