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LinuxSecurity.com - Security Advisories

  • Debian: DSA-4297-1: chromium-browser security update
    `bbLinuxSecurity.com`/bb: Two vulnerabilities have been discovered in the chromium web browser. Kevin Cheung discovered an error in the WebAssembly implementation and evil1m0 discovered a URL spoofing issue.


  • RedHat: RHSA-2018-2721:01 Moderate: Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack
    `bbLinuxSecurity.com`/bb: An update is now available for Red Hat OpenStack Platform 13.0 (Queens). Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Moderate. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which gives a detailed severity rating, is available for each vulnerability from








  • Fedora 27: nss Security Update
    `bbLinuxSecurity.com`/bb: Updates the nss family of packages to upstream NSPR 4.20 and NSS 3.39. For details about new functionality and a list of bugs fixed in this release please see the upstream release notes https://developer.mozilla.org/en- US/docs/Mozilla/Projects/NSS/NSS_3.39_release_notes


  • Fedora 27: nspr Security Update
    `bbLinuxSecurity.com`/bb: Updates the nss family of packages to upstream NSPR 4.20 and NSS 3.39. For details about new functionality and a list of bugs fixed in this release please see the upstream release notes https://developer.mozilla.org/en- US/docs/Mozilla/Projects/NSS/NSS_3.39_release_notes




LWN.net

  • [$] Code, conflict, and conduct
    A couple of surprising things happened in the kernel community onSeptember 16: Linus Torvalds announcedthat he was taking a break from kernel development to focus on improvinghis own behavior, and the longstanding "code of conflict" was replacedwith a code of conduct based on the ContributorCovenant. Those two things did not quite come packaged as a set, butthey are clearly not unrelated. It is atime of change for the kernel project; there will be challenges to overcomebut, in the end, less may change than many expect or fear.


  • Security updates for Tuesday
    Security updates have been issued by Fedora (ghostscript, icu, nspr, nss, nss-softokn, nss-util, and okular), Red Hat (java-1.7.1-ibm, java-1.8.0-ibm, OpenStack Platform, openstack-neutron, and openstack-nova), and Ubuntu (clamav and php5, php7.0, php7.2).


  • PostgreSQL adopts a code of conduct
    The PostgreSQL community has, after an extended discussion, announced theadoption of a codeof conduct "which is intended toensure that PostgreSQL remains an open and enjoyable project for anyone tojoin and participate in".


  • Versity announces next generation open source archiving filesystem
    Versity Software has announced that it has released ScoutFS under GPLv2. "ScoutFS is the first GPL archiving file system ever released, creating aninherently safer and more user friendly option for storing archival datawhere accessibility over very large time scales, and the removal of vendorspecific risk is a key consideration."


  • Security updates for Monday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (discount, ghostscript, intel-microcode, mbedtls, thunderbird, and zutils), Fedora (ghostscript, java-1.8.0-openjdk-aarch32, kernel-headers, kernel-tools, libzypp, matrix-synapse, nspr, nss, nss-softokn, nss-util, zsh, and zypper), Mageia (kernel, kernel-linus, and kernel-tmb), openSUSE (chromium, curl, ffmpeg-4, GraphicsMagick, kernel, libzypp, zypper, okular, python3, spice-gtk, tomcat, and zsh), Oracle (kernel), Slackware (php), SUSE (curl, libzypp, zypper, and openssh-openssl1), and Ubuntu (curl and firefox).


  • Apache SpamAssassin 3.4.2 released
    SpamAssassin 3.4.2 is out, the first release from this spam-filteringproject since 3.4.1 came out in April 2015. It fixes some remotelyexploitable security issues, so SpamAssassin users probably want toupdate in the near future. "The exploit has been seen in the wild but not believe to have beenpurposefully part of a Denial of Service attempt.  We are concerned thatthere may be attempts to abuse the vulnerability in the future. Therefore, we strongly recommend all users of these versions upgrade toApache SpamAssassin 3.4.2 as soon as possible."


  • [$] Fedora reawakens the hibernation debate
    Behavioral changes can make desktop users grumpy; that is doubly true forchanges that arrive without notice and possibly risk data loss. Such asituation recently arose in the Fedora 29 development branch in theform of a new "suspend-then-hibernate" feature. This feature will almostcertainly be turned off before Fedora 29 reaches an official release,but the discussion and finger-pointing it inspired reveal somesignificant differences of opinion about how this kind of change should bemanaged.


  • Kernel prepatch 4.19-rc4; Linus taking a break
    Linus has released 4.19-rc4 and made a setof announcements that should really be read in their entirety."I actually think that 4.19 is looking fairly good,things have gotten to the 'calm' period of the release cycle, and I'vetalked to Greg to ask him if he'd mind finishing up 4.19 for me, sothat I can take a break, and try to at least fix my own behavior."



  • Lights, Camera, Open Source: Hollywood Turns to Linux for New Code Sharing Initiative (Linux Journal)
    Linux Journal covers the new Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), which is a project aimed at open-source collaboration in movie-making software that was started by theAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and the Linux Foundation. "Still at the early stages, the ASWF has yet to develop any of its own projects, but there is interest in having them host a number of very popular projects, such as Industrial Light & Magic’s OpenEXR HDR image file format, color management solution OpenColorIO, and OPenVDB, which is used for working with those hard-to-handle objects like clouds and fluids.Along with promoting cooperation on the development of a more robust set of tools for the industry, one of the goals of the organization moving forward is to put out a shared licensing template that they hope will help smooth the tensions over licensing. It follows that with the growth of projects, navigating the politics over usage rights is bound to be a tricky task."


  • Security updates for Friday
    Security updates have been issued by CentOS (firefox), Fedora (firefox, openssh, pango, and zziplib), Mageia (flash-player-plugin and ntp), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (flash-plugin), Slackware (ghostscript), SUSE (podman and spice-gtk), and Ubuntu (firefox).


  • The (awesome) economics of open source (Opensource.com)
    Over at Opensource.com, Red Hat's Michael Tiemann looksat open source fromthe perspective of the economic theories of Ronald Coase, who won the 1991Nobel Prize for Economics. Those theories help explain why companies likeRed Hat (and Cygnus Solutions, which Tiemann founded) have prospered evenin the face of economic arguments about why they shouldnot. "Successful open source software companies 'discover' marketswhere transaction costs far outweigh all other costs, outcompete theproprietary alternatives for all the good reasons that even the economicnay-sayers already concede (e.g., open source is simply a betterdevelopment model to create and maintain higher-quality, more rapidlyinnovative software than the finite limits of proprietary software), andthen—and this is the important bit—help clients achieve strategicobjectives using open source as a platform for their own innovation. Withopen source, better/faster/cheaper by itself is available for the low, lowprice of zero dollars.As an open source company, we don't cry about that. Instead, we look at how open source might create a new inflection point that fundamentally changes the economics of existing markets or how it might create entirely new and more valuable markets."


  • The first /e/ beta is available
    /e/ is Gaël Duval's project to build a privacy-oriented smartphonedistribution; the first beta isnow available with support for a number of devices. "At ourcurrent point of development, we have an '/e/' ROM in Beta stage: forkedfrom LineageOS 14.1, it can be installed on several devices (read the list). The number of supported devices will grow over time, depending onmore build servers and more contributors who can maintain or port tospecific devices (contributors welcome). The ROM includes microG configuredby default with Mozilla NLP so users can have geolocation functionalityeven when GPS signal is not available."


  • [$] Compiling kernel UAPI headers with C++
    Linux kernel developers tend to take a dim view of the C++ language; it isseen, rightly or wrongly, as a sort of combination of the worst (from asystem-programming point of view) features of higher-level languages andthe worst aspects of C. So it takes a relatively brave person todare to discuss that language on the kernel mailing lists. David Howellsmust certainly be one of those; he not only brought up the subject, but isworking to make the kernel's user-space API (UAPI) header files compatiblewith C++.


  • Security updates for Thursday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (ghostscript and openssh), Oracle (firefox), Scientific Linux (firefox and OpenAFS), SUSE (tomcat), and Ubuntu (openjdk-lts).



LXer Linux News

  • Traceroute Basics
    Traceroute finds the path network packets take between your computer and a destination. That destination could be a website, server, or another machine on your network. If you can send network packets to it, you can test the path with traceroute. It's a helpful tool for understanding how data flows through a network.



  • Everything Is File In Linux - Part 1
    Divided into 2 parts, in this first part I will introduce the concept that everything is file and present the special devices / dev / null, / dev / zero, / dev / random and / dev / full. Part 2 will be to present didactically interesting features about this, for example, how to turn a file into a partition!


  • Linus Torvalds is doing a good and brave thing
    VideoÖ Linus Torvalds, Linux[he]#039[/he]s creator, has decided he needs to change his ways and how the Linux community works together. Now, if only other technology leaders would follow his lead.



  • Raspberry Pi I/O add-on targets aquaponics and hydroponics
    Upsilon is Kickstartering a “BioControle” I/O add-on board for the RPi 3 designed for aquaponics and hydroponics. The $89, open-spec add-on offers power-protected 12-bit ADC and DAC, 4x relays, servo outputs, and sensor and logical I/O. We knew it was only a matter of time before we covered a board from Luxembourg, and that time […]


  • Explore the immersive web with Firefox Reality. Now available for Viveport, Oculus, and Daydream
    Earlier this year, we shared that we are building a completely new browser called Firefox Reality. The mixed reality team at Mozilla set out to build a web browser that has been designed from the ground up to work on stand-alone virtual and augmented reality (or mixed reality) headsets. Today, we are pleased to announce that the first release of Firefox Reality is available in the Viveport, Oculus, and Daydream app stores.







  • Writing More Compact Bash Code
    In any programming language, idioms may be usedthat may not seem obvious from reading the manual.Often these usages of the language represent ways to make yourcode more compact (as in requiring fewer lines of code).


  • Did you open source career begin with video games?
    Certainly you don't need to be a gamer as a child to grow up and become a developer, nor does being a gamer automatically set you up for a career in technology.But there's definitely a good bit of overlap between the two.read more



  • How to Run Commands Simultaneously in Linux
    Let’s say you’re editing a configuration file in the Linux “vi” editor, and suddenly need to look up some data in another file? On a regular GUI system, this wouldn’t be a problem. You just open the second file, check when you need, and then switch back to the first program. On a command line, it isn’t that simple.


  • 3 top Python libraries for data science
    Python's many attractions—such as efficiency, code readability, and speed—have made it the go-to programming language for data science enthusiasts. Python is usually the preferred choice for data scientists and machine learning experts who want to escalate the functionalities of their applications. (For example, Andrey Bulezyuk used the Python programming language to create an amazing machine learning application.)read more



  • The History of Various Linux Distros
    Linux has been around for almost 30 years. Here is a brief history of various popular Linux distros, the reasons for their creation and their philosophy.


  • Linux firewalls: What you need to know about iptables and firewalld
    This article is excerpted from my book, Linux in Action, and a second Manning project that’s yet to be released.The firewallA firewall is a set of rules. When a data packet moves into or out of a protected network space, its contents (in particular, information about its origin, target, and the protocol it plans to use) are tested against the firewall rules to see if it should be allowed through. Here’s a simple example:read more


[[LinuxInsider

	Copyright 2018
	http://www.linuxinsider.com|Linux Insider"LinuxInsider"]]
  • Android Apps Riskier Than Ever: Report
    Widespread use of unpatched open source code in the most popular Android apps distributed by Google Play has caused significant security vulnerabilities, suggests an American Consumer Institute report. Thirty-two percent -- or 105 apps out of 330 of the most popular apps in 16 categories sampled -- averaged 19 vulnerabilities per app, according to the report. Researchers found critical vulnerabilities in many common applications.


  • Cinnamon Mint for Debian Just as Tasty
    The official release of version 3 of Linux Mint Debian Edition hit the download servers at summer's end, offering a subtle alternative to the distro's Ubuntu-based counterpart. Codenamed "Cindy," the new version of LMDE is based on Debian 9 Stretch and features the Cinnamon desktop environment. Its release creates an unusual situation in the world of Linux distro competition. Linux Mint developers seem to be in competition with themselves.


  • Enlightenment Has Limits in Bodhi Linux
    Bodhi Linux is an alternative to traditional Linux OSes that can change your desktop user experience. It is one of a very few Linux distros using Moksha, a forked version of the Enlightenment desktop. Enlightenment is a Compositing Window Manager and Desktop Shell. It is radically different from other lightweight interface shells such as Xfce and LXDE.


  • Quirky Linux: Pleasingly Peculiar
    Quirky Linux is a classic example of what makes Linux such a varied and useful operating system. Puppy Linux developer Barry Kauler earlier this month released Quirky Xerus 64 version 8.6, which comes packed with the latest innovations for doing Linux stuff differently. This latest in the "Xerus" series is a must-try if you like to push your computing experience envelope.


  • Oracle Open-Sources GraphPipe to Support ML Development
    Oracle has open-sourced GraphPipe to enhance machine learning applications. The project's goal is to improve deployment results for machine learning models, noted Project Leader Vish Abrams. That process includes creating an open standard. The company has a questionable relationship with open source developers, so its decision to open-source GraphPipe might not receive a flood of interest.


  • New LibreOffice Version Offers Fresh Take
    The Document Foundation has announced the availability of its second major release this year, LibreOffice Fresh 6.1, with enhanced editing on Desktop, Cloud and Mobile platforms. One of its most significant new features is Notebookbar, an experimental UI option that resembles the ribbon interface popular with Microsoft Office users. The Fresh release targets both early adopters and power users.


  • Android Pie Is Filled with AI
    AI plays a big role in Android 9, the latest version of Google's mobile OS. Called "Android Pie," it is designed to learn from its users' behavior, and apply those lessons to simplify and customize their phone experiences. Android 9 adapts to your life and the ways you like to use your phone," noted Sameer Samat, Google's vice president of product management for Android and Google Play.


  • ExTiX 18.7 Is Not Quite an 'Ultimate Linux System'
    The latest release of the ExTiX Linux distro is a major disappointment. ExTiX 18.7 has several shortcomings that make it troublesome to use. The flaws easily might be fixed in a patched follow-up release. Still, to a new Linux user, the problems inherent in ExTiX 18.7 give the Linux OS in general a black eye. New releases of any software platform never come with guarantees.


  • FreeOffice Suite Is Almost Blue Ribbon-Worthy
    SoftMaker's FreeOffice 2018 Linux office suite is a high-end product that provides performance and compatibility with Microsoft Office and other office suites. FreeOffice 2018 is a free version that is nearly identical to the features and UI of Softmaker's commercial flagship office suite, SoftMaker Office 2018. The FreeOffice 2018 suite is a capable alternative to its commercial upgrade.


  • Google Adds Kubernetes to Rebranded Cloud Marketplace
    Google has announced the rebranding and expansion of its Cloud Launcher platform. Going forward, it will be known as the "Google Cloud Platform Marketplace," or "GCP Marketplace." It will offer production-ready commercial Kubernetes apps, promising simplified deployment, billing and third-party licensing. Google's goal is to make containers accessible to everyone, especially the enterprise.


  • Pinguy OS Puts On a Happier GNOME 3 Face
    Pinguy OS 18.04 is an Ubuntu-based distribution that offers a non-standard GNOME desktop environment intended to be friendlier for new Linux users. This distro is a solid Linux OS with a focus on simple and straightforward usability for the non-geek desktop user. If you do not like tinkering with settings or having numerous power-grabbing fancy screen animations, Pinguy OS could be a good choice.


  • Ribbons and Tabs Give OnlyOffice Suite a Fresh Look
    Ascensio System SIA recently released its free office suite upgrade -- OnlyOffice Desktop Editors -- with a ribbon and tab interface plus numerous updated features. The refresh makes version 5.1 a potential alternative to Web versions of the Microsoft Office suite and Google Docs for Linux users. The three-module set of OnlyOffice Desktop Editors has an impressive collection of tools.


  • Peppermint 9 Offers Some Cool New Options
    Peppermint 9 accomplishes something most other Linux distros don't: It melds the best components from other desktop environments and integrates them into a solid operating system. The latest release nearly completes a process begun several upgrades ago, using more Xfce elements and fewer LXDE components. Peppermint is a good alternative to the Linux Mint Xfce release.


  • Suse Linux Enterprise 15 Bridges Traditional, Software-Defined Systems
    Suse has launched Suse Linux Enterprise 15, its latest flagship operating platform. SLE 15 bridges traditional infrastructure technologies with next-generation software-defined infrastructure, the company said. Suse Manager helps users meet management challenges created by technology advancements such as software-defined infrastructure, cloud computing and containers.


  • Linux Skills Most Wanted: Open Source Jobs Report
    The Linux Foundation's 2018 Open Source Technology Jobs Report shows rapid growth in the demand for open source technical talent, with Linux skills a must-have requirement for entry-level positions. Linux coding is the most sought-after open source skill. Linux-based container technology is a close second. The report provides an overview of open source career trends.


  • Crate.io Releases Commercial Machine Data Platform
    rate.io has introduced a commercial Machine Data Platform, along with a new version of its open source SQL database for the Internet of Things and machine data. The company also announced an US$11 M Series A funding round. The Machine Data Platform is Crate.io's first major commercial venture following last year's initial steps toward selling services around its free database.


  • Can Hackers Crack the Ivory Towers?
    Academics have been hard at work studying information security. Most fields aren't as replete with hackers as information security, though, and their contributions are felt much more strongly in the private sector than in academia. The differing motives and professional cultures of the two groups act as barriers to direct collaboration, noted CypherCon presenter Anita Nikolich.


  • Modicia: Ultimate Linux with a Twist
    Every once and a great while I stumble on a Linux distro that makes me sit up and smile. Modicia O.S. is one of them. It is not that Modicia steps over the bleeding edge of innovation. It is a seemingly standard desktop Linux distribution based on Xubuntu. It comes in one desktop flavor, Xfce -- but with a twist. Yet nothing is standard about Modicia O.S. That is what generates the happiness.


  • Private Cloud May Be the Best Bet: Report
    News flash: Private cloud economics can offer more cost efficiency than public cloud pricing structures. Private, or on-premises, cloud solutions can be more cost-effective than public cloud options, according to a report by 451 Research and Canonical. That conclusion counters the notion that public cloud platforms traditionally are more cost-efficient than private infrastructures.


  • What Microsoft's GitHub Deal Promises to Programmers
    Microsoft sent tremors through the open source world last week, when it announced that it would acquire the popular developer platform GitHub for $7.5 billion in company stock. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the calendar year. GitHub, one of the world's largest computer code repositories, is home to more than 28 million developers for collaboration and distribution of projects.


  • Red Hat Launches Fuse 7, Fuse Online for Better Cloud Integration
    Red Hat has launched its Fuse 7 cloud-native integration solution and introduced Fuse Online, an alternative iPaaS. Red Hat Fuse is a lightweight modular and flexible integration platform with a new-style enterprise service bus to unlock information. It provides a single, unified platform across hybrid cloud environments for collaboration between integration experts, application developers and business users.



Slashdot

  • VW Group, BMW and Daimler Are Under Investigation For Collusion In Europe
    The European Commission has launched an antitrust investigation into the Volkswagen Group, BMW and Daimler, over allegations they colluded to keep certain emissions control devices from reaching the market in Europe, according to a statement the Commission released on Tuesday. CNET reports: The technologies the group allegedly sought to bury include a selective catalytic reduction system for diesel vehicles, which would help to reduce environmentally problematic oxides of nitrogen in passenger cars, and "Otto" particulate filters that trap particulate matter from gasoline combustion engines.   "The Commission is investigating whether BMW, Daimler and VW agreed not to compete against each other on the development and roll-out of important systems to reduce harmful emissions from petrol and diesel passenger cars," said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, head of competition policy for the European Commission, in a statement. "These technologies aim at making passenger cars less damaging to the environment. If proven, this collusion may have denied consumers the opportunity to buy less polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Senate Passes Music Modernization Act With Unanimous Support
    After the House's unilateral support back in April, the Senate has unanimously voted to pass the Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act, which is named in honor of the Republican senior senator from Utah -- a songwriter himself -- who will retire at the end of the year. Billboard explains the bill: The bill creates a blanket mechanical license and establishes a collective to administer it; reshapes how courts can determine rates, while making sure future performance rates hearings between performance rights organizations BMI and ASCAP and licensees rotate among all U.S. Southern District Court of New York Judges, instead of being assigned to the same two judges, Judge Denise Cote for ASCAP and Judge Louis Stanton for BMI, as its done now; creates a royalty for labels, artists and musicians to be paid by digital services for master recordings created prior to Feb. 15, 1972, while also eliminating a Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 carve out for "pre-existing digital services" like Sirius XM and Music Choice that allows for certain additional considerations not given to any other digital service when rates are set; and codifies a process for Sound Exchange to pay producers and engineers royalties for records on which they have worked. Over on the music publishing side of the business, there was much happiness too. For example, ASCAP noted that the legislation reforms an "outdated music licensing system and give music creators an opportunity to obtain compensation that more accurately reflects the value of music in a free market." Billboard notes that the revised Senate version "will go back to the House where it needs approval due to all the changes made to the bill in order to get it passed in the Senate." Once the House approves, it will then head to President Trump's desk.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Facebook Wanted Banks To Fork Over Customer Data Passing Through Messenger
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: For years, Facebook has publicly positioned its Messenger application as a way to connect with friends and as a way to help customers interact directly with businesses. But a new report from The Wall Street Journal today indicates that Facebook also saw its Messenger platform as a siphon for the sensitive financial data of its users, information it would not otherwise have access to unless a customer interacted with, say, a banking institution over chat. In this case, the WSJ report says not only did the banks find Facebook's methods obtrusive, but the companies also pushed back against the social network and, in some cases, moved conversations off Messenger to avoid handing Facebook any sensitive data. Among the financial firms Facebook is said to have argued with about customer data are American Express, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.   The report says Facebook was interested in helping banks create bots for its Messenger platform, as part of a big push in 2016 to turn the chat app into an automated hub of digital life that could help you solve problems and avoid cumbersome customer service calls. But some of these bots, like the one American Express developed for Messenger last year, deliberately avoided sending transaction information over the platform after Facebook made clear it wanted to use customer spending habits as part of its ad targeting business. In some cases, companies like PayPal and Western Union negotiated special contracts that would let them offer many detailed and useful services like money transfers, the WSJ reports. But by and large, big banks in the U.S. have reportedly shied away from working with Facebook due to how aggressively it pushed for access to customer data. Facebook said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal: "Like many online companies, we partner with financial institutions to improve people's commerce experiences, like enabling better customer service, and people opt into these experiences. We've emphasized to partners that keeping people's information safe and secure is critical to these efforts. That has been and always will be our priority."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Wharton Professor Says America Should Shorten the Work Day By 2 Hours
    Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, New York Times best-selling author, and The Wharton School's top professor, says Americans should work two hours less. Instead of the typical 9-to-5, people "should finish at 3pm," says Grant in a recent LinkedIn post. "We can be as productive and creative in 6 focused hours as in 8 unfocused hours." CNBC reports: In the LinkedIn post, Grant was weighing in on an Atlantic article about the time gap between when school and work days end, a bane for many parents. But it's not the first time Grant has given his stamp of approval to less work with more productivity. "Productivity is less about time management and more about attention management," Grant tweeted in July, highlighting an article about a successful four-day work week study. For the study, a New Zealand company adopted a four-day work week (at five-day pay) with positive results; the company saw benefits ranging from lower stress levels in employees to increased performance. In a recent blog post, billionaire Richard Branson also touted the success of a three-day or four-day work week. "It's easier to attract top talent when you are open and flexible," Branson said in the post. "It's not effective or productive to force them to behave in a conventional way." "Many people out there would love three-day or even four-day weekends," said Branson. "Everyone would welcome more time to spend with their loved ones, more time to get fit and healthy, more time to explore the world."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Linux On Windows 10: Running Ubuntu VMs Just Got a Lot Easier, Says Microsoft
    Liam Tung reporting for ZDNet: Ubuntu maintainer Canonical and Microsoft have teamed up to release an optimized Ubuntu Desktop image that's available through Microsoft's Hyper-V gallery. The Ubuntu Desktop image should deliver a better experience when running it as a guest on a Windows 10 Pro host, according to Canonical. The optimized version is Ubuntu Desktop 18.04.1 LTS release, also known as Bionic Beaver. Microsoft's work with Canonical was prompted by its users who wanted a "first-class experience" on Linux virtual machines (VMs) as well as Windows VMs. To achieve this goal, Microsoft worked with the developers of XRDP, an open-source remote-desktop protocol (RDP) for Linux based on Microsoft's RDP for Windows. Thanks to that work, XRDP now supports Microsoft's Enhanced Session Mode, which allows Hyper-V to use the open-source implementation of RDP to connect to Linux VMs. This in turn gives Ubuntu VMs on Windows hosts a better mouse experience, an integrated clipboard, windows resizing, and shared folders for easier file transfers between host and guest. Microsoft's Hyper-V Quick Create VM setup wizard should also help improve the experience. "With the Hyper-V Quick Create feature added in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, we have partnered with Ubuntu and added a virtual machine image so in a few quick minutes, you'll be up and developing," said Clint Rutkas, a senior technical product manager on Microsoft's Windows Developer Team. "This is available now -- just type 'Hyper-V Quick Create' in your start menu."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Chrome OS Revamp Delivers a New Look and Linux App Support
    Google has released a Chrome OS 69 update that introduces a range of new features. From a report: Most notably, there's now support for running Linux apps. You'll need a supported machine (a handful of machines from Acer, ASUS, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Google itself). Still, this could be more than a little helpful if you want to run a conventional desktop app or command line terminal without switching to another PC or a virtual environment. The new software also adds the long-in-the-making Night Light mode to ease your eyes at the end of the day. Voice dictation is now available in any text field, and there's a fresh Files interface that can access Play files and Team Drives.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • EU Drops Court Case After Apple Repays More Than $16 Billion In Taxes and Interest To Ireland
    "Ireland's government has fully recovered more than [$16 billion] in disputed taxes and interest from Apple, which it will hold in an escrow fund pending its appeal against a European Union tax ruling," reports The Guardian. From the report: The European commission ruled in August 2016 that Apple had received unfair tax incentives from the Irish government. Both Apple and Dublin are appealing against the original ruling, saying the iPhone maker's tax treatment was in line with Irish and EU law. Ireland's finance ministry, which began collecting the back taxes in a series of payments in May, estimated last year the total amount could have reached -- [$17.5 billion] including EU interest. In the end the amount was [$15.2 billion] in back taxes plus [$1.4 billion] interest.   For its part, the commission said it would scrap its lawsuit against Ireland, which it initiated last year because of delays in recovering the money. "In light of the full payment by Apple of the illegal state aid it had received from Ireland, commissioner (Margrethe) Vestager will be proposing to the college of commissioners the withdrawal of this court action," the commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said. Ireland's finance ministry said its appeal had been granted priority status and is progressing through the various stages of private written proceedings before the general court of the European Union (GCEU), Europe's second highest court. The matter will likely take several years to be settled by the European courts, it added.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • People Tend To Cluster Into Four Distinct Personality 'Types,' Says Study
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A new study has sifted through some of the largest online data sets of personality quizzes and identified four distinct "types" therein. The new methodology used for this study -- described in detail in a new paper in Nature Human Behavior -- is rigorous and replicable, which could help move personality typing analysis out of the dubious self-help section in your local bookstore and into serious scientific journals. What's new here is the identification of four dominant clusters in the overall distribution of traits. [Paper co-author William Revelle (Northwestern University)] prefers to think of them as "lumps in the batter" and suggests that a good analogy would be how people tend to concentrate in cities in the United States. The Northwestern researchers used publicly available data from online quizzes taken by 1.5 million people around the world. That data was then plotted in accordance with the so-called Big Five basic personality traits: neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. The Big Five is currently the professional standard for social psychologists who study personality. (Here's a good summary of what each of those traits means to psychologists.) They then applied their algorithms to the resulting dataset. Here are the four distinct personality clusters that the researchers ended up with:   Average: These people score high in neuroticism and extraversion, but score low in openness. It is the most typical category, with women being more likely than men to fit into it.  Reserved: This type of person is stable emotionally without being especially open or neurotic. They tend to score lower on extraversion but tend to be somewhat agreeable and conscientious. Role Models: These people score high in every trait except neuroticism, and the likelihood that someone fits into this category increases dramatically as they age. "These are people who are dependable and open to new ideas," says Amaral. "These are good people to be in charge of things." Women are more likely than men to be role models. Self-Centered: These people score very high in extraversion, but score low in openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Most teenage boys would fall into this category, according to Revelle, before (hopefully) maturing out of it. The number of people who fall into this category decreases dramatically with age.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Google's Android OS To Power Dashboard Displays
    schwit1 shares a report from The Wall Street Journal: Google is making a major push into the auto industry, partnering with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to use the tech company's Android OS to power media displays (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) that will eventually be sold in millions of cars world-wide. The auto-making alliance, which together sells more vehicles than any other auto maker, is picking Google to provide the operating system for its next-generation infotainment system, marking a major victory for the Silicon Valley tech giant, which has spent more than a decade trying to replicate the success it has had with the smartphone in the car. The alliance, which last year sold a combined 10.6 million vehicles globally, will debut the new system in 2021, giving drivers better integration of Google's maps, app store and voice-activated assistant from the vehicle's dashboard, the companies said. The move comes as other auto makers have been reluctant to cede control of this space to tech rivals, in part because they see the technology as generating valuable consumer data that can be turned into new revenue streams. Slashdot reader schwit1 adds: "But can I get it unlocked and can it be turned off, like this traveling telescreen?
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • iPhone XS, XS Max Are World's Fastest Phones (Again)
    According to "several real-world tests and synthetic benchmarks," the new iPhone XS and XS Max, equipped with the world's first 7-nanometer A12 Bionic processor, are the world's fastest smartphones, reports Tom's Guide. They even significantly outperform Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 chip. From the report: Geekbench 4 is a benchmark that measures overall performance, and no other phone comes close to Apple's new handsets on this test. The iPhone Xs notched 11,420, and the iPhone Xs Max hit 11,515. The older iPhone X scored 10,357, so that's about an 11 percent improvement. There's a lot more distance between the new iPhones and Android flagships. The fastest Android phone around, the OnePlus 6, scored 9,088 on Geekbench 4 with its 8GB of RAM, while the Galaxy Note 9 reached 8,876.   To test real-world performance, we use the Adobe Premiere Clips app to transcode a 2-minute 4K video to 1080p. The iPhone X was miles ahead last year with a time of just 42 seconds. This time around, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max knocked it down further to 39 seconds. The Galaxy S9+ took 2 minutes and 32 seconds to complete the task, and that's the fastest we've seen from an Android phone. The OnePlus 6 finished in 3:45, and the LG G7 ThinQ took 3:16. One good way to measure real-world performance is to see how long it takes for a phone to load demanding apps. Because the phones have the same processor for this round, we just used the iPhone Xs Max and put it up against the iPhone X and the Galaxy Note 9. The iPhone XS Max was faster every time, including a 15-second victory in Fortnite over the Note 9 and 3-second win in Asphalt 9. The phones were closer in Pokemon Go but the iPhone XS Max still came out on top. The new iPhones did lag behind the competition in the 3DMark Slingshot Extreme test, which measures graphics performance by evaluating everything from rendering to volumetric lighting. The iPhone XS Max and iPhone X received scores of 4,244 and 4,339, respectively, while the OnePlus 6 received a score of 5,124.   As for the GFXBench 5 test, the iPhone XS Max achieved 1,604.7 frames on the Aztec Ruins portion of the test, and 1,744.44 frames in the Car Chase test," reports Tom's Guide. "The Note 9 was far behind at 851.7 and 1,103 frames, respectively. However, the Galaxy S9+ edged past the iPhone XS Max on this test."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Tesla Is Facing US Criminal Probe Over Elon Musk Statements
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Tesla is under investigation by the Justice Department over public statements made by the company and Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk. The criminal probe is running alongside a previously reported civil inquiry by securities regulators. Federal prosecutors opened a fraud investigation after Musk tweeted last month that he was contemplating taking Tesla private and had "funding secured" for the deal. The tweet initially sent the company's shares higher. Tesla confirmed it has been contacted by the Justice Department. The investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in the Northern District of California follows a subpoena issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking information from the electric-car maker about Musk's plans to go private, which he has since abandoned. Tesla said in a statement following Bloomberg's report: "Last month, following Elon's announcement that he was considering taking the company private, Tesla received a voluntary request for documents from the DOJ and has been cooperative in responding to it. We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process. We respect the DOJ's desire to get information about this and believe that the matter should be quickly resolved as they review the information they have received."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Cyber Sleuths Find Traces of Infamous iPhone and Android Spyware 'Pegasus' in 45 Countries
    Security researchers have found evidence that a piece of malware peddled as "lawful intercept" software to government agencies has been deployed against victims located in 45 countries, a number that far outweighs the number of known operators, meaning that some of them are conducting illegal cross-border surveillance. The findings come from a report published by Citizen Lab, a digital rights watchdog at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. ZDNet: The malware, known as Pegasus (or Trident), was created by Israeli cyber-security firm NSO Group and has been around for at least three years -- when it was first detailed in a report over the summer of 2016. The malware can operate on both Android and iOS devices, albeit it's been mostly spotted in campaigns targeting iPhone users primarily. On infected devices, Pegasus is a powerful spyware that can do many things, such as record conversations, steal private messages, exfiltrate photos, and much much more. Citizen Lab's researchers explained how they were able to arrive at the conclusion. They said they identified 1,091 IP addresses that matched their fingerprint for NSO's spyware. Then, they clustered the IP addresses into 36 separate operators with traces in 45 countries where these government agencies "may be conducting surveillance operations" between August 2016 and August 2018. Motherboard adds: Some of the countries where the researchers spotted Pegasus in democratic countries, such as the United States, France, and the UK, but there's also countries with questionable human rights records such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Mexico, Turkey, and Yemen. There's a caveat though. In some cases, the researchers aren't sure if the traces they found indicate an infection -- thus a target that may have been hacked from a foreign country -- or an operator. [...] "I can only hope that our research is causing these companies to think twice about sales where there is the potential for spyware abuse, causing potential customers to think twice about being associated with a company dealing with repressive governments, and causing potential investors to think twice about the inherently risky business of selling spyware to dictators." The report includes a corroboration of sorts from security firm Lookout, which noted that it had detected "three digits" Pegasus infections around the world.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Google is Giving up Some Control of the AMP Format
    Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, has been a controversial project since its debut. Critics say AMP is a Google-specific project and it is creating a walled-garden, which would only serve Google's best interests. On its part, Google has insisted that AMP's mission is to benefit the open web, and that many who contribute to AMP are non-Googlers. On Tuesday, Google announced that it would be giving up some control of how the code behind AMP is managed. A report adds: It plans to move the AMP Project to a "new governance model," which is to say that decisions about the code will be made by a committee that includes non-Googlers. Until now, final decisions about AMP's code have been made by Malte Ubl, the tech lead for the AMP Project at Google. A model with a single person in charge is not actually all that rare in open source. That person is often cheekily referred to as the BDFL, or "benevolent dictator for life." Ubl's been that person for AMP, but, he writes, "we've found that it doesn't scale to the size of the AMP Project today. Instead, we want to move to a model that explicitly gives a voice to all constituents of the community, including those who cannot contribute code themselves, such as end-users." [...] Google has already signed up non-Google people for the Advisory Committee, which will include representatives from The Washington Post, AliExpress, eBay, Cloudflare, and Automattic (which makes WordPress). Ubl says that it will also include "advocates for an open web," including "Leonie Watson of The Paciello Group, Nicole Sullivan of Google / Chrome, and Terence Eden." Of course, as anybody who's taken part in a committee knows, it's neither a fun solution nor a guarantee that a single company or person won't dominate it. But it's a step in the right direction, and Google is encouraging people to comment on the plan at the AMP Contributor Summit on September 25th.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Rice University Says Middle-Class And Low-Income Students Won't Have To Pay Tuition
    Rice University is "dramatically expanding" its financial aid offerings, promising full scholarships to undergrads whose families have income under $130,000. NPR reports: The school says it wants to reduce student debt -- and make it easier for students from low-income families to attend. "Talent deserves opportunity," Rice President David Leebron said while announcing the plan on Tuesday. The full scholarships are earmarked for students whose families have income between $65,000 and $130,000. Below that level, the university will not only cover tuition but also provide grants to cover students' room and board, along with any other fees. Another part of the program will help students whose family income surpasses the maximum: If their family's income is between $130,000 and $200,000, they can still get grants covering at least half of their tuition.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Emmys: Broadcast TV Airs Its Own Funeral As Netflix, HBO, Amazon and FX Dominate
    At the 70th Emmy Awards, broadcast TV was almost shut out as Netflix and HBO battled each other. The Hollywood Reporter: This year, longtime Emmy nominations leader HBO was out-nominated by Netflix. Netflix then won the most Emmys on the main telecast, with seven noms to HBO's six. But earlier, HBO won one more award than Netflix at the Creative Arts Awards ceremonies, 17 to 16. So by the time the curtain came down on the 70th Emmy Awards, technically -- and sort of poetically -- Netflix and HBO had fought to a draw. Almost all of the major content providers left with several wins to celebrate. [...] All in all, it was a terrible night for broadcast networks -- even as NBC aired the show and two stars of the network, Saturday Night Live's Michael Che and Colin Jost, hosted. SNL won the variety sketch award for the second year in a row, and ABC's The Oscars won for best direction of a variety show (that award's winner, Glenn Weiss, stole the night with his on-stage marriage proposal), but other than that, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and PBS had nothing -- nothing -- to show for their work of the past year. The times have certainly changed.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


The Register


  • Apple hands €14.3bn in back taxes to reluctant Ireland
    Funds to be held in escrow as govt appeals EU 'state aid' ruling
    Apple has paid the Irish government €14.3bn in back taxes after the European Commission ruled that arrangements between the pair had broken the state aid rules.…



  • Who ate all the PII? Not the blockchain, thankfully
    GDPR be praised, new product keeps personally identifiable information off the chain
    Dutch security firm Gemalto has said its blockchain product, slated to pilot later this year, will keep personal data off the blockchain.…





  • SAP claims to be first Euro biz to get seriously ethical about AI code
    Can intelligent robots bribe govt officials for contracts? Asking for... a friend
    SAP has created an AI ethics panel to guide its use of machine-learning technology. If only it had a similar committee for fraud allegations: it might have avoided the corruption scandal engulfing it in South Africa.…










  • Microsoft tries a thinking cap on its cloud – voila, Dynamics 365 gets AI!
    Also in news that will shock no one: HoloLens headgear a must, says Redmond
    Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 got a tickling by AI on Tuesday as the software giant announced new applications aimed at sales and those at the pointy end of customer service, as well as mixed reality demoware creeping closer to reality.…















  • The Reg chats with Voyager Imaging Team member Dr Garry E Hunt
    Register hack learns the benefits of brimming the tank before flight
    Interview It has been 41 years since the Voyager spacecraft left Earth to explore the outer solar system and, eventually, interstellar space. For the sole Brit on the Voyager imaging team, that journey began even earlier, in the 1960s, at Oxford University.…
















  • Quantum: We've got that accounting probe taped. Now about refinancing...
    We'll need to make deal by January 2019
    Timing is everything: Quantum Corp is renegotiating a refinancing package that could, if not agreed, take the business down. At the same time, it is nearing the end of an accounting probe that has highlighted serious revenue recognition errors in multi-year results that will need to be rectified.…





  • Leeds hospital launches campaign to 'axe the fax'
    Northern NHS trust to scrap 300-plus relics by new year
    Leeds hospital is bragging about a major IT project that would set it apart from the wider NHS – it plans to "axe the fax" by the new year.…



Linux.com offline for now

Phoronix


  • Opus 1.3 Codec Library Nears, New Tools Release
    Back in June was the first release candidate of Opus 1.3 (libopus v1.3) with this open-source audio codec allowing to use SILK down to bitrates of about 5kb/s, wideband encoding down to 9kb/s, improved security, improved Ambisonics support, and much more. Libopus 1.3 RC2 is now available along with some tooling updates...


  • AMD Picasso Support Comes To The RadeonSI OpenGL Driver
    Last week AMD sent out initial support for yet-to-be-released "Picasso" APUs with the Linux AMDGPU kernel graphics driver. Today on the user-space side the support was merged for the OpenGL RadeonSI Gallium3D driver...











  • The D Language Front-End Is Trying Now To Get Into GCC 9
    Going on for a while now have been D language front-end patches for GCC to allow this programming language to be supported by the GNU Compiler Collection. It's been a long battle getting to this state but it looks like it soon might be mainlined...






  • The Current Linux Performance With 16 ARM Boards
    Last week I provided a fresh look at the latest Linux performance on 22 Intel/AMD systems while for kicking off the benchmarking this week is a look at the current Linux performance on sixteen different ARM single board computers / developer boards from low-end to high-end.


  • LLVM 7.0 Is Ready For Release
    The LLVM/Clang 7.0 release had been running a bit behind schedule and warranted a third release candidate, but this week LLVM 7.0.0 is now ready to ship...


  • Valve Prepares Open-Source Moondust Repository
    Back in June, Valve announced "Moondust" as a new VR technical demo to showcase their hardware efforts (primarily with the Knuckles EV2 VR controllers) and consists of some mini games. It looks like this tech demo might be soon open-sourced...





  • The Linux Kernel Adopts A Code of Conduct
    Prior to releasing Linux 4.19-rc4 and Linus Torvalds taking a temporary leave of absence to reflect on his behavior / colorful language, he did apply a Code of Conduct to the Linux kernel...








  • Wine-Staging 3.16 Released With ~880 Patches Still Atop Wine
    Busy since Friday's release of Wine 3.16, the volunteers maintaining the Wine-Staging tree with the various experimental/testing patches atop upstream Wine are out with their adjoining update that continues with just under 900 patches being re-based...


  • The Current Linux Performance On 22 Intel / AMD Desktop Systems
    For your Linux benchmark viewing pleasure today are test results from twenty-two distinct Intel / AMD systems when running a recent release of the performance-optimized Clear Linux distribution and the hardware spanning from old AMD FX and Intel Core i3 Haswell CPUs up through the high-end desktop Core i9 and Threadripper processors.



Engadget"Engadget RSS Feed"

  • US Senate passes bill modernizing music licensing and payouts

    The US Senate has unanimously passed the Music Modernization Act, which aims to bring the way the music business works in line with the digital age. Providing the bill is met with approval from the House, and is subsequently signed by President Donald Trump, the legislation -- renamed the Orrin G Hatch Music Modernization Act in honour of the Republican senior senator responsible for introducing the bill -- will finally be enshrined into law. It's not expected to meet any opposition.

    The bill, in three parts, ensures all music rights holders are compensated more fairly for their work. It will create a publicly-accessible database, detailing who owns a song, making it easier for publishers and artists to be paid royalties. Song reproduction charges have also been updated, to reflect market rates, and sound recording royalty rates will also be taken into account when considering performance royalty rates for songwriters and composers.

    The bill has been a long time coming, with companies such as online radio SiriusXM and licensing organization SESAC creating issues along the way, but as SoundExchange CEO Michael Huppe said: "The future of the music industry got brighter today. Creators of music moved one step closer to getting paid more fairly. And industry forces that fought to maintain an unfair and harmful status quo were rebuffed."

    Via: Billboard



  • Netflix comes to Sky Q boxes in November

    Earlier this year, Sky announced that it would allow its customers to access Netflix through its set-top boxes. Now the company has revealed that the streaming giant will hit Sky Q boxes in November, and how exactly the whole thing will work.

    Existing Sky Q customers get two choices, the first of which is to sign up for the Ultimate On Demand pack as a bolt-on to your existing subscription. For £10 extra a month, users can get Netflix's standard plan, offering two streams of HD content.

    Sky Q Premium users, meanwhile, will get the Netflix UHD package, offering 4K video where available and up to four simultaneous streams. The Ultimate On Demand plan is on a 31-day rolling contract, and will also include access to Sky's own Box Sets offering, worth £5 a month on its own.

    If you already subscribe to both Netflix and Sky Q, then you have to weigh up if you'd rather just input your Netflix login into the app. That, Sky tells us, will work, but you'll lose the benefits of deeper integration into the Sky Q package, including universal search and curated discovery on the homepage (pictured).

    Source: Sky


  • American Airlines offers free live TV through Dish

    You might not be stuck watching a handful of mediocre movies (or your offline copies of streaming shows) the next time you're on a long-haul flight. American Airlines and Dish recently started offering free live TV for domestic US flights aboard 100-plus aircraft with Gogo's 2Ku satellite access. It won't match your service back home, but you will have access to a dozen major networks including CNN, ESPN, NBC and Telemundo. And you don't have to squint at a small seatback display -- you can stream the channels directly to your laptop or mobile device.

    The service will spread to AA's fleet of over 700 mainline, narrowbody aircraft throughout 2019. The company is in the midst of an upgrade plan that will bring more power outlets to its aircraft, too, reducing the chances that you'll reach your destination with a low battery.

    This could make the airline more alluring if you're not in the mood to read books or listen to podcasts in mid-flight. However, there's also a decided advantage for Dish. This serves as a kind of ad for Dish's satellite and streaming TV offerings. If it works well, you might be inclined to subscribe to one of those services when you're back on terra firma.

    Source: Dish, American Airlines


  • Renault’s EZ-PRO is a workspace, coffee truck and rolling post office

    Renault, one of Europe's major automakers, is trying to help us imagine a world with fewer cars. Earlier this year, it unveiled the EZ-GO concept, a sort of anti-Uber autonomous ride-sharing vehicle for the masses. Now, it has taken the wraps off EZ-PRO, a last-mile autonomous electric delivery vehicle system that can double as a coffee truck, portable office and postal outlet on wheels.

    The EZ-GO was one of the most interesting concepts we've seen this year, so how does the EZ-PRO stack up? At the company's TechnoCentre near Paris, we get a closer look at Renault's multitasking, multipurpose self-driving solution.



    "EZ-GO was the first chapter, where we showed how mobility services can be applied to personal transportation," Renault Corporate Design Director Laurens van den Acker told Engadget. "EZ-PRO is our vision on urban mobility for utilitarian use, for commercial use. It's another side of mobility services that we expect to increase enormously in the years to come."

    EZ-PRO is a lot different from Toyota's e-Palette, the Mercedes Vision Urbanetic and other delivery concepts we've seen so far. The system consists of two parts: a "Leader Pod" that can hold both parcels and a human concierge and "Robo Pods" that carry packages or act as a food truck, portable grocery store, or whatever else the operator wants to do.

    When I saw it at the TechnoCentre, the EZ-PRO was pretty much a static display unit, though all the ports (doors, retractable steps and screens) work. Renault did move the Leader and Robo Pods forward and backwards a few times at the end of the event and promised it will be more dynamic when it's shown off at the Hanover Auto Show starting September 19th.

    The Leader Pod and Robo Pods can depart as a sort of train, linked together electronically in a platooning mode. After they head out, the Robo Pods can leave the platoon to do separate drop-offs or stick together for large-volume deliveries. The Robo or Leader Pods can also deliver independently of each other.

    The Leader Pod is made of two parts: a cab for the concierge and a rear hold for the packages or merchandise. Rather than driving, the human passenger can sit in an office-like section of the cab and focus on coordinating package deliveries or doing administration chores. If need be, they could take over driving using a joystick and other controls. It also has a traffic-connected control screen, an iPad, USB sockets and more. Lighting adjusts to suit driving or working, and a glass partition behind the concierge lets you see the cargo.

    The Robo Pods, meanwhile, are autonomous and reversible, with lights that show which way they're going (white at the front and red at the rear). They can take multiple forms depending on the jobs they have to fill: lockers with client-specific keys for small packages, a large hold for merchandise, a food truck or even a mobile store. To illustrate that, Renault teamed with a logistics delivery firm, coffee supplier, champagne company and chocolate manufacturer to show off pods with several configurations.

    The EZ-PRO pods are vaguely van-shaped but look more like a train locomotive and its companion carts than road-going vehicles. They're autonomous and electric, like the EZ-GO, and share the same platform, with rear-wheel drive, a battery on the floor and an active suspension to avoid jarring people and goods.

    They have four-wheel steering for maneuverability, but the wheels are covered by rather impractical fairings which hold the driving sensors, including radar, lidar, ultrasonic sensors and cameras. Renault hasn't specified the EV range or battery sizes because, well, it's a concept.

    The EZ-PRO automatically plans the routes for its pods, taking into account traffic conditions, traffic lights, parking space availability and other factors. "This ensures more efficient deliveries that are more secure, smoother and reduce road congestion," Renault explains. It can park by itself in GPS-identified spots and will never double park or block pedestrians.
    Steve Dent/Engadget

    As automakers tend to do, Renault describes the EZ-PRO with a lot of PR-talk, saying the colors "express technical complexity, efficiency and minimalism." The tl;dr is it's adorned with drab grey and green to better blend into its urban-concrete environment. The designers even considered the reflectivity of the side glass to reduce the visual impact of the cars. That's in stark contrast to most other concept vehicles that are designed to stand (way) out.

    For the interior materials, Renault used wool felt for the non-technical areas, black cork on vertical surfaces and leather for seating. The inspiration for this came from a pretty weird source: "The combination of some of these materials and the surface treatment directly reflect the spirit and the use of sportswear," it said.

    (All the design minimalism and social responsibility talk sounds grand. Rather than passing unnoticed, though, the EZ-PRO would still likely draw slack-jawed stares if it rolled down the street.)

    Renault has thought through the EZ-PRO operations in serious detail, considering it's still just a concept. For large-scale deliveries, trucks coming from a port or warehouse could carry containers pre-loaded with merchandise. They could then be brought to a hub and installed on EZ-PRO platforms. The loaded Robo Pods could then form a convoy and head to their delivery points.

    For smaller deliveries, packages could be delivered to a location of the customer's choice, using lockers that open to a code sent to a smartphone, for instance. A customer could also drop off his dry-cleaning to a Robo Pod, then pick it up at a set location from another pod later in the day. More valuable goods could be hand-delivered by a concierge.

    Daily deliveries could be made from a large wholesale market to a florist in the city or as home grocery deliveries. Companies using the system could customize the vehicles in its colors or change the configuration depending on whether they're picking up supplies or delivering the final goods to consumers. It could also be used to make daily deliveries to residential or commercial hubs.

    Finally, the Leader or Robo Pods could be adapted for jobs other than deliveries. They could function as food, coffee or automatic vending trucks, either with or without someone to serve up the goods. Renault showed off this idea with a pod with equipment from coffee company Jofi, transforming it into a sort of Starbucks on wheels.


    On top of the social responsibility angle, Renault has some pretty solid reasons to get a jump on the autonomous delivery market. Renault is the top manufacturer of electric utility vehicles in Europe and no doubt wants to keep that position. It notes that 78 percent of folks will be living in cities in Europe by 2030, with deliveries expected to grow by 20 percent, and a whopping 125 percent in China. Costs for the last-mile delivery of a package amount to 35 to 50 percent, and totaled $86 billion around the globe last year.

    So it's thinking ahead to get a jump on the market, though autonomous deliveries are, despite the hype train, still a long ways off. Renault also fancies itself as a car manufacturer for everyone and not just the rich, so projects like EZ-GO and EZ-PRO are a way to flaunt its social bonafides.

    "We want to provide an easy life for customers and that also applies to utility vehicles," said van den Acker. "It's a logical extension of our activities because we've been leaders in utility vehicles for more than 100 years. We want to be at the forefront of urban mobility, and we are already everywhere, so we will make sure to have a good solution."


    Toyota created a blueprint for multi-use autonomous delivery vehicles with the e-Palette. Unlike Renault, it essentially married the delivery and transit ideas into one vehicle. That way, they can be used not just for parcel deliveries but also mass transit and even temporary accommodation. It also partnered with various firms, including Amazon, Uber, Mazda and Pizza Hut to show what the concept could do.

    Mercedes, meanwhile, has a single platform with swappable consoles for ridesharing, a shuttle bus, cargo and other chores. All you need to do is swap out the modules, and hey presto, you have an autonomous van or delivery cube.

    Renault has a lot of the same ideas but has split it into two separate vehicles. By doing so, it was able to make the EZ-PRO more business and delivery specific, with the idea of a concierge and multiple vehicles running together in a platoon configuration. The company will reportedly be launching a third EZ-class vehicle soon, one that's more about personal luxury transportation.

    If these concepts are ever to be commercialized, first automakers will have to nail down at least level 4 autonomy -- and the closer we get to that goal, the farther away it seems. For now, however, Renault, like Toyota, Mercedes and other automakers, has shown how concepts can be more than cool designs and raw horsepower. Rather, they can represent a company's complete vision of the future and generate discussion around ideas like autonomous city transportation. In that sense, the EZ-PRO is already a success.

    Video
    Camera: Steve Dent
    Editor: Steve Dent
    Script: Steve Dent
    Script editor: James Trew/Chris Schodt
    Host: Steve Dent


  • PlayStation Classic jumps on the retro trend December 3rd for $100

    With "Classic" game systems occasionally outselling modern ones, Sony is bringing back its own old school system. The PlayStation Classic will launch in December, loaded with 20 "generation-defining" games in their original format for $100 (€99.99 RRP). It's 45 percent smaller than the original system and uses a virtual memory card for saves. It will arrive with two PS1-era replica controllers from the time before analog sticks for local multiplayer and connect to modern TVs via HDMI-out, but you'll have to bring your own USB power adapter.

    Naturally it doesn't load any real discs and it doesn't sound like it will be able to install new games after purchase, but the button and logo layout matches the original console. Pressing "Open" changes the virtual disc so you can swap games, while "Reset" suspends games. Sony's website hasn't listed all of the titles that are included, but Final Fantasy VII, Tekken 3, Ridge Racer Type 4, Jumping Flash and Wild Arms are all confirmed, and others will be announced via the PlayStation Blog.

    Pre-orders are available now on Best Buy's website. GameStop.com also shows a listing in its search results, and while the linked page is blank, you can add it directly to your cart. If we see any other listings pop up we will update this post.

    Source: PlayStation Blog, PlayStation.com


  • Google gives its Slack rival the ability to snooze notifications

    You can now stop Hangouts Chat notifications from breaking your concentration when you're in the zone... or taking a short nap after a stressful task. Google has updated its Slack rival with the ability to block notifications for a set amount of time -- just click on your status button and choose from the snooze notification options in the drop-down menu. You can choose to block alerts for as short as 30 minutes to as long as 8 hours, but you have to do so manually each time and can't set a schedule for it.


    According to 9to5google

    Source: G Suite Updates


  • Capcom closes Vancouver studio behind ‘Dead Rising’

    Video game publisher Capcom is shutting down its Vancouver studio and around 158 employees will be let go. The company told Variety that operations were suspended Tuesday and a skeleton crew would remain on board until January in order to finalize the closure. "Capcom has been focused on increasing the efficiency and growth of its game development operations," a spokesperson told Variety. "To support this objective, new R&D facilities and annual hiring have been underway at the Osaka headquarters. In consideration of this process, as a result of reviewing titles in development at Capcom Vancouver, Capcom has decided to cancel the development projects at this studio and will concentrate development of major titles in Japan."

    Capcom Vancouver, known for its Dead Rising series, was hit with layoffs earlier this year as well. While the company confirmed that a number of titles were now cancelled, it didn't say what plans it had for Dead Rising.

    "We appreciate the hard work and contributions of all the studio team members in creating unforgettable gameplay experiences for the Dead Rising series and Puzzle Fighter," Capcom said.

    Via: Variety



  • AI can identify objects based on verbal descriptions

    Modern speech recognition is clunky and often requires massive amounts of annotations and transcriptions to help understand what you're referencing. There might, however, be a more natural way: teaching the algorithms to recognize things much like you would a child. Scientists have devised a machine learning system that can identify objects in a scene based on their description. Point out a blue shirt in an image, for example, and it can highlight the clothing without any transcriptions involved.

    The team started with an existing approach where two neural networks process the images and audio spectrograms, learning to match an audio caption with images containing a given object. However, they modified the image-handling neural network so that it would split the image into a grid of cells, while the audio network cuts up the spectrogram into short (1-2 second) snippets. After pairing the right image and caption, the training process scores the AI system based on how well the audio segments match objects in the cell grids. Effectively, it's like telling children what they're looking at by pointing at objects and naming them.

    There are a number of potential uses, but the researchers are most enamored with the potential for translation. Rather than asking a bilingual annotator to make the connections, you could have people speaking different languages describe the same thing -- the system could assume that one description is a translation of the other. That could make speech recognition viable for many more languages than just the roughly 100 that have enough transcriptions for the old-fashioned method.

    Source: MIT News, ArXiv.org


  • Amazon helps others make accessories for Echo speakers

    There aren't many Echo-oriented accessories beyond Amazon's own Echo Button, but that's about to change very shortly. Amazon has released a beta Alexa Gadgets Toolkit that lets hardware brands make Echo-focused Bluetooth accessories that respond to Alexa commands. You can have a cuckoo clock that responds to your Echo's wake word or a notification, a switch that releases dog food after an alarm, or a chime that sounds when time's up. A future update will even allow visual interaction with music -- it's easy to see a lamp that pulses in sync with Amazon Music tracks.

    Child-oriented updates will also let developers build gadgets that include compatible kid-friendly skills.

    The toolkit is invitation-only and focused on businesses in the US, UK and Germany, so this isn't available to absolutely anyone. Amazon does have big name partners like Hasbro, TOMY and WowWee , and the first products (including smart plush toys and Gemmy's Big Mouth Billy Bass) are due before 2018 is over.

    While the restrictions aren't going to make do-it-yourself enthusiasts happy, this does promise to significantly expand the Echo ecosystem. Companies won't need to implement sophisticated processors, audio capture or cloud services. Instead, they can let an Echo do the heavy lifting and focus on a gadget's special features. Don't be shocked if an Echo quickly becomes a must-have component for play time, or even around-the-house widgets like clocks and timers.

    Source: Alexa Blogs, Alexa Gadgets Toolkit


  • Netflix picks up hit BBC drama ‘Bodyguard’

    Netflix has purchased the streaming rights to Bodyguard -- a six-part BBC One series that has been raking in viewers in the UK. The show had a strong premiere, drawing in 10.4 million viewers, which is the highest launch figure for any new drama on any UK channel in the last 12 years. The fourth episode reportedly drew 11.1 million viewers and the series has consistently attracted more viewers than any other BBC show outside of World Cup coverage. Netflix now holds the rights outside of the UK and Ireland and will debut the show on October 24th.
    Episode 4 of Bodyguard consolidated to 11.1m after 4m caught up - biggest 2018 audience outside of Cup and just behind one ep of Britain's Got Talent (11.2m)
    — Robin Parker (@robinparker55) September 18, 2018
    The show centers on David Budd, a bodyguard played by Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) assigned to protect Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes). Netflix picked up the series before it was filmed, The Guardian reports. The series will join other BBC titles streamed by Netflix, including Peaky Blinders, The Fall, River, Black Earth Rising, Collateral, Troy: Fall of a City, Wanderlust, Giri/Haji and The Last Kingdom.

    Via: The Guardian


  • Bikini Kill's riot grrl punk is available to stream for the first time

    Prince, The Beatles and other well-known artists gave into the siren's call of streaming music years ago, but not Bikini Kill -- you still had to get the iconic riot grrl group's music the old-fashioned way. Until now, that is. The feminist punk group has posted its small but influential catalog on streaming services, including Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal. Why now? If you ask singer Kathleen Hanna, it's about accessibility.

    In an interview with Tidal, Hanna acknowledged that the group wasn't fond of the lousy royalty rates streaming services typically offer. However, that both made the music harder to find and would drive people to a "crappy third-rate version on somebody's YouTube video." Bikini Kill wanted to be sure as many people could hear the music as possible in the way it was originally recorded (which was admittedly still raw). "I just don't think it's right that everybody can't have access to it," Hanna said.

    Simultaneously, it's apparent that the group was faced with the same dilemma that has faced other politically active artists, such as Jello Biafra or Rage Against the Machine: they had to participate in the very system they opposed in order to be heard and make a living. Hanna blamed capitalism for creating arbitrary rivalries between fame seekers, but her band couldn't just ignore it -- streaming ensures that people will receive the message.

    Via: AV Club

    Source: Bikini Kill (Twitter)


  • Who is Yusaku Maezawa, SpaceX's first lunar tourist?

    Elon Musk shocked the world on Monday when he revealed the identity of SpaceX's first lunar orbit tourist to be Mr. Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire who made his fortune in online fashion retail.

    The 42-year-old Maezawa is slated to board SpaceX's (still-in-development) Big Falcon Rocket in 2023, along with a cadre of hand-picked artists from around the world and become the first private citizen to travel to the moon. But even before he becomes a "Rocket Man," Maezawa was already a rock star -- literally.
    This is BFR from @spacex #dearMoon pic.twitter.com/jZiu1RHqUN
    — Yusaku Maezawa 前澤友作 (@yousuck2020) September 18, 2018
    Maezawa was born and raised in the Japan's Chiba prefecture, just east of Tokyo. In high school, he founded an indie rock band, which released its EP in 1993. Maezawa didn't head to college after completing his primary schooling, opting instead to follow his then-girlfriend to the US. Once in the States, Maezawa began collecting CDs and albums of his favored bands. This music habit would prove vital to his financial success.

    When he returned to Japan in 1995, Maezawa launched a music-import business and began selling albums by mail from his home. Three years later, his humble cottage industry had transformed into Start Today, which is now a Japanese e-commerce behemoth valued at $12 billion. During this same period, Maezawa's new band, Switch Style, signed a record contract with BMG Japan and subsequently produced three albums. After the release of the third album, Maezawa quit his band to focus on running his company, which had expanded its online offerings to include clothing in addition to music through its subsidiary Zozotown.

    Throughout all of this, Maezawa honed his taste for fine art. "Although I didn't begin collecting works of art until about 10 years ago, I've always had a deep interest in art and fashion," Maezawa told the Observer in 2016. "I began collecting artwork as a way to help young artists to promote their work as well as to increase awareness of contemporary art among the younger generation."

    In 2012, he founded Tokyo's Contemporary Art Foundation, which regularly offers grants to aspiring artists. Maezawa is also working to launch an art museum in his hometown.



    Funded by Start Today's market success, Maezawa has recently gone on a number of high-profile art buying sprees. Over the course of two days in 2016, Maezawa dropped a staggering $98 million on pieces for sale at Christie's and Sotheby's including $57.3 million on an untitled 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat. That purchase alone was a world record for a piece by an American artist... until 2017 when Maezawa dropped $110 million on another untitled Basquiat work from 1982.

    Maezawa planned to share the 2016 Basquiat with galleries around the world before it becomes the centerpiece of his proposed hometown arthouse. "I would love to be able to share my artwork with as many people as possible so that I can help spread an appreciation for art in general," he told the Observer. "Unfortunately, the general interest in art among the Japanese is very low compared to that of Western countries. I would love to be able to correct that by bringing many more pieces of interesting artwork to Japan."

    Maezawa will continue his philanthropic efforts as part of the upcoming SpaceX mission. As the 18th richest person in Japan, valued at roughly $3 billion, Maezawa has the disposable income necessary to drop a "very significant amount of money," according to Musk at Monday's press event, to fund both his own trip and those of the selected artists. Maezawa's payment will be used to help develop the BFR technology he will be riding in.

    "Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon," Maezawa said Monday. "Just staring at the moon fueled my imagination; it's always there and has continued to inspire humanity. That is why I do not pass up this opportunity to see the moon up close."

    Image: Courtesy of Sotheby's New York (Basquiat Untitled, 1982)


  • Sony's reborn Aibo robot is available for pre-order in the US

    Sony's relentlessly adorable Aibo robot is finally ready to return to American shores. After months of waiting, you can pre-order a First Litter Edition of the robo-pup in the US ahead of an expected mid-December ship date. You'll be spending a staggering $2,900 to play with the limited-run mechanical canine. The kit includes everything you'll need to get started, however -- you'll get a bone (sorry, aibone), a pink ball, paw pads and three years of AI cloud service to help Aibo learn.

    This is the definition of a luxury product -- you really, really don't need an Aibo in your life. However, it's also a rare chance at both revisiting an iconic robot and experiencing what it's like to have an ever-evolving AI companion in your home. If you have the money burning a hole in your pocket and an insatiable curiosity, it might be worth a look.

    Via: Sony (Facebook)

    Source: Sony


  • Don't be afraid to upgrade your old iPhone to iOS 12

    Apple was still selling 2015's iPhone 6s until last week. Then it announced three new phones and made the iPhone 7 its entry-level mobile device. There are likely tens of millions of iPhone 6s devices out there still, but last year's buggy iOS 11 update made the device, as well as other older iPhones, start showing their age.

    Fortunately, relief is here in the form of iOS 12. In years past, software updates on older devices were something to be wary of. But at WWDC this year, Apple said iOS 12 would deliver improved performance on devices as old as 2013's iPhone 5s. After spending the last day or so playing with iOS 12 on my iPhone 6s, I can say that Apple has definitely breathed new life into the device.

    One of the most notable changes comes before you even set up iOS 12: Installing the update feels much faster this time around. I didn't time it, but installing iOS 12 didn't take much longer than it did to update my iPhone 8 Plus. Sure, it's not exactly a speedy process, but if you've ever done a major iOS update before, you'll be pleased that things don't seem to take quite as long this time.

    Once my phone was up and running, I started poking around, looking for signs of the promised speediness. It didn't take long to find a major change: opening the camera, whether from the home or lock screen, was impressively fast. In fact, some unscientific comparing the 6s with the 8 Plus showed that both phones launched the camera in essentially the same amount of time. Given that a few seconds can be the difference between nailing and missing a photo, this is a valuable change.

    Without even diving into more apps, the entire experience of navigating through the iPhone's UI felt much better. The animation for opening and closing apps felt pleasingly smooth, and common actions like unlocking the phone with Touch ID, pulling down Notification Center, swiping right to get to widgets and swiping up for the control center felt extra fluid. The entirety of the UI feels almost as smooth as it does on a new phone. Or on a year-old phone, at worst.

    Messaging remains one of the most frequent things we do with our phones, so Apple's promise of making the keyboard pop up faster was something to look forward to. And while Ars Technica didn't see any changes on their devices, my impression was that the keyboard did seem to pop up with less of a delay. It's possible that things aren't actually faster; more fluid animations can do a lot to hide delays. Either way, my iPhone 6s feels a lot more responsive right now.

    Earlier this decade, smartphones significantly improved every 12 months; certainly after two years it was worth upgrading a device you use every single day. But today, hardware is becoming powerful enough that it can easily last three or four years — and with iOS 12, those older phones should feel a lot fresher going forward. If you have an iPhone 6s or an even older device, don't hesitate to upgrade to iOS 12 this fall. It could be enough of an improvement to keep you happy with your phone for another year or more.



  • NASA's planet-hunting TESS spacecraft captures 'first light' image

    Back in May, one of the cameras on NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) snapped a two-second test exposure to make sure that it works. It was but a taste of what we can expect from Kepler's successor, though, and now we finally know what its cameras are capable of. The planet-hunting spacecraft's four cameras have taken their "first light" image -- the first astronomical photo after a telescope has been assembled -- showing the satellite's full field of view.


    The whole photo, which TESS captured during a 30-minute period on August 7th, shows a dozen constellations. It also features the Small and Large Magellanic clouds, two irregular dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. Above the Small Magellanic Cloud is a globular cluster, while the immensely bright star to the galaxies' left is the red giant Mira variable star R Doradus.

    However, the truly important parts of the image for the TESS team are all the stars that potentially serve as home to previously unknown planets. According to TESS principal investigator George Ricker: "This swath of the sky's southern hemisphere includes more than a dozen stars we know have transiting planets based on previous studies from ground observatories."

    The James Webb Telescope (that is, when it launches) and various ground-based telescopes will then use spectroscopy to measure the light passing through the atmosphere of the new planets TESS finds to learn more about them. NASA expects to figure out their atmospheric compositions, masses and densities using spectroscopic techniques.

    This "first light" image represents one of the 26 sectors TESS will monitor over the next two years. The spacecraft will observe one sector for 27 days each, with the first half making up the southern sky taking place during its first year.

    Source: NASA



  • Chrome OS revamp delivers a new look and Linux app support

    Now that the Chrome browser has received a makeover, it's Chrome OS' turn... and it's about more than just feature parity. Google has released a Chrome OS 69 update that introduces the updated Material Design visuals alongside a few features that could make your Chromebook decidedly more enticing. Most notably, there's now support for running Linux apps. You'll need a supported machine (a handful of machines from Acer, ASUS, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Google itself). Still, this could be more than a little helpful if you want to run a conventional desktop app or command line terminal without switching to another PC or a virtual environment.

    The new software also adds the long-in-the-making Night Light mode to ease your eyes at the end of the day. Voice dictation is now available in any text field, and there's a fresh Files interface that can access Play files and Team Drives. You'll even have fast access to emoji in case you need to drop an eggplant or monocle into the conversation. All told, Chrome OS just grew up a bit -- particularly for people who've wanted more than Android and web apps.

    Via: 9to5Google

    Source: Chrome Releases


  • iPhone XS and XS Max, Day 1: A clear step forward

    Last year was a big one for Apple — with the launch of the iPhone X, the company redefined what it meant to be iPhone. This year, Apple's job wasn't any easier. It had to figure out what worked, what didn't, and put that knowledge to use building a trio of new smartphones that would make its new vision more accessible. And now that the iPhone XS and XS Max are finally here, we're getting to see if Apple actually achieved those feats.

    The thing is, we're still in the middle of testing our iPhone XS and XS Max -- you can expect our full, detailed review soon. In the meantime, we've picked up on a few things that you should definitely keep in mind before these new flagship phones go on sale.


    Living the Max life
    The iPhone XS is an incredibly fast, highly polished machine, but let's face it — everyone wants to talk about the iPhone XS Max. I can't blame them, either: making big versions of phones isn't new for Apple, but cramming an 6.5-inch Retina display into a phone sure is. This is the largest screen the company has ever squeezed into an iPhone, and much like last year's iPhone X, it's absolutely lovely to look at.

    Actually using it, however, can be a different story. For people with massive hands, the Max is a no-brainer. Everyone else should be prepared to shimmy their hands up and down the phone a lot. Even though the Max is roughly the same size as the iPhone Plus models we've seen over the years, the lack of bezels around the screen mean you'll actually have to stretch your thumb a little more to reach items at the top of the display. I strongly, strongly prefer phones that don't force to you use them with two hands, but the iPhone XS Max often left me with no choice.

    People without the same hang-ups will probably find a lot of pleasure in watching HDR movies (with improved stereo sound, no less) on this huge display, and using certain apps in a multi-paned landscape mode is genuinely helpful sometimes. Still, if you've ever looked at a big, older iPhone and felt an anticipatory cramp in your wrist, you're better off buying an iPhone XS... or waiting for the less expensive iPhone XR.


    Performance
    The iPhone XS and XS Max both use Apple's new 7nm A12 Bionic chipset, and it's definitely a powerhouse — the company says the A12's twin "performance" cores are up to 15 percent faster than last year's A11, and the built-in GPU is nearly 50 percent faster compared to the original iPhone X. That means snappier all-around performance (especially in graphically intense games), though you might be hard-pressed to spot the difference if you splurged on an iPhone X last year. I didn't notice a huge leap in performance when launching apps and zipping through iOS 12 on the iPhone XS, but it's there if you're willing to look for it. Of course, that was entirely by design.

    The chipset was designed with a more pronounced focus on graphical performance and machine learning, so gorgeous games and apps that need to run complex ML algorithms on the phone stand to benefit the most. (Obviously, we'll dig deeper into how the A12 Bionic handles those in our full review.) There's no question that the XS and XS Max are the fastest phones Apple has ever made, but you'll really notice those performance gains in specific situations.
    Chris Velazco/Engadget
    Improved cameras
    I'm still testing the iPhone XS's improved dual camera against the rest of the year's flagships, but one thing is clear right off the bat: the XS takes much better photos than last year's iPhone X. That's largely due to Apple's new Smart HDR feature, which is on by default and stitches together four exposures of the same moment to give the final photo more nuance and better dynamic range. If this all sounds familiar, well, you'd be right: Apple's approach here largely sticks to the same computational photography principles that made Google's Pixel 2s so incredible.

    You should check back once our full review is live for all the juicy camera details, but I'll leave you with an anecdote. I've been using the iPhone X as my daily driver (you know, when not reviewing other phones) for nearly a year now, and over the last few months, I've started to find its camera rather depressing — especially when hanging out with other tech blogger friends. That's not because it was particularly deficient in any way; it's more that devices like Huawei's P20 Pro and Samsung's S9 Plus and Note 9 just took more pleasing photos without any extra work on my part. The gulf in image quality seemed so vast that I was this close to giving up on iOS entirely and switching to the Note 9 full-time, but the iPhone XS and XS Max just might be enough to keep me on iOS for another year. We'll see.
    Chris Velazco/Engadget
    Face ID is (slightly) better
    With two — soon to be three — new iPhone Xs on the market, it's clear that the idea of using your face to unlock your phone isn't going anywhere. If you're coming from an older iPhone, the transition is going to be an odd one, but it'll be slightly easier to get used to this year. That's mostly because Face ID on the iPhone XS is just a little faster at recognizing faces. When swiping up on the screen to unlock last year's model, there was actually a beat before the phone recognized you and let you in. With the iPhone Xs, that slight lag occasionally disappears entirely.

    There's still a lot of work to be done before the full review is done, but even now, I'm wondering if either of these devices is a must-buy. My gut says no, if only for the moment. If you dropped $1,000 on an iPhone X last year, the improvements here, while notable and valuable, don't seem like enough to justify splurging two years in a row. If you're still rocking an older iPhone, either of these would be phenomenal upgrades, but the colorful, fascinating iPhone XR is right around the corner and might be a better bang for your buck. None of this is meant to suggest that the XS and XS Max are lacking, because (so far at least) they aren't. I'll need time to fully sort out my thoughts, though, so stick around for the full review coming soon.


  • Google's own smart display is reportedly the $149 Home Hub

    On October 9th, Google will reveal its latest hardware lineup. Rumors have spread for some time that the company is preparing to unveil a smart display at the event, and a leak unearthed by according to Android Authority.

    The Home Hub appears to have a seven-inch screen and apes the design of Google's other smart home products such as Google Home Max and Mini. The Google Assistant-powered device is said to weigh just 480 grams, which as the same as Google Home. Home Hub may be available in charcoal as well as the chalk finish in the leaked images.



    Along with time, weather and transit information, you'll likely be able to use Home Hub to view Nest Cam footage and access Google Photos. On the back of the display, there's a physical switch to turn off the microphones. However, it seems there won't be a front-facing camera for you to have Duo calls with your friends and family.

    The lack of a camera and the relatively small screen could be a factor in helping Google keep the cost lower than competitors such as the $199 Lenovo Smart Display and the $250 JBL Link View. We'll likely find out more details about Home Hub at Google's fall hardware event next month, at which the company is also expected to reveal its Pixel 3 phones.

    Source: MySmartPrice, Android Authority


  • Nintendo Switch Online lands today, complete with strange cloud saves

    Welcome to 2018, Nintendo. After 38 years in the gaming-hardware business and 15 years after the launch of Xbox Live, Nintendo is finally offering an online subscription service in its latest console, the Switch. Nintendo Switch Online goes live on the evening of Tuesday, September 18th, allowing players to access multiplayer, cloud saves and a collection of 20 classic NES games for $20 a year. However, there are a handful of caveats.

    Nintendo operates outside of the standards established by Xbox and PlayStation, its two main rivals in the console market. Both Xbox and PlayStation have offered online subscription plans for well over 10 years, with Xbox Live launching in 2002 and PlayStation Network in 2006. Nintendo has offered barebones connection options for a handful of games in the past, but Switch Online is its first attempt at a subscription scheme. And, like many of Nintendo's grand plans, it's wrapped in red tape.

    Unsafe cloud saves
    One of the most baffling omissions in the Nintendo Switch has been the option to save your progress and games to the cloud -- a service that PlayStation and Xbox rolled out soon after their subscription services went online. Until now, Switch games have been locked to a player's hardware, meaning an 80-hour run of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild could disappear in an instant if the console were broken, stolen or glitched out. This wasn't just hypothetical, either -- it definitely happened.

    Nintendo Switch Online enables players to back up their save data to the cloud. That's the good news. The bad news is that some games will not allow cloud saves. The worse news is that these games are major, competitive titles that players generally sink dozens of hours into. The list of non-compatible games reads as follows, so far: Splatoon 2, Dark Souls Remastered, FIFA 19 and Pokemon: Let's Go, Evee! and Pikachu!

    Nintendo's explanation for the cloud-save discrepancy is confusing and illogical. Essentially, the company argues that online backups could enable cheating in these games. Here's part of a statement Nintendo provided to FAQ: "Save data stored via the Save Data Cloud backup is available for as long as you have an active Nintendo Switch Online membership."

    Both PlayStation and Xbox have explicit plans for handling cloud saves in inactive subscriptions. PlayStation will hold onto cloud backup data for six months, while Xbox offers cloud saves to all players at all times.

    Engadget has reached out to Nintendo for clarification on its approach to cloud saves and will update this article if the company responds. However, it's had a few crucial days to set the record straight and has yet to correct any outlet reporting on the instant-delete function.

    Nintendo, online
    Nintendo is an expert at cultivating a love-hate relationship with its fans. The rocky, why-is-this-a-thing launch of Nintendo Switch Online feels familiar to anyone who picked up a Switch and marveled at its lack of storage or backup options, or its constrictive account practices. The Switch is a successful machine, selling 20 million units since its launch in March 2017 and single-handedly revitalizing Nintendo's brand, which took a beating with the Wii U.

    Nintendo isn't totally out of touch here. The company is willing to open up the Switch to cross-console play, and it's already enabled this function in a few games. Switch players in Rocket League and Fortnite can team up (or against) people on Xbox One, mobile and PC, for instance. PlayStation is the sole obstacle keeping modern consoles from playing together, and this stance is a glaring stain on the company's reputation.

    However, that's a big-picture problem. Right now, Nintendo fans are concerned about the security of their personal data, and whether all the time they throw into the Switch will actually be worth it. What if all of their playtime is suddenly, irrevocably deleted due to human error or accident? Nintendo has an answer for that question; it just isn't a good one.


  • Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones review: Goodbye, Bose

    Sony's WH-1000XM3 headphones are the sort of dream gadget I can review succinctly in one sentence: They're incredibly comfortable, and they sound amazing. That's it. End review. When the first 1000XM pair debuted in 2016, they weren't just another set of premium cans -- they were a sign that Sony was ready to take on Bose for the high-end noise-canceling crown. The company managed to deliver something that sounded better than Bose's best headsets while matching them at their own game. Now, with its third version, Sony is giving us little reason to look elsewhere. The $350 WH-1000XM3s are basically the ideal pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones.

    While the previous model was a slight upgrade over the original, Sony rebuilt the 1000XM3 (Mark 3) from the ground up. In the process, it fixed most of the line's lingering issues. For one, it's significantly more comfortable, thanks to a generous amount of plush cushioning around the pads and headband, as well as extra room for large ears (thanks, Sony). It's also lighter, and it no longer leaves a noticeable gap around your head while you're wearing them. And despite all that, the 1000XM3s are actually more compact when they fold up, making them easier to travel with. (I had to look up directions to get them in the case correctly, though -- it's not very intuitive if you've never done it before.)
    Sony's 1000XM3 (left) vs. the 1000XM2 (right)
    Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

    Sony's biggest upgrade for the WH-1000XM3 is a new noise-canceling chip, the QN1. The company claims it's four times better than the previous model at reducing external sound. Sony previously integrated noise canceling into the headphones' DAC, but the QN1 is a completely standalone chip. That separation also gives each of the components more room to work without getting in the way of the others. It's also why Sony is able to deliver 32-bit audio processing with the 1000XM3. While that won't make a huge difference for typical compressed music files, it should console people dedicated to their lossless tracks. The headphones also support Sony's LDAC codec, which has three times the bandwidth of Bluetooth, but so far it's compatible only with Sony devices.

    There's something almost magical about a great pair of headphones -- they make music come alive, no matter what you're playing. The 1000XM3s are simply fun to listen to, with a healthy dose of thumping bass and sparkling clarity in the mid- and high range. They're definitely not neutral headphones, which many audiophiles prefer. Instead, the WH-1000XM3s are loaded with personality -- it doesn't matter that the bass is sometimes overbearing. Dare I say it: enjoyment matters more than accuracy.



    It really didn't matter what I threw at it -- Led Zeppelin's discography, Tan Dun's sweeping and bombastic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero scores, or Yoko Kanno's classic nineties anime soundtracks (I'll never stop listening to Cowboy Bebop) -- the 1000XM3 proved itself to be one of the best headphones I've encountered. You know you're hearing something special when you can unearth new details in songs you've listened to hundreds of times. There were moments when the 1000XM3's sound stage was so transparent, as if I was listening to a live performance. I had to stop myself from clapping on more than one occasion.

    I've tested plenty of high-end headphones that sound great but, for one reason or another, are a pain to wear for too long. Sometimes the headbands are too tight, or they end up hurting your ears. But in my dozens of hours wearing the 1000XM3 -- including on most of an eight-hour flight from NYC to Berlin -- I never felt any discomfort. The earcups and headband are pillowy soft, and they're breathable enough to keep my ears from getting sweaty. I also appreciated that these headphones are lighter than the last model -- at times I forgot I was even wearing them. My only complaint is Sony's touch controls on the right earcup. They work decently most of the time, but they occasionally skipped a track when I meant to turn up the volume.

    What truly pushes the 1000XM3 into must-buy territory is its noise cancellation. In a head-to-head comparison with the previous model, the new headphones managed to block out noticeably more noise from a loudspeaker playing directly in front of me. It wasn't exactly night and day, but it was enough of a difference to tell that Sony isn't kidding about the advantages of its QN1 chip. During that flight to Berlin, the usual loud drone of the airplane cabin turned into a pleasant hum. And once I started playing music and watching in-flight movies, the cabin noise all but disappeared. Similarly, the headphones did a fantastic job during my commute, turning the noisy and crowded subway into a sanctuary of music and podcasts when I closed my eyes.
    Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

    I'm not one of those New Yorkers who enjoys walking around with large headphones, especially noise-canceling cans. Situational awareness is an important thing when you're dodging pedestrians, traffic and the daily surprises of city life. Typically, I just stroll with a pair of wireless earbuds, wearing just the one in my left ear. I felt less anxious moving around town with the 1000XM3, though, since its ambient sound modes did a fantastic job of bringing in outside noise.

    You can access it by hitting a button on the left ear or by jumping into Sony's Connect mobile app, which lets you adjust how much external sound you let in. There's also a handy option to focus on voices, which is useful if you're wearing the headphones in a noisy office but still need to hear when a colleague is trying to get your attention. And if you don't want to deal with changing the settings constantly, there's Adaptive Sound Control, which tweaks the noise cancellation based on your environment. It usually reduces all noise when you're sitting still but lets in ambient sound once you start walking around.

    Sony's app also lets you customize the noise cancellation to your ear profile by playing back a series of tones while you're wearing the headphones. And it can also tweak the feature based on your current atmospheric pressure, which should make it work even better on planes. I'll be honest: it's tough to tell if those app tweaks actually improved things. But it was enough of a placebo to make me think the headphones were actually custom-tuned for me. You can also integrate Google Assistant into the 1000XM3 through Sony's app, which turns the noise-canceling button on the side of the left earcup into an Assistant prompt. While the feature works fine, I prefer having sound controls within easy reach. If Sony really wants to go all in with Google Assistant, it should at least have a dedicated button.

    Sony claims the 1000XM3 gets 30 hours of battery life, and that's not far off from my testing. It survived my flight to Berlin as well as several more days of constant use without needing a recharge. Sony also added a USB-C port for charging, which is convenient if you're already gathering devices supporting that new standard. If you have a well-powered USB-C connection (or Sony's AC adapter), the headphones will have five hours of charge after just 10 minutes.



    Bose has long been the king of noise-canceling headphones, but Sony has put up a good fight over the years with the 1000XM line. This latest iteration is the knockout punch Sony needs (especially since Bose is still struggling to combine decent noise cancellation with high-quality sound in its headphones). The biggest downside with the 1000XM3 is its $350 price tag. That's the same as Bose's latest QuietComfort, so at least it's competitive. If you want something that's almost as good, though, take a look at Sony's h.ear on 2 headphones. They're not as comfortable as the 1000XM3, but you can find them refurbished for less than $150.

    Based on its fit and sound quality alone, the WH-1000XM3 is one of the best headphones I've ever used. But the addition of killer noise-canceling integration also makes it one of the most useful pieces of gear you can have. During one particularly busy morning on my Brooklyn block, the 1000XM3 helped me keep my sanity as a semi-truck and a row of cars honked outside my window for half an hour. It didn't completely drown out the noise, but it reduced the truck's horn from ear-piercing to minor nuisance. And once I started playing music, I was able to ignore it entirely. Sometimes it's just nice to have instant quiet on demand.


  • Instagram uses Stories to encourage voter registration

    The US midterm election is right around the corner, and Instagram is doing its part to encourage as many people as possible to register to vote. It launched a registration push Tuesday, helping 'Grammers get the information they need to sign up to vote using ads in feeds and stories.

    The platform and partner TurboVote are hoping to make the registration process as simple as they can. The ads will give you current information on topics including how to access your state's voting rules, how to update your registration and, of course, how to register in the first place.

    On Election Day, you'll be able to slap an I Voted sticker on your stories; it links to Get to the Polls, a site that can tell others where their polling location is. Instagram says that it will reveal more details of its get out the vote efforts over the next few weeks, in the lead up to November 6th.

    Instagram is one of several services that have helped voters sign up or even assist them in figuring out their preferred candidate based on their platforms. For the upcoming election, for instance, Lyft is offering free and discounted rides to polling stations.


  • The massive 'Gwent' overhaul comes home October 23rd

    Netflix casting its Geralt for the upcoming show based on The Witcherisn't the only reason fans of the fantasy franchise have to be excited. Developer CD Projekt Red has announced a release date for GOG store. Come the end of next month, the game will finally exit beta (after debuting in June 2016) and when it does, it'll arrive with its revamped single-player campaign, "Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales." The developer has said this narrative will have stronger ties to the Witcher universe than the previous single-player mode.

    Folks playing on consoles will have to wait a little longer, as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions won't be released until December 4th.

    CD Projekt Red teased this revamp six months ago, at the time predicting that the overhaul -- apparently the biggest the game has had thus far -- would take at least half a year to complete. So, it's right on track at least when it comes to PC players. In the video above, community manager Pawel Burza says that the additional time needed comes down to sending the game through Microsoft and Sony for certification, and because the team needs a little extra time to work on the console version.

    It also means that Henry Cavill will have some new material to sink his teeth into as he preps for his role as the titular witcher (a monster hunter in the game's parlance). After the Superman star said he'd love to play the part recently, Netflix acted on it, capitalizing on the wave of social media support for Cavill's wish in the process. Good luck trying to match that with the https://t.co/T30xbQyuLc. The console release for Xbox One and PS4 will follow on December 4th. pic.twitter.com/AKzlMFWB4I
    — CD PROJEKT RED (@CDPROJEKTRED) September 18, 2018
    Via: USGamer

    Source: CD Projekt Red (Twitter)


OSNews

  • Google China prototype links searches to phone numbers
    Google built a prototype of a censored search engine for China that links users' searches to their personal phone numbers, thus making it easier for the Chinese government to monitor people's queries, The Intercept can reveal.  The search engine, codenamed Dragonfly, was designed for Android devices, and would remove content deemed sensitive by China's ruling Communist Party regime, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.
    Don't be evil.


  • Linus apologises for his years of abrasive behaviour
    Linus Torvalds on the lkml:
    This is my reality. I am not an emotionally empathetic kind of person and that probably doesn't come as a big surprise to anybody. Least of all me. The fact that I then misread people and don't realize (for years) how badly I've judged a situation and contributed to an unprofessional environment is not good.  This week people in our community confronted me about my lifetime of not understanding emotions. My flippant attacks in emails have been both unprofessional and uncalled for. Especially at times when I made it personal. In my quest for a better patch, this made sense to me. I know now this was not OK and I am truly sorry.  The above is basically a long-winded way to get to the somewhat painful personal admission that hey, I need to change some of my behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal behavior hurt and possibly drove away from kernel development entirely.  I am going to take time off and get some assistance on how to understand people's emotions and respond appropriately.
    Actions speak louder than words, so we'll see if this sudden realisation will lead to anything tangible.


  • iOS 12: the MacStories review
    With iOS 12, Apple wants to rectify iOS' performance woes, proving to their customers that iOS updates should never induce digital regret. Perhaps more notably though, iOS 12 doesn't have a single consumer feature that encapsulates this release - like Messages might have been for iOS 10 or the iPad for iOS 11. Instead, iOS 12 is a constellation of enhancements revolving around the overarching theme of time. Apple in 2018 needs more time for whatever the next big step of iOS may be; they want iOS users to understand how much time they're spending on their devices; and they want to help users spend less time managing certain system features. Also, funnily enough, saving time is at the core (and in the very name) of iOS 12's most exciting new feature: Shortcuts.  iOS 12 isn't Apple's Snow Leopard release: its system changes and updated apps wouldn't justify a "No New Features" slide. However, for the first time in years, it feels as if the company is happy to let its foot off the gas a little and listen to users more.  Will the plan work?
    Federico Viticci's iOS reviews have become one of my favourite things about new iOS releases. They are detailed, thorough, fun to read, and lovingly crafted. So, after you're done updating your iOS devices - iOS 12, watchOS 5, and tvOS 12 have all been released today - grab yourself a coffee or tea and enjoy.


  • A Commodore 64 operating system with modern concepts
    C64 OS has one goal. Make a Commodore 64 feel fast and useful in today's modern world.   It's a very high bar. The C64 was introduced in 1982 and has an 8-bit, 1MHz, 6510 CPU with just 64 kilobytes of directly addressable memory. It has a screen resolution of 320x200 pixels, and a fixed palette of 16 colors. But, it is an incredibly versatile machine. And it enjoys an active userbase and a great variety of modern hardware expansions.  The C64 has had many operating systems written for it, So why write another?  Some of these projects were designed to be experimental, or to demonstrate a point, rather than to solve a problem or to make using the C64 better. Others had good intentions but pushed the machine in ways it wasn't designed for, compromising on speed and usability in the pursuit of features available on more powerful computers. The aim of C64 OS is to work with the limitations of the Commodore 64 and enable it to become useful.
    It never ceases to amaze me how much functionality programmers can squeeze out of old micros.


  • NVIDIA Turing GPU architecture deep dive: prelude to RTX
    It's been roughly a month since NVIDIA's Turing architecture was revealed, and if the GeForce RTX 20-series announcement a few weeks ago has clued us in on anything, is that real time raytracing was important enough for NVIDIA to drop "GeForce GTX" for "GeForce RTX" and completely change the tenor of how they talk about gaming video cards. Since then, it's become clear that Turing and the GeForce RTX 20-series have a lot of moving parts: RT Cores, real time raytracing, Tensor Cores, AI features (i.e. DLSS), raytracing APIs. All of it coming together for a future direction of both game development and GeForce cards.  In a significant departure from past launches, NVIDIA has broken up the embargos around the unveiling of their latest cards into two parts: architecture and performance. For the first part, today NVIDIA has finally lifted the veil on much of the Turing architecture details, and there are many. So many that there are some interesting aspects that have yet to be explained, and some that we'll need to dig into alongside objective data. But it also gives us an opportunity to pick apart the namesake of GeForce RTX: raytracing.
    AnandTech's deep dive into NVIDIA's new Turing architecture - the only one you really need.


  • Microsoft backs off from 'warning' about Chrome and Firefox
    Microsoft started testing a warning for Windows 10 users last week that displayed a prompt when Chrome or Firefox was about to be installed. The software giant is now reversing this controversial test in its latest Windows 10 preview, released last Friday. The Verge understands Microsoft no longer plans to include this warning in the upcoming Windows 10 October 2018 Update that will ship next month, but that the company may continue to test these types of prompts in future updates.
    Good move, but I don't think we've seen the last of this quite yet.


  • The making of Total Annihilation
    Total Annihilation came out when games, and RTS games in particular, were quickly evolving. By the mid-Nineties, PCs were capable of capturing the necessary scale of battles, and online gaming was about to become a phenomenon. And it was that world Total Annihilation creator Chris Taylor was waiting for. We caught up with Chris and asked him about the game's origins.
    Total Annihilation was such an amazing game that kind of seemed to have gotten lost between the much more popular Command & Conquer and Warcraft games of its time. Which is a shame, because it had quite a few revolutionary elements for its time.



  • x86 finds its way into your iPhone
    In one of my several lives, I'm supposed to be a vulnerability researcher working on baseband exploitation. As every vulnerability researcher knows, being up to date with recent developments is of utmost importance for the success of your job. So of course, after Apple announced its new, shiny, big, bigger and biggest line of iPhone smartphones, I downloaded some OTA firmwares from ipsw.me and started to look into the new baseband firmware.  What I discovered sent a shiver of horror down my spine, the kind of horror that only playing Doom at nighttime, alone in your room, without lights, can produce. Bear with me and I'll tell you what I found...
    So the baseband processor inside the iPhone XS is a tiny x86 processor. That's not really all that meaningful or impactful, but I find it deeply fascinating nonetheless.


  • Leaving Apple and Google: /e/ first beta is here
    Less than a year ago, I posted a serie of articles "Leaving Apple & Google..." [part 2, part 2] to announce that I was planning to create a smartphone OS. A new OS that would:  be free from Google (no Google services, no Google search, no Google Play store, etc.) be far more respectful of user's data privacy be attractive enough so that Mom and Dad, children and friends would enjoy using it even if they aren't technophiles or geeks  Today we release a first beta of what we have done so far to make the initial vision a reality.
    It's basically LineageOS with a number of additional tweaks and changes, but if it can become a fully-featured Google-free Android, that's always welcome.


  • Apple moves the iPhone away from physical SIMs
    On Wednesday, Apple announced that its new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will use an eSIM - a purely electronic SIM that allows users to maintain a secondary phone line in a single device. That line could be a secondary domestic line (say you're a journalist and don't want to have separate personal and work iPhones), or the phone could have an American and Canadian number (if you travel across the border frequently).  These handsets will have a new "dual SIM dual standby" option, one of which will be a nano SIM. In other words, they will have two distinct phone numbers. (Chinese models will have two SIM slots instead of the eSIM option.)
    I'm by no means an expert, but something about soldered electronic SIM cards seems unpleasant about me - it seems like another bit of control over our devices handed over to device makers and carriers. Won't this make it easier to lock devices even more?


  • Android 9 Pie, thoroughly reviewed
    Android 9 Pie brings Google's updated Material Design spec (don't call it "Material Design 2") to Android OS, and it begins a wave of UI updates that will spread across Google's entire portfolio. In Android, that means revamped interfaces for the notification panel, Recent Apps, settings, and various bits of system UI. For future smartphone designs (like, say, the Pixel 3), Android 9 includes an experimental gesture navigation system and built-in notch support. There's also a new screenshot editor, lots of improvements for text selection, and changes to the way rotation works.  Under the hood, more changes have come, too, with AI-powered battery usage controls, new rules for Play Store developers, and changes to how apps get distributed.
    The usual Android review by Ars. Always worth a read.


  • Where in the world Is Larry Page?
    It's not just Washington. Even in Silicon Valley, people have started wondering: where's Larry? Page has long been reclusive, a computer scientist who pondered technical problems away from the public eye, preferring to chase moonshots over magazine covers. Unlike founder-CEO peers (Mark Zuckerberg comes to mind), he hasn't presented at product launches or on earnings calls since 2013, and he hasn't done press since 2015. He leaves day-to-day decisions to Pichai and a handful of advisers. But a slew of interviews in recent months with colleagues and confidants, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they were worried about retribution from Alphabet, describe Page as an executive who's more withdrawn than ever, bordering on emeritus, invisible to wide swaths of the company. Supporters contend he's still engaged, but his immersion in the technology solutions of tomorrow has distracted him from the problems Google faces today. "What I didn't see in the last year was a strong central voice about how [Google's] going to operate on these issues that are societal and less technical," says a longtime executive who recently left the company.
    The money quote - quite literally: "People who know him say he's disappearing more frequently to his private, white-sand Caribbean island.". With the numerous challenges Google is facing, it seems odd that Page is being so reclusive.


  • FrontPage 98: elegant and exquisite
    How about a throwback to 1997?
    I've used and tinkered with every HTML Editor out there and I can say without qualification or pause that Microsoft FrontPage 98 is the easiest and most powerful suite of Web Design and Management tools available today -- and the fact that it's presently only in a beta state must make the competition shiver -- for the bar of excellence has not just gently risen with the debut of FrontPage 98.  That bar of excellence has been crushed through to the uppermost level by FrontPage 98 and few website HTML programs have the means or inspiration to meet that new watermark of exquisite elegance in creating websites.   Microsoft FrontPage 98 proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Web Creation and Site Manipulation can, finally and without excuse or caveat, be friendly while providing hardcore functionality in the same brilliant stroke.
    Those were the days.


  • Windows 10 warns users when opening Firefox, Chrome
    Windows 10 insider build 17744, which will be available in next month to the public as Windows 10 2018 October update has warned a user when he tries to install Firefox browser to open and use Microsoft Edge. We know Windows 10 nudges to use Edge as the default browser, but this is definitely different. A user shared about this on Twitter, here is what the dialog informed the user.
    I'm already an Edge user so I won't be bothered by these dialogs, but it's really annoying how browser makers - and by browser makers I mean Microsoft and Google - are taking every opportunity to shove annoying "please use Chrome/Edge" dialogs in our faces. It's user-hostile behaviour, and it feels cheap and scummy.



Linux Journal - The Original Magazine of the Linux Community


  • Writing More Compact Bash Code
        by Mitch Frazier   

    In any programming language, idioms may be used that may not seem obvious from reading the manual. Often these usages of the language represent ways to make your code more compact (as in requiring fewer lines of code). Of course, some will eschew these idioms believing they represent bad style. Style, of course, is in the eyes of beholder, and this article is not intended as an exercise in defining good or bad style. So for those who may be tempted to comment on the grounds of style I would (re)direct your attention to /dev/null.
        Go to Full Article          


  • Globbing and Regex: So Similar, So Different
        by Shawn Powers   
    Grepping is awesome, as long as you don't glob it up! This article covers some grep and regex basics.

    There are generally two types of coffee drinkers. The first type buys a can of pre-ground beans and uses the included scoop to make their automatic drip coffee in the morning. The second type picks single-origin beans from various parts of the world, accepts only beans that have been roasted within the past week and grinds those beans with a conical burr grinder moments before brewing in any number of complicated methods. Text searching is a bit like that.

    For most things on the command line, people think of *.* or *.txt and are happy to use file globbing to select the files they want. When it comes to grepping a log file, however, you need to get a little fancier. The confusing part is when the syntax of globbing and regex overlap. Thankfully, it's not hard to figure out when to use which construct.
     Globbing
    The command shell uses globbing for filename completion. If you type something like ls *.txt, you'll get a list of all the files that end in .txt in the current directory. If you do ls R*.txt, you'll get all the files that start with capital R and have the .txt extension. The asterisk is a wild card that lets you quickly filter which files you mean.

    You also can use a question mark in globbing if you want to specify a single character. So, typing ls read??.txt will list readme.txt, but not read.txt. That's different from ls read*.txt, which will match both readme.txt and read.txt, because the asterisk means "zero or more characters" in the file glob.

    Here's the easy way to remember if you're using globbing (which is very simple) vs. regular expressions: globbing is done to filenames by the shell, and regex is used for searching text. The only frustrating exception to this is that sometimes the shell is too smart and conveniently does globbing when you don't want it to—for example:
      grep file* README.TXT  
    In most cases, this will search the file README.TXT looking for the regular expression file*, which is what you normally want. But if there happens to be a file in the current folder that matches the file* glob (let's say filename.txt), the shell will assume you meant to pass that to grep, and so grep actually will see:
      grep filename.txt README.TXT  
    Gee, thank you so much Mr. Shell, but that's not what I wanted to do. For that reason, I recommend always using quotation marks when using grep. 99% of the time you won't get an accidental glob match, but that 1% can be infuriating. So when using grep, this is much safer:
      grep "file*" README.TXT  
    Because even if there is a filename.txt, the shell won't substitute it automatically.
        Go to Full Article          




  • Lights, Camera, Open Source: Hollywood Turns to Linux for New Code Sharing Initiative
        by Gabriel Avner   
    Software has permeated all industries, bringing us technologies to help create fantastic products and even works of art.No longer confined to sectors whose products are software-focused, everyone from the automotive to the medical industries are writing their own code to meet their needs, some of which may surprise you.

    In looking to code smarter, faster and more efficiently, developers across the globe and industries are turning to open-source components that allow them to add powerful features to their work without having to write everything from scratch themselves. One of the latest groups to embrace the Open Source movement is the entertainment industry.

    Similar to many other initiatives that have come together in recent years to support the sharing of code between companies, a number of key players under the umbrella of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) have teamed up with The Linux Foundation to establish the Go to Full Article          


  • A Look at KDE's KAlgebra
        by Joey Bernard   
    Many of the programs I've covered in the past have have been desktop-environment-agnostic—all they required was some sort of graphical display running. This article looks at one of the programs available in the KDE desktop environment, KAlgebra.

    You can use your distribution's package management system to install it, or you can use Discover, KDE's package manager. After it's installed, you can start it from the command line or the launch menu.

    When you first start KAlgebra, you get a blank slate to start doing calculations.

    Figure 1. When you start KAlgebra, you get a blank canvas for doing calculations.

    The screen layout is a large main pane where all of the calculations and their results are displayed. At the top of this pane are four tabs: Calculator, 2D Graph, 3D Graph and Dictionary. There's also a smaller pane on the right-hand side used for different purposes for each tab.

    In the calculator tab, the side pane gives a list of variables, including predefined variables for things like pi or euler, available when you start your new session. You can add new variables with the following syntax:
      a := 3  
    This creates a new variable named a with an initial value of 3. This new variable also will be visible in the list on the right-hand side. Using these variables is as easy as executing them. For example, you can double it with the following:
      a * 2  
    There is a special variable called ans that you can use to get the result from your most recent calculation. All of the standard mathematical operators are available for doing calculations.

     Figure 2. KAlgebra lets you create your own variables and functions for even more complex calculations.

    There's also a complete set of functions for doing more complex calculations, such as trigonometric functions, mathematical functions like absolute value or floor, and even calculus functions like finding the derivative. For instance, the following lets you find the sine of 45 degrees:
      sin(45)  
    You also can define your own functions using the lambda operator ->. If you want to create a function that calculates cubes, you could do this:
      x -> x^3  
    This is pretty hard to use, so you may want to assign it to a variable name:
      cube := x -> x^3  
    You then can use it just like any other function, and it also shows up in the list of variables on the right-hand side pane.
        Go to Full Article          


  • Support for a LoRaWAN Subsystem
        by Zack Brown   
    Sometimes kernel developers find themselves competing with each other to get their version of a particular feature into the kernel. But sometimes developers discover they've been working along very similar lines, and the only reason they hadn't been working together was that they just didn't know each other existed.

    Recently, Jian-Hong Pan asked if there was any interest in a LoRaWAN subsystem he'd been working on. LoRaWAN is a commercial networking protocol implementing a low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) allowing relatively slow communications between things, generally phone sensors and other internet of things devices. Jian-Hong posted a link to the work he'd done so far: https://github.com/starnight/LoRa/tree/lorawan-ndo/LoRaWAN.

    He specifically wanted to know "should we add the definitions into corresponding kernel header files now, if LoRaWAN will be accepted as a subsystem in Linux?" The reason he was asking was that each definition had its own number. Adding them into the kernel would mean the numbers associated with any future LoRaWAN subsystem would stay the same during development.

    However, Marcel Holtmann explained the process:

    When you submit your LoRaWAN subsystem to netdev for review, include a patch that adds these new address family definitions. Just pick the next one available. There will be no pre-allocation of numbers until your work has been accepted upstream. Meaning, that the number might change if other address families get merged before yours. So you have to keep updating. glibc will eventually follow the number assigned by the kernel.

    Meanwhile, Andreas Färber said he'd been working on supporting the same protocol himself and gave a link to his own proof-of-concept repository: https://github.com/afaerber/lora-modules.

    On learning about Andreas' work, Jian-Hong's response was, "Wow! Great! I get new friends :)"

    That's where the public conversation ended. The two of them undoubtedly have pooled their energies and will produce a new patch, better than either of them might have done separately.
        Go to Full Article          


  • The First Beta of the /e/ OS to Be Released Soon, Canonical's Security Patch for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Parrot 4.2.2 Now Available, Open Jam 2018 Announced and Lightbend's Fast Data Platform Now on Kubernetes

    News briefs for September 12, 2018.

    Gaël Duval writes that the first beta of the /e/ OS will be released soon. See his post for more information on how to test it and a list of supported Android devices.

    Canonical yesterday released a Linux kernel security patch for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS that addresses two recnetly discovered vulnerabilities. See Softpedia News for more information, and update now if you haven't already.

    Parrot, the Debian-based distro for "security experts, developers and crypto-addicted people", released verion 4.2.2 this week. This new version is powered by the latest 4.18 kernel and features a new version of the Debian-Installer, updated firmware packages, the latest LibreOffice 6.1 release, Firefox 62 and more. See the release notes for all the updates.

    Open Jam, the open-source game jam, will run this year from October 5–8th: "Participants will build an open source game from scratch in 80 hours, play and judge other games, and compete for a chance to have their game featured at All Things Open." See the announcement on Opensource.com for all the details and how to participate.

    Lightbend announced yesterday that version 2.0 of its Fast Data Platform is now available on Kubernetes, making it the "most complete platform for developing and operating microservices-based AI, ML, IoT and other streaming data-based applications. Visit the Lightbend website for more information.
          News  /e/  Android  Mobile  Canonical  Ubuntu  Security  Parrot  gaming  Kubernetes                   


  • IRC's 30th Birthday; Mozilla Working on New JavaScript APIs for VR; Arch Linux Answering Questions on Reddit; Microsoft Splits Its Visual Studio Team Services; and Hortonworks, IBM and Red Hat Announce the Open Hybrid Architecture Initiative

    News briefs for September 11, 2018.

    IRC recently celebrated its 30 birthday. The internet chat system was developed in 1988 by Jarkko Oikarinen at the Department of Information Processing Science of the University of Oulu. See the post on the University of Oulu website for more details.

    Mozilla yesterday announced it is beginning a new phase of work on JavaScript APIs "that will help everyone create and share virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) projects on the open web". Mozilla's new WebXR Device API has two goals: 1) "To support a wider variety of user inputs, such as voice and gestures, giving users options for navigating and interacting in virtual spaces"; and 2) "To establish a technical foundation for development of AR experiences, letting creators integrate real-world media with contextual overlays that elevate the experience." For more information, see the Immersive Web Community Group.

    The Arch Linux team is answering questions on Reddit. The post also mentions they are looking for new contributors. See the Arch Linux wiki for more information.

    Microsoft is splitting its Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) into five separate Azure-branded services, which will be called Azure DevOps, Ars Technica reports. In addition, the Azure Piplines component—"a continuous integration, testing, and deployment system that can connect to any Git repository"—will be available for open-source projects, and "open-source developers will have unlimited build time and up to 10 parallel jobs".

    Hortonworks, IBM and Red Hat yesterday announced the Open Hybrid Architecture Initiative, a "new collaborative effort the companies can use to build a common enterprise deployment model that is designed to enable big data workloads to run in a hybrid manner across on-premises, multi-cloud and edge architectures". For the initial phase, the companies will work together to "optimize Hortonworks Data Platform, Hortonworks DataFlow, Hortonworks DataPlane and IBM Cloud Private for Data for use on Red Hat OpenShift, an industry-leading enterprise container and Kubernetes application platform".
          News  IRC  Mozilla  Arch Linux  Microsoft  open source  DevOps  Azure  Red Hat  Kubernetes  Cloud  Big Data  OpenShift                   


Linux Magazine » Channels



  • Extended File Attributes Rock!
    Worldwide, data is growing at a tremendous rate. However, one recent study has pointed out that the size of files is not necessarily growing at the same rate; meaning the number of files is growing rapidly. How do we manage all of this data and files? While the answer to that question is complex, one place we can start is with Extended File Attributes. Continue reading


  • Checksumming Files to Find Bit-Rot
    In a previous article extended file attributes were presented. These are additional bits of metadata that are tied to the file and can be used in a variety of ways. One of these ways is to add checksums to the file so that corrupted data can be detected. Let's take a look at how we can do this including some simple Python examples. Continue reading



  • What’s an inode?
    As you might have noticed, we love talking about file systems. In these discussions the term "inode" is often thrown about. But what is an inode and how does it relate to a file system? Glad you asked. Continue reading




  • Emailing HPC
    Email is not unlike MPI. The similarities may help non-geeks understand parallel computers a little better. Continue reading



  • iotop: Per Process I/O Usage
    Based on a reader comment, we take iotop for a spin to see if it can be used for monitoring the IO usage of individual processes on a system. The result? It has some interesting capability that we haven't found in other tools. Continue reading





  • SandForce 1222 SSD Testing, Part 3: Detailed Throughput Analysis
    Our last two articles have presented an initial performance examination of a consumer SandForce based SSD from a throughput and IOPS perspective. In this article we dive deeper into the throughput performance of the drive, along with a comparison to an Intel X-25E SSD. I think you will be surprised at what is discovered. Continue reading


  • Putting Drupal to Work
    Drupal is a simple but powerful CMS. However, you'll probably want to configure it. Learn how to tweak Drupal's settings to your liking. Continue reading


  • SandForce 1222 SSD Testing – Part 2: Initial IOPS Results
    SandForce has developed a very interesting and unique SSD controller that uses real-time data compression. This affects data throughput and SSD longevity. In this article, we perform an initial examination of the IOPS performance of a SandForce 1222-based SSD. The results can be pretty amazing. Continue reading


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


  • Chasing The Number
    The Top500 list is a valuable measure of HPC progress, but the race it has spawned maybe over for many organizations Continue reading


  • Stick a Fork in Flock: Why it Failed
    This probably won't come as a surprise to many, but the "social Web browser" has thrown in the towel. Don't cry for the Flock team - they're flying the coop for Zynga to go make Facebook games or something. But Flock's loyal fans are out in the cold. Why'd Flock fail? There's a few lessons to be learned. Continue reading


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