Can Google’s New AI Read Your Datasheets For You?

We’ve seen a lot of AI tools lately, and, of course, we know they aren’t really smart, but they sure fool people into thinking they are actually intelligent. Of course, these programs can only pick through their training, and a lot depends on what they are trained on. When you use something like ChatGPT, for example, you assume they trained it on reasonable data. Sure, it might get things wrong anyway, but there’s also the danger that it simply doesn’t know what you are talking about. It would be like calling your company’s help desk and asking where you left your socks — they simply don’t know.

We’ve seen attempts to have AI “read” web pages or documents of your choice and then be able to answer questions about them. The latest is from Google with NotebookLM. It integrates a workspace where you can make notes, ask questions, and provide sources. The sources can be text snippets, documents from Google Drive, or PDF files you upload.

You can’t ask questions until you upload something, and we presume the AI restricts its answers to what’s in the documents you provide. It still won’t be perfect, but at least it won’t just give you bad information from an unknown source. Continue reading “Can Google’s New AI Read Your Datasheets For You?”

Hilarious Security Flaw In Counter Strike 2 Is Now Patched

Normally, when we talk about video games having bugs, it’s some kind of item duplication glitch or a hilarious failure in the jacket equip code of some tedious first-person-shooter online wardrobe simulator. Counter-Strike 2 has had a more embarrassing faux-pas, however, with a security hole allowing bad actors to theoretically capture the IPs of their fellow players in a server. You won’t believe how this came to happen.

The exploit has already been making its way around the forums, with one [Crouch9706] raising the alarm. It’s all down to the way Counter-Strike 2 renders the names that players have entered in their Steam gaming profiles. In certain menus and other parts of the UI, the game will actually parse HTML in a player’s name. Typically, the way to trigger it is to join a game and vote to kick yourself. This brings up a dialog for other players that shows them your player name and parses the HTML. The only limitation is you only get 32 characters for your HTML.

There’s a nifty little extra trick to this, though, in that you can use this technique to snag another player’s IP. By putting in HTML that links to your own server, you can log any player IPs that connect to the server seeking an image, for example.

Of course, it’s not the biggest risk, with many players being behind ISPs that use CGNAT, making the harvested IPs rather useless. However, this sort of unexpected code injection is really not acceptable from a security standpoint. At the very least, it has the potential to expose players to nasty imagery.

Word on the street (Nitter) is that the exploit has now been patched. Meanwhile, if you’re working on a game that for some mad reason, executes code based on player names or any other such data, consider patching your work ASAP. If you find similar exploits in the wild, don’t hesitate to hit up our tipsline—and notify the developers, too!

Homemade Raman Laser Is Shaken, Not Stirred

You wouldn’t think that shaking something in just the right way would be the recipe for creating laser light, but as [Les Wright] explains in his new video, that’s pretty much how his DIY Raman laser works.

Of course, “shaking” is probably a gross oversimplification of Raman scattering, which lies at the heart of this laser. [Les] spends the first half of the video explaining Raman scattering and stimulated Raman scattering. It’s an excellent treatment of the subject matter, but at the end of the day, when certain crystals and liquids are pumped with a high-intensity laser they’ll emit coherent, monochromatic light at a lower frequency than the pumping laser. By carefully selecting the gain medium and the pumping laser wavelength, Raman lasers can emit almost any wavelength.

Most gain media for Raman lasers are somewhat exotic, but luckily some easily available materials will work just fine too. [Les] chose the common solvent dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) for his laser, which was made from a length of aluminum hex stock. Bored out, capped with quartz windows, and fitted with a port to fill it with DMSO, the laser — or more correctly, a resonator — is placed in the path of [Les]’ high-power tattoo removal laser. Laser light at 532 nm from the pumping laser passes through a focusing lens into the DMSO where the stimulated Raman scattering takes place, and 628 nm light comes out. [Les] measured the wavelengths with his Raspberry Pi spectrometer, and found that the emitted wavelength was exactly as predicted by the Raman spectrum of DMSO.

It’s always a treat to see one of [Les]’ videos pop up in our feed; he’s got the coolest toys, and he not only knows what to do with them, but how to explain what’s going on with the physics. It’s a rare treat to watch a video and come away feeling smarter than when you started.

Continue reading “Homemade Raman Laser Is Shaken, Not Stirred”