Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for April 23rd, 2017

FossBytes reports: The whistleblower website Wikileaks has published another set of hacking tools belonging to the American intelligence agency CIA. The latest revelation includes a user guide for CIA’s “Weeping Angel” tool… derived from another tool called “Extending” which belongs to UK’s intelligence agency MI5/BTSS, according to Wikileaks. Extending takes control of Samsung F Series Smart TV. The highly detailed user guide describes it as an implant “designed to record audio from the built-in microphone and egress or store the data.” According to the user guide, the malware can be deployed on a TV via a USB stick after configuring it on a Linux system. It is possible to transfer the recorded audio files through the USB stick or by setting up a WiFi hotspot near the TV. Also, a Live Liston Tool, running on a Windows OS, can be used to listen to audio exfiltration in real-time. Wikileaks mentioned that the two agencies, CIA and MI5/BTSS made collaborative efforts to create Weeping Angel during their Joint Development Workshops. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Microsoft Will Support Python In SQL Server 2017

Posted by kenmay on April - 23 - 2017

There was a surprise in the latest Community Technology Preview release of SQL Server 2017. An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld: Python can now be used within SQL Server to perform analytics, run machine learning models, or handle most any kind of data-powered work. This integration isn’t limited to enterprise editions of SQL Server 2017, either — it’ll also be available in the free-to-use Express edition… Microsoft has also made it possible to embed Python code directly in SQL Server databases by including the code as a T-SQL stored procedure. This allows Python code to be deployed in production along with the data it’ll be processing. These behaviors, and the RevoScalePy package, are essentially Python versions of features Microsoft built for SQL Server back when it integrated the R language into the database… An existing Python installation isn’t required. During the setup process, SQL Server 2017 can pull down and install its own edition of CPython 3.5, the stock Python interpreter available from the Python.org website. Users can install their own Python packages as well or use Cython to generate C code from Python modules for additional speed. Except it’s not yet available for Linux users, according to the article. “Microsoft has previously announced SQL Server would be available for Linux, but right now, only the Windows version of SQL Server 2017 supports Python.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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‘Avatar’ sequels start arriving on December 18th, 2020

Posted by kenmay on April - 23 - 2017

James Cameron has spent years drumming up hype for his Avatar sequels with little to show for it (the first sequel was originally due this December). However, his team is finally ready to commit to specific release dates — for all the new movies. The production team has revealed that Avatar 2 should arrive on December 18th, 2020, with the rest staggered throughout the next few years. The third movie is slated for December 17th, 2021. There will be a 3-year gap between that and the fourth movie, which debuts on December 20th, 2024. The fifth and final (?) title will appear on December 19th, 2025, 16 years after the first. Cameron and crew have started “concurrent” production of the sequels, which are poised to make cases for both high frame rate video as well as Avatar ‘s signature blend of CG with real-world acting. In theory, this gives the team a better sense of the timing than it might have if it was taking a serial approach. With that said, you may still want to take these dates with a grain of salt. It’s not just that the releases have been pushed back in the past, it’s that the scope has changed over time. Cameron added a fourth sequel to the mix just in 2016, so it won’t be surprising if the schedule shifts due to further creative changes or unforeseen challenges. Really, the big news is simply that the director is getting the ball rolling after years of prep — the dates just give you a rough idea of what to expect. Via: Variety Source: Avatar (Facebook)

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Slashdot user #1083, downwa, writes: Canonical engineer Simon Fels has publicly released an Alpha version of Anbox. Similar to the method employed for Android apps on ChromeOS, Anbox runs an entire Android system (7.1.1 at present) in an LXC container. Developed over the last year and a half, the software promises to seamlessly bring performant Android apps to the Linux desktop. After installing Anbox (based on Android 7.1.1) and starting Anbox Application Manager, ten apps are available: Calculator, Calendar, Clock, Contacts, Email, Files, Gallery, Music, Settings, and WebView. Apps run in separate resizeable windows. Additional apps (ARM-native binaries are excluded) can be installed via adb. Installation currently is only supported on a few Linux distributions able to install snaps. Contributions are welcome on Github. In a blog post Simon describes it as “a side project” that he’s worked on for over a year and a half. “There were quite a few problems to solve on the way to a really working implementation but it is now in a state that it makes sense to share it with a wider audience.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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