System76 Linux computer maker offers a sneak peek into its new manufacturing facility

System76 has long been a Linux computer seller, but recently, it has transitioned into a Linux computer maker. What's the difference, you ask? Well, currently, the company doesn't really make its own computers. System76's laptops, for instance, are made by other manufacturers, which it re-brands as its own.
No, System76 doesn't just slap its name on other company's laptops and ship them out the door. Actually, it works closely with the manufacturers, tweaks firmware, and verifies that both Ubuntu and its Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS will work well on the hardware. System76 then offers top-notch support too. In other words, the company isn't just selling a computer, but an experience too.
Unfortunately, when you rely on other computer manufacturers, you don't fully control the experience. Ultimately, System76 cannot achieve its true vision without building its own laptops. And so, that is exactly what it is going to do! Yes, System76 will be building and selling the computers right here in the USA (Denver, Colorado to be exact). I mean, when your company supports open source ideology and takes pride in being "Made in America," how can you go wrong?
Many folks in the Linux community -- including yours truly -- are excited to see the fruits of System76's labor, and today, we get a small peek. No, the company isn't sharing any of its upcoming computer designs, but it is showing off its new manufacturing facility. In a new blog post by System76 customer service all-star Emma (known for her love of all things pink), she shares several photos of the new factory. As you can see below, the space is absolutely massive! It seems System76 has very lofty goals...


Exactly when these new computers both designed and manufactured by System76 will become available for purchase is anyone's guess. Quite frankly, based on the System76's blog post, it seems they are still at very early stages. With that said, it will be interesting to see what is born inside that factory in Colorado. The Linux community is anxiously awaiting something special, and I am confident System76 will deliver.
To see more photos of System76's new facility, you can check out the official blog post here.

How to download offline copies of Windows 10 apps from the Microsoft Store


It’s very easy to install Windows apps from the Microsoft Store. You just need to go to the app’s page there, click the 'Get the app' button, and wait.
But what if you want to download a copy of the app for installing later, or on multiple systems? Well it turns out there is a way to do this.

AdGuard has created a new web tool that lets you download apps directly from the Microsoft Store. Just copy the URL of the app you want and paste it into the box on the AdGuard site here.
The tool will list all of the available downloads for that app, and you can click the one you want to save a copy.
You’ll see the file name, when it is set to expire, the SHA-1 hashes and size, which helps you to download the right file. You'll need to download the AppxBundle (application) and EAppxBundle (updater) files.
To install an app, just run the download and it will install as normal.
As Ghacks points out, you can’t use the service to download paid applications or games for free -- AdGuard blocks those listings.

Get Bitdefender Internet Security 2019 FREE for 6 months


Bitdefender Internet Security 2019 gives you the best protection against Internet threats on Windows, with no drag on your system’s resources. It was named Product of the Year by AV-Comparatives and awarded with Best Protection and Best Performance by AV-TEST.

Bitdefender Internet Security 2019 stops attacks before they even begin and the new network-based adaptive layer of protection prevents exploitation of vulnerabilities in your system, detects and blocks brute-force attempts, prevents your device from being compromised in botnet attacks and prevents sensitive information from being sent in unencrypted forms.
Bitdefender Internet Security 2019 delivers multiple layers of protection against ransomware. It uses behavioral threat detection to prevent infections and protects your most important documents from ransomware encryption.
The new Ransomware Remediation feature acts as a remediation layer that ensures data such as documents, pictures, videos, or music will be protected against any kind of ransomware attack.
Highlights in this new release include:
  • Best security against Internet threats on Windows
  • Multi-layer ransomware protection with ransomware remediation - IMPROVED
  • Parental Control
  • Network Threat Prevention: stops attacks before they even begin - NEW
  • Includes privacy tools such as Bitdefender VPN and Bitdefender Safepay
  • Comprehensive Support 24/7
The software usually retails for $79.99, but why pay when you can get it for free?
For a limited time, BetaNews is giving away six-month subscriptions to Bitdefender Internet Security 2019 to protect your devices against ransomware, password stealing, data theft, malware interception of your payments, hidden spying software, and infections that render your device inoperable or cause massive slowdowns.
To take advantage of this amazing offer simply head here.

Analyze and Optimize TCP/IP with TCP Optimizer for Windows PC



TCP is the de-facto transport protocol on the Internet. It makes sure to send, and receive information across the internet for every type of content. It’s everywhere. When you load a website or send an email or watch a movie on YouTube.  Today, it is one of the core protocols of the Internet Protocol (IP). It is also responsible to make sure to manage data sent in a way, that there is no congestion anywhere. That said, TCP/IP can be optimized even further. In this post, we are sharing how to analyze and optimize TCP/IP with TCP Optimizer. It’s a software that can optimize TCP/IP.

Analyze & Optimize TCP/IP with TCP Optimizer

There are two parts. First is Analysis, and the second is Optimization. You can analyze by visiting this link on their website. The analysis displays a bunch of messages which you might not totally understand except for bits, and pieces. The basic idea one can easily understand is there are a few settings for TCP which can be changed so more data can be sent across. The default settings restrict the amount of data.  You will get details about MTU, MSS, RWIN, and so on. What you should look is if there is anything which suggests you change values, and optimizes TCP.
I got the following messages:
  • MTU is optimized for PPPoE DSL broadband. If not, consider raising MTU to 1500 for optimal throughput.
  • MSS is optimized for PPPoE DSL broadband. If not, consider raising your MTU value.
  • RWIN is not fully optimized. The unscaled RWIN value is lower than it should be. You might want to use one of the recommended RWIN values below.
Keep this page open, as you will need it for optimizing the TCP on your PC using their software.

How to optimize TCP/IP

TCP Optimizer is a portable software which changes few things on the network level, and few on registry settings. The best part is that its a portable application of a very small size. Suggest you keep a copy in your Inbox. Once you download it from here, launch it with admin privileges.
  • Once launched, it will run a bunch of commands which helps it to get the settings on your PC.
  • The first thing you should do is select the right internet speed using the slider on the software.
  • Next, look at the analysis you got above, and see what values you can change. If you are not comfortable, you can skip it.
  • There are four options: Analyze & Optimize TCP/IP with TCP Optimizer
    • Default — Anytime you want to fall back to original settings, choose this.
    • Current — Current settings
    • Optimal — Safest method which lets the software choose the best for you.
    • Custom — Use this if you know this clearly.  In my case, I changed the MTU value to 1500 and also optimized RWN value.
Those who are wondering how it chooses the optimal settings, then its because of the advanced algorithm in the software. Depending on PC to PC, and network, it finds the best TCP Settings for your specific connection speed.
TCP Optimizer Changes
For those who understand technical details, it tunes TCP/IP parameters, such as MTU, RWIN, and even advanced ones like QoS and ToS/Diffserv prioritization. While the application is mostly for broadband uses, you can use it on almost any connection.
Features of TCP Optimizer:
  • If your PC has multiple network adapter, you can optimize each of them.
  • Restore / Backup settings.
  • Direct option to reset TCP/IP and WINSOCK.
  • Under the custom option, you can choose different types of optimization including disabled, highly restricted, normal, restricted and experimental.
  • You can always switch back to the default Windows settings.
  • Check MTU/Latency.
After it applies new settings, it will ask you to reboot the PC for best results. I will always suggest to keep an eye on your internet browsing performance and make sure it has either remained the same or has improved. In case there is a problem, choose to roll back to default Windows Settings.
Fun Fact – Windows comes with an Auto Tuning feature which was first released with Windows Vista. It is available in Windows 10, and many disable it because of some issues. The primary reason to disable it is when you use an old router and auto-tuning doesn’t go well with it.

Google has just Added A massive New Feature To Its Chrome Browser

The tech giant Google’s well-known and the most used Chrome browser has already shown that it thinks about a new design for its browser, in addition to consuming 13% more RAM. What’s new is that the tech giant Google’s browser will now alert the user when they enter a web page that uses a lot of their hired data package.

This feature is still in the browser test version and will work as a text just above the page. In it, when Chrome detects that too much data has been downloaded, the warning will show how much internet was used to access the content. The feature also allows the user to define how much internet is too much internet, which changes from plan to plan.
It is too early to say when the alert will be embedded in the browser and whether it will be taken to Chrome on smartphones where it makes more sense. Thinking about this kind of fixed broadband control is still not as important, but it can turn out to be a savior of the motherland if carriers can push their boundaries on this type of connection 
A very interesting purpose even for India’s current unlimited broadband internet market, is the page with something hidden being downloaded. The alert allows the download to stop, similar to the browser’s “stop” button.
To test the feature, you need to have the latest version of the Canary version of Chrome, and enter the following URL in the address field: chrome://flags/#enable-heavy-page-capping. This URLdoes not have any function in the stable version and released for download by Google.
It’s worth remembering that, as we’ve already commented, Canary is a sandbox version of the Chrome beta. As with anything beta, there are risks of crashes and bugs that are still in the hands of developers for an immediate solution.

Check Out The World’s First Rideable Flying Car

Larry Page, of course, the co-founder of the tech giant Google, is heavily involved in air travel projects. After supporting Kitty Hawk in developing the Cora air taxi, the executive is also involved in the design of the BlackFly flying vehicle.
Developed by Canadian Opener, it holds one person and can travel up to 40 kilometers away at a speed of almost 100 km/h. The vehicle moves with the help of a joystick and does not require a pilot’s license in the United States.
Despite this, you will need to undergo training before using BlackFly. “Security has been the goal that has guided us in the development of this new technology,” said Opener CEO Marcus Leng.

The company claims to have conducted BlackFly testing over the last nine years. During this period, more than 1,000 flights were carried out, totaling 160,000 kilometers. The final version has eight propulsion systems distributed on the front and rear wings to keep it running if one of the systems fails.
The vehicle uses electric power and can be recharged completely in less than 30 minutes. It was developed to take off from grassy spaces but also manages to start a flight from the water as well.
There is still no information on how much BlackFly will cost, but according to the BBC, it will be comparable to the price of an SUV. “We will offer competitive pricing in an effort to democratize three-dimensional personal transport,” explains Leng, of course, the CEO of the Canadian aerodynamic company Opener.

Samsung Just Launched World’s First LPDDR5 RAM, Ready For 5G


The South Korean giant Samsung is far from just a maker of smartphones, tablets, and computers. It creates many of the components that go in these devices and however, recently, the South Korean giant Samsung just announced another version of its RAM, now in standard LPDDR5 DRAM and scoring 8GB on a single chip.
The purpose of this silicon memory is the low power consumption for devices focused on 5G, the internet of things and even with embedded artificial intelligence. The South Korean giant Samsung promises higher performance and lower power consumption compared to the LPDDR4 or LPDDR4X which is currently available in the most powerful gadgets on the market in 2018.
To explain the speed gain, the manufacturer claims to get up to 6400 Mb/s on the new chip, compared to 4266 Mb/s in the standard used in devices already launched. With this speed, you can send 51.2 GB of data to the RAM in just one second. If you put this amount into 3.7GB Full HD movies (more or less what Netflix uses), in a second the RAM can transfer more than 13 movies.
In power consumption, the new LPDDR5 uses half of what is required to run LPDDR4 idle. Overall, the South Korean giant Samsung says that the average consumption of the new 10 nanometer DRAM is 30% lower than the current generation.
Finally, the South Korean giant, of course, Samsung has already managed to produce 8GB modules in LPDDR5, but it is still early to expect this new memory in Galaxy Note 9. It is still necessary to set the DDR5 standard to be able to mass-manufacture the new chip for all its customers, as the tech giant Apple is one of them.
The current industry standard was released in December 2013 and remains present today in handsets such as iPhone 8 Plus. The Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S9 use the LPDDR4X, launched in 2017 as the lowest power variant of LPDDR4.

This Is How Apple’s New MacBook Pro Keyboard Is Dust-Protected

The tech giant Apple launched last week, a new generation of MacBook Pro with up to 4 TB SSD and 32 GB of RAM. In addition to the specifications (and high price), it stands out by the third-generation keyboard, which promises “quieter typing”. And, according to iFixit, the keys have a protection that prevents the entry of dust.

While dismantling the new MacBook Pro, iFixit found that the mechanism beneath each key is protected by a thin silicone barrier. This prevents waste entry and reduces noise when typing.
Since 2015, each key on the MacBook Pro uses a mechanism that resembles the wings of a butterfly. This reduces the thickness of the button and, according to the tech giant Apple, distributes finger pressure more evenly than the traditional scissor mechanism found in other notebooks.


However, the company is being processed because this keyboard accumulates more dust, and the keys may stop working when this happens. Since then the tech giant Apple has announced a free repair program to solve this even in MacBooks Pro out of warranty.
So why does not the tech giant Apple say it has improved the keyboard to prevent the entry of dust? John Gruber of Daring Fireball lists two reasons. First, it could not say that it fixed the problem, otherwise it would be admitting that there is a problem and would increase the risk of losing in court – after all, the lawsuits are still being tried.
And, secondly, that would not make sense from a marketing point of view. It continues to sell the second generation of its keyboard in MacBooks without Touch Bar.
The tech giant Apple tells The Verge that its third-generation keyboard is not designed to solve dust accumulation and this problem affected only a very small fraction of its users.
The company did not even want to explain how it reduced the typing volume – we only learned about the silicone membrane after iFixit was dismantled the new generation MacBook.

A little less noise when typing

The TechCrunch tested the new MacBook keyboard, comparing it to the second generation without silicone barrier. Here, a podcast microphone recorded a person by typing the phrase “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”.
It’s not a highly scientific test, but it shows the difference in volume – and it’s not that big. The old keyboard has a typewriter sound, with clicks perceptible to each keystroke.
Meanwhile, the new version is a little more muffled but still seems to be a bit noisy. Noise is another complaint some users have with the “butterfly” keyboard of the MacBook Pro.

Google Hid An Awesome Per-App Auto Rotate Feature in Android P

Historically, when you turn your phone on its side, the screen rotates. To keep this from happening, you can lock the orientation. But with Android P, Google included a way to have to the best of both worlds.
This new feature, which doesn’t seem to have an exact name, allows the display to be rotated on a per-app bases. But here’s the catch: it only works when rotation lock is enabled. But that’s what makes it so simply brilliant.
Here’s how it works. Lock the screen rotation by pulling down the notification shade and tapping the Auto-rotate button (black is off). Now, fire up an app that you’re sure will rotate and turn the screen.
 
A little rotate button should show up in the corner of the navigation bar—tap it to rotate the screen. To go back to the “regular” orientation, turn the phone again. The button will appear again and you can flip it back.
With this feature, you can make sure the screen doesn’t rotate when you don’t want it to, but still flip specific apps into the alternation orientation when you need to. Since it works on a per-app basis, you’ll have control over display orientation like never before.

Google’s Bringing Back Google Now (Sort of) Inside Assistant

That little icon in Google Assistant may not look like much, but it heralds a return to form for Google. Now, when you tap this new button, you’ll find something like the extremely useful Google Now.
Google Now used to be the home for all your most useful and timely information. You could find out how long your commute is, see where your packages are, and see what’s on your calendar, all before you even ask for it. Google has so much personal information on you, may as well make use of it, right?
Well, the company seemed to disagree with itself for a while. The feature evolved to focus more on a feed of news stories and eventually the at-a-glance personal information tab was pushed to the side, hidden on the Google Feed page, only if you’re using the stock Google launcher on stock Android phones (something that most Android users are not). Now, it’s making a comeback.
If you launch Google Assistant on your phone today, you’ll see an icon like the one above. Tap it and you’ll be taken to a feed of your information, prioritized by what you may need right now or in the immediate future.
 
While it looks a bit different from how Google Now looked back in the day, it has a lot of the same information. It shows immediate events in your upcoming future—including those pulled from email confirmations as well as your Calendar—any reminders you have set, packages you might be expecting, and more. While it’s not quite as obvious that it’s there, if you’ve been missing Google Now, this should be a welcome return.

How to Enable (or Disable) Automatic Updates on Your iPhone or iPad

Apple’s iOS 12 operating system will bring automatic operating system updates to iPhone and iPad. The App Store can automatically update your installed apps, too. Here’s how to enable these updates, or disable them if you’d rather update manually.


For example, you may want to disable automatic updates of your operating system and apps to save on data.

Operating System Updates

To toggle automatic operating system updates on or off, head to Settings > General > Software Update.
You’ll see whether automatic updates are on or off here. If you don’t see this option, you haven’t installed iOS 12 yet.
To toggle updates on or off, tap “Automatic Updates” and set the slider to “On” or “Off.”
Updates won’t be installed immediately when they’re available. They’ll be installed at night when you’re connected to a power outlet, so they won’t interrupt you while you use your iPhone or iPad.
Even if automatic OS updates are disabled, you can still head to Settings > General > Software Update to install any available update.

App Updates

To toggle automatic app updates on or off, head to Settings > iTunes & App Store. Toggle the “Updates” option under Automatic Downloads to “On” or “Off.”
App updates won’t be installed immediately when they’re available. Your iPhone or iPad will install the updates when it’s plugged into power and isn’t being used—for example, when you’re charging it at night.
Even if automatic app updates are disabled, you can open the App Store app, tap “Updates” on the bar at the bottom of your screen, and install any available app updates from here.

What Are Woofers, Mid-Range Speakers, and Tweeters?

Woofers, mid-range speakers, and tweeters are all types of loudspeakers. Most often, all three types of speakers are mounted in a single enclosure, but you can also find each in discrete enclosures. Let’s take a closer look at how they work.
Loudspeakers are a type of electrical transducer that converts an electrical audio signal into sound. The most widely used type of speaker today—the dynamic loudspeaker—was first built in the 1920’s. It uses a magnetic field to move a flexible diaphragm back and forth very quickly to produce sound waves that carry those sweet tunes right to our ears. That diaphragm is usually fabric, plastic, or paper, and is most often conical in shape, though some speaker makers use different designs.


We categorize speakers by the range of sound they put out, as measured in Hz. Some speakers are considered full-range, since they attempt to put out all the frequencies they are sent. The trouble with that is that the size of these full range speakers typically limit how good they sound. Small full range speakers just can’t get enough of that bass, and larger ones tend to not do well with the higher frequencies.
Other speakers are more specialized to different ranges. Woofers handle the lower range, mid-range speakers handle the middle range, and tweeters handle the highest range. Put these discrete speakers together, and you get a much fuller, more accurate sound reproduction than you get with a single full-range speaker.

Woofers

Woofers are made to handle the lower range of frequencies (sound waves) for a speaker system, and there are a few different types, depending on your needs. Although they are all built very similarly, there are some distinct differences between each type:
  • Standard Woofer: A standard woofer produces frequencies from 20 Hz up to 2,000 Hz (2 kilohertz, or 2 kHz). The woofer is often characterized by its bassy sound which comes from the lower frequency sine wave. You’ll typically see standard woofers as part of higher-end speakers that contain either a woofer and tweeter (a setup known as a 2-way speaker) or a woofer, tweeter, and mid-range speaker (a setup known as a 3-way speaker).
  • Subwoofer: Subwoofers are only capable of producing tones lower than 200 Hz in consumer systems. They are made up of one or more woofers, often mounted inside a wooden enclosure. Although the human ear is only able to pick up a frequency as low as 12 Hz, subwoofers working at lower frequencies can only be felt, if not heard. Subwoofers are the most common add-on to a consumer speaker setup. They are typically placed in their own, isolated enclosure and provide the low-level thump that you just can’t get with standard woofers.
  • Midwoofer: Midwoofers land right in the middle of the ‘woofer’ range, coming in from 200 Hz -5 kHz. Having such a wide range of frequencies, this speaker will produce the best quality sound from 500 Hz-2kHz and start to deteriorate at either end of the spectrum.
  • Rotary Woofer: A rotary woofer is a woofer-style loudspeaker that uses a coil’s motion to change the pitch of a set of fan blades, instead of using the cone shape. Since the pitch of the blades is changed by the audio amplifier, the power required is much less than that of a conventional subwoofer. They are also far superior at creating sounds well below 20 Hz, below the normal level of human hearing, able to produce frequencies down to 0 Hz by compressing the air in a sealed room.
In most consumer speaker setups, you’re likely to find a standard woofer as part of your main speakers and possibly an additional, but separate, subwoofer.

Mid-Range Speakers

Mid-range speakers are targeted to handle the ‘middle’ range of the spectrum, coming in between 500 Hz-4 kHz. This is probably the most important range of frequencies due to most audible sounds, such as musical instruments and the human voicebeing produced here.
Since the human ear is most sensitive to the mid-range frequency, the driver can remain at a lower power, while still providing good sound in terms of quality and volume. Because mid range speakers are unable to produce the extreme low or high spectrum, they often sound dull, or flat, and need the support of a woofer or tweeter to get the full level of sound.
You’ll find mid-range speakers used as part of a speaker that also includes a woofer and tweeter, and they’re also used in the center speakers often used with surround sound systems.

Tweeters

On the high end of the sound spectrum, we have tweeters, which get their name from the high tweet of birds. Tweeters typically cover the range of 2 kHz-20kHz, though some specialty tweeters can go as high as 100 kHz.
Traditionally, tweeters were designed pretty much the same way as other speakers—just smaller. The trouble is that sound at that frequency is pretty directional, meaning that the highs in your music sound best when the tweeters are pointed right at you. Modern tweeters are starting to adapt a dome version that uses a soft dome diaphragm made from polyester film, silk, or polyester fabric that has been impregnated with a polymer resin. Dome tweeters are capable of a wider area of sound distribution.

Why Does Google Chrome Say Websites Are “Not Secure”?

Starting with Chrome 68, Google Chrome labels all non-HTTPS websites as “Not Secure.” Nothing else has changed—HTTP websites are just as secure as they’ve always been—but Google is giving the entire web a shove towards secure, encrypted connections.
In the future, Google even plans to remove the word “Secure” from the address bar. All websites should be secure by default, after all.

How “Secure” HTTPS Websites Work

When you visit a website that uses HTTPS encryption, you’ll see the familiar green lock icon and the word “Secure” in your address bar.
Even if you enter passwords, provide credit card numbers, or receive sensitive financial data over the connection, the encryption ensures no one can eavesdrop on what’s being sent or alter the data packets while they’re travelling between your device and the website’s server.
This occurs because the website is set up to use secure SSL encryption. Your web browser uses the HTTP protocol to connect to traditional unencrypted websites, but uses HTTPS–literally, HTTP with SSL—when connecting to secure websites. Website owners have to set up HTTPS before it will work on their websites.
HTTPS also provides protection against malicious people impersonating a website. For example, if you’re on a public Wi-Fi hotspot and connect to Google.com, Google’s servers will provide a security certificate that is only valid for Google.com. If Google was just using unencrypted HTTP, there would be no way to tell whether you were connected to the real Google.com or to an imposter site designed to trick you and steal your password. For example, a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot could redirect people to these types of imposter websites while they’re connected to the public Wi-Fi.
HTTPS also provides other advantages. With HTTPS, no one can see the full path of the web pages you visit. They can only see the address of the website you’re connecting to. So, if you were reading about a medical condition on a page like example.com/medical_condition, even your Internet service provider would only be able to see that you’re connected to example.com—not what medical condition you’re reading about. If you’re visiting Wikipedia, your ISP and anyone else would only be able to see you’re reading Wikipedia, not what you’re reading about.
You might expect that HTTPS is slower than HTTP, but you’d be wrong. Developers have been working on new technology like HTTP/2 to speed up your web browsing, but HTTP/2 is only allowed on HTTPS connections. This makes HTTPS faster than HTTP.

Why Websites Are “Not Secure” If They’re Not Encrypted

Chrome 68 displays a “Not secure” message on HTTP sites.
Traditional HTTP is getting long in the tooth. That’s why, in Chrome 68, you’ll see a “Not secure” message in the address bar while you’re visiting an unencrypted HTTP site. Previously, Chrome just showed an informational “i” in a circle. If you click the “Not secure” text, Chrome will say “Your connection to this site is not secure.”
Chrome is saying that the connection isn’t secure because there’s no encryption to protect the connection. Everything is sent over the connection in plain text, which means it’s vulnerable to snooping and tampering. If you type private information like password or payment information into such a website, someone could snoop on it as it travels over the Internet.
People can also watch the data the website is sending to you. So, even if you’re just browsing the web, eavesdroppers can see exactly which web pages you’re looking at. Your Internet service provider would also know exactly what web pages you’re looking at and could sell that information for use in ad-targeting. Other people on the public Wi-Fi at the coffee shop could see what you’re looking at, too.
An unencrypted website is also vulnerable to tampering. If someone is sitting between you and the website, they could modify the data the website is sending to you, or modify the data you’re sending to the website, executing a man-in-the-middle attack. For example, this could occur when you’re using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. The hotspot’s operator could spy on your browsing and capture personal details or modify the contents of the web page before it reaches you. For example, someone could insert malware download links into a legitimate download page if that download page was sent over HTTP instead of HTTPS. They could even create a fake imposter website that pretends to be a legitimate website—if the legitimate website doesn’t use HTTPS, there’d be no way to notice you’re connected to a fake one and not the real one.

Why Did Google Make This Change?

Chrome 67 just shows an informational “i” in a circle while viewing HTTP sites.
Google and other web companies, including Mozilla, have been waging a long-term campaign to move the web from HTTP to HTTPS. HTTP is now considered an outdated technology that websites shouldn’t use.
Originally, only a few websites used HTTPS. Your bank and other sensitive websites would use HTTPS, and you’d be redirected to an HTTPS page while signing into websites with a password and entering your credit card number. But that was it.
Back then, HTTPS cost some money for website owners to implement, and secure HTTPS connections were slower than HTTP connections. Most websites just used HTTP, but that allowed for snooping and tampering with the connection. This made public Wi-Fi hotspots risky to use.
To provide privacy, security, and identity verification, Google and others wanted to move the web towards HTTPS. They’ve done so in many ways: HTTPS is now even faster than HTTP thanks to new technologies, and website owners can get free SSL certificates to encrypt their websites from the non-profit Let’s Encrypt. Google prefers websites that use HTTP better and promotes them in Google search results.
75% of websites visited in Chrome on Windows are now using HTTPS, according to Google’s transparency report. It’s now time to flip the switch and start warning users of HTTP websites.
Nothing has changed—HTTP still has the same problems it always has. But eough websites have moved to HTTPS that it’s time to warn users about HTTP and encourage website owners to stop dragging their feet. The move to HTTPS will make the web faster while improving security and privacy. It also makes public Wi-Fi hotspots safer.

New Kodi tool lets you configure new devices and download add-ons directly from developers on the fly

The XBMC/Kodi Foundation is still working hard on the next big update to its popular home theater software, Kodi 18 "Leia", but whether you’re running the alpha, or are still on Kodi 17, we’ve some great news for you.
Unofficial add-on repository TVAddons has released a new tool for Kodi called Batch Installer which allows users to create their own custom "templates" for configuring Kodi to new devices in seconds.
Users can select which Kodi add-ons to include, and also specify their choice of skin as well as other modifications.
The Batch configuration file is easily auditable for security, and downloads Kodi add-ons directly from developers on the fly, meaning everything is always up to date.
TV-Addons says the new tool will replace outdated Kodi builds, which famously "pose a risk to users due to their large size and abundance of different files from many sources". Batch Installer is configured using one simple file that controls everything.
You can find out how to create your own Batch Installer here.

From discrimination to invasions of privacy: The dangers of social media background checks

Social media background checks are slowly becoming the norm. According to CareerBuilder, 70 percent of employers use social media in some way to vet their employees. In most cases, these checks are innocent -- or at least well-intentioned. Employers want to make sure the people they hire are conducting themselves online appropriately and respectfully. No brand wants one of their employees sending out offensive tweets on a regular basis or badmouthing his or her boss on Facebook.
Intention is not the only thing that matters with social media background checks. In fact, employers can, and do, stumble into a mess of legal and ethical implications by looking at a job candidate’s Facebook page or Twitter account. Here are some of the biggest dangers of social media background checks.

  • Bias and discrimination
There are certain pieces of information employers are not allowed to ask about on job applications or in interviews. Details about a person’s sexual orientation, race, gender identification, religion, nationality, political affiliation, and marital status are off the table.
Not only are these details irrelevant to virtually any job, but they can also compromise the hiring manager by rendering that person unable to make an unbiased hiring decision. This bias, unconscious or not, can lead to employment discrimination, which can result in lawsuits, reputational damage for the employer, and other issues.
  • Unpredictability
What if employers vow not to look at any information on a social profile that could put them at risk for discriminating against a protected class? Hiring managers often assume they can make this choice, but they are mistaken: you never know what you are going to find when looking at a person’s social media profile.
On one Facebook profile, potentially sensitive information might visible only in the "About" section. On another profile, it might be evident just from photos, recent posts, or other immediately visible content. The unpredictability of social media profiles and posting habits makes it impossible for employers to look at Facebook or Twitter without potentially discovering information they aren’t supposed to know.
  • Legal violations
Perhaps the worst thing an employer can do in the process of running a social media background check is to require a candidate to hand over access to their social media profiles. In some cases, employers provide spots on their job applications where they ask applicants to provide social media usernames or even passwords. In other cases, employers ask candidates to login into their Facebook profiles during a job interview so hiring managers can look at the contents.
These practices save employers from having to search fruitlessly for candidates on social platforms. They also help circumnavigate privacy settings. However, these practices are also extremely problematic and are even against the law in certain parts of the country. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, many states -- including California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, and New Jersey -- have made it illegal for employers to request social media usernames or passwords from their candidates.
  • Violations of protected activity
Employees are strongly discouraged from complaining about bosses and managers online. This type of behavior not only looks petty to friends and family but is also precisely what employers are looking for when they do social media background checks. What very few people realize is that complaining about your boss on social media is something that is considered a "protected activity" under the National Labor Relations Act.
Commiserating about a boss or supervisor to fellow employees is protected under the law. Since most people are friends with a few of their colleagues on social media, employees often cannot be punished for blasting supervisors online.
  • Privacy infringements
Employers use social media background checks to see how their candidates behave in real life. In most cases, it’s none of an employer’s business what a person does when they aren’t at work.
Most people would agree someone posting a photo of themselves doing shots of tequila, wearing a provocative outfit, or participating in a suggestive or explicit act might not always be tasteful. But if these behaviors aren’t happening on business property or during work hours, they have no relevance to any hiring decision. Employers should beware of the ethical implications of bringing these private life matters into the workplace.
  • Consistency and verifiability
State laws do not bar employers from using social media for any form of background check, but they do make it more difficult. Left to their own devices, employers must use social network search functions to find their candidates on LinkedIn (usually pretty easy), Facebook (more difficult), and Twitter (next to impossible).
This added challenge brings to light issues with the consistency and verifiability of social media background checks. Employers can rarely be sure if they’ve found the correct social media profile for a candidate. Since many candidates are difficult to find on social media -- whether because they don’t have active accounts or have activated robust privacy settings -- there is no consistency to the social media background check process.
Someone who is very active on Facebook could have a disadvantage compared to a candidate who doesn’t have a profile. With any background check, consistency in procedures from one applicant to the next is paramount. That consistency cannot be achieved with social media background checks.
Employers and job seekers alike should be aware of the rocky implications of social media background checks. More traditional background checks -- from criminal history searches to educational verifications to reference checks -- are considerably more effective and less legally or ethically treacherous. Even though more and more employers are using social media to vet their candidates, there are countless reasons that the practice is time-consuming at best and extremely risky at worst.

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