iOS 9.3.5 Arrives to Fix a New Jailbreak Exploit

Only a few weeks after releasing iOS 9.3.4 to fix a jailbreaking related bug, Apple yesterday released iOS 9.3.5 to all supported iPhones and iPads. This latest update provides an “important security update” and arrives only a few weeks before the expected release of iOS 10, which is in its 5th public beta and one that I am currently using on my iPhone 6S.

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Apple also reports that these bugs were already fixed in the latest versions of the iOS 10 public and developer betas.

Apple’s security release notes states that three bugs have been fixed, two in the iOS kernel and one in WebKit. The bugs were reportedly able to actively exploit a hijacked iPhone of a political dissident. In addition these exploits would also allow a victim’s personal data to be accessed after opening a link sent in a text message. This would infect a user’s phone invisibly and silently.

The update is available now for everything that runs iOS 9: the iPhone 4S and newer; iPad 2 and newer; all iPad Minis and iPad Pros; and the fifth- and sixth-generation iPod Touches.

These security updates on your mobile devices are critical and everyone should take the time to apply them.

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Dark Twitter Has Arrived on iOS

darktwitterHere is a nice little tip if you use Twitter on your iPhone.

Twitter’s much sought after dark mode has finally made its way from Android to iOS.

If you’re not sure what exactly a “dark mode” does it’s actually quite simple. Dark Mode changes your background color to a darker grey, and tweet text to white.

How to Change Your Twitter to “Dark Mode”

To activate it, Twitter says you just need to tap the Me icon at the bottom of your screen, then the gear icon towards the top. Select ‘turn on dark mode,’ and away you go. If you ever want to go back to the boring old white background, the process is the same.

As you can see by the image I have mine setup and I like it! It is actually much easier to read.

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TOS 50 Book Mission # 19 – “Legacies Book 2 – Best Defense”

My TOS Book Mission in celebration of Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary continues with David Mack’s “Best Defense” which is part 2 of the special Legacies series.

Legacies is a trilogy celebrating Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. Spanning decades and several captains of the early Enterprise. The first novel, “Captain to Captain” by Greg Cox was and excellent start to this trilogy and of course left off with a major cliffhanger. “Best Defense” is just as action-packed, if not more so.

As the crew of the Enterprise tries to reclaim the Transfer Key (stolen in Book 1), the crew must deal with a mystery and stop a war from breaking out with the Klingons. Meanwhile, Una tries to rescue her old crew mates from a bizarre alternate universe. This story is full of suspense, political intrigue, and family drama which in many ways I enjoyed even more than the first in the trilogy. There was much jammed into this fast-paced story and for the most part it all works very well. We even get to see Dr. McCoy’s estranged daughter, JoAnna as well as Sarek who is trying to make peace with the Klingons. Oh and we even get to see Councilor Gorkon (Star Trek VI) which is great fun.

The story leads up to a cliffhanger and very much sets the tone for what is sure to be a exciting conclusion, “Purgatory’s Key” which arrives later this month.

Happy 50th Star Trek.

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The Extinction of Internet Explorer

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 1 made its debut in Windows 95 and was part of the Internet Jumpstart Kit in Microsoft Plus for the operating system. What’s interesting is that Internet Explorer 1 was the creation of a team with only six workers, but which rapidly expanded in the following years.

Now at version 11, Internet Explorer is no longer Microsoft’s top priority, as the company has introduced a new browser called Edge that’s offered as the default option on its new Windows operating systems.

Internet Explorer’s Scheduled Extinction 

The development of Microsoft Edge was necessary mostly because the software giant needed a fresh start to compete against the other browsers on the market, including here Chrome and Firefox, which made Internet Explorer obsolete over the years.

A new engine powering Edge and a wider array of features, which include support for extensions, are all supposed to make Microsoft’s new browser a stronger rival to both Chrome and Firefox, although its adoption is still impacted by the limited availability in Windows 10 – Microsoft has already said that it has no plans to bring Edge on previous Windows versions or on non-Windows operating systems.

Internet Explorer will no longer receive new versions, features, and improvements, but Microsoft will continue to patch it should new vulnerabilities and security issues be discovered. This way, users who are still running Internet Explorer, be they consumers or enterprises, can remain fully protected before migrating to Edge or a different browser.

As a result of Microsoft move with Edge the market share of Internet Explorer is quickly declining, and statistics have shown that Google Chrome has become the clear leader of the browser world with a share that exceeds 50 percent. Time will tell if Microsoft Edge is the eagerly anticipated Google Chrome and Firefox killer, but for the moment, Google continues to be the browser of choice for more than 50 percent of PC users out there.

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iOS 10 beta 5 Arrives on My iPhone 6S

After a very bad experience with the first incarnation of the iOS 10 beta I downgraded back to iOS 9 back in early July. Yesterday I decided to give iOS 10 beta 5 a chance and “upgraded” my iPhone 6S. So what did I find? Is it more stable that beta 1? Was it worth the 2 hours of install and setup time? Will iOS 10 bring new excitement to the iPhone user? Well lets take a look at what I have found so far during the past day with iOS 10 beta 5.

While the new update is still a bit buggy, there are some improvements over the beta 1.

If you have been on the beta for a while and have been fidgeting with the iOS Photos app, you will have noticed the new facial recognition feature that groups images based on faces. Well, if you have arranged everything on your iPhone in a long list of groups, it’s all going away. This is because the new update will scan through your folders once again and rearrange whatever is currently available.

If you noticed that your iPhone 6s Smart Battery case was misbehaving after the last update, this has now been fixed. The case that is available for the iPhone 6 and 6s should now work properly.

Bored of the iOS 9 lock sound when you lock the phone? Well, there is finally something new in iOS 10 beta 5 for you. The new lock sound seems to have moved on from click to sound of door closing.

The output icon seen in the Control Center gets an update as well. The same goes for the Music app, and other locations in iOS, that seem to be slightly tweaked.

The date now appears in the swipe to the right from the home screen and even in the notifications panel (swipe right in there again).

All-in-all it’s just some minor fine-tuning taking place in iOS 10 beta 5 compared to what we noticed in the earlier betas. While it iOS 10 may be a bit annoying in the notifications area and the Control Center for some, it may seem like a good move that spaces things out for others. Like it or hate it, the bolder new look is here to stay.

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Microsoft’s Wordflow Improves Your iPhone Keyboard

My favorite keyboard on the iPhone is brought to us by Microsoft and it is known as “Wordflow”. You can download it in the app store for free and it is about to get a wiz bang update which will make it even better.

Wordflow brings with it some nifty features like its one-handed mode (below image) and a lot of customization options. Since then, the keyboard didn’t really get a lot of new features. Following Microsoft, Google also launched its own keyboard app for the iPhone — called the Gboard. Google’s Gboard was very different from Microsoft’s WordFlow, and it wasn’t a run-of-the-mill third party keyboard app. It had Google Search built-in, which allowed you to easily search for things like nearby places, GIFs, emojis and share them very easily — without having to open any other app. It was that simple.

Microsoft is now – finally getting ready to take on Google’s Gboard. Microsoft is currently testing a major update for its WordFlow keyboard on the iPhone with a group of testers. The major update will introduce a number of new features to the app, which will put WordFlow ahead of Gboard pretty easily. In fact, the next update for WordFlow could possibly make you use it as the default keyboard on your iPhone.

IMG_0157With the next update for WordFlow, Microsoft is adding all the search-related features which you’ll find on Gboard — this includes GIFs, images, and even emojis. Additionally, you will also be bale to look up nearby places, videos, facts, weather forecasts, and a lot more. Needless to say, most of these Search features are powered by Bing. There is also some other features such as the ability to search for contacts and share phone numbers very easily, which can be very useful.

WordFlow will also support one of the best features of 3D Touch on the newest iPhones: the ability to move the cursor with 3D Touch. This is one of the main reasons why I didn’t use WordFlow as my default keyboard when Microsoft launched it back in April. And if you still want more customization features, Microsoft has some new themes coming with the next update, too.

So, to recap, here’s the full list of features coming to WordFlow:

  • Search for GIFs, images, and emojis to better express yourself
  • Find Contacts – when you need to share that person’s phone number
  • Look up restaurants, news, videos, facts, weather forecasts, and much more
  • New predictions, including GIFs: icons that show up as you type along with word suggestions that can help you express yourself better.
  • Control the cursor placement with 3D Touch
  • Accuracy improvements, particularly around space bar, and in arc mode
  • Support for iOS Text Replacement function
  • New themes!

Microsoft’s WordFlow keyboard certainly is one of the best third-party keyboards available on the iPhone. As for Android users, the company still doesn’t seem to have anything share for those using Android. And if you are on Windows Phone, you probably won’t be getting any of these new features on WordFlow anytime soon.

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GoldenEye Arrives on The PC

Recently I have been in a retro gaming mood. On my 65 inch TV I have been burning hours on Nintendo 8bit & 16bit games. Today I stumbled upon a fan remake of the classic Super Nintendo game, “GoldenEye” and it is awesome.

One of the greatest shooters of all time, GoldenEye has been remade for the PC by a group of developers. What is amazing is that this project apparently started 0 years ago! This week it received its first big update in three years.

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The team has updated every single map in the game, as well as added a few classics from the original like Dam and Bunker, bringing the total total tally up to 25. There are also new 3D models, refined to character controls, improved sound effects and mixing, and more

Given the Source engine itself is pretty old now, the system requirements are on the low end, so you don’t need to have a powerful graphics card to play. All you need is Windows 7 or higher and 4 GB of RAM. Also be aware that the download is about 2GB.

You can download the game at the source link below.

5.0 release on Goldeneye: Source

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Facebook Is Now Blocking Ad Blockers

Facebook is now blocking ad blockers on the desktop version of its service. Facebook is stating that “well-made, relevant ads can be useful.” I am not sure I agree with that. Also, at the same time Facebook is also suggesting that it is giving users easier ways to decide what types of ads they want to see, unless, of course, the answer is “none.”

“No ads” is no longer an option. 

Ad blockers filter out ads by refusing to display page images and other elements that originated with a known ad server. But Facebook has found a way around this. Beginning Tuesday, the desktop version of Facebook will show users ads even if they have ad blockers installed.

The changes don’t affect the mobile Facebook app, which brings in the bulk of the company’s advertising revenue. As with most new Facebook features, the changes are being rolled out to users over time, so some people might see it before others.

It is obvious Facebook needs advertisements to create revenue, so we are stuck with them.

Facebook’s ad-blocker works by making it difficult for software to distinguish advertisements from other material published on Facebook, such as photos or status updates.

But while users won’t be able to stop ads from showing up, Facebook stated it wants to make it easier for people to control the types of ads they want to see. For example, if you don’t want to see ads from a specific business, or ads that target a specific category like travel, cat owners or wine lovers, you can say so.

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Microsoft’s August Patch Tuesday

August brings us another Patch Tuesday from Microsoft. This month brings a relatively light series of updates, with five rated as critical and the remaining four rated as important.

Aside from the relatively few updates from Microsoft, there are no zero-day or publicly disclosed vulnerabilities this month. Microsoft has also chosen to update a number of relatively minor components this month with the exception of MS16-098 (another kernel update).

Let’s take a look at the updates Microsoft has in store for all of our PCs.

MS16-095 — Critical

The first update rated as critical for this August Microsoft Patch Tuesday follows the standard release cycle pattern with an update to Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). MS16-095 attempts to resolve nine privately reported memory corruption issues that if left un-patched could lead to a remote code execution scenario. This is a pretty standard “technical hygiene” update from Microsoft that does not have to address any urgent “zero-day” vulnerabilities. As is this case for these types of updates, a full application “binaries” refresh will be included in this update, which applies to all currently supported versions of IE. Add this update to your standard desktop deployment effort.

MS16-096 — Critical

Unusually, the update to Microsoft Edge is more serious than the patches to IE for this month. MS16-096 attempts to resolve 10 issues that could also lead to a remote code execution scenario. The more serious of these reported privately reported issues could lead to an attacker assuming the same security privileges as the logged in user by simply navigating to a specially crafted web page containing malicious JavaScript. Make this patch a priority for your Windows 10 deployment.

MS16-097 — Critical

MS16-097 follows a long pedigree of Microsoft updates that attempt to resolve issues in how Windows platforms handle embedded fonts. This month’s update attempts to resolve three vulnerabilities that following successful web-page for file-based attacks could lead to the execution of arbitrary code on a non-patched or compromised system. As this patch affects all Windows (desktop and server) platform, Microsoft Office and Lync, please add this update to your prioritised patch deployment effort.

MS16-099 — Critical

MS16-099 is a huge update for Microsoft that attempts to resolve seven high risk exploits that at worst could lead to a remote code execution scenario. In addition to numerous security patches, this update also includes a significant feature level update to several versions of Microsoft Outlook (Outlook 2007, 2013, 2106 – both 32 and 64-bit editions). It also looks like attackers could use three approaches to compromise a system including: specially crafted web pages, special files and emails. Make this update a priority for your patch deployment effort.

MS16-102 — Critical

MS16-0102 addresses a single (as of yet, unrated by Microsoft and privately reported) vulnerability in the built-in PDF viewer in Windows 8.x and Windows 10 systems. This update is linked to the July cumulative update for Windows 10 that included an update to the PDF handler as well. If a user opens a specially crafted PDF file, it appears that with deploying this update or employing several registry related security restrictions, a remote code execution scenario will occur on the compromised system. Add this update to your priority patch deployment effort.

MS16-098 — Important

MS16-098 attempts to address four serious (but privately reported) vulnerabilities in the Windows kernel mode drivers that if left unpatched could lead to an elevation of privilege scenario. This is a tricky update with a long history of past issues and problems with these types of patches. I would deploy this update to IT first, and then wait a little while.

MS16-100 — Important

MS16-100 represents the perfect summer update. It’s a simple, single fix to a low profile Windows component, with low deployment risk. Add this update to your standard patch deployment effort.

MS16-101 — Important

MS16-101 addresses two privately reported vulnerabilities in the Windows authentication engine. Both vulnerabilities are relatively tough to exploit and require physical access to domain-joined systems. However, as this update affects all currently supported versions of both desktop and server systems from Microsoft, it needs to be added to your standard update deployment effort.

MS16-103 — Important

MS16-103 is the final update for this August that attempts to address a difficult to exploit, privately reported vulnerability in a relatively minor component of Windows 10 desktop systems. Add to your standard Windows 10 deployment effort.

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Netflix’s Free Speed Test Arrives on iOS & Android

Does your Netflix service lag on your some times and buffer? Netflix has a little app that will help you find out if you are getting what you are paying for from your internet provider.

Netflix’s nifty little speed testing tool, Fast.com, is now available as a mobile app.

You can use the app to measure how fast your internet connection is at any given moment. Although it’s not very different than using just the website on your mobile browser, the one-tap shortcut might be handy for someone who’s constantly curious about their internet speed.

Netflix’s super simple speed test tool is now available on Android and iOS

Plus, the more often you use the app, the more information Netflix gets about the connections service providers offer to customers around the country. Alongside the app’s launch, Netflix also details in a blog post how it built fast.com. It’s a pretty long and technical post though, so read it slowly.

You can download the Fast app for free for both Android and iOS.

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