Zombie OS: Windows XP still powers 181M PCs two years after support ends

Even though Microsoft retired Windows XP two years ago, an estimated 181 million PCs around the world ran the crippled operating system last month, according to data from a web metrics vendor.

Windows XP exited public support on April 8, 2014, amid some panic on the part of corporations that had not yet purged their environments of the 2001 OS. Unless companies paid for custom support, their PCs running XP received no security updates after that date.

Consumers were completely cut off from patches, with no alternatives other than to switch to a newer operating system or continue running an insecure machine.

But two years after XP’s support demise, nearly 11% of all personal computers continue to run the OS, data for March from U.S.-based analytics vendor Net Applications showed. Meanwhile, Windows XP accounted for about 12% of all Windows-powered PCs. (The user share difference between all PCs and those only running Windows was due to the fact that Windows was the OS on 91.5% of all personal computers, not 100%.)

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Original URL: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3054528/microsoft-windows/zombie-os-windows-xp-still-powers-181m-pcs-two-years-after-support-ends.html#tk.rss_all

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How to get Bash running on Windows

Unix command line users around the world rejoiced when Microsoft announced recently it would be bringing the popular Bash shell to Windows 10 with a forthcoming update. Last Wednesday, the company released a beta build of its operating system that finally had support for the new functionality.

To get it working, users have to jump through a few hoops. First, the system is only available right now for users who have build 14316 of Windows 10. To get it, a PC has to be a part of the Windows Insider Program’s Fast ring.

After installing the beta, users have to toggle Developer Mode on in Settings > Updates and Security > For Developers. From there, they have to open up another settings pane, check the “Windows Subsystem for Linux (Beta),” restart their computer, and open a DOS command prompt and run the bash command.

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Original URL: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3053647/microsoft-windows/how-to-get-bash-running-on-windows.html#tk.rss_all

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How to run Bash on Ubuntu on Windows 10 Anniversary Update or Preview Build 14316

Windows-10 key

Microsoft has been showing Linux a lot of love recently, and at Build 2016 the company announced that the Bash shell was coming to Windows 10. It’s a feature that will make an appearance in the upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary Update (due for release in July), but it’s something that Windows Insiders on the Fast Ring already have access to in Build 14316 right now.

If you have installed this build, you’d be forgiven for not being able to find Bash however hard you look; there are hoops you have to jump through. So if you like the idea of accessing the Linux command line in Windows 10, there are a few steps for you to follow, starting off by enabling Developer Mode.

As Microsoft explains: “You can now run Bash scripts, Linux command-line tools like sed, awk, grep, and you can even try Linux-first tools like Ruby, Git, Python, etc. directly on Windows. You can also access your Windows filesystem from within Bash allowing you to work on the same set of files using your preferred Windows tools or Linux command-line tools”.

Here are those all-important Bash-enabling steps:

  • Open up Settings, click Update & security, and then head to the For developers section. Select the Developer mode option, click Yes to confirm, and then exit Settings.
  • Hit the Windows key (or the Start button), type Windows features, and click the Turn Windows Features on or off entry that appears.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the list, check the box next to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (Beta) option, and click OK.
  • Wait for a moment while Bash is installed and then click Restart now to restart your computer and complete the process.
  • When Windows is back up and running, open a command prompt window, type bash and hit Enter.
  • You’ll see a message that reads ‘This will install Ubuntu on Windows, distributed by Canonical and licensed under its terms’. Press Y followed by Enter to download the software from the Windows Store and complete the installation.

In future, you can access Bash via the Bash on Ubuntu on Windows shortcut in the All Apps section of the Start menu.

Photo credit: charnsitr / Shutterstock

Original URL: http://feeds.betanews.com/~r/bn/~3/y-BTCYLkH_A/

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5 things you should know about the blockchain

Talk of blockchain technology is everywhere, it seems — but what is it, and what does it do?

1. Don’t call it ‘the’ blockchain

The first thing to know about the blockchain is, there isn’t one, there are many. Blockchains are distributed, tamper-proof public ledgers of transactions. The most well-known is the record of bitcoin transactions, but in addition to tracking cryptocurrencies, blockchains are being used to record loans, stock transfers, contracts, healthcare data and even votes.

2. Security, transparency: the network’s run by us

There’s no central authority in a blockchain system. Participating computers exchange transactions for inclusion in the ledger they share over a peer-to-peer network. Each node in the chain keeps a copy of the ledger and can trust others’ copies of it because of the way they are signed. Periodically, they wrap up the latest transactions in a new block of data to be added to the chain. Alongside the transaction data, each block contains a computational “hash” of itself and of the previous block in the chain.

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Original URL: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3054215/cloud-computing/5-things-you-should-know-about-the-blockchain.html#tk.rss_all

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How to record a particular area of desktop screen on Linux

 xmodulo: When you need to demonstrate your desktop activities to someone else, using a screencast (i.e., recording of desktop screen) is far more effective than a textual tutorial or a bunch of static images.

Original URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/linuxtoday/linux/~3/xx3mLahICRw/how-to-record-a-particular-area-of-desktop-screen-on-linux-160409070347.html

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Typography – Deep into OpenType Features

What are OpenType features? Typekit defines them better than I ever could:

“OpenType features are like secret compartments in fonts.”

They can make your written content easier to read, more versatile and more legible.

I see OpenType features as like super powers to typography. If you have ever looked at beautifully written books and noticed the little details like old style numerals, fractions, custom ligatures and wondered how to get them into the Web, well then this is a great time to be alive!

Here’s a preview of only a handful of features:

Example of feaures

Play with the demo above here

Using these features can dramatically increase our content’s readability and legibility, not to mention the aesthetic goodness that it can provide when used sensibly. Knowing how accessible they’re now becoming, I’ve never wanted to write my own novel more than I do now. Check out Typekit’s overview on these features (with examples) and play with the sample page I’ve created as a live demo for this post.

They’re not only useful for the beautification of the written word, but also for the written number. Enabling a couple of these features on tables like this finally makes science justice, on the web:

Table example

Above: enabling scientific ligatures (sinf), proportional numbers (pnum), ordinals (ordn)

But with great power comes great responsibility, and it’s not all unicorns and rainbows just yet. The OpenType’s specification is far from stable and can introduce some unwanted behavior. So let’s dig in!

Finding the right typefaces

Not all typefaces contain these special features. In fact, we’re more likely to find them on higher-end typefaces using paid services like Typekit, Font Spring and Typography.com, for example. Google Fonts, which contains a giant library of free typefaces, already gives us a few that provide a handful of OpenType features.

Raleway, for instance, contains discretionary ligatures and it won’t cost us a penny.

If using Typekit, the features for each typefaces can be seen by clicking the (?) icon on the kits:


What if I want to include/create my own?

You can create and manage your own, yes! I won’t go deep into this topic since it’s not its scope, but you can make use of Font Squirrel’s Generator to upload your typefaces and select exactly which features you want it to contain. If you go into Expert Mode, this is what you’ll see:

Font Squirrel Generator

Apart from creating our own, how do we find which typefaces have custom features? At the moment, it’s trial and error. I’ve asked Typekit if they have a list of OT features sorted by typeface and there isn’t one at the moment. We do have to include them in a kit first, then check. If you know of a place where you can find a well documented list with typefaces and their OT, feel free to drop me a line.

Using OpenType features in CSS

It makes me cringe a bit to try and make sense of the specification. We’ll find references to two different kinds of rules, font-variant and font-feature-settings, sometimes even both. What does this mean?

.onum {
	font-variant-numeric: oldstyle-nums;
	font-feature-settings: 'onum';

font-variant-* acts like a shorthand for the OpenType sub-properties, while font-feature-settings acts like a single rule containing a list of the sub-properties we want to enable.

These two properties, refer to high-level and low-level syntax. They can inherit from each other, but not all rules or browsers can do so elegantly, hence why their usage can be tricky to get right.

The low-level syntax is partially available in most browsers and it’s the one we’ll see using the four letters designation, such as hlig (historial liguatures), smcp (small capitals) and so on. The downfall is that they rely on being specified on a single property, making the usage of several features at once tricky. The high level syntax solves the issue by specifying a specific property to itself, but browser support is still low.

Here’s an example for Oldstyle Numerals:

Low-level Syntax
.onum {
	font-variant-numeric: oldstyle-nums;
High-level Syntax
.onum {
    -webkit-font-feature-settings: 'onum';
       -moz-font-feature-settings: 'onum=1';
        -ms-font-feature-settings: 'onum';
            font-feature-settings: 'onum';

And the result:

onum example

So which syntax to use?

The specification recommends using the high-level syntax, but using it alone is not going to work very well at the time of writing. Ideally, a smart combination of both should be used, paying special attention to inheritance.

Consider the following example:

.parent {
	font-variant-numeric: oldstyle-nums;
	font-feature-settings: 'onum';

.child {
	font-variant-caps: small-caps;
	font-feature-settings: 'smcp';

In this example, font-feature-settings declared in the child component takes over and completely overrides the rule for the Oldstyle Numerals given from the parent. In order to have the .child class use both of these features, we’d need to explicitly declare both properties like so:

.child {
	font-variant-caps: small-caps;
	font-variant-numeric: oldstyle-nums;
	font-feature-settings: 'smcp', 'onum';

Here, the high-level syntax allows us to specify the list of features we want to enable.
Note that font-variant doesn’t necessarily need a shorthand version. We could also write:

.child {
	font-variant: small-caps oldstyle-nums;

But we got a weight problem

So far, despite all the hassle around enabling and pairing which features we want to use, we haven’t yet seen a downside to enabling OpenType features that aren’t enabled by default in a font file. So, should we? Let’s have a look at Typekit.

Typekit without OT

We can see here a kit that contains only two typefaces: Adobe Caslon Pro, for the body text, and Bickham Script, for a potentially gorgeous headline. We’re not going to be greedy and we’ll include only the basic fonts: Regular, Italic and Bold for the Adobe Caslon, and only Regular for Bickham Script.

The total size of this kit is a reasonable ~ 200kb.

Let’s enable OpenType features for both of these typefaces, since we want to have nice ligatures, old style numerals and the swashes for the headline. We’re fancy.

Typekit with OT

Boom! Our kit just grew to a whopping ~ 800kb in size.

From 200kb to 800kb. We might as well buy the metal casts themselves, amiright? This is some heavy metal. In fact, the OT features for Bickham Script alone for only one font style weigh in around 200kb. So there is definitely a trade off to be aware of here; as our webpages grow in size due to bigger and bigger boilerplates and development frameworks, we are not necessarily helping the issue by throwing in arguably unnecessary flourishes at the problem.

We also have a browser problem

Defaults are also a bit of a concern, at least at the time of writing, for some features. Taking common-ligatures as an example, we can check on the great State Of Web Type website that:

  • Chrome supports ligatures, but does not enable them by default
  • Only Safari enables them by default…
  • … but they can’t actually be disabled in Safari either
  • There are still bugs rendering ligatures with older browser versions

Another important thing to note is that Chrome, Safari and Firefox fully support the text-rendering property, which calculates kerning automagically. This is why some ligatures and kerning are enabled by default even if we don’t do it manually: these browsers turn these features on on their own. This is not the case of Internet Explorer, and nope, not even Edge.

Here’s the current state of support for font-feature-* right now (April 2016), provided by caniuse:


On the plus side, the recent iOS 9.3 Safari finally supports OpenType features. Good work, Apple!

Your content may need a revisit

Another thing to take into account is that we shouldn’t just blindly apply all the features to previous content and expect everything to look beautiful.

There’s usually a golden rule for capitalised content in content: NEVER TO WRITE IN CAPITALS IN YOUR MARKUP, even if it’s meant to be displayed in capital letters. Instead, write as you normally would and style that particular piece using text-transform: uppercase;.

Sensible, right? But if we’re making the switch from fake small capitals to true small capitals (and we should, by the way, very rarely faux small capitals are a good idea), consider the following:

Small Capitals (smcp) vs. Capitals 2 Small Caps (c2cp)

smcp and c2sc are not the same thing. The former will convert all text into small capitalised letters, whether they are originally written in capitals or not. The latter only applies small capitals to content that is already written in capitals, or given the property of uppercase to begin with.

Final Considerations

Given the performance hit that enabling Open Type features by default can have, it’s up to us to be responsible about its usage. How responsible? Well, a good example would be to enable these features so we can use only one typeface instead of two, for example, in our designs. Some typefaces become so versatile that you can definitely get away with a distinct, beautiful typographic design by using a single typeface.

Since the properties’ specification is still evolving, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on it. Luckily, projects like Utility Open Type are doing a great job at keeping track of the changes and offering us an easier way to use them.

Where to go from here

FontFont has a wonderfully detailed guide to OpenType features with dozens of examples, some of them almost unheard of, that you should definitely read and cuddle with.
Adobe Typekit’s post on OpenType is a little bit out of date, but still a great resource to check out.

Utility Open Type gives you the most usable CSS file to provide support for all OpenType features; though it’s a bit on the fatty side. I suggest you have a look at its source and include only the CSS for the features you need.

Oh, and here’s a quick list of (almost!) all features. There’s a lot.


Anything I might have overlooked or gotten wrong? Don’t be afraid to ping me on Twitter.

Original URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/feedsapi/BwPx/~3/JDYLUu1Ju-0/deep-into-opentype-features

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Brief WordPress database guide for the absolute beginner

WordPress and other CMSs are 'inherently insecure'

WordPress is the finest content management system. Its popularity is proof of that. Websites on WordPress perform great and the platform is easy to use. However, the same cannot be said about managing its database.

If you are a beginner in using this CMS then you might get a migraine or two whenever you try to understand the tons of content available online concerning WordPress databases.

What makes WordPress such a popular platform is the fact that there are so many places where you can access good information about it. Blog posts, articles and even how-to guides plus videos have been created to make usage of WordPress easy. However, for some reason the articles concerning databases just come off as rocket science to some people. There is not a reason why you should struggle though.

Just For the Beginner

One thing that is characteristic of all content management systems, including WordPress and Drupal, is that once you learn how to use them they become so easy. Drupal, for instance, is considered to be the hardest CMS that you could possibly use on this planet, but then it turns out that it is not all that complicated in the first place. You can imagine just how easy it is to use WordPress then. It uses PHP as its scripting language and its database management system is MySQL.

A basic understanding of these two will be very helpful when it comes to troubleshooting problems. It will also help you to understand how WordPress works generally. However, you do not need to go into the details of these technical terms now.

This following section is meant to help you learn how to manage your database using phpMyAdmin, including how you can create database backups. A backup or two will always be good for your database. However, creating the database can be a challenge sometimes, particularly if you have no idea what to look for.

Basics to Get You Started

As mentioned previously, WordPress is written on PHP. This means that the platform uses this programming language to store as well as to retrieve data from the database. The information that is stored in the WordPress database is varied ranging from posts, comments and pages to tags, categories and users.

Once you have installed WordPress it will ask you to provide a database name, username, host and password. This information is usually stored in the configuration file. The information that you provide concerning the database is the one that is going to be used to create tables and also store default installation data in the created tables.

After the installation process is complete, WordPress then runs queries to the database in a bid to dynamically generate HTML pages for the blog or website. It saves you the effort of having to create a .html file for every page that you wish to create.

Creating the Backup Using phpMyAdmin

<img src="http://betanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/phpMyAdmin-e1460130815681.png" alt="Photo Credit

Photo Credit: Crucial.com.au

To backup your WordPress database from the phpMyAdmin page, click on the WordPress database and on the top menu you will find a tab titled Export — click on this tab. The newer versions of phpMyAdmin will ask you to select a specific export method that you want to work with. There is the quick method, which will export the database into a .sql file.

There is also the custom method which will provide you with some more options to choose from plus the ability to download the backup in a compressed gzip or zip archive. Using the quick method is tempting and sometimes it is most beneficial if your database does not contain very important things.

The custom method is however, the best for backing up your WordPress database. You should go for the zip compression option though instead of the gzip. This custom method makes it possible for you to exclude all the database tables that you do not want to backup a feature that is lacking in the quick method. For instance, if you have used a plugin which added a table in your database, you can opt to leave out that table from the backup if you do not need it.

When you are done selecting the tables that you want to backup then you can click export to complete. The database file that you exported can be imported into a different database or the same one. All you need to do is going to the Import tab. This is a really good way to protect yourself against disasters of data loss and it is probably the first thing that you need to learn about WordPress databases.


WordPress has really made data management a simple job. Right from the moment that you install it to your site it will create the database automatically for you based on the information that you provide. Creating a backup is important and the process is very simple when you use phpMyAdmin.

Sujain Thomas is a data IT professional who works closely with DBA experts to provide her clients with fantastic DBA services to solve their data problems. If you need data IT solutions, she is the person for the job. She enjoys writing on database administration services and other topics in the IT field.

Photo credit: Ingvar Bjork / Shutterstock

Original URL: http://feeds.betanews.com/~r/bn/~3/kF1hiu_jNEc/

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DocSend raises $8M for smarter document sharing

DocSend Document analytics startup DocSend has raised $8 million in new funding. Naturally, co-founder and CEO Russ Heddleston said he used his company’s tools to make the deal. DocSend launched at our Disrupt NY conference two years ago, offering users a different way to send email attachments. The attachments are presented in a web viewer, meaning that you get notifications whenever someone… Read More

Original URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/xciGhoPOhaQ/

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Scoble, the web still wants you back!

Scoble, the web still wants you back!


One year ago today I bought a domain, scoble.org, and parked a site there saying Scoble, the open web wants you back!

I wrote a post on Facebook (because I know he reads Facebook) and of course on my blog, saying that when he opened up his own blog, I would point scoble.org at it. I just bought a placeholder for him. I don’t want to own him, I just want to have his ideas out where they can play with my best ideas and make babies. 

Here’s the specific offer:

I will transfer this domain to Scoble if he posts on his blog, regularly for a few months. Let’s make it six months. During that time, hopefully we’ll all love on Scoble for being such a good guy and helping out all of us. We’re going to listen to his ideas especially closely when he posts them on the open web. Even more than we listen to him on Facebook and the other places he posts.

Well, the good news is he has a blog! scobleizer.com. But the last post was on March 10. So we can’t really say he’s posting regularly yet. But there’s hope!

Scoble, we still want you back. My RSS river awaits your wisdom. 

Original URL: http://scripting.com/2016/04/11/1179.html

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