Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

London design agency combines technology with LEGO to create nifty organizer

Posted on: October 9th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

Everyone has a different way of organizing, be it on Google Calendar, by phone, or even on a Filofax. The team at Vitamins Design in London has come up with an ingenious way to sort out their schedules and keep them all in line, no matter what medium each person normally used.

This is how the LEGO Calendar was born. The LEGO calendar is an easy-to-read calendar that uses LEGO characters to represent each team member. Projects are marked by color-coded LEGO bricks, which are then organized by time (each brick represents half a day).

The most interesting feature is the software they created to work in tangent with the physical LEGO Calendar. The software automatically synchronizes every event marked on the physical calendar with a cloud one. A photo is first taken of the LEGO Calendar before it is emailed to a specific address. Upon receipt of the image, the software scans it and detects the colors and positions of each block to update the calendar accordingly.

The idea became so popular that Vitamins Designs has promised to share the computer code online. Watch their video for more.

The Bible is telling people your passwords

Posted on: October 9th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

A recent report has claimed that the Bible is giving passwords away. Top IT news site Ars Technica spoke to password security researcher Kevin Young, who described how he and fellow researcher John Dustin fed about 15,000 books, including the Bible, into their password cracking software. The software managed to uncover a multitude of passwords which used words borrowed from popular literature and films, emphasizing the fact that Star Wars, Harry Potter or, yes, the Bible really shouldn’t be the inspiration for checking your security on the internet.

Anniversary Patch Tuesday with a big Internet Explorer fix

Posted on: October 8th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com 1 Comment

Microsoft’s monthly security bulletin and the related Patch Tuesday is celebrating its 10th birthday this month, and the most important element of this month’s “anniversary” edition is a major fix for an Internet Explorer vulnerability that made the news in September.

The vulnerability (officially named CVE-2013-3893) is the result of some RCE (Remote Code Execution) bugs, where an outsider can send you something and infect you with malware in any current version of Internet Explorer, including the old IE 6 in Windows XP as well as the very latest IE 11 for those using the Windows 8.1 pre-release.

Major Update for Internet Explorer

Some of these bugs are officially branded Critical, which means you should patch it as soon as possible if you don’t want crooks to figure out an unlawful way to your computer. The Internet Explorer update will require you to reboot your computer, so you’d better save your work and prepare for reboot.

As part of the usual Patch Tuesday routine, the Malicious Software Removal Tool has been updated and is also available on our SoftwarePatch website for 32-bit Windows 7 and 64-bit Windows versions. Don’t be scared if you see MRT.exe running on your computer with high CPU usage – this is perfectly normal and it is crucial to run this time of the month.

By Gergely Sumegi

Google keeps fighting spam – Penguin 2.1 announced

Posted on: October 8th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

Matt Cutts, the head of the webspam team of Google, has recently announced the launch of a new update to the Penguin spam fighting algorithm. The first version of Penguin was launched in April 2012, and then two unnumbered updates came out in the same year. Penguin 2.0, actually the fourth major version was launched in May 2013, and version 2.1 is now the latest update, officially dated October 4, 2013.

Matt Cutts announces Penguin 2.1

So, what does Penguin 2.1 do? Google doesn’t say too much – the link in Matt Cutts’s tweet just goes to the original Google blog post in 2012 explaining the launch of the first version. Fighting spam that is, with Penguin 2.1 affecting about 1% of all searches to a noticeable degree.

Penguin is the spam-filtering part of the overall Hummingbird search ranking algorithm, announced recently. If your website has been affected by the latest update, you might consider looking into the link profile, and disavow bad links in Webmaster tools or remove them manually.

By Gergely Sumegi

Google introduces new search algorithm, ‘Hummingbird’

Posted on: September 30th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

On 27 September 2013 Google marked its 15th birthday, and with it its latest search algorithm. Google Hummingbird (which was actually quietly rolled out over a month ago) affects around 90% of all searches, and is designed to tackle more complicated and abstract queries.

Unlike its predecessors (Panda and Penguin), Hummingbird doesn’t just match keywords. It actually breaks down ‘conversation’ questions and phrases, and attempts to understand the meaning and relationship of things and words within sentences. Google’s aim is to give users more precise results, giving the search engine a more ‘human’ aspect in that it is seeking to tackle longer and more complex questions.

More questions can be asked at the Search Engine Marketing Forums

‘Game of Thrones: The 8-bit Game’ is released

Posted on: September 12th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

Game of Thrones fans desperately twiddling their thumbs until Season 4 starts next year (or until the next book is finally published) will be happy to know they can distract themselves for a little while. A super-fan has recently created an 8-bit platform game based on the series, featuring the 2D pixelated artwork we know and love – along with some of the characters we know and love along with it.

Enjoy a 2D side-scrolling release, where players attempt to navigate multiple levels by dodging obstacles and projectiles – all the while defeating enemies and picking up items. With four fan-favorite characters playable (Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister and Davos Seaworth), fans are sure to get a kick out of this retro version of Westeros.

Spanish developer Abel Alvarez Rejo is the brains behind the game, and has luckily made it available for free. The Internet reaction to the game has been so phenomenal that Alves has spoken of creating similar games in the same retro context. Keep an eye on his website for more.

Watch the trailer here, and enjoy the nostalgia.

Redesign Arcade Fire’s latest music video through your smartphone

Posted on: September 10th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com 1 Comment

Though the technology behind music videos has come a long way since Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing premiered on MTV Europe, it hasn’t quite caught up with the respective changing worlds of movies, music and TV. With their video for “Reflektor” Arcade Fire has taken the release of their latest single to a whole new level – in a nutshell, the technology behind the “Reflektor” video allows you to paint effects on the screen with your smartphone whilst the video plays.

The way it works is when you link your smartphone with your web browser, thereby syncing the visual tracking from your computer’s webcam, and the data your phone provides through its gyroscope and accelerometer. This allows the phone to become a tool to manipulate whatever you’re seeing onscreen, giving you the space to alter every scene in the video. You can change each effect by modifying the distance and angle of your phone to the computer screen.

Whilst a traditional shoot still took place on location in Haiti, a specialist team implemented the new technology through the post-production process. Luckily for other developers, the team chose to make the code open-source, as well as go a step further by giving users a tech page portal through which they too could tweak the set-up of the video – something that would apply in real time. The most groundbreaking part of the video hits towards the end of the video, which you can discover here – since the project is a Google Chrome experiment we would recommend downloading that first (if you don’t have it).

The Pirate Bay launches PirateBrowser

Posted on: August 12th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

 

To celebrate ten years of existence, The Pirate Bay has launched its own browser. The file-sharing website, which has been the bane of the entertainment industry since its inception, has described PirateBrowser as “a simple one-click browser that circumvents censorships and blockades and makes [Pirate Bay] instantly available and accessible [with] no bundled ad-ware, toolbars or other crap, just a Pre-configured Firefox browser.”

This means that the countries that fought for so long to ban The Pirate Bay – these including the UK and the US – have yet another hurdle to jump over. The makers of PirateBrowser claim that the browser is an anti-censorship tool rather than rule it out as a mere extension of the actual website. Whilst PirateBrowser’s main scope is to get around the blocks installed against it in the aforementioned countries, potential users are warned that it doesn’t mean their browsing will be completely anonymous, and that they should continue to exercise precautions when it comes to torrents.

A false sense of security with Google Chrome

Posted on: August 9th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

Be careful of storing passwords in Chrome – a serious flaw in its security means that anyone with access to your computer can see your passwords. By just clicking on the settings icon, choosing ‘Show advanced settings’ and then ‘Manage saved passwords’ gives you access to any passwords you’ve inputted whilst browsing. A plain-text option reveals the passwords properly, meaning that they can simply be copied and pasted in an email, or captured in print screen.

 

 

The problem is Google is entirely aware of this problem but isn’t willing to address it. In a bizarre statement Justin Schuh, the head of Google’s Chrome developer team, said:

“We’ve also been repeatedly asked why we don’t just support a master password or something similar, even if we don’t believe it works. We’ve debated it over and over again, but the conclusion we always come to is that we don’t want to provide users with a false sense of security, and encourage risky behavior. We want to be very clear that when you grant someone access to your OS user account that they can get at everything.”

In theory this is true, but it should not be suggested by the organization behind one of the three most widely-used browsers on desktops worldwide. Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari all had similar problems, with the difference being that they chose to address it – either through the addition of a master password or through an increase in security features.

If you use Chrome and you’re not the sole user of your computer – or even if there’s any chance that someone else might have access to your browser – be wary of the way you store passwords. Either deselect the option when the standard Chrome request pops up after a log-in, or at this stage, choose a different browser.

Mozilla Firefox version 23.0 is released

Posted on: August 8th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com 1 Comment

Good news for Firefox fans: version 23.0 is out and can be downloaded from the www.mozilla.org website. In the latest version of Firefox, the Mozilla team has proactively fixed some potentially exploitable vulnerabilities, upon finding these security holes before hackers.

Some of these fixes are related to the “Miscellaneous memory safety hazards” which show evidence of memory corruption, according to the description by Mozilla, adding that “at least some of these could be exploited to run arbitrary code”.  The developers at Mozilla spend much time and attention to find these hazards, even if not all of them are exploitable, and not all the exploitable ones were targeted by hackers.

The new Firefox version has got a new security feature, called Mixed content blocking. What does that mean? Some websites are using both insecure HTTP and secure HTTPS protocols on the same page, to speed up the download time of pictures, icons, logos. Firefox can now differentiate between “Mixed Passive Content” and “Mixed Active Content”, and permit innocent HTTP objects, such as images to appear in the middle of an HTTPS page, but block for example an insecure JavaScript code in the same page.

To download the latest version of Firefox, just open the About page of your browser (Alt, Help, About) and the update will be downloaded and installed automatically.

By Gergely Sumegi