Firefox to Improve Anti-Tracking Feature

More power to them!

Firefox: changing our approach to anti-tracking

OSnews – Anyone who isn’t an expert on the internet would be hard-pressed to explain how tracking on the internet actually works. Some of the negative effects of unchecked tracking are easy to notice, namely eerily-specific targeted advertising and a loss of performance on the web. However, many of the harms of unchecked data collection are completely opaque to users and experts alike, only to be revealed piecemeal by major data breaches. In the near future, Firefox will – by default – protect users by blocking tracking while also offering a clear set of controls to give our users more choice over what information they share with sites.

Firefox continues to do great work in this department.”

Microsoft Removes Device Install Limits For Office 365 Subscribers

Microsoft Office 365

If you aren’t using LibreOffice for free, this is at least nice.

Microsoft Removes Device Install Limits For Office 365 Subscribers

SlashDot – By: BeauHD – “Starting October 2nd, Office 365 Home users will no longer be restricted to 10 devices across five users and Personal subscribers will no longer have a limit of one computer and one tablet. The catch is that you can only stay signed in on five devices at once. Engadget reports:

Meanwhile, Home users can let another person use the productivity suite through their account, with Microsoft bumping up the number of licenses per subscriber from five to six. Each user has access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote, along with 1TB of individual storage. Microsoft is also integrating Home subscriptions with its family service, so you can automatically share your Office 365 plan with people you’ve set up as family members. Elsewhere, you’ll manage your subscription from within your Microsoft account settings from now on.”

The Linux-Based ZeroPhone!

ZeroPhoneA Raspberry Pi based Linux Phone? For $50.00? Cool!

Raspberry Pi-based ZeroPhone promises ‘an open-source, Linux-powered’ handset

ZDNet – By: Nick Heath – “If you’re looking for a smartphone that doesn’t harvest data 24/7, then the ZeroPhone may be the device for you.

A project to build the $50 phone has been launched on Crowd Supply, promising to deliver ‘an open-source, Linux-powered’ handset with ‘no carrier locks, bloated apps, or data mining’ and that ‘doesn’t depend on big companies’.

Android smartphones have hit the headlines recently, first for Google tracking users who had switched location tracking off, and second for sending data to Google’s servers 50 times more often than an iPhone.

The ZeroPhone will be based around the tiny Raspberry Pi Zero, an Arduino microcontroller, and the ESP8266 Wi-Fi module.

The ZeroPhone comes with several extras not found on your typical handset, including a mini-HDMI port and a single full-size USB 2.0 port, alongside the more typical support for Wi-Fi and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

One downside is the phone will initially launch only with 2G GSM connectivity, with 3G expected to be added later. The screen is also far smaller than is typically the case, with a 1.3-inch, 128 x 64 OLED display.

‘ZeroPhone is user-friendly and will have the typical features of a phone, but will give you advanced features when you need them,’ according to the ZeroPhone’s creator Arsenijs.

‘You can modify and repair it easily, and it’s power-user and programmer-friendly. It’s also built from widely available components, so you can build a ZeroPhone independently if you need to.’

To get the most of the phone, users will need to be technically proficient. While the splash page for the project says the likes of IR receivers and the Pi’s 5 and eight-megapixel cameras can be wired up the phone’s electronic interfaces, this will require users to hook up the electronics themselves.

However, if you’re confident using the Linux terminal, you’ll be able to SSH into the device for remote access and run a wide range of Linux software on the phone.

It can even be hooked up to a keyboard and mouse and used as a desktop, although the Pi Zero’s ageing single-core processor isn’t capable of running a heavy graphical desktop comfortably.

The ZeroPhone project is listed as ‘coming soon’ and those interested can sign up for updates on Crowd Supply.”

Gregory Peck’s Grandson Cast as Discovery’s Spock

Ethan Peck Cast as SpockI can see the resemblance, it could work.

Star Trek: Discovery’s Spock will be played by Gregory Peck’s grandson

The Verge – By: Devon Maloney – “Earlier this summer, at 2018’s San Diego Comic-Con, Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Alex Kurtzman confirmed that Spock, the beloved half-Vulcan second-in-command of the original Star Trek’s U.S.S. Enterprise, would be appearing in the newest Trek series. After much searching, CBS has announced that the show has cast the role. Ethan Peck, whose previous credits include playing Patrick Verona (the Heath Ledger character) in the TV adaptation of 10 Things I Hate About You — and who also happens to be the grandson of legendary actor Gregory Peck — will fill the TV shoes of the late Leonard Nimoy. (Peck is not related to Zachary Quinto, who currently plays the character in the film franchise, but there certainly is a non-familial resemblance.)

Noting in the official CBS press release that Spock ‘remains the only member of the original bridge crew to span every era of Star Trek’ — Spock technically did not appear on the early aughts’ Star Trek: Enterprise, but the man can be forgiven for overlooking the least-beloved Trek series — Kurtzman explains that the showrunners were looking for an actor who could ‘effortlessly embody Spock’s greatest qualities, beyond obvious logic: empathy, intuition, compassion, confusion, and yearning.’ Kurtzman says Peck seems “aware of his daunting responsibility to Leonard, Zack, and the fans, and ready to confront the challenge in the service of protecting and expanding on Spock’s legacy.”

The wording of Kurtzman’s statement is notable, because its reassuring language speaks to the anxieties fans have expressed about Trek in recent years, about the quality of the new TV series, the continuity weirdness between Discovery and the J.J. Abrams reboot films, and the entire idea of Spock — in addition to Christopher Pike, the captain from the original 1965 Trek pilot, and Number One, Pike’s female first officer — being pulled into Discovery in a misguided attempt to give the show additional legitimacy or appeal.

Other fan concerns have involved the crew shake-ups that have plagued Discovery since its inception, from co-creator Bryan Fuller notoriously exiting the show to the recent firing of his replacements, Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts, over budget issues and alleged harassment. This statement, combined with the announcement out of the annual Star Trek Las Vegas convention earlier this month, that a new series in the works will bring Patrick Stewart back to the franchise as Jean-Luc Picard, seems to indicate that Trek will be leaning hard on nostalgia going forward. At least this time, we’ll be returning to the past to find comfort in a better future.

As it stands, Peck has clearly made a measured effort to start off on the right foot, too. In his announcement tweet about his casting, he posted a photo with Nimoy’s family, and for good measure, signed off the way the late Nimoy (RIP) used to: with a #LLAP — Live Long and Prosper.”

Google’s 8.8.8.8 DNS Celebrates a Milestone!

As somebody that was married on 8/8/88 – I like those kind of dates… so check this out!

Google’s Public DNS reaches its 8.8.8.8th anniversary

The Inquirer – By: Chris Merriman – “The Google Public DNS service was launched in 2009 and allows users to route their internet traffic through its servers, using the IP address 8.8.8.8 and thus avoiding their own ISP. It often makes for a faster service, and in some cases, can get people online when they otherwise could not.

On Sunday 12 August 2018 at 0130BST, the Public DNS celebrated eight years, eight months, eight days and eight hours online.

Google is very proud of this feat. It has been instrumental in some public censorship battles – for example when internet access was blocked in Turkey.

Elsewhere, developing countries are using it for all kinds of things, which is facilitating Google’s ‘next billion users’ initiative.

For the rest of us, its frequently used in free public WiFi spots, information terminals, and of course our own routers – not least of all Google WiFi which defaults to 8.8.8.8 and its backup 8.8.4.4.

If you’ve never tried it – find the setting in your router and add it in place of your ISPs numbers – you may find you get a significant speed boost and improved security.

Of course, putting all your data through Google’s services might feel like a nightmare to the more suspicious out there. Google has given full transparency in how it uses the telemetry and more importantly, how it doesn’t.

Other similar services exist such as the venerable OpenDNS, now owned by Cisco, and the recently launched Cloudflare 1.1.1.1 option.

As one of the less publicised features of the Google empire, it’s surprising to even hear this being talked about, but in this case, there’s been a comment from Google. More is coming thanks to some ‘exciting Google Public DNS announcements in the near future.’

Comparing the Google service to some of its rivals, it’s quite clear that the possibilities for additional functionality such as parental locking and a premium service for businesses are quite possible. As long as the data it collects is done in a privacy-respecting way, we’re pretty cool with it. But that’s always an if.”

My View of Internet Censorship

No Censorship!How do you guys feel about censorship online? I’m a free-speech kind of guy! I don’t want anyone to be allowed to approve, or disapprove, of what I’m saying in my blog posts, on my show, or in anything that I write, or present. That’s just me! To me the right of free speech is a key to our personal freedoms in our representative Republic form of government.

And yes, you may note, that I said representative Republic, not Democracy! That is because, while we do have a democratic form of government in one sense, that is not the official form of government we have according to the Constitution of the United States. I’m just being technically correct here. The problem with a pure democracy, in which everyone gets a single vote, is that it can become, simply, mob rule. If you look around you, you will find, that there are a lot of people that have opinions, that do not have the brain cells to back up those opinions!

This is merely an observation! You may think what you will, and you may say what you will. That’s the beauty of free speech! But, this is a tech blog, not a political blog. So, it is not my intent to get into politics at all! What I want to talk about is: “What are we to think of the censorship that is being done on the Internet to all kinds of sources, whether they are politically left, or politically right?” Do you want to be the arbiter of what others see and are allowed to read? There are many that want to be just that for all of us! And therein lies the problem.

How are we to know, and trust, the self-appointed censors? The bottom line is, I don’t! I don’t want you censoring what I read, or what I watch, no matter who you are, and no matter what your credentials are! This is a really slippery slope. And, once we surrender this right to read, and to see, anything that we want to read or see, then we are in danger of entering into a totalitarian society.

You may not like what I like to watch. And, that’s your right! You may not like to read what I like to read. And, that is your right! Just don’t tell me what I am allowed to read, or to watch, on the Internet! That’s NOT your job! In fact, that’s not anyone’s job!

But, “Dr. Bill,” you might say, “what about hate speech?” Well, the problem is one person’s hate speech, is another person set of facts! The viewer, or the reader, should be the one to decide which category what they are viewing, or reading, is falling into. That’s the way it’s been with newspapers, books, magazines, and other sources for a long time, and it has worked out well up to now.

Remember those folks with only a few brain cells to rub together, that I mentioned earlier? What if those are the people that decide what you can read, and what you can see? You see the problem! The pursuit of knowledge and your personal intellectual, and social, development, should be up to you! It should not be the purview of anyone else to direct your attention to any form of information, whether it be political, social, or personal. And, this applies to technologies as well.

I don’t want anybody telling me to avoid Linux simply because it’s Linux, and not Windows! You know, that I like to spout off about Windows, and how it’s “evil,” even though I still use it! That’s just me. But I’m not telling you that you can’t use Windows. I’m just telling you that in my opinion, Microsoft is trying to have too much control over the operating system and their users. I know that, and I accept that it is true, and I still use Windows. And yes, I know that that’s a surprise to a lot of folks! But, I can use Windows and I can use Linux and I don’t see the problem with that! That’s my choice! If I want to point out how heavy-handed Microsoft is to my viewers, and listeners, and readers, then I should be able to do that freely! And, you should be able to absolutely disagree with my stand as a viewer, or a listener, or reader! I have the right to my opinion. You have the right to your opinion. But no one has the right to determine my opinion, or your opinion!

That’s really the point! So, am I a ardent supporter of “Infowars,” the website? That website, by the way, is the one that everyone seems to be “banning” these days. No, as matter of fact, I’m not! I don’t go to the website, I don’t read anything on that website, but does that website have the right to exist? Absolutely! That is really my point. Heavy-handed organizations, and companies, that censor the Internet are very troubling to me! I am not pro-hate speech. I am pro-free-speech. The decision of what is hateful should be left to the eye of the beholder.

There is an old saying, “Don’t tread on me!” That is pretty much my stand, don’t tread on me when it comes to what I read, view, or watch! I want everyone to simply leave me alone and allow me to make my own decisions, thank you very much!

Windows 10 Coming to Chromebooks?

We can now run Linux on our Chromebooks with Crostini, is Windows 10 next?

Chromebooks May Get Apple Boot Camp-Like Windows 10 Dual Boot With ‘Campfire’

Slashdot – Posted by BeauHD – “Google is reportedly working on a secret project to get Windows 10 running on Chromebooks. XDA Developers’ Kieran Miyamoto reports on the latest developments surrounding ‘Campfire’ — the Chromebook equivalent of Apple’s Boot Camp. From the report:

Earlier this year, a mysterious project appeared on the Chromium Git. The Chrome OS developers had created a new firmware branch of the Google Pixelbook called eve-campfire and were working on a new ‘Alt OS mode’ for this branch. We have since confirmed this Alt OS refers to Microsoft Windows 10 and found evidence that it wasn’t just an internal project but intended for public release.

The developers have reworked the way in which they distribute updates to a rarely-used section of ROM on Chromebooks called RW_LEGACY. The RW_LEGACY section on a Chromebook’s ROM traditionally gives users the ability to dual-boot into an alternative OS, but it is something of an afterthought during production and the section is rarely updated after a device leaves the factory. Now, with Campfire, Google will push signed updates to RW_LEGACY via the regular auto-update process, so firmware flashing won’t be a concern for Joe Public. A recent commit for enabling Alt OS through crosh with a simple [alt_os enable] command indicates that it will be a fairly easy setup process from the user’s end too.

We may expect to see the first demo of ‘Campfire’ at Google’s upcoming Pixel 3 launch event in October. Also, the report notes that the Google Pixelbook won’t be the only Chromebook with Campfire support, citing ‘mentions of multiple ‘campfire variants.”

Windows 10 Recent Bug Fixes Are Important!

Windows 10If you haven’t updated your Windows 10 installation lately, now is the time!

Windows 10: These two new builds deliver lots of bug fixes

ZDNet – By Liam Tung – “If you’re running either of the two latest versions of Windows 10, then Microsoft has a bunch of bug fixes to improve the OS for enterprise environments.

Microsoft has released Windows 10 build 17134.191 for Windows 10 versions 1803 or the April 2018 Update, as well as Build 16299.579 for Windows 10 users on version 1709 or the Fall Creators Update.

The update for 1803, tagged as KB4340917, doesn’t introduce new features but does fix a lot of issues that could be causing headaches for admins managing mobile devices.

The update includes a fix for devices within Active Directory or Hybrid AADJ++ domains that ‘unexpectedly unenroll from Microsoft Intune or third-party Mobile Device Management (MDM) services after installing provisioning package updates (PPKG)’.

And for developers, it also fixes an issue affecting the Universal CRT Ctype family Windows 10 SDK and Tools. Microsoft has been working on a fix for the problem since May.

It’s also fixed a problem with registration in the ‘Push to Install’ service.

Before this update, Version 1803 caused logon or logoff delays when using roaming user profiles. This update ‘addresses an issue with Roaming User Profiles where the AppData\Local and AppData\Locallow folders are incorrectly synchronized at user logon and logoff’.

There’s also a fix in there for peripheral devices that use Quality of Service parameters for Bluetooth connections.

The April 2018 Update was also bloating SQL Server memory when encrypting data using a symmetric key that has a certificate.

Some users who work at organizations with low lockout thresholds may have been confused by a premature lockout if they accidentally used an invalid password. This occurred in organizations that use a wireless Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol (PEAP) environment that has Single Sign On (SSO) enabled. PEAP is a common authentication method for Microsoft shops using wireless networks, often in wireless LAN environments.

Microsoft’s historical answer to Apple’s TrueType, OpenType fonts, should now be able to print in Win32 applications.

There was also a memory leak problem caused by DNS Response Rate Limiting when LogOnly mode was enabled. Meanwhile uses should no longer see a black screen when maximizing an app window on a second monitor when the user was in a RemoteApp session.

Finally, Microsoft has fixed a problem with its Input Method Editor (IME) tool for writing in Chinese and Japanese characters.

The update ‘addresses an issue in IME that causes unexpected finalization of strings during Japanese input in applications such as Microsoft Outlook’.

There’s one known issue that Microsoft is working on a fix for in a future release that surfaced after the July 2018 .NET Framework Security Updates were installed.

‘Applications that rely on .NET Framework to initialize a COM component and that run with restricted permissions may fail to start or run correctly after you install the July 2018 Security and Quality Rollup updates for .NET Framework,’ Microsoft said in a support note.

‘The .NET Framework runtime uses the process token to determine whether the process is being run within an elevated context. These system calls can fail if the required process inspection permissions are not present. This causes an ‘access denied’ error.’

The update KB4338817 pushes Windows 1709 to build 16299.579 and fixes the same MDM-related problem in the new version of Windows 10.

Download now: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)

There are fixes for Microsoft Edge DevTools, including one that made it unresponsive when the console was flooded with messages.

It also fixes a problem that caused a Windows PC to display a black screen for several minutes after installing Windows updates before going to the desktop.

The same PEAP with SSO issue and DMS Response Rate Limiting memory leak were also addressed in this update. And there are a bunch of fixes for PDF files in Edge, Microsoft Foundation Class applications, Group Policy Object (GPO) fixes, Web Account Manager authentication problems, SSO failures for Remote Desktop logins, and the same SQL Server memory bloat problem.

Until now some users may have noted that Microsoft’s BITS client-server file transfer service didn’t work when it couldn’t connect to the internet.

And Microsoft has finally fixed a printing problem on 64-bit Windows that Microsoft introduced in an update in August 2017. This happened when 32-bit applications impersonated other users often by calling LogonUser.

There are also fixes for RDP, network printing fixes, a resolution for an upgrade glitch that began on devices that had installed monthly updates since April 2018.

There are three known issues in this update, including one affecting devices with Microsoft’s Device Guard security feature enabled. This causes some non-English platforms to display various error messages in English rather than the local language. There are also non-English language bugs affecting error messages when attempting to read jobs created and Device Guard is enabled.”

Commodore Mini 64 is a Thing!

Yep! Get your Retro Gaming on with the Commodore 64 Mini!

Mini Commodore 64 is coming to North America on Oct. 9

c|net – By: David Carnoy – “In case you missed it, last September Retro Games announced it was going to put out a mini version of 1982’s Commodore 64 called the TheC64 Mini. The system actually shipped in Europe earlier this year, and is finally coming to North America on Oct. 9, just in time for the holiday season. It’s available for preorder now for $70.

Half the size of the original version, it comes come with 64 preinstalled licensed games including Impossible Mission II, Boulder Dash, Jumpman, Pitstop II and Speedball II: Brutal Deluxe that may bring back some fond memories if you were born in the ’70s. Perhaps because it’s slightly too retro, or too obscure for American audiences, it doesn’t have quite the same kind of appeal as Nintendo’s NES Classic or SNES Classic mini consoles, which sold out quickly at launch.

You can actually buy the C64 Mini now on Amazon if you’re willing to pay a premium (it’s about double the list price). User reviews on Amazon UK, where the product costs £65, are decidely mixed.

We’ll let you know whether it’s worth $70 as soon as we get our hands on a review sample. Personally, I’m waiting for the Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 Mini. Alas, that isn’t available yet.

Here are the TheC64’s key features, according to Retro Games:

  • Preloaded with 64 classic games: TheC64 Mini comes with 64 classic titles already installed, including California Games, Winter Games, Impossible Mission II, Boulder Dash, Jumpman, Pitstop II, Speedball II: Brutal Deluxe, Street Sports Baseball, Summer Games II, Temple of Apshai Trilogy, Uridium and more.
  • USB ports: The unit is equipped with two USB ports, allowing you to add an extra joystick for multiplayer games or plugging in a keyboard to create your own programming masterpieces.
  • Customized visuals: The unit features high-definition output at 720p and 60Hz via HDMI, 4:3 ratio, US/Europe display mode options and a CRT filter for that classic look.
  • Retro computing: Plug in a USB keyboard and use as a fully functional home computer with C64 BASIC.
  • You can save: Unlike the original, TheC64 Mini allows you to save your progress in games.
  • Update ready: Supports software updates via USB flash drive so you have access to improved and enhanced programming.
  • $70 (preorders now open)”

Dr. Bill.TV is Now on BitChute!

BitChute

One of our fearless fans, Lonnie Best, introduced me to Bitchute. Wikipedia says of the site, “The company was founded by Ray Vahey. He described it as a way to avoid censorship and demonetisation by established services like YouTube.

The first video on BitChute was posted on January 3, 2017. It was called ‘This is the first video on #BitChute’, It was a sample video of a woman using a tablet. The video was uploaded to test the uploading process.

In September 2017, conservative internet celebrity Lauren Southern said she was considering switching to the site in response to YouTube’s demonetisation of political videos.

In March 2018, the site was redesigning and got a brand new logo.”

I am suitably impressed! I do want to support the idea of peer-to-peer via Bittorrent technologies, and, of course, free speech! So, I am now posting the Dr. Bill.TV show there too!

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