s.s. nautilus
slashdot le : 17/09/2020 03:00:09
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: DuckDuckGo, the privacy-focused search engine, announced that August 2020 ended in over 2 billion total searches via its search platform. While Google remains the most popular search engine, DuckDuckGo has gained a great deal of traction in recent months as more and more users have begun to value their privacy on the internet. DuckDuckGo saw over 2 billion searches and 4 million app/extension installations, and the company also said that they have over 65 million active users. DuckDuckGo could shatter its old traffic record if the same growth trend continues. Even though DuckDuckGo is growing rapidly, it still controls less than 2 percent of all search volume in the United States. However, DuckDuckGo's growth trend has continued throughout the year, mainly due to Google and other companies' privacy scandal.


slashdot le : 30/08/2020 10:00:09
"Google is proposing a new standard called WebBundles," complains Brave's senior privacy reseacher. "This standard allows websites to 'bundle' resources together, and will make it impossible for browsers to reason about sub-resources by URL." This threatens to change the Web from a hyperlinked collection of resources (that can be audited, selectively fetched, or even replaced), to opaque all-or-nothing "blobs" (like PDFs or SWFs). Organizations, users, researchers and regulators who believe in an open, user-serving, transparent Web should oppose this standard...

The Web is valuable because it's user-centric, user-controllable, user-editable. Users, with only a small amount of expertise, can see what web-resources a page includes, and decide which, if any, their browser should load; and non-expert users can take advantage of this knowledge by installing extensions or privacy protecting tools... At root, what makes the Web different, more open, more user-centric than other application systems, is the URL. Because URLs (generally) point to one thing, researchers and activists can measure, analyze and reason about those URLs in advance; other users can then use this information to make decisions about whether, and in what way, they'd like to load the thing the URL points to...

At a high level, WebBundles are a way of packing resources together, so that instead of downloading each Website, image and JavaScript file independently, your browser downloads just one "bundle", and that file includes all the information needed to load the entire page. And URLs are no longer common, global references to resources on the Web, but arbitrary indexes into the bundle. Put differently, WebBundles make Websites behave like PDFs (or Flash SWFs). A PDF includes all the images, videos, and scripts needed to render the PDF; you don't download each item individually. This has some convenience benefits, but also makes it near-impossible to reason about an image in a PDF independently from the PDF itself. This is, for example, why there are no content-blocking tools for PDFs. PDFs are effectively all or nothing propositions, and WebBundles would turn Websites into the same.

By changing URLs from meaningful, global identifiers into arbitrary, package-relative indexes, WebBundles give advertisers and trackers enormously powerful new ways to evade privacy and security protecting web tools... At root, the common cause of all these evasions is that WebBundles create a local namespace for resources, independent of what the rest of the world sees, and that this can cause all sorts of name confusion, undoing years of privacy-and-security-improving work by privacy activists and researchers...

We've tried to work at length with the WebBundle authors to address these concerns, with no success. We strongly encourage Google and the WebBundle group to pause development on this proposal until the privacy and security issues discussed in this post have been addressed. We also encourage others in the Web privacy and security community to engage in the conversation too, and to not implement the spec until these concerns have been resolved.



slashdot le : 27/08/2020 07:00:08
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NewAtlas: After an almost two-year shutdown for repairs and upgrades, CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is beginning to fire back up for its next phase of probing the mysteries of physics. Its newest particle accelerator, Linac 4, completed its first test run over the past few weeks, with the potential to provide much more energetic beams than ever before. The LHC paused operations in December 2018, beginning a massive overhaul called the High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC). When it's fully finished and finally fired up in 2026, the upgraded facility will be seven times more powerful and will collect around 10 times more data in the following decade than it did during the previous run.

And now, the first incremental stage of this upgrade is coming online. The new linear accelerator, called Linac 4, has been installed and tested over the last few weeks. This device is the starting point for accelerating protons, which are then injected into the Proton Synchrotron (PS) Booster and onto the rest of the accelerator complex. Linac 4 replaces Linac 2, which was in operation at CERN for 40 years. As you might expect the new model is significantly more powerful, injecting particles into the PS Booster at energies up to 160 MeV -- much higher than Linac 2's 50 MeV. By the time these beams are boosted, they'll reach energies of 2 GeV, compared to the 1.4 GeV that Linac 2 was capable of. This extra energy is thanks to the fact that scientists can tweak Linac 4's beams in much more detail than its predecessor.

In the three weeks up to mid-August, Linac 4 was tested with low-energy beams of negative hydrogen ions, running only through the first part of the accelerator. On August 20, it was finally cranked right up to maximum energy, with beams accelerated through the whole machine. These were then sent into a "beam dump" at the end, a device that catches and absorbs the particles.



slashdot le : 19/08/2020 10:00:11
New submitter louisfreeman shares a report from Space.com: A newly discovered car-sized asteroid just made the closest-known flyby to Earth without hitting our planet. On Sunday (Aug. 16), the asteroid, initially labeled ZTF0DxQ and now formally known to astronomers as 2020 QG, swooped by Earth at a mere 1,830 miles (2,950 kilometers) away. That gives 2020 QG the title of closest asteroid flyby ever recorded that didn't end with the space rock's demise. What's slightly concerning is the fact that the flyby wasn't expected.

The Palomar Observatory didn't detect the zooming asteroid until about six hours after the object's closest approach. "The asteroid approached undetected from the direction of the sun," Paul Chodas, the director of NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies, told Business Insider. "We didn't see it coming."


slashdot le : 17/08/2020 04:00:10
A review at the Android Police site calls Pine64's new Linux-based PinePhone "the most interesting smartphone I've tried in years," with 17 different operating systems available (including Fedora, Ubuntu Touch, SailfishOS, openSUSE, and Arch Linux ARM): There's a replaceable battery, which is compatible with batteries designed for older Samsung Galaxy J7 phones. It's good to know that even if PinePhone vanished overnight, you could still purchase new batteries for around $10-15...

There's a microSD card slot above the SIM tray, which supports cards up to 2TB in size. While it can be used as extra storage, just like the SD slots in Android phones and tablets, it can also function as a bootable drive. If you write an operating system image to the SD card and put it in the PinePhone, the phone will boot from the SD card. This means you can move between operating systems on the PinePhone by simply swapping microSD cards, which is amazing for trying out new Linux distributions without wiping data. How great would it be if Android phones could do that?

Finally, the inside of the PinePhone has six hardware killswitches that can be manipulated with a screwdriver. You can use them to turn off the modem, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, microphone, rear camera, front camera, and headphone jack. No need to put a sticker over the selfie camera if you're worried about malicious software — just flip the switch and never worry about it again.... For a $150 phone produced in limited batches by a company with no previous experience in the smartphone industry, I'm impressed it's built as well as it is...

I look forward to seeing what the community around the PinePhone can accomplish.

A Pine64 blog post this weekend touts "a boat-load of cool and innovative things" being attempted by the PinePhone community, including users working on things like a fingerprint scanner or a thermal camera, plus a community that's 3D-printing their own custom PinePhone cases. And Pine64 has now identified three candidates for a future keyboard option (each of which can be configured as either a slide-out or clamshell keyboard): I feel like we have finally gotten into a good production rhythm; it was only last month we announced the postmarketOS Community Edition of the PinePhone, and this month I am here to tell you that the factory will deliver the phones to us at the end of this month... I don't know about you, but I think that this is a rather good production pace. At the time of writing, and based on current sale rates, the postmarketOS production-run will sell out in a matter of days...

While I have no further announcements at this time, what I will say is that we have no intention of slowing down the pace now until February 2021 (when Chinese New Year begins)...