YouTube is Now Available on the Switch!

YouTube on SwitchMy son, the GameMaster, loves his Nintendo Switch, and he loves to watch YouTube. This announcement should make him happy!

YouTube arrives on the Nintendo Switch

TechCrunch – By: Jordan Crook – “Nintendo has sold over 22 million Switch consoles since launch, with plans to sell another 20 million this fiscal year.

That said, Nintendo hasn’t seemed too focused on building out its portfolio of non-gaming apps.

Thus far, only Hulu has managed to get aboard the Switch train. But today, YouTube joins the mix. Switch owners can download the YouTube app here. Also of note: the YouTube app on Nintendo Switch supports 360-degree video.

Given Nintendo’s portfolio of Switch-compatible games, including Zelda, Super Mario Odyssey, Pokémon, and Fortnite, YouTube’s integration with the console makes sense. Both the Switch and YouTube skew toward younger demographics.

Part of the reason that it’s taken so long for streaming apps to make their way to the Switch is because of Nintendo’s focus on growing its gaming library for the console.

‘We’ve said that other services will come in due time,’ said Reggie Fils-Aimé, Nintendo’s chief operations officer, in an interview from last month. ‘For us, we want to make sure that we continue driving the install base for Nintendo Switch, continue to have great games for the platform.'”

Microsoft Screws Up Again! Windows Pro Activation Glitch!

Evil EmpireI saw this yesterday. My legitimate copy of Windows 10 said it wasn’t activated. I did do the “Troubleshooting” fix by shear guess and it fixed it. However, you gotta do better Microsoft!

Microsoft Quickly Fixes Windows 10 Activation Issue

Thurrott – By: Paul Thurrott – “Yesterday, many Windows 10 Pro users started seeing erroneous activation issues. But Microsoft quickly fixed the issue.

‘We’re working to restore product activations for the limited number of affected Windows 10 Pro customers,’ a Microsoft statement obtained by Mary Jo Foley notes. That statement arrived in mid-afternoon on Thursday. And Microsoft fixed the problem by the end of the day.

As you might imagine, given the way things have been going with Windows lately, there was an instant rip of outrage and criticism of the software giant for this latest gaffe. But without knowing what caused the problem yet, we can at least take solace in the fact that Microsoft did fix it very quickly. And it’s not like anyone lost data or functionality during the downtime, which lasted less than a day.

For those curious about the error, it impacted Windows 10 Pro only. Users were incorrectly informed by the OS that their legal copy of Windows 10 Pro was unauthorized or unactivated.

If you did experience this problem, it’s fixed: You can open Settings (WINKEY + I) and navigate to Update & Security > Activation, and then select “Troubleshoot” to run the Activation Troubleshooter to manually make everything right if it didn’t happen automatically.

So, yes, I’m wondering what went wrong. But in the scope of other issues coming from the Windows team these days—like the fiasco that is the October 2018 Update—this was a relatively minor problem, now fixed.”

New Tools Aim to Thwart Google Tracking

Google TrackingGoogle’s motto used to be: “Don’t Be Evil!” They dropped that. Now, I guess, they reserve the right to be evil when they want to!

Apple, Firefox tools aim to thwart Facebook, Google tracking

Fox Business – By: Anick Jesdanun – “Facebook and other companies routinely track your online surfing habits to better target ads at you. Two web browsers now want to help you fight back in what’s becoming an escalating privacy arms race.

New protections in Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox browsers aim to prevent companies from turning ‘cookie’ data files used to store sign-in details and preferences into broader trackers that take note of what you read, watch and research on other sites.

Lance Cottrell, creator of the privacy service Anonymizer, said Apple’s effort was particularly significant, as it takes aim at a technique developed by tracking companies to override users’ attempts to delete their cookies.

Safari makes these protections automatic in updates coming Tuesday to iPhones and iPads and a week later to Mac computers. Firefox has similar protections on Apple mobile devices and is rolling out them out to personal computers in the coming months.

To get the protections, you’ll have to break your habit of using Google’s Chrome browser, which by some estimates has more than half of the worldwide browser usage. Safari and Firefox have less than 20 percent combined.

Even then, Safari and Firefox can’t entirely stop tracking. For starters, they won’t block tracking when you’re using Facebook or Google itself. Nor can they help much when you use phone or tablet apps, unless the app happens to embed Safari, as Twitter’s iPhone app does.

But Will Strafach, a mobile security expert who is designing data security tools for phones, said imperfect protection is better than no protection. He notes that burglars can still break down a door, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother locking it.

Cookies and other trackers can be used by companies to keep track of who you are as you move from website to website. The companies can build a digital profile as you, say, read about Democratic or Republican viewpoints, buy a particular brand of pet food or indulge in the entire season of ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians.’

News, video and other third-party sites use Google and Facebook cookies to customize ads to your hobbies and interests, rather than hawking products you might never buy. That’s why you might see an ad for shoes soon after searching for them elsewhere.

Apple says its tests show that some popular websites are embedded with more than 70 such trackers. Many of these are from Facebook and Google, which are expected to command a combined 57 percent of the $107 billion U.S. digital advertising market this year, according to the research group eMarketer.

Though general awareness of data collection has grown in the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal , how trackers work behind the scenes remains a mystery to many people.

Ghostery and other products have long offered tracking protection. The browsers are now trying to incorporate that directly so you don’t have to go looking for browser add-ons.

Safari will try to automatically distinguish cookies that are useful from ones that are there just to track you. Apple notes that cookies can appear in unexpected places, such as sites that embed ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons. Now, those cookies will be blocked until you click on one of those buttons, in which case you’ll be prompted for permission to allow the tracking. If you don’t, your ‘like’ won’t register.

Safari is also attacking a technique developed to circumvent cookie deletions. Through ‘fingerprinting,’ a company can identify you through your computer’s characteristics, such as browser type and fonts installed. Your new cookie can then be tied to your old profile. Safari will now limit the technical details it sends.

Firefox has an anti-tracking feature that also tries to distinguish tracking cookies from useful ones. It’s on by default only on Apple’s mobile devices. Mozilla is testing a broader rollout for personal computers, though its plans for Android are not yet known. For now, you need to turn it on or use a private-browsing mode, which gets more aggressive at killing cookies, including useful ones.

For PCs, Firefox also has an optional add-on, called Facebook Container, to segregate your Facebook activity from everything else. Think of it as a wall that prevents Facebook from accessing its data cookie as you surf elsewhere. A version is available for other trackers, too, but requires configuration on your part.

None of the Firefox tools, though, address fingerprinting.

Unsurprisingly, advertisers aren’t happy.

In a statement, Interactive Advertising Bureau executive Dennis Buchheim said that even as browsers makers feel pressured to deliver privacy-centric features, they should consider the importance of advertising in enabling free services.

The new Safari and Firefox tools don’t block ads. But without cookies, websites might get paid a lot less for them, said Jed Williams, chief innovation officer at the Local Media Association, an industry group for news publishers.

Apple and Mozilla are able to push the boundaries on privacy because neither depends on advertising. Google makes most of its money from selling ads.

Facebook and Google declined comment on the Safari and Firefox tools. But Google said its Chrome browser offers tools to control and delete cookies and set preferences for certain websites. Google says users can also decline personalization and get generic ads instead, though tracking continues in the background while using the company’s services.”

Facebook Admits to Security Breach!

Mark ZuckerburgPay attention to your Facebook account, folks!

Facebook confirms major security breach affecting 50 million users

The Enquirer – By: Carly Page – “Facebook waited until 6 pm on Friday to announce that an estimated 50 million users were affected by a major security breach.

The breach, which Facebook engineers discovered on 25 September, saw hackers exploit a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that impacted ‘View As’, a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else.

‘This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people’s accounts,’ explained Guy Rosen, VP of Product Management at Facebook.

With access to a users’ authentication token, hackers would have had access to private messages, which would have been exposed to harvesting until Facebook forced a log-out.

‘This attack exploited the complex interaction of multiple issues in our code. It stemmed from a change we made to our video uploading feature in July 2017, which impacted ‘View As.’

‘The attackers not only needed to find this vulnerability and use it to get an access token, they then had to pivot from that account to others to steal more tokens.’

The company notes that its internal investigation is ‘still in its early stages’ and says it remains unclear who might be behind the attack or what user data – if any – was taken.

Facebook says it has fixed the vulnerability and reset the access tokens of the almost 50 million accounts affected by the breach. Additionally, as a precaution, it’s resetting tokens for another 40 million accounts that have been subject to ‘View As’.

The firm has also switched off the ‘View As’ feature while it conducts a ‘thorough security review’.

‘People’s privacy and security is incredibly important, and we’re sorry this happened,’ Rosen added. ‘It’s why we’ve taken immediate action to secure these accounts and let users know what happened.

Facebook might end up with another breach to deal with over the weekend, as a Taiwanese hacker claims he’ll delete the Mark Zuckerberg’s account and broadcast himself doing so on Facebook Live on Sunday.”

Changes are Coming in the Wireless Mic World!

Shure Wireless SystemInteresting article for wireless mic users…

Change is Coming to the Wireless World

Samson – “How the FCC Reallocation of UHF Frequencies may affect your Wireless Mics
We live in a wireless world – and it isn’t just microphones. Our mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, cameras, GPS units and other devices keep us in constant wireless contact with each other, the internet, our files in the cloud, plus a veritable treasure trove of online services and conveniences everyplace we go. At home, in hotels, in restaurants and cafes, at school and in the office, wireless Wi-Fi networks help keep us all connected. And of course, at the gig, in the concert hall, in the theater, in the worship hall and sanctuary, and on the playing field, wireless microphones have become part of the landscape.

For years, all of this wireless growth has had to find a home nestled in among the existing spectrum of television and other frequencies. But here’s the challenge: The wireless communication spectrum is a fixed entity with a finite number of frequencies. We cannot simply unspool or string up more frequencies, as we would with copper wire or fiber optic cables. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which governs the electromagnetic broadcast realm in the United States, has seen this issue coming for decades, and has taken steps to apply some remedies. Most of these FCC remedies apply to the UHF TV band, where many 600 MHz wireless microphone systems also operate.

Understanding the TV Spectrum
From its creation, terrestrial (non-satellite) television was broadcast as an analog signal. The analog TV spectrum ranged from 54 MHz up to 806 MHz*, covering Channels 2 (VHF) to 69 (UHF). Analog signals had limitations about how close neighboring frequencies could be packed together without causing destructive interference with one another, and often a “guard-band” of frequencies was used to isolate a signal from interference. These gaps between adjacent frequencies, local unused channels, and even these so-called guard bands became known as “White Spaces”, where peripheral devices – including wireless microphones – were free to operate. In June 2009, the FCC required all terrestrial TV broadcasts to be digital. At the same time, the digital TV spectrum was redefined as ranging from 54 MHz up to 698 MHz, covering channels 2 to 51. In addition to cannibalizing certain UHF channels, switching “over-the-air” TV broadcasts to the digital domain would free up even more bandwidth for mobile communications, white space devices, and yes, wireless microphones. Digital TV signals could be packed closer together without the risk of destructive interference, and the use of guard-bands was no longer required. By this time, many Americans already received their television signal via cable or satellite, and it was felt the elimination of certain UHF channels in exchange for the greater spectrum available for wireless communications would be well-accepted by the public. Incidentally, this was not the first time such a decision had been made. In 1948, Channel 1 was officially eliminated from the TV spectrum, with those frequencies held in reserve for land-based mobile communications.

*(54 MHz –72, 76–88, 174–216, 470–608, and 614–806 MHz)

New Changes to the UHF Spectrum
Wireless microphones operate in a variety of spectrums – the VHF and UHF television bands, plus the 900 MHz, 1.9 GHz, and 2.4 GHz bands. Upcoming FCC changes to the UHF broadcast band will have a profound effect on wireless microphones operating the in the 600 MHz band. As was the case during the digital conversion, more of the upper UHF TV channel frequencies will now be made available for mobile broadband access. Beginning on July 12, 2020, the UHF TV Spectrum will be re-allocated as follows:

470 MHz – 608 MHz
This portion of the UHF spectrum will be allocated to UHF Channels 14 through 36. In addition, licensed and unlicensed wireless microphones (? 250 mW) may continue to operate in this band. Licensed wireless use generally applies to a fixed venue with a large number of wireless microphones in use, such as a major theatre or a football stadium.

*In thirteen major U.S. cities, Public Safety communications may be operating on one or more select channels (14-20), so wireless microphone use should be curtailed on these channels to avoid conflict.

608 MHz – 14 MHz

Also known as UHF Channel 37, this band of frequencies is reserved for special uses such as wireless medical device telemetry and radio astronomy, plus white space devices.

614 MHz – 616 MHz

Set up and defined as a guard band, these frequencies are available to licensed and unlicensed wireless microphones of ? 20 mW.

616 MHz – 653 MHz

This area of the spectrum is reserved for mobile broadband use; no wireless microphone use is allowed.

653 MHz – 663 MHz

This area of the spectrum is split into two sections. From 653 MHz to 657 MHz, only licensed wireless microphones with a power rating of ? 20 mW are allowed. The frequencies from 657 MHz to 663 MHz are available for licensed and unlicensed wireless microphones (? 20 mW) and white space devices.

663 MHz – 698 MHz

This area of the spectrum is reserved for mobile broadband use; no wireless microphone use is allowed.

Solutions for Samson Wireless Microphone Users
The changes described above will affect Samson wireless microphone systems operating in the 600 MHz band, including the Samson N Channel and the Samson C Band. After July 12, 2020, it will no longer be legal to operate your Samson wireless microphone in these bands. It would be best to transition away from these affected frequencies before July of 2020. In order to ease your transition, Samson has initiated specific rebate programs to aid affected users. For full details, please visit the Samson 600MHz Transition and Rebate Form page below:

http://www.samsontech.com/wireless/600mhz/

Microsoft Kills Off Edge Warning

Edge WarningThese warnings are not only annoying, they are disingenuous! I hope Microsoft will keep them out of the final release!

Microsoft Windows U-turn removes warning about installing Chrome, Firefox

c|net – By: Stephen Shankland – “Microsoft has apparently reversed course on a Windows 10 test feature that sought to warn people from installing Chrome, Firefox and other browsers that challenged Microsoft’s own Edge.

A new ‘fast-ring’ test version of Windows, Insider Preview Build 17760, no longer interrupts the installation of rival browsers, a CNET test shows.

Earlier this week, an earlier test version of Windows would warn people who tried to install the Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Vivaldi web browsers, ‘You already have Microsoft Edge — the safer, faster browser for Windows 10.’ The dialog box presented two options: ‘Open Microsoft Edge’ — the default — and ‘Install anyway.’

The feature raised some hackles and brought back memories of Microsoft’s strong-arm tactics promoting its old Internet Explorer browser in the first browser wars two decades ago. But Microsoft isn’t alone in such tactics: Google promotes its Chrome browser as faster and safer to people who visit its own websites with other browsers.

Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the change of direction.

The company is struggling to reclaim even a shadow of the dominance it once held with its Internet Explorer browser. For years, Google’s Chrome has steadily eaten away at IE’s share of usage, according to analytics firm StatCounter, and Microsoft’s Edge hasn’t even outpaced IE despite its more modern design.

Years ago, IE dominance got Microsoft in trouble, with the US Justice Department and the European Commission dragging the company through antitrust proceedings. The browser and operating system markets look very different now, though, with Microsoft Windows absent on mobile phones and with Chrome dominant on personal computers.

Edge accounts for 2 percent of usage today compared with 3 percent for IE and 60 percent for Chrome, but its usage share has actually dropped a fraction of a percentage point compared with a year ago, according to StatCounter.

Taking It to Extremes: Mix insane situations — erupting volcanoes, nuclear meltdowns, 30-foot waves — with everyday tech. Here’s what happens.

Fight the Power: Take a look at who’s transforming the way we think about energy.”

The “WWW” is back in Chrome!

Due to all the user uproar and complaints Google has decided to restore the “www.” to the addresses in the Google Chrome address bar. This is only a short time fix, however, because they plan to take it away again when Chrome Version 70 comes out.

A lot of the complaints originated due to phishing schemes that would be more successful by hiding the “www.” subdomain in the address. There is also concern about the “m.” subdomain, but for the time being, both have been restored and will go away again with Chrome Version 70. The Safari browser also hides subdomains, but not very many people have said anything about that. I guess we’ll stay tuned to see what happens!

Access Your File Share From Your Chromebook

Google ChromebookThis is pretty cool! This is a feature I have wanted for a LONG time!

Windows file sharing comes to Chromebooks

ZDNet – By: Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols – “You can run Android apps on Chromebooks. You can run Linux programs on Chromebooks. Heck, you can even run Windows programs on Chromebooks. But one thing you couldn’t do natively on a Chromebook is read and write files on a Windows PCs or Windows and Samba servers. Things change. With the forthcoming release of Chrome OS 70, you can access network file shares from Chromebooks.

To do this, once Chrome OS 70 is available to all users, open Settings, look for ‘Network File Shares’, click the ‘Add File Share’ button, and enter your user name and password. Then, click ‘Add’ button and open the Files app to browse your newly mounted shared folder. That’s all there is to it.

Today, canary Chrome OS users can test it out. This version may not be the shipping one. Chrome OS developer Zentaro Kavanagh said on Google+, ‘We are still working on improving the UX flow.’

Kavanagh also wrote, ‘devices that only support the old SMB1 version of the protocol are not supported.’ SMB (Server Message Block) 1 is insecure.

Microsoft deprecated the SMBv1 protocol in 2014. Starting with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Windows Server, version 1709 and later versions, SMBv1 was no longer installed by default. Nevertheless, many Network Attached Storage (NAS) file servers still support SMBv1. Whether or not you use Chromebooks, set your servers to use SMBv2 or newer.

The Chromebook’s code is based on the Samba file server. Samba is a set of Windows interoperability programs that provide secure, stable and fast file and print services for all client operating systems using the SMB/Common Internet File System (SMB/CIFS) protocol. Samba is also commonly used on almost every NAS device.

Chromebooks already work with Active Directory (AD). Intel-based Chromebooks have done so since the Chrome OS 61 release. But they couldn’t work with AD file resources.

It does not appear, at this time, that Google will be using Samba to enable Chromebooks to work with SMB/CIFS-compliant printers. However, while it’s not well known, Chromebooks can now use some newer local printers. This is done with the open source Internet Printing Protocol (IPP)/CUPS. To see if your Chromebook can already work with your legacy printers, follow the instructions in Google’s latest set up printers guide.

While there is an extension that enables Chromebooks to use SMB file shares, it’s — not to put too fine a point on it — bad. By fully supporting SMB/CIFS, Chromebooks will be one big step closer to being full-fledged members of Windows-based offices.”

Chrome Browser Update 69 Kills “WWW”

WWWDo we care? “www” is kinda traditional, but is it really a big deal?

Chrome 69 kills off www in URLs: Here’s why Google’s move has made people angry

ZDnet – By: Liam Tung – “With the launch of Chrome 69 this week, Google promoted new features and a new look. It gave users months to prepare for Chrome dropping ‘Secure’ from HTTPS sites and adding ‘Not secure’ in red to HTTP sites from Chrome 70.

But for some reason Google decided against mentioning that as of Chrome 69 the world’s most popular browser will no longer show the www. or m. on websites in the address bar because they’re just a ‘trivial subdomain’. As a result, www.zdnet.com is now displayed as zdnet.com.

For now, users can force Chrome to display the full address by disabling the flag ‘Omnibox UI Hide Steady-State URL Scheme and Trivial Subdomains’ at chrome://flags/#omnibox-ui-hide-steady-state-url-scheme-and-subdomains.

The HTTPS is the ‘state-state URL scheme’ while Chrome now considers the www to be a ‘trivial subdomain’ that the address bar would look better without.

You can still reveal the full URL in Chrome 69 by double-clicking the address in the address bar, and if you copy the simplified address and paste it elsewhere it will display the full address.

Chrome 69’s treatment of www in the address bar is similar Apple’s Safari, but the change in Chrome has caused greater concern over Google’s motivations.

After it all, it went to great lengths to warn users about new ways it would communicate HTTP and HTTPS in the address bar, but stayed silent about dropping an equally important indicator that users expect to see.

In a bug report spotted by The Register, critics have pointed out several instances where two different sites will now look the same, potentially exposing users to phishing attacks.

For example, m.tumblr.com, which is not Tumblr’s site, is shown as tumblr.com, and it’s not immediately clear that http://www.pool.ntp.org and http://www.pool.ntp.org are two different sites. Also, in the case of a domain like ‘www.www.2ld.tld’, the www is hidden twice.

The issue has sparked a debate on Hacker News, where some argue that the change is part of Google’s long-term plan to hide its AMP subdomain and make it indistinguishable from the actual domain.

‘And then suddenly the whole world funnels through AMP,’ the commenter noted.

Just as Chrome 69 was released, Google told Wired that URLs are failing to convey a site’s identity, so they’re looking for something else that offers more convenience and greater security.

Nonetheless, the impression it’s given is that Google is trying to kill the URL and assert its dominance over the web.

Security expert Scott Helme reckon the change is good, at least from a phishing standpoint, since most users will understand a padlock better than https:// while removing the www means there’s less information to interpret.”

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