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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Laptop Thermal Design, Convergence, and More Security Analysis

If you've ever used any laptop/netbook you'll realise a lot of compromises need to be made to achieve a balance of power, portability, durability, and longevity. One of the big issues is heat dissipation. For instance, running a fan can result in significantly higher power requirements. If you're curious one experiment I came across said that shifting more air via a larger fan was more efficient and quieter than a series of smaller fans.).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_pipe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_sink

Recently, the thermal pad (it feels like a silicon/rubber compound) dried out on my Asus 1015 series EeePC which led to higher than average temperatures and ultimately permature shutdown. The interesting thing about the design is that the CPU is placed almost directly over RAM chip socket. Moreover, foil is then used as another supposed heat dissipation mechanism on the inside the RAM cover. The obvious issue is if the fan/heatsink combination on the CPU is not working properly this combination results in a 'heat sandwich'.

If you're curious, I've used copper shims, coins, and even foil in combination with standard thermal paste as a means of replacing thermal pads if I couldn't find a replacement. Be sure to cut to size if the material is somewhat malleable though particularly if there are components on top of the chip which may cause a short (can lead to non startup of your machine and can often be difficult to diagnose if you've been roaming around the whole board) or other problems.

One of the things I examined in the 'Convergence' report was pricing differences between local retailers and overseas options, the premium that people were willing to pay for locally purchased goods, and whether or not prices would eventually converge regionally/internationally. Clearly, there is some work with regards to suppliers/channels and a Federal Government enquiry as well. It's going to be interesting whether things will change and how long they will take given the smaller size of the Australian market.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/growing-consumer-outrage-at-information-technology-mark-ups-and-rip-offs/story-fndo1qgd-1226440690843
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/firms-to-answer-on-cost-disparity/story-e6frgakx-1226505607189
http://www.smh.com.au/business/retailers-forced-to-step-into-line-on-price-20130111-2cjx8.html
http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2013/s3687910.htm
http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/tech-giants-to-face-it-gouging-probe-20130211-2e80e.html
http://www.afr.com/p/technology/adobe_cuts_australian_prices_after_BgBXyFaCrXRGNIrS1M2fNN
http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/02/australian-government-to-force-apple-microsoft-to-front-up-australia-tax-inquiry/
http://www.crn.com.au/News/333106,why-the-it-price-inquiry-summons-may-not-mean-answers.aspx
http://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/93744

Raytheon have been playing around with concepts similar to social networking OSINT (aware that FBI/DHS/NSA may have been working on similar technologies as well) and 'Algorithmic Masking' concepts outlined in 'Convergence' report.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/9861155/Warning-over-social-networking-snooping-technology.html

Continuing work on 'Cybersecurity' report (Hope to finish soon. It's 871+ pages/229K+ words now though I think I should be able to cut down a lot). Been interesting just how much difficulty a lot of cutting edge projects have run into, in particular the JSF program.
http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/the-pentagons-new-trillion-dollar-jet-is-a-garbage-can
http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/f-35-takes-flight-sans-ge-and-perhaps-canadians
http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2011/03/air-force-norman-schwartz-says-software-may-slow-f-35-development-030611w/

Micro Versioning System (MVS), Random Stuff, and More

- recently, built my own Micro Versioning System (using BASH funnily enough). Download it here: https://sites.google.com/site/dtbnguyen/m...