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Why Screen Lockers On X11 Cannot Be Secure - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 5:46md
jones_supa writes: One thing we all remember from Windows NT is the security feature requiring the user to press CTRL-ALT-DEL to unlock the workstation (this can still be enabled with a policy setting). The motivation was to make it impossible for other programs to mimic a lock screen, as they couldn't react to the special key combination. Martin Gräßlin from the KDE team takes a look at the lock screen security on X11. On a protocol level, X11 doesn't know anything of screen lockers. Also the X server doesn't know that the screen is locked as it doesn't understand the concept. This means the screen locker can only use the core functionality available to emulate screen locking. That in turn also means that any other client can do the same and prevent the screen locker from working (for example opening a context menu on any window prevents the screen locker from activating). That's quite a bummer: any process connected to the X server can block the screen locker, and even more it could fake your screen locker.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness' - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 5:04md
Jason Koebler writes: Leslie Caldwell, an assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, said Tuesday that the department is "very concerned" by the Google's and Apple's decision to automatically encrypt all data on Android and iOS devices. "We understand the value of encryption and the importance of security," she said. "But we're very concerned they not lead to the creation of what I would call a 'zone of lawlessness,' where there's evidence that we could have lawful access through a court order that we're prohibited from getting because of a company's technological choices.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

We May Have Jupiter To Thank For the Nitrogen In Earth's Atmosphere - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 4:45md
An anonymous reader writes: Nitrogen makes up about 78% of the Earth's atmosphere. It's also the 4th most abundant element in the human body. But where did all the nitrogen on Earth come from? Scientists aren't sure, but they have a new theory. Back when the solar system was just a protoplanetary disk, the ice orbiting the early Sun included ammonia, which has a nitrogen atom and three hydrogen atoms. But there needed to be a way for the nitrogen to get to the developing Earth. That's where Jupiter comes in. During its theorized Grand Tack, where it plunged into the inner solar system and then retreated outward again, it created shock waves in the dust and ice cloud surrounding the sun. These shock waves caused gentle heating of the ammonia ice, which allowed it to melt and react with chromium-bearing metal to form a mineral called carlsbergite. New research (abstract) suggests this mineral was then present when the Earth's accretion happened, supplying much of the nitrogen we would eventually need for life.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 4:22md writes: Five years ago, Steve Jobs introduced the iPad and insisted that it would do many things better than either a laptop or a smartphone. Will Oremus writes at Future Tense that by most standards, the iPad has been a success, and the tablet has indeed emerged as a third category of computing device. But there's another way of looking at the iPad. According to Oremus, Jobs was right to leave out the productivity features and go big on the simple tactile pleasure of holding the Internet in your hands. But for all its popularity and appeal, the iPad never has quite cleared the bar Jobs set for it, which was to be "far better" at some key tasks than a laptop or a smartphone. The iPad may have been "far better" when it was first released, but smartphones have come a long way. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and their Android equivalents are now convenient enough for most mobile computing tasks that there's no need to carry around a tablet as well. That helps explain why iPad sales have plateaued, rather than continuing to ascend to the stratospheric levels of the iPhone. "The iPad remains an impressive machine. But it also remains a luxury item rather than a necessity," concludes Oremus. "Again, by most standards, it is a major success. Just not by the high standards that Jobs himself set for it five years ago."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Canonical Design Team: Auto-syncing revision history from Github to Launchpad

Planet UBUNTU - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 3:50md

In the design team we keep some projects in Launchpad (as canonical-webmonkeys), and some project in Github (as UbuntuDesign), meaning we work in both Bazaar and Git.

The need to synchronise Github to Launchpad

Some of our Github projects need to be also stored in Launchpad, as some of our systems only have access to Launchpad repositories.

Initally we were converting these projects manually at regular intervals, but this quickly became too cumbersome.

The Bazaar synchroniser

To manage this we created a simple web-service project to synchronise Git projects to Bazaar. This script basically automates the techniques described in our previous article to pull down the Github repository, convert it to Bazaar and push it up to Launchpad at a specified location.

It’s a simple Python WSGI app which can be run directly or through a server that understands WSGI like gunicorn.

Setting up the server

Here’s a guide to setting up our bzr-sync project on a server somewhere to sync Github to Launchpad.

System dependencies

Install necessary system dependencies:

User permissions

First off, you’ll have to make sure you set up a user on whichever server is to run this service which has read access to your Github projects and write access to your Launchpad projects:

Cloning the project

Then you should clone the project and install dependencies. We placed it at /srv/bzr-sync but you can put it anywhere:

Preparing gunicorn

We should serve this over HTTPS, so our auth_token will remain secret. This means you’ll need a SSL certificate keyfile and certfile. You should get one from a certificate authority, but for testing you could just generate a self-signed-certificate.

Put your certificate files somewhere accessible (like /srv/bzr-sync/certs/), and then test out running your server with gunicorn:

Try out the sync server

You should now be able to synchronise a Github repository with Launchpad by pointing your browser at:


You should be able to see the progress of the conversion as command-line output from the above gunicorn command.

Add upstart job

Rather than running the server directly, we can setup an upstart job to manage running the process. This way the bzr-sync service will restart if the server restarts.

Here’s an example of an upstart job, which we placed at /etc/init/bzr-sync.conf:

You can now start the bzr-sync server as a service:

And output will be logged to /etc/upstart/bzr-sync.log.

Setting up Github projects

Now to use this sync server to automatically synchronise your Github projects to Launchpad, you simply need to add a post-commit webhook to ping a URL of the form:


Creating a webhook

In your repository settings, select “Webhooks and Services”, then “Add webhook”, and enter the following information:

  • Payload URL: https://{server-domain}/?token={secret-token}&git_url={url-of-github-repository}&bzr_url=lp:{launchpad-branch-location}
  • Content type: “application/json”
  • Secret: -leave blank-
  • Select Just the push event
  • Tick Active

Saving a webhook

NB: Notice the Disable SSL verification button. By default, the hook will only work if your server has a valid certificate. If you are testing with a self-signed one then you’ll need to disable this SSL verification.

Now whenever you commit to your Github repository, Github should ping the URL, and the server should synchronise your repository into Launchpad.

Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 3:40md
An anonymous reader writes: Immediately following the Charlie Hebdo attack, Mark Zuckerberg said, "... this is what we all need to reject — a group of extremists trying to silence the voices and opinions of everyone else around the world. I won't let that happen on Facebook. I'm committed to building a service where you can speak freely without fear of violence." Now, Facebook has begun censoring images of the prophet Muhammad in Turkey. According to the Washington post, "It's an illustration, perhaps, of how extremely complicated and nuanced issues of online speech really are. It's also conclusive proof of what many tech critics said of Zuckerberg's free-speech declaration at the time: Sweeping promises are all well and good, but Facebook's record doesn't entirely back it up." To be fair to Zuckerberg and Facebook, the company must obey the law of any country in which it operates. But it stands in stark contrast to the principles espoused by its founder.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Dirk Eddelbuettel: RInside 0.2.12

Planet Debian - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 3:24md

A new release 0.2.12 of RInside is now on CRAN. RInside provides a set of convenience classes which facilitate embedding of R inside of C++ applications and programs, using the classes and functions provided by the Rcpp integration package.

This release adds new examples which were contributed by Christian Authmann, plus some updates and fixes including one requested by the CRAN maintainers regarding GNU extensions to Makefile. The NEWS extract below has more details.

Changes in RInside version 0.2.12 (2015-01-27)
  • Several new examples have been added (with most of the work done by Christian Authmann):

    • standard/rinside_sample15.cpp shows how to create a lattice plot (following a StackOverflow question)

    • standard/rinside_sample16.cpp shows object wrapping, and exposing of C++ functions

    • standard/rinside_sample17.cpp does the same via C++11

    • sandboxed_servers/ adds an entire framework of client/server communication outside the main process (but using a subset of supported types)

  • standard/rinside_module_sample9.cpp was repaired following a fix to InternalFunction in Rcpp

  • For the seven example directories which contain a Makefile, the Makefile was renamed GNUmakefile to please R CMD check as well as the CRAN Maintainers.

CRANberries also provides a short report with changes from the previous release. More information is on the RInside page. Questions, comments etc should go to the rcpp-devel mailing list off the Rcpp R-Forge page.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

Richard Hughes: Detecting fake flash

Planet GNOME - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 3:09md

I’ve been using F3 to check my flash drives, and this is how I discovered my drives were counterfeit. It seems to me this kind of feature needs to be built inside gnome-multi-writer itself to avoid sending fake flash out to customers. Last night I wrote a simple tool called gnome-multi-writer-probe which does the following few things:

* Reads the existing data from the drive in 32kb chunks every 32Mbish into RAM
* Writes random blocks of 32kb every 32MBish, and also stores in RAM
* Resets the drive
* Reads all the 32k blocks from slightly different addresses and sizes and compares them to the random data in RAM
* Writes all the saved data back to the drive.

I only takes a few seconds on most drives. It also tries to be paranoid, and saves the data back to the drive the best it can when it encounters an error. That said, please don’t use this tool on any drives that have important data on them; assume you’ll have to reformat them after using this tool.

If you’ve got access to gnome-multi-writer from git (either from jhbuild, or from my repo) then please could you try this:

sudo gnome-multi-writer-probe /dev/sdX

Where sdX is the USB drive you want to test. I’d be interested of the output, and especially interested if you have any fake flash media you can test this with. Either leave a comment here, grab me on IRC or send me an email. Thanks.

Security-Focused BlackPhone Was Vulnerable To Simple Text Message Bug - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 2:58md
mask.of.sanity sends this report from El Reg: The maker of BlackPhone – a mobile marketed as offering unusually high levels of security – has patched a critical vulnerability that allows hackers to run malicious code on the handsets. Attackers need little more than a phone number to send a message that can compromise the devices via the Silent Text application. The impact of the flaw is troubling because BlackPhone attracts what hackers see as high-value victims: those willing to invest AU$765 (£415, $630) in a phone that claims to put security above form and features may well have valuable calls and texts to hide from eavesdroppers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ekaterina Gerasimova: GNOME Docs in Cambridge: day two

Planet GNOME - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 2:37md

Day two of the hackfest saw more progress…

Application and desktop help

I worked on merging new games documentation which was written by Rashi Aswani and fixing some of our 100-odd bugs against application help which Petr Kovar has continued triaging.

Jim Campbell started refactoring Files (nautilus) desktop help as the style of the pages was a bit outdated. It now looks awesome.

In the mean time, Jana Švárová continued powering through the feedback.


gedit documentation saw some licensing improvements thanks to Jim. A number of the help pages had previously been published without a license which is something that the team has been fixing over the last few years. Adding the license after the pages have been written is a bit of an arduous task. Progress has been slow but steady.

Developer Documentation

Bastian Ilsø and David King made further progress on gnome-devel-docs. Bastian made improvements to the first user experience of writing an application using the platform demos and learnt the importance of validating the XML.


Around August 2014, the documentation team started accepting emailed feedback about the documentation from It has been quite a success and yelp will see this feature as soon as Shaun McCance can build it.


Shaun also improved, the home of Mallard, and furthered the development of DuckType, a markdown Mallard language.

The end

We finished the day with lovely cream tea, which caused a number of altercations due to cultural and regional conflicts.

Dustin Kirkland: Security and Biometrics: SXSW Preview Q&A

Planet UBUNTU - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 2:30md

Rebecca: Can you give me a brief overview of why you see it as a problem that our personal biometrics, at this point mostly fingerprints, are being used to authenticate our actions rather than identify us?

Dustin: How many emails have you received, to date, from some online service or another saying, "We're sorry, but our site was attacked, and while we don't think your password was compromised, we think you should change it anyway, for good measure"?

Surely you've seen this once or twice, right?  And if you're like me, you kind of take a deep breath, and think, "Oh man, that's inconvenient..."

Now, what if that site used some form of biometrics, instead.  Let's say your fingerprint.  Or your eyeball.  How would that email read? You want me to change my fingerprints!?!  My eyeballs!?!

That's ridiculous, of course, but it perfectly shows the problem. Biometrics are not changeable.  You couldn't alter them if you tried. Being able to change, rotate, and strengthen passwords is one of the
most fundamental properties of authentication tokens -- and completely missing from all forms of biometrics!

That's just one of a number of problems with biometrics.  I'll cover more in my talk ;-)

Rebecca: Is biometrics something you've worked with professionally or what has piqued your interest in the area?  What made you want to do a panel on the issue?

Dustin: Sort of.  I've long maintained and developed an encrypted filesystem for Linux, called eCryptfs.  In 2008, I was asked to add eCryptfs support for Thinkpad's fingerprint reader.  After thinking about it
for a while, I refused to do so, with the core arguments being much of what I described above.  With that refusal to support fingerprint readers in 2009, I seemed to have picked a few fights and arguments with various users.

All was pretty quiet on the home front, until Apple released an iPhone with a built-in fingerprint reader in late 2013, and I blogged this piece that criticized the idea accordingly:

That blog post in October 2013 sort of did the viral thing on social media, I guess, seeing almost a million unique views in about a month.

Rebecca: I feel embarrassed to admit that I had simply never thought of this issue until seeing your panel synopsis.  Then, it seemed incredibly obvious and I found myself looking at my phone's fingerprint scanner suspiciously.  Why do you think the public has had so little response to biometrics in technology, other than seeing it as a neat feature of a particular gadget?

Dustin: On the surface, it seems like such a good idea.  We've all seen Mission Impossible or 007 or countless other spy movies where Hollywood portrays biometrics as the authentication mechanism of the future.  But it's just that...  Bad pulp fiction.

There are plenty of ideas that probably seemed like a good idea at first, right?  Examples: Clippy, The Hindenburg, New Coke, Tanning beds, The Shake Weight, Subprime Mortgages, Leaded Gasoline.  Think about for just a minute, though.  A passenger blimp filled with Hydrogen?  An annoying cartoon character that always knows more than you?  Massive scale lending to high-risk individuals packed into mortgage-backed securities?  Dig a little deeper and these were actually misapplications from the beginning.  We'll be in the same place with Biometrics, I have no doubt.

Rebecca: Have there been any instances that you're aware of where the technology has been compromised?

Dustin: The Chaos Computer Club have demonstrated compromised Apple TouchID:

TouchID is actually pretty high resolution.  The Thinkpad fingerprint readers, until recently, could be fooled with a piece of scotch tape:

Rebecca: In the future, if we continue down the current path do you see identity theft including the hacking of our fingerprints and voice patterns in addition to our credit card info?

Dustin: I certainly hope we can curtail this doomed path of technology before we get to that point...

But if we don't, then yes, absolutely.  All of your biometrics are easily collected in public places, with your knowledge.

  • Your fingerprints are on your coffee mug and every beer bottle you've ever picked up with your bare hands.
  • Your hair, dandruff, and dead skin contain your DNA.
  • High resolution digital cameras can pick up your iris in incredible detail (less so for the retina currently)
  • Facial recognition -- seriously, unless you've taken exorbitant steps, your face is all over Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, etc., and everywhere you go in public today, there are security monitors.
  • The same goes for vocal recognition.  Surely you've heard, "This call may be recorded for training purposes".  Sure, that's fine.  But do you go spilling your master password to all of your accounts to that phone support?  Well, if you use voice recognition for your authentication, then that's exactly what you've done.

Rebecca: Beyond crime, what are the civil liberties issues you see being entwined with biometrics technology?  Could the government theoretically access this information in much the same way they have our email and phone records in the past?

Dustin: Theoretically, yes.  That that "theoretically, yes" is enough for me to be very concerned.

Is Apple colluding with the NSA/FBI/CIA/etc?  I am most certainly NOT making that accusation.

Could they, or anyone else in this biometrics?  Most certainly.  They could even be coerced or forced to do so.  And they could so unknowingly.  And it might not even be "the good guys".  Anyone of this magnitude is a target for attacks, by less than savory governments or crime organizations.

Moreover, I strongly recommend that everyone consider their biometrics compromised.  As I said above, you leave a trail of your fingerprints, DNA, face, voice, etc. everywhere you go.  Just accept that they're not secret, and don't pretend that they are :-)

Rebecca: What are some places where you see biometrics as appropriate and useful?

Dustin: Back to the title of the presentation, I think biometrics are decent as a "username", just not as a "password".

Is your name secret?  No, not really.  Is your email address secret? No, not really, either.

That's what biometrics are -- they're another expression of your "identity".  It can be used to replace, or rather, look up your name, username, or email address from a list, as it's just another expression of that information.

Now, a password is something entirely different.  A password is how you "prove" your identity.  This is something entirely different.  It must be long, and very hard to guess.  You have to be able to change it.  And you have to keep your passwords separate from different accounts, so that no one account could share that with another account and compromise you.

Rebecca: What are your thoughts on SXSW Interactive as a venue for such discussion?

Dustin: I think it's a fantastic venue!  I attended SXSW Interactive in 2014, and was very impressed with the quality of speakers and discussion around security, privacy, identity, and civil liberties.  I immediately regretted that I didn't submit this talk for the 2014 conference, and resolved to definitely do so for 2015.  Unfortunately, this subject is still important and topical in 2015 :-(  Which means we still have some work to do!

Rebecca: Finally, are there any other panels you're especially looking forward to?

Dustin: All of the Open Source ones (of which there are a lot!), as that's really my passion.  If I have to pick three right now I'm definitely attending, it would be:


Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Offers Freebies For TWC Merger Approval - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 2:15md
WheezyJoe writes: In seeking more support for its mega-merger with Time-Warner Cable, Comcast has been going across the country giving local governments a chance to ask for favors in exchange for approving a franchise transfer. In Minneapolis, this turned up an unpaid bill of $40,000 in overdue franchise fees, so Comcast will have to pay the city money it already owed in order to get the franchise transfer. Comcast will also throw in $50,000 worth of free service and equipment. "Thirty Minneapolis city buildings will get free basic cable for the next seven years as part of a package of concessions (PDF) the city wrung out of Comcast in exchange for blessing its proposed merger with fellow cable giant Time Warner," Minnesota Public Radio reported. The article notes that getting any kind of refund out of a cable company is not easy. Part of the deal with Minneapolis involves the spinoff of a new cable company called GreatLand Connections that will serve 2.5 million customers in the Midwest and Southeast, including Minnesota. After the deal, Comcast's franchises in those areas would be transferred to GreatLand. Such goodwill concessions may seem impressive as Comcast seeks to foster goodwill, but one wonders how Comcast/Time Warner will behave after the merger.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Murray Cumming: android-galaxyzoo: Superficial porting to Android 5.0 (Material design)

Planet GNOME - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 12:51md

Here are some notes about my experience adapting android-galaxyzoo to Material design for Android 5.0 (Lollipop) though I only used the most superficial parts of Material design.

AppCompat v21

Android 5.0 (Lollipop) has a new UI theme and some new APIs. However, for the next few years, almost everyone will use the slightly awkward AppCompat v21 compatibility API instead to achieve most of the same behavior on older devices too. Chris Banes wrote up a nice overview of AppCompat v21, some of which I mention here again for completeness.

I’m using Gradle, as should you, so I added this to the dependencies block in my app/build.gradle file. You’ll want to use the latest version.

compile "" Theme

First, I switched from the dark Holo theme to the (AppCompat) dark Material theme by changing the parent theme in my styles.xml. See the Toolbar section below about the use of the “.NoActionBar” versions of these themes.

- <style name="AppTheme" parent="android:Theme.Holo"> + <style name="AppTheme" parent="Theme.AppCompat.NoActionBar">

If you were using the light theme, that would be:

- <style name="AppTheme" parent="android:Theme.Holo.Light"> + <style name="AppTheme" parent="Theme.AppCompat.Light.NoActionBar">

Note that we don’t use the android: prefix with the AppCompat theme, because the theme is being bundled directly into our app via the appcompatv21 library.

I then specified  the standard colorPrimary and colorAccent colors along with some more shenanigans to get the right text and icon colors in my toolbar.

I also used the TextAppearance_AppCompat_* widget styles instead of the regular textAppearance* style attributes, because it’s recommended in the Typography section of this official “Implementing Material Design in Your Android app” blog entry. However, I didn’t notice any difference in appearance, and I wonder why we wouldn’t just get the correct styles by just using the new overall theme.

I actually created a base style and two derived styles, to support Transitions – see below.


The new Toolbar widget replaces the ActionBar, though the documentation doesn’t actually say that yet. Generically, they are called the “App Bar” in the Material Design document. I’m not sure that I really got any benefit from using it because my App Bar doesn’t do anything special, but I wanted to use the latest API.

To use Toolbar instead of ActionBar,  you should derive from the .NoActionBar version of the theme, such as Theme.AppCompat.NoActionBar, though I used the regular Theme.AppCompat for a long time without noticing any difference.

Then you’ll want to add a Toolbar widget to the Layout XML files for every activity. I did that by creating a toolbar.xml file

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <     xmlns:android=""     xmlns:app=""     android:id="@+id/toolbar"     android:layout_width="match_parent"     android:layout_height="wrap_content"     android:background="@color/color_primary"> </>

and then I just including that from all the activity layouts like so:

<include layout="@layout/toolbar" />

I also specified the app:theme and app:popupTheme to get the right text and icon colors in my toolbar.

To use this toolbar as the App Bar, you need to derive from ActionBarActivity and call its setSupportActionBar() method. I did that in a utility function, like so:

Toolbar toolbar = (Toolbar) activity.findViewById(; activity.setSupportActionBar(toolbar); RecyclerView

Android 5.0 adds the RecyclerView widget, available for older API levels via the support.recyclerview library. For instance, I added this to the dependencies block in my app/build.gradle file. You’ll want to use the latest version.

compile ''

RecyclerView apparently replaces ListView and GridView, though the documentation doesn’t yet actually say that, adding confusion for new developers. I replaced my use of GridView with RecyclerView to get support for simple Material Design transitions.

Unfortunately, RecyclerView has no real cursor support, so it’s hard to use it to view data from a ContentProvider. This is particularly annoying because the API of ListView and GridView previously pushed us towards moving code into a ContentProvider. My own Cursor-based RecyclerView.Adapter is terribly inefficient and totally unsuitable for a large number of items.

There’s an awful lack of practical documentation or example code for RecyclerView, even for simple tasks like responding to a click. Until there’s an easier way, you’ll need some tedious boilerplate code to derive your RecyclerView.ViewHolder from View.OnClickListener and call setOnClickListener() on one of your child views.


I wanted the typical move-and-scale transition that we see in Material Design apps, so that clicking on one of many items makes its image expand and move into the subsequent detail activity, and shrink back again when you go back.

To achieve this, I had to specify various settings in my theme, but only Android 5.0 (Lollipop) devices support these transition items, so I created a base theme in res/styles.xml, and derived from it:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <resources>     <style name="AppTheme" parent="AppTheme.Base" />     <style name="AppTheme.Base" parent="Theme.AppCompat.NoActionBar">         <item name="colorPrimary">@color/color_primary</item> ...

I then created a styles.xml file just for API Level 21, by putting it in res/v21/styles.xml, where I derived from the base theme again:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <resources>     <style name="AppTheme" parent="AppTheme.Base">         <item name="android:windowContentTransitions">true</item>         <item name="android:windowAllowEnterTransitionOverlap">true</item>         <item name="android:windowAllowReturnTransitionOverlap">true</item>         <!-- specify shared element transitions -->         <item name="android:windowSharedElementEnterTransition">             @transition/change_image_transform</item>         <item name="android:windowSharedElementExitTransition">             @transition/change_image_transform</item>     </style> </resources>

I then defined that change_image_transform transition in my res/transition/change_image_transform.xml file, like so:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <transitionSet>     <changeBounds/>     <changeImageTransform/> </transitionSet>

To actually use this transition on images, I needed to specify the android:transitionName on the two ImageViews in the the layout XML files for the two Activities (Fragments in my case).

Mostly this was all voodoo which I put together gradually after finding clues scattered around the internet. I haven’t found a good official example that shows this.

Unfortunately, the transition doesn’t seem to work when the user presses the Up button on the toolbar instead of using the standard Back button, even though that’s indistinguishable from Back for most users in most activities.

Metrics and Keylines

I made a fair effort to adapt my margins and padding to fit in with the Material Design Metrics and Keylines, which wasn’t too hard.

Unfortunately, the standard Android Button’s appearance is just as usless for Material design as it was for the Holo theme. It has a fake margin around its inside edges, which is part of its background graphic rather than any adjustable margin or paddng property.

So, to make the button’s sides actually flush with other widgets, and to position them properly on the layout grid, I had to specify a custom background image or color. But then I lost the nice Material Design ripple effect. I hope someone knows how to do this properly.

Activity classes without Toolbar support

There are a few helpful derived activity classes, such as AccountAuthenticatorActivity and PreferenceActivity, but these haven’t been changed to derived from ActionBarActivity, so you can’t call setSupportActionBar() on them. They can’t be changed without breaking compatibility, so you’ll have to reimplement them in your code. It’s not a lot of code but it’s an unpleasant developer experience.



How One Small Company Blocked 15.1 Million Robocalls Last Year - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 11:09pd
TechCurmudgeon sends this excerpt from an article at Wired: Aaron Foss won a $25,000 cash prize from the Federal Trade Commission for figuring out how eliminate all those annoying robocalls that dial into your phone from a world of sleazy marketers. ... Using a little telephone hackery, Foss found a way of blocking spammers while still allowing the emergency alert service and other legitimate entities to call in bulk. Basically, he re-routed all calls through a service that would check them against a whitelist of legitimate operations and a blacklist of spammers, and this little trick was so effective, he soon parlayed it into a modest business. Last year, his service, called Nomorobo, blocked 15.1 million robocalls.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 9:37pd
jmcbain writes: Yesterday, Apple reported its financial results for the quarter ending December 27, 2014. The company posted $18 billion in profit (on $74 billion in revenue), the largest quarterly profit by any company, ever. The previous record was $16 billion by Russia's Gazprom (the largest natural gas extractor in the world) in 2011. Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones last quarter, along with 5.5 million Macs and 21.4 million iPads.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Russell Coker: SE Linux Play Machine Over Tor

Planet Debian - Mër, 28/01/2015 - 8:44pd

I work on SE Linux to improve security for all computer users. I think that my work has gone reasonably well in that regard in terms of directly improving security of computers and helping developers find and fix certain types of security flaws in apps. But a large part of the security problems we have at the moment are related to subversion of Internet infrastructure. The Tor project is a significant step towards addressing such problems. So to achieve my goals in improving computer security I have to support the Tor project. So I decided to put my latest SE Linux Play Machine online as a Tor hidden service. There is no real need for it to be hidden (for the record it’s in my bedroom), but it’s a learning experience for me and for everyone who logs in.

A Play Machine is what I call a system with root as the guest account with only SE Linux to restrict access.

Running a Hidden Service

A Hidden Service in TOR is just a cryptographically protected address that forwards to a regular TCP port. It’s not difficult to setup and the Tor project has good documentation [1]. For Debian the file to edit is /etc/tor/torrc.

I added the following 3 lines to my torrc to create a hidden service for SSH. I forwarded port 80 for test purposes because web browsers are easier to configure for SOCKS proxying than ssh.

HiddenServiceDir /var/lib/tor/hidden_service/
HiddenServicePort 22
HiddenServicePort 80

Generally when setting up a hidden service you want to avoid using an IP address that gives anything away. So it’s a good idea to run a hidden service on a virtual machine that is well isolated from any public network. My Play machine is hidden in that manner not for secrecy but to prevent it being used for attacking other systems.

SSH over Tor

Howtoforge has a good article on setting up SSH with Tor [2]. That has everything you need for setting up Tor for a regular ssh connection, but the tor-resolve program only works for connecting to services on the public Internet. By design the .onion addresses used by Hidden Services have no mapping to anything that reswemble IP addresses and tor-resolve breaks it. I believe that the fact that tor-resolve breaks thins in this situation is a bug, I have filed Debian bug report #776454 requesting that tor-resolve allow such things to just work [3].

Host *.onion
ProxyCommand connect -5 -S localhost:9050 %h %p

I use the above ssh configuration (which can go in ~/.ssh/config or /etc/ssh/ssh_config) to tell the ssh client how to deal with .onion addresses. I also had to install the connect-proxy package which provides the connect program.

ssh root@zp7zwyd5t3aju57m.onion
The authenticity of host ‘zp7zwyd5t3aju57m.onion ()
ECDSA key fingerprint is 3c:17:2f:7b:e2:f6:c0:c2:66:f5:c9:ab:4e:02:45:74.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?

I now get the above message when I connect, the ssh developers have dealt with connecting via a proxy that doesn’t have an IP address.

Also see the general information page about my Play Machine, that information page has the root password [4].

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  3. Play Machine Online Again I have returned from the US and my SE Linux...

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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