Cain and Abel: Windows password recovery utility

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As far as password recovery utilities go, Cain & Abel is by far one of the best out there. It’s designed to run on Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista but has methods to recover passwords for other systems. It is able to find passwords in the local cache, decode scrambled passwords, find wireless network keys or use brute-force and dictionary attacks. For recovering passwords on other systems Cain & Abel has the ability to sniff the local network for passwords transmitted via HTTP/HTTPS, POP3, IMAP, SMTP and much more. We think it is quite possibly one of the best utilities to have as a system administrator, and definitely a must have for your toolbox.

Pressure sensitive keyboard

The Applied Sciences group in Microsoft Hardware have come up with an interesting tool. This is a pressure sensitive keyboard. Our minds went strait to gaming, as theirs did too apparently. They show how this could give you more control in your games based on how hard you push the button. Remember the first time you got to use an analog stick, it sure is hard to go back to a D-pad. We want to know when we’ll get to play with these cool toys made by Microsoft.

Augmented Network Interfaces

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Here’s an interesting bit of research to come out of Microsoft and UCSD. The Somniloquy project is a new type of network interface. It’s a USB device that allows a computer to continue network communications after being put to sleep. By offloading these tasks, machines that would normally stay awake for RDP and file transfers are only powered up when absolutely necessary. The device uses a Gumstix board like the one used in the Tor hardware adapter. The device pictured above has two USB interfaces, but the second is just for debugging and not needed for proper operation. The board runs BSD and creates a USBNet bridge to the Vista host. When the host daemon detects the computer going to sleep, it hands off active communication to the gumstix. They developed “stub” applications to handle the various types of communication. For downloads, they used wget to download only the portion of the data that was still left. For bittorrent, they customized the command line client ctorrent to manage the download. Both programs wake up the PC upon completion and transfer the file off of the SD card.

[via Engadget]

Googles servers revealed

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We’ve often wondered what kind of hardware the giant of the internet, Google, used to handle it’s data. They’ve recently revealed what their main workhorses are. It’s a custom motherboard made by Gigabyte with two processors, and eight RAM slots. The main point of interest on these is the fact that each server and piece of network equipment has it’s own battery backup. This may add a little money in the initial cost of the unit, but apparently it is a much more efficient way of handling power. Be sure to click over to the site and check out the shipping container setup that they use. Each container has 1,160 servers. They aren’t the only ones using this method. Microsoft has adopted it for their newer facilities and Sun has done some extensive testing on how these portable facilities handle earthquakes. You can see the quake test after the break.

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Finally, a quiet Xbox 360

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Frustrated by the constant din of his Xbox 360, [Janne Ström] took action. The original case wouldn’t have near enough room for the additional cooling that needed to be installed, so he picked up Lian Li’s XB01 case replacement. He followed the illustrated disassembly guide to get the Xbox stripped down to just its motherboard. He then began fitting his coolers of choice: two massive Noctua NH-U9D0 units originally intended for AMD Opterons. The asymmetric heat sinks are intended for applications like this where dual sockets could make other devices difficult to place. Clearly the hardest part of the installation was applying an appropriate amount of thermal compound and then slowly tightening the hold down screws to guarantee even pressure. The resultant system ended up being quieter than the first camera he attempted to record it with and the attached power supply. You can see a video of it below.

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Netbooks, slow thanks to Microsoft

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[nico] pointed out something that didn’t seem to get any air-time during the recent netbook kerfuffle. Part of the original TechCrunch complaint was that netbooks are underpowered. This is a direct result of Microsoft’s Ultra Low Cost PC (ULCPC) licensing program. If manufacturer’s don’t stick to Microsoft’s restrictions, they can’t purchase XP at a discount ($26-32), which is the only way to get XP since they no longer sell it. These rules are why you can’t buy a netbook with more that 1GB of RAM.

[photo: secretlondon123]

Xbox 360 portable

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A couple months ago we posted [Ben Heck]‘s in-progress photos of his Xbox 360 laptop (with links to his other versions). He’s just put the finishing touches on it, and dubbed it the Xbox 360 Portable. It has a removable hard drive on top and memory slots on the side. The webcam is embedded in the frame and there’s internal WiFi. With chatpads available now, he’s decided not to include a keyboard. It’s really a nice machine. Check out the video below for a tour of the system.

[Read more...]

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