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- Announcing the KDE Advisory Board
KDE e.V. introducesthe KDE Advisory Board. "One of the core goals of the Advisory Board is to provide KDE with insights into the needs of the various organizations that surround us. We are very aware that we need the ability to combine our efforts for greater impact and the only way we can do that is by adopting a more diverse view from outside of our organization on topics that are relevant to us. This will allow all of us to benefit from one another's experience."
- Security advisories for Monday
Debian has updated imagemagick(code execution), libarchive (threevulnerabilities), openssl (regression inprevious update), and unadf (two vulnerabilities).
Debian-LTS has updated dropbear (two vulnerabilities), dwarfutils (two vulnerabilities), mactelnet (code execution), openssl (multiple vulnerabilities), and policycoreutils (sandbox escape).
Fedora has updated bash (F24; F23: code execution) and firefox (F24; F23: multiple vulnerabilities).
Gentoo has updated bundler (installs malicious gem files) and qemu (multiple vulnerabilities).
Mageia has updated gdk-pixbuf2.0 (denial of service), golang (denial of service), libarchive (file overwrite), libtorrent-rasterbar (denial of service), php (multiple vulnerabilities), and wireshark (multiple vulnerabilities).
openSUSE has updated curl(Leap42.1: multiple vulnerabilities), flash-player (13.1: multiple vulnerabilities),gd (Leap42.1: multiple vulnerabilities),gtk2 (Leap42.1; 13.2: code execution), firefox, nss (Leap42.1, 13.2: multiplevulnerabilities), samba (Leap42.1: cryptodowngrade), thunderbird (13.1: multiplevulnerabilities), tiff (13.1: multiplevulnerabilities), and wpa_supplicant(Leap42.1: multiple vulnerabilities).
Slackware has updated php (multiple vulnerabilities).
Ubuntu has updated openssl(regression in previous update).
- OpenSSL security advisory for September 26
This OpenSSLsecurity advisory is notable in that it's the second one in four days;sites that updated after the first one may need to do so again."This security update addresses issues that were caused by patchesincluded in our previous security update, released on 22nd September2016. Given the Critical severity of one of these flaws we havechosen to release this advisory immediately to prevent upgrades to theaffected version, rather than delaying in order to provide our usualpublic pre-notification."
- Kernel prepatch 4.8-rc8
The 4.8-rc8 kernel prepatch is out."Things actually did start to calm down this week, but Ididn't get the feeling that there was no point in doing one final rc,so here we are. I expect the final 4.8 release next weekend, unlesssomething really unexpected comes up."
- Prodromou: Adopt a pump.io server
Evan Prodromou, creator of identi.ca and pump.io, has put a call out for interested parties to adopt the administration of public pump.io microblogging servers, which he is currently funding out of his own pocket. "Almost all of them are on $5/month Digital Ocean droplets, which makes them relatively cheap for a single person to support. If you decide you want to adopt a server, E14N will sell you the domain and all the software and data for $1. But you'll be obligated to keep the server running pump.io for at least a year, and if you decide you don't want to run it, you have to sell it back to me." There are currently around 25 servers in the federated network initially started by Prodromou, which does not count other pump.io instances. He notes that one important exception is the identi.ca site, which is significantly larger than the rest, and which he would like to find a trusted non-profit organization to maintain.
- Mitchell: The MIT License, Line by Line
At his blog, Kyle E. Mitchell ("who is not your attorney") takes a close, line-by-line reading of the popular MIT software license. The details he points out begin on line one with the license's title: "'The MIT License' is a not a single license, but a family of license forms derived from language prepared for releases from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It has seen a lot of changes over the years, both for the original projects that used it, and also as a model for other projects. The Fedora Project maintains a kind of cabinet of MIT license curiosities, with insipid variations preserved in plain text like anatomical specimens in formaldehyde, tracing a wayward kind of evolution."
Despite the license being only 171 words, Mitchell finds quite a bit to expand on, such as the ambiguities of the phrase "to deal in the Software without restriction": "As a result of this mishmash of legal, industry, general-intellectual-property, and general-use terms, it isn’t clear whether The MIT License includes a patent license. The general language 'deal in' and some of the example verbs, especially 'use', point toward a patent license, albeit a very unclear one. The fact that the license comes from the copyright holder, who may or may not have patent rights in inventions in the software, as well as most of the example verbs and the definition of 'the Software' itself, all point strongly toward a copyright license." Nevertheless, Mitchell notes, "despite some crusty verbiage and lawyerly affectation, one hundred and seventy one little words can get a hell of a lot of legal work done."
- Friday's security updates
Debian has updated firefox-esr (multiple vulnerabilities).
Debian-LTS has updated wordpress (multiple vulnerabilities).
Fedora has updated distribution-gpg-keys (F23: privilege escalation), mock (F23: privilege escalation), openvas-libraries (F24; F23: multiple vulnerabilities),openvas-scanner (F24; F23: denial of service), and shiro (F24: access control bypass).
openSUSE has updated pdns (13.2,Leap 42.1: multiple vulnerabilities).
Oracle has updated kernel (4.1.12 O6; O7:multiple vulnerabilities; 3.8.13 O7; O6:multiple vulnerabilities; 2.6.39 O6; O5:multiple vulnerabilities).
Slackware has updated openssl (14.0, 14.1, 14.2, -current: multiple vulnerabilities) and pidgin (13.0, 13.1, 13.137, 14.0, 14.1:mysterious vulnerabilities).
Ubuntu has updated openssl(12.04, 14.04, 16.04: multiple vulnerabilities).
- Garrett: Microsoft aren't forcing Lenovo to block free operating systems
Matthew Garrett looks atthe real problem behind the inability of some Lenovo laptops to runLinux. "The real problem here is that Intel do very little to ensurethat free operating systems work well on their consumer hardware - we stillhave no information from Intel on how to configure systems to ensure goodpower management, we have no support for storage devices in "RAID" mode andwe have no indication that this is going to get better in future. If Intelhad provided that support, this issue would never have occurred."
- A pile of security updates for Thursday
Arch Linux has updatedfirefox (multiple vulnerabilities),irssi (code execution), andtomcat7 (proxy injection).
CentOS has updatedfirefox (C5, C6, C7: multiple vulnerabilities).
Debian has updatedwireshark (LTS: dissector vulnerabilities),irssi (denial of service), andopenssl (multiple vulnerabilities).
Fedora has updateddrupal7-google_analytics (F23, F24: cross-site scripting),drupal7-panels (F23, F24: multiple vulnerabilities),jasper (F23: multiple code-executionvulnerabilities),mod_cluster (F24: "remoteexploits"),nodejs-string-dot-prototype-dot-repeat (F23: "update for securityreasons"),php-horde-Horde-Mime-Viewer (F23,F24:cross-site scripting),php-horde-Horde-Text-Filter (F23,F24:cross-site scripting), andxen (F23: multiplevulnerabilities).
Mageia has updatedchromium-browser-stable (29 CVEs),curl (code execution),file-roller (file deletion),flash-player-plugin (26 CVEs),icu (code execution),jsch (path traversal vulnerability),libksba (denial of service),nodejs (remote code execution),slock (lock bypass), andtomcat (traffic redirection).
openSUSE has updatedopera (multiple vulnerabilities).
Oracle has updatedfirefox (OL5, OL6, OL7: multiple vulnerabilities).
Scientific Linux has updatedfirefox (SL5-7: multiple vulnerabilities).
Slackware has updatedirssi (denial of service),pidgin (17 CVE numbers), andfirefox (multiple vulnerabilities).
SUSE has updatedjava-1_7_1-ibm (SLES12: three CVEsdescribed as "Unspecified vulnerability in Oracle Java SE 7u101 and8u92 allows local users to affect confidentiality, integrity, andavailability via vectors related to Deployment"), andjava-1_6-0-ibm (SLES11: oneunspecified vulnerability).
Ubuntu has updatedfirefox (multiple vulnerabilities),gdk-pixbuf (code execution),irssi (denial of service), andthunderbird (code execution).
Note that there appear to be differences of opinion as to whether the irssivulnerability can be exploited for code execution.
- GNOME 3.22 released
The GNOME Project has announced the release of GNOME 3.22, "Karlsruhe". "This release brings comprehensive Flatpak support. GNOME Software caninstall and update Flatpaks, GNOME Builder can create them, and thedesktop provides portal implementations to enable sandboxed applications.Improvements to core GNOME applications include support for batch renamingin Files, sharing support in GNOME Photos, an updated look for GNOME Software,a redesigned keyboard settings panel, and many more."
- [$] BBR congestion control
Congestion-control algorithms are unglamorous bits of code that allownetwork protocols (usually TCP) to maximize the throughput of any givenconnection while simultaneously sharing the available bandwidth equitablywith other users. New algorithms tend not to generate a great deal ofexcitement; the addition of TCPNew Vegas during the 4.8 merge window drew little fanfare, for example.The BBR (Bottleneck Bandwidth and RTT)algorithm just released by Google, though, is attracting rather moreattention; it moves away from the mechanisms traditionally used by thesealgorithms in an attempt to get better results in a network characterized bywireless links, meddling middleboxes, and bufferbloat.
- CouchDB 2.0 released
The Apache CouchDB database project has announced its 2.0release. New features include clustering support, a new query language, anew administrative interface, and more. "CouchDB 2.0 is 99% APIcompatible with the 1.x series and most applications should continue tojust work."
- BeagleBone Black Wireless SBC taps Octavo SiP, has “open” design
BeagleBoard.org’s “BeagleBone Black Wireless” SBC uses Octavo’s OSD335x SiP module and replaces the standard BBB’s Ethernet with 2.4GHz WiFi and BT 4.1 BLE. BeagleBone Black Wireless is the first SBC to incorporate the Octavo Systems OSD335x SiP (system-in-package) module, “which integrates BeagleBone functionality into one easy-to-use BGA package,” according to BeagleBoard.org. Announced on Sep. 26, […]
- Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator: Muneeb Kalathil
The Linux Foundation offers many resources for developers, users, and administrators of Linux systems. One of the most important offerings is its Linux Certification Program, which is designed to give you a way to differentiate yourself in a job market that's hungry for your skills.
- Exactly What Is OpenStack? Red Hat's Rich Bowen Explains
You've probably heard of OpenStack. It's in the tech news a lot, and it's an important open source project. But what exactly is it, and what is it for? Rich Bowen of Red Hat provided a high-level view of OpenStack as a software project, an open source foundation, and a community of organizations in his talk at LinuxCon North America.
- Announcing the KDE Advisory Board
KDE e.V. hereby introduces the KDE e.V. Advisory Board as a means to offer a space for communication between organizations which are allied with KDE, from both the corporate and the non-profit worlds.One of the core goals of the Advisory Board is to provide KDE with insights into the needs of the various organizations that surround us.
- SDN and NFV integration, updated API documentation, and more OpenStack news
Are you interested in keeping track of what is happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for news in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.OpenStack around the webThere is a lot of interesting stuff being written about OpenStack. Here's a sampling from some of our favorites:read more
- How to install OpenSC on IPFire firewall
In this tutorial, hardware token (such as a smart card) and their readers (CCID compliance) support are integrated with the IPFire project. This article is the continuation of our previous work on IPFire firewall.
- Epiq Solutions' Sidekiq M.2
Following on its resounding success with its Sidekiq MiniPCIe card,wireless communications systems specialist Epiq Solutions recently addedthe Sidekiq M.2 state-of-the-art, small form-factor, software-defined radio(SDR) card.
- Why Open Beats Closed
When the Internet was opened up to allow commercial applications in 1994, some enterprising entrepreneurs set up companies host corporate websites. It was an exciting time, with the power of technology unleashing a torrent of new possibilities.
- How to throw a tarball over the wall
It costs a lot of money to open source a mature piece of commercial software, even if all you are doing is "throwing a tarball over the wall." That's why companies abandoning software they no longer care about so rarely make it open source, and those abandoning open source projects rarely move them to new homes that benefit others.If all you have thought about is the eventual outcome, you may be surprised how expensive it is to get there.read more
- New Firefox 49 features in Fedora
The latest release 49 of Firefox comes with some interesting new features. Here’s what they mean for Fedora users and how to enable them beyond default setup. Make a safe playground When you’re testing Firefox, you should create a new fresh profile. If something goes wrong, you... Continue Reading →
- Lenovo Courts Devs WIth Moto Z Source Code Release
Lenovo, which owns Motorola, last week released the kernel source code for the Moto Z Droid smartphone. The move follows this summer's posting of the Moto Z Droid Moto Mods Development Kit and Moto Mods on Github. This is the first kernel source code made available for the Moto Z device family. Its release seems to be another step in Lenovo's attempt to get devs to build an ecosystem around it.
- Opera's Free VPN Takes On Internet Privacy Challenge
Opera earlier this week released a new version of its browser, Opera 40, which comes with a free virtual private network service built in. The official rollout follows five months of user experimentation with a beta version. After evaluating beta users' feedback, the company brought on additional servers, added options for global or private browsing, and created iOS and Android versions.
- Parsix Normalizes GNOME
Parsix is a feature-rich distro that will delight GNOME desktop users looking for a well-tweaked user experience. It offers a well-oiled, single track Linux desktop operating system. It has no distractions from multiple desktop options. It provides one of the best integrations of the latest GNOME desktop available. Parsix has been around since at least 2007. Along the way, it built a reputation for dependability.
- Udacity Fuels Autonomous Vehicle Engineering Dreams
Online education company Udacity on Tuesday introduced a new "nanodegree" program in self-driving auto engineering. President Sebastian Thrun made the announcement. The goal is to build a crowdsourced, open source self-driving car, he said. Students will learn the skills and techniques used by self-driving car teams at the most innovative companies in the world, Udacity has promised.
- Arya.ai's Braid Aims to Weave Together Neural Network Components
Startup Arya.ai on Monday introduced Braid, an open source tool available for free to companies developing neural networks. Braid is a flexible, customizable, modular meta-framework that works with operating systems for deep learning, according to the company. It is designed for rapid development and to support arbitrary network designs. It is simple and scalable, Arya.ai said.
- Cub Linux Is a Worthy Chromixium Offspring
Cub Linux, an improved rebranding of the innovative Chromixium Linux distro, combines the look, feel and functionality of Google's Chrome OS with traditional Linux performance. Cub Linux provides a complete Chromebook experience on the hardware of your choice. The innovation is quite impressive. Cub Linux also runs software from the Ubuntu distro ecosystem. Linux is all about exercising options.
- Google's Russian Android Appeal Falls Flat
A Russian appeals court has rejected Google's appeal of a $6.75 million fine regulators imposed for anticompetitive behavior -- that is, for forcing mobile device vendors to put Google Play apps on the main screens of devices using the Android operating system. The Ninth Arbitration Appeal Court handed down its ruling last month, confirming the decision of Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service.
- FairWare Hackers May Take Ransoms, Keep Stolen Files
The latest ransomware intrusion that targets Linux servers, dubbed "FairWare," may be a classic server hack designed to bilk money from victims with no intent to return stolen files after payment in bitcoins is made. The attack reportedly targets a Linux server, deletes the Web folder, and then demands a ransom payment of two bitcoins for return of the stolen files.
- The Peppermint Twist Is Still Cool
The Peppermint operating system is built around a concept not found in most Linux distros. It is a hybrid combination of traditional Linux desktop applications and cloud-based infrastructure. Peppermint 7 is a lightweight distribution based on Ubuntu 16.04. The key to its process of linking full desktop functionality to cloud apps is an in-house developed application dubbed "Ice."
- 25 Years of Linux: What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been
Happy Birthday Linux! You're 25! When Linux was born on Aug. 25, 1991, it was little more than a hobby for 21-year old Linus Torvald. Today the Linux community is estimated to be upwards of 86 million users strong. It has become the backbone of large enterprises, and it is installed in government systems and embedded in devices worldwide. It has grown into a major mainstream computing platform.
- Latest Slackware Version Doesn't Cut Newbies any Slack
Slackware is one of those Linux distros often described as being difficult to use. The Slackware Project version 14.2 released on July 1 does little to change that view -- at least, as far as installing it is concerned. Its KDE desktop is probably the most contemporary trait. Other than an update under the hood, it offers little that's new in terms of usability and few new features.
- The Linux Foundation Gives PNDA a Home
The Linux Foundation on Tuesday added PNDA -- the Platform for Network Data Analytics -- to its project menagerie. PNDA provides an open source, scalable platform for next-generation network analytics. It integrates data from multiple sources on a network and works with Apache Spark to crunch the numbers in order to find useful patterns in the data more effectively.
- Intel's Project Alloy Tosses Reality Into a Blender
Intel on Tuesday presented its virtual reality vision -- a vision that mixes virtual and real worlds into a kind of merged reality -- to developers attending a conference in San Francisco. Mixing reality and unreality sometimes can be a recipe for disaster, but Intel thinks it will be a formula for success. At the center of Intel's vision is its Project Alloy mobile headset and its cutting edge RealSense software.
- Google May Paint IoT Fuchsia
A team at Google is working on a new operating system called "Fuchsia," but details are sparse. Fuchsia "is a new open source project that is not at all related to Android or Chrome OS," said Google spokesperson Joshua Cruz. He declined to provide further details about Fuchsia, saying only that "we have many revolving open source projects at Google."
- TCP Flaw Opens Linux Systems to Hijackers
A flaw in the RFC 5961 specification the Internet Engineering Task Force developed to protect TCP against blind in-window attacks could threaten Android smartphones, as well as every Linux computer on the planet. The flaw is described in a paper a team of researchers presented at the 25th Usenix Security Symposium, ongoing in Austin, Texas, through Friday.
- Linux Mint 18: Fresher Than Ever
The Linux Mint 18 Sarah will please long-time users and impress new adopters for its growth in features and overall consistent performance. Linux Mint 18, released at the end of June, is a long-term edition supported through 2021. The in-house built Cinnamon desktop and the GNOME 2 fork MATE desktop were available at its introduction. The Xfce edition became available earlier this month.
- 900 Million Androids Could Be Easy Prey for QuadRooter Exploits
Four newly identified vulnerabilities could affect 900 million Android devices, Check Point researchers disclosed. The vulnerabilities, which the researchers dubbed "QuadRooter," affect Android devices that use Qualcomm chipsets. They exist in the chipset software drivers. The drivers, which control communications between chipset components, are incorporated into Android builds.
- Linux Botnets on a Rampage
Linux-operated botnet Distributed Denial of Service attacks surged in this year's second quarter, due to growing interest in targeting Chinese servers, according to a Kaspersky Lab report released this week. South Korea kept its top ranking for having the most command-and-control servers. Brazil, Italy and Israel ranked among the leaders behind South Korea for hosting C&C servers, according to Kaspersky Lab.
- Facebook Nurtures Open Source Projects in Incubator
Facebook last week launched its Incubator on GitHub in order to distribute its own open source software projects. Facebook has open sourced almost 400 projects to date. New projects will be posted on Incubator pages to gauge community reaction and rate of adoption. Facebook plans to use in-house and actively develop all projects posted on the Incubator page.
- Homegrown Budgie Desktop Shows Off the Beauty - and Beastliness - of Solus Simplicity
The Solus Project version 1.2 shows considerable maturity in the homegrown Budgie desktop. Solus 1.2 is the second minor release in the Shannon series, built around a custom Budgie desktop developed in-house and the eopkg package manager forked from PiSi. Solus is a Linux distribution built from scratch. The Budgie desktop can be set to emulate the look and feel of the GNOME 2 desktop.
- Google Beefs Up Phone App's Spam-Fighting Skills
Google on Tuesday released an updated version of its Phone app for Android with a new spam protection feature that warns users when an incoming call is likely to be spam. It also lets them block numbers and report spam. The app is available on Google Play. The spam warning feature works on Nexus and AndroidOne devices on the T-Mobile USA, Project Fi and Orange France networks.
- Roller Coasters Could Help People Pass Kidney Stones, Says Study
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: Two researchers who took science to the amusement park say they've found that a thrilling roller coaster ride just might help people shake out pesky kidney stones. Dr. David Wartinger of Michigan State University said he'd heard patient after patient tell him about how they had passed kidney stones after riding one particular ride: the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster at Walt Disney World in Orlando. He and a colleague, Dr. Marc Mitchell, had also seen some media reports about people who passed kidney stones while bungee jumping and riding roller coasters. So they decided to leave East Lansing to head to Orlando in the name of medical research. To simulate the human body as best they could, they made an artificial human kidney model out of clear silicone gel and loaded it up with real human kidney stones. They rode the roller coaster holding their kidney contraption between them in a backpack positioned at kidney height. They took 20 rides and noted what happened to each kidney stone. Riding in the back of the roller coaster train seemed to really knock the kidney stones out, they reported in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. "Front seating on the roller coaster resulted in a passage rate of four of 24," they wrote. "Rear seating on the roller coaster resulted in a passage rate of 23 of 36." They mainly tested the one roller coaster ride, and it's a fairly simple one. "The Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster is not a terribly dynamic ride," Wartinger said. "It's not very fast. It is not very tall. It makes sharp left and right turns that have some vibration." Wartinger suspects many different thrill rides would have the same effect. "It's not like there anything unique about this one coaster," he said. The pair have now run their test 200 more times and say the findings are consistent. Now they want to try other amusement park rides.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- US Department of Labor Is Suing Peter Thiel's Startup 'Palantir' For Discriminating Against Asians
Palantir Technologies is a secretive start-up in Silicon Valley that specializes in big data analysis. It was founded in 2004 by Peter Thiel, Alex Karp, Joe Lonsdale, Stephen Cohen, and Nathan Gettings, and is backed by the FBI and CIA as it "helps government agencies track down terrorists and uncover financial fraud," according to Reuters. Today, the U.S. Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that it discriminated against Asian job applicants. Reuters reports: The lawsuit alleges Palantir routinely eliminated Asian applicants in the resume screening and telephone interview phases, even when they were as qualified as white applicants. In one example cited by the Labor Department, Palantir reviewed a pool of more than 130 qualified applicants for the role of engineering intern. About 73 percent of those who applied were Asian. The lawsuit, which covers Palantir's conduct between January 2010 and the present, said the company hired 17 non-Asian applicants and four Asians. "The likelihood that this result occurred according to chance is approximately one in a billion," said the lawsuit, which was filed with the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges. The majority of Palantir's hires as engineering interns, as well as two other engineering positions, "came from an employee referral system that disproportionately excluded Asians," the lawsuit said. Palantir denied the allegations in a statement and said it intends to "vigorously defend" against them. The lawsuit seeks relief for persons affected, including lost wages.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Study: Earth Is At Its Warmest In 120,000 Years
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Washington Post: As part of her doctoral dissertation at Stanford University, Carolyn Snyder, now a climate policy official at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, created a continuous 2 million year temperature record, much longer than a previous 22,000 year record. Snyder's temperature reconstruction, published Monday in the journal Nature, doesn't estimate temperature for a single year, but averages 5,000-year time periods going back a couple million years. Snyder based her reconstruction on 61 different sea surface temperature proxies from across the globe, such as ratios between magnesium and calcium, species makeup and acidity. But the further the study goes back in time, especially after half a million years, the fewer of those proxies are available, making the estimates less certain, she said. These are rough estimates with large margins of errors, she said. But she also found that the temperature changes correlated well to carbon dioxide levels. Temperatures averaged out over the most recent 5,000 years -- which includes the last 125 years or so of industrial emissions of heat-trapping gases -- are generally warmer than they have been since about 120,000 years ago or so, Snyder found. And two interglacial time periods, the one 120,000 years ago and another just about 2 million years ago, were the warmest Snyder tracked. They were about 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) warmer than the current 5,000-year average. Snyder said if climate factors are the same as in the past -- and that's a big if -- Earth is already committed to another 7 degrees or so (about 4 degrees Celsius) of warming over the next few thousand years. "This is based on what happened in the past, Snyder noted. "In the past it wasn't humans messing with the atmosphere."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Trump Takes On 'Crooked Hillary' With Snapchat Geofilter
In an effort to appeal to more young voters, U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has unveiled a "geofilter" ad campaign for Snapchat that slaps on the banner phrase "Donald J. Trump vs. Crooked Hillary" to a user's photo and video Snaps. Ars Technica reports: "The ad rolled out to American Snapchat users today, just ahead of the 2016 presidential election's first major debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton (the debate starts tonight at 9pm EDT). The ad joins the usual geofilter available to Snapchat users, which usually list the name of a city or a nearby event as determined by GPS and time information. The campaign differs from the deluge of text, photo, and video ads that politicans have relied on in recent years, as it doesn't publish or display to the public without a personal photo or video attached. While other political campaigns have paid for geofilter ad campaigns on Snapchat in the past, including Clinton and Bernie Sanders, those have been timed and targeted for smaller-scale events like political conventions and primary voting periods. In a statement to CNN, the Clinton campaign said that Trump was "throwing his money into a fire pit," and it pointed out the ad's potential for backfiring, since "given Trump's deep unpopularity with young voters, [the ad's phrasing] will be used mainly at [his] own expense."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Windows 10 Will Soon Run Edge In a Virtual Machine To Keep You Safe
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Microsoft has announced that the next major update to Windows 10 will run its Edge browser in a lightweight virtual machine. Running the update in a virtual machine will make exploiting the browser and attacking the operating system or compromising user data more challenging. Called Windows Defender Application Guard for Microsoft Edge, the new capability builds on the virtual machine-based security that was first introduced last summer in Windows 10. Windows 10's Virtualization Based Security (VBS) uses small virtual machines and the Hyper-V hypervisor to isolate certain critical data and processes from the rest of the system. The most important of these is Credential Guard, which stores network credentials and password hashes in an isolated virtual machine. This isolation prevents the popular MimiKatz tool from harvesting those password hashes. In turn, it also prevents a hacker from breaking into one machine and then using stolen credentials to spread to other machines on the same network. Credential Guard's virtual machine is very small and lightweight, running only a relatively simple process to manage credentials. Application Guard will go much further by running large parts of the Edge browser within a virtual machine. This virtual machine won't, however, need a full operating system running inside it -- just a minimal set of Windows features required to run the browser. Because Application Guard is running in a virtual machine it will have a much higher barrier between it and the host platform. It can't see other processes, it can't access local storage, it can't access any other installed applications, and, critically, it can't attack the kernel of the host system. In its first iteration, Application Guard will only be available for Edge. Microsoft won't provide an API or let other applications use it. As with other VBS features, Application Guard will also only be available to users of Windows 10 Enterprise, with administrative control through group policies. Administrators will be able to mark some sites as trusted, and those sites won't use the virtual machine. Admins also be able to control whether untrusted sites can use the clipboard or print.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Researcher Modifies Sieve of Eratosthenes To Work With Less Physical Memory Space
grcumb writes: Peruvian mathematician Harald Helfgott made his mark on the history of mathematics by solving Goldbach's weak conjecture, which states that every odd number greater than 7 can be expressed as the sum of three prime numbers. Now, according to Scientific American, he's found a better solution to the sieve of Eratosthenes: "In order to determine with this sieve all primes between 1 and 100, for example, one has to write down the list of numbers in numerical order and start crossing them out in a certain order: first, the multiples of 2 (except the 2); then, the multiples of 3, except the 3; and so on, starting by the next number that had not been crossed out. The numbers that survive this procedure will be the primes. The method can be formulated as an algorithm." But now, Helfgott has found a method to drastically reduce the amount of RAM required to run the algorithm: "Now, inspired by combined approaches to the analytical 100-year-old technique called the circle method, Helfgott was able to modify the sieve of Eratosthenes to work with less physical memory space. In mathematical terms: instead of needing a space N, now it is enough to have the cube root of N." So what will be the impact of this? Will we see cheaper, lower-power encryption devices? Or maybe quicker cracking times in brute force attacks? Mathematician Jean Carlos Cortissoz Iriarte of Cornell University and Los Andes University offers an analogy: "Let's pretend that you are a computer and that to store data in your memory you use sheets of paper. If to calculate the primes between 1 and 1,000,000, you need 200 reams of paper (10,000 sheets), and with the algorithm proposed by Helfgott you will only need one fifth of a ream (about 100 sheets)," he says.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- ISP To FCC: Using The Internet Is Like Eating Oreos
New submitter Rick Schumann shares with us a report highlighting an analogy presented by an ISP that relates Double Stuf Oreos to the internet. Specifically, that Double Stuf Oreos cost more than regular Oreos, and therefore you should pay more for internet: The Consumerist reports: "Ars Technica first spotted the crumbly filing, from small (and much-loathed) provider Mediacom. Mediacom's comment is in response to the same proceeding that Netflix commented on earlier this month. However, while Netflix actually addressed data and the ways in which their customers use it, Mediacom went for the more metaphor-driven approach. The letter literally starts out under the header, 'You Have to Pay Extra For Double-Stuffed,' and posits that you, the consumer, are out for a walk with $2 in your pocket when you suddenly develop a ferocious craving for Oreo cookies." Of course their analogy is highly questionable, since transmitting data over a network doesn't actually consume anything, now does it? You eat the cookie, the cookie is gone, but you transmit data over a network, the network is still there and can transmit data endlessly. Mediacom's assertion that the Internet is like a cookie you eat, is like saying copying a file on your computer somehow diminishes or degrades the original file, which of course is ridiculous.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Mozilla's Proposed Conclusion: Game Over For WoSign and Startcom?
Reader Zocalo writes: Over the last several months Mozilla has been investigating a large number of breaches of what Mozilla deems to be acceptable CA protocols by the Chinese root CA WoSign and their perhaps better known subsidiary StartCom, whose acquisition by WoSign is one of the issues in question. Mozilla has now published their proposed solution (GoogleDocs link), and it's not looking good for WoSign and Startcom. Mozilla's position is that they have lost trust in WoSign and, by association StartCom, with a proposed action to give WoSign and StartCom a "timeout" by distrusting any certificates issued after a date to be determined in the near future for a period of one year, essentially preventing them issuing any certificates that will be trusted by Mozilla. Attempts to circumvent this by back-dating the valid-from date will result in an immediate and permanent revocation of trust, and there are some major actions required to re-establish that trust at the end of the time out as well.This seems like a rather elegant, if somewhat draconian, solution to the issue of what to do when a CA steps out of line. Revoking trust for certificates issued after a given date does not invalidate existing certificates and thereby inconvenience their owners, but it does put a severe -- and potentially business-ending -- penalty on the CA in question. Basically, WoSign and StartCom will have a year where they cannot issue any new certificates that Mozilla will trust, and will also have to inform any existing customers that have certificate renewals due within that period they cannot do so and they will need to go else where -- hardly good PR! What does Slashdot think? Is Mozilla going too far here, or is their proposal justified and reasonable given WoSign's actions, making a good template for potential future breaches of trust by root CAs, particularly in the wake of other CA trust breaches by the likes of CNNIC, DigiNotar, and Symantec?
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Japanese To Pay Utility Bills Using Bitcoin
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Stack: Japanese citizens will soon be able to pay their utility bills using bitcoin. The facility is being provided by Coincheck Denki, a new service offered by the Japanese bitcoin company, which will be available to users in November. Coincheck outlined the new plan on its website. Also called 'Coincheck Electricity,' it will allow users to pay their electricity bills directly from their Coincheck bitcoin wallet. It also offers a discount plan for heavy users of electricity, with 4-6% of the total bill discounted for heavy users of electricity who pay in bitcoin. Coincheck's parent company, Reju Press, initially partnered with Mitsuwa Inc., to create the bitcoin payment system. Coincheck now works with Mitsuwa subsidiary E-Net Inc., and has formed a partnership with Marubeni Power Retail Corporation, which operates power plants in 17 locations in central Japan. Marubeni has offices in 66 countries worldwide, although no plans have been announced to take the bitcoin payment option outside of Japan. While the initial bitcoin payment rollout is for electricity bills, Coincheck plans to expand its offerings to bitcoin payment for 'life infrastructure,' to include payment of gas, water and mobile phone bills. It may even partner with landlords to allow customers of Coincheck to pay rent using bitcoin. The bitcoin payment plan will be rolled out in Chubu, Kanto (including Tokyo) and Kansai regions to start, with additional areas to be added sequentially. The company hopes to offer bitcoin payment options to one million electric customers within the first year.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- China's Giant Radio Telescope Begins Searching For Signals From Space
Years of work and millions of dollars later, China finished its alien-hunting telescope in May this year. Now the country says its telescope has begun its operation. The company flipped the switch over the weekend, hoping to find signals from stars and galaxies -- and more importantly from extraterrestrial life. The telescope also illustrates China's growing ambition to stay among the frontrunners in space efforts. AP reports: Beijing has poured billions into such ambitious scientific projects as well as its military-backed space program, which saw the launch of China's second space station earlier this month. Measuring 500 metres in diameter, the radio telescope is nestled in a natural basin within a stunning landscape of lush green karst formations in southern Guizhou province. It took five years and $180 million to complete and surpasses that of the 300-meter Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, a dish used in research on stars that led to a Nobel Prize. The official Xinhua News Agency said hundreds of astronomers and enthusiasts watched the launch of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, in the county of Pingtang. Researchers quoted by state media said FAST would search for gravitational waves, detect radio emissions from stars and galaxies and listen for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life. "The ultimate goal of FAST is to discover the laws of the development of the universe," Qian Lei, an associate researcher with the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told state broadcaster CCTV. "In theory, if there is civilization in outer space, the radio signal it sends will be similar to the signal we can receive when a pulsar (spinning neutron star) is approaching us," Qian said.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- As We Speak, Teen Social Site Is Leaking Millions Of Plaintext Passwords
Dan Goodin, reporting for ArsTechnica: A social hangout website for teenage girls has sprung a leak that's exposing plaintext passwords protecting as many as 5.5 million user accounts. As this post went live, all attempts to get the leak plugged had failed. Operators of i-Dressup didn't respond to messages sent by Ars informing them that a hacker has already downloaded more than 2.2 million of the improperly stored account credentials. The hacker said it took him about three weeks to obtain the cache and that there's nothing stopping him or others from downloading the entire database of slightly more than 5.5 million entries. The hacker said he acquired the e-mail addresses and passwords by using a SQL injection attack that exploited vulnerabilities in the i-Dressup website. The hacker provided the 2.2 million account credentials both to Ars and breach notification service Have I Been Pwned?. By plugging randomly selected e-mail addresses into the forgotten password section of i-Dressup, both Ars and Have I Been Pwned? principal Troy Hunt found that they all were used to register accounts on the site. Ars then used the contact us page on i-Dressup to privately notify operators of the vulnerability, but more than five days later, no one has responded and the bug remains unfixed.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Planes, Trains, and Automobiles Have Become Top Carbon Polluters
Transportation is likely to surpass the electricity sector in 2016 as the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, according to a new analysis of government data, MIT Technology reports. From the article: In 2008, the global financial crisis caused widespread declines in energy use. In the U.S., that coincided with the early stages of a large-scale shift away from coal toward cleaner-burning natural gas as a way to generate electricity. As a result, carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector have continued to decline from their 2007 peak, even as the economy has resumed growing. The trend line for the transportation sector is less encouraging. Transportation emissions have begun rising as the economy rebounds. John DeCicco at the University of Michigan Energy Institute, who wrote the study, attributes the rebound we've seen during the past four years to straightforward causes: economic recovery and more affordable fuel prices. Vehicle sales numbers have been rising for several years, in particular for trucks and SUVs, and people are traveling more miles.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Plex Cloud Means Saying Goodbye To the Always-On PC
Finally, you don't need an always-on PC or any other network-attached storage device if you want to use Plex's media player. The company has announced that it now allows you to stream TV shows and movies from your own collection via a new online option called Plex Cloud. From a report on The Verge: Plex is giving the world another reason to subscribe to Plex Pass subscriptions today with the launch of Plex Cloud. As the name suggests, Plex Cloud eliminates the need to run the Plex Media Server on a computer or Networked Attached Storage (NAS) in your house. It does, however, require a subscription to Amazon Drive ($59.99 per year for unlimited storage) and the aforementioned Plex Pass ($4.99 per month or $39.99 per year). Plex Cloud functions just like a regular Plex Media Server giving you access to your media -- no matter how you acquire it -- from an incredibly broad range of devices. Most, but not all Plex features are available in today's beta.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- UK's Top Police Warn That Modding Games May Turn Kids into Hackers
Joseph Cox, writing for Motherboard: Last week at EGX, the UK's biggest games event, attendees got a chance to play upcoming blockbusters like Battlefield 1, FIFA 17, and Gears of War 4. But budding gamers may also have spotted a slightly more unusual sight: a booth run by the National Crime Agency (NCA), the UK's leading law enforcement agency. Over the last few years, the NCA has attempted to reach out to technologically savvy young people in different ways. EGX was the first time it's pitched up to a gaming convention; the NCA said it wanted to educate young people with an interest in computers and suggested that those who mod online games in order to cheat may eventually progress to using low level cybercrime services like DDoS-for-hire and could use steering in the right direction. "The games industry can help us reach young people and educate them on lawful use of cyber skills," Richard Jones, head of the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit's 'Prevent' team, told Motherboard in an email. "Through attendance at EGX and various other activities, we are seeking to promote ethical hacking or penetration testing, as well as other lawful uses of an interest in computers to young people," Jones said.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Windows 10 Now On 400 Million Active Devices, Says Microsoft
Microsoft announced today that Windows 10 is now running on over 400 million active devices. This is up from 300 million as of May, and 207 million as of end of the March. The company says that it deems devices that have been active in the past 28 days as "active." Microsoft added that this 400 million active devices figure include tablets and phones as well as Xbox One consoles, HoloLens, and Surface Hubs running Windows 10. Paul Thurrott adds:Microsoft last provided a Windows 10 usage milestone on June 29, when it said that there were 350 million active Windows 10 devices. At that time, I noted that the Windows 10 adoption had accelerated from the previous milestone, hitting an average of almost 29 million new devices per month. But 50 million additional devices over three months is a much slower pace of about 17 million per month. This is the slowest rate since Windows 10 was first announced. Again, no surprise there: Windows 10 was free for its first year, and over that time period it averaged roughly 31.25 million new devices per month (if you assume a figure of 375 million after one year, as I do). Does this mean that Windows 10 will see fewer than 20 million new devices each month, on average, going forward? No, of course not. There's no way to accurately gauge how things will go, given that most future devices will be new PCs purchased by businesses or consumers, or business PCs upgraded to Windows 10.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Microsoft makes massive changes to MCSE and MCSD
Certs now the same for end-users and partners, but re-certification can now be annual,
Microsoft has “streamlined” its Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) and Developer (MCSD) certifications and will require holders to sit exams annually to stay current.…
- It's Pablo Pic-arsehole: Turner Prize wannabe hits rock bottom
A pretty pile of penny coins, a train set and more twee crap vie for this year's bonkers art gong
A giant sculpture of a human arse, £20,000 in one-pence coins, and an off-the-shelf model train are some of the exhibits competing for this year's Turner Prize.…
- Suspected Russian DNC hackers brew Mac trojan
Ruskie space program doc used as spear phish payload.
Suspected Russian hackers fingered for hacking the United States Democratic National Committee (DNC) have brewed a trojan targeting Mac OS X machines in the aerospace sector, says Palo Alto researcher Ryan Olson.…
- STUN hack could help admins choose between 'net links
RFC identifies handy spot for RTT, packet loss metrics
A proposal at the Internet Engineering Task Force suggests network admins can use the venerable STUN protocol to help them pick the best path across IP networks.…
- Fax machines' custom Linux allows dial-up hack
Don't laugh. Epson printer/fax machines dating back to 1999 have this problem
Party like it's 1999, phreakers: a bug in Epson multifunction printer firmware creates a vector to networks that don't have their own Internet connection.…
- Microsoft releases Server 2016, complete with commercial Docker engine
Containers, containers, containers, containers, says Azure CTO (well, sort of)
Ignite Microsoft announced the release of Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 at its Ignite event in Atlanta. The commercially supported edition of the Docker engine is included at no extra cost.…
- Self-driving Google car T-boned in California crash
Mountain View's motor not to blame, insists Mountain View spokesman
A Lexus fitted with Google's self-driving car tech was hit by a non-autonomous van that is said to have run a red light at a junction, according to local reports.…
- Violin hunts for elusive key to regrowth
Allegro vivace to andante to largo to coda
Analysis The elusive hunt for renewal and regrowth at Violin Memory has moved into a new phase – with a product launch holding up sales, sales leadership change, and the CEO focusing on finding funding for the future.…
- You heard right: Huawei's making phones in Chennai
Even the Chinese prefer an Indian takeaway
Asian tech giant Huawei is to start manufacturing smartphones in India next month, in a move that could signal China is starting to lose its shine as the world’s low-cost manufacturing sweatshop, with even native companies looking to expand elsewhere.…
- NetApp facelift: FAS hardware refresh and a little nip ONTAP
NetApp has comprehensively refreshed its all-flash FAS and hybrid FAS arrays, adding performance, capacity and scalability upgrades, and supporting 32Gbit/s Fibre Channel and 40GbitE connectivity. ONTAP also gets upgraded, with Azure support for ONTAP Cloud…
- The Road to Continuous Delivery – a webinar series
It's always a good time for a skills update
Promo Yes, Continuous Delivery. You have heard the hype, but how does it translate into tangible business benefits for your company - and career smarts for you?…
- Turing, Hauser, Sinclair – haunt computing's Cambridge A-team stamping ground
From Acorns to bedrooms
Geek's Guide to Britain King’s Parade in Cambridge looks like the last street on earth to have anything to do with computing. On one side is an absurdly ornate college gatehouse in yellow stone and King’s College Chapel, which combines the barn-like shape of a tiny chapel with the scale and detail of a cathedral.…
- IO, IO, it's profiling we do: Nimble architect talks flash storage tests
Bi-modal IO distributions a purer way to see array performance
Interview We interviewed Dimitris Krekoukias, Nimble Storage's global technology and strategy architect, on the subject of storage array performance claims – he has some strong opinions – particularly about Pure Storage's approach to performance.…
- Dev teaches bot to talk spammers' ears off
Crims are so keen to chat they respond to random hipsterisms and send legit discount codes
Brian Weinreich has been trolling spammers for two years using a bot that fires realistic and ridiculous replies to the pervasive online salespeople.…
- The law is an ass: Mooning banned at arse end of the world
'Obscene songs' also get the ban-hammer in the Australian State of Victoria
Buttnote Public service announcement: if you're going on a bender in the Australian city of Melbourne, do not indulge in the practice of “mooning”, because you could end up with your arse in jail (and the rest of you).…
- Australian Signals Directorate seeks offensive people
Pen testers, devs, and other infosec bods with all skills wanted
The antipodean spy agency the Australian Signals Directorate is seeking cleaning staff information security personnel for offensive and defensive operations.…
- Avaya explains its 'hyper-segmentation' approach to security
It's time to make Layer 2 scaleable again
Interview It's way too easy to get past a firewall, map out an enterprise's network, and start tapping IP addresses looking for vulnerable machines – so why are we using Layer 3 addressing as the basis of the enterprise network?…
Linux.com offline for now
- X.Org's GLAMOR 2D Performance Continues To Be Tuned
While GLAMOR has already been around for a number of years as a means of providing generic X11 2D acceleration over OpenGL for the X.Org Server, it's a seemingly never-ending process to optimize its code-paths for best performance. More improvements are en route for making GLAMOR 2D faster, which should especially be helpful for Raspberry Pi users making use of the VC4 driver stack on this very slow-speed hardware...
- KDE Introduces An Advisory Board
A KDE Advisory Board has been formed by KDE e.V. to provide greater insight and cooperation around this free software desktop environment...
- Intel Core i7 6800K Benchmarks On Ubuntu + Linux 4.8
While the Core i7 6800K has been available for a few months now, there hadn't been any review on it since Intel hadn't sent out any Broadwell-E samples for Linux testing this time around. However, I did end up finally buying a Core i7 6800K now that the Turbo Boost Max 3.0 support is finally coming together (at first, Intel PR said it wouldn't even be supported on Linux) so that I can run some benchmarks there plus some other interesting items on the horizon for benchmarking. Here are some benchmarks of the i7-6800K from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with the Linux 4.8 kernel.
- Reiser4 Implements Mirror & Failover Support
Edward Shishkin, one of the last remaining Reiser4 developers and the one who has been leading this out-of-tree file-system the past few years, has implemented logical volumes support with support for mirrors (in effect, RAID 0) and failover support at the file-system level...
- LLVM Cauldron 2016 Videos, Slides Published
The inaugural LLVM Cauldron conference happened earlier this month ahead of the GNU Tools Cauldron in Hebden Bridge, UK. All of the slides and videos from this latest LLVM conference are now available...
- Fedora Now Has Bootable RISC-V Disk Images Available
Fedora has been making a lot of RISC-V build/packaging progress over the past few months while this weekend the milestone was announced that they are hosting clean, RPM-built, bootable disk images for this open-source RISC-V instruction set architecture...
- OpenChrome Maintainer Making Some Progress On VIA DRM Driver
Independent developer Kevin Brace took over maintaining the OpenChrome DDX driver earlier this year to improve the open-source VIA Linux graphics support while over the summer he's slowly been getting up to speed on development of the OpenChrome DRM driver...
- The Ongoing Work Of Nouveau Power Management / Re-Clocking
In addition to the Nouveau status update talk at XDC2016, Nouveau contributor Karol Herbst had carried out an additional presentation on Friday dedicated to this open-source NVIDIA driver's work on power management and re-clocking...
- Libreboot Drama Continues, GNU Might Keep The Project
It's been one week since the Libreboot downstream of Coreboot announced it would leave the GNU and denounced the FSF over supposedly a transgendered individual having been fired by the this free software group. Both Richard Stallman and the FSF denounced these claims made by Libreboot maintainer Leah Rowe. Since then, no actual proof has been presented to back up these claims by the Libreboot maintainer but the drama around it has seemingly continued...
- The Student Working On "Soft" FP64 Support Is Good News For Older GPUs
This summer the student developer Elie Tournier participated in Google Summer of Code to develop a "soft" double-precision floating-point library for Mesa. While GSoC is past, it appears he is committed to seeing this library through and getting into Mesa. With potential soft/emulated ARB_gpu_shader_fp64 support, this could be good news for those GPUs lacking real double precision support...
- NVIDIA's Proposal For A New API Better Than GBM Has Already Made Some Progress
On the first day of the XDC2016 conference this week in Finland NVIDIA presented over their GBM vs. EGLStreams debate that's been ongoing for months with NVIDIA's lack of GBM API support by their driver being what's preventing the binary blob from working with current-generation Wayland compositors. In that session they called for a new community-driven API to suit the needs of device memory / surface allocation and could succeed the Generic Buffer Manager. By the end of XDC2016, some progress has already been made...
- Intel 600P Series SSD NVMe M.2 Linux Tests
Last month Intel introduced the 600P Series solid-state drives as the most competitively-priced NVMe SSDs launched to date. Here are a few Linux comparison benchmarks from my initial testing of the SSDPEKKW256G7X1 M.2 SSD on Linux.
- Survival Horror Game Sees Linux Sales Around 1%
It's been one year since Frictional Games launched SOMA as their latest science fiction survival horror game. The game is supported on Windows, OS X, Linux, and PlayStation 4. This game saw close to half a million sales, but just over 1% of them were from Linux gamers...
- AMD's DAL Was Just Presented At XDC2016, Still Not Clear When It Will Be Mainlined
Harry Wentland of AMD just presented at the XDC2016 conference about DAL, the big Display Abstraction Layer code-base, which many AMD Linux users have been waiting to see merged in order to have Polaris audio support and this is one of the stepping stones for seeing FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync and other modern display capabilities...
- Roller coasters might help you pass a kidney stone
According to an new study from Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine, roller coasters can, in fact, do more than just give you a temporary thrill. Specifically, study author David Wartinger and his co-author Marc Mitchell set out to test the experience of one patient who claimed to have passed three kidney stones after taking three rides on Disney's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
While that patient's experience may seem coincidental, Wartinger and Mitchell set out to test it in the most scientific way possible: They built a 3D printed silicone model of a kidney, filled it with urine and three kidney stones, and then tossed the whole contraption in a backpack that rode Thunder Mountain along with them a total of 20 times. According to a statement from Wartinger, the team's findings, "support the anecdotal evidence that a ride on a moderate-intensity roller coaster could benefit some patients with small kidney stones." And where you're sitting on the train can also make a difference. As a VR coaster, obviously.)
Of course, riding a roller coaster isn't a surefire way to get ride of a kidney stone, but when used in addition to standard treatments, the research team believes it could be useful therapy for the 300,000 people who suffer from kidney stones in the US every year. "If you have a kidney stone, but are otherwise healthy and meet the requirements of the ride, patients should try it," Wartinger said. "It's definitely a lower-cost alternative to health care."
Source: MSU Today
- Best Buy's new project highlights tech startups' creations
You'll soon see curious spots in Best Buy stores that aren't hawking any big-brand company's products. Instead, they will be stocked with electronics from companies you probably never heard of before. See, the big-box store has launched a new initiative dubbed "Ignite," and it takes a leaf out of Amazon Launchpad's book.
Under the project, startups chosen by Best Buy will get a chance to work with multinational product innovation company PCH. It will help them with product development, marketing and other aspects that will get their creations out of the lab and into buyers' hands, so to speak. It will also give you the chance to see new products you might never have heard of otherwise, as well as test them out before buying.
Best Buy has already opened its first Ignite space in its new Silicon Valley HQ, and it has quite a few products we've talked about before on display. You'll see Muzik's Spotify- and social media-connected headphones there, as well as Noke's Bluetooth padlock, the Zuli smartplug, the Tangram smartrope, among other crowdfunded and unusual wireless and audio electronics. BB didn't say when its other locations will get their own Ignite space. But you'll at least be able to look at its partner startups' devices when it launches the project's official web page later this fall.
Via: Star Tribune
Source: Best Buy
- Microsoft puts AI to work in Office 365
Microsoft isn't just trying out artificial intelligence through bots and voice assistants -- it's going all-in. The crew in Redmond has revealed that Office 365 is wielding cloud-based AI to automate many tasks. Tap for Word and Outlook surface relevant content from your company to help finish a project, for instance. PowerPoint and Sway will have a QuickStarter feature that gives you curated outlines for given topics, saving you the trouble of creating the foundation of a presentation from scratch. Excel, meanwhile, will have a way to turn raw geographic data into Bing-based maps.
Some of these intelligent features are available now, although you'll have to wait until later this year to get the Excel and PowerPoint helpers.
There are some more behind-the-scenes uses of AI as well. Microsoft's sales service, Dynamics 365, will use AI assistance to bring up relevant data and point sales reps in the right direction when they're trying to clinch a deal. The company is even using an AI agent in its American call centers to help staff answer your questions. While you might not notice these as much as the Office upgrades, they're evidence that Microsoft sees machine learning as useful in many parts of the computing world.
Source: Official Microsoft Blog
- Canada's main answer to Netflix shuts down November 30th
It's tough to compete against the Netflix juggernaut, even if you throw a ton of money at the problem... just ask Shomi. The Canadian streaming video service is shutting down on November 30th, a little over two years after it got off the ground. Rogers, one of the two cable giants running Shomi, isn't shy about the reasons for the prompt exit. Simply put, the service's subscriber base "just isn't big enough" -- Rogers is expecting a loss of up to $140 million Canadian (about $106 million US), and its partner Shaw is likely to be hurting as well.
As to why Shomi didn't reel people in? It's hard to say for sure, but it's not for a lack of licensed content. The service is closer to Hulu than Netflix through its focus on conventional TV, but it occasionally has an advantage over both. You get access to TV shows that simply aren't available on Netflix (such as Shomi (Yahoo Finance), Canada Newswire
- Facebook briefly suspended accounts of Palestinian journalists
Last week, seven Palestinian editors from two different publications reported that they had been locked out of their personal Facebook accounts without notice or reason. The social giant told The Electronic Intifada that it was accidental and restored access to six of them by Saturday, though one remains suspended as of press time. But employees from both Shehab News Agency and Quds News Network doubt that their colleagues were banned in error. Rather, they have pointed to Facebook's recent agreement with Israel earlier this month to jointly crack down on "incitement" by Palestinians on social media.
Accidental or not, temporarily banning journalist accounts chills a social media platform's assumption of freedom of speech, especially if the suspensions are one-sided. Under the Israeli government's conviction that some posts on networks have directly inflamed a new wave of attacks against Israelis since last October, they have pressured Facebook to delete such content. Soon, they might progress past asking, as the Israeli government continues drafting a law legally compelling social media companies to comply with their takedown requests.
As expected, the collaboration has raised concerns that Facebook has become complicit in silencing portions of its userbase. Facebook, along with Google and YouTube, has reportedly complied with 95 percent of the Israeli government's requests to take down content it deemed would inspire more attacks. At least 100 Palestinians have been arrested for posting similar content since last November, according to the Israeli military. Sentences have varied, from days of house arrest to months in jail and the equivalent of thousands of dollars in fines.
Facebook has certainly been thrust into a complex geopolitical situation, but it's been accused of censoring viewpoints before. No less than a Congressional committee and an internal investigation determined that, no, the network's Trending Topics was not biased in its selections, and wasn't muffling conservative voices. The censorship anxiety was so acute that Mark Zuckerberg himself came out to defend the news digest's neutrality.
Seeing him stand up for equal conservative and liberal representation in Trending Topics while Facebook takes down most of the content that the Israeli government wants removed seems conflicting. But they aren't the same: According to praising a bus bombing that injured 20 settlers to instructions on "how best to stab an Israeli." Other statements fall more into what is usually considered free speech, from poems calling for resisting Israel to simply "disparaging authorities." And the government legislation being developed would lower the threshold even further for what content they consider inflames further violence.
Under these circumstances of scrutiny, mistakenly suspending social media accounts from separate Palestinian news outlets is unfortunate at best. Ultimately, only those in legal control of the digital space can truly say whether the content of their posts got them banned. Facebook says the pages were accidentally removed after being flagged, and mistakes happen when their team processes millions of reports per week. When they realized the error, they restored access. But this is the fourth time Shehab News Agency''s accounts have been taken down in a year, they told Al Jazeera. Twice, those suspensions were permanent, and they had to entirely recreate their Facebook pages.
Engadget reached out to Facebook, which did not respond at press time.
Source: Al Jazeera
- Debate venue offering journalists $200 'bargain' for WiFi
At one point or another, we've all paid too much to access Wifi when we're out and about. Well, ahead of tonight's first presidential debate of the general election between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, journalists will apparently have to shell out $200 to connect to Hofstra University's wireless network. That's according to a tweet from Slate political reporter Jim Newell. Personal WiFi hotspots are prohibited as well, with Newell adding that he isn't sure exactly how the venue will enforce the edict.
As a bit of confirmation, Vocativ's social media specialist Ryan Beckler posted a tweet with the following image, presumably from within the university:
$200 for WiFi at tonight's debate. $600 for a seat, WiFi, and Ethernet. #Debates2016 pic.twitter.com/U1LPVzSGc0
— Ryan Beckler (@RyanBeckler) September 26, 2016
$200 for WiFi access, $75 for a seat in the media filing room (without internet access) or $325 for a hardline connection and a seat in the media filing center. Sounds like a veritable circus of value. However, given that nearly every modern smartphone can act as a modem, the chances of this keeping journalists offline are pretty slim. That doesn't mean the event's staffers aren't trying.
A tweet from Politico's Kenneth P. Vogel shows an Aircheck WiFi Tester in use for detecting any unauthorized networks. If you're on the ground and reading this, know that using USB tethering will sidestep the $2,000 tool's methods.
Technicians patrolling #debatenight press file using this device to detect & shut down hotspots, so they can sell $200 wifi accounts instead pic.twitter.com/JzbkzlZR1g
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) September 26, 2016
Source: Ryan Beckler (Twitter), Jim Newell (Twitter), Kenneth P. Vogel (Twitter)
- What's on your HDTV: 'Luke Cage,' 'Forza,' 'Westworld'
It's time: Netflix is back with the next entry in its line of Marvel-character TV series with first presidential debate, and if you need another reason to watch, don't forget that you can use it to compare the HD feeds from different networks. New movie releases on Blu-ray include Ultra HD versions of Warcraft, Everest, Central Intelligence and The Shallows, and on TV don't forget about a new season of Drunk History. There's also a Final Fantasy XV side-scrolling prequel, and XCOM 2 on consoles. Look after the break to check out each day's highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).
Blu-ray & Games & Streaming
Warcraft (3D, 4K) The Shallows (4K) Central Intelligence (4K) Everest 4K The Neon Demon Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Ripper Street (S4) Lady in White Bill & Ted's Most Excellent Collection An American Werewolf in London (35th Anniversary Collection) Forza Horizon 3 (PC, Xbox One) FIFA 17 (PC, PS4, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One) XCOM 2 (PS4, Xbox One) ATV Renegades (PS4, Xbox One) Hitman Episode 5: Freedom Fighters (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Quantum Break (PC - 9/29) A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV (PS4, Xbox One -- 9/30)
Monday Night Football: Falcons vs. Saints, ESPN, 8:15PM The Big Bang Theory, CBS, 8PM Gotham, Fox, 8PM The Voice, NBC, 8PM Dancing With the Stars, ABC, 8PM Sacred Sites, Smithsonian Channel, 8PM WWE Raw, USA, 8PM X Factor UK, Axs, 8PM Kevin Can Wait, CBS, 8:30PM The First Presidential Debate (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, CNN), 9PM Mary + Jane, MTV, 10PM Sacred Steel, Discovery, 10PM Loosely Exactly Nicole, MTV, 10:30PM StarTalk, National Geographic Channel, 11PM
Brooklyn Nine-nine , Fox, 8PM NCIS, CBS, 8PM The Voice, NBC, 8PM 16 for '16: Dukakis/Romney, PBS, 8PM WWE Smackdown, USA, 8PM Undrafted, NFL Network, 8PM New Girl, Fox, 8:30PM Bull, CBS, 9PM Scream Queens, Fox, 9PM Inside the NFL, Showtime 9PM Deadliest Catch: Dungeon Cove, Discovery, 9PM From Dusk till Dawn, El Rey, 9PM Forged in Fire, History, 9PM MadTV (season finale), CW, 9PM Aftermath (series premiere), Syfy, 10PM Tosh.0 (fall premiere), Comedy Central, 10PM Halt and Catch Fire, AMC, 10PM Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., ABC, 10PM NCIS: NO, CBS, 10PM This is Us, NBC, 10PM Black Market, Viceland, 10PM Atlanta, FX, 10PM A Season with Florida State Football, Showtime, 10PM Adam Ruins Everything, TruTV, 10PM One Shot, BET (season finale), 10PM Drunk History (season premiere), Comedy Central, 10:30PM The Meltdown with Jonah Kumail (season premiere), Comedy Central, 12AM
Blindspot, NBC, 8PM The Goldbergs, ABC, 8PM Penn & Teller: Fool Us, CW, 8PM Lethal Weapon, Fox, 8PM Survivor, CBS, 8PM The Timeline, NFL Network, 8PM Forces of Nature, PBS, 8PM Lucha Underground, El Rey, 8PM Speechless, ABC, 8:30PM Criminal Minds (season premiere), CBS, 9PM Empire, Fox, 9PM Modern Family, ABC, 9PM Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NBC, 9PM Dual Survival, Discovery, 9PM Whose Line is it Anyway? (season finale), CW, 9PM America's Got Talent, NBC, 9PM Black-ish, ABC, 9:30PM Code Black (season premiere), CBS, 10PM Designated Survivor, ABC, 10PM Chicago PD, NBC, 10PM You're the Worst, FXX, 10PM Catfish, MTV, 10PM American Horror Story FX, 10PM South Park, Comedy Central, 10PM Still Alive, Discovery, 10PM Weediquette, Viceland, 10PM Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons, HBO, 10PM American Gothic, CBS, 10PM Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, TBS, 10:30PM Legends of Chamberlain Heights, Comedy Central, 10:30PM Unlocking the Truth, MTV, 11PM
Dolphins/Bengals football, CBS, 8:25PM Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 8PM Superstore, NBC, 8PM Rosewood, Fox, 8PM The Good Place, NBC, 8:30PM Pitch, Fox, 9PM Chicago Med, NBC, 9PM Notorious, ABC, 9PM The Blacklist, NBC, 10PM How to Get Away With Murder, ABC, 10PM Better Things, FX, 10PM Wonderland, MTV, 11PM
Marvel's Luke Cage (S1), Netflix, 3AM Amanda Knox, Netflix, 3AM Crisis in Six Scenes (S1), Amazon Prime, 3AM Macgyver, CBS, 8PM Last Man Standing, ABC, 8PM Masters of Illusion (season finale), CW, 8PM Dr. Ken, ABC, 8:30PM America Divided, Epix, 9PM A Football Life: Chad Johnson, 9PM The Exorcist, Fox, 9PM Hawaii Five-0, CBS, 9PM Shark Tank, ABC, 9PM Z Nation, Syfy, 9PM Van Helsing, Syfy, 10PM Quarry, Cinemax, 10PM Blue Bloods, CBS, 10PM High Maintenance, HBO, 11PM The Eric Andre Show, Cartoon Network, 12AM The Half Hour: Martha Kelly/Nick Turner, Comedy Central, 12AM
Baylor/Oklahoma State college football, Fox, 7PM My Husband is Missing, Lifetime, 8PM The Crooked Man, Syfy, 9PM Sebastian Maniscalco: Why Would You Do That?, Showtime, 10PM Saturday Night Live: Margot Robbie / The Weeknd (season premiere), NBC, 11:30PM
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(All times listed are ET)
- Scientists catch a classic quantum experiment on camera
If you know a bit about quantum physics, you've likely heard of the Schrödinger's Cat concept used to explain superpositions: a cat in a box with a poison flask is at once alive and dead until you look inside. Researchers have produced this oddball state in the lab before, but they're now using it to create the most detailed X-ray movies of molecules they've seen so far. A team at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory first blasted an iodine molecule with an optical laser, splitting the molecule into simultaneous excited and relaxed states. When the scientists hit the molecule with X-rays afterward, the light scattering off of both states created an X-ray hologram showing the excited state. After that, the SLAC group only had to capture enough of these holograms to create a movie.
And when we say detailed, we mean it. The footage captured the molecular activity down to a resolution of 0.3 angstrom (less than the width of an atom) at timescales so small (a few trillionths of a second) that you can watch the atoms build up to a frenzy and eventually relax. You see direct evidence of the Schrödinger's Cat paradox, too -- the atomic bonds in the molecule at once break and stay together.
The technique could be used to image other molecular systems, which could help make sense of biological functions ranging from photosynthesis to vision. That, in turn, could help the scientific world harness molecular-level behavior and apply it in fields like energy and medicine. This is just a first step, but it's an important one.
Source: SLAC, ArXiv.org
- China's largest ride-hailing company is investing in bicycles
The largest ride-hailing service in China just made a big investment in a different kind of transportation program: bicycle sharing. According to a report from TechCrunch, DiDi Chuxing is kicking off a "multi-layered partnership" with Ofo -- an app-based bicycle sharing outfit with a network of over 70,000 bikes in 20 cities. The details of the investment are pretty bare, but DiDi Chuxing says the companies will "explore strategic cooperation in urban rideshare, including offering a quality bike-sharing experience on DiDi's platform." In other words, the company's ride-hailing app may include a bicycle rental option in the near future.
Bike sharing in China is nothing new -- the country is actually the world leader in bicycle share programs -- but a lot of those are state sponsored. DiDi Chuxing's investment in Ofo casts the company in a new light, pitting a major transportation firm as privatized competitor to the nation's public bike programs. Can a private bike sharing program integrated into a major platform outperform state-sponsored sharing services? At this point it's hard to say, but it'll be interesting to see how Ofo fares in the long term.
Via: Fast Company
Source: TechCrunch, Shanghai Daily
- German cars will share real-time data to help you find parking
However smart your car might be, there's only so much it can tell you by itself. Wouldn't it be nice if cars regularly shared helpful driving info beyond what you offer in mobile apps? Here thinks so. It's launching services that will have cars automatically sharing real-time data to improve commutes for everyone. Vehicles (starting with those from Here owners Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz) will use their sensors and cameras to offer details on free parking spaces, traffic conditions, and road hazards. You'd know that a parking spot has opened up, or that heavy rain is forcing drivers ahead to slow down.
The services will be available in the first half of 2017, and they won't be limited to either German car brands or even the car industry in general. And yes, Here is aware of the potential privacy issues. It's promising that the data will be anonymized, so there shouldn't be an easy way for hackers to identify individual motorists. The main challenge is simply time -- Here's solution won't give you a truly comprehensive view of the road until there are plenty of connected cars roaming the streets.
Source: Here (PDF), Here 360
- NASA observes possible water geysers on Europa
Hubble's extended mission continues to pay off: NASA announced today that a team of astronomers using the space telescope have spotted what appear to be plumes of high-altitude water vapor spewing from the icy surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. Researchers have long believed that Europa holds a global ocean beneath a thick, potentially miles-deep, layer of ice, but the new observation indicated it could be possible to sample the ocean without landing or drilling on the moon itself.
"Europa's ocean is considered to be one of the most promising places that could potentially harbor life in the solar system," Geoff Yoder, the acting associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate said in a statement. "These plumes, if they do indeed exist, may provide another way to sample Europa's subsurface."
According to NASA, the plumes are estimated to be around 125 miles (200 kilometers) high and were spotted by William Sparks of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore as his team was looking for an extended atmosphere around Europa. In 10 different images taken over 15 months, Sparks' team saw evidence of plumes in three of them.
In 2012, a team of researchers in San Antonio also detected evidence of vapor plumes on Europa using the Hubble Space Telescope's spectrograph, but used a different method to arrive at the same conclusion. While the size and location of the plumes seem to match between the two observations, NASA isn't ready to confirm that the observed phenomenon are jets of water vapor.
However, the agency is already plotting out new missions to study the phenomenon. When it launches in 2018, NASA plans to use infrared camera on the James Webb Space Telescope to confirm the vapor activity. Looking even further into the future, NASA is mulling a plan to send a payload to Europa that could confirm and study the plumes from a much closer distance.
- Satellites could predict the next human-caused earthquake
Back in March, the US Geological Survey (USGS) changed its method of tracking earthquakes to include human-induced seismic activity. Suddenly, Oklahoma looked as tremor-prone as California, mainly due to the spread of wastewater disposal wells in the state. A team of geophysicists set out to build a model to predict this seismic activity. In their report released today in the journal Science, they analyzed three years of satellite radar data linking land deformation above wastewater disposal to earthquakes in the surrounding area.
The researchers found that wastewater injected in two Texas wells raised the land between them by as much as 3 millimeters every year. As far as they're aware, this is the first study to directly measure uplift. They put this data into their model of pore pressure, or how tightly water is squeezed into the cracks in subsurface rock, explained Scientific American. More of it means greater strain on underground faults, which can cause them to slip and voila, earthquake.
In their study, the team tracked the land deformation between the Texas fluid deposits using data from May 2007 to November 2010; Two years later in 2012, a magnitude 4.8 quake hit the area. But there are still questions left to answer. For instance, the subsequent earthquakes happened 25 kilometers away from the original site, actually above different wells that were deeper but had less surface uplift. On the other hand, the study made interesting discoveries: For one, seismic activity continued even after the rate of wastewater injected had declined. "If you stop injection today, it's possible that earthquake activity goes on for the next decade or so," the team's lead scientist Manoochehr Shirzaei told Scientific American.
Thus, the study is more a preliminary step adding a new tool in the geophysicist kit on the road to a fully-predictive model. The research team hopes that further analysis of their data will explain why some injection wells might induce seismic activity while others don't.
Via: Scientific American
- Why is the Oculus founder trying to bring hateful memes offline?
Online abuse and bullying have existed as long as the internet has, but it's gone mainstream in a big way over the past few years. Perhaps not coincidentally, we've also spent the past year-plus subjected to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, an outing built on lies, harassment, intimidation and a whole host of other behavior not befitting a candidate for the country's highest office.
These two trends collided late last week when it was revealed that Oculus VR founder and Facebook employee Palmer Luckey donated $10,000 to a pro-Trump group called Nimble America. The group's stated purpose is to prove that "shitposting is powerful and meme magic is real." Thus far, there's no evidence that Nimble America has been able to do anything aside from put up one insulting but fairly mild anti-Hillary Clinton billboard outside of Pittsburgh. Despite the group's lack of impact thus far, the fact that Luckey found Nimble America worth supporting shows just how widespread trolling has become.
Luckey is, of course, well within his rights to support any group he sees fit. But the fact that he thinks that bringing Reddit's worst garbage to billboards for the world to see is, as he says in a Facebook post confirming his donation, a "fresh idea" speaks to just how ugly things have become in 2016 -- both online and in the "real world." In fact, there's barely any distinction between the two at this point. Hate speech, whether offline or online, is becoming the best way to get what you want. It got Trump to the doorstep of the presidency, when everyone assumed he was a reality TV joke that would get bounced in the primaries.
If you haven't been paying attention to the Nimble America controversy, here's a quick recap. Last week, @PalmerLuckey, the founder of @Oculus. pic.twitter.com/CWlAA8ugMx
— Cody Brown (@CodyBrown) September 23, 2016
The following day, Luckey apologized on his Facebook page for his actions "negatively impacting the perception of Oculus and its partners." He also confirmed that he had donated $10,000 to Nimble America, said he was a Gary Johnson supporter and claimed that he had not written the NimbleRichMan Reddit posts. But emails between Daily Beast reporter Gideon Resnick and Luckey make it sound as if he wrote the posts and wanted them posted under that handle, even if it wasn't technically "his" Reddit account. The account may have been under the control of one of the Nimble America founders, but all evidence points to Luckey having written the posts in question.
"A generous understanding of the situation is that in other instances, besides the donation one, he was given a password and used the account occasionally," grossly distorted image of her face. It's possibly a reference to her considerable political stature insulating her from prosecution for misuse of a personal email server -- but the picture makes it an attack on her looks as well. Nimble America's desire to push "shitposts" into the public consciousness makes it clear that this group is more interested in trolling than having any sort of informed debate, and apparently Luckey is on the same page.
It's a position that has Oculus fans and developers alike shaking their heads. There's a thread on the Oculus Reddit with more than 4,000 posts discussing the subject, and a number of developers have come out against Luckey's statements. "Finding out last night that the founder of one of the main platforms for [virtual reality] basically thinks white supremacy is funny was a crystallizing moment," one unnamed developer FEC database shows no donations by Luckey directly to any campaign. This would indicate that he believes his money is better spent plastering shitty memes on billboards than it is directly supporting a candidate. That he dropped $10,000 on an organization that seems bent on lowering the level of political discourse even further -- when the bar for that is already horrifyingly low as it is -- says a lot about Luckey's judgement. It also highlights how concentrated abuse has become an effective strategy at silencing those you disagree with.
Most recently, actor Leslie Jones was harassed and had her personal information hacked and released; gold medal Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas faced a disproportionate and abusive backlash this summer for transgressions that should barely be on anyone's radar. Feminist writer and Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti quit social media altogether after receiving death and rape threats directed at her child, and superstar singer Adele quit Twitter temporarily back in 2012 after receiving death threats focused on her newborn son. And these are just a handful of high-profile cases; plenty of average internet users have dealt with similar things but had no platform from which to really make them known. (Charlie Warzel at Buzzfeed wrote an excellent feature on Twitter's abuse problem that has plenty more examples of this behavior.)
Combine this behavior with the hate and anger that Trump has been stoking throughout his presidential campaign (we won't recount all his horrible statements, but Politico has a comprehensive roundup here) and it's not surprising to see someone like Luckey putting money toward Nimble America. Their "plan" is the logical outcome of internet abuse and political hate speech becoming normalized. The first presidential debate of the 2016 election is happening in just a few hours. From now until Election Day, all the hate planted over the past year will be on display for all to see. Here's hoping calmer, more peaceful minds win out -- and that Luckey's foolish donation ends up being a footnote to a turbulent election year.
Images: Getty (Palmer Luckey, lead); AP Photo/ Evan Vucci (Trump closeup)
- Square is speeding up EMV chip card transactions
Anyone who has encountered a "NO CHIP, PLEASE SWIPE" sign while trying to pay via credit or debit card has probably noticed the switch from magnetic stripes to EMV chips hasn't been the smoothest. According to one study cited by the contactless and chip reader.
Square says it now takes a snappy 4.2 seconds from the moment you dip your chip until the transaction is completed. And they'd like to see that turnaround time driven down even further, to an even three seconds. Square does have a bit of an advantage in the space because they control both the hardware and software at Square registers, but according the New York Times, Wal-Mart also managed to save customers 11 seconds just by removing an amount confirmation screen.
On the other hand, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out last month, all of this is driving towards a contactless payment future. And, as it turns outs, chip cards were not as secure as we thought in the first place.
- Uber explores offering short-hop flights across town
Uber has already resorted to more than one unusual method to get you from one side of town to another, but you haven't seen anything yet. The ridesharing outfit's Jeff Holden tells Recode that Uber is researching the use of VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft for short-hop urban flights. It'd potentially speed up long trips, especially in areas where traffic jams might make a conventional ride excruciatingly slow. You could travel from San Francisco to Oakland in 9 minutes, Holden suggests.
There's no firm commitment to offering a VTOL choice, although Holden suggests it might happen within a decade. As it stands, any initial offering would be limited by modern technology and city layouts: you'd need piloted vehicles, and the combination of loud engines with limited landing areas would dictate just where these aircraft could touch down. The big breakthrough would come with autonomous, quiet (likely electric) vehicles that could fly almost anywhere. You could get a lift to a rooftop in the heart of downtown, for instance.
And it's not as if either Uber or the industry are standing still. Remember how Uber recently teamed up with Airbus? Well, Airbus has been researching autonomous air taxis -- it's not a stretch to imagine a future collaboration where Uber uses those taxis to shuttle customers back and forth. While four-wheeled ridesharing isn't going away any time soon, it probably won't be your only choice at some point in the future.
- The Philadelphia 76ers just bought a pair of eSports teams
The Philadelphia 76ers' ownership group announced on Monday that it has acquired two eSports teams, Team Apex and Team Dignatas, and will merge them into a single organization under the Dignatas banner. The team will compete in Manchester City and Valencia CF -- all own their own digital sports teams. A few NBA owners like Mark Cuban, Dan Gilbert and Steve Kaplan have invested in teams and leagues, none have flat out bought one. The closest we have to that is retired NBA star Rick Fox, who purchased team Gravity Gaming before renaming it Echo Fox.
Via: The Verge
- Google's 4K Chromecast emerges in an image leak
Those rumors of a 4K-capable Chromecast dongle just got more substantial. Evan Blass (who has a knack for accurate leaks) has posted an image of what he says is the Chromecast Ultra. The device itself isn't remarkable -- surprise, it's a puck with an HDMI cable attached. However, it might just say a lot about Google's plans. To start, its very existence corroborates talk that Google's October 4th event is about much more than new phones. And notice how it replaces the Chrome logo from earlier Chromecast models with Google's increasingly ubiquitous "G?" That lines up with the logo seen on the back of the company's leaked Pixel phones, as well as test versions of Chromecast firmware. Clearly, Google is aiming for more harmonious hardware branding.
There's not much known about what's inside the Chromecast Ultra, although previous rumors suggested that 4K-friendly hardware might be the only major selling point. You'd have to pay a premium for it, too. The Ultra will supposedly cost $69, or about twice as much as the regular model. That's chump change next to the cost of a nice 4K set, but it'd show that Google isn't tied to the notion of Chromecast as a low-cost streaming peripheral.
- The best GPS running watch
By Jim McDannald
This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer's guide to the best things for your home. Read the full article here.
We've run with more than 20 GPS running watches over the past three years, and we've found the Garmin Forerunner 230 is the best for both beginners and experienced runners. It carries the accuracy, long battery life, and light profile of our previous Garmin pick (the Forerunner 220), but has a larger screen with more information, offering quick-glance updates while running. The Forerunner 230 feels good enough to potentially wear as a day-to-day timepiece, and it can track steps and other metrics. It is easy enough to use as your first GPS watch, but it contains advanced running features and optional apps that expand its powers. It tracks runs better than most watches at its price and can work with cycling sensors. It's also waterproof down to 50 meters.
How we picked
Some of the GPS running watches we considered. From left: the Forerunner 235, the Forerunner 230, the Fitbit Surge, the Polar M400, and the TomTom Spark Music. Photo: Jim McDannald
GPS devices and the companies behind them need to have a solid reputation for accuracy. Nothing on the market is 100% accurate, as mapping errors and signal drops occur under heavy tree cover. But the major players in this category (Garmin, Magellan, Timex, TomTom, Polar) each have a strong background in GPS and watch technology from their products in other fields. It's taken time even for these experienced and well-recognized companies to work out bugs and bring a viable product to market. So if you're intrigued by a new brand or crowdfunded device in this category, know that a sleek, first-generation product may be a little raw or unpolished.
GPS watches can now be made small enough to pass as a regular "sports" watch, so watches that still resemble hockey pucks have to earn their heft. The same goes for watch displays; a GPS watch's ability to display and arrange information in an organized and readable fashion on the face cannot be overemphasized. It's a huge hassle to squint to figure out which number is which.
The GPS running watch you choose should have a navigable, intuitive menu, starting with satellite connection and launching each new run. Some feature the ability to pre-cache satellite locations to avoid long waits before running. Once you push Stop, it should be easy to save data and review it right on the watch's screen. (You'd be surprised how many watches fail at this.) Likewise, the desktop or Web software that offloads and arranges your data should let you glimpse all your running data, and dig into details when needed.
Pricing varies among GPS watches, from about $100 to $500. For about $100, you can get a GPS watch like the Garmin Forerunner 10 that records time, distance, and your route on a map, which may be just fine for some. Go up to $250, and watches can be waterproof, adaptable to other sports, and capable of working on longer runs. Go a little higher ($300 and up), and watches get even more durable, have built-in heart-rate sensors, and work with a wide variety of sensor accessories providing more detailed statistics. We sought to find watches that include as much useful stuff as they can in their price categories while ignoring features they could not perform well.
The Garmin Forerunner 230 in idle mode. Photo: Jim McDannald
The Garmin Forerunner 230 has everything we look for in a great GPS running watch. It takes the accuracy and long battery life of our previous pick, the Forerunner 220, and makes the screen larger and more readable during activities, and retaining a light and small profile that wouldn't feel too weird as an everyday watch. The interface and data syncing are easy enough to use if you are new to GPS watches, but the Forerunner 230 also contains deep features and optional app downloads that experienced runners and statistics wonks can dig into. It can track some advanced running metrics we've seen only in higher-priced models and can work with cycling monitors for speed and cadence. All these features rest on top of Garmin's unparalleled reputation for reliable GPS devices; adding up to a watch that, though currently right in the middle of the pricing curve at about $250, feels many product cycles ahead of its competitors.
A cheaper fitness-tracking pick
For the price, the chunkier feel and smaller screen of the Polar M400 may not be that much of a trade-off for more casual runners. Photo: Jim McDannald
For $100 less than our top pick, the Polar M400 does most things well, though it requires more effort from you. It connects to satellites just a few seconds behind the Forerunner 230, it's less waterproof (to 30 meters), and its software, though improving, is not as fluid as Garmin's. It falters because of its less informative screen and its design, which will feel bulky on smaller wrists.
The built-in heart-rate pick
If you want to track your heart rate but don't want to wear an additional chest strap, the Forerunner 235 (farthest left) stands out as a thinner, more flexible option than the competition. Photo: Jim McDannald
If you want to track your heart rate and can't stand wearing an extra monitor, the Garmin Forerunner 235 is a sibling to our top pick that's far more comfortable than other watches with wrist-based monitors. It features an optical heart-rate sensor and is thinner, lighter, and less bulky than the previous generation of heart-rate-sensing watches. It's not as accurate as a heart strap, but if you'd rather not run with extra equipment, the Forerunner 235 covers that need without much extra bulk or weight.
If you need auto-syncing or music
The TomTom Spark Music (pictured here in its heart-tracking Cardio+ variant) covers the basics of run tracking and can also stream directly to Bluetooth headphones. Photo: Jim McDannald
If you want the best run-tracking and activity-syncing experiences, for about $150 more than our top pic, the Forerunner 630 adds a touchscreen, more advanced metrics during runs and after, and automatic Wi-Fi uploading of run data. And if you want to stream music to your Bluetooth exercise headphones without bringing along a phone, look at the TomTom Spark Music, a good-enough GPS running watch with unique music powers.
This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.
- How to watch tonight's US presidential debate
So you're determined to watch the first of 2016's US presidential debates, but you don't subscribe to TV... or you live in a country that won't have a live broadcast. What to do? Relax. This year, there are more choices than ever for watching online, and not just in the US. We've rounded up the main internet viewing sources for Clinton versus Trump, including the kind of commentary you'll get. Whichever option you choose, you'll probably want to keep our guide to the candidates on hand when things kick off at 9PM Eastern -- the odds are that the grand speeches and spirited arguments won't answer all your technology policy questions.
This is the first American presidential debate where Facebook Live will play a part, and you'll have no shortage of choices for streaming the event on the world's largest social network. ABC News has a deal with Facebook to livestream the debate ad-free, complete with commentary before and after (including responses to viewer questions) as well as extra details on its Facebook page. You can also expect BuzzFeed, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox News, the New York Times, PBS, Telemundo and Univision to stream on Facebook as well, although you won't necessarily get a TV-like broadcast.
Twitter was a go-to place for live discussion of the national conventions, and it wants to be the cornerstone of your debate viewing, too. It's debates.twitter.com on the web as well as through its official mobile apps. Bloomberg will logically handle the on-air analysis and commentary, but the real star may be the flood of tweets from everyday viewers.
YouTube is already big on live video, so you'd expect it to have plenty of streams, right? Sure enough, you're getting a smorgasbord. The Young Turks to have on-the-ground reporting if you're not as interested in the raw event.
Conventional media outlets
Old-school media sources may still revolve around TV, but they'll have their share of online viewing beyond the partnerships we've already mentioned. ABC will offer free streams through its ABC News apps, and access for some TV subscribers through the regular ABC app. CBS will offer feeds through CBSNews.com as well as its myriad mobile and set-top apps, while Reuters will show the debate through both its Reuters TV site and its own mobile clients. CNN is showing the debate through its site and mobile apps, too. And if you're the business sort, Fox Business will air the debate on both its website as well as FoxBusinessGo.
Images: AP Photo/John Minchillo; AP Photo/Julio Cortez; AP Photo/J. David Ake
- Apple will start selling Sonos speakers today
Sonos still offers one of the best experiences for those who want to keep music in sync throughout their home. But it's not a brand that everyone knows, and in a place like Best Buy or Target it has to fight a lot of other competitors for shelf space and attention (that's not the case in its massive NYC retail store, of course). Today, the company's retail presence is getting a boost thanks to a new partnership with Apple. Starting this afternoon, you'll be able to buy the Sonos Play:1 and Play:5 speakers on Apple's website in the US. By October 5th, the speakers will be on sale in 468 Apple retail stores around the world, and they'll be coming to more markets online in the following weeks.
If you buy a Sonos speaker on either Apple's site or in a store, you'll also get a gift card that gives you three free months of Apple Music, which naturally will work with your new speakers. That'll work whether you're a new subscriber or already paying for the service. Apple will also have demo stations set up showing off how Sonos works in more than 140 of its stores. Given that Sonos isn't the easiest thing to explain right off the bat, being able to show potential customers just how it works could be a nice boon to the speaker company.
With its grander vision of becoming the sound platform of choice for the connected home (the first step of which is Amazon Echo integration), giving buyers more places to both demo its products and buy them should be helpful. The company's gone through a bit of turmoil this year, but it seems its not ready to fade out just yet.
- Fitbit's Charge 2 wearable is now available for $150
It's been almost a month since wearable pioneer Fitbit unveiled a much-needed update to its Charge and Flex ranges, giving them a bunch of aesthetic and functional upgrades in the process. Customers have been able to secure their orders ahead of the loose "fall" release date but from today, anyone itching to get their hands on the new devices can now do so.
With a bigger display, the $150/£130 Charge 2 allows for a wider selection of watch faces that display more information than before. The optical heart rate sensor can detect how much time you've spent in specific cardio zones and its bigger battery ensures it logs more data before it needs plugging in, which helps it cement itself as the leader in its price range.
The Charge 2 is available with a Classic band in black, blue, plum or teal. However, the company also has a set of $30/£20 accessory bands available -- shipping next month -- that let you mix it up with blush pink, brown and indigo colorings. As usual, the tracker is available via Fitbit.com in all supported countries, as well as Amazon, Best Buy and Target in the US.
Via: Fitbit (Businesswire)
- Plex Cloud lets you dump your home media server
Thanks to streaming, physical formats like CDs and Blu-rays aren't as popular than they once were. Some people choose to sign up for a monthly subscription like Netflix or Spotify, while others take the DIY approach. For many years, Plex has helped people build their own media collections and stream that content to (nearly) every connected device they own. However, it required either a computer or Network Attached Storage (NAS) to do so. Today, the company has opened a new avenue in its media streaming strategy with the launch of Plex Cloud. Gone is the need for the server in the cupboard, replaced with an Amazon Drive subscription and a Plex Pass.
Plex Cloud is basically a cloud version of the Plex Media Server, eliminating electricity and maintenance costs in the process. Amazon's reliable hosting platform takes care of the storage and Plex has "worked a little bit of magic" to enable the same transcoding options that some of the better home network storage solutions provide. An Amazon Drive subscription costs $60 for unlimited storage for a year, while the Plex Pass is either $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year. In comparison, you'll likely pay around the same total cost for a year of Netflix.
While Plex has worked to enable many of the same features as the Plex Media Server, they aren't all ready for launch. The company says that Camera Upload, Mobile Sync, Cloud Sync, Media Optimizer, DLNA, and DVR are not available right away, but it will work to add them over time. Also, if you want to use your own cloud storage provider, you may have to wait. Amazon says it'll "continue to evaluate adding support for other cloud storage providers over time."
Plex has opened the Plex Cloud Beta and is already inviting people to sign up. Be aware that Plex Pass holders will be given priority over casual streamers, so if you don't get in straight away, that might be why.
Via: Plex Blog
Source: Plex Cloud
- Announcing the launch of Windows Server 2016
I'm incredibly excited that this morning at our Ignite conference in Atlanta we launched the newest release of our server operating system - Windows Server 2016! Now that we're ready to share it with the world, I want to take a moment to thank our customers who helped shape this exciting release. Windows Server 2016 is jam-packed with innovation and customer response has been overwhelming, with more than half a million devices running our final Technical Preview which we released five months ago. These customers range from large global enterprises to private cloud hosters to organizations of every size from every corner of the globe.
- Andromeda, Google's Chrome OS-Android merger
Update: more confirmation! With Google's event fast approaching on 4 October, the rumour mill is in full swing. We know we're going to get new 'made by Google' phones, which will drop the Nexus brand in favour of Pixel. However, there's going to be more to watch out for - everything is lining up for 4 October being a major turning point in Android's relatively recent history. If the rumours are to be believed - and with so many different sources all pointing towards the same thing, you can probably believe them - Google will unveil not just a few new phones, but a new operating system altogether, dubbed Andromeda. And, just like we've been talking about for a long time, this is the operating system that combines Android and Chrome OS into a desktop/laptop operating system. As 9to5google reports: Why so many mentions of Nexus 9 specifically in tandem with Andromeda? We asked the same question, and from what we can gather, Google is testing the Chrome OS/Android hybrid on the tablet. An anonymous source has told us of users running early builds of Andromeda on the Nexus 9, but we have not been able to obtain direct confirmation from those users. Why would Google be testing Andromeda on the Nexus 9? We don't know. But we do know that Andromeda is aimed at making Android better suited for devices like laptops, as well as 2-in-1s (like the unfortunately mediocre Pixel C) and perhaps tablets. Another interesting tidbit to note: it seems that the hidden free form window management feature that popped up in Nougat (but isn't user-facing) could appropriately see its debut with Andromeda. "SurfaceCompositionMeasuringActivity.java" mentions "Detect Andromeda devices by having free-form window management feature." The fact that Google is working on merging Android and Chrome OS is hardly news, but as more and more details come out, it seems to indeed be the case that Google is working on not just a smartphone operating system or a tablet operating system, but a full-fledged laptop/desktop operating system, complete with the kind of freeform window management we've come to expect from operating systems like MacOS and Windows. This is further confirmed by AndroidPolice: Two independent and reliable sources have confirmed to us that Google is planning a new Pixel laptop to be released in Q3 2017. The project, known internally as 'Bison' and by the informal nickname 'Pixel 3,' will likely be the first brand-new device to showcase Google's combined Android / Chrome OS 'Andromeda' operating system in a laptop form factor. Bison, then, would be the culmination of years of work by Google's Pixel team and Google's Android and Chrome OS teams. We are extremely confident Google plans for the device to run Andromeda. We are also confident that Andromeda is a completely distinct effort from Google's current campaign to bring Android apps to Chromebooks, and that Bison would not be marketed as a Chromebook. Android apps on Chrome OS descended from the ARC project, while Andromeda is a much larger, more ambitious initiative that is being pursued via merging Chrome features into Android, not vice versa. As such, it would be more accurate to say Bison will run Android than Chrome OS, and could finally be Google's internal commitment to releasing Andromeda. Taking all this into account, a tweet that came out late last week from Hiroshi Lockheimer, SVP of Android, Chrome and Google Play, is quite telling: "We announced the 1st version of Android 8 years ago today. I have a feeling 8 years from now we'll be talking about Oct 4, 2016." Much like Apple's similar efforts, I'm excited about what's happening on the Android side of things. It's clear by now that Google has very ambitious plans about moving Android forward and scaling it up to work on not just phones and tablets, but on laptops and desktops as well. Up until relatively recently, such endeavours would've been futile, because 'new' operating systems could never challenge the hegemony of Windows and OS X, but in today's world, where more and more especially younger people no longer rely on staples like Microsoft Office, or could get by just fine with the surprisingly good Android and iOS versions of Office, there's an opening for the laptop/desktop world to be shaken up. Now, a lot of this will, as always, depend on execution. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Andromeda take a... Less laissez-faire approach to OEM and carrier customisations, and a more Chrome OS-like update policy (which is entirely free from meddling). There's also the question regarding Andromeda's relevance on phones - will it exist alongside 'classic' Android, or will Andromeda replace Android on phones and tablets as well? My guess would be yes - why unite Android and Chrome OS only to end up with another split - but that raises a whole bunch of other questions about possibly docking phones and using them with large screens and other input methods. I'm ready for 4 October.
- The Verge editor secretly joins Apple, doesn't inform The Verge
Well, file this in the "what the hell is going on" section. Chris Ziegler, long-time The Verge editor (and Engadget before that - he was part of the crew that started both Engadget and The Verge, if I'm not mistaken), had been missing from the site for a few months now - no posts, no tweets, nothing. Today, Nilay Patel revealed why. First, Chris accepted a position at Apple. We wish him well. Second, the circumstances of Chris' departure from The Verge raised ethical issues which are worth disclosing in the interests of transparency and respect for our audience. We're confident that there wasn't any material impact on our journalism from these issues, but they are still serious enough to merit disclosure. Chris began working for Apple in July, but didn't tell anyone at The Verge that he'd taken a new job until we discovered and verified his dual-employment in early September. Chris continued actively working at The Verge in July, but was not in contact with us through most of August and into September. During that period, in the dark and concerned for Chris, we made every effort to contact him and to offer him help if needed. We ultimately terminated his employment at The Verge and Vox Media the same day we verified that he was employed at Apple. So let me get this straight. One of The Verge's most prominent editors took a job at Apple - which is perfectly fine, we all change jobs - but then did not inform The Verge, continued to work for The Verge, then disappeared, still without informing The Verge, and then it took The Verge weeks to track him down and figure out what happened? This story is completely bonkers, and I can assure you - this is not the whole story. According to John Gruber, Chris Ziegler is not listed in Apple's employee directory, and I personally have had this confirmed to me as well. Something really strange is going on here.
- Oracle's cloudy future
Meanwhile, a young programmer named Larry Ellison had formed a company called Software Development Laboratories, originally to do contract work, but quickly decided that selling packaged software was a far better proposition: doing the work once and reselling it multiple times was an excellent way to get rich. They just needed a product, and IBM effectively gave it to them; because the System R team was being treated as a research project, not a commercial venture, they happily wrote multiple papers explaining how System R worked, and published the SQL spec. Software Development Laboratories implemented it and called it Oracle, and in 1979 sold it to the CIA; a condition of the contract was that it run on IBM mainframes. In other words, IBM not only created the conditions for the richest packaged software company ever to emerge (Microsoft), they basically gave an instruction manual to the second.
- 500 million Yahoo accounts compromised
We have confirmed that a copy of certain user account information was stolen from the companyâÂ€Â™s network in late 2014 by what we believe is a state-sponsored actor. The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. The ongoing investigation suggests that stolen information did not include unprotected passwords, payment card data, or bank account information; payment card data and bank account information are not stored in the system that the investigation has found to be affected. Based on the ongoing investigation, Yahoo believes that information associated with at least 500 million user accounts was stolen and the investigation has found no evidence that the state-sponsored actor is currently in YahooâÂ€Â™s network. Yahoo is working closely with law enforcement on this matter. That's a big hack.
- Don't use Google Allo
Remember when Google said they wouldn't store messages in one of the company's new chat applications, Allo? Yeah, no. The version of Allo rolling out today will store all non-incognito messages by default - a clear change from GoogleâÂ€Â™s earlier statements that the app would only store messages transiently and in non-identifiable form. The records will now persist until the user actively deletes them, giving Google default access to a full history of conversations in the app. Users can also avoid the logging by using AlloâÂ€Â™s Incognito Mode, which is still fully end-to-end encrypted and unchanged from the initial announcement. Like Hangouts and Gmail, Allo messages will still be encrypted between the device and Google servers, and stored on servers using encryption that leaves the messages accessible to Google's algorithms. For this reason alone, don't use Google Allo. But wait, there's more! There's also the backwards way it handles multiple devices and phone numbers - another reason to not use Google Allo. Sadly, even if you don't have Allo installed, you may still be forced to deal with it at some point because of some 'clever' tricks by Google Play Services on Android. If someone sends you an Allo message, but you don't have Allo installed, you'll get a special Android notification. The notification lets you respond through text along (as opposed to stickers, photos or anything like that), or alternatively ignore it altogether. There's also a button taking you straight to the Play Store install page for Allo. How can Google do this? The notification is generated by Google Play Services, which is installed on just about every Android phone, and updates silently in the background. Don't use Google Allo.
- 'Microsoft isn't forcing Lenovo to block free operating systems'
There's a story going round that Lenovo have signed an agreement with Microsoft that prevents installing free operating systems. This is sensationalist, untrue and distracts from a genuine problem. With that solved, let's get to the real root cause of the problems here: The real problem here is that Intel do very little to ensure that free operating systems work well on their consumer hardware - we still have no information from Intel on how to configure systems to ensure good power management, we have no support for storage devices in "RAID" mode and we have no indication that this is going to get better in future. If Intel had provided that support, this issue would never have occurred. Rather than be angry at Lenovo, let's put pressure on Intel to provide support for their hardware. As someone who tried to move his retina MacBook Pro to Linux only a few weeks ago - I can attest to Intel's absolutely terrible Linux drivers and power management. My retina MacBook Pro has an Intel Iris 6100 graphics chip, and the driver for it is so incredibly bad that even playing a simple video will cause the laptop to become so hot I was too scared to leave it running. Playing that same video in OS X or Windows doesn't even spin up the fans, with the laptop entirely cool. Battery life in Linux measured in a 2-3 hours, whereas on OS X or Windows I easily get 8-10 hours.
- ProDOS 2.4.1 released
ProDOS 2.4 is barely out the door, and we already have a point release that fixes a number of bugs and adds support for a bunch of Apple II clones - ProDOS 2.4.1 has been released.
- MacOS Sierra released
macOS Sierra brings Siri to the Mac, allowing users to conduct voice searches to find files, look up information, and more, with the ability to pin searches to the Notification Center for continual monitoring. There are new Continuity features including an "Auto Unlock" option for unlocking a Mac with an Apple Watch, and a "Universal Clipboard" option for copying text on one Apple device and pasting it on another. MacOS being in maintenance mode, this isn't the most significant update the operating system's ever seen. But hey, it's free, so go get it.
- * Apple's A10 Fusion, benchmarking, and the death of macOS *
Oh, benchmarks. Benchmarks of computer hardware have their uses. Especially if you have a relatively narrow and well-defined set of calculations that you need to perform, benchmarks are great tools to figure out which processor or graphics chip or whatever will deliver the best performance - scientific calculations, graphics processing (e.g. video games), these are all use cases where comparisons between benchmarks of different hardware components can yield useful information. A different way to put it: benchmarks make sense in a situation where "more power" equals "better results" - better results that are noticable and make a difference. A GTX 1080 will result in better framerates than a GTX 1070 in a modern game like The Witcher 3, because we've not yet hit any (theoretical) framerate limit for that game. A possible future GTX 1090 will most likely yield even better framerates still. Where benchmarks start to fall apart, however, is in use cases where "more power" does not equal "better results". Modern smartphones are a perfect example of this. Our current crop of smartphones is so powerful, that adding faster processors does not produce any better results for the kinds of ways in which we use these devices. Twitter isn't going to open or load any faster when you add a few hundred megahertz. In other words, modern smartphones have bottlenecks, but the processor or RAM certainly isn't one of them. Before you can even reach the full potential of your quad-core 2.4Ghz 6GB RAM phone, your battery will run out (or explode), or your network connection will be slow or non-existent. As a result, I never cared much for benchmarking smartphones. In 2013, in the wake of Samsung cheating in benchmarks, I wrote that "if you buy a phone based on silly artificial benchmark scores, you deserve to be cheated", and today, now that Apple is leading (in one subset of processor) benchmarks with its latest crop of mobile processors, the same still applies. So when John Gruber posted about Apple A10 Fusion benchmarks... Looking at Geekbench's results browser for Android devices, there are a handful of phones in shouting distance of the iPhone 7 for multi-core performance, but Apple's A10 Fusion scores double on single-core. ...I snarked: Funny how just like in the PPC days, benchmarks only start mattering when they favour [insert platform of choice]. Setting aside the validity of Geekbench (Linus Torvalds has an opinion!), this seems to be the usual pointless outcome of these penis-measuring contests: when the benchmarks favour you, benchmarks are important and crucial and the ultimate quanitification of greatness. When the benchmarks don't favour you, they are meaningless and pointless and the world's worst yardsticks of greatness. Anywhere in between, and you selectively pick and choose the benchmarks that make you look best. I didn't refer to Apple's PowerPC days for nothing. Back then, Apple knew it was using processors with terrible performance and energy requirements, but still had to somehow convince the masses that PowerPC was better faster stronger than x86; claims which Apple itself exposed - overnight - as flat-out lies when the company switched to Intel. When I use my Nexus 6P and iPhone 6S side-by-side, my Nexus 6P feels a lot faster, even though benchmarks supposedly say it has a crappier processor and a slower operating system. Applications and operations seem equally fast to me, but Android makes everything feel faster because it has far superior ways of dealing with and switching between multiple applications, thanks to the pervasiveness of activities and intents or the ability to set your own default applications. Trying to quantify something as elusive and personal as user experience by crowing about the single-thread performance of the processor it runs on is like trying to buy a family car based on its top speed. My 2009 Volvo S80's 2.5L straight-5 may propel the car to a maximum speed of 230km/h, but I'm much more interested in how comfortable the seats are, all the comfort options it has, if it looks good (it does), and so on. Those are the actual things that matter, because the likelihood of ever even approaching that 230km/h is very slim, at best. I bought an iPhone 6S and Apple Watch late last year and used them for six months because I feel that as someone who writes about every platform under the sun, I should be using them as much as (financially and practically) possible. I used the iPhone 6S as my only smartphone for six months, but after six months of fighting iOS and Apple every step of the way, every single day, I got fed up and bought the Nexus 6P on impulse. Not once during those six months did I think to myself "if only this processor was 500Mhz faster" or "if only this thing had 4GB of RAM". No; I was thinking "why can't I set my own default applications, because Apple's are garbage" or "why is deep linking/inter-application communication non-existent, unreliable, broken, and restricted to first-party applications?" or "why is every application a visual and behavioural island with zero attention to consistency?". iOS could be running on a quantum computer from Urbana, Illinois, and it wouldn't solve any of those problems. The funny thing is - Gruber actually agrees with me: I like reading/following Holwerda, because he's someone who I feel keeps me on my toes. But he's off-base here. I'm certainly not saying that CPU or GPU performance is a primary reason why anyone should buy an iPhone instead of an Android phone. In fact, I'll emphasize that if the tables were turned and it were Android phones that were registering Geekbench scores double those of the iPhone, I would still be using an iPhone. In the same way that I've been using Macs, non-stop, since I first purchased a computer in 1991. Most of the years from 1991 until the switch to Intel CPUs in 2007, the Mac was behind PCs in performance. I never argued then that performance didn't matter - only that for me, personally, the other benefits of using a Mac (the UI design of the system, the quality of the third-party apps, the build quality of the hardware, etc.) outweighed the performance penalty Macs suffered. The same would be true today if Apple's A-series chips were slower than Qualcomm's CPUs for Android. So, he'd be buying iPhone even if the benchmark tables were turned, thereby agreeing with me that when it comes to phones, benchmarks are entirely meaningless. Nobody buys a smartphone based on processor benchmark scores; at this point in time, people mostly buy smartphones based on the smartphone they currently have (i.e., what platform they are currently using) and price. That being said, there is one reason why benchmarks of Apple's latest mobile processors are quite interesting: Apple's inevitable upcoming laptop and desktop switchover to its own processors. OS X (or macOS or whatever) has been in maintenance mode ever since the release and success of the iPhone, and by now it's clear that Apple is going to retire OS X in favour of a souped-up iOS over the coming five years. I know a lot of people still aren't seeing the forest through the trees on this one, but you can expect the first "iOS" MacBook within 1-2 years. I put iOS between quotation marks because that brand of iOS won't be the iOS you have on your phone today, but a more capable, expanded version of it. Vlad Savov: It sounds wild, but the A10 looks to have the power and efficiency to handle the workload of a full PC. This coalescence of mobile and desktop PCs is driven by forces on both sides: mobile chips are getting more potent at the same time as our power needs are shrinking and our tasks become more mobile. If you think your workplace isn't changing much because there are a bunch of weathered Dell workstations sitting next to frumpy HP printers, consider just how much more work every one of your officemates is doing outside the office, on their phone. And all those grand and power-hungry x86 applications that might have kept people running macOS - Adobe's Photoshop and Lightroom being two key examples - well, they're being ported to iOS in almost their full functionality, having been incentivized by the existence of Apple's iPad Pro line, last year's harbinger for this year's performance jump. Unlike Windows, whose x86 reliance is tied to its dominance of the lucrative PC gaming market, Apple really has very few anchors locking it down to macOS. The Cupertino company has been investing the vast majority of its development time into the mobile iOS for years now, and that shows in the different rates of progress between its two pieces of software. macOS is, in many ways, legacy software just waiting for the right moment to be deprecated. ItâÂ€Â™s getting a fresh lick of paint now and then, but most of its novelties now relate to how it links back to Apple's core iOS and iPhone business. This is where benchmarking and the performance of Apple's A10 Fusion processor do come into play, because even in the constrained environment of a smartphone, it seems to be reaching performance levels of laptop and desktop processors. That "iOS" MacBook is closer than you think. Read more on this exclusive OSNews article...
- Visopsys 0.8 released
It's taken a while, but Visopsys 0.8 has been released. The GUI appearance has been updated, the infamous icons have all been replaced, and touch support has been added. There are a few new utilities, and in addition to all of the usual under-the-bonnet improvements, they've added OHCI (USB 1) support, completing the set of USB host controller drivers. There's a full changelog is and new screenshots.
- Rush to beat a dull iPhone started Samsung's battery crisis
So the top brass at Samsung Electronics Co., including phone chief D.J. Koh, decided to accelerate the launch of a new phone they were confident would dazzle consumers and capitalize on the opportunity, according to people familiar with the matter. They pushed suppliers to meet tighter deadlines, despite loads of new features, another person with direct knowledge said. The Note 7 would have a high-resolution screen that wraps around the edges, iris-recognition security and a more powerful, faster-charging battery. Apple's taunts that Samsung was a copycat would be silenced for good. Then it all backfired. Just days after Samsung introduced the Note 7 in August, reports surfaced online that the phone's batteries were bursting into flame. By the end of the month, there were dozens of fires and Samsung was rushing to understand what went wrong. On Sept. 2, Koh held a grim press conference in Seoul where he announced Samsung would replace all 2.5 million phones shipped so far. What was supposed to be triumph had turned into a fiasco. Pretty damning report.
- Everyone is still using their Note 7 as Samsung fumbles its recall
Nearly two weeks after Samsung recalled the Galaxy Note 7 due to the risk of explosion, the device is still being used just as frequently by its owners. This is according to data from Apteligent, a mobile analytics company that claims "usage rate of the phone among existing users has been almost the exact same since the day of the recall." It seems not even exploding batteries can tear users away from their smartphones, but the apparent reticence of users to get rid of their faulty devices is not being helped by Samsung's mismanagement of the recall process. Swapping 2.5 million smartphones is certainly no easy task, but the South Korean firm has not helped the situation by issuing confusing information to consumers. The longer the situation goes on, the more damage it does to the company's brand. A few notes about the Note 7 problems. First, this is no laughing matter. There's a reason not even Apple made fun of Samsung's problems during the iPhone event (something Apple normally revels in), because they, too, know that such manufacturing defects in which real people can get hurt can actually happen to anyone. Battery technology effectively comes down to stuffing highly flammable and dangerous liquids and chemicals in pressurised containers in your pockets, and lithium-ion batteries have a long history of catching fire and exploding. Second, unlike the doom and gloom you read everywhere, this whole story will be out of the media and out of the public's eye (if it's even been in the latter's eye to begin with) a few months from now, and nobody will care. This will do far, far less to damage Samsung's brand than people think (or hope). Third, that being said, Samsung is indeed not handling the recall very well. There should've been a quicker response, a clearer response, a more pervasive response. These things pose a real danger to people, and should've been taken off the street much, much quicker than this. I hope we won't have to read about people dying because of this.
- Why the Apple II ProDOS 2.4 release is the OS news of the year
I just spent like an hour searching for an OSNews story about this, because I was sure we posted about this, only to realise I was confused with this year-old story. Anyhow, this story is kind of similar in that John Brooks has released ProDOS 2.4 for the Apple II, fixing bugs, and adding features. I like Jason Scott's take: Next is that this is an operating system upgrade free of commercial and marketing constraints and drives. Compared with, say, an iOS upgrade that trumpets the addition of a search function or blares out a proud announcement that they broke maps because Google kissed another boy at recess. Or Windows 10, the 1968 Democratic Convention Riot of Operating Systems, which was designed from the ground up to be compatible with a variety of mobile/tablet products that are on the way out, and which were shoved down the throats of current users with a cajoling, insulting methodology with misleading opt-out routes and freakier and freakier fake-countdowns. The current mainstream OS environment is, frankly, horrifying, and to see a pure note, a trumpet of clear-minded attention to efficiency, functionality and improvement, stands in testament to the fact that it is still possible to achieve this, albeit a smaller, slower-moving target. Either way, itâÂ€Â™s an inspiration. Mr. Scott...
- Apple emails reveal complaints about sexist, toxic work environment
Mic.com has obtained a long list of e-mails from primarily female Apple employees (but also a few male employees), detailing a sexist culture inside the company that nobody seems to want to address. The 50 pages of e-mails were handed to Mic by an Apple employee, and obviously, all people involved have been anonymised. "With such love for a company that does so much good, it is with a heavy heart that I declare my resignation from Apple," a former employee wrote in an email obtained by Mic. "Despite all attempts to seek justice within this corporation, the cries of several minority employees about the toxic and oppressive environment have gone unanswered. I have witnessed the complete and utter disenfranchising of the voices of men and women of color and the fault lies not only in the direct management staff but in the response of those tasked with protecting employee rights. I write this letter hoping to highlight the areas that these departments have failed to properly support employees and as such have hence left Apple, Inc. culpable for various EEOC and ethical violations." According to Claire*, "several people" who have quit, citing a "white, male, Christian, misogynist, sexist environment," were not given exit interviews. "Their departure is being written up as a positive attrition," she told Mic. This obviously - but sadly - doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Silicon Valley is an inherently toxic environment dominated by white males, and despite all the talk from Tim Cook and various company bloggers, Apple is not the special diversity flowerchild farting rainbows and puking unicorn dust it claims to be. I mean, this is a company who considers having a Canadian speaking on stage during an event as "diversity". From these emails, a picture emerges of a company culture actively trying to get women to leave, actively preventing them from getting into mid-level and top-level leadership positions. From everything I've ever heard about Silicon Valley culture - this is par for the course, no matter the company.
- Nativ Disc
Although most music lovers stream or download music today, the stubborn pre-millennials among us have legacy CD collections at home. This demographic is the perfect target group for Nativ Disc, a bit-perfect CD Ripper that allows users to import up to 12,000 CDs—in lossless FLAC, uncompressed WAV or lossy MP3 format—into their Nativ Vita high-resolution music player.
- Android Browser Security--What You Haven't Been Told
This article focuses on flaws in Android's stock web libraries, while acknowledging related exploits. Some modern Android browsers have critically weak encryption and other dangerous flaws that cannot be patched or otherwise corrected. This weakness extends to multiple browsers and applications and is determined by the linkage to the system webcore on older OS versions.
- The Many Paths to a Solution
A project I'm involved with has made me think about how there are always many solution paths for any given problem in the Linux universe. For this other project, I wanted to cobble together a version of grep that let me specify proper regular expressions without having to worry about the -E flag and get a context for the matches too.
- Synopsys' Coverity
The new version 8.5 of Synopsys' Coverity extends the security umbrella of the static analysis tool to mitigate a wider range of security vulnerabilities.
- Naztech's Roadstar 5 Car Charger
The "5" in Naztech's new Roadstar 5 Car Charger refers to the abundant five ports offered by the device, intended to end in-vehicle debates on who gets to charge their device next. Naztech says that its new charger delivers superior charging power and speed while protecting tablet and smartphone batteries and motherboards.
- RPi-Powered pi-topCEED Makes the Case as a Low-Cost Modular Learning Desktop
It's hard to go a day without seeing interesting and compelling Indiegogo or Kickstarter projects that feature the Raspberry Pi, Pine 64 or the Intel Edison inside some sort of embedded device or standalone computer or laptop. Last fall, I stumbled across one such project that billed itself as "the first $99 Raspberry Pi desktop", and I felt the need to have it.
- Glass Padding
When it comes to covering my cell phone, I tend toward minimalism. I like to buy the smallest (although still powerful) phone possible, so the thought of adding a bulky case seems wrong. I also don't like screen protectors, because they generally get cloudy, and they don't feel as nice when using the screen.
- Securing the Programmer
I have a favorite saying: "If you are a systems administrator, you have the keys to the kingdom. If you are an open-source programmer, you don't know which or how many kingdoms you have the keys to." We send our programs out into the world to be run by anyone for any purpose. Think about that: by anyone, for any purpose.
- CodeLathe FileCloud Google Chrome Extension
Nearly everyone in today's enterprises is connected throughout the day to a web browser, of which anywhere from 44–71% are Google Chrome. Seeking to make this vast number of users' work more productive is developer CodeLathe, whose new "amazingly easy-to-use" FileCloud extension for Google Chrome enables users to save documents, images and scre
- Ascensio System SIA's ONLYOFFICE
Ascensio System SIA boasts that its ONLYOFFICE office and productivity suite combines the best from the MS Office and Google Docs worlds. ONLYOFFICE is a free and open-source solution and is distributed under the AGPL v.3 license.
- Non-Linux FOSS: Chrome, for One
When I use OS X, I really like the Fluid app for making standalone Web applications. The problem is, Fluid isn't free unless you want the basic version. I don't mind paying for an application (and I did pay for Fluid), but it seems like something as simple as a single site browser shouldn't be something that costs money.
- NordVPN for Android
The prospect of privacy protection and occulting your smartphone's IP address with a VPN are sufficient selling points, but the ability to watch your Spanish-dubbed Turkish telenovellas while on the beach in Tahiti should seal the deal for real.
An IT megatrend in progress involves the shift from legacy monolithic apps running on enterprise storage to systems of engagement that interact with users, collect real-time data from many sources and store it in elastic and shared data services.
- 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 ’
- 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 ’
- 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 ’
- Emailing HPC
Email is not unlike MPI. The similarities may help non-geeks understand parallel computers a little better. Continue reading ’
- 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 ’
- 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 ’
- 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 ’
- 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 ’
- 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 ’
- 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 ’
- 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 ’