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- Red Hat: 2016:1141-01: ntp: Moderate Advisory
LinuxSecurity.com: An update for ntp is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact [More...]
- Red Hat: 2016:1139-01: squid: Moderate Advisory
LinuxSecurity.com: An update for squid is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Moderate. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which [More...]
- Red Hat: 2016:1138-01: squid: Moderate Advisory
LinuxSecurity.com: An update for squid is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Moderate. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which [More...]
- Red Hat: 2016:1140-01: squid34: Moderate Advisory
LinuxSecurity.com: An update for squid34 is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Moderate. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which [More...]
- Tor Browser 6.0 is released
The Tor Browser Team has announcedthe release of Tor browser 6.0. This release brings the browserup-to-date with Firefox 45-ESR, which provides better support for HTML5video on Youtube, as well as a host of other improvements. DuckDuckGo isnow the default search engine. "Lately, we got a couple of comments on our blog and via email wondering why we are now using DuckDuckGo as the default search engine and not Disconnect anymore. Well, we still use Disconnect. But for a while now Disconnect has no access to Google search results anymore which we used in Tor Browser. Disconnect being more a meta search engine which allows users to choose between different search providers fell back to delivering Bing search results which were basically unacceptable quality-wise. While Disconnect is still trying to fix the situation we asked them to change the fallback to DuckDuckGo as their search results are strictly better than the ones Bing delivers."
- Security updates for Tuesday
Arch Linux has updated chromium (multiple vulnerabilities).
CentOS has updated ntp (C7; C6:multiple vulnerabilities), openssl (C5:code execution), squid (C7; C6: multiple vulnerabilities), and squid34 (C6: multiple vulnerabilities).
Debian has updated gdk-pixbuf(two vulnerabilities) and symfony (two vulnerabilities).
Debian-LTS has updated eglibc(multiple vulnerabilities), libtasn1-3(denial of service), openafs (multiplevulnerabilities), pdns (insecure databasepermissions), phpmyadmin (regression inprevious update), postgresql-9.1 (multiplevulnerabilities), ruby-activerecord-3.2(restriction bypass), and wireshark (multiple vulnerabilities).
Fedora has updated bugzilla (F23; F22:cross-site scripting), kf5-kinit (F23:insecure permissions), libarchive (F22:code execution), libimobiledevice (F23:sockets listening on INADDR_ANY), libusbmuxd (F23: sockets listening onINADDR_ANY), php (F23: twovulnerabilities), qemu (F23: multiplevulnerabilities), webkitgtk4 (F23: twovulnerabilities), and xen (F23; F22: privilege escalation).
Gentoo has updated libfpx (denial of service), nss (multiple vulnerabilities), pam (multiple vulnerabilities), and rsync (multiple vulnerabilities).
Mageia has updated botan (two vulnerabilities), docker (privilege escalation), mediawiki (multiple vulnerabilities), and phpmyadmin (cross-site scripting).
openSUSE has updated Chromium (SPH for SLE12; Leap42.1: multiple vulnerabilities), expat (13.2: two vulnerabilities), libxml2 (13.2: two vulnerabilities), libxslt (13.2: denial of service), phpMyAdmin (Leap42.1, 13.2: cross-sitescripting), redis (Leap42.1, 13.2: denialof service), and samba (13.2:man-in-the-middle attack).
Red Hat has updated ntp (RHEL6,7:multiple vulnerabilities), openssl (RHEL5:code execution), python27 (RHSCL2.2:multiple vulnerabilities), squid (RHEL7; RHEL6:multiple vulnerabilities), and squid34(RHEL6: multiple vulnerabilities).
Slackware has updated imagemagick (shell vulnerability), libxml2 (three vulnerabilities), libxslt (denial of service), thunderbird (multiple vulnerabilities), and php (multiple vulnerabilities).
SUSE has updated Xen (SLES10-SP4:multiple vulnerabilities).
- Rutkowska: Security challenges for the Qubes build process
Qubes founder Joanna Rutkowska writes about how Qubesworks to avoid building compromised software into its distribution."Ultimately, we would like to introduce a multiple-signature scheme,in which several developers (from different countries, social circles,etc.) can sign Qubes-produced binaries and ISOs. Then, an adversary wouldhave to compromise all the build locations in order to get backdooredversions signed. For this to happen, we need to make the build processdeterministic (i.e. reproducible). Yet, this task still seems to be yearsahead of us."
- Krita 3.0 released
Version3.0 of the Krita painting application has been released."Wrapping up a year of work, this is a really big release: animationsupport integrated into Krita’s core, Instant Preview for betterperformance painting and drawing with big brushes on big canvases, portedto the latest version of the Qt platform and too many bigger and smallernew features and improvements to mention!".
- Kernel prepatch 4.7-rc1
Linus has released 4.7-rc1 and closed themerge window for this release, saying "this time around we havea fairly big change to the vfs layer that allows filesystems (if theybuy into it) to do readdir() and path component lookup in parallelwithin the same directory.That's probably the biggest conceptual vfs change we've had since westarted doing cached pathname lookups using RCU." The code name hasbeen changed to "Psychotic Stoned Sheep."
- Oracle attorney says Google’s court victory might kill the GPL (ars technica)
Ars technica is carrying aneditorial from Oracle's attorney in its fight with Google; it wouldseem that this ruling is the end of the world."It is hard to see how GPL can survive such a result. In fact, it ishard to see how ownership of a copy of any software protected by copyrightcan survive this result. Software businesses now must accelerate their moveto the cloud where everything can be controlled as a service rather thansoftware. Consumers can expect to find decreasing options to own anythingfor themselves, decreasing options to control their data, decreasingoptions to protect their privacy."
- OSI: Announcing the Open Source License API
At its blog, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) announces the deployment of "a machine readable publication of OSI approved licenses" accessible via api.opensource.org. The service is designed to "store a central list of crosswalks and common identifiers to other services, allowing third parties who are already license-aware to provide their mappings, and pull OSI approval status programatically." Programs can query a license by its Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) ID and determine whether or not it is OSI-approved. API wrappers are available for Python, Ruby, and Go.
- Friday's security updates
Arch Linux has updated libxml2 (multiple vulnerabilities).
Debian has updated libgd2 (multiple vulnerabilities).
Fedora has updated jenkins (F23; F22: multiple vulnerabilities).
openSUSE has updated docker(13.2: privilege escalation), libreoffice (13.2: multiple vulnerabilities), ntp (13.2: multiple vulnerabilities), and systemd (Leap 42.1: multiple vulnerabilities).
Ubuntu has updated eglibc,glibc (12.04, 14.04, 15.10: multiple vulnerabilities; regression).
- Analog malicious hardware
Worth a read: thispaper [PDF] From Kaiyuan Yang et al. on how an analog back door can beplaced into a hardware platform like a CPU. "In this paper, we showhow a fabrication-time attacker can leverage analog circuits to create ahardware attack that is small (i.e., requires as little as one gate) andstealthy (i.e., requires an unlikely trigger sequence before effecting[sic] achip’s functionality). In the open spaces of an already placed and routeddesign, we construct a circuit that uses capacitors to siphon charge fromnearby wires as they transition between digital values. When the capacitorsfully charge, they deploy an attack that forces a victim flip-flop to adesired value. We weaponize this attack into a remotely-controllableprivilege escalation by attaching the capacitor to a wire controllable andby selecting a victim flip-flop that holds the privilege bit for ourprocessor."
- Google beats Oracle—Android makes “fair use” of Java APIs (ars technica)
Ars technica reportsthat Google has prevailed against Oracle in its court battle over the useof the Java APIs in Android. "There was only one question on thespecial verdict form, asking if Google's use of the Java APIs was a 'fairuse' under copyright law. The jury unanimously answered 'yes,' in Google'sfavor. The verdict ends the trial, which began earlier this month."
- Security updates for Thursday
Debian-LTS has updated bozohttpd(two vulnerabilities, one from 2014), ruby-mail (SMTP injection), and xymon (multiple vulnerabilities). Also, the Debian-LTS team has announced that some packages will not besupported (libv8, mediawiki, sogo, and vlc) for Debian 7 ("wheezy"),so users of those should upgrade to Debian 8 ("jessie").
Red Hat has updated rh-mariadb100-mariadb (RHSC: many vulnerabilities).
Ubuntu has updated eglibc, glibc(15.10, 14.04, 12.04: multiple vulnerabilities, some from 2013 and 2014)and samba (16.04, 15.10, 14.04: regressionin previous security fix).
- [$] Should distributors disable IPv4-mapped IPv6?
By all accounts, the Internet's transition to IPv6 has been a slow affair.In recent years, though, perhaps inspired by the exhaustion of the IPv4address space, IPv6 usage has been on therise. There is a corresponding interest in ensuring that applicationswork with both IPv4 and IPv6. But, as a recent discussion on the OpenBSDmailing list has highlighted, a mechanism designed to ease the transition to anIPv6 network may also make the net less secure — and Linux distributionsmay be configured insecurely by default.
- Mathewson: Mid-2016 Tor bug retrospective, with lessons for future coding
On the Tor blog, Nick Mathewson reports on an informal survey he did for "severe" bugs in Tor over the last few years. It breaks down the 70 bugs he found into different categories that are correlated with some recommendations for ways to try to avoid them in the future. For example: "Recommendation 5.1: all backward compatibility code should have a timeout date.On several occasions we added backward compatibility code to keep an old version of Tor working, but left it enabled for longer than we needed to. This code has tended not to get the same regular attention it deserves, and has also tended to hold surprising deviations from the specification. We should audit the code that's there today and see what we can remove, and we should never add new code of this kind without adding a ticket and a comment planning to remove it." Many of the recommendations are likely applicable to other projects.
- How to Install Nginx, PHP and MySQL (LEMP Stack) on OpenSUSE Leap 42.1
LEMP or Linux, Engine-x, MySQL, and PHP is a collection of software installed on the Linux operating system to get your PHP based web applications up and running on the fast Nginx web server. In this tutorial, I will show you how to install Nginx, MariaDB, and PHP-FPM on openSUSE leap 42.1. Then I will configure the OpenSUSE firewall with SuSEfirewall2 to allow access to the Nginx web server and show you how you can add a new virtual host configuration on the Nginx web server.
- The Anatomy of a Linux User
Learning how to use Linux on the desktop is made much simpler when the person doing the learning realizes that all habits and tools for using Windows are to be left at the door. Even after telling our Reglue kids this, more often than not I come back to do a check-up with them there is some_dodgy_file.exe on the desktop or in the download folder.
- Compatibility before purity: Microsoft tweaks .NET Core again
Open source .NET will add legacy APIs to make porting easierMicrosoft's open source fork of the .NET platform, called .NET Core, will be modified for better compatibility with existing applications, says Program Manager Immo Landwerth in a recent post.…
- Pravin Satpute: How do you Fedora?
We recently interviewed Pravin Satpute on how he uses Fedora. This is part of a series on the Fedora Magazine where we profile Fedora users and how they use Fedora to get things done.
- Back to Backups
In my Open-Source Classroom column a few months ago, I talked about backups and got some really fascinatingfeedback. Here are a few of the ideas from readers worth checking into:
- Black Duck's Free Tool Digs Out Open Source Bugs
Black Duck Software this week released Security Checker, a free tool based on the company's Hub open source security solution. Security Checker is a drag-and-drop, Web-based tool that allows users to determine if known open source vulnerabilities exist in the components used to build applications. It scans the code in an uploaded archive file or Docker image and provides a report showing known bugs.
- Rebellin Linux Offers Best of Both Gnome Worlds
Rebellin Linux is a smart-looking, fast distro that is both lightweight and secure. It is well worth checking out. The Rebellin line avoids the pitfalls that befall many Debian GNU/Linux derivatives. It does not maintain a warehouse full of desktop versions. It is neither a minimalistic Linux line nor a distro stuffed with bloat from packages typical users will never need.
- Google's Abacus May Count Out Passwords
By the end of the year, Android devs will be able to use a trust API from Google's Project Abacus in their apps, Google ATAP Director Dan Kaufman suggested at last week's I/O conference. The API, which will run in the background continually, is aimed at doing away with passwords. It will use a smartphone's sensors to create a cumulative trust score that will authenticate users.
- Apache Guru Behlendorf to Helm Hyperledger Project
The Linux Foundation on Thursday announced that Brian Behlendorf, a primary developer of the Apache Web server, has joined the Hyperledger Project as executive director. The project is a collaborative effort to advance blockchain technology by identifying and addressing important features for an open standard for distributed ledgers that will apply across industries.
- Forked Debian Beta Is Rough Around the Edges
The Devuan GNU/Linux community's much-awaited Devuan Linux Jessie 1.0 beta release is available. It took two years for disgruntled Debian community members to make good on their promise of a systemd-free Debian distro. They rejected a Linux-wide trend to replace older init processes such as Upstart and System V with systemd. The process of forking Debian into Devuan took much longer than expected.
- Docker Ramps Up Container Security
Docker this week announced the rollout of security scanning technology to safeguard container content across the entire software supply chain. Docker Security Scanning is an opt-in service for Docker Cloud private repository plans. It provides a security assessment of the software included in container images. It enables detailed image security profiles.
- Simplicity Linux Digs Deeper Than Its Puppy Linux Pals
Simplicity Linux delivers a simpler way to run a fully powered Linux desktop on any computer you touch. It is derived from Puppy Linux. Two beta versions released in March offer experimental approaches that stray from the distro's standard releases. If you're familiar with Puppy Linux but have not yet taken Simplicity for a walk, you're missing out some interesting Linux computing experiences.
- Report: Companies in the Dark About Their Open Source Risk Exposure
Commercial software is full of security vulnerabilities from unpatched open source components developers use, according to a report Black Duck Software issued last week. Software companies misjudge how much open source code their commercial products contain, according to the report, which is based on an analysis of 200 applications researchers viewed over the previous six months.
- Vivaldi Browser Is a Breath of Fresh Air
The Vivaldi browser provides a refreshing approach to traveling along the Internet. It offers something beyond the same old thing in a different skin. Vivaldi is the brainchild of former Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner. The developers built the Vivaldi browser on top of Chromium, which is open source, but added their own proprietary skins. Therefore, Vivaldi's code is not available for review.
- Linux Foundation Badges Aim to Separate Wheat From Chaff
The Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative project on Tuesday announced a free badge program to help foster security, quality and stability in open source software projects. Through an online app, the CII lets devs determine whether they're following best practices, generally within an hour or so. If they are, they'll receive the badge, which they can display on GitHub and other online properties.
- Fedora-Based Sugar on a Stick Is One Sweet Desktop
The Fedora 23 Sugar on a Stick desktop offering is an unusually flexible computing desktop for children of all ages, school admins and organizations looking for the best bang for absolutely no bucks on existing computer hardware. The Sugar environment is both a desktop and a collection of activities or apps that involve user engagement. Activities automatically save results to a journal.
- Codenvy, Samsung Team to Power IoT Development
Codenvy on Wednesday announced the beta release of the Samsung ARTIK IDE powered by Eclipse Che. The release of the professional toolset is part of Samsung's partnership with Codenvy to make it easier to build, deploy and manage applications for the Internet of Things, Codenvy said. The ARTIK IDE is the first open source cloud IDE platform dedicated to IoT application development.
- Apple Drops CareKit on GitHub
Apple on Thursday made its CareKit platform available through the GitHub open source community. CareKit joins two other Apple frameworks for developing healthcare apps -- HealthKit and ResearchKit. It was designed to enable developers to create apps that give users a more active role in managing their health. Apps developed through CareKit will let people track symptoms and medications.
- Bodhi Linux 3.2 Promises Clearer Path to Enlightenment
Bodhi Linux 3.2.0 is an update to the Bodhi Linux 3.x series and features key kernel and desktop improvements. It is a different kind of Linux distro. Its developers refer to it as the "Enlightened Desktop," because it draws its energy from the Enlightenment desktop. Enlightenment started as a project to build a window manager for X11 in 1996. It grew into a desktop environment in its own right.
- Red Hat Goes All-In on OpenStack
Red Hat on Wednesday announced the general availability of Red Hat Cloud Suite and OpenStack Platform 8. The offerings provide a complete, integrated hybrid cloud stack with a container application platform, massively scalable infrastructure and unified management tools, the company said. They are available individually or in a single solution with Red Hat Cloud Suite.
- Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus Makes Its Debut
Canonical on Thursday launched Ubuntu 16.04, aka "Xenial Xerus," an upgrade that will be supported for the next five years. The latest version for all desktop, server and cloud editions will be available for download starting Thursday. Ubuntu 16.04 includes four major technology advancements geared toward multiplatform uses. Xenial Xerus is the sixth Long Term Support release for Ubuntu.
- EU Levels Antitrust Charges Against Abusive Android
The European Commission has charged that Google breached EU antitrust rules by seeking to maintain and expand the dominance of its Android operating system. "A competitive mobile Internet sector is increasingly important for consumers and businesses in Europe," said the EC's antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager. "We believe that Google's behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps."
- LXLE Gives Aging Hardware a New Lease on Life
LXLE is an ideal distro for out-of-the-box functionality to handle your everyday computing needs. It's a well-oiled lightweight distribution based on Ubuntu's long-term support releases for Debian and Lubuntu Linux from a community originating in the U.S. The latest version is 14.04.4, released last month. It runs an optimized LXDE that has a comfortable look and feel.
- Hortonworks Ramps Up Hadoop Security
Hortonworks this week announced a series of enterprise security efforts to bolster performance and data safety with its Hortonworks Data Platform. The company announced that Pivotal Software will standardize on Hortonworks' Hadoop distribution. The thrust of the product announcements concerned updates on applying security policies and maintaining data governance.
- Robust New FreeOffice Suite Proves Free Can Be Just as Good
SoftMaker's FreeOffice Linux office suite is a LibreOffice look-alike that provides strong performance compatibility with Microsoft Office documents. SoftMaker offers a line of open source offerings that compete with its commercial suite. It's a Windows/Linux cross-platform office suite with integrated applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and email management.
- Volkswagen Picks Mirantis to Build Massive OpenStack Cloud
Mirantis on Wednesday announced that Volkswagen Group has selected Mirantis OpenStack to power its cloud applications. The selection process involved a series of cloud-to-cloud performance trials between Red Hat and Mirantis, one of the last pure-play OpenStack companies. It's ideally positioned to pursue and win large-scale deals like the Volkswagen project, analyst Charles King said.
- Atari Is Going To Build IoT Devices
angry tapir quotes a report from Computerworld: The latest entrant in the Internet of Things is legendary gaming company Atari, which plans to make consumer devices that communicate over the SigFox low-power network. The devices will be for homes, pets, lifestyle, and safety. Atari has signed a deal with the communications service provider, Sigfox. "The initial product line will include categories such as home, pets, lifestyle and safety," the companies said in a statement. "By connecting to SigFox's global network, the products will benefit from its competitive advantages: a very long battery life and a simple solution that does not require local Internet connectivity and pairing. As soon as the battery is inserted in the object, it is immediately connected to the network."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Internet, Web Enjoy One Final Day As Proper Nouns
An anonymous reader writes: The Internet and Web will be downgraded to "internet" and "web" tomorrow with the new edition of the AP Stylebook. Therefore, today marks their last day as proper nouns. The AP Stylebook is a manual that many journalists follow, offering a comprehensive guide to the usage of words, style, spelling and punctuation. "The argument for lowercasing Internet is that is has become wholly generic, like electricity and the telephone. It never was trademarked and is not based on any proper noun," writes Tom Kent, AP Standards Editor. "The best reason for capitalizing it in the past may have been that the term was new. At one point, we understand, 'Phonograph' was capitalized." The two names will join the likes of website (formerly Web site) and email (formerly e-mail).
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Apartment In US Asks Tenants To 'Like' Facebook Page Or Face Action
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Business Standard: An apartment building in Salt Lake City has told tenants living in the complex to "like" its Facebook page or they will be in breach of their lease. Tenants of the City Park Apartments said they found a "Facebook addendum" taped to their doors last weekend, asking them to "like" the City Park Apartments Facebook page. The contract says that if tenants do not specifically "friend" City Park Apartments on Facebook within five days, they will be found in breach of the rental agreement. In addition, the contract includes a release allowing the business to post pictures of tenants and their visitors on the Facebook page. Currently, the apartment building has a 1.1 star rating on its Facebook page.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Panasonic To Stop Making LCD Panels For TVs
AmiMoJo quotes a report from NHK WORLD: Japanese electronics maker Panasonic says it will stop making LCD panels for televisions, giving way to fierce price competition. The pullout from TV LCD manufacturing follows the company's withdrawal from plasma TV production 3 years ago. They say they will continue to manufacture LCD panels at the plant for products other than televisions, such as medical equipment and cars. They say the company will keep making Panasonic-brand televisions, using panels supplied by other manufacturers. After Panasonic pulls out, Sharp and its Taiwanese parent firm Hon Hai will be the only producer in Japan.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- US Court Says No Warrant Needed For Cellphone Location Data
Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: Police do not need a warrant to obtain a person's cellphone location data held by wireless carriers, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Tuesday, dealing a setback to privacy advocates. The full 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, voted 12-3 that the government can get the information under a decades-old legal theory that it had already been disclosed to a third party, in this case a telephone company. The ruling overturns a divided 2015 opinion from the court's three-judge panel and reduces the likelihood that the Supreme Court would consider the issue. The decision arose from several armed robberies in Baltimore and Baltimore County, Maryland, in early 2011, leading to the convictions of Aaron Graham and Eric Jordan. The convictions were based in part on 221 days of cellphone data investigators obtained from wireless provider Sprint, which included about 29,000 location records for the defendants, according to the appeals court opinion.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Samsung Starts Mass Producing New 512GB NVMe SSD That's Smaller Than a Stamp
An anonymous reader writes from a report via PCWorld: Samsung announced late Monday night that it has begun mass producing a new SSD that is tinier than a postage stamp. PCWorld reports: "The PM971-NVMe fits up to 512GB of NAND flash, a controller, and RAM into a single BGA chip measuring 20mm x 16mm x 1.5mm and weighing just one gram, the company said. Samsung says the PM971-NVMe will hit 1.5GBps read speeds and 800MBps write speeds. The PM971-NVMe is built using 20nm NAND chips and includes 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM as a cache. The NAND is triple-level cell but uses a portion as a write butter. The drive will come in 512GB, 256GB and 128GB capacities." While on the topic of hardware, Intel unveiled its Broadwell-E family, which consists of an "Extreme Edition" Core i7 chipset that has 10 cores and 20 threads.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Nearly 1 In 4 People Abandon Mobile Apps After Only One Use
An anonymous reader writes from a report via TechCrunch: According to a new study on mobile app usage, nearly one in four mobile users only use an app once. TechCrunch reports: "Based on data from analytics firm Localytics, and its user base of 37,000 applications, user retention has seen a slight increase year-over-year from 34 percent in 2015 to 38 percent in 2016. However, just because this figure has recovered a bit, that doesn't mean the numbers are good. Instead, what this indicates is that 62 percent of users will use an app less than 11 times. These days, 23 percent launch an app only once -- an improvement over last year, but only slightly. For comparison's sake, only 20 percent of users were abandoning apps in 2014. On iOS, user retention saw some slight improvements. The percentage of those only opening apps once fell to 24 percent from 26 percent last year, and those who return to apps 11 times or more grew to 36 percent from 32 percent in 2015. In particular, apps in the middle stage of their growth (between 15,000 and 50,000 monthly active users), saw the strongest lift with retention and abandonment, the report also noted. This is attributed to these apps' use of push notifications, in-app messages, email, and remarking. While push notifications have always been cited as a way to retain users, in-app messages also have a notable impact -- these messages improve users retention to 46 percent, the study found. 17 percent will only use app once if they see an in-app message, but those not using messages see 26 percent of users abandoning the app after one session.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- PayPal To Suspend Business Operations In Turkey Following License Denial
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Stack: PayPal has announced the suspension of its business operations in Turkey as of June 6, citing failure to obtain a new license for its service in the country. Turkey has made recent efforts to promote its own domestic tech sector, advancing censorship laws and other regulation to push large international companies out of the market. PayPal, as the latest victim on this trail, posted a statement on its local Turkish website today: "PayPal's priority has always been its customers. However, a local financial regulator has denied our Turkish payments license and we have had to regretfully comply with its instruction to discontinue our activities in Turkey." The denial of PayPal's license, by local financial regulator BDDK, comes following the introduction of new national rules in Turkey which require IT systems to be based within the country itself. PayPal runs its global business from a large portfolio of IT centers around the world. Turkey isn't the only country tightening its grip on the Internet. The Iranian government has given companies behind popular messaging apps one year to move their data onto servers in Iran.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Instagram Announces New Business Tools: Contact Option, Deeper Analytics
Instagram on Tuesday announced it is adding more features for the business users. The platform, which has over 200,000 advertisers, is debuting three new features including business profiles. Businesses will also get a "contact" button on their profiles which they can use to interact with the customers via call, text, or email. Instagram is also giving businesses access to deeper analytics -- even if the post isn't an advertisement.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Ask Slashdot: Would You Recommend Updating To Windows 10?
Plenty of users are skeptical about upgrading to Windows 10. While they understand that Microsoft's newest desktop operating system comes with a range of interesting features, they are paranoid about the repeated update fiascos that have spoiled the experience for many users. Reader Quantus347 writes: Whenever I think of Windows 10 these days I, like so many others out there, immediately feel a swell of rage over the heavy-handed way the "upgrade" has been forced on me and so many others. I had to downgrade one of my computers that installed windows 10 over a weekend I was away, and as a result, I have been fending off the update ever since. I find myself wondering if Windows 10 is actually that bad. With the end of the "free" upgrade period quickly coming to an end, my fiscally conservative side is starting to overwhelm my fear and distrust of all things new, and I'm wondering if it's time to take the leap. I've been burned too many times for being an early adopter of something that proved to be an underdeveloped product, but Windows 10 has been around for long enough that I'm wondering if it might have it's kinks worked out. So I ask you, Slashdot, what are your experiences with Windows 10 itself, aside from the auto-upgrade nonsense? How does it measure up to its predecessors, and is it a worthwhile OS in its own right?
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Microsoft, Facebook, YouTube and Others Agree To Remove Hate Speech Across the EU
Tech giants in conjunction with European Union are taking a stand to fight hate speech. Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube, Google, and Facebook have launched "code of conduct" aimed at fighting racism and xenophobia across Europe. The companies aren't legally obligated, but have agreed to "public commitments" to review the "majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech" in less than 24 hours, and make it easier for law enforcement in Europe to notify the firms directly. From a TechCrunch report: Tech companies will have to find the right balance between freedom of expression and hateful content. Based on the code of conduct, they'll have dedicated teams reviewing flagged items (poor employees who will have to review awful things every day). Tech companies will also educate their users and tell them that it's forbidden to post hateful content. They'll cooperate with each other to share best practice. They'll encourage flagging of hateful content and they'll promote counter speech against hateful rhetoric. It's good to see that this issue got escalated and the European Commission was able to come up with a code of conduct quite quickly. Instead of making tech companies deal with every single European country, they can agree on rules for the EU as a whole."The recent terror attacks have reminded us of the urgent need to address illegal online hate speech," Vera Jourova, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, wrote in the European Commission press release. "Social media is unfortunately one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalise young people and racist use to spread violence and hatred. This agreement is an important step forward to ensure that the internet remains a place of free and democratic expression, where European values and laws are respected."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Hackers Find Bugs, Extort Ransom, Call It a Public Service
Reader msm1267 shares a report on ThreatPost about an ongoing security trend: Crooks breaking into enterprise networks are holding data they steal for ransom under the guise they are doing the company a favor by exposing a flaw. The criminal act is described as bug poaching and is becoming a growing new threat to businesses vulnerable to attacks.Hackers are extorting companies for as much as $30,000 in exchange for details on how hackers broke into their network and stole data. Researchers say once the intruders steal the data, there's no explicit threat that they will break in again or release data if companies don't pay. Instead, attackers release a simple statement demanding payment in exchange for details on how to fix the vulnerabilityTypical bug poaching incidents start with criminals breaking into a network and stealing as much sensitive data as they can. Next, they post the data to a third-party cloud storage service. Lastly, the attackers email the company links to the data as proof the information was stolen and ask for a wire transfer of money in exchange for how the data was stolen.During the attack, victims are not threatened with the public release of their data, instead attackers simply send a message that reads: "Please rest assured that the data is safe with me. It was extracted for proof only. Honestly, I do this job for a living, not for fun."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Tor Browser 6.0: Ditches SHA-1 Support, Uses DuckDuckGo For Default Search Results
The version 6.0 of Tor Browser, a free software for enabling anonymous communication, is now available to download. The new version introduces several changes, including disabling SHA-1 support, and removing Mac Gatekeeper issue. Another big change is that Tor now uses DuckDuckGo for search results by default. The Tor Project, people behind Tor, add that the "updater is not relying on the signature alone, but is checking the hash of the downloaded update file as well before applying it." More details on NetworkWorld.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Apple To Extend iPhone's Product Cycle; Shift To 32GB Internal Storage On Base Model: Reports
According to Japanese outlet Nikkei, which has a good track record, Apple is planning to extend its iPhone's product cycle. The Cupertino, California-based company, which currently utilizes the same design language for two years, now plans to make major refreshes to its iconic smartphone every three years. The report claims that Apple is changing the refresh cycle as it struggles to innovate and provide new features and substantial improvements to its iPhone. For those planning to purchase the next iPhone, don't expect any design changes, the report adds. From the report: The new version slated for this autumn will look almost identical to the current iPhone 6. Functions such as the camera, water resistance and battery capacity will likely be improved, and the headphone jack will be removed. Also, a high-end version of the model will give users better-quality photo capabilities via correction functions. On the sidelines, the media is abuzz with reports that the next iPhone will have 32GB internal storage in its base model.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Intel Launches Its First 10-Core Desktop CPU With Broadwell-E
Two years since the release of Intel's Haswell-E platform, which popularized 8-core processor to users. On Tuesday, the chipmaker unveiled Broadwell-E family, which consists of an "Extreme Edition" of Core i7 chipset that has 10 cores and 20 threads. (Do note that Intel is intentionally not calling it deca-core.) Intel says the Extreme Edition is designed for games, content creators, and overclockers. From an NDTV report: The 7th generation Intel Core processors are built on the 14nm fabrication process, and are part of the 'semi-Tock' release -- neither in the Intel Tick or Tock cycle. and come with Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 for more efficient core allocation for single-threaded processes, giving up to 15 percent better performance compared to the previous Haswell-E generation. All four new Intel Core i7 Enthusiast processors, codenamed Broadwell-E, support 40 PCIe lanes, quad-channel memory, and bear a TDP of 140W. Give Intel $1,723 and the Extreme Edition pack is yours.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Top EU data cop slams Safe Harbor replacement as inadequate
The Transatlantic Limbo: Privacy Shield given a thumbs down by Giovanni Buttarelli
The EU's independent data protection supervisor has said that the proposed US-EU data sharing agreement, Privacy Shield, "is not robust enough to withstand future legal scrutiny" and has refused to endorse it.…
- ISS 'nauts to face Mark Zuckerberg grilling
Facebook Live vid Q&A session tomorrow
International Space Station (ISS) 'nauts Tim Kopra, Tim Peake and Jeff Williams will tomorrow enjoy a 20-minute Facebook Live vid Q&A session with Mark Zuckerberg.…
- UK.gov's promise to pour cash into SMEs was just hot air
Professor lays spending blame at Crown Commercial Services' door
Analysis Every government has always claimed to be the friend of SMEs – and with 5.2 million of them in the UK it makes an easy vote winner. But promising to do more business with smaller providers and handing over cold, hard cash are two very different things.…
- Brexit? Cutting the old-school ties would do more for Brit tech world
There's more than one Boris in this debate
Opinion In the early 2000s the United Kingdom was the powerhouse of European science and innovation. For many young, aspiring scientists from continental Europe, this meant coming here to world-leading institutes and universities to pursue research not possible in the constraints of their home countries.…
- You've gotta fight... for your right... to IT
Don't step out of this house if that's the code you're gonna wear
Sysadmin Blog Perhaps the greatest lie ever told is that the many are powerless against the few. This is rarely, if ever, true, yet is something that we are told every day of our lives until we believe it. This is especially the case when it comes to IT.…
- Norks' parade rocket fails to fly, again
Anyone seen our missing Musudan?
Japan and South Korea have had another live training exercise turn to disappointment, with another North Korean missile launch failing.…
- Oz infosec boffins call for mature threat debate
Oh, and please order the money-truck, we need more
The University of NSW / Australian Defence Force Academy-run Australian Centre for Cybersecurity reckons the government needs to tip AU$1 billion annually into cyber-security.…
- KNOX knocked three times by Israeli infosec boffins
You've already patched the corporate Galaxy fleet, haven't you?
A pair of Israeli researchers has detailed their discovery of three Android / KNOX vulnerabilities in older Samsung phones, and it makes for depressing reading.…
- You deleted the customer. What now? Human error - deal with it
To err is human, to double err is career limiting
Blog Everyone I speak to about system security seems to panic about malware, cloud failure system crashes and bad patches. But the biggest threat isn’t good or bad code, or systems that may or may not fail. It’s people. What we call Liveware errors range from the mundane to the catastrophic and they happen all the time at all levels of business.…
- Darkode Bitcoin bot bandit gets year and a day in US cooler
Cops find 5000 stolen active credit cards at carder's crib
Darkode bot bandit Rory Stephen Guidry has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for selling a botnet containing 5000 enslaved machines, and stealing US$80,000 (£72,069, A$111,728) in Bitcoins and 5000 active credit cards.…
- EU wants open science publication by 2020
Axe hovers over journal publishers
Bet on furious lobbying to prevent this: the European Union's Competitiveness Council has recommended all scientific papers be made “open access” by 2020.…
- CERT warns of hardcoded creds in medical app
Patch or miscreants could doctor records
The US computer emergency response team has issued a warning after admin credentials were found in a popular medical application used for acquiring patient data.…
Linux.com offline for now
- AMDGPU, Dota 2 Vulkan, NVIDIA Pascal Were Wowing Linux Users
What a very fun month with Valve releasing Vulkan support for Dota 2, many AMDGPU improvements, Radeon / Nouveau / Intel Mesa drivers getting OpenGL 4.3, other Mesa improvements, Linux 4.7 is shaping up great, the announcement of NVIDIA's crazy fast GeForce GTX 1070/1080 "Pascal" cards, and then tonight still we have some exciting AMD announcements on tap from Computex...
- AMD May Sell Its Radeon RX 480 "Polaris" For Just $199 USD
Just hours to go until AMD's Computex live-stream, details are being leaked out about what's expected. From what we're hearing so far, AMD is going to undercut their prices of Polaris 10 hugely: the Radeon RX 480 is said to be priced retail at $199 USD and will compete with the likes of a GeForce GTX 970~980...
- Wine-Staging 1.9.11 Begins Looking Towards DOOM On Linux
Spun from last week's Wine 1.9.11 release is the new Wine-Staging version that re-bases many existing experimental patches (such as the D3D command-stream multi-threading work) plus adds in some new patches that aren't yet ready to be mainlined in Wine...
- LLVM Looks At Moving From SVN To Git Via GitHub
While there have been Git mirrors available of LLVM and its sub-projects (including Clang) for some time, this open-source compiler infrastructure project has relied upon SVN as its cental development repository. The LLVM project is now looking at finally transitioning to Git for development and quite likely utilizing GitHub for hosting...
- AMD Releases CodeXL 2.1 With Vulkan Support
AMD's GPUOpen initiative announced a new major release to their CodeXL tool suite for debugging and profiling of CPU/GPU/APUs. One of the big additions to this CodeXL 2.1 release is Vulkan support...
- OwnCloud Forms A Foundation
While we don't yet know the exact cause of the exodus happening at ownCloud Inc recently, there is a seemingly-related announcement that today the company has setup the ownCloud Foundation...
- The 12 Big New Features Of Mesa 12.0
With Mesa 12 now having been branched with plans to release next month, the code is under a feature freeze as developers turn to fixing bugs ahead of this stable release. With no more major features planned, here's an overview of the new features for Mesa 12.0...
- KDE's Krita 3.0 Officially Released
It feels like it took an eternity in retrospect, but the Krita 3.0 release of this KDE sketching and digital painting program is now available...
- Fresh 10-Way GeForce Linux Benchmarks With The NVIDIA 367.18 Driver
In prepping for our forthcoming GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 Linux benchmarking, I've been running fresh rounds of benchmarks on my large assortment of GPUs, beginning with the GeForce hardware supported by the NVIDIA 367.18 beta driver. Here are the first of those benchmarks with the ten Maxwell/Kepler GPUs I've tested thus far...
- The Next Mesa Version Is Turning Into A Monstrous Release
With the main Mesa drivers (Intel, RadeonSI, NVC0) jumping ahead to OpenGL 4.3 and mostly done with OpenGL 4.4/4.5, plus Intel adding their Vulkan driver, and many other improvements over the past three months, the next stable release of Mesa is going to be massive...
- Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVM Express SSD
The latest piece of hardware I've been playing around with at Phoronix is Samsung's V-NAND SSD 950 PRO M.2 NVM Express SSD. Assuming you are running a modern Linux distribution, this M.2 PCI-E NVMe SSD can offer blazing fast performance.
- Arcan: A New Open-Source Display Server Built Atop A Game Engine
What happens when a game engine meets a display server meets a multimedia framework? Oh yeah and whereby the behavior is controlled with Lua. No, it's not a joke, just the latest creation in the open-source world. Say hello to Arcan as a new Linux display server...
- Linux 4.7-rc1 Kernel Released
The first test release of Linux 4.7 is now available. This new kernel version comes with plenty of new features and functionality...
- Linux 4.7 Brings A Plethora Of New Features
After a very exciting past two weeks, the merge window for Linux 4.7 is expected to close today. This was an action-packed merge window with a ton of new code being introduced. While I've already written dozens of posts on Phoronix about the changes that got me excited, here's my usual kernel feature overview. Here's a look at what's coming for Linux 4.7.
- AMD's Radeon RX480 GPU is VR ready for just $199
For its upcoming Polaris GPUs, AMD doesn't just want to entice hardcore gamers. Instead, it's aiming to bring virtual reality-capable PCs to just about everyone with its new Radeon RX480 video card, which will retail for a mere $199. The RX480 is capable of more than 5 teraflops of computing power, whereas NVIDIA's new GTX 1070 packs in over 6 teraflops for $380, and the high-end GTX 1080 sports around 9 teraflops for $600. On paper alone, AMD's new card is an astounding value.
The RX480 is based on AMD's new Polaris architecture, and it'll be available in 4GB and 8GB memory configurations. It'll support AMD's Freesync technology to smooth out frame rates, as well as HDR gaming with DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 support.
Really though, the key selling point of the RX480 is its cost. Currently, the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift require video cards costing around $300 at the minimum. By delivering a $199 card that's VR capable, AMD has dramatically lowered the cost of entry to VR for consumers. It's also a smart strategy for AMD, since NVIDIA has currently sewn up the high-end and mid-range market with the GTX 1080 and 1070.
Still, it's not as if the RX480 won't be good for gamers. In a remote video, Id developers praised its ability to run the new Doom remake (though we didn't get exact frame rate numbers). You could also run two RX480 units simultaneously, a configuration that managed to beat out NVIDIA's GTX 1080 while playing Ashes of Singularity. (And better yet, that configuration would only be around $400, compared to $600 or more for the 1070.)
The RX480 clocked in 62.5FPS, while the GTX 1080 was a bit lower at 58.7FPS. Koduri also proudly pointed out that the dual-RX480 system only reached around 50 percent of its computing capacity, while the NVIDIA card was maxed near 100 percent.
The RX480 will hit store shelves on June 29th, and we're aiming to get our hands on it soon for testing.
- AMD's 7th generation laptop chips are stronger Intel competitors
AMD has always been the cheaper alternative to Intel's processors, but with its latest generation of mobile chips, it's also aiming to close the performance gap. Announced at Computex today, the new high-end FX chips are 56 percent faster compared to AMD's previous generation of laptop processors, while its entry-level chips are 52 percent faster compared to the last-gen. And compared to Intel's fastest Core i7 mobile chip, the 7th gen AMD FX offers 53 percent faster graphics and a 51 percent bump in compute performance. Basically, these are the laptop chips AMD fans have been waiting for.
As is usually the case with major processor upgrades, AMD also focused on power efficiency for the new chips. The company claims its high-end FX chips now use 12 percent less power than the last gen, and the latest A9 processors use 41 percent less power when playing local 1080p videos. At the lower-end, AMD added "Excavator" cores to the new A9, A6 and E2 processors, which gives them a decent performance bump and makes them more efficient at playing HD video.
AMD says its new manufacturing process also allowed it to reach faster clock speeds with the chips. Its high-end FX 9830P offers 3GHz base speeds (with maximum speeds of 3.7GHz), while the lowest end E2-9010 is clocked at 2GHz (max up to 2.2GHz). The new A9 chip, which is being positioned as an Intel Core i3 competitor, gets max speeds 1.5GHz faster than the i3-6100U.
While AMD isn't talking about specific pricing details for these chips (it's not like you can buy them on their own), partners including Dell, HP, ASUS and Lenovo are already using them in new system designs. And of course, you can expect them to reach even more laptops (and some all-in-ones) throughout the year.
- Airbnb allows neighbors to tattle on noisy guests
Airbnb says most of its users are "respectful travelers," but just in case an issue does come up, it's giving those who live near a rental a place to voice concerns. The company's new initiative, Airbnb Neighbors, gives folks a tool for voicing concerns about noise, parking, use of a common space, suspicious/criminal activity and general concerns. Once a complaint is received, it gets a case number and Airbnb reviews the issue. If necessary, the company says it will follow up with the listing's host.
A neighbor can choose to remain anonymous or provide contact information so that the host can reach out directly. Airbnb says that if submissions include a web link to the listing, it can follow up with the neighbor. It also explains that whenever possible, it will give the host and their neighbor the opportunity to resolve the issue themselves. "Hosting is a big responsibility and those who repeatedly fail to meet our standards and expectations will be subject to suspension or removal from the Airbnb community," the company said in a blog post.
While the tool will be useful, especially for those who've been vocal in their opposition of the service, there's also potential for abuse. As Airbnb continues to promote its style of short-term rentals and lodging though, it's important that both hosts and their neighbors feel like their concerns are addressed. That's particularly important in areas were illegal listings are a big problem and places like Arizona where the government is deciding whether or not the service will be allowed to operate at all.
Via: The Verge
- Court says police don't need warrants for phone location data
You would think that police would require a warrant to get your phone's location info, right? Not according to the US' Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. It just ruled that asking a company for cellphone location data you've offered to a third-party doesn't represent a search under the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, and thus doesn't need a warrant. According to the judges voting for the decision, volunteering your position info means you've given up a "reasonable expectation of privacy" -- if you didn't want to share where you were, you wouldn't have handed that knowledge over to someone else, would you?
The ruling is in line with what some other courts have said, and ends a split between courts on the topic. However, it won't be surprising if there's an eventual Supreme Court challenge. As many would note, it's virtually impossible to avoid supplying your location at some point. Making a call will offer some basic positional info to your carrier, and many common smartphone tasks (such as navigation or social check-ins) demand that data. Until there's a ruling to the contrary, though, you can't assume that the police will have to jump through hoops to find out where you've been.
Via: The Intercept
Source: Amlaw (PDF)
- USPS debuts stamps with New Horizons' view of Pluto
To honor NASA's discoveries, the USPS is debuting new stamps today with images from outer space. The "Views of Our Planets" series will get new images of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and the iconic "blue marble" view of Earth. Thanks to the New Horizons mission to Pluto, there's a special set of two stamps with a snapshot from July's flyby and the spacecraft itself. The eight new planet stamps are available at post offices and online, but the Pluto stamps will be sold only on the web. If you're looking to add a few to your collection, the entire set is available starting today.
- Bayer to use satellite imaging to modernize farming efforts
You probably know Bayer for its aspirin. But the multinational pharmaceutical company has its fingers in more pies that that -- it's also keen to become a force in agriculture. As part of a push to focus on its Crop Science division, the company's partnered with Planetary Resources, an aerospace tech company, to create products and services using data obtained from satellite imagery. The goal? To sell services and tools to farmers that will make agriculture more efficient and environmentally adaptable. Though the collaboration has just been announced and, therefore, no services have yet been created, Bayer's indicated a few key areas where satellite data could be beneficial: water conservation through more ideally timed irrigation; recommendations on timing for crop planting; and the ability to determine what soil will hold water best. It's worth noting this is the same company that, in 2006, was found by the Department of Agriculture to have contaminated over 30 percent of US ricelands with its genetically-modified strain. Bayer eventually settled and paid out $750 million to farmers that were economically impacted by export trade bans. But still it serves as a reminder that big business does nothing for the sake of the greater good... just in the name of it. So take the announcement of this partnership with a grain of non-GMO rice.
- T-Mobile creates service plan for visitors to the US
Tech-savvy travelers heading out from the US know how to make their (unlocked) smartphones work abroad: buy a pre-paid local SIM and add credits as needed. Sure actual international plans exist, but they're usually more expensive than they're worth. Today, however, T-Mobile's flipping the script by offering a Tourist Plan for visitors to the US. The service, which goes live June 12th, costs $30 and lasts for three weeks, giving visitors unlimited data (LTE up to 2GB, though!), domestic and international texting and 1,000 voice minutes for domestic calls. What's more, T-Mobile's not charging for the SIM card or activation. In all, it's a pretty good deal and cheaper than the company's other prepaid options. So if you were hoping to stay connected and share the minutiae of your US adventures with your followers back home, now you've got a solid option.
- Your big-name PC may have a security flaw in its update software
Those problems with security holes in big PC makers' software bundles? They might not be over yet. Duo Security says it found vulnerabilities in the update software for Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo. Some vendors were more secure than others in Duo's testing, but all of them were insecure enough that you could launch a man-in-the-middle attack and run your own code. In the worst cases, they'd send update data without any encryption or validation.
Also, don't think that you're safe by springing for one of Microsoft's cleaner Signature Edition versions of these PCs. Duo says that some of these models still have vendor update software, so you might be in the same boat as someone who bought the garden variety PC.
We've asked all five companies for comment, and we'll let you know what they say. However, Duo adds that the research took place between last October and this April, which suggests that some of the holes might have already been patched up. Dell already said that it would tackle the eDellroot flaw that created a minor panic last year, for example. Even if there's more fuss than necessary, though, this is a reminder that your PC's operating system is only part of the security puzzle -- you have to be mindful of third-party apps, too.
Via: International Business Times
Source: Duo Security
- A 45-year-old New York law is holding up autonomous vehicles
In New York state, legislators are worried a law from 1971 could be a roadblock for autonomous vehicles in the near future. As the Tesla's Autopilot. Due to the outdated law, Audi was reportedly unable to demonstrate the technology when it showed up in Albany with one of its self-driving vehicles last week.
"We are just trying to have the law match up to the technology that people are using today and I think is only going to grow down the road," Senator Robach told the Daily News.
Although six other states and Washington, D.C. have already passed legislation allowing autonomous vehicles on public roads, Robach's bill is meeting some resistance from other state lawmakers who don't believe the technology is quite ready yet. Earlier this year, however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided that an autonomous vehicle's piloting system can be considered "the driver" under federal law. The agency is expected to issue a complete set of standards for self-driving vehicles later this summer.
- Google Home reportedly has Chromecast roots
Google Home promises a minor revolution as far as around-the-home voice assistants go, but its hardware roots may be more than a little familiar. The Information's source understands that Home ultimately boils down to a Chromecast with a microphone, a speaker and a nice case -- it reportedly has the same processor and WiFi chipset. The simple Linux-based operating system is also supposed to be similar (minus the voice command part, of course), although the same insider claims that a future Home might run on Android.
We've asked Google if it can confirm the report. However, using the Chromecast as a starting point makes sense. Google Assistant's voice processing happens primarily in the cloud, so Home doesn't need much in the way of local computing power -- just enough to play music and listen for commands. It's also reasonable to presume that Google wants to keep costs down, and using low-cost innards is bound to help on that front.
Source: The Information
- Turkish law forces PayPal to suspend operations in the country
Turkey and the tech world's relationship is infamously contentious, and the country has crippled another company: PayPal. Starting this June 6th, the secure payment service is closing up shop, according to a statement (Turkish) spotted recently passed law (PDF) in Turkey demands that a firm's IT systems be localized to the country itself if the company wants to do business there. PayPal tells TechCrunch that:
"We respect Turkey's desire to have information technology infrastructure deployed within its borders, however, PayPal utilizes a global payments platform that operates across more than 200 markets, rather than maintaining local payments platforms with dedicated technology infrastructure in any single country."
We've reached out to PayPal for more information and if this will affect the company's Venmo payment service as well, and will update this post should we get a response. This closure will apparently impact thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of customers. The "new money" the outfit bragged about in its Superbowl ad probably never saw this coming.
Via: TechCrunch, PayPal (Turkish)
Source: Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (PDF)
- Catch up with Computex 2016: Day two
After yesterday's ASUS keynote, Computex has finally kicked off under the hot Taipei sunshine. The show is no stranger to a variety of unusual PC parts, including enthusiast motherboards, gaming keyboards and bizarre cases, so it was rather fitting that Intel used this opportunity to announce a $1,723 desktop processor today. In contrast, Qualcomm's new wearable chipset may seem less exciting, but it may well be powering your next fitness tracker. Looking beyond components, HTC has set up several demos at Computex and we had a blast trying them out. Mat Smith and Nicole Lee will tell you more in their roundup video above. And of course, the show is far from over, so stay tuned as we sniff around for more goodies from the event.
- Retailers fight to silence customer data breaches
A consortium of retailers, including Target and Home Depot, vowed to fight a data breach notification bill. The bill, HR 2205 from Reps. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) and John Carney (D-Del.), would require companies to tell customers when they've been hacked and would also require the encryption of data in both storage and transit. It would hold retailers to the same data-security standards as the financial sector.
The large and powerful Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) sent a letter on Tuesday to House leadership saying that "it makes no sense to take one industry's regulations and apply it to a large segment of the economy without understanding the consequences."
RILA's letter claims that applying bank security rules to retailers imposes unfair regulations, specifying one that would require a criminal background check for any employee handling credit or debit card information.
But that's not actually what the bill's legislative text says. The section mentioning background checks explains that retailers should "adopt the measures that the entity concludes are appropriate." Employee background checks would be for "employees with responsibilities for, or access to, sensitive financial account information or sensitive personal information" -- only if the retailer decides it makes sense.
The American Bankers Association and other finance groups think it's about time Big Retail started sharing responsibility for cybersecurity and sent this joint letter in support of the bill. Big Banking wrote, "In our view, protecting consumer information is a shared responsibility of all parties involved."
Until now, RILA and other retail groups have been generally supportive of creating a national breach-notification standard -- but just to replace the current mishmash of state laws. A federal breach law is now inevitable, but an effective one isn't.
It's awfully conspicuous that nearly all of RILA's "premiere members" are retailers on "biggest breaches of all time" lists. The group's top dogs read like who's who of breached companies, including Target, Home Depot, Best Buy, JC Penney, Lowe's, Walgreens, and Walmart.
Combined, these companies lost the sensitive records of hundreds of millions of people. They also behaved badly when it was time to notify customers that their personal and private information had been stolen on the retailers' watch.
Most of their customers found out they were victims by reading about it in the news. But many likely got their first 'notification' of a breach when their identities were stolen -- one in five, to be exact. For the victims, finding out probably stands out pretty vividly in their minds among the more traumatizing indignities they've suffered courtesy of an American retailer... outside of People of Walmart. In case you don't know, identity theft manifests in life-ruining fraud pertaining to mortgages; ATM, debit and credit cards; student loans; IRS and Social Security fraud; and use of identity for unauthorized medical services. It ruins your credit, can make you lose your house, and will drain your bank account in one way or another.
Most of the millions of people who were victims of these seven retailers' breaches only found out about it against the company's wishes. Target only admitted it reluctantly and notified customers after the fact. And it only came clean because it was plastered in headlines from here to eternity, and not because the company was acting as a concerned party in their customers' welfare.
These corporations are used to getting what they want, including laws that favor their protection, not consumers'. It's like their business models have consisted of outraging the natural order of accountability. This is just another thing to make go away.
Customer breach in the news? Slap some free LifeLock accounts on 'em and tell the press "case closed."
Maybe Target and the other six breached retailers in RILA came to the conclusion a long time ago that cutting cybersecurity corners is worth more than being able to sleep at night. And maybe they just can't face another public embarrassment when they eventually get dragged once more into the breach, as it were.
It would be a shame to see everyone dragged into another breach. Except if RILA has their way about it, it's likely no one would know about it anyway, until it's way too late.
Well, the ones posting snatched home addresses and credit cards on illegal data trade sites will know about it. Otherwise, we're just at the receiving end of an elaborate game of finding out the hard way. It's unlikely a bunch of Big Retail's customers will all notice they're victims of identity theft all at the same time, but it's possible.
Though wouldn't it be nice if making us find out the hard way was something retailers could actually get in trouble for?
Image: Damian Dovarganes/AP (Target)
- Samsung's new 512GB SSD is smaller than a postage stamp
Storage in your laptop or smartphone is a compromise between volume, access speed and physical size. But, the industry's competition to shrink them while boosting their specifications is fierce. A few months after shipping a 16TB solid-state drive, Samsung has announced a fast, efficient 512GB SSD that's half the size of a postage stamp.
Samsung's press release claims that the drive is the first mass-produced 512GB SSD with non-volatile memory express (NVMe), a host-controller interface with a streamlined register for speed, in a single package. Unlike other hard drives in multi-chip packages (MCP), Samsung's new drive is organized in a ball grid array into a collected unit, making it simpler to fit in and connect to other parts in the device. This makes the drive ideal for the ultra-slim notebook PC market, where space and weight are at a premium.
A senior Samsung VP said in a press release that the tiny drive triples the performance of a typical SATA SSD. Its read/write speeds of up to 1,500MB/s and 900MB/s, respectively, mean you could transfer a 5GB HD video in 3 seconds. Samsung will start selling the drive in June in 512GB, 256GB and 128GB models.
- Mojang bans brands from building Minecraft promo maps and mods
Mojang's putting its blocky foot down when it comes to brands and over 100 million registered users. It's understandable that a pool of users that large would prove a tempting lure for brands that want to market their wholly unrelated wares to the community. But no more -- according to the new building promotion guidelines, it's no longer permissible to build servers or maps to "promote unrelated products in playable form." So what does that translate to? Well, you can say goodbye to awkward promotions like the giant, working cellphone CaptainSparklez made on behalf of Verizon, or Disney commissioning a map of Tomorrowland to promote its film of the same name. All that said, if you're a mega fan and you do these sorts of things on your own time and dime, well, that's just fine by Mojang.
- Periscope is using viewer juries to fight trolls
With most social internet services, getting rid of trolls is usually a matter of reporting a post or blocking the offender. But how do you do that in a fast-moving livestream service like Periscope? By asking viewers for help, that's how. Periscope has introduced a moderation system that creates "flash juries" whenever a comment is up for dispute. If someone flags a message as abuse or spam, a few random viewers are asked to vote on whether or not it's a problem. If the majority believes it is, the offender faces a minute-long ban on comments; a repeat offense mutes the person for the rest of the broadcast.
You should see moderation in effect starting today (May 31st) through app updates.
The system isn't mandatory. Viewers can opt out of voting if they'd rather not participate in a mini trial, and broadcasters can turn moderation off if they're comfortable with the occasional outburst. And Periscope is quick to note that this isn't the sum total of its anti-abuse efforts. You can still kick people out of broadcasts, limit viewers to those you know and report ongoing problems. The new approach primarily tackles Periscope's trickiest abuse problem: those hit-and-run comments meant only to cause some temporary grief and ruin an otherwise happy stream.
Source: Periscope (Medium)
- Jawbone refutes reports that it will exit the fitness tracker market
Last week, a report claiming that Jawbone would halt production on its fitness trackers made the rounds. At the time, Jawbone offered us a "no comment," but today the company has released a full statement noting that it has no plans to exit the market entirely. "Speculation that Jawbone is exiting the wearables business or going out of business altogether is false," the company writes. "Jawbone remains wholly committed to innovating in and building great wearables products. The company has never been more excited about its pipeline of technology and products and looks forward to sharing them when ready."
That doesn't change the fact that it has still been a while since the company released a new device, but it sounds like it at least has things coming up soon. And while it's still possible that the company is stopping production of its older products, Jawbone says it'll be making things to replace them sooner or later. This could all change at the drop of a hat, but for now we shouldn't count Jawbone out of the market that Fitbit and Apple are currently dominating.
It's also worth nothing that the author of last week's report is standing by his story, which stated that while Jawbone is stopping production of its current lineup and selling the inventory to third-party retailers, the company wasn't looking to leave the market entirely.
Jawbone's full statement is below:
Speculation that Jawbone is exiting the wearables business or going out of business altogether is false. This speculation appears to emanate from wrongful insinuations made in a blog post in which the reporter has since posted a "Correction." Unfortunately, other media picked it up before the reporter posted a correction and spread this false information. Jawbone remains wholly committed to innovating in and building great wearables products. The company has never been more excited about its pipeline of technology and products and looks forward to sharing them when ready. We manage our inventory positions according to internal business processes, and strategic product lifecycle objectives. This situation is no different and we will continue to support all of our products in the marketplace.
- Amazon Japan adds 12 new original series to Prime Video
Amazon isn't wasting any time making good on its original programming plans for Japan. As part of its Prime Video service, which launched in September of last year, the company had announced plans to offer about 20 original shows tailored to that market. And today, Amazon Japan has unveiled a slate of originals detailing 12 new series that span a variety of genres, including documentaries, dramas and children's shows.
Standouts include Magi, a time-traveling historical drama about teens that return to Japan to find Christianity's been banned; live-action versions of Ultraman and Kamen Rider; and animated fare like Businessmen vs. Aliens and Baby Steps. While some of these series are already available to stream now, others are planned to debut later in the year or even in 2017. It's also worth noting that Prime Video subscribers in Japan get access to these originals, as well as other Amazon series like Mozart in the Jungle for the bargain price of $32/year. Doesn't seem fair, now does it?
Source: The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline
- A closer look at that $14,000 Android phone
How much do you value your privacy, and how worried are you that your calls and text messages are under observation? If the answer to both questions is "lots," then perhaps you'd be interested in Israeli startup Sirin Labs' first smartphone, the Solarin. The device is a titanium-clad Android gadget that lets you quickly toggle between a regular Android device and a secure, locked-down communications tool. The headline detail here is that it costs $14,000 (plus tax), or £9,500 in the UK. At that price, it's intended mainly for titans of industry and the jet set: people with secrets worth stealing. In many ways, it's the first phone that's been specifically designed to keep the personal data of the 1 percent safe from everyone else.
The system works like this: By default it's a beefy, ultra-masculine Android smartphone with a skin that looks like it was designed by the prop department of a spy movie. But once you've flicked the tiny toggle on the back of the device, it'll switch into a secure mode with a green and white, 8-bit skin. In this mode, all but the most essential sensors are disabled, and both calls and text messages are encrypted, only to be read by trusted devices carrying the Solarin Friend app. In this environment, your data is protected by 256-bit AES encryption, backed up by security firms Zimperium and Koolspan. There's even a secure concierge service that monitors the state of your phone and warns you of incoming attacks.
An Android skin that looks like it was designed by the prop department of a spy movie
When not in this mode, it's just your average Android smartphone, with a high-end Snapdragon 810 chip and a healthy 4GB of RAM. You'll also get 120GB of internal storage (no memory card slot) and a 23.8-megapixel, Sony-made camera and a quad-LED flash. Hold the 5.5-inch device in your hand and the first thing you'll notice is how hefty it feels. The pictures convey some degree of chunkiness, but only in real life do you see how pleasingly solid it feels. Imagine a BlackBerry Storm binged on protein powder for a few months and you'll get the idea. The unobtrusive styling, coated in black "technical leather" (read: leather made to look like carbon fiber), means Solarin oozes the sort of ultra-masculine charm that business types probably fetishize.
The 5.5-inch, QHD IPS LCD display boasts fantastic viewing angles and beautifully rich colors. Like the Snapdragon 810 chip, it isn't brand new, but the compromise there was intentional. The year-old chipset was chosen to ensure that the company had a year to ensure it was secure. Likewise, the Solarin may not have a 4K display, but the comparatively lower resolution here is surely gentler on the 4,040mAh battery.
Of course, members of the jet set are so called because they're often found touring the world. The company promises that the device will work with more LTE carriers across the world than any other device on the market. Regardless of the network you choose, you'll insert your SIM into a single, hot-swappable microSIM card slot on the upper-right hand side. Connectivity-wise, the phone also packs gigabit WiFi and MIMO in order to handle multiple connections at once. Then again, BlackBerry made similar promises back in the day, and those never really amounted to much.
Now, it's not hard to see who this device is aimed at, but you have to ask: Do they need this device anymore? An Android smartphone with high-level encryption and security is highly desirable, but the highest levels of protection are only available within secure mode. And in this secure mode, the only things you can do are make calls and texts -- and who does either of those anymore? Sure, there are a handful of people who still need to make calls, but is the NSA really targeting them?
When I spoke to co-founder Moshe Hogeg, he said the NSA isn't interested in businesspeople, but the question is: Are hackers? How likely is it that the precise details of a forthcoming transaction would be outlined on a voice call that criminals could then use to game the stock market? It's plausible, sure, but enough to drag people away from the comfort of their Galaxy S7s and iPhone 6S's? That's harder to say. This phone will surely appeal to people who feel they deserve a device this secure -- this high-end -- but then again, nobody wants using their phone to feel like a chore, right?
Aaron Souppouris contributed to this report.
- Xbox One price drops to $299 ahead of E3
If Microsoft is hoping to quell rumors of new Xbox hardware at E3, it isn't doing the greatest job. The company has permanently cut the prices of Xbox One consoles by $50 across the board, lowering the base price to $299 -- even some of the nicer multi-game 1TB bundles now sell for $319. These are tremendousprices, of course, but they're coming just a couple of weeks before E3. While this could just be an attempt to goose sales during the historically quiet summer, it's only going to fuel talk of a possible smaller 2TB system that would become the new flagship. The price drop is great if you're looking for the most affordable Xbox One possible, but it's otherwise worth holding off a little while... especially if you want to see what Sony brings to the table.
- Dell's new 2-in-1 PCs run the gamut in screen size
It's no secret that the PC market has been shrinking due to the onslaught of smartphones and tablets, but if you ask Dell, it's apparently bucking the trend thanks to its 2-in-1 notebooks and gaming laptops. At Computex, Executive Director Monty Wong told us that Dell saw 13 consecutive quarters of increasing PC market share, to the point where it overtook HP as the number one PC brand in the US back in Q1, according to IDC. As such, it's no surprise that the PC giant has been mostly focusing on 2-in-1s at this year's show, with the new lineup running the gamut from the world's first 17-inch 2-in-1 all the way down to a $249 11-inch device. Let's take a closer look.
Starting off at the high end, we have the aluminum Inspiron 7000 series 2-in-1s, which come in sizes of 13, 15 and 17 inches. The 17-incher is a first in the 2-in-1 market, with its beastly size making it especially handy for kitchen use, small meetings and maybe movie watching. These are all designed with prosumers in mind. As such, they pack Intel's sixth-generation Core processor, NVIDIA's GeForce 940M graphics chip and a backlit keyboard.
These will also come with an infrared camera for Windows Hello's facial recognition login feature. In addition to the HDMI port, the two full-size USB connections (one of them USB 3.0), the SD card slot and the usual power plug socket, there's also a USB Type-C port on the left for an external dock, monitor or secondary battery. This series starts at $749 and will be hitting Dell's US site on June 2nd, followed by retail availability at Best Buy.
Next up we have the more mainstream Inspiron 5000 series. While their bodies are made of plain plastic, I'm digging their clean, understated design. There are only two size options: 13 inches and 15 inches, both offering a full HD touchscreen with wide viewing angle. The infrared camera is here to stay, and these machines will support up to 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM. In terms of sockets, you'll miss out on the USB Type-C port featured on the 7000 series; instead you'll get an additional full-size USB 3.0 port. These start at $529 and will be on Dell.com at the same time as the 7000 series.
Finally, there's the Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1, an 11-inch convertible laptop aimed at children and budget-conscious shoppers. Given its $249 entry price, there's not much to expect in terms of performance: It comes with an Intel Pentium chip, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage space and a 1,366 x 768 touchscreen. That said, you still get one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 connections, an HDMI socket and a microSD slot. It will be available June 2nd, initially in red and blue, followed by gray and white at a later date.
Stay on top of all the latest news from Computex 2016 'right here'.
- Google plots a backstory for its AI assistant
Now that Google Assistant is promising two-way conversations, Google wants to give the artificial intelligence a little more personality. The company has asked both a freelance artist (Emma Coats) and the head of its Doodle team (Ryan Germick) to make Assistant more relatable to its human users through multiple techniques, including a possible "childhood" that you might identify with. You could also see a more Siri-like playfulness, with both ready-made answers for silly questions as well as a little vulnerability.
There's a practical reason for making you feel more at home with Assistant, of course. The easier it is to get along with the AI, the more likely it is that you'll use it -- and that, in turn, could lead to more internet searches. Not that many are likely to object. One of the biggest gripes with the current generation of AI helpers is their tendency to be cold and strictly task-oriented. Adding some character, even if it's pre-programmed, could help bring this smart software into the mainstream.
Source: Fast Company
- Facebook reportedly considering making Messenger more secure
Facebook Messenger could be getting a significant security update this summer. According to Bots for Messenger feature that allows users to engage with and order services from brands.
To ensure Messenger's machine learning features continue to grow and adapt (e.g., smart replies), Facebook needs access to users' messages. Encryption obviously gets in the way of this mission since it prevents Facebook from intercepting and analyzing those texts, hence the need for users to opt-in. It's the same stance Google's taking with its own smart messaging app, Allo -- another platform that offers optional encryption.
The move underscores growing concerns over privacy and digital convenience. For users, however, it presents a dilemma -- if you want the sort of lazy, machine-assisted service provided by the likes of Google and Facebook, you have to be willing to let your privacy guards down. If you value privacy, then you have to be content looking in from the outside.
Source: The Guardian
- Atari returns to hardware with smart home gadgets
Classic video game brand Atari has announced it's making new hardware, but sadly it's not a new console. Instead, it's making connected home and smart devices. There aren't many details about exactly what new gadgets they'll make, but they will range from "simple" to "highly sophisticated," and will be in the home, pets, lifestyle and safety categories. The company also says the new gear is a result of a partnership with Sigfox -- the same company behind the connected Antarctic research base. Sigfox's IoT technology will provide instant the connectivity and the promise of extra long battery life.
Atari says it's focusing on the mass market, as well as the charity sector, and that the IoT connectivity will provide various functionality, such as GPS tracking, provide status and temperature info and other basic functionality such as a panic button, or alerting family that you've run out of gas. Atari mentioned to Engadget a wide range of potential markets including kids (trackers), sports, travel and collars for pets.
This isn't the first time Atari has tried to reinvent itself. Over the company's 40-year history, it has made arcade games, traditional consoles, home computers, handhelds and, of course, amassed a healthy library of game franchises. Titles that have been reimagined (several times) for modern platforms. More recent ventures include an LGBT-themed social game, and a move into online gambling.
Of course, the Atari from the 70s is not the same company we see today. The original firm, as founded by Nolan Bushnell, changed hands in the 80s after the video game crash in 1983. The Tramiel family, of Commodore and Amiga fame then led Atari's consumer electronics division into the 90s before a a series of deals would ultimately see the Atari brand and catalog become a licensing operation.
No doubt it'll be interesting to see what any new hardware will look like and whether Atari can continue to trade on the good will and nostalgia of people who love its games. Even the company's biggest mistakes have a habit of working out well in the end.
- OS/2 resurrected: Blue Lion becomes ArcaOS
When the Blue Lion project was announced at the American WarpStock in October 2015, the name was only temporary. Following the close of events at WarpStock Europe, Arca Noae managing member Lewis Rosenthal noted in an interview that the final product name for the new OS/2 distribution is ArcaOS 5.0. The significance of the version number relates to IBM OS/2 4.52 - the last maintenance release of the platform released by IBM in 2001. ArcaOS 5.0 is expected to be released in the fourth quarter of 2016, but Blue Lion remains as a code name, in much the same way "Wily Werewolf" is the code name of Ubuntu 15.10. ArcaOS is a sort-of continuation of eComStation, since it's founded by several eCS developers who felt eCS had ground to a halt.
- Microsoft stop spamming Android users with notification tray ads
Remember the story about Microsoft spamming the Android notification tray with ads for applications I had already installed? BetaNews talked to Microsoft about this, the company first said this: Our team is actively investigating the occurrences of these notifications. However, after BetaNews pressed on, Microsoft changed its tune and said this a few days later: Microsoft is deeply committed to ensuring that we maintain the best possible experience for our customers in addition to complying with all applicable policies. We have taken the action to turn off these notifications. This update will be reflected in the coming days. Well, I guess I indirectly actually did something useful.
- Interview: Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves
When I asked President Ilves how he observes Estonia‚¬Ä¬ôs technological, social, and cultural changes from 2006 until now, the first thing he mentioned was the advent of fully digital prescription. Estonia, like nearly every other EU member state, has universal health care. Since 2002, Estonia has issued digital ID cards to all citizens and legal residents. These cards allow access to a "citizen‚¬Ä¬ôs portal," enabling all kinds of government services to exist entirely online: essentially any interaction with the government can be done online, ranging from paying taxes, to voting, to even picking up a prescription. "In the United States, 5,000 people die a year because of doctor's bad handwriting," he said. "It's very simple. You go to the doctor, and he writes the prescription in the computer, and you go to any pharmacy in the country, and you stick your card in the reader, and you identify yourself, and you get your prescription." As he pointed out repeatedly, "the stumbling blocks are not technological," but rather, are bureaucratic. I'm pretty sure we have the same digital prescription system here in The Netherlands - it really is as simple as the doctor sending out his prescription to the pharmacy for you, so it's ready for you right as you pick it up after the doctor's visit. I have no idea if this system I encounter here in my small, rural hometown is nationwide. In addition, I'd also assume that in the US, not every doctor is still using paper prescriptions - it's probably a patchwork of digital and paper. Setting that all aside - I have never heard a head of state speak this eloquently about digital matters, the internet, open source, and similar topics. Looking at my own politicians, who barely know how to hold a smartphone, yet decide on crucial digital matters, this is a huge breath of fresh air. I know too little about the man's policy positions and history other than what's being said in this interview, so it might be that Estonians who know him will hold a different view. Really do watch the video interview.
- Microsoft removes 260 characters for NTFS Path limit
The maximum length for a path (file name and its directory route) - also known as MAX_PATH - has been defined by 260 characters. But with the latest Windows 10 Insider preview, Microsoft is giving users the ability to increase the limit. The recent most Windows 10 preview is enabling users to change the 260 characters limit. As mentioned in the description, "Enabling NTFS long paths will allow manifested win32 applications and Windows Store applications to access paths beyond the normal 260 char limit per node." Did anyone ever run into this limit? It seems like something that would really be bothersome on servers.
- Oracle's lawyer publishes op-ed on lost case
After Oracle's expected and well-deserved loss versus Google, Oracle's attorney Annette Hurst published an op-ed about the potential impact of the case on the legal landscape of the software development industry. The op-ed focuses on one particular aspect of Google's position, which author puts as following: [B]ecause the Java APIs have been open, any use of them was justified and all licensing restrictions should be disregarded. In other words, if you offer your software on an open and free basis, any use is fair use. This position, as she claims, puts GPL in jeopardy: common dual-licensing schemes (GPL+proprietary license) depends on developers' ability to enforce the terms of GPL. It is pretty obvious that the danger of this case for the GPL and the open source community is heavily overstated - the amount of attention this case have received is due to the fact that the developer community never really considered header files as copyrightable assets. The whole "GPL in jeopardy" claim, as well as a passage saying that "[n]o copyright expert would have ever predicted [use of header files for reimplementation of an API] would be considered fair", is merely an attempt to deceive readers. The interesting bit is why Oracle's lawyer tries to pose her client's attempt at squeezing some coins from Google as an act of defending the free software community. Does Oracle still think the open source proponents may regard it as an ally, even after Sun's acquisition and the damage it dealt to OpenSolaris, OpenOffice and MySQL projects?
- * Consistent with what? *
Jason Snell, in an article about Google's iOS applications importing Material Design into iOS: Users choose platforms for various reasons, but once they‚¬Ä¬ôve chosen a platform, they deserve consistency. Someone should tell this to Apple and virtually all iOS application developers, because iOS is an inconsistent mess of an operating system. Here's a few examples taken from my never-to-be-published iPhone 6S/iOS 9 review that I wrote during the six months I used the thing (up until a few weeks ago, when I went running back to Android because iOS couldn't even get the basics like multitasking and inter-application communication right). Take something like application settings. In Outlook, tap the settings icon in the bottom bar. In Alien Blue, tap the blue dot in the top right, then settings. In Tweetbot, tap your account picture (!?), then settings. In the Wikipedia application, tap the W logo, then "More..." (!?). For many cross-platform applications that are also available on Android, tap the hamburger, then find something that sounds like settings. For Apple's own applications, close the application (I wish I was joking), open iOS' Settings application, scroll down for days, figure out in which unnamed grouping it belongs, then tap its name. [...] So it goes for settings, so it goes for many other things. Navigating between main parts of the user interface of an application is sometimes done via a tab bar at the bottom, sometimes it's done via a full-screen root-level list menu, sometimes it's done with a slide-in drawer, sometimes there's a tab bar at the top. Sometimes you can swipe between tabs, sometimes you can't. Animations for identical actions often differ from application to application (e.g. closing an image in iMessage vs. closing it in TweetBot). [...] It goes deeper than that, though. The official Twitter application, as well as Apple's own compose tweet dialog, for instance, replace the enter key on the iOS keyboard with a pound sign, hiding the enter key in the numbers panel. Why is this even allowed in the first place? Or, even more infuriating: the "switch between keyboards button" (the globe) is actually in a different place on the Emoji keyboard compared to regular language keyboards. So when I'm cycling between my keyboards - which I do a million times a day - from English to Dutch, the process comes to a grinding halt because of the Emoji keyboard. The problem is that while Google's efforts on first Holo and then Material Design have given Android developers a relatively clear set of rules and instructions on how Android applications should look, feel, and behave, there's no such set of clear rules for iOS. The iOS HIG is vague, open to interpretation, and Apple itself regularly casts it aside to do whatever it feels like (look up the section on where to put application settings. It's comically open to interpretation so as to be effectively useless). That's how you end up with impenetrably convoluted applications like TweetBot - often held up as a shining light of iOS application design - where you can perform up to 15-20 different actions with various gestures, taps, taps-and-holds, hard-taps, etc., both operating system-level and application-level, on a single tweet in its timeline (good luck not mixing those up, either because you used the wrong gesture or tap or because the operating system's touch/tap algorithms buckle under the pressure). Or, the popular and praised Overcast podcasting application by iOS star developer Marco Arment, which ditches the standard iOS fonts for its own comical font because... Reasons? And on it goes. I've been a strong proponent of militant consistency in user interface design and behaviour for as long as I can remember, and while neither iOS nor Android are shining examples of the concept, there's absolutely no doubt in my mind that Holo and Material Design have done a far better job of propelling at least a modicum of consistency in Android application design than anything Apple has ever done for iOS. From that same never-to-be-published iOS review: Interactions with a smartphone tend to be quick, focused, and often involve cycling through a number of applications very quickly. Unlike desktops or laptops, we tend to not use the same application for long periods of time, but instead quickly jump in and out of a number of applications, and then put the phone back in our pocket. Given this usage pattern, the less you have to think about where stuff is and how to do a thing, the more fluid and pleasant your workflow will be. And this is one of the many reasons why using iOS is such an incredibly frustrating experience for me. Every step of the way, I have to fight with iOS to get it to do what I want, whether it's every application doing things in its own specific way, applications not at all talking to each other, the inability to set default applications - it all adds up to an experience where I have to spend way too much time and energy thinking about how to get around iOS' limitations, iOS developers' auteur application design, and Apple's inability to write, apply, and consistently enforce its own HIG - even after six months of exclusive use and spending ‚¬ā¨800 (I really tried). It's great to ask of Google to make its iOS applications consistent with iOS' design principles - but you might want to ask Apple what those are, exactly, first. Read more on this exclusive OSNews article...
- Google wins trial against Oracle
At the end of their third day of deliberation, the jury found that Google's use of the declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the Java APIs in the Android code was a fair use. After the verdict was read aloud, Judge William Alsup thanked the jury for their service, noting that the jurors - who often came to court even earlier than the set start time of 7:45 AM, and lingered after hours to pore over their notes - had been "attentive" and "worked hard." Great news for the industry.
- Jolla announces new limited edition Jolla C smartphone
Jolla C is the first ever Sailfish OS community device, with a limited 1,000 units available for our developer and fan community. It is expected to ship in July 2016. Jolla C is used by Jolla developers and community members, and its users will naturally get all the latest vanilla Sailfish OS releases. Selected Jolla C users will be also invited to test Beta OS releases. With a quad-core Snapdragon‚¬ĄĘ processor, 2 GB memory, beautiful 5‚¬Ä¬Ě HD display and dual SIM, the Jolla C works beautifully with Sailfish OS. You will get to keep the device for yourself after the Program. Jolla is releasing a new smartphone, but in a very limited number - only a 1000 pieces - for selected users. It's not exactly a massive step forward compared to the first Jolla device, but it's a nice spec bump nonetheless. It's unlikely many of us will own this one.
- Whither Plan 9? History and motivation
Plan 9 is a research operating system from Bell Labs. For several years it was my primary environment and I still use it regularly. Despite its conceptual and implementation simplicity, I've found that folks often don't immediately understand the system's fundamentals: hence this series of articles. Bookmark this website, folks.
- Google adds Raspberry Pi 3 to AOSP
The Raspberry Pi 3 is not hurting for operating system choices. The tiny ARM computer is supported by several Linux distributions and even has a version of Windows 10 IoT core available. Now, it looks like the Pi is about to get official support for one of the most popular operating systems out there: Android. In Google's Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository, a new device tree recently popped up for the Raspberry Pi 3. A great little device for Android on the desktop - where Android is going.
- Microsoft layoffs signal definitive end of Nokia adventure
Microsoft is signalling the end of its Nokia experiment today. After acquiring Nokia's phone business for $7.2 billion two years ago, Microsoft wrote off $7.6 billion last year and cut 7,800 jobs to refocus its phone efforts. Microsoft is now writing off an additional $950 million today as part of its failed Nokia acquisition, and the company plans to cut a further 1,850 jobs. Most of the layoffs will affect employees at Microsoft's Mobile division in Finland, with 1,350 job losses there and 500 globally. Around $200 million of the $950 million impairment charge is being used for severance payments. Everything about this entire deal needs to be investigated for all kinds of shady practices. My gut is telling me there's a bunch of people that perhaps ought to be in jail on this one. Meanwhile, this is absolutely terrible for all the people involved. I've got the feeling thousands of people's jobs have been used as a ball in a very expensive executive game. Luckily, the remnants of Nokia in Finland seem to be doing well, so that's at least something, and in case you've got a hunkering for the good old days: there's a video out of Nokia Meltemi on a device called the Clipr - a very rare look at a Linux-based mobile operating system Nokia was developing around 2012.
- * Microsoft spams Android notification tray with Office ads *
Update: it happened again today. Here's the ad, and here's the "proof" it's coming from Word (when you long-press the notification and tap 'i'). It's been a bit of a running theme lately: advertising in (mobile) operating systems. Today, I was surprised by what I consider a new low, involving incompetence on both Microsoft's and Google's end. This new low has been eating away at me all day. Let's give a bit of background first. On my smartphone, a Nexus 6P, I have Word, Excel, and PowerPoint installed. I have these installed for my work - I run my translation company, and when new work comes in through e-mail when I'm out and about, I like being able to quickly look at a document before accepting it. Microsoft Office for Android fulfills this role for me. This means I don't actually use them very often - maybe a few times a week. Imagine my surprise, then, when this happened. Yes, I'm linking to the full screenshot in its full, glorious, Nexus 6P 1440x2560 brilliance. I have a few questions. First, why is Microsoft sending me an advertisement in my notification tray? Second, why is Word sending me an advertisement for Excel? Third, why is this allowed by Google, even though the Play Store rules prohibit it? Fourth A, why is Microsoft sending me advertisements for products I already have installed? Fourth B, why is Microsoft sending me advertisements for products I already use? Fourth C, why is Microsoft sending me advertisements for products I already pay for because I have an Office 365 subscription? Fifth, who in their right mind at Microsoft thought this was not a 100%, utterly, completely, deeply, ridiculously, unequivocally, endlessly, exquisitely invasive, stupid, aggravating, off-putting, infuriating, and pointless thing to do? I know both Android and iOS suffer from scummy applications abusing the notification tray for advertising, and I know both Google and Apple have rules that prohibit this that they do not enforce, but I didn't think I'd run into it because... Well, I use only proper, honest applications, right? I don't use the scummy ones? I pay for my applications? Right? I think it's time to start enforcing these rules. Oh, and Microsoft? I haven't forgotten about BeOS. It's not like you have a lot of goodwill to mess around with here. Read more on this exclusive OSNews article...
- Windows hardware specs going up for the first time since 2009
Ars Technica: Windows Vista was a shock to many Windows users, as its hardware requirements represented a steep upgrade over those required to run Windows XP: most 32-bit versions required a 1GHz processor, 1GB RAM, DirectX 9 graphics, and 40 GB of mass storage with 15GB free. But those 2006-era requirements looked much less steep once Windows 7 rolled out in 2009: it required almost the same system specs, but now 16GB of available disk space instead of 15. Windows 8 again stuck with the same specs and, at its release, so did Windows 10. But the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (referred to in documentation as version 1607, so it ought to ship in July) changes that, with the first meaningful change in the Windows system requirements in almost a decade. The RAM requirement is going up, with 2GB the new floor for 32-bit installations. This happens to bring the system in line with the 64-bit requirements, which has called for 2GB since Windows 7. The changed requirements were first spotted by Nokia Power User and WinBeta. After so many years, I'm okay with a small memory bump. Considering the state of software development today, it's amazing enough as it is that Microsoft had managed to keep the minimum requirements level for this long.
- Google's Project Ara is about more than just modular phones
Ara is going to be the first ever phone that Google is making itself (it has already made laptops and a tablet, among other things). And even though what I saw last week was just a prototype, it was working well enough that I believe Google can fulfill its promise to release a consumer product next year. Yes, we've seen Google kill off hardware before, but this is a high-profile launch from a newly independent division. It's the first truly big swing from Google's new hardware group under Rick Osterloh, and to back off now would be a colossal embarrassment. Given all that, really the only questions that matter are simple: Is Google really making a phone? Will this plan to make it modular really work this time? Is this more than just an experiment? Coming out of the meeting, had I shaken a Magic 8 ball, it would have said, "Signs point to yes." I want this to succeed - finally something new, beyond the square slab - but this is so radical in the smartphone (or feature phone and PDA before that) market that I honestly just don't know if it'll work out. In any case, people are taking sides, but a this point in time, I think either option - "this will be a massive success" or "this is nonsense" - is equally shortsighted, and especially the latter not at all unlike this infamous quote.
- Google Paris HQ raided in tax probe
Reports say about 100 tax officials entered Google's offices in central Paris early in the morning. Police sources confirmed the raid, but Google itself has so far made no comment. Google is accused of owing the French state ‚¬ā¨1.6bn ($1.8bn; ¬£1.3bn) in unpaid taxes. Good. We're coming for you.
- Back to Backups
In my Open-Source Classroom column a few months ago, I talked about backups and got some really fascinating feedback. Here are a few of the ideas from readers worth checking into:
- Seeing Red and Getting Sleep
I'm always leery when I hear, Recent studies show.... But the idea that looking at electronic device screens before bed can cause sleep issues seems to be fairly accepted. The fascinating part for me is that it isn't really the screen itself, but the blue part of the color spectrum that contributes to the sleeplessness.
- Working with Command Arguments
In this article, I want to cover a more fundamental aspect of shell scripting: working with command arguments. I suspect that most shell scripts go through an evolution with their command flags, a
- Secure Desktops with Qubes: Installation
This is the second in a multipart series on the Qubes operating system. In my first article, I gave an overall introduction to Qubes and how it differs from most other desktop Linux distributions, namely in the way it focuses on compartmentalizing applications within different VMs to limit what attackers have access to in the event they compromise a VM.
- CentOS 6.8 Released
CentOS 6.8 was released this week. With a number of security and performance updates, it provides a more stable and secure experience for CentOS 6 users.
- Secure Desktops with Qubes: Introduction
This is the first in a multipart series on Qubes OS, a security-focused operating system that is fundamentally different from any other Linux desktop I've ever used and one I personally switched to during the past couple months.
- Petros Koutoupis' RapidDisk
RapidDisk is an open-source and enhanced Linux RAM drive solution led by BDFL Petros Koutoupis (who also writes for Linux Journal) that allows users to create, resize a
Free of charge for any use and free of any kind of advertising bundle, PeaZip is an open-source (LGPL) file archiver, a free alternative to software like WinRar and WinZip, for Li
- Extended File Attributes Rock!
Worldwide, data is growing at a tremendous rate. However, one recent study has pointed out that the size of files is not necessarily growing at the same rate; meaning the number of files is growing rapidly. How do we manage all of this data and files? While the answer to that question is complex, one place we can start is with Extended File Attributes. Continue reading í
- Checksumming Files to Find Bit-Rot
In a previous article extended file attributes were presented. These are additional bits of metadata that are tied to the file and can be used in a variety of ways. One of these ways is to add checksums to the file so that corrupted data can be detected. Let's take a look at how we can do this including some simple Python examples. Continue reading í
- What’s an inode?
As you might have noticed, we love talking about file systems. In these discussions the term "inode" is often thrown about. But what is an inode and how does it relate to a file system? Glad you asked. Continue reading í
- Emailing HPC
Email is not unlike MPI. The similarities may help non-geeks understand parallel computers a little better. Continue reading í
- iotop: Per Process I/O Usage
Based on a reader comment, we take iotop for a spin to see if it can be used for monitoring the IO usage of individual processes on a system. The result? It has some interesting capability that we haven't found in other tools. Continue reading í
- SandForce 1222 SSD Testing, Part 3: Detailed Throughput Analysis
Our last two articles have presented an initial performance examination of a consumer SandForce based SSD from a throughput and IOPS perspective. In this article we dive deeper into the throughput performance of the drive, along with a comparison to an Intel X-25E SSD. I think you will be surprised at what is discovered. Continue reading í
- Putting Drupal to Work
Drupal is a simple but powerful CMS. However, you'll probably want to configure it. Learn how to tweak Drupal's settings to your liking. Continue reading í
- SandForce 1222 SSD Testing – Part 2: Initial IOPS Results
SandForce has developed a very interesting and unique SSD controller that uses real-time data compression. This affects data throughput and SSD longevity. In this article, we perform an initial examination of the IOPS performance of a SandForce 1222-based SSD. The results can be pretty amazing. Continue reading í
- Drupal at Warp Speed
Need to setup Drupal CMS but don't have the time to learn how? Try this 30 minute quick start guide. Continue reading í
- Chasing The Number
The Top500 list is a valuable measure of HPC progress, but the race it has spawned maybe over for many organizations Continue reading í
- Stick a Fork in Flock: Why it Failed
This probably won't come as a surprise to many, but the "social Web browser" has thrown in the towel. Don't cry for the Flock team - they're flying the coop for Zynga to go make Facebook games or something. But Flock's loyal fans are out in the cold. Why'd Flock fail? There's a few lessons to be learned. Continue reading í