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Microsoft

Proprietary Software: Snip, Microsoft Ripoff and Critical New Holes in Windows

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Microsoft
  • New Snip Smartphone App Converts Math Screenshots Into LaTeX

    Not so long ago, mathematics students and researchers had to spend a tedious amount of time writing out equations in the technical and scientific documentation typesetting system LaTeX. The launch this April of the AI-powered desktop tool Snip changed that. Available for Mac, Windows and the Ubuntu system, Snip converts screenshots of mathematical formulas into LaTeX code in seconds. Snip went viral as an easy-to-use time-saver for the math and science community.

  • What Microsoft's upcoming 'outsourcing' licensing changes could mean for your business

    Microsoft's cloud competitors have been making a lot of noise about changes in Microsoft's licensing coming on October 1. And Microsoft, which has been positioning itself as an ally of customer choice, found itself on the wrong side of accusations of untrustworthiness and price-gouging.

  • Microsoft Warning Impacts 800M Windows 10 Computers

    Microsoft has warned users of 'critical' new vulnerabilities across all versions of Windows which have the potential to spread worldwide...

  • We checked and yup, it's no longer 2001. And yet you can pwn a Windows box via Notepad.exe

    Software buried in Windows since the days of WinXP can be abused to take complete control of a PC with the help of good ol' Notepad and some crafty code.

    On Tuesday, ace bug-hunter Tavis Ormandy, of Google Project Zero, detailed how a component of the operating system's Text Services Framework, which manages keyboard layouts and text input, could be exploited by malware or rogue logged-in users to gain System-level privileges. Such level of access would grant software nasties and miscreants total control over, and surveillance of, the computer.

    The flaw, designated CVE-2019-1162, is patched in this month's Patch Tuesday release of security fixes from Microsoft. The relevant update should be installed as soon as possible.

With Microsoft dumping MS Office, consider LibreOffice for your next PC office suite

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LibO
Microsoft

LibreOffice's Export as PDF has improved. It now fully supports PDF/A-2 document format. This is required by several organizations for long-term file storage. It also simplified its editable PDF forms by incorporating the Form menu into LibreOffice Writer.

A new feature, which security-minded businesses may find interesting, is that you can now "redact" information in documents. With this, you can remove or hide sensitive information such as personal data before exporting or sharing the file.

You can run LibreOffice on Linux, MacOS, and Windows. You can also use as a cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application, LibreOffice Online, by deploying it on a cloud you control.

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Leaving Windows 7? Here are some non-Windows options.

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

Then there’s my own favorite: the Linux desktop. But while I love it, I’m well aware of the Linux desktop’s many problems.

But recently the Linux community looks to be finally getting its act together. So now might be a good time to kick Linux’s tires.

Personally, when it comes to the many distros, I favor Linux Mint. It’s good, secure and fast. It also has the advantage, from your perspective, of looking a good deal like Windows 7. That makes switching over to it easier than you might expect.

But if you need corporate support, you’ll be better off with Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation or Canonical’s Ubuntu for desktop. You can, by the by, use Linux desktops with your existing Active Directory domains if that’s what’s stopping you from considering Linux.

Which is best for you? Only you can answer that question. What I can say, though, is that these days you don’t have to just grit your teeth and shift over to the next version of Windows. Thanks in large part to the move to a SaaS model for nearly all applications, you have real desktop OS choices.

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Vulnerability Exposed Microsoft Azure Users to Cyberattack

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Microsoft

New data from Check Point Research says dozens of vulnerabilities found in a commonly used protocol left millions of Microsoft cloud users open to attack.

In a presentation this week at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, the firm noted that flaws in the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)—routinely used to access remote Windows machines—could be exploited to execute arbitrary code on a target’s system, allowing them to view, change, and delete data or create new accounts with full administrative rights.

RDP was originally developed by Microsoft, and is frequently used by users looking to connect to a remote Windows machine. There’s several popular open-source clients for the RDP protocol utilized by Linux and Mac users as well.

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Proprietary: Microsoft, Apple and Google

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Google
Microsoft
Mac
  • Netherlands warns government employees not to use Microsoft's online Office apps

    In one example, it was found that some 300,000 top tier Office users, with the ‘365 Pro Plus' package were being sent back to the US for storage - exactly the sort of behaviour that got Dutch backs up.

    In a wider sense, this is a small but public battle in a much larger war, with the EU still leaning heavily on Microsoft to put its post-GDPR house in order.

  • The iPhone now makes up less than half of Apple’s business

    Apple today reported its fiscal third quarter 2019 earnings, earning $53.8 billion in revenue and earnings per share of $2.18. That revenue is a 1 percent jump year over year. iPhone revenue was $25.99 billion compared to $29.47 billion a year ago. That means the iPhone represented under half of Apple’s revenue for the first time since 2012.

    The all-important services unit took in $11.46 billion in revenue. Wearables saw a big boost, likely thanks to Apple’s second-generation AirPods. CEO Tim Cook said that when the services and wearables / home / accessories divisions are combined, they approach the size of a Fortune 50 company. Revenue from Mac sales was $5.82 billion, and iPads were $5.023 billion, up from $4.634 billion last year at this time.

  • Apple Finds Life After the iPhone While Still Banking on the iPhone

    Combined, Apple’s two major independent product lines not attached to the iPhone -- Mac computers and iPads -- made up only 20% of revenue in the fiscal third quarter, despite gains from the period a year ago, the Cupertino, California-based company reported Tuesday. Apple’s also working on a mixed augmented and virtual reality headset for the coming years, but that, too, is likely to be iPhone-reliant.

  • Chrome 76 for Mac, Windows rolling out: Flash blocked by default, Incognito loophole closed, Settings tweak

    As a big HTML5 proponent for the past decade, Google encouraged sites to switch away from Flash for faster, safer, and more battery-efficient browsing. In late 2016 and early 2017, Chrome blocked background Flash elements and defaulted to HTML5, with users having to manually enable the Adobe plug-in on a site-by-site basis.

  • Google Chrome 76 Released for Linux, Windows, and Mac with 43 Security Fixes

    Google promoted today the Chrome 76 web browser to the stable channel for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, Windows, and macOS.

    Google Chrome 76.0.3809.87 is now available as the latest stable version of the popular and cross-platform web browser from Google, based on the open source Chromium project. It contains various bug fixes and improvements, as well as no less than 43 security fixes for the latest vulnerabilities.

Dutch cheesed off at Microsoft, call for Rexit from Office Online, Mobile apps over Redmond data slurping

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Microsoft

A report backed by the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security is warning government institutions not to use Microsoft's Office Online or mobile applications due to potential security and privacy risks.

A report from Privacy Company, which was commissioned by the ministry, found that Office Online and the Office mobile apps should be banned from government work. The report found the apps were not in compliance with a set of privacy measures Redmond has agreed to with the Dutch government.

The alert notes that in May of this year Microsoft and the government of the Netherlands agreed to new privacy terms after a 2018 report, also compiled by Privacy Company, found that Office 365 ProPlus was gathering personal information on some 300,000 workers via its telemetry features and storing them in the US. These included such things such as email addresses and translation requests.

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Microsoft Under Fire for GitHub Imperialism

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Microsoft
  • GitHub developers restricted in Crimea, Cuba, Iran, and other regions under U.S. sanctions

    GitHub placed new restrictions on developers in Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. Developers face restrictions as a result of U.S. trade sanctions. Private repositories (repos) and paid accounts are under these new restrictions, but public repos are still available, and open-source repos are unaffected. Several reports surfaced over the weekend of developers being affected by the restrictions (via The Verge).

  • Yellow badges are back. This time not by Nazi Germany & not for Jews, but by U.S. tech companies

    Three days ago (Jul 25, 2019), when GitHub blocked my account, I noticed that there is an ugly fixed yellow warning on every single page of GitHub for me (as a blocked user). The warning message had no close button. I want to call it “Digital yellow badge” but this time it’s not for Jews, it’s for people who born & live in countries like Iran.

  • GitHub restricts developer accounts based in Iran, Crimea, and other countries under US sanctions

    At least one developer who was affected by the action was told that the company was not “legally able” to provide an export of the disabled repository content. Friedman added that the company does not believe it is legally able to provide advance notice of these restrictions, but he said that users can choose to make their private repos public to gain access and clone them.

Cautionary Tales About Hosting With Microsoft

Filed under
Server
Microsoft
  • GitHub confirms it has blocked developers in Iran, Syria and Crimea [Ed: Microsoft wants us to believe that all companies need to do what GitHub did. That’s a lie. But Microsoft knows that it needs to lick Trump’s and Bolton’s boots to keep getting those government contracts that ‘bail it out’. Microsoft made its choice [1, 2].]

    The impact of U.S. trade restrictions is trickling down to the developer community. GitHub, the world’s largest host of source code, is preventing users in Iran, Syria, Crimea and potentially other sanctioned nations from accessing portions of the service, chief executive of the Microsoft-owned firm said.

  • Migrating an Exchange Server to the Cloud? What could possibly go wrong?

    As users stared at useless login screens, Ben and his team floundered for a few hours, trying to work out how to restore access.

    The clue was in the word "restore" as one bright spark remembered there was a user account named "backup" used, well, to do backups.

    It had been missed in the Exchange account purge and so was still active.

    And the Linux connection? The Microsoft Certified Partner used a server running the open-source operating system to perform backup duties.

    The backup software used that Active Directory account, which just so happened to have enough privileges to re-enable the Windows users via Linux LDAP tools.

    After all, these days Microsoft just loves open source, right?

Security and Proprietary Software With Back Doors

Filed under
Microsoft
Security
  • Cyber expert who helped stop WannaCry sentenced to time served in malware case

    While Hutchins was sentenced to time served, he could have faced up to 10 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. He served a few days in jail after being arrested in 2017, but was then freed on bail on the condition that he remain in the U.S. while his case was pending.

  • The Latest: Cyber expert gets time-served in malware case

    U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller sentenced 25-year-old Marcus Hutchins on Friday in Milwaukee to time served, with a year of supervised release. Stadtmueller said the virus Hutchins helped stop was far more damaging than the malware he wrote.

  • Cyber-Crook Turned Global Hero Avoids Prison In Malware Case

    Marcus Hutchins was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Nancy Joseph in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He pleaded guilty in April to two counts related to his marketing and distribution of malware called Kronos and UPAS, which his customers used to steal the bank details of unsuspecting victims around the world. Hutchins was arrested in July 2017 after he traveled to the U.S.

  • Boeing's Corporate Suicide

    Boeing's cost-cutting means it lacks the necessary in-house software expertise to develop and QA the fix.

Linux survival guide: These 21 applications let you move easily between Linux and Windows

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

In this article, we're spotlighting 20 applications that are functionally identical (or at least pretty similar) between Windows and Linux.

While there aren't absolute brand-for-brand equivalents for about 30 percent of the applications, there are workable substitute solutions.

In the following slides, I'll show you the applications that are either exact matches across platforms, or which work as solid substitute solutions when jumping between platforms and still needing to get the job done.

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Programming: C++, C and Python

  • Extend C++ capabilities with LLVM STLExtras.h

    The LLVM compiler project provides a header file called STLExtras.h that extends the capabilities of C++ without any dependency on the rest of LLVM. In this article, we take a quick look at its basic functionality.

  • Rewriting Old Solaris C Code In Python Yielded A 17x Performance Improvement

    While we normally hear of rewriting code from Python and other scripting languages into C/C++ when its a matter of performance, in the case of Oracle Solaris it was taking old C code and modernizing it in Python 3 to yield a ~17x performance improvement. Shared today on Oracle's official Solaris blog was an interesting anecdote about their listusers command being rewritten in Python 3 from C. Oracle's Darren Moffat noted the C code was largely untouched since around 1988 and given its design at a time when systems were less dense than today with hundreds or even thousands of users per system.

  • Python Projects for Beginners: The Best Way to Learn

    Learning Python can be difficult. You can spend time reading a textbook or watching videos, but then struggle to actually put what you've learned into practice. Or you might spend a ton of time learning syntax and get bored or lose motivation. How can you increase your chances of success? By building Python projects. That way you're learning by actually doing what you want to do! When I was learning Python, building projects helped me bring together everything I was learning. Once I started building projects, I immediately felt like I was making more progress.

  • PyCon 2019: The People of PyCon

    I can’t tell you how amazing it was to meet the individuals I read, listen to, or who make the tools I use. I was so happy to meet the authors that helped me to grow over the last few years, especially Dan Bader, Peter Baumgartner, Matt Harrison, Reuven Lerner, Harry Percival , and Lacey Williams Henschel. I love podcasts, so it was wonderful to meet Michael Kennedy and Brian Okken in person. And I was happy to meet Paul Ganssle, Russell Keith-Magee, Barry Warsaw, and other maintainers and contributors. It was a delight to meet Bob Belderbos and Julian Sequeira from PyBites.

  • Find the first non-consecutive number with Python

    Your task is to find the first element of an array that is not consecutive. E.g. If we have an array [1,2,3,4,6,7,8] then 1 then 2 then 3 then 4 are all consecutive but 6 is not, so that’s the first non-consecutive number. If the whole array is consecutive then return None.

  • Perceiving Python programming paradigms

    Early each year, TIOBE announces its Programming Language of The Year. When its latest annual TIOBE index report came out, I was not at all surprised to see Python again winning the title, which was based on capturing the most search engine ranking points (especially on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube, and Baidu) in 2018.

OSI Announces Appointment of New Board Directors

The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is pleased to announce the appointments of Deb Bryant and Tracy Hinds to fill the two vacant seats on the OSI Board of Directors. Their terms will begin immediately and run through October 2021. We hope you will join us in welcoming both to the OSI. Deb Bryant is returning to the OSI Board after spending several years away. After spending her days as the Senior Director of the Open Source Programs Office at Red Hat, Deb volunteers for open source organizations and supports the open source community. Bryant is passionate about open and transparent governments, bringing open source technology and ideas into the public sector. Tracy Hinds has an impressive history of managing development, operations, and growth for non-profit and for-profit organizations. Previous Education and Community Manager as well as Board Director of the OpenJS(formerly Node.js) Foundation, Hinds now works as Head of Platform at Samsung NEXT and is the president of GatherScript, where she works to support startup engagement and community, inspired by her prior work as a web engineer, community builder, OSS advocate, and strategist. Read more

A Trustworthy Free/Libre Linux Capable 64bit RISC-V Computer

My goal is to build a Free/OpenSource computer from the ground up, so I may completely trust that the entire hardware+software system's behavior is 100% attributable to its fully available HDL (Hardware Description Language) and Software sources. More importantly, I need all the compilers and associated toolchains involved in building the overall system (from HDL and Software sources) to be Free/OpenSource, and to be themselves buildable and runnable on the computer system being described. In other words, I need a self-hosting Free/OpenSource hardware+software stack! Read more Also: COM offers 9th or 8th Gen Coffee Lake with 10Gbps USB 3.2 and up to 96GB RAM