Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Linksys made an excellent mesh WiFi system, but it's one of the most expensive, too

bi_graphics_linksys velop 2x1

Linksys wasn’t going to let competition like Netgear or even startups like Eero enjoy all the mesh WiFi system fun, so it made its own, called Velop. 

The Velop is best used as a “system,” where you have several units placed throughout your home to deliver a fast WiFi signal wherever you are.

It sounds like a regular WiFi extender could do the same thing, but the Velop is much better. For one, the Velop doesn’t need you to manually switch over your devices to a new band, or even to one of the satellite extender nodes. Everything is done automatically, which means you can roam around your house without worrying about switching connections. 

The Velop excels as a mesh WiFi system, but so do the others systems out there. So while the Velop impresses with its performance, its comparatively high price tag might make it less tempting. 

I tested the $500 three-pack Linksys Velop system for my 2,800 square foot home. Here’s how it fared:

SEE ALSO: Eero’s new $400 WiFi system is one of the best ways to get fast WiFi throughout your home

The Velop comes in a simple, well presented package like most recent mesh WiFi systems.

Each Velop “node” is identical. As far as mesh WiFi routers go, the Velop certainly has one of the best designs. It’s sleek and not too large.

And like most mesh WiFi systems, it’s incredibly easy to set up using your mobile device and the Linksys app. I value simplicity when it comes to mesh WiFi setups, and my preference leans towards setting up through a mobile app rather than using a web browser.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Microsoft Office 2010
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Nokia 8 has a camera which lets you take 'bothies' – here's what it means and how it works

The new Nokia 8 smartphone is able to take a picture using the front-facing and rear-facing camera simultaneously, which Nokia has dubbed “bothies”.

Other phones are able to do this but the Nokia 8 claims to be the first phone that can live stream this way on sites like Facebook and YouTube. 

Watch this video to see how it works.

Produced by Jasper Pickering. Original reporting by Jeff Dunn. Special thanks to Joe Daunt

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Microsoft Office 2010
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Android newbie HMD’s Nokia 8 flagship lets you livestream ‘frontbacks’

 Rebooting the venerable Nokia smartphone brand has not been a rush job for HMD Global, the Foxconn-backed company set up for the purpose of licensing the Nokia name to try to revive the brand’s fortunes on smartphones. But after starting with basic and mid-tier phones, it’s finally outted a flagship Android handset. Read More

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Cloudflare CEO explains his emotional decision to punt The Daily Stormer and subject it to hackers: 'I woke up in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet'

  • CloudFlareThe CEO of Cloudflare said he is “deeply uncomfortable” with his own decision to have his company stop protecting The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website.
  • He decided to stop working with The Daily Stormer after its team suggested that Cloudflare sympathized with its Nazi ideology.
  • The Daily Stormer’s site was taken down by attackers as soon as Cloudflare stopped protecting it. 

Until today, Cloudflare had never dropped a customer due to political pressure.

It’s this fact that company CEO Matthew Prince said makes him so “deeply uncomfortable” with his decision early Wednesday to stop providing paid services to The Daily Stormer, including protecting its website from attackers.

As it turns out, attackers took down the neo-Nazi site as soon as Cloudflare stopped protecting it, Prince told Business Insider. Daily Stormer remained offline on Wednesday evening.

Daily Stormer drew national scrutiny and condemnation after it published a story that demeaned Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed on Saturday when a car rammed into people counter-protesting against a white-supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Prince made clear that he found the website’s content “vile.” But he regrets that he alone was able to decide its fate.

“The ability of somebody to single-handedly choose to knock content offline doesn’t align with core ideas of due process or justice,” Prince told Business Insider on Wednesday. “Whether that’s a national government launching attacks or an individual launching attacks.”

Prince said that his team is set to have a debate over how to address such issues moving forward. An emotional memo he sent to staffers about the decision was obtained by Gizmodo and reads:

“My rationale for making this decision was simple: the people behind the Daily Stormer are assholes and I’d had enough…I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet.”

How it ended

While Cloudflare may have been Daily Stormer’s last line of defense, Prince’s decision didn’t actually take the company’s site offline by itself. Earlier in the week, GoDaddy and Google both publicly announced they had dropped Daily Stormer as a customer of their domain hosting services.  

And then there were the attackers.

The site going offline was an outcome imagined by both friends and foes of the neo-Nazi site. One of the services Cloudflare provides is to provide a sort of buffer between visitors and websites, to protect sites from denial-of-service attacks. It does this in part by obfuscating the identity of the websites’ hosts. It was that service that helped protect Daily Stormer. 

“The size and scale of the attacks that can now easily be launched online make it such that if you don’t have a network like Cloudflare in front of your content, and you upset anyone, you will be knocked offline,” Prince wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “In fact, in the case of the Daily Stormer, the initial requests we received to terminate their service came from hackers who literally said: ‘Get out of the way so we can DDoS this site off the Internet.'”

Government pressure 

Cloudflare says it handles 10% of all internet requests. So while this is the first time that Cloudflare has stopped working with a website for political reasons, Prince said his company has faced plenty of external and international government pressure.

“There are human rights organizations that are criticizing the Chinese government that we continuously get pressured to restrict,” he said “There are LGBT organizations in the Middle East. Often times it’s things covering abuses by government that governments would rather not have online.”

This is not the first time, though, that Cloudflare has dropped support for a site. It has ended service to other websites in response to illegal activity, such as child pornography. And in 2015, a court ordered Cloudflare to block websites associated with the music streaming service Grooveshark, which was in trouble over copyright violations.

In this case, though, Cloudflare dropped Daily Stormer because the neo-Nazis claimed the company supported their cause. 

“The tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology,” Prince wrote in the blog.

 

SEE ALSO: Cloudflare has stopped protecting a widely-reviled neo-Nazi website from cyber attacks

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NOW WATCH: Amazon has an oddly efficient way of storing stuff in its warehouses

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I put the Toyota Sienna minivan to the test and it did not disappoint

Toyota Sienna

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is currently outselling both Honda and Toyota when it comes to minivans, but for a lot of families, the minivan question still boils down to a choice between two people-haulers: the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna.

The Odyssey has been around longer, since 1994, and we already took a closer look at this still-impressive vehicle in its most recent iteration, Honda’s fifth generation, which is built in Alabama.

The Sienna arrived in 1997 and is now in its third generation, which means that the Indiana-made vehicle is getting long in the tooth, although it has seen many tweaks since 2011. A fourth-gen is expected soon.

I’m in the ideal position to test out minivans, as I have a marketing-sweet-spot family of five (plus a recently added dog). My kids all have friends. And gear. 

Over the course of a few days, I threw many challenges at the Sienna, a well-optioned, $41,700 SE Premium trim (the base model is about $30,000).

And I do mean many: a round-trip to pickup four kids from camp, plus all their equipment, as well as a jaunt to a lakefront hideaway with two kids and an extra adult. In between, I threw in some trips to Home Depot and the grocery store. 

I came away with an extremely accurate sense of what the Sienna does well — and what it doesn’t.

SEE ALSO: Parents will welcome the Honda Odyssey minivan’s coolest feature — an onboard vacuum cleaner

Fresh off a week with the all-new Honda Odyssey …

Read the review.

… I got my hands on the Toyota Sienna. The Sienna is a bit more venerable. The Odyssey was just redesigned, and our tester was a 2018 model. The Sienna was a 2017.

Yep, it’s a minivan, with easy-access sliding side doors and a big ole power liftgate. The Sienna can seat eight, but a lot of folks will remove the second-row center seat and create a pass-through to the third row, taking that down to seven passengers.

The narrow center seat from the second row can be neatly stowed in the cargo area.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Charlottesville is a tipping point in Silicon Valley's approach to hate speech

charlottesville nazis

Silicon Valley is finally cracking down on white supremacists.

Firms like Twitter, Spotify, chat app Discord,  and even famously anti-censorship Cloudflare are taking action against racists and neo-Nazis on their platforms, following this weekend’s deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It’s a significant change of heart for the tech industry, which has historically positioned itself as pro-“free speech.” But the rally led to a collective reassessment of the responsibilities of tech companies for the content they host and support.

Here’s a (non-comprehensive) sample of the action taken by tech businesses over the last week:

  • GoDaddy, a web-hosting service, booted the notorious neo-Nazi website, the Daily Stormer, off its platform. The site moved to Google — which promptly ejected it too.
  • Apple‘s payment service Apple Pay is cutting off white supremacists, disabling payment support for websites that sell racist and neo-Nazi apparel, BuzzFeed News reported.
  • Twitter suspended accounts associated with the Daily Stormer.
  • Facebook, which already has rules in place banning “hate speech” (unlike Twitter), banned accounts (on Facebook and Instagram) of at least one white nationalist who attended the rally. “It’s a disgrace that we still need to say that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are wrong — as if this is somehow not obvious,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
  • Discord, a chat platform that has been popular with the racist “alt-right” movement, cracked down on hate groups and shut down an alt-right server.
  • Spotify moved to remove “hate bands” from its music streaming service, telling Reuters: “Illegal content or material that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us.”
  • Cloudflare, a service that protects websites from DDoS cyber-attacks, stopped protecting the Daily Stormer — despite its previous commitments to be totally neutral as to the content it guards.
  • Domain registrar and hosting service Squarespace has ditched white nationalist customers including Richard Spencer.
  • Payment service Paypal has pledged to stop supporting hate websites, while fundraising platform GoFundMe is pulling fundraisers for the suspect in the Charlottesville vehicle attack.

Silicon Valley has traditionally been laissez-faire when it comes to material which, while potentially distasteful or incredibly racist or sexist, isn’t explicitly illegal in the United States.

Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of Reddit, once described the social news and discussion site as “a bastion of free speech on the World Wide Web.” In 2012, Tony Wang — then-general manager of Twitter in the UK — said Twitter viewed itself as “the free speech wing of the free speech party.”

But over the last few years, a quiet revolution has been underway, as companies struggle to reconcile these commitments with their moral aversion to racism and attempts to prevent harassment. Twitter has increasingly banned far-right accounts, while Reddit has cracked down on some of its more controversial subreddits, including the racist community “c**ntown”, “FatPeopleHate,” and conspiracy-theory peddling “PizzaGate.”

Then over the weekend, hundreds of racists and neo-Nazis rallied in Charlottesville, with violent clashes culminating in a white supremacist ramming their vehicle into a crowd of anti-racist counterprotestors, killing one and injuring more than a dozen.

charlottesvilleWhile Donald Trump has come under heavy criticism for trying to equate neo-Nazis with anti-racist counter-protestors, the tech industry has moved to cut off access for racists.

In an email to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook directly criticised the president, and wrote: “Regardless of your political views, we must all stand together on this one point — that we are all equal. As a company, through our actions, our products and our voice, we will always work to ensure that everyone is treated equally and with respect.”

As such, Charlottesville has the potential to be a tipping point in how Silicon Valley views its responsibilities towards civil society — and how it juggles the conflicting demands of free speech and protecting its users from hate speech.

But this shift brings new risks. The episode has highlighted the power of single companies to decide whether to take businesses offline — something not everyone is happy with.

Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare, expressed concerns even as his company removed the Daily Stormer as a customer — meaning the white supremacist site was immediately knocked out by cyber-atatcks.”The ability of somebody to single-handedly choose to knock content offline doesn’t align with core ideas of due process or justice,” he told Business Insider.

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NOW WATCH: These popular devices keep a recording of everything you ask them — here’s how to find it and delete it

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What features to expect in Apple’s Swift 5

Version 5 of Apple’s Swift language used for iOS and MacOS application development will arrive in late 2018 with ABI (application binary interface) stability in the standard Swift library a primary focus—delaying a feature originally intended for the upcoming Swift 4 release.

Locking down the ABI iin Swift 5 will mean any future compiler versions can produce binaries that conform to the stable ABI. “Once an ABI is stable, it tends to persist for the rest of the platform’s lifetime due to ever-increasing mutual dependencies,” according to Apple documentation.

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Amazon is opening a giant new warehouse in Bristol (AMZN)

Amazon warehouse

Amazon is planning to open a huge new warehouse in Bristol, England, next year, creating more than 1,000 jobs in the region

The Seattle-headquartered ecommerce company announced the news on Wednesday, saying it will look to hire operations managers and engineers, as well as HR and IT staff.

The warehouse will be based at Severn Beach, which is 17 miles north west of Bristol in West England.

“We are very excited to expand our network into Bristol, which will in total create more than 1,000 new permanent roles with competitive wages and comprehensive benefits starting on day one,” said Stefano Perego, Amazon’s director of UK customer fulfilment, in a statement. 

Perego added: “There are several factors we consider when deciding on where to place a new fulfilment centre, and Bristol offers fantastic infrastructure and talented local people who we look forward to joining the Amazon team.”

Amazon currently has 13 other warehouses in the UK located in Daventry, Doncaster, Coalville, Dunfermline, Dunstable, Gourock, Hemel Hempstead, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Rugeley, and Swansea Bay.

The company says it has invested £6.4 billion into its UK operations since 2010, with money going towards research and development, a new head office in London, and several new warehouses.

Amazon said its UK workforce will be 24,000 by the end of this year.

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NOW WATCH: British special forces are testing out a bulletproof combat helmet that looks like something Boba Fett would wear

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What 21 famous companies' archaic websites looked like when they launched

booking.com website

Your favourite brands haven’t always had the sleek, user-friendly interfaces you’re used to today.

Everyone must start from somewhere, even the likes of Amazon and McDonald’s.

Unfortunately, most of the resulting efforts were pretty terrible. There was no winning model to follow, so designers were left stabbing in the dark.

We used a combination of images from Educational consultants Essayroo and the Wayback Machine, which archives old websites, to dig up some of the most basic sites brands like Coca-Cola and Booking.com had when they first launched.

Scroll down to laugh at their primitiveness, ordered by launch date.

An earlier version of this article was written by Will Heilpern.

SEE ALSO: 11 famous products that were originally intended for a completely different purpose

Amazon: 1995

McDonalds: 1996

Burger King: 1996

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Bitcoin is back near its record high

Bitcoin is back close to record highs in early trade on Thursday morning in London.

The cryptocurrency is down 1.61% to $4,313.91 at 8.35 a.m. BST (3.35 a.m. ET). While Bitcoin is lower on the day, the digital currency rose in late trade on Wednesday and is now within touching distance of its all-time high of $4,431.62. bitcoin

Bitcoin has been on a strong bull run since the start of the year, gaining over 300% since January amid renewed interest in the digital currency and blockchain technology more generally.

Other digital currencies continue to move inline with Bitcoin, which is the biggest cryptocurrency by market value. Bitcoin Cash, which was split off from Bitcoin proper at the start of the month, is down 0.39% against the dollar to $297.75 on Thursday morning.

However, Ethereum, the second biggest digital currency by market cap, is bucking the trend. Ethereum is up 1.32% against the dollar to $305.24.

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NOW WATCH: The stock market is on bubble watch — And unlike the dotcom era, this time the whole market is expensive

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