Miscellaneous Tech News



  • @mlnews said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    Alexa, give me nostalgia: Choose Your Own Adventure skill debuts from Audible

    Two titles are available so far, but more will come.

    Founded in 2003 by R.A. Montgomery and Shannon Gilligan, ChooseCo has printed new editions of Choose Your Own Adventure books over the years. In the new Alexa skill, the story will be read to you, and then Alexa will beep whenever a choice that branches the narrative comes up. You just speak the choice to proceed.

    My kids play those and love them. At least one has been around for a while.



  • Slack Technologies prepares for flotation

    Slack Technologies, a messaging service used by companies across the world, is officially gearing up for a public stock listing.

    The firm said it had filed a confidential notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    In one of the year's most anticipated flotations, Slack could be seeking a $10bn valuation.



  • Ajit Pai loses in court—judges overturn gutting of tribal broadband program

    A federal appeals court has overturned Ajit Pai's attempt to take broadband subsidies away from tribal residents.

    The Pai-led Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 in November 2017 to make it much harder for tribal residents to obtain a $25-per-month Lifeline subsidy that reduces the cost of Internet or phone service.



  • Researchers find working USB drive in seal poop

    Defecated drive "downloaded" to New Zealand beach has pictures, video of seals.

    As any parent who has sifted through their offspring’s bowel movements in search of something that shouldn’t have been swallowed in the first place can tell you, coins, magnets, and even small plastic toys can survive a voyage through the digestive tract. It turns out that USB thumb drives can as well, at least when the pinniped digestive system is involved.

    Researchers in New Zealand are looking for the owner of a USB thumb drive that was discovered in a frozen seal turd—specifically, that of an Antarctic leopard seal. According to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, volunteers working with an organization devoted to studying leopard seals and educating the public about them collected and froze the seal scat in November 2017.



  • Apple pays France €500 million to cover a decade of back taxes

    Paris has been urging other EU states to more heavily tax Silicon Valley giants.

    Apple has reportedly paid 10 years of back taxes to the French tax authority—around €500 million (over $570 million)—according to L’Express, a business newspaper.

    The iPhone maker has been under pressure to pay taxes to European Union countries after it was found to have engaged in legal financial chicanery to drastically mitigate its tax burden.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    Apple pays France €500 million to cover a decade of back taxes

    Paris has been urging other EU states to more heavily tax Silicon Valley giants.

    Apple has reportedly paid 10 years of back taxes to the French tax authority—around €500 million (over $570 million)—according to L’Express, a business newspaper.

    The iPhone maker has been under pressure to pay taxes to European Union countries after it was found to have engaged in legal financial chicanery to drastically mitigate its tax burden.

    If it's legal, what's the issue? Why does Apple owe?



  • @Dashrender said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @scottalanmiller said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    Apple pays France €500 million to cover a decade of back taxes

    Paris has been urging other EU states to more heavily tax Silicon Valley giants.

    Apple has reportedly paid 10 years of back taxes to the French tax authority—around €500 million (over $570 million)—according to L’Express, a business newspaper.

    The iPhone maker has been under pressure to pay taxes to European Union countries after it was found to have engaged in legal financial chicanery to drastically mitigate its tax burden.

    If it's legal, what's the issue? Why does Apple owe?

    Because it obviously wasn't legal.



  • @Dashrender said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @scottalanmiller said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    Apple pays France €500 million to cover a decade of back taxes

    Paris has been urging other EU states to more heavily tax Silicon Valley giants.

    Apple has reportedly paid 10 years of back taxes to the French tax authority—around €500 million (over $570 million)—according to L’Express, a business newspaper.

    The iPhone maker has been under pressure to pay taxes to European Union countries after it was found to have engaged in legal financial chicanery to drastically mitigate its tax burden.

    If it's legal, what's the issue? Why does Apple owe?

    Financial chicanery means it was illegal. They owe because they were involved in tax fraud.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @Dashrender said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @scottalanmiller said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    Apple pays France €500 million to cover a decade of back taxes

    Paris has been urging other EU states to more heavily tax Silicon Valley giants.

    Apple has reportedly paid 10 years of back taxes to the French tax authority—around €500 million (over $570 million)—according to L’Express, a business newspaper.

    The iPhone maker has been under pressure to pay taxes to European Union countries after it was found to have engaged in legal financial chicanery to drastically mitigate its tax burden.

    If it's legal, what's the issue? Why does Apple owe?

    Financial chicanery means it was illegal. They owe because they were involved in tax fraud.

    So the quote was poorly written then. Got it. and if not poorly - purposefully to confuse.



  • @Dashrender said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @scottalanmiller said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @Dashrender said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @scottalanmiller said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    Apple pays France €500 million to cover a decade of back taxes

    Paris has been urging other EU states to more heavily tax Silicon Valley giants.

    Apple has reportedly paid 10 years of back taxes to the French tax authority—around €500 million (over $570 million)—according to L’Express, a business newspaper.

    The iPhone maker has been under pressure to pay taxes to European Union countries after it was found to have engaged in legal financial chicanery to drastically mitigate its tax burden.

    If it's legal, what's the issue? Why does Apple owe?

    Financial chicanery means it was illegal. They owe because they were involved in tax fraud.

    So the quote was poorly written then. Got it. and if not poorly - purposefully to confuse.

    Which part was confusing? They didn't pay taxes that they owed. They got caught. Not they are being collected.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    The iPhone maker has been under pressure to pay taxes to European Union countries after it was found to have engaged in legal financial chicanery to drastically mitigate its tax burden.

    right there - it calls them legal.

    or, rather in this case we're back to that logical/illogical discussion we had earlier... all these extra words make it mean the opposite.



  • @Dashrender said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @scottalanmiller said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    The iPhone maker has been under pressure to pay taxes to European Union countries after it was found to have engaged in legal financial chicanery to drastically mitigate its tax burden.

    right there - it calls them legal.

    or, rather in this case we're back to that logical/illogical discussion we had earlier... all these extra words make it mean the opposite.

    Ah, I see what you mean.

    I suppose that they meant that it was legal trickery, not that the trickery was legal.





  • @StuartJordan said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    Ouch, ouch, ouch...

    https://www.reddit.com/r/msp/comments/ani14t/local_msp_got_hacked_and_all_clients_cryptolocked/?utm_source=reddit-android

    Only skimmed, but it seems like it was caused by outdated or unpatched system in use the the MSP.



  • @JaredBusch does seem that way, it's a plugin for connectwise. Still 80 of their clients cryptolocked though..that's a heart drop moment there..



  • @StuartJordan said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @JaredBusch does seem that way, it's a plugin for connectwise. Still 80 of their clients cryptolocked though..that's a heart drop moment there..

    Nope, bad MSP are all over the place.



  • @JaredBusch said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @StuartJordan said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @JaredBusch does seem that way, it's a plugin for connectwise. Still 80 of their clients cryptolocked though..that's a heart drop moment there..

    Nope, bad MSP are all over the place.

    Seems like something like that would shut an MSP down.





  • @JaredBusch said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @StuartJordan said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    Ouch, ouch, ouch...

    https://www.reddit.com/r/msp/comments/ani14t/local_msp_got_hacked_and_all_clients_cryptolocked/?utm_source=reddit-android

    Only skimmed, but it seems like it was caused by outdated or unpatched system in use the the MSP.

    Yeah, sounds that way.



  • @dafyre said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @JaredBusch said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @StuartJordan said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @JaredBusch does seem that way, it's a plugin for connectwise. Still 80 of their clients cryptolocked though..that's a heart drop moment there..

    Nope, bad MSP are all over the place.

    Seems like something like that would shut an MSP down.

    Not likely. Because customers don't talk to each other. If things like that would kill an MSP, imagine how it would impact Microsoft. Oh wait, it doesn't. Because even if every customer was hacked because of something that was MS' fault, they view it as isolated incidences and people will just keep on doing what they are doing.



  • Emoji 12.0 brings us waffles, more diversity, suggestive “finger pinch” glyph

    We're now up to 3053 total emoji, with no signs of slowing down.

    Emoji version 12.0 has been finalized by the Unicode Consortium, and for 2019 we're getting 230 new emoji. Although the standard is finalized, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other platform vendors still need to create artwork and integrate these new glyphs into their respective platforms. Today we have a preview of what to expect thanks to Emojipedia, which put together a list of the new glyphs with example artwork.

    There's a push for more diversity with this new emoji release. We have emojis for deaf people in three genders (male, female, and genderless) and five skin tones, an ear with a hearing aid, people in motorized and unmotorized wheelchairs, prosthetic arms and legs, a guide dog and a service dog, and people with a probing cane. There are actually only 59 distinct new emoji types in this release, but everything that depicts a human comes in five skin tones and three genders, which pumps up the numbers. You can really see this with the "People holding hands" emoji, which is completely configurable for a total of 70 possible combinations.

    The emoji that's causing the most buzz is "pinching hand." Emojipedia's example shows a thumb and pointer finger with a small distance between them, which could also be interpreted as a hand signal for "small." People are already coming up with uh, "suggestive" uses for such a glyph, and if the actual implementations follow Emojipedia's design, the glyph could end up on the naughty list next to peach and eggplant.



  • With experimental “Never slow mode,” Chrome tries to stop Web devs making it slow

    There's just one small downside: It breaks the Web.

    Since Chrome's very first release, performance has been one of Google's top priorities. But Google is against a competing force: Web developers. The Web of today is a more complex, bandwidth-intensive place than it was when Chrome was first released, which means that—although Internet connections and the browser itself are faster than they've ever been—slow pages remain an everyday occurrence.

    Google engineers have been developing "Never Slow Mode" in a bid to counter this. Spotted at Chrome Story (via ZDNet), the new mode places tight limitations on Web content in an effort to make its performance more robust and predictable.

    The exact design and rationale of Never Slow Mode aren't public—the changelog for the feature mentions a design document but says it's currently Google-internal. But taken together, that design and rationale will ensure that the browser's main thread never has to do too much work and will never get too delayed. They will also ensure that only limited amounts of data are pulled down over the network. This should make the browser more responsive to user input, lighter on the network, and a bit less of a memory hog than it would otherwise be.



  • AT&T’s misleading “5G E” indicator comes to 4G iPhones in iOS 12.2 beta

    AT&T's 5G E icon for 4G phones previously rolled out to some Android models.

    AT&T's misleading "5G E" network indicator for 4G phones, which was rolled out to some Android smartphones last month, has now come to iPhones in a beta version of iOS 12.2.

    AT&T customers who installed the second beta of iOS 12.2 "are noticing their iPhones displaying a '5G E' connection to AT&T's network," MacRumors reported yesterday. 9to5Mac and other news sites provided details on the change, and people on Twitter posted screenshots of the 5G E indicator.

    Of course, there is no 5G iPhone yet, and AT&T does not offer 5G mobile service for smartphones. AT&T's 5G E stands for 5G Evolution, but it's actually 4G LTE, albeit with advanced LTE features like 256 QAM, 4x4 MIMO, and three-way carrier aggregation.

    [Scott's personal note: LTE is already falsely labeled as 4G. LTE is a 3G technology that is fast enough that most people have been convinced it is 4G. The "G" refers to the tech generation, not the speed, and LTE is as fast as many common 4G technologies, but predates 4G. It is just the fastest 3G. So not only is AT&T using 5Ge to mean something less, it's simply rebranding 3G LTE as 5G just as everyone rebranded it as 4G in the past.]



  • Firefox taking a hard line against noisy video, banning it from autoplaying

    Firefox's policy is much simpler, and much stricter, than Chrome's.

    Last year, Chrome introduced changes to try to prevent the persistent nuisance that is pages that automatically play noisy videos. Next month, Firefox will be following suit; Firefox 66, due on March 19, will prevent the automatic playback of any video that contains audio.

    Mozilla's plan for Firefox is a great deal simpler and a great deal stricter than Chrome's system. In Chrome, Google has a heuristic that tries to distinguish between those sites where autoplaying is generally welcome (Netflix and YouTube, for example) and those where it isn't (those annoying sites that have autoplaying video tucked away in a corner to startle you when it starts making unexpected sounds). Firefox isn't doing anything like that; by default, any site that tries to play video with audio will have that video playback blocked.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    [Scott's personal note: LTE is already falsely labeled as 4G. LTE is a 3G technology that is fast enough that most people have been convinced it is 4G. The "G" refers to the tech generation, not the speed, and LTE is as fast as many common 4G technologies, but predates 4G. It is just the fastest 3G. So not only is AT&T using 5Ge to mean something less, it's simply rebranding 3G LTE as 5G just as everyone rebranded it as 4G in the past.]

    Re LTE:
    You are incorrect, because the ITU has declared that it can be called LTE.

    The ITU is the standards body that gets to make that call. Not you.

    They also defined the actual 4G as "True 4G"



  • @scottalanmiller said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    AT&T’s misleading “5G E” indicator comes to 4G iPhones in iOS 12.2 beta

    AT&T's 5G E icon for 4G phones previously rolled out to some Android models.

    AT&T's misleading "5G E" network indicator for 4G phones, which was rolled out to some Android smartphones last month, has now come to iPhones in a beta version of iOS 12.2.

    Even worse is that there is this rush to market a 5G when the actual 5G standard is not even set yet.



  • @JaredBusch said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    Even worse is that there is this rush to market a 5G when the actual 5G standard is not even set yet.

    That didn't go well for bluetooth either



  • @JaredBusch said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    @scottalanmiller said in Miscellaneous Tech News:

    [Scott's personal note: LTE is already falsely labeled as 4G. LTE is a 3G technology that is fast enough that most people have been convinced it is 4G. The "G" refers to the tech generation, not the speed, and LTE is as fast as many common 4G technologies, but predates 4G. It is just the fastest 3G. So not only is AT&T using 5Ge to mean something less, it's simply rebranding 3G LTE as 5G just as everyone rebranded it as 4G in the past.]

    Re LTE:
    You are incorrect, because the ITU has declared that it can be called LTE.

    The ITU is the standards body that gets to make that call. Not you.

    They also defined the actual 4G as "True 4G"

    It was changed later, after the names were made. When 4G was created, LTE was already a 3G tech that already had been named.

    Claiming something from 3G just "became" 4G itself removed the ITU from any credibility in the process. It means that an ITU defined "G" is inconsistent and unreliable.

    The ITU doesn't recognize the ITU's decision. So why would we? I would call this "self de-authoritative." They essentially declared themselves non-authoritative in the matter.



  • Chrome OS’ Instant Tethering now works with more than 30 Android smartphones

    15 additional Chromebooks now support the feature, too.

    The handy feature that lets Chromebook users connect to a smartphone's cellular hotspot is now coming to more devices. Google announced that Chrome OS' Instant Tethering feature will now be available on more than 15 Chromebooks and more than 30 smartphone models, including handsets from HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung.

    Previously, Instant Tethering was only available on a handful of Chromebooks, including the Pixelbook and the new Pixel Slate. The list of supported smartphones was similarly short, initially confined to Google-made handsets like the Pixel and Nexus. The expansion is part of Google's effort to make the experience of using a Chromebook easier and more seamless for those with Android smartphones, regardless of the handset's manufacturer.

    Instant Tethering, which first came to Chromebooks in 2017, requires an initial setup process that users can complete upon setting up the Chromebook or at any time from the Settings menu. Users must be signed in to the same Google account on the Chromebook and the Android smartphone in order to use Instant Tethering features.



  • Google releases Chrome extension that alerts users of breached passwords

    Using hashed and encrypted store, add-on securely checks logins against breach database.

    With lists of billions of compromised credentials floating around on underground forums and in text-paste pages across the Internet, it's difficult for anyone to keep up with the potential threat from breached passwords. That's why, as part of its security efforts during Safer Internet Day, Google has released a new add-on for the Chrome browser that automatically and securely checks website credentials against known password breaches.

    The Chrome browser extension, called Password Checkup, is available today. It securely checks credentials used to log in to websites—whether they're manually entered or stored in Chrome's password manager—against hashed credentials stored in an encrypted database of billions of compromised accounts maintained by Google. Elie Bursztein, head of Google's anti-abuse research, told Ars that the protocol behind the service is being presented as a standard for securely checking account security and that the interface may be offered as an open application interface in the future.

    Checking for password breaches is a sensitive operation. Google's security team has been offering password checks for G Suite users for some time, but doing the same thing for the rest of users' credentials is a much more delicate privacy dance. Users don't want to just hand over their passwords and accounts to Google openly, and "Google has a data set we don't want to publicly share," said Kurt Thomas, staff research scientist at Google. So Password Checkup uses a combination of anonymization and cryptography to protect the exchange, using a technique called "blinding" to create a secret search index. Credentials are anonymized with an Argon2 hash function to create a search key for Google's database and encrypted with Elliptic Curve cryptography.


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