Tech Today w/ Ken May

Featured entries

iOS 9.3.3 Jailbreak Is Clunky, but Available Right Now

Posted by kenmay on July - 26 - 2016

iOS 9 has been jailbroken for a while , but the smaller software iterations have been relatively untouched. Now, a clunky, Windows-only, and Chinese-language-only jailbreak is available for the newest iOS operating system. Read more…

Notorious Group OurMine Hacks TechCrunch

Posted by kenmay on July - 26 - 2016

Prominent technology blog TechCrunch — which is often cited on Slashdot — has become the latest victim of the OurMine hacking group. The notorious group gained access to Seattle-based writer Devin Coldewey’s account, and posted the following message earlier today: “Hello Guys, don’t worry we are just testing techcrunch security, we didn’t change any passwords, please contact us.” The post was then promoted as a ticker, the top banner in red and as the main story on TechCrunch’s front page. BetaNews adds: The OurMine website says that the group offers “top notch vulnerability assessment”, so it’s possible that the hack was little more than a PR stunt touting for business. It did not take TechCrunch long to notice and remove the story (and presumably change a series of passwords…) but the site is yet to issue a statement about what has happened. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The question on everyone’s mind: What’s going on with Solar Impulse? Read more…

Talkshow offers the ability to host your own AMAs

Posted by kenmay on July - 26 - 2016

A few months ago, a messaging app called Talkshow debuted with an interesting premise: all of your conversations on it are public. Everyone can “listen in” on the chatrooms you create, sort of like podcasting but in text form. One of the ways it differentiated itself from Twitter is that strangers can’t just butt into the discussions — they have to be invited. Otherwise, they could only offer canned responses. Now, however, outsiders can participate in a more engaged way, thanks to a new feature called Q&A. Michael Sippey, one of Talkshow’s co-founders, says that the feature was born out of users holding impromptu Ask Me Anything sessions. But the only way for the audience to chime in was to be promoted to co-host, where they can say anything they want. They could then be removed from the discussion, but adding and removing these guests can be a hassle. The new feature, however, lets viewers submit questions and/or responses, which the host can review before allowing them through. It’s like a moderated comments section, but in real-time. The Q&A feature is entirely opt-in, and is something that a host can toggle on or off. The default prompt is “Ask anything, ” but you can customize it to whatever you like, such as “What’s your favorite Pokémon” or “What’s on your holiday wishlist.” Hosts and co-hosts can see all Q&A submissions, but only the host can decide what to publish. If a submission is accepted, the person who sent it in will get a push notification. You can then end the Q&A at any time during the conversation. “It’s audience engagement, but more controlled, ” says Sippey. “It keeps the host in control of the show.” He envisions that the feature will be used in AMAs of course, but he also foresees people using it for interviews or audience polling. “It’s a way to get feedback.” “It’s going really well, ” Sippey says about Talkshow’s progress since its launch. “People who are sticking around are really enjoying it.” When asked about the rise of public chat apps — Public is another one that debuted recently — he attributes the popularity to a general hole in the market. “Twitter is not great at ongoing conversation; the timeline is a very difficult place to navigate a particular topic, ” he says. “Facebook is mostly for friends and family, not for public conversations.” An app like Talkshow, however, fills that void. “If people are good at it, it can be entertaining content.” Right now Talkshow is sort of a mix of media — journalists have used it for event liveblogs — as well as community discussions around topics such as Pokémon Go. “Sometimes they’re not producing it for anybody but themselves.” “Is it media? Or is it a chat product?” he queries rhetorically. “We’re straddling that boundary right now.”

While graphics cards with more than 8GB of memory might seem like overkill to gamers, those in the creative industries like VFX and 3D modelling can’t get enough of the stuff. After all, VFX studios like MPC often create scenes that require upwards of 64GB per frame to render . The trouble is, even the most capacious graphics card—AMD’s FirePro S9170 server GPU—tops out at 32GB GDDR5, and there are steep cost and design issues with adding more. AMD has come up with another solution. Instead of adding more expensive graphics memory, why not let users add their own in the form of M.2 solid state storage? That’s the pitch behind the all new Radeon Pro SSG (solid state graphics), which was revealed at the Siggraph computer graphics conference on Monday. The Radeon Pro SSG features two PCIe 3.0 M.2 slots for adding up to 1TB of NAND flash, massively increasing the available frame buffer for high-end rendering work. The SSG will cost you, though: beta developer kits go on sale immediately for a cool $9999 (probably £8000+). Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

An anonymous reader writes from The Register: Vine, the six-second-video-loop app acquired by Twitter in 2012, had its source code made publicly available by a bounty-hunter for everyone to see. The Register reports: “According to this post by @avicoder (Vjex at GitHub), Vine’s source code was for a while available on what was supposed to be a private Docker registry. While, hosted at Amazon, wasn’t meant to be available, @avicoder found he was able to download images with a simple pull request. After that it’s all too easy: the docker pull request loaded the code, and he could then open the Docker image and run it. ‘I was able to see the entire source code of Vine, its API keys and third party keys and secrets. Even running the image without any parameter, [it] was letting me host a replica of Vine locally.’ The code included ‘API keys, third party keys and secrets, ‘ he writes. Twitter’s bounty program paid out — $10, 080 — and the problem was fixed in March (within five minutes of him demonstrating the issue).” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook has admitted it blocked links to WikiLeaks’ DNC email dump, but the company has yet to explain why. WikiLeaks has responded to the censorship via Twitter, writing: “For those facing censorship on Facebook etc when trying to post links directly to WikiLeaks #DNCLeak try using” When SwiftOnSecurity tweeted, “Facebook has an automated system for detecting spam/malicious links, that sometimes have false positives. /cc, ” Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos replied with, “It’s been fixed.” As for why there was a problem in the first place, we don’t know. Nate Swanner from The Next Web writes, “It’s possible its algorithm incorrectly identified them as malicious, but it’s another negative mark on the company’s record nonetheless. WikiLeaks is a known entity, not some torrent dumping ground. The WikiLeaks link issue has reportedly been fixed, which is great — but also not really the point. The fact links to the archive was blocked at all suggests there’s a very tight reign on what’s allowed on Facebook across the board, and that’s a problem.” A Facebook representative provided a statement to Gizmodo: “Like other services, our anti-spam systems briefly flagged links to these documents as unsafe. We quickly corrected this error on Saturday evening.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Remember Germany’s Radschnellweg ? That’s a 100-kilometer cycleway that, once completed, will link nearly a dozen cities. Well, we were very surprised to learn that America will be getting something similar. Similar and, in accordance with our increased landmass, a lot longer. The East Coast Greenway Alliance is currently masterminding a 3, 000-mile cycleway running from Calais, Maine (right on the Canadian border) all the way to Key West, Florida! While a determined cyclist can currently make that journey, the route would currently involve a lot of time sharing the road with cars, and the danger that brings. The ECGA has a different vision: “Our goal is for the entire Greenway to be on paths, completely separated from the road, ” they write. “By connecting existing and planned shared-use trails, a continuous, traffic-free route is being formed, serving self-powered users of all abilities and ages.” That last part is key. The Greenway is really intended more for people with Dad Body than those that look like a ‘roided-up Lance Armstrong. The idea is that the Greenway will be “a new tourism venue, enticing domestic and foreign tourists to explore the Eastern Seaboard in a leisurely and intimate manner” rather than a place where you get buzzed by bros wearing Lycra. [The Greenway] is not designed for those seeking a high-speed cycling route. A multitude of on-road routes better serve their needs. But, as a traffic-free, relatively flat route, the Greenway is a safe facility for people of all ages and physical abilities, including children, families, and the elderly. Also, the Greenway will not be of entirely new construction. What the ECGA is attempting to do is link existing trails, then “fill in the gaps” where there are none. This is a massive effort that involves coordinating with a variety of municipal bodies over the entire stretch, including within major cities. Here’s a snippet of the Philadelphia route, for instance: The sheer number of ground to cover explains why just 850 miles–about 30%–currently exists and is usable, with another 2, 050 miles yet to be nailed down. So, while the ECG will be longer than Germany’s Radschnellweg , the efficient Germans will undoubtedly have theirs completed first. The ECGA is currently gunning to have the Greenway 95% complete by 2030. Want to help them get it done faster? They need local volunteers to help them get various stretchs up to code. Learn how you can get involved by donating your time (or just some plain ol’ greenbacks) here . Sources: CityLab Country Living Curbed East Coast Greenway Alliance

The suspected hacking of a Democratic National Committee consultant’s personal Yahoo Mail account provides new evidence that state-sponsored attackers penetrated deeper than previously thought into the private communications of the political machine attempting to defeat Republican nominee Donald Trump. According to an article published Monday by Yahoo News, the suspicion was raised shortly after DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa started preparing opposition research on Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort. Upon logging in to her Yahoo Mail account, she received a pop-up notification warning that members of Yahoo’s security team “strongly suspect that your account has been the target of state-sponsored actors.” After Chalupa started digging into Manafort’s political and business dealings in Ukraine and Russia, the warnings had become a “daily occurrence,” Yahoo News reported, citing a May 3 e-mail sent to a DNC communications director. (credit: Yahoo News) It was one of more than 19,000 private DNC messages posted to WikiLeaks on Friday. The massive e-mail dump came five weeks after DNC officials said hackers with backing from the Russian government had breached its network and made off with opposition research into Trump and almost a year’s worth of private e-mail. The airing on WikiLeaks, which included messages in which DNC officials derided Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, has already led to the resignation of Chair Debra Wasserman Schultz. Now, the revelations about Chalupa’s Yahoo account suggest the hack may have gone deeper than previously reported. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Archaeologists scraped fecal bits off these ancient wipe sticks, discovered in a 2,000-year-old latrine at a pit stop along the Silk Road in Dunhuang, China. (credit: Hui-Yuan Yeh) For almost 1,500 years, the many trade routes known today as the Silk Road joined eastern China with western China, India, the Middle East, Europe, and the Swahili Coast of Africa . These trade routes created their own culture, uniting empires and connecting distant civilizations through trade goods like books, textiles, and precious substances. But the most important use for the Silk Road was immigration. Now, a new analysis of 2,000-year-old toilet wipes found near Dunhuang in western China has revealed that these immigrants traveled vast distances on roads maintained by the Han in 100 CE. Unfortunately, these wanderers brought their diseases with them. In a new paper published this week in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports , a group of archaeologists in China and England describe how they found preserved fecal matter on wipe sticks used in a latrine at the Silk Road’s Xuanquanzhi rest stop. Archaeologists excavated the rest stop roughly 20 years ago and discovered that it was one of many such oases maintained by the Han government during the early centuries of the Silk Road. Weary travelers with the right documents could stop there to refresh themselves and their pack animals. They could also, apparently, use the bathrooms. What made the Xuanquanzhi rest stop special was its location near the deadly hot Taklamakan Desert. The arid region has preserved countless treasures from the heyday of the Silk Road, including a bundle of sticks wrapped in rags near the Xuanquanzhi latrines. While analyzing a collection of excavated goods from Xuanquanzhi, a group of archaeologists realized that these were no ordinary sticks. “These have been described in ancient Chinese texts of the period as a personal hygiene tool for wiping the anus after going to the toilet. Some of the cloth had a dark solid material still adhered to it after all this time,” Cambridge  anthropologist Piers Mitchell wrote . Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments