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LinuxSecurity.com - Security Advisories












  • Debian LTS: DLA-1381-1: imagemagick security update
    `bbLinuxSecurity.com`/bb: Several security vulnerabilities were discovered in ImageMagick, an image manipulation program, that allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service via CPU exhaustion (infinite loop) or heap-based buffer overreads with a crafted image file.


LWN.net

  • RIP Robin "Roblimo" Miller (Linux Journal)
    Linux Journal reportsthat Robin "Roblimo" Miller has passed away. "Miller was perhaps best known by the community for his roll as Editor in Chief of Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned Slashdot, SourceForge.net, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, and ThinkGeek from 2000 to 2008."


  • [$] Easier container security with entitlements
    During KubeCon+ CloudNativeCon Europe 2018, Justin Cormack and Nassim Eddequiouaq presenteda proposal to simplify the setting of security parameters for containerizedapplications. Containers depend on a large set of intricate security primitives that canhave weird interactions. Because they are so hard to use, people often justturn the whole thing off. The goal of the proposal is to make thosecontrols easier to understand and use; it is partly inspired by mobile appson iOS and Android platforms, an idea that trickled back into Microsoft andApple desktops. The time seems ripe to improve the field ofcontainer security, which is in desperate need of simpler controls.


  • Security updates for Thursday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (imagemagick), Fedora (curl, glibc, kernel, and thunderbird-enigmail), openSUSE (enigmail, knot, and python), Oracle (procps-ng), Red Hat (librelp, procps-ng, redhat-virtualization-host, rhev-hypervisor7, and unboundid-ldapsdk), Scientific Linux (procps-ng), SUSE (bash, ceph, icu, kvm, and qemu), and Ubuntu (procps and spice, spice-protocol).



  • [$] An update on bcachefs
    The bcachefs filesystem has been underdevelopment for a number of years now; according to lead developer KentOverstreet, it is time to start talking about getting the code upstream.He came to the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit(LSFMM) to discuss that in a combined filesystem and storagesession. Bcachefs grew out of bcache, which is a block layercache that was merged into Linux 3.10 in mid-2013.


  • [$] What's coming in OpenLDAP 2.5
    If pressed, I will admit to thinking that, if NIS was good enough for Charles Babbage, it'sgood enough for me. I am therefore not a huge fan of LDAP; I feel I can detect in it the heavy hand of the ITU,which seems to wish to apply X.500 toeverything. Nevertheless, for secure, distributed, multi-platform identitymanagement it's quite hard to beat. If you decide to run an LDAP serveron Unix, one of the major free implementations is slapd, the coreengine of the OpenLDAP project.Howard Chu is the chief architect of the project,and spoke at FLOSS 2018 about the upcoming 2.5 release. Any rumorsthat he might have passed the time while the room filled up by givinga short but nicely rendered fiddle recital are completely true.


  • [$] Shortening the Python release schedule
    The Python release cycle has an 18-month cadence; a new major release (e.g.Python 3.7) ismade roughly on that schedule. But Łukasz Langa, who is the releasemanager for Python 3.8 and 3.9, would like to see things movemore quickly—perhaps on a yearly cadence. In the first session after lunchat the 2018 Python Language Summit, Langa wanted to discuss that idea.


  • Security updates for Wednesday
    Security updates have been issued by CentOS (java-1.7.0-openjdk, java-1.8.0-openjdk, kernel, libvirt, and qemu-kvm), Debian (procps), Fedora (curl, mariadb, and procps-ng), Gentoo (samba, shadow, and virtualbox), openSUSE (opencv, openjpeg2, pdns, qemu, and wget), Oracle (java-1.8.0-openjdk and kernel), Red Hat (java-1.7.0-openjdk, java-1.8.0-openjdk, kernel, kernel-rt, libvirt, qemu-kvm, qemu-kvm-rhev, redhat-virtualization-host, and vdsm), Scientific Linux (java-1.7.0-openjdk, java-1.8.0-openjdk, kernel, libvirt, and qemu-kvm), Slackware (kernel, mozilla, and procps), SUSE (ghostscript-library, kernel, mariadb, python, qemu, and wget), and Ubuntu (linux-raspi2 and linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon).


  • [$] Case-insensitive filesystem lookups
    Case-insensitive file name lookups are a feature that is fairly frequentlyraised at the Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM). At the 2018summit, Gabriel Krisman Bertazi proposed a new way to supportthe feature, though it met with a rather skeptical reception—with onenotable exception. Ted Ts'o seemed favorably disposed to the idea, in partbecause it would potentially be a way to get rid of some longstanding Android ugliness:wrapfs.


  • Kata Containers 1.0
    Kata Containers 1.0 has been released. "This first release of Kata Containers completes the merger of Intel’s Clear Containers and Hyper’s runV technologies, and delivers an OCI compatible runtime with seamless integration for container ecosystem technologies like Docker and Kubernetes."



  • [$] SMB/CIFS compounding support
    In a filesystem-track session at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, andMemory-Management Summit (LSFMM), Ronnie Sahlberg talked about some changeshe has made to add support for compounding to the SMB/CIFSimplementation in Linux. Compounding is a way to combine multipleoperations into a single request that can help reduce network round-trips.


  • Security updates for Tuesday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (gitlab and packagekit), Fedora (glibc, postgresql, and webkitgtk4), Oracle (java-1.7.0-openjdk, java-1.8.0-openjdk, kernel, libvirt, and qemu-kvm), Red Hat (java-1.7.0-openjdk, kernel-rt, qemu-kvm, and qemu-kvm-rhev), SUSE (openjpeg2, qemu, and squid3), and Ubuntu (kernel, linux, linux-aws, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-kvm, linux-oem, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm,, linux-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-oem, linux-lts-trusty, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, qemu, and xdg-utils).


  • [$] Using GitHub Issues for Python
    In a 2018 Python Language Summit talk that was initially billed as"Mariatta's Topic of Mystery", Mariatta Wijaya described her reasoning for advocating moving Python awayfrom its current bug tracker toGitHub Issues. She wanted to surprise her co-attendees with the talktopic at least partly because it is somewhat controversial. But it wouldcomplete Python's journey to GitHub that started a ways back.


  • RFC: LWN's draft updated privacy policy
    It is the season for web sites to be updating their privacy policies andobtaining consent from their users for whatever data they collect. LWN,being short of staff with the time or interest to work in this area, israther late to this game. The first step is an updatedprivacy policy, which we're now putting out for review. Little has changedfrom the current version; we still don'tcollect much data, share data with others, or attempt to monetize what we have in any way. We would like to ask interested readersto have a look and let us know about any potential problems they see.



LXer Linux News

  • ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH
    ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH error shows in your web browser when the browser cannot establish secure connection with the web server. Today we will show you how to fix ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH error.


  • Bitwarden Password Manager Adds Command Line Vault
    Bitwarden, the secure, open source password manager we talked about recently, added a command line tool to its list of apps you can use to access your passwords. Bitwarden CLI is currently in public beta testing, and according to its documentation, it includes all the features available in other Bitwarden client applications, like the desktop or browser extension.


  • 4 Easy Ways to Get Out of a Ubuntu Crash
    On Ubuntu, there are several ways to escape crashes and recover from them when they occur. Find out how to save your Ubuntu computer when the unexpected strikes.





  • 4 Markdown-powered slide generators
    Imagine you[he]#039[/he]ve been tapped to give a presentation. As you[he]#039[/he]re preparing your talk, you think, "I should whip up a few slides."Maybe you prefer the simplicity of plain text, or maybe you think software like LibreOffice Writer is overkill for what you need to do. Or perhaps you just want to embrace your inner geek.


  • KDE’s New Elisa Music Player: So Close, Yet So Far Away
    With the rise of streaming services bringing easy access to media, owning your own music and movies is at a seemingly all-time low. In my case, it wasn’t until recently that I started recollecting local music files again once I started caring more about the quality of music that I was listening to.



  • Linux sum Command Tutorial for Beginners (with Examples)
    As you start spending more and more time working on the Linux command line, you tend to learn utilities that aren't very frequently used. Once such tool is sum, which only offers two features: display checksum and block count for input files. In this short tutorial, we will quickly discuss the basics of sum using some easy to understand examples.



  • AsteroidOS and OpenWatch Aim to Open Up Smartwatch Market
    The AsteroidOS project has released version 1.0 of its open source, Linux-based smartwatch distribution. Designed for after-market installation on “Wear OS by Google” (formerly Android Wear) watches, AsteroidOS can now be dual booted on seven different models. The release follows the late March announcement of an OpenWatch Project for building Android based open source custom ROMs on Wear OS watches.


  • Whats new in OpenStack?
    The OpenStack global community is gathering together in Vancouver, British Columbia this week to collaborate, learn, and build the future of open source cloud computing.




  • Catch Up on the Cloud Foundry Training Series
    In these articles, we provided an overview of Cloud Foundry and how to get started using it to develop applications. The first three articles covered basic concepts, terminology, and architecture. Then, in the last two articles, we showed how to write and push an app to a Cloud Foundry instance. You can catch up on the entire series here in this article.


  • Red Hat Updates OpenStack Platform 13 Brings Long Term Support
    The Red Hat OpenStack Platform 13 release was officially announced here on May 21, bringing along with it new features and expanded support for the open-source cloud platform. In a video interview with eWEEK, Mark McLoughlin, senior director of engineering for OpenStack at Red Hat, details what's new in the release and what is set to come in the next release. Red Hat OpenStack Platform 13 is based on the upstream OpenStack Queens release that first became generally available on Feb. 28.


  • The General Data Protection Regulation and Firefox
    We are only a few days away from May 25th, when the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into full effect. GDPR has implications for many different parts of Mozilla. Rather than give you a laundry list of GDPR stuff, in this post, we want to focus specifically on Firefox and drill down specifically into how we think about privacy-by-design and data protection impact assessments within our browser product.




[[LinuxInsider

	Copyright 2018
	http://www.linuxinsider.com|Linux Insider"LinuxInsider"]]
  • WhiteSource Rolls Out New Open Source Security Detector
    WhiteSource has launched its next-generation software composition analysis technology, dubbed "Effective Usage Analysis," with the promise that it can reduce open source vulnerability alerts by 70 percent. The newly developed technology provides details beyond which components are present in the application. It provides actionable insights into how components are being used.


  • Cinnamon Desktop Spices Up RoboLinux Raptor
    RoboLinux is a unique distro that focuses on incorporating Windows versions XP through 10 within a fully functional Linux operating system. You might never need the Stealth VM features that let you easily install and run Microsoft Windows within most any Linux distro. Still, RoboLinux is a topnotch general purpose Linux computing platform that comes with a choice of leading desktop environments.


  • Open Source Is Everywhere and So Are Vulnerabilities, Says Black Duck Report
    Black Duck by Synopsys has released the 2018 Open Source Security and Risk Analysis report, which details new concerns about software vulnerabilities amid a surge in the use of open source components in both proprietary and open source software. The report provides an in-depth look at the state of open source security, license compliance and code-quality risk in commercial software.


  • OpenShift Brings Full Cross-Platform Flexibility to Azure Cloud
    Microsoft and Red Hat introduced OpenShift on Azure at Red Hat Summit 2018 in San Francisco. This release is the first fully managed, easy-to-use version of OpenShift in the cloud, the companies said. The fully managed integration of OpenShift on Azure means that Microsoft and Red Hat will join to engineer, operate and support the platform. That combined support will keep it up-to-date.


  • Android P Tackles Phone Addiction, Distraction
    Google has revealed some major new features in the next version of its Android operating system for mobile devices. Now in public beta, the OS known as "Android P" includes features designed to address growing concerns about phone addiction and distraction. For example, a dashboard will show users how often, when and for how long they use each application on their phone.


  • Ubuntu Budgie Whistles Up a Better Remix
    If you have yet to try the Budgie desktop, the latest release of Ubuntu Budgie is a perfect opportunity to experience a classy and user-friendly computing platform. Budgie is one of the first home-grown Linux distros to release its latest version based on Ubuntu 18.04. The independent developer announced Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 last week, coinciding with Canonical's release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.


  • Fedora 28 Comes With New Software Options
    The Fedora Project has announced the general availability of Fedora 28, which introduces a new software delivery system based on a modular repository. The new system provides alternative versions of the software and updates that come with the default release, according to Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller. It enables users to update specific components at the speed that meets their needs.


  • Shuttleworth on Ubuntu 18.04: Multicloud Is the New Normal
    Canonical has released the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS platform for desktop, server, cloud and Internet of Things use. Its debut followed a two-year development phase that led to innovations in cloud solutions for enterprises, as well as smoother integrations with private and public cloud services, and new tools for container and virtual machine operations.


  • New Ubuntu Rethinks Desktop Ecosystem
    Canonical on Thursday released Ubuntu Linux 18.04, which utilizes live patching and a new metric data collection system. Notably missing is the Unity desktop that had distinguished the distro but was poorly received. Canonical last year made the switch from Unity 7 to upstream GNOME as Ubuntu's default desktop environment. Unity is not an option in Ubuntu 18.04 and will not be available in desktop offerings moving forward.


  • Microsoft Calls On Linux for Its New IoT Security Platform
    Microsoft has opted to use its own version of a Linux operating system instead of Windows 10 to drive its new Azure Sphere solution for securely connecting Internet of Things devices. Microsoft introduced Azure Sphere last week at the RSA security conference in San Francisco. Azure Sphere is a platform that connects microcontroller units, or MCUs, embedded in cloud-connected devices.


  • Nix This Innovative OS for Its Uninviting Complexity
    NixOS is a modern and flexible GNU/Linux-based distribution that is both archaic to install and maddening to set up. That combination makes NixOS a reach too far for new users. That result may be an unintended consequence for a Linux operating system that is built around a very novel design approach. It is far more complex than other innovating options.


  • Vulnerabilities Abound in Popular Android Apps: Report
    About 20 percent of the most popular Android Apps available through the Google Play Store contain open source components with known security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers, according to a report Insignary will release next week. The findings are the result of the company's recent comprehensive binary code scan of the 700 most popular Android Apps on the Google Play Store.


  • McAfee's Upgraded Cloud Security Protects Containers
    McAfee has introduced its Cloud Workload Security v5.1, which represents the first solution for open source containers. McAfee CWS v5.1 secures Docker workload and servers in public and private cloud environments by quarantining infected workloads and containers in a single click. McAfee CWS addresses "key security, compliance and governance requirements," said SVP Rajiv Gupta.


  • The Internet Is Facing a Health Scare, Suggests Mozilla Report
    Mozilla has launched the first full edition of its Internet Health Report. The report is "an open source effort to explore the state of human life on the Internet," said Mozilla Executive Director Mark Surman. It consists of research and analysis about the Internet compiled by researchers, engineers, data scientists, policy analysts and artists in Mozilla's extended community.


  • New RHEL Locks In Hybrid Cloud Growth
    Red Hat has announced the general availability of RHEL 7.5, which targets the needs of both Linux server and cloud deployment users. With the goal of providing a consistent foundation for hybrid cloud environments, RHEL 7.5 includes enhanced security and compliance controls, tools to reduce storage costs, and improved usability, as well as deeper integration with Microsoft Windows infrastructure.


  • Open-Sourced Windows File Manager Gets New Life on Windows 10
    Microsoft has rummaged deep into its archive for its latest contribution to the open source community: Windows File Manager. Originally bundled with Windows in 1990, File Manager was a replacement for the command-line interface in MS-DOS. The program was used to search, open, copy and delete files until it was replaced by Windows Explorer, which followed the introduction of Windows 95.


  • Valve Soothes SteamOS Fans After Yanking Steam Machines
    Valve has been working to reassure members of its community that it has not yet thrown in the towel on SteamOS and Linux gaming systems that have been hampered over the years due to performance issues, soaring sales on mainstream rival platforms, and generally weak demand. Valve recently withdrew SteamOS machines from its direct online sales portal.


  • Bluestar Gives Arch Linux a Celestial Glow
    Using most any Arch Linux distro usually involves balancing the desire for hands-on control of the OS against the attraction of convenient installation and maintenance processes. Bluestar Linux is one of the few Arch distros that gets the balancing act right. Bluestar Linux is a GNU/Linux distribution that features up-to-date packages, an impressive range of software, and a live desktop DVD.


  • Mozilla Trumpets Altered Reality Browser
    The Mozilla Foundation has unveiled its plans for Firefox Reality, a browser designed specifically for mixed reality headsets. The browser combines the beneftis of Mozilla's existing Firefox browser with its experimental Web engine. Using Servo, Mozilla plans to experiment with entirely new designs and technologies for seeing and interacting with the immersive Web.


  • Microsoft Offers New Tool to Grow Linux in Windows
    Microsoft has released an open source tool that makes it easier for programmers and developers to run Linux on Windows 10. The new tool also helps Linux distribution maintainers bring their distros to the Windows Store to run on Windows 10's WSL. Microsoft developed the project for distribution maintainers and for developers who want to create custom Linux distributions to run on WSL.


  • New Firefox Extension Builds a Wall Around Facebook
    Mozilla has announced Facebook Container, a Firefox browser extension that is designed to segregate users' activity on Facebook from their other Web activity, limiting Facebook's ability to track them and gather personal data. The extension is the culmination of more than two years of research into developing a more private browsing experience, Mozilla said.



Slashdot

  • Some Low-Cost Android Phones Shipped With Malware Built In
    More than 100 different low-cost Android models from manufacturers such as ZTE, Archos, and myPhone ship with malware pre-installed, researchers at Avast Threat Labs reported on Thursday. Users in more than 90 countries, including the U.S., are affected by this, the researchers said. From a report: The malware, called called Cosiloon, overlays advertisements over the operating system in order to promote apps or even trick users into downloading apps. The app consists of a dropper and a payload. "The dropper is a small application with no obfuscation, located on the /system partition of affected devices. The app is completely passive, only visible to the user in the list of system applications under 'settings.' We have seen the dropper with two different names, 'CrashService' and 'ImeMess,'" wrote Avast. The dropper then connects with a website to grab the payloads that the hackers wish to install on the phone. "The XML manifest contains information about what to download, which services to start and contains a whitelist programmed to potentially exclude specific countries and devices from infection. However, we've never seen the country whitelist used, and just a few devices were whitelisted in early versions. Currently, no countries or devices are whitelisted. The entire Cosiloon URL is hardcoded in the APK."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • T-Mobile Bug Let Anyone See Any Customer's Account Details
    An anonymous reader writes: A bug in T-Mobile's website let anyone access the personal account details of any customer with just their cell phone number, ZDNet reported Thursday. The flaw, since fixed, could have been exploited by anyone who knew where to look -- a little-known T-Mobile subdomain that staff use as a customer care portal to access the company's internal tools. The subdomain -- promotool.t-mobile.com, which can be easily found on search engines -- contained a hidden API that would return T-Mobile customer data simply by adding the customer's cell phone number to the end of the web address. Although the API is understood to be used by T-Mobile staff to look up account details, it wasn't protected with a password and could be easily used by anyone. The returned data included a customer's full name, postal address, billing account number, and in some cases information about tax identification numbers. The data also included customers' account information, such as if a bill is past-due or if the customer had their service suspended.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • About $1.2 Billion in Cryptocurrency Stolen Since 2017
    Criminals have stolen about $1.2 billion in cryptocurrencies since the beginning of 2017, as bitcoin's popularity and the emergence of more than 1,500 digital tokens have put the spotlight on the unregulated sector, according to estimates from the Anti-Phishing Working Group released on Thursday. From a report: The estimates were part of the non-profit group's research on cryptocurrency and include reported and unreported theft. "One problem that we're seeing in addition to the criminal activity like drug trafficking and money laundering using cryptocurrencies is the theft of these tokens by bad guys," Dave Jevans, chief executive officer of cryptocurrency security firm CipherTrace, told Reuters in an interview.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Internal Documents Show Apple Knew the iPhone 6 Would Bend
    In 2014, multiple users reported that their iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets were bending under pressure, such as when they were kept in a pocket. As a byproduct of this issue, the touchscreen's internal hardware was also susceptible to losing its connection to the phone's logic board. It turns out, Apple was aware that this could happen. Motherboard: Apple's internal tests found that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are significantly more likely to bend than the iPhone 5S, according to information made public in a recent court filing obtained by Motherboard. Publicly, Apple has never said that the phones have a bending problem, and maintains that position, despite these models commonly being plagued with "touch disease," a flaw that causes the touchscreen to work intermittently that the repair community say is a result of bending associated with normal use. The information is contained in internal Apple documents filed under seal in a class-action lawsuit that alleges Apple misled customers about touch disease. The documents remain under seal, but US District Court judge Lucy Koh made some of the information from them public in a recent opinion in the case. The company found that the iPhone 6 is 3.3 times more likely to bend than the iPhone 5s, and the iPhone 6 Plus is 7.2 times more likely to bend than the iPhone 5s, according to the documents. Koh wrote that "one of the major concerns Apple identified prior to launching the iPhones was that they were 'likely to bend more easily when compared to previous generations.'"
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Robin "Roblimo" Miller, a Long-Time Voice of the Linux Community, Has Passed Away
    Reader rootmon writes: Our thoughts/prayers are with the family and friends of long time open source writer/journalist Robin "Roblimo" Miller who passed away this morning. Robin "Roblimo" Miller (born October 30, 1952) served as the Editor-in-Chief of Open Source Technology Group, the company which owned Slashdot, SourceForge.net, Freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, and ThinkGeek between 2000 to 2008. Miller formerly owned Robin's Limousine, a small limo company based in Elkridge, Maryland, the origin of his online nickname. Miller is best known for his involvement with Slashdot, where he was not only the corporate editorial overseer but also Interview Editor. As a freelancer, Miller wrote for a number of print and online publications including Time.com, Baltimore City Paper, American Medical News, Innkeeping World, Machine Design, The Baltimore Sun, and Rewired.com. Miller is the author of three books: The Online Rules of Successful Companies, Point -- Click Linux!, and Point -- Click OpenOffice.org, all published by Prentice Hall. His most recent ventures revolved around Internet-delivered video, including video software "tours" and tutorials on Linux.com and his recent "side" venture, Internet Video Promotion, Inc. Miller has been a judge for the Lulu Blooker Prize and is on the online advisory board of the Online Journalism Review of the Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California. (Biographical Info Quoted in Part from Wikipedia) Further reading: Linux Journal: RIP Robin "Roblimo" Miller. Remembering Miller, ZDNet journalist S. Vaughan-Nichols wrote, "He was funny, bright, quick with a quip, caring, and wise. I, and many others who had the pleasure of knowing him, will miss him enormously." Paul Jones, Clinical Professor at the School of Information & Library Science, and Director of ibiblio.org, wrote, "Robin taught me many things, besides the immense gift of his friendship, including 'the way to make money on the internet is to take on more than you spend.' Both funny and accurate in context and very much true to roblimo." Writer and engineer Emmett Initiative said, "He was my editor, which means he was my best friend and worst enemy. He was a kind and thoughtful man that made every writer around him at least 300% better. I already miss him."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Massachusetts Gains Foothold in Offshore Wind Power, Long Ignored in US
    New Bedford hopes to soon be the operations center for the first major offshore wind farm in the United States, bringing billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs to the town and other ports on the East Coast. The New York Times: On Wednesday, that effort took a major step forward as the State of Massachusetts, after holding an auction, selected a group made up of a Danish investment firm and a Spanish utility to erect giant turbines on the ocean bottom, beginning about 15 miles off Martha's Vineyard. This initial project will generate 800 megawatts of electricity, roughly enough to power a half a million homes. At the same time, Rhode Island announced it would award a 400-megawatt offshore wind project to another bidder in the auction. The groups must now work out the details of their contracts with the states' utilities. "We see this not just as a project but as the beginning of an industry," Lars Thaaning Pedersen, the chief executive of Vineyard Wind, which was awarded the Massachusetts contract, said in an interview. Offshore wind farms have increasingly become mainstream sources of power in Northern Europe, and are fast becoming among the cheapest sources of electricity in countries like Britain and Germany. Those power sources in those two countries already account for more than 12 gigawatts of electricity generation capacity.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Woman Says Alexa Device Recorded Her Private Conversation and Sent It To Random Contact; Amazon Confirms the Incident
    Gary Horcher, reporting for KIRO7: A Portland family contacted Amazon to investigate after they say a private conversation in their home was recorded by Amazon's Alexa -- the voice-controlled smart speaker -- and that the recorded audio was sent to the phone of a random person in Seattle, who was in the family's contact list. "My husband and I would joke and say I'd bet these devices are listening to what we're saying," said Danielle, who did not want us to use her last name. Every room in her family home was wired with the Amazon devices to control her home's heat, lights and security system. But Danielle said two weeks ago their love for Alexa changed with an alarming phone call. "The person on the other line said, 'unplug your Alexa devices right now,'" she said. '"You're being hacked.'" That person was one of her husband's employees, calling from Seattle. "We unplugged all of them and he proceeded to tell us that he had received audio files of recordings from inside our house," she said. "At first, my husband was, like, 'no you didn't!' And the (recipient of the message) said 'You sat there talking about hardwood floors.' And we said, 'oh gosh, you really did hear us.'" Danielle listened to the conversation when it was sent back to her, and she couldn't believe someone 176 miles away heard it too. In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said, "Amazon takes privacy very seriously. We investigated what happened and determined this was an extremely rare occurrence. We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future." Further reading: Amazon Admits Its AI Alexa is Creepily Laughing at People.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Missing Climate Goals Could Cost the World $20 Trillion
    An anonymous reader shares a report: There are trillions of reasons for the world to prevent temperatures from rising more than 1.5C, the aspirational target laid out in the Paris climate agreement, according to a new study. If nations took the necessary actions to meet that goal, rather than the increasingly discussed 2C objective, there's a 60 percent chance it would save the world more than $20 trillion, according to new work published this week in Nature by scientists at Stanford. That figure is far higher than what most experts think it will cost to cut emissions enough to achieve the 1.5C target. Indeed, one study put the price tag in the hundreds of billions of dollars. If temperatures rise by 3C, it will knock out an additional 5 percent of GDP. That's the entire planet's GDP.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Pornhub Launches VPNhub, Its Own Virtual Private Network App
    "Adult entertainment" giant Pornhub is entering the busy virtual private network (VPN) space with the launch of its very own VPN service. From a report: Dubbed VPNhub, the new service is available for free via native apps on Android, iOS, MacOS, and Windows, though there is a premium subscription available that gets rid of the ads and promises faster speeds. In the U.S., this will cost between $12 and $14 per month, depending on the platform. VPNhub promises unlimited bandwidth, even on the free service, which is key given that Pornhub's core selling point is bandwidth-intensive video, while it offers around 1,000 servers across 15 countries. And it promises that it logs no user data.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • US Launches Criminal Probe Into Bitcoin Price Manipulation
    The Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into whether traders are manipulating the price of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, dramatically ratcheting up U.S. scrutiny of red-hot markets that critics say are rife with misconduct, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. From the report: The investigation is focused on illegal practices that can influence prices -- such as spoofing, or flooding the market with fake orders to trick other traders into buying or selling, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the review is private. Federal prosecutors are working with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a financial regulator that oversees derivatives tied to Bitcoin, the people said. Authorities worry that virtual currencies are susceptible to fraud for multiple reasons: skepticism that all exchanges are actively pursuing cheaters, wild price swings that could make it easy to push valuations around and a lack of regulations like the ones that govern stocks and other assets.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Trump Cancels Singapore Summit With North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un
    President Donald Trump has cancelled his much anticipated meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that was scheduled to take place in Singapore on June 12, he announced moments ago. In a letter to Kim, the president said; "I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger an open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter to serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place." He added, "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Gamers Involved In Fatal Wichita 'Swatting' Indicted On Federal Charges
    bricko shares a report from Kansas: A federal grand jury has indicted the man accused in Wichita's fatal swatting as well as the two gamers involved in the video game dispute that prompted the false emergency call. The 29-page indictment was unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. It charges 25-year-old Tyler Barriss, who is facing state court charges including involuntary manslaughter, with false information and hoaxes, cyberstalking, threatening to kill another or damage property by fire, interstate threats, conspiracy and several counts of wire fraud, according to federal court records. One of the gamers -- 18-year-old Casey S. Viner of North College Hill, Ohio -- is charged with several counts of wire fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. The other gamer -- 19-year-old Shane M. Gaskill of Wichita -- is charged with several counts of obstruction of justice, wire fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 710 Platform For Midrange Android Phones
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from AnandTech: Today Qualcomm announces a new entry to the Snapdragon lineup with the first 700-series SoC platform. The Snapdragon 710 is a direct successor to the Snapdragon 660 but comes with a new branding more worthy of the increased performance characteristics of the SoC. The big IP blocks found on the Snapdragon 710 are very much derivatives of what's found on the flagship Snapdragon 845. On the CPU side we see the same 2.2GHz maximum clock on the big cores, but the Kryo 360 Cortex A75 based CPUs are microarchitectural upgrade over last year's A72 based Kryo 260. The little cores are also based on the newer Cortex A55's and are clocked at up to 1.7GHz. The performance improvements are quoted as an overall 20% uplift in SPECint2000 and 25% faster performance in Octane and Kraken versus the SD660. The SoC now also uses the new system cache first introduced in the Snapdragon 845 -- although I'm expecting a smaller, yet unconfirmed 1MB size in the SD710. The 700-series SoC platform sports the new 600 series Adreno GPUs. They have an expected frequency of around 750MHz and up to 35% higher performance versus the Adreno 512 in the SD660. "In terms of connectivity the new SoC implements an X15 modem which is capable of UE Category 15 in the downstream with up to 800Mbps in 4x carrier aggregation and up to UE Category 7 in the upload with up to 2x CA and 256 QAM," reports AnandTech. "The new chipset now also offers 2x2 802.11ac digital backend for Wi-Fi -- however it'll still need an external discrete analog RF frontend."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Ariane Chief Seems Frustrated With SpaceX For Driving Down Launch Costs
    schwit1 shares a report from Ars Technica: Like United Launch Alliance, the [France-based] Ariane Group faces pricing pressure from SpaceX, which offers launch prices as low as $62 million for its Falcon 9 rocket. It has specifically developed the Ariane 6 rocket to compete with the Falcon 9 booster. But there are a couple of problems with this. Despite efforts to cut costs, the two variants of the Ariane 6 will still cost at least 25 percent more than SpaceX's present-day prices. Moreover, the Ariane 6 will not fly until 2020 at the earliest, by which time Falcon 9 could offer significantly cheaper prices on used Falcon 9 boosters if it needed to. (The Ariane 6 rocket is entirely expendable). With this background in mind, the chief executive of Ariane Group, Alain Charmeau, gave an interview to the German publication Der Spiegel. The interview was published in German, but a credible translation can be found here. During the interview, Charmeau expressed frustration with SpaceX and attributed its success to subsidized launches for the U.S. government.  When pressed on the price pressure that SpaceX has introduced into the launch market, Charmeau's central argument is that this has only been possible because, "SpaceX is charging the U.S. government 100 million dollar per launch, but launches for European customers are much cheaper." Essentially, he says, launches for the U.S. military and NASA are subsidizing SpaceX's commercial launch business. However, the pay-for-service prices that SpaceX offers to the U.S. Department of Defense for spy satellites and cargo and crew launches for NASA are below those of what other launch companies charge. And while $100 million or more for a military launch is significantly higher than a $62 million commercial launch, government contracts come with extra restrictions, reviews, and requirements that drive up this price.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Money's Better Than E-Cigs Or Nicotine Gum At Helping Smokers Quit, Says Study
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Providing free electronic cigarettes or other stop-smoking products to employees to get them to give up real cigarettes is less effective than the threat of taking away a cash reward for quitting, according to a new study that weighs the effectiveness of a variety of workplace incentive programs. The findings, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, call into question the claims by e-cigarette enthusiasts that the devices may be better than traditional quit aids at helping smokers to stop. The study is also significant because it may be the first to look at programs to get all smoking employees to quit, whether or not they've decided they want to do so. The results show that if the motivation isn't there, neither are the positive results. 9.5 percent of participants who got the free smoking cessation products plus a cash reward ($100 for the first month, an additional $200 at the three-month mark and $300 if they stayed smoke-free for six months) for staying away from tobacco quit.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


The Register





  • Brit doctors surgery fined £35k over medical data fumble
    Left patient records, prescriptions in former surgery premises for 18 months
    Bayswater Medical Centre (BMC) in London is licking its wounds after taking a not insignificant punch to the wallet for discarding highly sensitive medical information in an empty building for a year and a half.…












  • Microsoft gives users options for Office data slurpage – Basic or Full
    Would you like to send all or some telemetry back to the Windows goliath?
    Microsoft is rolling out an update to Office products to introduce Windows 10-style telemetry data slurping. Or rather the software business has made it very clear to users it is doing so and they cannot opt out.…



  • Microsoft and boffins cook up hardware-secured database
    EnclaveDB promises protection against malicious admins
    At the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy in San Francisco, Calif., this week, researchers from Imperial College London and Microsoft presented an experimental database engine called EnclaveDB that aims to keep data and database queries secure even when the host system has been compromised.…


  • Doc Searls' Cluetrain arrives at IEEE HQ, delivers privacy machine
    And that's just the second surprise. The standards bods also want to call out fake news
    David “Doc” Searls, co-author of 1999's cyber-utopian document The Cluetrain Manifesto, has persuaded the IEEE to launch one of two new IEEE projects seeking to inject a dose of ethics into the world of tech.…


  • OpenStack had a summit, so everyone's talking about it
    A soft serve this week for hungry net admins
    Juniper Networks announced a tie-up with Red Hat integrating Red Hats OpenShift Container Platform and OpenStack Platform into Juniper's Contrail Enterprise Multicloud.…


  • Open Source MANO Release FOUR lands
    Smaller feet, more monitoring, better interoperability
    The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has dropped the latest iteration of its open source management and orchestration (OS MANO, or OSM) environment.…














  • Swiss sausage sizzler 4.0 hits 200 bangers per hour
    Crunchy charcoal fingers with raw meaty innards to be a thing of the past
    With a bank holiday looming (in the UK and US at least) thoughts are turning to barbecues and the traditional burning-of-the-meat.…




  • UK.gov's use of black box algorithms to decide stuff needs watching
    PS: Don't forget to try to cash in on public data – MPs
    Increased use of algorithms in decision-making risks disproportionately affecting certain groups, MPs have said, urging the government to boost transparency and tackle bias - but not forget the value of public data.…





  • Boffins: Michael Jackson's tilt was a criminally smooth trick
    30 years on, King of Pop's dance moves no longer flummox academic world
    New research from India into Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal tilt has concluded that, yes, it is physically impossible and dancers should really stop trying to recreate it because Achilles tendon and spinal injuries are not fun.…



  • Machine learning for dummies: You needn't go back to uni to use it
    AI is no longer just an academic exercise – and courses need to wise up to that
    Artificial intelligence and its sub-domains look set to be the next major growth area for software developers, programmers, hackers and just about anyone who has anything to do with software.…




  • Astroboffins, get in here and explain Saturn's odd-shaped balls
    Well, technically speaking, the gas giant's ring system takes regular hard poundings
    A trio of physicists reckoned they’ve figured out why some of Saturn’s moons are so oddly shaped, with some looking like giant floating ravioli and others imitating stubby baguettes.…







Linux.com offline for now

Phoronix


  • XWayland Gets Patches For Better EGLStreams Handling
    While the recently released X.Org Server 1.20 has initial support for XWayland with EGLStreams so X11 applications/games on Wayland can still benefit from hardware acceleration, in its current state it doesn't integrate too well with Wayland desktop compositors wishing to support it. That's changing with a new patch series...






  • Mesa Begins Its Transition To Gitlab
    Following the news from earlier this month that FreeDesktop.org would move its infrastructure to Gitlab, the Mesa3D project has begun the process of adopting this Git-centered software...





  • Wine's VKD3D 1.0 Released For Running Direct3D 12 Over Vulkan
    The Wine project has announced the release of VKD3D 1.0, the first official release of this Direct3D 12 over Vulkan layer primarily developed at CodeWeavers. VKD3D is the approach Wine is pursuing for getting Direct3D 12 games from Windows working on Wine under Linux or also under macOS when paired with MoltenVK...



  • GCC vs. LLVM Clang vs. AOCC Compilers On AMD Threadripper
    Given recent improvements to AMD Zen (znver1) with LLVM, the new AMD AOCC 1.2 compiler release, and GCC 8.1 having premiered just weeks ago, here is a fresh look at the performance of six different C/C++ code compilers when testing the performance of the resulting binaries on an AMD Threadripper 1950X system.



  • DragonFlyBSD 5.2.1 Released
    While DragonFlyBSD 5.3/5.4 is exciting on the performance front for those making use of the stable DragonFly operating system releases, DragonFlyBSD 5.2.1 is available this week...


  • Mesa 18.2 Due For Release In August
    While Mesa 18.1 just officially shipped last week, Mesa 18.2 as next quarter's open-source 3D OpenGL/Vulkan graphics driver stack update is scheduled for release in mid-August...








  • ARM64 Mitigation Posted For Spectre 4 / SSBD
    Following the Intel/AMD Spectre Variant 4 mitigation landing yesterday with "Speculative Store Bypass Disable" (SSBD) and then the POWER CPU mitigation landing today, ARM developers have posted their set of patches for 64-bit ARM CPUs to mitigate against this latest Spectre vulnerability around speculative execution...





  • Qt 5.11 Released With A Big Arsenal Of Updates
    The Qt Company has managed to release Qt 5.11 one week ahead of schedule compared to its original road-map, which is quite a feat considering some of the past Qt5 release delays. Beyond that, Qt 5.11.0 is offering a big slab of improvements...





  • Purism Publishes Librem 5 Dev Kit Details, Small Batch Order Going In Soon
    Purism has published their nearly final specifications on their limited-run Librem 5 Dev Kit. The cutoff for ordering a developer kit is next week as they are placing their hardware order and planning on only this single, limited run of the developer kit prior to the phones becoming available next year...




Engadget"Engadget RSS Feed"

  • Instapaper temporarily shuts down in Europe to comply with GDPR

    Every company that does business in the EU is sending out notifications of their compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules that reach their final compliance date March 25th. Instapaper, however, is taking different approach, notifying its customers in the UK that its service would be temporarily unavailable for European residents.

    The email, shared on Twitter by @smithsam and noted by privacy policy, which he said hasn't been changed in years. He is, he tweeted, "actively working on resolving it."

    When reached for comment, a Pinterest spokesperson said, "Instapaper is temporarily unavailable for users in Europe as we make some changes for GDPR. We plan to bring the service back online as soon as possible, and will keep our users informed of any updates."

    Via: TechCrunch

    Source: Sam Smith / Twitter


  • Wirecutter's best deals: Save $90 on a Microsoft Xbox One X console

    This post was done in partnership with Microsoft Xbox One X 1TB


    Street price: $500; Deal price: $410

    If you're a gamer that favors the Xbox game catalogue and you're looking to play compatible games in 4K, the Xbox One X, one of the two higher-end consoles we recommend, is your best option. Right now, you can get the One X 1TB console and one wireless controller for $410 via the eBay Newegg storefront, a very nice discount. While we've seen a number of other sales recently, most have bundled extra games or controllers and been closer to $500. With this sale, you can decide which accessories you'd want after you make your purchase.

    The Microsoft Xbox One X is an upgrade pick in our guide to the best game consoles. Thorin Klosowski wrote, "Since the Xbox One S can already output 4K for video but not for games, you should consider the Xbox One X only if you want to play games in 4K and you don't mind spending twice as much money to do so. Xbox One games need an update to output in 4K, and only some games support it. Updated games might also get other incremental improvements, such as improved frame rates, more detailed textures, or faster load times, but none of those minor improvements are worth the high price of the Xbox One X on their own. If you must game in 4K, the Xbox One X is worth considering, but that's the only reason."
    Denon AVR-S730H Receiver


    Street price: $350; Deal price: $300

    At $300, this feature-rich receiver is a great value. We've seen the Denon AVR-S730H drop in street price recently from prices in the mid $400s to around $350, but this sale takes it even lower, providing the lowest price we've seen and a great option to those seeking a comparatively affordable upgrade for their AV setup.

    The Denon AVR-S730H is our top pick in our guide to the best receiver. Chris Heinonen wrote, "We picked the Denon AVR-S730H as the best receiver for most people because it's the easiest to set up and has every feature most people will need (and many that are nice to have). These include built-in Wi-Fi, room correction, support for seven channels, both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D audio support, and six HDMI 2.0 inputs. It consistently sounded very good during our listening tests and didn't distort, even at high volume levels. It supports important wireless streaming standards and has enough inputs for most people. Denon has made small improvements over last year's model by adding support for more streaming services and upcoming Alexa compatibility."
    Acton Blink Lite Electric Skateboard


    Street price: $250; Deal price: $200

    Down to $200 from prices largely in the neighborhood of $250, this is a nice deal on this recommended electric skateboard, which our testers loved for its compact shape and nimble handling. If you're a sub-180 pound rider that isn't looking to spend a ton, this is a nice opportunity to save some cash.

    The Acton Blink Lite Electric Skateboard is our budget pick in our guide to the best electric skateboard. Jack Smith wrote, "The Acton Blink Lite isn't the most powerful board around, nor does it have the longest range or the fastest top speed. But at its affordable price, who cares about all that? The Blink Lite is the perfect entry-level electric board for people who just want to have some fun with a skateboard they don't have to push around. It's a great choice for parents buying gifts for their kids, students wanting to zip around campus, and core skaters looking for a cheap way to see what this whole electric thing is all about. Just note that it can hold riders up to only 180 pounds; if you weigh more than that, consider our top pick instead."
    Amazon Echo (2nd Generation) – (refurbished)


    Street price: $85; Deal price: $70

    This Echo deal is notable for one reason - it's the lowest price we've seen for the 2nd gen Amazon Echo at $70. All available models are certified refurbished with the deal price available for the charcoal and sandstone fabric finishes. While this isn't the first and won't be the last great deal we've seen for the Echo 2nd gen, if you're looking to add a smart speaker to your home or office, this is the best price available so far.

    The Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) is our pick in our guide to Alexa and Amazon's Echo speaker line. Grant Clauser wrote, "If you want music without hooking up any additional speakers, the second-generation Echo offers the complete range of functions, minus the screen features of the Show and Spot. As a speaker, it's good for kitchens, offices, dens, bedrooms, and other places where convenience and size (it's about the size of a Foster's beer can) is more important than audio performance. The speaker is designed for 360-degree dispersion, so placing it in the middle of the room will give you sound in all four corners."

    Because great deals don't just happen on Thursday, 'sign up for our daily deals email' and we'll send you the best deals we find every weekday. Also, deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, 'please go here'.


  • Twitter initiates its new campaign ad policy

    Social media became a battleground in the 2016 election with bot accounts pushing fake news and tons of advertising trying to influence US voters. In the lead-up to the 2018 midterms, platforms have announced new rules to improve transparency. Today, just as Facebook implemented its own political advertising disclosures, Twitter has adopted changes to how it handles campaign advertisements to vet buyers.

    The new advertising policies, introduced back in fall, require anyone wanting to run an ad to certify that they live in the US, as the platform now prohibits foreign nationals from targeting US residents with political ads. Candidates and committees must provide their FEC number, while groups unregistered with the election commission will have to validate their identities through a notarized document. Then, Twitter will send letters -- via snail mail -- to confirm identities and locations of the aspiring advertisers.

    Twitter handles used to campaign with political advertising have more rigid appearance requirements. The account's profile photo, header photo and website must all be consistent with their online presence, and the site linked in their bio needs working contact information.

    The disclaimers identifying political campaign ads, who paid for them and if they were authorized by particular candidates will be coming in the near future. So too will the election labels that will soon be attached to accounts for candidates running for state Governor, the Senate or House of Representatives that Twitter announced yesterday.

    Twitter will begin enforcing this policy later in the summer, according to a blog post, and from then on, only certified advertisers will be able to run political ads. (The platform has set up a site for aspiring ad buyers to get certified.) The platform will also bring a transparency center online in the upcoming season to detail spending and demographics targeted by political ads. Issue advertisements, on the other hand, will be subject to a different upcoming policy.

    Source: Twitter blog





  • Driving an EV means changing the way you think about “refueling”

    You've finally taken the EV plunge. You're "one of the good ones," you think to yourself. It's all about reducing your impact on the planet and moving further away from fossil fuels. Here's to a cleaner, brighter tomorrow and maybe saving a few bucks on gas.

    Then you pull up to your first charging station and you realize that shiny future is kind of a pain in the ass. At least initially.

    Unlike your local gas station where you pull up, swipe your credit card and fill your tank, some EV charging stations will typically have users download an app, sign up for a service, then pay. Or you can call the number on the charger and talk to a customer service rep into sharing the electricity flowing to your new whip. During my time reviewing electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles I've seen the same scenario play out over and over again. A person pulls up to a station, looks at the instructions, curses under their breath and pulls out their phone. Five minutes later they start charging.

    Before you close the order tab for your new Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf or other EV, it's important to realize that while it's initially weird to use an app to charge a car when the gas station just wants your credit card number, when you go electric you're entering an entirely new way of interacting with your car.

    For example, you can't just hook your gas car up to a petrol pump at home and wake up to a full tank. With an EV, you just plug it into the wall. It's also unlikely that your employer will top off your car while you're doing whatever it is you do. Again, all you need is an outlet or dedicated charger near a parking spot. Oh, and your boss' permission.



    One of the companies putting up stations to keep your EV topped off, ChargePoint notes that 80 percent of charging is done at home and at work. Charging stations are more of a destination than a necessity for those with a garage just tooling about town or commuting. But there are times when you need or just want to charge while out in the world.

    If you want to use one of ChargePoint's stations you can either download the app and register or call customer support and they'll charge your card and start the process. The first time, sure it's a pain, but after that, you're going to want to use that app to find places to get juiced up.

    More and more of these stations are in retail parking lots. Target, Whole Foods, Walmart and a host of malls are now seeing EV owners as customers that show up and stick around longer than maybe they would have in the past because they can charge up the cars of those patrons.



    There are a finite amount of spaces at those locations. That's where the apps for these stations come into play. At a gas station, a car might occupy a pump for five to 10 minutes. At the mall, a vehicle could be in a stall sucking down electrons for hours. Pulling up the app from charge-station companies like ChargePoint, EVgo and Blink can tell a driver what spots are available.

    It's not perfect, someone could swoop in and take your spot before you get there, but it's better than going in totally blind.

    While ChargePoint and Blink don't offer a quick credit-card way to charge a car, EVgo does and it's not that popular. "A majority of our drivers currently use the RFID card, a smaller but growing portion use the app, and very low single digits use a credit card." Jonathan Levy EVgo vice president of strategic initiatives told Engadget.

    Those RFID car users are probably using the app to find stations, then doing a quick swipe to get the charging started.

    Of course, there's still the issue of having to sign up for multiple accounts to make sure you're good to go no matter what service you end up using. That's still a pain. Maybe in the future, there will be industry interoperability. You could potentially sign up for one service and still charge using the station of another.

    So, when you take delivery of that new EV, pull your phone and start setting up accounts. Do it before you hit up the location charging spot. Because sometimes living on the cutting edge of technology can be frustrating, but once you've figured it out, you're going to be way happier about your new greener lifestyle.


  • Elon Musk may have violated US labor laws during tweet storm

    When Elon Musk had a twitter meltdown a few days ago in response to bad press about Tesla factory safety, he may have actually said something illegal. According to May 21, 2018
    According to Tesla, said Bloomberg, the tweet was meant to point out that members of the union who work for other automakers don't receive stock options. Former National Labor Relations Board chair Wilma Liebman said that the tweet could be interpreted differently, however. "The employee is going to hear it as, 'If I vote to unionize, stock options will no longer be an option,'" she told Bloomberg.

    Source: Bloomberg


  • Vevo goes all-in on YouTube music videos

    Raise your hand if you used Vevo's apps instead of watching music videos on YouTube. Anybody? That's what we thought. Despite Vevo's effort to grow its brand through apps and its website, nothing quite clicked -- so it's killing them to re-focus on YouTube. tuned recommendations based on your watch history and likes, and sought to grab viewers' attention by getting artists and music bloggers to curate playlists. Vevo even had a strange Watch Party feature (which let you talk with your pals as you watched videos together) before trying a aimed to roll out subscription plans too, but that didn't get off the ground.

    The app closures follow an exodus of top figures at Vevo over the last six months, including its CEO, CTO and head of product, along with several product and engineering employees. It seems music video programming, advertising (which Vevo will keep selling alongside YouTube's own ads) and original content are the focus areas for the time being. The strategy shift comes just as the paid YouTube Music service launched this week, with YouTube seeking to gain ground in the music streaming space. Going forward, it may be better for Vevo to get a piece of that subscription pie.

    Source: Vevo, Variety


  • Google will always do evil

    One day in late April or early May, Google removed the phrase "don't be evil" from its code of conduct. After 18 years as the company's motto, those three words and chunks of their accompanying corporate clauses were unceremoniously deleted from the record, save for a solitary, uncontextualized mention in the document's final sentence.

    Google didn't advertise this change. In fact, the code of conduct states it was last updated on April 5th. The "don't be evil" exorcism clearly took place well after that date.

    Google has chosen to actively distance itself from the uncontroversial, totally accepted tenet of not being evil, and it's doing so in a shady (and therefore completely fitting) way. After nearly two decades of trying to live up to its motto, it looks like Google is ready to face reality.

    In order for Google to be Google, it has to do evil.


    This is true for every major technology company. Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Tesla, Microsoft, Sony, Twitter, Samsung, Nintendo, Dell, HP, Toshiba -- every one of these organizations can't compete in the market without engaging in unethical, inhumane and invasive practices. It's a sliding scale: The larger the company, the more integrated it is in our everyday lives, the more evil it can be.

    Take Facebook for example. CEO Mark Zuckerberg will stand onstage at F8 and wax poetic about the beauty of connecting billions of people across the globe, while at the same time patenting technologies to determine users' social classes and enable discrimination in the lending process, and allowing housing advertisers to exclude racial and ethnic groups, or families with women and children, from their listings.

    That's not even mentioning the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the 85 million Facebook users whose personal information ended up, without permission, in the hands of an overseas political group during the contentious 2016 presidential election.


    And then there's Apple, the largest public company in the world. It's also one of the most secretive, but even so, it's been caught engaging in evil. Apple is one of the most notorious tech names when it comes to child labor and inhumane working conditions. It's been tied to child labor in Africa, and the Chinese factories where its phones are assembled are frequently cited over illegal and lethal practices. At least nine workers at Apple's key factory partner, Foxconn Technology Group, committed suicide in 2010, prompting international outrage. Yet just this year, the AP reported more than 200 workers from a single Samsung production line had died or fallen seriously ill, many being diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma and MS, despite being relatively young -- in their 20s and early 30s. Samsung has denied any involvement in the lethal trend.

    There's a simple reason major tech companies often look the other way after these scandals, brushing concerns aside as they continue to work with factories known for employing children and operating in barbaric ways. It's necessity. In order to remain competitive, Apple needs 200 million new iPhones with each updated model, and the most profitable way to make that happen is to partner with Foxconn or Catcher. In Apple's math, the bottom line outweighs the well-being of workers on the assembly line.


    The people who actually work at Apple or any major tech company are not monsters. Ask any Apple employee about child labor in iPhone factories and they'll assuredly express disgust and outrage -- but the company itself is far more powerful than its individualized workforce.

    Which brings us back to Google. Earlier this month, roughly a dozen employees quit over the company's involvement in Project Maven, a military program that aims to use AI systems to analyze drone footage. Though Google insists the technology will be applied to "non-offensive uses only," some employees are concerned about its potential use in drone strikes. On top of those who quit, nearly 4,000 Google employees have signed a petition demanding the company pull out of Project Maven and refuse to work with the military in the future.
    The chances of Google actually cutting ties with the US military are miniscule.
    The chances of Google actually cutting ties with the US military are miniscule. Besides, quitting wouldn't stop Project Maven from moving forward; it would only cut Google out of the process, passing the future of AI drone technology to another company. At least with Google, there's the underlying promise that these systems won't be evil.

    Well. That was true until just a few weeks ago.

    The reason major technology companies have so much power to be evil is because many of them have found ways to do good in our lives. These organizations are big for a reason -- Google is the backbone of the internet; Apple is a leader in gadget design and ecosystems; Samsung produces a vast range of devices for a wide swath of people; Facebook truly does connect the world. But as a tech company's propensity to do good grows, so too does its ability to do terrible things. That's why Google's motto -- "don't be evil" -- was such a poignant reminder of the humanity necessary to keep these companies in check. Emphasis on the was.

    Images: Getty (Google building); pestoverde / Flickr (Mark Zuckerberg); Bobby Yip / Reuters (Foxconn factory)


  • Amazon Echo recorded a conversation and sent it to a random contact

    A Portland, Oregon family has claimed that their Amazon Echo recorded a conversation and then sent it to a random person on their contact list. Two weeks ago, the person -- an employee of the husband -- sent them audio files of their chats that he'd received from their smart speaker.

    The family had set up a household of Alexa-equipped devices to control heat, lights and security. When the incident happened, the family unplugged them all and contacted Amazon.

    "They said 'our engineers went through your logs, and they saw exactly what you told us, they saw exactly what you said happened, and we're sorry.' He apologized like 15 times in a matter of 30 minutes and he said we really appreciate you bringing this to our attention, this is something we need to fix!" the wife told KIRO 7.

    When reached for comment, the tech giant provided the following statement to KIRO 7; "Amazon takes privacy very seriously. We investigated what happened and determined this was an extremely rare occurrence. We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future."

    Amazon reportedly offered to 'de-provision' the family's Alexa communications to keep using the device suite's smart home functionality, but they're seeking a full refund. We've reached out to Amazon for additional comment and will include it when we hear back.

    Via: The Washington Post


  • Facebook's political ad disclosures go into effect

    Facebook is acting on its promise to show who paid for political ads. Starting today, election- and issue-related ads on Facebook and Instagram must carry a "paid for by" label at the top of the ad. Click on those labels and you'll visit an archive that will show you details about the ad, including its budget and audience demographics like age, gender and location. The archive will only cover US political and issue ads for "up to" seven years at launch, but that should be enough to review recent elections.

    Katie Harbath, Facebook's global politics and government outreach director said that, in the future, the archive will include political ads from elections outside of the US. As for the seven years timing for the searchable database, she said the idea was to cover most political cycles around the world. In terms of which issues actually qualify, Facebook is currently relying on a list of 20 "initial" issues (generated with the help of the Comparative Agendas Project) that cover a gamut of hot button subjects like civil rights, reproduction and terrorism.

    Facebook also outlined how it intends to enforce its new policy. It plans to inspect the images, text and target audience for ads, and will check links whenever an ad points someone to an external website. Facebook has promised that its system will catch unauthorized ads, too, although it's quick to acknowledge that it might "miss some ads" and flag others by mistake.

    Between these latest moves and Facebook's recent insistence on verifying political ad buyers in the US, the company's goals are clear: it wants to avoid even the slightest chance of interference from Russia and other bad actors in future elections, particularly the 2018 US mid-terms. The company is well aware that it lost a lot of trust over the issue from both users and politicians, and that inaction on its part could lead to regulation. It doesn't consider the issue solved -- it acknowledged that there are "smart, creative and well-funded adversaries" who will likely step up their game. However, these measures might just discourage 'casual' election meddling and limit the impact of particularly determined manipulators.

    Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.

    Source: Facebook Newsroom, Political Content Ads archive




  • Russia denies planning botnet cyberattack on Ukraine

    Russia has denied planning a major cyberattack that would disrupt soccer's Champions League final this weekend. Ukraine's SBU security service said on Wednesday that malware infecting hundreds of thousands of routers was the work of Russian hackers preparing for an assault on the country. The attackers were accused of targeting Saturday's match in Kiev. According to Reuters, the Kremlin has strongly denied these accusations.

    The malware reportedly bears similarities to code used in previous cyberattacks that the US government linked to Russia. Hackers associated the malware used in the most recent botnet plague with a group of photos on Photobucket (which have since been deleted) and a domain now under the FBI's control. That infrastructure installed malicious plugins every time a router connected to it, but the plugins vanish every time an infected device is rebooted, with only the core malware code remaining. So, the photo deletion and domain seizure will severely limit the effectiveness of the malware network. Router owners were still advised to reboot their devices and update the firmware using official sources as soon as possible.

    Ukraine had understandable reasons for believing it was once again a cyberattack target. It's endured several cyberattacks over the last few years -- one knocked a power grid offline, while another hit an airport, banks and the Ukraine government.

    Source: Reuters


  • Samsung’s obnoxious new ad will ‘turn off’ millions of TVs

    Look at your TV right now, if you can. If it's on, turn it off. Gaze upon that blank screen. Really contemplate it. If you can feel an irrational, white-hot anger bubbling up inside you, Samsung's new QLED TVs — and the Ambient Mode that helps them blend into their surroundings — might be for you. While that feature is admittedly quite cool, we don't know the same could be said of Samsung's "disruptive" marketing campaign for it. Over the next ten days, Samsung will pretend to turn off millions of televisions in the UK, all to remind people that TVs are mostly just "ugly black screens."

    If this all sounds a little silly, well, we're right there with you. Samsung elaborated on its approach in a press release issued early this morning and it's so unintentionally funny that you should just read the pertinent bit yourself:

    "Screens will buzz with static and interference before going blank and entirely silent, leaving viewers staring into the void – or searching for their remote controls – for five long seconds. The darkness ends with text emerging, which reads: "This is your TV screen ... most of the time; a void full of nothing." It then explains the virtues of Samsung QLED technology which has an 'ambient' mode meaning viewers need never see a blank screen again."

    Never mind that the phrase "a void full of nothing" is utterly redundant — like many other "disruptive" campaigns, this one has the potential to get really obnoxious. Televisions will seemingly be shut down in the middle of popular shows like Coronation Street and The Simpsons, and more than 200 spots will air across 18 channels just to ensure that people really get the idea. Expect these faux-blackouts to hit the massive, 790 square meter display in Piccadilly Circus too, not to mention cinema screens around the country just before showings of Solo: A Star Wars Story kick off.

    To make things even better, the five-second screen shutdowns in that first slew of ads will be supplemented with a longer, eight-second blackout as part of a thirty-second ad that'll appear during the final break of the Champions League final on May 26th. When it comes to selling televisions, Star Wars die-hards and footy fanatics are probably the last two groups of people a company should try to mess with -- thankfully, it won't be long before we see how Samsung's ads actually fare.


  • The World Cup is Twitter’s next chance at video dominance

    As the 2018 FIFA World Cup gets ready to kick off on June 14th, the 32 international teams competing in Russia aren't the only ones preparing for the big event. Fans are too, and Twitter wants to be the online place where they stay up to date on all the action. After striking deal with Fox Sports, the World Cup TV rights holder in the US, Twitter will offer users access to exclusive video content. That includes real-time highlights, player interviews, pre- and post-match press conferences, as well as a daily show called which reached 3.2 billion viewers during 2014 (when Twitter still hadn't launched its video features), having these rights is a major win for the company. Especially as it continues to make a huge push into live, original programming. Just a couple of weeks ago, Twitter revealed a new partnership with another giant sports network, ESPN, which will pave the way for a slew of live shows on the site -- including a mobile-only version of SportsCenter. That was the latest move in Twitter's plan to break into the video-streaming entertainment scene, which also includes teaming up with the likes of the NFL and The Oscars on exclusive shows for its users.


    Rachel Bonnetta is the host of 'FIFA World Cup Now.'
    As meaningful as those partnerships are for its business, though, the World Cup is on a different scale. It's a massive global event that only happens every four years. By working with Fox Sports in the US and other networks such as Televisa in Mexico, Twitter is betting that the event can not only help it bring in new users, but also show advertisers and publishers its potential as a platform for both conversation and consumption. Twitter's efforts to grow beyond being just a microblogging service are clear, as shown by video stats it shared recently. The company said that it streamed over 1,300 live broadcasts in the first quarter of 2018, with 80 percent of those reaching its worldwide audience.

    Those numbers are key because it wants to appeal to users beyond the US. Out of Twitter's 336 million monthly active users, 267 million of them are international. That's why it was important for it to find World Cup partnerships in other big markets like Brazil, Mexico and the UK. Twitter has realized that it is the perfect medium for live events, and that's why it's investing so heavily in the World Cup. The company's bread and butter has always been live reactions to breaking news. It's space that Facebook or Snapchat simply can't compete in. And Twitter is leaning into that role hard, in hopes of becoming the place to watch whatever live event sparks your interest -- whether that's the World Cup, an awards show or the news.

    What Twitter hopes to accomplish, eventually, is that you use its app as more than just a second-screen experience. And even though during the 2018 Russia World Cup you'll only be able to watch highlights and a daily show, don't be surprised if Twitter is competing for the full video rights to future FIFA tournaments down the road. Because it's obvious that it wants to be the primary source of news and video for its users, along with offering them a platform where they can tweet their feelings away about how good (or bad) their favorite team is.
    Twitter's daily show will stream live from Red Square in Moscow, Russia.
    MLADEN ANTONOV via Getty Images

    Although Snapchat will have some World Cup content to compete for attention in the US, the fact that Twitter managed to work with Fox Sports to create a daily show from Russia gives it an edge over its social media rivals. FIFA, soccer's governing body, is very protective over its intellectual property, so Twitter having access to those licenses will make sure its users can get an endless amount of highlights, GIFs and other video clips from Russia in real time. The odd company out is Facebook, which is surprising considering that it is investing a billion dollars in video.

    A Facebook spokesperson said that, while the company doesn't have a paid partnership with Fox Sports or Telemundo (the Spanish rights holder) in the US, it still expects both networks to publish some content on its site -- though it likely won't compare to Twitter's. Sources familiar with the negotiations tell Engadget that Facebook tried to get involved but ultimately lost to Twitter and, to a lesser degree, Snapchat. Last year, it was reported that all of these social media giants were offering "tens of millions" of dollars to Fox for exclusive access, and clearly Facebook fell short.

    Alex Josephson, Twitter's director of global brand strategy, said that the World Cup presents a great opportunity for the company because of the unique levels of user engagement. He claims that while other social media sites will see a one to two percent dip in user visits and time spent during major live broadcasts, Twitter actually sees a four percent increase, whether it's a sports game or an awards show. Josephson attributes these results to Twitter being about "what's happening now. If something is happening and it's resonating across the world in real time," he said, "that's really where our platform is at its best."


    Giorgio Chiellini (left) and Luis Suarez (right) after "The Bite."
    Of course, a big part of Twitter's charm are the viral moments and memes that can spread like wildfire. That, along with people's real-time reaction to events, is what makes Twitter different than its rivals, Josephson said. Users know that they can always go to Twitter to see what their friends (or strangers) are thinking about funny or controversial moments from games. He pointed to the 2014 Brazil World Cup when Uruguay's Luis Suarez bit Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during a game, which was obviously a large topic of conversation. Or to that time Germany beat Brazil 7-1, a scoreline that was unexpected and generated more than 35 million tweets.

    Moments like that are, naturally, unpredictable. But Josephson said that's the beauty of the World Cup and what will keep Twitter's essence flowing. Kenneth C. Wisnefski, CEO and founder of social media marketing agency WebiMax, said that with the 2014 World Cup generating a record 672 million tweets (including 32.1 million in the final match), there's simply no other event that's more important to Twitter. He said that not only does this open up advertising opportunities that are off the charts, but it gives the company a perfect way to lure in new users.The downside to that is that most users probably don't want brands ruining your experience with their cheesy tweets.

    With 35.6 million Tweets, #BRA v #GER is the most-discussed single sports game ever on Twitter. #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/pRjssAZmhg
    - Twitter Data (@TwitterData) July 9, 2014
    "Twitter is to social media what CNN is to breaking news on television," said Wisnefski. "People have become programmed to enjoy a second-screen experience on Twitter [and] the immediacy of the responses allow for a constant conversation. You can't get this same type of interaction on Facebook or Snapchat. It's ideally built for sports." He added that since most games will air during normal work hours in the US, anyone remotely interested in the World Cup will likely look to Twitter for live updates and highlights, rather than Facebook or Snapchat. "If people know Twitter has the most up-to-date free coverage available," he said, "they are going to want to take advantage."

    For now, Twitter will be hoping for another Luis Suarez-esque moment, or a painful beating like the one Germany handed Brazil on its home turf in 2014, that will give people something to talk about in the moment and for hours after the fact. But, whether that comes to be or not, there's no question that the company is going all in on the 2018 World Cup. And it should, because unlike most other sporting events, FIFA's beloved tournament only comes around every four years.

    Images: Getty Images


  • Pittsburgh mayor had no idea Uber was reviving self-driving tests

    This week, Uber announced that it will cease operations in Arizona and revive its self-driving tests in Pittsburgh. This, apparently, was news to the mayor of Pittsburgh, who issued a press release stating that he hadn't been informed of that announcement. "I made it clear to Uber officials after the Arizona crash that a full federal investigation had to be completed, with strong rules for keeping streets safe, before I would agree with the company to begin testing on Pittsburgh streets again," he said in the release.

    But, considering the NTSB released its preliminary reporton that fatal Arizona crash today, it makes sense that Uber would want to continue its self-driving tests, which have been on hold since the accident. Mayor William Peduto had two conditions before he would agree to allowing Uber to test on Pittsburgh streets again: the computer-operated vehicles would never exceed a speed of 25 mph in the city, regardless of what posted speed limits were, and the company would use its app to alert drivers when they are exceeding speed limits when humans are in control.

    In regard to the NTSB preliminary report, Uber told Engadget that the company is reviewing its own self-driving program, taking a close look at safety. Additionally, the company has brought on a former chair of the NTSB, Christopher Hart, in an advisory role. Uber is planning on making changes in the coming weeks to its self-driving program; we'll see whether the company agrees to Mayor Peduto's demands. All in all, this isn't a great way to announce to a city's mayor that you're resuming operations, though.

    Via: Gizmodo

    Source: Mayor William Peduto


  • 'Runescape Classic' will shut down after almost two decades

    One year after revealing plans to port both RuneScape and Old School Runescape to mobile and tablet, developer Jagex has announced that the original RuneScape's PC servers will be going offline permanently. To be clear, that's Runescape Classic -- the 2001 game -- so Old School Runescape servers remain unaffected.

    For fans of the 17-year old browser-based MMORPG, this is akin to the ending of an era; RuneScape was one of the pioneers in the online fantasy niche, sitting amongst EverQuest and Asheron's Call; it dunked players into a medieval realm, let them transform into an avatar of their choice, and embark on a non-linear adventure filled with questing, PvP combat, and of course, an enviable chatroom. But from August 6th at 3AM ET, Runescape Classic will vanish into the digital ether. Jagex explained that its tools simply aren't compatible with Classic any longer:

    "It has been amazing to see such dedication amongst those of you who have kept playing RuneScape Classic over the last few years," Jagex's farewell post says, "However, it's not all fun and games." Apparently, botting had become a serious issue and a growing list of game-breaking bugs were proving too difficult to eradicate.

    For many gamers whose formative years coincided with the dawn of the new millenium, RuneScape was the hangout of choice. And it seems old habits die hard. In 2013, RuneScape reached a 2 million account milestone. The game naturally evolved since its initial release -- with major upgrades in 2004 and 2013 -- yet players were still enthralled by retro sensibilities: a poll of 160,000 fans resulted in the restoration of old-school servers, and this makes Jagex's announcement all the more bittersweet.

    The good news -- because there's always a bright side to everything -- is that RuneScape Classic servers are still online right now, and Gielindor's doors will remain open for the next three months.

    Via: PC Gamer

    Source: Jagex


  • NTSB's preliminary report on Uber crash focuses on emergency braking

    Today, the NTSB released preliminary findings for an accident back in March, in which a self-driving Uber vehicle collided with a pedestrian. The pedestrian was killed. "At 1.3 seconds before impact, the self-driving system determined that emergency braking was needed to mitigate a collision," the release says. "According to Uber emergency braking maneuvers are not enabled while the vehicle is under computer control to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior. The vehicle operator is relied on to intervene and take action. The system is not designed to alert the operator."

    "Over the course of the last two months, we've worked closely with the NTSB," an Uber spokesperson told Engadget. "As their investigation continues, we've initiated our own safety review of our self-driving vehicles program. We've also brought on former NTSB Chair Christopher Hart to advise us on our overall safety culture, and we look forward to sharing more on the changes we'll make in the coming weeks."

    It appears that the "emergency braking maneuvers" mentioned in the release are part of the onboard safety systems that Volvo puts into every XC90 vehicle. The Volvo was equipped with collision avoidance features, including automatic emergency braking. However, these systems are disabled when Uber's self-driving system is in control of the car.

    It makes sense; after all, if the safety features were engaged, that would mean that two separate systems would be competing for control of the Volvo. However, it's surprising that the Uber self-drive system doesn't have its own emergency braking feature. According to the report, the computer recognized that emergency braking was necessary, but couldn't engage the system because it was disabled.

    The driver was also not alerted that the self-driving system had detected an object. There wasn't much to be done at the point the system determined emergency braking was necessary, just 1.3 seconds before collision. Human reaction time isn't that swift. But the pedestrian was detected a full six seconds before the crash, yet no alert was provided to the driver. It was first classified as an "unknown object," which may have exacerbated the situation, as the software is designed to ignore objects in the road that the system determines aren't threats.



    The driver is another part of this equation. "The inward-facing video shows the vehicle operator glancing down toward the center of the vehicle several times before the crash," the report says. However, the driver maintains she was looking at and monitoring the self-driving interface and was not checking her phone. Uber's computer controlled systems depend on the driver to be alert and monitoring the situation at any given point to avoid collisions.

    The report also discusses the pedestrian's actions. According to the report, the pedestrian was wearing dark, non-reflective clothing (the crash occurred at night) and did not look in the direction of the approaching vehicle. As we already know, the pedestrian was also not crossing at a crosswalk, and the area was not well lit. "The report also notes the pedestrian's post-accident toxicology test results were positive for methamphetamine and marijuana," the release says.

    Source: NTSB Press Release, NTSB Preliminary Report


  • 'Til death do us part

    Great Neck, NY -- As I write this, dozens of moths are being suffocated to death in my kitchen pantry without much ceremony. An exterminator named Danny is spraying an intoxicatingly aromatic layer of cedar oil along the inside corners of my kitchen cabinets and strategically placing pheromone traps in the critters' high-fly zones.

    During their yearlong residency in my house, I've become rather intimate with these small, airborne beasts. I know them: We've shared meals and watched each other grow, and they've even accompanied me in the shower, though typically to their own watery demise. I have seen these moths through all phases of their lives, through multiple generations. I know how they are born and what makes them thrive, but most importantly, I know what kills them.

    I knew it was over between us when I caught my moths writhing around in my jasmine rice, their squirming, pale-yellow larval bodies cocooned in silk threads, their dark, miniscule eyes and mandibles just large enough to identify with the naked eye. It was disgusting. There had been signs of course. We'd seen the fully formed adult moths fluttering around the kitchen and observed the webbing in the pantries, and we had even found one particularly pioneering larva in the bristles of my partner's toothbrush. But this rice infestation? This was enough.

    As a science and environmental reporter, keen to the toxicity and environmental havoc of traditional extermination practices, I hired Danny through one of New York City's many eco-friendly pest-extermination companies -- one that promises to kill the designated pests in your abode without killing the environment (or your wallet). "Pantry moths," explains Danny, stretching a pair of pale-blue surgical gloves over his hands, "are hard to get rid of."

    As Danny sprays, I tell him that I'm working on a story about the ethics of extermination and the various species we encounter and kill within our homes. Danny isn't exactly allowed to speak on the record on behalf of his company ("Danny" is not his real name). The word "silica" however, does pique his interest.

    As it turns out, that mineral compound is one of nature's most effective natural insect killers. If you've ever had a bedbug problem, you will probably have seen silica in the form of diatomaceous earth -- a white, chalklike powder made up of a fossilized algae. "The bedbugs will crawl all over it, and it dries them up!" explained Jared, an exterminator for Ecology Exterminating, another New York-based, eco-friendly extermination company whose staff preferred not to be fully identified. He continued to describe how as insects traverse DE's chalky plains, the compound sticks to their waxy exoskeletons. The silica, bearing a particular knack for absorbing moisture, then leeches all the lipids from the insect's exoskeleton, causing them to dehydrate and die. As Jared reiterated, "It gets into their skin and it sucks 'em dry."

    While diatomaceous earth is not used to address moths, there is still silica present in the cedar oilthat Danny has been administering in my kitchen. As he sprays every nook and cranny, he tells me this liquid form of the mineral works to dehydrate the moths while the cedar-oil fumes suffocate them. For my moths and most other insects, the scent of cedar oil forms a noxious, dizzying fog that inhibits their respiratory functions. It also leaves them too disoriented to mate -- something I ruminate over while I watch one affected moth begin to descend into confused swallow loops before it lands clumsily onto the kitchen counter. That moth is in no condition to fly, let alone consent to intercourse.

    Heeding the common adage, I've made it a point to keep these enemy moths very close. In my dogged quest to gain a deeper understanding of my cohabitant species, I also consulted entomologist Lou Sorkin of the New York Entomological Society about my pantry-moth problem. "Oh!" he exclaimed. "Is it plodia? Indian meal moths? That's a common one."

    The "plodia" he is referring to is plodia interpunctella, the taxonomic term for pantry moth. These insects also go by the colloquial "Indian meal moth," a colonial relic born of a time when European settlers in the Americas referred to Native Americans as "Indians" and cornmeal (a favored food source of the plodia) as "Indian meal."

    Just as their name is the product of colonial expansion, so too is their origin as an American pest. "Pantry moths are not native to [this area]," Sorkin informed me. "They're an invasive species originally from Asia. They wound up here through international trade routes, when we started importing and exporting food around the world." Even today, pantry moths are typically introduced into households by hitching a ride in a grain source, from cereals to flours, or in my case, a bag of Kokuho brand jasmine rice. Today, plodia interpunctella can be found in a kitchen pantry on every continent on earth, with the sole exception of Antarctica.

    Uh oh! It looks like CRITTERS from Moth Generator, a rogue twitter bot that spawns procedurally generated Lepidoptera have invaded! If they're bothering you, just tap or click them to shoo them away.

    On the northeastern coast of the continental United States, under the dark gray roof of my house in the suburbs, these moths have found a particularly happy home. "They like to mate at around 4 to 5 PM," said Sorkin. "The females will lay on their backs and release pheromones to attract males." The results of these late-afternoon copulations are microscopic eggs called instars. According to a paper I later investigated, published by the University of Florida's Entomology and Nematology department, an individual female moth can lay up to 400 instars in her short lifetime as a winged, adult moth. I quickly estimated that there were at least thirty moths floating around my house at any given time. Assuming half of them were females laying their 400-egg capacity, I deduced that within three days, I could reasonably assume that up to 6,000 moth instars had been hatched inside my house. That's way too many moth eggs.

    When I asked Jared, my second extermination expert, what inspired his 11-year career in pest extermination, he replied with a simple truth: "Things change, technology changes, but one thing that's not gonna change is that there's always gonna be mice and rats and roaches. They'll be around forever." My moths, I thought, had better not be around forever. Still, Jared is absolutely right. Since the dawn of agriculture, humanity has been trying to eradicate species we deem pests from our areas of dominion in all manner of ways.

    According to a timeline of major developments in the history of pest management from Penn State, ancient Sumerians used sulfur compounds to exterminate insects as far back as 2500 BC. In 1101 AD, soap was first used as an effective pesticide in China. The 1930s introduced DDT and the use of chlorinated hydrocarbons and organophosphates, which would be rolled back 30 years later after scientists discovered their detrimental ecological and human-health effects. As a result, the field of integrated pest management was established in the 1970s, dedicated to more-holistic methods of pest control.
    "Things change, technology changes, but one thing that's not gonna change is that there's always gonna be mice and rats and roaches. They'll be around forever."
    Personally, independent of any sprays, traps or professional help, I have maintained an approximate kill rate of about five moths per day, obliterating them between my two palms or against a flat surface. Their coppery, brown wings leave small, unsightly smudges of corporeal evidence on the kitchen wallpaper, the bathroom tiles, the shower curtain. I can't keep up with cleaning, and there's proof of their expiration everywhere between the kitchen and its nearby bathroom.

    When I asked amateur Dutch entomologist Bart Coppens about what he thought of my moths, he succinctly replied, "They are an invasive species and should be exterminated." During my own brief stint as an amateur entomologist, I came across Coppens' videos on YouTube. In them, he showcases the moths he has raised as pets. His, unlike mine, are fantastic.

    There are mystifying luna moths and acorn-sized hawk moths with hidden underwings that bear a bright, eye-shaped pattern that reveals itself when the insects are threatened. There are giant yellow comet moths the size of Coppens' hand fluttering around his living room. My personal favorite, however, has to be the rosy maple moth featured in a video appropriately titled "CUTEST Moth in the WORLD." Its stout frame is about one square inch all around, with little striped pastel-pink-and-yellow wings and a small body covered in yellow fur. It scuttles across Coppens' hand and arm before going for a little flight. In most of Coppens' videos, his moths rest gently on his hand. One can't help but feel as though these moths really trust him, and Coppens them. The mutual respect for each other is something that I, beleaguered by my moths, find enviable.

    "If I had to pick one word [to describe my relationship with my moths], it would be 'obsessive,'" said Coppens. Mine is "unhealthy." I wish I could love my moths the way Coppens loves his, or the way I've loved other species who I've shared my life with before.
    Interview: Bart Coppens'Read'Shannon Lee:
    The "About Me" section on your website mentions that you've been interested in moths and butterflies since you were young. What is it about them that spoke to you?
    Bart Coppens:
    This is a difficult question, because I do not remember it being a conscious choice. Even as a small child, I was very fascinated by insects -- it seems a trait deeply ingrained in my mind. Partially, it is because I have the tendency to strongly notice details and small things, and also because I typically have very strong preoccupations with "specific" subjects that I can be obsessive about.

    However, life in general is very fascinating to me. Not just insects, but weird animals and plants in general. When I see them, I feel the urge to find out how they work. I think that by studying the many organisms we share our planet with, we can also find out a lot about ourselves and our own origins. Insects fascinate me because they are representative for `life on Earth: They are extremely diverse (estimations that have been made say there are about 1 to 5 million species of insects) and can be found in many shapes, sizes and colors and occupy many ecological niches. I think that all the "principles" of life including reproduction, population ecology, biodiversity and evolution are something that can be easily seen and studied in insects.

    The reason I chose moths is because insects in general are too broad a topic to study: If one wants to become knowledgeable, generally, the best choice is to specialize yourself in one family of insects. Moths have the biggest appeal for me because of their incredible biodiversity, and because I think their life cycles and metamorphosis are fascinating. There is also not a lot of information available about most moth species, especially those in (sub)tropical areas.
    Shannon Lee:
    What have been your most exciting discoveries about moths?
    Bart Coppens:
    As a young aspiring entomologist, the things that I have discovered are still limited (I'm only 24). However when I breed moths from eggs and cocoons that have been imported from all over the globe, sometimes I do discover a few new things. Most of my research focuses on the life cycle of moths from egg to adult in captivity; there is a fair share of species of which these life cycles are completely unknown. In many cases, I have been able to photograph caterpillars or adults of which there were no previously known photographs. This sort of research is not very complicated if you are able to figure out how to breed a moth, but there is no information available that tells you what they will eat or how they live in the wild. Sometimes I can extrapolate that information by looking at closely related species and combining it with my breeding experiences. There are a few scientific manuscripts that I am working on that describe the life cycle of a few obscure or poorly studied species.
    Shannon Lee:
    My relationship with my moths is terrible. How would you describe yours?
    Bart Coppens:
    Hmm, if I had to pick one word: obsessive.
    Shannon Lee:
    Is there anything we can we learn from moths?
    Bart Coppens:
    Many people fail to see the significance in understanding life in general. From the smallest bacteria to worm to plant, the biodiversity on our planet has a lot of secrets. Anything from evolution to understanding our environment and origins on a macro scale or finding useful appliances on a micro scale (much of medicine and technology are directly derived or inspired by natural resources). Think of developing bulletproof fibers based on silk or spider webs to the toxins in plants and animals we have used to synthesize medicines. Penicillin, one of our most important antibiotic medicines, is derived from a fungus.
    Shannon Lee:
    You also mention rearing rare moth species. Are there any moth species that only exist in captivity?
    Bart Coppens:
    Yes there are, but not because they're rare. Breeding moths is not a modern phenomenon: For the purpose of silk production, people have been breeding moths for over 5,000 years. Especially in ancient China and India, silk always had a great cultural significance. This has resulted in some moth species to become domesticated in captivity after thousands of years of selective breeding.
    Shannon Lee:
    What do you think about my pantry moths?
    Bart Coppens:
    An invasive species. Thus they should be exterminated. Although this is practically impossible at this point.

    This past February, as my pantry moths began a particularly dramatic crescendo in population, we put the family dog to sleep. An incredibly kind veterinarian provided the premium service of coming to our house to administer the euthanizing cocktail (a combination of a sedative called Telazol to render a deep, comatic sleep followed by pentobarbital, which stops the heart) that she promised would deliver Sunny, the steadfastly loyal, 14-year-old golden retriever, to her final place of rest.

    I bore the necessary responsibilities of scheduling the appointment and sobbing. Wilson, my partner, cried too, in our own tiny procession of mourners. "Remember the time your pet rabbit died?" my mom later asked me over the phone. Thumper. He died in 2001, not 24 hours before 9/11. "You were inconsolable," she reminded me. Meanwhile, a nearby moth loitered on my bedroom mirror, observing Sunny's final breaths through its tiny compound eyes. I wondered if I could learn to appreciate the dusty, copper stripes of its small, delicate wings the way I adored the waving tendrils of fur behind Sunny's ears.

    "I mean, you could probably catch just one and try to domesticate it," amateur entomologist and Silica contributor Joe Sutton recently suggested to me. He has started raising his own insects, beetles, as pets.

    I figured if I could talk to anyone about a personal shift in perspective when it came to the insect life cycle, it would be him. "I will say, raising bugs is really bittersweet," he lamented. "You can't really interact with them for most of their lives. For example, I've been raising my Hercules beetle for over a year now. It's still pupating, but once it's an adult, I'll still only get to spend a few months with it before it dies. Despite the fact that I've been watching over this little guy for its entire life, I don't think my beetle knows who I am at all."
    Interview: Joe Sutton ReadShannon Lee:
    How are your beetles doing?
    Joe Sutton:
    They're good! There's not really much to report though. I feel bad when people ask about them and I'm just like, "Yeah, they're chillin' under some dirt." I should actually probably add water to the soil. I've been meaning to do that for the past couple of days.
    Shannon Lee:
    Nice! How big are they?
    Joe Sutton:
    I'm not actually sure! The last time I dug them up was when I got the last one that I ordered a few months ago. That one's in it's last larvae stages, so that one's pretty big. It's probably about the size of a golf ball when it's all curled up. I have another one that's in a second stage that's a little smaller and another beetle that's super tiny.
    Shannon Lee:
    What species of beetle do you have?
    Joe Sutton:
    One is the eastern Hercules beetle, and the second one is a rainbow stag. I also have another Hercules Lichyi and one Japanese rhinoceros beetle. The place that I order the exotic beetles from is really weird -- it's not like a normal online store. You have to email the breeder and list off all the stuff you're interested in.
    Shannon Lee:
    I know this is a pretty recent hobby for you. I remember a pre-beetle Joe. How did this hobby begin?
    Joe Sutton:
    I kind of wanted to get a really cheap, low-maintenance pet. Something that I could just observe or maybe handle, even though I can't do that with the larvae. Fish would be nice, but you can't touch them or do anything that fun. I used to have a hamster growing up, but the problem with rodents is that they smell and I didn't want to deal with that. I was just Googling things for ideas and someone on some message board mentioned bugs as pets. That hadn't ever really occurred to me before, even though I did know that in other countries like Japan, having beetles for pets is a really popular thing.

    I don't know if that's still true today, but I remember reading that one of the things that inspired the creator of Pokémon (and I'm a huge Pokémon fan) was going out and trying to find and catch beetles. Kids would apparently catch them and fight them. So there was this weird connection to this thing that I do really like already. I was also really interested in their life stages, the fact that they go from a larva to a pupa to an adult. Bugs were such a great, weird world amalgamation of all these other things that I was interested in. I got into beetles in particular because there are so many diverse species. I also like that you can get a pretty big beetle. I don't like the idea of having something tiny that could just get lost and be scuttling around anywhere.



    As Sunny's heart finally slowed to a stop, the vet handed us a small, fluffy patch of her fur (it had been shaved off of her front forearm to administer the IV) before lifting her peaceful-looking body into the back of her car. In two weeks, a package containing her ashes arrived in the mail. I opened the package in the kitchen, sighing heavily before swiftly clapping my hands around another moth, letting its papery body float to the ground without consequence, and without ceremony.

    It's been four months since I arranged that initial hit on my pantry moths. Since then, I've spent more than a hundred dollars on mason jars and other clear, airtight containers to store my moth-prone groceries, and I've developed the totally normal habit of taking them out of the pantry, bringing them to eye level and slowly shaking them back and forth, sifting through the grains to scope out any signs of life. Wilson has stripped the wallpaper and repainted the kitchen under the suspicion that the moths were laying their instars between peeling corners. Amazon sends me emails regularly alerting me when there's a deal on my favorite consumer-grade moth-pheromone trap, Dr. Killigan's Killing Them Softly. And Danny has been to our house two more times to administer silica-infused cedar oil. He stopped charging after the second visit. True to his word, pantry moths are in fact, "hard to get rid of."

    As I finish documenting this experience, there are still a handful of plodia interpunctella fluttering around the house, searching for a food source that I'll be damned if they find. I can almost always count on seeing a few in the bathroom on one of my late-night trips to the toilet, a consequence of having accidentally left the light on.

    In a recent conversation I had with conceptual, sometimes environmental artist Mel Chin, I asked about the difference between ecology and the environment.

    "Ecology," he explained, "is essentially about relationships." I think about this as I browse the website of yet another New York-based eco-friendly extermination company, Ecological Pest Control in Smithtown, New York. While household efforts have not completely eradicated the moths from existence within our domicile, they are at least manageable now. Perhaps it's enough that I now have a healthy relationship with my pantry moths, one where we are able to cohabitate in relative harmony (punctuated by an occasional swat).

    Moving my fingers over the mouse pad to close out of the website's tab, I spot something small, dark and shiny scuttling on the floor out of the corner of my eye -- a fast and disconcertingly large black ant, undoubtedly leaving a strong pheromone trail that may one day lead another colony to my food and water.
    $(".moth").hover(function () { $("> .moth-leftwing", this).toggleClass("moth-leftwingHover"); $("> .moth-rightwing", this).toggleClass("moth-rightwingHover"); }); $(".moth").click(function () { $("> .moth-leftwing", this).addClass("dead"); $("> .moth-rightwing", this).addClass("dead"); $(this).addClass("dead"); console.log("click"); });
    Credits
    Editors: Casey Halter, Josh Segal, Aaron Souppouris, Megan Giller
    Artists: Everest Pipkin and Loren Schmidt (of Moth Generator) in collaboration with Evander Batson


  • Facebook is rolling out its GDPR privacy rules to the world

    At first, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg only agreed with the European Union's General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) "in spirit." Now, following Zuckerberg's appearance before EU parliament, the social network is applying GDPR's framework to accounts across the globe. "People have told us they want clearer explanations of what information we collect and how we use it," chief privacy officer Erin Egan writes. Egan explains that within the next few weeks, when you log in, you'll have a notification so you can review details about advertising, face recognition and information you've chosen to share on your profile.

    Specifically, you'll be informed how your data is used for targeted ads and what Facebook does with its facial recognition tech. The social network promises that even more updates to its privacy policy are coming and practices are coming over the next few months.



    Source: Facebook


  • Sinemia lets you book movie tickets the minute you sign up

    The prediction of MoviePass's demise have been coming in from all corners, but competitor Sinemia is just adding features to make it more attractive. Today, the company announced that it is introducing Sinemia Cardless, which allows subscribers in the US, UK, Canada and Australia to reserve movie tickets without a physical membership card. This feature will mainly be aimed at those who have signed up for the service but haven't yet received a card in the mail; they won't have to wait in order to use their membership benefits.

    All customers have to do is select a movie, showing and seats in advance through the Sinemia app. They can then use digital one-time payment information that is associated with their account to complete the transaction. It should be noted that MoviePass does not support e-ticketing or advance seat selection at any major theater chains. The site's FAQ lists "Goodrich Quality Theaters, Studio Movie Grill, B&B Theatres, and MJR Theatres" as the theaters that accept this feature through MoviePass.

    While MoviePass offers unlimited 2D movies for $9.95 a month (a plan that disappeared for new subscribers for awhile but came back after public outcry), Sinemia offers one 2D movie per month for $4.99. The plans go up from there. It's not the unlimited movie tickets at a price that seems too good to be true, but let's face it -- it probably is.


  • Pornhub made a VPN

    Arguably the biggest adult video website on the planet, Pornhub is responsible for plenty of folks getting their rocks off each day. But, as regulations on the internet trend rightward, access to adult content is becoming a problem. That's why the site is launching VPNhub, a Pornhub owned-and-operated VPN that will theoretically keep your browsing activity free from the prying eyes of snoopers and censors.

    VPNhub is launching today, and offers "free and unlimited bandwidth" on your platform of choice, as long as it's iOS, Android, Windows and Mac OS (although the last two are premium-only). "With 90 million visitors a day, the vast majority of whom are using devices on the go," said Pornhub VP Corey Price, "it's especially important that we continue to ensure the privacy of our users."

    The company claims that VPNhub has 1,000 servers in more than 15 countries, and that it will not log user data or browsing activity itself. It is, however, ad-supported, with users required to cough up for VPNhub Premium to remove the ads, and to use the desktop versions of the platform.

    Pornhub's parent, Mindgeek, does not have a great reputation for security. A 2012 breach of subsidiary sites YouPorn and Digital Playground exposed the details of more than 1.1 million users. In 2016, Brazzers' forum was hacked, with 800,000 members being outed. In 2017, Pornhub unwittingly hosted a malvertising attack that was in operation for more than a year.

    VPNhub is going to be available in the UK, despite the fact that it would likely be used to circumvent the country's forthcoming age-verification law. The oft-delayed regime will insist that people prove that they are over 18 before being able to access adult content, and Mindgeek is offering its AgeID platform to manage it.

    Engadget asked about this potential conflict to Corey Price, who said that "VPNhub is a separate service and not related to AgeID." Price later added that the VPN will "provide users with an encrypted tunnel through which they can anonymously browse the internet securely."

    VPNhub is available globally, with the exception of countries that the US bans its companies from dealing with. That list includes Burma, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, while there are also reports of bans in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and China. Your mileage, then, may vary.

    Source: VPNhub


  • Amazon's Map Tracking feature lets you stalk your delivery driver

    If you absolutely need to know where your Amazon package is even though you got Prime's same-day delivery, check out the e-commerce giant's app to see if you already have access to its new Map Tracking tool. Amazon's new feature, which it launched last year, is now finally available to most (if not all) customers in the US, according to Business Insider says you'll get access to live tracking when your driver only has fewer than 10 stops left before reaching your location. It shows you their estimated time of arrival and how many deliveries they have left before they arrive. Since you can see the driver's every movement, it raises concerns about security and privacy -- someone could order an item just to see which houses near them have gotten packages they could steal off porches. It sounds like a useful tool, however, if you're out of the house and want to make sure you're there to receive your package or that the driver truly made a stop at your place.
    Well played, @amazon Putting a live update of where my packages are so that I can obsessively check my deliveries and open your app more. Smart. #hotpeppers #VitaminD pic.twitter.com/yiQWvfNiuF
    — Brandon | This Is Tech Today - YouTube (@thisistechtoday) May 23, 2018
    Source: Android Police


OSNews

  • Microsoft extends GDPR's rights to all of its customers
    Microsoft is extending the GDPR's rights to all of its customers across the world.
    That's why today we are announcing that we will extend the rights that are at the heart of GDPR to all of our consumer customers worldwide. Known as Data Subject Rights, they include the right to know what data we collect about you, to correct that data, to delete it and even to take it somewhere else. Our privacy dashboard gives users the tools they need to take control of their data.
    Good move, but these controls and options should've been there from the start. Goes to show that corporations are terrible at self-regulation - something everybody should know by now. In any event, I'll be spending some time this weekend digging through all the data Google, Apple, and Microsoft have on me.


  • Today Mac OS X is as old as the Classic Mac OS
    Here's a bit of numerology for you. Today marks 17 years, one month, and 29 days since Mac OS X 10.0 was released on March 24, 2001. That's a strangely odd number - 6269 days - but it also happens to be the exactly length of time between January 24, 1984 (the launch of the original Macintosh) and March 24, 2001.  In other words, today the Mac's second operating system era, powered by Mac OS X (now macOS) has been in existence as long as the first era was.
    Time is a weird thing, and it truly doesn't feel like OS X is that old.


  • The history of the Philips CD-i, failed PlayStation ancestor
    Behold the Philips CD-i! It's got Mario! Zelda! Movies on CD! Uh… interactive encyclopedias! What could go wrong? Apparently, everything.  Born out of the same aborted efforts to create a CD-based console for Nintendo that would eventually produce the Sony Playstation, the CD-i was an ambitious attempt to create a multi-purpose home entertainment console. However, instead of kickstarting the trend of CD-based gaming, the CD-i turned into one of the great failures of the video game industry, reportedly costing Philips near a billion dollars by the time it was discontinued.  Nonetheless, it did end up fostering some amazingly idiosyncratic (and widely reviled) pieces of video game history.
    Since I'm Dutch and have lived in The Netherlands my whole life, I feel like the CD-i is a much greater part of my memory than of people in other countries. Philips is a Dutch company, after all, and I vaguely recall the CD-i being hyped into the stratosphere over here. I wanted one when the hype started, but I never did even see one in real life.


  • Hackintosh before hackintosh: when Mac fans skinned Windows
    There's something about the macOS operating system that kind of drives people wild. (Heck, even the original Mac OS has its strong partisans.) In the 17 years since Apple first launched the first iteration of the operating system based on its Darwin Unix variant, something fairly curious started to happen: People without Macs suddenly wanted the operating system, if not the hardware it ran on. This phenomenon is somewhat common today - I personally just set up a Hackintosh of my own recently - but I'd like to highlight a different kind of "Hackintosh", the kind that played dress-up with Windows. Today's Tedium talks about the phenomenon of Mac skinning, specifically on Windows. Hide your computer's true colors under the hood.
    I used to do this back in the early 2000s (goodness, I've been here way too long!). It was a fun thing to do, since you could never make it quite good enough - there was always something to improve. Good times.


  • Apple launches new privacy portal due to GDPR
    Apple has today launched its new Data and Privacy website, allowing Apple users to download everything that Apple personally associates with your account, from Apple ID info, App Store activity, AppleCare history to data stored in iCloud like photos and documents. This is currently only available for European Union accounts, to comply with GDPR, and will roll out worldwide in the coming months.  There are also simple shortcuts to updating your info, temporarily deactivating your account and options to permanently delete it.
    It's almost like all the people whining about suddenly having to care about their users' personal data were wrong, and the GDPR is actually doing what it's supposed to do: force accountability onto data holders.


  • More evidence for Microsoft's foldable device in latest SDK
    Twitter user WalkingCat, famous for finding and sharing this kind of information, has discovered files in the SDK mentioning an "Andromeda device" and "Andromeda OS". As previously reported, Andromeda OS is just one variant of the upcoming Windows Core OS the company has been working on. WalkingCat has found mention of Polaris as well - the version of Windows Core OS targeted at more traditional PCs.  Windows Core OS is a new, "modern" version of Microsoft's flagship OS, which strips out most of the legacy compatibility and software, making the operating system lighter and more flexible. Core OS is said to adapt its interface to all different kinds of devices thanks to the new CShell UI.
    Eventually, the hammer's gonna drop: all new laptops and PCs will ship with a Win32-less version of Windows. The signs are clear for anyone to see, and as a Windows developer, you'd do good by preparing yourself.


  • Judge rules Trump can't block users on Twitter
    A federal district court judge on Wednesday ruled that President Trump can't block people from viewing his Twitter feed over their political views. Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, said President Trump's Twitter account is a public forum and blocking people who reply to his tweets with differing opinions constitutes viewpoint discrimination, which violates the First Amendment.
    I'm sure an autocrat like Trump will respect the wishes of a court. I mean, it's not like he has a history of attacking courts and judges, right?


  • Eudora source code released
    Computer History Museum (CHM), the world's leading institution exploring the history of computing and its impact on the human experience, today announced the public release and long-term preservation of the Eudora source code, one of the early successful email clients, as part of its Center for Software History's Historical Source Code. The release comes after a five-year negotiation with Qualcomm.
    The source code for both the Mac and Windows versions are released, and there's a post on Medium with more details about this latest work by the Computer History Museum.

    I've never used Eudora in any serious manner, so I don't have the kind of connection with it that some others have. Still, I am always happy when 'dead' software's source code is released as open source, so that it effectively never dies.


  • A gorgeous guide to the first wave of personal computers

    Photographer James Ball (aka Docubyte) knows what a computer is. He's spent part of career lovingly photographing the machines of yesteryear, from the giant mainframes of the '50s and '60s to the first wave of personal computers in the late '70s and '80s. When he saw Apple's iPad pro advertisement that ended with a young girl asking "What's a computer?" as she typed away on her tablet, it provoked him.

    "I'm not some old technophobe, and I get the whole post-computing cloud/device blah blah thing," Ball told Motherboard via email. "But I wanted to pick up an old Mac and say 'Hey! Remember this? This is a computer. The era of crazy shaped beige boxes and clunky clicking keyboards, for me and a lot of other people, that is a computer."

    To honor those machines, Ball has created a series of high resolution animated gifs honoring 16 machines from the era of the birth of the personal computer. He calls the project 'I Am a Computer: Icons of Beige.'

    These are gorgeous.



  • Rune - Haiku images on ARM
    Up until recently, Haiku builds for ARM have targetted individual ARM boards. The compile process for ARM images required two things: an architecture, and a target board (such as the Raspberry Pi 2). This board setting adjusted a large number of defines throughout Haiku at compile time to set the operating system up for the target ARM device. The board selection also handled placing all the propriety bits (a lot of which have sketchy licensing) into the Haiku image during compile. Haiku would then have to distribute these files. (sketchy licensing and all)  Over the past few years, François Revol, Ithamar R. Adema, and others have worked to add Flat Device Tree (FDT) support to Haiku. FDT's enable operating systems to obtain core knowledge of the devices they run on by simply swapping one or more compiled binary files. These files describe critical things the operating system needs to know about the hardware they run on. Really important things such as what devices exist at what memory locations. (Think video frame buffers, serial ports, etc)  In a series of cryptic commits in July 2017, I removed these board-centric build steps with grand plans of making testing (and running) Haiku on ARM devices easier.
    No, this does not mean Haiku now runs on ARM, as it has been able to do that for a while now. The goal of these changes and improvements is to speed up development of Haiku's ARM build, and to simplify the distribution of ARM builds into a single, generic ARMv7 image.


  • Hidden sheep and typography archaeology
    Because a typeface is not just its pixels, but also its spacing, I wanted to look at the authentic source material for Chicago. That required some technical archaeology: the original Macintosh, released in 1984, was the first widely available computer that used proportional typography on screen and it had an entirely unique way of storing and managing fonts. (Standards like TrueType didn't appear until later.)  I have some software background in typography, so I managed to extract the genuine 1984 font data using my 2018 computer. (The details of that part are a bit beside the point but are in the footnote at the bottom if you're interested). Having got the font, bitmap and spacing data for Chicago, I used the same little program to extract all the other Macintosh bitmap fonts.
    Fun little bit of typography archeology on the old Macintosh.


  • C is not a low-level language
    In the wake of the recent Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, it's worth spending some time looking at root causes. Both of these vulnerabilities involved processors speculatively executing instructions past some kind of access check and allowing the attacker to observe the results via a side channel. The features that led to these vulnerabilities, along with several others, were added to let C programmers continue to believe they were programming in a low-level language, when this hasn't been the case for decades.  Processor vendors are not alone in this. Those of us working on C/C++ compilers have also participated.


  • The Power Mac G4 Line
    The tower form factor may be a thing of the past, at least until the new Mac Pro shows up next year, but for years, if you needed the most powerful and flexible machine money could buy, the Power Mac was the only way to go.  For almost five years, the heart of the Power Mac was the PowerPC G4 chip. Starting in 1999 it clocked at just 350 MHz, but by the time the Power Mac G4 line was retired, a tower with dual 1.42 GHz CPUs could be ordered. In that time frame, things like Gigabit Ethernet, SuperDrives, and Wi-Fi became mainstream.
    I have a soft spot for all Macs from the PowerPC G4 era - back when Apple wasn't boring - and the various models of Power Mac G4 aren't exceptions. I can't really explain why I find PowerPC G4 Macs so appealing, even to this day - all I know is that I am dead-set on collecting a number of them, especially those I couldn't ever afford when they were new.


  • Google and Microsoft disclose new CPU flaw
    Microsoft and Google are jointly disclosing a new CPU security vulnerability that's similar to the Meltdown and Spectre flaws that were revealed earlier this year. Labelled Speculative Store Bypass (variant 4), the latest vulnerability is a similar exploit to Spectre and exploits speculative execution "that modern CPUs use. Browsers like Safari, Edge, and Chrome were all patched for Meltdown earlier this year, and Intel says these mitigations are also applicable to variant 4 and available for consumers to use today."  However, unlike Meltdown (and more similar to Spectre) this new vulnerability will also include firmware updates for CPUs that could affect performance. Intel has already delivered microcode updates for Speculative Store Bypass in beta form to OEMs, and the company expects them to be more broadly available in the coming weeks. The firmware updates will set the Speculative Store Bypass protection to off-by-default, ensuring that most people won't see negative performance impacts.
    This cat ain't going back in no bag anytime soon.



Linux Journal - The Original Magazine of the Linux Community

  • RIP Robin "Roblimo" Miller
        by Carlie Fairchild   
    Linux Journal has learned fellow journalist and long-time voice of the Linux community Robin "Roblimo" Miller has passed away. Miller was perhaps best known by the community for his roll as Editor in Chief of Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned Slashdot, SourceForge.net, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, and ThinkGeek from 2000 to 2008. He went on to write and do video interviews for FOSS Force?, penned articles for several publications, and authored three books, The Online Rules of Successful Companies, Point & Click Linux!, and Point & Click OpenOffice.org, all published by Prentice Hall.

    As Marcel Gagne so perfectly summarized, "Robin was one of those people who could make you laugh while teaching you a thing or two."

    Roblimo, you will be missed. 
        Go to Full Article          


  • An FUQ for the GDPR
        by Doc Searls   
    Today is Privmas Eve: the day before Privmas, aka GDPR Day: the one marked red on the calendars of every company in the world holding an asset the GDPR has suddenly made toxic: personal data. The same day—25 May—should be marked green for everyone who has hated the simple fact that harvesting personal data from everybody on the internet has been too damned easy for too damned long for too damned many companies, and governments too.

    Whether you like the GDPR or not (and there are reasons for both, which we'll get into shortly), one thing it has done for sure is turn privacy into Very Big Deal. This is good, because we've had damned little of it on the internet and now we're going to get a lot more. That's worth celebrating, everybody. Merry Privmas! 

    To help with that, and because 99.99x% of GDPR coverage is about what it means for the fattest regulatory targets (Facebook, Google, et al.), here's an FUQ: Frequently Unasked (or Unanswered) Questions about the GDPR and what it means for you, me and everybody else who wants to keep personal data personal—or to get back personal data those data farmers have already harvested. (The GDPR respects both.)

    A note before we begin: this is a work in progress. It's what we know about what's now possible in a world changed by the GDPR. And "we" includes everybody. If you want to help, weigh in. Here goes...

    Bottom line, what does the GDPR mean for the "natural persons" it also calls "data subjects"?

    It means we're in charge now: at least of ourselves—and of our sides of relationships with the corporate entities we deal with.

    No, the GDPR doesn't say that specifically, but both the letterand the spirit of the GDPR respect privacy as a fundamental human right. Since rights are something we exercise as individuals, and not just a something good corporate behavior allows us to enjoy, we should be able to provide it for ourselves as well.

    Don't we have enough privacy tools already with crypto, onion routing, VPNs and so on?

    No, we don't.

    Those are all forms of protection against exploitation by others. We need tools that create private spaces around us on the net, much as clothing (the original privacy tech) does for us in the natural world. We need ways to signal to others what's okay and what's not okay, and to know easily when those signals are being respected and when they are not. We need ways to move about the net anonymously, and to submit identifiers only on a need to know basis, and then in ways we control.
        Go to Full Article          


  • Parrot 4.0 Now Available, Eudora Email Code Open-Sourced, Firefox Now Offers Two-Step Authentication and More

    News briefs for May 24, 2018.

    Parrot 4.0 is now available for download. Parrot is a "GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian Testing and designed with Security, Development and Privacy in mind. It includes a full portable laboratory for security and digital forensics experts, but it also includes all you need to develop your own software or protect your privacy while surfing the net." New features of this "milestone"  version include netinstall images, Docker templates, Linux kernel 4.16 and several other bugfixes and  changes. See the release notes for more information.

    Historic Eudora email code has been open-sourced by the Computer History Museum, The Register reports: "it fell into neglect after Qualcomm stopped selling it in 2006, and a follow-up version was poorly received in 2007. Under this latest deal, Qualcomm is to donate all IP—copyright code, trademarks and domain names—over to the museum."

    Mozilla began offering two-step authentication for Firefox this week. If you enable it, you'll need to use an additional security code to log in. Mozilla is using the authentication standard TOTP (Time-based One-Time Password) to implement this feature. If you don't see a "Two-step authentication" panel in your Preferences, see this page for further instructions on how to enable it.

    Kata Containers 1.0 was released this week. This first release "completes the merger of Intel's Clear Containers and Hyper's runV technologies, and delivers an OCI compatible runtime with seamless integration for container ecosystem technologies like Docker and Kubernetes." Visit the Kata Containers page for more info and links to the GitHub and install guide.
          News  Security  Distributions  open source  Firefox  Mozilla  Containers  Docker  Kubernetes                   


  • Visualizing Molecules with EasyChem
        by Joey Bernard   
    Introducing EasyChem, a program that generates publication-quality images of molecular structures.

    Chemistry is one of the heavy hitters in computational science. This has been true since the beginning, and it's no less true today. Because of this, several software packages specifically target this user group. Most of these software packages focus on calculating things within chemistry, like bond energies or protein folding structures. But, once you've done the science portion, you need to be able to communicate your results, usually in the form of papers published in journals. And, part of the information you'll need to disseminate is imagery of the molecules from your work. And, that's where EasyChem, this article's subject, comes into play.

    EasyChem helps generate publication-quality images of molecular structures. It should be available in the package management repositories for most distributions. In Debian-based distributions, you can install it with the following command:
      sudo apt-get installed easychem  
    Once it's installed, you can start it either from your GUI's menu system or from the command prompt. When it first starts, you get a blank canvas within which to start your project.
    Figure 1. You get a blank workspace when you first start EasyChem.
    One of the first things you'll want to check is whether the option to have helpful messages is turned on. You can check this by clicking Options→Learning messages. With this selected, you'll get helpful information in the bottom bar of the EasyChem window.

    Let's start with a simple molecule like benzene. Benzene is a ring of six carbon atoms, with every other bond a double bond. You can create this structure by using the options at the bottom of the draw window. Making sure that the "Add bonds" option is selected, select the "Simple" bond from the drop-down of "Bond type". If you now place the mouse pointer somewhere in the window and click and drag, you'll get a single bond drawn. To get a ring, you need to hold down the Ctrl key, and then click and drag. This will draw a ring structure for you.

    You can set the number of atoms to use in the ring with the "Ring size" option in the bottom left of the window. The default is six, which is what you'll want for your benzene ring.

    To get the alternating bond types, select the "Edit" option at the bottom, and then you'll be able to select individual bonds and change their types. When you select one of the bonds, you'll see a new pop-up window where you can change the details, such as the type of bond, along with the color and the relative width if it is a multiple bond.
        Go to Full Article          


  • VPNFilter Malware Attacks Routers, Mitigations for Spectre Variant 4, OnePlus 6 Phone and More

    News briefs for May 23, 2018.

    There's a new type of malware called VPNFilter, which has "has infected at least half a million home and small business routers including those sold by Netgear, TP-Link, Linksys, MicroTik, and QNAP network storage devices". This code is intended to "serve as a multipurpose spy tool, and also creates a network of hijacked routers that serve as unwitting VPNs, potentially hiding the attackers' origin as they carry out other malicious activities". See the story on security announcement for more info, and update now.

    Also yesterday, Greg Kroah-Hartman released updates for the Linux 4.9.102, 4.14.43, and 4.16.11 kernels for Spectre Variant 4 mitigation. Update now. (Source: Phoronix.)

    Mark Shuttleworth created a stir this week with his keynote at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver due to his competitive comments about VMware and Red Hat. See the ServerWatch story for details.

    The OnePlus 6 unlocked phone is now available for $529. See Android Central for specification and a review of the new phone.
          News  Security  Spectre  Android  Mobile  OpenStack  Canonical  kernel                   



  • Tor Hidden Services
        by Kyle Rankin   
     Why should clients get all the privacy? Give your servers some privacy too!

    When people write privacy guides, for the most part they are written from the perspective of the client. Whether you are using HTTPS, blocking tracking cookies or going so far as to browse the internet over Tor, those privacy guides focus on helping end users protect themselves from the potentially malicious and spying web. Since many people who read Linux Journal sit on the other side of that equation—they run the servers that host those privacy-defeating services—system administrators also should step up and do their part to help user privacy. Although part of that just means making sure your services support TLS, in this article, I describe how to go one step further and make it possible for your users to use your services completely anonymously via Tor hidden services.
     How It Works
    I'm not going to dive into the details of how Tor itself works so you can use the web anonymously—for those details, check out https://tor.eff.org. Tor hidden services work within the Tor network and allow you to register an internal, Tor-only service that gets its own .onion hostname. When visitors connect to the Tor network, Tor resolves those .onion addresses and directs you to the anonymous service sitting behind that name. Unlike with other services though, hidden services provide two-way anonymity. The server doesn't know the IP of the client, like with any service you access over Tor, but the client also doesn't know the IP of the server. This provides the ultimate in privacy since it's being protected on both sides.
     Warnings and Planning
    As with setting up a Tor node itself, some planning is involved if you want to set up a Tor hidden service so you don't defeat Tor's anonymity via some operational mistake. There are a lot of rules both from an operational and security standpoint, so I recommend you read this excellent guide to find the latest best practices all in one place.

    Without diving into all of those steps, I do want to list a few general-purpose guidelines here. First, you'll want to make sure that whatever service you are hosting is listening only on localhost (127.0.0.1) and isn't viewable via the regular internet. Otherwise, someone may be able to correlate your hidden service with the public one. Next, go through whatever service you are running and try to scrub specific identifying information from it. That means if you are hosting a web service, modify your web server so it doesn't report its software type or version, and if you are running a dynamic site, make sure whatever web applications you use don't report their versions either.
        Go to Full Article          


  • Examining Data Using Pandas
        by Reuven M. Lerner   
    You don't need to be a data scientist to use Pandas for some basic analysis.

    Traditionally, people who program in Python use the data types that come with the language, such as integers, strings, lists, tuples and dictionaries. Sure, you can create objects in Python, but those objects typically are built out of those fundamental data structures.

    If you're a data scientist working with Pandas though, most of your time is spent with NumPy. NumPy might feel like a Python data structure, but it acts differently in many ways. That's not just because all of its operations work via vectors, but also because the underlying data is actually a C-style array. This makes NumPy extremely fast and efficient, consuming far less memory for a given array of numbers than traditional Python objects would do.

    The thing is, NumPy is designed to be fast, but it's also a bit low level for some people. To get more functionality and a more flexible interface, many people use Pandas, a Python package that provides two basic wrappers around NumPy arrays: one-dimensional Series objects and two-dimensional Data Frame objects.

    I often describe Pandas as "Excel within Python", in that you can perform all sorts of calculations as well as sort data, search through it and plot it.

    For all of these reasons, it's no surprise that Pandas is a darling of the data science community. But here's the thing: you don't need to be a data scientist to enjoy Pandas. It has a lot of excellent functionality that's good for Python developers who otherwise would spend their time wrestling with lists, tuples and dictionaries.

    So in this article, I describe some basic analysis that everyone can do with Pandas, regardless of whether you're a data scientist. If you ever work with CSV files (and you probably do), I definitely recommend thinking about using Pandas to open, read, analyze and even write to them. And although I don't cover it in this article, Pandas handles JSON and Excel very well too.
     Creating Data Frames
    Although it's possible to create a data frame from scratch using Python data structures or NumPy arrays, it's more common in my experience to do so from a file. Fortunately, Pandas can load data from a variety of file formats.

    Before you can do anything with Pandas, you have to load it. In a Jupyter notebook, do:
      %pylab inline import pandas as pd  
    For example, Python comes with a csv module that knows how to handle files in CSV (comma-separated value) format. But, then you need to iterate over the file and do something with each of those lines/rows. I often find it easier to use Pandas to work with such files. For example, here's a CSV file:
      a,b,c,d e,f,g,h "i,j",k,l,m n,o.p,q  
    You can turn this into a data frame with:
        Go to Full Article          


  • Last Call for Purism's Librem 5 Dev Kits, Git Protocol Version 2 Released, LXQt Version 0.13.0 Now Available and More

    Purism announces last call for its Librem 5 dev kits. If you're interested in the hardware that will be the platform for the Librem 5 privacy-focused phones, place your order by June 1, 2018. The dev kit is $399, and it includes "screen, touchscreen, development mainboard, cabling, power supply and various sensors (free worldwide shipping)".

    The Google Open Source Blog recently announced the release of Git protocol version 2. This release brings improvements to server-side reference filtering, easy extensibility for new features and simplified client handling of the http transport. See the full list of changes here.

    The LXQt team yesterday announced the release of version 0.13.0 of its Lightweight Qt Desktop Environment. Highlights include "all packages are ready for Qt 5.11, out-of-source builds are now mandatory, libfm-qt is made more self-sufficient" and more.

    Red Hat announced this morning its collaboration with Juniper Networks to combine Juniper's Contrail Enterprise Multicloud and Red Hat's OpenShift Container and OpenStack Platforms to "deliver an open-source based, multicloud alternative to proprietary platforms".

    The Debian Project announced recently that "regular security support for Debian GNU/Linux 8 (code name "jessie") will be terminated on the 17th of June".

    The Khronos Group yesterday announced "its engagement of Au-Zone Technologies to enable the NNEF (Neural Network Exchange Format) standard files to be used with leading machine learning training frameworks". See the Press Release for all the details on the Khronos Group and Au-Zone's development of open-source TensorFlow and Caffe2 Converters for NNEF.
          News  Purism  Git  LXQt  Desktop  Red Hat  Cloud  Containers  Debian  Machine Learning                   


  • Cookies That Go the Other Way
        by Doc Searls   
    The web—or at least the one we know today—got off on the wrong hoofs. Specifically, I mean with client-server, a distributed application structure that shouldn't subordinate one party to an other, but ended up doing exactly that, which is why the web today looks like this:



    Clients come to servers for the milk of HTML, and get cookies as well.

    The original cookie allowed the server to remember the client when it showed up again. Later the cookie would remember other stuff: for example, that the client was a known customer with a shopping cart.

    Cookies also came to remember fancier things, such as that a client has agreed to the server's terms of use.

    In the last decade, cookies also arrived from third parties, some for site analytics but mostly so clients could be spied on as they went about their business elsewhere on the web. The original purpose was so those clients could be given "relevant" and "interest-based" advertising. What matters is that it was still spying and a breach of personal privacy, no matter how well its perpetrators rationalize it. Simply put, websites and advertisers' interests end at a browser's front door. (Bonus link: The Castle Doctrine.)

    Thanks to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into full force this Friday, that kind of spying is starting to look illegal. (Though loopholes will be found.) Since there is a world of fear about that, 99.x% of GDPR coverageis about how the new regulation affects the sites and services, and what they can do to avoid risking massive finesfor doing what many (or most) of them shouldn't have been doing in the first place.

    But the problem remains structural. As long as we're just "users" and "consumers," we're stuck as calves.

    But we don't have to be. The web's underlying protocol, HTTP, is distributed and collaborative. It doesn't say we need to be subordinate to websites, always consenting to those sites' terms and policies. It doesn't even say we have to be calves to the websites' cows. Consent can go the other way.

    And so can cookies. So let's bake some.
        Go to Full Article          


Linux Magazine » Channels



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    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


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    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


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    Need to setup Drupal CMS but don't have the time to learn how? Try this 30 minute quick start guide. Continue reading


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    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


Page last modified on October 08, 2013, at 07:08 PM