Cyber boost: New operating system will improve Navy computing power

Cyber boost: New operating system will improve Navy computing power

With support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Dr. Binoy Ravindran, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, has designed a system that could revolutionize how military and commercial computing systems perform.

It’s called Popcorn Linux—an operating system that can compile different programming languages into a single cyber tongue.

“By applying Popcorn Linux to longtime, legacy Navy and Marine Corps computer systems, we can improve software without requiring thousands of man-hours to rewrite millions of lines of code,” said Dr. Wen Masters, head of ONR’s C4ISR Department. “This could yield significant savings in maintenance costs.”

Crunching huge amounts of data for complex applications like battlespace awareness and artificial intelligence requires extremely powerful processing. Unfortunately, many of the processors capable of this speak their own specialized software programming languages—and must be programmed to interact with each other.

To increase computing speed, microchip manufacturers in recent years have placed multiple processing units on individual chips. Take the iPhone 7, for example, which has four processors—two high-power (think of a Ford Mustang) and two low-power (think of a Toyota Prius)—to simultaneously dial phone numbers, open web pages, check text messages and take photos and videos.

That involves designating specialized “heterogeneous” processors to carry out specific tasks, like displaying graphics or web browsing. Each processor can be devoted to one specialty, rather than divided among several functions, resulting in much better, faster performance.

“Before, each processor was like one handyman re-modeling your entire bathroom,” said Dr. Sukarno Mertoguno, the ONR program officer sponsoring Ravindran’s research. “Heterogeneous processors, by contrast, represent an actual plumber installing the pipes and an actual painter painting the walls. Each processor has a specialty.”

But this specialization has problems—a “language” barrier. Each processor has its own set of instructions that only it understands. To address this, software developers must manually adjust code to determine which tasks should run on which processors—a tedious process, as extra features and updates are added regularly.

“This is especially true for Navy and Marine Corps software systems,” said Ravindran. “Many of these legacy systems were built in the 1970s or earlier, have numerous security patches and millions of lines of code, and represent a huge investment of time and money. How can Navy developers enjoy the benefits of next-generation heterogeneous processors without rewriting applications from scratch?”

Ravindran’s answer is Popcorn Linux, which can be used with any computer or device, and serves as a translation tool—taking generic coding language and translating it into multiple specialized program languages. From there, Popcorn Linux automatically figures out what pieces of the programming code are needed to perform particular tasks—and transfers these instruction “kernels” (the “popcorn” part) to the appropriate function.

While Popcorn Linux is still a proof-of-concept prototype created by Ravindran and his students, the system is about to enter a new phase of development.

“In our lab and academic setting, we’ve demonstrated that Popcorn Linux works well with respect to performance speed and power usage,” said Ravindran. “Later this year, we’ll work with industry partners to create a version of Popcorn Linux that can meet the strenuous industrial standards required by the Navy and Marine Corps.”

“We’re already hearing great enthusiasm from industry for Popcorn Linux,” said Masters. “We look forward to see how Dr. Ravindran and his team further develop this exciting system.”

[Source”pcworld”]

 

Windows 10 enterprise updating explained – branches, rings, and the OS as a service

win10 6

Are you an admin or power user who feels slightly confused by the detail underpinning Microsoft’s Windows 10 updating and patching plans? If so, that’s not surprising. Microsoft has at times been less than clear about the ins and outs of the new Windows 10 updating branches and ‘rings’ which is some respects are similar to the regime pre-dating Windows 10 but dressed up in a new and confusing terminology.

Here we try to piece together what’s what with updating and Windows 10. There are certainly some things to watch out for. What is clear is that this new world is more complex, necessarily so. Today, Windows 10 is still an operating system but at some point it will resemble more of a service. This is the fate for all ‘big’ operating systems.

The mental map to understanding what’s going in are the different updating ‘branches’ and, within each of those, the deployment ‘rings’. A second important issue is to understand the difference between ‘updates’ (additional feature and services) and patches/fixes (security updates). The first of these is described in detail below while the second will happen as and when they deigned necessary by Microsoft.

For a specific primer on Windows 10’s main Security features see Windows 10 – the top 7 enterprise security features

Windows 10 updating: Current Branch (CB) – Windows 10 Home

This is plainly just the old Windows Update (WU) that home users have grown used to since its appearance in 2003 with Patch Tuesday but there are some important subtleties. Instead of the current monthly patching cycle, some updates will be applied on an ongoing basis, including Defender updates and what would once have been called ‘out of band’ security patches. Bigger updates covering new features will happen every four months, nudging Windows evolution along more rapidly than in the past.

In short, security fixes might coincide with CB updates but are, at a deeper level, independent of them and can happen on any timescale Microsoft chooses.

[Source:- Techworld]

Dell’s eDellRoot certificate screw-up – what dazed admins need to know

Image result for Dell eDellRoot certificate screw-up – what dazed admins need to know

For PC users it’s a case of here we go again. Earlier in 2015, PC giant Lenovo was infamously caught shipping Windows computers with a piece of useless adware containing a self-signed root certificate that opened a massive security hole for customers. This week, it was Dell’s turn. Crowdsourced researchers revealed that the company had suffered the same egregious weakness not once, but twice, this time inside a pair of tools used for remote support.

Lenovo’s issue was more embarrassing than Dell’s – the vulnerability was part of a program called Superfish witlessly put there to serve adverts inside browser sessions – but frankly from a security point this sort of distinction makes no odds. Embedding a self-signed SSL certificate with the private key in an application shipped to large numbers of users is asking for trouble and should not have happened. This sort of configuration would be normal for a development application, not the final software, which should have used a signed certificate in the filestore from a Certificate Authority (CA).

The problem in more detail: Dell’s Foundation Services remote support tool was discovered to have installed a self-signed root certificate identifying itself as ‘eDellRoot’. In common parlance, that offered anyone aware of the issue the possibility of extracting the certificate’s private key to create a means to impersonate any HTTPS website connection they fancied as part of a TLS man-in-the-middle compromise. This is very bad – browsers would accept this borrowed certificate as genuine and in most cases throw up no browser warning. Criminals could also sign malware to make it appear legitimate not to mention delve into encrypted data such as website logins by sniffing laptops connecting through public Wi-Fi.

The size of the risk? Potentially huge for any system lacking remediation (see below). This must be addressed urgently.

That all? Apparently a second tool, Dell System Detect (DSD), has been discovered trying the same insecure trick with a self-signed certificate called DSDTestProvider. The Dell private PKI keys used to create these certificates are now insecure.

How was it discovered? Technical users and interested researchers talking to one another on Reddit and other sites.

 

[Source:- Techworld]

 

Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 M1 – the workhorse Xeon server for SMEs on a budget

Image result for Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 M1 - the workhorse Xeon server for SMEs on a budget

Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 Specs

  • Fujitsu PRIMERGY TX1310 E3-1200 3.3GHz Xeon v3 supporting ECC memory – Up to 32 GB ECC memory (2 DIMMs) – 4 x 3.5 inch storage bays with RAID controller (not hot pluggable)
  • screwless chassis with easy rails
  • bay for backup drive
  • 4 PCIe slots – Dual Gigabit LAN ports
  • 8 x USB (4 x USB 3.0)
  • integrated graphics or optional Fujitsu VGA card

Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 Price

RRP: £499 (£349 on special, inc VAT)

Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 M1 – the workhorse Xeon server for SMEs on a budget

Can any more be said about small business servers these days? Normally we’d say not, but Fujitsu’s Xeon E3-1226-equipped Primergy dumped itself on our testing desk with a startling price tag of only £499 (£349 on promotion at eBuyer inc VAT) piquing our interest.

On the face of it, a small business is getting a lot for its CAPEX budget with this system, even once the cost of support and a volume OS license is added to the final bill. Within Fujitsu’s extensive line-up of tower servers, the TX100 series is the entry-level system, with the TX1310 occupying the middle of three tiers within that.

The TX1310 system supplied had 8GB of DDR3 1600HMz RAM in a single module (the Fujitsu site specifies 2 x 4GB for some reason), with a single spare slot on the motherboard, the maximum being 32GB. Frankly, this need to be doubled unless it’s being used for a basic tasks such as a print server, although the cost mentioned above includes that spec.

Fixed storage was in the form of 2 x 500GB SATA 6GB drives configured for RAID 1 mirroring and a DVD-RW drive, eight USB sockets, four being USB 3.0, two of which were at the front of the unit. Again, upping this to 2 x 1TB drives would be advisable (also included in the above price), which offers 1TB of capacity with RAID. Other features include the Intel I350-T2 Ethernet LAN card with dual Gigabit ports and on/off switches on the front and rear of the case.

The system ships with Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard pre-installed with Fujitsu ServerView Suite.

 

[Source:- Techworld]

Don’t like Windows 10? Here’s how to uninstall it

With Windows 10, Microsoft has made some massive changes to the way its operating system works, and it’s managed to win over a lot of people (IT Pro included).

However, it’s not been a hit with everyone. Some don’t like the new Start menu, there have been reports of compatibility issues, and many just aren’t comfortable with it. If you’re one of the people that wish they hadn’t upgraded, fear not – you can still go back to your old version of Windows.

Be warned, though – you’ll need to act fast. Microsoft has built a feature into Windows 10 allowing users to roll back to their previous Windows version, but it’s only available for the first ten days after you install the new OS. It’s still possible to go back to an older version after this period elapses, but it’s more difficult and time-consuming.

How to uninstall Windows 10 from automatic install

Although Microsoft has denied it, a number of Windows 7 users have complained that Windows 10 has begun automatically installing on their systems (even one of IT Pro’s staff left their home computer running one evening and returned to find the installation process had started).

If you’ve returned to your PC to find that it has somehow upgraded itself to Windows 10 without your consent, this tutorial will also apply to you.

Previously, once you switched (or your computer switched) to Windows 10, you had 30 days in which to convert back to your previous OS. Once you’ve installed the Anniversary Update, that time falls from 30 days to only ten days. Microsoft has said the change was made following “user research” that revealed most users reverted within the first several days, and shortening the time to 10 days frees up the 3GB to 5GB of storage space that was holding onto the previous OS.

When your PC upgrades to Windows 10, the old operating system is kept on the hard drive for around a month; after the Anniversary Update, that falls to just 10 days. This means that you haven’t got long to decide whether or not you like the new OS.

Before you do this, it is a good idea to make sure all data is backed up using either an external hard drive or a cloud-based backup service. You may also want to ensure your old Windows 7 or Windows 8 product key is to hand just to be doubly careful.

To roll back to your previous version of the OS, go to the Start menu and choose ‘Settings’, then ‘Update & security’. Choose ‘Recovery’ in the left-hand panel and, on the right, find ‘Go back to Windows 8.1′ or ‘Go back to Windows 7’. Click the ‘Get started’ button below that and follow instructions.

Once you have gone back to the old version of Windows, older programs may need to be installed.

Of course, this will only work if you still have the Windows.old folder (C:\Windows.old). If you can’t find it or you have deleted it, then you are out of luck.

A complete reinstall may be your only option if the rollback method described above is no longer available.

This can also have the effect of removing tons of bloatware that have clogged up your operating system, slowing it down.

A clean install is different from the Reset you PC option in Windows 8 and above. This can often re-install junkware that came from the manufacturer with the laptop.

This uses just the Windows media (CD or USB) and nothing else and should result in a faster PC as well. It is also a way of dealing with any malware-infected machines or those that have been riddled with ransomware and had data encrypted.

To perform a clean install, insert the Windows DVD into the disc drive or insert a USB containing the Windows installation media into a free USB port. Then turn on the computer (or restart it).

Look for Press any key to boot from CD or DVD or Press any key to boot from an external device. Pressing a key will force the computer to boot from either the Windows DVD or a flash drive with the Windows 8 installation files on it.

If you can’t find your old disc, as long as you have the product keys, you can download Windows installation media and burn the ISO file to a disc or copy it to a USB drive using Microsoft’s Windows USB/DVD download tool.

On a Windows 7 PC, look for a “certificate of authenticity” sticker with a key on it. It is normally on the underside of a laptop or at the back of a desktop PC. For Windows 8 PCs, the key can be embedded in your computer’s firmware. This means Windows 8.1 will automatically detect it and allow reinstallation of Windows 8.1 without even asking for a key.

 

 

[Source:- ITpro]

How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD

SSD

One of the best ways of making your PC run faster is by installing a solid-state drive (SSD). However, moving Windows to an SSD is not an easy task.

The best way to move Windows 10 (or any other OS) onto an SSD is by using a cloning tool. This takes everything on the old drive and copies onto the new one. Of course, for a lot of people, this will be like trying to fit a pint in a half pint pot. With all your music, photos and videos, taking up a terabyte of space, you may find compromises will have to be made.

Before you move the Windows installation files to an SSD, you have to separate any other data (documents, pictures, music, videos) to another disc as these won’t be transferred to the SSD.

You will then clone the Windows OS onto the new SSD and move personal data onto the old disc. The great thing here is that you will get the benefit of running Windows from a faster drive while retaining the spacious hard drive for data.

If you are doing this with a desktop computer, then you will have little trouble fitting in both the new disc and the old disc as there should be space for both. Things get a little more difficult when it comes to laptops. At this point, you may have to remove the optical drive to fit in a second drive or spend more money on an SSD that can accommodate all the data present on the old disc.

What do you need?

As mentioned before, for this project you will need your current hard drive (or spinning platters of rust), which you will migrate data from; your new solid-state drive which data will be migrated to; and a backup of all your data, as you can only clone the system files.

You will also need a cloning tool. In this instance, we will use EaseUS Todo Backup Free. Mainly because it is free and also because it is easy enough for most people to use. Also, the tool is good at cloning data from a large disc to a much smaller disc

Defrag your disk and back up your data 

As we are cloning a disc, it is a good idea to defrag the file system before we start anything. Click on the Start menu and type in defrag, when you see the option for Disk Defragmenter, click on its and run the tool to tidy up the disc.

Next thing to do is the back up ALL your data. An external drive is a good start or an online service such as CrashPlan is a good alternative, but the latter will take a lot longer to complete, even with a good internet connection.

Put your old hard drive on a diet

If you are making the move to a smaller SSD drive, you will need to delete a few files off of it to make sure the process completes. If you have a 256GB SSD, you will need to ensure you delete enough files off of the old one to fit on that.

A good place to start is by looking in folders such as My Videos (often has lots of very large files within), then My Music (loads of music collected over the years), then My Documents.

Once your backup has completed and you have verified the data is properly backed up, then delete the data within these folders but not the folders themselves, as you may need them later.

It is important to note that we don’t want to delete applications in the Program Files folder. This is because we also want them to benefit from the speed boost that an SSD has.

Send in the clones 

Once the old disc has slimmed down enough, you can then begin the process of transferring this data to the new SSD. Open EaseUS Todo backup and select “Clone” from the left-hand sidebar.

Select your old disc as the clone source and select the SSD as the target location. Before anything else, tick the box next to “Optimize for SSD”. This is so the partition is correctly aligned for SSDs (this ensures the best performance of the new disc).

The cloning tool will begin copying data over. If you tick the “Shut down the computer when the operation completed” box, the process will shut your system down when completed.

At this point, if you get an error message alerting you that the source disc is too big, you will have to go back to the step before and delete more data from the old disc. This can happen when you haven’t formatted the SSD to find out the true capacity of the new drive.

Delete your old drive

Once complete, switch the PC back on and boot from the SSD. You may have to go into the boot menu and select the SSD as the drive to boot from.

You should notice that Windows now starts a lot quicker than before. But we are not finished yet. You can then open up Windows Explorer and wipe the old drive (make sure it isn’t the backup!!!) Right click on this old drive and select format.

Get your old data back from the backup

We can now move data from the backup onto your old disc, which is now extra storage for your system. You can create a new folder to store all your user folders. Then click on C:\users\username (replace username here!) and you should see your (now empty) user folders. Right-click on each one, select Properties, and go to the Location Tab. Click on Move, and select the newly created user folder as the destination.

To restore your personal data from your backup, simple click and drag documents, music, pictures, videos, and other files back into your My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, and other user folders that you have just moved.

 

 

[Source:- ITpro]

Best Windows 10 tips and tricks

Here’s some of the best hacks for Microsoft’s flagship operating system

Windows 10 has come in for its fair share of flak since it launched in July last year, with many naysayers citing installation problems, leaky privacy settings and compulsory updates among the reasons why they’re sticking with Windows 7 or 8.1.

But, as we’ve shown in previous features, these problems can usually be overcome with a little patience and the odd settings tweak. Follow our advice and you should be left with a secure, modern operating system (OS) that will be supported by Microsoft for years to come and offers many tangible benefits over previous versions of Windows.

‘Cast’ photos and videos to your TV

If you own a Miracast-enabled TV or set-top box, then you can use Windows 10 to send media – including music, photos and videos – from your PC to your TV. It’s true that Windows 8.1 can do something similar, but Windows 10 adds the ability to cast media directly from the Edge browser.

Launch Edge and navigate to the page you want – this could be, for example, a photo slideshow, YouTube video, or even files you’ve stored in Dropbox or OneDrive. Next, click the menu button (three dots at the top right) and select ‘Cast media to device’. A small window will pop up listing available screens and receivers – click your TV to cast the media to it.

If you don’t see your TV (or other preferred device) listed, make sure your PC and the device you want to cast to are both connected to the same network and the receiving device is turned on. This tip will work for BBC iPlayer, though annoyingly other TV-streaming services, such as Netflix, don’t support Edge casting.

Create PDFs in almost any program

Converting documents, maps and other content to PDF files can make it easier to share them over email. Until now, you had to install a third-party PDF tool to carry out these conversions, but many, such as CutePDF, come crammed with adware, toolbars and other unwanted junk.

Sensibly, Microsoft has built PDF creation into Windows 10. Better still, the feature has been incorporated as a print option, meaning that any program or app that allows you to print will also allow you to create or convert your files to PDF.

Let’s say you want to save a web page as a PDF. Simply click your browser’s menu button (usually in the top-right corner) and select Print. Then choose ‘Microsoft Print to PDF’ from the list of available printers. Change any other settings as needed, then click Print. You’ll be prompted to give your PDF file a name and choose a location to save it in. Do so and your PDF will be created.

Copy and paste in the Command Prompt

Many advanced PC fixes require you to enter specific commands into the Windows Command Prompt tool (CMD) – “shutdown /r /o”, for example, will restart your PC and bring up the Advanced Start Options menu, from where you can launch Safe Mode.

Typing complicated commands can produce errors, which is why it’s great that Windows 10’s revamped CMD tool finally lets users copy and paste directly using Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V keyboard shortcuts. It’s astonishing that Microsoft seemingly hadn’t thought of this until now.

To enable this, right-click Start and select Command Prompt. When it opens, right-click the header bar at the top of the program window and select Properties. On the Options tab under Edit Options, tick the box next to ‘Enable Ctrl key shortcuts’. While you’re here, you can enable some of Windows 10’s other unique new features too.

QuickEdit mode’ lets you click and drag to select text in the Command Prompt window; ‘Filter clipboard contents on paste’ automatically removes unnecessary characters from commands you copy; ‘Enable line wrapping selection’ lets you select and copy multiple lines of text; and ‘Extended text selection keys’ provides support for even more keyboard shortcuts (such as Ctrl+A to select all text). Click OK when you’ve finished ticking these.

Set reminders via your voice

Most Windows 10 users will probably agree that Cortana – the operating system’s much-vaunted personal assistant – is nowhere near as impressive as Microsoft would have us believe. That said, there are times when Cortana’s skills can actually come in very handy – for instance, when you want a quick way to set reminders.

Let’s say there’s something important that you need to do at a certain time of day – take some medication, perhaps. Just click the microphone icon in the taskbar and say ‘set a reminder’. Cortana will ask you what it is you need to remember and when you need the reminder to pop up.

You can even set up recurring reminders by saying ‘every day at four o’clock,’ for example. Double-check that all the details displayed in Cortana’s panel are correct, adjust them if necessary, then say ‘yes’ or click Remind. Bear in mind, however, that this will only work if your device has a microphone.

Download offline maps

Windows 8.1 has a map app, but Windows 10’s version goes one better by letting you download maps to your PC, so you can view them without an internet connection. Open the Maps app, click the Settings (cog) icon, then click ‘Download or update maps’.

You’ll be taken to the ‘Offline maps’ page of the Settings app. Click ‘Download or update maps’, select your continent (Europe, for example), followed by your country, then your region. Close the Maps app and your map will begin downloading.

 

[Source:- ITpro]

 

Windows 10 release date, features, devices and free upgrade: Windows 10 Creators Update ‘scheduled for April’

Windows 10 at-a-glance

Windows 10 launched globally on 29 July 2015 and touted as “the last version of Windows”, marking the end of decades of occasional heavy duty OS updates in favour of a more incremental approach. Available as a free upgrade for a year after launch, Windows 10 became full price on 30 July 2016. Here’s our round-up of everything you need to know about Windows 10.

  • Windows 10 started rolling out on 29 July 2015 as a free upgrade
  • Windows 10 free upgrade ended 29 July 2016 and Anniversary Update launched on 2 August
  • Read our full review of Windows 10 here
  • Enterprise users can manage company-wide rollouts for Windows 10 updates
  • Microsoft Edge replaces Internet Explorer as Windows 10’s default browser
  • Android and iOS apps will run on the new OS

 

[Source:- ITpro]

Apple enhances iOS features for hearing impaired

Tech giant Apple has enhanced its iOS accessibility features for users with hearing impairments, according to a report by Appleinsider.

Features like Bluetooth-based AirPod-style streaming, Live Listen, have been enhanced, focusing on conversations in loud environment for hearing impairments.

Apple first introduced MFi support for Bluetooth hearing aids in iOS 7 and iPhone 4s.

Its latest software expands support for direct streaming of phone calls, FaceTime conversations, movies and other audio to supported hearing aids, without the need for a middleman device known as a “streamer”.

New iOS 10 hearing aid also features integrated device battery life and independent base, treble, right and left volume controls, and supports audiologist-designed presets for handling sound from concerts or restaurants, the report said.

In addition to supporting audio originating on the phone, the new Live Listen feature also allows users to relay focused audio picked up by the iPhone’s mic, enabling clearer conversations when in a loud environment.

 

[Source:- Techrader]

 

Flock Launches Chat Operating System, FlockOS

Flock announces the release of its platform, FlockOS – a chat operating system. Developers can now build customized apps, bots and integrations on Flock, and either use them within their organization, or publish it on Flock’s App Store, making them available for all Flock users.

FlockOS allows developers to build apps that

● Provide a tightly integrated experience by using widgets. These include the attachment widget, sidebar widget, and modal widget – all capable of displaying rich HTML.

● Send messages and rich attachments to Flock users and groups. For example, the Poll app in Flock creates an opinion poll in a rich attachment format and immediately broadcasts it to all in a group. It also shows real time updates on the poll numbers.

● Add buttons to attachments, chat tab bar, attachment picker bar or app launcher bar. The meticulously designed app-specific buttons embedded in the interface ensure higher app discoverability, and in turn, boost app usage.

● Setup slash commands providing an additional option for users to interact with the app.

● Configure a Bot to send directed messages to users, carry on conversations and completing tasks from within Flock.

● Customize URL previews for specific URLs, so the app can display information relevant for the user.

● Deliver a consistent experience across platforms including web, desktop, and mobile without having to rework a single line of code.

“Messaging and collaboration platforms have become the systems by which teams become more productive. Currently, most of our activities are collaborative in nature, and increasingly there will be the need of simple apps that are built on top of the messaging framework. Chat will soon become the next operating system, probably within the next three to five years.” said Bhavin Turakhia, CEO and founder of Flock. “FlockOS empowers teams to create custom experiences within Flock that is designed for their unique team needs.”

Apps and integrations are considered “first-class citizens” in the FlockOS ecosystem. Flock aims to provide users with a seamless experience with all integrations. The Flock UI, built from the ground-up with simplicity, usability, and apps in mind, ensures maximum app discoverability to boost utilization. Users can expect massive productivity gains with the expansion of Flock’s app network.

Developers can currently build custom apps on FlockOS using Java and node.js SDKs with additional SDKs (Python, Ruby, etc.) to roll out soon.

 

 

[Source:- Techrader]