Computers & Linux News

Microsoft Developers Hid a Secret Puzzle in Windows Backgrounds as They Knew Images Would Leak

SlashDot - 19 min 5 sec ago
An anonymous reader shares a report: Microsoft developers working on Windows 8 created a puzzle and embedded it in the wallpapers used for internal builds of the operating system. The team knew that the images would leak out to the public -- and probably the internal builds of Windows -- so they decided to have some fun with it. Over the course of numerous builds, the puzzle was developed -- but only one person ever solved it! Over the weekend, Jensen Harris -- a former group program manager of Microsoft Office and Microsoft director leading the team working on the redesign of Windows 8 -- took to Twitter to come clean about the secret puzzle. He explained that it was common for internal test builds of Windows to have wallpapers that were not intended for public release, but said that messages tended to be included to discourage leaking: "Traditionally, these wallpapers included text embedded in them threatening to throw people in jail if they leaked the build, blah blah, substantial penalty for early withdrawal, not all coins go up in value (some go down!), etc. etc. We wanted to try a more elegant tact. So early in Windows 8, we created a wallpaper that was a combination of the text the lawyers wanted us to use with an attempt to appeal to people's better nature...thus the "shhh... let's not leak our hard work" series of wallpapers was born."

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Report: Amazon Is Building a Domestic Robot

PCMag News - 21 min 32 sec ago
Think Alexa, but with the ability to move around your home autonomously.

Secure Gmail Accounts Appear to Be Emailing Spam

PCMag News - 1 hour 21 min ago
Google is aware of a spam campaign and confirmed Gmail accounts have not been compromised.

Entire Entertainment Industry Sues Streaming Service Set TV

PCMag News - 2 hours 22 min ago
Amazon, Netflix, Disney, Sony, Columbia, Universal, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros. are all part of the lawsuit.

Valve Acquires 'Small But Scrappy' Game Studio Campo Santo

PCMag News - 2 hours 22 min ago
The Firewatch developer is now a part of Valve where it will continue developing In the Valley of Gods.

Billionaire Tom Siebel Explains His Fascination With AI

PCMag News - 2 hours 22 min ago
Having sold his company for $5.8 billion, Tom Siebel could've retired to a private island years ago. Instead, he's pursuing the promise of AI. Siebel sat down with PCMag to explain why.

Which Tech Companies Do You Trust?

PCMag News - 2 hours 22 min ago
According to data from Forbes and Statista, 51 percent of consumers do not trust Facebook to obey laws protecting personal information.

Are Widescreen Laptops Dumb?

SlashDot - 2 hours 48 min ago
"After years of phones, laptops, tablets, and TV screens converging on 16:9 as the 'right' display shape -- allowing video playback without distracting black bars -- smartphones have disturbed the universality recently by moving to even more elongated formats like 18:9, 19:9, or even 19.5:9 in the iPhone X's case," writes Amelia Holowaty Krales via The Verge. "That's prompted me to consider where else the default widescreen proportions might be a poor fit, and I've realized that laptops are the worst offenders." Krales makes the case for why a 16:9 screen of 13 to 15 inches in size is a poor fit: Practically every interface in Apple's macOS, Microsoft's Windows, and on the web is designed by stacking user controls in a vertical hierarchy. At the top of every MacBook, there's a menu bar. At the bottom, by default, is the Dock for launching your most-used apps. On Windows, you have the taskbar serving a similar purpose -- and though it may be moved around the screen like Apple's Dock, it's most commonly kept as a sliver traversing the bottom of the display. Every window in these operating systems has chrome -- the extra buttons and indicator bars that allow you to close, reshape, or move a window around -- and the components of that chrome are usually attached at the top and bottom. Look at your favorite website (hopefully this one) on the internet, and you'll again see a vertical structure. As if all that wasn't enough, there's also the matter of tabs. Tabs are a couple of decades old now, and, like much of the rest of the desktop and web environment, they were initially thought up in an age where the predominant computer displays were close to square with a 4:3 aspect ratio. That's to say, most computer screens were the shape of an iPad when many of today's most common interface and design elements were being developed. As much of a chrome minimalist as I try to be, I still can't extricate myself from needing a menu bar in my OS and tab and address bars inside my browser. I'm still learning to live without a bookmarks bar. With all of these horizontal bars invading our vertical space, a 16:9 screen quickly starts to feel cramped, especially at the typical laptop size. You wind up spending more time scrolling through content than engaging with it. What is your preferred aspect ratio for a laptop? Do you prefer Microsoft and Google's machines that have a squarer 3:2 aspect ratio, or Apple's MacBook Pro that has a 16:10 display?

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Net neutrality is officially dead. Now what? - CNET

CNET News - 2 hours 59 min ago
The FCC has taken the final step in erasing the 2015 rules protecting the internet. Here’s what you need to know.

What digital money could do for you - CNET

CNET News - 2 hours 59 min ago
Digital cash has the potential to help us save more, manage our money and even break the cycle of poverty for the world's poor. It's not without risks.

Your body, and everything around you, will soon let you pay for stuff - CNET

CNET News - 2 hours 59 min ago
Amazon, Mastercard and others are developing new ways for you to spend, including cashierless stores and scanning the veins in your thumb.

Apple Watch vs. Fitbit Versa: How to choose? - CNET

CNET News - 4 hours 1 sec ago
We tested the new Fitbit Versa alongside the Apple Watch Series 3 to find out their strengths and weaknesses as smartwatches and fitness trackers.

Asus ZenFone Max Pro is a crazy affordable phone for India - CNET

CNET News - 5 hours 56 min ago
Running stock Android and powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 636, the $165 Asus phone is ridiculously good value for money.

Net Neutrality Is Over Monday, But Experts Say ISPs Will Wait To Screw Us

SlashDot - 7 hours 53 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Inverse: Parts of the Federal Communication Commission's repeal of net neutrality is slated to take effect on April 23, causing worry among internet users who fear the worst from their internet service providers. However, many experts believe there won't be immediate changes come Monday, but that ISPs will wait until users aren't paying attention to make their move. "Don't expect any changes right out of the gate," Dary Merckens, CTO of Gunner Technology, tells Inverse. Merckens specializes in JavaScript development for government and business, and sees why ISPs would want to lay low for a while before enacting real changes. "It would be a PR nightmare for ISPs if they introduced sweeping changes immediately after the repeal of net neutrality," he says. While parts of the FCC's new plan will go into effect on Monday, the majority of the order still doesn't have a date for when it will be official. Specific rules that modify data collection requirements still have to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget, and the earliest that can happen is on April 27. Tech experts and consumer policy advocates don't expect changes to happen right away, as ISPs will likely avoid any large-scale changes in order to convince policymakers that the net neutrality repeal was no big deal after all.

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Westworld's season 2 premiere just confirmed some major fan theories - CNET

CNET News - 9 hours 36 min ago
Thankfully, season two gave fans some answers right away. Spoilers, spoilers everywhere.

Kanye West tweets love for his Tesla - CNET

CNET News - 9 hours 56 min ago
Commentary: The fashion designer and rapper claims it's the "funnest" car he's ever driven.

Will my red car get more tickets? - Roadshow

CNET News - 10 hours 17 min ago
You might be surprised at the truth and myth behind this age old theory.

Who Has More of Your Personal Data Than Facebook? Try Google

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-04-22 23:33
Facebook may be in the hot seat right now for its collection of personal data without our knowledge or explicit consent, but as The Wall Street Journal points out, "Google is a far bigger threat by many measures: the volume of information it gathers, the reach of its tracking and the time people spend on its sites and apps." From the report (alternative source): It's likely that Google has shadow profiles (data the company gathers on people without accounts) on as at least as many people as Facebook does, says Chandler Givens, CEO of TrackOff, which develops software to fight identity theft. Google allows everyone, whether they have a Google account or not, to opt out of its ad targeting, though, like Facebook, it continues to gather your data. Google Analytics is far and away the web's most dominant analytics platform. Used on the sites of about half of the biggest companies in the U.S., it has a total reach of 30 million to 50 million sites. Google Analytics tracks you whether or not you are logged in. Meanwhile, the billion-plus people who have Google accounts are tracked in even more ways. In 2016, Google changed its terms of service, allowing it to merge its massive trove of tracking and advertising data with the personally identifiable information from our Google accounts. Google uses, among other things, our browsing and search history, apps we've installed, demographics like age and gender and, from its own analytics and other sources, where we've shopped in the real world. Google says it doesn't use information from "sensitive categories" such as race, religion, sexual orientation or health. Because it relies on cross-device tracking, it can spot logged-in users no matter which device they're on. Google fuels even more data harvesting through its dominant ad marketplaces. There are up to 4,000 data brokers in the U.S., and collectively they know everything about us we might otherwise prefer they didn't -- whether we're pregnant, divorced or trying to lose weight. Google works with some of these brokers directly but the company says it vets them to prevent targeting based on sensitive information. Google also is the biggest enabler of data harvesting, through the world's two billion active Android mobile devices.

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'Drupalgeddon2' Touches Off Arms Race To Mass-Exploit Powerful Web Servers

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-04-22 21:11
Researchers with Netlab 360 warn that attackers are mass-exploiting "Drupalgeddon2," the name of an extremely critical vulnerability Drupal maintainers patched in late March. The exploit allows them to take control of powerful website servers. Ars Technica reports: Formally indexed as CVE- 2018-7600, Drupalgeddon2 makes it easy for anyone on the Internet to take complete control of vulnerable servers simply by accessing a URL and injecting publicly available exploit code. Exploits allow attackers to run code of their choice without having to have an account of any type on a vulnerable website. The remote-code vulnerability harkens back to a 2014 Drupal vulnerability that also made it easy to commandeer vulnerable servers. Drupalgeddon2 "is under active attack, and every Drupal site behind our network is being probed constantly from multiple IP addresses," Daniel Cid, CTO and founder of security firm Sucuri, told Ars. "Anyone that has not patched is hacked already at this point. Since the first public exploit was released, we are seeing this arms race between the criminals as they all try to hack as many sites as they can." China-based Netlab 360, meanwhile, said at least three competing attack groups are exploiting the vulnerability. The most active group, Netlab 360 researchers said in a blog post published Friday, is using it to install multiple malicious payloads, including cryptocurrency miners and software for performing distributed denial-of-service attacks on other domains. The group, dubbed Muhstik after a keyword that pops up in its code, relies on 11 separate command-and-control domains and IP addresses, presumably for redundancy in the event one gets taken down.

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Apple seen as slightly more beneficial to society than Facebook - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2018-04-22 19:46
Commentary: A SurveyMonkey/Recode survey suggests that people think Amazon has the most positive impact on society of the major tech companies

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