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  • Fedora 27: tor Security Update
    LinuxSecurity.com: update to upstream release 0.3.1.9. Fixes various CVEs: CVE-2017-8819: Replay- cache ineffective for v2 onion services CVE-2017-8820: Remote DoS attack against directory authorities CVE-2017-8821: An attacker can make Tor ask for a password CVE-2017-8822: Relays can pick themselves in a circuit path CVE-2017-8823: Use- after-free in onion service v2


  • Debian: DSA-4067-1: openafs security update
    LinuxSecurity.com: It was discovered that malformed jumbogram packets could result in denial of service against OpenAFS, an implementation of the Andrew distributed file system.


  • Debian: DSA-4066-1: otrs2 security update
    LinuxSecurity.com: Two vulnerabilities were discovered in the Open Ticket Request System which could result in information disclosure or the execution of arbitrary shell commands by logged-in agents.


  • Debian: DSA-4065-1: openssl1.0 security update
    LinuxSecurity.com: Multiple vulnerabilities have been discovered in OpenSSL, a Secure Sockets Layer toolkit. The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures project identifies the following issues:


  • ArchLinux: 201712-10: tor: multiple issues
    LinuxSecurity.com: The package tor before version 0.3.1.9-1 is vulnerable to multiple issues including arbitrary code execution, information disclosure and denial of service.




  • Debian LTS: DLA-1210-1: kildclient security update
    LinuxSecurity.com: It was discovered that there was a command-injection vulnerability in kildclient, a "MUD" multiplayer real-time virtual world game. For Debian 7 "Wheezy", this issue has been fixed in kildclient version


  • openSUSE: 2017:3346-1: important: chromium
    LinuxSecurity.com: An update that fixes one vulnerability is now available. An update that fixes one vulnerability is now available. An update that fixes one vulnerability is now available.


  • openSUSE: 2017:3345-1: important: openssl
    LinuxSecurity.com: An update that fixes two vulnerabilities is now available. An update that fixes two vulnerabilities is now available. An update that fixes two vulnerabilities is now available.


  • openSUSE: 2017:3344-1: important: chromium
    LinuxSecurity.com: An update that fixes one vulnerability is now available. An update that fixes one vulnerability is now available. An update that fixes one vulnerability is now available.


  • SuSE: 2017:3343-1: important: openssl
    LinuxSecurity.com: An update that fixes two vulnerabilities is now available. An update that fixes two vulnerabilities is now available. An update that fixes two vulnerabilities is now available.


  • [$] Python 3, ASCII, and UTF-8
    The dreaded UnicodeDecodeError exception is one of the signature"features" of Python 3. It is raised when the language encounters a byte sequencethat it cannot decode into a string; strictly treating stringsdifferently from arrays of byte values was something that came withPython 3. Two Python Enhancement Proposals (PEPs) bound forPython 3.7 look toward reducing those errors (and the related UnicodeEncodeError) forenvironments where they are prevalent—and often unexpected.


  • [$] Shrinking the kernel with link-time garbage collection
    One of the keys to fitting the Linux kernel into a small system is toremove any code that is not needed. The kernel's configuration systemallows that to be done on a large scale, but it still results in thebuilding of a kernel containing many smaller chunks of unused code anddata. With a bit of work, though, the compiler and linker can be made towork together to garbage-collect much of that unused code and recover thewasted space for more important uses.
    Click below (subscribers only) for a detailed article from Nicolas Pitre onhow to use link-time garbage collection to create a smaller kernel image.


  • Security updates for Friday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (erlang), Fedora (python-dulwich), Gentoo (curl, opencv, openssl, and webkit-gtk), openSUSE (libapr-util1 and php5), Red Hat (qemu-kvm-rhev), and Ubuntu (linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2 and linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws).


  • Goodbye, net neutrality—Ajit Pai’s FCC votes to allow blocking and throttling (Ars Technica)
    In a vote that was not any kind of surprise, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to end the "net neutrality" rules that stop internet service providers (ISPs) and others from blocking or throttling certain kinds of traffic to try to force consumers and content providers to pay more for "fast lanes". Ars Technica covers the vote and the reaction to it, including the fact that the fight is not yet over: "Plenty of organizations might appeal, said consumer advocate Gigi Sohn, who was a top counselor to then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler when the commission imposed its rules.'I think you'll see public interest groups, trade associations, and small and mid-sized tech companies filing the petitions for review,' Sohn told Ars. One or two 'big companies' could also challenge the repeal, she thinks.Lawsuit filers can challenge the repeal on numerous respects, she said. They can argue that the public record doesn't support the FCC's claim that broadband isn't a telecommunications service, that 'throwing away all protections for consumers and innovators for the first time since this issue has been debated is arbitrary and capricious,' and that the FCC cannot preempt state net neutrality laws, she said."


  • Protecting code integrity with PGP
    Linux Foundation Director of IT infrastructure security, Konstantin Ryabitsev, has put together a lengthy guide to using Git and PGP to protect the integrity of source code. In a Google+ post, he called it "beta quality" and asked for help with corrections and fixes. "PGP incorporates a trust delegation mechanism known as the 'Web of Trust.' At its core, this is an attempt to replace the need for centralized Certification Authorities of the HTTPS/TLS world. Instead of various software makers dictating who should be your trusted certifying entity, PGP leaves this responsibility to each user.Unfortunately, very few people understand how the Web of Trust works, and even fewer bother to keep it going. It remains an important aspect of the OpenPGP specification, but recent versions of GnuPG (2.2 and above) have implemented an alternative mechanism called 'Trust on First Use' (TOFU).You can think of TOFU as 'the SSH-like approach to trust.' With SSH, the first time you connect to a remote system, its key fingerprint is recorded and remembered. If the key changes in the future, the SSH client will alert you and refuse to connect, forcing you to make a decision on whether you choose to trust the changed key or not.Similarly, the first time you import someone's PGP key, it is assumed to be trusted. If at any point in the future GnuPG comes across another key with the same identity, both the previously imported key and the new key will be marked as invalid and you will need to manually figure out which one to keep.In this guide, we will be using the TOFU trust model."


  • Stable kernels 4.14.6 and 4.9.69
    Two new stable kernels have been released by Greg Kroah-Hartman: 4.14.6 and 4.9.69. As usual, they contain fixes all overthe kernel tree; users of those series should upgrade.


  • Security updates for Thursday
    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (qt5-webengine and quagga), Debian (xrdp), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (eap7-jboss-ec2-eap, go-toolset-7 and go-toolset-7-golang, and java-1.8.0-ibm), and SUSE (intel-SINIT and tomcat).



  • [$] MAP_FIXED_SAFE
    The MAP_FIXED option to the mmap()system call allows a process to specify that a mapping should be placedat a given virtual address if at all possible. It turns out, though, that"if at all possible" can involve a bit more collateral damage than somewould like, and can even lead to exploitable vulnerabilities. A new, saferoption is in the works but, as is often the case, it has run into a bit ofnon-technical difficulty.


  • [$] An overview of KubeCon + CloudNativeCon
    The CloudNative Computing Foundation (CNCF) held its conference,KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, in December 2017. There were 4000 attendees at this gathering in Austin, Texas,more than all the previous KubeCons before, which shows the rapid growth of thecommunity building around the tool that was announced by Google in2014. Large corporations are also taking a larger part in the community, with major players in the industry joining the CNCF, which is a project of the Linux Foundation. The CNCF now features three of the largest cloudhosting businesses (Amazon, Google, and Microsoft), but also emergingcompanies from Asia like Baidu and Alibaba.


  • Linaro ERP 17.12 released
    Linaro has announced the 17.12 release of its "Enterprise ReferencePlatform" distribution. "The goal of the Linaro Enterprise Reference Platform is to provide a fullytested, end to end, documented, open source implementation for ARM basedEnterprise servers. The Reference Platform includes kernel, a communitysupported userspace and additional relevant open source projects, and isvalidated against existing firmware releases."


  • Security updates for Wednesday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (tiff), openSUSE (firefox, fossil, GraphicsMagick, and libheimdal), Red Hat (rh-java-common-lucene and rh-java-common-lucene5), and Ubuntu (libxml2).


  • [$] Process tagging with ptags
    For various reasons related to accounting and security, there is recurringinterest in having the kernel identify the container that holds any givenprocess. Attempts to implement that functionality tend to run into thesame roadblock, though: the kernel has no concept of what a "container" is,and there is seemingly little desire to change that state of affairs. A solution to this problem may exist in the form of a neglectedpatch called "ptags", which enables the attachment of arbitrary tags toprocesses.


  • [$] Federation in social networks
    Social networking is often approached by the free-software community with acertain amount of suspicion—rightly so, since commercial social networksalmost always generate revenue by exploiting user data in one way oranother. While attempts at a free-software approach to social networking have so far not metwidespread success, the new ActivityPub federation protocol and itsimplementation in the free-software microblogging system Mastodon are gainingpopularity and already show some of the advantages of a community-drivenapproach.


  • Fedora 25 End Of Life
    Fedora 25 has reached its end of life. There will be no more updates.Users are advised to upgrade.



  • Linux Mint Releases Last KDE Edition
    ?Mint fans rejoice as the latest version of Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia with the KDE desktop is available to download on Linux Mint’s official website. The sad part is that this will be the last offering from Linux Mint that will feature the KDE desktop environment.


  • Getting started with a TensorFlow surgery classifier with TensorBoard data viz
    The most challenging part of deep learning is labeling, as you'll see in part one of this two-part series, Learn how to classify images with TensorFlow. Proper training is critical to effective future classification, and for training to work, we need lots of accurately labeled data. In part one, I skipped over this challenge by downloading 3,000 prelabeled images. I then showed you how to use this labeled data to train your classifier with TensorFlow.read more


  • The Best Free FPS Games For Android
    With the ever shining genre of First Person Shooters making it Huge in the PC market, game studios have brought the best of FPS action to people’s mobile devices. Here I present to you my best picks for the Free FPS games on Android.




  • How to Install Moodle on Ubuntu 16.04
    Step-by-step Installation Guide on how to Install Moodle on Ubuntu 16.04. Moodle (acronym of Modular-object-oriented dynamic learning environment’) is a free and open source learning management system built to provide teachers, students and administrators single personalized learning environment.









  • IoT-oriented Linux ready SBC has an optional enclosure
    Technologic’s TS-7553-V2 SBC runs Linux on an i.MX6UL and offers Ethernet, USB, GPIO, and serial I/O, plus WiFi/BT, XBee, cellular, and many other options. Technologic’s new “TS-7553-V2” single-board computer is a gen-2 re-spin of its 250MHz Cavium ARM9 SoC-based TS-7553 SBC.


  • An introduction to Joplin, an open source Evernote alternative
    Joplin is an open source cross-platform note-taking and to-do application. It can handle a large number of notes, organized into notebooks, and can synchronize them across multiple devices. The notes can be edited in Markdown, either from within the app or with your own text editor, and each application has an option to render Markdown with formatting, images, URLs, and more. Any number of files, such as images andPDFs, can be attached to a note, andnotes can also be tagged.read more


  • Installing PlayOnLinux on Ubuntu & CentOS
    Gaming on Linux has never been a easy thing, there are not a lot of games available in the market. Most of companies are not willing to put an effort in bringing their games...


  • 14 practical resources for DevOps practitioners
    Are you looking for good reading material to help you implement (or strengthen) DevOps in your organization? DevOps expert Chris Short offers 14 options for your consideration in his All Things Open 2017 Lightning Talk.Most of Chris' recommendations are books, several are websites, and a couple aren't about DevOps at all. But all of them have something important to teach you about unifying software development and operations to work better, smarter, and faster.read more


  • Fedora Classroom Session: Fedora QA 102
    Fedora Classroom sessions continue next week with a session on Fedora QA. The general schedule for sessions appearson the wiki. You can also findresources and recordings from previous sessionsthere. Here are details about this week’s session on Wednesday, December 22... Continue Reading →




Linux Insider

  • New Open Source Tools Test for VPN Leaks
    ExpressVPN on Tuesday launched a suite of open source tools that let users test for vulnerabilities that can compromise privacy and security in virtual private networks. Released under an open source MIT License, they are the first-ever public tools to allow automated testing for leaks on VPNs, the company said. The tools are written primarily in Python, and available for download on Github.


  • If You're Ready for Arch, ArchMerge Eases the Way
    Newcomer ArchMerge Linux offers a big change for the better to those switching from the Debian Linux lineage to the Arch Linux infrastructure. ArchMerge Linux is a recent spinoff of ArchLabs Linux, which is a step up from most Arch Linux offerings in terms of installation and usability. Arch Linux distros are notorious for their challenging installation and software management processes.


  • Microsoft Goes All In With Kubernetes
    Microsoft has launched a raft of new Kubernetes-related projects, demonstrating its growing commitment to the technology. Among them are a new version of its experimental Azure Container Instances for Kubernetes, the Virtual Kubelet. Microsoft also entered a collaboration with Heptio on a new disaster recovery solution. The Virtual Kubelet builds on Microsoft's earlier ACI announcement.


  • New Open Platform Helps Enterprises Manage Their Own Cloud Services
    CoreOS on Tuesday announced the release of Tectonic 1.8, a Kubernetes container management platform. Tectonic enables enterprises to deploy key automation infrastructure components that function like managed cloud services without cloud vendor lock-in. The CoreOS Open Cloud Services Catalog offers an alternative to cloud vendors' proprietary services and APIs.


  • Major Players Roll Up Sleeves to Solve Open Source Licensing Problems
    Four big tech players this week moved to improve their handling of open source software licensing violations. Red Hat, Google, Facebook and IBM said they would apply error standards in GNU GPLv3 to all of their open source licensing, even licenses granted under older GPL agreements. "This will make everything consistent with GPLv3," said IP attorney Lawrence Rosen.


  • AWS to Help Build ONNX Open Source AI Platform
    AWS has become the latest tech firm to join the deep learning community's collaboration on the Open Neural Network Exchange, recently launched to advance AI in a frictionless and interoperable environment. Facebook and Microsoft led the effort. AWS made its open source Python package, ONNX-MxNet, available as a deep learning framework that offers APIs across multiple languages.


  • MX 17 Linux: The Best of 2 Linux Worlds
    MX Linux-17 Beta 1 is a desktop-oriented Linux distribution based on Debian's "stable" branch. It is a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS Linux communities. Normally, taking a first look at an early phase beta release means taking a few hours to get familiar with the features and performance. If too many glitches appear, it can doom the early release to a negative review.


  • Take Linux and Run With It
    "How do you run an operating system?" may seem like a simple question, since most of us are accustomed to turning on our computers and seeing our system spin up. However, this common model is only one way of running an operating system. As one of Linux's greatest strengths is versatility, Linux offers the most methods and environments for running it.


  • Fixes MIA for Many Linux Kernel Flaws
    A Google code security researcher's recent discovery of 14 flaws in Linux kernel USB drivers led to last-minute fixes in the Linux 4.14 release candidate code set for distribution on Sunday. The flaws, which Google researcher Andrey Konovalov disclosed this week, affect the Linux kernel before version 4.13.8. All 14 have available fixes. However, there are other flaws that have not been fixed.


  • GeckoLinux Beta Does openSuse Better
    The latest developmental beta release of GeckoLinux brings this custom spinoff distro of openSuse to new levels of performance and convenience. When I first looked at GeckoLinux in late 2015, I was impressed with the developer's efforts to smooth over what I did not like about using the Suse infrastructure. GeckoLinux impressed me then. It does not disappoint me now.


  • Nvidia Containerizes GPU-Accelerated Deep Learning
    We often talk about hybrid cloud business models, but virtually always in the context of traditional processor-bound applications. What if deep learning developers and service operators could run their GPU-accelerated model training or inference delivery service anywhere they wanted? What if they could do so without having to worry about which Nvidia graphics processor unit they were using?


  • Marcher Malware Poses Triple Threat to Android Users
    A three-pronged banking malware campaign has been infecting Android phones since the beginning of this year, according to Proofpoint. Attackers have been stealing credentials, planting the Marcher banking Trojan on phones, and nicking credit card information. So far, they have targeted customers of BankAustria, Raiffeisen Meine Bank and Sparkasse, but the campaign could spread beyond Vienna.


  • New Collaborative Platform to Spur Open Source AI Development
    The Linux Foundation has announced an agreement with AT&T and Tech Mahindra to launch the Acumos Project, a new platform for open source development of artificial intelligence. The new platform is part of a broader effort to open up opportunities for AI collaboration in the telecommunications, media and technology sectors. AT&T is a Platinum Member of The Linux Foundation.


  • Sonar Could Help Devs Build a Better Website
    Microsoft's Sonar, released under an open source license, could help developers build more effective and secure websites. Sonar, a linting tool and site scanner, is the next evolution of the static scan tool, according to Microsoft. The team that developed Microsoft's Edge browser created Sonar as a better way for website maintainers to check performance and security issues.


  • Neural Nets Give Low-End Phone Pics DSLR Look
    Researchers have found a way to use neural networks to create DSLR-quality photos from snapshots taken with low-end smartphones. A team of scientists at the ETH Zurich Computer Vision Lab recently published a paper describing a deep learning approach that uses neural networks to translate photos taken by cameras with limited capabilities into DSLR-quality photos automatically.


  • AWS Offers Aurora Cloud DB Service Compatible With PostgreSQL
    Amazon Web Services on Tuesday announced the general availability of Amazon Aurora with PostgreSQL compatibility. The service is now fully compatible with both MySQL and PostgreSQL, the company said. AWS also announced that customers migrating to Amazon Aurora from another database can use the AWS Database Migration Service free of charge for the next six months.


  • Linux Foundation Launches Open Data Licensing Agreements
    The Linux Foundation has introduced the Community Data License Agreement, a new framework for sharing large sets of data required for research, collaborative learning and other purposes.  CDLAs will allow both individuals and groups to share data sets in the same way they share open source software code. The agreement could help foster an increase in data sharing across a variety of industries.


  • Anarchy Linux Dispels Fear of Arch
    Anarchy Linux, the distro formerly known as "Arch-Anywhere Linux" has changed my tune about the terrors of Arch-based Linux as a suitable OS. In general, however, Arch-anything presents a challenge that may not be worth the effort for typical desktop needs. A potential trademark violation forced Anarchy Linux developer/maintainer Dylan Schacht to rebrand Arch-Anywhere, his homespun distro.


  • Samsung to Give Linux Desktop Experience to Smartphone Users
    Samsung has announced a new app, Linux on Galaxy, designed to work with its DeX docking station to bring a full Linux desktop experience to Galaxy smartphone users. Samsung earlier this year introduced DeX, a docking station that connects to a monitor to give Galaxy smartphone users a desktop experience. With the Linux on Galaxy app, users will be able to run full Linux desktop distributions.


  • Companies Turn Blind Eye to Open Source Security Risks
    Many software developers and enterprise users have been lax or oblivious to the need to properly manage open source software. A new report highlights the consequences of failure to establish open source acquisition and usage policies, and to follow best practices. Flexera polled more than 400 commercial software suppliers and in-house software development teams within enterprises.


  • Google's Pixel 2 Earns High Marks in Spite of Dull Design
    As Google's new Pixel 2 smartphones get ready to hit the shelves, reviews of the models have begun mushrooming online. While the new phones generally have received positive grades, many reviewers found the their design boring. "The Pixel 2 hardware is ho-hum," observed Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. "Google didn't take many risks in its design."



  • A Book Recommendation for Bill Gates: The Story of PLATO
    Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes: This holiday season, many Slashdot readers are likely to find gifts under the tree because of Bill Gates' book picks. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it seems that turnabout is fair play -- what book recommendations do you have for Bill? At the top of my pick list for personalized learning advocate Gates would be Brian Dear's remarkable The Friendly Orange Glow: The Untold Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture, with its tale of how a group of visionary engineers and designers -- some of them only high school students -- created a shockingly little-known computer system called PLATO in the late 1960s and 1970s that was decades ahead of its time in experimenting with how people could learn, engage, communicate, and play through connected terminals and computers. After all, "we can't move forward," as Audrey Watters argued in The Hidden History of Ed-Tech, "til we reconcile where we've been before."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Power Outage Strands Thousands at US Airport. 600 Flights Cancelled
    An anonymous reader quotes CNN: A power outage at the world's busiest airport left thousands of passengers stranded in dark terminals and in planes sitting on the tarmac, amid a nationwide ground stop. Incoming and outgoing flights at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were halted indefinitely as crews worked to restore power, leading to hundreds of flight delays and cancellations. Atlanta is the heart of the US air transport system, and what happens there has the potential to ripple through the country.  More than 600 flights to and from Atlanta have been canceled, including 350 departures, according to Flightradar24... Flights headed to Atlanta are being held on the ground at their departure airport. Inbound flights to Atlanta are being diverted, US Customs and Border Protection said. Departures from the airport are delayed because electronic equipment is not working in the terminals, the FAA said. The cause of the incident is under investigation.  Some people stranded in the dark terminals used their cellphones as flashlights, one passenger told CNN. "There were a few emergency lights on, but it was really dark -- felt totally apocalyptic."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Google Reveals the Most-Trending Searches of 2017
    "Google's annual list of the most popular searches is here, offering a peek into what people are really thinking about," writes CNN. An anonymous reader quotes their report:  This year, you wanted to know more about one of the most powerful storms on record, the devastating Hurricane Irma. But you were also curious about [hip hop artist] Cardi B. and Unicorn Frappuccinos... Like 2017 itself, this year's top searches skew a little darker than usual, but are punctuated with some whimsy and positive moments. The top trending searches in the U.S. were Irma, Matt Lauer, Tom Petty, the Super Bowl and the Las Vegas shooting.  To determine the most popular trending searches, Google looked at its trillions of queries, filtered out spam and repeats, and identified searches that had the highest uptick in traffic compared with the previous year. It breaks them into categories like news, memes, and recipes (beef stroganoff was a hit).  Surprisingly there were more searches for 'iPhone 8" than for 'iPhone X," though those were the top two most-searched consumer technology products. (Followed by Nintendo Switch, Samsung Galaxy S8, and Xbox One X.) Other top searches this year included "What is net neutrality?" as well as questions about what bitcoin is, how to buy it, and the latest bitcoin prices. And one of the 10 most-searched phrases of the year was "fidget spinner."   Google uploaded an inspiring video to YouTube stating "This year more than ever we asked how." To dramatic music, the examples it gives include "How to calm a dog during a storm," "How to help Puerto Rico," "How to make a protest sign" -- and "How to move forward."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Stolen Car Recovered With 11,000 More Miles -- and Lyft Stickers
    The San Francisco Bay Area has more car thefts than any region in America, according to SFGate.com. A National Insurance Crime Bureau report found that between 2012 and 2014, there were an average of 30,000 car thefts a year just in the cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Hayward. But one theft took a strange turn. An anonymous reader quotes their report: Cierra and Josh Barton purchased a new Honda HR-V at the beginning of summer. It was stolen while parked in front of their Livermore apartment complex at the end of August. Four months later, Hayward police called the Bartons to say they had recovered the vehicle... What they found, to their surprise, was a car in relatively good shape -- a few dents, a rattling hood. But in the back and front windows were Lyft stickers, Cierra Barton said. The odometer had spiked from 2,000 miles to more than 13,000. And in the back seat, Cierra said she found a pillow, a jacket and a stuffed animal. "It wasn't burned out, it wasn't gutted, but it appeared to be have been used as a Lyft," she said. That, Cierra added, was even worse than she imagined. "Not only did someone steal our car, they made money off it!"  Lyft says that "Given the information provided, we are unable to match this vehicle to any Lyft accounts in the area," adding they "stand ready to assist law enforcement in any investigation."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • What's The Best TV Show About Working in Tech?
    An anonymous reader writes: Recently Gizmodo hailed "the best show ever made about Silicon Valley", asking its readers one question: why didn't you watch it? They're talking about AMC's Halt and Catch Fire, which their Senior Reviews Editor says "discovered the fascinating, frustrating human side to the soulless monsters who built Silicon Valley." Unfortunately, "nobody watched it. The show never cracked a million live viewers after the pilot episode. It sat firmly on the bubble every season, getting greenlit only by the grace of AMC."   Today Netflix is making that show's fourth (and final) season available -- but is it the best show about working in tech? What about Mr. Robot, Silicon Valley, or The IT Crowd -- or that short-lived X-Files spin-off, The Lone Gunmen?  Has there ever been a good show about geeks -- besides those various PBS documentaries? Leave your own answers in the comments. What's the best TV show about working in tech?
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Former Exec Who Said Facebook Was 'Destroying Society' Still Loves Facebook
    Remember that former Facebook exec who felt "tremendous guilt" about creating tools "that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works"? He's now walking back his criticism -- at least somewhat. Gizmodo reports: Palihapitiya said that he believes that "Facebook is a force for good in the world," and went on to express his belief that the social network is really trying to make its platform less of a hellish garbage fire of misinformation and election interference. "Facebook has made tremendous strides in coming to terms with its unforeseen influence and, more so than any of its peers, the team there has taken real steps to course correct," he wrote in the post...  Facebook is certainly trying to soothe naysayers who think the platform might be rotting the brains of our youth -- a viewpoint that Sean Parker, Facebook's first president, essentially expressed last month... For Palihapitiya's part, Thursday night's statement wasn't a total reversal of his original claims, but seemingly an apologetic gesture toward Facebook (or perhaps friends still working at the company). Yes, social media has the capacity to utterly destroy us, but can't you see that Facebook is trying to be better?  His post argues social media platforms "have been used and abused in ways that we, their architects, never imagined.  "Much blame has been thrown and guilt felt, but the important thing is what we as an industry do now to ensure that our impact on society continues to be a positive one."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Flat Earther Now Wants To Launch His Homemade Rocket From a Balloon
    A Maine alternative newsweekly just interviewed self-taught rocket scientist "Mad" Mike Hughes, who still believes that the earth is a flat, Frisbee-shaped disc. ("Think about this. Australia -- which is supposedly on the other side of the planet -- is upside down yet they're holding the waters in the ocean. Now how is that happening?") And Mike's got a new way to prove it after his aborted launch attempt in November. An anonymous reader writes: "One thing I want to clarify is that this rocket was never supposed to prove that the Earth is flat," Hughes tells an interviewer. "I was never going to go high enough to do that." But he will prove it's flat -- with an even riskier stunt. "I have a plan to go 62 miles up to the edge of space. It's going to cost $1.8 million and that could happen within 10 months."   "I'm going to have a balloon built at about $250,000 with $100,000 worth of hydrogen in it. It will lift me up about 20 miles... If I'm unconscious, they can use the controls to bring the balloon back." But if he's still conscious? "Then I'll fire a rocket through the balloon that will pull me up by my shoulders through a truss for 42 miles at 1.5 g's."  It's an awesome plan "if I don't burn up coming back through the atmosphere."   The interviewer asks Hughes a reasonable question. "Wouldn't it be cheaper and less deadly to just try to drill through the Earth to the other side to prove your point?"  "You can't," Hughes answers. "That's another fallacy. The deepest hole ever drilled is seven-and-a-half miles and it was done in Russia. It took 12 years. You cannot drill through this planet. It dulls every drill bit. All the stuff that you learned in school -- that the core is molten nickel -- it's all lies. No one knows what's in the center of the Earth or how deep it is. I'm no expert at anything, but I know that's a fact."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Microsoft Releases a Preview of OpenSSH Client and Server For Windows 10
    kriston (Slashdot user #7,886) writes: Microsoft released a preview of the OpenSSH server and client for Windows 10. Go to Settings, Apps & Features, and click "Manage optional features" to install them. The software only supports AES-CTR and chacha20 ciphers and supports a tiny subset of keys and KEXs, but, on the other hand, a decent set of MACs. It also says that it doesn't use the OpenSSL library. That's the really big news, here. I understand leaving out arcfour/RC4 and IDEA, but why wouldn't MSFT include Blowfish, Twofish, CAST, and 3DES? At least they chose the CTR versions of these ciphers. (Blowfish isn't compromised in any practical way, by the way). I prefer faster and less memory- and CPU-intensive ciphers. Still, it's a good start. The SSH server is compelling enough to check out especially since I just started using X2GO for remote desktop access which requires an SSH server for its file sharing feature.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Trump Administration Prohibits CDC Policy Analysts From Using the Words 'Science-Based'
    Long-time Slashdot reader hey! writes: On Friday the Washington Post reported that the Trump Administration has forbidden the Centers for Disease Control from using seven terms in certain documents: "science-based", "evidence-based", "vulnerable," "entitlement," "diversity," "transgender," and "fetus". It's important to note that the precise scope and intent of the ban is unknown at present. Scientific and medical personnel as of now have not been affected, only policy analysts preparing budgetary proposals and supporting data that is being sent to Congress. So it is unclear the degree to which the language mandates represent a change in agency priorities vs. a change in how it presents itself to Congress. However banning the scientifically precise term "fetus" will certainly complicate budgeting for things like Zika research and monitoring.   According to the Post's article, "Instead of 'science-based' or 'evidence-based,' the suggested phrase is 'CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes." The New York Times confirmed the story with several officials, although "a few suggested that the proposal was not so much a ban on words but recommendations to avoid some language to ease the path toward budget approval by Republicans."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Windows 10 Bundled a Password Manager with a Security Flaw
    An anonymous reader writes: A Google security researcher has found and helped patch a severe vulnerability in Keeper, a password manager application that Microsoft has been bundling with some Windows 10 distributions this year... "This is a complete compromise of Keeper security, allowing any website to steal any password," Tavis Ormandy, the Google security researcher said, pointing out that the password manager was still vulnerable to a same vulnerability he reported in August 2016, which had apparently been reintroduced in the code. Based on user reports, Microsoft appears to have been bundling Keeper as part of Windows 10 Pro distributions since this past summer.   The article reports that Keeper issued a fix -- browser extension version 11.4 -- within less than 24 hours.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Do More People Use Firefox Than Edge and IE Combined?
    A funny thing happened when Net Applications' statistics began excluding fake traffic from ad-defrauding bots. Computerworld reports: Microsoft's Edge browser is less popular with Windows 10 users than earlier thought, if revised data from a U.S. analytics vendor can be believed. According to Net Applications of Aliso Viejo, Calif., Edge has been designated the primary browser by fewer than one in six Windows 10 users for more than a year and a half. That's a significant downgrading of Edge's user share statistics from the browser's portrayal before this month...  By comparing Edge's old and new shares, it was evident that as much as half of the earlier Edge traffic had been faked by bots. The portion of Edge's share credited to bots fluctuated month to month, but fell below 30% in only 4 of the 19 months for which Net Applications provided data... Microsoft's legacy browser, Internet Explorer (IE) also was revealed as a Potemkin village. Under the old data regime, which included bots, IE's user share was overblown, at times more than double the no-bots reality. Take May 2016 as an example. With bots, Net Applications pegged IE at 33.7%; without bots, IE's user share dwindled to just 14.9%. Together, IE and Edge - in other words, Microsoft's browsers - accounted for only 16.3% of the global user share last month using Net Applications' new calculations... In fact, the combined IE and Edge now face a once unthinkable fate: falling beneath Mozilla's Firefox.  StatCounter's stats on browser usage already show more people have already been using Firefox than both of Microsoft's browsers combined -- in 12 of the last 13 months.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Artificial Intelligence Is Killing the Uncanny Valley and Our Grasp On Reality
    rickih02 writes: In 2018, we will enter a new era of machine learning -- one in which AI-generated media looks and sounds completely real. The technologies underlying this shift will push us into new creative realms. But this boom will have a dark side, too. For Backchannel's 2018 predictions edition, Sandra Upson delves into the future of artificial intelligence and the double edged sword its increasing sophistication will present. "A world awash in AI-generated content is a classic case of a utopia that is also a dystopia," she writes. "It's messy, it's beautiful, and it's already here."  "The algorithms powering style transfer are gaining precision, signalling the end of the Uncanny Valley -- the sense of unease that realistic computer-generated humans typically elicit..." the article argues.   "But it's not hard to see how this creative explosion could all go very wrong."
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Ask Slashdot: How Can Programmers Explain Their Work To Non-Programmers?
    Slashdot reader Grady Martin writes: I disrespect people who describe their work in highfalutin terms... However, describing my own work as "programming solutions to problems" is little more than codifying what just about anyone can perceive through intuition. Case in point: Home for the holidays, I was asked about recent accomplishments and attempted to explain the process of producing compact visualizations of branched undo/redo histories.  Responses ranged from, "Well, duh," to, "I can already do that in Word"...   It's the "duh" that I want to address, because of course an elegant solution seem obvious after the fact: Such is the nature of elegance itself. Does anyone have advice on making elegance sound impressive?   An anonymous Slashdot reader left this suggestion for explaining your work to non-programmers. "Don't. I get sick when I hear the bullshit artists spew crap out of their mouth when they have no idea wtf they're talking about. Especially managers..."   But how about the rest of you? How can programmers explain their work to non-programmers?
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Bitcoin Jumps Another 10% in 24 Hours, Sets New Record at $19,000
    An anonymous reader quotes Ars Technica: Bitcoin's price set a new record on Saturday as the virtual currency rose above $19,000 for the first time on the Bitstamp exchange. The gains came just hours after the currency crossed the $18,000 mark. Bitcoin's value has doubled over the last three weeks, and it's up more than 20-fold over the last year.   Bitcoin's value keeps rising despite a growing chorus of experts who say the currency value is an unsustainable bubble. One CNBC survey this week found that 80 percent of Wall Street economists and market strategists saw bitcoin's rise as a bubble, compared to just two percent who said the currency's value was justified. Another survey reported by The Wall Street Journal this week found that 51 out of 53 economists surveyed thought bitcoin's price was an unsustainable bubble.  Less than a month ago, Bitcoin was selling for $8,000.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • 'State of JavaScript' Survey Results: Good News for React and TypeScript
    "The JavaScript world is richer and messier than ever," reports this year's annual "State of JavaScript" survey, which collected data from over 28,000 developers on everything from favorite frameworks to flavors of JavaScript. SD Times reports: "A few years back, a JavaScript survey would've been a simple matter. Question 1: are you using jQuery? Question 2: any comments? Boom, done!," the developers wrote. "But as we all know, things have changed. The JavaScript ecosystem is richer than ever, and even the most experienced developer can start to hesitate when considering the multitude of options available at every stage"...   On the front end, React remains the dominant framework. However, the survey found interest in Vue is steadily increasing, while Angular is losing steam. Developers are at a 3.8 [on a scale up to 5] when it comes to their overall happiness with front-end tools. On the back end, Express is by far the most popular contender with Koa, Meteor and Hapi slowly making their way behind Express. For testing, Jest and Enzyme stand out with high satisfaction ratings.  In 2016 only 9,000 developers responded for the survey, which had ultimately announced that "Depending on who you ask, right now JavaScript is either turning into a modern, reliable language, or a bloated, overly complex dependency hell. Or maybe both?"   InfoWorld notes that this year more than 28% of the survey's respondent's said they'd used TypeScript, Microsoft's typed superset of JavaScript, and that they'd use it again. And while React was the most popular framework, the second most-popular framework was "none," with 9,493 JavaScript developers saying they didn't use one.
            

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.




  • Merry Xmas, fellow code nerds: Avast open-sources decompiler
    RetDec will turn binaries into something more legible
    Malware hunting biz and nautical jargon Avast has released its machine-code decompiler RetDec as open source, in the hope of arming like-minded haters of bad bytes and other technically inclined sorts with better analytical tools.…


  • Top Silicon Valley tech battle judge probed over sex pest claims
    Alex Kozinski accused of showing women clerks porn, sexually harassing staff
    A misconduct inquiry has been opened into top US tech judge Alex Kozinski over allegations that he showed female law clerks pornography and repeatedly asked inappropriate sexual questions.…


  • Facebook confesses: Facebook is bad for you
    Grazing FB is ruining your life, admits social network after probing its army of addicts
    Facebook has just publicaly slapped itself upside the head, admitting that its very existence is often detrimental to the wellbeing of its users.…






  • We need to talk about mathematical backdoors in encryption algorithms
    Yo, NSA maths chaps, can you hear me? – Black Hat man
    Security researchers regularly set out to find implementation problems in cryptographic algorithms, but not enough effort is going towards the search for mathematical backdoors, two cryptography professors have argued.…







  • Former Intel EMEAR sales director takes Chipzilla to tribunal
    Claims unfair dismissal, sex discrimination, withholding bonuses
    Intel Corp's former Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Russia (EMEAR) sales director, who lost her job a year ago, is making an employment tribunal claim against the company which includes a series of accusations including sexual discrimination.…










  • Cable Labs gives OpenStack, and itself, some help on the edge
    Serverless functions running on a set-top box could be a thing before long
    CableLabs, the organisation that figures out to help pay TV operators sweat their networks, has launched OpenStack installers for its software-defined networking and network function virtualization efforts.…






  • FCC douses America's net neutrality in gas, tosses over a lit match
    Watchdog's clown, er, chairman debases policymaking in the United States
    Despite the clearly stated and serious concerns of a broad cross-section of industry and society, on Thursday morning a mocking, preening excuse of a regulatory chairman tore down US rules that ensured content over the internet was kept free from manipulation by companies that sell access to the global network.…





  • Voda customers given green light by Ofcom to ditch contracts
    Roaming hike of 5 a day means more to exit required
    Thousands of Vodafone customers have been given the green light by UK comms watchdog Ofcom to ditch their contracts, after the mobile phone provider hiked international roaming fees to 5 per day.…






  • UKIP appeals against ICO request for info on Brexit data dealings
    Commish 'forced' to invoke statutory powers with 'difficult' organisations
    UKIP has appealed to the information tribunal after the Information Commissioner's Office ordered it to hand over details about its use of data analytics during the Brexit campaign.…



  • Sons of Sun DriveScale tempt cloud-lovers with composable infrastructure rig
    Adventures in on-premises hyperscale rackland
    Analysis Composable infrastructure startup DriveScale believes composability is not primarily about hardware. Its CEO told us: "Hardware doesn’t drive software any more" and "SoCs are everywhere now", so "use the network as your backplane" because "100Gbit Ethernet is faster than PCIe 4 lane".…





  • So what happened with the patent judge and the Euro Patent Office?
    You won't believe this but it's a mess
    Despite having been repeatedly criticized for abusing his position amid the suspension of a patent judge, the president of the European Patent Office (EPO) is seemingly still using the organization's secretive nature to influence the affair.…


  • IETF protects privacy and helps net neutrality with DNS over HTTPS
    Yes, this really is called DOH, but this one's far from a face palm
    The Internet Engineering Task Force has taken the first steps towards a better way of protecting users' DNS queries and incidentally made a useful contribution to making neutrality part of the 'net's infrastructure instead of the plaything of ISPs.…




  • Microsoft plans Hyper-V-and-other-clouds-to-Azure migration tool
    VMware-to-Azure was just the beginning
    Microsoft has revealed the Azure Migrate tool it announced as supporting lift and shift from on-prem vSphere to Azure will also become capable of doing the same for on-premises Hyper-V applications and applications in rival clouds. But the company’s stayed schtum about the identity of the mystery VMware partner that has helped it build its bare metal VMware service in Azure.…




Linux.com offline for now



  • The Smallest Server Suite 23.3 Released
    The Smallest Server Suite -- also known as TheSSS -- remains a live CD/DVD capable Linux operating system making it trivial to deploy a range of services...


  • Mir Had A Wild Year From Nearly Being Killed Alongside Unity 8 To Growing With Wayland
    It was a heck of a year for Ubuntu's Mir display server from it starting off as the display server to the now-abandoned Unity 8 desktop and it surviving Canonical's cancelling of the Unity/convergence projects to now not only being fitted for IoT use-cases but gaining Wayland support with hopes some will use it as a Wayland compositor. This also went from Mir 1.0 nearly being released and back to the drawing board to Canonical now hiring more Mir developers and adding Mir to other Linux distributions: what a wild ride 2017 has been for this controversial project...


  • Glibc 2.27 Lands Yet More Performance Optimizations
    Earlier this month I wrote how Intel engineers have been busy with continuing to tune glibc's performance with FMA and AVX optimizations. That work has continued but also other architectures continue tuning their GNU C Library performance ahead of the expected v2.27 update...




  • GCC Prepares For Fortran 2018 Support
    The Fortran committee decided last month to rename the upcoming Fortran 2015 programming language update to Fortran 2018. GCC support is being prepped...



  • AMD FreeSync For Tear-Free Linux Gaming - Current State In 2017
    If you are thinking of gifting yourself (or someone else) a FreeSync-compatible monitor this holiday season, here's a look at how the AMD FreeSync support is working right now, the driver bits you need to be aware of, and how it's all playing out for those wanting to use this tear-free capability for Linux gaming.



  • Unity Continues Crunching More Out Of Crunch Texture Compression
    Unity is one of the big public users of the open-source Crunch DXT texture compression library. While it's no longer maintained by Rich Geldreich / Binomial, Unity has continued advancing this open-source code to further improve the compression ratio and speed...





  • Wine 3.0-RC2 Released
    Since last week's code/feature freeze for the upcoming Wine 3.0, the second release candidate is now available...






  • Fedora Linux Had Another Innovative Year
    Fedora Linux this year picked up support for more multimedia codecs, continued innovating on both the Linux desktop/workstations and servers, the Fedora/RedHat developers continued a lot of upstream improvements throughout the Linux landscape, their Wayland support continues to be solid, and they continued shipping the latest and greatest packages in their distribution releases...












  • It's Been Four Years Since SteamOS Began Shipping With Not Much To Show
    It was four years ago this week that Valve began shipping SteamOS, their Debian-based Linux distribution intended for Steam Machines and those wanting a gaming-oriented Linux distribution. While Valve still technically maintains the SteamOS Linux distribution, the outlook at this point is rather bleak...



Engadget

  • Robotic wheelchair gives you a piggyback ride

    Most wheelchairs, even the most advanced ones, have conventional seats. They're basically furniture on wheels. And that creates problems. It can be hard to sit in the chair if you're getting out of bed, while you're stuck in a position that puts many things out of reach. That's where Tmsuk's long-in-the-making Rodem might just come to the rescue. The robotic wheelchair gives you a piggyback ride that not only makes it easier to climb aboard, but puts you in a high, forward-mounted position. It's easier to brush your teeth, make breakfast or just hold face-to-face conversations.

    You can control the wheelchair with a smartphone, so you can easily call it to your bedside or tuck it out of the way at night. Its 9.3-mile range, 3.7MPH top speed and 8-hour recharge time will limit where it can go, but that should be enough for a lot of around-the-neighborhood travel.

    Rodem is available in Japan for 980,000 (about $8,700), and it's known to be reaching the UK in 2018. It's not a trivial expense as a result, and the piggyback approach rules it out for people with limited use of their upper bodies. For those that can use it, though, it should make life a lot easier -- you won't have to change as much of your behavior as you would with an old-school wheelchair.


    Via: Nikkei Technology

    Source: Tmsuk


  • What we're watching: 'The Room,' 'Mindhunter' and 'Star Trek'

    This month we're diving into the film that served as the basis for The Disaster Artist, Tommy Wiseau's The Room, as well as the Netflix series Mindhunter. Also, Cherlynn Low explains what you've been missing in Chinese imperial drama YouTube series, and Dan Cooper has (so many) thoughts about Star Trek: Discovery.
    Empresses in the Palace (AKA Hou Gong Zhen Huan Zhuan)




    Cherlynn Low
    Reviews Editor

    I'll admit - I'm super late to the Empresses in the Palace hype train. That's because I've been far too busy catching up on my 'murican TV. But then I hung out with my best friend Valerie for a week, and she introduced me to the series, which is entirely available on YouTube. And despite my resistance, I was hooked after episode one.

    Here's the basic premise: Zhen Huan enters the royal harem against her will, after an audition of noble ladies. Her friend joins at the same time she does, and they try to survive treacherous concubines, evil consorts and other villains, all the while trying to win the Emperor's favor. Some of them even fall in love.

    TV shows keep you watching by making you relate to or grow to love its characters. But Empresses reeled me in by creating characters I hate and couldn't wait to watch die. After each episode, I would frustratedly ask Valerie, "When is that bitch going to die?"

    Every character on this show is a scheming manipulator out to protect their position in the palace. The few truly good souls ultimately die, often at the hands of the wicked jerks. Scratch that -- everyone dies. Everyone on this show (except the protagonist) dies and you'll just have to wait for it to see when and how it happens. And oh -- count the miscarriages. Oh, the miscarriages.

    That's the beauty of this 76-episode series -- I had to keep watching to the very end to see every single person I hated die. But I also love its attention to historical detail. As someone who grew up watching Chinese imperial dramas, I appreciated how Empresses captured what it was like to live in the Emperor's harem in a refreshingly vivid and realistic way. From the ranks of the ladies in the harem and the food they ate to the gifts they gave each other and how their chambers were furnished, every little detail added to the show's intricate environment, making it easier to hate the many, many antagonists.
    Mindhunter




    Rob LeFebvre
    Contributing Writer

    I have never seen a television series with a more pronounced sense of foreboding and dread. Mindhunter is more than just "based on a true story." It centers on Holden Ford, idealistic young FBI agent and his irascible career partner, Bill Tench. It's more than just about discovering the psychological make up of what came to be known as "serial killers." Mindhunter is, ultimately, about being human. Ford and Tench begin the ten-episode series as explorers. Tench is old-school FBI; he wants to teach local law enforcement around the country about catching the bad guys.

    Set in the late 1960s, the social fabric is changing — Tench, and to a lesser extent, the younger Ford — are part of the Hoover-era FBI. That a "behavioral sciences" unit exists at all is a testament to the social upheaval of the times. As is Ford's sociology-studying college girlfriend, played with unsmiling intensity by Hannah Gross, who brings a feminist perspective to every moment on screen. As we spend time with these characters, joined by the incomparable Anna Torv as driven, hyper-smart, lesbian Wendy Carr, we learn more and more about them as characters. Ford pushes to interview men who have been convicted of unspeakable, repeated homicides. These are the serial killers we know today, but every bit as human as the FBI agents coming into their prisons to interview them. Edward Kemper is incredibly smart; a large man with a serious creep factor, Kemper takes a liking to Ford. The early conversations get the behavioral unit off to a solid start and extra funding, even against the better judgment of their supervising FBI agent, Shepard.

    As we watch across ten episodes, we realize that we're seeing three broken individuals confront the worst humanity has to offer. Torv plays Carr with a dry, clinical perspective. Hers is the academic world; the benefit is in many years of careful, replicable academic study and publishable papers. Yet we see her longing for companionship when she begins to leave cans of tuna out for a barely-heard lost kitten in her laundry room. We see Tench, the veritable old school man's man veteran FBI agent. A stickler for the rules, Tench allows himself a grudging respect for Ford's results while remaining wary of Ford's less-than-proper investigative techniques and language. Tench has a young boy with autism at home; you can see his paternal instincts at war with his disappointment that his own son is unable to even hug him. Ford, played by Groff with an earnest enthusiasm, is truly gifted at reading the criminals he interviews, yet can barely make sense of his relationship with his girlfriend. It's not until the final episode of the season, directed by David Fincher, where Holden finally must deal with the emotional fallout of his early success.

    Mindhunter is a tour-de-force with incredible acting, deft direction brilliantly shot scenes and a "true" story that will engage anyone interested in the depths of our shared human condition. It's not a procedural nor a thriller; most of the action takes place during conversations (some taken from real interviews from the actual behavioral unit) between the characters. The serial killers are human — devastatingly so — and to watch the actors imbue them with three-dimensional spirit and intelligence is a sheer pleasure. As I finished the amazingly stunning final episode, I was struck again and again by this show's ability to astonish, not with gore, jump scares, or other supernatural twists, but with solid plotting, incredible dialogue and a stylish take on the late 1960s as seen through the eyes of the establishment. Give this one a chance, if you haven't already, and be prepared for a masterpiece.
    The Room




    Timothy J. Seppala
    Associate Editor

    Somehow, I've made it the last 14 years without seeing The Room in its entirety. I knew the story behind it and that the movie had a cult following, but aside from the infamous bellybutton sex scene I saw (heavily edited) on Adult Swim at some point, I'd never seen the "Citizen Kane of bad movies." I'd always wanted to watch it, but because it isn't streaming, I didn't quite have the access. Which, in hindsight is probably for the best. Why? Because as I discovered this weekend, watching it with a theater full of die-hard fans is the superior way to experience Tommy Wiseau's writing and directorial debut.

    People were throwing plastic spoons, cheering the awkward panning shots of the Golden Gate Bridge and counting every successful pass of a football. It felt like a party, honestly. Or a Rocky Horror midnight screening. At one point, I leaned over to my date and said this would probably be better than it already was if alcohol were involved.

    Yeah, the movie is absolutely terrible. But unlike some of the dreck I've watched on Amazon or Netflix, it has heart. Wiseau tried to make an amazing movie, but he fell so, so, so short. Whether it's the green screen reflecting off his actor's faces in myriad rooftop scenes or a seeming total disregard for continuity, everything about the movie feels like a bad community college film-class project. That goes for the script's random plot threads that are never resolved like Claudette's breast cancer revelation, too.

    But that didn't matter to the 300 or so people in the theater Saturday night; we just wanted to see how many times an apartment door would get left open.
    Star Trek: Discovery




    Daniel Cooper
    Senior Editor
    "Time is a predator, it's stalking you," snarls Dr. Soran towards the climax of Star Trek: Generations. It's emblematic of Star Trek's core anxiety: that time is running out, and you'll never get it back. Which is odd, because Star Trek has outlasted all of its rivals to become the elder statesperson of science fantasy. Star Trek was a cross-media cinematic shared franchise platform universe zeitgeist long before Disney started buying them in wholesale. And yet, Star Trek: Discovery is here, and its biggest problem is... time.

    An aside: if you don't believe me, then re-watch the first ten Trek movies, where at least eight of them concern our anxieties around aging. The first six explicitly document the life of Peter Pan fan James T. Kirk as he fights the urges to grow up, beyond the captain's chair of the Enterprise. Generations and Insurrection, meanwhile, see Picard battling villains who will stop at nothing to aggressively reclaim their youth. Hell, look at the subtext of the Borg: a race that has embraced technology to avoid dying.

    Time hamstrung Discovery's production schedule, mostly thanks to Sonequa Martin-Green's tenure on The Walking Dead. The delay helped foment tensions between CBS and Bryan Fuller, the hotshot producer called in to revive the franchise. Clashes with the top brass meant that Fuller walked away, blaming a lack of time due to his other commitments on shows like IRL" is a recurring column in which the Engadget staff run down what they're buying, using, playing and streaming.


  • Don't expect to buy AirPods as a Christmas gift

    Still scrambling to find an audio gift for the holidays? You'll probably need to rule out Apple's AirPods. Both BeatsX) use the same wireless chip with more conventional designs, while Jaybird's Run buds give you completely wireless audio in a workout-friendly design that's also less Apple-centric. You're not stuck if your lucky recipient just wants Bluetooth audio.

    Nonetheless, the lack of stock is bound to create headaches. In some ways, it's a repeat of what you saw last year: Apple just didn't have enough supply to go around. This time, however, it's more likely due to demand than technical hurdles. That not only suggests that Apple may have a bona fide hit on its hands, it hints that all-wireless earbuds are here to stay -- and that's good news even if you'd rather pick up Samsung's IconX or one of the growing number of alternatives.

    Source: MacRumors, 9to5Mac


  • Tesla discourages commercial cars from using Superchargers

    Tesla's Supercharger network was originally designed to enable long-range trips and offer a viable charging option for people who can't usually top up at home or the office. They've quickly become all-purpose stations, however, which can be a pain when it leads to overcrowding and abuse. And Tesla has had enough. As of December 15th, it has implemented a new Supercharger Fair Use policy that discourages commercial EV drivers from topping up, whether they're ridesharing or delivering goods. Tesla's not banning use as such, but it might ask you to "modify your behavior" and has warned that it might limit or even block Supercharger access to ensure that chargers are open for personal use.

    The policy covers all Superchargers, and any car (new or used) bought from December 15th onward. There may be exceptions to the policy for the sake of "specific local circumstances."

    This isn't to say that Tesla frowns on commercial uses of its cars. A spokesperson told The Verge that it does "encourage" business use and will cooperate with drivers to find alternative changing locations. With that said, the move is bound to leave some companies scrambling. In many cases, they're using Superchargers for the same reason you would -- to extend their effective range beyond what they can get with slow conventional chargers. If a ridesharing driver has to take several hours to top up their new Model S instead of an hour or less, they may have to scale back their operations. Simply put, this could put a chill on certain commercial uses unless there's either a large-enough Supercharger network or third parties offer a viable alternative.

    Via: Electrek, The Verge

    Source: Tesla


  • Hackers shut down plant by targeting its safety system

    Hackers have already attacked critical infrastructure, but now they're launching campaigns that could have dire consequences. FireEye reported that a plant of an unmentioned nature and location (other firms believe it's in the Middle East) was forced to shut down after a hack targeted its industrial safety system -- it's the first known instance of a breach like this taking place. While the digital assault was clearly serious in and of itself, there are hints that it could have been much worse.

    The malware, nicknamed Triton, hijacked a workstation using Schneider Electric's Triconex safety technology (typically used in power plants). The culprits hoped to modify controllers that could pinpoint safety problems, but some of those controllers entered a failsafe state in response and shut down the plant, leading operators to conduct the investigation that caught the hostile code. Triton was otherwise fairly sophisticated. It would try to recover failed controllers to avoid raising alerts, and would even overwrite its own programs with junk data if it couldn't salvage a controller inside of a given time window.

    The hack wasn't made possible by a flaw in Triconex itself, FireEye noted. Instead, it appeared to be an "isolated incident."

    While it's not certain who's responsible, FireEye said the hack was "consistent" with a "nation state" readying an attack. And that's concerning, especially if the perpetrators learn from their mistakes. While shutting down a power plant would be bad enough, it'd be worse if the malware could fool a safety system into allowing attacks that would damage the facility and lead to a long-term shutdown or an environmental disaster. In short, companies and governments alike may have no choice but to prioritize defending critical infrastructure if they want to avoid crippling attacks.

    Via: Reuters

    Source: FireEye


  • The best toaster oven

    By Brendan Nystedt

    This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

    After more than 50 hours of research and testing—and making stacks and stacks of toasted white bread, mini pizza bagels, and cookies—we think the Panasonic FlashXpress toaster oven is the best for most people. This model performed as well as (or better than) models that cost twice as much. The Panasonic FlashXpress delivers four slices of perfectly browned toast every time due to its unique combination of both quartz and ceramic infrared heating elements. Its compact size takes up less space on a counter, and its interior is still large enough to comfortably reheat leftovers and frozen snacks.
    How we picked and tested
    Toasting bread in the Breville Smart Oven. Photo: Michael Hession
    We looked for toaster ovens that were easy to use, reliable, quick, great at toasting bread and baking cookies, and available for between $25 and $270. For our last update, a Wirecutter survey revealed that most of our respondents wanted to cook leftovers, pizza, and convenience foods like Hot Pockets, so we looked for a model with enough capacity for those jobs. But we didn't want to go too big, because many of those surveyed said they toast only two to four slices of bread at a time. And, of course, we wanted to find a toaster oven that was durable and performed reliably.

    For this update, we put seven toasters through a battery of tests with three tasters in our New York City test kitchen. We filled each toaster with as many slices of bread as we could, and then toasted them to a medium shade to see if the toaster had any hot spots. We also made break-and-bake Toll House cookies and Bagel Bites, judging each batch on its color, crispiness, and consistency. We also tried to cook boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the most promising toasters using the broil mode, but we were disappointed by the results of this test with every single model.
    Our pick
    The compact, Panasonic FlashXpress excels at basic tasks like toasting bread, reheating pizza slices, and cooking bite-size snacks. Photo: Brendan Nystedt
    We recommend the Panasonic FlashXpress for its strong baking performance, compact size, and reasonable price. It cooked toast and other foods to an even, lovely golden-brown better than most other models we tried, and its toast-shade settings were among the most accurate we tested. For a relatively low price, the FlashXpress stands out from a crowded pack of mediocre, cheap models, offering performance and features we found comparable with toaster ovens that are larger and double the cost.

    The Panasonic FlashXpress made crispy-yet-melty Bagel Bites that were more consistently browned from one edge of the oven cavity to the other. Some ovens' results weren't dark enough; others put out too much heat or hot spots in the center. The FlashXpress toasted evenly throughout, except for a 1-inch margin right behind the door. Only our upgrade pick, the Cuisinart TOB-260N1, performed better. It can fit four pieces of bread, which the overwhelming majority of our survey respondents said was the most they'd toast at one time.
    A pricier, medium-sized toaster oven
    The roomier Breville Smart Oven is our runner-up pick. Photo: Michael Hession.
    If you need a larger toaster oven than our main pick, we recommend the Breville Smart Oven. This model did well across the board in our tests, evenly toasting bread almost as well as our upgrade pick, the Cuisinart TOB-260N1. Though it's pricier than our main pick, the Breville Smart Oven has a more modern, intuitive interface and an easy-to-read display. This model doesn't have an internal light, but it turned out consistent results batch after batch.

    In our tests, the Breville Smart Oven toasted bread evenly from front to back, with paler results from side to side and could fit up to 6 slices of bread or a 12-inch pizza. The Breville Smart Oven comes with several accessories, too: a single rack along with a baking pan, broiler pan, and a nonstick pizza pan. We also liked the magnets on the Breville Smart Oven that glide the rack out when opening the door, making retrieving hot items easier.
    A large toaster oven with more accessories
    Our upgrade pick, the Cuisinart TOB-260N1, is large enough to fit nine pieces of bread. Photo: Brendan Nystedt
    If you want your toaster oven to cook nine slices of toast at once, the big, versatile Cuisinart TOB-260N1 convection toaster oven is the best that we found. The Cuisinart TOB-260N1 is a different beast entirely than the Panasonic FlashXpress: It's more than twice the price, almost twice the size, and its much bigger oven cavity can handle a wider variety of cooking tasks. Compared with all the other large toaster ovens we tested, this was the top performer by an impressive margin. It heated its voluminous cavity more evenly than any other comparable toaster oven. It includes metal hooks that pull the middle rack out when the door is opened, and it also has a better warranty, more accessories, and a slightly bigger capacity.

    Our testers found that the Cuisinart TOB-260N1 preheated quickly, even when set to high temperatures, and cooked evenly throughout the cavity. It comes with a number of accessories: two racks, a baking pan, a broiling tray, and a pizza stone. These accessories, like the warranty, are also a step up from other competitors in this price range. The Cuisinart TOB-260N1 comes with a three-year limited warranty; most competitors include only a one-year warranty.

    This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

    Note from Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.


  • After Math: When you come undone

    Oh hey, what a surprise, the guy who joked just last week about how he was a "puppet FCC Chairman" in front of his former Verizon bosses just so happened to spearhead a campaign to roll back Net Neutrality protections -- something Verizon has long lobbied for. Such a coincidence. Of course those weren't the only shenanigans to take place this week. The UK declared the website of accused serial rapist Julian Assange, Wikileaks, a media organization; a crew physically stole $1.8 million in cryptocurrency somehow, Disney managed to become an even larger evil empire than it already is and AOL finally took AIM out back behind the woodshed. Numbers because how else will you maintain an accurate body count?

    A lot: That's how much harder it will be for the US to ever extradite Julian Assange from his spider hole in the Ecuadorian Embassy located in London now that a UK court has ruled that his webiste constitutes a media organization.



    $1.8 million: That's how much Ethereum cryptocurrency armed robber, Louis Meza, tried to make off with in Manhattan before being arrested. He would have been better off by just hacking his way into the system and decrypting the mainframe.



    $17,589: That's how much Bitcoin is currently worth for virtually no reason whatsoever beyond that a bunch of speculators are telling everybody else it is. The wise investment: Emu ranching.



    $52 billion: That's how much Disney bought 21st Century Fox for because why not. Not like there were enough media monopolies in existence as it was. But hey, now at least we can look forward to a Beast from Beauty and the Beast and Beast from X-Men buddy cop movie in three years time. Won't that be fun.



    30 years: That's how long AOL Instant Messenger managed to hold out in spite of the crushing march of technological progress.



    2 million: That's the number of forged comments supporting the rollback of Net Neutrality the FCC received, which Chairman Pai leveraged to support his campaign against the regulations. Isn't that convenient.


  • Ben Heck's super glue gun: Designing a better enclosure

    Karen and Ben break out the pencils and go back to the drawing board to redesign their super glue gun. After changing the auto stand in response to feedback from the element14 Community, the team is looking at how best to fit together the extruder and electronics. They also need to decide on the best plastic to use for the casing. After buying a few off-the-shelf glue guns for inspiration, Ben loads up Autodesk Fusion 360 and starts designing a 3D model to print. Is the team headed in the right direction? Let them know over on the element14 Community.


  • Smart display button puts GIFs on your shirt

    The odds are that you've shown your support for a cause with a button on your shirt or backpack at some point in your life. But there's only so much button real estate you can offer, isn't there? That's where BEAM Authentic thinks it can save the day. Its BEAM button pairs to your phone through an app and lets you display virtually any image you want on its circular AMOLED screen, including slideshows and GIFs. You could promote an environmental cause one hour and a dank meme the next.

    Also, you're not just limited to your own creations. You can find buttons art from others' collections, follow creators you like, receive streams and send conversations. And yes, there are paid buttons -- you can donate to a cause at the same time as you endorse it. The button might even get you out of trouble, as you there's a panic mode that will send an emergency message and your location to as many as four other people.

    The BEAM button is available now, but there's a catch: it's $99. That can buy a lot of conventional buttons, and those won't run out of energy. You'll contribute $3 to a charity when you buy, though, and this is certainly a viable option if you'd rather draw your own artwork than track down an elusive button that expresses your exact thoughts.

    Via: Android Police

    Source: Beam


  • Pentagon funded UFO identification program for 5 years

    Recent UFO research isn't just the work of former pop punk stars. The New York Times has learned that the US Department of Defense quietly funded a program (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification) designed to explain UFO reports. The program was initially funded in 2007 at the behest of Senator Harry Reid, and sent most of its money ($22 million per year) went to an aerospace firm run by his friend Robert Bigelow, who's "absolutely convinced" UFOs have visited Earth and has been making inflatable habitats for NASA. The money stopped flowing in 2012, but the program is technically active to this day.

    Many details of the program remain under wraps. However, it frequently included videos of encounters between American military aircraft and mysterious objects that defied explanation, such as 'aircraft' that flew at high speed or hovered with no apparent source of propulsion. Also, it wasn't a source of shame for the politicians that supported it. Reid said it's "one of the good things" he did before he retired, while the late senators Daniel Inouye and Ted Stevens also backed the program.

    It's not known what conclusions the program has reached. With that said, this doesn't mean that officials were expecting to find aliens. Reid said in 2009 that there had been "highly sensitive, unconventional" discoveries, and one briefing the same year claimed the US couldn't defend itself against what it had seen. However, that may have just meant that what was found couldn't be readily explained by natural phenomena or other known aircraft, and was curious enough to warrant a deeper look. Former program lead Luis Elizondo would only say that the sightings didn't clearly originate from specific countries.

    The program probably isn't going to see a renaissance. UFO research understandably has plenty of skeptics who see it as misguided and a waste of money. However, that it has been happening in a significant capacity this century is still notable in itself.

    Source: New York Times


  • Windows 10 included password manager with huge security hole

    There's a good reason why security analysts get nervous about bundled third-party software: it can introduce vulnerabilities that the companies can't control. And Microsoft, unfortunately, has learned that the hard way. Google researcher Tavis Ormandy discovered that a Windows 10 image came bundled with a third-party password manager, Keeper, which came with a glaring browser plugin flaw -- a malicious website could steal passwords. Ormandy's copy was an MSDN image meant for developers, but Reddit users noted that they received the vulnerable copy of Keeper after clean reinstalls of regular copies and even a brand new laptop.

    A Microsoft spokesperson told Ars Technica that the Keeper team had patched the exploit (in response to Ormandy's private disclosure), so it shouldn't be an issue if your software is up to date. Also, you were only exposed if you enabled the plugin.

    However, the very existence of the hole has still raised a concern: are Microsoft's security tests as thorough for third-party apps as its own software? The company has declined to comment, but that kind of screening may prove crucial if Microsoft is going to maintain the trust of Windows users. It doesn't matter how secure Microsoft's code is if a bundled app undermines everything.

    Source: Monorail, Tavis Ormandy (Twitter)


  • YouTube took down FCC's 'Harlem Shake' video for 7 hours

    Remember when "Harlem Shake" musician Baauer said he'd take down FCC chairman Ajit Pai's video marking (and really, trivializing) the death of net neutrality? He meant it... although his effort didn't last long. The Verge notes that Baauer's label Mad Decent successfully removed the video from Daily Caller's YouTube channel with a copyright notice for a whopping 7 hours -- not much more than a momentary blip. The brief success is highlighting the concerns about the "shoot first, ask questions later" approach to copyright takedowns at sites like YouTube.

    Daily Caller cried conspiracy and claimed that Google was abusing its power to "censor the internet." Well, no, it's not -- Google isn't obligated to host anything and everything. However, as we discussed in a previous story, the use of "Harlem Shake" was likely protected under fair use both due to its 20-second longevity and nature as a parody. And that makes Mad Decent's takedown request problematic.

    As YouTube takes down videos virtually the moment it receives a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice, Baauer could effectively misuse the law to inflict damage (however temporary) on DC with few consequences. The burden was on DC to fight the notice after the video went down. Yes, Pai's clip is one of the most loathed videos on the internet (over 169,000 dislikes and counting), but that just underscores the point -- the DMCA isn't supposed to be used to enable personal vendettas, no matter how many people support a given cause.

    Source: The Verge


  • North Korea hackers steal bitcoin by targeting currency insiders

    Bitcoin values are skyrocketing, and North Korea appears to be trying to profit from that virtual gold rush. Secureworks reports that the Lazarus Group (a team linked to the North Korean government) has been conducting a spearphishing campaign against cryptocurrency industry workers in a bid to steal bitcoin. The attacks have tried to trick workers into compromising their computers by including a seemingly innocuous Word file that claims they need to enable editing to see the document. If they fell prey, it installed a rogue macro that quietly loaded a PC-hijacking trojan while staffers were busy looking at the bogus document.

    Attempts have been taking place as recently as November, but Secureworks' analysts saw activity as early as 2016. The organization adds that the campaign is likely still going, and that this is a preliminary report. You may get a better sense of the scope in the future.

    It's easy to see why Lazarus would try a campaign like this. It has already conducted money-grabbing efforts like the 2016 bank attack that swiped $81 million, and taking even a handful of bitcoins could reap a windfall when just one is worth roughly $19,400 as of this writing. North Korea could spend relatively little effort to swipe a lot of money and circumvent the many sanctions that prevent money from flowing in.

    Source: ZDNet, Reuters


  • CDC barred from using terms like 'science-based' in budget docs

    We can just imagine CDC personnel still shaking their heads after finding out that they can't use certain terms in official documents for next year's budget. According to remove all references to climate change on its website.

    CDC's senior officials in charge of its budget have apparently revealed the new edict to the agency's policy analysts in a 90-minute meeting. WaPo's source said attendees couldn't believe what they were hearing, especially since the administration didn't even offer an explanation. While the CDC could come up with workarounds, this will make it a lot tougher for its divisions to report about their work in a factual manner and could ultimately impact the funding of health initiatives.

    Can you imagine working on reproductive health or diseases affecting pregnant women like Zika and not being able to use the word "fetus?" How will a health worker focusing on LGBT issues refer to transgender health concerns without being able to use the word "transgender?" "Vulnerable" is commonly used when referring to diseases and populations.

    And then there's "science/evidence-based." It's typically used to indicate treatments, programs and approaches backed by available evidence from scientific research. It's also a term used to discredit pseudoscience and quack medical theories. In fact, there's a medical approach called "evidence-based medicine," which the National Institutes of Health describes as "conscientious, explicit, judicious and reasonable use of modern, best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients."

    The government wants the agency to replace instances of "science-based" or "evidence-based" in their documents with "CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes." Dr. Gleb Tsipursky wrote on Pro Truth Pledge, which aims to fight fake news and alternative facts.

    WaPo's source believes the agency's scientists and subject matter experts "will not lay down quietly." But unless they can convince the administration to lift the ban on those words ASAP, then CDC's officials already have a rewrite to attend to: the White House sent back budget drafts with the words "vulnerable," "entitlement" and "diversity" for correction.

    Source: The Washington Post


  • Google won't show news from sites that hide their country of origin

    Google's ongoing quest to curb fake news now includes sites that are less than honest about their home turf. The company has updated its Google News guidelines to forbid sites that "misrepresent or conceal their country of origin" or otherwise are aimed at people in another country "under false premises." A Russian site trying to masquerade as an American news outlet shouldn't show up in your news results, in other words.

    A spokeswoman speaking to Bloomberg explained it as a matter of adaptation. Google has to update its policies to "reflect a constantly changing web," she said, and that means ensuring that people can "understand and see where their news online is coming from."

    It's no secret as to why Google is implementing another measure to crack down on duplicitous news sites. The internet giant is under pressure from lawmakers and the public to do more in light of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election, and culling sites that are deceptive by their very nature (not just their content) could be a significant help. The question is whether or not Google will be effective at spotting sites that hide their nation of origin. If it regularly waits until sites become news, pulling them will be more of a symbolic gesture than an effective deterrent.

    Via: Bloomberg

    Source: Google News Help


  • California advises against keeping your phone in your pocket

    The jury is still out on whether or not cellphone radiation is bad for you, but California's Department of Public Health isn't taking any chances. The agency just issued an advisory that suggests residents should take steps to limit their exposure to cellphones. The notice recommends avoiding phone use when unnecessary, particularly when the cell signal is likely to kick into overdrive (such as when you're in a weak coverage area or streaming video). It also advises keeping your handset away from your body -- CDPH Director Dr. Karen Smith even suggests "not keeping your phone in your pocket."

    The advisory follows the release of CDPH findings from 2009, which were prompted by a lawsuit from UC Berkeley professor Joel Moskowitz in his bid to explore possible links between cellphone use and increased risks of cancer. He believes that cellphone radiation poses a "major risk." Other agencies, such as Connecticut's own Department of Public Health, have put out similar recommendations.

    The CTIA wireless industry group, which has historically opposed attempts to raise public concerns over phone radiation, isn't taking a definitive stance. In a statement, the CTIA said that health was "important" to its members and that people should "consult the experts."

    It's a bold move when some of the companies that dominate the cellphone landscape are based in California. The question is whether or not the advisory will make a difference. Without a definitive link between phone use and health issues, the statement may not carry much weight. And let's face it, telling people to stop using smartphones as they normally do (especially in California) is like telling them to stop breathing. There would have to be a clear risk to make everyone give up devices that have quickly become staples of modern life.

    Via: TechCrunch, Mercury News

    Source: California Department of Public Health


  • Firefox faces backlash for auto-installing 'Mr. Robot' add-on

    A curious add-on called "Looking Glass" started popping up on Firefox for a number of users this past week -- even if they didn't give the browser permission to install it. Due to its nebulous nature and creepy description that only said "MY REALITY IS JUST DIFFERENT FROM YOURS," people took to social networks to ask other users and air their concerns. Turns out Looking Glass isn't spamware, malware or any of the sort: it's a promotional campaign for Mr. Robot, a TV series about the life of a cybersecurity-engineer-slash-hacker.

    A screenshot of Looking Glass version 1.0.3 captured by TechCrunch shows that the extension's profile barely had anything in it. Version 1.0.4, which one of Engadget's editors found in his browser, was more forthcoming and admitted that it's a collaboration between Mr. Robot and Mozilla.



    Based on the details unearthed by affected users, the add-on was developed by Mozilla's Shield Studies program, a platform available on all Firefox channels that gives you a way to test features before they're released. Some Shield studies ask for your permission to opt in, others automatically make their way to your browser and require you to actively opt out. Problem is, some weren't even aware that they're part of the Shield program, so they had no idea where the extension could've come from.

    Mozilla is now facing backlash for installing the add-on without people's consent, especially since it always stresses how important users' privacy is to the organization. In fact, in the page explaining what Looking Glass is, Mozilla wrote:

    "The Mr. Robot series centers around the theme of online privacy and security. One of the 10 guiding principles of Mozilla's mission is that individuals' security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional. The more people know about what information they are sharing online, the more they can protect their privacy."

    Despite the troubling way the extension was installed, Mozilla said it doesn't do anything to your system until you opt into the Alternate Reality Game, the immersive experience the organization designed to take fans into the Mr. Robot universe. Those who couldn't care less about the show can kill the extension by typing about:addons in their address bar and removing Looking Glass.

    Update: A Mozilla rep reached out and told Engadget:

    "Our goal with the custom experience we created with Mr. Robot was to engage our users in a fun and unique way. Real engagement also means listening to feedback. And so while the web extension/add-on that was sent out to Firefox users never collected any data, and had to be explicitly enabled by users playing the game before it would affect any web content, we heard from some of our users that the experience we created caused confusion.

    As a result we will be moving the Looking Glass Add-on to our Add-On store within the next 24 hours so Mr. Robot fans can continue to solve the puzzle and the source can be viewed in a public repository."

    Via: TechCrunch

    Source: Mozilla




  • Uber Eats offers insurance for its European couriers

    Uber Eats only just turned two years old, but like other "gig economy" businesses, it's facing scrutiny over how it classifies workers. In Europe, the company is partnering with Axa to offer couriers an insurance package that covers accidents, hospitalization, property damage and third-party injury across nine countries. Starting January 8th next year, the company says all couriers with an active account -- even if they work for a third-party -- will be covered, and Uber is paying for it. Filip Nuytemans, the Uber Eats general manager for Europe said in a statement that "Uber Eats couriers can now enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working on their own schedule with the peace of mind provided by additional security and protection."

    On its face, that's a bit friendlier than Deliveroo's offer in the UK, but it's still not making everyone happy. Independent Workers of Great Britain union couriers and logistics secretary Jim Benfield told TechCrunch, Reuters


  • 'PUBG' tests a replay feature as it creeps toward v1.0

    Now that have a few new tweaks to try out on the 1.0 test servers, including a newly available (it has been used previously during tournaments and some events) replay function. The option needs to be turned on prior to the start of a match, but it records everything going on within 1km of the player.

    That way, later you can fly through and see things you may have missed, or catch a replay from the angle of the people you were fighting, and there's a list of battles to make hopping around easy. We've recently seen PUBG is going a similar route. By default, it records your last 20 matches and dumps older recordings once it reaches the max. Comprehensive replays should make it easier for fans to create new videos, and as a way to help the uninitiated figure out what's going on.

    The other major change isn't ready to test yet, but now that the game features a whopping two maps, the developer says it will give players the ability to choose which one they play on. The problem is this might fragment the player base, with six different options of how to play (1-, 2- or 4-player and in either third or first person perspective) spread across two maps, and it's possible that first-person games could be shut down in some regions if there aren't enough people to feed 100 players in each battle royale session.
    Added Replays menu Added replay function which can record up to 1km around the character Please enable the replay saving in Options before you enter a match When the game ends, the replay will be saved and can be played on "Lobby – Replays" menu Up to 20 replays can be saved. They will be automatically deleted in the oldest order when the number exceeds 20 Control Guide J: Time line ON / OFF (Player can move to desired time, pause) P: Pause ↑, ↓: Play speed change B: Back to own character W, A, S, D: Camera move E, Q: Camera height change Holding Shift, Ctrl: Camera move speed change TAB: Open the player list (If you click the ID, camera moves to that player's view) V or LMB: Observing camera (You can see the view of the selected player) C or RMB: Following camera (The camera follows selected player and you can control the camera angles and zoom) F or SPACE: Free camera (Move to the camera view which can freely move on the map) L: Open the battle list (You can check engagements with and around the currently selected player) M: Map (If you LMB click the player's icon on the map, you can move to the observing camera of the selected player. If you RMB click any empty area of the map, you can move to the free camera at that position)
    Source: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (Steam)


  • Researchers use sperm to deliver cancer drugs to tumors

    Chemotherapy has a lot of terrible side effects and that's partly because the drugs being used to fight cancer also attack healthy cells. Figuring out a way to deliver drugs to tumors without affecting healthy tissue is a challenge and a problem that researchers are trying to solve. One group working on this problem, New Scientist reports, is a team at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden and in a recent study, they showed that sperm could be turned into an effective drug delivery tool.

    Sperm offer quite a lot of benefits when it comes to delivering drugs. They're naturally mobile, they can encase the drug so that it doesn't get diluted by body fluids or leak out and they protect the drug from enzymes that can break them down. They also don't cause immune responses like other other cell types -- bacteria, for example -- and they don't duplicate and form unwanted colonies.

    The researchers first showed that just soaking sperm in a drug, in this case a cancer treatment called doxorubicin, will allow sperm to take that drug up and store it inside of themselves. And when those drug-loaded sperm were turned on a type of experimental tumor, they caused a nearly 90 percent reduction in living cancer cells after just 72 hours. Further, the researchers attached tiny, iron-coated hats onto the sperm cells that allowed the cells to be guided by a magnet, which let the researchers control their direction and steer them to a tumor. When the cells bumped into the tumor, the prongs of the hat spread open, releasing the sperm and allowing it to penetrate the tumor. The researchers showed that the sperm were better at fighting the cancer cells than just soaking the tumor in the drug because the sperm could get inside of the cells and deliver the drug deeper than a drug bath could alone.

    You can check out the little guys in action in the video below.

    The findings are preliminary but promising. Going forward, the researchers need to figure out dosage levels and how to control them with the sperm. They also need to look into how many drug-loaded sperm are ideal, what happens to their little iron-coated steering caps and if they pose a problem to humans, and whether human sperm can do the job just as well as the bull sperm used in the study did. So there's a ways to go before this can be used in humans, but using natural cells already optimized to travel through bodies and interact with human cells seems like a really good idea.

    The study was recently published in ACS Nano.



    Via: New Scientist

    Source: ACS Nano


  • 'Jacobs letter' unsealed, accuses Uber of spying, hacking

    Waymo's lawsuit against Uber for allegedly stealing technology for self-driving cars hasn't gone to trial yet, because the judge received a letter from the Department of Justice suggesting Uber withheld crucial evidence. That letter, with some redactions, is now available for all to read and it's not good news for Uber. It was written by the attorney of a former employee, Richard Jacobs, and it contains claims that the company routinely tried to hack its competitors to gain an edge, used a team of spies to steal secrets or surveil political figures and even bugged meetings between transport regulators -- with some of this information delivered directly to former CEO Travis Kalanick.


    Alphabet's self-driving arm Waymo is making the case that Anthony Levandowski created the autonomous trucking company Otto as a scheme to steal its trade secrets and sell them to Uber. In the letter, it says that members of the Uber SSG team Jacobs worked on traveled to Pittsburgh after it acquired the company to instruct Otto employees on how to use burner phones and ephemeral communications apps to avoid discovery in an expected lawsuit.

    Jacobs has since testified that his attorney was mistaken about the allegations pertaining to Waymo, but now the case has been delayed until next year as a result of these claims unearthed during the ongoing criminal investigation. In a statement, Uber said "While we haven't substantiated all the claims in this letter — and, importantly, any related to Waymo — our new leadership has made clear that going forward we will compete honestly and fairly, on the strength of our ideas and technology."

    Source: Documentcloud, Recode, Buzzfeed, Gizmodo


  • 'L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files' is available now for HTC Vive

    We were excited to hear that 2011 detective simulator L.A. Noire was headed to modern consoles and the HTC Vive for some VR action. The title received some visual upgrades, too, making the jump to PS4, Xbox One and the Switch a bit more graphically appealing. The Vive version is now available as a set of seven self-contained cases from the original game, remade for virtual reality and titled L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files.

    Rockstar Games says that it picked the seven cases for "their suitability to the virtual reality experience." The cases include Upon Reflection, Armed and Dangerous, Buyer Beware, The Consul's Car, The Silk Stocking Murder, Reefer Madness, and A Different Kind of War. You can grab a copy of the VR title for $30 on Steam, Rockstar's own game store, Warehouse, or via HTC's storefront, Viveport.

    Source: Rockstar Games


  • Google Inbox will remind you to unsubscribe from unread promo emails

    Google has made email a much less tedious, junky affair for a lot of us, and it's about to take another step to helping us clean out our inboxes. According to a report over at Inbox app will start seeing new tips that will prompt them to unsubscribe from any promotional emails that haven't been opened in a month.

    If you have any emails that Inbox has classified under its "Promos" tag, you might start seeing a new Inbox Tip that offers an easy way to unsubscribe (or say no thanks, if you want to keep getting the emails). The feature appears to be new, and seems to only be available on Android phones and the web version of Inbox.

    None of the editors at Engadget seem to have one of these tip cards, yet, but The Verge

    Source: Android Police


  • Firefox is on a slippery slope
    For a long time, it was just setting the default search provider to Google in exchange for a beefy stipend. Later, paid links in your new tab page were added. Then, a proprietary service, Pocket, was bundled into the browser - not as an addon, but a hardcoded feature. In the past few days, we€™ve discovered an advertisement in the form of browser extension was sideloaded into user browsers. Whoever is leading these decisions at Mozilla needs to be stopped.  Mozilla garnered a lot of fully deserved goodwill with the most recent Firefox release, and here they are, jeopardising all that hard work. People expect this kind of nonsense from Google, Apple, or Microsoft - not Mozilla. Is it unfair to judge Mozilla much more harshly than those others? Perhaps, but that's a consequence of appealing to more demanding users when it comes to privacy and open source.


  • BlackBerry closes BB10 app store, offers 2 more years of support
    While we are pleased to announce continuing support for BB10 and BBOS users for at least another two years, current device owners should be aware that we will be closing some ancillary services such as the BlackBerry World app store (12/31/2019), the BlackBerry Travel site (February 2018), and the Playbook video calling service (March 2018). Customers who upgrade to a new KeyOne or Motion won't miss a beat as they'll have immediate access to the rich universe of apps in the Google Play store without compromising on either security or their desire for a physical keyboard.  The platform was clearly winding down for a number of years now, ever since BlackBerry moved to Android, but it's still yet another casualty on the road towards the iOS-Android duopoly. I know a surprising number of people here on OSNews absolutely adored their BB10 devices, and I'm sad I never managed to purchase a Passport, the most enticing BB10 device to me.  I'm still keeping an eye out for an affordable used Passport, because I definitely want to write about BB10 in more detail in the near future.


  • How a counterfeit NES opened up the Russian games market
    Back in the 90s, if you had mentioned the names Nintendo and Sega to a kid in America, Japan or Europe, their face would have likely lit up. They'd instantly know what these words represented; the colour and excitement of a game on the TV screen in their front room, and a sense of fun. But if you said these words to a child in Russia, they'd have looked at you blankly. These companies were not present in the region at the time. Say 'Dendy', however, and you'd invoke that same kind of magic.  This was a counterfeit NES console that was released in December 1992 by a Russian technology company called Steepler. It all began when Victor Savyuk, then working at another tech firm called Paragraph, first learnt of 'TV games'; machines that plugged into your TV at home, were controlled with joysticks and let people enjoy video games.  There were no IP protections for games on consoles in Russia at the time, making this entire endeavor possible.


  • AIM will be discontinued on December 15, 2017
    As of December 15, 2017, AOL Instant Messenger products and services will be shut down and will no longer work.If you are an AOL member, AOL products and services€‹ €‹like AO€‹€‹L Mail, AOL Desktop Gold an€‹d Member€‹ Subscriptions will not be affected.€‹  Many Americans have memories of AOL Instant Messenger I'm sure - probably memories of talking to your crush late at night, or planning evenings out drinking with friends. Here in The Netherlands we used MSN Messenger - I have those same memories, just from a different client. AOL, ICQ and MSN have long been replaced by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage, but I'm sure teens of today still use them for the same thing.


  • The FCC just killed net neutrality
    Net neutrality is dead - at least for now. In a 3-2 vote today, the Federal Communications Commission approved a measure to remove the tough net neutrality rules it put in place just two years ago. Those rules prevented internet providers from blocking and throttling traffic and offering paid fast lanes. They also classified internet providers as Title II common carriers in order to give the measure strong legal backing.  Today's vote undoes all of that. It removes the Title II designation, preventing the FCC from putting tough net neutrality rules in place even if it wanted to. And, it turns out, the Republicans now in charge of the FCC really don€™t want to. The new rules largely don€™t prevent internet providers from doing anything. They can block, throttle, and prioritize content if they wish to. The only real rule is that they have to publicly state that they€™re going to do it.  Nobody wanted the FCC to vote like this. Public support for net neutrality is massive. The only reason this is happening is pure, unbridled corruption at the very root of the American political system.


  • Haiku's first beta is possibly maybe not too far off
    I've now turned my attention to preparation for beta1. Already talk has resumed on the mailing list of a tentative schedule; there still remains too much to do to expect it before the new year, but with the list of blockers now reduced effectively to two (one relating to installing source packages on the actual release image, which I intend to look into solving soon; the other is about clashing mime supertype declaration and may prove trickier to solve), the actual "release branch" is hopefully not more than a month away.  I've already begun drafting release notes and making build system cleanups as part of preparation. There is finally light at the end of the tunnel - don't give up hope yet. :)  I'm just putting it out there that if all goes according to plan, I'll be spending lots of time in a nice Haiku virtual machine over the coming weeks to get a really good look at the state of the continuation of the best operating system ever made.  It's time.


  • Android Wear gets updated to Android 8.0 Oreo
    Remember Android Wear? Google's struggling smartwatch OS is getting updated to Android 8.0 Oreo, just like the rest of the Android lineup. Google announced the update on the "Android Wear Developers" Google Plus group. It seems like the only supported watch right now is the flagship LG Watch Sport, which makes sense since that was the only watch to get an Android O beta in the beginning of October.  Wear's last big update was Android Wear 2.0, which was released with the LG Watch Sport the beginning of the year. Most users won't notice the move to Oreo. Like Android TV, Android Wear has its own interface and set of features that are developed separately from the base OS version. This update to Oreo changes the under-the-hood OS, but the user-facing features will mostly remain unchanged.  It feels like Android Wear is stuck in limbo - not exactly dead, but it doesn't seem like there's much activity or forward momentum either. Also I keep forgetting Google Plus is even a thing.


  • AMD pushing out open-source Vulkan driver
    Ahead of the Vulkan 1.0 debut nearly two years ago, we heard that for AMD's Vulkan Linux driver it was initially going to be closed-source and would then be open-sourced once ready. At the time it sounded like something that would be opened up six months or so, but finally that milestone is being reached! Ahead of Christmas, AMD is publishing the source code to their official Vulkan Linux driver.  There's some minor caveats noted in the linked article, but this is looking like great news.


  • Apple makes iMac Pro available for order
    Apple has made the iMac Pro available to order, but since we already know all the details about its specifications, there's one particular aspect I'd like to focus on: the iMac Pro contains new Apple-developed silicon. It's called the T2, and as described by Cabel Sasser:  The iMac Pro features new apple custom silicon: the T2 chip. It integrates previously discrete components, like the SMC, ISP for the camera, audio control, SSD control... plus a secure enclave, and a hardware encryption engine. This new chip means storage encryption keys pass from the secure enclave to the hardware encryption engine in-chip - your key never leaves the chip. And, they it allows for hardware verification of OS, kernel, boot loader, firmware, etc. (This can be disabled...)  The screenshot he posted shows what the hardware verification dialog for things like the operating system and bootloader looks like. As long as we can turn security measures like this off - as we can on, e.g., Chromebooks - this is a good development. Now all we have to do is hope these companies don't abuse this kind of technology.  We can hope.


  • Microsoft adds an OpenSSH client to Windows 10
    Ask just about any *NIX admin using a Windows laptop and they will have come across Putty. For years, Apple MacBooks have been the go-to choice for many admins partly because getting to a ssh shell is so easy. The newly re-invigorated Microsoft is changing how easy it is to interface with Linux (and other *NIX flavors) significantly with features like Ubuntu on Windows. There is a new beta feature in Windows 10 that may just see the retirement of Putty from many users: an OpenSSH client and OpenSSH server application for Windows.


  • Microsoft releases free preview of Quantum Development Kit
    Microsoft is releasing a free preview version of its Quantum Development Kit, which includes the Q# programming language, a quantum computing simulator and other resources for people who want to start writing applications for a quantum computer. The Q# programming language was built from the ground up specifically for quantum computing.  Read the announcement blog post for more information.


  • Here's what happens when an 18 year old buys a mainframe
    From the comments on the previous story:  Connor Krukosky is an 18-year-old college student with a hobby of collecting vintage computers. One day, he decided to buy his own mainframe... An IBM z890. This is his story.  Grab a warm drink, and enjoy. This is great.


  • Creating a Christmas card on a vintage IBM 1401 mainframe
    I recently came across a challenge to print a holiday greeting card on a vintage computer, so I decided to make a card on a 1960s IBM 1401 mainframe. The IBM 1401 computer was a low-end business mainframe announced in 1959, and went on to become the most popular computer of the mid-1960s, with more than 10,000 systems in use. The 1401's rental price started at $2500 a month (about $20,000 in current dollars), a low price that made it possible for even a medium-sized business to have a computer for payroll, accounting, inventory, and many other tasks. Although the 1401 was an early all-transistorized computer, these weren't silicon transistors - the 1401 used germanium transistors, the technology before silicon. It used magnetic core memory for storage, holding 16,000 characters.  Some people have access to the coolest stuff.


  • Making a Game Boy game in 2017
    Everyone has childhood dreams. Mine was to make a game for my fist console: the Nintendo Game Boy. Today, I fulfilled this dream, by releasing my first Game Boy game on a actual cartridge: Sheep It Up!  In this article, I'll present the tools I used, and some pitfalls a newcomer like me had to overcome to make this project a reality!  This isn't simply a ROM you run in an emulator - no, this is a real Game Boy cartridge. Amazing work.


  • Qt 5.10 released
    Great new things are coming with the latest Qt release. From image based styling of the Qt Quick Controls, new shape types in Qt Quick through to Vulkan enablers as well as additional languages and handwriting recognition in Virtual Keyboard. But wait, there is more. We fully support both OAuth1 & 2, text to speech and we also have a tech preview of the Qt WebGL Streaming Plugin.  The blog post about the release has more information.



  • Linux Journal Ceases Publication
        EOF

    It looks like we’re at the end, folks. If all goes according to a plan we’d rather not have, the November issue of Linux Journal was our last.

       


  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Bash
        It was the summer of 2007 and I was at Linux World Expo in San Francisco. I had just finished updating the second edition of Knoppix Hacks and in addition to attending the conference I was there to promote it and my other books at the O'Reilly booth. Somehow I got word that Linux Journal was looking for new authors and was holding an event at a nearby bar later that day.   


  • Banana Backups
        
    In the September 2016 issue, I wrote an article called "Papa's Got a Brand New NAS" where I described how I replaced my rackmounted gear with a small, low-powered ARM device—the Odroid XU4.
       



  • Sysadmin 101: Patch Management
        
    A few articles ago, I started a Sysadmin 101 series to pass down some fundamental knowledge about systems administration that the current generation of junior sysadmins, DevOps engineers or "full stack" developers might not learn otherwise. I had thought that I was done with the series, but then the WannaCry malware came out and exposed some of the poor patch management practices still
       


  • pfSense: Not Linux, Not Bad
        
    Through the years, I've used all sorts of router and firewall solutions at home and at work. For home networks, I usually recommend something like DD-WRT, OpenWRT or Tomato on an off-the-shelf router. For business, my recommendations typically are something like a Ubiquiti router or a router/firewall solution like Untangled or ClearOS.
       


  • NETGEAR 48-Port Gigabit Smart Managed Plus Switch (GS750E)
        
    More than ever, small to mid-sized businesses demand and rely on their networks to carry out mission-critical business activities. As always, however, budgets and expertise constrain these companies from using complex managed switches to run their networks.
       


  • New Hope for Digital Identity
        
    Identity is personal. You need to start there.

    In the natural world where we live and breathe, personal identity can get complicated, but it's not broken. If an Inuit family from Qikiqtaaluk wants to name their kid Anuun or Issorartuyok, they do, and the world copes. If the same kid later wants to call himself Steve, he does. Again, the world copes. So does Steve. 
       



  • Slicing Scientific Data
        
    I've covered scientific software in previous articles that either analyzes image information or actually generates image data for further analysis. In this article, I introduce a tool that you can use to analyze images generated as part of medical diagnostic work. 
       


  • Linux Journal November 2017
         Arrogance, the Biggest Linux Security Problem
    Linux is no longer an obscure platform avoided by those with malicious intent.
       


  • PoE, PoE+ and Passive POE
        
    I've been installing a lot of POE devices recently, and the different methods for providing power over Ethernet cables can be very confusing. There are a few standards in place, and then there's a method that isn't a standard, but is widely used.

    802.3af or Active PoE: 
       



  • Analyzing Song Lyrics
        
    I was reading about the history of The Beatles a few days ago and bumped into an interesting fact. According to the author, The Beatles used the word "love" in their songs more than 160 times. At first I thought, "cool", but the more I thought about it, the more I became skeptical about the figure. In fact, I suspect that the word "love" shows up considerably more than 160 times. 
       


  • Testing the Waters: How to Perform Internal Phishing Campaigns
        
    Phishing is one of the most dangerous threats to modern computing. Phishing attacks have evolved from sloppily written mass email blasts to targeted attacks designed to fool even the most cautious users. No defense is bulletproof, and most experts agree education and common sense are the best tools to combat the problem.
       




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


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



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




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



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





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


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


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


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


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


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


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