c't Know-how (PDF-magazine, english)

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  • Artificial nose analyzes gas molecules
  • How AI detects emotions
  • Interactive evaluation of James Webb Telescope data
  • Historical encryption reprogrammed
  • Understanding and decoding QR codes
  • Safe or not? Security myths fact-checked
  • Rumor or nonsense: Is Linux safer than Windows?

The c't Know-how 2024 special issue offers in-depth knowledge on IT topics. It examines long-standing IT myths for their accuracy, such as whether changing passwords regularly actually enhances security.

The editorial team explains the workings of AI models and their potential beyond automated text and image generation. AI image generating tools sometimes deliver unexpected results and eavesdropping cars may enhance road safety in the future.

The special issue also provides answers to unexpected questions - such as how to decrypt a QR code, mathematical methods that may not have been taught by your math teacher, and how to crack an encryption that has challenged scientists for 300 years.

About the magazine:

Demystifying IT Myths

Is it true that AI is as power-hungry as we often hear? And what about the rumor that every printer prints invisible codes? We examine widespread myths about sustainability in the IT world, operating systems, security, and hardware.

  • 6 IT myths checked by c't magazine
  • 10 myths about Windows and Linux
  • 14 security myths illuminated
  • 18 hardware myths from printers to WLAN

How AI Works

The thought patterns behind artificial intelligence or its ability to recognize emotions are probably known by few. Similarly, that image generators can be manipulated to confuse a dog with a cat.

  • 24 Transformers: Language AI with focus
  • 32 Explainable AI reveals its thought concepts
  • 38 Manipulated images sabotage AIs
  • 44 AI recognizes emotions

Exciting Research Developments

A curated mix from the colorful world of science: Listening cars and tiny artificial noses that sniff out gas molecules, as well as the James Webb Telescope, whose data you can even analyze yourself.

  • 50 The car learns to listen for signals
  • 56 Artificial nose detects gas molecules
  • 62 Brainwaves control keyboard & prosthetics
  • 68 The technology of the James Webb Telescope
  • 76 Interactively analyzing data from the JWST

Nerd Knowledge Explained

Getting to the bottom of Rubik's cubes, crafting an AI rapper, or deciphering QR codes by hand – these are topics where expertise isn't necessary, but desired. Those interested in specialized knowledge on nerdy topics will find themselves at home here.

  • 84 God’s Number for the Rubik's cube
  • 92 Quick calculations
  • 100 Decoding QR codes by hand
  • 108 Producing rap songs with the help of AI

Cracking Historical Encryptions

Although old encryptions play no role today, they still serve as good teaching examples to dive into the world of cryptography. Some were far ahead of their time and took hundreds of years to be deciphered.

  • 114 Messages from the Vatican deciphered
  • 120 Maximilian ciphers decrypted
  • 126 Programming the Vigenère cipher in Python
  • 132 Cracking the Vigenère cipher with the Kasiski test

About the Magazine

  • 3 Editorial
  • 91 Imprint
  • 138 Preview: c't Windows projects
This magazine is the English translation of the German c’t special issue Know-how, which was published by heise Medien in January 2024. The articles were machine translated and then edited. However, translation-related errors or indirect errors resulting from the translation cannot be ruled out. If you find any errors or have any comments on the translation, please send an e-mail to translation@heise.de. As technical development, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence, is progressing rapidly, we would also like to point out that the articles reflect the state of technology at the time the article was written.
Heise Medien GmbH & Co. KG