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Show Descriptions... (Show All/All+Images) (Single Column) - Security Advisories

  • RedHat: RHSA-2019-0082:01 Moderate: python-django security update
    ``/bb: An update for python-django 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

  • RedHat: RHSA-2019-0094:01 Moderate: redis security update
    ``/bb: An update for redis 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

  • RedHat: RHSA-2019-0052:01 Moderate: redis security update
    ``/bb: An update for redis is now available for Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10.0 (Newton). Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Moderate. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which

  • RedHat: RHSA-2019-0054:01 Moderate: ansible security update
    ``/bb: An update for ansible is now available for Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10.0 (Newton). Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Moderate. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which

  • [$] Adiantum: encryption for the low end
    Low-end devices bound for developing countries, such as those running the Android Go edition, lack encryption support because the hardware doesn't provide anycryptographic acceleration. That means users in developing countries haveno protection for the data on their phones. Google would like to changethat situation. The company worked on adding the Speck cipher to thekernel, but decided against using itbecause of opposition due to Speck's origins at the US NationalSecurity Agency (NSA). As a replacement, the Adiantum encryption mode wasdeveloped; it has been merged for Linux 5.0.

  • Security updates for Wednesday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (systemd and wireshark), Fedora (openssh, php-horde-Horde-Form, and unrtf), Mageia (aria2, libvncserver, x11vnc, and nss), Oracle (kernel and libvncserver), Scientific Linux (libvncserver), SUSE (kernel, soundtouch, webkit2gtk3, and wget), and Ubuntu (libcaca and policykit-1).

  • [$] Ringing in a new asynchronous I/O API
    While the kernel has had support for asynchronousI/O (AIO) since the 2.5development cycle, it has also had people complaining about AIO for aboutthat long. The current interface is seen as difficult to use andinefficient; additionally, some types of I/O are better supported thanothers. That situation may be about to change with the introduction of a proposednew interface from Jens Axboe called "io_uring". As might be expectedfrom the name, io_uring introduces just what the kernel needed more than anything else:yet another ring buffer.

  • Google Summer of Code mentor projects sought
    It is that time of year again: Google is lookingfor mentor projects for the 2019 Summer of Code. "GSoC is aglobal program that draws university student developers from around theworld to contribute to open source. Each student spends three monthsworking on a coding project, with the support of volunteer mentors, forparticipating open source organizations from late May to August. Last year1,264 students worked with 206 open source organizations." Theapplication deadline is February 6.

  • [$] Fedora, UUIDs, and user tracking
    "User tracking" is generally contentious in free-software communities—evenif the "tracking" is not really intended to do so. It is oftendistributions that have the most interest in counting their users, butLinux users tend to be more privacy conscious than users of more mainstreamdesktop operating systems. The Fedora project recently discussed how tocount its users and ways to preserve their privacy while doing so.

  • Security updates for Tuesday
    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (irssi and systemd), CentOS (systemd), Debian (xen and zeromq3), Fedora (gnutls, kernel, kernel-headers, kernel-tools, and nbdkit), Oracle (libvncserver and systemd), Red Hat (libvncserver), and Ubuntu (haproxy, libarchive, and php-pear).

  • An ancient OpenSSH vulnerability
    An advisory from Harry Sintonen describes several vulnerabilities in thescp clients shipped with OpenSSH, PuTTY, and others. "Manyscp clients fail to verify if the objects returned by the scp server matchthose it asked for. This issue dates back to 1983 and rcp, on which scp isbased. A separate flaw in the client allows the target directory attributesto be changed arbitrarily. Finally, two vulnerabilities in clients mayallow server to spoof the client output." The outcome is that ahostile (or compromised) server can overwrite arbitrary files on the clientside. There do not yet appear to be patches available to address theseproblems.

  • Security updates for Monday
    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (python-django and python2-django), Debian (sqlite3, systemd, and vlc), Fedora (mingw-nettle and polkit), Mageia (graphicsmagick, python-django, spice-vdagent, and to), openSUSE (aria2, discount, gpg2, GraphicsMagick, gthumb, haproxy, irssi, java-1_7_0-openjdk, java-1_8_0-openjdk, libgit2, LibVNCServer, and sssd), Red Hat (systemd), Scientific Linux (systemd), Slackware (irssi and zsh), SUSE (LibVNCServer and sssd), and Ubuntu (gnome-bluetooth and systemd).

  • Kernel prepatch 5.0-rc2
    The second 5.0 prepatch is out for testing."So the merge window had somewhat unusual timing with the holidays,and I was afraid that would affect stragglers in rc2, but honestly, thatdoesn't seem to have happened much. rc2 looks pretty normal."

  • [$] Approaching the kernel year-2038 end game
    In January 2038, the 32-bit time_t value used on many Unix-likesystems will run out of bits and be unable to represent the current time.This may seem like a distant problem, but, as Tom Scott recently observed,the year-2038 apocalypse is now closer to the present than the year-2000problem. The fact that systems being deployed now will still be operatingin 2038 adds urgency to the issue as well. The good news is that work has been underway for years to prepareLinux for this date, so there should be no need to call developers out ofretirement in 2037 in a last-minute panic. Some of the final steps in thistransition for the core kernel have been posted, and seem likely to bemerged for 5.1.

  • Metasploit 5.0 released
    Version5.0 of the Metasploit penetration-testing framework is out."Metasploit 5.0 offers a new data service, introduces fresh evasioncapabilities, supports multiple languages, and builds upon the Framework’sever-growing repository of world-class offensive security content. We’reable to continue innovating and expanding in no small part thanks to themany open source users and developers who make it a priority to share theirknowledge with the community. You have our gratitude."

  • Security updates for Friday
    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (systemd and wireshark-cli), Debian (libsndfile and tmpreaper), Fedora (beep, electrum, gnutls, haproxy, krb5, mupdf, php-horde-Horde-Image, python-django, and wget), Mageia (libarchive and terminology), openSUSE (libraw, polkit, and singularity), SUSE (haproxy, java-1_8_0-openjdk, LibVNCServer, and webkit2gtk3), and Ubuntu (exiv2, gnupg2, and webkit2gtk).

  • [$] A slow start to openSUSE's board election
    What if you announced a board election and nobody ran? That is the quandarythe openSUSE project facedas recently as January 4, when the nomination deadline loomed andno candidates for the three open seats had come forward. The situation hassince changed, and openSUSE members will have a wide slate of candidates tochoose from. But the seeming reticence to come forward may well be areflection of some unresolved tensions that exploded into a flame warseveral months ago.

LXer Linux News

  • What’s New in MX Linux 18 Continuum
    MX Linux 18 codename Continuum has been released, this release features Xfce 4.12 as default environment include xfce4 component, based on Debian 9.6 scratch and powered by Linux Kernel 4.19 series, which means that it offers support for the latest hardware components available on the market.

  • Bash Shell Utility Reaches 5.0 Milestone
    As we look forward to the release of Linux Kernel 5.0 in the coming weeks, we can enjoy another venerable open source technology reaching the 5.0 milestone: the Bash shell utility. The GNU Project has launched the public version 5.0 of GNU/Linux’s default command language interpreter.

  • Why teachers should get out of their comfort zones and into the open
    Through several years of hard work and many iterations, my fellow teachers and I were eventually able to develop a comprehensive, school-wide project-based learning model, where students worked in collaborative teams on projects that made real connections between required curriculum and community-based applications. Doing so gave these students the ability to develop skills they can use for a lifetime...

  • How To Install and Configure Redmine on CentOS 7
    Redmine is one of the most popular open source project management and issue tracking software tools. It is cross-platform and cross-database and built on top of the Ruby on Rails framework. In this tutorial we will cover the steps needed to install and configure the latest version of Redmine on an CentOS 7 server using MariaDB as a database back-end and Passenger + Nginx as a Ruby application server.

  • Ten Years After - Opening Worlds
    There are still people in the technology field today that consider Linux a "hobbiest" toy. Can a serious student get through 6 years of college with just Linux? Some can, and some cannot. We'll take a look at the latter here.

  • Data Types & Data Modelling In MySQL - MySQL Series Part 2
    In this article, we will be learning about the various data types in MySQL and also how data modeling is done. I am assuming you have a working instance of MySQL on your computer. If not, you can read the step by step installation instructions.

  • The Evil-Twin Framework: A tool for testing WiFi security
    The increasing number of devices that connect over-the-air to the internet over-the-air and the wide availability of WiFi access points provide many opportunities for attackers to exploit users. By tricking users to connect to rogue access points, hackers gain full control over the users' network connection, which allows them to sniff and alter traffic, redirect users to malicious sites, and launch other attacks over the more

  • Understanding Load Average on Linux
    Load average is a measurement of the amount of work versus free CPU cycles available on a system processor. In this article I’ll define the term, demonstrate how Linux calculates this value, then provide insight into how to interpret system load.

  • Faucet: An open source SDN controller for high-speed production networks
    Thanks to open source software, we can now take control over and modify the behavior of almost every component in an IT system. We can modify everything from the networking stack in the kernel all the way down to web server code in user space to make improvements or implement new features.The final hurdle to having complete control over our hardware and software stack is the physical network hardware. These devices are usually built from the open source tools we love, but they are presented as black boxes that can't easily be modified by network more

  • Bash Functions
    A Bash function is essentially a set of commands that can be called numerous times. The purpose of a function is to help you make your bash scripts more readable, and to avoid writing the same code over and over again.

  • Using Linux containers to analyze the impact of climate change and soil on New Zealand crops
    New Zealand's economy is dependent on agriculture, a sector that is highly sensitive to climate change. This makes it critical to develop analysis capabilities to assess its impact and investigate possible mitigation and adaptation options. That analysis can be done with tools such as agricultural systems models. In simple terms, it involves creating a model to quantify how a specific crop behaves under certain conditions then simulating altering a few variables to see how that behavior more

  • Bash's Built-in printf Function
    Even if you're already familiar with the printf command, if you got your information via "man printf" you may be missing a couple of useful features that are provided by bash's built-in version of the standard printf(1) command.

  • Essential System Tools: Krusader – KDE file manager
    This is the latest in our series of articles highlighting essential system tools. These are small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users of Linux based systems. The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities. For this article, we’ll look at Krusader, a free and open source graphical file manager.


	Copyright 2019|Linux Insider"LinuxInsider"]]
  • Blue Collar Linux: Something Borrowed, Something New
    Sometimes it takes more than a few tweaks to turn an old-style desktop design into a fresh new Linux distribution. That is the case with the public release of Blue Collar Linux. Blue Collar Linux has been under development for the last four years. Until its public release this week, it has circulated only through an invitation for private use by the developer's family, friends and associates looking for an alternative to the Windows nightmare.

  • Top Open Source Tools for Staying on Time and on Task
    Keeping up to date with multiple daily activity calendars, tons of information, and long must-do lists can be a never-ending challenge. This week's Linux Picks and Pans reviews the best open source Personal Information Managers that will serve you well on whatever Linux distribution you run. In theory, computer tools should make managing a flood of personal and business information child's play.

  • Where Linux Went in 2018 - and Where It's Going
    For those who try to keep their finger on the Linux community's pulse, 2018 was a surprisingly eventful year. Spread over the last 12 months, we've seen various projects in the Linux ecosystem make great strides, as well as suffer their share of stumbles. All told, the year wrapped up leaving plenty to be optimistic about in the year to come, but there is much more on which we can only speculate.

  • Kodachi Builds Privacy Tunnel for Linux
    Online and Internet security are not topics that typical computer users easily comprehend. All too often, Linux users put their blind trust in a particular distribution and assume that all Linux OSes are equally secure. However, not all Linux distros are created with the same degree of attention to security and privacy control. Kodachi Linux offers an alternative to leaving them to chance.

  • Breaking Up the Crypto-Criminal Bar Brawl
    As if e-commerce companies didn't have enough problems with transacting securely and defending against things like fraud, another avalanche of security problems -- like cryptojacking, the act of illegally mining cryptocurrency on your end servers -- has begun. We've also seen a rise in digital credit card skimming attacks against popular e-commerce software such as Magento.

  • Q4OS: A Diamond in the Rough Gets Some Polish
    Sometimes working with Linux distros is much like rustling through an old jewelry drawer. Every now and then, you find a diamond hidden among the rhinestones. That is the case with Q4OS. I took a detailed first look at this new distro in February 2015, primarily to assess the Trinity desktop. That was a version 1 beta release. Still, Trinity showed some potential. I have used it on numerous old and new computers.

  • Pantheon Desktop Makes Linux Elementary
    Developers of U.S.-based Elementary OS recently released the community's annual major update, Juno 5. What makes this distro so nontraditional is its own desktop interface, called "Pantheon." This desktop interface is somewhat of a hybrid, inspired by Apple's Debian Ubuntu-based OS X. It combines some similarities of the GNOME 3 Shell with the visual finesse of the OS X dock.

  • The Road Ahead for Open Source
    Linux and the open source business model are far different today than many of the early developers might have hoped. Neither can claim a rags-to-riches story. Rather, their growth cycles have been a series of hit-or-miss milestones. The Linux desktop has yet to find a home on the majority of consumer and enterprise computers. However, Linux-powered technology has long ruled the Internet.

  • Deepin Builds a Better Linux Desktop
    Deepin 15.8, released last month, is loaded with more efficient layout tweaks that give the distribution greater functionality and maturity. Deepin, based in China, shed its Ubuntu base when with the 2015 release of version 15, which favored Debian Linux. That brought numerous subtle changes in the code base and software roots. Ubuntu Linux itself is based on Debian.

  • How to Use a VPN for Safer Online Shopping
    With the holidays fast approaching, are you looking to buy presents online? The holiday season has become synonymous with online shopping. This isn't really surprising as physical stores usually attract crowds of deal hunters. This often conjures up images of throngs of people waiting in line outside the store, some even camping out. This activity is tolerable for some and even fun for others.

  • Void Linux: Built From Scratch for Full Independence
    Void Linux is a bit out of the ordinary. It offers an unusually interesting alternative to many of the traditional Linux distros affiliated with a larger Linux family such as Debian or Ubuntu or Arch. Void Linux is an independently developed, rolling-release, general-purpose operating system. That means that its software is either homegrown or plain-vanilla compiled.

  • Free Personal Finance Apps You Can Take to the Bank
    Today's Linux platform accommodates a number of really good financial applications that are more than capable of handling both personal and small-business accounting operations. That was not always the case, however. Not quite 10 years ago, I scoured Linux repositories in a quest for replacement applications for popular Microsoft Windows tools. Back then, the pickings were mighty slim.

  • Acumos Project's 1st Software, Athena, Helps Ease AI Deployment
    The LF Deep Learning Foundation has announced the availability of the first software from the Acumos AI Project. Dubbed "Athena," it supports open source innovation in AI, ML and DL. The goal is to make critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere. Launched earlier this year, Acumos is part of a Linux Foundation umbrella organization.

  • Getting Clarity on the Private vs. Public Cloud Decision
    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.

  • Google Shows Off New Android Dev Tools
    Google has announced support for a range of new Android tools for application developers, chief among them the creation of a new support category for foldable devices. After years of speculation, it finally looks as though foldable screen smartphones are headed to market. Google's dev announcement followed closely on the heels of Samsung's announcement of a folding phone/tablet prototype.

  • IBM Dons Red Hat for Cloudy Future
    IBM's deal to acquire Red Hat caught everyone by surprise when it was announced less than two weeks ago. While concerns spread quickly about what it would mean for the largest enterprise Linux platform, IBM and Red Hat executives assured employees and customers that Red Hat would continue to operate independently -- at least for now. Intel made a similar acquisition of Wind River in 2009.

  • Got a Screwdriver? GalliumOS Can Turn Chromebooks Into Linux Boxes
    GalliumOS is a Chromebook-specific Linux variant. It lets you put a real Linux distro on a Chromebook. My recent review of a new Chromebook feature -- the ability to run Linux apps on some Chromebook models -- sparked my interest in other technologies that run complete Linux distros on some Chromebooks without using ChromeOS. GalliumOS can be a handy workaround.

  • Overcoming Your Terror of Arch Linux
    A recent episode of a Linux news podcast I keep up with featured an interview with a journalist who had written a piece for a non-Linux audience about giving it a try. It was surprisingly widely read. The writer's experience with some of the more popular desktop distributions had been overwhelmingly positive, and he said as much in his piece and during the subsequent podcast interview.

  • How to Protect Your Online Privacy: A Practical Guide
    Do you take your online privacy seriously? Most people don't. They have an ideal scenario of just how private their online activities should be, but they rarely do anything to actually achieve it. The problem is that bad actors know and rely on this fact, and that's why there's been a steady rise in identity theft cases from 2013 to 2017, often resulting in loss of reputation or financial woes.

  • Mobile Phone Security: All You Need to Know
    We rely on our phones to process and store reams of personal digital data. Our digital activities -- from checking bank balances to paying for a product with a tap of the screen, to sending friends and family messages over social media, to accessing work emails remotely -- have turned our phones into a goldmine of personal information. How secure is your mobile device?

  • Feren OS Delivers Richer Cinnamon Flavor
    Feren OS is a nice alternative to Linux Mint and an easy stepping stone to transition to Linux from Microsoft Windows or macOS. I am a long-time user of Linux Mint, but I am falling out of love with it. Mint is getting stale. That diagnosis started me thinking about a suitable replacement distro that runs the Cinnamon desktop with a bit more innovation and flare.


  • LG Will Launch a Phone With a Second Screen Attachment
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: LG's next smartphone may have you seeing double. And no, it's not because of a foldable display. The company will launch a smartphone, whose name hasn't been finalized, that will have an option for a second-screen attachment, according to a person familiar with the situation. The attachment, which the person describes as a sort of case with a screen, could potentially double the total screen size of the device. It's one of multiple phones launching at the Mobile World Congress trade show next month, the person said. While the company is mulling the G8 name, it's unclear whether the multiple-screen phone will carry the name of its flagship line. There was some confusion over LG launching a foldable smartphone thanks to a report by Korean-language outlet Naver. But this phone won't fold.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Elon Musk Wants To Put An AI Hardware Chip In Your Skull
    "iTMunch reports that Elon Musk apparently believes that the human race can only be "saved" by implanting chips into our skulls that make us half human, half artificial intelligence," writes Slashdot reader dryriver. From the report: Elon Musk's main goal, he explains, is to wire a chip into your skull. This chip would give you the digital intelligence needed to progress beyond the limits of our biological intelligence. This would mean a full incorporation of artificial intelligence into our bodies and minds. He argues that without taking this drastic measure, humanity is doomed. There are a lot of ethical questions raised on the topic of what humanity according to Elon Musk exactly is, but he seems undeterred. "My faith in humanity has been a little shaken this year," Musk continues, "but I'm still pro-humanity." The seamless conjunction of humans and computers gives us humans a shot at becoming completely "symbiotic" with artificial intelligence, according to Elon Musk. He argues that humans as a species are all already practically attached to our phones. In a way, this makes us almost cyborg-like. The only difference is that we haven't managed to expand our intelligence to that level. This means that we are not as smart as we could be. The data link that currently exists between the information that we get from our phones or computers is not as fast as it could be. "It will enable anyone who wants to have superhuman cognition," Musk said. "Anyone who wants." As for how much smarter humans will become with these AI chips, Musk writes: "How much smarter are you with a phone or computer or without? You're vastly smarter, actually," Musk said. "You can answer any question pretty much instantly. You can remember flawlessly. Your phone can remember videos (and) pictures perfectly. Your phone is already an extension of you. You're already a cyborg. Most people don't realize you're already a cyborg. It's just that the data rate [...] it's slow, very slow. It's like a tiny straw of information flow between your biological self and your digital self. We need to make that tiny straw like a giant river, a huge, high-bandwidth interface."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Collection 1 Data Breach Exposes More Than 772 Million Email Addresses
    A collection of almost 773 million unique email addresses and just under 22 million unique passwords were exposed on cloud service MEGA. Security researcher Troy Hunt said the collection of data, dubbed Collection #1, totaled over 12,000 separate files and more than 87GB of data. ZDNet reports: "What I can say is that my own personal data is in there and it's accurate; right email address and a password I used many years ago," Hunt wrote. "In short, if you're in this breach, one or more passwords you've previously used are floating around for others to see." Some passwords, including his own, have been "dehashed", that is converted back to plain text. Hunt said he gained the information after multiple people reached out to him with concerns over the data on MEGA, with the Collection #1 dump also being discussed on a hacking forum. "The post on the forum referenced 'a collection of 2000+ dehashed databases and Combos stored by topic' and provided a directory listing of 2,890 of the files," Hunt wrote.  The collection has since been removed. You can visit Hunt's Have I Been Pwned service to see if you are affected by this breach.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Fasting Can Improve Overall Health By Causing Circadian Clocks In the Liver and Skeletal Muscle To Rewire Their Metabolism, Study Finds
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from ScienceDaily: In a University of California, Irvine-led study, researchers found evidence that fasting affects circadian clocks in the liver and skeletal muscle, causing them to rewire their metabolism, which can ultimately lead to improved health and protection against aging-associated diseases. The study was published recently in Cell Reports. The research was conducted using mice, which were subjected to 24-hour periods of fasting. While fasting, researchers noted the mice exhibited a reduction in oxygen consumption (VO2), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and energy expenditure, all of which were completely abolished by refeeding, which parallels results observed in humans.   "The reorganization of gene regulation by fasting could prime the genome to a more permissive state to anticipate upcoming food intake and thereby drive a new rhythmic cycle of gene expression. In other words, fasting is able to essentially reprogram a variety of cellular responses. Therefore, optimal fasting in a timed manner would be strategic to positively affect cellular functions and ultimately benefiting health and protecting against aging-associated diseases." This study opens new avenues of investigation that could ultimately lead to the development of nutritional strategies to improve health in humans.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Key West Moves To Ban Sunscreens That Could Damage Reefs
    Yesterday, the Key West City Commission unanimously voted to ban the sale of sunscreens that contain two ingredients -- oxybenzone and octinoxate -- that a growing body of scientific evidence says harm coral reefs. The measure must now be reviewed again by the commission before it becomes law. The second vote is scheduled for February 5th. Miami Herald reports: Environmental researchers have published studies showing how these two ingredients, which accumulate in the water from bathers or from wastewater discharges, can damage coral reefs through bleaching and harming the corals' DNA. In some instances, the corals can die. A Feburary 2016 study in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology examining the impact of oxybenzone in corals in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands concluded that the sunscreen ingredient "poses a hazard to coral reef conservation and threatens the resiliency of coral reefs to climate change.''   Last year, Hawaii banned the sale or distribution of any sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, a measure that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. It was the first state in the nation to implement such a ban. In Florida, the website for the South Florida Reef Ambassador Initiative, which falls under the state's Department of Environmental Protection, tells divers to "Avoid sunscreens with Oxybenzone and Avobenzone. The benzones are compounds that are lethal to coral reproduction in very small amounts." Experts who have studied the issue say sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are minerals, also block ultraviolet rays. They create a barrier on the skin that deflect the sun's rays .

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Researchers Report Breakthrough In Ice-Repelling Materials
    "Researchers from the University of Houston have reported a new theory in physics called stress localization, which they used to tune and predict the properties of new materials," reports Phys.Org. "Based on those predictions, the researchers reported in Materials Horizons that they have created a durable silicone polymer coating capable of repelling ice from any surface." The new research has huge implications for aircraft, power transmission lines, and more. From the report: Hadi Ghasemi, Bill D. Cook Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering at UH and corresponding author for the work, said the findings suggest a way to take trial and error out of the search for new materials, in keeping with the movement of materials science toward a physics-driven approach. "You put in the properties you want, and the principle will tell you what material you need to synthesize," he said, noting that the concept can also be used to predict materials with superb antibacterial or other desirable properties.   The new material uses elastic energy localization where ice meets the material, triggering cracks at the interface that slough off the ice. Ghasemi said it requires minimal force to cause the cracks; the flow of air over the surface of an airplane acts as a trigger, for example. The material, which is applied as a spray, can be used on any surface, and Ghasemi said testing showed it is not only mechanically durable and unaffected by ultraviolet rays -- important for aircraft which face constant sun exposure -- but also does not change the aircraft's aerodynamic performance. Testing indicates it will last for more than 10 years, with no need to reapply, he said.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Fortnite Bugs Gave Hackers Access To Millions of Player Accounts, Researchers Say
    Researchers at cybersecurity firm Check Point say three vulnerabilities chained together could have allowed hackers to take control of any of Fortnite's 200 million players. "The flaws, if exploited, would have stolen the account access token set on the gamer's device once they entered their password," reports TechCrunch. "Once stolen, that token could be used to impersonate the gamer and log in as if they were the account holder, without needing their password." From the report: The researchers say that the flaw lies in how Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, handles login requests. Researchers said they could send any user a crafted link that appears to come from Epic Games' own domain and steal an access token needed to break into an account.   Here's how it works: The user clicks on a link, which points to an subdomain, which the hacker embeds a link to malicious code on their own server by exploiting a cross-site weakness in the subdomain. Once the malicious script loads, unbeknownst to the Fortnite player, it steals their account token and sends it back to the hacker. "If the victim user is not logged into the game, he or she would have to log in first," a researcher said. "Once that person is logged in, the account can be stolen." Epic Games has since fixed the vulnerability.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Marco Rubio Introduces Privacy Bill To Create Federal Regulations On Data Collection
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fortune: Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bill Wednesday aimed at creating federal standards of privacy protection for major internet companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. The bill, titled the American Data Dissemination Act, requires the Federal Trade Commission to make suggestions for regulation based on the Privacy Act of 1974. Congress would then have to pass legislation within two years, or the FTC will gain the power to write the rules itself (under current laws, the FTC can only enforce existing rules). While Rubio's bill is intended to reign in the data collection and dissemination of companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Netflix, it also requires any final legislation to protect small businesses from being stifled by new rules. The caveat comes when one considers states' rights to create their own privacy laws. Under Rubio's legislation, any national regulations would preempt state laws -- even if the state's are more strict. "While we may have disagreements on the best path forward, no one believes a privacy law that only bolsters the largest companies with the resources to comply and stifles our start-up marketplace is the right approach," Rubio wrote in an op-ed for The Hill, announcing his bill.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Federal Prosecutors Are Investigating Huawei For Allegedly Stealing Trade Secrets, Says Report
    According to The Wall Street Journal, federal prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation to see if Huawei allegedly stole trade secrets from U.S. companies. The probe is reportedly built out of civil lawsuits against the telecommunications firm. The Hill reports: People familiar with the probe told the Journal that it is at an advanced stage and that an indictment could soon be coming. Huawei has long faced scrutiny from both lawmakers and national security officials, who have labeled the firm as a national security threat over its ties to the Chinese government. The company has denied that characterization, and China this week called for other countries to end âoethe groundless fabrications and unreasonable restrictionsâ on Huawei and other firms.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • New Satellite Network Will Make It Impossible For a Commercial Airplane To Vanish
    pgmrdlm quotes a report from CBS News: For the first time, a new network of satellites will soon be able to track all commercial airplanes in real time, anywhere on the planet. Currently, planes are largely tracked by radar on the ground, which doesn't work over much of the world's oceans. The final 10 satellites were launched Friday to wrap up the $3 billion effort to replace 66 aging communication satellites, reports CBS News' Kris Van Cleave, who got an early look at the new technology. On any given day, 43,000 planes are in the sky in America alone. When these planes take off, they are tracked by radar and are equipped with a GPS transponder. All commercial flights operating in the U.S. and Europe have to have them by 2020. It's that transponder that talks to these new satellites, making it possible to know exactly where more than 10,000 flights currently flying are.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Google Play Starts Manually Whitelisting SMS, Phone Apps
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Google is implementing major new Play Store rules for how Android's "SMS" and "Call Log" permissions are used. New Play Store rules will only allow certain types of apps to request phone call logs and SMS permissions, and any apps that don't fit into Google's predetermined use cases will be removed from the Play Store. The policy was first announced in October, and the policy kicks in and the ban hammer starts falling on non-compliant apps this week.   Google says the decision to police these permissions was made to protect user privacy. SMS and phone permissions can give an app access to a user's contacts and everyone they've ever called, in addition to allowing the app to contact premium phone numbers that can charge money directly to the user's cellular bill. Despite the power of these permissions, a surprising number of apps ask for SMS or phone access because they have other, more benign use cases. So to clean up the Play Store, Google's current plan seems to be to (1) build more limited, replacement APIs for these benign use cases that don't offer access to so much user data and (2) kick everyone off the Play Store who is still using the wide-ranging SMS and phone permissions for these more limited use cases. Google provides a help page that helps explain the new rules and offer workarounds for some use cases.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • YouTube Cracks Down on 'Harmful and Dangerous' Challenges and Pranks
    YouTube has set stricter guidelines for "harmful and dangerous" prank and challenge videos. From a report: "We've always had policies to make sure what's funny doesn't cross the line into also being harmful or dangerous," reads the YouTube guidelines. "Our Community Guidelines prohibit content that encourages dangerous activities that are likely to result in serious harm, and today clarifying what this means for dangerous challenges and pranks." YouTube's guidelines now further detail which of these popular videos push the line, including challenges such as the Tide Pod challenge and the Fire challenge -- anything "that can cause death and/or have caused death in some instances."   As for pranks, videos that make the victims believe they're in serious danger or cause severe emotional distress to children (further clarified with examples like faking the death of a parent) are no longer acceptable on the platform. Creators who host these types of videos on their channels will receive a grace period of two months to clean up their channel.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Federal Prosecutors Pursuing Criminal Case Against Huawei for Alleged Theft of Trade Secrets: Report
    Federal prosecutors are pursuing a criminal investigation of China's Huawei for allegedly stealing trade secrets from U.S. business partners, including the technology behind a robotic device that T-Mobile used to test smartphones, WSJ reported Wednesday. From a report: The investigation grew in part out of civil lawsuits against Huawei, including one in which a Seattle jury found Huawei liable for misappropriating robotic technology from T-Mobile's Bellevue, Wash., lab, the people familiar with the matter said. The probe is at an advanced stage and could lead to an indictment soon, they said. The link to the source article may be paywalled; here's an alternative source.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Happy 18th Birthday, Wikipedia
    This week, Wikipedia celebrates its 18th birthday. If the massive crowdsourced encyclopedia project were human, then in most countries, it would just now be considered a legal adult. But in truth, the free online encyclopedia has long played the role of the Internet's good grown-up.  From a story: Wikipedia has grown enormously since its inception: It now boasts 5.7 million articles in English and pulled in 92 billion page views last year. The site has also undergone a major reputation change. If you ask Siri, Alexa or Google Home a general-knowledge question, it will likely pull the response from Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia has been cited in more than 400 judicial opinions, according to a 2010 paper in the Yale Journal of Law & Technology.   Many professors are ditching the traditional writing assignment and instead asking students to expand or create a Wikipedia article on the topic. And YouTube Chief Executive Susan Wojcicki announced a plan last March to pair misleading conspiracy videos with links to corresponding articles from Wikipedia. Facebook has also released a feature using Wikipedia's content to provide users more information about the publication source for articles in their feed.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Microsoft is Separating Cortana From Search in Windows 10
    Microsoft is making some big changes to Cortana in Windows 10. The company intends to decouple search and Cortana in the Windows 10 taskbar, allowing voice queries to be handled separately to typing in a search box to find documents and files. From a report: This change will be implemented in the next major Windows 10 update, currently scheduled for April. Windows 10 will direct you towards an built-in search experience for text queries, while Cortana will exist for voice queries instead of them both bundled together. "This will enable each experience to innovate independently to best serve their target audiences and use cases," explains Dona Sarkar, Microsoft's Windows Insider chief. "This change is one of several we've made throughout this release to improve your experience in this space, including updating the search landing page design, enhancing your search results, and integrating Microsoft To-Do with Cortana."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Register

  • Like, subscribe and comment: Sage takes a breath as cloud sales bounce
    'Ecncouraging' numbers as it switches from licensing to subs push
    Shape-shifting accounting software biz Sage issued a trading update this morning and the good news - for investors at least - is that it didn't contain any nasty surprises, but did highlight a bounce in cloud sales.…

  • Diplomat warns that tech industry has become a pawn as politicos fight dirty
    They see AI, cybersecurity as 'battle fronts' - and rising populism will make it worse - former UN official
    Oracle OpenWorld Technology and cyber security will be the "battle fronts" of global competition, and artificial intelligence will become crucial to the US-China trade war, a former UN official has said.…

  • McKinsey’s blockchain warning irks crypto hipsters
    Reverse ferret by reassuringly expensive consultant
    Blockchain companies are upset with management consultant McKinsey for pointing out the technology is stubbornly stuck at base camp after years of hype.…

  • US prosecutors: Hey, you know how we said 'net gambling was OK? LMAO, we were wrong
    2011 ban on interstate, foreign sports betting extended to online lotteries, poker, casinos
    Last November, US Justice Department officials, having reviewed the nation's laws, quietly concluded that, oops, interstate and international internet gambling is actually illegal. For some reason, that view was only made public on Monday. And for now, this hot take is not being enforced across the country.…

  • Yes, you can remotely hack factory, building site cranes. Wait, what?
    Authentication is simply AWOL for remote RF control equipment, says Trend Micro
    Did you know that the manufacturing and construction industries use radio-frequency remote controllers to operate cranes, drilling rigs, and other heavy machinery? Doesn't matter: they're alarmingly vulnerable to being hacked, according to Trend Micro.…

  • Brit comms regulator Ofcom: Disabled left behind by tech
    Have fewer phones, less internet access, says report
    Disabled people are being left behind by the technology industry - both in terms of services and an understanding of what technology can do, a new Ofcom study has claimed.…

  • HSBC suggests it might have found a... use for blockchain?
    Says it used tech to settle 3 million forex transactions, $250bn in payments last year
    HSBC claims to have settled three million foreign exchange (FX) transactions and made payments worth $250bn using distributed ledger technology (DLT).… offline for now


  • ZFS On Linux Landing Workaround For Linux 5.0 Kernel Support
    Last week I reported on ZFS On Linux breaking with Linux 5.0 due to some kernel symbols sought by this out-of-tree file-system driver no longer being exported and the upstream developers not willing to adjust for the ZoL code. That's still the case but the ZFS On Linux developers have a patch so at least the file-system driver will be able to build on Linux 5.0...

  • GNOME's Builder IDE Goes Through Its Biggest Code Refactoring Ever
    The lead developer of the GNOME Builder integrated development environment, Christian Hergert, has just led his project through its largest code re-factoring yet. Builder 3.32 coming out in March with GNOME 3.32 features more than 100k lines of code changed with various underlying improvements as well as some new features for developers...

  • Systemd 241 Paired With Linux 4.19+ To Enable New Regular File & FIFO Protection
    The Linux 4.19 kernel brought the ability to disallow the opening of FIFOs and regular files not owned by the user in world-writable sticky directories in the name of security. Had this ability been around previously it could have prevented a number of CVEs going back a long time. In helping ensure this functionality gets utilized, Systemd 241 will now set these sysctl options to enable the behavior by default...

  • Fedora Still Needs Help Testing The New Zchunk Metadata Support
    Fedora has been working on transitioning to Zchunk for its DNF metadata due to its good compression ratio while being delta-friendly and leveraging the existing work of Zstandard and Zsync/casync. The metadata has been offered in Zchunk for some weeks while more client testing is needed before landing that support in Rawhide and in turn for Fedora 30...

  • Intel To Eventually Explore Offering A Graphics Control Panel For Linux Systems
    Intel's Linux graphics driver stack has never offered its own vendor-specific driver control panel GUI like is common among all major graphics vendors on Windows, but instead they've opted for the command-line experience and making use of common interfaces with what's offered by the different desktop environments for resolution handling, multi-monitor setup, etc. But moving forward they may end up bringing a new graphics driver control panel to Linux...

  • Mesa 19.0 Deprecates GNU Autotools Build System In Favor Of Meson
    Last month was a proposed patch that would have killed the Autotools build system within Mesa. Developers have decided for the upcoming Mesa 19.0 release not to eliminate this GNU Autotools support but rather to mark it as deprecated and require an extra flag in order to make use of it...

  • Khronos Exploring New Industry Standard For Heterogeneous Communications
    From VR to autonomous vehicles to edge computing, The Khronos Group continues working on new industry standards for today's expanding compute landscape. Today the organization announced they are soliciting industry feedback and creating an exploratory group for a new, open industry standard around High Performance Embedded Computing (HPEC)...

  • Fedora Decides To Not Allow SSPLv1 Licensed Software Into Its Repositories
    Back in October, MongoDB announced the Server Side Public License v1 (SSPLv1) as their new license moving forward for this document-oriented database server over their existing AGPL code. SSPL was met with much controversy upon its unveiling and Fedora's legal team has now ruled it an invalid free software license for packaged software in its repositories...

  • Genode To Focus On Making Sculpt OS Relevant & Appealing In 2019
    The Genode operating system framework based on a micro-kernel design and various original user-space components continues going strong a decade since its start. But it hasn't achieved too much appeal outside of its niche even when it began working on "Sculpt" as an operating system for general purposes use-cases and supporting common PC/laptop hardware. But they hope to change that in 2019...

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760/960/1060 / RTX 2060 Linux Gaming & Compute Performance
    The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 is shipping today as the most affordable Turing GPU option to date at $349 USD. Last week we posted our initial GeForce RTX 2060 Linux review and followed-up with more 1080p and 1440p Linux gaming benchmarks after having more time with the card. In this article is a side-by-side performance comparison of the GeForce RTX 2060 up against the GTX 1060 Pascal, GTX 960 Maxwell, and GTX 760 Kepler graphics cards. Not only are we looking at the raw OpenGL, Vulkan, and OpenCL/CUDA compute performance between these four generations, but also the power consumption and performance-per-Watt.

  • Mesa 18.3.2 Is Finally En Route With 78+ Changes
    It's been more than a month since the debut of Mesa 18.3 and the emergency 18.3.1 release while due the holidays and the release manager being sick, the next point release fell off the tracks. Mesa 18.3.2 is now being crafted and should be out in the next few days. Given the time since the previous release, Mesa 18.3.2 is heavy on fixes...

  • RADV Vulkan Driver Picks Up Memory Budget Information For Mesa 19.0
    With Mesa 19.0 entering its feature freeze this week, the race is on for developers to land their last minute additions to this next quarterly installment of Mesa. Valve developer Samuel Pitoiset has landed support in the Radeon "RADV" Vulkan driver for the new memory budget extension...

  • Lczero Neural Network Chess Benchmarks With OpenCL Radeon vs. NVIDIA
    Yesterday I posted a number of Lczero chess engine benchmarks on NVIDIA GPUs using its OpenCL back-end as well as its CUDA+cuDNN back-end, which offered massive performance gains compared to CL on the many tested NVIDIA GPUs. With the CUDA+cuDNN code performing so much better than OpenCL, some wondered whether NVIDIA was intentionally gimping their OpenCL performance. Well, here are results side-by-side now with Radeon GPUs on OpenCL...

  • Intel Sends Out First Batch Of Display/Graphics Driver Updates For Linux 5.1 Kernel
    While the Linux 5.0 kernel won't even debut as stable until around the end of February, as is standard practice, it's open season for new feature improvements of the changes developers want to end up queuing into the "-next" branches ahead of the Linux 5.1 cycle. The Intel open-source driver developers on Monday sent in their initial batch of graphics driver changes for this next kernel cycle...

  • Apple Opens Up Swift/C LSP Based On Clangd
    Built atop LLVM's clangd server, Apple recently open-sourced SourceKit-LSP as a language server protocol for Swift and C-based languages. This allows for better integration with various IDEs and development tools...

Engadget"Engadget RSS Feed"

  • Facebook purges more than 500 Russian-led disinformation pages

    "Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior" is such an anodyne way of describing weaponizing information to poison attitudes and democracies. That's the euphemism that Facebook is employing to talk about its latest purge of accounts and pages that may be part of a Russian disinformation campaign. More than 500 pages and accounts have recently been removed, according to a report by Facebook's cybersecurity policy chief.

    In a blog post, Nathaniel Gleicher says that the problematic pages came from Russia, and operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Ukraine, as well as in Europe. The accounts were made up to look like individual politicians, or general-interest websites covering news, sports, weather and politics.

    Facebook included statistics for one Russian network of 364 pages and 75 profiles, which spent around $135,000 on Facebook Ads. These ads ran from October 2013 through January 2019, and the network created 190 events, of which 1,200 people expressed interest in attending. It's not clear if any of them actually took place, but the creation of fake events is a tactic that's been seen several times before.

    A second network of 107 pages and 41 Instagram accounts, identified by US law enforcement, was directly targeted to the Ukraine. Facebook didn't go into details, but said that it found "technical overlap" with other fake news and opinion hacking tactics it found during the US midterms. This behavior is consistent with the actions of Russia's so-called troll-farm, the Internet Research Agency.

    This network had grown an audience of around 180,000 followers on Facebook, with another 55,000 people following the Instagram pages. Similarly, Facebook received $25,000 in ad spending from this network, with ads running from January 2018 through to that December.

    According to Facebook, the people behind the larger of the two networks were tied to, or employees of, Russian "news" outlet Sputnik. Like RT, Sputnik is funded directly by the Russian government, and both are perceived as being a propaganda or information warfare vehicle for the Kremlin. Both are of interest to law enforcement agencies, and have been targeted by Twitter and Google in the past.

    In 2017, Google pledged to down-rank both Sputnik and RT in its news platform to prevent what it saw as disinformation from spreading. That same year, Twitter announced that it would no longer take advertising money from RT and Sputnik, although it did not suspend their accounts. In addition, Twitter said that it would donate the $1.9 million in fees it had received to charity. Facebook has not yet commented on what it plans to do with the $160,000 it received in fees.

    Source: Facebook Newsroom

  • Facebook makes its image compression tech available to all

    Most applications need to compress the photos you upload, because better cameras also mean bigger image files. The larger the file is, the more data you use and the longer the upload takes. Facebook is helping smaller developers address the need for image compression by releasing the technology it developed for faster image uploads as an open source tool. It's called Spectrum, and it can be integrated into iOS and Android projects, so you'll likely come across it on non-Facebook apps whichever platform you use.

    Now, Facebook isn't exactly known for fantastic image compression -- if you regularly upload photos through its mobile app, you might even consider its optimization powers kinda lousy. It might do a better job than what some developers can come up with, though, and can provide the function for those who'd rather not write custom programs. Facebook says Spectrum has "improved reliability and quality of image uploads across [its] apps" and says the tool can reduce file sizes for up to 15 percent while maintaining their quality. The open source project is now available on GitHub.

    Source: Spectrum

  • Tesla's referral perks are going away

    Tesla is ending its customer referrals scheme that gives free electric charging to its EV buyers, among other perks. In a tweet, Elon Musk announced the program will end on February 1st, stating in a subsequent reply that it's "adding too much cost to the cars, especially Model 3." Asked if Tesla was replacing it with another program, Musk responded: "no, the whole referral incentive system will end."

    The program started life in 2015 with the aim of boosting word-of-mouth around Tesla's vehicles. In its current form, it lets Tesla owners "give five friends six months of free Supercharging with the purchase of a new Model S, Model X or Model 3" using referral codes. An additional three months of free Supercharging is included "if they order without ever having taken a test drive." Other benefits span free chargers, toys for kids, deals on solar panels, and the option to launch your photo into deep space orbit. Tesla also scrapped its lifetime free Supercharging offer last September.

    According to January 17, 2019No, the whole referral incentive system will end
    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 17, 2019Yes, ending on Feb 1. It's adding too much cost to the cars, especially Model 3.
    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 17, 2019
    Source: Elon Musk (Twitter)

  • Microsoft pledges $500 million to help Seattle's housing crisis

    Microsoft is putting its massive balance sheet to good use by pledging $500 million to help address the housing crisis in the greater Seattle area. According to compromised on a tax proposal meant to raise funds for affordable housing and homeless residents. If you'll recall, the city wanted to tax big companies $500 per employee per year, but it had to settle for half that amount after pushback from Amazon. Based on what its consultant found out, the region has "counterintuitively done less to build middle-income housing than low-income housing, especially in the suburbs." That's why the tech giant is splitting its pledge into three.

    Microsoft is lending $225 million to developers to subsidize the preservation and construction of middle-income housing meant for households making between $62,000 and $124,000 per year. The offer will initially be available in Redmond and nearby cities Bellevue, Kirkland, Issaquah, Renton and Sammamish. Meanwhile, it's earmarking $250 million for low-income housing development across the King County region meant for households making $48,150 for two persons. Microsoft expects to make very little profit from the loans, and anything it earns will be reinvested back into the project. The remaining $25 million will be given as philanthropic grants to organizations working to address homelessness in the area.

    Microsoft President Brad Smith and CFO Amy Hood wrote in a blog post:

    "If we're going to make progress, we'll all need to work together as a community. We recognize that Microsoft is in a unique position to put the size of its balance sheet behind this effort... Ultimately, a healthy business needs to be part of a healthy community. And a healthy community must have housing that is within the economic reach of every part of the community, including the many dedicated people that provide the vital services on which we all rely."

    The company knows it can't just throw money at the problem to make it go away, though -- it's not even entirely sure how much $500 million can help. In an effort to make a bigger impact, Microsoft also plans to encourage policy changes for the development of affordable housing in state legislative sessions.

    Source: Microsoft, The New York Times, The Seattle Times

  • 'Sea of Thieves' will take up less space after pending update

    There is good news and bad news for Sea of Thieves players regarding the game's next update. The bad news is you'll have to download and reinstall the entire game. The good news is, as a result of some behind the scenes improvements made by developer Rare, the game installation size will be cut by nearly half on all platforms.

    The update will arrive on February 6th and will be larger than the standard update -- understandably so, seeing as you'll have to reinstall the entire game. However, once the installation is complete, the developers feel confident that they will be able to better optimize updates in the future and keep the amount of hard drive space required for the ever-growing game down to a reasonable size.

    According to the developers, the update will bring down the installation size for the game across the board. The Xbox One version of the game will drop from 35GB to 10GB, Xbox One X will go from 47GB to 25GB and PC will shrink from 47GB to 27GB. Once the update has finished downloading, it should install automatically so you can jump back into the game.

    Source: Microsoft

  • Ford is developing a fully electric F-series pickup truck

    Ford is taking steps to future-proof its business by developing not just a hybrid, but a fully electric pickup truck. Jim Farley, Ford president of global markets, has announced at an event in Detroit that the automaker is electrifying the F-series. The company has been working on a hybrid version of the F-150 since 2015, but this is a completely different project. Unfortunately, Farley didn't confirm which particular model is going to get the EV treatment.

    It wouldn't come as a surprise if Ford is also making a pure electric version of the F-150, though, seeing as it is one of the most recognizable and best-selling American vehicles. The iconic pickup accounts for around a third of the automaker's sales in the US and has a long history behind it, dating back to 1975. It's the perfect model for this project, which feels like a natural development following Ford's investments in the EV market.

    By developing an electric pickup, Ford is hoping that it'll be able to keep up with rivals that are also creating their own. A startup called Rivian unveiled its own take on the category in 2018, and even the vastly more popular Tesla is planning to conjure up an electric pickup truck of its own within the next few years.

    Via: Autoblog

    Source: Detroit Free Press

  • Android Q may include a dark theme and desktop mode

    Many Android users still don't have Pie yet, but details are already emerging for its follow-up. XDA says it has obtained a very early build of Android Q (Quiche? Queso?) that hints at Google's plans. For one, there's a system-wide dark theme. This might be particularly helpful if you're trying to save power on an OLED-equipped phone or just don't want to blind yourself at night. There's a developer option to force the dark mode on apps that don't support it, hinting that it may take a while before every app honors the feature.

    You'll also find a developer option that would "force experimental desktop mode on secondary displays," which might refer to a Samsung DeX-style view. Don't count on it reaching the finished version (it wouldn't even work when XDA enabled it), but Google appears to be considering the idea at a minimum.

    Most other elements in this build are minor (such as wallpaper for all devices with always-on displays). There is an important change to privacy, though. Much as with iOS, you can limit permissions for location and other sensitive features so that it runs only while an app is in the foreground. You wouldn't have to worry about an app gathering data behind your back, or a GPS app chewing up your battery when you aren't using it. A revamp of the overall permissions section would give you a quick glimpse of the features your apps are using.

    You'll probably have to be patient before you can try Android Q yourself, regardless of how many elements survive the development gauntlet. Google didn't release the Android P public preview until May of 2018, and the completed version waited until August. This is more of a tentative glance at the future than a definitive peek.

    Source: XDA-Developers

  • Collection 1 data breach covers more than 772 million email addresses

    If you're signed up for one of the many services that alerts you to data breaches when they're discovered (if you're not, you probably should be) then you likely have an email waiting for you. Troy Hunt runs Have I Been Pwned where he makes it his business to dig up these files as they're being passed around by hackers, and has alerted the world to "Collection #1," which claims to combine usernames and passwords from thousands of databases.

    That includes some where the password data may have been stored encrypted, so if someone has managed to crack open a site where you had an account registered, it's likely they have your info and know what password you were using. If you've logged into a customer support portal or some random forum with your email address and used the same password you use for your main email account, Netflix, Facebook or other accounts, then it could be trivially easy for someone to have that and use it to log in as you.
    Now emailing 768,253 individuals who subscribed for notifications and another 39,923 who are monitoring domains...
    — Troy Hunt (@troyhunt) January 16, 2019
    Unfortunately, for reasons Hunt explains in his blog post, it's impossible to see what account or password may have been included via his site, which is why you should probably be using a password manager (if you have a truly unique password, you can see if it's ever been exposed in one of the breaches on this page). That would make it easy to maintain unique passwords wherever you have accounts, and easily change them if there's a breach.

    So to recap -- sign up for Have I Been Pwned, it's free and can alert you to breaches quickly. Use unique passwords, which could be easier to do if you use a password manager like 1Password or LastPass, or even if you just write them down and store them securely, in addition to multifactor authentication where available. You can't stop your information from popping up in breaches like this, but taking those steps can lower the risk of impact before your personal Facebook page starts offering deep discounts on Ray-Bans or someone in Latvia is adding to your Spotify playlists.

    Source: HIBP

  • Sprint lets you chat with customer service reps through iMessage

    Apple's Business Chat, which lets you chat with companies through iMessage, was announced in 2017, though adoption has been somewhat slow. From today, however, Sprint customers can connect with customer service reps directly using the Messages app on their iPhone or iPad.

    When you visit the Contact Us page on Sprint's website, or look up the company on Safari, Search, Apple Maps or Siri, you can connect with an agent by tapping on the Messages icon. If you have the My Sprint Mobile app installed, Business Chat can tap into it to help authenticate your account. One of the advantages of Business Chat, beyond having to keep a browser tab open for your conversation or stay on the phone, is that you can continue speaking to reps at a later time if it's more convenient for you.

    Business Chat is still in beta, and you can use it on devices running iOS 11.3 or higher. Sprint joins a number of companies that support it, including T-Mobile, DirectTV Now, Dish, Vodafone, Wells Fargo, West Elm and Salesforce.

    Source: Sprint

  • 'Westworld Mobile' game pulled following Bethesda lawsuit

    It's now clearer just how Behaviour Interactive and Warner Bros. resolved that Bethesda lawsuit over pulled Westworld Mobile from app stores and disabled in-app purchases for the management game. You can still play for now, but it'll shut down altogether on April 16th.

    The two sides had previously claimed there was an "amicable" end to the lawsuit. On the surface, though, it appears that Bethesda ultimately held all the cards in this situation. Behaviour wasn't just another developer hopping on a popular trend, as you often see in the mobile gaming world -- it built Fallout Shelter, and Bethesda accused it of simply recycling material to develop Westworld. Whether or not the claims are true, Behaviour faced an uphill (and potentially costly) legal battle to defend its title.
    — Westworld Mobile (@WestworldMobile) January 15, 2019
    Via: VentureBeat

    Source: Westworld Mobile (Twitter)

  • SpaceX isn't moving Starship development to southern Texas (update)

    SpaceX's decision to construct its Starship test vehicle in Texas may have just been the harbinger of things to come. The LA Times has claimed that development and assembly of Starship and its Super Heavy booster system will take place in southern Texas, not the Port of Los Angeles. It'll maintain existing design, manufacturing, launch and recovery operations in the area (plus Vandenberg Air Force Base), but that's only a partial consolation when existing projects like the Falcon 9 rocket have a limited lifespan.

    The company explained its move as a bid to "streamline operations," according to the Times although it didn't elaborate on what that meant.

    SpaceX is no stranger to Texas. It set up a rocket test facility for the Falcon 9 in McGregor, and it's in the midst of constructing a southern Texas launch site in Brownsville that will be used for both Starship testing and commercial flights. It might just be a question of concentrating work in the area that Starship will effectively call home, at least for the foreseeable future.

    Update 1/16 7:55PM ET: Elon Musk says the LA Times' "source info is incorrect." SpaceX is building Starship prototypes in Texas, but the development of both the spacecraft and its accompanying Raptor engines remains in Hawthorne, California. We've updated the article accordingly.

    Via: TechCrunch

    Source: LA Times

  • MasterCard won't let companies automatically bill you after free trials

    We've all made the mistake of starting a free trial and forgetting to cancel it before the billing period kicks in. Now, MasterCard will protect against this. The company announced a new policy that will require merchants to get authorization from you before hitting you with recurring charges for subscriptions. It will also require companies to provide you with monthly updates with pricing and clear instructions on how to cancel if you need it.

    Here's how MasterCard's new protections will work: Sign up for a free trial and provide your MasterCard card number for your payment information. When that free trial comes to an end, the merchant will be required to send you a text or email notifying you that you will have to pay to continue the subscription. That message has to include the subscription cost, payment date and merchant name presented clearly so you know exactly who you are dealing with. The message will also have to include instructions on how to cancel in case you decide you're better off without it.

    Even if you opt to give the merchant permission to charge you so you can continue using its service, the company has to provide you with monthly receipts that show you the monthly cost. That should make it easier to track price changes in your subscription so you don't get hit by unexpected price jumps (looking at you, Netflix). Those monthly receipts will also have to include a guide on canceling the subscription.

    Via: The Verge

    Source: MasterCard

  • US bills would ban exports to Chinese telecoms that violate sanctions

    American politicians want to crack down further on Chinese telecoms like Huawei and ZTE. Members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate have introduced bills that would order the President to impose export bans on Chinese telecoms found to violate US export and sanctions laws. Companies like Huawei and ZTE are a "growing threat to American national security," according to co-sponsor Rep. Mike Gallagher, and they should face the same punishment that ZTE faced before its reprieves.

    The politicians aren't shy about the reasons behind the move. This is partly in response to the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada over US allegations she helped her company violate US trade sanctions against Iran. This would potentially force the President to ban Huawei's US-based equipment exports, limiting its ability to do business around the world. It wouldn't be as severe a blow as it was for ZTE, since Huawei designs its own mobile processors, but it could have a noticeable effect.

    Huawei has repeatedly denied allegations of both violating sanctions and of spying on behalf of the Chinese government. There also hasn't been public evidence that Huawei equipment is spying on the US or other countries. However, those denials might not matter should the bills eventually become law -- if the US determined there was a violation, that could be all she wrote. There's no guarantee they will become law, mind you. The President was the main proponent of reversing the export ban on ZTE, and he might not sign bills that would force him to impose bans going forward.

    Via: Reuters

    Source: Senator Tom Cotton, Rep. Mike Gallagher

  • Microsoft splits Cortana from search in Windows 10

    Microsoft is splitting up search and voice assistant Cortana in Windows 10, giving each their own spot on the taskbar in the latest build for Windows Insiders testers. The change should go live for everyone in the next major update to Windows 10, which is planned for April. The move, according to Microsoft, should improve both functions as it "will enable each experience to innovate independently to best serve their target audiences and use cases."

    The search box will be solely for text queries, while Cortana will of course handle voice queries. Microsoft has placed more focus on improving search lately. It merged the function across Windows 10, Bing, Office and Edge, and released a more powerful search tool in the Office app.

    Elsewhere in the latest preview build, you'll be able to install font files simply by dragging them onto the fonts settings page, while Microsoft is changing how the Start menu works. It will run on its own process, so if it's affected by any problems, they should have a smaller impact on other parts of your system.

    Via: The Verge

    Source: Microsoft

  • GoPro improves Fusion VR camera resolution via software update

    It's not often a camera gets a resolution upgrade purely through software, but GoPro appears to have managed just that. The company has released beta firmware that lets its Fusion VR camera capture 5.6K spherical video at 24 frames per second. That's not a huge bump over the original 5.2K, but it could still be noticeable in the confines of a VR helmet. GoPro manages the feat by capturing footage at 5.8K and stitching it together to produce the finished video.

    The firmware also supports time lapses in this mode, and there's now RAW photo support for both time lapses and night modes when the intervals are set to 5 seconds or longer. Corresponding updates to the Fusion Studio software on your PC should also deliver improved image quality, easier importing and better hooks into Adobe's 2019 versions of Premiere and After Effects.

    Besides serving as a treat for Fusion owners, the beta sends a message: GoPro is still committed to its VR video camera. That isn't completely surprising when company chief Nick Woodman casually confirmed a Fusion 2 camera during a press party at CES, but the firmware serves as tangible proof -- it's not just dabbling in 360-degree content.

    Source: GoPro

  • Netflix announces ‘Space Force’ comedy series starring Steve Carell

    If you've missed The Office and Steve Carell's Michael Scott, Netflix's latest series announcement may be a bit of welcome news. In a video, which you can see below, Netflix has revealed a new workplace comedy called Space Force, which will center on the (fictional) folks tasked with getting President Trump's Space Force up and running.
    In an overlay, the video notes how, last year, the Trump administration announced Space Force as a future sixth military branch. "The goal of the new branch is 'to defend satellites from attack' and 'perform other space-related tasks.' Or something," it continues, adding that the series will feature "the men and women who have to figure it out."

    Carell co-created and will also star in the series. Greg Daniels, known for his work behind the US version of The Office and Parks and Recreation, among other popular titles like King of the Hill, created the series alongside Carell. Though Carell is also slated to star in Apple's upcoming Reese Witherspoon- and Jennifer Aniston-led morning TV show drama, Deadline reports that he still appears to be attached to both projects.

    Source: Netflix

  • US reportedly investigates Huawei for allegedly stealing trade secrets

    Huawei and the US government have been at odds for months now, and it looks like things are about to get far more severe. was arrested in Canada at the behest of the US government; the charge is that she violated sanctions against Iran. While there has been significant conflict between the Chinese company and the US government in recent months, relationships have been frosty ever since 2012, when the US called it a national security threat. Since then the government has essentially blocked companies from using Huawei's networking equipment, and US government employees were recently banned from using Huawei smartphones.

    Huawei has long denied the claims that it is spying on behalf of the Chinese government, says it operates independently of the government and that it follows the law in all countries where it operates. But if the Justice Department brings formal charges, we should finally know a bit more about what evidence the US has about Huawei's supposed wrongdoings and its ties to the Chinese government.

    Source: The Wall Street Journal

  • Marco Rubio proposes a totally uninspiring data privacy bill

    Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced Wednesday a new privacy bill aimed at protecting personal data of American consumers from being sucked up indiscriminately by tech giants, according to competing privacy bills have. Instead of giving the FTC the authority to create regulations, it requires Congress to write the rules and asks the agency to enforce what they come up with. Only if Congress fails to successfully pass a law within two years of the ADDA going into effect would the FTC have the power to write rules on its own. The ADDA would also require exemptions for smaller companies to operate outside of rules that might hurt their business.

    While Rubio's bill -- which doesn't have any cosponsors -- take some baby steps toward improving data privacy laws, it also would effectively override any state laws that might have stricter rules that tech giants and telecom companies have to follow. With California's Consumer Privacy Act set to go into effect in 2020 and a number of state-based net neutrality laws on the books, the ADDA may be viewed as a way to undermine those more stringent rules with watered down national laws.

    Via: The Verge

    Source: Axios

  • Netflix is still a bargain, even after the latest price hike

    On Tuesday morning, Netflix reported that it will be raising prices for all of its customers in what is widely regarded as the biggest price hike in the company's history. The lowest tier will go from $8 to $9, while the $11 and $14 tiers will now be $13 and $16 respectively. In the wake of the news, many customers took to social media (as well as our comments section) to voice their disappointment, declaring they would be unsubscribing from the service. I, on the other hand, am more than happy to pay an extra $1 or $2 a month, for a service I think is still very much at the top of its game.

    Let's begin with the cost. For $9 to $14 a month, Netflix offers a metric ton of programming that covers almost every conceivable genre. Action Comedies? Netflix has it. Romantic Thrillers? Got it. Classic Foreign Movies? Yep. There are roughly 75,000 micro-genres in Netflix's database, and though Netflix hasn't publicly released numbers, a study in February 2018 suggested it has well over 5,000 movies and TV shows, with that number fluctuating over time. Sure, you can probably get a lot of shows to watch with a cable subscription too, but that's at least $50 a month, which is way more than what Netflix costs.

    If Netflix was just a place to watch already-aired TV shows like Parks & Recreation and The Good Place, it would already be worth it in my book. But Netflix is so much more than that these days. It's no longer just a spicy extra in one's entertainment diet; for many it's essential viewing. Black Mirror, Disney, which has pulled (or will likely pull) its content, like Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar over to its very own streaming service, making Netflix a less attractive option than before.

    Add all of that together, and there's a very real chance that consumers are suffering a case of subscriber burnout. If you're a cord cutter hungry for content, you likely subscribe to nearly all of the above services already, which means your monthly entertainment bill reaches or exceeds that aforementioned $50 cable subscription, and suddenly that extra $2 a month might seem like a lot. Or, there's the danger that more consumers might start sharing passwords, thus diluting Netflix's customer base.

    But when you look at what Netflix offers in comparison to the rest, it's not really a contest. Hulu, Amazon Prime and CBS All Access only have a handful of attractions, and each cost nearly the same price as Netflix. Hulu without ads is $12 a month, Prime is around $9 (though it also buys you unlimited two-day shipping among other perks) and CBS without ads is around $10 a month. Netflix, on the other hand, offers a plethora of content that would put most cable networks to shame.

    There are just so many shows of all stripes on Netflix -- anime, stand-up specials, documentaries, cooking shows, home design shows, sitcoms, dramas -- that it's impossible to watch them all. If I had to cancel some of those aforementioned subscriptions to save some money, Netflix would be the last one I would drop; it offers the most bang for the buck for me. Of course, there's certainly a chance that Netflix will raise its prices even more -- and with ever-expanding show costs, it might very well have to -- but even then, I would likely still pay up.

  • Tinder test lets you share Spotify clips with matches

    Tinder is experimenting with allowing daters to share music via Spotify right inside their conversations. The feature, first spotted by the blog linking their Spotify account to Tinder.

    According to screenshots of the test feature, users will share tunes by tapping a green music icon located next to the text bar when messaging someone. Tap it and you'll be able to search for and select a song to send to your match. Before you assume Tinder will let you send your crush a mixtape right in the app, you might want to pump the brakes a bit. The feature only lets you share 30-second clips rather than full songs.

    Tinder hasn't offered any details regarding the availability of the feature going forward, though it is expected that it will eventually leave the testing stage and be publicly available to users. Tinder has added a number of integrations to its platform in the last couple of years, including stickers from Bitmoji and GIFs from Giphy.

    Via: TechCrunch

    Source: MSPowerUser

  • Iridium's 'truly global' satellite internet connects aircraft and ships

    Wondering what Iridium would be doing with those Next satellites that SpaceX just finished launching? You now have an idea. Iridium has formally debuted Certus, a "truly global" satellite broadband service that promises to keep aircraft, ships and other vehicles (including self-driving vehicles) connected even in the remotest places. It's far from fast at 352Kbps for both downloads and uploads, but that's enough to keep crews online and provide reasonably high-quality voice services.

    The initial focus is on land and sea services, with aviation coming later in 2019 after Iridium receives the certification it needs to go ahead. Partners like Gogo and Thales are already waiting in the wings. Speeds, meanwhile, won't be quite so pokey in the future. Iridium plans to bump up users to 352Kbps/704Kbps service through a firmware update when it's available.

    You aren't going to subscribe to Certus yourself, as it's meant more for companies and governments. However, Iridium said it's the "first new capability" from the Iridium Next program. As it is, you could still notice the difference. This might provide basic in-cabin internet access in situations where it was never an option, and could enable autonomous ships or other transportation that doesn't strictly need a crew. There are even plans for smaller receivers that could provide always-on data to drones and tracking systems on endangered animals.

    Source: Iridium (1), (2)

  • Stop & Shop is bringing autonomous food stands to Boston

    Forget self-driving grocery delivery cars -- Stop & Shop wants robotic vehicles to bring a chunk of the store to your door. It's launching autonomous grocery vehicles in the greater Boston area that will let you shop for produce, meal kits and "convenience items" (think bread and eggs) just outside your home. You just have to hail one of the Robomart-made cars through a mobile app, unlock the vehicle when it arrives, and pick your food -- a combination of computer vision and RFID tagging automatically flags your purchases. It's not quite Amazon Go on wheels, but it's close.

    Boston-based service will be ready sometime in the spring as part of an "engagement" with Robomart. Stop & Shop didn't say how much the service would cost.

    The approach could be more practical than straightforward delivery for some. Instead of having to commit to a purchase before the vehicle has even left the store, you can browse on your own terms (albeit from a narrow selection) without having to travel beyond your home. Of course, this is helpful for grocery stores as well. In addition to providing an extra form of revenue, it could expand a store's reach to cover people who can't realistically visit, whether it's due to travel times, physical abilities, or just the lack of a personal car.

    Source: Globe Newswire

  • A 'Fortnite' security flaw could have exposed players' accounts

    Fortnite fans who are able to log in and play without any issues (other than being eliminated before so much as building a ramp) might thank their lucky stars Epic Games has resolved a security issue. Check Point security researchers found vulnerabilities on Epic's site that could have let hackers access accounts.

    By exploiting an unsecured Unreal Tournament stats page from 2004, researchers were able to listen to Fortnite squad members speaking with each other and could have bought V-Bucks virtual currency using players' stored credit card details. The researchers found the problem in November. Epic has since resolved it and taken down the offending page.

    The researchers were able to redirect access tokens (a type of authentication which keeps you logged into a service) from Epic's servers to Check Points' own, meaning they could access accounts without requiring passwords. You could have been affected even if you used a Facebook, Google, PlayStation, Nintendo or Xbox account instead of your Epic username and password to log in. Hackers used a similar method to steal 29 million Facebook users' data last year.

    It's not the first significant security issue Epic has faced with the game. Soon after Fortnite arrived on Android, it emerged Epic's installer for such devices had a flaw that could have fooled players into installing a malware-packed fake version of the ultra-popular title.

    Via: CNET

    Source: Check Point


  • Microsoft decouples Cortana and Search in Windows 10s taskbar
    Microsoft has released a new Windows Insider preview build, and it contains a significant chance were all going to be happy about. Going forward, we’ll be decoupling Search and Cortana in the taskbar. This will enable each experience to innovate independently to best serve their target audiences and use cases. Some Insiders have had this update for a few weeks now, and we appreciate all the feedback we’ve received about it so far! For those new to this update, when it rolls out to you, you’ll find clicking the search box in the taskbar now launches our experience focused on giving you the best in house search experience and clicking the Cortana icon will launch you straight into our voice-first digital assistant experience. Cortana is useless, and any steps Microsoft takes to get it out of my way is welcome to me.

  • Early Android Q build has a system-wide dark theme, permission revamp, more
    The early Android Q leaked build we have obtained was built just this week with the February 2019 security patches, and it’s up-to-date with Google’s AOSP internal master. That means it has a ton of new Android platform features that you won’t find anywhere publicly, but there are no Google Pixel software customizations nor are there pre-installed Google Play apps or services so I don’t have any new information to share on those fronts. Still, there’s a lot to digest here, so we’ve flashed the build on the Pixel 3 XL to find out what’s new—both on the surface-level and under-the-hood. This article will focus on all the surface-level changes we’ve found in Android Q. Theres a lot of good stuff in here, most notably a complete redesign of the permissions user interface, as well as even stricter limitations on what applications can do, such as only granting certain permissions while the application in question is in use. Theres also a system-wide dark mode, hints of a DeX-like desktop mode, and a lot more.

  • The curious case of the Raspberry Pi in the network closet
    Christian Haschek found a Raspberry Pi attached in a network closet at the company he works for, and since nobody knew what it was or where it came from, he and his colleagues decided to investigate. I asked him to unplug it, store it in a safe location, take photos of all parts and to make an image from the SD card (since I mostly work remote). I have worked on many Raspberry Pi projects and I felt confident I could find out what it does. At this point nobody thought it was going to be malicious, more like one of our staffers was playing around with something. Interesting  but worrisome  story.

  • Google sets deadlines for 64bit support in Android applications
    64-bit CPUs deliver faster, richer experiences for your users. Adding a 64-bit version of your app provides performance improvements, makes way for future innovation, and sets you up for devices with 64-bit only hardware. We want to help you get ready and know you need time to plan. We’ve supported 64-bit CPUs since Android 5.0 Lollipop and in 2017 we first announced that apps using native code must provide a 64-bit version (in addition to the 32-bit version). Today we’re providing more detailed information and timelines to make it as easy as possible to transition in 2019. Important information for Android developers regarding requirements around 64bit support.

  • Fedora, UUIDs, and user tracking
    User tracking! is generally contentious in free-software communities—even if the tracking! is not really intended to do so. It is often distributions that have the most interest in counting their users, but Linux users tend to be more privacy conscious than users of more mainstream desktop operating systems. The Fedora project recently discussed how to count its users and ways to preserve their privacy while doing so. As always, an exceptionally good article from LWN.

  • DuckDuckGo switches to Apple Maps for search results
    Were excited to announce that map and address-related searches on DuckDuckGo for mobile and desktop are now powered by Apples MapKit JS framework, giving you a valuable combination of mapping and privacy. As one of the first global companies using Apple MapKit JS, we can now offer users improved address searches, additional visual features, enhanced satellite imagery, and continually updated maps already in use on billions of Apple devices worldwide. With this updated integration, Apple Maps are now available both embedded within our private search results for relevant queries, as well as available from the Maps! tab on any search result page. Im sure Apple users in San Francisco will be very happy with this news. For me, this means theres no way Ill be using DuckDuckGos location search and other mapping functions  Apple Maps is entirely unusable in The Netherlands, with severely outdated and faulty maps that are outright dangerous. I understand the privacy angle, but I feel like are better, more accurate options than Apple Maps. The world is larger than Silicon Valley.

  • Intel Core i9-9990XE: up to 5.0 GHz, auction only
    AnandTech has seen documents and supporting information from multiple sources that show that Intel is planning to release a new high-end desktop processor, the Core i9-9990XE. These documents show that the processors will not be sold at retail; rather they will only be sold to system integrators, and then only through a closed online auction.  This new processor will be the highest numbered processor in Intels high-end desktop line. The current top processor is the i9-9980XE, an 18 core part with a base frequency of 3.5 GHz and a turbo frequency of 4.0 GHz. The i9-9990XE, on the other hand, is not simply the 9980XE with an increase in frequency. The Core i9-9990XE will be a 14 core processor, but with a base frequency of 4.0 GHz and a turbo frequency of 5.0 GHz. This makes it a super-binned 9940X. This probably means this is very much a low-yield chip Intel cant make enough of to sell at retail.

  • The first Windows 10 build for foldable devices appears
    According to BuildFeed, which regularly posts about new builds of Windows 10, the first build of a new SKU for foldable devices has been compiled. It comes with the build string rs_shell_devices_foldables.190111-1800, and its from the 19H1 development branch. The build number is 18313.1004. The obvious conclusion to draw is that this is for Microsofts rumored Andromeda device. While the project was shelved back in July, it was originally for a foldable PC that could fit in your pocket. Its likely now that it will be a larger device thats slated for later on this year. Foldable devices are definitely coming this year, but I feel like it might take a while for both users and device and software makers to figure out where, exactly, the fit into our lives.

  • Vintage gaming on Xenix
    This post is about vintage gaming in vintage unusual operating systems, focused on Xenix/x86. Tried Hampas turnkey xenix86 images while they had been tested in fake86, 8086tiny and other emulators. The installation was surprisingly easy, because most software packages in floppy/tape images are basically in .tar format, so lets check GAMES 360k floppy images content on host. I cant get enough of articles like these.

  • Dont kill my app!!
    With Android 6 (Marshmallow), Google has introduced Doze mode to the base Android, in an attempt to unify battery saving across the various Android phones. Unfortunately, vendors (e.g. Xiaomi, Huawei, OnePlus or even Samsung..) did not seem to catch that ball and they all have their own battery savers, usually very poorly written, saving battery only superficially with side effects. Naturally users blame developers for their apps failing to deliver. But the truth is developers do the maximum they can. Always investigating new device specific hacks to keep their (your!) apps working. But in many cases they simply fall short as vendors have full control over processes on your phone. This is a legitimate problem on my OnePlus 6T. I enjoy using this phone, but the aggressive non-standard application cycle management definitely leads to issues with not receiving notifications or login procedures being restarted as you leave an application. It doesnt happen often enough to truly bother me, but I can definitely see how people who make more extensive use of their phone than I do run into this issue every day.

  • Getting an IBM AS/400 midrange computer on the internet
    Recently I’ve gotten a hold of an old IBM mid-range computer, an AS/400 150. This is an 1997 server very much aimed at businesses, pay-rolling, inventory management and such. It can be used as a multi user system, with users logging in via a terminal. The operating system it runs is OS/400 and that is also the only OS it can run, no Linux available for this system. Of course it comes with all the fun programming languages like COBOL and RPG, all the business classics. It’s compatible with the IBM system/36, so any programs made for an 80’s S/36 machine run without problems on the AS/400 machines. It also looks very much 90s, though I personally like the cover at the back, hiding all ports. Stories like these are always great reads. This is the kind of hardware I eventually want to collect and play around with once I have the space to do so.

  • Firefox 69 will have Flash disabled by default
    According to Mozilla’s plugin roadmap, the firm planned to disable Flash by default in Firefox sometime this year. Now, a new bug filing has revealed that the plugin will be disabled as of Firefox 69 which is due for release on September 3, 2019. Mozilla will disable Flash beginning with the Nightly builds before it works its way down to the Stable channel. The disabling of Flash comes in anticipation of Adobe ending support for its Flash plugin at the end of 2020. Mozilla has said that it will completely remove Flash support for consumer versions of Firefox in early 2020, while the Extended Support Release (ESR) version will have support until the end of the year. In 2021, Mozilla has said that Firefox will refuse entirely to load the plugin due to a lack of security updates from Adobe. Aside from the occasional Flash-based online game, is Flash even a thing these days? Do any of you still use it on a regular basis?

  • LGs groundbreaking roll-up TV is going on sale this year
    LG is going several steps further by making the TV go away completely whenever you’re not watching. It drops slowly and very steadily into the base and, with the push of a button, will rise back up in 10 seconds or so. It all happens rather quietly, too. You can’t see the actual “roll” when the TV is closed in, sadly; a transparent base would’ve been great for us nerds to see whats happening inside the base as the TV comes in or unfurls, but the white is certainly a little more stylish. Functionally, LG tells me it hasn’t made many changes to the way the LG Display prototype worked aside from enhancing the base. I didn’t get to ask about durability testing — how many times the OLED TV R has been tested to go up and down, for example — but that’s something I’m hoping to get an answer to. We dont really talk about TVs all that much on OSNews  its generally a boring industry  but this rollable display technology is just plain cool.

  • Software patents poised to make a comeback under new patent office rules
    Ars Technica reports that software patents might be making a comeback. A landmark 2014 ruling by the Supreme Court called into question the validity of many software patents. In the wake of that ruling, countless broad software patents became invalid, dealing a blow to litigation-happy patent trolls nationwide. But this week the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) proposed new rules that would make it easier to patent software. If those rules take effect, it could take us back to the bad old days when it was easy to get broad software patents—and to sue companies that accidentally infringe them. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Making a Game Boy game
    Recently I got an internship doing back-end PHP and Python stuff for a website for my university. Its a really nice job that I find fun and Im thankful to have. But0 at the same time, doing all this high-level web dev stuff has given me a big itch I need to scratch. That itch being the fun of low level bit fiddling. itch.ios weekly game jam email came in my inbox and it announced the Mini Jam 4. It was a 48 hour (well, a bit more actually) jam where the restriction was to have graphics like a Game Boy. My perfectly logical and sound reaction to this was to make a Game Boy homebrew, because that seemed neat to do. The themes were seasons! and flames!. In not a programmer, but I can imagine old consoles like the Game Boy are great platforms to use to expand your programming skills.

Linux Journal - The Original Magazine of the Linux Community

  • Ditching Out-of-Date Documentation Infrastructure
        by Zack Brown   
    Long ago, the Linux kernel started using 00-Index files to list the contents of each documentation directory. This was intended to explain what each of those files documented. Henrik Austad recently pointed out that those files have been out of date for a very long time and were probably not used by anyone anymore. This is nothing new. Henrik said in his post that this had been discussed already for years, "and they have since then grown further out of date, so perhaps it is time to just throw them out."

    He counted hundreds of instances where the 00-index file was out of date or not present when it should have been. He posted a patch to rip them all unceremoniously out of the kernel.

    Joe Perches was very pleased with this. He pointed out that .rst files (the kernel's native documentation format) had largely taken over the original purpose of those 00-index files. He said the oo-index files were even misleading by now.

    Jonathan Corbet was more reserved. He felt Henrik should distribute the patch among a wider audience and see if it got any resistance. He added:

    I've not yet decided whether I think this is a good idea or not. We certainly don't need those files for stuff that's in the RST doctree, that's what the index.rst files are for. But I suspect some people might complain about losing them for the rest of the content. I do get patches from people updating them, so some folks do indeed look at them.

    Henrik told Jonathan he was happy to update the 00-index files if that would be preferable. But he didn't want to do that if the right answer was just to get rid of them.

    Meanwhile, Josh Triplett saw no reason to keep the 00-index files around at all. He remarked, "I was *briefly* tempted, reading through the files, to suggest ensuring that the one-line descriptions from the 00-INDEX files end up in the documents themselves, but the more I think about it, I don't think even that is worth anyone's time to do."

    Paul Moore also voiced his support for removing the 00-index files, at least the ones for NetLabel, which was his area of interest.

    The discussion ended there. It's nice that even for apparently obvious patches, the developers still take the time to consider various perspectives and try to retain any value from the old thing to the new. It's especially nice to see this sort of attention given to documentation patches, which tend to get left out in the cold when it comes to coding projects.

    Note: if you're mentioned above and want to post a response above the comment section, send a message with your response text to
        Go to Full Article          

  • Keep Smart Assistants from Spying on You with Alias, Security Advisory for Old scp Clients, Major Metasploit Framework Release, Mozilla Working on a New Browser for Android and VirtualBox 6.0.2 Is Out

    News briefs for January 16, 2019.

    A new open-source hardware project called Alias will keep Amazon and  Google smart assistants from spying on you. According to the project's GitHub page, "Alias is a teachable 'parasite' that is designed to give users more control over their smart assistants, both when it comes to customisation and privacy. Through a simple app the user can train Alias to react on a custom wake-word/sound, and once trained, Alias can take control over your home assistant by activating it for you."

    A security advisory from Harry Sintonen was issued this week concerning the scp clients in OpenSSH, PuTTY and more. LWN quotes the advisory: "Many scp clients fail to verify if the objects returned by the scp server match those it asked for. This issue dates back to 1983 and rcp, on which scp is based. A separate flaw in the client allows the target directory attributes to be changed arbitrarily. Finally, two vulnerabilities in clients may allow server to spoof the client output."

    A new major release of the open-source Metasploit Framework is now available. According to the Rapid7 blog post, version 5.0 of the penetration-testing tool is the first milestone update since version 4.0 came out in 2011. Along with a new release cadence, "Metasploit's new database and automation APIs, evasion modules and libraries, expanded language support, improved performance, and ease-of-use lay the groundwork for better teamwork capabilities, tool integration, and exploitation at scale."

    Mozilla is working on a new Android browser called Fenix. According to ZDNet, this "new non-Firefox browser for Android is apparently targeted at younger people, with Mozilla developers on GitHub tagging the description, 'Fenix is not your parents' Android browser'." In addition, mockups suggest that Fenix developers are "currently toying with the idea of putting the URL bar and home button down at the bottom of user interface."

    VirtualBox 6.0.2 was released yesterday, the first maintenance release of the 6.0 series. This release fixed a conflict between Debian and oracle build desktop files, fixed building drivers on SLES 12.4, fixed building shared folder driver with older kernels and much more. See the changelog for all the details.
          News  Security  Metasploit  Mozilla  Android  Fenix  VirtualBox  Privacy  Alias                   

  • Where There's No Distance or Gravity
        by Doc Searls   
    The more digital we become, the less human we remain.

    I had been in Los Angeles only a few times in my life before the October day in 1987 when I drove down from our home in the Bay Area with my teenage son to visit family. The air was unusually clear as we started our drive back north, and soon the San Gabriel MountainsLos Angeles' own Alps (you can ski there!)—loomed over the region like a crenelated battlement, as if protecting its inhabitants from cultures and climates that might invade from the north. So, on impulse, I decided to drive up to Mount Wilson, the only crest in the range with a paved road to the top.

    I could see from the maps I had already studied that the drive was an easy one. Our destination also was easily spotted from below: a long, almost flat ridge topped by the white domes of Mount Wilson Observatory (where Hubble observed the universe expanding) and a bristle of towers radiating nearly all the area's FM and TV signals. The site was legendary among broadcast engineering geeks, and I had longed to visit it ever since I was a ham radio operator as a boy in New Jersey.

    After checking out the observatory and the towers, my son and I stood on a promontory next to a parking lot and surveyed the vast spread of civilization below. Soon four visiting golfers from New York came over and started asking me questions about what was where.

    I answered like a veteran docent, pointing out the Rose Bowl, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Santa Catalina and other Channel Islands, the Hollywood Hills, the San Fernando Valley, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Santa Anita Park and more. When they asked where the Whittier Narrows earthquake had happened a few days before, I pointed at the Puente Hills, off to the southeast, and filled them in on what I knew about the geology there as well.

    After a few minutes of this, they asked me how long I had lived there. I said all this stuff was almost as new to me as it was to them. "Then how do you know so much about it?", they asked. I told them I had studied maps of the area and refreshed my knowledge over lunch just before driving up there. They were flabbergasted. "Really?", one guy said. "You study maps?"

    Indeed, I did. I had maps of all kinds and sizes at home, and the door pockets of my car bulged with AAA maps of everywhere I might drive in California. I also added local and regional Southern California maps to my mobile inventory before driving down.
        Go to Full Article          

  • Python Testing with pytest: Fixtures and Coverage
        by Reuven M. Lerner   
    Improve your Python testing even more.

    In my last two articles, I introduced pytest, a library for testing Python code (see "Testing Your Code with Python's pytest" Part I and Part II). pytest has become quite popular, in no small part because it's so easy to write tests and integrate those tests into your software development process. I've become a big fan, mostly because after years of saying I should get better about testing my software, pytest finally has made it possible.

    So in this article, I review two features of pytest that I haven't had a chance to cover yet: fixtures and code coverage, which will (I hope) convince you that pytest is worth exploring and incorporating into your work.
    When you're writing tests, you're rarely going to write just one or two. Rather, you're going to write an entire "test suite", with each test aiming to check a different path through your code. In many cases, this means you'll have a few tests with similar characteristics, something that pytest handles with "parametrized tests".

    But in other cases, things are a bit more complex. You'll want to have some objects available to all of your tests. Those objects might contain data you want to share across tests, or they might involve the network or filesystem. These are often known as "fixtures" in the testing world, and they take a variety of different forms.

    In pytest, you define fixtures using a combination of the pytest.fixture decorator, along with a function definition. For example, say you have a file that returns a list of lines from a file, in which each line is reversed:
      def reverse_lines(f):  return [one_line.rstrip()[::-1] + '\n'  for one_line in f]  
    Note that in order to avoid the newline character from being placed at the start of the line, you remove it from the string before reversing and then add a '\n' in each returned string. Also note that although it probably would be a good idea to use a generator expression rather than a list comprehension, I'm trying to keep things relatively simple here.

    If you're going to test this function, you'll need to pass it a file-like object. In my last article, I showed how you could use a StringIO object for such a thing, and that remains the case. But rather than defining global variables in your test file, you can create a fixture that'll provide your test with the appropriate object at the right time.

    Here's how that looks in pytest:
        Go to Full Article          

  • Weekend Reading: All Things Bash
        by Carlie Fairchild   
    Bash is a shell and command language. It is distributed widely as the default login shell for most Linux distributions. We've rounded up some of the most popular Bash-related articles for your weekend reading.


    Writing More Compact Bash Code

    By Mitch Frazier

    In most programming languages, non-scripting ones at least, you want to avoid uninitialized variables. In bash, using uninitialized variables can often simplify your code.


    Normalizing Filenames and Data with Bash

    By Dave Taylor

    URLify: convert letter sequences into safe URLs with hex equivalents.


    Roman Numerals and Bash

    By Dave Taylor

    Fun with retro-coding a Roman numeral converter—Dave heads back to his college years and solves homework anew! 

    Also read Dave's followup article, More Roman Numerals and Bash.


    Create Dynamic Wallpaper with a Bash Script

    By Patrick Wheelan

    Harness the power of bash and learn how to scrape websites for exciting new images every morning.


    Developing Console Applications with Bash

    By Andy Carlson

    Bring the power of the Linux command line into your application development process.


    Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script

    By Jim Hall

    I can automate an hourly job to retrieve a copy of an RSS feed, parse it, and save the news items to a local file that the website can incorporate. That reduces complexity on the website, with only a little extra work by parsing the RSS news feed with a Bash script.


    Hacking a Safe with Bash

    By Adam Kosmin

    Being a minimalist, I have little interest in dealing with GUI applications that slow down my work flow or application-specific solutions (such as browser password vaults) that are applicable only toward a subset of my sensitive data. Working with text files affords greater flexibility over how my data is structured and provides the ability to leverage standard tools I can expect to find most anywhere.


    Graph Any Data with Cacti!

    By Shawn Powers
        Go to Full Article          

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