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IDG Contributor Network: Devops: Farewell to major software releases and welcome...

Devops has caught on like wildfire in enterprises everywhere, as the pace of business increases drastically and companies look for agility and speed in developing applications that meet changing user needs.Devops addresses a key business need by enabling a more responsive software development process through shorter and incremental software updates than the major software releases of the past.Thanks to devops, Windows Version 10 is the last yoursquo;ll see of new “versionsrdquo; from Microsoft.
Some devops heavyweights release software updates thousands of times per day — often so transparently that their users are not even aware.

This helps them deliver on the customer experience, making computing easier and hassle-free.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Cloudflare, sued by its first “patent troll,” hits back hard

Blackbird Technologies, owned by its own lawyers, has filed over 100 lawsuits.

Why Slack can’t slow down

Why has Slack won when other group messaging plays lost? By keeping it simple.

Thanks to Slack’s sensible chat room design, everything seems one click away. Private channels, easy integration, and effortless file sharing haven’t hurt, either.The ongoing triumph, however, is behind the scenes.

Throughout Slack’s three-year growth from zero to 5 million daily active users, Slack has managed to keep its service reliable and responsive—and has been commendably transparent about the outages and incidents that do occur.
Slack has also attracted more than 100,000 external developers who have built 900 third-party apps at last count.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Google, Facebook go back to the future for a better mobile...

If you want a quick update on the current state of the mobile web, rewind to the good ol' WAP days of 1999.

Although responsive web design has given us a few years of web compatibility between desktop and mobile browsers, today's Google AMP and Face...

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Photovoltaic polymer restores some vision to rats with retinal degeneration

The next generation of retinal implants doesn't require any external hardware.

Trump voters need fast broadband and net neutrality too, Tom Wheeler...

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in his Washington, DC, office in February 2016.Jon Brodkin reader comments 13 Share this story Donald Trump's election has put Republicans in position to eliminate net neutrality rules and gut the Federal Communications Commission's authority to regulate broadband providers. But Trump voters need the consumer protections provided by the FCC as much or more than anyone, said Tom Wheeler, whose resignation as FCC chairman takes effect today. Wheeler, a Democrat appointed to the FCC by President Barack Obama, isn't happy about Trump's victory.

But in making the case for continued net neutrality rules and consumer protections, he pointed out that Trump voters in rural areas are vulnerable to the actions of major broadband providers. "The Trump administration campaigned that they are the voice of the forgotten," Wheeler said in a phone interview with Ars yesterday. "Well you know, the half-dozen major carriers [lobbying against FCC regulations] are hardly forgotten." The people who are forgotten are the "two-thirds of consumers in America who have one or fewer broadband choices," Wheeler said. "Where are those choices most limited? In the areas where Donald Trump got the strongest response, in rural areas, outside of major cities.
If indeed this is an administration that is speaking for those that feel disenfranchised, that representation has to start with saying, 'we need to make sure you have a fast, fair, and open Internet because otherwise you will not be able to connect to the 21st century.'" Wheeler brought up Trump voters again when asked about his own Internet service. Wheeler once noted that he is "a happy Comcast subscriber" but has generally avoided describing his own experiences as an Internet customer. "I’m a privileged consumer, you know? I live in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC.

The problem is what do you do about the non-privileged?" Wheeler said. "Let's talk about Trump voters.

The Trump voters are people who don’t have choices in Internet providers, the Trump voters are folks that don’t have the resources to pay the ever escalating bills for either cable or broadband." Wheeler: Gutting consumer protection is “tragic” But so far, signs point to the Trump-era FCC dismantling consumer protections opposed by Internet service providers. Republicans at the FCC and Congress say they intend to repeal or replace net neutrality rules.

Trump's transition team is also reportedly pushing a proposal to strip the Federal Communications Commission of its role in overseeing competition and consumer protection and to move those functions to the Federal Trade Commission.
Such a major change would require Congressional approval and thus may not happen, but it's worrying to Wheeler nonetheless. "I think it would be tragic," Wheeler said of taking away the FCC's competition and consumer protection authority. "This is tragic for the American consumer and the competitive marketplace." Upon my @FCC departure, I would like to sign off with 3 words of wisdom that guided me well: competition, competition, competition — Tom Wheeler (@TomWheelerFCC) January 20, 2017 The FTC is "a great agency" that does excellent work but has more narrow authority over communications providers than the FCC, Wheeler said.

The FTC "has enforcement authority, not rulemaking authority," he said. "They can say, 'we think this is an unfair and deceptive act or practice,' but they can't say, 'here’s how networks have to operate so they're fast, fair, and open.'" The only companies that would benefit from a weaker FCC and the repeal of net neutrality are the major ISPs, Wheeler said. (That would include Comcast, Charter, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile USA, and Sprint.) "We’re talking about a handful of companies who are lobbying for their own self-interest, and trying to say to the new commission, 'you need to listen to us, not to consumers, not to a competitive marketplace, not to those who could be affected by a network where we act as gatekeepers,'" Wheeler said. "And if they are successful, that will put in jeopardy tens of thousands of other companies that rely on open networks and millions of consumers." FTC could be powerless to stop ISP abuses As evidence of the dangers of shifting FCC functions to the FTC, Wheeler pointed to a recent US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision that could dramatically limit the FTC's ability to regulate ISPs. The FTC is statutorily forbidden from regulating "common carriers," a designation the FCC has long applied to phone companies like AT&T and Verizon and more recently to all ISPs.

The FTC attempted to punish AT&T for throttling the Internet connections of customers with unlimited data plans before the FCC reclassified broadband as a common carrier service.

The FTC assumed it could punish AT&T for activity that at the time was unrelated to its common carrier services, but judges ruled in favor of AT&T, saying that the carrier is exempt from FTC oversight entirely. ISPs have been pushing the idea of moving FCC authority to the FTC for years, Wheeler said. "The surprise is that they continue with this mantra despite the fact that AT&T sued the FTC alleging that they did not have authority over common carriers," he said. The idea of removing FCC authority has also been pushed by the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI), "and lo and behold AEI comes in as the principal force in the Trump transition," Wheeler said.

Three of the advisors Trump appointed to make recommendations about the FCC transition are affiliated with the AEI, and one of them has proposed eliminating most of the FCC. ISPs, competition, and Google Fiber Under Wheeler, the FCC pushed for more competition in part by requiring further broadband construction as a condition for granting the AT&T/DirecTV and Charter/Time Warner Cable mergers.
In May 2015, Wheeler challenged cable companies to compete directly against each other. "I thought [calling for competition] was a conservative message," Wheeler said. "I thought Republicans would be responsive to the idea that a competitive economy is the basic bulwark of how the American economy works and that there ought to be competitive alternatives.
I went to the cable association and I said, 'hey, the costs of building are going down, you guys have to start thinking about competing with each other and not just having an exclusive franchise.'" Cable companies have continued avoiding each other's territory for the most part, but the emergence of Google Fiber was important for boosting competition, Wheeler said.

Though Google Fiber recently downsized, Wheeler said, "I’m thrilled at what Google Fiber did because every time they built something, wasn’t it amazing that the incumbent suddenly decided that it was time for them to build fast fiber as well?" The FCC tried to encourage municipal broadband by preempting state laws that limit the rights of cities and towns to offer Internet service, but it lost in court.

Going forward, Wheeler said local policies should encourage competition by providing easier access to poles, conduits, and rights-of-way. He'd also like to see new ISPs get more affordable access to video programming so they can offer competitive TV-and-Internet bundles. Chairman leaves unfinished business Wheeler regrets not finishing certain initiatives, such as a rulemaking that would have required pay-TV operators to make free TV applications, giving customers an option besides rented set-top boxes.

Also unfinished was a proposed $100 million fine of AT&T for allegedly misleading customers about unlimited data throttling, as well as price cap decreases for business data services. Wheeler told Ars that he didn't have enough Democratic votes to push final versions of those items through.

Though Democrats had a 3-2 majority led by Wheeler, Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel didn't support a final version of the set-top box rules because of concerns over how cable company applications would be licensed to third-party device makers. "We lost. We got outmuscled" on the cable app rules, Wheeler said. "I call it Cablewood: it’s cable and Hollywood in this incestuous relationship... they did an excellent job lobbying the issue both here at the commission and in the Congress." Regarding that $100 million fine, the FCC never was able to negotiate a settlement with AT&T.

Given that, the FCC could have issued a final ruling requiring AT&T to pay the fine, waited for AT&T to sue, and then let a court decide.

But Wheeler said he didn't have enough votes to support that approach, either. Wheeler also ran out of time while challenging major wireless carriers over paid data cap exemptions. Just last week, Wheeler accused AT&T and Verizon Wireless of violating net neutrality rules by letting their own video stream without counting against mobile data caps while charging other video providers for the same data cap exemptions (aka "zero-rating"). Wheeler's statement and a related report by FCC staff won't have any impact in the short term because the FCC's Republicans vowed to ignore the findings and they want to overturn the net neutrality rules altogether. Wheeler said the FCC's net neutrality rules didn't ban zero-rating entirely because free data services can benefit consumers. "Free is good, OK?" he said. "But the problem is that when a carrier decides to favor its non-carrier activity by placing that for free on the network, but anybody who competes with that non-carrier activity has to pay full freight, that is a blatantly anti-competitive activity." This is the sort of behavior that shows "why you have to have an open Internet," Wheeler said. "Unfortunately, we’re not going to be around to do something about it, so we thought it was important to make sure the record was clear." Wheeler won’t be a lobbyist again Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless phone industries, surprised some observers by pushing for more extensive regulation of ISPs during his 39 months as chairman.

As he leaves the FCC, he said, "I’m proud of what we accomplished.
I wish there were other circumstances but the American people had other thoughts about that and I respect that decision." When asked if he might become a lobbyist again, Wheeler answered with an emphatic "no." For now, Wheeler is joining the Aspen Institute as a senior fellow, becoming the sixth consecutive FCC chairman to do so upon leaving the commission.

The nonpartisan policy forum has become "the home for recovering chairmen," Wheeler joked. "What it allows you to do is, while you are chairman, not worry about what you do next, and therefore not have to lose focus, not have to start recusing yourself" from matters that might affect a potential future employer, Wheeler said. That'll be a temporary job for the 70-year-old Wheeler, who said he plans to "decompress" and spend more time with his wife. "I hope to write and teach and maybe do some consulting, but we’ll just see how things develop," he said. "I don't think I'm going to have a 'job' job, if you will."

123ContactForm Enterprise Services Take Data to the Next Level

Enterprise Cloud, Compliance Cloud and Technology Cloud Solutions Empower All Kinds of Organizations to Increase Efficiency and Transparency with Process Automation and Optimization, Custom Data Collection and Information SecurityTimisoara, Romania – January 18, 2017 – 123ContactForm, the leading tool for creating online forms, today announced that it is extending its current product portfolio with three new products dedicated for enterprise customers. Enterprise Cloud, Compliance Cloud and Technology Cloud solutions empower small, medium and large organizations in any industry to customize data flows, automate business processes and keep data secure across marketing, sales, human resources and other departments. Every modern organization has to grapple with an explosion of data from a variety of different sources, both internal and external. From online contact forms to enterprise databases, there’s no shortage of data that is too often still compiled, audited and processed manually. This costs businesses a great deal of time and can compromise accuracy. 123ContactForm’s enterprise services build on the company’s years of experience with data processing and empower all types of organizations to make better use of their data for internal processes and business decisions. Enterprise Cloud, designed for large enterprises with complex infrastructure and high data volumes, includes all of the tools and services needed to automate processes, increase precision and make a business run more efficiently with less effort, such as business process optimization, granular process automation, an enterprise reporting dashboard, process automation training, custom form development and more. Compliance Cloud was created specifically for organizations with strict security policies or a need for HIPAA compliance. It provides the individualized services of Enterprise Cloud with an extra layer of security and privacy for users in industries that require it, such as finance, medical and insurance. Technology Cloud provides extended access to custom integration protocols within a white-labeled dashboard. A custom, open API eliminates the need for users to develop their own data integration solutions. This saves time and provides rapid access to rich form building features that have been tested and proven over time. “Modern organizations can’t afford to spend massive amounts of time manually collecting data or coding their own integration frameworks,” said Florin Cornianu, CEO of 123ContactForm. “They need a reliable, secure solution and proven services. We’ve built on our years of experience with data collection solutions and developed a portfolio of enterprise services that are reliable, technologically adept and secure as well as fully responsive to every organization’s unique needs.” All enterprise services are based on close interaction with clients and deep understanding of customer needs. Any process, from external field operations management to internal new hire processing, can be automated and enhanced for efficiency and accuracy. Enterprise services build a layer of personalized interaction on top of 123ContactForm’s mature data processing technology to provide a combination of technical and strategic expertise that will benefit any business. ### About 123ContactForm123ContactForm is a service developed by a team of dedicated professionals in Timisoara, Romania. Founded in 2008, 123ContactForm has a million customers around the world who choose our products every time they build online forms and surveys. Our mission is to provide a quality, cost-effective solution that allows everyone to build web, mobile forms and surveys with ease. Our vision is to incorporate a web form on every website and help businesses collect data more efficiently. Enterprise services encompass custom data collection, custom workflows, process automation, ongoing optimization and more. Additional information about enterprise services and pricing details are available at https://www.123contactform.com/enterprise/. Website: www.123contactform.comBlog: http://www.123contactform.com/blog/LinkedIn: https://ro.linkedin.com/company/123contactformFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/123ContactForm/Twitter: https://twitter.com/123contactform?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor Press contact:Romi CatautaPR Specialist 123ContactFormromi@123contactform.com+40720 017 398

Cisco stre…tches vulnerability disclosure timeline out to 90 days

Big vendors patch bugs nearly as quick as open source coders Cisco's decided it's going to give 90 days' grace on vulnerability disclosures, to let (mostly) commercial vendors catch up with their bug-fixes. While the best commercial vendors – especially those with bug bounties and a public pro-security stance – are getting better at responding to notifications, they're held back by laggards, Cisco Talos says. The new policy means instead of 15 days from when Cisco turns up a vulnerability to its first report to CERT, the vendor gets 45 days before CERT is told.

The report to CERT triggers its 45 day timeline. Talos's Mitch Neff writes that proprietary software vendors' average response time of more than 80 days from report-to-patch is held back by slow responders. The average response time among the best commercial vendors was 38 days. The most responsive of these vendors … share some common traits,” Neff writes. “All are large commercial vendors of popular consumer software, have taken a public stance on product security, and have active bug-bounty programs.” Cisco Disclosure Timeline Day 0 Initial vendor contact;Protections released to customers who use Cisco security products Day 7 Second vendor contact if there is no response from the vendor Day 15 Vendor notification date published on the Cisco Talos vulnerability tracker website Day 45 Vulnerability report forwarded to CERT if there is no response from the vendor Day 90 Vulnerability disclosed by CERT per their coordination guidelines;Full disclosure of the vulnerability report on the Cisco Talos vulnerability tracker website after a patch or mitigation is released or the time limit expires Their efforts mean such vendors are “competitive with Open Source companies in terms of time to patch” – with the open source world turning around patches in 42 days, on average (the best performer dropped a bug-fix on the same day it was disclosed). ® Sponsored: Customer Identity and Access Management

RHBA-2016:2813-1: redhat-virtualization-host bug fix and enhancement update for RHV 4.0.5-1

Attention: RHN Hosted will reach the end of its service life on July 31, 2017.Customers will be required to migrate existing systems to Red Hat Subscription Management prior to this date.Learn more here Details Updated redhat-virtualization-host packages are now available. The redhat-virtualization-host packages provide the Red Hat Virtualization Host.These packages include redhat-release-virtualization-host, ovirt-node, andrhev-hypervisor. Red Hat Virtualization Hosts (RHVH) are installed using aspecial build of Red Hat Enterprise Linux with only the packages required tohost virtual machines. RHVH features a Cockpit user interface for monitoring thehost's resources and performing administrative tasks.Changes to the ovirt-node-ng component:* Previously, a bug may have prevented disabled services from staying disabledwhen upgrading RHVH. Now, disabled services correctly stay disabled on upgrades.(BZ#1388317) Solution Before applying this update, make sure all previously released erratarelevant to your system have been applied.For details on how to apply this update, refer to:https://access.redhat.com/articles/11258 Updated packages Red Hat Virtualization ( v.4 for RHEL 7) SRPMS: cockpit-ovirt-0.10.6-1.4.2.el7ev.src.rpm     MD5: bbefcccb36d0e30c640cc2736a4edbf9SHA-256: 885cbfde46c9eff4ef1ad40e3fa16795ad12fa91c50120ff48b4cb82e52b5823 redhat-virtualization-host-4.0-20161116.1.el7_3.src.rpm     MD5: 81b72cc92e6a3ca6aab90b1aa0868eaeSHA-256: 3ea849a2cfbed9bbd9b70c6528d725faaed74b535ed5aa951d6e832ec8147557   x86_64: cockpit-ovirt-dashboard-0.10.6-1.4.2.el7ev.noarch.rpm     MD5: bbc1b8a666da88a169fb5132a59e75c8SHA-256: 67417b3929184336c4098442cfe2014f08459f9ad879e08386195ba30e4514bb redhat-virtualization-host-image-update-4.0-20161116.1.el7_3.noarch.rpm     MD5: ca60cab3f375b92891ebae5a661fcb55SHA-256: 78224a4b7a6d93b6b3aa60be5976e6282a2675f9b0bfbbd319c0075c585bdb74   (The unlinked packages above are only available from the Red Hat Network) Bugs fixed (see bugzilla for more information) 1371899 - redhat-release-virtualization-host on RHEL 7.3 build should not have el7_2 needs el7_3 suffix1373389 - [Consume SELinux] RHVH status is Non Responsive in RHVM side after upgrade from RHVH 4.0_7.2 to 4.0_7.31377196 - RHVH 4.0_7.3 should be built against the latest RHEL 7.3 compose tree to keep all packages as newest.1377234 - RHVH 40_73: Incorrect version in /etc/os-release1383011 - [Rhel7.3_RHV4.0.5] Should continue to hide Networking tab in Cockpit1388317 - [z-stream clone - 4.0.5] Node upgrade doesn't keep service enable/disable configuration1397007 - [z-stream clone - 4.0.5] Any host installed with RHVH-4.0-20161018.0-RHVH-x86_64-dvd1.iso is showing same iqn name. These packages are GPG signed by Red Hat for security. Our key and details on how to verify the signature are available from:https://www.redhat.com/security/team/key/#package The Red Hat security contact is secalert@redhat.com. More contact details at http://www.redhat.com/security/team/contact/

Boffins turn phone into tracker by abusing pairing with – that’s...

Security researchers exploit vulns in Belkin home automation product Black Hat EU Security researchers have worked out how to hack into a smartphone and turn it into a tracking device by abusing its pairing with a Belkin home automation device. Joe Tanen and Scott Tenaglia of Invincea Labs were able to root a WeMo device before injecting code into the WeMo Android app from a compromised WeMo device. The attack, which involved using an IoT device to hack into a phone, involved abusing normal functionality in order to exploit the app, the researchers explained during a presentation at Black Hat Europe on Friday. Vulnerabilities in both the device and the Android app can be abused to obtain a root shell on the device, before running arbitrary code on the phone paired with it. The same approach might be used to crash the device, and launch DoS attacks without rooting it. "We were able to turn your phone into a GPS tracker because your IoT kit is kinda insecure," Tenaglia explained. The talk – entitled Breaking BHAD: Abusing Belkin Home Automation Devices – also covered details of heap overflow, SQL injection, and code injection zero days, as well as their associated exploits. These various flaws were resolved by a recent update from Belkin. The researchers credited Belkin with taking security far more seriously than most IoT vendors by responding to security research and developing a patching process. In 2013 and 2014, several high-profile vulnerabilities were found in Belkin's WeMo line of home automation devices. Belkin not only patched most of those vulnerabilities, but also maintains a very regular update cycle, which "makes them one of the more responsive players in the IoT space", according to the Invincea Labs duo. El Reg approached Belkin for comment on the research but is yet to hear back anything substantive. We'll update this story as and when we hear more. ® Sponsored: Customer Identity and Access Management

Update your Belkin WeMo devices before they become botnet zombies

Owners of WeMo home automation devices should upgrade them to the latest firmware version, which was released this week to fix a critical vulnerability that could allow hackers to fully compromise them. The vulnerability was discovered by researchers f...