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Proprietary Software: Deaths, Rentals and Back Doors

Filed under
Software
  • Join us on our new journey, says Wunderlist – as it vanishes down the Microsoft plughole

    Three months after its former CEO pleaded with Microsoft to sell him back Wunderlist, the software giant has confirmed the worst: it really is killing the popular to-do app.

    On May 6, 2020, Microsoft will pull the plug on the app that it paid somewhere between $100m and $200m for in 2015. In its place, it is encouraging everyone to move to its To Do app, which is tightly integrated into the Microsoft ecosystem and, as a result, probably doesn’t work well with anything that isn’t Microsoft.

    Even after years of neglect, Wunderlist remains a very popular application for to-do tasks, in large part because it does that singular task extremely well, syncing across devices and allowing users to quickly and easily attach dates to tasks, as well as arrange them in different folders.

  • [Old] The economics of streaming is changing pop songs

    It helps to be included on a streaming company’s playlist. These account for roughly a third of all streams. Tracks are selected by opaque algorithms, but by analysing performance data you can work out what the bots like, says Chiara Belolo of Scorpio Music, a boutique label. Composers are adapting to what they think is being looked for. Hit songs are shorter. Intros have become truncated, says Mr Kalifowitz, “to get to the point a bit faster”.

    Choruses are starting sooner (see chart). Take this year’s most-streamed Spotify track. The first notes on “Señorita”, by Shawn Mendes, preview the refrain, which arrives 15 seconds in and is a fixture throughout the playing time of 3:10.

  • Apple, Facebook Clash With Senators Over Encryption, Backdoors

    In a Senate hearing on Tuesday, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pushed the companies to let the police and other authorities access personal data that lies behind encryption on devices and technology platforms. Senators threatened to legislate if the private sector doesn’t offer solutions on its own.

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee Wants Everyone to Know It’s Concerned About Encryption

    This morning the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on encryption and “lawful access.” That’s the fanciful idea that encryption providers can somehow allow law enforcement access to users’ encrypted data while otherwise preventing the “bad guys” from accessing this very same data.

    But the hearing was not inspired by some new engineering breakthrough that might make it possible for Apple or Facebook to build a secure law enforcement backdoor into their encrypted devices and messaging applications. Instead, it followed speeches, open letters, and other public pressure by law enforcement officials in the U.S. and elsewhere to prevent Facebook from encrypting its messaging applications, and more generally to portray encryption as a tool used in serious crimes, including child exploitation. Facebook has signaled it won’t bow to that pressure. And more than 100 organizations including EFF have called on these law enforcement officials to reverse course and avoid gutting one of the most powerful privacy and security tools available to users in an increasingly insecure world. 

Clementine | A New Music Player in Debian 10

Filed under
Software
Reviews

Clementine has improved the interface by putting all the main features, from accessing the local library to streaming services, on a sidebar on the left. This sidebar has several options, although the most legible, the plain toolbar, is not the default. Still, no matter what the appearance, Clementine’s sidebar goes one better than Amarok by adding a file manager to the tool collection. However, one change that is not an improvement is the song info tool. To get lyrics and other information, users must click on a link and go to their web browser. There, instead of offering and displaying a best guess, like Amarok does, Clementine offers a range of possibilities, which are often so lengthy a list that, by the time you find the right entry, the track could easily have finished. Admittedly, Amarok’s best guess could occasionally be hilariously wrong, but it was quicker and displayed results in Amarok’s own window.

Another interface quirk that Clementine does not improve upon is Amarok’s insistence that, unless File | Quit is selected, it minimizes to the notification bar. I have always wondered: Why isn't shutting down the window (no matter how you close the window) the default behavior and minimizing a deliberate choice? I also don't see much reason for the mood bar, whose colors supposedly change to reflect the nature of the current song. Fortunately, though, the mood bar can be turned off in Tools | Preferences | Appearance.

Still, although some of the tools are less than optional, on the whole, Clementine preserves Amarok’s tradition of attempting to digitally reproduce the experience of a physical album -- an effort that few other music players do as well, or at all. I especially like Clementine’s tabbed playlists, which mean that selections can be queued up like a stack of LPs or CDs, with only a click required to change them.

Read more

Also: The best free music production software

Daniel Stenberg: Mr Robot curl

Filed under
Software
Movies

Vasilis Lourdas reported that he did a “curl sighting” in the show and very well I took a closer peek and what do we see some 37 minutes 36 seconds into episode 8 season 4…

(I haven’t followed the show since at some point in season two so I cannot speak for what actually has happened in the plot up to this point. I’m only looking at and talking about what’s on the screenshots here.)

Elliot writes Python. In this Python program, we can see two curl invokes, both unfortunately a blurry on the right side so it’s hard to see them exactly (the blur is really there in the source and I couldn’t see/catch a single frame without it). Fortunately, I think we get some additional clues later on in episode 10, see below.

He invokes curl with -i to see the response header coming back but then he makes some questionable choices. The -k option is the short version of --insecure. It truly makes a HTTPS connection insecure since it completely switches off the CA cert verification. We all know no serious hacker would do that in a real world use.

Perhaps the biggest problem for me is however the following -X POST. In itself it doesn’t have to be bad, but when taking the second shot from episode 10 into account we see that he really does combine this with the use of -d and thus the -X is totally superfluous or perhaps even wrong. The show technician who wrote this copied a bad example…

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Kubernetes 1.17

Filed under
Server
Google
Software
  • Kubernetes 1.17: Stability

    We’re pleased to announce the delivery of Kubernetes 1.17, our fourth and final release of 2019! Kubernetes v1.17 consists of 22 enhancements: 14 enhancements have graduated to stable, 4 enhancements are moving to beta, and 4 enhancements are entering alpha.

  • Kubernetes 1.17 Feature: Kubernetes Volume Snapshot Moves to Beta

    The Kubernetes Volume Snapshot feature is now beta in Kubernetes v1.17. It was introduced as alpha in Kubernetes v1.12, with a second alpha with breaking changes in Kubernetes v1.13. This post summarizes the changes in the beta release.

  • Kubernetes 1.17 Feature: Kubernetes In-Tree to CSI Volume Migration Moves to Beta

    The Kubernetes in-tree storage plugin to Container Storage Interface (CSI) migration infrastructure is now beta in Kubernetes v1.17. CSI migration was introduced as alpha in Kubernetes v1.14.

    Kubernetes features are generally introduced as alpha and moved to beta (and eventually to stable/GA) over subsequent Kubernetes releases. This process allows Kubernetes developers to get feedback, discover and fix issues, iterate on the designs, and deliver high quality, production grade features.

NVDA 2019.3beta1 now available for testing

Filed under
Software
Moz/FF

Beta1 of NVDA 2019.3 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what NVDA 2019.3 has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

NVDA 2019.3 is a very significant release as there are a great deal of under-the-hood changes which improve security and allow for some pretty cool innovations in the future. The most significant changes are the upgrade of Python 2 to Python 3, and a major re-write of NVDA’s speech subsystem.

As these changes require add-ons and custom synthesizer drivers to be re-written, we plan to make the 2019.3 beta cycle much longer than normal, so that we can ensure that add-on developers have plenty of time to upgrade and test their add-ons with NVDA 2019.3 betas before 2019.3 stable is officially released. the current plan is to release several more betas over this month, and hopefully make the official release very early in the new year.

Read more

Also: NVDA 2019.3 Beta 1 is available

Software: Deb-pacman, Kiwi TCMS and Curl

Filed under
Software
  • Deb-pacman : A Pacman-style Frontend For APT Package Manager

    Apt, Advanced Packaging Tool, is a powerful command line tool used to install, update, upgrade and remove packages in Debian and its derivatives like Ubuntu. There are several frontends available for Apt, such as Aptitude, Synaptic and Ubuntu software center to name a few. Today I am going to introduce yet another frontend for APT package manager called Deb-pacman.

    Deb-pacman is a Bash script that emulates the functionality of Pacman (the package manager for Arch Linux and its variants). Using Deb-pacman, you can use the pacman commands, as the way you use them under Arch Linux to install, update, upgrade and remove packages, in a Debian-based system. You can simply invoke “pacman” instead of “apt” command in your Ubuntu system. Deb-pacman simply emulates the Archlinux’s Pacman package manager feel for Debian users who may prefer the style of Pacman over Apt. This can be helpful for those who get used to pacman.

    As you know already Apt itself was originally designed as a front-end for dpkg, which was developed by Ian Murdock (founder of Debian project) for Debian OS to install, remove and provide information about .deb packages. So technically speaking Deb-pacman is a front end for APT which is a frontend for Dpkg. In other words, it is just a wrapper.

  • Kiwi TCMS 7.2

    We're happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 7.2! This is an improvement & bug fix release which includes new database migrations and API methods, internal refactoring and updated translations. You can explore everything at https://public.tenant.kiwitcms.org!

  • Daniel Stenberg: This is your wake up curl

    One of the core functionalities in libcurl is the ability to do multiple parallel transfers in the same thread. You then create and add a number of transfers to a multi handle. Anyway, I won’t explain the entire API here but the gist of where I’m going with this is that you’ll most likely sooner or later end up calling the curl_multi_poll() function which asks libcurl to wait for activity on any of the involved transfers – or sleep and don’t return for the next N milliseconds.

    Calling this waiting function (or using the older curl_multi_wait() or even doing a select() or poll() call “manually”) is crucial for a well-behaving program. It is important to let the code go to sleep like this when there’s nothing to do and have the system wake up it up again when it needs to do work. Failing to do this correctly, risk having libcurl instead busy-loop somewhere and that can make your application use 100% CPU during periods. That’s terribly unnecessary and bad for multiple reasons.

Matroska (MKV) Creation Software Suite MKVToolNix Sees New 41.0.0 Release

Filed under
Software

MKVToolNix, a free and open source set of tools for creating, editing and inspecting Matroska (MKV, MK3D, MKA, and MKS) files, has seen a new release which brings support for reading Opus audio and VP9 video from MP4 files for mkvmerge, improvements for predefined track names, and more.

MKVToolNix is made of 4 command line tools: mkvmerge (create Matroska files from other media files), mkvinfo (show Matroska file information), mkvextract (extracts tracks / data from Matroska files), and mkvpropedit (change the properties of existing Matroska files without a complete remux), as well as MKVToolNix GUI (a Qt GUI for mkvmerge, mkvinfo and mkvpropedit). The tools are available on Linux, *BSD, Windows and macOS.

With the latest MKVToolNix 41.0.0, Vorbis, Opus and VP8 stream comments (Vorbis comments) are converted to Matroska attachments for cover art, and Matroska track tags for other comments. This has been implemented for both the Matroska and Ogg readers.

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App Highlight: Open Source Video Transcoder Handbrake

Filed under
Software

HandBrake is a quite useful tool which helps you to convert a video from one format to some of the widely supported codecs (.mp4/.m4v/.mkv/.webm)

It can support any video format and help you convert it. In addition to that, you have several features on board to customize the video attributes while converting.

If you are looking for a Format Factory alternative, this is your best bet.

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gorss – simple RSS/Atom reader written in Golang

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Software

A news aggregator is software which collect news, weblog posts, and other information from the web so that they can be read in a single location for easy viewing. With the range of news sources available on the internet, news aggregators play an essential role in helping users to quickly locate breaking news.

There are a number of different file formats which information publishers use. Popular formats are RSS and Atom. RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication. It’s a defined standard based on XML with the specific purpose of delivering updates to web-based content. In other words, RSS is a Web content syndication format.

For individuals that read lots of weblogs, a news aggregator makes keeping track of them effortless, and particularly useful if the weblogs are only updated occasionally. If you follow specific writers, publications and channels, an RSS reader app helps you see all new content that interests you in a central source.

Our roundup of RSS readers recommends FeedReader, Liferea, and Akregator. And there’s other alternatives available. One RSS reader we’ve not previously covered is gorss. It’s first release was only a few months ago.

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Some Free Sticky Notes Applications For Ubuntu Linux!

Filed under
Software

Sticky notes application is one application that looks trivial but is very useful. This application is usually used to note something. We can choose several Sticky Notes applications below to be used on Ubuntu and other linux distributions!.

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More in Tux Machines

10 Reasons to Use Linux Mint in 2019

In the past, we have published articles listing the reasons to use a handful of Linux distros such as 10 Reasons to Use Arch Linux, 10 Reasons to Use Manjaro Linux, The 10 Best Reasons to Use Fedora Linux and today, we have a shift in our focus as this time around, our subject matter is Linux Mint. Linux Mint is a community-driven Linux distribution with a major focus on making open-source goodies freely available and easily accessible in a modern, elegant, powerful, and convenient operating system. It is developed based on Ubuntu, uses dpkg package manager, and is available for x86-64 and arm64 architectures. Linux Mint has been hailed by many as the better operating system to use when compared to its parent distro and has also managed to maintain its position on distrowatch as the OS with the 3rd most popular hits in the past 1 year. Read more

Proprietary Software: Deaths, Rentals and Back Doors

  • Join us on our new journey, says Wunderlist – as it vanishes down the Microsoft plughole

    Three months after its former CEO pleaded with Microsoft to sell him back Wunderlist, the software giant has confirmed the worst: it really is killing the popular to-do app. On May 6, 2020, Microsoft will pull the plug on the app that it paid somewhere between $100m and $200m for in 2015. In its place, it is encouraging everyone to move to its To Do app, which is tightly integrated into the Microsoft ecosystem and, as a result, probably doesn’t work well with anything that isn’t Microsoft. Even after years of neglect, Wunderlist remains a very popular application for to-do tasks, in large part because it does that singular task extremely well, syncing across devices and allowing users to quickly and easily attach dates to tasks, as well as arrange them in different folders.

  • [Old] The economics of streaming is changing pop songs

    It helps to be included on a streaming company’s playlist. These account for roughly a third of all streams. Tracks are selected by opaque algorithms, but by analysing performance data you can work out what the bots like, says Chiara Belolo of Scorpio Music, a boutique label. Composers are adapting to what they think is being looked for. Hit songs are shorter. Intros have become truncated, says Mr Kalifowitz, “to get to the point a bit faster”.

    Choruses are starting sooner (see chart). Take this year’s most-streamed Spotify track. The first notes on “Señorita”, by Shawn Mendes, preview the refrain, which arrives 15 seconds in and is a fixture throughout the playing time of 3:10.

  • Apple, Facebook Clash With Senators Over Encryption, Backdoors

    In a Senate hearing on Tuesday, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pushed the companies to let the police and other authorities access personal data that lies behind encryption on devices and technology platforms. Senators threatened to legislate if the private sector doesn’t offer solutions on its own.

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee Wants Everyone to Know It’s Concerned About Encryption

    This morning the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on encryption and “lawful access.” That’s the fanciful idea that encryption providers can somehow allow law enforcement access to users’ encrypted data while otherwise preventing the “bad guys” from accessing this very same data.

    But the hearing was not inspired by some new engineering breakthrough that might make it possible for Apple or Facebook to build a secure law enforcement backdoor into their encrypted devices and messaging applications. Instead, it followed speeches, open letters, and other public pressure by law enforcement officials in the U.S. and elsewhere to prevent Facebook from encrypting its messaging applications, and more generally to portray encryption as a tool used in serious crimes, including child exploitation. Facebook has signaled it won’t bow to that pressure. And more than 100 organizations including EFF have called on these law enforcement officials to reverse course and avoid gutting one of the most powerful privacy and security tools available to users in an increasingly insecure world. 

today's leftovers

  • Linux users identify with their OS more often than Mac, Windows users

    We've all heard anecdotes or stereotypes of "die hard Mac users", or "Linux zealots." Stories of people who strongly identify with the computers they use (aka "I am a Mac user"). But how often do people really identify with the Operating System they use the most on their computer? I recently conducted a survey as part of study on how Operating Systems impact our happiness. Responses were submitted from 2,259 computer users -- using a broad range of Operating Systems -- primarily from "pro user" communities (not a random cross-section of the populace). [...] The results for Android users were surprisingly similar to iOS users. Android users more often identified with their mobile platform (55.7%) than iOS users with theirs (54%). Based on the sample size, it seems entirely possible that the margin of error here would put the two platforms as nearly identical in these terms.

  • RipMe – Bulk image downloader for Linux

    There are instances when you need to download quite a bulk of pictures at once. Be it for project work, or photos of something that you love. In any case, downloading many photos one by one is great pain, and extremely time-consuming. Another option could be to download an already compiled album, but honestly, there are not a whole lot of albums available to download on every occasion. Any easy solution? We have a solution to offer here: a bulk image downloader, RipMe.

  • ObjectBox, database for IoT devices, adopts snaps for simplicity and ease of installation

    When designers put their heart and soul into making super-fast, easy-to-use software to help take Internet of Things (IoT) apps to the next level, installation of that software needs to meet the same high standards. ObjectBox is a database and synchronisation solution for rapid, efficient edge computing for mobile and IoT devices. Rather than each device sending all its data back to a cloud/server, ObjectBox enables data storage and processing within the device. Developers get simplicity and ease of implementation with native language APIs instead of SQL. Users can use data on edge devices faster with fewer resources. Markus Junginger, CTO and co-founder of ObjectBox explains, “Moving decision making to the edge means faster response rates, less traffic to the cloud, and lower costs. We built an edge database with a minimal device footprint of just 1 MB for high on-device performance.” ObjectBox also synchronises data between devices and servers/the cloud for an ‘always-on’ feeling and improved data reliability. With ObjectBox, an application always works – whether the device is online or offline.

Servers: SysAdmins, Public 'Clouds' and Cautionary Tales

  • Do I need a college degree to be a sysadmin?

    If we could answer that question with a simple "yes" or "no," this would not be much of a story. Reality is a little more nuanced, though. An accurate answer begins with one of "Yes, but…" or "No, but…"—and the answer depends on who you ask, among other important variables, including industry, company size, and so forth. On the "yes" front, IT job descriptions don’t typically buck the "degree required" assumption, sysadmin roles included. This fact is perhaps especially true in the corporate business world across a wide range of sectors, and it isn’t limited to large companies, either. Consider a recent opening posted on the jobs site Indeed.com for an IT system administrator position at Crest Foods, a 650-person food manufacturing company in Ashton, Ill. The description includes plenty of familiar requirements for a sysadmin. The first bullet point under "Desired Education & Experience" reads: "Bachelor’s degree in computer science, networking, IT, or relevant field." "Generally, systems administrators will have [degrees] from four-year universities," says Jim Johnson, district president at the recruiting firm Robert Half Technology. While some employers don’t specify a particular degree field, Johnson notes the bachelor’s in computer information systems (CIS) as a good fit for the sysadmin field and overlapping IT roles. That said, Johnson also points out that there are other options out there for people that don’t pursue a traditional degree path. That’s especially true given the growth of online education and training, as well as in-person opportunities such as technical schools. "There are [sysadmins] with computer systems professional or computer operator certificates from technical or online schools," Johnson says. Moreover, a potential employer’s "desired" educational background can be just that: An ideal scenario, but not a dealbreaker. This fact can be true even if a degree is listed as "required," perhaps especially in markets with a tight supply of qualified candidates. If you’ve got the technical chops, a degree might become much more optional than a job description might lead you to believe.

  • Resource scarcity in Public Clouds

    In addition to this, there are some “special” moments, such as Thanksgiving and the nearby days that, by now, have become a widespread event even beyond the countries where they used to be celebrated. Probably, in the data-centers in areas where those festivities are celebrated (or at least where the capitalistic part of the celebration is celebrated), the load reaches the annual peak, due to the e-commerce websites. To make the situation even worst, many Cloud customers are rewriting and improving their applications, making them more cloud-native. Now, you’ll wonder how cloud-native applications can make things worse? The reason is very simple: the cloud-native applications scale. This means that during the off-peak season the applications will drastically reduce their footprint, creating the false feeling of resource abundancy. This situation creates some problems, in my opinion. First of all, since it’s very hard for the Public Cloud provider to estimate the load - and in the future, it will be even harder - we will have to live with frequent resource exhaustion in public clouds, which will make a single-cloud single-region application fragile. This will be true, not even considering the economic aspect of the problem. There will be situations where it will not be economically convenient for the Cloud Provider to provision enough resources to manage the peaks since the additional provisioning cost would not be repaid during the short periods those resources will be used.

  • Notice: Linode Classic Manager Users

    Our legacy Linode Manager will be decommissioned on January 31, 2020. After that time, you will be automatically redirected to the Cloud Manager when logging in to manage your infrastructure on Linode.