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  • OpenVZ 7.0 released
    OpenVZ 7.0 has been released.The new release focuses on merging OpenVZ and Virtuozzo source codebase andreplacing its hypervisor with KVM. There are many other improvements andnew features in container management and more.


  • The newest version of OpenBSD closes potential security loopholes (InfoWorld)
    InfoWorld takesa look at the upcoming OpenBSD 6.0 release. "Most significant among the latest security-related changes for OpenBSD is the removal of Linux emulation support. Prior versions of OpenBSD made it possible to run Linux applications by way of a compatibility layer, but the release notes for OpenBSD 6.0 indicate the Linux subsystem was removed as a "security improvement.""


  • Security advisories for Monday
    Arch Linux has updated chromium (multiple vulnerabilities), python-django (cross-site scripting), and python2-django (cross-site scripting).
    Debian has updated openssh (userenumeration via timing side-channel), perl(two vulnerabilities), and phpmyadmin(multiple vulnerabilities).
    Debian-LTS has updated squid3 (denial of service).
    Fedora has updated ca-certificates (F24: certificate update), gd (F24: multiple vulnerabilities), httpd (F24: HTTP redirect),kf5-karchive (F24; F23: command execution, over a hundredrelated KDE Frameworks packages were included in this update), libgcrypt (F24: key leak), libidn (F24: multiple vulnerabilities), libvirt (F24: authentication bypass), and mingw-gnutls (F24: certificate verification vulnerability).
    openSUSE has updated Chromium (SPH for SLE12; Leap42.1; 13.2:multiple vulnerabilities) and gnugk(Leap42.1, 13.2: denial of service).
    Red Hat has updated mariadb55-mariadb (RHSCL: manyvulnerabilities) and mysql55-mysql (RHSCL:many vulnerabilities).
    Slackware has updated bind (denial of service).



  • Clasen: Using modern gettext
    At his blog, Matthias Clasen exploresthe recent enhancements to the the classic GNU gettext utility.Thanks in large part to new maintainer Daiki Ueno, gettext nowunderstands many more file formats—thus enabling developers to easilyextract strings from a wide variety of source files for translation.In addition to programming languages, Clasen notes, gettextunderstands .desktop files, GSettings schemas, GtkBuilder ui files,and Appdata files. "If you don’t want to wait for your favorite format to come with built-in its support, you can also include its files with your application; gettext will look for such files in $XDG_DATA_DIRS/gettext/its/."


  • Friday's security updates
    Arch Linux has updated drupal (proxy injection).
    Debian has updated mysql-5.5(multiple vulnerabilities) and squid3(multiple vulnerabilities).
    Debian-LTS has updated python-django (cross-site scripting).
    openSUSE has updated p7zip(13.1: code execution).
    Slackware has updated gimp(14.0, 14.1, 14.2: code execution) and php (14.0, 14.1, 14.2: multiple vulnerabilities).
    Ubuntu has updated mysql-5.5,mysql-5.6, mysql-5.7 (12.04, 14.04, 15.10, 16.04: multiple vulnerabilities).


  • EFF Lawsuit Takes on DMCA Section 1201: Research and Technology Restrictions Violate the First Amendment
    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has announced that it is suing the US government over provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The suit has been filed on behalf of Andrew "bunnie" Huang, who has a blog post describing the reasons behind the suit. The EFF also explained why these DMCA provisions should be ruled unconstitutional:"These provisions—contained in Section 1201 of the DMCA—make it unlawful for people to get around the software that restricts access to lawfully-purchased copyrighted material, such as films, songs, and the computer code that controls vehicles, devices, and appliances. This ban applies even where people want to make noninfringing fair uses of the materials they are accessing. Ostensibly enacted to fight music and movie piracy, Section 1201 has long served to restrict people’s ability to access, use, and even speak out about copyrighted materials—including the software that is increasingly embedded in everyday things. The law imposes a legal cloud over our rights to tinker with or repair the devices we own, to convert videos so that they can play on multiple platforms, remix a video, or conduct independent security research that would reveal dangerous security flaws in our computers, cars, and medical devices. It criminalizes the creation of tools to let people access and use those materials."


  • Security updates for Thursday
    Arch Linux has updated bind(denial of service).
    CentOS has updated java-1.8.0-openjdk (C7; C6: multiple vulnerabilities).
    Debian-LTS has updated libarchive(multiple vulnerabilities, most from 2015).
    Fedora has updated openssh (F24:user enumeration via timing side-channel) and p7zip (F24: two code execution flaws).
    openSUSE has updated dhcp (42.1:denial of service).
    Oracle has updated java-1.8.0-openjdk (OL7; OL6: multiple vulnerabilities).
    Red Hat has updated java-1.6.0-sun (multiple vulnerabilities), java-1.7.0-oracle (multiple vulnerabilities), java-1.8.0-oracle (RHEL6&7: multiple vulnerabilities), andopenstack-neutron (RHOSP8; RHOSP7: three vulnerabilities, one from 2015).
    Scientific Linux has updated java-1.8.0-openjdk (SL6&7: multiple vulnerabilities).
    SUSE has updated obs-service-source_validator (SLE12: code execution).



  • An honorary degree for Alan Cox
    Congratulations are due to Alan Cox, who was awardedan honorary degree by Swansea University for his work with Linux."Alan started working on Version 0. There were bugs and problems hecould correct. He put Linux on a machine in the Swansea University computernetwork, which revealed many problems in networking which he sorted out;later he rewrote the networking software. Alan brought to Linux softwareengineering discipline: Linux software releases that were tested, correctedand above all stable. On graduating, Alan worked at Swansea University, setup the UK Linux server and distributed thousands of systems."


  • Smedberg: Reducing Adobe Flash Usage in Firefox
    Benjamin Smedberg writesthat the Firefox browser will soon start taking a more active approach tothe elimination of Flash content. "Starting in August, Firefox willblock certain Flash content that is not essential to the user experience,while continuing to support legacy Flash content. These and future changeswill bring Firefox users enhanced security, improved battery life, fasterpage load, and better browser responsiveness."


  • Security updates for Wednesday
    Debian has updated apache2 (HTTP redirect).
    Debian-LTS has updated apache2 (HTTP redirect).
    Fedora has updated ecryptfs-utils(F24: two vulnerabilities), kernel (F24; F23:multiple vulnerabilities), php-doctrine-orm (F24; F23:privilege escalation), and spice (F24: two vulnerabilities).
    Gentoo has updated ansible (codeexecution), arpwatch (privilege escalationfrom 2012), bugzilla (multiplevulnerabilities from 2014), commons-beanutils (code execution from 2014),dropbear (information disclosure), exim (code execution from 2014), libbsd (denial of service), ntp (many vulnerabilities), and varnish (access control bypass).
    openSUSE has updated ImageMagick(Leap42.1: many vulnerabilities), nodejs(Leap42.1, 13.2: buffer overflow), and samba (13.2: crypto downgrade).
    Red Hat has updated java-1.8.0-openjdk (RHEL6,7: multiple vulnerabilities).
    SUSE has updated flash-player(SLE12-SP1: multiple vulnerabilities).
    Ubuntu has updated python-django(16.04: cross-site scripting).


  • Tor veteran Lucky Green exits, torpedos critical 'Tonga' node and relays (The Register)
    The Register reportsthat longtime Tor contributor Lucky Green is quitting and closing down thenode and bridge authority he operates. "Practically, it's a bigdeal. Bridge Authorities are part of the infrastructure that lets users getaround some ISP-level blocks on the network (not, however, defeating deeppacket inspection). They're also incorporated in the Tor code, meaning thatto remove a Bridge Authority is going to need an update." Theshutdown is scheduled for August 31. (Thanks to Nomen Nescio)


  • The Importance of Following Community-Oriented Principles in GPL Enforcement Work
    The Software Freedom Conservancy is one of the few organizations involvedin GPL enforcement, and it has publishedprinciples regarding enforcement practices that seek compliance and notfinancial penalties. Bradley Kuhn and Karen Sandler urgeothers doing GPL enforcement to follow principles set forth by theSFC. "One impetus in drafting the Principles was our discovery ofongoing enforcement efforts that did not fit with the GPL enforcementcommunity traditions and norms established for the last twodecades. Publishing the previously unwritten guidelines has quicklyseparated the wheat from the chaff. Specifically, we remain aware ofmultiple non-community-oriented GPL enforcement efforts, where none ofthose engaged in these efforts have endorsed our principles nor pledged toabide by them. These “GPL monetizers”, who trace their roots to nefariousbusiness models that seek to catch users in minor violations in order tosell an alternative proprietary license, stand in stark contrast to thework that Conservancy, FSF and gpl-violations.org have done foryears." The actions of one individual prompted the netfilterproject to make a statement endorsing the principles, which we covered earlier this month.


  • Qt WebBrowser 1.0
    Version 1.0 of the QtWebBrowser has been released.Qt WebBrowser is a browser for embedded devices developed using thecapabilities of Qt and Qt WebEngine. "The browser is optimized for embedded touch displays (running Linux), but you can play with it on the desktop platforms, too! Just make sure that you have Qt WebEngine, Qt Quick, and Qt VirtualKeyboard installed (version 5.7 or newer). For optimal performance on embedded devices you should plan for hardware-accelerated OpenGL, and around 1 GiByte of memory for the whole system. Anyhow, depending on your system configuration and the pages to be supported there is room for optimization."



  • US standards lab says SMS is no good for authentication
    America's National Institute for Standards and Technology has advised abandonment of SMS-based two-factor authentication. That's the gist of the latest draft of its Digital Authentication Guideline, here. Down in section 5.1.3.2, the document says out-of-band verification using SMS is deprecated and won't appear in future releases of NIST's guidance.



  • Malicious computers caught snooping on Tor-anonymized Dark Web sites
    The trust of the Tor anonymity network is in many cases only as strong as the individual volunteers whose computers form its building blocks. On Friday, researchers said they found at least 110 such machines actively snooping on Dark Web sites that use Tor to mask their operators' identities.



  • Linux kernel 4.7 released
    Also in today's open source roundup: DistroWatch reviews Slackware 14.2, and Prisma has been released for Android.


  • $20 is a tiny Arduino Zero clone
    Rabid Prototypes is crowdfunding a $20 “Neutrino 2.0” version of its earlier, tiny Arduino Zero clone. Rev 2.0 adds RX/TX pins and several other tweaks. Like last year’s Neutrino clone of the Arduino Zero, Rabid Prototypes chose Kickstarter to launch Neutrino 2.0.




  • Compact, fanless, Cortex-A5 embedded computer runs on 3W
    Artila’s “Matrix-700” control computer runs Linux on a Cortex-A5 SoC, and offers 8GB eMMC, plus three USB, four RS-232/485, GbE, and Fast Ethernet ports. The Matrix-700 is the first Cortex-A5 based model in Artila’s family of traditionally ARM9-driven Matrix industrial computers. The device is designed for non-stop operation in remote locations, such as device networking […]



  • Configuring a single Ubuntu installation as a dual-boot option and a VirtualBox appliance under Windows 10
    I often need to use Windows 10 and Ubuntu on the same machine within a single login session, so I run Ubuntu as a virtual machine in Oracle VirtualBox. But I also like to be able to boot my computer natively into Ubuntu, so a dual-boot configuration is optimal. To get the best of both worlds, I install Ubuntu in a dual-boot configuration alongside Windows, and configure VirtualBox to access the Ubuntu disk partitions as a raw disk image. This allows me to boot directly into Ubuntu, or boot the same Ubuntu installation from within Windows using VirtualBox.


  • Howdy, Ubuntu on Windows! Getting Started
    So, a few months have passed, and you’ve realized that, wow, you’re not dreaming, and it wasn’t an April Fool’s Joke, but in fact that Ubuntu-on-Windows thing is real! You’re thinking, surely some of the early kinks have been worked out, and it’s ready for a test drive… And you would be correct on both counts!


  • Finding security issues, regional events, and more OpenStack news
    Are you interested in keeping track of what is happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for news in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.OpenStack around the webThere is a lot of interesting stuff being written about OpenStack. Here's a sampling from some of our favorites:read more



  • Fluxday: A no-fuss open source productivity tracker
    There are only so many hours in the day, so making the most of your time is critical. There are two ways to increase your output: Put in more hours or work smarter. I don't know about you, but I prefer the latter.read more


  • Snowden Designs a Device to Warn if Your iPhone’s Radios Are Snitching
    The aim of that add-on, Huang and Snowden say, is to offer a constant check on whether your phone’s radios are transmitting. They say it’s an infinitely more trustworthy method of knowing your phone’s radios are off than “airplane mode,” which people have shown can be hacked and spoofed.


  • 5 reasons system administrators should use revision control
    Whether you're still using Subversion (SVN), or have moved to a distributed system like Git, revision control has found its place in modern operations infrastructures. If you listen to talks at conferences and see what new companies are doing, it can be easy to assume that everyone is now using revision control, and using it effectively. Unfortunately that's not the case.read more



  • The Open Patient: Advocating for open access to medical data
    Steven Keating had always been interested in data and learning about things, which is why he volunteered to do a research scan when he was a student. The scan revealed an abnormality. In 2014, the abnormality had grown into a massive tumor. Soon he learned that there were many barriers keeping him from accessing his own data. "And that's what I've been sharing, which is this question: How come as a patient we're last in line for our own data? How come my doctors and my university researchers can see my tumor genome and I can't?"read more



Linux Insider

  • Android, Chromebook Make a Sweet Couple
    Chrome OS and Android Apps now run together on some Chromebooks. Many, but not all, Chromebook models will get the operating system update that allows it as fall approaches. The Asus Chromebook Flip C100P -- the first Chromebook to get the upgrade -- is an impressive example of what will come with the hybrid integration of Chrome OS and Android apps.


  • Splice Machine Creates Open Source, Enterprise Split
    Splice Machine has open sourced its Spark-powered relational SQL database system. The company has set up a cloud-based sandbox for developers to put its new open source Splice Machine 2.0 Community Edition to the test. The company also announced the release of a cluster version and the launch of a developer community site. Splice Machine is designed for high-speed performance.


  • Skype for Linux Alpha Draws Cheers, Jeers
    Microsoft has introduced a new Web-based Skype for Linux client in alpha. Based on WebRTC, it uses Microsoft's next-generation calling architecture. It lets users share files, photos, videos and new emoticons. Users will be able to call others using the latest versions of Skype on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android -- but not with earlier versions of Skype for Linux.


  • SiFive Launches Freedom FOSS SoC Platforms
    SiFive on Monday announced its flagship Freedom family of system on a chip platforms. The platforms are based on the free and open source RISC-V instruction set architecture that several of the company's founders created at the University of California at Berkeley. SiFive's Freedom U500 and E300 platforms take a new approach to SoCs, redefining traditional silicon business models.


  • Facebook's OpenCellular Offers DIY Wireless Access for Remote Regions
    Facebook last week introduced OpenCellular, an inexpensive, open source wireless access platform. Telecom operators, entrepreneurs, OEMs and researchers will be able to build, implement, deploy and operate wireless infrastructures to serve people living in remote areas.  The platform is available in various options, ranging from a network in a box to an access point.


  • HandyLinux Is a Great Toolbox for Linux Newbies
    HandyLinux is a distro that offers a simplified approach to using the Linux desktop operating system. HandyLinux first appeared about three years ago. The latest version, 2.5, was released in early June. The developers make it easy to peel off the "Handy" layers to reveal a more standard Linux environment as users learn the system. Those who no longer need the IT tools included with the initial installation can remove them easily.


  • Bulgarian Government Embraces Open Source
    Bulgaria's Parliament recently passed legislation mandating open source software to bolster security, as well as to increase competition with commercially coded software. Amendments to the Electronic Governance Act require that all software written for the government be Free and Open Source Software-compliant. The new provisions reportedly took effect this week.


  • Blogosphere Chews on Android Nougat
    Google last week revealed the official name of its next mobile operating system: "Android Nougat." The OS previously went only by "Android N," and Google invited the blogosphere to fill in the blanks. The choice sparked some derision, particularly among those who had preferred "Nutella." "What is nougat anyway?" asked John Jackson, a research VP at IDC. "It's like the 'nog' in eggnog; it doesn't exactly stand alone."


  • HummingBad Mucks Up Android's Works
    More than 85 million Android devices worldwide have been taken over by the Yingmob, a group of China-based cybercriminals who created the HummingBad malware, according to Check Point. HummingBad establishes a persistent rootkit on Android devices, generates fraudulent ad revenue, and installs additional fraudulent apps. HummingBad reportedly has been generating revenue of $300,000 a month.


  • Makulu's LinDoz Is a Smooth Windows-Cinnamon Blend
    If you want a classy distro with the look and feel of the Microsoft platform, the MakuluLinux LinDoz edition will feed your nostalgia. MakuluLinux developer Jacque Montague Raymer released MakuluLinux 11 LinDoz edition earlier this month after a year and a half in the making. Forked from the Original Aero Edition, it first appeared with the MakuluLinux 9 series.


  • Fedora 24 Pushes Linux Boundaries
    Red Hat this week announced the release of Fedora 24, an open source Linux operating system maintained by the Fedora Project community. Fedora Linux is the community version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or RHEL. Fedora 24 is comprised of a set of base packages that form the foundation of three distinct editions: Fedora 24 Cloud, Fedora 24 Server and Fedora 24 Workstation.


  • Docker Tunes Up Engine Orchestration
    Docker on Monday announced Docker Engine 1.12 with built-in orchestration, which allows automated deployment and management of Dockerized distributed applications and microservices at scale in production. Users can select Docker Swarm mode to turn on built-in orchestration, or they can use their own custom tooling or third-party orchestrators that run on Docker Engine.


  • Linux Snap Package Format Goes Multi-Distro
    Snapcraft -- the Linux package format Canonical developed for Ubuntu -- now works on multiple Linux distros, including Arch, Debian, Fedora and various flavors of Ubuntu.  They're being validated on CentOS, Elementary, Gentoo, Mint, OpenSUSE, OpenWrt and RHEL. "Distributing applications on Linux is not always easy," said Canonical's Manik Taneja, product manager for Snappy Ubuntu Core.


  • New Linux Lite Is a Powerhouse Distro in Disguise
    Linux Lite 3.0 is anything but what its name implies. It is a full-featured operating system that lets you get down to serious business right out of the box. It is one of the few out-of-the-box experiences I have had testing Linux distros in which I actually was set up and working in less than five minutes. Linux Lite runs only the lightweight Xfce desktop environment.


  • HPE Wants Open Source Devs to Kick The Machine Into Gear
    Hewlett Packard Enterprise on Tuesday announced it was open-sourcing The Machine to spur development of the infant computer design project. HPE has invited the open source community to collaborate on its largest and most notable research project yet. The Machine focuses on reinventing the architecture underlying all computers built in the past 60 years.


  • ReactOS Is a Promising Open Source Windows Replacement
    If you want to run a clone of Microsoft Windows to escape the drama of upgrading to Windows 10, try ReactOS -- but do not expect it to be a fully functional replacement any time soon. ReactOS is a free, open source operating system built on the design principles found in the Windows NT architecture. Just remember that ReactOS is a Windows clone and not a Linux distro.


  • OpenSwitch Moves Under Linux Foundation Umbrella
    The Linux Foundation on Wednesday announced that it has taken the OpenSwitch Project under its wing. OpenSwitch last year began as a joint project of Hewlett Packard Enterprises, Broadcom, VMware, Accton, Intel and Arista. OpenSwitch is an open source, Linux-based network operating system, or NOS, that works with enterprise-grade switches from multiple vendors.


  • Voyager Offers a Mostly Smooth-Sailing Linux Adventure
    Voyager Live 16.04 is a Linux distro that could be an ideal choice for everyday computing tasks -- but first it has to step away from its branding with Xubuntu. The once-per-year release of Voyager Live, which hit servers last month, is an Xubuntu-based distribution showcasing the Xfce 4.12.2 desktop environment. It will receive three years of security updates.


  • Black Duck's Free Tool Digs Out Open Source Bugs
    Black Duck Software this week released Security Checker, a free tool based on the company's Hub open source security solution. Security Checker is a drag-and-drop, Web-based tool that allows users to determine if known open source vulnerabilities exist in the components used to build applications. It scans the code in an uploaded archive file or Docker image and provides a report showing known bugs.


  • Rebellin Linux Offers Best of Both Gnome Worlds
    Rebellin Linux is a smart-looking, fast distro that is both lightweight and secure. It is well worth checking out. The Rebellin line avoids the pitfalls that befall many Debian GNU/Linux derivatives. It does not maintain a warehouse full of desktop versions. It is neither a minimalistic Linux line nor a distro stuffed with bloat from packages typical users will never need.


  • Google's Abacus May Count Out Passwords
    By the end of the year, Android devs will be able to use a trust API from Google's Project Abacus in their apps, Google ATAP Director Dan Kaufman suggested at last week's I/O conference. The API, which will run in the background continually, is aimed at doing away with passwords. It will use a smartphone's sensors to create a cumulative trust score that will authenticate users.



  • Apple's Electric Car Project To Be Led By Bob Mansfield
    An anonymous reader writes: Long-time Apple executive Bob Mansfield will lead Apple's electric car project, according to the Wall Street Journal. TechCrunch reports: "Mansfield stepped down from the Apple executive board in 2013, yet stayed around the company to work on, what Apple called, special projects. In this role he was reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. One of Mansfield's projects turned out to be the Apple Watch. Now it seems he will head-up Apple's car ambitions -- a project Apple has yet to publicly confirm. During Mansfield's tenure he lead the engineering teams responsible for numerous products including the MacBook Air, iMac, and the iPad."
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Chinese State Company Unveils World's Largest Seaplane
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: China has completed production of the world's largest amphibious aircraft, state media has said, the latest effort in the country's program to wean itself off dependence on foreign aviation firms. The state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) unveiled the first of the new planes, dubbed the AG600, Saturday in the southern port city of Zhuhai, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The aircraft, which has a maximum range of 4,500 km (2,800 miles), is intended for fighting forest fires and performing marine rescues, it said. At around the size of a Boeing 737, it is far larger than any other plane built for marine take off and landing, Xinhua quoted AVIC's deputy general manager Geng Ruguang as saying. The AG600 could potentially extend the Asian giant's ability to conduct a variety of operations in the South China Sea, where it has built a series of artificial islands featuring air strips, among other infrastructure with the potential for either civilian or military use.
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Feds To Deploy Anti-Drone Software Near Wildfires
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hill: Federal officials are launching a new "geofencing" program to alert drone pilots when they're flying too close to wildfire prevention operations. The Department of Interior said Monday it would deploy software warnings to pilots when their drones pose a risk to the aircraft used by emergency responders fighting wildfires. The agency said there have been 15 instances of drones interfering with firefighter operations this year, including several leading to grounded aircraft. Drone-related incidents doubled between 2014 and 2015, the agency said. Officials built the new warning system with the drone industry, and the agency said manufacturers could eventually use it to build drones that automatically steer away from wildfire locations. The program is in its pilot phase, the agency said; officials hope to have a full public release in time for next year's wildfire season. "No responsible drone operator wants to endanger the lives of the men and women who work to protect them and we believe this program, which uses the global positioning system to create a virtual barrier, will move us one step closer to eliminating this problem for wildfire managers," Mark Bathrick, the director of the Interior Department's Office of Aviation Service, said in a statement.
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • NIST Prepares To Ban SMS-Based Two-Factor Authentication
    An anonymous reader writes: "The U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the latest draft version of the Digital Authentication Guideline that contains language hinting at a future ban of SMS-based Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)," reports Softpedia. The NIST DAG draft argues that SMS-based two-factor authentication is an insecure process because the phone may not always be in possession of the phone number, and because in the case of VoIP connections, SMS messages may be intercepted and not delivered to the phone. The guideline recommends the usage of tokens and software cryptographic authenticators instead. Even biometrics authentication is considered safe, under one condition: "Biometrics SHALL be used with another authentication factor (something you know or something you have)," the guideline's draft reads. The NIST DAG draft reads in part: "If the out of band verification is to be made using a SMS message on a public mobile telephone network, the verifier SHALL verify that the pre-registered telephone number being used is actually associated with a mobile network and not with a VoIP (or other software-based) service. It then sends the SMS message to the pre-registered telephone number. Changing the pre-registered telephone number SHALL NOT be possible without two-factor authentication at the time of the change. OOB using SMS is deprecated, and will no longer be allowed in future releases of this guidance."
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Vine's Source Code Was Accidentally Made Public For Five Minutes
    An anonymous reader writes from The Register: Vine, the six-second-video-loop app acquired by Twitter in 2012, had its source code made publicly available by a bounty-hunter for everyone to see. The Register reports: "According to this post by @avicoder (Vjex at GitHub), Vine's source code was for a while available on what was supposed to be a private Docker registry. While docker.vineapp.com, hosted at Amazon, wasn't meant to be available, @avicoder found he was able to download images with a simple pull request. After that it's all too easy: the docker pull https://docker.vineapp.com:443/library/vinewww request loaded the code, and he could then open the Docker image and run it. 'I was able to see the entire source code of Vine, its API keys and third party keys and secrets. Even running the image without any parameter, [it] was letting me host a replica of Vine locally.' The code included 'API keys, third party keys and secrets,' he writes. Twitter's bounty program paid out -- $10,080 -- and the problem was fixed in March (within five minutes of him demonstrating the issue)."
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Amazon Partners With UK Government To Test Drone Deliveries
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from USA Today: [Recent rules from the Federal Aviation Administration mean delivery by drone is years away in the United States, but packages may be winging their way to customers sooner rather than later in the United Kingdom, where Amazon just got permission to begin a new trial of its delivery drones.] The U.K. Civil Aviation Authority gave Amazon permission to test several key drone delivery parameters. They include sending drones beyond the line of sight of their operator in rural and suburban areas, testing sensor performance to make sure the drones can identify and avoid obstacles and allowing a single operator to manage multiple highly-automated drones. U.S. rules are outlined in a 624-page rulebook from the Federal Aviation Administration. They allow commercial drones weighing up to 55 pounds to fly during daylight hours. The aircraft must remain within sight of the operator or an observer who is in communication with the operator. The operators must be pass an aeronautics test every 24 months for a certificate as well as a background check by the Transportation Security Administration. The rules govern commercial flights, such as for aerial photography or utilities inspection. Amazon's goal is to use drones to deliver packages up to 5 pound to customers in 30 minutes or less. Amazon released a statement today detailing its partnership with the UK Government that may one day turn its Prime Air drone delivery service into reality.
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • China Releases Test Footage of Ballistic Missile Defense System
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Mirror.co.uk: China has released footage of its first interception test of a mid-air ballistic missile, destroying a target miles above Earth. Footage of the experiment, which took place in 2010, has never been made public until now. According to Chinese news agency CCTV, Xu Chunguang, an expert working at a military base in northwest China, said: "All of our research is meant to solve problems that may crop up in future actual combats." It reportedly took researchers another three years to develop the core technologies to improve the system. A second successful test was reportedly conducted in January 2013. China's decision to finally release the footage could be seen as a warning shot to the U.S., which was critical of China for not notifying the Pentagon of the tests at the time. In May, China announced it would send submarines armed with nuclear missiles into the Atlantic Ocean, arguing it had little choice if America continued to advance its weapons systems. China has recently denounced South Korea's decision to deploy a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system to counter threats from North Korea, saying that it harmed the foundation of their mutual trust.
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Nvidia Claims Its New Chip Is the 'World's Fastest GPU' for Game and VR Design
    An anonymous reader shares a VentureBeat report: Nvidia announced today the Quadro P6000 graphics card for workstations, using the "world's fastest GPU." The graphics card is targeted at designers who have to create complex simulations for everything from engineering models to virtual reality games. The Quadro P6000 is based on Nvidia's new Pascal graphics architecture, and it uses a GPU with 3,840 processing cores. It can reach 12 teraflops of computing performance, or twice as fast as the previous generation. Nvidia unveiled the new platform for artists, designers, and animators at the Siggraph graphics technology conference in Anaheim, Calif. AnandTech has more details on this. From their article:As NVIDIA's impending flagship Quadro card, this is based on the just-announced GP102 GPU. The direct successor to the GM200 used in the Quadro M6000, the GP102 mixes a larger number of SMs/CUDA cores and higher clockspeeds to significantly boost performance. Paired with P6000 is 24GB of GDDR5X memory, running at a conservative 9Gbps, for a total memory bandwidth of 432GB/sec. This is the same amount of memory as in the 24GB M6000 refresh launched this spring, so there's no capacity boost at the top of NVIDIA's lineup. But for customers who didn't jump on the 24GB -- which is likely a lot of them, including most 12GB M6000 owners -- then this is a doubling (or more) of memory capacity compared to past Quadro cards. At this time the largest capacity GDDR5X memory chips we know of (8Gb), so this is as large of a capacity that P6000 can be built with at this time. Meanwhile this is so far the first and only Pascal card with GDDR5X to support ECC, with NVIDIA implementing an optional soft-ECC method for the DRAM only, just as was the case on M6000.
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Bitcoin Not Money, Rules Miami Judge In Dismissing Laundering Charges
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Miami Herald: Bitcoin does not actually qualify as money, a Miami-Dade judge ruled Monday in throwing out criminal charges against a Miami Beach man charged with illegally selling the virtual currency. The defendant, Michell Espinoza, was charged with illegally selling and laundering $1,500 worth of Bitcoins to undercover detectives who told him they wanted to use the money to buy stolen credit-card numbers. But Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler ruled that Bitcoin was not backed by any government or bank, and was not "tangible wealth" and "cannot be hidden under a mattress like cash and gold bars." "The court is not an expert in economics, however, it is very clear, even to someone with limited knowledge in the area, the Bitcoin has a long way to go before it the equivalent of money," Pooler wrote in an eight-page order. The judge also wrote that Florida law -- which says someone can be charged with money laundering if they engage in a financial transaction that will "promote" illegal activity -- is way too vague to apply to Bitcoin. "This court is unwilling to punish a man for selling his property to another, when his actions fall under a statute that is so vaguely written that even legal professionals have difficulty finding a singular meaning," she wrote. Espinoza's case is believed to be the first money-laundering prosecution involving Bitcoin.
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • MIT Developed A Movie Screen That Brings Glasses-Free 3D To All Seats
    An anonymous reader writes from a report via TechCrunch: MIT has developed a glasses-less 3D display for movie theaters. The Nintendo 3DS is one of a handful of devices to feature glasses-less 3D, but it is designed for a single users where the user is looking at the display head-on at a relatively specific angle. It's not something made for a movie theater with hundreds of seats, each of which would have a different viewing angle. What's neat about MIT's 3D display is that it doesn't require glasses and it lets anyone see the 3D effect in a movie theater, no matter where they are sitting. The MIT Computers Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) created the prototype display called 'Cinema 3D' that uses a complex arrangement of lenses and mirrors to create a set number of parallax barriers that can address every viewing angle in the theater based on seat locations. It works in a movie theater because the seats are in fixed locations, and people don't tend to move around, change seats or alter their viewing angle too much. What's also neat about the Cinema 3D is that is preserves resolution, whereas other glasses-less 3D displays carry cots in terms of image resolution. The prototype is about the size of a letter-sized notepad, and it needs 50 sets of mirrors and lenses. It should be ready for market once researchers scale it up to a commercially viable product.
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Facebook Admits Blocking WikiLeaks' DNC Email Links, But Won't Say Why
    An anonymous reader writes: Facebook has admitted it blocked links to WikiLeaks' DNC email dump, but the company has yet to explain why. WikiLeaks has responded to the censorship via Twitter, writing: "For those facing censorship on Facebook etc when trying to post links directly to WikiLeaks #DNCLeak try using archive.is." When SwiftOnSecurity tweeted, "Facebook has an automated system for detecting spam/malicious links, that sometimes have false positives. /cc," Facebook's Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos replied with, "It's been fixed." As for why there was a problem in the first place, we don't know. Nate Swanner from The Next Web writes, "It's possible its algorithm incorrectly identified them as malicious, but it's another negative mark on the company's record nonetheless. WikiLeaks is a known entity, not some torrent dumping ground. The WikiLeaks link issue has reportedly been fixed, which is great -- but also not really the point. The fact links to the archive was blocked at all suggests there's a very tight reign on what's allowed on Facebook across the board, and that's a problem." A Facebook representative provided a statement to Gizmodo: "Like other services, our anti-spam systems briefly flagged links to these documents as unsafe. We quickly corrected this error on Saturday evening."
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Twitter, a 10-Year-Old Company, Is Still Explaining What Twitter Is
    Twitter investors have long expressed their concerns about the rate at which Twitter is growing. The social networking website has seen platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat born into existence and quickly overtake it in terms of user base and engagement level. One of the reasons why Twitter hasn't grown as rapidly is because of a confusion among many -- including what we can say, Twitter itself -- about what exactly is this platform for. The Verge reports: Twitter came into our lives in 2006, and after a decade of existence, most people still have no idea what Twitter even is. Ninety percent of respondents to a Twitter-organized questionnaire say they recognize the brand, but most "didn't know or simply misunderstood" what it was for. Most people also thought having an account meant they had to tweet every day. As Twitter said in a blog post about these findings: "We realized we had some explaining and clarifying to do!" Over the years, Twitter has changed the way it acknowledges itself before people. It was once known as a social networking website, but not long ago the company marketed itself as a "news" service. Vanity Fair adds: The campaign, which launches today, is all about what's happening -- what's trending, what games are going on, what news events are breaking, what are people talking about, live, right now. A video at the center of the campaign cycles through footage of Black Lives Matters protests, athletes competing in the Olympics and a woman playing Pokemon Go, Lin-Manuel Miranda on stage at Hamilton, and Donald Trump stumping at a campaign rally. "We see it as a focus and an emphasis on what Twitter has always been about," Leslie Berland, Twitter's chief marketing officer, told The Hive. "We can see what's happening as it's happening, with all the live commentary that makes Twitter so special."
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Millennials Are Obsessed With Side Hustles Because 'They're All' They've Got
    Quartz ran an article over the weekend which captures a growing trend among millennials: to have a side job -- or as many of them call it, the "side-hustle." One of the reasons that people need this other gig is obviously money, but there are other factors at play as well. From the article: The side hustle offers something worth much more than money: A hedge against feeling stuck and dull and cheated by life. This psychological benefit is the real reason for the Millennial obsession, I'd argue, and why you might want to consider finding your own side hustle, no matter how old you are. Now one might say that this "side-hustle" is not a new phenomenon at all. People have since forever have had multiple jobs to make the ends meet. But the author argues that in the post 2008-crisis, we have witnessed a whole generation where one gig would simply not cut it all for many. The article adds: Previous generations have also coped with such semi-tragedy; probably every human ever has been a sort of actor-waiter at some point. In any case, those of us who are employed generally understand ourselves to be lucky. Working as a benefits administrator, an ad-sales rep or even a Facebook engineer might not be the dream job. But your side hustle can keep you from feeling pigeonholed. It's the distraction from your disappointment, a bridge between crass realities and your compelling inner life. In the best-case scenario, your side hustle can be like a lottery ticket, offering the possibility -- however remote -- that you just might hit the jackpot and discover that holy grail of gigs. The one that perfectly blends money and love. The one that's coming along any day now.
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Researchers Discover 110 Snooping Tor Nodes
    Reader Orome1 writes: In a period spanning 72 days, two researchers from Northeastern University have discovered at least 110 "misbehaving" and potentially malicious hidden services directories (HSDirs) on the Tor anonymity network. "Tor's security and anonymity is based on the assumption that the large majority of its relays are honest and do not misbehave. Particularly the privacy of the hidden services is dependent on the honest operation of hidden services directories (HSDirs)," Professor Guevara Noubir and Ph.D. student Amirali Sanatinia explained. "Bad" HSDirs can be used for a variety of attacks on hidden services: from DoS attacks to snooping on them.
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Solar Impulse 2 Plane Takes Off From Egypt On Final Leg Of World Tour
    How long would it take an airplane to fly around the world without using any fuel? About 22 days of actual air time, according to Fusion. Solar Impulse 2, an aircraft which is powered by solar energy, left Egypt on Sunday on the last leg of the first ever-fuel free flight around the world. The team behind it tweeted a few minutes ago that they have completed 91% of the final, last, conclusive flight. Reuters reports: Solar Impulse 2, a spindly single-seat plane, took off from Cairo in darkness en route to Abu Dhabi, its final destination, with a flight expected to take between 48 and 72 hours. The plane, which began its journey in Abu Dhabi in March 2015, has been piloted in turns by Swiss aviators Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard in a campaign to build support for clean energy technologies. "The round the world flight ends in Abu Dhabi, but not the project," Piccard told Reuters a few days before takeoff. Solar Impulse flies without a drop of fuel, its four engines powered solely by energy collected from more than 17,000 solar cells in its wings. It relies on solar energy collected during the day and stored in batteries for electrical energy to fly at night. The carbon fiber plane, with a wingspan exceeding that of a Boeing 747 and the weight of a family car can climb to about 8,500 meters (28,000 feet) and cruise at 55-100 kph (34-62 mph).
             

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Data's democratisation: Because there's no doh in Type 0
    Handle me with care
    There has been a slow but steady democratisation of business intelligence (BI) and data science over the years with Excel (and PowerPivot), through introduction of self-service BI and growth of R as the language of choice for statistics.…



  • Seagate soups up M.2 Nytro flash card
    Doubles capacity of its mini NMVe drive to 2TB
    Seagate has more than doubled the maximum capacity of its Nytro M.2 XM1440 flash card from 980GB to 2TB.…


  • Washed out summer? Fear ye not: DVDs for DevOps droogs
    Virtual box sets for REAL IT pros
    Stob Hurrah! Summer is at last well under way, so how better to pass the weekends than pulling the curtains on the rainscape, lolling on the sofa and inhaling a few dozen hours of downloaded TV? I am aware that such an introduction sets up certain expectations.…


  • 'Legally' separate: Ofcom tells Openreach to split from BT...
    ...kind of (c'mon – you didn't think it would go all the way!)
    Ofcom has today said Openreach must become a legally separate company from BT – with its own independent board – under plans to reform the former state monopoly's infrastructure division.…


  • Failing projects pray blockchain works as 'magic middleware'
    And fail anyway, as will you in 'the year of pointless blockchain projects' says analyst
    “This is the year of pointless blockchain projects” and anything you build with blockchain will need to be ripped out and replaced within 18 months, according to Gartner fellow Ray Valdes.…



  • Microsoft dangles code candy in front of iOS devs
    Objective-C code-checker is Redmond's latest attempt to get app devs into WindowsLand
    Microsoft is pressing ahead with its desire to sweep iOS devs into its embrace, this time offering them a code-testing tool to help them use its Windows Bridge for iOS.…





  • Micron sets a canary to watch over its stock in case of takeover
    Poison pill filing sparks speculation about aggressive buy-out action
    A filing in the Securities Exchange Commission has set the hounds running on speculation that Micron Technology is the latest takeover target in the ongoing consolidation of the chip business.…



  • Boffins snoop on snooping Tor nodes
    Honeyed onions - mmmm .... honions - used to plug the HSDir privacy hole
    A pair of researchers from Northwestern University are working on a framework to let users identify misbehaving Tor nodes.…




  • Uber's dud private dick given a hard time by judge in stiff surge case
    The court cannot help but be troubled by this whole dismal incident
    A private investigator hired by Uber potentially broke the law while digging up dirt on someone suing the taxi app biz, a New York judge has ruled. Information gathered by the dodgy sleuth cannot be used in court by Uber, the beak added.…



  • Euro cops, Intel and Kaspersky slay Shade ransomware
    No More Ransom campaign kicks off
    A joint operation by Europol, the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit, Intel, and Kaspersky has seized the command and control servers for the Shade ransomware strain and published code that allows anyone hit by the malware to decrypt their files.…






  • Seagate's south UK factory hasn't a future but HDDs do (it hopes)
    ClusterStor-developing shop closing down as biz develops new disk tech
    Seagate is closing down its factory in Havant on the south coast of the UK and axing 327 jobs. The redundancies are part of a renewed focus by the Californian giant on its disk drive technology roadmap to boost revenues and profitability.…




  • Systemax flogs German sub to CANCOM
    Sound of a group break-up? Nah, just exiting 'our most challenging market'
    The break up of Systemax’s European operations may have just started after it brokered a “definitive agreement” to sell the Misco German subsidiary to CANCOM for an undisclosed sum.…




  • BlackBerry's licensing strategy looks smart – and a lot like Nokia's
    It's an IP world now
    Analysis BlackBerry didn’t show a new phone in New York City at its annual Security Summit last week, and CEO John Chen sounded a bit fed up that the assembled press corps kept asking about phones. But there was enough in his comments to glean how BlackBerry’s device strategy has evolved - and it’s following a familiar path taken by once-mighty Western electronics brands.…



  • Glassdoor spaffs users' email addresses in bcc fail
    Looking for a job on the QT? Well now everybody knows
    Jobs site Glassdoor accidentally outed hundreds of users seeking employment in pastures new when it despatched an email and failed to use the bcc button.…


  • Not-BT-Openreach' biz CityFibre sextuples pipeline
    Seems to be doing a roaring trade
    Cable-layer CityFibre has booked a six-fold increase in contracts during its first half of 2016, with Ł53.8m in the pipeline compared with Ł8.1m for the same period last year.…


  • Lenovo: Our gear will be 10% more pricey from 1 August
    Chinese giant joins post-Brexit vote price bump club
    Exclusive Lenovo has confirmed the price of its hardware is going to get more expensive in the UK from the start of next month. It is the latest vendor to react to the downward swing in the value of the British pound vs the US dollar.…


  • How to make the move from ISDN to SIP
    Find the right provider, yes, but before that...
    ISDN is fast becoming a technology of the past. Today's telcos have networks that bypass traditional telephony signalling technologies for IP networks: the hardest thing they do is present a “legacy” connection such as an analogue line or an ISDN connection to a customer, as layering a non-IP service on an IP network is non-trivial at a technical level.…




  • BBC will ‘retain your viewing history’
    Imagine an Auntie who never forgets
    Last week the BBC launched a mobile app, called BBC+, delivering “customisable content collections” to your phone or tablet. It’s a personalised service which requires an email address.…



  • Ofcom should push for fibre – Ex BT CTO
    Aiming for mediocre speeds is such a British attitude
    Tomorrow UK comms watchdog Ofcom will announce its plans for strengthening Openreach’s independence from BT and creating a more competitive UK broadband market.…





  • Mobile broadband now cheaper than wired, for 95 per cent of humanity
    But the Internet of Things is only working in Fjordland
    The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has released the 2016 edition of its Facts and Figures (PDF) on technology adoption, and among the many data points it contains is an odd concentration of connected “things” in countries with Fjords.…


  • Verizon wants to replace your net gateways with 'a simple mux'
    And then pipe in virtual network functions from all the big bit-movers
    Verizon has launched the next piece of its seven-year strategy to virtualise its enterprise services, announcing a bunch of multi-vendor virtual security, WAN optimisation, and software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) services.…





  • Verizon tipped to buy Yahoo! for US$5bn
    Carrier becoming the place where 90s media empires go to be recycled into targeted ads
    Markets are bracing for a Monday puzzle: why on earth does Verizon think it is worth spending US$5bn on Yahoo!?…


  • By 2040, computers will need more electricity than the world can generate
    So says the semiconductor industry's last ever communal roadmap
    Without much fanfare, the Semiconductor Industry Association earlier this month published a somewhat-bleak assessment of the future of Moore's Law – and at the same time, called “last drinks” on its decades-old International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS).…



Linux.com offline for now

  • AMD Introduces The Radeon Pro WX Series
    NVIDIA used SIGGRAPH 2016 as a launching ground for their Pascal-powered Quadro GPUs while AMD this evening used the event in Anaheim for announcing their new Radeon Pro WX series...










  • Google's "Lanai" Backend In LLVM Seeks Non-Experimental Status
    Earlier this year Google published an LLVM "Lanai" back-end for some of its internal network hardware. While some in the open-source community interpreted this as Google trying to offload their open-source code into LLVM to shift some of the maintenance burden onto them, that hasn't been the case and Google continues improving this back-end for this in-house processor...



  • EXT4 Encryption To Be Unified In Linux 4.8
    Ted Ts'o usually sends in his EXT4 file-system updates later in the kernel merge window cycles, but not for Linux 4.8. Just one day into the Linux 4.8 merge window he's already submitted the new material to be merged for EXT4...


  • Linux 4.8 Implements ASLR For Kernel Memory Sections
    In addition to hardened usercopy support being prepped for the Linux 4.8 kernel, the new CONFIG_RANDOMIZE_MEMORY option was sent in this morning via a separate pull request as another security feature for the 4.8 cycle...




  • The Size Of Different DRM Graphics Drivers In Linux 4.7
    Last October I looked at The Size Of The Different Open-Source Linux DRM/Mesa Graphics Drivers, but with it being nearly one year since then and Linux 4.7 due out today, I decided to run some fresh L.O.C. measurements on the popular DRM/KMS drivers to see their current sizes...






  • The Biggest Features Of The Linux 4.7 Kernel
    If all goes according to plan, the Linux 4.7 kernel will be released before the day is through. Here's a recap of some of the biggest features added for the Linux 4.7 kernel...






  • Indigo 4 Lets You Have Full Graphics Rendering Over OpenCL
    Many have hypothesized in the past about implementing full OpenGL for graphics over OpenCL -- or now, implementing OpenGL directly over Vulkan -- while Glare Technologies with their Indigo renderer appears to be one of the first renderers to achieve 100% GPU rendering over OpenCL...



  • Snappy Packaging Happenings In The Fedora, Arch Space
    This week Canonical hosted a Snappy Sprint in Heidelberg, Germany where they worked to further their new package management solution originally spearheaded for Ubuntu Touch. This wasn't an Ubuntu-only event, but Canonical did invite other distribution stakeholders...




  • Khronos Makes Progress On Its GL Transmission Format
    Next week is SIGGRAPH while taking place now in Anaheim, California is the Web3D Conference. From this conference focused around 3D graphics for the web, the glTF 1.0.1 specification was released and more...




  • GNOME 3.21.4 Released
    GNOME 3.21.4 was announced today as the latest development release of this desktop environment leading up to September's release of GNOME 3.22...


  • Radeon X.Org Driver Now Only Uses DRI3 By Default With GLAMOR
    For those of you using the xf86-video-ati X.Org driver on a pre-GCN GPU, next time you update to the latest code you'll need to make sure you manually enable DRI3 or switch to GLAMOR for 2D acceleration as now by default DRI3 is not being enabled unless GLAMOR is the acceleration architecture being used...




Engadget

  • Crowd Play puts the audience in control in Telltale's 'Batman'
    There are plenty of gripes that your choices in Telltale's point-and-click adventure games don't make a difference in how their stories play out. But with the on Twitch or YouTube. But the reality is that latency between a stream and the viewers is still too great to offer any sort of real-time response. Telltale debuted it at San Diego Comic Con over the weekend, using the crowd in attendance as fodder. Creative communications head Job Stauffer says that Crowd Play will work with anywhere from "two to 2,000-plus" people helping the host make their choices.
    When we spoke with Telltale at E3 this year, marketing head Richard Iggo said that the studio has big ideas for the Caped Crusader. "Our plan and our goal, and what we are going to do is turn things completely on their head for you, as the player and also for Bruce Wayne. There's going to be things which are very, very different to the established canon." If you find yourself in the crowd on August 2nd, maybe shy away from making choices that'd bring a smile to the face of director Joel Schumacher. You know, the guy responsible for Game Informer

    Source: Shack News


  • Engadget UK asks: is fitness tech improving your life?

    August is almost upon us, and that means we don't have very long before the lighting of the Olympic flame in Rio, Brazil. Team GB has its work cut out: it's expected to bring home between 47 and 79 medals this summer, up from a forecast of between 40 to 70 at the 2012 London Games. While Mo Farah and co. attempt to meet those targets, we want to learn more about what motivates you to get active.

    Do you use fitness apps? Have you bought a wearable? Is Pokémon Go helping get you off the sofa and out onto the streets? Are these things improving your life for the better? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

    Answer these simple questions for the chance to WIN a Ł50 Amazon voucher. Entry closes at midnight on August 2nd.


  • Ofcom orders BT to make Openreach a 'legally separate company'

    Ofcom has drawn up a plan to further distance BT and its subsidiary, Openreach, without breaking them up entirely. The UK regulator is now proposing that Openreach, which manages the bulk of the nation's broadband and telephone infrastructure, become "a legally separate company" within the BT Group, with its own board and directors. Most of these appointments would, under Ofcom's vision, be non-executives and "not affiliated to (the) BT Group in any way." They would, however, be selected and removed by BT, following consultation with Ofcom.

    The new divide would be emphasised by Openreach's CEO. Under the new proposals, Clive Selley would answer to the new Openreach board, rather than anyone at BT. "There should be no direct lines of reporting from Openreach executives to (the) BT Group, unless agreed by exception with Ofcom," the regulator suggests. In addition, all Openreach employees would be exactly that -- employees of Openreach, not the BT Group. Drawing a line here would, according to Ofcom, allow the new company to create its own corporate culture and branding, offering another form of perceived separation both to enterprise customers and the general public.

    "This model would provide Openreach with the greatest degree of independence from BT Group that is possible without incurring the costs and disruption - to industry and consumers - associated with separating the companies entirely."

    Ofcom has offered this plan to incentivise fair, competitive investment in the UK's sprawling network of telephone and broadband cables. Critics have long argued that Openreach and BT should be split in order to eliminate a perceived bias in the industry. Whether or not this bias is intentional, service providers such as Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone believe that Openreach is working in BT's best interests. As a result, a deep, complex competition problem has emerged in the UK and, ultimately, limited the deployment and improvement of customer services.

    Under the new proposals, Openreach would own its physical network. The change would, Ofcom hopes, give the new company greater influence over its budget and direction. "This model would provide Openreach with the greatest degree of independence from (the) BT Group that is possible without incurring the costs and disruption -- to industry and consumers -- associated with separating the companies entirely," Ofcom said.

    BT has, unsurprisingly, always been against the idea of spinning Openreach off. While Ofcom has stopped short of forcing a full separation, the company is still unhappy with the demands. In a statement, the TV, telephone and internet service provider offered a series of counterproposals which would, it claims, satisfy Ofcom's original demands and findings, which were published back in February. They would, according to BT, also meet the criticisms of a report written by the UK's Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which said the current setup is "sacrificing shareholder value and public benefits."

    Under the counterproposals, Openreach would create its own board with mostly independent members. It wouldn't be a legally separate company, however, and its CEO would report to Gavin Patterson, BT Group's CEO. "These changes will make Openreach more independent and transparent than it is today, something both Ofcom and (the) industry have requested," he said. Ofcom is standing firm, however. In a statement, the regulator said it welcomes certain "elements" of BT's counterproposal, but believes there are "important areas where it does not fully address our concerns."

    A long and arduous negotiation process will lieley follow. Ofcom believes it has the upper hand, however, as it's warned BT that if Openreach doesn't act more independently, it will "reconsider" whether the two "should be split into two entirely separate companies, under different ownership."

    Sky has now chimed in, supporting Ofcom's new proposals but emphasising that it would have preferred a proper split. Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive for Sky said: "Today's proposal to create a legally separate Openreach is a step in the right direction, although (it) falls short of the full change that would have guaranteed the world-class broadband network customers expect and the UK will need. In particular, leaving Openreach's budget in the hands of BT Group raises significant questions as to whether this will really lead to the fibre investment Britain requires."

    Source: Ofcom, BT, Sky


  • Google updates Nexus phones with spam call protection

    The FCC gets more complaints over spam calls than anything else, and recently told telecom companies to block them for free. Until that happens, Google has made it easier for Nexus or AndroidOne device owners to see if a call is spam and block it, thanks to an update to its phone app. If you have caller ID enabled on those devices, spam or robo-calls will pop up with a red screen and warning that says "suspected spam caller." After taking or rejecting the call, you can either block the number or report that it's legit if Google flagged it in error.

    Even if Google doesn't mark a call as spam, you can report it as such from the "recent calls" screen and block it. Nexus devices already have caller ID that shows companies using Google My Business listings, and references directories to show caller info from work or school accounts. For those features to work, Google notes that "your phone may need to send information about your calls to Google," presumably it can add the info to a database.

    Google is actually late to this game, as Samsung's Galaxy S7 has offered caller ID and spam protection since February thanks to an alliance with Whitepages. However, spammers are nothing if not determined, and can still get through using tricks like call spoofing. Until telcos start blocking them at the source as the FCC has requested, you're still going to get spammed, even with Google and Samsung's help. The update should roll out to your Nexus or AndroidOne device soon, or you can sideload the APK here, provided you have Android 6.0 or greater.

    Source: Nexus (Google+)


  • Hailo gets help from car giant Daimler to take on Uber
    With ridesharing services becoming more popular by the day, car makers are starting to take notice. General Motors has already sunk $500 million into Lyft, Volkswagen ploughed $300 million into Gett and Daimler quietly boosted its portfolio when it nabbed MyTaxi and RideScout in 2014. In a bid to expand its presence in Europe, Daimler -- owner of Mercedes-Benz -- today announced a merger between MyTaxi and Hailo as part of a new strategic investment designed to take on Uber.
    As part of the deal, Hailo will rebrand to MyTaxi by mid-2017. The merged company will become "Europe's largest taxi e-hailing company" in the process and Hailo's current chief Andrew Pinnington will become CEO of the new company that will be headquartered in Hamburg, Germany. It'll operate in nine countries, as Hailo currently operates in the UK, Ireland and Spain, while MyTaxi is available in Austria, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

    Over the past two years, Hailo, which rose to prominence as one of the first apps to let Londoners hail a black cab, has struggled to compete in a market dominated by Uber. The company launched a private car service, but scaled back its plans following a backlash from black cab drivers, and attempted to crack America but ended up pulling out months later.

    With a renewed focus on black cabs, Hailo has been seeking a strategic investor. Now it's found one. The news will please the company's existing investors, which include entrepreneur Richard Branson and equity firms Accel and Wellington Partners, but the deal will also allow Daimler to court drivers of Hailo and MyTaxi cars, allowing it to supply vehicles to its operators as inner-city car usage declines.

    Source: Sky News


  • Cyanogen Inc. founder says company isn't focusing on Android apps

    Cyanogen Inc.'s co-founder, Steve Kondik, says the company isn't "pivoting to apps" despite reports that it's laying off 20 percent of its staff to change focus. However, Kondik didn't deny the job cuts in his post on the CyanogenMod blog and even admitted that the company had its "share of stuff which just didn't work at all." Unfortunately, that also means he didn't discuss what's next for the company or clarified what's going on behind the scenes, though he promised to post more info on its website soon.
    What he did say is that Cyanogen Inc. will continue sponsoring CyanogenMod's development, which makes sense since Kondik is also the person behind the community project. The Android-based open source mobile platform is a separate entity from the retail variant Inc. offers its customers. While it has always been maintained by a community of developers, Cyanogen Inc. plays and, from the sound of things, will continue to play "an active role in its development."
    Source: CyanogenMod



  • Nintendo's 'Miitomo' app update reminds you it still exists

    Nintendo's debut smartphone game is making efforts to get you back into its weird and wonderful social world by offering more opportunities for wardrobe items and accessories without excessive in-app payments. According to an update teaser inside the Miitomo app itself, a new Candy Drop game will let you use all that accumulated candy (earned through in-game interactions and when you missed the good stuff in the original crane mini-games) for in-game upgrades. The greatly despised consolation prize finally has a use.

    You could only use the candy currency to unlock extra answers from your buddies, while Game tickets, usually sparingly given out by the app as a bonus (and available as in-app purchases), are what's needed to play for Nintendo-themed goods (or cat sweaters) for your avatar -- until now. If you've built up quite the stockpile of candy, it'll soon be time to go shopping.

    Nintendo continues to add to the social game -- its first for smartphones -- but it didn't sustain the boom in popularity after its launch. To be honest, it's not really a typical game. The games maker's association with smartphone hit Pokémon Go, meanwhile, is a little thinner, tied to its part ownership of both the Pokémon Company and Niantic. Truer Nintendo games (in the sense of what we're used to playing) are expected later this year.

    Source: Polygon


  • AT&T's chief is heading up a robocall 'strike force'

    AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson will lead a "strike force" that aims to combat robocalls. Apparently, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler didn't only remind him last week that carriers like Ma Bell can and should offer free call blockers to their subscribers, he also asked the exec to head the new organization. As incorrectly said that the carrier can't deploy call blockers without the FCC's permission. The company's latest blog post makes it clear, though, that the CEO has changed his tune.

    While neither organization has revealed the strike force's tasks in detail, AT&T's post says it will lead the new group as it develops anti-robocall tools and solutions. The team will also tell the FCC what role the government can play in its operations.

    FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement:

    "Since giving consumers meaningful control over the calls and texts they receive will require collective action by the industry; I am gratified that AT&T will lead an industry strike force to develop an action plan for providing consumers with robust robocall-blocking solutions. Last week, I asked all the major phone companies to develop just such a plan; I strongly urge industry participants to join the effort and to produce conclusions within 60 days."

    AT&T also promises to adopt the newest caller ID verification standards as soon as they become available and to help in the strike force's formation of a "Do Not Originate List." That list will contain numbers of companies that tend to be impersonated by spammers and scammers overseas, so fake calls can be blocked before they even reach subscribers.

    Via: The Consumerist

    Source: AT&T



  • NVIDIA's latest pro video cards help you livestream VR video

    Did you think NVIDIA's newest Titan X was a monster of a video card? You haven't seen anything yet. The GPU maker has unveiled its latest Quadro workstation cards, the Pascal-based P5000 and P6000, and they both pack power that makes your gaming-grade card seem modest. The P6000 (above) is billed as the fastest graphics card to date, and for good reason. It has even more processing cores than the Titan X (3,840 versus 3,584) and twice as much memory -- a whopping 24GB of RAM. The P5000 is closer to the GTX 1080 in performance with "just" 2,560 cores, but its 16GB of RAM handily bests the gaming card's 8GB. If you're working with massive amounts of 3D data, these are likely the boards you want.

    However, their real party trick is more a matter of software. Both the P5000 and P6000 can take advantage of a new VRWorks 360 Video developer kit which, as the name suggests, helps produce virtual reality footage. They can capture, stitch and livestream VR video from up to 32 cameras in real time, which could make them ideal for that VR concert feed.

    There's only one catch: pricing. NVIDIA is shipping both Quadro cards in October, but it hasn't said how much either of them will cost. Given that the Titan X costs $1,200 and doesn't pack as much video memory as either of these GPUs, it's safe to presume that this hardware will considerably more. These designs are meant for pros who can easily justify the price through the hours they'll save while finishing big projects.

    Source: NVIDIA (1), (2)


  • Oculus update preps Rift for room-scale VR, motion controls

    When virtual reality fanatics argue about what headset is best, two arguments tend to prevail: "The Oculus Rift is more comfortable," and "only the HTC Vive does roomscale VR." Soon, that second argument won't matter as much. Thanks to a recent update, the Rift's Oculus Home software now boasts support for up to four tracking sensors -- doubling one of the basic requirements the hardware needs to be used for accurate, room-scale virtual reality.

    It's great to see the support for room-scale VR show up in Oculus' software suite, but it doesn't mean a lot just yet. The Rift only shipped with a single tracking sensor, and there's currently no way for consumers to purchase extra sensors directly from Oculus -- at least not without buying another Rift headset, too. Still, developers who happen to have multiple sensors (and the unreleased Oculus Touch controllers) have already tested the new functionality out, and have confirmed that room-scale SteamVR games can now be played with Oculus hardware.

    Still, it's a good indicator that Oculus is getting closer to launching its long-awaited Touch controllers -- the other half of the Rift's room-scale puzzle. For Rift owners, that's great news.


  • Amazon teams up with the UK to make drone delivery a reality

    Amazon has found a staunch ally in the British government in its quest to use drones for delivery. This new partnership with the UK gives the company a chance to test its drones the way it can't in the US. For one, the UK is allowing Amazon to deploy beyond line of sight tests in both rural and suburban areas. In the US, Amazon can only fly drones if they're within the pilot's line of sight, which makes it impossible to deliver parcels to farther locations. The e-commerce company will also use this opportunity to make sure its UAVs' sensors can identify and avoid obstacles and to deploy operations wherein one person controls multiple highly automated drones.

    Despite the looser rules, the test flights will still be limited to an altitude of 400 feet and aren't allowed to operate near airports. They will also concentrate on ferrying packages weighing five pounds and below. Amazon says the experiments they'll perform across the pond will give them a better understanding of how the flying machines can be used safely for Prime Air. Further, it will help them identify and conjure up the rules and safety regulations needed to "move the drone industry forward."

    Source: Amazon


  • What's on your HDTV: 'Sharknado,' 'MADtv'
    Apparently Syfy has some Shark Week jealousy, as it's leading up to the debut of Sharknado 4 with a week full of shark movies. That's one alternative to the prime time DNC coverage on the networks this week, but also of note is the return of MADtv on CW. Gamers can try out a preview of We Happy Few on Xbox One, or DLC arriving for Fallout 4 or Minecraft: Story Mode. On Blu-ray, viewers can see Criminal in Ultra HD, or check out the entirely-filmed-in-first-person Hardcore Henry, and Netflix premieres the movie Tallulah. Look after the break to check out each day's highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).
    Blu-ray & Games & Streaming
    Tallulah (Netflix, 7/29) Holding the Man (Netflix, 8/1) The Invitation Hardcore Henry Criminal (4K) NHL Stanley Cup Champions 2016 The Boss Hyper Light Drifter (PS4, Xbox One) Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 7 (Everything) Super Dungeon Bros (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Headlander (PC, PS4) OlliOlli: Epic Combo Edition (PS4) Blue Rider (PS4) Tom Clancy's The Division: Survival DLC (PS4) Fallout 4: Vault-Tec Workshop DLC (PC, PS4, Xbox One) We Happy Few (PC, Xbox One - Game Preview) Riptide GP: Renegade (PC, PS4) Chambara (PS4) Among the Sleep (PS4) In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor (PC - Early Access)
    Monday
    American Ninja Warrior, NBC, 8PM So You Think You Can Dance, Fox, 8PM WWE Raw, USA, 8PM Chris Harris on Cars, BBC America, 9PM The Fosters, Freeform, 8PM Dam Sharks, Syfy, 9PM Guilt, Freeform, 9PM Rizzoli & Isles, TNT, 9PM Angie Tribeca, TBS, 9PM 2016 Democratic Convention, CBS/ABC/NBC, 10PM The Making of the Mob, AMC, 10PM Major Crimes, TNT, 10PM Are You the One?, MTV, 10PM Unreal, Lifetime, 10PM Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, TBS, 10:30PM
    Tuesday
    Difficult People, Hulu, 3AM Casual, Hulu, 3AM America's Got Talent, NBC, 8PM Whose Line is it Anyway?, CW, 8PM Zoo, CBS, 9PM WWE Smackdown, USA, 8PM Ice Sharks, Syfy, 9PM MADtv (season premiere), CW, 9PM Animal Kingdom, TNT, 9PM Deadliest Catch, Discovery, 9PM Coupled, Fox, 9PM 2016 Democratic Convention, ABC/CBS/NBC, 10PM Scream, MTV, 10PM F in Fabulous, BET, 10PM Feed the Beast, AMC, 10PM Tosh.0, Comedy Central, 10PM Wrecked, TBS, 10PM Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, Comedy Central, 10:30PM
    Wednesday
    Chelsea, Netflix 3AM Penn & Teller: Fool Us, CW, 8PM America's Got Talent, NBC, 8PM Unsung Hollywood: Jasmine Guy, TV One, 8PM Young & Hungry, Freeform, 8PM Big Brother, CBS, 8PM Baby Daddy, Freeform, 8:30PM Suits, USA, 9PM American Gothic, CBS, 9PM Dating Naked, VH1, 9PM Planet of the Sharks, Syfy, 9PM Dual Survival, Discovery, 9PM Kingdom, DirecTV, 9PM Wayward Pines (season finale), Fox, 9PM 2016 Democratic Convention, CBS/ABC/NBC, 10PM Mr. Robot, USA, 10PM Tyrant, FX, 10PM Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons, HBO, 10PM Another Period, Comedy Central, 10PM The Real World/Road Rules Challenge, MTV, 10PM
    Thursday
    Battlebots, ABC, 8PM Home Free, Fox, 8PM Ozark Sharks, Syfy, 9PM Greatest Hits, ABC, 9PM Big Brother, CBS, 9PM Beauty and the Beast, CW, 9PM Home Free, Fox, 9PM The First 48, A&E, 9PM Hollywood Game Night, NBC, 9PM 2016 Democratic Convention, CBS/ABC/NBC, 10PM Jeff Ross presents Roast Battle (series premiere), Comedy Central, 10PM Ripper Street (season premiere), BBC America, 10PM Lip Sync Battle, Spike TV, 10PM Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, FX, 10PM Queen of the South, USA, 10PM Ridiculousness, MTV, 10PM
    Friday
    Last Chance U (S1), Netflix, 3AM Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh (S1), Netflix, 3AM Masters of Illusion, CW, 8PM Killjoys, Syfy, 9PM Premier Boxing Champions Special, Spike TV, 9PM Dark Matter, Syfy, 10PM Outcast, Cinemax, 10PM Jeff Ross presents Roast Battle, Comedy Central, 10PM
    Saturday
    Killer Coach, Lifetime, 8PM Rush Hour, CBS, 9PM Looking: The Movie, HBO, 10PM American West (season finale), AMC, 10PM Boston EMS, ABC, 10PM Jeff Ross presents Roast Battle, Comedy Central, 10PM
    Sunday
    Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, Syfy, 8P


  • US Special Forces are getting a 'missile sub' delivery vehicle

    Although Lockheed Martin has come under fire for the controversial F–35 fighter jet program, the aerospace company's Submergence Group just announced a $166 million defense contract with the US Special Operations Command to build a new "missile sub" meant to carry Special Forces scuba divers into battle. Operated by a pilot and a navigator, the 30-ton Swimmer Delivery Vehicle will carry a team of six divers to an underwater location in a completely dry environment. Once the sub reaches its drop point, it can launch the dive team through an onboard airlock system.

    "The dry, one-atmosphere environment of these vehicles provides an alternative to traditional wet submersibles being used by the U.S. and international Special Forces communities today," Lockheed Martin wrote in a statement, "and will deliver operators to their destination in better physical condition to complete a mission."

    According to based on the existing S301i dry manned submersible and will include an Inertial Navigation System, Doppler Velocity Log for navigation support, an Underwater Telephone and UHF radio for communications, and an obstacle avoidance sonar and fathometer. The S302, as it is officially called, will also include support for additional sensors as specific missions require.


  • PhD student uses a robot to make VR feel more real

    Between the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, we've come a long way towards being able to step in to virtual worlds -- but touching those false realities is a different matter. Solving this means finding a haptic technology that can adapt to needs of a constantly changing virtual environment. One PhD student's solution? Use a robot arm.

    Rigging up a $25,000 Baxter robot to an HTC Vive may not be a practical haptic feedback setup, but it sure looks effective. Scott Devin, PhD candidate at Queen's University Belfast, built the setup as a proof-of-concept 'encounter haptic system' that actively follows a VR user's pushes against them at appropriate moments to simulate physical objects in a virtual space. In Devin's demo, this served to provide force feedback and weight to users pushing virtual wooden blocks off of a VR shelf -- gently pushing back against the player's HTC Vive controller as it moved the digital blocks.

    It's a bit of a ridiculous setup for such a simple demo, but it wasn't designed to be practical. "It's definitely not for consumers," Devin told Digital Trends, YouTube


  • Illinois politician resigns after fighting social network fakes

    Politicians tend to quit over scandals or sheer public outcry, but fake social networking accounts? That's new. Illinois House representative Ron Sandack has resigned after spending weeks battling with "cyber security issues" -- namely, people creating multiple impersonating Facebook and Twitter accounts. The fight made him "re-evaluate" his role in office and whether or not it was worth missing "important family events" to be there, he says.
    There won't be much of a power vacuum, since many already expect young up-and-comer David Olsen to take Sandack's place. Still, it shows just how much grief online impersonation can cause. If problems with your accounts are important enough that they could make you question your career in politics, social networking is no longer a nice-to-have feature.
    Via: Reuters

    Source: Capitol Fax (1), (2)


  • Lithium-oxygen battery promises lighter electric cars

    Lithium-air batteries are supposed to lead to lighter, longer-ranged electric cars thanks to their high power-to-weight output, but they have some showstopping flaws: they not only degrade rapidly, but waste a lot of energy input as heat. Neither is exactly ideal in a vehicle that's expected to last you several years and charge quickly. Scientists at MIT, Argonne National Laboratory and Peking University might have found a better way, though. They've engineered a lithium-oxygen battery that offers the light weight of lithium-air without its drawbacks.

    Instead of pulling in oxygen from the air to trigger a chemical reaction, like a lithium-air battery would, this new design relies on nanoscale particles that hold both lithium and oxygen, keeping the oxygen inside as it changes states. This both dramatically reduces the energy loss (about five times less voltage) and prevents the rapid changes in volume that cut tend to shrink a battery's usable lifespan. The lithium-oxygen tech is also more friendlier to real-world conditions (lithium-air can't take carbon dioxide or moisture) and is inherently protected against overcharging -- it just shifts to a different reaction when there's too much power.

    Right now, the battery exists solely as a proof of concept in a lab. However, there is a plan to create a prototype within a year. It's realistic, too, as it doesn't need expensive materials and could be used just like a run-of-the-mill lithium-ion battery. Should all go well, you could see electric cars that store twice as much energy at a given weight as lithium-ion cells. That, in turn, could lead to EVs that either end range anxiety or don't have to weigh so much to deliver the range you get today.

    Source: Nature, MIT News


  • 'Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV' gets its first English trailer

    A new theatrical trailer is out for Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, the film companion to the upcoming video game. This is the first time audiences can hear the CG movie's star-studded English-language voice talent.


    Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul stars as Nyx, a member of a magic-wielding royal guard called Kingsglaive who has to protect an oracle named Lunafreya, voiced by Game of Thrones' Lena Headey. Sean Bean, also of Game of Thrones fame, plays King Regis, the father of the game's main character Noctis.

    The film will be in limited theaters in North America on August 19th, and you can purchase it as a digital download on August 30th and on Blu-Ray and DVD on October 4th. Kingsglaive is also part of Final Fantasy XV's Deluxe and Ultimate Collector's Editions, which will be released on September 30th.


  • 'No More Ransom' helps you fight ransomware without paying

    Ransomware is one of the most chilling type of malware floating around the internet: an attack that locks a user's files hostage behind an encrypted paywall. Universities, hospitals and even seats of government have fallen victim to these kinds of attacks, paying thousands of dollars in ransom to cyber-criminals in hopes of recovering precious data. Now, authorities and IT companies are fighting back. Intel Secruity, Interpol, the Dutch police and Kaspersky labs have teamed up to create No More Ransom, a web-portal with tool that help users remove ransomware without paying off their attackers.

    At a glance, NoMoreRansom.org looks like a "best-practices" site, dispensing the usual prevention advice: use back ups, only open attachments from people you know and trust, use anti-virus software and so on -- but it also features ransomware detection and decryption tools. Users can upload encrypted files to see what kind of malware they're infected with, and then check to see if it can be removed with the 160,000 decryption keys at the organization's disposal.

    Beyond simply helping infected users get back on their feet, the organization hopes to deter ransomware by reducing criminal income. "The biggest problem with crypto-ransomware today is that when users have precious data locked down, they readily pay criminals to get it back," explains Jornt Van der Wiel, from Kaspersky Labs. "That boosts the underground economy, and we are facing an increase in the number of new players and the number of attacks as a result."

    It's an uphill battle -- and malware will probably never be eliminated entirely -- but it's a war worth fighting. Think you might be infected with ransomware? Check out the website at the source link and get your files checked.

    Via: CNET

    Source: No More Ransom, Europol


  • Audi is trying to beat Tesla at its own game
    Audi's ramping up its electric car plans and hopes to have three models by 2020. It'll also form a new subsidiary to work on autonomous cars.
    The company's chief executive Rupert Stadler told Reuters that Audi's renewed push for electric cars is a direct result of the emissions scandal that embroiled its parent company Volkswagen.

    Stadler wasn't spilling the beans on the new cars, but did say there would be a subcompact among them. To make room for the new vehicles, some older models would likely be dropped. We're looking at you, two-door A3.

    Another premium manufacturer focusing more heavily on electric and autonomous cars will likely take some of the spotlight off Tesla's autonomous vehicle ambitions.

    ""This is about a robot car that may not even need a steering wheel or pedals, so it's ideal for urban traffic," Stadler said.

    Audi's also got tentative plans for fuel cell cars too, but doesn't think there will be enough charging stations to make the technology viable until at least 2020.

    Source: Reuters


  • Google Maps now highlights busy neighborhoods

    In a new update hitting desktop, Android and iOS today, the Google Maps team has done a little design housekeeping to clear some of the clutter and create a cleaner look across the board. While doing away with certain elements like road outlines, the update also adds a new feature that highlights active neighborhoods or "areas of interest."

    These areas of interest are now shaded light orange are meant to highlight "places where there's a lot of activities and things to do" like popular business districts or neighborhood strips. According to the Google Maps blog, these areas are determined by "an algorithmic process that allows us to highlight the areas with the highest concentration of restaurants, bars and shops," although some additional human interaction is apparently needed to determine the busiest spots in high-density areas like New York City.

    Here's that new feature in action, showing some busy neighborhoods in beautiful, Oakland, California:

    In addition to the new highlighting, Google Maps is also getting tweaks to the color scheme that should make it easier to identify everything from parks and natural features to hospitals and highways. In other recent updates, Google also added the oh-so-handy multiple destinations feature for mobile directions and even higher resolution imagery in Satellite view.


  • Nike's latest soccer cleat is its most data-driven shoe yet

    In soccer, like most other sports, footwear plays a major role in helping athletes perform at their best. Your shoes say a lot about who you are as a player, and you need them almost as much as you need the ball to play. This week, soccer pros all over the world will test-drive Nike's latest flagship football boot, known as the Magista 2. Unlike the original, released in 2014, Nike says its new model is fully driven by two years of research. Over that span, the sportswear giant relied on collecting athlete data and 3D-printed prototypes to build the design that hits stores tomorrow.

    It's 30 percent lighter than before, for one, thanks to a soleplate that Nike overhauled using a custom tool called Finite Element Analysis. The FEA system tests traction patterns to build an optimal base for the foot, allowing designers to configure key elements like the placement of studs. What made this scientific testing easier to turn into tangible form was 3D printing technology, says Nathan VanHook, senior design director of Nike Football. A prototyping process that in the past would have taken weeks or even months can now be done in a matter of hours.

    By relying on 3D-printed plate models for FEA traction, VanHook says his team was able to receive instant feedback from different variation studs. These are sent through a robotic simulator to see which work best for rotation, acceleration and deceleration, until designers and engineers eventually land on the sweet spot. This data help create a shoe that's supposed to perform well on any given day, regardless of the condition of the field -- immaculate, rough, wet, dry or somewhere in between.


    The Magista 2's insole next to a few 3D-printed sample plates.
    VanHook, who designed one of the most coveted Air Yeezys during Kanye West's Nike partnership, says what he appreciates the most about 3D printing is the freedom it provides to experiment. "You see things right away," he explains. "We can take the lever and say, 'Let's see what the most extreme [thing to do] is,' and are able to prototype and iterate superfast." Put simply, VanHook says, 3D printing has sped up Nike's innovation process tenfold. He says there's no reason to wait to cut metal tooling or mold something anymore, noting that the key is to go from the sketch to the actual making as quickly as possible.

    As far as design goes, the Magista 2 is arguably Nike's most eye-popping soccer shoe to date. And that's coming from a brand known for its flashy designs on the pitch, including Cristiano Ronaldo's CR7 Mercurials, as well as the HyperVenom and Tiempo lines. Most of them feature colorful, highlighter-like tones that are hard to miss even for fans without 20/20 vision. The Magista 2's "heat-map" design is intended to mimic the hot spots where most players are bound to interact with the ball. In this case, red reveals areas of the foot with high sensitivity to touch.

    For example, if you've ever played soccer you know how effective it is to kick the ball with the inside of your foot. It provides both power and accuracy. Sure, you don't need a shoe to remind you of that, but it doesn't hurt to have that mapped on your feet for aesthetic purposes. The interesting part about this design is that it was originally used on every prototype of the Magista 2 for data-collection, but Nike ultimately decided to turn it into an actual product. "It was pretty amazing when we first started seeing all the data come in and we painted it up," says VanHook. "It's the simplest idea, but it's really complex how the data came through."
    Nathan VanHook with Nike's Magista 2.

    To develop Magista 2, VanHook and the design team needed some in-house assistance. They worked with people from the Nike Sport Research Lab every step of the way, from R&D to prototyping to the influence of the final design. NSRL is basically an underground bunker, located inside the most restrictive building at Nike's world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. The $40 million facility, built in 1980, is so secretive that even Nike employees who work in other buildings need to go through a screening process to receive a guest pass. It's an important part of everything Nike does for soccer, basketball, football, running and basically every other sport for which it makes products.

    Nike is often coy about what goes on at its high-tech lab, but in a sneak peek it posted online in 2014, it describes NSRL generally as a place to "quantify athletes' movements, the environments they play in and they products they use." For this particular project, NSRL provided VanHook the necessary information to create an upper that's designed to offer a better grip on the ball, improved traction and, as mentioned earlier, a lighter-weight design than the first Magista.

    Similar to what Adidas did with its AlphaBounce running shoe, Nike researchers used motion capture to study how different areas of the foot control the ball. Again, this is what's mirrored on the Magista 2's upper design, which is made out of Nike's trademark FlyKnit material.

    NSRL isn't just for testing products, however. It's also a facility where athletes go to be evaluated frame by frame, sometimes for their personal gain and other times to help Nike with things like footwear research. The soccer lab has more than 20 cameras capable of capturing footage at up to 10,000 frames per second, which is a crucial factor when every little detail counts. The 3D motion-capture system is akin to what's used for animation films, but Nike's purpose is to re-create performance and model the foot and ball to see how they interact with each other in various scenarios.

    "We deal with a lot of the nerdy stuff in here," says Mike Amos, senior researcher at the Nike Sport Research Lab, "and we have some excellent designers that can help visualize that [data]." Despite all that research, VanHook says there were some tedious challenges during the design process. He points to the cuff around the ankle on the Magista 2, explaining how challenging it was to make an anatomical shape that offered support and comfort simultaneously. To do so, VanHook says he had to work closely with the knit team, and they eventually went through more than 120 panels of fabric and yarn before getting to the ideal shape.


    A themed Magista 2 will be worn by the USA women's national team at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
    So, how does all of this translate when you're wearing and playing in the Magista 2? The best way to describe the experience is that it feels like you're wearing a thick sock. Which is exactly what Nike had in mind. That said, it did take 15 to 20 minutes of running around to feel comfortable. At first, I thought I needed to go a size up, but the shoe eventually adjusted to my foot. After all, comfort is the least you can expect from a $300 pair of cleats (the indoor version is $175).

    With Magista 2, one of the features Nike is focusing on is ball grip, but I didn't notice much of a difference right away compared with other soccer shoes I own -- including the previous-gen Magista. Maybe that's something you'll notice with more wear and tear, as I only tested them for about two hours. At the end of the day, the Magista 2 isn't going to turn you into Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar or Messi. But it is designed to improve your performance in training and during games. If nothing else, though, it's always nice to have the best-looking cleats on your rec team.


  • Facebook and Twitter helped catch suspected militants in Brazil

    Big social networks have been doing more to quash extremist content and views lately, but rarely are they praised for having a real impact on investigation. On a television interview last night, a judge confirmed that Facebook and Twitter cooperated with authorities to help track down 12 suspected militants that were planning to attack the Rio Olympics.

    After a judicial order to assist the Brazilian investigators' "Operation Hashtag," the internet titans provided information on their online behavior that was key to locating the militants. But it isn't clear how much Facebook and Twitter shared or whether they gave authorities actual user exchanges. During the interview, the judge only said: "The companies began to provide data related to the content of the conversations and data about where those conversations were posted."

    Lately, the social giants have taken a zero-tolerance policy toward extremist discussion. YouTube, Facebook and others have instituted systems to automatically delete content that includes beheadings or other incidents they deem likely to incite violence. Meanwhile, Twitter has stepped up its post-incident response, deleting many pro-extremist accounts and tweets in the wake of the recent attack in Nice, France.

    But cooperating with investigators raises sticky questions about privacy, especially for Brazilian police, who have liberally pressured tech companies for user data to solve local drug crimes. Back in March, they detained a Facebook vice president for the company's failing to provide user data for the messaging service WhatsApp, which it owns. Authorities refused to accept that the company cannot access it due to automatic encryption and blocked the service for 72 hours in May, then punitively froze Facebook funds in July. But it seems that the Olympics was too international and high-profile to avoid cooperating.

    Via: Fast Company

    Source: Reuters


  • Lights in the sky: Inside San Francisco's illuminated art scene

    San Francisco is well-known for its bridges. The Golden Gate Bridge needs no introduction, but the other bridge, the Bay Bridge, has often paled a bit in comparison. It's known for horrible traffic as commuters pass back and forth between San Francisco and Oakland. And, let's be honest, the bridge just isn't as well-known as the Golden Gate. It's functional, but not beautiful.

    In 2010, however, the seeds for changing that were planted by Ben Davis, who teamed up with artist Leo Villareal to conceive and create the Bay Lights, a massive light art installation that spans the bridge between San Francisco and Yerba Buena Island. " I was sitting there looking at the beautiful west span of the Bay Bridge in 2010 as it was approaching its 75th anniversary," Davis recalls. "I'm thinking: 'How do you let this beautiful piece of infrastructure shine in the region's consciousness again?'"

    The answer is the 1.8 miles of LEDs stretching 500 feet into the sky that light up the bridge every night. "When you see a weather report or the intro to a basketball or baseball game, it's the image that gets broadcast, it's what people see now," says Villareal. "It's interesting because the Golden Gate is so iconic and this has shifted the way people look at the Bay Bridge."

    It's the largest light sculpture in San Francisco -- but it's far from the only one. In a city known as the epicenter of the tech revolution, there's so much technology-based art that you can now take light art tours over the holiday season. They started in 2013, the year The Bay Lights first lit up and have continued ever year since. All told there are 27 installations around San Francisco, a handful of which we'll dive into in more detail here. The best thing about them is that you can see most of them year-round. Whichever part of town you're in, there's likely something worth seeing, particularly if it's twilight.

    Murmur Wall and Lightswarm, by Future Cities Lab



    A large number of these installations are in the SoMa neighborhood, with one being particularly suited to San Francisco: the Murmur Wall. Designed by Future Cities Lab and installed outside the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the 60-foot Murmur Wall is a mass of steel and acrylic tubing, LED lights and digital displays. The bent steel tubes bring to mind the bicycle racks dotted throughout the city, but the installation's technology brings a decidedly more modern and social aspect to the art. Intermingling with the steel are a number of LED light tubes that lead into a series of screens at the piece's center -- and using your smartphone, you can send a short text message to the wall that'll display on the tubes.

    Once your message has been submitted, you'll see a blue ball of light make its way from the left side of the display to the screens, where it briefly scrolls across. Once the message leaves one of the screens, you can again follow the ball of light as it makes its way through more LED tubes and shows up on more displays before it finally exits the installation entirely.

    Messages from passers-by aren't the only things the Murmur Wall displays -- the project also taps into Google and Twitter and shows trending topics on its screens, signified by yellow balls of light. When I checked out the installation in late May, the Golden State Warriors were in the thick of the playoffs and numerous messages relating to the team flashed on the wall, both from individuals as well as the trending-topic algorithm the artwork uses.

    While the value of the short snippets of text floating across the screen may be debatable, there's something very tranquil about watching the lights and words move from one end of the structure to the other. It's an engaging piece of artwork even without the intention of tapping into things trending around the city. And while not everything that flashed across the screen was worth noting, there were several times when the messages or trends coming through felt relevant, timely or interesting to read.

    Just behind the Murmur Wall is another exhibit by Future Cities Lab that also integrates the city around it, albeit in a more organic way. Lightswarm is a collection of 430 light modules connected together and hooked up to sensors that measure and respond to ambient noise around the structure. The light modules themselves are all mounted on the walls of the Yerba Buena Center, and the sensors take the sounds from outside the building and translate them into different patterns that are displayed on the wall.

    In a crowded city, it's sometimes difficult to determine what sounds the wall is actually reflecting -- but come nighttime, it's actually pretty quiet down by Yerba Buena. Once the sun starts dipping down, a group of friends' chattering is reflected in the movements of the light on the Lightswarm sculpture as they walk by. You can walk right up to the glass wall and tap on it to see how the sculpture reacts. Given the size of Lightswarm, it's tricky to tell exactly how the sounds of the city affect the lights, but the wave-like shape of the 3D-printed parts and their pulsing colors give the viewer a sense of calm in the middle of a busy neighborhood.

    Bayview Rise, by Haddad / Drugan



    While Lightswarm and the Murmur Wall are best seen at night, the huge, illuminated Bayview Rise mural is equally worth experiencing during the daytime. Located in the Bayview neighborhood in San Francisco's southeast corner, the illuminated animated mural was built on the city of grain silos. From a long distance, like on the highways that snake past the painting, you can get a sense of the full image, while up close you can appreciate the more abstract details that make up the composition. At night, the image really comes to life thanks to changing lighting that gives the mural an entirely different feel.

    "We do site-specific public art and it's mostly exterior, often incorporating nighttime lighting," says Laura Haddad of her work with partner Tom Drugan. "We try to do it in a way that isn't just illuminating a sculpture so you can see it at night but adding another layer of meaning to the artwork." Between viewing the mural from afar or up close and during the day vs. night, there are definitely a lot of ways to take in Haddad and Drugan's artwork.

    The project came about from an open call for artists from the port of San Francisco in 2013, and at the time Haddad was experimenting with how various colored lights would change the look of different colored images. The idea of using the side of the silo as a canvas for the new technique came up pretty quickly, so she put together a quick demo to test it out. "We made a quick video of an 11-x-17 colored print with LEDs cycling through," she says. "It was really effective, how the images changed with the light."

    Beyond getting the interplay between the light and mural just right, Haddad and Drugan also wanted to make sure they made a piece of art representative of the neighborhood. "I lived in San Francisco in the '90s but didn't really didn't go to that neighborhood much," Haddad says. "But the port wanted to do something there for the community and give them a landmark," she explains.

    To capture the vibe of the area, Haddad says they took a number of meetings with community leaders to get the pulse of the neighborhood; the mural itself contained a number of symbols of the area to make it uniquely suited to Bayview. The red balloons are inspired by the words of a 96-year-old community activist who said that the neighborhood was like a "balloon waiting to inflate and rise." The cows reference the historic Butchertown, once located at the site of the silo. Other patterns include shorebirds rising from the waters of the bay and a heron that references Heron's Head Park, a nearby environmental restoration project.

    Ultimately, the mural helps define the neighborhood, even for people who don't live nearby. I've seen the Bayview Rise countless times while driving up and down the freeway a few miles way -- you can't miss it. For years it piqued my interest, and it likely does the same for the huge number of commuters driving on I-280 through San Francisco.

    The Bay Lights by Leo Villareal / Illuminate



    As engaging as all 27 exhibits featured on San Francisco's light art tour are, nothing comes close to The Bay Lights project, both for the sheer scope of the art itself as well as the logistical challenges needed to make it a reality. In true San Francisco fashion, artist Leo Villareal said the project "was built in the spirit of a startup and not accepting no for an answer."

    Davis' elevator pitch to the many city and state agencies that needed to work together was simple: "I have an idea that might let your bridge outshine the Golden Gate for a little while." But when Villareal put together a one-minute video mock-up showing his vision for The Bay Lights, it got even easier to get the help the team needed. "[The video] transformed everyone's opinion about the project," Davis recalls. "The reality is, once you can visualize something, it changes the entire conversation. If you can get to the essence and the heart of it in 60 seconds, you suddenly have this very powerful tool."

    The project was the result of two-and-a-half-years of collaboration between Villareal, Davis and a host of other contributors, particularly from a technical standpoint. Both Villareal and Davis say they're not terribly technical people, but they were facing a serious challenge. "We know how to make pixels into a screen, but to take those pixels and spread them out over 1.8 miles, 500 feet in the sky above water and live traffic -- it's an unusual challenge," Davis says.



    Incredibly, the artwork has been built and attached to the bridge not once, but twice. The original Bay Lights were turned on in March 2013, and were shut down two years later by design. However, the area had such a strong response to the project and its closure that Davis and Villareal went back to work, seeing how they could make it a permanent installation.

    To do that, Davis' nonprofit Illuminate organization persuaded the city of San Francisco and the California department of transportation (Caltran) to take over operation of Bay Lights. Illuminate raised the money to reinstall the lights, but then the group gave the artwork to Caltran, San Francisco and the state of California. Davis recalls his pitch like this: "We'll bring this artwork live, in conjunction with Super Bowl 50 when the eyes of the world are on the Bay area and on your bridge, and at that moment we gift the installation to you in exchange for your stewardship."

    From a cost perspective, Davis said the maintenance comes to about $250,000 a year. With an operating budget of $8 million for the west span of the bridge, about 143 toll-paying cars a day cover the costs needed for upkeep. And when the installation went up the second time, the equipment needed was re-engineered to survive in what Villareal called "the bay's harsh marine environment."



    With the installation now built to stand the test of time and the state in charge of its upkeep, The Bay Lights gives the bridge a shot to become as iconic as the Golden Gate. A big part of that comes from the artwork's simplicity, something Davis and Villareal had to fight to preserve when they were raising money. "There are ways of engaging in commercial stuff, but it's important to keep it pure," says Villareal. "The Bay Lights isn't aggressive. It doesn't demand your attention."

    Indeed, any kind of visible commercial endorsement -- or anything beyond the abstract patterns you can see on the bridge every night -- would have kept The Bay Lights from becoming the kind of icon Davis and Villareal hoped for. "The piece became really accessible because it was free from the distraction of interaction," Davis says. "Would the heavens be any more majestic if you could rearrange the stars with your iPad? Fucking no."

    "There are lots of illuminated bridges -- you can search Google and find 100 garish examples," Villareal says, "but there's something about The Bay Lights that's restrained." That tasteful restraint is now a hallmark of both of San Francisco's bridges. The Golden Gate has its copper color and breathtaking views, while the Bay Bridge has its lights. There's no doubt it's a better legacy than traffic jams.


  • Steve Kondik on Cyanogen Inc and CyanogenMod
    Steve Kondik, founder of CyanogenMod (the community ROM) and Cyanogen Inc. (the company):  CyanogenMod is something that works. Perhaps it doesn't need to "go big" to work. I'm still wildly inspired by the idea of a platform which forces participation. Whether it's the choice to hack your phone to bits and figure out how to install the damn thing to begin with, learning what's possible afterwards, or just having the confidence of being in control, it still serves an important role which hasn't been filled outside of the custom ROM community. Cyanogen Inc (including myself) will still be sponsoring the project and will continue to have an active role in it's development. Contrary to popular belief, we are not "pivoting to apps" nor are we shelving CM. We'll have additional information on the Inc site soon.  Good news for CyanogenMod (the ROM), but communications in the vein of "the company is not going down, honest!" usually precede the company going down.


  • Windows 10 Anniversary Update is ready to go
    The final build of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update is build 14393. The update, which provides a range of new features and improvements, represents Microsoft's last big push to get Windows 7 and 8.1 users to upgrade to Windows 10.  The update is available right now to those who have opted in to the Windows Insider program, and it will be pushed out to Windows 10 users on the current branch on August 2. The free upgrade offer from Windows 7 and 8.1 to Windows 10, however, ends on July 29, leaving Microsoft hoping that the promise of the new update will be enough to get people to make the switch.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I doubt many Windows 7/8 users here who haven't upgraded yet will be wooed by this new update.  If you're still running Windows XP, you're irresponsible and you should update to 7/8/10 or Linux immediately.


  • When Nintendo wanted to bring gambling into American homes
    As another installment in a somewhat ongoing series on obscure console history, let's talk about the expansion port on the Nintendo Entertainment System or NES. In case you've never turned over your NES: there's a little door underneath your NES, which covers up a small raised piece of plastic that's (relatively) easily removable. Underneath the raised piece of plastic sits an expansion port on the NES' motherboard. That's my NES, and since I've already taken it apart to look at what's under the raised cover, I had no need to remove it.  Common wisdom is that the NES expansion port was never actually used for anything, but that's not actually true. Modeled after the Family Computer Network System for the Japanese version of the NES (the Famicom), through which the NES could display weather, stock information, partake in gambling, and so on, the Minnesota State Lottery and Nintendo tried to bring a similar device to the United States:  The three parties planned to sign up 10,000 homes for the trial, and while Nintendo handed out free modems, in an even sweeter deal, Minnesota also handed out free NES consoles to those involved who didn't already have one.  For a monthly subscription fee of $10 (remember, that's 1991 money), users would also get a special cartridge for the NES that let them access the lottery, after which they could play every game that month, right up to and including the big jackpots.  The program ultimately flopped and never made it to the official production or availability stages, and since Nintendo never tried to do anything with the expansion port after this initial test, it would remain unused for the entirety of the NES' lifespan. Today, though, you can buy a homebrew expansion board that taps into the port.  I've been reading up a lot on these kinds of stories, so if you have anything interesting - feel free to submit it. Since I grew up with Nintendo (and PC), that's where the focus has been so far, so I'd be quite interested in stories about competing companies such as Sega or Atari.


  • Cyanogen Inc. is undergoing major layoffs, may "pivot" to apps
    We're hearing from multiple sources that Cyanogen Inc. is in the midst of laying off a significant portion of its workforce around the world today. The layoffs most heavily impact the open source arm of the Android ROM-gone-startup, which may be eliminated entirely (not CyanogenMod itself, just the people at Cyanogen Inc. who work on the open source side).  [...]  We have been told by several sources [ed. note: confirmed by Re/code] that the company plans to undergo some sort of major strategic shift, with one claiming that this involves a "pivot" to "apps."   Quoting myself, early this year: "Don't buy into Cyanogen. Just don't."  Cyanogen, Inc. has been misleading, grandiose, megalomaniac. I wish the people who got laid off all the best in the troubling weeks and months ahead, but I shed no tear for the megalomaniac, misleading, and arrogant way this company conducted its business.


  • Unique SNES-CD prototype fixed
    Back in the early '90s, a number of game consoles of the time got CD-ROM based add-ons, such as the the Mega-CD for the Mega Drive (or Sega CD and Genesis, respectively, in North-America). Nintendo wanted in on this trend as well, and in cooperation with Sony - which already made several of the SNES' chips - Nintendo explored the idea of a CD-ROM based add-on for the SNES. The plan was for the device to be connected to the SNES using the 28-pin expansion port located underneath the SNES.  The device - called the SNES-CD or Nintendo Play Station - eventually morphed into a single unit capable of playing both SNES games and new disc-based games, all in a single package. It never made it to market, though, and only 200 or so prototypes were ever made, which all seemingly were destroyed, or so the story goes. Sony took what it learned during its stint with Nintendo, and in 1994, unveiled the PlayStation.  Until in 2015, Terry and Dan Diebold by pure luck stumbled upon one of the presumed lost prototypes - probably the rarest console in existence. The SNES part of the device was in working condition (mostly), but the CD-ROM part was void of any signs of life. It seemed like the Nintendo Play Station would continue to hide its secrets.  That is, until now - Ben Heck has managed to fix the SNES-CD, and get it back into working order. The entire process is chronicled in two videos. In the first video, Heck takes the SNES-CD apart and analyses its insides, trying to figure out what each chip and component does. In the second video, the real magic begins - fixing the device.  I'm not going to spoil why, exactly, the device didn't work - it's too good of a story and too much of a fun surprise to spoil upfront. Grab something to drink, and enjoy an hour of delicately poking at the insides of one of the rarest pieces of technology.


  • Assessing IBM's POWER8
    It is the widest superscalar processor on the market, one that can issue up to 10 instructions and sustain 8 per clock: IBM's POWER8. IBM's POWER CPUs have always captured the imagination of the hardware enthusiast; it is the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the M1 Abrams of the processor world. Still, despite a flood of benchmarks and reports, it is very hard to pinpoint how it compares to the best Intel CPUs in performance wise. We admit that our own first attempt did not fully demystify the POWER8 either, due to the fact that some immature LE Linux software components (OpenJDK, MySQL...) did not allow us to run our enterprise workloads.  Hence we're undertaking another attempt to understand what the strengths and weaknesses are of Intel's most potent challenger. And we have good reasons besides curiosity and geekiness: IBM has just recently launched the IBM S812LC, the most affordable IBM POWER based server ever. IBM advertises the S812LC with "Starting at $4,820". That is pretty amazing if you consider that this is not some basic 1U server, but a high expandable 2U server with 32 (!) DIMM slots, 14 disk bays, 4 PCIe Gen 3 slots, and 2 redundant power supplies.  Classic AnandTech. This is only part 1 - more parts are to follow.


  • Fun with the Windows Subsystem for Linux
    In this post, I m going to show you a few of the features of WSL that I personally find very interesting, as well as point you to some resources to help you learn more. First, I'll show the integration of staple commands like ssh for working with Linux servers and devices. Second, I'll demonstrate the ability to use Bash scripting to automate tasks in a very natural way. Third, I'll have a little fun with the great command-line compilers, other tools and the *nix compatibility offered, and play a little NetHack. Finally, I'll show you the ability to use existing Python and other scripts available on the web.


  • France orders Microsoft to stop tracking Windows 10 users
    France's data protection commission has ordered Microsoft to "stop collecting excessive user data" and to stop tracking the web browsing of Windows 10 users without their consent. In a notice published on Wednesday, the CNIL said that Microsoft must also take steps to guarantee "the security and confidentiality" of its users' personal information, after determining that the company was still transferring data to the US under the "Safe Harbor" agreement that an EU court invalidated in October. Microsoft has three months to comply with the orders, the CNIL said.  I was reminded of just how much stuff Microsoft tries to collect earlier today - I had to reinstall Windows on my workstation because my SSD had mysteriously died yesterday, and the number of things you have to turn off is just crazy.


  • "Can someone explain the origin of the OS/2 table's name?"
    In a discussion at TypeDrawers, Greg Hitchcock (from Microsoft) shares a bit of the history regarding OS/2 table's name in the TTF font format:  Because the design of fonts between OS/2 and Windows was very similar (the same folks at Microsoft did most of the graphics for both OS/2 and Windows - with some input from IBM based on their FOCA values) we decided to consolidate the OS/2 and WIN tables into just one table - OS/2. This is why the spec says "...a set of metrics that are required by OS/2 and Windows." The parting with IBM occurred later in 1990. Microsoft had already made enough fonts using the OS/2 table that we decided it would be too expensive to rename the table to the WIN table.  [...]  Ultimately the OS/2 table has become somewhat of a catch-all for additional bits of data, which is why we are now on the 6th version of the table.


  • EFF lawsuit takes on DMCA Section 1201
    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the U.S. government today on behalf of technology creators and researchers to overturn onerous provisions of copyright law that violate the First Amendment.  EFF's lawsuit, filed with co-counsel Brian Willen, Stephen Gikow, and Lauren Gallo White of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, challenges the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the 18-year-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). These provisions -contained in Section 1201 of the DMCA - make it unlawful for people to get around the software that restricts access to lawfully-purchased copyrighted material, such as films, songs, and the computer code that controls vehicles, devices, and appliances. This ban applies even where people want to make noninfringing fair uses of the materials they are accessing.   Great move.


  • Windows File System Proxy: FUSE for Windows
    WinFsp is a set of software components for Windows computers that allows the creation of user mode file systems. In this sense it is similar to FUSE (Filesystem in Userspace), which provides the same functionality on UNIX-like computers.  Interesting project. They also provide details on how it works:  WinFsp consists of a kernel mode FSD (File System Driver) and a user mode DLL (Dynamic Link Library). The FSD interfaces with NTOS (the Windows kernel) and handles all interactions necessary to present itself as a file system driver to NTOS. The DLL interfaces with the FSD and presents an easy to use API for creating user mode file systems.  It's open source, using the AGPLv3 license.


  • Twitter has no obligation to protect your right to free speech
    Twitter has banned one of its most notoriously contentious voices. On Tuesday evening, the microblogging service permanently suspended the account of [a notorious troll], a day after he incited his followers to bombard Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones with racist and demeaning tweets.  "People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter," a company spokesperson said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News. "But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others."  With platforms like Twitter and Facebook having become the de-facto space where people come to voice their opinion and a central axis in world events - think the attack in Nice, the failed coup in Turkey, which effectively took place on Twitter and Facebook - a lot of people lose sight of what these platforms really are: glorified, very large and very popular online forums.  There's no difference between that forum you run for the community of frog statuette collectors you're a part of on the one side, and Twitter on the other. If people on your forum post insulting messages, harass your fellow frog statue collectors, or send in waves of trolls to post racist, hateful, and abusive messages at them, you'd ban them, remove their comments, delete their accounts.  Twitter is no different. Twitter, like your frog statuette collector forum, is a private enterprise, a personal space, where you set the rules regarding what's allowed and what isn't. I do the same here on OSNews. Banning people from your forum, from OSNews, or, indeed, from Twitter, is not a freedom of speech issue. The right to free speech protects you from the government, not from Twitter, forum moderators, or me deleting your hateful comment from OSNews. Or, for that matter, from deleting your perfectly valid and well-argumented comment (which I don't do, but you get the point). Platforms like Twitter may have become a popular forum for expression, but it has no more obligation to "protect" the "right to free speech" than you have the obligation to accept people walking into your house and saying hateful comments to you or your loved ones.  Twitter and Facebook face huge problems with systematic abuse from trolls, and banning this particularly nasty troll is nothing more than lip service to a famous actress and comedian, and it does nothing to address the core problem the platform faces. Twitter might consider spending less time screwing over third party developers and creating nonsense nobody wants, and focus on the real problems many of their real users have to face every single day.


  • Exploring the App Store's top grossing chart
    If you regularly browse the App Store's Top Charts most of these results would likely serve to confirm what you had already assumed. Most obviously, if you were to randomly pick an app from the Top 200 Grossing charts, chances are extremely high that you would pick a free app with IAPs and it would most likely be a game. But what is particularly suprising is the degree to which free apps with IAP dominate the charts with essentially no paid apps or no apps without IAPs.  I guess the hollowing out and complete destruction of the indie development world was totally worth it.


  • Chinese takeover of Norway's Opera fails, alternative proposed
    A $1.2 billion takeover of Opera Software by a group of Chinese internet firms fell through on Monday after failing to get regulatory approval in time, sending the Norwegian browser firm's shares to a seven-month low.  The deal needed a green light from the United States and China, and one firm in the Chinese consortium said U.S. privacy concerns would have led to an investigation into some of Opera's products that risked delaying the acquisition for up to a year.  I wonder what Opera really has to offer at this point - and I don't mean that as in, what does it have to offer as a browser to us as consumers, but what does it have to offer as a takeover target. I'm assuming the days of Opera Mini - which did well on things like the Wii - are over, so what's the package, here?


  • Toyota throws weight behind Linux patent protection group
    You probably don't think of car companies as Linux and open-source supporters. You'd be wrong. Toyota, the world's largest car manufacturer, just joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history.  OIN was formed by IBM, Sony, Phillips, Red Hat, and Novell in 1995 to defend Linux against intellectual property attacks. OIN's plan, then and now, is to acquire Linux-related patents. It then shares them royalty-free to any organization that agrees not to assert its patents against Linux or its applications.  It's worked.  OIN now has more than 2,000 members. In the last 18 months, with the rise of open source and Linux in all technology businesses, OIN has doubled in size.  The more companies join, the better. I had no idea OIN had been growing this quickly.



  • SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
        
    SUSE Manager is a open-source IT management solution with a centralized console for managing multiple Linux distributions, hardware platforms (x86, IBM Power Systems and z Systems),
       


  • My +1 Sword of Productivity
        
    If I'm being completely honest, I think the game-ification of a daily task list is a dumb idea. I also love it, and can't stress enough how well it works. Habitica might just be the way I get things done from now on. 
       


  • Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
        
    Okay, this program is free (beer), but not Free (speech). I wouldn't normally include a freeware application in a "Non-Linux FOSS" piece, because quite frankly, it isn't FOSS. But, I decided to break the rules a bit here because I realized how often I use a freeware program when I'm on OS X that I couldn't imagine doing without. 
       



  • Rogue Wave Software's Zend Server
        
    The CTO at Rogue Wave Software, Zeev Suraski, says he's never seen anything like PHP 7 in the software space—namely the halving of hardware needs after a mostly painless software upgrade.
       



  • Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
        
    I am involved in several free software projects, including one or two where I maintain the website. For one of those projects, we currently are updating the website.
       


  • SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
        
    Linux gamers all over the world will be happy to hear that a new version of SuperTuxKart is available. This should strike a nostalgic chord to people who have used desktop Linux to play games during the past ten years. 
       


  • Google's SwiftShader Released
        
    Year by year, plain-old HTML 5 websites are becoming fancier, and right now, the home entertainment world is buzzing about VR and 3D. But most sites are missing the boat; they have no 3D content. Well, that's about to change. 
       


  • Managing Linux Using Puppet
        
    At some point, you probably have installed or configured a piece of software on a server or desktop PC. Since you read Linux Journal, you've probably done a lot of this, as well as developed a range of glue shell scripts, Perl snippets and cron jobs. 
       


  • LiveCode Ltd.'s LiveCode
        
    "Everyone Can Code" is the vision that its maker has for LiveCode, a highly productive coding environment for Linux, Android, iOS, Mac, Windows and Server platforms.
       




  • SourceClear Open
        
    Open source and DevOps have been a boon to software development.
       





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


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



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




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



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





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


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


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


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


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


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


Page last modified on October 08, 2013, at 02:08 PM