Allchin retires from Microsoft as Vista ships

After 17 years with Microsoft, Jim Allchin retired from Microsoft as of Jan. 30, 2007 – the day on which Microsoft officially released the Windows Vista operating system to consumers.
James (Jim) Allchin served as co-president of Microsoft’s Platforms & Services Division from September 2005 until his retirement. In that position, Allchin shared overall responsibility with Kevin Johnson for the division of the company that includes the Windows and Windows Live Group, Windows Live Platform Group, Online Business Group, Market Expansion Group, Core Operating System Division, Windows Client Marketing Group, Developer and Platform Evangelism Group, and the Server and Tools Business Group. Kevin Johnson remains as lone chief for the Platforms & Services Division.
I met Jim a few of times in the States, mostly at Featured Community summits where he had invited a select group to discuss ideas for Vista over lunch or dinner, and try to get feedback from people like us that represent the community. I remember telling him how important I thought this move was over previous versions of Windows.
Jim was totally open and committed to turning the development of Vista around when he got on board in September 2005. I think a key factor of development was to bring on many more people and involve „the average Joe“ and I believe that we can thank him for that.
Kevin Johnson now leads Microsoft’s Platforms & Services Division, I hope when the time comes he will take what Jim has shown and offered us as an important step towards shipping a Windows Platform not only geared towards business & enterprise solutions (Johnson has a Sales background at Microsoft) but one that home users will really feel comfortable using.
Jim is a nice guy and I’m sure I speak for many people that he will be missed at Microsoft and at events that Neowin attends in the Featured Communities summits.
View: Jim Allchin Bio @ Microsoft

Chinese Professor Cracks Fifth Data Security Algorithm

TAIPEI—Within four years, the U.S. government will cease to use SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm) for digital signatures, and convert to a new and more advanced „hash“ algorithm, according to the article „Security Cracked!“ from New Scientist . The reason for this change is that associate professor Wang Xiaoyun of Beijing’s Tsinghua University and Shandong University of Technology, and her associates, have already cracked SHA-1.

Wang also cracked MD5 (Message Digest 5), the hash algorithm most commonly used before SHA-1 became popular. Previous attacks on MD5 required over a million years of supercomputer time, but Wang and her research team obtained results using ordinary personal computers.

In early 2005, Wang and her research team announced that they had succeeded in cracking SHA-1. In addition to the U.S. government, well-known companies like Microsoft, Sun, Atmel, and others have also announced that they will no longer be using SHA-1.

Two years ago, Wang announced at an international data security conference that her team had successfully cracked four well-known hash algorithms—MD5, HAVAL-128, MD4, and RIPEMD—within ten years.

A few months later, she cracked the even more robust SHA-1.

Focus and Dedication

According to the article, Wang’s research focusses on hash algorithms.

A hash algorithm is a mathematical procedure for deriving a ‘fingerprint’ of a block of data. The hash algorithms used in cryptography are „one-way“: it is easy to derive hash values from inputs, but very difficult to work backwards, finding an input message that yields a given hash value. Cryptographic hash algorithms are also resistant to „collisions“: that is, it is computationally infeasible to find any two messages that yield the same hash value.

Hash algorithms’ usefulness in data security relies on these properties, and much research focusses in this area.

Recent years have seen a stream of ever-more-refined attacks on MD5 and SHA-1—including, notably, Wang’s team’s results on SHA-1, which permit finding collisions in SHA-1 about 2,000 times more quickly than brute-force guessing. Wang’s technique makes attacking SHA-1 efficient enough to be feasible.

MD5 and SHA-1 are the two most extensively used hash algorithms in the world. These two algorithms underpin many digital signature and other security schemes in use throughout the international community. They are widely used in banking, securities, and e-commerce. SHA-1 has been recognized as the cornerstone for modern Internet security.

According to the article, in the early stages of Wang’s research, there were other researchers who tried to crack it. However, none of them succeeded. This is why in 15 years hash research had become the domain of hopeless research in many scientists’ minds.

Wang’s method of cracking algorithms differs from others’. Although such analysis usually cannot be done without the use of computers, according to Wang, the computer only assisted in cracking the algorithm. Most of the time, she calculated manually, and manually designed the methods.

„Hackers crack passwords with bad intentions,“ Wang said. „I hope efforts to protect against password theft will benefit [from this]. Password analysts work to evaluate the security of data encryption and to search for even more secure … algorithms.“

„On the day that I cracked SHA-1,“ she added, „I went out to eat. I was very excited. I knew I was the only person who knew this world-class secret.“

Within ten years, Wang cracked the five biggest names in cryptographic hash algorithms. Many people would think the life of this scientist must be monotonous, but „That ten years was a very relaxed time for me,“ she says.

During her work, she bore a daughter and cultivated a balcony full of flowers. The only mathematics-related habit in her life is that she remembers the license plates of taxi cabs.

Click here to read the original article in Chinese

WP-FLV

Installation is easy and straightforward. First of all download Jeroen Wijerings Flash Video Player here. Unzip the zipfile and upload the flvplayer.swf to an accessible directory on your server.

Next download the plugin source here and rename the file from wp-flv.php.txt to wp-flv.php. Upload this file to your WordPress plugins directory.

Login to your WordPress installation and activate the WP-FLV in the plugins menu. You’re almost done!

To make the plugin work it must know where to find the flvplayer.swf file. To do this you have to go to the options menu en choose the WP-FLV submenu. Now you change the required and optional settings for this plugin.

That’s it your finished!

Use of the plugin

The plugin replaces a special and simple <flv> tag with all the necessary and XHTML valid flash code. This <flv> has four attributes.

href

This is the only compulsary attribute. It holds the URL to your Flash Video file.

width

Optional attribute to set the width of the movie. If this value is not set it will use the default value as specified in the options menu.

height

Like width only now it sets the height

autostart

With this attribute you can determine wether the movie starts playing automatically or not. Set to either false or true.

Example codes:

<flv href="http://www.yourdomain.com/movie.flv" autostart="true" />
<flv href="/movie.flv" autostart="false" width="540" height="10" />
<flv href="/movie.flv" />

You can also use the FLV quicktag to assist you with inserting the right code.

Повече по темата може да се прочете тук.

Клипче

Ето още едно много добро музикално клипче. Нарича се „Holly Dolly – Dolly Song“

[pro-player]/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/Holly_Dolly.flv[/pro-player]

Microsoft Releases ASP.NET AJAX

ASP.NET AJAX is a free framework for quickly creating a new generation of more efficient, more interactive and highly-personalized Web experiences that work across all the most popular browsers. Many of the most popular ASP.NET component and solution vendors have also released new versions of their products with ASP.NET AJAX support.
Ajax, shorthand for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, is a web development technique for creating interactive web applications. The intent is to make web pages feel more responsive by exchanging small amounts of data with the server behind the scenes, so that the entire web page does not have to be reloaded each time the user requests a change. This is meant to increase the web page’s interactivity, speed, and usability.
View: ASP.NET AJAX Home