Friday, May 25, 2007

Tools of the Trade - Magic 8 Ball Bias

The Magic 8-Ball, manufactured by Mattel, is a toy used for fortune-telling. Invented by Abe Bookman in 1946 of the Alabe Toy Company, it is a hollow, plastic sphere resembling an oversized, black and white 8-ball. The fortunes are given by a white plastic die in the shape of an icosahedron, floating in a blue liquid, with answers to yes-no questions in raised letters on its 20 triangular faces. There is a transparent window on the bottom of the 8-ball, and when the ball is held so that the window faces up, the die floats to the top randomly exposing one of its faces in the window. As the raised white letters press against the window, they drive the dark blue liquid to the sides, away from the raised letters, so that the letters appear as white print on a still-dark-blue background (where a thin layer of fluid remains between the raised letters).

Ten of the possible answers are variations of "yes", five are ambiguous, and five are variations of "no".


I guess I should stop using the Magic 8 ball for important least I can always fall back onto RPS. It will never let me down.

On to the tools....

1) On May 25th, Michele Dallachiesa (aka Xenion) released rtpBreak v1.0. rtpBreak detects, reconstructs and analyzes any RTP [rfc1889] session through heuristics over the UDP network traffic. It works well with SIP, H.323, SCCP and any other signaling protocol. In particular, it doesn't require the presence of RTCP packets (voipong needs them) that aren't always transmitted from the recent VoIP clients.

2) On May 25th, Pidgin 2.0.1 was released. Pidgin (formerly Gaim) is a GTK+ instant messaging application for Windows and Unix. It supports AIM, ICQ, Jabber/XMPP, MSN, Yahoo!, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, QQ, SILC, SIMPLE and more.

3) On May 23rd, Open Office 2.2.1 Release Candidate 2 was released. See the release notes for the details.

4) On May 22nd, Honeytrap 0.7.0 was released. Honeytrap is a network security tool written to observe attacks against TCP services. As a low-interactive honeypot, it collects information regarding known or unknown network-based attacks and thus can provide early-warning information.

5) On May 22nd, Opera 9.21 was released. This update fixed a buffer overflow which can be triggered by malformed torrents. See the changelog for all the details.

6) On May 17th, Asturio Kee released SambaScan2 v4.0. Sambascan2 is a small bash-script, which can scan for SMB-shares on a given network. It requires nmap, find, smbclient, sed and grep. This version adds the ability to scan password protected shares, using known logins and passwords for the host being scanned.

7) On May 16th, Adam Laurie released RFIDIOt-0.1m. RFIDIOt is an open source python library for exploring RFID devices. I had the pleasure of seeing Adam speak at CanSecWest in Canada, very interesting stuff indeed.

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