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LinuxSecurity.com - Security Advisories



  • Debian: DSA-4341-1: mariadb-10.1 security update
    `bbLinuxSecurity.com`/bb: Several issues have been discovered in the MariaDB database server. The vulnerabilities are addressed by upgrading MariaDB to the new upstream version 10.1.37. Please see the MariaDB 10.1 Release Notes for further details:




  • Debian: DSA-4340-1: chromium-browser security update
    `bbLinuxSecurity.com`/bb: An out-of-bounds bounds memory access issue was discovered in chromium's v8 javascript library by cloudfuzzer. This update also fixes two problems introduced by the previous security




  • Mageia 2018-0458: squid security update
    `bbLinuxSecurity.com`/bb: Due to incorrect input handling, Squid is vulnerable to a Cross-Site Scripting vulnerability when generating HTTPS response messages about TLS errors (CVE-2018-19131). Due to a memory leak in SNMP query rejection code, Squid is vulnerable





LWN.net

  • [$] The kernel developer panel at LPC
    The closing event at the 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC) was apanel ofkernel developers. The participants were Laura Abbott, Anna-MariaGleixner, Shuah Khan, Julia Lawall, and Anna Schumaker; moderation wasprovided by Kate Stewart. This fast-moving discussion covered thechallenges of kernel development, hardware vulnerabilities, scaling thekernel, and more.


  • Security updates for Monday
    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (grafana and patch), Debian (chromium-browser), Fedora (cabextract, curl, elfutils, firefox, flatpak, glusterfs, kernel, kernel-headers, kernel-tools, kio-extras, libmspack, mariadb, mupdf, poppler, suricata, and wireshark), Mageia (hylafax+, jhead, libmspack/cabextract, nginx, sdl2/mingw-SDL2, and squid), openSUSE (amanda, apache-pdfbox, chromium, ImageMagick, LibreOffice and dependency libraries, libxkbcommon, openssh, systemd, and xorg-x11-server), and SUSE (ImageMagick, openssh, squid, and squid3).


  • Kernel prepatch 4.20-rc3
    The 4.20-rc3 kernel prepatch is out fortesting. "The changes in rc3 are pretty tiny, which means that thestatistics look slightly different from the usual ones - drivers onlyaccount for less than a third of the patch, for example."


  • Security updates for Friday
    Security updates have been issued by Fedora (lldpad, pdns, and php), Mageia (flash-player-plugin, gdal, mutt, patch, php-pear-CAS, postgresql9.4|6, ruby-rack, and teeworlds), SUSE (kernel-rt, postgresql10, and squid), and Ubuntu (openjdk-7).


  • [$] Bringing the Android kernel back to the mainline
    Android devices are based on the Linux kernel but, since the beginning,those devices have not run mainline kernels. The amount of out-of-treecode shipped on those devices has been seen as a problem for most of this time, and significant resources have been dedicated to reducing it.At the 2018 Linux PlumbersConference, Sandeep Patil talked about this problem and what is beingdone to address it. The dream of running mainline kernels on Androiddevices has not yet been achieved, but it may be closer than many people think.


  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta
    Red Hat has announcedthe release of RHEL 8 Beta. "Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta introduces the concept of Application Streams to deliver userspace packages more simply and with greater flexibility. Userspace components can now update more quickly than core operating system packages and without having to wait for the next major version of the operating system. Multiple versions of the same package, for example, an interpreted language or a database, can also be made available for installation via an application stream. This helps to deliver greater agility and user-customized versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux without impacting the underlying stability of the platform or specific deployments."


  • Security updates for Thursday
    Security updates have been issued by Fedora (kde-connect, mingw-SDL2_image, SDL2_image, and subscription-manager), Red Hat (flash-plugin), SUSE (openssh-openssl1, systemd, and thunderbird), and Ubuntu (kernel, linux, linux-aws, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-kvm, linux-oem, linux-raspi2, linux, linux-aws, linux-gcp, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-azure, linux-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-lts-trusty, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, postgresql-10, and python2.7).



  • [$] A report from the Automated Testing Summit
    In the first session of the Testing& Fuzzing microconference at the 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC), KevinHilman gave a report on the recently held Automated TestingSummit (ATS). Since the summit was an invitation-only gathering of 35people, there were many at LPC who were not at ATS but had a keeninterest in what was discussed. The summit came out of a realization thatthere is a lot of kernel testing going on in various places, but not a lotof collaboration between those efforts, Hilman said.


  • [$] Device-tree schemas
    Device trees have become ubiquitous in recent years as a way ofdescribing the hardware layout of non-discoverable systems, such as manyARM-based devices. The device-tree bindings define how a particularpiece of hardware is described in a device tree. Drivers then implementthose bindings. The device-tree documentation shows how to use the bindings to describe systems: which properties are available and which valuesthey may have. In theory, the bindings, drivers and documentation should beconsistent with each other. In practice, they are often not consistent and,even when they are, using those bindings correctly in actual device treesis not a trivial task. As a result, developers havebeen considering formal validation for device-tree files for years.Recently, Rob Herring proposeda move to a more structured documentation format for device-tree bindingsusing JSON Schema to allow automatedvalidation.


  • Results: Linux Foundation Technical Board Election 2018
    The results of the 2018 election for members of the Linux Foundation'sTechnical Advisory Board have been posted; the members elected this timearound are Chris Mason, Laura Abbott, Olof Johansson, Dan Williams, andKees Cook. Abbott and Cook are new members to the board this time around.(The other TAB members are Ted Ts'o, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Jonathan Corbet,Tim Bird, and Steve Rostedt).


  • Stable kernel updates
    Stable kernels 4.19.2, 4.18.19, 4.14.81, and 4.9.137 have been released. They all contain arelatively large set of important fixes and users should upgrade.


  • Security updates for Wednesday
    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (powerdns and powerdns-recursor), Debian (ceph and spamassassin), Fedora (feh, flatpak, and xen), Red Hat (kernel, kernel-rt, openstack-cinder, python-cryptography, and Red Hat Single Sign-On 7.2.5), and Ubuntu (python2.7, python3.4, python3.5).


  • [$] Debian, Rust, and librsvg
    Debian supportsmany architectures and, even for those it does not officially support,there are Debian ports that tryto fill in the gap. For most user applications, it is mostly a matter ofgetting GCC up and running for the architecture in question, then buildingall of the different packages that Debian provides. But for packagesthat need to be built with LLVM—applications or libraries that use Rust,for example—that simple recipe becomes more complicated. How much the lackof Rust support for an unofficial architecture should hold back the rest of the distribution was the subject of a somewhatacrimonious discussion recently.


  • Security updates for Tuesday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (firmware-nonfree and imagemagick), Fedora (cabextract, icecast, and libmspack), openSUSE (icecast), Red Hat (httpd24), Slackware (libtiff), SUSE (apache-pdfbox, firefox, ImageMagick, and kernel), and Ubuntu (clamav, spamassassin, and systemd).



LXer Linux News





  • How to Setup Riak KV Database Cluster on Ubuntu 18.04
    Riak is a distributed NoSQL database that offers high-availability, fault tolerance, operational simplicity, and scalability. In this tutorial, we will show you to step-by-step how to install and configure the NoSQL database Riak KV on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS server. We will create the Riak KV cluster with three Ubuntu servers.


  • 7 command-line tools for writers
    For most people (especially non-techies), the act of writing means tapping out words using LibreOffice Writer or another GUI word processing application. But there are many other options available to help anyone communicate their message in writing, especially for the growing number of writers embracing plaintext.read more


  • Record your screen with Simple Screen Recorder under Ubuntu
    Screen recording or screencasting is a very important task that we have to perform while making video tutorials for software applications. In this tutorial, we will explain how to install this software on your Ubuntu system and then how to use it to record a video of your Ubuntu screen.




  • Submissions now open for the Fedora 30 supplemental wallpapers
    Each release, the Fedora Design team works with the community on a set of 16 additional wallpapers. Users can install and use these to supplement the standard wallpaper. Submissions are now open for the Fedora 30 Supplemental Wallpapers, and will remain open until January 31, 2019 Have you always wanted to start contributing to Fedora but don’t […]



  • Linux Shutdown Command: 5 Practical Examples
    The shutdown command in Linux allows you to shut down, reboot or schedule a shutdown of your system. This article explains the most common and useful examples of the Linux shutdown command.



  • 9 obscure Python libraries for data science
    Python is an amazing language. In fact, it's one of the fastest growing programming languages in the world. It has time and again proved its usefulness both in developer job roles and data science positions across industries. The entire ecosystem of Python and its libraries makes it an apt choice for users (beginners and advanced) all over the world. One of the reasons for its success and popularity is its set of robust libraries that make it so dynamic and fast.read more


  • Best Linux Desktop Environments: Strong and Stable
    A desktop environment is a collection of disparate components that integrate together. They bundle these components to provide a common graphical user interface with elements such as icons, toolbars, wallpapers, and desktop widgets. Additionally, most desktop environments include a set of integrated applications and utilities.


  • Twitter Alerts: A Trick for the Twitter-averse
    I'm not a registered Twitter user and have never managed to think of a compelling reason to be one. In fact, the only time I ever really have or want anything to do with Twitter is when some Twitter feed comes up in an internet search. And all I do in those cases is read any relevant text and move on. Recently, however, I became interested in joining a service that sends out invitations periodically on Twitter. Not having an account and not being interested in much of anything else Twitter represents or offers, I'm at a distinct disadvantage in this case. . . .


  • How to Install Flask on Ubuntu 18.04
    Flask is a free and open source micro web framework for Python designed to help developers build secure, scalable and maintainable web applications. Flask is based on Werkzeug and uses Jinja2 as template engine.


  • Tags And Sub-modules - Git Series Part 6
    This is the final guide in the Git series. Here, we will be covering two more major features that Git has to offer: tags and sub-modules. If you have been following the previous guides, and other materials, you should have a clearer understanding of what Git is, what it does, how to use it best, and how to troubleshoot. Here is a list of many of the aspects we have covered in this series:


  • How to Use Linux SFTP Command to Transfer Files
    SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) is a secure file protocol used to access, manage and transfer files over an encrypted SSH transport. When compared with the traditional FTP protocol, SFTP offers all the functionality of FTP, and it is easier to configure.



[[LinuxInsider

	Copyright 2018
	http://www.linuxinsider.com|Linux Insider"LinuxInsider"]]
  • Acumos Project's 1st Software, Athena, Helps Ease AI Deployment
    The LF Deep Learning Foundation has announced the availability of the first software from the Acumos AI Project. Dubbed "Athena," it supports open source innovation in AI, ML and DL. The goal is to make critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere. Launched earlier this year, Acumos is part of a Linux Foundation umbrella organization.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


  • IT Resume Dos and Don'ts: Formatting for Readability
    I'd like to share some common of the most common formatting problems that I see regularly. Of course, an IT resume requires more than great formatting. It requires well-written, targeted content, and a clear story of career progression. It needs to communicate your unique brand and value proposition. Still, if the formatting is off, that can derail the rest of the document.


  • Changing Up Your Linux Distro
    It's common for Linux users to hop between distributions and survey the field, and I recently reached a point where I had to seriously rethink the one I was using most of the time. Between hardware compatibility issues with my old standby and some discouraging missteps with other go-to choices, I felt the time had come to reassess my pool of preferred distributions and repopulate it from scratch.


  • $34B Red Hat Acquisition Is a Bolt Out of Big Blue
    The cloud computing landscape may look much different to enterprise users following the announcement earlier this week of IBM's agreement to acquire Red Hat. IBM plans to purchase Red Hat, a major provider of open source cloud software, for $34 billion. IBM will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Red Hat for $190 per share in cash, under terms of the deal.


  • Open Source Software: 20-Plus Years of Innovation
    Open source led to a new software development and distribution model that offered an alternative to proprietary software. No single event takes the prize for starting the technology revolution. However, Feb. 3, 1998, is one of the more significant dates. On that day, Christine Peterson, a futurist and lecturer in the field of nanotechnology, coined the "open source" term.


  • Another Milestone Achieved: Run Linux Apps on a Chromebook
    Linux apps now can run in a Chromebook's Chrome OS environment. However, the process can be tricky, and it depends on your hardware's design and Google's whims. It is somewhat similar to running Android apps on your Chromebook, but the Linux connection is far less forgiving. If it works in your Chromebook's flavor, though, the computer becomes much more useful with more flexible options.


  • 2nd New MakuluLinux Release Offers Flash and Substance
    The MakuluLinux Flash distro is splashy and fast with a spiffy new look and new features. MakuluLinux developer Jacque Montague Raymer just announced the second of this year's three major releases in the Series 15 distro family. The Flash edition follows last month's LinDoz edition release. The much-awaited innovative Core edition will debut between the end of November and mid-December.


  • New Manjaro Beta Builds a Better Arch
    Manjaro Linux offers the best of two worlds. It puts a user-friendly face on an Arch-based distro, and it gives you a choice of sensible and productive desktop interfaces. The Manjaro Linux team released its latest updates running the KDE, Xfce and GNOME desktops, Manjaro Linux 18.0 Beta 7, late last month. All three are solid performers and seem to be ready for final release.


  • Antergos Softens Arch Learning Curve
    Antergos 8.9 is one of the better Arch Linux options. It is a powerful and modern computing platform, elegantly designed. It gives power users almost all they could desire. Arch distros are not for Linux newcomers -- but for seasoned Linux users who are new to Arch, Antergos has much to offer. One of the biggest challenges in getting started with any Arch distro is surviving the installation.


  • Software Security Best Practices Are Changing, Finds New Report
    Independent software vendors, along with Internet of Things and cloud vendors, are involved in a market transformation that is making them look more alike. The similarities are evident in the way they approach software security initiatives, according to a report from Synopsys. Synopsys has released its ninth annual Building Security in Maturity Model, or BSIMM9.


  • New MakuluLinux Deserves a Spot in the Majors
    MakuluLinux developer Jacque Montague Raymer on Thursday announced the first major release of this year. It is a whole lot more than a mere upgrade of distro packages. MakuluLinux Series 15 offers much more than new artwork and freshly repainted themes and desktop styles. If you crave a Linux OS that is fresh and independent, MakuluLinux is a must-try Linux solution.


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


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



Slashdot

  • Norwegian Company Plans To Power Their Cruise Ships With Dead Fish
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Waste fish parts will be used to power ships in a new initiative to use green energy for polluting cruise liners. The leftovers of fish processed for food and mixed with other organic waste will be used to generate biogas, which will then be liquefied and used in place of fossil fuels by the expedition cruise line Hurtigruten. Hurtigruten operates a fleet of 17 ships, and by 2021 aims to have converted at least six of its vessels to use biogas, liquefied natural gas -- a fossil fuel, but cleaner than many alternatives -- and large battery packs, capable of storing energy produced from renewable sources. Biogas can be generated from most forms of organic waste by speeding up and harnessing the natural decomposition process to capture the methane produced. Organic waste is produced by all food industries but is frequently disposed of in landfill, where it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions as it decomposes. Hurtigruten is currently building three new hybrid-powered cruise ships in Norway, to be delivered in the next three years.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Half-Life Celebrates 20th Anniversary With Fan-Made 'Black Mesa: Xen' Trailer
    On Monday, developer Crowbar Collective released the first trailer for Black Mesa: Xen, the final act of its long running remake of Valve's 1998 game Half-Life, which marked its 20-year anniversary on the same day. "The finale of Half-Life put hero Gordon Freeman in an alien world, and Black Mesa: Xen's upgraded graphics and redesign makes the original's muddy palette look vibrant and strange," reports Motherboard. "It looks just as exciting as it did at the time of the original game's release." From the report: When Valve unleashed Half-Life, it changed video games forever. The first person shooter from what was then a relatively unknown company starred a silent scientist beating down alien headcrabs and shooting human Marines in a novel sci-fi adventure. It was a triumph. Shortly after, in 2003, the Crowbar Collective began work on a remake that would come to be known as Black Mesa. Fan communities routinely reimagine their favorite video games, often as modifications, or mods, of the originals. Black Mesa began life as a free mod for Half-Life 2, but grew into a proper remake. Crowbar Collective added new voice work, changed animations, and tweaked the original game in hundreds of ways big and small. Black Mesa: Xen has a target release date of early 2019.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Ivanka Trump Used Personal Account For Emails About Government Business
    The Washington Post is reporting that Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to send hundreds of emails last year to White House aids, Cabinet officials and her assistants. Many of the emails were "in violation of federal records rules," the report says. Ivanka's practices are reminiscent of the personal email account Hillary Clinton used as secretary of state. From the report: White House ethics officials learned of Trump's repeated use of personal email when reviewing emails gathered last fall by five Cabinet agencies to respond to a public records lawsuit. That review revealed that throughout much of 2017, she often discussed or relayed official White House business using a private email account with a domain that she shares with her husband, Jared Kushner. Some aides were startled by the volume of Ivanka Trump's personal emails -- and taken aback by her response when questioned about the practice. Trump said she was not familiar with some details of the rules, according to people with knowledge of her reaction. A spokesperson for Ivanka Trump's attorney and ethics counsel, Abbe Lowell, "acknowledged that the president's daughter occasionally used her private email before she was briefed on the rules, but he said none of her messages contained classified information," reports Washington Post. "While transitioning into government, after she was given an official account but until the White House provided her the same guidance they had given others who started before she did, Ms. Trump sometimes used her personal account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family," he said in a statement. He went on to say that her email use was different than that of Clinton. "Ms. Trump did not create a private server in her house or office, no classified information was ever included, the account was never transferred at Trump Organization, and no emails were ever deleted," Mirijanian said.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • In 'Digital India,' Government Hands Out Free Phones To Win Votes
    Forget the old American campaign slogan of a chicken in every pot, or the Indian politician's common pledge to put rice in every bowl. The New York Times reports: Here in the state of Chhattisgarh, the chief minister, Raman Singh, has promised a smartphone in every home -- and he is using the government-issued devices to reach voters as he campaigns in legislative elections that conclude on Tuesday. [...] The phones are the latest twist in digital campaigning by the B.J.P., which controls the national and state government and is deft at using tools like WhatsApp groups and Facebook posts to influence voters. The B.J.P. government in Rajasthan, which holds state elections next month, is also subsidizing phones and data plans for residents, and party leaders are considering extending the model to other states.   Chhattisgarh's $71 million free-phone program -- known by the acronym SKY after its name in Hindi -- is supposed to bridge the digital divide in this state of 26 million people, which is covered by large patches of forest and counts 7,000 villages that do not even have a wireless data signal. The plan is to add hundreds of cellphone towers and give a basic smartphone to every college student and one woman in every household to connect more families to the internet and help fulfill the central government's goal of a "Digital India." But this election season, many of the 2.9 million people who have received the phones have found themselves targeted by the B.J.P.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • New Experimental Lockheed Supersonic Jet Starts Production
    Lockheed Martin's X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology aircraft is officially in "the manufacturing phase," bringing the company "one step closer to enabling supersonic travel for passengers around the world." The experimental jet was awarded a contract from NASA earlier this year as it is capable of flying at supersonic speeds without creating loud supersonic booms. Currently, commercial supersonic aircraft are banned from flying over land because of the noise and potential damage the booms may cause. WTOP reports: "The long, slender design of the aircraft is the key to achieving a low sonic boom," said Peter Iosifidis, Low Boom Flight Demonstrator program manager at Lockheed Martin. "As we enter into the manufacturing phase, the aircraft structure begins to take shape, bringing us one step closer to enabling supersonic travel for passengers around the world," he said.   Lockheed expects to conduct its first flight in 2021 and gather community response data on the acceptability of the "quiet sonic boom" the plane creates. NASA will use that information to establish an acceptable commercial supersonic noise standard to overturn current regulations banning supersonic travel over land. The X-59 will cruise at a speed of about 940 mph and an altitude of 55,000 feet. Lockheed says it will create a sound about as loud as a car door closing, instead of a deafening sonic boom.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Russia Wants DNC Hack Lawsuit Thrown Out, Citing International Conventions
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: The Russian Federation has responded to a lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee and has requested the overseeing court to throw out the lawsuit altogether. The lawsuit, filed by the DNC in April 2018, names a slew of figures as defendants, such as the Russian state, Russia's military intelligence service GRU, the hacker known as Guccifer 2.0, WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, and several members of the Trump campaign, such as Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Jared Kushner, and George Papadopoulos. According to an 87-page indictment, the DNC accused Russia and the other defendants of carrying out the hacking of DNC servers in 2016 and then leaking data online via the WikiLeaks portal in an orchestrated manner for the benefit of the Trump presidential campaign.   The lawsuit, which has its own Wikipedia page and was likened to a lawsuit the DNC filed against Nixon after the Watergate scandal, seeks damages, but also for the court to issue a declaration about the defendants' conspiracy. But in a letter sent to a New York court, presented by the Russian Embassy in the U.S. and signed by a representative of the Russian Ministry of Justice, the Russian Federation wants the lawsuit thrown out. In the 12-page letter, the Russian Federation argues that the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act ("FSIA") grants Russia immunity. "The FSIA provides that foreign sovereign States enjoy absolute jurisdictional immunity from suit unless a plaintiff can demonstrate that one of the FSIA's enumerated 'exceptions' applies'," the letter argues. "The DNC's allegations regarding a purported 'military attack' by 'Russia's military intelligence agency' do not fall within any of the FSIA's enumerated exceptions to the Russian Federation's sovereign immunity." "Any alleged 'military attack' is a quintessential sovereign act that does not fall within any exception to the FSIA or the customary international law of foreign sovereign immunity. The Russian Federation's sovereign immunity with respect to claims based upon such allegations is absolute."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Yoshua Bengio, a Grand Master of Modern AI, is Worried About Its Future
    Yoshua Bengio is a grand master of modern artificial intelligence. Alongside Geoff Hinton and Yan LeCun, Bengio is famous for championing a technique known as deep learning that in recent years has gone from an academic curiosity to one of the most powerful technologies on the planet. Here's an excerpt from an interview he gave to MIT Technology Review: MIT TR: What do you make of the idea that there's an AI race between different countries?   Bengio: I don't like it. I don't think it's the right way to do it. We could collectively participate in a race, but as a scientist and somebody who wants to think about the common good, I think we're better off thinking about how to both build smarter machines and make sure AI is used for the well-being of as many people as possible.   MIT TR: Are you worried about just a few AI companies, in the West and perhaps China, dominating the field of AI?   Bengio: Yes, it's another reason why we need to have more democracy in AI research. It's that AI research by itself will tend to lead to concentrations of power, money, and researchers. The best students want to go to the best companies. They have much more money, they have much more data. And this is not healthy. Even in a democracy, it's dangerous to have too much power concentrated in a few hands.   MIT TR:There has been a lot of controversy over military uses of AI. Where do you stand on that?  Bengio: I stand very firmly against.  MIT TR: Even non-lethal uses of AI?   Bengio: Well, I don't want to prevent that. I think we need to make it immoral to have killer robots. We need to change the culture, and that includes changing laws and treaties. That can go a long way. Of course, you'll never completely prevent it, and people say, "Some rogue country will develop these things." My answer is that one, we want to make them feel guilty for doing it, and two, there's nothing to stop us from building defensive technology. There's a big difference between defensive weapons that will kill off drones, and offensive weapons that are targeting humans. Both can use AI.  MIT TR: Shouldn't AI experts work with the military to ensure this happens?   Bengio: If they had the right moral values, fine. But I don't completely trust military organizations, because they tend to put duty before morality. I wish it was different.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Google Patents Motorized, Omnidirectional VR Sneakers
    Google has patented motorized, omnidirectional virtual-reality sneakers that may solve the "limited space" problem associated with the interactive computer-generated experience. Ars Technica reports: Google's patent describes what are essentially motorized VR roller skates that will let the user walk normally while the motors and wheels work to negate your natural locomotion and keep you inside the VR safe zone. As the patent puts it, Google's new kicks will let you walk "seemingly endlessly in the virtual environment" while keeping you in one spot in real life. Google's shoe solution would track the user's feet, just like how VR controllers are tracked today. The tracking would know when you're too close to the virtual walls of your VR area, and the system would wheel you back into place.   Patents are always written to give the broadest possible coverage of an idea, but Google's patent shows normal wheels, tracks, and even omnidirectional mecanum wheels as possible wheels for the VR shoe bottoms. Omnidirectional wheels would be great, as they would allow you to do things like sidestep, while still having your position corrected by the shoes.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Bitcoin Falls Below $5,000 For First Time Since October 2017
    The value of Bitcoin has hit a new low of $4,951, bringing the total value of all Bitcoin in existence to below $87 billion. Much of the turmoil can be attributed to the split of Bitcoin Cash on November 15th. The Bitcoin offshoot has been split into two different cryptocurrencies, which are now in competition with each other. The BBC reports: Bitcoin exchange Kraken said in a blog post that it regarded one of the two new Bitcoin Cash crypto-currencies -- Bitcoin SV -- as "an extremely risky investment." At its peak, in November 2017, it briefly hit $19,783 - which means the price has fallen by about 75%. After the excitements of last year when the price soared to nearly $20,000 and then tumbled, Bitcoin has been rather dull and stable for much of 2018, settling between $6,000 and $7,000.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Southeast Asia's Digital Economy To Triple To $240 Billion By 2025, Says Google Report
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: It may sit in the shade of China and India, but tech has real growth potential in Southeast Asia. Home to a cumulative 650 million people, the region's digital economy is forecast to triple in size and reach $240 billion over the next seven years, according to Google's third "e-Conomy SEA" report. The annual study, which is authored by Google and Singapore sovereign fund Temasek and is arguably the most comprehensive research program for tech in Southeast Asia, has raised its estimation for the size of the digital economy in 2025 from an initial $200 billion after seeing the region reach "an inflection point."   Southeast Asia has 350 million internet users across its six largest countries -- that's more than the entire U.S. population -- and the latest data suggests its internet economy will reach $72 billion this year, up from $50 billion last year and $19.1 billion in 2015. Online travel accounts for the majority of that revenue ($30 billion) ahead of e-commerce ($23 billion), online media ($11 billion) and ride-hailing ($8 billion), and that rough breakdown is likely to be maintained up until 2025, according to the report. Indonesia, the world's fourth largest country by population, is forecast to hit $100 billion by 2025, ahead of Thailand ($43 billion) and Vietnam ($33 billion), with strong growth forecast across the board. Indonesia and Vietnam, in particular, have seen their respective digital economies more than triple since 2015, according to the data.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Maryland Test Confirms Drones Can Safely Deliver Human Organs
    A kidney was flown thousands of meters by a drone without incurring any damage. Reader Wave723 shares a report: When a patient who needs an organ transplantation is finally matched with a donor, every second matters. A longer wait between when an organ is removed from a donor and when it is placed into a recipient is associated with poorer organ function following transplantation. To maximize the chances of success, organs must be shipped from A to B as quickly and safely as possible -- and a recent test run suggests that drones are up to the task. [...] Last March, they (Dr. Joseph Scalea of the University of Maryland Medical Center and his team) received news that a kidney -- which was not healthy enough to be used in a transplantation -- was available for research. Over the course of roughly 24 hours, the kidney was shipped more than 1,600 kilometers (km) to Baltimore and the drone was set up for its first delivery mission. The results were published in the IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine on 6 November.   In total, the little bean-shaped organ was airborne for a little more than an hour over the course of 14 flight missions. For the farthest mission, the kidney flew 2,415 meters, a distance similar to the length of potential shipment routes for donor organs between inner city hospitals. The researchers found that the temperature of the kidney remained stable, at a cool 2.5 degrees Celsius, throughout the test runs. Air pressure corresponded with altitude, and the drone-borne organ achieved a maximum speed of 67.6 km/h. In an interesting twist, the kidney was subjected to slightly fewer vibrations when transported in the drone compared to a control delivery mission in a fixed wing plane (a dual engine turboprop King Air). Biopsies of the kidney before and after drone transportation revealed no damage from the journey, suggesting that the experiment -- which the research team believes is the first ever use of a drone for organ delivery -- was a success.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Popular Dark Web Hosting Provider Got Hacked, 6,500 Sites Down
    Daniel's Hosting, one of the largest providers of Dark Web hosting services, was hacked this week and taken offline, ZDNet reports. From a report: The hack took place on Thursday, November 15, according to Daniel Winzen, the software developer behind the hosting service. "As per my analysis it seems someone got access to the database and deleted all accounts," he said in a message posted on the DH portal today. Winzen said the server's root account was also deleted, and that all 6,500+ Dark Web services hosted on the platform are now gone. "Unfortunately, all data is lost and per design, there are no backups," Winzen told ZDNet in an email today. "I will bring my hosting back up once the vulnerability has been identified and fixed."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Blockchain Gaming Is Coming to the PS4
    An anonymous reader shares a report: The relatively new blockchain gaming industry is about to take a massive step forward as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are making their way onto the PlayStation 4. Arcade Distillery, a game developer that creates titles for PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, is gearing up to launch a new game for the PS4 built around the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. Plague Hunters is a single-player-focused, turn-based strategy RPG with some PvP elements and the sequel to the successful Plague Road.   The game, which will be free-to-play and feature a marketplace for P2P transactions, has passed the Sony review process, passing all of PlayStation's terms and conditions, despite containing numerous elements of blockchain tech. This marks the first time any blockchain game has been able to accomplish this feat. Similar to other blockchain games, it looks like Plague Hunter's in-game assets, including units, weapons and other items, will be pegged to NFTs.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • NASA Considers Selling Seats on the Spacecraft Used For International Space Station
    NASA is considering selling seats on the spacecraft that will ferry its astronauts to the International Space Station, offering rides to the public while opening another line of revenue as the agency attempts to broaden its appeal [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source]. From a report: On several occasions, Russia has flown wealthy individuals who paid millions for the ride to space. And a trio of private companies backed by billionaires, is also looking to fly tourists out of the atmosphere. But except for a couple of rare exceptions, such as Christa McAuliffe, the teacher who was killed when the space Shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986, NASA has not allowed private citizens on its rockets. "Just like in the early days of aviation, with barnstorming, these initial activities will help build the infrastructure and the foundation that can lead to future innovations that, frankly, we cannot imagine right now," said Michael Gold, the general counsel of Maxar Technologies, who is leading the advisory council's policy reform effort.   The proposal, backed Friday by a NASA advisory subcommittee, is still in the nascent stage, and is part of moves by the agency to better insert itself into the public consciousness by working with the private sector. The proposals would have to be approved by the entire advisory council and then forwarded to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. Friday's meeting comes two months after Bridenstine announced he was standing up the committee, and tasking it to look at how the agency could better partner with industry. He said then that he wants NASA and its astronauts "embedded into the American culture." On Friday, he reiterated the point, saying: "The reality is, we're in a new era now."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Why Some Open-Source Companies Are Considering a More Closed Approach
    There's no question that the concept of open-source software has revolutionized the enterprise software world, which spent billions of dollars fighting the mere idea for several years before accepting that a new future had arrived. But more than a few people are starting to wonder if the very nature of open-source software -- the idea that it can be used by pretty much anyone for pretty much anything -- is causing its developers big problems in the era of distributed cloud computing services. From a report: Two prominent open-source software companies have made the decision to alter the licenses under which some of their software is distributed, with the expressed intent of making it harder -- or impossible -- for cloud computing providers to offer a service based around that software.   Two companies do not a make a movement. But as the cloud world packs its bags for Las Vegas and Amazon Web Services' re:Invent 2018 conference next week, underscoring that company's ability to set the agenda for the upcoming year, the intersection between open-source projects and cloud computing services is on many people's minds. "The way that I would think of it, the role that open source plays in creating commercial opportunities has changed," said Abby Kearns, executive director of the open-source Cloud Foundry Foundation. "We're going to see a lot more of this conversation happening than less. I would put it in a very blunt way: for many years we were suckers, and let them take what we developed and make tons of money on this."   Redis Labs CEO Ofer Bengal doesn't mince words. His company, known for its open-source in-memory database (used by American Express, Home Depot, and Dreamworks among others), has been around for eight years, an eternity in the fast-changing world of modern enterprise software. [...] "Ninety-nine percent of the contributions to Redis were made by Redis Labs," Bengal said. There's a longstanding myth in the open-source world that projects are driven by a community of contributors, but in reality, paid developers contribute the bulk of the code in most modern open-source projects, as Puppet founder Luke Kanies explained in our story earlier this year.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


The Register











  • Hortonworks faces sueball over Cloudera merger
    Disgruntled investor says shareholders are being 'misled' on finances
    Hortonworks is facing a sueball over its uneven merger with competitor Cloudera, as a proposed class action takes aim at the company's claims to shareholders.…


  • Wombats literally sh!t bricks – and now boffins reckon they know how
    All you need to do this at home is a party balloon and roadkill
    The year is 2018 and planet Earth is on the edge. Tensions between the great powers are at boiling point, fires ravage the western United States, and the European Union is in disarray. But yesterday in Atlanta, Georgia, the world's finest minds gathered to answer the question on everyone's lips.…








  • Prepare for the battle against cybercrime at SANS London 2019
    Discover the latest attacks, learn the best defence tactics
    Promo No matter how sophisticated your security precautions are, you can never assume your computer systems are impenetrable. Only the most alert and highly skilled defenders can fight off determined cybercriminals who know how to circumvent today’s advanced security and monitoring tools.…


  • Washington Post offers invalid cookie consent under EU rules – ICO
    UK watchdog waves fist in paper’s general direction, asks it to stop forcing people to accept tracking
    The Washington Post newspaper's online subscription options don't comply with European Union data protection rules – but the UK's privacy watchdog can only issue it with a firm telling off.…




  • A little phishing knowledge may be a dangerous thing
    Boffins find those who know about phishing more likely to be duped than the less informed
    Phishing works more frequently on those who understand what social engineering is than on those who live in blissful ignorance, or so a study of students at University of Maryland, Baltimore County suggests.…











  • The week in networking? It's SD-WAN all the way down
    Also: Huawei cloud lands in Africa, Nokia OpenStack, Cisco Nexus BIOS bugs
    Riverbed made two announcements covering its SteelHead SD-WAN solution this week – a bunch of enhancements, and subscription pricing options.…



  • Microsoft Surface kicks dust in face of Apple iPad Pro in Q3
    Hold on Redmond, don't light those fireworks yet, the dominance will be shortlived
    Microsoft's Surface line leapfrogged Apple's iPad Pro as the detachable tablet of choice for tech distributors in Western Europe but that top spot definitely won't be sustained, or so IDC says.…













  • Brits shun country life over phone not-spot fears
    Says company that sells switching services
    Millions of Britons unwilling to be parted from their urban broadband and not-too-shabby mobile phone reception are shunning rural living, according to a survey.…


  • Bright spark dev irons out light interference
    Dusts off unused 'paperweights' to save data entry program
    On Call Dust yourselves off, dear readers, it’s Friday once more and time for On Call, our weekly column of reader’s technical triumphs.…





Linux.com offline for now

Phoronix




  • 2018 LLVM Developers' Meeting Videos Now Online
    For those wishing to learn more about the LLVM compiler stack and open-source compiler toolchains in general, the videos from October's LLVM Developers' Meeting 2018 in San Jose are now online...


  • Void Linux, Solus, Manjaro, Antergos, Sabayon & Clear Linux Put To A Performance Battle
    Given last week's new images release of the rolling-release, systemd-free, original-creation Void Linux I decided to take it for a spin with some fresh benchmarking as it had been two years or so since last trying out that Linux distribution with its XBPS packaging system. For seeing how the performance compares, I benchmarked it against some of the other primarily enthusiast/rolling-release/performant Linux distributions including Antergos, Clear Linux, Debian Buster Testing, Fedora Workstation 29, Manjaro 18.0, Sabayon Linux, Solus, and Ubuntu 18.10.


  • Linus Torvalds Comments On STIBP & He's Not Happy - STIBP Default Will End Up Changing
    It turns out that Linus Torvalds himself was even taken by surprise with the performance hit we've outlined on Linux 4.20 as a result of STIBP "Single Thread Indirect Branch Predictors" introduction as well as back-porting already to stable series for cross-hyperthread Spectre V2 protection. He doesn't want this enabled in full by default...



  • The State Of Heterogeneous Memory Management At The End Of 2018
    Heterogeneous Memory Management is the effort going on for more than four years that was finally merged to the mainline Linux kernel last year but is still working on adding additional features and improvements. HMM is what allows for allowing the mirroring of process address spaces, system memory to be transparently used by any device process, and other functionality for GPU computing as well as other device/driver purposes...


  • There Is Finally A User-Space Utility To Make EROFS Linux File-Systems
    Back when Huawei introduced the EROFS Linux file-system earlier this year, there wasn't any open-source user-space utility for actually making EROFS file-systems. Even when EROFS was merged into the mainline tree, the user-space utility was still non-existent but now that issue has been rectified...




  • Linux 4.20-rc3 Kernel Released
    Linus Torvalds just announced the release of Linux 4.20-rc3 as his weekly test release update to the in-development Linux 4.20...



  • 20-Way AMD / NVIDIA Linux Gaming Benchmarks For The 2018 Holidays
    If you are hoping to pick-up a new graphics card during the upcoming holiday sales, here is a 20-way NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon Linux gaming benchmark comparison using a wide assortment of GPUs while using the very newest graphics drivers and a variety of OpenGL/Vulkan titles.




  • What Do You Want To See Out Of The Redesigned, Next-Gen Raspberry Pi?
    With the launch this week of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+, they made it clear whatever comes next will be a big re-design compared to all of the Raspberry Pi ARM single board computers up to this point. So what would you hope they incorporate into the next-generation of these low-cost boards?..






  • The Spectre/Meltdown Performance Impact On Linux 4.20, Decimating Benchmarks With New STIBP Overhead
    As outlined yesterday, significant slowdowns with the Linux 4.20 kernel turned out to be due to the addition of the kernel-side bits for STIBP (Single Thread Indirect Branch Predictors) for cross-HyperThread Spectre Variant Two mitigation. This has incurred significant performance penalties with the STIBP support in its current state with Linux 4.20 Git and is enabled by default at least for Intel systems with up-to-date microcode. Here are some follow-up benchmarks looking at the performance hit with the Linux 4.20 development kernel as well as the overall Spectre and Meltdown mitigation impact on this latest version of the Linux kernel.




  • AMD Optimizing C/C++ Compiler 1.3 Brings More Zen Tuning
    Earlier this month AMD quietly released a new version of their Optimizing C/C++ compiler in the form of AOCC 1.3. This new compiler release has more Zen tuning to try to squeeze even more performance out of Ryzen/EPYC systems when using their LLVM-based compiler...



  • Radeon GCC Back-End Updated For Running Single-Threaded C & Fortran On AMD GPUs
    Back in September Code Sourcery / Mentor Graphics posted the Radeon GCC back-end they have been developing with the cooperation of AMD. This is for allowing the GCC compiler to eventually offload nicely to Radeon GPUs with its different programming languages and supported parallel programming models, particularly with OpenMP and OpenACC in mind. But for now this patch series just works with single-threaded C and Fortran programs. The second version of this port was posted for review...



  • The Open-Source AMD Linux Driver Stack Hitting Problems With The Radeon RX 590
    While the Radeon RX 590 that launched this week is just yet another Polaris refresh, it turns out the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver stack isn't yet playing well with retail RX 590 graphics cards. This is quite a surprise considering the PCI ID was picked up months ago and the mature Polaris Linux driver support for quite a while now, but could be like the rough Raven Ridge Linux experience where the production cards with the shipping vBIOS isn't what the developers encountered during their pre-production driver enablement...


  • GNOME 3.31.2 Desktop Released
    GNOME 3.31.2 is out this Friday as the latest development release in the trek towards next March's GNOME 3.32 release...





Engadget"Engadget RSS Feed"



  • What's on TV: 'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Sick Note,' and 'MST3K'

    As we get ready for a short holiday week, movie fans can check out Crazy Rich Asians on Blu-ray (a planned 4K release of 2001: A Space Odyssey has been pulled at the last minute) and Battlefield V is opening its doors to everyone. On Sunday The Walking Dead wraps up with a fall finale but a lot of the action is on streaming. Netflix has a new Trevor Noah special, as well as new movies and series including cooking competition The Final Table, horror flick Sabrina, two seasons of the comedy Sick Note starring Harry Potter veteran Rupert Grint and season three of Frontier. 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
    Crazy Rich Asians Blindspotting 2001: A Space Odyssey (4K) Candyman Ingmar Bergman's Cinema Some Like it Hot The Outer Limits (S2) Young Guns II Holy Motors Freejack The Nun (VOD) Searching (VOD) The Equalizer 2 (VOD) Battlefield V Standard Edition (Xbox One, PC, PS4) Farming Simulator 19 (Xbox One, PS4, PC) YouTubers Life: OMG Edition (Xbox One,PS4) Bendy and the Ink Machine (Xbox One, PS4, Switch) ATV Drift & Tricks: Definitive Edition (PS4, Xbox One) Storm Boy (Xbox One, PS4, PC) Steamworld Dig 2 (PS4, Xbox One) I Am the Hero (PS4, Xbox One, Switch) World of One (PS4, Xbox One) Beat Saber (PS VR) Crow: The Legend (PS4) Flashback (PS4) Party Hard (Switch) Ms. Splosion Man (Switch) Nidhogg 2 (Switch)
    Monday
    Arrow, CW, 8 PM The Neighborhood, CBS, 8 PM Dancing With The Stars (season finale), ABC, 8 PM WWE Raw, USA, 8 PM The Voice, NBC, 8 PM Chiefs/Rams, ESPN, 8:15 PM Happy Together, CBS, 8:30 PM The Little Drummer Girl (series premiere), AMC, 9 PM My Brilliant Friends, HBO, 9 PM Ferrari: Race to Immortality, Starz, 9 PM DC's Legends of Tomorrow, CW, 9 PM Magnum P.I., CBS, 9 PM Manifest, NBC, 10 PM The Good Doctor, ABC, 10 PM
    Tuesday
    Motown Magic (S1), Netflix, 3 AM The Final Table (S1), Netflix, 3 AM Sabrina, Netflix, 3 AM Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia, Netflix, 3 AM Pete the Cat, Amazon Prime, 3 AM Kulipari: An Army of Frogs (S1), Amazon Prime, 3 AM The Flash, CW, 8 PM NCIS, CBS, 8 PM WWE Smackdown, USA, 8 PM The Voice, NBC, 8 PM The Kids are Alright, ABC, 8:30 PM Carl Weber's The Family Business, BET, 9 PM Black-ish, ABC, 9 PM Black Lightning, CW, 9 PM Inside the NFL, Showtime, 9 PM The Challenge, MTV, 9 PM This is Us, NBC, 9 PM The Little Drummer Girl, AMC, 9 PM Munchies Guide to..., Viceland, 10 PM Hustle in Brooklyn, BET, 10 PM Tosh.0 (season finale), Comedy Central, 10 PM The Guest Book, TBS, 10:30 PM The Jim Jefferies Show (season finale), Comedy Central, 10:30 PM
    Wednesday
    The Tribe, Netflix, 3 AM The Bureau (season premiere), Sundance Now, 3 AM Hollywood Game Night, NBC, 8 PM Nature, PBS, 8 PM Survivor, CBS, 8 PM The Little Drummer Girl (season finale), AMC, 9 PM Seal Team, CBS, 9 PM Single Parents, ABC, 9:30 PM Stan Against Evil (season finale), IFC, 10 PM South Park, Comedy Central, 10 PM
    Thursday
    Mystery Science Theater 3000 (S2), Netflix, 3 AM The Christmas Chronicles, Netflix, 3 AM No Activity (S2), CBS All Access, 3 AM Tell Me A Story, CBS All Access, 3 AM Mississippi State/Ole Miss college football, ESPN, 7:30 PM Falcons/Saints, NBC, 8:15 PM Murphy Brown, CBS, 9:30 PM
    Friday
    Frontier (S3), Netflix, 3 M Titans, DC Universe, 3 AM The Gymkhana Files, Amazon Prime, 3 AM Sick Note (S1 & S2), Netflix, 3 AM The Romanoffs (season finale), Amazon Prime, 3 AM A Football Life: Cris Collinsworth, NFL Network, 8 PM Washington/Washington State college football, Fox, 8:30 PM Z Nation, Syfy, 9 PM Child Support, ABC, 9 PM Every Other Holiday, Lifetime, 10 PM Van Helsing, Syfy, 10 PM Mike Judge Presents: Tales from the Tour Bus: Bootsy Collins, Cinemax, 10 PM Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape, Comedy Central, 11 PM ELeague: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Invitational, TBS, 11 PM Room 104, HBO, 11:30 PM
    Saturday
    Countdown to Christmas, Hallmark, 8 PM Everyday is Christmas, Lifetime, 8 PM Christmas Harmony, Lifetime, 10 PM
    Sunday
    Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, Netflix, 3 AM Axios (season finale), HBO, 6:30 PM 2018 Soul Train Awards, BET, 8 PM Jingle Belle, Lifetime, 8 PM Outlander, Starz, 8 PM Supergirl, CW, 8 PM Doctor Who, BBC America, 8 PM Dancing with the Stars: Juniors, ABC, 8 PM The Simpsons, Fox, 8 PM Packers/Vikings, NBC, 8:15 PM Bob's Burgers, Fox, 8:30 PM God Friended Me, CBS, 8:30 PM Ray Donovan, Showtime, 9 PM The Walking Dead (fall finale), AMC, 9 PM The Truth About Christmas, Freeform, 9 PM Charmed, CW, 9 PM NCIS: LA, CBS, 9:30 PM Dirty John (series premiere), Bravo, 10 PM Escape at Dannemora, Showtime, 10 PM Camping, HBO, 10 PM Star Wars Resistance, Disney, 10 PM Sally4ever, HBO, 10:30 PM
    [All times listed are in ET]


  • Pixel 3 bug disables the phone's camera

    Pixel 3 owners are dealing with another software glitch, and this one could prove to be a showstopper for some. Owners on Google's forums, Reddit and elsewhere (including an Engadget staff family member) report a flaw that prevents them from using the Pixel 3's official camera app. Some get a "fatal error" message when they use the camera app, while others will get a "can't connect to camera" message in a third-party app and lose access from then onward. Rebooting only temporarily fixes the issue, and it can occur even if you've factory-reset the phone or are using Safe Mode.

    It's not certain what's causing the problem. Charged inspected the camera code and believes it might stem from Android not properly releasing a lock on the camera, leading other apps to think it's still in use and prompting a crash.

    We've asked Google if it can comment on the reports. Support representatives haven't made it clear as to whether or not there will be a fix, though, and some owners said they were denied replacement units. Whatever the solution, it's a serious issue -- for all intents and purposes, this effectively renders the Pixel 3's signature feature useless. It could also frustrate early Pixel 3 buyers who've had to contend with multiple noticeable bugs virtually from the get-go.

    Via: 9to5Google

    Source: Pixel User Community (1), (2), Reddit (1), (2)


  • Airbnb will remove guest home listings in the West Bank

    To date, Airbnb has argued that it would allow home listings in disputed areas in the name of connecting people. Now, it's changing its mind. The company plans to remove roughly 200 listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank after rethinking its policies for contested regions. Airbnb didn't provide a detailed explanation of its rationale in this specific instance, but noted that the listings are "at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians."

    The firm said it was now considering issues like this on a "case-by-case" basis with help from both experts and its stakeholder community. The process would look for possible safety concerns, determine whether listings add to "existing human suffering" or have a "direct connection" to the dispute in question.

    While the company is positioning this as an ethical decision, there's a pragmatic incentive to withdraw the listings. Human Rights Watch is publishing a report on November 20th that will document Airbnb's "human rights harms" from allowing listings in the settlements. The company is clearly trying to get out in front of whatever comes tomorrow with the preemptive policy change.

    Via: BuzzFeed News

    Source: Airbnb Press Room


  • Fan-made 'Half-Life' remake 'Black Mesa' is nearly complete

    Want to feel old? The released a trailer for the final portion of its Black Mesa remake, introducing its take on the strange Xen dimension that ends the first Half-Life game.

    The official take on Xen was distinctive for the time, although it threw players for a loop by shifting the focus from the human soldiers to decidedly strange aliens. It's not clear how the gameplay will change, but the Black Mesa interpretation certainly looks much better -- it's a mysterious, foreboding landscape. The finished Xen area should be available sometime in the second quarter of 2019.

    It's not shocking that enthusiasts would carry the torch. Valve has left the Half-Life franchise untouched for over a decade since HL2: Episode Two, and lost the franchise's last writer in 2017. It even joked about founder Gabe Newell's inability to understand the number three. While the company has lately renewed its interest in single-player content, Valve circa 2018 is primarily interested in its Steam game service and multiplayer titles like Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer

    Source: Steam Communicty


  • You can now sync Chromecast with Google Home speakers

    Starting today, Google is allowing Chromecast owners to add the streaming device to speaker groups along with Home speakers. The addition of the dongle to the Home ecosystem will allow you to queue up a song, playlist, podcast or audiobook and have it play in sync across all of the speakers and Chromecast-connected devices in your home.

    XDA Developers spotted the functionality in Google's Preview program that gives an early look at upcoming features. Google confirmed to Engadget that the capability is starting to roll out to users today. The feature makes good on Google's promise to integrate Chromecast into speaker groups, which can be set up through the Google Home app. Now devices that connect with Chromecast, including televisions, can be added to a grouping. When a TV with Chromecast is synced to a speaker group, the display will show song information on screen, atop a rotating selection of background images.

    Per Home Hub and the LG Xboom WK9 will be able to be added to speaker groups in the coming weeks, according to pairbluetoothspeakers with the Home app to add voice control across your sound system.

    Via: VentureBeat

    Source: Google



  • The best early Black Friday 2018 deals

    This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commissions. that support its work. Read Wirecutter's continuously updated list of Black Friday deals here.
    Amazon Echo (2nd Generation) - Refurbished

    Street Price: $80; Deal Price: $60

    Only available in Heather Gray, this $60 refurbished sale on our pick in our Alexa guide is the best price we've seen on this model to date.

    The Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) is our pick of Amazon's Alexa-controlled speakers. Grant Clauser writes, "If you want music without hooking up any additional speakers, the second-generation Echo offers the complete range of functions, minus the screen features of the Show and Spot. As a speaker, it's good for kitchens, offices, dens, bedrooms, and other places where convenience and size (it's about the size of a Foster's beer can) is more important than audio performance. The speaker is designed for 360-degree dispersion, so placing it in the middle of the room will give you sound in all four corners."
    Audio-Technica LP60-BT Turntable
    Street Price: $150; Deal Price: $120

    Down to $120 in both Black and White, this pricing matches the low we've seen for this Bluetooth-enabled turntable. We haven't seen a deal on this turntable since the the summer.

    The Audio-Technica LP60-BT Turntable is the budget pick in our guide to the best turntable for casual listening. Chris Heinonen writes, "If you want something that can just play records easily for as little as possible, the Audio-Technica LP60-BT will do the job. Unlike the other tables we considered, LP60-BT is fully automatic: Press a button and the table spins while the arm moves into position. Once a record is done, the arm goes back into place and the table stops. It has a built-in phono stage and you can even get it with a Bluetooth output for use with wireless speakers."
    Yeti by Blue USB Microphone + Fallout 76 (PC) Bundle
    Street Price: $150; Deal Price: $100

    Back down to $140 from the typical street price of $180, this matches the low we've seen for this table-top streamer and includes the bonus of a free 3rd Gen (newest version) Echo Dot, around a $35 value.

    The Yeti by Blue USB Microphone is the top pick in our guide to the best USB microphone. Kevin Purdy and Lauren Dragan write, "It provided the most reliably well-rounded, natural sound out of all the mics we tested―whether on Windows or Mac, or whether recording happened in professional studios or in a small square office... It offers live headphone monitoring and gain control, two key features for any recording setup (other mics lacked these or made using them too complicated). It is more stable on its stand than most microphones we tested, and feels far more solidly constructed and durable."
    PlayStation Plus 1 Year Membership

    Street Price: $60; Deal Price: $40

    Matching Cyber Monday prices we saw last year, a 12 months subscription is back down to $40 from $60, still the best price we've seen.

    PlayStation Plus is mentioned alongside the PlayStation 4 in our guide for the best game consoles. Thorin Klosowski writes, "The PlayStation Plus subscription service provides online multiplayer and two free games a month, equivalent to what you get from the Xbox Live Gold service. Most people should get the standard PS4 model, not the PS4 Pro, unless you have a 4K TV or plan to buy one very soon."
    Samsung Galaxy S9

    Street Price: $700; Deal Price: $520

    A big drop from street price and a new low for all colors, this model comes unlocked with a US warranty.

    The Samsung Galaxy S9 is a runner-up pick in our guide to the best android phones. Ryan Whitwam writes, "The Samsung Galaxy S9 and its larger sibling, the Samsung Galaxy S9+, have some features that the Pixel 3 phones don't, such as a microSD card slot and a headphone jack. Plus, they're available for purchase through any carrier. These phones have the latest curved OLED screens from Samsung—the best we've ever seen on a phone—and the bezel surrounding the screen is tiny. The Galaxy S9's camera has an adjustable aperture, so it can take brighter low-light shots while also getting sharper photos in brighter light, though we still like the Pixel 3's camera more overall."
    DJI Tello Mini

    Street Price: $100; Deal Price: $80

    The first notable drop we've seen since we started tracking this already affordable drone.

    The DJI Tello Mini is an also great pick in our guide to the best drones under $100. Signe Brewster writes, "The DJI Tello, which is made in partnership with robotics company Ryze, is our pick if you're looking for an inexpensive drone that can take pictures and videos. It has surprisingly advanced autonomous features normally found on much more expensive drones. And its 5-megapixel, 720p camera—about the same resolution of an iPhone 4—takes good enough photos to make it fun for basic selfies and landscape pictures. It also has a 13-minute battery life, which is the longest of any drone we tested."

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


  • Twitter tweaks profiles in iOS app to emphasize names and bios

    If you've glanced at your Twitter profile lately and noticed your follower number has shrunk (in terms of text size, at least), you're probably not just seeing things. That's because Twitter has tweaked how profiles appear in its iOS app to place more focus on names and bios. A spokesperson told Engadget the company reduced the font size and spacing on details such as follower and followed account numbers, locations, join dates, birthdays and mutual follows.

    Twitter didn't explain why it made the subtle change, though its comms team noted last month that "we are rethinking everything about the service to ensure we are incentivizing healthy conversation," following reports it may remove the like button. The spokesperson noted Twitter was in the early stages of that work.

    CEO Jack Dorsey has spoken about how he'd like there to be less emphasis on metrics such as follower counts. He said last week that, rather than the number of likes and retweets you receive or how many people are following you, "what is more important is the number of meaningful conversations you're having on the platform" and whether people are replying to your tweets.

    Via: The Verge


  • Fossil Sport review: Just another Wear OS watch

    Smartwatches seem to be enjoying a minor revival this year, with major brands like Apple and Samsung continuing to push out intriguing new wearables like the Galaxy Watch and the Apple Watch Series 4. Google launched a redesign of Wear OS, and Qualcomm created a new processor specifically for watches. The Snapdragon Wear 3100 is built around a new architecture featuring low-power cores that claim to deliver dramatically better battery life. The Fossil Sport is one of the first watches to ship with the new chipset and is also the fashion company's first fitness-focused smartwatch. Since this is the first Wear 3100 watch we've got our hands on, though, I'm eager to see if the new CPU lives up to its promises.
    New Snapdragon Wear 3100 modes
    The most important thing about the Fossil Sport is that it's a showcase for Snapdragon Wear 3100. The chipset promises better performance and battery life by offering three new modes: Sport, Battery Saver and Ambient. Sport mode promises up to 15 hours of continuous heart rate and GPS tracking, while Battery Saver extends runtime by shutting down all functions and only displaying the time and the Fossil logo. It should give you a month of wear on a full charge, or a week with just 20 percent. Ambient mode is an always-on screen that shows slightly more detail, like a moving second hand and activity rings.

    Inexplicably, Sport mode is absent from the Fossil Sport, and only available on select watches -- which seems kinda strange for a device with "Sport" in its name.



    Despite the Wear 3100's new architecture, its performance on the Sport doesn't seem significantly better than the Wear 2100. I've been using Fossil's Q Venture HR Gen 4 with the redesigned Wear OS and the Wear 2100 for months, and frankly I don't see any improvement. If anything, it's slightly worse. Sometimes apps actually take longer to load and Assistant is slower to interpret my commands than on the older watch.

    To be clear, Qualcomm hasn't explicitly spelled out exactly what sort of performance bumps we should expect. It said the Wear 3100's quad-core A7 processors and multimedia engine should help deliver "high performance" in rich, interactive modes, but didn't provide actual numbers on estimated improvements.

    Google also said it will continue to roll out performance updates to the software over time, so perhaps we'll see more improvements. But for now the Wear 3100's speed doesn't appear to be much better than its predecessor.
    Battery life
    Battery life is similarly disappointing. Fossil said the Sport should stick around for more than a day, but it never lasted more than 18 hours. That's a few hours more than the older Fossil watch, but still requires nightly charging. The Sport's battery saver mode does get me a whole lot more screen time, though. I activated it at 9:30pm when the watch was at 39%, and was happy to see it was still alive the next morning, even hanging around till 12:15pm. At that time though, the battery was too weak for me to switch back to the full smartwatch mode.

    I haven't used the watch for long enough to see if it will live up to its battery saver promises, but it already beats existing options on Wear OS watches.

    To be fair, the Apple Watch Series 4 only survives about 18 hours on a charge as well. But other smartwatches like the Galaxy Watch and Fitbit Versa run for days before needing a charge.
    Cherlynn Low / Engadget
    Hardware
    As far as fitness watches go, the Fossil Sport is one of the prettiest around. I love my review unit, which has a pink case and strap, but for real I was torn between this and the version with a gold case and gray strap. With six case colors, two sizes and 28 new straps, there's a ton of configurations to choose from and you'll easily find one that suits your taste. It's noticeably lighter than other Fossil smartwatches thanks to its aluminum and nylon case, but thankfully it doesn't feel cheap.
    The competition
    There's only one other watch packing the Wear 3100 right now -- the Montblanc Summit 2, which costs $1,000 and has a very different aesthetic. We haven't been able to test it yet, so I can't speak to its performance and battery life, but that's a ton of money and if you're willing to drop a grand on a watch you're probably not going to consider something as pedestrian as the Fossil Sport anyway.

    At $255, the Fossil Sport is one of the most affordable Wear OS watches available, too. The only notable option that's cheaper is the $200 Ticwatch C2, which promises up to two days of battery life. But it uses the older Wear 2100 CPU, which might not see future performance updates.


    Wrap-up
    Ultimately, the Fossil Sport is a decent Wear OS watch but it doesn't do enough to show off the potential of Snapdragon Wear 3100. It's a good-looking device that has some nifty tricks like ambient and battery saving modes that make it less obtrusive and longer lasting. Just don't expect dramatic performance improvements over watches with older guts. As the first of a new generation of smartwatches, the Fossil Sport is an underwhelming debut that doesn't live up to expectations.


  • NASA considers selling trips to space tourists

    The Jim Bridenstine-era NASA's efforts to privatize spaceflight could involve borrowing a page from Russia. The Washington Post notes the agency is mulling the possibility of offering seats to private tourists on the ships that take astronauts to the International Space Station, similar to how Russia has accepted space tourists in the past. It's just a proposal and would have to clear NASA's advisory council, but it already has the support of an advisory subcommittee.

    The idea comes as part of a wider set of proposals that would expand the reach of private companies in NASA's operations. These include allowing astronauts to support private ISS activities, opening astronauts to endorsements and even letting companies name vessels. Like it or not, there's a real chance NASA could use its flights as opportunities to compete with the likes of Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic.

    Source: Washington Post


  • DC Universe's 'Young Justice: Outsiders' premieres January 4th, 2019

    DC Universe finally has the premiere date for its first show after announced that Young Justice: Outsiders' third season will reach the streaming service on January 4th, 2019. The teaser clip says precious little about the continuation of the story, but it does offer a peek at a sinister alien planet.

    The timing is rather appropriate. With Titans episodes releasing on a weekly basis, Young Justice will conveniently debut right when DC Universe subscribers are looking for something else to watch. That could keep them attached to the service while DC builds up its original video catalog.


    Via: SlashFilm

    Source: DC (YouTube)


  • Virgin Orbit's rocket completes its first 'captive carry' flight test

    Virgin Orbit just edged closer to its goal of launching rockets in mid-air. The company has completed the first "captive carry" test for its LauncherOne rocket, hauling the 70-foot machine under the wing of Cosmic Girl (its Boeing 747 launch aircraft/Jamiroquai reference) as it flew over southern California. The flight wasn't dramatic, but it provided vital data on how well the two vehicles will behave together when the rocket is ready to fire in earnest.

    You'll have to be patient, however. Virgin is planning "several" more flights with and without LauncherOne strapped underneath, culminating in a drop test where Cosmic Girl will let go of a rocket that will freefall to Earth. The first honest-to-goodness space flight won't happen until sometime in early 2019. As we've seen in recent years, Virgin is determined to err on the side of caution before committing to a trip beyond the atmosphere.


    Source: Virgin Orbit


  • Instagram cracks down on fake likes, follows and comments

    Instagram announced today that it's cracking down on the use of third-party apps to boost growth. The company said that apps that generate fake likes, follows and comments violate its policies and going forward, those who use these sorts of apps will be prompted to stop. "We're taking a number of steps to limit this kind of unwelcome behavior," Instagram said. "Accounts we identify using these services will receive an in-app message alerting them that we have removed the inauthentic likes, follows and comments given by their account to others." They'll also be asked to change their passwords.
    Instagram said that it has built machine learning tools that are capable of spotting which accounts use these types of third-party apps, which often ask for users' passwords in order to dole out fake interactions on their behalf. Those who continue to use these apps will "see their Instagram experience impacted," the company said. Instagram told TechCrunch that those impacts could, for example, be limited access to certain features.

    This move follows Facebook's actions against accounts engaged in inauthentic activity, which are typically the sorts of accounts linked to misinformation campaigns on the platform. "Since the early days of Instagram, we have auto-detected and removed fake accounts to protect our community," the company said. "Today's update is just another step in keeping Instagram a vibrant community where people connect and share in authentic ways."

    Via: TechCrunch

    Source: Instagram


  • Google Photos update brings depth control to iOS

    Google has added a useful feature to its Google Photos app for iOS. You'll be able to tweak background blur levels and adjust the focus on portrait mode photos. The depth editor tool is arriving on iOS soon after Google added it to the app on Pixel 2, Pixel 3 and some Moto phones. Notably, Pixel 3 phones have a built-in depth control feature, as do iPhone XS and XS Max.

    Google hasn't been shy about bringing features from its Pixel phones to the iOS app. Earlier this year, it added support for Google Lens, which recognizes objects, flora and fauna.
    New to iOS, adjust the background blur and change the focus of your portrait mode photo.

    Just pull up a portrait photo in Google Photos, click the editing icon to get to the editing menu, then tap it one more time to edit depth and focus.
    — Google Photos (@googlephotos) November 19, 2018
    Source: Google Photos (Twitter)


  • NASA selects a landing site for its Mars 2020 rover

    NASA has announced where its next Mars rover will be heading. The agency has chosen Jezero Crater from dozens of potential candidates in part for its potential to have preserved signs of past microbial life. "The landing site in Jezero Crater offers geologically rich terrain, with landforms reaching as far back as 3.6 billion years old, that could potentially answer important questions in planetary evolution and astrobiology," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement. "Getting samples from this unique area will revolutionize how we think about Mars and its ability to harbor life."



    The Mars 2020 rover mission will not only look for habitable conditions, but will also collect rock and soil samples that may be able to be retrieved sometime in the future. Both NASA and the European Space Agency are exploring ideas for a future retrieval mission that could bring the samples back to Earth for study.

    The diversity offered by Jezero Crater makes it appealing scientifically, but it also makes for a difficult landing environment. And the region has been off limits in the past because of these challenges. However, recent advances in technology have now opened Jezero Crater up to a rover mission. "The Mars community has long coveted the scientific value of sites such as Jezero Crater, and a previous mission contemplated going there, but the challenges with safely landing were considered prohibitive," said Ken Farley, a project scientist for the mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "But what was once out of reach is now conceivable, thanks to the 2020 engineering team and advances in Mars entry, descent and landing technologies."

    The site proposal still has to be assessed in order to make sure the mission is set up for success, and a final report on the plan will be presented to the agency next year. The rover mission is currently scheduled to launch in July of 2020.

    Source: NASA


  • Alexa can now make Skype calls

    Starting this week, you'll be able to make Skype calls on your Alexa devices. Basically the entire line of Echo devices will have the ability to make voice calls via Microsoft's VoIP platform. The Echo Show and its tablet-style screen will also be able to make and receive video calls.

    In addition to calling your Skype contacts via Alexa, users will also be able to call mobile numbers and landlines using SkypeOut. The feature allows you to call existing contacts or a new number on Skype. You'll get 100 minutes of free calls per month for two months when you link your Skype account with Alexa.

    In order to set up Skype for Alexa, open the Amazon Alexa app on your Android or iOS device. Go to Settings > Communication > Skype. You'll be prompted to login with your Microsoft account. Once you've successfully entered your username and password, you'll be able to make and accept calls from Skype through Alexa.

    The integration of Skype and Alexa, which was promised earlier this year, is just the latest example of Amazon and Microsoft teaming up. The companies announced a partnership last year to make Alexa and Microsoft's voice assistant Cortona work together and earlier this year, Xbox One and Windows 10 got Alexa apps.

    Source: Skype


  • Facebook donates £4.5 million to help train UK newspaper reporters

    Facebook is extending another olive branch to the news industry in the form of a £4.5 million ($5.8 million) donation to subsidize 80 trainee journalists at local newspapers in the UK. It's the first time Facebook has offered such a pledge, which it's making as part of its new Community News Project.

    It's donating the funds to the National Council for the Training of Journalists -- the charity will divvy up the donation among publishers. The pledge will help fund formal training for journalists and their employment at local papers as part of a two-year pilot. Facebook, which is also partnering with Newsquest, JPIMedia, Reach, Archant and the Midland News Association on the project, says "the goal is to encourage more reporting from towns which have lost their local newspaper and beat reporters."

    It's not clear where the trainees will be based, though the project will place an emphasis on recruiting from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds. The application process will open early next year, and trainees are likely to focus on community journalism rather than specialist beats during the pilot period.

    The journalists will have access to the NCTJ's training program to help them work towards the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism. Those who already have that qualification will receive training towards a new National Qualification in Journalism for community journalists. Facebook will also provide training to bolster the trainees' digital newsgathering skills.

    Local newspapers were hit hard by the move to online news, as many advertisers switched from print to online, including on Facebook, which made it difficult for papers to afford enough reporters to fully cover their communities. However, Facebook and Google in particular can drive large volumes of traffic to newspaper websites, so the relationship between publishers and tech giants is complex.

    Facebook has rolled out other initiatives to help publishers, including a way to let readers sign up for newspaper subscriptions through its app. Google, meanwhile, has its own $300 million News Initiative project, which offers free G Suite subscriptions to local and smaller publishers as part of an effort to combat fake news.

    Via: The Guardian

    Source: Facebook


  • The best speakers and DJ gear to give as gifts

    There are people who like music -- and then there are folks who can't get enough of it. For the latter, the standard speakers and gear just won't do. Luckily, our holiday gift guide has the equipment the music-obsessed person in your life needs. The Sonos One shows that smart speakers aren't just for voice assistants -- they can be for audiophiles as well. If you know a music lover who is always on the go, the UE Boom 3 and Megaboom 3 Bluetooth speakers offer top-notch sound that can travel. For people more interested in making music than listening to it, the Traktor DJ app for iPad is a professional-grade DJ app that doesn't require the pricey equipment, or you can set them up to sample just about anything with the PO-33 K.O! from Teenage Engineering. Find all that and lots more in our full guide!

    Source: Engadget's 2018 Holiday Gift Guide


  • Pandora's on-demand music now streams on Alexa devices

    Amazon Alexa's repertoire of on-demand music services appears to be growing by the day. Hot on the heels of Tidal's support, Pandora has enabled Premium streaming on Alexa-equipped devices like Amazon's Echo speakers. You no longer have to be content with Pandora's radio feature -- you can access your playlists and play albums like you would anywhere else. You can set the service as your default music option as well. It's not quite complete when Personalized Soundtracks support is "coming soon," but you otherwise won't be hurting for choice.

    Amazon now supports multiple large streaming music services beyond its own, including Deezer and Spotify. While this won't help much if you're deeply invested in Apple or Google services, it's evident that Alexa is becoming the go-to assistant for people who want options for their voice-controlled music.

    Via: The Verge

    Source: Pandora Blog


  • What we're buying: RetroStone's smart take on retro handheld gaming

    The recent spate of retro "classic" consoles might be switching a new audience on to vintage games, but some of us never left them. For most, a $60 - $100 machine with a few flagship titles on it is probably enough to scratch the itch, but Managing Editor James Trew has a much deeper itch: to play retro games on the go without someone choosing the library for him.



    James Trew
    Managing Editor

    Much to the bemusement of the rest of Engadget, I have a fetish for the Atari Lynx, of which I own many, and of course, every game ever made for it. So, I already have a portable with all the games I love, why would I want another one? Because logic does not apply here. But if it did, it would be because what was considered portable in 1990 isn't really pocket-friendly now. Much as I love the Lynx, it's cumbersome and guzzles batteries like an electric Cookie Monster. I decided to search for something, sleek, modern, and flexible (in case I want to enjoy other platforms too). To my surprise, there's not a lot of off-the-shelf solutions that meet my weird, specific requirements. (Ok, maybe I shouldn't be surprised.)

    The problem seems to be that retro handhelds come in a few different categories. There are portable "classics" which suffer some of the same problems as their living room counterparts (limited games and no flexibility). There are some that play original cartridges for various systems, but that just seems impractical. Then there are the murky unlicensed knock-off machines on Amazon. I actually bought one of these for comparison (more on that later), but needless to say they're kinda shoddy, and who wants to play the classic Mario 14 or a sketchy Angry Birds NES port? Not I.



    For a while, I had been using a modded PlayStation Portable. This worked pretty well. PSPs are fairly cheap to pick up (I picked mine up for about $50 on eBay), and easy to modify. This also meant I could play PSP titles as well as my Lynx library (I make an exception for ROMS for games I own). Before too long though, the batteries for the PSP kept crapping out and replacements would often be faulty on arrival, or expensive. I considered the PS Vita as an upgrade, but they still go for more than I really wanted to spend, and you need a specific firmware version which makes finding the right one a gamble.

    The next logical step was to look at a handheld running RetroPie. There are a few options here, like the Pi GRRL Zero and GameBoy Zero (both, unsurprisingly, based on Raspberry Pi Zero boards). In terms of size, flexibility and functionality, these meet my weird requirements, except they both need to be put together and need a 3D printed case (or shopping around for one you don't hate). It looks like a fun project, I'm just not after a project right now. I wanted something that had a professionally-made feel to it and was somewhat good to go.

    Enter the RetroStone ($156), by 8Bcraft. The RetroStone, with its vintage Game Boy aesthetic, instantly caught my eye. Originally launched on Kickstarter, it runs on a system similar to Orange Pi (a Raspberry Pi alternative), has its own version of RetroPi, and enough buttons to be compatible with many newer systems. Importantly, it comes ready to go, though you have to install the operating system yourself, as open source software generally can't be "sold." Fortunately, installation takes about two clicks on a PC to write it to the SD card, and you simply pop that back in the RetroStone.



    What I liked most, is that the RetroStone comes with four USB ports and an HDMI out, so you can connect four controllers, plug it into your TV, and voila, you have a living room console too. There's also a good old-fashioned headphone port and micro-USB for charging (I'm getting about 5 hours of play per charge). Most of the above is true for all Pi-based systems, this one is just well made and requires very little setup. I also just love how it looks (though, I can see it might be an acquired taste). Price-wise it's in PS Vita territory, but I love the vintage styling and its added desktop capabilities. More on that later.

    8Bcraft isn't a large organization. In fact, as far as I know, it's a one-man outfit. The RetroStone is the second console from him/them, with the Raspiboy ($87) being the first. The two are similar, but the Raspiboy is a little too quirky-looking (even for my taste), and, as the name suggests uses a lower-spec Raspberry Pi board. It comes as a kit but doesn't need soldering. As the RetroStone has more processing punch, it can emulate more modern systems (apparently up to the N64/PS1 era, and even some PSP games).

    Turns out, that the RetroStone exists purely for people with similar desires as me. Pierre, the man behind the product told me over email "It was very difficult to make a Game boy zero, you had to be an electrician. And when you add the cost of all parts it was pretty expensive. So I thought, why not make something that is accessible and affordable? That's when I made Raspiboy." (And then, the RetroStone.)

    Another benefit of these "Pi" systems (whichever fruit it is), is that you can use them as portable PCs too (this is their primary purpose after all). With the RetroStone, if I plug in a keyboard and mouse, then connect it to a monitor (or my TV), then you have a full desktop to play with. This is probably not that interesting to most people, but after handheld gaming systems, my next weird tech crush is weird, small, not very practical mini PCs (ILU Nokia N800). Not sure why, but I think it's a throwback to when the very idea of a functional, pocket-sized PC was kinda mind-blowing.

    Yes, I know that I already have a phone that is well made, has oodles of processing power for both gaming and whatever else that fits in my pocket. The thing is, I want something for time away from my phone, not just more phone time. Plus I hate onscreen controls, and grips/adapters aren't in the spirit of what I want. Like I said earlier, logic doesn't factor highly in my plans, it's all about that pure gaming feel.



    And the RetroStone has feeling in spades. Every time I glance at it across the room, I have the urge to pick it up and play. I spent far too long researching slightly shitty mini wireless Keyboards (for my wonky portable PC fantasy) and I also had to buy a WiFi dongle, as the RetroStone doesn't have any wireless at all (it does have an Ethernet port though!).

    When I hold the thing, it feels comfortable, and just like a handheld console should (slightly chunky, but not heavy or cumbersome). The buttons feel like an original Game Boy, and the D-pad doesn't feel slack or spongy. There are four more "shoulder" buttons on the back, which I find a little hard to reach, but none of the games I play right now need them.

    The 3.5-inch display is decent; it's a little low in resolution at 320x240, but that's more than adequate. The bigger problem is that it uses the composite output (as the board's HDMI output was needed for the TV out). That said, when I compare it side by side with the PSP running the same emulated game, it's notably sharper. The PSP is a little blurry/soft looking, despite any tweaking I do in settings (if I am missing something here, let me know).



    Also, despite the love and care that has clearly gone into making this thing, you are still reminded that it's a barebones Linux machine in a nice case. While that $20 thing I bought on Amazon boots up instantly to the game selection menu, the RetroStone goes through a whole PC-like startup process that takes almost a minute. It's also a little temperamental, sometimes taking a few restarts before it loads up properly.

    Right now, the RetroStone is the closest thing to the comprehensive retro gaming experience I am looking for. I love that it has untapped potential as a mini-PC too (and all the other perks of RetroPie, like Kodi and so on). Much as I love my old Lynx (which I paid a princely sum to upgrade the screen on), the portability and design of the RetroStone have won me over.

    As enamored as I am with the RetroStone, my quest isn't over. I know there are likely more contraptions out there, with different reasons to consider (smaller? More powerful? Has other superfluous features that'll appeal to me?). I'm still even thinking about the PS Vita, for reasons I cannot explain. So, fellow retro gamers, if you happen to know of other systems out there to add to the collection, I'm all ears.

    "IRL" is a recurring column in which the Engadget staff run down what they're buying, using, playing and streaming.


  • 'FIFA' eSports league eMLS expands to 22 teams

    eMLS, the FIFA eSports league of Major League Soccer, is getting ready to expand. Following a successful inaugural season earlier this year, the league run in parternship with EA Sports will head into 2019 with three new squads. Atlanta United, D.C. United and FC Cincinnati will all have eSports clubs appearing in the next season. They will compete for the eMLS cup and will join in the new eMLS League Series events.

    The expansion means 22 of the 24 MLS teams that will take to the real-life pitch in 2019 will also be represented in the eSports league. FC Cincinnati will make its debut both the real MLS and the virtual competition next year. The only clubs without an eSports equivalent representing them are Los Angeles FC and Real Salt Lake. Each team selects a single gamer in a draft that will represent them in competition.

    The primary challenge for the selected gamers is the eMLS Cup, which was played earlier this year at PAX East and broadcast on Twitch. The winner of the competition represents the MLS at the FIFA eWorld Cup, a 32-person tournament made up of winners from other FIFA events and top players from online competitions.

    For the 2019 season, eMLS will add a new competition called League Series. There will be two League Series events taking place during the 2019 season: Series One hosted by the LA Galaxy in January and Series Two hosted by FC Dallas in February. All players from the 22 eMLS teams will participate with a chance to win distinct prizes at each event. The League Series will also determine seeding for the 2019 eMLS Cup.

    EA Sports and eMLS have yet to announce when the eMLS Cup will take place. The 2019 FIFA eWorld Cup is set to take place in July or August 2019.

    Source: Major League Soccer


  • Xiaomi takes over Meitu’s struggling selfie-focused phone business

    Chinese selfie app and smartphone company Meitu announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Xiaomi. Going forward, Meitu will license its brand, technologies and hardware to China-based Xiaomi, and for upcoming smartphones, Xiaomi will handle design, research, development, production, business operation, sales and marketing while Meitu will deal with image-related algorithms and technologies. Meitu said its mission has been "to inspire more people to express their beauty," and its board of directors has determined that a partnership with Xiaomi will aid in carrying out that mission.



    Meitu noted in its announcement that it's likely to experience a much larger loss than it did last year. This year, it's projected to record a net loss between RMB 950 million and RMB 1,200 million, or between $137 million and $173 million, compared to the $28 million loss it logged last year. It attributed part of that loss to the fact that it only released one smartphone this year as opposed to the five it launched the year before.

    This agreement, therefore, makes sense for the struggling Meitu. "With such strategic partnership, we can focus our efforts in developing the next-generation image processing technologies, while leveraging our partner's economy of scale in research and development, supply chain management and new retail efforts," the company said. And as for Xiaomi, which just announced a net profit after a rather substantial loss last year, it has been working on expanding into new markets. This partnership with Meitu will give Xiaomi the opportunity to try out new technologies with a sub-brand as it continues to push into Europe and elsewhere.

    Via: The Verge

    Source: Meitu


  • Samsung's LED movie screens deliver more cinematic punch

    To the surprise of many, Samsung last year unveiled a cinema LED screen that's ten times brighter than a projector. But it's been hard to actually see one, as they're installed in just a few cinemas around the world. Recently, Samsung demonstrated the screen (now called the Onyx Cinema LED) with the European film lab Éclair in Paris, and I had a chance to get a look at it. With its incredible brights and extreme blacks, the LED movie screen was impressive, but it'll take some work to convince filmmakers, theater owners and movie-goers to adopt it.

    Samsung will market three versions, depending on the size of the theater: The 5-meter (19 foot) version I saw will run at DCI 2K (2,048 x 1080), while the 10-meter (34 foot) and 14-meter (50 foot) models will run at DCI 4K (4,096 x 2,160). Those are standard cinema projection sizes, but the screens will support wide or flat DCI and other resolutions with letter-boxing.

    They are also compatible with various flavors of HDR, which enhances the image thanks to a peak brightness of 300 nits, including Samsung's own HDR10+ and Éclair (the latter is what I saw in Paris). "The Samsung Onyx screen is one of the most powerful pieces of equipment that allows us to display HDR content," Éclair General Manager Pascal Mogavero told Engadget.

    The screens support 3D technology and should handle it better than projectors because of the higher brightness levels, which can hit 500 nits on the 4K screens. Because of that, the picture will look less muddy and you'll see fewer motion artifacts and blur than with regular projectors.

    The Onyx screens aren't gigantic versions of Samsung's QLED TVs, though. Rather, they're based on its outdoor display tech that uses individual SMD (surface mount device) LEDs. Each pixel is self-emitting with no backlight, so you can get true blacks simply by turning off individual LEDs. That's much like how OLED TVs work, and those are beloved by reviewers for their deep blacks.


    Samsung essentially puts the sets together by assembling 256 x 360 pixel cabinets, each about 4 feet across. The smallest model uses 24 cabinets while the largest 14-meter version has 178 of them. The specs trounce any TV, with 16 bits of color (trillions) per pixel and contrast ratios that match the million-to-one levels of an OLED set.

    Consistency is another key quality. "We have a linear image that's as bright in the center as it is in the edges," said Samsung's Paul Maloney. "Unlike a projection-based system with a lens, if you have a xenon bulb source in the center, the lens curves so the corners of the screen get darker. The same happens with color. The Samsung LED doesn't need to be optically corrected."

    On top of that, the Onyx LED emits rather than filters colors, unlike a projector. That means deeper colors can actually be brighter, not darker, generating the high luminance levels needed for true HDR.

    The sound, meanwhile, is provided by Samsung's Harman JBL and installed in a special configuration to accommodate the displays. Harman had to essentially redesign everything as speakers can't be placed behind the movie screen like they are now. The Sculpted Surround Sound audio systems are also designed to deliver uniform sound to the more sloped seating arrangements required for the screens.

    So how is the image? It's clearly brighter than any projector, and the brightness and contrast are significantly enhanced by the HDR. Samsung and Éclair switched one scene between regular SDR and HDR, and the difference was pretty eye-popping. But films not encoded with HDR certainly won't look bad -- it's only obvious when you compare them side-by-side.

    Colors are punchy and looked accurate. Éclair showed off one scene with the famous Michael Bay-style treatment, with orange-hued skin tones standing out against teal-blue backgrounds. Film directors and colorists will be able to optimize color timing for the screens knowing that subtle shadows will still be visible because of the extra brightness.


    I hunted for flaws during the projection, and my nitpicks are few. With the relatively low 2K resolution of the 5-meter screen, it was easy to see blocky pixels on text and angled straight lines. That will probably apply to the 4K displays, too, especially up close, since they use the same cabinets. On the whole, though, the effect is not that bad and is no worse than 2K digital projections I've seen. Celluloid film projectors, of course, don't have "pixels," however.

    I walked back and forth across the screen, and viewing off-angle makes little-to-no difference in color or brightness perception, thanks again to the individual LEDs. I did notice a bit of blooming in a space scene where an extreme-bright area produced a halo-like artifact against a dark area, but I doubt few moviegoers would notice -- you're not going to be walking around while watching a movie, after all.

    My opinion is one thing, but I was curious to know what cinema goers and the filmmakers themselves thought. Many folks still haven't gotten over the transition from celluloid to digital projection, which Quentin Tarantino called "TV in public." Samsung's Onyx system takes that even further, as it's essentially a large, albeit technically superior, TV.

    "Some people don't like it because they feel it will change the filmmaker's initial intent," said Mogavero. "If you want to show your movie on a projector, you can still do it. But if you want to completely redesign your movie and think about a completely different way to tell the stories, then you can do that, too. It's widening, not restricting or corrupting the possibilities." Several filmmakers, he said, naming no names, preferred the Onyx image after seeing it next to a double-laser projection.

    Onyx might be technically superior in many ways, but Samsung and its partners still need to convince movie theaters to install them. The system is more expensive than any projector; though Kayata noted that the price isn't that far from the fanciest dual-laser projectors. Samsung's argument is that without a projection closet, cinemas can add more seats, and the new tech could draw ticket buyers who might otherwise stay at home. Samsung plans to have 30 locations installed by the end of the year.

    Its best argument for the tech, though, might be aimed at viewers who feel the cinema experience is actually inferior to what they can have at home. "The average consumer just loves to enjoy what they're seeing," said Maloney. "We have the likes of Netflix and Amazon doing 4K HDR movies, so these are all things that consumers are used to. All we're trying to do is present that for them in theaters."

    Update 11/19/2018 2:31 PM ET: Dolby has told Engadget that the Onyx Cinema LED screens don't support Dolby Vision like the post originally said. It has been updated with the correct information.


OSNews

  • The Intel Core i9-9980XE review: refresh until it hertz
    AnandTech has published its comprehensive benchmarks and tests of the Intel Core i9-9980XE, and while this $2000 processor is unlikely to grace any of our computers, the article has some choice words for Intel. The problem with the 9980XE is that it's basically a 7980XE with slightly higher frequencies partly because Intel switched the TIM from paste to solder, and the numbers confirm this - the performance improvement isn't all that great.

    And this is a big problem for Intel.
    It all boils down to 'more of the same, but slightly better'  While Intel is having another crack at Skylake, its competition is trying to innovate, not only by trying new designs that may or may not work, but they are already showcasing the next generation several months in advance with both process node and microarchitectural changes. As much as Intel prides itself on its technological prowess, and has done well this decade, there's something stuck in the pipe. At a time when Intel needs evolution, it is stuck doing refresh iterations.
    Intel needs a breakthrough, because it can't keep sucking blood from the 14nm stone forever.


  • Impact assessment shows privacy risks of Microsoft Office
    The government of The Netherlands recently commissioned the Privacy Company to perform a data protection impact assessment regarding the government's use of Microsoft Office products, and the results of this assessment are alarming.
    The SLM Rijk conducts negotiations with Microsoft for approximately 300.000 digital work stations of the national government. The Enterprise version of the Office software is deployed by different governmental organisations, such as ministries, the judiciary, the police and the taxing authority.  The results of this Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) are alarming. Microsoft collects and stores personal data about the behaviour of individual employees on a large scale, without any public documentation. The DPIA report (in English) as published by the Ministry is available here.
    This shouldn't surprise anyone, but it's good to see governments taking these matters seriously, and forcing technology companies to change their policies.


  • Limiting the power of package installation in Debian
    There is always at least a small risk when installing a package for a distribution. By its very nature, package installation is an invasive process; some packages require the ability to make radical changes to the system - changes that users surely would not want other packages to take advantage of. Packages that are made available by distributions are vetted for problems of this sort, though, of course, mistakes can be made. Third-party packages are an even bigger potential problem because they lack this vetting, as was discussed in early October on the debian-devel mailing list. Solutions in this area are not particularly easy, however.


  • Firefox Nightly now with experimental Wayland support
    As of last nightly (20181115100051), Firefox now supports Wayland on Linux, thanks to the work from Martin Stransky and Jan Horak, mostly.  Before that, it was possible to build your own Firefox with Wayland support (and Fedora does it), but now the downloads from mozilla.org come with Wayland support out of the box for the first time.
    The transition to Wayland seems to be taking its time, but with how big of an undertaking this is, that only makes sense.


  • International System of Units overhauled in historic vote
    Today, in a landmark decision, representatives from 60 countries voted to redefine the International System of Units (SI), changing the world's definition of the kilogram, the ampere, the kelvin and the mole, for ever.  The decision, made at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles, France, which is organised by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), means that all SI units will now be defined in terms of constants that describe the natural world. This will assure the future stability of the SI and open the opportunity for the use of new technologies, including quantum technologies, to implement the definitions.
    The metric system - or, as it is known today, the International System of Units (SI) - is an amazing achievement of mankind. Save for a few archaic holdouts who still measure things by sheep intestines and cow brains, the entire world has standardized on this system, so that regardless of where you are, things innately make sense.


  • How Facebook's leaders fought through crisis
    While Mr. Zuckerberg has conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook's critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation. Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, lobbying a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.
    Revealing, but unsurprising recount of how Facebook went on the attack to ward off the numerous criticisms of the company. It doesn't susprise me one bit that Facebook isn't just a terrible company on the outside, but also on the inside.



  • Windows 10 to get white theme
    Microsoft released the latest Windows 10 insider build for next year's April Windows 10 update, and it contained a welcome susprise.
    Ever since we introduced the ability to choose between light and dark in Windows 10, we've heard feedback asking for a truer separation between the two options. When you select Light under Settings > Personalization > Colors, the expectation is that the system color would be lighter too. And it didn't do that before - the taskbar and many other things stayed dark. Now, if you choose Light under Settings > Personalization > Colors, all system UI will now be light. This includes the taskbar, Start menu, Action Center, touch keyboard, and more.
    This looks really, really nice. There's a few other changes in this build as well, but do note we're very early in the development process, so these builds are not for the faint of heart.


  • The vacuum tube's many modern day uses
    Among obscure pop culture tidbits and stories about wacky inventions, Tedium has often documented the continued survival of technology long thought of as obsolete. From calculagraphs to COBOL, we love hearing that ancient tech survives in the 21st century and revel in the uses that keep them around. So it was surprising to dig through the Tedium archives looking for something I expected to find, but didn't. Today, we're righting that wrong and diving into the robust and thriving world of a technology that was foundational to the progress humanity made during the 20th century. Today's Tedium is talking vacuum tubes.


  • KDevelop 5.3 released
    A little less than a year after the release of KDevelop 5.2 and a little more than 20 years after KDevelop's first official release, we are happy to announce the availability of KDevelop 5.3 today. Below is a summary of the significant changes.


  • Samsung's Linux on DeX turns your phone into a Linux PC
    Samsung debuted DeX last year to make your phone behave a bit more like a computer when plugged into a monitor. This year, DeX functionality has improved so you don't need to expensive custom dock, just a video cable. At Samsung's developer conference last week, it announced DeX would also get full Linux support. It's only officially available to those in the beta program, but we've got the APK.
    I remain convinced that this is eventually what all our phones will be able to do - adapt to whatever input method and/or display you hook up to it. We're in the early stages today, with lots of rough edges, performance hiccups, and other issues, but eventually, we won't bat an eye at walking into our homes and without us doing anything, our phone wirelessly hooks up to all displays in our house. Want to work on that presentation for tomorrow? Walk into your office, sit down, and your phone automatically wirelessly connects to the mouse, keyboard, and display on your desk. Want to watch Netflix? Just yell a command at your TV, and your phone plays season 7 of Game of Thrones: The Next Generation on your TV. And so on.

    This is still a long way off, and it requires serious advances in wireless transmission and latency, but this is the future I want.


  • The lost art of steam heating
    While this is not a story about computing, it is a story about technology, and a very fascinating technology at that. Sure, steam heating systems may not sound particularly exciting, but trust me - you'd be wrong.

    Back in 2016, The New Yorker ran a short story about a presentation by Dan Holohan.
    Dan Holohan, a tall, bespectacled man, took the floor. Through such books as "The Lost Art of Steam Heating" and "We Got Steam Heat! A Homeowner's Guide to Peaceful Coexistence", as well as the Web site HeatingHelp.com, Holohan has built a community among those who work on and live with the nineteenth-century heating technology that is still common, if not commonly understood, in New York and in other older cities across the country.
    It turns out a version of this presentation, held at the Central Park Arsenal for The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York (what a magnificent name!), is available on YouTube, and let me tell you - like you right now, I didn't think this subject could be even remotely interesting. As it turns out, though, ancient steam heating systems are an absolutely fascinating subject and kind of a neat piece of engineering. Did you know, for instance, that the 102 floors of the Empire State Building are heated with only one and a half pounds of steam pressure?

    Holohan is clearly a man proud of his knowledge and trade, and his excitement about this arcane subject is palpable. I highly suggest taking 50 minutes out of your day to watch his presentation.


  • The good and bad of Samsung's One UI interface
    One UI will initially be rolled out as a beta for users later this month, and in January 2019, will officially make its way to all Galaxy S9, S9+, and Note 9 devices.  What we've seen of One UI so far looks quite promising, but it's also not without its faults. Here's both the good and bad that you can look forward to when the update lands on your phone.
    One UI is Samsung's new TouchWiz, and it's kind of hilarious. For a number of applications, Samsung decided to put all the content on the bottom half of the screen, while reserving the top half for just one header (like "Settings" or "Messages"). Basically, you have a huge screen and a tall display, only for literally half of it to be taken up by a massive single-word header.

    Okay Samsung. Okay.


  • Microsoft re-releases Windows 10 October 2018 update
    Microsoft has finally re-released the October 2018 Update for Windows 10, after pulling it about a month ago because a serious bug deleted a small number of users' files. Alongside the re-release, the company published a blog post detailing the testing process for Windows 10. This paragraph stood out to me:
    Critical to any discussion of Windows quality is the sheer scale of the Windows ecosystem, where tens of thousands of hardware and software partners extend the value of Windows as they bring their innovation to hundreds of millions of customers. With Windows 10 alone we work to deliver quality to over 700 million monthly active Windows 10 devices, over 35 million application titles with greater than 175 million application versions, and 16 million unique hardware/driver combinations. In addition, the ecosystem delivers new drivers, firmware, application updates and/or non-security updates daily. Simply put, we have a very large and dynamic ecosystem that requires constant attention and care during every single update. That all this scale and complexity can "just work" is key to Microsoft's mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
    With the virtually unlimited number of hardware and software permutations Windows runs on, it's actually nothing short of a miracle that updates go out to most users every month. Sure there is the occasional problem - like what happened a month ago - but Windows' update proces is an engineering marvel, and while blind Microsoft and Windows hate often blinds people to the things Microsoft does well, the fact remains that there is no other operating system in the world that even comes close to Windows when it comes to releasing updates for such a wide variety of possible hardware and software permutations.

    I mean, Apple has had to pull a watchOS update only recently because it bricked Apple Watches - and how many Apple Watch models are there, total? Ten?

    Windows has more than enough issues, but its update process is not one of them.


  • The next version of HTTP won't be using TCP
    The next version of HTTP, as agreed upon by the Internet Engineering Taskforce, is going to make some big changes.
    In its continued efforts to make Web networking faster, Google has been working on an experimental network protocol named QUIC: "Quick UDP Internet Connections." QUIC abandons TCP, instead using its sibling protocol UDP (User Datagram Protocol). UDP is the "opposite" of TCP; it's unreliable (data that is sent from one end may never be received by the other end, and the other end has no way of knowing that something has gone missing), and it is unordered (data sent later can overtake data sent earlier, arriving jumbled up). UDP is, however, very simple, and new protocols are often built on top of UDP.  QUIC reinstates the reliability and ordering that TCP has but without introducing the same number of round trips and latency. For example, if a client is reconnecting to a server, the client can send important encryption data with the very first packet, enabling the server to resurrect the old connection, using the same encryption as previously negotiated, without requiring any additional round trips.
    I am ashamed to admit that I actually know remarkably little of how the core technologies underpinning the internet and the world wide web actually work. It's apparently so well-designed and suited for its task that few of us ever really have to stop and think about how it all works - but when you do, it kind of feels like magic how all of our computers, smartphones, and other connected devices just talk to each other and every little packet of data gets sent to exactly the right place.



Linux Journal - The Original Magazine of the Linux Community

  • Feral Interactive Announces Total War: WARHAMMER II to Be Released for Linux Tomorrow, Uber Joined The Linux Foundation, Security Bug Discovered in Instagram, Fedora Taking Submissions for Supplemental Wallpapers and Kernel 4.20-rc3 Is Out

    News briefs for November 19, 2018.

    Feral Interactive announces that Total War: WARHAMMER II will be released for Linux and macOS tomorrow, November 20, 2018. This follow-up of Total War: WARHAMMER "puts players in command of one of four fantastical Races, challenging them to wage a war of conquest in order to stabilise or disrupt the apocalyptically powerful Great Vortex." You can pre-order it from here for $59.99 US, and view the trailer from Feral's YouTube channel.

    Uber has joined The Linux Foundation. The press release quotes Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin: "Uber has been active in open source for years, creating popular projects like Jaeger and Horovod that help businesses build technology at scale. We are very excited to welcome Uber to the Linux Foundation community. Their expertise will be instrumental for our projects as we continue to advance open solutions for cloud native technologies, deep learning, data visualization and other technologies that are critical to businesses today."

    A new security vulnerability has been discovered in Instagram (owned by Facebook). The Information reports that the recently introduced "Download Your Data" security feature caused some users' passwords to be revealed. Instagram quickly fixed the bug and users were notified and asked to change their passwords and clear their browsing history.

    Submissions now open for Fedora 30 Supplemental Wallpapers until January 19, 2019. The Fedora design team works with the community each release to select 16 additional wallpapers that users can install. This is your chance to start contributing to Fedora. See the Fedora Magazine post for more information.

    Linux kernel 4.20-rc3 is out. Linus says the only unusual thing was his travel and that the changes "are pretty tiny".
          News  Feral Interactive  gaming  The Linux Foundation  Security  Facebook  Instagram  Fedora  kernel                   


  • Schedule One-Time Commands with the UNIX at Tool
        by Kyle Rankin   
    Cron is nice and all, but don't forget about its cousin at.

    When I first started using Linux, it was like being tossed into the deep end of the UNIX pool. You were expected to use the command line heavily along with all the standard utilities and services that came with your distribution. At lot has changed since then, and nowadays, you can use a standard Linux desktop without ever having to open a terminal or use old UNIX services. Even as a sysadmin, these days, you often are a few layers of abstraction above some of these core services.

    I say all of this to point out that for us old-timers, it's easy to take for granted that everyone around us innately knows about all the command-line tools we use. Yet, even though I've been using Linux for 20 years, I still learn about new (to me) command-line tools all the time. In this "Back to Basics" article series, I plan to cover some of the command-line tools that those new to Linux may never have used before. For those of you who are more advanced, I'll spread out this series, so you can expect future articles to be more technical. In this article, I describe how to use the at utility to schedule jobs to run at a later date.
     at vs. Cron
    at is one of those commands that isn't discussed very much. When people talk about scheduling commands, typically cron gets the most coverage. Cron allows you to schedule commands to be run on a periodic basis. With cron, you can run a command as frequently as every minute or as seldom as once a day, week, month or even year. You also can define more sophisticated rules, so commands run, for example, every five minutes, every weekday, every other hour and many other combinations. System administrators sometimes will use cron to schedule a local script to collect metrics every minute or to schedule backups.

    On the other hand, although the at command also allows you to schedule commands, it serves a completely different purpose from cron. While cron lets you schedule commands to run periodically, at lets you schedule commands that run only once at a particular time in the future. This means that at fills a different and usually more immediate need from cron.
     Using at
    At one point, the at command came standard on most Linux distributions, but these days, even on servers, you may find yourself having to install the at package explicitly. Once installed, the easiest way to use at is to type it on the command line followed by the time you want the command to run:
      $ at 18:00  
    The at command also can accept a number of different time formats. For instance, it understands AM and PM as well as words like "tomorrow", so you could replace the above command with the identical:
        Go to Full Article          


  • Weekend Reading: Qubes
        by Carlie Fairchild   
    Qubes OS is a security-focused operating system that, as tech editor Kyle Rankin puts it, "is fundamentally different from any other Linux desktop I've used". Join us this weekend in reading Kyle's multi-part series on all things Qubes.

    Secure Desktops with Qubes: Introduction

    In this first article, I provide an overview of what Qubes is, some of the approaches it takes that are completely different from what you might be used to on a Linux desktop and some of its particularly interesting security features. In future articles, I'll give more how-to guides on installing and configuring it and how to use some of its more-advanced features.

    Secure Desktops with Qubes: Installation
    This is the second in a multipart series on the Qubes operating system. In my first article, I gave an overall introduction to Qubes and how it differs from most other desktop Linux distributions, namely in the way it focuses on compartmentalizing applications within different VMs to limit what attackers have access to in the event they compromise a VM. This allows you to use one VM for regular Web browsing, another for banking and a different one for storing your GPG keys and password manager. In this article, I follow up with a basic guide on how to download and install Qubes, along with a general overview of the desktop and the various default VM types.

    Secure Desktops with Qubes: Compartmentalization
    This is the third article in my series about Qubes. In the first two articles, I gave an overview about what Qubes is and described how to install it. One of the defining security features of Qubes is how it lets you compartmentalize your different desktop activities into separate VMs. The idea behind security by compartmentalization is that if one of your VMs is compromised, the damage is limited to just that VM.

    Secure Desktops with Qubes: Extra Protection
        Go to Full Article          


  • New Raspbian Update, Qt Creator 4.8 Beta2 Released, Firefox Monitor Now Available in More Than 26 Languages, Chrome OS Linux Soon Will Have Access to Downloads Folder and Canonical Extends Ubuntu 18.04 Long-Term Support

    News briefs for November 16, 2018.

    Simon Long has released a new Raspbian update. This update includes a "fully hardware-accelerated version of VLC", version 3 of the Thonny Python development environment, improved desktop configuration and more. You can download the update from here.

    Qt Creator 4.8 Beta2 is now available. In addition to many bug fixes, the LLVM for the Clang code model is updated to version 7.0 and binary packages are updated to the Qt 5.12 prerelease. You can get the open-source version here.

    Firefox Monitor, the free services that tells you whether your email has been part of a security breach, is now available in more than 26 languages: "Albanian, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English (Canadian), French, Frisian, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, and Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Ukranian and Welsh." Along with this, Mozilla also announced that it has added "a notification to our Firefox Quantum browser that alerts desktop users when they visit a site that has had a recently reported data breach". See the Mozilla blog for details.

    Chrome OS Linux soon will be able to access your Downloads folder and Google Drive. According to the 9to5Google post, "Making the entire Downloads folder accessible will turn Linux apps into a first-class citizen on Chrome OS and will dramatically help with file organization and ease of use."

    Canonical and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced in his keynote at OpenStack Summit in Berlin that the Ubuntu 18.04 long-term support lifespan will be extended from five years to ten years. He also addressed IBM's acquisition of Red Hat. ZDNet reports that Shuttleworth indicated that this may lead customers to switch to Ubuntu, saying "We're neutral on the public cloud. We work at arm's length with AWS, Azure, and Google. We provide a common currency across different environment. But, we're not the lowest common denominator. We want to be the best operating system on Azure for Azure, AWS for AWS, and so on."
          News  Raspberry Pi  Raspbian  qt  Firefox  Security  Mozilla  Chrome OS  Canonical  Ubuntu                   


  • FOSS Project Spotlight: BlueK8s
        by Tom Phelan   
    Deploying and managing complex stateful applications on Kubernetes.

    Kubernetes (aka K8s) is now the de facto container orchestration framework. Like other popular open-source technologies, Kubernetes has amassed a considerable ecosystem of complementary tools to address everything from storage to security. And although it was first created for running stateless applications, more and more organizations are interested in using Kubernetes for stateful applications.

    However, while Kubernetes has advanced significantly in many areas during the past couple years, there still are considerable gaps when it comes to running complex stateful applications. It remains challenging to deploy and manage distributed stateful applications consisting of a multitude of co-operating services (such as for use cases with large-scale analytics and machine learning) with Kubernetes.

    I've been focused on this space for the past several years as a co-founder of BlueData. During that time, I've worked with many teams at Global 2000 enterprises in several industries to deploy distributed stateful services successfully, such as Hadoop, Spark, Kafka, Cassandra, TensorFlow and other analytics, data science, machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) tools in containerized environments.

    In that time, I've learned what it takes to deploy complex stateful applications like these with containers while ensuring enterprise-grade security, reliability and performance. Together with my colleagues at BlueData, we've broken new ground in using Docker containers for big data analytics, data science and ML/DL in highly distributed environments. We've developed new innovations to address requirements in areas like storage, security, networking, performance and lifecycle management.

    Now we want to bring those innovations to the Open Source community—to ensure that these stateful services are supported in the Kubernetes ecosystem. BlueData's engineering team has been busy working with Kubernetes, developing prototypes with Kubernetes in our labs and collaborating with multiple enterprise organizations to evaluate the opportunities (and challenges) in using Kubernetes for complex stateful applications.

    To that end, we recently introduced a new Kubernetes open-source initiative: BlueK8s. The BlueK8s initiative will be composed of several open-source projects that each will bring enterprise-level capabilities for stateful applications to Kubernetes.
        Go to Full Article          


  • New Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta Now Available, LF Deep Learning Foundation Announces First Software Release of the Acumos AI Project, Google's Project Fi to Offer Google-Run VPN and Deepin 15.8 Released

    News briefs for November 15, 2018.

    Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ is now available: "you can now get the 1.4GHz clock speed, 5GHz wireless networking and improved thermals of Raspberry Pi 3B+ in a smaller form factor, and at the smaller price of $25." You can order one here. The blog post notes that cases for the RPi 3 Model A+ will be available early next month.

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta makes its debut. RHEL 8 Beta features hundreds of improvements and several new features. One highlight is the introduction of "the concept of Application Streams to deliver userspace packages more simply and with greater flexibility". It also supports "more efficient Linux networking in containers through IPVLAN", has several security enhancements and more.

    The LF Deep Learning Foundation (a project of the Linux Foundation) yesterday announced the first software release of the Acumos AI Project, Athena. From the press release: "Acumos AI is a platform and open source framework that makes it easy to build, share and deploy AI applications. Acumos AI standardizes the infrastructure stack and components required to run an out-of-the-box general AI environment. This frees data scientists and model trainers to focus on their core competencies and accelerate innovation." See the full release notes here.

    Google's Project Fi has launched a new project allowing users to route all traffic through a Google-run VPN. According to The Verge, "your traffic will be going to Google's servers, so Google will be able to see what you're visiting." However, Google has said it isn't tying traffic to accounts or phone numbers or "any other user identifiers". The traffic also will be encrypted.

    Linux Deepin 15.8 was released today. The Deepin team notes that the "new release is featured with newly designed control center, dock tray and boot theme, as well as improved deepin native applications, hoping to bring users a more beautiful and efficient experience." To download, click here.
          News  Raspberry Pi  Red Hat  Linux Foundation  Deep Learning  Acumos  AI  Google  Project Fi  VPN  Deepin  Distributions                   


  • Getting Started with Scilab
        by Joey Bernard   
    Introducing one of the larger scientific lab packages for Linux.

    Scilab is meant to be an overall package for numerical science, along the lines of Maple, Matlab or Mathematica. Although a lot of built-in functionality exists for all sorts of scientific computations, Scilab also includes its own programming language, which allows you to use that functionality to its utmost. If you prefer, you instead can use this language to extend Scilab's functionality into completely new areas of research. Some of the functionality includes 2D and 3D visualization and optimization tools, as well as statistical functions. Also included in Scilab is Xcos, an editor for designing dynamical systems models.

    Several options exist for installing Scilab on your system. Most package management systems should have one or more packages available for Scilab, which also will install several support packages. Or, you simply can download and install a tarball that contains everything you need to be able to run Scilab on your system.

    Once it's installed, start the GUI version of Scilab with the scilab command. If you installed Scilab via tarball, this command will be located in the bin subdirectory where you unpacked the tarball.

    When it first starts, you should see a full workspace created for your project.

    Figure 1. When you first start Scilab, you'll see an empty workspace ready for you to start a new project.

    On the left-hand side is a file browser where you can see data files and Scilab scripts. The right-hand side has several panes. The top pane is a variable browser, where you can see what currently exists within the workspace. The middle pane contains a list of commands within that workspace, and the bottom pane has a news feed of Scilab-related news. The center of the workspace is the actual Scilab console where you can interact with the execution engine.

    Let's start with some basic mathematics—for example, division:
      --> 23/7  ans =   3.2857143  
    As you can see, the command prompt is -->, where you enter the next command to the execution engine. In the variable browser, you can see a new variable named ans that contains the results of the calculation.

    Along with basic arithmetic, there is also a number of built-in functions. One thing to be aware of is that these function names are case-sensitive. For example, the statement sqrt(9) gives the answer of 3, whereas the statement SQRT(9) returns an error.

    There also are built-in constants for numbers like e or pi. You can use them in statements, like this command to find the sine of pi/2:
        Go to Full Article          



  • Meet TASBot, a Linux-Powered Robot Playing Video Games for Charity
        by Allan Cecil   
    Can a Linux-powered robot play video games faster than you? Only if he takes a hint from piano rolls...and doesn't desync.

    Let me begin with a brief history of tool-assisted speedruns. It was 2003. Less than half the developed world had internet access of any kind, and YouTube hadn't been created yet. Smartphones were rare and nascent. Pentium III processors still were commonplace, and memory was measured in megabytes. It was out of this primordial ooze that an interesting video file circulated around the web—an 18MB .wmv labeled only as a "super mario bross3 time attack video" [sic]. What followed was an absolutely insane 11-minute completion of the game by someone named Morimoto replete with close calls, no deaths and Mario destroying Bowser after apparently effortlessly obtaining 99 lives. The only other context was a link to a page written in Japanese, and the rough encoding that Windows Media Video format was known for in that era made it difficult for casual viewers to observe that it was an emulator recording rather than the output of a real Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console.

     Figure 1. Morimoto's 2003 Super Mario Bros. 3 (SMB3) Time Attack Video

    The video encode had in fact been made with the Famtasia NES emulator using Tool-Assisted Speedrun (TAS) re-recording tools consisting of a "movie file" of the sequence of all buttons pressed along with the use of savestates, or CPU and memory snapshots allowing returning to a previous state. Morimoto had in essence augmented his own human skill by using tools that allowed him to return to a previous save point any time he was dissatisfied with the quality of his play. By iteratively backing up and keeping only the best results, he had created what he considered at the time to be a perfect play-through of the game. I didn't know anything about how it was made the first time I saw the run, but it blew my mind and had me asking questions to which I couldn't find answers.

    The human speedrunning community members were naturally highly offended by what they saw as an unlabeled abomination akin to a doped athlete being allowed to compete in the Olympics. Their view was that anything that augmented raw human ability in any way (even as rudimentary as keyboard macros in PC games) was considered cheating, and Morimoto's run was nothing more than a fraud best left ignored. There was fascination, intrigue and division. It was, in retrospect, the perfect recipe for a new website.
        Go to Full Article          



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