Oct 24, 2016

Manjaro Announces 16.10 Final Release

Manjaro 16.10 RC1 XFCE "Fringilla"
Manjaro 16.10 Fringilla is a package-wise release of current stable release. Install medias (Release Candidates) can be downloaded here20. All the packages added with this update can be viewed here112.

A full release announcement will follow when the final install medias got reviewed and tested. Expect them in the next couple of days depending on the testing results.

Current supported kernels
  • Linux310 3.10.104
  • Linux312 3.12.66
  • Linux316 3.16.38
  • Linux318 3.18.43
  • Linux41 4.1.34
  • Linux44 4.4.27
  • Linux47 4.7.10 [EOL]
  • Linux48 4.8.4
  • Linux49 4.9rc2 (git-preview)
  • Linux-RT-LTS 4.4.27_rt35
  • Linux-RT 4.8.4_rt2
Package Changes
  • stable community i686: 764 new and 715 removed package(s)
  • stable community x86_64: 796 new and 748 removed package(s)
  • stable core i686: 51 new and 54 removed package(s)
  • stable core x86_64: 51 new and 54 removed package(s)
  • stable extra i686: 997 new and 1006 removed package(s)
  • stable extra x86_64: 998 new and 1006 removed package(s)
  • stable multilib x86_64: 36 new and 34 removed package(s)
Install medias including this update
Note: For SYSTEMD users having Still v231-1 Installed, It is recommended to use Pacman, as X-session might get lost due to this update.

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Oct 22, 2016

Major DDoS attack on Dyn DNS knocks Spotify, Twitter, Github & Others

The sites affected were using Dyn DNS Manager to manage their DNS. The sites not affected were sites like Google, and Facebook who have their own DNS servers. So anyone using Dyn went down when Dyn went down, and it was mostly Silicon Valley tech companies with API driven web services mostly hosted on Amazon.

There are only so many major cloud providers, and only so many high-end DNS managers. By knocking out the DNS manager, it disconnected all of these websites APIs from the Internet.

Who ever launched this attack was extremely clever, because they launched the first DDoS early in the morning, then launch the second about 3 hours later, then an hour later, then 30 minutes later, etc. So as they attempted to mitigate the attack, the attacks became bigger and more frequent. This was likely someone testing their capabilities.

I would guess this entire thing was a test. They likely just proved their DNS management vulnerability theory. Now imagine if follow up attacks target multiple DNS managers and servers including Google's and Facebooks. You could probably take down 99% of the Internet.

Tweet from OVH founder in September after OVH suffered from a massive DDoS attack:

"This botnet with 145607 cameras/dvr (1-30Mbps per IP) is able to send >1.5Tbps DDoS. Type: tcp/ack, tcp/ack+psh, tcp/syn."

Now imagine how much power millions of devices can generate. Small devices like cameras are going to be the bane of the internet. But I have to admit that I can't wait to see how will root name servers cope with this.

There's an interesting article written by PC World on this: An IoT botnet is partly behind Friday's massive DDOS attack

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Oct 20, 2016

Amazon might become ISP in Europe

Image Credit: Cloud Comrade
Amazon is reportedly considering offering home Internet service in Europe.

The technology news site quotes "a person briefed on the discussion" as saying that Amazon is considering whether to offer Internet service over the networks of existing providers. Since Amazon reportedly doesn't want to build its own network, it would have to purchase wholesale access, which isn't available everywhere.

"A US offering would be tougher to pull off as US regulators don't require cable operators to open up their networks to rivals." Amazon could bundle Internet and video using its existing Prime service, creating a package similar to those offered by cable TV and Internet providers, the report said.

Amazon could consider offering wireless Internet in the US without building its own network, but an Amazon home Internet service in the US doesn't appear to be in the cards.

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Indian banking System under Attack

There is a strong reason to believe that Indian banking is under systematic attack. The shit hole goes very deep and the problem is compounded by the fact that the media "tones" down its coverage (obviously to avoid panic). 

There are malware attacks (on ICICI which is siphoning of email contacts and sending its account holders phishing emails), Advanced persistent threats on Axis Bank (they disclosed this to RBI), ATM frauds as in State Bank of India and multiple accounts of phishing attacks on individuals. Union Bank has also suffered cyber heist.

A worrying trend is by use of SIM Swap. Fraudsters get your personal details (easily available through WhatsApp), your details through identity thefts and blocking your actual SIM's so that you cannot receive the SMS alerts.

Two factor authentication is very basic (dependent on passwords alone) which again can be easily retrieved because most users re-use their passwords.

It's getting scarier and worsened.

A simple remedy as of now is to change PIN of your existing debit card and get "CHIP and PIN" card which secures transaction because they cannot be replicated easily. Of course, moving away from WhatsApp is a sensible decision (use BBM/ Threema) so that your identity details through phone numbers is not compromised.

List is Sources confirming the attack:

2) Zdnet

I think it's objective proof enough. ICICI bank seems to have been affected with malware. Yes Bank, I think was also affected but I can't find the source.

The worst? National Payments Corporation of India being affected but they of course denied it. -Source

There is no concept of security audits; if it's there, it's useless. Basically, I feel its a bunch of monkeys sitting over out hard earned money and clueless on how things are getting worse. 

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Oct 19, 2016

Why do we allow our kids look up to Athletes as Role Models ?

1993, Charles Barkley
I truly do not understand why we as a nation expect our athletes to be role models. 

If I'm a professional Cricket player, my job, and what I get paid for is to win games and play well, not to be your child's role model. Endorsements are one thing, if Nike is paying you for a shoe deal and they say they will pull their deal if you continue doing blow with strippers on snapchat, then Nike is absolutely within their rights to take away your endorsement. 

But if you dance in the end zone, or walk away during a postgame interview, the rhetoric becomes "he's ruining the sanctity of the game" or "kids are going to look up to him and think that's okay". F**k that. It's the parent's job to raise their kids, not athletes.

The same goes for celebrities too. 

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Live Streaming isn't a twitter thing

Credits: USA Today
Twitter's problem is twofold; user growth is down, and user engagement is down.

Twitter's fix for this has been to adapt stories as some alternate for receiving news, and it's increasing presence in live video. Stories hasn't managed to increase engagement, and it's been around for a few quarters. I personally don't think live streaming will work out for Twitter.

For one, Twitter's never really been a hub for video watching up until this point. Second, video numbers are easily fudged. Facebook got in trouble with this recently by marking a video as viewed just because it appeared on view for at least 1 second, but that's a number that's easily achieved, and doesn't account for how much of a video was actually watched.

YouTube, for example, counts a video as watched if the user has watched the video for at least a minute. Twitter's video numbers are easily fudged because when you select their hashtag they appear as the first tweet in a timeline, and are periodically regenerated to the top of the timeline as you load new tweets.

That said, since the video is visible in these events, Twitter can logged them as "viewed", and thus present high visibility numbers. But, if were were to see if people actually engaged with these videos (unmutted them, watched them continuously for at least a minute, etc), I believe we'd find that few people are actually watching the live streaming videos.

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Democracy is no longer a viable method for Electing Leaders

At a time when stupidity and evil have blanketed the free world with stupid-evil. At a time when good men are few and far between and the cleverest are succoming to corruption. At a time when YouTube comment sections inform men's argumentative strategies...

When the highest ambitions of men are to have sex and be on TV...It is time for a drastic change.

I am sorry, but I no longer think that democracy is inherently beneficial to humanity. I think its benefits are contingent upon the characteristics of the people who participate in it.

Democracy benefits a nation only to the extent that the majority of voters are virtuous and well educated. For those peoples among whom the majority of voters are not virtuous and well educated, democracy can bring only destruction at the hands of a corrupted zeitgeist. And so it is my conviction that those peoples largely lacking in virtue and education ought not be granted full democratic privileges. And by this I do not mean that they should be denied a blessing, but guarded from a curse.

Before I continue, I shall make some observations about the more recent blessings democracy has given the world:
  • This year, the people in the UK voted to leave the European Union, much to the shock and terror of many.
  • This year, the people in the Philippines voted for an admitted mass murderer named Rodrigo Duterte to lead their nation.
  • This year, the people in the USA voted for Clinton and Trump to be their presidential candidates.
  • This year, the people in Columbia voted not to end their brutal fifty-year civil war.
Granted, the above are subjective judgments. One can find men who love war enough to vote against peace; one can find men who are quite fond of one or the other current US presidential candidates; one can find men who thought Brexit and Duterte are benefits to their respective nations. I raise them as examples because most of the best educated among us have demonstrated a tendency to disagree with most or all of them, which implies that the voices of the best educated might in each of those cases have been drowned out by the more populous 'common folk', to the ironic detriment of the latter.

Therein lies my chief and indeed only criticism of democracy and my primary motivation to begin this argument on whether the democratic method ought to be radically adjusted or else replaced with another form of government not yet found anywhere in known human history.

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Oct 18, 2016

We need more Reviews & Ratings for Ubuntu Software Package Manager

I've been using simple sudo apt-get or at most, the synaptic package manager whenever I want to install anything on my Ubuntu machine. However, the complexity and number of packages has gone up tremendously in recent years and so has the number of external PPAs. 

Consider the sheer amount of external repo dependency, a WebDev needs to have in Ubuntu, for instance:

The nodejs PPA for installing node and npm.
The mongodb PPA as the version in repos is very dated.
The WINE PPA (of course, only if you intend to run windows programs).

What we need in this day and age is a package manager that has a built-in feature for reviews and ratings, and Ubuntu Software Center is one such package manager.

I understand that there are some great hackers and wizards in the linux community who can scavenge through each and every line of code of each and every package running on their machines. Trusting an external software isn't an issue for such wizards, but for the rest of us folks, we need something like a rating system, don't we?

In fact, one of the reasons behind the Google Play Store's quick success is this very thing - A crowd-sourced rating system that organically evaluates each app without the need of any overlooker - exactly how the search engine logic works!

In fact, all the advanced eCommerce systems like Amazon, Ebay, etc. are also dependent on the rating system. A five-star average rating by a million buyers implies a kind of trust and without that trust few people will ever buy anything (or install an app for that matter on their devices).

We should encourage modern package managers like Ubuntu Software Center, and support them by providing reviews and ratings for the apps we use. 

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Ubuntu 17.04 Dubbed "Zesty Zapus," Will Launch on April 2017

Image Credits: NeoWin
While some of you are enjoying their brand new Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) installations, the Ubuntu development team has started working on Ubuntu 17.04, which will be yet another normal release of the Linux-based operating system that will receive 9 months of support.

"We are a tiny band (1%) in a market of giants, but our focus on delivering free software freely together with enterprise support, services and solutions appears to be opening doors, and minds, everywhere. So, in honour of the valiantly tiny leaping long-tailed over the obstacles of life, our next release which will be Ubuntu 17.04, is hereby code named the 'Zesty Zapus'," said Mark Shuttleworth.

Whats a Zapus ?

Well, according to Wikipedia, it's a genus of North American jumping mice. This means that Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) should be a fast and agile GNU/Linux distribution, shipping with recent and modern technologies, as well as free software projects.

An official and final release schedule for the Ubuntu 17.04 operating system is yet to be unveiled, but rest assure that you'll be the first to know the release date. Right now, we know for sure that it will launch sometime in April 2017.

Upcoming Releases*: According to Dr Seuss, the next Ubuntu releases after Z will be:

YUZZ (Yuzz-a-ma-Tuzz), WUM (Wumbus), UM (Umbus), HUMPF (Humpf-Humpf-a-Dumpfer), FUDDLE (Miss Fuddle-dee-Duddle), GLIKK (Glikker), NUH (Nutches), SNEE (Sneedle), QUAN (Quandary), THNAD (Thnadners), SPAZZ (Spazzim), FLOOB (Floob-Boober-Bab-Boober-Bubs), ZATZ (Zatz-it), JOGG (Jogg-oons), FLUNN (Flunnel), ITCH (Itch-a-pods), YEKK (Yekko), VROO (Vrooms), and HI! (High Gargel-orum)

purely a frivolous, humorous

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Oct 16, 2016

What it’s like to work at Snapchat, one of the most secretive companies in tech

Samantha Lee spoke to more than a dozen current and former Snap employees and people close to the company to get a picture of the inner workings of the organization as it prepares to lead one of the largest IPOs in years that's expected to value the company at $25 billion.

Compared to the "Dogfooding" tradition in many tech companies, where employees try out their products before releasing them to the public, most Snap employees don't know when a new product is coming - regardless if it would affect their team's long-term metrics or goals.

Because Snap does not have a single central campus, as companies like Google or Apple do, employees are dispersed between various buildings in LA's bohemian, graffiti-specked Venice neighborhood.

Spiegel rarely addresses the company in all-hands meetings, in sharp contrast to the weekly updates delivered by CEOs of many Silicon Valley tech companies.

Former employees say that Spiegel, who studied product design at Stanford, spends most of his time in the company's product design building and runs the company more like a design firm than a typical tech company.

Unlike a typical tech startup, Snap hasn't spent much time telling its company backstory or selling its vision publicly, which some say could leave it scrambling to craft an image and narrative before the IPO. Spiegel's dismissal of using data is another non-standard approach that's a point of pride at the company.

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Oct 5, 2016

There's alot going on in this world

In a world of 7 billion, No one knows everything about me. A lot of you guys on here, I will never know everything about you, and most of you, I will never meet in my life.

It's crazy to think that every person you have passed in the highway is most likely a different person, with a different story, and different experiences.

Everyone is unique in their own way. Some people are the best athletes in the world. Some are billionaires. Some are veterans. Some are in jail for the rest of their experience. Some are just starting their experience. Some have just finished their experience by the time I finish this sentence.

It's cool to think about all the possibilities in this world.

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Oct 4, 2016

Nasa has drilled 14 holes on Mars So far

I would like to see what sort of variation we'd get on drill holes like that over some random desert area on earth that is suspected not to have signs of life buried that deep.

It seems to me that one would expect things to be quite uniform over that distance, but potentially extremely varied over greater distances.I always wonder if the recipe for life is only tied to our planet. 

Scientists are chasing water as one of their main ingredients. But what if it wasn't? What if life can evolve without it in other places? We have no idea. I think the idea that water is necessary for life is a strong theory. But it doesn't mean that it's a determining factor.

I suppose we need something to go on and it's our best available guess at this time. Very exciting things are happening in space travel. I predict that we may not go to mars for a long time because we will learn so much from the rovers it's just kind of unnecessary. I do think we will start planning to get man out of our solar system.

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Oct 2, 2016


I regularly do 15 minutes of meditation a day but this morning I did about 30 minutes of sitting meditation and just recently did another 30 minute sit. When I was done, my mind felt like it was a still lake with water like glass.

I'm just doing mindfulness of breathing (Samantha). I've been meditating since 2013.

 I'm fully here in the present moment with nothing else arising in my consciousness. There is a visceral feeling of "This is it!". My perceptions also feel enhanced and there seems to be a magic shimmer to everything. This feels like true happiness. I'm blown away at how powerful meditation is.

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Sep 30, 2016

Swiss Army Man: Great Movie about Friendship and Farts.

Credits: Google Images
I watched Swiss Army Man just the other night. What an odd movie.

The "protagonist" is a pretty loathsome individual.

I liked the movie for how weird it was, but there was a reason why it wasn't as enjoy as it could have been for me.

Initial Impressions made me think of it as a robot or mechanical man who was being used like a Swiss Army utility knife, but it was just about a "magical" talking dead guy. 

Think of a friendly zombie whom apparently doesn't stink and has superpowers.

I'll admit it had some weird shit that seem unnecessary and to me, unfunny. like the boner pointing direction that did pay off in the gag at the end with the girl, but for the most part was stupid. 

I suppose they wanted to mess around with the corpse abilities for shits and giggles but the presentation and marketing focused on the toilet humor instead of the human story that basically carried the whole movie. The bus scene was the best part and that merely involved paul danos macguyer-esque constructions of the set piece and daniel radcliffe just lying there.

It tried very hard to be some sort of answer to the hideously whimsical indie bullshit we've been subjected to in recent years. 

You are either on board right there or you aren't. I went in thinking the farting would be the best part and then fell in love with the movie...And no, not because of the farting.

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