Weekly Update: 2019-08-25 to 2019-08-31

Cops Hijack Botnet, Remotely Wipe Malware From 850,000 Computers

Finally we’re living in the future. Cops and criminals doing battle in real time taking over networks of computers.

Comcast, Beware: New City-Run Broadband Offers 1Gbps For $60 a Month

Fort Collins, Colorado’s "Connexion" is a municipal fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) provider. For $59.95 you get symmetric 1Gb/s fiber, or for $299 they offer a 10Gb/s service. Lobbyist groups for the broadband industry put up almost $1M to fight it. Every city in the country should be racing to do exactly this.

Pastel:A command-line tool to generate, analyze, convert and manipulate colors

Really neat tool (written in Rust) to generate and analyze colors from the command line.

Google Says Hackers Have Put 'Monitoring Implants' in iPhones For Years

Close to a worst case scenario. Websites could silently install malware on iPhones.

A wonderful little utility. Certainly anyone who was using linux on a desktop with x11 in the 90s has seen xlogo. In the course of posting it to his blog, the author noticed that neither q or esc would close xlogo, which would be kind of the traditional, expected keybind. Turns out in the source code it required both esc AND q to be pressed because of a programming error. Sure enough in my version, from the Fedora (30) repos which is 7.7 neither esc or q works, but pressing them together or one after the other exits xlogo!

And even funnier, 10 days after the original post, the maintainers of xlogo fixed it upstream!

What a wholesome story.

Plex Prepares Ad-Supported Movie Service, Strikes Warner Bros. Deal

This will end badly.

Quad-GbE router board touches down for $68

Dual-core ARM Cortext-A53, 1.35Ghz, 64bit, 1GB DDR3 SDRAM. 802.11n with MTK7615 4x5 AC WiFi module. Includes FIVE GbE ports! Runs OpenWrt and linux obviously.

Top MPAA Lawyer, Mastermind Behind Its Plan To Attack the Internet, Arrested On Blackmail and Sexual Assault Charges

Reading this will make your stomach turn.

Voting Machines in U.S. to be Powered by FreeBSD and RISC-V

FreeBSD is UP and running on the U.S. Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) 64-bit RISC-V cores. GFE cores are synthesized on the $7000 Xilinx VCU118 unit. Soon all the voting machines in U.S. will be powered by FreeBSD/RISC-V.

Webmin Backdoored for Over a Year

Yeah. Over a year. Good news: it was not in the default configuration.

“To exploit the malicious code, your Webmin installation must have Webmin → Webmin Configuration → Authentication → Password expiry policy set to Prompt users with expired passwords to enter a new one. This option is not set by default, but if it is set, it allows remote code execution,” Webmin developers explained.

Xfce 4.14 Tour

It’s really great to see all the activity recently in the Xfce project. It is probably my favorite tiling window manager. Lots of genuinely solid updates, making lots of the system utilities more usable and much more modern.


Hubble’s New Portrait of Jupiter

The Great Red Spot is a towering structure shaped like a wedding cake, whose upper haze layer extends more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) higher than clouds in other areas. The gigantic structure, with a diameter slightly larger than Earth’s, is a high-pressure wind system called an anticyclone that has been slowly downsizing since the 1800s. The reason for this change in size is still unknown.


Netflix-like pirate sites offered more video than the real Netflix, feds say

I don’t think there is anything particularly interesting here from a technical perspective but the brazenness is certainly noteworthy. I’ve flipped through the indictment and I thought they must use some sophisticated method of hiding their service, through TOR or some bulletproof hosting, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, the MPAA sent a cease-and-desist directly to one of the defendant’s houses in 2012!

US hack attack hobbles Iran’s ability to target oil tankers, NYT says

It’s still kind of hard to believe this stuff is real. US and Iranian hackers duking it out in cyberspace.

George Was the Last of His Kind

Snails in Hawaii are disappearing faster than any animal on the planet. “This is happening so fast, it’s as if something really catastrophic is happening in the world right now," says scientist Dave Sischo, who is fighting to save Hawaii’s snail populations.

Greg Kroah-Hartman Reveals His New Favorite Linux Distro

So what distro does he use? "I don’t use openSUSE any more, I use Arch. And my build system I think is actually running Fedora. I have a number of virtual machines still running Gentoo, Dubya, and Fedora to do some testing on some userspace tools. But yeah, all my laptops and everything is switched over to Arch these days…​ I have a Chromebook that I play around with, and you can run Linux applications, and you can of course SSH into anything…​"
— Greg Kroah-Hartman

(btw I use Arch)

So what does rc stand for? (e.g., .bashrc)

"Run commands" - dating all the way back, at least, to Multics.

Sony Celebrates 40 Years of Walkman in Tokyo

Hard to believe it’s been 40 years. The "walkman wall" has every model of walkman ever produced on display. I had no idea it was so vast.

Optimism Increases Lifespan By 11-15%, New Study Finds

Don’t live your life negatively. I’m not sure if poor health leads to lack of optimism or vice versa, but either way, why not spend the small amount of time you have here with optimism?


How China is still paying the price for squandering its chance to build a home-grown semiconductor industry

After several decades and billions of dollars of investment, only 16 per cent of semiconductors used in China today are manufactured domestically. Last year, China imported US$312 billion worth of chips to meet domestic demand, exceeding the amount it spends on oil.

Although the article goes on to quote Jimmy Goodrich, vice-president of global policy at the Semiconductor Industry Association in Washington DC as saying that "more than half of those imported are assembled into products in China then re-exported for external trade."