March 30, 2017 brianradio2016

Custom launchers are among Android’s most useful and distinctive features. They let you take total control of your phone’s home screen environment and make it work the way you want — often with fresh and innovative twists on what a home screen can be.

We’ve talked plenty about Action Launcher and Nova Launcher over the years, but those aren’t the only noteworthy players in town. A newer app called Evie Launcher has gained plenty of attention and won over oodles of fans since its launch last summer — and it’s easy to see why.

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March 30, 2017 brianradio2016

A proof-of-concept exploit has been published for an unpatched vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Information Services 6.0, a version of the web server that’s no longer supported but still widely used.

The exploit allows attackers to execute malicious code on Windows servers running IIS 6.0 with the privileges of the user running the application. Extended support for this version of IIS ended in July 2015 along with support for its parent product, Windows Server 2003.

Even so, independent web server surveys suggest that IIS 6.0 still powers millions of public websites. In addition, many companies might still run web applications on Windows Server 2003 and IIS 6.0 inside their corporate networks, so this vulnerability could help attackers perform lateral movement if they access such networks through other means.

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March 30, 2017 brianradio2016

Are Linux users weird?

Let’s face it, Linux users have often been portrayed in the media as being a little…er…different than macOS or Windows users. But now a writer at Network World is convinced that the days of Linux users being viewed as eccentric are finally coming to an end.

Bryan Lunduke reports for Network World:

Back to the Starbucks from a few days back. There I was, writing an article about GNOME—my laptop properly adorned with EFF, openSUSE and FSF stickers. I look up to gaze around the room (gotta give those eyes a screen break every so often), and I see a woman working at another table. Her laptop had stickers, too—Arch Linux and EFF.

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March 30, 2017 brianradio2016

For the past few months, developers who publish their code on GitHub have been targeted in an attack campaign that uses a little-known but potent cyberespionage malware.

The attacks started in January and consisted of malicious emails specifically crafted to attract the attention of developers, such as requests for help with development projects and offers of payment for custom programming jobs.

The emails had .gz attachments that contained Word documents with malicious macro code attached. If allowed to execute, the macro code executed a PowerShell script that reached out to a remote server and downloaded a malware program known as Dimnie.

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March 30, 2017 brianradio2016
March 30, 2017 brianradio2016

One of my tasks at my job is to develop and maintain technical presentations. In the past I’ve stored these presentations on Google Drive in Apple’s Keynote format. Keynote, like many office suite applications, stores its files as big, fat binary blobs. When multiple people modify a presentation and attempt to update it, you get problems. People silently clobber each other’s changes.

This annoyance isn’t unique to Keynote. PowerPoint and other formats suffer the same problem. While PowerPoint theoretically has an XML-based file, it’s wrapped in a Zip, so there’s no practical way to merge changes at the file level.

Another problem with Keynote is that while there are slide masters, the stuff that gets pasted into a slide has to be carefully formatted. WYSIWIG is great and awful at the same time. Stuff that gets pasted into a slide has to be formatted with love. This usually means that while the master is consistent, the contents often diverge in format: spacing is a little off, font choices go off-brand, and colors go wild.

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March 30, 2017 brianradio2016

Are you getting tired of hearing about artificial intelligence? It seems we must be reaching peak hype cycle around AI when almost every article written about it rehashes the same tropes around self-driving cars, the latest game that has been mastered by computers, or the next house appliance to get speech recognition.

There is so much noise around AI that it’s hard to find a signal. And the real work of AI is happening behind the scenes of mainstream press coverage. After all, the places that machine learning can have the most impact haven’t yet been touched by AI—like automation.

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March 30, 2017 brianradio2016

If you’ve read my blog over the past decade, you probably noticed that I stopped writing it last summer. After 12 years, I took a break that has extended longer than anticipated while I engaged in other stuff.

But recent events have pulled me back into the fray. I’m talking about the passing of S.J. Res. 34, which reverses the FCC privacy rules for ISPs.

Those rules were instituted very recently by the FCC under President Obama but are now poised to be scuttled completely by the Republicans. The only remaining step is a signature from the President, which will certainly come.

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March 29, 2017 brianradio2016

A congressional vote to repeal U.S. restrictions on broadband providers doesn’t mean that online privacy is dead. Consumers will just have to pay for it.

The coming repeal, which President Donald Trump is expected to sign into law, paves a clearer path for broadband providers to sell customers’ internet browsing history and other online data, without their consent.

Privacy advocates are worried. Imagine corporate giants snooping on your internet activities, and then bombarding your PC, phone and TV with targeted ads.

However, the privacy rule rollback might have an opposite effect, too. Expect broadband providers and other internet services to emerge offering online privacy protections, but at a price.

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