What other purposes can I use my [obsolete] hashing hardware for?


Every so often Apple will release a list of Macs that are now considered “vintage” or “obsolete”. You’ll probably find yourself wondering what exactly Apple means by “vintage” and “obsolete”.

Here is how Apple defines the terms:

Vintage: Products that have not been manufactured for more than five and less than seven years ago. Apple has discontinued hardware service for vintage products with a few exceptions that can be found here.

Obsolete: Products that were discontinued more than seven years ago. Apple has discontinued all hardware service for obsolete products with no exceptions. Service providers cannot order parts for obsolete products.

On Tuesday, Apple added certain Mac models to its obsolete and vintage lists with the Late 2009 iMac, Mid 2009 MacBook Air, Early 2009 Mac Pro being designated “vintage” and Early 2008 MacBook and MacBook Pro designated “obsolete”.

But while Apple might dub these Machines “vintage” or “obsolete”, with the...

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What we are optimizing here is time spent on a task. Unfortunately we do not know enough about the task at hand to know what the optimal solution should be.

Is it for one-time comparison of 2 arbitrary files? Then compare size, and after that simply compare the files, byte by byte (or mb by mb) if that's better for your IO.

If it is for 2 large sets of files, or many sets of files, and it is not a one-time exercise. but something that will happen frequently, then one should store hashes for each file. A hash is never unique, but a hash with a number of say 9 digits (32 bits) would be good for about 4 billion combination, and a 64 bit number would be good enough to distinguish between some 16 * 10^18 Quintillion different files.

A decent compromise would be to generate 2 32-bit hashes for each file, one for first 8k, another for 1MB+8k, slap them together as a single 64 bit number. Cataloging all existing files into a DB should be fairly quick, and looking up a...

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Dear Lifehacker,
I have built many computers throughout the years, but as they've become obsolete I've replaced them with new computers. What should I do with all my old computer parts? I'd hate to just throw them in the trash.

Hard Drive Hoarder

Dear Hoarder,
No matter how obsolete your parts are, you can probably find one or two uses for them—even if they aren't in a new computer for yourself. Here are some things you can do with them, both from the obvious end of the spectrum and the less obvious.

Build a Low-Powered, Single-Purpose Computer

It isn't the most original idea, but if you have enough parts to build a new machine—with or without a good case—you can always throw it together and repurpose it like you would an old computer. For example, no matter how old or crappy a computer may be, it can make for a pretty great home server that feeds files to the other computers in your house, downloads torrents 24/7, or performs...

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We all know the mantra of efficient product usage: Reduce; Reuse; Recycle. When it comes to computers though, changing technology and the need for tech-minded people to upgrade makes it hard to reduce consumption. This means we’re plagued with the problem of old computers lying around our sheds with need of a good home or project to give them new life.

But thankfully, there are plenty of great ways to make use of your old computers. If you’re a little bit crafty or have an artistic streak, there’s plenty of ways you can turn your old computer into a real feature piece for your house. Check out these great ideas for your old computers.

Re-Use Your Computer

In many cities worldwide, there are a handful of community-minded geeks who tirelessly accept old computers and install an operating system which is cheap or free, such as Linux, on each of them. These computers are then either sold very cheaply or given away to needy people. An example of a computer...

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Feb 28, 2008

I recently build a server. I was wondering what tool can i use to test the stability of the hardware and the OS. (Windows2003/CentOS)


Apr 21, 2009

I am migrating my website to Hostgator, and before I change the DNS entries, I want to make sure that everything displays properly. To do this, I have added an entry into my /etc/hosts file pointing the domain to the new host. If I then ping the domain, the reply comes from the correct IP address. However, if I try to view the website, it is still served by the old host.

I thought it might be a caching issue, but I have checked with wireshark and using curl, and it is definitely connecting to the new IP address, but the server that is returning the pages is still the old one. I've contacted hostgator support, but when they make the changes to their hosts file, it loads correctly. Is this a local problem (my system), or something with their server...

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Updated: August 13, 2001

Software piracy is a worldwide problem which negatively impacts software developers, resellers, support professionals, and most importantly, consumers. One form of piracy, estimated to be as high as 50%, is known as casual copying. Casual copying is the sharing and installation of software on multiple PCs in violation of the software's end user license agreement (EULA). Microsoft has developed product activation as one solution to reduce this form of piracy.

Product activation uses several methods and technologies to help achieve Microsoft's goals of protecting intellectual property rights by making it easy for users to comply with the terms of the EULA and reducing software piracy.

In order to help customers and partners better understand the technologies used by product activation, and their unobtrusive and anonymous nature, we will outline in this bulletin:

How activation works for Windows XP acquired through:

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Thank you User139362.

Thank you for your very good comments and observations. They deserve serious replies.

1) I take your point regarding putting "can not be recovered if lost" somewhere, probably at the top. If one forgets the simple text, the complex password is lost forever. Of course, as long as you keep a backup of the Sim2Com itself, you cannot lose it. But an amnesia or dementia will not help for sure - even easy-to-remember text can be forgotten.

2) The larger font size is a darn good suggestion. I'll take that point in my next updated version. I also got that impression using my small Windows netbook. My small Windows netbook definitely wants a bigger font.

3) Sim2Com was originally created to serve the needs of enterprise systems administrators and network administrators for devices, accounts, shares, databases and cookie seeds so the password structures are aimed to meet those needs. That said, quite a few consumer-grade routers...

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Published: October 12, 2005

By Jesper M. Johansson
Senior Security Strategist
Security Technology Unit

See other Security Management columns.

I seem to have become the person people go to for answers to questions about passwords these days. Frankly, I am fine with that because I am very interested in passwords. It is a good area to have some interest in because we will not get rid of passwords for quite some time to come and they are used to protect very sensitive information. Operating systems and applications today are architected around passwords and even if you use smart cards or biometric systems, all accounts still have passwords and they can still be used in some circumstances. Some accounts, notably accounts used to run services, cannot even use smart cards and biometric tokens and therefore must have use a password to authenticate.

People often ask many of the same questions about passwords over and over again. To try to...

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Revisited, August 2014
Prompted by Arnaud Bouchez in a recent comment, and in view of other answers and comments, I acknowledge that the original answer needs to be altered or for the least qualified. I left the original as-is, at the end, for reference.

First, and maybe most important, a fair answer to the question depends on the intended use of the hash code: What does one mean by "good" [hash function...]? Where/how will the hash be used? (e.g. is it for hashing a relatively short input key? Is it for indexing / lookup purposes, to produce message digests or yet other uses? How long is the desired hash code itself, all 32 bits [of CRC32 or derivatives thereof], more bits, fewer... etc?
The OP questions calls for "a faster general-purpose hash function", so the focus is on SPEED (something less CPU intensive and/or something which can make use of parallel processing of various nature). We may note here that the computation time for the hash code itself is often...

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(Sometimes referred to as Hard Drive Cloning, Mirror Image or Mirror Imaging)

When a computer is identified as possibly containing electronic evidence, it is imperative to follow a strict set of procedures to ensure a proper (i.e. admissible) extraction of any evidence that may exist on the subject computer. The first thing to remember is the “golden rule of electronic evidence” – never, in any way, modify the original media if at all possible. Thus, before any data analysis occurs, it usually makes sense to create an exact, bit stream copy of the original storage media that exists on the subject computer. A forensic image, is sometimes referred to as a mirror image or ghost image. Mirror imaging or ghost imaging does not always generate a true forensic image. The same is true for cloning a hard drive. A forensic image may include a single or multiple hard drives, floppy disk(s), CD(s), Zip drive(s) or DVD(s), plus many other types of storage media that now exist. Imaging...

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I wouldn't know if they do (don't even use Facebook), but it's also possible that they use Hardware Security Modules (HSM) for their cryptoprocessing that don't store hashed passwords but merely reversibly encrypt them. With the volume of authorization requests they have to deal with, this would make perfect sense, as it's orders of magnitude faster than secure (read: slow) password hashing, while still offering safe password storage.

HSMs could then be programmed to compare stored and new password as an input of one of their functions and merely return result of it (could even be a boolean value in our case), with the original password never even transmitted or stored in plaintext anywhere, besides their internal memory (which is tamper resistant). This is usually referred to as an onboard secure key and application storage/processing.

By the way, many banks use HSMs because a proper implementation of it also requires physical security for the devices themselves and...

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Hashing is the transformation of a string of characters into a usually shorter fixed-length value or key that represents the original string. Hashing is used to index and retrieve items in a database because it is faster to find the item using the shorter hashed key than to find it using the original value. It is also used in many encryption algorithms.

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As a simple example of the using of hashing in databases, a group of people could be arranged in a database like this:

Abernathy, Sara Epperdingle, Roscoe Moore, Wilfred Smith, David (and many more sorted into alphabetical order)

Each of these names would be the key...

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