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Breach Browser: an open-source and hackable browser for geeks

Wednesday 16th of July 2014 10:28:57 PM

While you are reading this, the chances are you are using Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer (IE). That is because these tend to be the only choices on offer. Although each of the big browsers will try to convince you that you have a choice. The simple truth is you do not. You are confined to using these five main choices which generally-speaking are increasingly converging and becoming more alike with each update. That is until now!

Breach Browser is an extremely new browser. In fact this has only just been released in its first public Alpha and is barely a baby compared to the elders of the browser world. If you are now shouting at your screen “So, why should I care” then listen a little longer.

Breach Browser is a completely open-source browser and more importantly is completely customisable. Now before we go further I should point out you cannot simply just install this browser by downloading the app from the Play Store. Nope, instead this a browser for the geeks. When booting for the first time Breach simply shows a warning that there are no modules installed. From this point on it is up to you to code and install the necessary modules…more to the points the modules YOU want. Welcome to the world of a self-supported web-app.

So yes, you will need some technical ability to use Breach, but if you have the know-how then you will enjoy this browser. For instance imagine vertical tabs! As the Breach developers state, anything is possible

“…why not build an entirely modular one that would let its user leverage this architecture to easily add functionalities through simple Javascript modules. That’s exactly what Breach is today, a modular browser that does not expose any internal functionalities but an API for developers to build modules that can be added, removed, and interchanged very easily. In other words, Breach multiplexes the ExoBrowser API for modules to expose new functionalities”.

The browser is primarily coded only in JavaScript and uses Chromium Content API as its ultimate base with Node JS interpretation and processing all JavaScript. The result is a completely open modular browser which can be coded by the user in JavaScript and HTML 5.

The reality, is this is not a game-changing browser and for the clear majority of users is unlikely to be of use. Breach won’t challenge Chrome or IE for dominance in the market but does provide those with the ability to customise their browser completely the way they want it. If you have the skills in JavaScript or HTML5 than this will be worth giving a try. If you do then let us know what you think.

You can download Breach by visiting the browser website but remember this is an Alpha version and will be in its very earliest stage.

The post Breach Browser: an open-source and hackable browser for geeks appeared first on The Mukt.

Want to root your device? Try xda’s new root directory

Wednesday 16th of July 2014 10:23:25 PM

Have you rooted your device yet? If you answered yes, then I am sure you are aware of how daunting this can be for new users. For those that answered no, there are usually two reasons for not rooting – never heard of ‘rooting’ or simply too scared to root.

If you have never heard of rooting, this refers to gaining root access to your device. Out of the box all devices are locked to a specific network and typically do not offer the user much negotiation with its features. However once rooted a device literally opens-up and allows the user to access all files on the device including those hidden away as system files. By accessing the root level of a device the user is suddenly able to install new apps, features and even completely change the operating system (OS) by flashing a new ROM.

Ever heard of CyanogenMod (CM), Paranoid Android (PA) or OmniROM? Well rooting is usually the first step needed to be able to install most of these ROM’s.

There is one problem though with rooting and this is the dangers involved. Which neatly brings us to our second group who answered no – those too scared to root. Rooting is an extremely unstable procedure and moreso for those who have never rooted before. By rooting a device the user can damage their device and in the most extreme cases brick the device. As the term suggests ‘bricking’ means the phone becomes useless…or simply as useful as a brick. These dangers usually result in the more timid users avoiding rooting. If you are one of these users then fear not.

xda-developers.com is typically the go-to-guide for all users who have or intend to root. This is a website set up by developers and provides invaluable information and instructions on a number of device issues. XDA have realized how difficult it can be sometimes to find the correct instructions, files and downloads. To try and help, XDA have launched a ‘root directory’ to provide assistance and streamline through the mountains of information available. Now users can simply head over to the XDA-Developers Root Directory and instantly find the most correct and up-to-date method to root their specific device. The directory is divided into device manufacturer and then further sub-divided by device models making it very easy to find the correct and most relevant information.

This directory should make it far easier (and safer) for those new to rooting. For the expert rooters out there this will also be a great directory to simply find the files needed for your latest rooting project.

Now for the disclaimer – Please do remember rooting can be dangerous…even with the best intentions and instructions. So if you do root you do so at your own risk. You should also be aware that in nearly all cases rooting can void your warranty. So if you are still under warranty than probably best not to root.

So…Have you rooted your device yet?

For those who have answered no – what are you waiting for?

The post Want to root your device? Try xda’s new root directory appeared first on The Mukt.

How to install Plasma 5 in Kubuntu or go for a test drive

Wednesday 16th of July 2014 04:07:33 PM

The much awaited Plasma 5 was released yesterday, I did a detailed review of it after using it for over a week on Arch Linux and Kubuntu. I found it much easier to try it out on Kubuntu without breaking the system. So if you are curious about testing out Plasma 5, there are two ways of doing it.

You can use the live ISO which lets you run Plasma 5 on your system without touching your hard drive and installing anything on your system. While it does allow you to check what’s new there, you won’t get the complete experience of Plasma 5, something you get when you use a system for work so you may consider installing it and spending some time with it. I have it running on my main system for a week now and have been doing office work on it, so that says a lot about the stability and usability of the very first release of Plasma 5.

Warning: Even if I found Plasma 5 to be stable and usable, it is work in progress. I will not recommend using Plasma 5 on production machines where a broken system will hurt your business or work, please stick to KDE SC 4.x branch on such systems.

Test out live Plasma 5

There is live CD of Project Neon which you can download from this link. If you want to burn a live CD/DVD, just burn the image from K3B or Brasero.

Create live USB for Plasma 5

If you want to create live USB of Neon ISO then follow these steps (you can use these steps to create live USB of any Ubuntu-based distributions):

Plug in the USB and run lsblk command. This command will list the connected USB drives and here you have to note the device name of your USB. I will recommend removing every other USB connected storage devices so you don’t end up formatting any of those devices.

lsblk

Here is the output I get on my system:
mukt@the-mukt-online:~ > lsblk
NAME MAJ:MIN RM SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
sda 8:0 0 119.2G 0 disk
└─sda1 8:1 0 32.6G 0 part /
sdb 8:16 0 931.5G 0 disk
└─sdb1 8:17 0 931.5G 0 part /media/1TB
sdc 8:32 0 3.7T 0 disk
└─sdc1 8:33 0 3.7T 0 part /media/4TB
sdd 8:48 0 931.5G 0 disk
└─sdd1 8:49 0 931.5G 0 part /media/Internal
sde 8:64 1 7.5G 0 disk
├─sde1 8:65 1 1.4G 0 part
└─sde2 8:66 1 2.2M 0 part
sr0 11:0 1 942M 0 rom

Here sde is my USB drive which I will use to create live USB of Project Neon. The actual name used in the command to create live USB would be /dev/sde, so keep that in mind and use the name of the devices showing up on your system.

Now run this command to create the live USB:

sudo dd if=/PATH_OF_DOWNLOADED_ISO of=/NAME_OF_USB_DEVICE

In my case it would be:

mukt@the-mukt-online:~ sudo dd if=/home/mukt/Downloads/neon5-201406131309.iso of=/dev/sde bs=1

NAME_OF_USB_DEVICE would be a complete path such as /dev/sde

Now you can use this drive to check out Plasma 5.

How to install Plasma 5 on Kubunbtu?

If you want to test Plasma 5 then Kubuntu is your best bet as it installs Plasma 5 in /opt/project-neon5 directory without touching your current install. You will be able to switch between Plasma Workspace (4.x) and Plasma 5 from the login screen (we have already covered this earlier but I am repeating here due to demand for such an article).

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:neon/kf5 sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install project-neon5-session project-neon5-utils project-neon5-konsole project-neon5-breeze project-neon5-plasma-workspace-wallpapers

Once all packages are installed, reboot your system and then choose Project Neon 5 from the login screen.

As I said that Project Neon 5 won’t touch your current install (while sharing system settings from the home folder), you can continue to use both systems side by side. However if you do want to remove Plasma 5, it is extremely easy. Just use the purge option of Kubuntu and get rid of it

sudo apt-get purge project-neon5-* sudo apt-get autoremove

Now if you also want to remove the plasma 5 repository to avoid any conflict in future, install ppa-purge

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge

Then purge the ppa:

sudo ppa-purge ppa:neon/kf5

Now your system is Plasma 5 free. So what do you think if Plasma 5 so far?

The post How to install Plasma 5 in Kubuntu or go for a test drive appeared first on The Mukt.

Detailed review of Plasma 5

Wednesday 16th of July 2014 01:31:53 AM

The much awaited Plasma 5 has been announced today, which marks a new chapter in the story of KDE software. Plasma 5 is the next generation desktop by the KDE community; it’s the evolution of KDE’s desktop which started taking a new shape with the release of ‘revolutionary’ KDE 4.0.

Plasma desktop uses the time-tested UI optimized for WIMP (windows, icons, menus and pointer) interface and with 5 it further improved that experience. A lot of work has gone in the code-base which makes the desktop sleeker and more polished. If you are thinking just think oh it’s just a different theme and new icons, it’s not true. Plasma 5 uses the brand new Frameworks 5 and Qt5 which not only improves user-experience but also allows developers to use KDE software in a manner not possible before.

So what’s new in Plasma 5? How does it matter to a ‘KDE’ users or a Linux user in general? I have been using Plasma 5 for a couple of days in Kubuntu and Arch Linux so I have a first hand experience of it on a ‘production’ machine. I also spoke with Aaron Seigo who helped me in understanding more about this release and the direction of KDE software.

Don’t be fooled, a lot of work goes down there.

This release of Plasma also benefits from the approach of the KDE community to separate Frameworks, Applications and the Plasma desktop. What it means is that developers of each component can work on their code-base without having to worry about the one release date to ruin them all.

Nepomuk is gone, Baloo is here

To me it is extremely important to be able to search my desktop as I have a lot of stories, research material and of course multimedia files, which is scattered across 8TB storage on my system. In most cases I don’t even know which file is where so a good search is very important for me.

I am one of those users who had ‘love and hate’ relationship with KDE’s Nepomuk. It has some really great concept and ideas, but with time the code base was becoming older which would, obviously, impact the performance of a system.

That’s changing with Plasma 5 as Baloo has replaced Nepomuk as the default desktop search technology. It’s brand new code-base which is still using a lot of work that went into Nepomuk. It’s extremely fast, compared to Nepomuk, modern as well as gives much more control to a user.

Baloo configuration

Baloo one of the KDE goodies that can’t be beaten by any other desktop environment or operating systems, when it comes to control. You can access Baloo from ‘System Settings’, where it can be found as ‘Search’.

Baloo has replaced Nepomuk

When you click on it the first option is ‘Plasma Search’ (cool name). Here you can disable the ‘type’ of stuff you don’t want to be indexed. You can open your bookmarks in the browser right from the menu, without having to go to the browser.

One of the biggest gripes I have with Gnome or Unity is image search. Unlike Unity Plasma Launcher (or Krunner) doesn’t display ‘nude’ or private images stored on your machine when you search for a file name; it just shows the name of files so even if you have an extremely private image of you and your partner you won’t have to worry about it popping up on the projector during a presentation or when you are giving a demo to a client.

The Second option is ‘File Search’ which enables you to select the folders you want or don’t want to be indexed by Baloo. By default it deselects all external drives, but you can easily manage what it can or can’t’ index.

Since Baloo is a completely new code-base it is extremely fast and efficient. No more slowing down your system when indexing your files, without making any compromise on how search is conducted on your system.

Next Page – KDE, where convergence was born

The post Detailed review of Plasma 5 appeared first on The Mukt.

UK’s first Spaceport to be operational by 2018

Tuesday 15th of July 2014 05:47:04 PM

UK holds the title of the world’s busiest city airport system, with all airports combined in London. With that out of the way, UK now seems to be poised to jump to higher levels. Perhaps with just that ambition, UK has decided to have its first spaceport built and operational by the year 2018. The plans haven’t been formally announced, but will be announced tomorrow, Tuesday, 2014.

According to the British daily, The Guardian, UK government are already are in the possession of a list of candidate places that are suitable for the upcoming spaceport. The government will detail the eight locations on the upcoming official announcement to be made on Tuesday. Locations speculated to be chosen for the spaceport includes Bristol, Norfolk, the north of Scotland, and the Outer Hebrides.

With the construction of the spaceport, UK will enable space tourism companies like Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace to launch commercial space flights from within the country. According to UK Science Minister David Willetts, the government has already worked out the new rules and regulations that would entail bringing space launches into the commercial sector, along with the various aviation checks, which are quite different for space crafts. Thus pointing to the fact that all the preliminary hurdles and technicalities have been overcome and all that now remains is to get the location finalized and get the spaceport off the drawing boards.

The shortlisted locations are being studied by government officials for their feasibility and would be detailed in the upcoming announcement. The spaceport is poised to be able to launch both manned missions and commercial satellites. UK hopes to have companies like XCOR Aerospace and Virgin Galactic to be the commercial contractors of its spaceport.

Commercial space tourism is on the rise, ever since Virgin Galactic kicked off the trend. In fact Richard Branson, the Virgin Galactic founder is all ready to start launching regular space flights from a base in New Mexico starting this year itself. The endeavor is also poised to be profitable for UK’s government too. Their current space sector is valued at over £11 billion with UK planning to increase it to over £40 billion. In that spirit, the time seems to be as good as any!

Source: The Verge

The post UK’s first Spaceport to be operational by 2018 appeared first on The Mukt.

Apple says they are not spying on Chinese

Tuesday 15th of July 2014 01:57:53 PM

With great fame come great responsibilities! No, I’m not quoting Spiderman (mainly because it isn’t from Spiderman), but rather I’m pointing at the condition of Apple. The latest accusations that knocked on Apple’s door now comes from China, who is accusing Apple of using its product’s location monitoring capabilities to spy on the country and her internal workings. Apple however has refuted the claims in a recent statement put up on their Chinese website.

The feature of the iOS 7 that set off the Chinese alarm bells is called Frequent Locations. And like the name suggests, it is a feature, through which the iOS keeps a tab of the locations the users frequent using a combination of GPS, WiFi and cell tower triangulation. According to the Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), who also quotes researchers that have looked into this “security threat”, this kind of information can eventually lead to threats to national security and even leaking of “state secrets”.

Apple was quick to respond to the accusations, citing that their devices never transmit any unique identifier while using the features. The feature is an assistive technology that is there to help the user to get their regular tasks done faster and without any hassles. The feature can be easily turned off via the privacy settings.

Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. It’s something we feel very strongly about.

In addition, the tech giant also adds that the location data and map data that iOS uses to compute the locations are mostly stored locally on the devices cache, which is encrypted using the user’s passcode. iOS doesn’t transmit any location related data to the Apple servers and thus there is no way that Apple can track the users of their products. The only data that is not stored on the device is a crowd sourced database of public WiFi access points and cell towers. This database is used in order to speed up the location calculation instead of relying solely on GPS which would require a larger amount of time. Apple ensures that while accessing the database, however, there are no unique identifiers transmitted that can actually link the device to any individuals.

According to the statement, Apple emphasizes that they feel strongly about user security and have never or will never work with third party agencies to allow spying or access to their databases.

Source: Mashable

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Dropbox releases version 2.11.0 for Linux client

Tuesday 15th of July 2014 01:54:34 PM

Here’s some good news for Linux users of Dropbox. Dropbox, the popular file hosting servicem, has rolled out an all new development release of the Dropbox 2.11.0 for Linux client. Along with it come a renewed user interface and a number of changes, bugfixes and enhancements.

According to the release notes, Dropbox 2.11.0 comes with a totally revamped user interface (UI) for its Linux and Windows versions. Not only that, it also has file identifiers and a brand-new headless setup flow, especially for the Linux edition.

Users of the new Dropbox 2.11.0 will witness quicker upload times when dealing with small files. The new update also includes an updated splash screens and Finder icon overlays.

Those interested can download Dropbox 2.11.0 for Linux, Dropbox 2.11.0 for Windows and Dropbox 2.11.0 for Mac OS X from this page. However, you should consider that this is an unstable version and should not be tested on production machines, for the fear of unforeseen bugs.

The post Dropbox releases version 2.11.0 for Linux client appeared first on The Mukt.

Leaked images suggest new Play Store is on the Horizon

Tuesday 15th of July 2014 01:53:51 PM

Reports are rolling in of the possibility of a newer more refreshed looking Play store is on its way. At the moment the reports have not been confirmed and there is no substantiating evidence any of this is true. However Android Police had provided what is believed to be leaked images of what the new Play Store will look like.

With all the talk recently surrounding Android L it is no surprise the newer look is completely in sync with L adopting Material Design at its core.

The screenshots provided by Android Police show Play will incorporate the more immersive attributes with larger and more integrated headers. Movies and trailers will contain an auto play function within the header and a more floating-type card for downloading/installing. The image on the left below shows the current Play Store display while the right is one of the leaked images for Play’s new look.

 

As Android Police point out these are early and unconfirmed leaked images and as such, even if they are true the final product will probably vary quite differently from what is shown above.

However these images do at least suggest two points worth noting. Firstly, we should probably expect to see a new look Play Store soon and secondly it will be quite different from the one we currently see.

What are your thoughts? Do you like the new look better or fed up of hearing about ANOTHER Google make-over?

Source: Android Police

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Final Evolution: Raspberry Pi Model B+ launched

Monday 14th of July 2014 08:10:11 PM

The Raspberry Pi foundation has announced the launch of the brand new pi, and it’s called Raspberry Pi Model B +. If you are excited about new hardware, then let me tell you that the Model B+ uses the same BCM2835 application processor as the Model B. It runs the same software, and still has 512MB RAM.

Eben Upton of Raspberry Pi, told me in an interview that they want longer shelf life of Pis so don’t expect hardware upgrade which will made current models obsolete. But that doesn’t stop the team from improving the board and make it even better.

“This isn’t a “Raspberry Pi 2″, but rather the final evolution of the original Raspberry Pi. Today, I’’m very pleased to be able to announce the immediate availability, at $35 – it’s still the same price, of what we’re calling the Raspberry Pi Model B+,” says Eben.

So what’s new? Eben said that James Hughes, the application engineer, and the team has made many important improvements:

  • More GPIO. The GPIO header has grown to 40 pins, while retaining the same pinout for the first 26 pins as the Model B.
  • More USB. We now have 4 USB 2.0 ports, compared to 2 on the Model B, and better hotplug and overcurrent behaviour.
  • Micro SD. The old friction-fit SD card socket has been replaced with a much nicer push-push micro SD version.
  • Lower power consumption. By replacing linear regulators with switching ones we’ve reduced power consumption by between 0.5W and 1W.
  • Better audio. The audio circuit incorporates a dedicated low-noise power supply.
  • Neater form factor. We’ve aligned the USB connectors with the board edge, moved composite video onto the 3.5mm jack, and added four squarely-placed mounting holes.

The latest Raspberry Pi is available for purchase immediately.

The post Final Evolution: Raspberry Pi Model B+ launched appeared first on The Mukt.

Debian 7.6 released

Monday 14th of July 2014 07:33:35 PM

Neil McGovern has announced the release of Debian 7.6, the sixth maintenance release of 7.x branch.

This is a maintenance release which, as Neil explains, “… mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were already published separately and are referenced where available.”

New Debian users should keep in mind that its ‘not’ a new version of Debian with new features; it’s an update for packages. If you have old CD of Wheezy, don’t throw it away, use it to install and then update the system with up-to-date mirror.

“Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages and most updates from security.debian.org are included in this update,” writes Neil on the mailing list.

However, those who are going for a new installation of Debian can download the latest images which come with these updates so save you hassle of updating your new Debian box. These images will be made available soon.

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Microsoft to push cheaper Windows PCs to compete with Chromebooks

Monday 14th of July 2014 05:42:45 PM

There is an interesting trend going on in the PC market. Android powered smartphones have overtaken the total PC shipment. Which means Microsoft’s operating system is no more the dominating player in the market. We all understand that the post-PC era belongs to mobile devices as average users can do much more on their smartphones they they used to do on their Windows powered PC, sans mobility. But that’s not the only trend Microsoft is worried about, the real threat is somewhere else. Interestingly as Windows powered PC market is declining, sales of Google’s Chromebooks is picking up. Chromebooks are the #1 best sellers on Amazon.com.

One of the unique selling point of Chromebooks over Windows PCs is price. You can get a decent Chromebook for under $150. These are zero maintenance, always up-to-date, virus free devices.

Though Microsoft is still struggling to get a foot hold in the post-PC era, which they lost under ‘big-better’ Steve Ballmer, they really don’t have anything that can offer a new model the way Chromebook offered and attract users.

Microsoft is resorting to the old model, something they tried with netbooks to kill a market which could have belonged to Canonical’s Ubuntu.

Microsoft is resorting to attack Google’s Chromebooks on price point. The Verge reports, “Microsoft is aiming straight for Google’s Chromebooks this holiday season. At the company’s partner conference today, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner revealed that HP is planning to release a $199 laptop running Windows for the holidays.”

Turner said, “We’ve got a great value proposition against Chromebooks, we are not ceding the market to anyone.”

Microsoft has done it before with netbook to stop Canonical’s invasion. But it simply killed the netbook market as vendors flooded the market with under-powered devices which couldn’t do a simple task.

Microsoft’s second attack on a competitor in the PC segment may repeat the same trend of PC vendors offering underpowered devices which will give a pathetic performance. If this trend picked up again, it will only hurt Microsoft as when one buys a Windows PC the user wants to do ‘everything’ possible on any Windows PC, irrespective of whether its running on a quad core system with dedicated GPU or on a netbook.

The moment that experience is ruined Microsoft loses a customer. Google doesn’t have that problem, as unlike Canonical, they have their own hardware which is optimized for Gentoo Linux powered Chrome OS. You will get a consistent experience across Chromebooks. So when you buy a $149 Chromebook, you get to do everything that you can on any other Chromebooks (minus touch-screen).

Google is also working on new chips which will make Chromebooks even cheaper so price is really not the weapon Microsoft can use against Chromebooks.

There are two more factors which stand between Microsoft and a user. Performance and UI. Today it’s all about the web. Web services push the hardware to its limit and online activities can bring low-end Windows PCs to its knees, leaving a bad taste in user’s mouth. Chromebooks, on the contrary, are Internet devices. A user gets first class Internet experience on a $149 Chromebooks when compared with a cheap Windows PC.

Second challenge is the UI. While Windows needs a steep learning curve and a very confusing user interface, Chromebooks offers the interface Windows users are used it. There is no learning curve. From what I see Google has advantage in all three areas.

The post Microsoft to push cheaper Windows PCs to compete with Chromebooks appeared first on The Mukt.

British researchers create new black hole ‘like’ material

Monday 14th of July 2014 12:20:07 PM

How black can a black get? The ‘new black’ of the science world is so dark that it makes it almost impossible for the human eye to see it. British researchers have created a “strange, alien” radiation-absorbing material that absorbs all but 0.035 per cent of light. Setting a new world record, Vantablack is so dark the human eye finds it difficult to determine its shape and dimension.

It is also said to conduct heat seven and half times more effectively than copper, and is ten times stronger than steel.

The super black material is created by Surrey NanoSystems using carbon nanotubes, each 10,000 thinner than a human hair. Vantablack has the highest thermal conductivity and lowest mass-volume of any material that can be used in high-emissivity applications, according to the company.

“You expect to see the hills and all you can see … it’s like black, like a hole, like there’s nothing there. It just looks so strange,” Ben Jensen, the firm’s chief technical officer, told The Independent.

The company has released some pictures of the material which shows that it has been grown on sheets of aluminium foil. Though the foil may look uneven, the surface covered by Vantablack seems to be completely smooth thanks to its light absorbing property.

Jensen added: “Vantablack is a major breakthrough by UK industry in the application of nanotechnology to optical instrumentation. For example, it reduces stray-light, improving the ability of sensitive telescopes to see the faintest stars, and allows the use of smaller, lighter sources in space-borne black body calibration systems. Its ultra-low reflectance improves the sensitivity of terrestrial, space and air-borne instrumentation.”

Developed for use in astronomical cameras, telescopes and infrared scanning systems, Vantablack will be showcased at the Farnborough International Airshow this week.

The post British researchers create new black hole ‘like’ material appeared first on The Mukt.

Android Wear Mini Launcher makes accessing apps from your smartwatch easy

Monday 14th of July 2014 12:17:29 PM

When Google designed its Android Wear, the idea was not to copy the smartphone’s interface onto the mini device. The reason was clear- a tiny screen cannot do justice to the features present in a big screen. However, this made users struggle and they had to follow a cumbersome process to launch apps on the Android wear.

To access apps, users either had to give voice commands, which did not always gave the right results and also took approximately 7 seconds to launch an app or scroll through a long list to get the right app. As always, developers have come to your rescue by bringing an Android app launched on your wrist-wear.

Using Wear Mini Launcher, users simply have to swipe the top right edge of the screen. It displays an app drawer wherein users can see app icons just like they appear on the smartphone.  Users can then scroll up and down as they would on their smartphone or tablet.

If you have an Android smartwatch, it’s time you gave the Wear Mini Launcher a try.

Source: Phandroid

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Chromebooks, Chromeboxes may become even cheaper, thanks to new chips

Monday 14th of July 2014 12:16:17 PM

To the regular consumer, Chromebook may not be a very cheap device but mind you, if you know the right places to shop, you can actually get a Chromebook that’s as cheap as $200. Now news doing rounds suggest that they could get cheaper than that. MediaTek has reportedly added a new experimental entry-level ARM Cortex A7 board to the open source Chromium OS repository. This will be used in place of the Cortex A15/A7 hybrid that is used by Samsung- not to forget the Intel Celeron chips that are used in other Chrome devices. In theory, this will make Chromebooks and Chromeboxes cost even less than $200, but will be offering sluggish speed.

MediaTek has yet not disclosed its intent behind adding the code, but it’s not too tough to guess why the company is interested in supporting the Chrome gear. MediaTek chips are present in almost every basic smartphone that we know in developing countries. Now if the company supports a starter Cortex-A7 processor, it would be present across PCs soon, ensuring PCs to people who do not have a computer at all.

Ever since the news got viral, tech buffs have been ranting about the RAM of the existing Chromebooks and how the speed is not up to the mark. There are others who are speculating if MediaTek will now also be contributing some drivers, which has been a weak area for them so far. Let’s wait and watch…

Source:  GoogleSource / Engadget 

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US accuses Chinese man of stealing military data from Boeing, Lockheed Martin

Monday 14th of July 2014 12:05:42 PM

In its latest effort to put pressure on Chinese computer espionage activities, US authorities have charged a Chinese national living in Canada with hacking into the computer systems of Boeing and other US defense contractors.

Su Bin, the owner of a Chinese aviation technology company, was arrested in Canada last month and is facing extradition. He is accused of working with two anonymous hackers to steal data about military aircraft produced by US defense contractors and then sell the stolen information to China.

The US Department of Justice has charged Su with targeting information about fighter jets, military cargo aircraft and weapons. The complaint said that Su’s company “is in contact with military and commercial entities involved in aerospace technology” in China.

“The trio allegedly stole sensitive information about Boeing’s C-17 military transport plane and two of the Pentagon’s most advanced fighter jets, the F-22 and F-35, built by Lockheed Martin Corp., among other projects,” The Wall Street Journal said in a report.

Though the Justice Department said there was no specifically alleged involvement of the Chinese government in Su’s case, China has been accused of systematically stealing American high-tech data for its national gain.

Pentagon officials are concerned about the U.S. losing its technological superiority in some areas.

“We remain deeply concerned about cyber-enabled theft of sensitive information,” a Justice Department spokesman said. “The conspirators are alleged to have accessed the computer networks of U.S. defense contractors without authorization and stolen data related to military aircraft and weapons systems.”

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Think twice before re-selling your Android device

Sunday 13th of July 2014 12:38:37 AM

If you recently sold your old Android smartphone on eBay or any other online auction site, chances are you have given away rather more than you wanted to. According to a recent investigation by Czech Republic-based security firm Avast, hundreds of naked selfies have been found on factory-wiped Android phones that their owners thought they had wiped.

Researchers said they studied 20 handsets purchased on eBay and found that the “factory reset” button on Android phones does not completely delete data that could be easily retrieved using publicly available forensic security tools.

“The amount of data we were able to retrieve was astonishing and proves that simply deleting is not enough,” Avast said.

The security firm was also able to extract other data from the second-hand phones, which included emails, text messages and Google searches.

In all, researchers found more than 40,000 personal photos, including 750 photos of women posing nude and 250 pictures of male anatomy.

It is worth mentioning here that the “factory reset” options in the settings menu is not enough to actually wipe the data from the storage on the device. Instead, it just erases the index which indicates the location where the material is stored.

And this is what Google had to say on Avast’s recent research. The search giant said that the firm used outdated smartphones. Their research did not “reflect the security protections in Android versions that are used by the vast majority of users,” it added.

If this is any indication, only versions running software before Android 4.0 are open to attack in this way.
Google suggests all users to enable encryption on their handsets before applying a factory reset to completely protect their files.

This feature, already available for three years, is not enabled by default though, which is likely to leave less tech-savvy users vulnerable.

Experts believe the only way to entirely erase data from your device is to “destroy your phone”.

“If you don’t want your data recovered, destroy the phone – and that has been standard security advice, in relation to telephones and computer drives, for a number of years. Any other ‘solution’ simply postpones the point at which someone is able to access your confidential data,” said Alan Calder, founder of cybersecurity and risk management firm IT Governance.

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Android L now available on HTC One

Saturday 12th of July 2014 12:15:38 PM

Ever since Google’s I/O event we have been swamped under with L reports. We previously reported of the leaked L features, the L preview and most recently the L ROM developed for the Nexus 4 by the xda guys. It now seems the clever guys at xda have done it again!

Today xda reported a team of their members have developed another working L ROM, although this time it is for the HTC One. The once popular flagship device is the first non-Nexus device to receive the elusive L as a working ROM. Now this is a very alpha L port and as such WILL be extremely buggy. For instance the developer thread actively declares WiFi, Bluetooth, Data, Camera, Sound and Sensors (except GPS) are not currently working. However as this is a work in progress you can expect updates frequently which will address these issues.

You may wonder what is the point in installer the port when it is in such an Alpha stage! Well, the main purpose of installing this early release is to get a real hands-on feel to how L will look and operate. So if you are adventurous, own a HTC One than you may want to give this one a try. If you don’t like it you can always revert back to whichever ROM you were using before.

Remember…backup!

For the advances users out there the developers very clearly note for them to be able to get this ROM working they had to “heavily” modify the ramdisk and kernel. So DO NOT flash any other kernel on to this port. The ROM will stop booting if you do.

Still interested?

Head over to the developer thread for a full breakdown of what is and what is not working and instructions to download.

Source: xda-developers

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Soon bullets will be able to change direction in mid-air to follow target

Saturday 12th of July 2014 02:23:18 AM

There is only one person in this world who can change the direction of a bullet in mid-air – Rajanikant, the super-star of South Indian film, as big a legend as is Chuck Norris.

Rajni has a competitor now, DARPA has managed to change the direction of bullets after they were fired. The agency’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program conducted the first successful live-fire tests demonstrating in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets.

“EXACTO’s specially designed ammunition and real-time optical guidance system help track and direct projectiles to their targets by compensating for weather, wind, target movement and other factors that could impede successful hits,” says DARPA in a press statement.

DARPA explains:

The system combines a maneuverable bullet and a real-time guidance system to track and deliver the projectile to the target, allowing the bullet to change path during flight to compensate for any unexpected factors that may drive it off course.

Soon these bullets will be more or less like guided missiles and hunt down the target even after they left the barrel of the gun.

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FCC got over 647K comments on net neutrality, will it listen to ‘The People’?

Saturday 12th of July 2014 12:06:26 AM

FCC chief, Tom Wheeler, today tweeted that they have received over 647k net-neutrality comments on the FCC website, as it reaches the July 15 deadline. Reply to these comments are due September 10th. There is an anger in the US against Wheeler’s proposed ‘fast lane plan’ which would destroy the net-neutrality as we know it.

Bodies like EFF are asking FCC to reclassify high-speed Internet services as ‘telecommunication services” under Title II of the Communications Act. This reclassification will give FCC the authority it needs tor regulated the ISP to ensure net neutrality; without this lack of authority, FCC can’t touch ISP.

We’ve received about 647k #netneutrality comments so far. Keep your input coming — 1st round of comments wraps up July 15.

— Tom Wheeler (@TomWheelerFCC) July 11, 2014

While FCC does create a possibility of this reclassification, it is a bit reluctant. Section I.4 clearly says:

At the same time, the Commission will seriously consider the use of Title II of the Communications Act as the basis for legal authority.

We emphasize in this Notice that the Commission recognizes that both section 706 and Title II are viable solutions and seek comment on their potential use.

Senator Chuck Schumer also agreed today that reclassification is the best way to protect the net-neutrality/.

He wrote on his Facebook page:

The Internet in the 21st Century is as important to our future as highways were in the 20th Century. Like a highway, the Internet must remain free and open for all; not determined by the highest bidders. This is vital for jobs, commerce, innovation and a prosperous future for America. The startup industry that has grown to employ hundreds of thousands of people was enabled by an open Internet.

Title II reclassification is the best way to for us to preserve the Internet as an unfettered tool for communication and the sharing of ideas, which is why I am signing onto Senator Edward J. Markey’s letter to FCC Chairman Wheeler. Protecting net neutrality is one of the most important issues before Congress and FCC Chairman Wheeler should listen to those of us who have voiced our strong support of this approach.

Check out our story on how reclassification will give FCC the authority it needs to regulate the Internet.

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First preview of KDE’s Plasma 5 desktop on a production machine

Friday 11th of July 2014 09:08:15 PM

I have been running KDE’s upcoming Plasma 5 on a test system for a while now. Today I gathered some courage to install it on a production machine which I use to files stories on The Mukt, and also as my primary computer. So far everything seems to be working fine.

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