Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Google's New Video Telephony/VOIP App Duo Due Soon

Google's new app for Android and IOS is due in the coming days. In contrast to Hangouts this one will have end-to-end encryption and is only supposed to support private chats, that means only conversations between two people are supported. Hangouts on the other hand supports group chats of up to 150 people 'hanging out together'. It also used to be popular for online courses but falls down on the privacy front as records are stored on Google's servers, although data is encrypted in transit, and because people used to be able to just enter some chats.

With Duo, the trade-off for having end-to-end full encryption and privacy will be that it is not possible to sync conversations between multiple devices. This is the same with other popular services like Facebook Messenger (or otherwise that data would have to be stored somewhere and would not by definition be private any more). So at the moment it seems Duo would still have one up on Whatsapp which at present doesn't support video calling in the stable version. At the same time, the latest version 11 of Google's Hangouts had SMS/MMS integration disabled, which left a lot of users unhappy. This pulling of hard to integrate features, while a separate SMS Messenger was released a while ago, may hint at a future merging of the two Google apps.

You can now pre-register in the Android Play store to receive an email once Duo becomes available. It will not be connected to your Google account like Hangouts and mail service and will require a telephone number to register, positioning it closer to Telegram and Whatsapp.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Consider Using a VPN: More Privacy for All Your Traffic

One option for anonymous browsing and privacy for other types of network traffic is using the Tor network which has been covered in a few articles here before. But although traffic is encrypted within the network when bouncing between relays, plain text over Tor is still plain text. Other problems are the slow speed and connectivity issues users may be facing with a volunteer network, user-unfriendly configuring of exit nodes and switching them on demand, and the fact that Tor is not suited to stream large files and video content, if only not to abuse donated bandwidth.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Slackware: Kernel 4.4.10 and Liveslak Images

Ola! While we're still waiting Eric Hameleers has quietly (sort of) updated many of his packages, among them Chromium 51, and also released v1.0.0 of his liveslak project, still based on Slackware Current as of now, on his Alien Pastures blog. Eric writes he considers

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Slackware: Kernel Upgraded to Linux 4.4.9 in Current

Today Slackware upgraded the kernel in the Current branch and with that for the upcoming and highly anticipated Slackware 14.2 release to linux 4.4.9 with all the corresponding modules. The init scripts were also updated to sysvinit-scripts-2.0-noarch-31. As usual, this can be traced in the changelog.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Slackware 14.2 Still Getting Updates and Last Minute Fixes

Well, we've been waiting a long time for what has been confirmed will be Slackware 14.2, despite more than two years having passed now since the last release. Last updates and fixes are still going on since the last RC and it looks Firefox 45.1-ESR will be the main channel used for this browser. Follow developments here in the changelog. Given that we now had two betas and two release candidates, which is twice what 14.1 had, I would wager we're close. No, really ;-). On the other hand, 14.0 underwent five RC's.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Devuan Project Announces Beta Release

Today the Devuan Project announced availability of a public beta release to their target group which they call Init Freedom Lovers. One may recall the reason for the split and intended fork from Debian was the decision by the Debian Project to hence include systemd as the default init system, starting with the release of Debian 8 'Jessie' and beyond, with no easy way of switching this out for another init to be used at boot without recompiling binaries or not using certain other programs dependent on it.

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