posted 2 months ago on OSNews
What's inside a counterfeit Macbook charger? After my Macbook charger teardown, a reader sent me a charger he suspected was counterfeit. From the outside, this charger is almost a perfect match for an Apple charger, but disassembling the charger shows that it is very different on the inside. It has a much simpler design that lacks quality features of the genuine charger, and has major safety defects. Fascinating article, and much like his teardown of a real MacBook charger, filled with interesting information. It also comes with a warning: don't use counterfeit chargers. You may save a few euros, but it could easily cost you much more than that if things go bad.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Redox is a general purpose operating system and surrounding ecosystem written in pure Rust. Our aim is to provide a fully functioning Linux replacement, without the bad parts. We have modest compatibility with Linux syscalls, allowing Redox to run many Linux programs without virtualization. We take inspiration from Plan9, Minix, and BSD. We are trying to generalize various concepts from other systems, to get one unified design. We will speak about this some more in the Design chapter. Redox runs on real hardware today.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Technology companies could face civil penalties for refusing to comply with court orders to help investigators access encrypted data under draft legislation nearing completion in the U.S. Senate, sources familiar with continuing discussions told Reuters on Wednesday.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
The first killer app, VisiCalc, came out in 1979. It turned an ordinary Apple II into a financial planning tool that was more powerful and flexible than anything the world had ever seen. A refined version of this spreadsheet, Lotus 1-2-3, became the killer app that put IBM PCs in offices and homes around the world. The Macintosh, which floundered in 1985 after early adopter sales trailed off, found a profitable niche in the new world of desktop publishing with two killer apps: Aldus Pagemaker and Adobe Photoshop. To keep up with the Joneses, the Amiga needed a killer app to survive - it found one with the Video Toaster. This series has been running for a long, long time, and is still every bit as great.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
When former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was pushing to get a waiver allowing her to use a BlackBerry like President Barack Obama back in 2009, the National Security Agency had a very short list of devices approved for classified communications. It was two devices built for the Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device (SME PED) program. In fact, those devices were the only thing anyone in government without an explicit security waiver (like the one the president got, along with his souped-up BlackBerry 8830) could use until as recently as last year to get mobile access to top secret encrypted calls and secure e-mail. Despite $18 million in development contracts for each of the vendors selected to build the competing SME PED phones (or perhaps because of it), the resulting devices were far from user-friendly. The phones - General Dynamics' Sectéra Edge and L3 Communications' Guardian - were not technically "smart phones," but instead were handheld personal digital assistants with phone capability, derived from late 1990s and early 2000s technology that had been hardened for security purposes - specifically, Windows CE technology. This is an absolutely fascinating piece of technological history here. Can you imagine using one of these monstrous things?

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Today, we're pleased to begin the roll-out of Windows 10 Mobile to select Windows Phone 8.1 devices. There are a lot of great new features in Windows 10 Mobile, like Continuum, Windows Hello and Cortana. The current list is restricted to a subset of Lumia devices, and it seems like the first generation of Windows Phone 8.x devices - such as my HTX 8X - won't be getting the Windows 10 update. Microsoft will also disable insider builds for these first generation devices.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Icaros Desktop 2.1 might be named "the handlers release", but also "the YouTube one", since the best enhancement over the previous versions are the addition of new NTFS and EX-FAT filesystem handlers and the free, read-only version of GoogleDrive handler, a "driver" which allows to mount your Google Drive handler onto AROS as if it was a normal USB stick or a CD-ROM. But that's not the only good news: we've talked bout YouTube because Deadwood did the miracle again, and we can now enjoy HTML5 video as well, playing your favourite contents from YouTube and other sites. But there have been lots of little/big additions, fixed and enhancements. Icaros Desktop is a 'distribution' of AROS, the easiest (and cheapest, as in free) way to get a taste of an AmigaOS-like operating system on generic hardware.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
The attack, which was targeted at US users, hit websites including the New York Times, the BBC, AOL and the NFL over the weekend. Combined, the targeted sites have traffic in the billions of visitors. The malware was delivered through multiple ad networks, and used a number of vulnerabilities, including a recently-patched flaw in Microsoft's former Flash competitor Silverlight, which was discontinued in 2013. That's why we have adblockers.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
I'm happy to announce that Qt 5.6.0 has been released today! This release has taken a bit longer to finish than we originally expected, mostly because we put a lot of new infrastructure in place, allowing us to make Qt 5.6 a Long Term Supported (LTS) release. With that, Qt 5.6 (LTS) will be receiving patch releases with security updates and bug fixes for the next three years, in parallel to upcoming Qt versions.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Linux 4.5 has been released. This release adds a new copy_file_range() system call that allows to make copies of files without transferring data through userspace; experimental Powerplay power management for modern Radeon GPUs; scalability improvements in the Btrfs free space handling; support GCC's Undefined Behavior Sanitizer (-fsanitize=undefined); Forwarded Error Correction support in the device-mapper's verity target; support for the MADV_FREE flag in madvise(); the new cgroup unified hierarchy is considered stable; scalability improvements for SO_REUSEPORT UDP sockets; scalability improvements for epoll, and better memory accounting of sockets in the memory controller. There are also new drivers and many other small improvements. There are also new drivers and many other small improvements. Here is the full list of changes.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
The wall separating "foreign" intelligence operations from domestic criminal investigations has finally, fully collapsed. The FBI is now acting on a rule change initiated by the Bush administration, and finally massaged into actionable policy by Obama: Now, FBI agents can query the NSA's database of Americans' international communications, collected without warrants pursuant to Section 702 of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act. That law put congress' stamp of approval on the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program, which was widely denounced as totalitarian when the New York Times' James Risen exposed it to the world in 2005. Remember when they told us this wouldn't be a slippery slope? Cute.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
The major new architectural feature of this release has been the introduction of the Qubes Management infrastructure, which is based on the popular Salt management software. In Qubes 3.1, this management stack makes it possible to conveniently control system-wide Qubes configuration using centralized, declarative statements. Declarative is the key word here: it makes creating advanced configurations significantly simpler. (The user or administrator needs only to specify what they want to get, rather than how they want to get it).

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Security update package MS16-023 for Internet Explorer doesn't only contain security patches, but also a few other things, including: "This update adds functionality to Internet Explorer 11 on some computers that lets users learn about Windows 10 or start an upgrade to Windows 10." Ghacks.net writes: Microsoft does not reveal what this means, or what this has to do with Internet Explorer. According to Woody Leonhard over at Infoworld, the update pushes a banner on Internet Explorer 11's New Tab Page advertising the company's new operating system Windows 10. Unfortunately the ads can't be uninstalled without uninstalling the whole security update package.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
If you've got access to the Firefox browser, load up the 3DNES emulator right now and witness some actual techno-magic, as ROMs of 2D NES games are transformed into fully 3D experiences. It's half inspiring, half terrifying. Quite fascinating. Do we have any experts in here who could explain how the developer is achieving this?

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Just a random Wednesday in March, and Google releases the first Android N developer preview. The biggest new feature in this Android N developer preview is, as Google promised, multiwindow. Multi-window - A new manifest attribute called android:resizableActivity is available for apps targeting N and beyond. If this attribute is set to true, your activity can be launched in split-screen modes on phones and tablets. You can also specify your activity's minimum allowable dimensions, preventing users from making the activity window smaller than that size. Lifecycle changes for multi-window are similar to switching from landscape to portrait mode: your activity can handle the configuration change itself, or it can allow the system to stop the activity and recreate it with the new dimensions. In addition, activities can also go into picture-in-picture mode on devices like TVs, and is a great feature for apps that play video; be sure to set android:supportsPictureInPicture to true to take advantage of this. As you can see in the video The Verge has up, the multiwindow feature is fairly straightforward, and it looks quite smooth considering it's a beta - see the video on The Verge, or this one for a tablet view. Unlike iOS, the feature is not restricted to just certain tablets; multiwindow on Android N is available on both phones and tablets, in landscape and in portrait. There's a number of other new features as well, such as improvements to the power-saving Doze feature, notification grouping (finally!), direct replies to notifications, several Java 8 language features, and more. Digging a little deeper into the changes, there's an interesting tidbit about future releases possibly bringing an end to unbound background services. You can install the Android N developer preview on a Nexus 5X, 6, 6P, 9, 9G, Player, and the Pixel C. You can also enroll your device in Android's new beta program, allowing you to upgrade your device using over-the-air updates, so you don't lose all your data. This program will go live later today.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
The sad news promulgated several days ago that Ray Tomlinson passed away on Saturday, March 5th. Most known for his invention of email, Ray also contributed heavily to ARPANET, TENEX, and many other projects. He was one of the many great pioneers in the early days of digital computing technology who helped shape the world as we know it today. While much of his work and many of his contributions have already passed into obscurity due to the ever expanding, glamorous universe of modern technology, his memory still stands as a testament to what the people in our industry are capable of accomplishing even without any precedents. So long, Ray, and thanks for all the email. One of the stark realities that becomes more clear from Ray's passing is that many of the technological frontiersmen from the 60s and 70s are closer to the end of their lives than they are to their prime. Another decade or so, and the generation that largely laid the foundation upon which western society in many aspects currently rests will no longer be with us.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Today I'm excited to announce our plans to bring SQL Server to Linux as well. This will enable SQL Server to deliver a consistent data platform across Windows Server and Linux, as well as on-premises and cloud. We are bringing the core relational database capabilities to preview today, and are targeting availability in mid-2017. So this is happening. I feel a little cold all of a sudden.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, penned this opinion piece in the Washington Post. That's why it's so disappointing that the FBI, Justice Department and others in law enforcement are pressing us to turn back the clock to a less-secure time and less-secure technologies. They have suggested that the safeguards of iOS 7 were good enough and that we should simply go back to the security standards of 2013. But the security of iOS 7, while cutting-edge at the time, has since been breached by hackers. What's worse, some of their methods have been productized and are now available for sale to attackers who are less skilled but often more malicious. To get around Apple's safeguards, the FBI wants us to create a backdoor in the form of special software that bypasses passcode protections, intentionally creating a vulnerability that would let the government force its way into an iPhone. Once created, this software - which law enforcement has conceded it wants to apply to many iPhones - would become a weakness that hackers and criminals could use to wreak havoc on the privacy and personal safety of us all. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to stand side-by-side with Apple on this one. In France, they just voted to put technology executives of companies unwilling to decrypt their products in jail.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, penned this opinion piece in the Washington Post. That's why it's so disappointing that the FBI, Justice Department and others in law enforcement are pressing us to turn back the clock to a less-secure time and less-secure technologies. They have suggested that the safeguards of iOS 7 were good enough and that we should simply go back to the security standards of 2013. But the security of iOS 7, while cutting-edge at the time, has since been breached by hackers. What's worse, some of their methods have been productized and are now available for sale to attackers who are less skilled but often more malicious. To get around Apple's safeguards, the FBI wants us to create a backdoor in the form of special software that bypasses passcode protections, intentionally creating a vulnerability that would let the government force its way into an iPhone. Once created, this software - which law enforcement has conceded it wants to apply to many iPhones - would become a weakness that hackers and criminals could use to wreak havoc on the privacy and personal safety of us all. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to stand side-by-side with Apple on this one. In France, they just voted to put technology executives of companies unwilling to decrypt their products

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
On March 4, we detected that the Transmission BitTorrent client installer for OS X was infected with ransomware, just a few hours after installers were initially posted. We have named this Ransomware "KeRanger." The only previous ransomware for OS X we are aware of is FileCoder, discovered by Kaspersky Lab in 2014. As FileCoder was incomplete at the time of its discovery, we believe KeRanger is the first fully functional ransomware seen on the OS X platform. Attackers infected two installers of Transmission version 2.90 with KeRanger on the morning of March 4. When we identified the issue, the infected DMG files were still available for downloading from the Transmission site Transmission is an open source project. It's possible that Transmission's official website was compromised and the files were replaced by re-compiled malicious versions, but we can't confirm how this infection occurred. Fascinating hack - they basically compromised the Transmission website to upload infected installers. And it worked, too.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Tim Sweeney, co-founder Epic Games and architect of the Unreal engine, isn't happy with Microsoft's new Universal Windows Platform: With its new Universal Windows Platform (UWP) initiative, Microsoft has built a closed platform-within-a-platform into Windows 10, as the first apparent step towards locking down the consumer PC ecosystem and monopolising app distribution and commerce. [...] This isn't like that. Here, Microsoft is moving against the entire PC industry - including consumers (and gamers in particular), software developers such as Epic Games, publishers like EA and Activision, and distributors like Valve and Good Old Games. Microsoft has launched new PC Windows features exclusively in UWP, and is effectively telling developers you can use these Windows features only if you submit to the control of our locked-down UWP ecosystem. They're curtailing users' freedom to install full-featured PC software, and subverting the rights of developers and publishers to maintain a direct relationship with their customers. Microsoft was given the opportunity to respond in another The Guardian article, stating: In response to Sweeney's allegations, Kevin Gallo, corporate vice president of Windows at Microsoft, told the Guardian: "The Universal Windows Platform is a fully open ecosystem, available to every developer, that can be supported by any store. We continue to make improvements for developers; for example, in the Windows 10 November Update, we enabled people to easily side-load apps by default, with no UX required." We'll see how this plays out, but Microsoft has a horrible history when it comes to these things.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Today saw the deadline for amicus briefs in the heated iPhone security trial, and several companies and interested parties took the opportunity to make their case before the court. The most significant brief came from Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Evernote, and nine other major firms, which emphasized the severe harm that would come from court-initiated mandate as opposed to a more considered legislative action. "[The signed companies] pride themselves on transparency with the public, particularly with respect to sensitive issues such as disclosing users’ data," the decision reads. "A boundless All Writs Act could cripple these efforts." Twitter, Reddit, Github, Ebay, and CloudFlare also submitted a brief with 12 other startup companies, emphasizing the values of privacy and transparency in online services. "If the government is able to compel companies to break their own security measures," the companies write, "the users of those companies will necessarily lose confidence that their data is being handled in a secure, open manner." Good. Virtually the entire technology industry is siding with Apple on this one.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
File this one under "Obscure problems that could ruin your day." TidBITS reader Randy Singer reports that due to an expired certificate, OS X installers downloaded prior to 14 February 2016 won't work. The Apple Worldwide Developer Relations Intermediate Certificate is required for all apps in the Mac App Store, including OS X installers. When used to sign an app, the certificate enables OS X to confirm that the app has not been corrupted or modified by an attacker. This certificate expired on 14 February 2016, causing error dialogs and preventing some apps from launching. Most apps affected have already been updated with the new certificate. But if you downloaded an OS X installer in case of trouble, you may be in for a surprise the next time you try to use it. Take note.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
One question we were dying to ask is he sees a future for the Oculus Rift with Apple computers. When asked if there would ever be Mac support for the Rift, Palmer responds by saying "That is up to Apple. If they ever release a good computer, we will do it." Palmer continues to clarify what he meant by that blunt statement by saying "It just boils down to the fact that Apple doesn't prioritize high-end GPUs. You can buy a $6,000 Mac Pro with the top of the line AMD FirePro D700, and it still doesn't match our recommended specs. So if they prioritize higher-end GPUs like they used to for a while back in the day, we'd love to support Mac. But right now, there's just not a single machine out there that supports it." Harsh, but true. This simply isn't a market Apple is serving right now. Note: I'm not saying they should, just that they don't.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Volvo recently conducted a survey and asked consumers about their perceptions of self-driving cars. The question that stood out to me was whether a car company like Volvo or a technology company (Google, unnamed) was best positioned to bring safe self-driving cars to the market. Volvo was obviously fishing for a particular answer, and while they certainly have a vaunted reputation for technical innovation in the service of safety, I'm afraid I can't go along with the answer they're hoping for, partially because safety is only part of the story. In my opinion, no car company working alone is going to be able to produce a self-driving car with the kind of usability that consumers will expect. And for self-driving cars, usability is just as important as safety. In fact, they're inseparable. Read more on this exclusive OSNews article...

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