Previous Page
PCLinuxOS Magazine
Article List
Next Page

Short Topix: Windows 11 Announced, Expected By Year's End

by Paul Arnote (parnote)

Dumb Criminals: He Should Have Worn Gloves

A drug dealer in Liverpool, England gave the authorities all they needed to locate and apprehend the suspect ... from a social media post he made of himself holding a wedge of stilton cheese, according to an article on The Verge.

Police authorities were able to view fingerprints in the detailed photo posted online, leading them to the drug dealer's whereabouts. Let this serve as a reminder that while your fingerprints are unique to you, they are not so private, especially when you go posting their images (knowingly or unknowingly) on the internet. That was his first mistake that led to his capture.

His second mistake came from posting the picture to EncroChat, an encrypted phone system that -- unbeknownst to the suspect -- had been compromised by authorities last March. That left the encrypted service with more holes than Swiss cheese (pun intended). Since then, authorities have identified around 10,000 of its users in the UK, who are "all involved in coordinating and planning the supply and distribution of drugs and weapons, money laundering and other criminal activity," according to authorities, who say that a total of 60,000 of its users have been identified worldwide.

The suspect was subsequently sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison after pleading guilty to the charges, which also included transferring criminal property. Those charges also included conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin, MDMA, and ketamine.

He should have worn gloves.

John McAfee, Founder Of McAfee Anti Virus, Found Dead In Spanish Jail Cell

John McAfee, 2016, speaking at Politicon in Pasadena, CA
Photo by Gage Skidmore, CC BY SA 3.0

John McAfee, the creator and founder of McAfee antivirus software, was found dead in his Spanish jail cell from an apparent suicide. McAfee, 75, was awaiting extradition to the U.S. to face tax charges that, if convicted, would have resulted in a multi-decade long prison term in the U.S. He was arrested at the Barcelona airport last October, and remained in the Spanish prison since that time, awaiting the extradition hearing for his U.S. tax law charges.

A well known cryptocurrency promoter and tax opponent, McAfee was discovered in his Brians 2 penitentiary cell in northeastern Spain, near Barcelona. Prison personnel attempted to revive him, but the prison's medical staff ended up pronouncing his death. Despite being initially ruled a suicide, a judicial delegation is launching an investigation to ascertain the cause of death.

McAfee's suicide occurred just hours after a Spanish court approved his extradition to the U.S. to stand trial for the tax law infractions. The court's ruling was eligible for appeal, and any final determination on extradition would have had to come from the Spanish cabinet. McAfee had previously stated that he had no plans or desire to return to the U.S. Reports on McAfee's death were widely circulated in both the mainstream and computer media outlets.

McAfee once launched two long-shot presidential campaigns (2016 and 2020), and as recently as 2016, participated in the Libertarian party presidential debates. He was a popular speaker in many circles. In 2012 he was wanted for questioning in connection with the death of Gregory Viant Faull, who was shot to death in early November 2012 on the Belize island where the men lived. He was often described as paranoid, even going so far as to granting a television news interview, but only if he could hold a loaded pistol in each hand. McAfee's company was purchased in 2011 by Intel, who folded it into their cybersecurity division to dissociate the brand from its founder.

Controversy is already swirling around his death. There are many people who are claiming that McAfee met the same fate as Jeffrey Epstein, and it wasn't suicide. Even McAfee's wife has come out and stated that there is no way that McAfee would have committed suicide. Since his death occurred in a lonely Spanish prison cell, no one on this Earth will ever know for sure, and anyone who claims otherwise is just speculating based on circumstantial evidence.

Windows 11 Announced, Expected By Year's End

Well, it shur duz look purdy! But then again, so does lipstick on a pig.

Microsoft announced the newest version of it's operating system, Windows 11, on June 24. In the pictures that they have released, Microsoft has tinkered with the "taskbar" again, moving the "Start" button -- and all of the "taskbar" buttons, for that matter -- to the central part of the bottom of the screen, reminiscent of how a docker toolbar might appear on Linux or on a Mac. Originality ... er, mimicry ... at its finest!

You're going to LOVE the system requirements.

Seriously? 64GB of storage?! I can install PCLinuxOS on x86 hardware with only 32GB of storage space. The system files (root partition) will take up 12GB, 4GB can be assigned to swap, and 16GB can be used for a /home partition. Granted, that's not a lot of storage space for my personal files, but then I could use an attached USB drive for all my storage, if push came to shove.

To spur adoption of Windows 11, Microsoft is providing a FREE upgrade path for Windows 10 users. The upgrade offer will commence from its release, into 2022.

One new feature of Windows 11 is the ability to run a user's favorite Android apps on a Windows 11 desktop. Except, it links to apps in the Amazon App store, instead of the Google Play store. The selection in the Amazon App store is miniscule, compared to the offerings in the Google Play store. It also features Chat for Microsoft Teams integrated into the taskbar to help keep you connected to the people you want to ... connect to. Microsoft is also targeting gamers, and is offering special (translation: paid) access to over 100 games, with more being added all the time (their words, not mine). A revamped Microsoft Store helps connect users to entertainment options, such as Disney+, Netflix, Spotify and others.

Many of the computer media types think that Microsoft is being a bit overly optimistic about an end-of-the-year release date. I guess we'll all see what the next six months brings.

Jonah Reincarnate?

A New England lobster diver near Provincetown, MA got to experience, first-hand, how things might have felt for Jonah when he was swallowed by a humpback whale while diving for lobsters. Professional lobster divers literally pick lobsters off the sandy bottom of the ocean.

Michael Packard, 56, made his first dive a little before 8 a.m. on June 11. Donned with scuba gear, he dove to the sandy bottom in the 60° F water, where he saw other fish scurrying about. Then, about 10 feet from the bottom, he felt a shove and everything went dark.

"All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black," Packard recalled Friday afternoon following his release from Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis.

"I could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth," he said.

Packard initially thought he was inside a great white shark, but couldn't feel any teeth and discovered he didn't have any wounds. At that point, he realized that he had been swallowed by a whale.

"I was completely inside; it was completely black," Packard said. "I thought to myself, 'there's no way I'm getting out of here. I'm done, I'm dead.' All I could think of was my boys -- they're 12 and 15 years old."

Donned in scuba gear, Packard began to struggle. The whale began shaking his head, so it was apparent that the whale didn't like what it had ingested. Packard estimated that he was in the whale for 30 to 40 seconds before the whale finally surfaced. He saw light and the whale threw its head from side to side. And the next thing Packard knew, he was outside of the whale and in the water.

Humpback whales are not aggressive animals, particularly towards humans. It appears that Packard's ingestion by the whale was most likely a mistake, and most likely by a juvenile feeding on fish in the area. When a humpback whale feeds, it's mouth opens like a large parachute, and whatever is in their path is swept up. The large, billowing mouth blocks their forward vision, so the whale never knew that it had ingested something it did not want to eat. Even though Packard fit into the whale's mouth, its esophagus is too small to fully swallow a human.

Packard suffered some soft tissue injuries from the ordeal, and plans to return to lobster diving once he has healed.

If You Thought Google's Evilness Was Limited To The Internet, You'd Be Wrong

The story about the origins of COVID-19 continues to be played out like a poorly acted horror film. EcoHealth Alliance, headed by Peter Daszak, has been deliberate and one of the principal players in trying to debunk the lab origins of the virus, despite mounting evidence that the virus had indeed escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Daszak was one of the members of the WHO team who set out to attempt to find a naturally occurring evolution of the virus.

The plot and number of "players" in this drama continue to thicken and deepen. It has now come to light, by way of investigative journalists and published on The National Pulse website, that Google has funded EcoHealth Alliance for more than the past 10 years. Through the nonprofit foundation/charity arm of the tech giant known as, Google funneled money to EcoHealth Alliance to fund research on bat coronaviruses. That money, conceivably, could have also been used to fund the "gain of function" research that aided the virus to jump species from bats to humans.

This story continues to evolve at break-neck speed. However, I doubt that we'll ever know the whole picture of this biological debacle that has stained humanity. Let's hope, though, that we learn enough to help prevent another similar occurrence from happening again in the future. The next time, we might not be so lucky as to be able to contain it or find a vaccine or treatment.

PCLinuxOS Short Topix Roundup

Researchers have found that regular caffeine intake causes the gray matter in our brains to shrink. They conducted a study that compared caffeine recipients to those receiving a placebo. Even though the effects are temporary and transient, a shrinkage of gray matter was found in the caffeine recipients. Researchers were especially intrigued by how striking the difference was in the right temporal region of the brain and the hippocampus, which is essential for memory consolidation. Researchers cautioned against saying that caffeine had a negative impact on our brains, but did indicate that this study could pave the way for future studies exploring the effect further.

The BBC had a very interesting article on how to RECYCLE ALL PLASTICS BACK INTO THE OIL FROM WHICH THEY CAME. Up until recently, the process consumed more energy than it took to create new plastics from oil. But new advances put the process more within our reach. By converting plastics, which take forever to break down in landfills (if they ever even do), back into the oil from which they came, that oil could be used to create new fuels or to even create new plastic items. The BBC calls it "infinite plastics," since the reclaimed oil can be used to create new plastics.

The United States Air Force is looking at USING THE STARSHIP ROCKET BOOSTERS to deliver up to 100 tons of supplies or personnel to any place on the planet in one hour or less. The rockets would carry the same payload as the current C17 cargo planes, but be able to deliver the payload to any site in the world in one hour or less. The USAF is looking to put the idea to test sometime in 2022.

You can thank a GLOBAL NETWORK OF AMATEUR SLEUTHS who formed a network called D.R.A.S.T.I.C. for uncovering much of what now appears to be the lab-leak origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, causing the COVID-19 pandemic. They poked and prodded around in obscure online databases from around the world to find the clues that helped put the puzzle pieces of the virus's origin into place. D.R.A.S.T.I.C. stands for "Decentralized Radical Autonomous Search Team Investigating COVID-19."

As the month of June commenced, reports were plentiful about how PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN WORKING FROM HOME DURING THE PANDEMIC ARE NOW RELUCTANT TO RETURN TO WORKING IN AN OFFICE. In fact, the pushback from employees is so strong that many are choosing to quit their jobs altogether, rather than return to the office to do the same work they were performing from home. The pandemic forced many to work from home, and in the process, those employees found a more satisfying and rewarding balance between work, family and home life. So much so, that they now are hesitant ... no, reluctant ... to give up the new, preferred work-home-family balance.

The eyes may be the "window to the soul," but they also may be a window into the mind. According to an article that appears in Scientific American, PUPIL SIZE IS AN INDICATOR OF INTELLIGENCE. The larger the pupil, the greater the intelligence. The report is a fascinating look at why researchers think this is so.

In May 2021, a hacker group known as DarkSide disrupted pipeline operations for Colonial Pipeline with ransomware, sending gasoline prices soaring in the U.S. In June 2021, FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS MANAGED TO RECOVER 63.7 OF THE 75 BITCOINS COLONIAL PAID IN RANSOM to DarkSide, according to a TechRepublic article. Because of the volatility of bitcoin, that represented approximately $2.3 million of the $4.4 million ransom, due to the price of bitcoin dropping since the time the ransom was paid.

If you needed more proof that YOUR PERSONAL DATA IS FOREVER AT RISK, there were two reports of HUGE data breaches this past month. From one TechRepublic article, a hacker released a 100GB text file containing 8.4 billion passwords onto a popular hacker forum. Security personnel think that the file contains passwords accumulated from previous data breaches. This should serve as a stark reminder to NEVER reuse passwords between sites. In another article on ArsTechnica, researchers from NordLocker uncovered a mystery piece of malware that is yet unnamed. That malware has collected a dizzying 1.2TB of data from PCs, including login credentials, email addresses, browser cookies, autofill information, and payment information. The data was extracted/mined from more than 3 million PCs from between 2018 and 2020.

Thanks to the impending release of Windows 11 at the end of the year, TPM 2.0 CHIPS HAVE QUADRUPLED IN PRICES, according to an article on CNX Software News. Sometimes, that increase occurred in less than 12 hours after the announcement of the Windows 11 release. Prices went from just under $25 to nearly $100. Many outlets are simply sold out of the TPM 2.0 chips. TPM stands for Trusted Platform Module, and without TPM 2.0, Windows 11 will not install on a PC, regardless of how "powerful" your PC is. You could have an i9 Intel processor with 64GB RAM, and without a properly installed or configured TPM, Win11 will not install. Many PCs made and sold since 2011 have TPM chips installed, but Windows 11 will "reportedly" require TPM 2.0, which was only released in 2019. Many who follow Windows think that Microsoft may allow a fallback to TPM 1.2, however. They think that TPM 2.0 is a "soft requirement," and that TPM 1.2 will be the "hard requirement." Microsoft isn't saying so officially, though, only that "Win 11 is still in ongoing development and months away yet so wait and see when it's officially released." TPM can be set up via a chip on the motherboard, or can sometimes be set in a computer's BIOS. Your mileage may vary, depending on which computer you have.

Previous Page              Top              Next Page