Sunday, June 24, 2012

Podcast - Contemporary Display Standards

Hugh and Phil take a look at display standards starting with HD/SDi and working through analogue VGA through to DisplayPort.
Hugh talks about some of the work he's been doing with Skillset certifying University TV and Media courses.
Find it on iTunes, vanilla RSS, YouTube or the show notes website.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Broadcast Engineers of a certain age - enjoy!

I'm prep'ing a BVW-75P for training (yes - some people still want to know how to fix VTRs!); here are some pictures.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Secure DNS - what's a home-user to do?!

I find DNS a very interesting (how often do you hear that?!). When I was doing my degree in the mid-80s there was no such thing and you routinely updated you hosts file every few weeks from a master file stored at Sheffield University Computer Science dept. However - my faculty was very IP-aware (even then) and so we were running an early BIND server when I graduated and so I was at least aware of DNS before it became a big deal on the Internet.

DNS is an inherently insecure protocol for the following reasons;
  • It runs over UDP/IP and so doesn't require the 3-way TCP handshake - it's easy to spoof IPs
  • It's unencrypted
  • It doesn't require any kind of authentication and so man-in-the-middle attacks are possible
  • Problems with the protocol itself (i.e. independent of implementation) allow things like DNS cache poisoning (read up about the Kaminsky vulnerability from a couple of years ago).
I've used OpenDNS for several years and it's an excellent service that offers so much more than my ISP's DNS servers. Those guys have recently launched DNSCrypt which is a secure client for Mac or Windows that allow DNS look-up that avoids all the problems above.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

HP xw6200 workstation and Windows 7

The HP xw6200 is a brilliant dual-3.6Ghz Xeon workstation that is the baby brother of the xw8200 which was Avid's workstation of choice for a couple of years until the Z800 came out in 2010. It's still a powerhouse and re-furb places like Tier-1 knocks them out for a bit more than £100. Given how pokey they are and how well build HP made them (you got quality when you paid >£2k for a PC in 2010!) I often recommend them to friends.

Anyhow - couple of gotchas;
  • Make sure you re-set the BIOS to disable the onboard SATA RAID controller or when you install Windows 7 SP1 you re-boot and get a corrupt boot partition and have to start all over again!
  • The graphics card is an nVidia Quadro4 400NVS - a quad-monitor CAD/NLE display adaptor that has no Windows 7 driver!

Still, an excellent deal if you're willing to put in the time to sort it out.