Boston Dynamics releases a public developer SDK for its dog-like ‘Spot’ robot – Blog – 10 minute

In context: If you’re an aspiring or practicing roboticist, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Boston Dynamics’ somewhat awkward, but nonetheless impressive (not to mention adorable) four-legged dog-bot, “Spot.” Spot can open doors, help out with household chores, and navigate complex areas with relative ease, among other things.
Now, Boston Dynamics wants to let more developers experiment with Spot for themselves. The company is opening up the bot’s SDK to the world — interested parties can check out the software on GitHub right now.
Boston Dynamics says this move will let a “broad range” of developers and “non-traditional” roboticists (whatever that means) communicate with Spot and develop custom applications that will enable him to perform a wide variety of new tasks. The possibilities are essentially endless, though there are some limitations.
Yes, you can now freely develop new capabilities for Spot, but unless you’re a member of Boston Dynamics early access program, you won’t be able to acquire an actual unit for on-site experimentation. However, if you want to apply for that program and potentially purchase or lease a Spot bot for yourself, you can begin that process right here.
In other Boston Dynamics-related news, the company has announced its first-ever user conference, “Actuate.” The conference will focus primarily on Spot, and it will bring together end-users, developers, and Spot “sensor providers” for two days of workshops, presentations, and networking events.

“Spot’s early adopters have had robots in hand and on-site for a few months now, and we’re seeing an early adopter community come together to build solutions on the platform,” said Boston Dynamics VP Michael Perry. “There’s no better way to facilitate getting customers the tools they need to create exciting new applications for the robot than connecting the already vibrant and creative community already leveraging Spot.”
The final piece of Spot-related news for the day involves Mythbusters star and Tested creator Adam Savage. The well-known engineer has joined Boston Dynamics’ Spot early adopter program, and he’ll be using that access to kick off his new “Year with Spot” campaign.
This campaign will see Savage work with his colleagues to “develop and deploy” entertainment-focused hardware and software features for Spot. He’ll be expanding the bot’s skillset, and teaching it all sorts of exciting new tricks — we’ll undoubtedly be covering the the more interesting parts of the campaign over the next year, so stay tuned.
Masthead credit: Equipment World

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Microsoft releases preview SDK for the Surface Duo, envisions Windows 10X on foldables – Blog – 10 minute

Why it matters: With dual-screen devices set to bring the next evolution in mobile computing, developer adoption and support remains a key factor in driving the industry forward. Towards that end, Microsoft has announced the preview SDKs for its dual-screen Surface Duo and laid out ideas for optimizing app experiences on foldable devices.
The tech community has received a few updates from Microsoft regarding the company’s upcoming foldables: The Windows 10X-powered Surface Neo and the smaller Android-powered Surface Duo.
The company’s developer documentation on creating apps for dual-screen devices includes the preview SDK for the Surface Duo (coming soon for Mac OS), letting developers test their apps on the new emulator integrated into Android Studio for simulating “postures, gestures, hinge angle, mimicking the seam between the two screens, and more.”

For the Surface Neo and devices that’ll run Windows 10X, a new Microsoft Emulator will be shipped to developers, alongside “new APIs for dual-screen support, documentation, and code samples,” through Insider builds. The emulator will support both UWP and Win32 apps in single- and dual-screen scenarios.

Microsoft’s five app patterns for dual-screen devices (top) and recommendations for spanning apps across various modes (bottom)
Microsoft also laid out new web standards for dual-screen devices as well as UX design patterns depicting app behavior and spanning across device orientation and layout. The company said that it’s working on improvements to React Native and Xamarin frameworks for cross-platform developers.
In addition to this, the company also announced the Microsoft 365 Developer Day. The online event will take place on February 11 at 8:30 AM PDT, and dive into more details about the aforementioned updates.

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Citrix Releases Patches for Critical ADC Vulnerability Under Active Attack – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Citrix has finally started rolling out security patches for a critical vulnerability in ADC and Gateway software that attackers started exploiting in the wild earlier this month after the company announced the existence of the issue without releasing any permanent fix.
I wish I could say, “better late than never,” but since hackers don’t waste time or miss any opportunity to exploit vulnerable systems, even a short window of time resulted in the compromise of hundreds of Internet exposed Citrix ADC and Gateway systems.
As explained earlier on The Hacker News, the vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2019-19781, is a path traversal issue that could allow unauthenticated remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on several versions of Citrix ADC and Gateway products, as well as on the two older versions of Citrix SD-WAN WANOP.
Rated critical with CVSS v3.1 base score 9.8, the issue was discovered by Mikhail Klyuchnikov, a security researcher at Positive Technologies, who responsibly reported it to Citrix in early December.

The vulnerability is actively being exploited in the wild since last week by dozens of hacking groups and individual attackers—thanks to the public release of multiple proofs-of-concept exploit code.
According to cyber security experts, as of today, there are over 15,000 publicly accessible vulnerable Citrix ADC and Gateway servers that attackers can exploit overnight to target potential enterprise networks.
FireEye experts found an attack campaign where someone was compromising vulnerable Citrix ADCs to install a previously-unseen payload, dubbed “NotRobin,” that scans systems for cryptominers and malware deployed by other potential attackers and removes them to maintain exclusive backdoor access.
“This actor exploits NetScaler devices using CVE-2019-19781 to execute shell commands on the compromised device,” FireEye said.
“FireEye believes that the actor behind NOTROBIN has been opportunistically compromising NetScaler devices, possibly to prepare for an upcoming campaign. They remove other known malware, potentially to avoid detection by administrators.”

Citrix Patch Timeline: Stay Tuned for More Software Updates!

Last week Citrix announced a timeline, promising to release patched firmware updates for all supported versions of ADC and Gateway software before the end of January 2020, as shown in the chart.

As part of its first batch of updates, Citrix today released permanent patches for ADC versions 11.1 and 12.0 that also apply to “ADC and Gateway VPX hosted on ESX, Hyper-V, KVM, XenServer, Azure, AWS, GCP or on a Citrix ADC Service Delivery Appliance (SDX).”
“It is necessary to upgrade all Citrix ADC and Citrix Gateway 11.1 instances (MPX or VPX) to build 11.1.63.15 to install the security vulnerability fixes. It is necessary to upgrade all Citrix ADC and Citrix Gateway 12.0 instances (MPX or VPX) to build 12.0.63.13 to install the security vulnerability fixes,” Citrix said in its advisory.

“We urge customers to install these fixes immediately,” the company said. “If you have not already done so, you need to apply the previously supplied mitigation to ADC versions 12.1, 13, 10.5, and SD-WAN WANOP versions 10.2.6 and 11.0.3 until the fixes for those versions are available.”
The company also warned that customers with multiple ADC versions in production must apply the correct version of patch to each system separately.
Besides installing available patches for supported versions and applying the recommended mitigation for unpatched systems, Citrix ADC administrators are also advised to monitor their device logs for attacks.

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Adobe Releases First 2020 Patch Tuesday Software Updates – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Adobe today released software updates to patch a total of 9 new security vulnerabilities in two of its widely used applications, Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Illustrator.
It’s the first Patch Tuesday for the year 2020 and one of the lightest patch releases in a long time for Adobe users.
Moreover, none of the security vulnerabilities patched this month were either publicly disclosed or found being actively exploited in the wild.

5 of the 9 security vulnerabilities are ‘critical’ in severity, and all of them affect Adobe Illustrator CC versions 24.0 and earlier, which were reported to the company by Fortinet’s FortiGuard Labs researcher Honggang Ren.
According to an advisory published by Adobe, all five critical issues in Adobe Illustrator software are memory corruption bugs that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on targeted systems in the context of the current user.
The rest 4 security vulnerabilities affect Adobe Experience Manager—a comprehensive content management solution for building websites, mobile apps, and forms—none of which are critical in severity but should be patched at your earliest convenience.
That’s also because Adobe has marked security updates for Adobe Experience Manager with a priority rating of 2, which means similar flaws have previously been seen exploited in the wild, but for now, the company has found no evidence of any exploitation of these vulnerabilities in the wild.

These reported issues—which include: reflected cross-site scripting, user interface injection, and expression language injection—affect multiple versions of Adobe Experience Manager, all leading to sensitive information disclosure, where three of them are important in severity and one moderate.
Adobe today released Illustrator CC 2019 version 24.0.2 for Windows operating system and patches for Adobe Experience Manager versions 6.3, 6.4, and 6.5.
Adobe recommends end-users and administrators to install the latest security updates as soon as possible to protect their systems and businesses from potential cyber-attacks.

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Young’s Seafood releases Masters of Fish campaign- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Kazoo is behind a new multi-million-pound advertising campaign for Young’s Seafood, the UK’s largest seafood specialist.
With over 200 years of expertise and aiming to inspire people to cook and enjoy fish more often, Young’s campaign combines creativity with information to help individuals make more tasty meals.
The advertising campaign launched on Monday 6th January, during ITV’s Coronation Street, marking the brand’s longest running ad which is expected to reach around 33 million shoppers between January and May.
In the spot, four ‘Masters of Fish’ demonstrate how Young’s has helped them become experts in the kitchen and tackle a variety of meal occasions – from midweek family dinners, date nights and post workout pick-me-ups.
The multi-channel television advertising campaign will then run across other broadcasters, like Sky, Channel 4 and Channel 5. The campaign will also be rolled out on highly targeted video and paid digital as well as through integrated PR and social media.
Yvonne Adam, managing director at Young’s Frozen Business, said: “We’ve been perfecting fish for more than 200 years and we’re hugely excited about bringing our unique experience to life through our Masters of Fish campaign.
“As a brand, Young’s is passionate about giving consumers confidence to enjoy fish more often and our new campaign shows how easily our Chip Shop and Gastro ranges make it to master mealtimes.
“We believe our major investment in Masters of Fish will not only continue the positive momentum we are enjoying, but also position Young’s as the first-choice fish brand in the hearts and minds of the British public.’’

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Mozilla releases patch for a severe vulnerability in Firefox that’s being actively exploited – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: While it’s always a good idea to keep your operating system and apps up to date, we’ve become so dependent on web browsers that they sometimes need to be patched several times a week to fix glaring security issues that hackers are eager to exploit. Such is the case with the latest Firefox update, which patches a serious bug that makes it easy for someone to take complete control of your system.
If you’re using Firefox as your go-to web browser, you might want to update it as soon as possible. Earlier today, Mozilla rushed out version 72.0.1 (and ESR 68.4.1) to fix a vulnerability that is actively being exploited in the wild to take complete control of machines running the vulnerable bits of the popular open source browser.
If you need another reason to be worried about using an unpatched version, the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued a security advisory explaining that there is sufficient evidence that hackers are taking advantage of this zero-day flaw.

Mozilla says the vulnerability was uncovered and reported by researchers at China-based Qihoo 360. Apparently, a bug indexed as CVE-2019-17026 is a “type confusion” vulnerability that affects the IonMonkey just-in-time compiler that’s an essential part of Mozilla’s SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine.
In simple terms, it’s a memory bug where a program allocates resources as one type but later accesses those resources as a different type. This allows attackers to access data stored in other memory locations that are normally off-limits, and execute code on a vulnerable system through specially crafted web pages.
The flaw has been fixed in Firefox 72.0.1, just 24 hours after version 72 was released with fixes for 11 other vulnerabilities. Last year, two serious zero-day flaws allowed attackers to slip a largely undetected backdoor on Macs used by operators of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.

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TikTok releases its first transparency report with no mention of China – Blog – 10 minute

In context: In its first transparency report, TikTok revealed that the two countries where most of its users are located account for most of the information and takedown requests it received throughout the first half of 2019. Notably absent from the analysis is China, the place where owner ByteDance operates the same social media app under the Douyin brand.
TikTok has published its first transparency report, aimed at letting users in on the volume and sources of governmental requests for content takedowns, account information, and other notifications. The analysis covers the period between January 1st and June 30, 2019, when the social media app received almost 300 requests from 28 countries around the world.
Interestingly, the company says the Chinese government made no requests in the first half of 2019, which is hard to believe given the history of censorship exercised by companies in the region to appease officials.
This has led to speculation that the company isn’t forthcoming about that information, especially since leaked documents point to the Chinese government requesting the removal of several videos linked to the Hong Kong protests in 2019. The company chalked it down to a failed test on some updated content guidelines, but only managed to bring its owner, ByteDance, into the crosshairs of the US Committee on Foreign Investments.
A more plausible explanation would be that TikTok doesn’t serve the Chinese audience, a role delegated to its sister app, Douyin, which is known to be subject to more strict guidelines.

Credit: Quartz | Data: TikTok
In any case, TikTok’s transparency report shows the US and India sending the majority of requests. The Indian government sent 107 requests, almost half of which were honored. By comparison, the US sent a total of 79 requests, 86 percent of which resulted in some information being produced. The two countries also lead in the number of account suspension requests, which are in the single digits.
In terms of copyright take-down notices, TikTok says 85 percent of all 3,345 received from nine countries have resulted in some content being removed.
Eric Ebenstein, the company’s head of public policy, noted that “TikTok is committed to assisting law enforcement in appropriate circumstances while at the same time respecting the privacy and rights of our users. […] We believe that when people feel safe, their creativity can flourish.”
The company is expected to release a report for the second half of 2019 in the coming months. In the meantime, TikTok just got banned by the US Army, following a similar measure by the Pentagon and the US Navy. That has parent company ByteDance worried that it may soon be pressed to sell off the app, so it’s scrambling to move its operations outside of China.

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Department for Education releases intimate portrait of the transformative impact of teaching- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Placing a real teacher at the heart of its latest recruitment push, The Department for Education (DfE) has unveiled ‘Tuesday’ – a day in the life of a secondary school science teacher.
To inspire more people to sign up to teach, DfE wants to highlight the unparalleled role teachers play in shaping the lives of the students they teach.
To make the message authentic, the spot stars Addison Brown, a real teacher from Bedford High School in Leigh, Greater Manchester.
Created by creative agency Havas London, ‘Tuesday’ shares a day in the life of a teacher. Showing that no two days are the same, Brown is seen inspiring and helping the kids at the school he teaches at.
Starting at 9am on a Tuesday, the film shows the various ways teachers can make a difference in a child’s life, whether that be through education or just being someone to open up to.
The campaign is a follow up to the first ‘Every Lesson Shapes a Life’ which featured the story of a girl at various stages in her life – from her first day of school to the final day. It highlighted how teachers can guide pupils through the good and bad stages of life.
The film will air across national TV in the commercial breaks of popular family shows including the Great British Bake Off, Coronation Street and Dancing on Ice, as well as on video-on-demand platforms and in cinemas. It will be supported by radio executions and social activity, as well as PR by Kindred Agency.
Discussing the launch of the campaign, Chloe Saklow, deputy director, teaching – customer and brand for the Department for Education, said: “’Every Lesson Shapes a Life’ continues to resonate well with both current and aspiring teachers and our new film builds on this. There are thousands of brilliant teachers helping to shape the next generation – and we want to encourage more people to join this unique and dynamic profession by reflecting one dedicated and inspiring individual whose enjoyment of what he does is as clear as it is infectious.”
Adding to this, Jennifer Black, managing director at Havas London, said: “Insofar as such a thing exists, we wanted to capture a ‘typical’ day in the life of a teacher – showcasing the creativity, variety and dynamism the career offers those within it on a day-to-day basis.
“By shifting our focus from one pupil to one teacher, we hope we’ve captured not just the remarkable dedication of teachers up and down the country, but also the immense satisfaction they take from this uniquely rewarding and worthwhile career.”

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Microsoft Releases First Windows 10 PowerToys Add-Ons


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In an earlier technological era when desktops ruled and laptops were briefcases, Microsoft released a suite of Windows 95 extensions called PowerToys. Despite a committed fan base, PowerToys faded away in newer versions of Windows, but Microsoft announced some months back that it was reviving PowerToys in Windows 10. Now, the first PowerToys utilities are available for download. 

For those who have forgotten (or are too young to remember), PowerToys debuted in Windows 95. These free add-ons extended the capabilities in Windows 95, and many of them became default features in newer versions of the operating system. The original batch of tools included starting a command prompt from an Explorer folder, auto-launching CD-ROMs, and moving window focus automatically with the mouse. In Windows XP, Microsoft experimented with batch image resizing in IE, file/folder synchronizing, and a more powerful calculator. Microsoft retired PowerToys following the release of Vista. 

It’s taken four months, but the first two PowerToys add-ons for Windows 10 are live on Microsoft’s GitHub. To get started, download the PowerToys installer and launch it. PowerToys lives in the system tray, allowing you to enable or disable each tool. Currently, there are two PowerToys available in the client: FancyZones and Shortcut Guide. 

At the time of the announcement, Shortcut Guide was the only tool Microsoft had fleshed out. The version we have now is indeed similar to what the company demoed in May. This tool helps you use all those Windows key shortcuts you probably don’t use. Simply hold the Windows key for a moment, and an overlay appears on the screen to remind you of features like managing virtual desktops, launching taskbar apps, and various setting shortcuts. 

The other PowerToys module, known as FancyZones, is a bit more advanced. This tool lets you create custom window layouts for more efficient multitasking. For example, you might want to split your monitor into three columns instead of the two zones you get with snapping in Windows 10. Alternatively, you might just want windows floating in a particular area of the screen. Just create a layout or choose one of the templates, and then hold Shift while dragging to drop windows into one of your custom zones — they’ll snap right into place. You can also choose to override the Windows Snap hotkey (Win + arrow) with FancyZones. 

This is only the first release, and Microsoft plans to release a lot more tools. If the new PowerToys is anything like the old one, it may give us a glimpse at features that will come bundled in future Windows builds.

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Google releases Android 10 – gpgmail


Android 10 is now available, assuming you have a phone that already supports Google’s latest version of its mobile operating system. For now, that’s mostly Google’s own Pixel phones, though chances are that most of the phones that were supported during the beta phase will get updated to the release version pretty soon, too.

Since the development of Android pretty much happens in the open these days, the release itself doesn’t feature any surprises. Just like with the last few releases, chances are you’ll have to look twice after the update to see whether your phone actually runs the latest versions. There are plenty of tweaks in Android 10, but some of the most interesting new features are a bit hidden and (at least in the betas) off by default.

The one feature everybody has been waiting for is a dark mode and here, Android 10 doesn’t disappoint. The new dark theme is now ready for your night-time viewing, with the promise of improved battery life for your OLED phone and support from a number of apps like Photos and Calendar. Over time, more apps will automatically switch to a dark theme as well, but right now, the number seems rather limited and a bit random, with Fit offering a dark mode while Gmail doesn’t.

The other major tweak is the updated gesture navigation. This remains optional — you can still use the same old three-button navigation Android has long offered. It’s essentially a tweak of the navigation system the launched with Android Pie. For the most part, the new navigation gestures work just fine and feel more efficient than those in Pie, especially when you try to switch between apps. Swiping left and right from the screen replaces the back button, which isn’t immediately obvious, and a slightly longer press on the side of the screen occasionally opens a navigation drawer. I say ‘occasionally,’ because I think this is the most frustrating part of the experience. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The trick to opening the drawer, it seems, is to swipe at an angle that’s well above 45 degrees.

Also new is an updated Smart Reply feature that now suggests actions from your notifications. If a notification includes a link, for example, Smart Reply will suggest opening it in Chrome. Same for addresses, where the notification can take you right to Google Maps, or YouTube videos that you can play in — you guessed it — Youtube. This should work across all popular messaging apps.

There are also a couple of privacy and security features here, including the ability to only share location data with apps while you use them and a new Privacy section in Settings that gives you access to controls for managing your web and app history, as well as your ad settings in a slightly more prominent place.

The new Google Play system updates, the company can now also push important security and privacy fixes right to the phone from the Google Play store, which allows it to patch issues without having to go through the system update process. Given the slow Android OS upgrade cycles, that’s an important new feature, though it, too, is an evolution of Google’s overall strategy to decouple these updates and core features from the OS updates.

Two other interesting new features are still in beta or won’t be available until later this year, but Google prominently highlights Focus mode, which allows you to silence specific apps for a while and which is now in beta, and Live Caption, which will launch in the fall on Pixel phones and which can automatically caption videos and audio across all apps. I’ve been beta testing Focus Mode for a bit and I’m not sure it has really made a difference in my digital wellbeing, but the ability to mute notifications from YouTube during the workday, for example, has probably made me a tiny bit more productive.

Oh, and there’s also native support for foldable phones, but for the time being, there are no foldable phones on the market.

Like with most recent releases, those are just some of the highlights. There are plenty of small tweaks, too, and chances are you’ll notice a few new fonts and visual tweaks here and there. For the most part, though, you can continue to use Android like you always have. Even major changes like the updated gesture controls are optional. It’s very much an evolutionary update, but that’s pretty much the case for any mobile OS these days.


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