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Mozilla Cuts RSS Support in Firefox 64

October 15, 2018

by Liam Tung


Firefox maker Mozilla will kill off support for RSS and Atom feeds in this December’s release of Firefox 64.

Along with dropping RSS and Atom syndicated-feed support, Firefox 64 will no longer contain the Live Bookmarks feature for subscribing to RSS feeds, nor the feed-preview feature.

Instead of maintaining built-in RSS support, Mozilla believes users should install RSS-reader Firefox add-ons.

“After considering the maintenance, performance and security costs of the feed preview and subscription features in Firefox, we’ve concluded that it is no longer sustainable to keep feed support in the core of the product,” wrote Gijs Kruitbosch, a Firefox front-end developer.

“While we still believe in RSS and support the goals of open, interoperable formats on the web, we strongly believe that the best way to meet the needs of RSS and its users is via WebExtensions.”

Mozilla’s support page for Live Bookmarks now contains a link to a page detailing feed-reader replacements for Firefox.

Click here to read the full article on ZDNet

White House email rules

September 26, 2018

by David Gewirtz


There comes a time in every news cycle when we need (once again, in an apparently never-ending process) to educate over-enthusiastic and somewhat less-than-informed journalists about the laws pertaining to White House email.

This time, it’s Politico, which headlined with “Kushner used private email to conduct White House business,” and Newsweek with “Ivanka Trump used a personal email account for government work: exclusive.”

Before I dive back into the facts of White House email life once again, let’s get the inevitable political squabble over with. This article will not declare President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Senior Advisor to the President and Director of Office of American Innovation Jared Kushner, or the First Daughter and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump guilty or innocent of anything, email or otherwise.

Instead, we’re simply going to look at the question of private email and White House business, whatever that might entail.


Let’s get started with the big fact that many journalists either overlook or don’t understand. The law requires that individuals in the White House sometimes use personal (i.e., not government operated) email.

As absurd as it may seem — and it is absurd — there is a law, called the Hatch Act that specifically prevents government resources from being used for certain White House communications. You could write a book about the national security problems this law creates (and, in fact, I did), but the bottom line remains the same. White House officials must — must, must, must by law — sometimes use personal, private resources to communicate.

Click here to read the full article on ZDNet

WebKit rendering engine vulnerability

September 15, 2018

by Catalin Cimpanu


A security researcher has discovered a vulnerability in the WebKit rendering engine used by Safari that crashes and restarts the iOS operating system used by iPhones and iPads.

The vulnerability can be exploited by loading an HTML page that uses specially crafted CSS code. The CSS code isn’t very complex and tries to apply a CSS effect known as backdrop-filter to a series of nested page segments (DIVs).

Backdrop-filter is a relative new CSS property and works by blurring or color shifting to the area behind an element. This is a heavy processing task, and some software engineers and web developers have speculated that the rendering of this effect takes a toll on iOS’ graphics processing library, eventually leading to a crash of the mobile OS altogether.

Sabri Haddouche, a software engineer and security researcher at encrypted instant messaging app Wire, is the one who discovered the vulnerability, and published proof-of-concept code on Twitter earlier today.

Click here to read the full article on ZDNet

Python’s Popularity

August 7, 2018

by Liam Tung


A boom in machine-learning applications continues to drive up the popularity of 27-year-old Python, so much that it could soon outrank 33-year-old C++ on TIOBE’s programming language index.

Python’s rise on the new TIOBE index results for August¬†lines up with past results from Stack Overflow, a site that helps programmers solve coding questions, which last year found that growth in Python-tagged questions may have made it the fastest-growing language.

IEEE’s app for rating the most popular languages has had Python in top spot since 2017 where it remains today, as it does on PyPl. Developer analyst RedMon places Python in third spot.

But on TIOBE’s index, Python has never reached third spot. It has risen from fifth to fourth place since August 2017 with a current rating of 6.992 percent, just behind C++’s 7.471 percent rating.

TIOBE analysts believe that Python’s running on large embedded systems will likely see it take third spot at some point soon, and even overtake Java, its current top-placed language.

They also note that Hack, Groovy, and Julia entered the top 50 while the Microsoft-maintained TypeScript dropped out of the top 50.

The top 10 in descending order are Java, C, C++, Python, Visual Basic .NET, C#, PHP, JavaScript, SQL, and Assembly language.

TIOBE bases its programming language popularity index on a range of search-engine queries, mostly from Google’s various international sites, but also Wikipedia, Bing, Baidu, Amazon, and YouTube.

In other words, the rankings don’t necessarily reflect the quality of a language or how many lines of code have been written in it.

Click here to read the full article on ZDNet

Algorithms: keeping up with Google

May 21, 2018

by Robert Alan Ross

Algorithms are continuously changing.

So when someone asks “How can I get my site to rank well” or some variation on this question there really is no good answer because the algorithms have various requirements. Sure back in the 1990s it was pretty easy. Continue reading