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Submission + - Sony helps movie pirates -- PS4 Pro Media Player app gets 4K mp4 video support (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: The Sony PS4 Pro is a more powerful version version of the traditional PS4 game console. Besides having more horsepower, it can output 4K video. Sony's console only does UHD through streaming apps, such as Netflix. Unfortunately, it cannot play 4K Blu-ray discs — something Microsoft's Xbox One S can do. This is a hardware limitation, as Sony's offering does not have a compatible optical drive.

Today, Sony is enabling a new way to enjoy 4K video on the PS4 Pro. Thanks to a software update, the Media Player app can now play 4K mp4 files. While this is appreciated, the ability to play these files is probably more beneficial for movie pirates than honest consumers. After all, 4K studio films are not typically sold in mp4 file format. Of course, I suppose some folks are recording home movies in UHD — the PS4 Pro would be a great device for that.

Submission + - Ubuntu Linux 17.04 'Zesty Zapus' Final Beta now available for download (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Today, the Final Beta of Ubuntu 17.04 'Zesty Zapus' becomes available for download. While it is never a good idea to run pre-release software on production machines, Canonical is claiming that it should be largely bug free at this point. In other words, if you understand the risks, it should be a fairly safe. Home users aside, this is a good opportunity for administrators to conduct testing prior to the official release next month.

"The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the final beta release of the Ubuntu 17.04 Desktop, Server, and Cloud products. Codenamed 'Zesty Zapus', 17.04 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs," says Adam Conrad, Canonical.

Submission + - GNOME 3.24 Linux desktop environment is here (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Today, GNOME reaches version 3.24, code-named "Portland." While it looks great, it is hardly a monumental change. Moving from 3.22, we see some new features and applications, but on the UI front, there are improved icons too. In fact, they have doubled from 256×256px to 512×512px! Not only can these icons scale larger, but they are more vibrant and intricate too. Overall, there are many new aspects of GNOME to excite fans.

"Night Light is one of the new features being introduced in this release. This subtly changes the screen color according to the time of day, which can help to reduce sleeplessness if you use your computer at night. Another new feature that will make a lot of users happy is the incorporation of weather information into the notifications area. This shows a simple summary of the day’s weather, and links to the Weather application", says The GNOME Foundation

Submission + - Firefox for Linux is now Netflix compatible (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: For a while, Netflix was not available for traditional Linux-based operating systems, meaning users were unable to enjoy the popular streaming service without booting into Windows. This was due to the company's reliance on Microsoft Silverlight. Since then, Netflix adopted HTML5, and it made Google Chrome and Chromium for Linux capable of playing the videos. Unfortunately, Firefox — the open source browser choice for many Linux users — was not compatible. Today this changes, however, as Mozilla's offering is now compatible with Netflix!

"About four years ago, we shared our plans for playing premium video in HTML5, replacing Silverlight and eliminating the extra step of installing and updating browser plug-ins. Since then, we have launched HTML5 video on Chrome OS, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, Firefox, and Edge on all supported operating systems. And though we do not officially support Linux, Chrome playback has worked on that platform since late 2014. Starting today, users of Firefox can also enjoy Netflix on Linux. This marks a huge milestone for us and our partners, including Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Mozilla that helped make it possible," says Netflix.

Submission + - Open source-focused Google Summer of Code 2017 student applications now open (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Today is the first official day of spring. With that said, Google wants us to look towards the following season — summer. You see, starting today, application entries are being accepted for Google Summer of Code 2017.If you've never heard of this program, please know that the search giant pairs students with organizations to get real-world experience working on an open source project during summer break. Google even pays them some money — it is not an unpaid affair. Pay, experience, and knowledge aside, participating will look excellent on a résumé.

The application entry period starts today, and ends rather quickly on April 3. While that may seem like plenty of time, these things have a way of sneaking up on you. One of the best lessons a student can learn is the old adage of an early bird gets the worm. In other words, if you want to be one of the lucky chosen ones, you should act soon rather than later

Submission + - Google releases open source 'Guetzli' JPEG encoder (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Today, Google releases yet another open source project. Called "Guetzli," it is a JPEG encoder that aims to produce even smaller image file sizes. In fact, the search giant claims a whopping 35 percent improvement over existing JPEG compression. If you are wondering why smaller file sizes are important, it is quite simple — the web. If websites can embed smaller images, users can experience faster load times while using less data.

While Google didn't aim to improve JPEG image quality with Guetzli, it seems it has arguably done so. It is subjective, but the search giant surveyed human beings and found they preferred Google's open source offering 75 percent of the time. Smaller file sizes and better image quality? Wow! Google has done something amazing here.

Submission + - Google teaches one million African people to use the web (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: While this might be surprising to millennials, not everyone grows up with computers. It wasn't until I was in high school that my family was able to afford a PC. While I learned quickly, I was already many years behind my more well-off peers. Nowadays computers are much less expensive, enabling more folks to own them, but there are still many people around the globe, in places like Africa, that can't afford one. This means they will fall behind the rest of the world on essential skills, such as using the web.

Google was not satisfied with this, however, so it set out to teach more people how to use the web. Last year, the search giant set a goal of training one million African people to use it. Today, the company announces that it has finally met the goal!

Submission + - Canonical announces Ubuntu Linux 12.04 ESM (Extended Security Maintenance) (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: On April 25th, Ubuntu Linux 12.04 LTS will no longer be supported by Canonical. Why? That is the 5 year anniversary of the release, which is the amount of support time given to an LTS (Long Term Support) version of the Linux distribution.

For many home users, this really doesn't matter, as they have probably already upgraded to a newer version. Unfortunately, some businesses do not upgrade as regularly. In fact, some organizations may not be ready to move on from Ubuntu 12.04. Tough luck? Not at all. Today, Canonical introduces Ubuntu Linux 12.04 ESM. This "Extended Security Maintenance" release is not free, however — organizations must pay for the extended support.

Submission + - Refreshed stable Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 2 'Betsy' ISO images available (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Linux Mint is one of the most popular Linux-based desktop operating systems. With that said, did you know there are two versions of the OS? No, I am not talking about the multiple desktop environments, such as Cinnamon, MATE, and KDE. There are actually two entirely different operating systems that share the Mint name. The normal version of Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, while a lesser known version, LMDE, is based on Debian. Is it confusing? Absolutely. A waste of resources? Probably. But hey, that's the state of Linux on the desktop nowadays.

Linux Mint Debian Edition 2 'Betsy' launched way back in 2015, and hasn't needed a major base upgrade. Instead, LMDE has received a steady stream of updates over the last two years. The problem? The ISO images were very outdated, meaning a fresh install required a lot of updates. As a way to improve the experience, the Linux Mint team has decided to refresh the installation media. Today, refreshed stable Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 2 'Betsy' ISO images becomes available, with the choice of either Cinnamon or MATE.

Submission + - Project Scorpio next-generation Xbox gaming console debuts in Microsoft Store (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Microsoft's next generation of video game console is currently called "Project Scorpio." This will be a truly new console, although it will be backwards compatible with all Xbox One games — nice. In fact, you will even be able to use your Xbox One controllers and other accessories. While we do not have a definitive date of when it will go on sale, today the next Xbox console makes its debut in the Microsoft Store. We even get a slightly better idea of when it will be in stores.

Microsoft reaffirms its prior stance that the console will launch in time for the 2017 Holiday season, giving us more confidence that it will launch then. Beyond that, we are none the wiser regarding a date. Heck, we don't even know definitively if it will use the "Xbox" branding (although it probably will). One thing is for sure, though — simply putting the game system in the Microsoft Store is an important step leading up to the ability to pre-order.

Submission + - Arch Linux-based Manjaro 17.0 âGellivaraâ(TM) now available with choic (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Luckily, some distributions offer a friendlier installer with an Arch base â" the best of both worlds. One such popular Linux distro that uses Arch as a base is the wonderful Manjaro. Today, the operating system reaches version 17.0. Code-named âoeGellivara,â it features a refreshed settings manager, offering a more attractive design. Users can choose between two desktop environments â" Xfce and KDE.

âoeThe Xfce edition remains our flagship offering and has received the attention it deserves. Few can claim to offer such a polished, integrated and leading-edge Xfce experience. We ship Xfce 4.12 with this release of Manjaro. We mainly focused on polishing the user experience on the desktop and window manager, and on updating some components to take advantage of newly available technologies such as switching to a new Vertex-Maia theme, we already using known as Maia for our KDE edition,â says Philip Müller, Manjaro Development Team.

Submission + - VMware affirms open source commitment by becoming Gold Linux Foundation member (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Today, VMware shows its commitment to the open source community by becoming a Linux Foundation Gold Member. The company joins many other successful companies at that level, such as Facebook, Toshiba, and Toyota, to name a few.

"VMware has been involved in open source for years, by contributing to existing open source projects as well as open sourcing some of the company's own code. This includes significant participation in and contributions to Linux Foundation projects such as Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), Cloud Foundry and Open vSwitch, as well as other open source projects including OpenStack. Becoming a Gold member of The Linux Foundation will enable VMware to become even more active in the open source community by leveraging The Linux Foundation's experience and expertise in how to most effectively contribute to and utilize open source technology," says The Linux Foundation.

Submission + - Microsoft releases Skype for Linux 5.0 Beta (betanews.com) 1

BrianFagioli writes: Microsoft shares the following significant improvements.

*Calling updates: Calls to mobiles and landlines with Skype credit, one-to-one video calls can be made from Linux to Skype users on the latest versions of Skype for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac.
*Better collaboration: Linux users can now view shared screens from other Skype desktop clients (Windows 7.33 and above, Mac 7.46 and above).
*Usability improvements: Unity launcher now shows the number of unread conversations, online contacts in contact list now include Away and Do Not Disturb statuses.

Submission + - FriendlyElec NanoPi M1 Plus is $30 Raspberry Pi killer, runs Ubuntu Linux (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Tthere is a new Raspberry Pi competitor that is quite affordable. In fact, some folks may view it as a Pi-killer. The $30 FriendlyElec NanoPi M1 Plus has an arguably superior design and layout, plus important integrated features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It even has an IR receiver, onboard microphone, and both power and reset buttons. Best of all? It is ready to run Debian, Ubuntu Core, and Ubuntu Mate from the start.

FriendlyElec shares the following specifications.

CPU: Allwinner H3, Quad-core Cortex-A7@1.2GHz
GPU: Mali400MP2@600MHzSupports OpenGL ES2.0
DDR3 RAM: 1GB
eMMC: 8GB
Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth: 4.0 dual mode
Antenna Interface: Shared by WiFi and Bluetooth, IPX interface
Connectivity: 10/100/1000M Ethernet
Audio: 3.5mm jack/Via HDMI
Microphone: onboard microphone
IR: onboard IR receiver
USB Host: USB 2.0 x 3, 2 x USB Type A and 1 x 2.54mm pitch pin-header
MicroSD Slot: x1
MicroUSB: power input and data transmission, OTG
Audio Output: HDMI 1.4 1080P, CVBS
DVP Camera Interface: 24pin, 0.5mm pitch FPC seat
Serial Debug Port: 4Pin, 2.54mm pitch pin-header
GPIO 40pin, 2.54mm pitch pin-header, compatible with Raspberry Pi 2's GPIO. It contains UART, SPI, I2C, I2S/PCM, SPDIF-OUT and IO
User Button: 1 x Power Button and 1 x Reset Button
LED: 1 x Power LED and 1 x System Status LED
PCB Dimension: 64 x 60 mm, ENIG
Power Supply: DC 5V/2A
OS/Software: u-boot, Debian, Ubuntu-MATE, Ubuntu-Core

Submission + - Google Chrome users on Apple macOS get enhanced Safe Browsing protection (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: As more and more consumers buy Mac computers, evildoers will have increased incentive to write malware for macOS. Luckily, users of Apple's operating system that choose to use Google Chrome for web surfing will soon be safer. You see, the search giant is improving its Safe Browsing initiative to better warn macOS users of malicious websites and attempts to alter browser settings.

"As part of this next step towards reducing macOS-specific malware and unwanted software, Safe Browsing is focusing on two common abuses of browsing experiences: unwanted ad injection, and manipulation of Chrome user settings, specifically the start page, home page, and default search engine. Users deserve full control of their browsing experience and Unwanted Software Policy violations hurt that experience," says Google.

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