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Trivia December 16, 2005

Posted by dhar in Misc.

Single Trivia Question:

Whose email ID was recently revealed to be chunkylover53@aol.com?


Armor December 15, 2005

Posted by dhar in Misc.

Just read the back cover of a book titled Armor and got hooked immediately. This is the blurb for John Steakley’s masterpiece:

The planet is called Banshee. The air is unbreathable, the water poisonous. It is the home of the most implacable enemies that humanity, in all its interstellar expansion, has ever encountered.

Body armor has been devised for the commando forces that are to be dropped on Banshee — the culmination of ten thousand years of the armorers’ craft. A trooper in this armor is a one-man, atomic-powered battle fortress — but he will have to fight a nearly endless horde of berserk, hard-shelled monsters — the fighting arm of a species which uses biological technology to design perfect, mindless, war minions.

Felix is a scout in A-team Two. Highly competent, he is the sole survivor of mission after mission. Yet he is a man consumed by fear and hatred. And he is protected, not only by his custom-fitted body armor, but by an odd being which seems to live within him, a cold killing machine he calls “The Engine.”

This is Felix’s story — a story of the horror, the courage, and the aftermath of combat, and the story, too, of how strength of spirit can be the greatest armor of all.

Based on the hundred or so pages that I have read, I would strongly recommend it.

Password Recovery Utilities December 12, 2005

Posted by dhar in Misc.

Continuing with yesterday’s post related to Password Cracking, here are some more utilities that you may find useful: (via Digg)

MessenPass is a password recovery tool that reveals the passwords of quite a few Instant Messaging Applications.

Asterisk Logger
Automatically reveals the passwords stored behind the asterisks (‘***’) in standard password text-boxes of Windows.

Protected Storage PassView
This utility reveals the passwords stored on your computer by Internet Explorer, Outlook Express and POP3 accounts of MS-Outlook.

Network Password Recovery
This utility recovers all network passwords stored on your system for the current logged-on user.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for password recovery and educational purposes only. Please do not use it for illegal purposes.

Hyperion December 11, 2005

Posted by dhar in Misc.
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Nothing is more irritating than finishing a book (Hyperion) and finding that you have to read another to complete the story (The Fall of Hyperion).

That crib aside, Hyperion is an extremely well written novel. Dan Simmons tells an engrossing tale by interlocking the stories of 7 travellers who are on a pilgrimage to the Time Tombs on Hyperion.

They are on the way to Hyperion to make a request of the Shrike; a monster and anti-hero of the novel. The Shrike is known for impaling people on a massive tree made of metal, whose branches are massive thorns.

The book ends rather abruptly and I have no idea what happens next. I found it even more frustrating because I kinda thought the story will be wrapped up in this novel itself. Damn you, Dan Simmons!

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid December 11, 2005

Posted by dhar in Misc.
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Because knowing all passwords is cooler than trying to crack one.

Ophcrack is a Windows password cracker based on Philippe Oechslin’s faster time-memory trade-off using Rainbow tables. This program can crack 99.9% of passwords of length 1 to 14 containing uppercase letters, lowercase letters and numbers. This happens because of two weaknesses in the way LM Hash is implemented:

– Passwords longer than 7 characters are divided into two pieces and each piece is hashed separately.
– All lower case letters in the password are changed to upper case before the password is hashed.

I tried cracking my 13 character alpha-numeric password (something that I considered remarkably secure) and Ophcrack did it in less than a minute. For those in Mumbai who don’t want to download the gigantic 700 MB worth of Rainbow tables used by Ophcrack, give me a shout!

Password Trivia:
– Fox Mulder’s password in X-Files is “trustno1”.
– In he classic 1932 Marx Brothers’ film, Horse Feathers the password for entering the speakeasy was “Swordfish”.

Books December 6, 2005

Posted by dhar in Misc.

Just finished Vernor Vinge’s excellent True Names. Currently reading A Fire upon the Deep by the same author. Others in line include:

John Brunner’s The Shockwave Rider & The Sheep look up
Alfred Bester’s The Stars my Destination
Dan Simmonss’ Hyperion
Douglas Coupland’s Microserfs

DivX Codec December 6, 2005

Posted by dhar in Misc.

Sometime back Anand posted about DrDivX and I decided to give it a try. I have so far been a big fan of GordianKnot, but lets face it: GordianKnot’s interface is really a pain in the rear part of the anatomy. After downloading and installing DrDivX, I realized it requires DivX codec.

As I prefer Mplayer as my default media player, I had to download the package from DivX.com and during the installation, the EULA threw up this:

SOFTWARE INSTALLATION: Components bundled with our software may report to Licensor and/or its affiliates the installation status of certain marketing offers, such as toolbars, and also generalized installation information, such as language preference and operating system version, to assist Licensor in its product development. No personal information will be communicated to DivXNetworks or its affiliates during this process. Licensor may in the future offer additional components (such as a toolbar) through our version checking/update system.

Arrgh spyware! Et-tu DivX??