May 10, 2017 brianradio2016

Some supporters of a U.S. Federal Communications Commission plan to repeal its recent net neutrality rules have apparently resorted to dirty tricks.

An apparent bot-generated campaign has posted more than 83,400 comments on the FCC’s website supporting the agency’s plan to gut its own net neutrality rules.

A handful of people whose names are on the bot-generated comments have denied making the comments, according to a report by ZDNet. The 83,400 comments, filed to the FCC’s comment system between Monday and Wednesday, all contain the same text, reading in part:

“The unprecedented regulatory power the Obama Administration imposed on the internet is smothering innovation, damaging the American economy and obstructing job creation. I urge the Federal Communications Commission to end the bureaucratic regulatory overreach of the internet … and restore the bipartisan light-touch regulatory consensus that enabled the internet to flourish for more than 20 years.”

May 10, 2017 brianradio2016

Privacy is an issue on many people’s minds these days, including those that run Linux on their computers. Linux has long had a strong reputation as a secure operating system, but there are still things that you can do to help protect your privacy while running Linux.

The DuckDuckGo blog has a list of privacy tips for Linux users:

It’s easy to have a false sense of security, thinking that other operating systems might be more targeted than Linux, but there are plenty of risks and vulnerabilities for all types of Linux devices. Keep your guard up regardless of your OS.

  1. Ensure you use a password to protect your user account.

  2. Don’t use an admin account for daily activity.

  3. Encrypt your data.

  4. Activate your screensaver when idle with screen lock.

  5. Review your installed applications.

  6. Keep your system updated.

  7. Periodically check for rootkits.

  8. Lock down remote connection settings.

  9. Turn off listening services you don’t need.

  10. Make sure you have a firewall running.

  11. Restrict privileged access with SELinux or AppArmor.

More at DuckDuckGo

Cinnamon 3.4 desktop released

The Linux Mint developers have been hard at work on the latest version of the Cinnamon desktop, and now it has been officially released. Cinnamon 3.4 should be available soon for the folks who want to upgrade from earlier versions of the Cinnamon desktop.

Marius Nestor reports for Softpedia:

May 10, 2017 brianradio2016

The Tuesday updates for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge force those browsers to flag SSL/TLS certificates signed with the aging SHA-1 hashing function as insecure. The move follows similar actions by Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox earlier this year.

Browser vendors and certificate authorities have been engaged in a coordinated effort to phase out the use of SHA-1 certificates on the web for the past few years, because the hashing function no longer provides sufficient security against spoofing.

SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm 1) dates back to 1995 and has been known to be vulnerable to theoretical attacks since 2005. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has banned the use of SHA-1 by U.S. federal agencies since 2010, and digital certificate authorities have not been allowed to issue SHA-1-signed certificates since Jan. 1, 2016, although some exemptions have been made — for example, for outdated payment terminals.

A hash function like SHA-1 is used to calculate an alphanumeric string that serves as the cryptographic representation of a file or a piece of data. This is called a digest and can serve as a digital signature. It is supposed to be unique and non-reversible.

May 10, 2017 brianradio2016

CockroachDB, an open source, fault-tolerant SQL database with horizontal scaling and strong consistency across nodes—and a name few people will likely forget—is now officially available.

Cockroach Labs, the company behind its development, touts CockroachDB as a “cloud native” database solution—a system engineered to run as a distributed resource. Version 1.0 is available in both basic and for-pay editions, and both boast features that will appeal to enterprises.

The company is rolling the dice with its handling of the enterprise edition by also making those components open source and trusting that enterprises will pay for what they use in production.

Highly available, highly distributable

Many of CockroachDB’s feature were inspired by the work underpinning Google Cloud Spanner, but CockroachDB is open source. It supports much of the functionality found in traditional SQL databases like MariaDB or PostgreSQL, such as SQL dialect support and  ACID transactions.

May 10, 2017 brianradio2016

The Tuesday updates for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge force those browsers to flag SSL/TLS certificates signed with the aging SHA-1 hashing function as insecure. The move follows similar actions by Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox earlier this year.

Browser vendors and certificate authorities have been engaged in a coordinated effort to phase out the use of SHA-1 certificates on the web for the past few years, because the hashing function no longer provides sufficient security against spoofing.

SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm 1) dates back to 1995 and has been known to be vulnerable to theoretical attacks since 2005. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has banned the use of SHA-1 by U.S. federal agencies since 2010, and digital certificate authorities have not been allowed to issue SHA-1-signed certificates since Jan. 1, 2016, although some exemptions have been made — for example, for outdated payment terminals.

A hash function like SHA-1 is used to calculate an alphanumeric string that serves as the cryptographic representation of a file or a piece of data. This is called a digest and can serve as a digital signature. It is supposed to be unique and non-reversible.

May 10, 2017 brianradio2016

With Build 2017 starting today in Seattle, it’s going to be an interesting week for developers working with Microsoft technologies. One area that’s going to get more attention this year is Office and Microsoft Graph. They’re technologies that are ripe for use across the enterprise, building on Azure Active Directory and Office 365. Microsoft says that more than 100 million people use these services every month.

In preparation for Build, I sat down with Rob Howard, director of Office 365 ecosystem, and Larry Jin, senior program manager, both members of the Office developer team. Their focus—and a big focus at Build—was on how developers can build on top of Office 365’s social features, especially Microsoft Graph and the recently released Teams, to enable a smarter type of workflow called microwork.

What’s new in Microsoft Graph

Microsoft Graph is key to much of what Microsoft is doing with Office 365, and it’s the basis of many applications built on top of Office’s services. More than 10,000 new applications are built on top of these services every month, and most of them work with more than one service. Microsoft Graph helps those apps understand more about the data we have in our systems. Office apps don’t simply extract documents or contacts, they can bring in context. For example, with a calendar entry for a meeting, you can bring in who was at the meeting, what their roles are in your organization, and what documents they worked on while they met.

The trick to working with Microsoft Graph is, of course, building the right query. At Build, Microsoft will release of a new version of the Graph Explorer tool, which you can use to build and test queries. Earlier versions gave you a blank slate; the new release will add filters to help you segment your queries, as well as provide sample queries to help you get started more quickly.

May 10, 2017 brianradio2016

A video of Apple’s much-rumored iPhone 8 based on a factory CAD drawing pulls in many of the major leaks and gives us the best look at the next-generation iPhone to date.

Must read : Better, faster, more reliable Wi-Fi in six easy steps

The video, the work of French gadget leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer, who goes by the Twitter handle of OnLeaks, fits in well with the rumors, analyst reports, and supply chain chatter that’s been doing the rounds over the past weeks.

The screen on the front is only interrupted by the earpiece hole, while the back features twin cameras in a vertical orientation (this is for better depth sensing for AR). The placement of the physical buttons such as the mute switch, the volume controls, and power button are similar to that of the iPhone 7, but the Touch ID sensor is built into the front display.

However, Hemmerstoffer is cautious, and warns that “Apple has been testing out several prototype designs,” and then went on to say that he “can’t confirm this is 100 percent accurate.”

See also:

May 10, 2017 brianradio2016

Last year Microsoft added an unusual new feature to Windows 10: Linux support. The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) — sometimes called Bash on Windows — is “Microsoft’s implementation of a Linux-compatible infrastructure that runs atop and within the Windows kernel,” senior program manager Rich Turner tells CIO.com. That means running Linux binaries without leaving Windows.

“Bash on Windows offers a toolset for developers, IT administrators and other tech professionals that want or need to run Linux command-line tools alongside their Windows tools and applications,” Turner explains. Developed with the help of Canonical (and a large community of Linux users), it’s not there to turn Linux into Windows, or Windows into Linux. It’s just that some Linux tools are so ubiquitous for development and deployment that it’s useful to be able to use them without spinning up a virtual machine (VM). That’s one of the reasons Macs are so popular with developers: MacOS is based on BSD, which is Unix, so it can run Linux tools like Bash. And now, so can Windows 10.

“Using Bash on Windows, developers can run genuine, unmodified Linux command-line tools within a highly-compatible Linux environment, alongside their favorite Windows productivity and development tools,” Turner explains. Think Office and Vi or PowerShell and grep, side by side.

WSL is evolving fast and with Creators Update, Turner says it’s good enough for everyday use. But it’s easier to use once you understand a few things about the way Windows 10 and Linux interact.

May 10, 2017 brianradio2016

hp-elite-x2-1012-g2-laptop-tablet-convertible-hybrid-surface-pro.jpg

Surface Pro killer? HP’s Elite x2 1012 G2

If you’ve been waiting for a successor to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 — and since it was released at the end of 2015, you have been for a while — there’s been no shortage of alternatives. But if a Surface Pro 5 is unlikely to “surface” (pun intended) anytime soon, as ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley speculates, HP has just launched a very appealing 2-in-1 that should demand your attention.

The updated Elite x2 1012 G2 outdoes the Surface Pro 4 in many areas. At just 0.36 inches thick, it’s skinnier than Microsoft’s convertible, and it packs the Intel Kaby Lake processors that weren’t available when the Surface Pro 4 was rolled out. HP’s also addressed one of the original Elite x2 1012’s shortcomings, boosting the resolution and size of its touchscreen display from 1,920×1,080 to 2,736×1,824 and 11.6 inches to 12.3 inches, which now match the Surface Pro.

Whereas the Surface Pro 4 offers a choice of sixth-generation (or Skylake) Core CPUs, the x2 1012 G2 can be equipped with either the Core i3-7100U, Core i5-7200U or i5-7300U, or Core i7-7600U. Note that none of these use Intel’s Iris integrated graphics, which the Surface Pro’s i7 chips include. Like Microsoft’s 2-in-1 tablet, the x2 1012 G2 can support up to 16GB of RAM and a terabyte of solid-state storage.

HP’s hybrid has a couple of further advantages over the latest Surface Pro. It’s built to MIL-SPEC rugged standards, and also includes the HP Collaboration Keyboard and a Wacom digital pen. The company makes it easier to open up the device for repairs/upgrades than the notoriously clamped-down Surface Pro hardware.

One area where the Surface Pro 4 still has an advantage is in base price. You can pick up the cheapest Surface tablet for $799, while the base Elite x2 starts $300 higher. You don’t get a keyboard or pen with the base Surface Pro 4, however, and you’re stuck with an Intel Core m3 processor instead of a more powerful Core i3. But you’ll still have to wait a little bit even for the new Elite x2 1012 G2, as HP says it will be released in July.

May 10, 2017 brianradio2016

Branch sites are ideal places to make networking simpler and less expensive. There’s often little or no IT expertise there, and it’s harder to justify costs because only a fraction of a company’s business happens at a given branch.

Yet the rise of software-defined WANs and branch offices, designed to scale back the expense and complexity of far-flung networks, has left some parts of the problem unsolved, according to SD-WAN startup Versa Networks.

For one thing, replacing branch appliances for each function with applications running on one system may raise software compatibility issues that are even more complicated than wiring up several boxes. Also, swapping out private WAN links for lower-priced internet service can open branches up to some new security threats.

Those are two of the challenges that Versa wants to help enterprises overcome with new multi-function branch software for its Versa Cloud IP Platform. Some of it’s available now, and the rest will be rolled out over the next several weeks.