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Books

Book Review: Drush For Developers, 2nd Edition 28

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Michael Ross writes As with any content management system, building a website using Drupal typically requires extensive use of its administrative interface, as one navigates through its menus, fills out its forms, and reads the admin pages and notifications — or barely skims them, as they have likely been seen by the site builder countless times before. With the aim of avoiding this tedium, speeding up the process, and making it more programmatic, members of the Drupal community created a "shell" program, Drush, which allows one to perform most of these tasks on the command line. At this time, there is only one current print book that covers this tool, Drush for Developers, Second Edition, which is ostensibly an update of its predecessor, Drush User's Guide. Read below for the rest of Michael's review.
Chrome

Chrome OS Receives Extreme Makeover With Material Design and Google Now 109

Posted by samzenpus
from the latest-and-greatest dept.
MojoKid writes Late last week, Google quietly began inviting people to opt into the beta channel for ChromeOS to help the company "shape the future" of the OS. Some betas can be riskier than others, but Google says that opting into this one is just a "little risk", one that will pay off handsomely for those who crave new features. New in this version is Chrome Launcher 2.0, which gives you quick access to a number of common features, including the apps you use most often (examples are Hangouts, Calculator, and Files). Some apps have also received a fresh coat of paint, such as the file manager. Google notes that this is just the start, so there will be more updates rolling out to the beta OS as time goes on. Other key features available in this beta include the ability to extract pass protected Zip archives, as well as a perk for travelers. ChromeOS will now automatically detect your new timezone, and then update the time and date accordingly.
Earth

Ordnance Survey Releases Mapping Tools 18

Posted by samzenpus
from the map-it dept.
rHBa writes The BBC reports that the UK mapping organization Ordnance Survey has added 4 new products to its open data portfolio: OS Local, Names, Rivers and Roads. Perhaps the most interesting of the free data sets is OS Local which provides a base map to identify "hotspots" such as property pricing, insurance risk, and crime. The OS are not creating a new Google Maps-style service of their own but rather are providing their data for use by other third-party apps and online tools. They expect developers and designers to use the data to enhance their own products and improve the information people can access via the web.
Software

MuseScore 2.0 Released 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
rDouglass writes: MuseScore, the open source desktop application for music notation, has released version 2.0 for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. This release represents the culmination of four years of development, including technical contributions from over 400 people. In addition to a completely new UI, top features include linked parts (good for pieces with many instruments), guitar tablature, flexible chord symbols, and fret diagrams. The program integrates directly with the MuseScore.com online library of scores, and music written with the application can be displayed and played using the MuseScore mobile app.
Books

Modern PHP: New Features and Good Practices 179

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Michael Ross writes In recent years, JavaScript has enjoyed a dramatic renaissance as it has been transformed from a browser scripting tool primarily used for special effects and form validation on web pages, to a substantial client-side programming language. Similarly, on the server side, after years as the target of criticism, the PHP computer programming language is seeing a revival, partly due to the addition of new capabilities, such as namespaces, traits, generators, closures, and components, among other improvements. PHP enthusiasts and detractors alike can learn more about these changes from the book Modern PHP: New Features and Good Practices, authored by Josh Lockhart. Keep reading for the rest of Michael's review.
Businesses

Magic Leap's AR Demo Video 40

Posted by samzenpus
from the worth-a-thousand-words dept.
First time accepted submitter iMadeGhostzilla writes TechCrunch reports: "Magic Leap is showing what it might look like to use its hardware for augmented reality gaming in the future, with a new demo of what the team is apparently 'playing in the office' right now. The brief video shows examples of interacting with YouTube and Gmail apps, along with browsing a menu system for OS-level interaction. The person in the video from whose perspective it's apparently shot then selects a shooter game, tests out a weapon after choosing from a variety of options, does some tower-defense style stuff by placing a current and fights some visually impressive but fairly generic baddies. [...] The video was posted with an apology for Magic Leap's absence at TED." Commenters on reddit and elsewhere believe the video is fake. Magic Leap recently came into the spotlight with its recent $540M backing by Google and others.
The Almighty Buck

DuckDuckGo Donates $100,000 Among Four FOSS Projects 36

Posted by samzenpus
from the have-a-little-cash dept.
jones_supa writes As is the search engine company's annual habit, DuckDuckGo has chosen to advance four open source projects by donating to them. The primary focus this year was to support FOSS projects that bring privacy tools to anyone who needs them. $25,000 goes to The Freedom of the Press Foundation to support SecureDrop, which is a whistleblower submission used to securely accept documents from anonymous sources. The Electronic Frontier Foundation was given $25,000 to support PrivacyBadger, which is a browser add-on that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking your surfing habits. Another $25,000 arrives at GPGTools to support GPG Suite, which is a software package for OS X that encrypts files or messages. Finally, $25,000 was donated to Riseup to support Tails, which is a live operating system that aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity.
OS X

For Boot Camp Users, New Macs Require Windows 8 Or Newer 209

Posted by timothy
from the you-can't-quite-you're-fired dept.
For anyone using Windows 7 by way of Apple's Boot Camp utility, beware: support for Windows via Boot Camp remains, but for the newest Apple laptops, it's only for Windows 8 for now. From Slashgear: This applies to the 2015 MacBook Air, and the 13-inch model of the 2015 MacBook Pro. Windows 8 will remain compatible, as will the forthcoming Windows 10. The 2013 Mac Pro also dropped Boot Camp support for Windows 7, while 2014 iMacs are still compatible, along with 2014 MacBook Airs and 2014 MacBook Pros. For those who still prefer to run Windows 7 on their Macs, there are other options. This change to Boot Camp will not affect using the Microsoft operating system through virtualization software, such as Parallels and VMware Fusion. Also at PC Mag.
Bug

OS X Users: 13 Characters of Assyrian Can Crash Your Chrome Tab 119

Posted by timothy
from the cat-like-typing-detected dept.
abhishekmdb writes No browsers are safe, as proved yesterday at Pwn2Own, but crashing one of them with just one line of special code is slightly different. A developer has discovered a hack in Google Chrome which can crash the Chrome tab on a Mac PC. The code is a 13-character special string which appears to be written in Assyrian script. Matt C has reported the bug to Google, who have marked the report as duplicate. This means that Google are aware of the problem and are reportedly working on it.
Windows

OEMs Allowed To Lock Secure Boot In Windows 10 Computers 362

Posted by Soulskill
from the feel-free-to-do-whatever-we-want-with-your-new-computer dept.
jones_supa writes: Hardware that sports the "Designed for Windows 8" logo requires machines to support UEFI Secure Boot. When the feature is enabled, the core software components used to boot the machine are verified for correct cryptographic signatures, or the system refuses to boot. This is a desirable security feature, because it protects from malware sneaking into the boot process. However, it has an issue for alternative operating systems, because it's likely they won't have a signature that Secure Boot will authorize. No worries, because Microsoft also mandated that every system must have a UEFI configuration setting to turn the protection off, allowing booting other operating systems. This situation may now change. At its WinHEC hardware conference in Shenzhen, China, Microsoft said the setting to allow Secure Boot to be turned off will become optional when Windows 10 arrives. Hardware can be "Designed for Windows 10," and offer no way to opt out of the Secure Boot lock down. The choice to provide the setting (or not) will be up to the original equipment manufacturer.
Security

Persistent BIOS Rootkit Implant To Debut At CanSecWest 120

Posted by timothy
from the deep-in-the-tunnels dept.
msm1267 writes Research on new BIOS vulnerabilities and a working rootkit implant will be presented on Friday at the annual CanSecWest security conference. An attacker with existing remote access on a compromised computer can use the implant to turn down existing protections in place to prevent re-flashing of the firmware, enabling the implant to be inserted and executed. The devious part of the exploit is that the researchers have found a way to insert their agent into System Management Mode, which is used by firmware and runs separately from the operating system, managing various hardware controls. System Management Mode also has access to memory, which puts supposedly secure and privacy focused operating systems such as Tails in the line of fire of the implant.

Their implant, the researchers said, is able to scrape the secret PGP key Tails uses for encrypted communication, for example. It can also steal passwords and encrypted communication. The implant survives OS re-installation and even Tails' built-in protections, including its capability of wiping RAM.
Portables

Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Laptop To Support Physics Research? 385

Posted by timothy
from the budget-for-replacement-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes My daughter is in her third year of college as a physics major. She has an internship in Europe this summer, will graduate next year, and continue with graduate physics studies. Her area of research interest is in gravitational waves and particle physics. She currently has a laptop running Win7 and wants to buy a new laptop. She would like to use Linux on it, and plans to use it for C++ programming, data analysis and simulations (along with the usual email, surfing, music, pictures, etc). For all of the physics-savvy Slashdotters out there: what should she get? PC? Mac? What do you recommend for running Linux? For a C++ development environment? What laptop do you use and how is it configured to support your physics-related activities?
Piracy

Microsoft Offers Pirates Amnesty and Free Windows 10 Upgrades 322

Posted by Soulskill
from the fighting-fire-with-free-gasoline dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft will make Windows 10 available as a free upgrade even to pirated copies of other Windows operating systems in China. Terry Myerson of Microsoft's operating systems unit made the announcement at the WinHEC technology conference in Shenzhen, China, and then told Reuters, "We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10." Microsoft has a history of attempting to tackle massive and rising software piracy rates in Asia and developing countries, and periodically offers low-cost "licence amnesties" to the worst-offending countries, such as Indonesia and Kenya. Update: 03/18 14:59 GMT by S : Microsoft has clarified that the free upgrade will be offered for unlicensed copies of Windows worldwide, not just in China.
Security

Ex-NSA Researcher Claims That DLL-Style Attacks Work Just Fine On OS X 93

Posted by timothy
from the it's-a-feature dept.
An anonymous reader writes Ex-NSA and NASA researcher Patrick Wardle claims to have developed a reliable technique of Shared Library replacement which renders Apple's OSX operating system just as vulnerable to exploitation as Windows has been (via its 'DLL' shared libraries) for years. Speaking at CanSecWest, Wardle explained that Apple's refusal to encrypt software downloads via its App Store allows an attacker on the same network to inject a malicious 'dylib' (shared library) without altering the hash of the legitimate-but-vulnerable software, thereby leaving the Developer ID signature intact. Wardle ran a crafted Python script on a typical Mac and discovered 150 dylib-dependent applications, including Apple's own Xcode developer environment — revealed last week by Edward Snowden to be a priority target for the NSA due to its ability to propagate compromised software.
GUI

Windows 10 Enables Switching Between Desktop and Tablet Modes 240

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-never-the-twain-shall-meet dept.
jones_supa writes: In Windows 8, you were trapped in either the Modern UI or using the desktop, and going back and forth between the two worlds was cumbersome. Windows 10 takes a hybrid approach, allowing the user to choose between a classic desktop and a full-screen mobile experience. The feature, which has been developed under the name "Continuum," is now simply called "Tablet mode". In the build 9926 of Windows 10 Technical Preview, switching between the modes can finally be tried out. The leaked build 10036 shows that eventually you will also have the option to automate the process for dockable devices. Since Windows 10 is being positioned as the one OS for all of Microsoft's devices, being able to control the desktop and tablet experiences like this is critical to appeasing the consumer.
Microsoft

Microsoft Has Received 1 Million Pieces of Feedback For Windows 10 236

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-do-you-really-think dept.
jones_supa writes Microsoft's Windows Insider lead, Gabe Aul, has announced that the company has received one million pieces of feedback through the Windows 10 Technical Preview Feedback app. The app opens right from the Start Menu and it has been critical to the operating system's development allowing testers to send details to Microsoft about what they think of Windows, problems they have been facing, and if there are any improvements they would like to see. The app has been part of both desktop and phone flavors of the OS. Microsoft seems to have made a real effort lately to listen to consumer feedback and has been opening up avenues to discuss new features for some time. Have you sent feedback through the app?
Operating Systems

Linux Might Need To Claim Only ACPI 2.0 Support For BIOS 129

Posted by timothy
from the and-you-can-taqiya-that-to-the-bank dept.
jones_supa writes Some of us remember the story of why Linux kernel responds "False" when ACPI BIOS asks if the operating system is Linux. We have found yet another case where mimicking the Windows behavior instead of writing to the spec is the right choice if you just want your machine to work properly. The ACPI spec defines the _REV object as evaluating to the revision of the ACPI specification that the OS implements. Linux returns 5 for this, because Linux actually tries to implement ACPI 5.0, but Windows returns 2 (ACPI 2.0), possibly due to legacy reasons. Linux kernel expert Matthew Garrett discovered that still a fair amount of brokenness appears when 5 is returned as the revision, including a Dell machine which left the sound hardware in a misconfigured state. He is proposing a kernel patch which simply reports _REV as 2 on all x86 hardware.
Intel

Intel Announces Xeon D SoC Line Based On Broadwell Core Architecture 76

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
MojoKid writes Intel is targeting big core performance and intelligence in a microserver form factor with its new Xeon D family of processors, the company's first ever Xeon-based System-on-Chip (SoC) design. The Xeon D line Intel is announcing today is built on their 14nm process technology and combines the performance and features of its traditional Xeon chips with the size and power savings of an SoC. According to Intel, Xeon D delivers up to 3.4x faster performance node and up to 1.7x better performance per watt compared to the company's Atom C2750. The Xeon D is the third generation of the family and it's actually based on Intel's Broadwell architecture. Intel unveiled two new Xeon D processors today, the D-1540 (8 cores, 16 threads, 2GHz, 45W TDP) and D-1520 (4 cores, 8 threads, 2.2GHz, 45W TDP). These chips have memory controllers capable of addressing up to 128GB. They also feature an integrated platform controller hub (PCH), integrated I/Os, and two integrated 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Again, all of this is based on Intel's Broadwell core CPU architecture, so performance per watt should be strong.
Graphics

Google Introduces Freon, a Replacement For X11 On Chrome OS 166

Posted by timothy
from the low-level-churn-at-a-high-level dept.
An anonymous reader writes With this week's release of Chrome OS M41, there is the new Freon graphics stack to replace X11 on some platforms. Freon is a very limited graphics stack to replace Chrome OS usage of X11/X.Org by having the Chrome browser communicate directly with the Linux kernel's KMS/DRM API and OpenGL ES interfaces for drawing. This design is much simpler and yields various power and performance improvements though it's not based on Wayland nor Mir (though Chrome plans to support these display server models).
Ubuntu

Ubuntu To Officially Switch To systemd Next Monday 765

Posted by Soulskill
from the dissenting-dachshund dept.
jones_supa writes: Ubuntu is going live with systemd, reports Martin Pitt in the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list. Next Monday, Vivid (15.04) will be switched to boot with systemd instead of UpStart. The change concerns desktop, server, and all other current flavors. Technically, this will flip around the preferred dependency of init to systemd-sysv | upstart in package management, which will affect new installs, but not upgrades. Upgrades will be switched by adding systemd-sysv to ubuntu-standard's dependencies. If you want, you can manually do the change already, but it's advisable to do an one-time boot first. Right now it is important that if you run into any trouble, file a proper bug report in Launchpad (ubuntu-bug systemd). If after some weeks it is found that there are too many or too big regressions, Ubuntu can still revert back to UpStart.