Geek Software of the Week: eM Client!

eM ClientLooking for a great free Email Client for Windows? Check out eM Client!

eM Client for Windows

“eM Client is a full-featured email client with a modern and easy-to-use interface. eM Client also offers calendar, tasks, contacts and chat.

eM Client lets you customize its appearance and behavior on multiple levels. It supports several fully customizable themes including a Dark theme and allows you to customize its behavior in the most comprehensive way on the market

eM Client sidebar brings you quick contextual information that will boost your productivity even more. The sidebar communication history, attachment history and agenda will save you a lot of time.”

Beware of Free VPN Services!

VPNThis is why I recommend Private Internet Access (PIA).

Why free VPNs are not a risk worth taking

ZDNet – By: David Gewirtz – “TANSTAAFL. If you’ve read your Heinlein, you know it’s an acronym for ‘There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.’ That phrase has actually been around since the days of Old West saloons. If you bought a drink, the saloon would provide you with a free lunch. There was a catch, of course. The lunches were so salty that patrons wound up buying more and more drinks, to slake their thirst.

A virtual private network enables users to send and receive data while remaining anonymous and secure online. In this directory, we look at a few of the very best commercial VPN service providers on the Internet.

There’s always a catch.

Think about Facebook. We use it for free, but in return for that attention, Facebook catalogs vast amounts of information about us, which it uses for targeted advertising. Google became one of the world’s most profitable companies on the back of ‘giving away’ free search (along with little ads on the side). The result was almost total dominance of the digital advertising industry.

TANSTAAFL.

All of that brings us to VPN services. Let’s do a two minute recap of what a VPN is, first. VPN (or Virtual Private Network) is a term used for services that allow you to encrypt your internet traffic between your computer and a destination computer on the VPN service. This is particularly necessary when using something like a hotel’s open Wi-Fi service, so that other guests can’t watch all your traffic and steal juicy bits, like credit card numbers and passwords.

I did a great intro to VPNs for CNET, our sister site. If you don’t know which VPN service to use, I compared a bunch of commercial VPN providers in The Best VPN services of 2018, analyzing them against 20 different factors.

That directory was a study of commercial VPN services. I limited my analysis to commercial services for a reason: TANSTAAFL.

There are also many free VPN services, but I don’t trust them. You probably shouldn’t either.

Here’s the thing: Running a VPN service is expensive. You need either servers and data lines, or you’re paying a cloud vendor like Amazon for every bit received, sent, and stored. Either way, it costs money. So, think about this: If you’re running a free VPN service, how do you pay for all that expense?

You. In the back of the room. I see your hand up. ‘Ads,’ you say. Yep, that’s a possibility. Some free VPN services plaster ads on your browser display and sell those to whomever will pay.

I see another hand. ‘Stolen data.’ That’s a possibility, too. If you were a criminal organization or a terrorist ring, and you wanted to pick up a lot of credentials quickly, one easy way would be to open up a free VPN and wait for people to just hand you their secret information. As P.T. Barnum is said to have said, ‘There’s a sucker born every minute.’

TASBEM. In other words, TANSTAAFL.

OK, one more. ‘Lead in for upgrade sales.’ Yeah, that works, too. Some vendors will offer a small amount of free access and when you eat up that bandwidth, they’ll ask you to upgrade. Try before you buy is a proven method for selling services, it’s perfectly legitimate, and it’s often good for both the vendor and the customer.

You may also see some universities, activists, and other well-meaning groups offer free VPNs, but the problem is that they are resource constrained. That means that you’re bound to see either slowdowns or stoppages because they can’t afford the resources needed to provide the service. Some of those groups might also harvest information as you use their services, for use sometime in the future to further whatever their agendas might be.

The bottom line, though, is this: It’s just not worth risking your personal and financial data on a free VPN service. The VPN services I rated range from about $6 to $12 per month, or about $40 to $120 per year. It’s usually a better deal to pay for the whole year at once.

The cost of identity theft keeps going up, both in out-of-pocket expenses and in the time and hassle to clean up the mess. When it comes to a service that’s designed to transfer your personal credentials and keep them safe, isn’t it worth spending just a few bucks to save potentially thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and an unmeasurable amount of stomach acid?

For me, it is. I’m using a commercial VPN right now, as I write this. For the peace of mind and digital protection, it’s a few bucks well spent.

*By the way, if you haven’t read Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, I recommend it highly. It’s a Hugo and Nebula-award winning novel. One word of warning: It’s quite political (1960s political). But it’s also brilliant science fiction — a must read for any serious student of the genre.”

Windows April Updates Issues Reported

Windows Update 1803Be aware, some folks are having issues with April Update 1803.

Windows 10 April 2018 Update problems: Users struggle with mystery ‘black screen’

ZDNet – By Liam Tung – “Windows 10 users over the past two days have begun reporting serious glitches after updating to the Windows 10 April 2018 Update.

As per an account on Reddit, after installing the update the computer appears to boot but then gets stuck with a black screen and no icons. There’s also an error message that the Desktop file could not be accessed.

Users on Microsoft’s forums have been reporting similar black-screen problems since May 14 after updating to the latest version of Windows 10. However, more reports have flowed in over the past two days.

‘Tried the update on my Dell and all I got was a black screen with a mouse, then on my Asus I get the black desktop screen with only the recycle bin icon,’ wrote a user on May 22 on another thread.

‘On my Dell it just kept restarting, trying to reinstall the software. On the Asus after every restart, it goes back to the setup screen telling me these ‘updates help protect you from an online world’.’

As per The Register, a US computer-repair firm Computer Cellar has written a post on Reddit blaming the issue on Avast antivirus because a number of users who also run that AV have had the same problems.

Indeed, some Reddit users do claim they were running Avast when they struck problems after updating to the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, while others claim to be using AVG, which is owned by Avast.

However, there are also multiple Reddit users who claim not be running either antivirus and yet are experiencing the same problem.

Avast told the publication it has tested the issue and ‘don’t see any indications this is caused by Avast’.

Either way, it’s sparked a debate about whether Windows 10’s built-in antivirus, Windows Defender, is sufficient protection, or whether consumers need third-party antivirus.

Once upon a time, Microsoft consistently trailed third-party antivirus firms in malware detection tests run by AV-Comparatives and AV-Test. Nowadays Windows Defender scores as high if not higher than Kaspersky and Symantec.

And as Microsoft recently boasted, these machine learning-led improvements to its antivirus are paying off in the enterprise, where Windows Defender has a 50 percent share of Windows 10 devices.

But this supposed third-party antivirus isn’t the only teething issue Windows 10 users have had since Microsoft released the Windows 10 April 2018 Update.

Earlier this month, Microsoft said it was aware of some devices hanging or freezing when using apps such as ‘Hey Cortana’ or Chrome, after installing the Windows 10 April 2018 Update and was working on a fix.

Microsoft has also told users with Intel SSD 600p Series or Intel SSD Pro 6000p Series to roll back to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update because the latest update was causing crashes.”

Stop Phishing Scams with a Microsoft Plugin?

OK, so this seems counter-productive… a Chrome security plugin from Microsoft? Yep. And, I installed it in my Chrome browser.

Windows Defender Chrome extension protects against phishing scams

Slashgear – By: Brittany A. Roston – “Microsoft has launched Windows Defender Browser Protection for Google’s Chrome browser via an extension. Anyone can download the extension now, adding an extra layer of protection to block malicious websites. The extension, which is free, alerts users when they attempt to load a dangerous website and directs them back toward safety.

The new extension offers Chrome users the same protection Microsoft baked into its own Edge browser. The company points toward an NSS Labs 2017 Web Browser Security report citing Edge’s superiority over Chrome and Firefox when it comes to phishing protection. According to the report, Edge protects against 99% of attacks, whereas Chrome protects against 87%.

Phishing attacks are easy to miss, and contrary to popular belief, they don’t all arrive via email. Microsoft points out that someone may, for example, mistype the URL for their bank’s website and instead get a phishing website designed to look identical.

When the user, who is unaware of the mistake, enters their login credentials, the information is exposed to hackers who can then access the account without permission. The Windows Defender browser extension will help users avoid this by alerting them to potential attacks.

The extension will also monitor for email-based phishing attacks. Microsoft maintains a list of known malicious URLs, which it constantly updates, and uses it to check any link the user attempts to click. Assuming the clicked link is on the list, the extension shows a red screen with a warning about the risk.

The extension can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store now.”

Shutting Down Other Shows

Dead ShowsI am shutting down the Chromest Netcast, the VirtZine Netcast, and the Hand Held Hack. All these sites will be “de-commissioned” in due time, and all the former content regarding those topics will be handled, if I need to cover it, on the Dr. Bill.TV show (this blog.) I am just spread too thin tp try to do justice to all these other netcasts. My YouTube Channel will continue, but I will be concentrating on the Dr. Bill show and the Word of Faith Netcast.

SpaceX and WiFi!

SpaceX LaunchUbiquitous WiFi is coming thanks to SpaceX and Elon Musk!

SpaceX has a good day: Successful launch and FCC satellite approval

The Register – By: Kieren McCarthy – “SpaceX successfully launched 10 satellites into space Friday, completing its sixth launch this year.

The launch from pad 4E at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California came on the same day as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the company’s plan to set up its own broadband network in space, making it a pretty good Easter for the company.

There is one downside: the end of the Falcon 9 booster used to send the satellite up.

SpaceX has previously recovered the booster and reused it – something that not only makes the company more cost-effective but also provides an invaluable reputation boost as people marvel at its ability to launch and land a rocket within an hour.

The booster was used in October for the third Iridium launch – Friday’s launch being the fifth – but SpaceX said it was the end of the road for Falcon 9 and it will ‘not attempt to recover’ it. It is being replaced with a new ‘Block 5’ model.

The company is however sending a recovery ship – ‘The Steven’ – in an effort to grab the rocket’s nose cone, which protects the cargo as it blasts through the atmosphere. The cone costs around $6m and could be reused in a future flight. The company tried to recover the cone on its last launch and just missed it – it hopes to be more successful this time.

Despite today’s successful result, it has not been smooth sailing: the launch has been delayed several times and was originally scheduled for December. Just two days ago, Iridium’s CEO noted on Twitter that there was an issue with one of the 10 satellites being loaded into the rocket – threatening the push the launch back again.

Those 10 satellites will help make up a network of 81 rotating in six different orbital planes that together can provide global communications coverage: 15 of which will add redundancy to the system i.e. only 66 are needed to provide full coverage.

Iridium contracted with SpaceX to launch 75 of those 81 at a cost of $536m. The NEXT satellites will replace the company’s ageing current satellites. With Friday’s launch, SpaceX has launched 50 of the 75. It plans another two launches to complete by the mission by the middle of this year.

Meanwhile, having put approval of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites that it claims will be able to provide gigabit-speed internet connectivity to the planet on its agenda back in February, the federal telecoms regulator the FCC has approved the plan.

It’ll take years for the full network to go into operation, and SpaceX appears to be scaling back its original plan of an open ISP for everyone in order to focus on areas with poor internet access or slow speeds i.e. target less competitive markets.

But even so, that’s a pretty good Good Friday.”

MyFitnessPal Data Breach

MyFitnessPalChange your passwords now!

Under Armour says 150 million MyFitnessPal accounts hit by data breach

ZDNet – By: Natalie Gagliordi and Zack Whittaker – “Under Armour revealed on Thursday after the markets closed that its MyFitnessPal app has been hacked.

The fitness apparel company learned that data on 150 million accounts for the site and app were breached earlier this week, a statement said.

‘The investigation indicates that the affected information included usernames, email addresses, and hashed passwords — the majority with the hashing function called bcrypt used to secure passwords,’ said the statement, referring to the use of a stronger password hashing algorithm.

The company said payment card data was not affected. Under Armour is currently notifying MyFitnessPal users about the breach via email and in-app messaging, and it’s requiring all app users to change their passwords.

Later in the day, the California attorney-general released the company’s data breach notification, per the state’s law — a mirror statement of what the company posted on its website.

Under Armour, thanks to its acquisitions of several fitness app firms — including MyFitnessPal — has amassed massive amounts of data on both professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts. The company has even claimed to have the largest database of athlete behavior, including stats on workouts, nutrition, and sleep patterns. Under Armour has said that it uses this trove of data to make its gear smarter.

The data has helped Under Armour morph from an apparel maker into an athletic performance and technology company, rivaling Nike for the same target demographic.

Under Armour’s connected fitness platforms includes UA Record, MapMyFitness, Endomondo, and MyFitnessPal, and all of those platforms have unified to run on Amazon Web Services.”

SUSE Enterprise Linux for Raspberry Pi 3?

SUSE LinuxCan you imagine a whole Data Center made up of Raspberry Pi’s?

Linux on Raspberry Pi: SUSE support turns $35 board into enterprise IoT platform

ZDNet – By Liam Tung – “SUSE has released a SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP3 (SLES) for the popular Raspberry Pi, which comes with full commercial support for enterprise customers.

The release upgrades an unsupported version of SLES SP2 Raspberry Pi image released at 2016 SUSECON, which offered enterprises an alternative to Raspbian OS with an OS that uses the SUSE Linux Enterprise kernel for Arm.

Raspberry Pi chief Eben Upton was very pleased with SUSE’s experimental release, because it was first the major 64-bit OS to support the Raspberry Pi’s wireless networking and Bluetooth.

Today, Upton is thrilled because SLES 12 SP3 is the first time a major vendor has offered a full, commercially-supported Raspberry Pi image.

“Unlike two years ago when they just provided a downloadable image with community support, SUSE can now offer 12 x 5 or 24 x 7 support,” writes Upton. “This is all built on the same SUSE Linux that is available on everything from Raspberry Pi to the mainframe.”

According to SUSE, companies have been using SLES for Arm on Raspberry Pi for monitoring older industrial equipment such as robotic screwdrivers and sending alerts when they malfunction.

Download now: Linux distribution comparison chart

The new SUSE Raspberry Pi image still targets the Raspberry Pi Model 3 B, although SUSE says it is planning support for the new Raspberry Pi Model 3 B+.

The new version also contains a few updates and fixes. According to SUSE, developers have made the new image smaller — around 630MB — by trimming compilers and debugging tools while tuning the Arm OS for IoT tasks.

The image supports the Raspberry Pi’s Wi-Fi module by default, as well as HDMI, Ethernet, and GPIO ports. However, it doesn’t support audio, 3D graphics, the Raspberry Pi touchscreen, or camera.

SUSE is also planning to update I/O support so that SLES can be installed on a Raspberry Pi over a network rather than using an SD card image. And it’s planning to add support for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, which has the same hardware as the Model B but in a smaller form.”

Special Deal! Cloudberry Backup for 50% Off!

CloudberryLab BackupJust for our Dr. Bill.TV readers to commemorate World Backup Day… our friends at Cloudberry have a 50% discount for their excellent Backup Software! Click the link below! (Note: This offer expires on April 2nd, so hurry up to get YOUR Special Discount! Celebrate Saturday, March 31st – World Backup Day!

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