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Nexus Player review: A first step in Android TV

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The Nexus Player is Google's set-top box. Built by Asus and announced alongside the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, the Nexus Player brings Android Lollipop to your TV.

It acts as a bridge, giving Google an avenue to providing content for your TV and leverages a number of familiar technologies and services to do so. For those in the Google ecosystem, it seems like an easy option.

But there's no shortage to challengers in the battle for the big screen. From smart TV platforms (including native Android TV), to cable set-top boxes and other streaming boxes - including the likes of Apple TV - this is a growing market, rich with options.

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LG G4 Review – The hero Android needs

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Life’s not so good when you’re stuck in the shadow of a big rival with deep pockets, but if anything can drag LG into the sunlight, it’s the new G4. LG’s flagship Android smartphone for 2015, the G4 takes what we loved about the G3 before it - and made it into the Android-to-have among those in the know - and hits the boost button. Screen, camera, performance, all have been in line for an upgrade. Nonetheless, the rest of the mobile world hasn’t stood still either, so does the G4 have what it takes to push back against Samsung’s excellent Galaxy S6?

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Debian 8, Codenamed ‘Jessie’, Review

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We can’t possibly express how good Debian 8.0 really is. It is simply fantastic.

It has found the exact balance between being a distribution for advanced Linux users and veterans alike. It is also usable enough for beginners to jump right in and learn something new. So many Linux distributions have tried to get this balance right, many have come close. None that we have tested here in the Labs have got it so accurate. Debian 8.0 simply could not be any more accurate and has struck the balance right on the head.

Debian 8.0 is undoubtedly the fastest and more responsive we have ever used. It is fast to install, boots instantly and is responsive like nothing we have experienced in a Linux distribution, to date. It sets a new benchmark for all other Linux distributions.

What is equally impressive, all our testing was performed in a 64bit virtual environment, yet we still experienced such great performance. On metal, Debian 8.0 is sure to shine even more.

Debian 8.0 is pure and perfect.

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System76 Meerkat: The Perfect Mini PC for Multimedia or Desktop

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Every so often I get the pleasure of writing a review where the biggest challenge is finding something, anything, to nitpick in order to ensure I don’t sound like I’ve been bought off by the company. Such is the case with the Meerkat, by System76. A small device that, at first blush, one might think a toy. I can assure you, this 4.5” by 4.5” device performs with the power of a machine three or four times its size.

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Debian Reviews

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  • Fun with Debian 8.0 "Jessie"

    The Debian project has a long and rich legacy. Debian is one of the oldest surviving GNU/Linux distributions and, along the way, it has also become one of the largest (over 1,000 developers work on Debian, providing users with over 40,000 packages) and Debian has even branched out, adding GNU/FreeBSD and GNU/Hurd ports to its list of offerings. Debian is sometimes referred to as the "universal operating system" because it runs on a wide array of architectures, offering not only a production branch (Stable), but also multiple development branches (Testing, Unstable and Experimental). Debian, in short, provides a little something for everyone. This "universal" approach, which allows Debian to work just about anywhere while doing almost anything, also attracts developers who wish to build products using Debian's packages and open infrastructure. Many of the world's more popular Linux distributions, including Linux Mint and Ubuntu, have their roots in Debian.

  • Systemd hee hee: Jessie Debian gallops (slowly) into view

    The Debian Project may not be that slow with new releases, but sometimes it feels like it. The project typically releases a new version "when it's ready," which seems to work out to about once every two years lately.

    Debian 8, branded Jessie, in keeping with the Toy Story naming scheme (Jessie was the cowgirl character in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3) had its feature freeze in November 2014 and there's a been a beta and RC release available for testing. It wasn't until the end of April when Jessie was finally judged range ready.

Ubuntu 15.04 review: Beauty or “boring” is in the eye of the beholder

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Snow melts and trees blossom, but nothing really says spring around the Ars Orbital HQ like the arrival of a new version of Ubuntu Linux. Right on schedule, Canonical has recently released Ubuntu 15.04, also known as Vivid Vervet.

Ubuntu 15.04 arrived in late April and has, judging by other reviews, largely underwhelmed. According to the popular storyline, there's not much new in 15.04. Of course, a slew of changes and unforeseen features in 15.04 could have just as easily earned a negative reaction, probably from the same people calling the actual release boring. The top of the Linux mountain is a lonely, criticism-strewn place.

The truth is, this line of thought is partially correct. There isn't much new in 15.04, at least not in terms of visible changes to the Unity desktop.

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Chromixium – An Ubuntu Based Google’s Chrome OS Clone

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Today, We have come up with an interesting news for both Ubuntu and Chrome OS users. Meet Chromixium – the new modern desktop operating system based on Ubuntu that has the functionality, look and feel of Google’s “Chrome OS”. Chromixium has brought the elegant simplicity of Chromebook and flexibility and stability of Ubuntu together. Chromixium puts the web front and center of the user experience. Web and Chrome apps work straight out of the browser to connect you to all your personal, work and education networks. Sign into Chromium to sync all your apps and bookmarks. When you are offline or when you need more power, you can install any number of applications for work or play, including LibreOffice, Skype, Steam and a whole lot more. Security updates are installed seamlessly and effortlessly in the background and will be supplied until 2019. You can install Chromixium in place of any existing operating system, or alongside Windows or Linux.

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BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition review: A promising start

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The first 'production' smartphone running the Ubuntu operating system is finally here. Designed and marketed by the Spanish company BQ (not to be confused with the Chinese company BQ Mobile) and made in China, the first Ubuntu Phone is based on the 4.5-inch BQ Aquaris E4.5, which normally ships with Android 4.4. Included with the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition are two copies of the quick-start guide (in four languages each, one of the eight being English), a charger (with a built-in two-pin continental mains plug) and a 1-metre USB-to-Micro-USB cable. A comprehensive User Manual is available for download from the BQ website. The list price for the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, which is only available in the EU, is €169.90 (~£125).

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Also: Ubuntu and Windows set to contest desktop/smartphone hybrid market

Ubuntu phone that works as a desktop PC coming in 2015

Google's New 'Password Alert' Extension Another Step To Protect Against Phishing Attempts

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Google's New 'Password Alert' Extension Another Step To Protect Against Phishing Attempts

Google has taken another step toward protecting users from fishing attempts by releasing a new Google Chrome extension 'Password Alert'. The extension protects users from being gmail account overused with other non-google websites. As soon as it detects that the password has been exposed to any non-google website/service, it prompts to reset password immediately. 

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Linux 4.8.4

I'm announcing the release of the 4.8.4 kernel. And yeah, sorry about the quicker releases, I'll be away tomorrow and as they seem to have passed all of the normal testing, I figured it would be better to get them out earlier instead of later. And I like releasing stuff on this date every year... All users of the 4.8 kernel series must upgrade. The updated 4.8.y git tree can be found at: git:// linux-4.8.y and can be browsed at the normal git web browser: Read more Also: Linux 4.7.10 Linux 4.4.27

New Releases: Budgie, Solus, SalentOS, and Slackel

  • Open-Source Budgie Desktop Sees New Release
    The pet parakeet of the Linux world, Budgie has a new release available for download. in this post we lookout what's new and tell you how you can get it.
  • Solus Linux Making Performance Gains With Its BLAS Configuration
    - Those making use of the promising Solus Linux distribution will soon find their BLAS-based workloads are faster. Solus developer Peter O'Connor tweeted this week that he's found some issues with the BLAS linking on the distribution and he's made fixes for Solus. He also mentioned that he uncovered these BLAS issues by using our Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.
  • SalentOS “Luppìu” 1.0 released!
    With great pleasure the team announces the release of SalentOS “Luppìu” 1.0.
  • Slackel "Live kde" 4.14.21
    This release is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures, while the 64-bit iso supports booting on UEFI systems. The 64-bit iso images support booting on UEFI systems. The 32-bit iso images support both i686 PAE SMP and i486, non-PAE capable systems. Iso images are isohybrid.

Security News

  • Free tool protects PCs from master boot record attacks [Ed: UEFI has repeatedly been found to be both a detriment to security and enabler of Microsoft lock-in]
    Cisco's Talos team has developed an open-source tool that can protect the master boot record of Windows computers from modification by ransomware and other malicious attacks. The tool, called MBRFilter, functions as a signed system driver and puts the disk's sector 0 into a read-only state. It is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows versions and its source code has been published on GitHub. The master boot record (MBR) consists of executable code that's stored in the first sector (sector 0) of a hard disk drive and launches the operating system's boot loader. The MBR also contains information about the disk's partitions and their file systems. Since the MBR code is executed before the OS itself, it can be abused by malware programs to increase their persistence and gain a head start before antivirus programs. Malware programs that infect the MBR to hide from antivirus programs have historically been known as bootkits -- boot-level rootkits. Microsoft attempted to solve the bootkit problem by implementing cryptographic verification of the bootloader in Windows 8 and later. This feature is known as Secure Boot and is based on the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) -- the modern BIOS.
  • DDOS Attack On Internet Infrastructure
    I hope somebody's paying attention. There's been another big DDOS attack, this time against the infrastructure of the Internet. It began at 7:10 a.m. EDT today against Dyn, a major DNS host, and was brought under control at 9:36 a.m. According to Gizmodo, which was the first to report the story, at least 40 sites were made unreachable to users on the US East Coast. Many of the sites affected are among the most trafficed on the web, and included CNN, Twitter, PayPal, Pinterest and Reddit to name a few. The developer community was also touched, as GitHub was also made unreachable. This event comes on the heels of a record breaking 620 Gbps DDOS attack about a month ago that brought down security expert Brian Krebs' website, KrebsonSecurity. In that attack, Krebs determined the attack had been launched by botnets that primarily utilized compromised IoT devices, and was seen by some as ushering in a new era of Internet security woes.
  • This Is Why Half the Internet Shut Down Today [Update: It’s Getting Worse]
    Twitter, Spotify and Reddit, and a huge swath of other websites were down or screwed up this morning. This was happening as hackers unleashed a large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the servers of Dyn, a major DNS host. It’s probably safe to assume that the two situations are related.
  • Major DNS provider Dyn hit with DDoS attack
    Attacks against DNS provider Dyn continued into Friday afternoon. Shortly before noon, the company said it began "monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack" against its Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure. The attack may also have impacted Managed DNS advanced service "with possible delays in monitoring."
  • What We Know About Friday’s Massive East Coast Internet Outage
    Friday morning is prime time for some casual news reading, tweeting, and general Internet browsing, but you may have had some trouble accessing your usual sites and services this morning and throughout the day, from Spotify and Reddit to the New York Times and even good ol’ For that, you can thank a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) that took down a big chunk of the Internet for most of the Eastern seaboard. This morning’s attack started around 7 am ET and was aimed at Dyn, an Internet infrastructure company headquartered in New Hampshire. That first bout was resolved after about two hours; a second attack began just before noon. Dyn reported a third wave of attacks a little after 4 pm ET. In all cases, traffic to Dyn’s Internet directory servers throughout the US—primarily on the East Coast but later on the opposite end of the country as well—was stopped by a flood of malicious requests from tens of millions of IP addresses disrupting the system. Late in the day, Dyn described the events as a “very sophisticated and complex attack.” Still ongoing, the situation is a definite reminder of the fragility of the web, and the power of the forces that aim to disrupt it.
  • Either IoT will be secure or the internet will be crippled forever
    First things first a disclaimer. I neither like nor trust the National Security Agency (NSA). I believe them to be mainly engaged in economic spying for the corporate American empire. Glenn Greenwald has clearly proven that in his book No Place to Hide. At the NSA, profit and power come first and I have no fucking clue as to how high they prioritize national security. Having said that, the NSA should hack the Internet of (insecure) Things (IoT) to death. I know Homeland Security and the FBI are investigating where the DDoS of doomsday proportions is coming from and the commentariat is already screaming RUSSIA! But it is really no secret what is enabling this clusterfuck. It’s the Mirai botnet. If you buy a “smart camera” from the Chinese company Hangzhou XiongMai Technologies and do not change the default password, it will be part of a botnet five minutes after you connect it to the internet. We were promised a future where we would have flying cars but we’re living in a future where camera’s, light-bulbs, doorbells and fridges can get you in serious trouble because your home appliances are breaking the law.
  • IoT at the Network Edge
    Fog computing, also known as fog networking, is a decentralized computing infrastructure. Computing resources and application services are distributed in logical, efficient places at any points along the connection from the data source (endpoint) to the cloud. The concept is to process data locally and then use the network for communicating with other resources for further processing and analysis. Data could be sent to a data center or a cloud service. A worthwhile reference published by Cisco is the white paper, "Fog Computing and the Internet of Things: Extend the Cloud to Where the Things Are."
  • Canonical now offers live kernel patching for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS users
    Canonical has announced its ‘Livepatch Service’ which any user can enable on their current installations to eliminate the need for rebooting their machine after installing an update for the Linux kernel. With the release of Linux 4.0, users have been able to update their kernel packages without rebooting, however, Ubuntu will be the first distribution to offer this feature for free.
  • ​The Dirty Cow Linux bug: A silly name for a serious problem
    Dirty Cow is a silly name, but it's a serious Linux kernel problem. According to the Red Hat bug report, "a race condition was found in the way the Linux kernel's memory subsystem handled the copy-on-write (COW) breakage of private read-only memory mappings. An unprivileged local user could use this flaw to gain write access to otherwise read-only memory mappings and thus increase their privileges on the system."
  • Ancient Privilege Escalation Bug Haunts Linux
  • October 21, 2016 Is Dirty COW a serious concern for Linux?
  • There is a Dirty Cow in Linux
  • Red Hat Discovers Dirty COW Archaic Linux Kernel Flaw Exploited In The Wild
  • Linux kernel bug being exploited in the wild
  • Update Linux now: Critical privilege escalation security flaw gives hackers full root access
  • Linux kernel bug: DirtyCOW “easyroot” hole and what you need to know
  • 'Most serious' Linux privilege-escalation bug ever discovered
  • New 'Dirty Cow' vulnerability threatens Linux systems
  • Serious Dirty Cow Linux Vulnerability Under Attack
  • Easy-to-exploit rooting flaw puts Linux PCs at risk
  • Linux just patched a vulnerability it's had for 9 years
  • Dirty COW Linux vulnerability has existed for nine years
  • 'Dirty Cow' Linux Vulnerability Found
  • 'Dirty Cow' Linux Vulnerability Found After Nine Years
  • FakeFile Trojan Opens Backdoors on Linux Computers, Except openSUSE
    Malware authors are taking aim at Linux computers, more precisely desktops and not servers, with a new trojan named FakeFile, currently distributed in live attacks. Russian antivirus vendor Dr.Web discovered this new trojan in October. The company's malware analysts say the trojan is spread in the form of an archived PDF, Microsoft Office, or OpenOffice file.

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