The Truth: Security Updates for Nvidia’s Drivers, NSA Flounders in Judiciary Committee Hearings, Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 is Shipping

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Hello everyone! Seems like there isn’t much happening in the tech world at the moment. Still, can’t leave you completely hanging on this fine Thursday, so here’s some IT news.

Nvidia has fixed nine vulnerabilities in its graphics drivers (CVE‑2019‑5690 thru CVE‑2019‑5698). These can lead to “denial of service, escalation of privileges or information disclosure”, Nvidia says. The highest CVSS Score among these is 7.8 for two of the software flaws. To fix these, get driver version 441.12 – which is also optimised for Red Dead Redemption 2.

Oh yeah, Red Dead Redemption 2 was released for the PC, by the way. In case you hadn’t heard.

So far, the NSA’s attempts to get its controversial phone surveillance programme (part of the 2015 USA Freedom Act) reauthorised, isn’t going so well, The Register reports. “The repeated refusal by NSA senior official Susan Morgan to provide any detail whatsoever about how the program – which the NSA and FBI are formally asking Congress to permanently authorize – has proved useful, left senators on the Judiciary Committee shaking their heads in disbelief. Among those expressing their frustration were the two senators, Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), who co-sponsored the USA Freedom Act that the intelligence services are asking be reauthorized before it expires on December 15.” It seems the NSA doesn’t want to say in a public hearing what exactly it’s doing to spy on American citizens. Or why that would even be necessary. “As for why spying programs that have never been used, have failed to work properly, or remain highly controversial should be reauthorized at all, the representatives of the NSA, DoJ and FBI all had the same answer: they are valuable ‘tools in our toolbox’ and both the nature of terrorist organizations and technology continues to change over time, meaning that the intelligence agencies need the ‘agility’ to evolve with them. Based on events today in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing room, that argument is not going to cut it. But then, as the NSA knows only too well, what senators say in public and what they end up doing when confronted with a decision are often not entirely consistent.” Time will tell, I guess.

Do you want to “look like RoboCop, play with holograms”? Microsoft is now shipping its augmented reality (AR) headset HoloLens 2. With its $3,500 price tag, it’s mostyl aimed at businesses, though. “Unlike traditional idiot goggles, the HoloLens projects images, or holograms, over the user’s view. These can range from models a user can manipulate, to good old-fashioned windows-style dialogs. Although HoloLens 2 has increased the field of view from its predecessor and also improved finger tracking, customers we spoke to were more excited about iris scanning (meaning poking at a virtual keyboard was no longer required for logging in) and the improved weight distribution.” Well, the guys at El Reg seem to be fans.

In the world of the traditional idiot goggles, things aren’t going as well, though. Now Google has lost interest in its VR platform Google Cardboard. And it’s doing to it what Google does when it loses interest in things: it’s open sourcing it. Seems like it’s taken Google some time, but they have now finally also realised that VR is dead. Or never was alive, to be more precise. Good riddance. I can’t wait for people to stop talking about this silly fad.

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