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Why Ubuntu MATE 19.10 Is Ditching VLC for GNOME MPV/Celluloid - it's not about extra features

Date Published: Sat, 8 Jun 2019 10:30:41 +0200

Better desktop integration. That’s according to Ubuntu MATE’s Martin Wimpress who revealed news of the swap in the latest Ubuntu MATE monthly update on Patreon:

“We will be dropping VLC from the pre-installed applications and shipping GNOME MPV instead. GNOME MPV will soon be renamed to Celluloid. The reasons for switching to GNOME MPV are similar to swapping out Thunderbird for Evolution; better desktop integration.”

Size is another factor. GNOME MPV takes up a comparatively svelte 27MB on the ISO image, whereas Qt5-based VLC requires closer to 70MB.

As always any user is free to still easily install VLC.

See https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2019/06/ubuntu-mate-19-10-mpv-vlc

#VLC #Celluloid
#^Why Ubuntu MATE 19.10 Is Ditching VLC for GNOME MPV - OMG! Ubuntu!

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GNOME MPV will replace VLC as the default media player in Ubuntu MATE 19.10, due for release in October. We look at the reasons for the swap.

10 Reasons to Use KDE as Linux Desktop Environment

Date Published: Sat, 8 Jun 2019 10:18:12 +0200

KDE Plasma is a free, powerfully flexible and open source widget-based Desktop Environment primarily created for Linux systems by the KDE project. Originally, KDE was an acronym for Kool Desktop Environment until it was changed to be the “K Desktop Environment“. That notwithstanding, KDE Plasma hasn’t stopped being kool. In fact, it is among the coolest Linux desktop environments on the planet.

Although I'm now using Manjaro (Arch Linux) and before that used Linux Mint and Ubuntu, I've usually gravitated to using KDE as my desktop environment. Sometimes it was because of desktop widgets and sometimes it was because I was using the KDE connect tool. I've always liked its customisation. There is often a native distro spin based on KDE for most distros but there is always the option of installing it later as your second or optional desktop (because you have choices you can make with Linux). My current install runs KDE natively but I also have GNOME and Cinamon desktops installed which I can switch to.

See 10 reasons why you may want to use KDE at https://www.fossmint.com/reasons-to-use-kde-as-linux-desktop-environment/

#KDE #linux
#^10 Reasons to Use KDE as Linux Desktop Environment

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KDE Plasma is a free, powerfully flexible and open source widget-based Desktop Environment primarily created for Linux systems by the KDE project.

Good Google Maps gets real-time speedometer feature in multiple countries - but ironically not yet on Android Auto

Date Published: Fri, 7 Jun 2019 20:11:08 +0200

Not yet in my country so I can't say if it has settings like Waze has to alert you as you go over the speed limit, or 5% or 10% over. From the options, I see on the menu it does not look like any configurable alerts. I had noticed with speed traps that you only see a small red icon - no audible or visual alert. Why roll out half the functionality? Its a bit like giving me a radio but it does not yet play audible sound...

That said Google Maps is getting a lot of love from Google with the new disaster alerts and other features.

See https://www.androidcentral.com/google-maps-new-speedometer-feature-rolling-out-several-countries

#googlemaps
#^Google Maps gets real-time speedometer feature in multiple countries

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Google has started rolling out a speedometer feature in Maps to go along with its new speed limit and speed camera location functions that were previously added.

Google confirms that advanced backdoor came preinstalled on Android devices - If you want security, roll your own OS for desktops, phones, routers

Date Published: Fri, 7 Jun 2019 18:45:48 +0200

No matter whether the device is designed or built in China, the US, Israel, Germany, etc if you want security on phones, routers, desktops, etc you may just want to roll your own OS like the US NSA, Russian Military, Chinese, South Korean and more have already been doing. Seriously you can't even trust your "current" allies not to spy on you.

The US can point their fingers all they want at China, but they have been caught doing the same things knowingly (those zero-day defects on Windows XP way back) and unknowingly (the Iran power station issue which supposedly involved Israel too). We know governments (Western Governments most definitely) have interception laws at Internet peering points, satellite links, etc and many have "kill switches" via their Tier 1 ISPs to cut off their country's Internet. Just by popular news I still hear of more backdoors and vulnerabilities found on "Western" hardware and OS's than Chinese (maybe the Chinese hide it better?).

So that said any intended or unintended backdoors on your Cisco routers, Windows servers, D-Link routers, or whatever will be found and exploited at some point.

For large corporates and governments, I still don't understand why they don't as a matter of policy take open source code for routers, phones, servers and have that code inspected properly and customise it for their use. That way you control it fully. It is certainly happening on a limited scale already. It's certainly not difficult as many home users do it themselves (just not always able to inspect the code fully themselves). Governments and large corporates spend millions of US$ per annum of software which they could channel instead into recruiting qualified code analysers. For many countries that also means keeping their money onshore.

See more on this Android issue (past tense) at https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/06/google-confirms-2017-supply-chain-attack-that-sneaked-backdoor-on-android-devices/

#backdoor #android #triada
#^Google confirms that advanced backdoor came preinstalled on Android devices

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After Google successfully beat back Triada in 2017, its developers found a new way in.

Up to 25 cups of coffee a day still safe for heart health, study funded in part by the British Heart Foundation says

Date Published: Fri, 7 Jun 2019 18:08:56 +0200

Coffee lovers might be able to breathe a sigh of relief -- a new study found that drinking even large amounts of the caffeinated beverage won't stiffen arteries and harm your heart.

Aficionados have been getting mixed messages about their favorite drink, with some research suggesting that drinking coffee can improve health while other studies advise people to cut down on their consumption. Previous studies suggested that coffee can cause a stiffening of the arteries, putting pressure on the heart and increasing the likelihood of stroke or heart attack.

But a new study, funded in part by the British Heart Foundation, found that drinking five cups of coffee a day was no worse for the arteries than drinking less than one cup. The study of more than 8,000 people across the United Kingdom also found that even those who drank up to 25 cups a day were no more likely to experience stiffening of the arteries than someone drinking less than a cup a day.

It is not saying that more coffee is healthier for you but the big takeaway is that it is not true that a few cups of coffee is going to be harmful to health as has been claimed in the past. So what is it about studies that show one, everyone believes them, then the opposite is shown (and then we usually doubt the change). Seems there is something seriously wrong with studies or with our beliefs. We could then be wrong about a lot more things...

More detail about the study at https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/03/health/coffee-heart-health-arteries-scli-intl-gbr/index.html

#heart #coffee
#^Up to 25 cups of coffee a day safe for heart health, study says

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Coffee lovers might be able to breathe a sigh of relief -- a new study found that drinking even large amounts of the caffeinated beverage won't stiffen arteries and harm your heart.

Withings Move ECG watch enables users to take an on-demand electrocardiogram right from their watch

Date Published: Fri, 7 Jun 2019 07:51:52 +0200

An electrocardiogram (ECG) records your heart's electrical activity and can detect when your heartbeat is irregular. This type of irregularity is often be caused by atrial fibrillation or AFib, which is the most common heart rhythm disorder. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to diagnose because irregular heartbeat episodes don't always occur when you're at the doctor's office having a test.

The good news is that Withings Move ECG can help. This watch has three electrodes that can take an on-demand measurement for you. All you have to do is place your hand on the ring surrounding your watch for 20 seconds when you're experiencing shortness of breath or palpitations. You'll notice that your ECG signal will instantly appear in the Health Mate app on your smartphone. It will alert you to an irregularity and let you know if you need to consult a specialist. If necessary, the records can even be sent to your doctor.

The company's website states that the Move ECG is currently under review to be FDA/CE cleared.

Really good to see this functionality expanding to other brands.

See https://www.androidcentral.com/what-does-ecg-do-withings-move-ecg

#ECG #withings
#^Learn about the ECG feature in the Withings Move ECG

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There's been a lot of buzz about the upcoming release of the Withings Move ECG. What exactly does the ECG feature do? We've gathered the details below.

Goodbye Microsoft Windows: Russian Military’s Astra Linux Adoption Moves Forward

Date Published: Wed, 5 Jun 2019 07:33:54 +0200

As per various reports, it seems that Russia is also acting swiftly to replace Windows with homegrown Astra Linux. It’s a Debian-based distribution that was originally launched by a company named RusBITech in 2008. Initially, RusBITech focused on the private sector but later on expanded to the local government bodies.

To make sure that more Russian bodies adopt the operating system, Astra Linux also got certifications to handle “secret” information of the government.

Coming back to the recent development, Astra Linux got the security clearance from the Russian Federal Service for Technical and Export Control (FSTEC) on April 17, 2019. As a result, the OS has got a “special importance” clearance to be used government information of the highest degree of secrecy.

Back in January 2018, the Russian defense ministry announced the plans to ditch Windows. The ministry said that Microsoft’s operating system could hide backdoors exploitable by American agencies. Similar reasons were also given by the Chinese Military when its plans to ditch Windows were revealed.

It should be remembered though that is not a new move as all the BRICS nations had already resolved to do this about 2 or 3 years ago and we've seen this announced by China, Russia, India and Brazil. South Africa has been silent but it had developed Impi Linux already back in the mid-2000's for use by the government.

See https://fossbytes.com/russian-military-astra-linux-adoption/

#linux #opensource #security
#^Goodbye Windows: Russian Military's Astra Linux Adoption Moves Forward

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As per various reports, it seems that Russia is acting swiftly to replace Windows with homegrown Astra Linux. It's a Debian-based distribution that was originally launched by a company named RusBITech in 2008. Initially, RusBITech focused on the private sector but later on expanded to the local government bodies.

500 Gasoline-Petrol Car Fires Per Day in the US — Can We Please Get Serious About Electric Car Battery Fires?

Date Published: Tue, 4 Jun 2019 22:45:41 +0200

According to a recent FEMA report, “from 2014 to 2016 an estimated 171,500 highway vehicle fires occurred in the United States, resulting in an annual average of 345 deaths; 1,300 injuries; and $1.1 billion in property loss. These highway vehicle fires accounted for 13 percent of fires responded to by fire departments across the nation.”

The report adds, “Approximately one in eight fires responded to by fire departments across the nation is a highway vehicle fire. This does not include the tens of thousands of fire department responses to highway vehicle accident sites.”

A report in The Guardian last week warned that people all across the UK are risking injury and fires by plugging in their electric cars at home using extension cords because of the lack of adequate chargers in that nation. How many stories have they published about the risk of smoking at gas stations?

All new technology is scary. But the risk of fire while driving a fossil fueled car is much greater than it is with an electric car. We need to take a breath and calm down about battery fires. Yes, they do happen and, yes, they are frightening. But they are relatively rare, despite what the news media would have us believe. Drive on electrons and be happy. When it comes to fires, you are safer in an electric car than in a conventional car.

See https://cleantechnica.com/2019/06/03/500-gas-car-fires-per-day-can-we-please-get-serious-about-electric-car-battery-fires/

#EV
#^500 Gas Car Fires Per Day — Can We Please Get Serious About Electric Car Battery Fires?

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Electric car batteries can catch fire. Okay. They always make headlines. There are 500 gasoline fires a day and few of them ever make the news. It's time to take a breath and get over the fear of electric cars,

The 20 Best Xposed Framework Modules for Rooted Android Phones - These Xposed modules will expand the functionality of your Android device

Date Published: Tue, 4 Jun 2019 19:32:26 +0200

Xposed Framework is a way to install special apps on your Android device called modules, which can be customized to your liking to modify your phone in many different ways.

Basically, you install an app called Xposed Installer that lets you download other apps that are the actual programs that do all the modifying.

Some of the excellent mods covered include:
- YouTube AdAway
- Auto-save Snapchat pictures and videos
- GravityBox is an arsenal full of Android tweaks
- XBlast Tools with tweaks like Status Bar, Navigation Bar, Multi-Tasking, Quiet Hours, Driving Mode, Phone Tweaks, Carrier Label, Gradient Settings, Volume Button Tweaks, and several others
- XPrivacy to stop certain apps from accessing certain information
- Fake My GPS
- Advanced Power Menu+
- Greenify for app hibernation
- Deep Sleep (DS) Battery Saver
- BootManager to stop certain apps from launching automatically each time the device starts up
- XuiMod for system UI modifications you can make to the clock, battery bar, and notifications
- Zoom for Instagram
- Instagram Downloader
- MinMinGuard to Block in-app ads
- PinNotif to pin notifications
- WhatsApp Extensions such as chat reminders, per-contact custom wallpapers, and highlighted chats are just a few of the options, plus the ability to hide read receipts, hide when you were last seen online, and hide the camera button from being used
- RootCloak is an Xposed module that attempts to hide from other apps the fact that your phone is rooted
- Amplify is used to save battery life

See https://www.lifewire.com/best-xposed-framework-modules-4150726

#android #rooted
#^The 20 Best Xposed Framework Modules

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Install one (or all) of these free Xposed Framework modules to truly customize your Android device. Mod your lockscreen, status bar, and more.

Password expiration is dead, long live your passwords - Let your sys admin know in case they are not up to date

Date Published: Sun, 2 Jun 2019 22:26:36 +0200

May was a momentous month, which marked a victory for sanity and pragmatism over irrational paranoia. I’m talking about Microsoft finally — finally! but credit to them for doing this nonetheless! — removing the password expiration policies from their Windows 10 security baseline.

To quote Microsoft:

"Recent scientific research calls into question the value of many long-standing password-security practices such as password expiration policies, and points instead to better alternatives … If a password is never stolen, there’s no need to expire it. And if you have evidence that a password has been stolen, you would presumably act immediately rather than wait for expiration to fix the problem."

"…If an organization has successfully implemented banned-password lists, multi-factor authentication, detection of password-guessing attacks, and detection of anomalous logon attempts, do they need any periodic password expiration? And if they haven’t implemented modern mitigations, how much protection will they really gain from password expiration? …Periodic password expiration is an ancient and obsolete mitigation of very low value."

If you have a password at such an organization, I recommend you send that blog post to its system administrators.

See https://techcrunch.com/2019/06/02/password-expiration-is-dead-long-live-your-passwords/

#passwords #security

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