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Chrome

Safari Browser May Soon Be Just As Fast As Chrome With WebP Integration (thenextweb.com) 104

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Next Web: The Safari browser included in Apple's iOS 10 and macOS Sierra software is testing WebP, technology from Google that allows developers to create smaller, richer images that make the web faster. Basically, it's a way for webpages to load more quickly. The Next Web reports: "WebP was built into Chrome back at build 32 (2013!), so it's not unproven. It's also used by Facebook due to its image compression underpinnings, and is in use across many Google properties, including YouTube." Microsoft is one of the only major players to not use WebP, according to CNET. It's not included in Internet Explorer and the company has "no plans" to integrate it into Edge. Even though iOS 10 and macOS Sierra are in beta, it's promising that we will see WebP make its debut in Safari latest this year. "It's hard to imagine Apple turning away tried and true technology that's found in a more popular browser -- one that's favored by many over Safari due to its speed, where WebP plays a huge part," reports The Next Web. "Safari is currently the second most popular browser to Chrome." What's also interesting is how WebP isn't mentioned at all in the logs for Apple's Safari Technology Preview.
Safari

Safari 10 In macOS Sierra Deactivates Flash, Silverlight and Other Plug-Ins by Default (webkit.org) 114

Apple's web browser Safari 10, which will ship with macOS Sierra, will disable Flash, Java, Silverlight, QuickTime and other plug-ins by default. The move will help the company improve the overall web browsing experience by focusing on HTML5 content. From a post on WebKit blog, authored by Apple's Safari team: When a website directly embeds a visible plug-in object, Safari instead presents a placeholder element with a "Click to use" button. When that's clicked, Safari offers the user the options of activating the plug-in just one time or every time the user visits that website. Here too, the default option is to activate the plug-in only once.
Operating Systems

Apple Announces Its New Desktop OS macOS Sierra Featuring Siri, Apple Pay (9to5mac.com) 249

After playing with the names of cats and a few California landmarks, Apple at WWDC 2016 announced that its desktop operating system will now be called macOS -- and its first version update is macOS Sierra. It comes with a range of new features including Siri, the digital voice assistant. The move comes roughly a year and a half after Microsoft brought its Cortana virtual assistant to desktop platform Windows 10. Sierra also supports Apple Pay payment service via Safari web browser. Ars Technica reports about some other features of macOS Sierra: Universal Clipboard answers a longstanding complaint of Mac and iOS users -- copying and pasting now works automatically between an iOS device and a desktop Mac device. iCloud now plays an expanded sync role, too, letting you move files and folders from Mac to Mac or from Mac to iOS. Another new feature called Optimized Storage can sweep through old documents and files and push them to iCloud, clearing up local disk space for other uses. It also can automatically dump your trash, clear your web history, and do some other behind the scenes sweeps. Tabs are coming to more and more applications. Federighi said that Apple wants tabs on all multi-window applications, and says that tabs can be flipped on without developer modification. Update: 06/13 18:55 GMT by M : macOS Sierra won't support many Mac models from 2007, 2008, and 2009. Find more information here.
Facebook

Facebook Could Be Eavesdropping On Your Phone Calls (news10.com) 167

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook is not just looking at user's personal information, interests, and online habits but also to your private conversations, revealed a new report. According to NBC report, this may be the case as Kelli Burns, a professor at University of South Florida states, "I don't think that people realize how much Facebook is tracking every move we're making online. Anything that you're doing on your phone, Facebook is watching." the professor said. Now how do you prove that? Professor Kelli tested out her theory by enabling the microphone feature, and talked about her desire to go on a safari, informing about the mode of transport she would take. "I'm really interested in going on an African safari. I think it'd be wonderful to ride in one of those jeeps," she said aloud, phone in hand. The results were shocking, as less than 60 seconds later, the first post on her Facebook feed was about a safari story out of nowhere, which was then revealed that the story had been posted three hours earlier. And, after mentioning a jeep, a car ad also appeared on her page. On a support page, Facebook explains how this feature works: "No, we don't record your conversations. If you choose to turn on this feature, we'll only use your microphone to identify the things you're listening to or watching based on the music and TV matches we're able to identify. If this feature is turned on, it's only active when you're writing a status update." I wonder how many people are actually aware of this.
OS X

Mac Users Reporting Widespread System Freezes With OS X El Capitan 10.11.4 Update (macrumors.com) 100

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Mac Rumors: A large number of MacBook Pro owners running OS X El Capitan are reporting widespread system freezes since installing the 10.11.4 update to Apple's Mac OS. The problem appears to be concentrated on 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros (Early 2015) running 10.11.4. Users report that their system becomes totally unresponsive at seemingly random times, with no way to regain access to their Mac other than to force a hard reboot. The issue was initially reported by MacRumors forum member Antonnn on March 25, four days after Apple released what is the third update to the Mac OS. In Antonnn's case, the freezes have been occurring "about once a week," first when browsing in Safari, but then also during the use of other Mac apps, including Adobe Photoshop and several third-party browsers. The freeze seems to affect not only the screen and mouse cursor but also the Mac's Force Touch trackpad, which completely loses feedback. Apple Support is apparently aware of the issue but have so far offered no concrete solution. Meanwhile, some users have resorted to downgrading their system to 10.11.3 by restoring from a Time Machine backup or performing a clean install. Hundreds of others have posted to a dedicated thread discussing the issue. Bill Mattheis posted a video on YouTube of the freezing he has experienced on his MacBook Pro.
Censorship

The Pirate Bay Now Blocked In Chrome, Firefox, And Safari (torrentfreak.com) 202

An anonymous reader writes: Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari are actively blocking direct access to The Pirate Bay. Kickass Torrents suffered such a similar incident last month, because of the intermediary confirmation screen that appeared every time users navigated away from the site.

The reason why these three browsers block access to The Pirate Bay is unknown, but it could be related to a malvertising campaign that has plagued the site for more than two weeks. Two weeks ago, the malvertising campaign intensified right when season six of Game of Thrones premiered.

Meanwhile, HBO is contacting sites asking them to remove Game of Thrones torrents, and sending thousands of copyright infringement warnings to ISPs, urging them to remind pirates that they can stream HBO content legally after purchasing a subscription to HBO.
Software

Apple Releases iOS 9.3.1 With Fix For Unresponsive Links 36

An anonymous reader writes: Apple, on Thursday, rolled out a minor update to iPhone, iPad, and iPod devices. The update, dubbed iOS 9.3.1, brings with it a fix for a software glitch that caused many apps -- including Safari, and Chrome -- to freeze and crash when trying to open a link. The issue was related to Universal Link, a feature Apple first introduced with iOS 9. Many reported that some apps including Booking.com were abusing this capability, causing the Universal Link database to overload.
Safari

Apple's New Safari Technology Preview Browser Is Aimed At Web Developers 42

Sarah Perez reports for TechCrunch: Apple today announced it's expanding its efforts in the area of web development, with the launch of a new version of its Safari web browser, designed specifically for developers. Called Safari Technology Preview, the company says this browser will allow developers to get an early look at upcoming web technologies in OS X and iOS, including things like the latest layout technologies, visual effects, and other developer tools. The idea is to allow developers to more easily get their hands on these technologies and be able to experiment, then offer feedback to Apple earlier on so the company can make the necessary improvements. AnandTech's Brandon Chester elaborates: It's available from Apple's developer website, and updates will come every two weeks via the Mac App Store. This makes the list of changes and additions easily accessible with each update, and because the builds are signed by Apple there's full support for iCloud integration. [...] One important thing to note about the Safari Technology Preview is that, while the app is available from Apple's developer site, you don't need to be a registered developer paying the yearly iOS and OS X publishing fee to access it. Since the target audience consists mainly of programmers building websites and web applications, it doesn't make sense to limit it to developers building native apps for iOS and OS X.
Bug

Clicking on Links in iOS 9.3 Can Crash Your iPhone and iPad (apple.com) 100

Reader lxrocks writes: Many users are experiencing an issue with their iPhone and iPad wherein trying to open a link on Safari, Mail, Chrome or any other app causes it to freeze and crash. The issue renders any type of search with Safari as useless as none of the links returned will open. The wide-spread issue -- for which there's no known workaround just yet -- seems to be affecting users on both iOS 9.2 and iOS 9.3. Apple has acknowledged the issue and says it will release a fix "soon." There's no official word on what's causing the issue, but a popular theory with developers is that the glitch has something to do with Universal Links, a feature Apple first introduced with iOS 9. It appears some apps, such as Booking.com, are abusing this capability, causing the Universal Link database to overload.
Security

Pwn2Own 2016 Recap: Hackers Earn $460,000 For 21 Hacks (securityweek.com) 52

wiredmikey writes from an article on SecurityWeek: Pwn2Own 2016 has come to an end, with researchers earning a total of $460,000 in cash for disclosing 21 new vulnerabilities in Windows, OS X, Flash, Safari, Edge and Chrome. On the first day of the well-known hacking competition, contestants earned $282,500 for vulnerabilities in Safari, Flash Player, Chrome, Windows and OS X. On the second day, Tencent Security Team Sniper took the lead after demonstrating a successful root-level code execution exploit in Safari via a use-after-free flaw in Safari and an out-of-bounds issue in Mac OS X. The exploit earned them $40,000 and 10 Master of Pwn points. This year's contestants earned nearly $100,000 less for their exploits compared to Pwn2Own 2015, when researchers walked away with more than $550,000 for their exploits.
Security

Pwn2Own Day 1: Hackers Earn $280k For Hacking Chrome, Flash, Safari (securityweek.com) 39

wiredmikey writes: Pwn2Own 2016 contestants hacked Apple's Safari Web Browser, Adobe Flash Player and Google Chrome, and earned more than $280,000 on the first day of the competition taking place this week alongside the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver, Canada. This is the first edition of Pwn2Own where contestants have been invited to escape a VMware virtual machine for a bonus of $75,000, though there has not been a successful exploit yet in this class by any contestant this week. It remains to be seen if contestants manage to surpass last year's total payout, when white hat hackers earned $552,000 at Pwn2Own.
Software

Major Browsers Add Experimental Support For WebAssembly (thestack.com) 118

An anonymous reader writes: Four major web browsers have announced support for the near-native compiling technology WebAssembly, and collaborated to bring an initial common game demo of Angry Bots, running via Unity and WebAssembly, to experimental builds of Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and, shortly, Safari. WebAssembly was launched last year in a joint project between Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple and Google as a potentially more efficient route to assembly-level performance than asm.js, which is in itself a low-level subset of JavaScript.
Software

Auschwitz Museum Releases Software To Rewrite Holocaust Nomenclature (thestack.com) 228

An anonymous reader writes: The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum has released software for Windows and Mac which is intended to catch and rewrite terms such as 'Polish death camps' and other phrases which associate the Polish people with the atrocities of the holocaust, rather than the occupying German forces which created and ran the death camps. The software comes in the form of Microsoft Word Add-Ins on Windows and a revision to the system-wide dictionary in OSX, making the facility available to Mac programs including Safari, Keynote and Outlook. A spokesperson for the ad agency that developed the programs said, "We decided to make use of the primary tool used by text writers and create an easy to install add-on that finds the mistake made and suggests a correct phrase."
Firefox

Pwn2Own 2016 Won't Attack Firefox (Because It's Too Easy) (eweek.com) 288

darthcamaro writes: For the last decade, the Pwn2own hacking competition has pitted the world's best hackers against web browsers to try and find zero-day vulnerabilities in a live event. The contest, which is sponsored by HPE and TrendMicro this year, is offering over half a million dollars in prize money, but for the first time, not a penny of that will directed to Mozilla Firefox. While Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Apple Safari are targets, Firefox isn't because it's apparently too easy and not keeping up with modern security: "'We wanted to focus on the browsers that have made serious security improvements in the last year,' Brian Gorenc, manager of Vulnerability Research at HPE said."
Education

Interviews: Ask Author and Programmer Andy Nicholls About R 187

Andy Nicholls has been an R programmer and consultant for Mango Solutions since 2011 (where he currently manages the R consultancy team), after a long stint as a statistician in the pharmaceutical industry. He has a serious background in mathematics, too, with a Masters in math and another in Statistics with Applications in Medicine. Andy has taught more than 50 on-site R training courses and has been involved in the development of more than 30 R packages; he's also a regular contributor to events at LondonR, the largest R user group in the UK. But since not everyone can get to London for a user group meeting, you can get some of the insights he's gained as an R expert in Sams Teach Yourself R In 24 Hours (available in print or at Safari), of which he is the lead author. Today, though, you can ask Andy about the much-lauded statistics-oriented free software (GPL) language directly -- Why to use it, how to get started, how to get things done, and where those intriguing release names come from. (The about page is helpful, too.) As usual, please ask as many questions as you'd like, but one question at a time, please.
Bug

Search Suggestions Causing Apple's Safari Browser To Crash on Many Devices (theverge.com) 83

An anonymous reader writes: According to the Verge (and my wife) Apple Safari browsers are crashing left, right, and center due to Safari's search suggestions feature. "Simply disabling this feature will stop Safari crashing, or using the private mode option in the browser as a temporary workaround. Not everyone is affected, and this could be because some have the search suggestions cached locally or they're still able to reach Apple's servers thanks to a DNS cache."
Graphics

Unity Benchmarks Browser WebGL Performance (unity3d.com) 38

An anonymous reader writes: Jonas Echterhoff from Unity has posted the latest Unity WebGL benchmark results on the Unity blog. He writes, "A bit over a year ago, we released a blog post with performance benchmarks for Unity WebGL, to compare WebGL performance in different browsers. We figured it was time to revisit those benchmarks to see how the numbers have changed. Microsoft has since released Windows 10 with their new Edge browser (which supports asm.js and is now enabling it by default) – so we were interested to see how that competes. Also, we have an experimental build of Unity using Shared Array Buffers to run multithreaded code, and we wanted to see what kind of performance gains to expect. So we tested this in a nightly build of Firefox with Shared Array Buffer support." The benchmark concludes that Firefox 42 64-bit is the fastest, Edge takes second, and Chrome and Safari share third place.
Mozilla

Mozilla Launches Focus By Firefox, a Content Blocker For iOS 9 (mozilla.org) 30

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched an iOS content blocker called Focus by Firefox. It's a "content blocker" because although Focus is capable of blocking some ads, this latest project from the non-profit is aimed at stopping trackers. The free app is made possible thanks to iOS 9's content-blocking feature, which requires some setting up. Like with any content blocker, after you download Focus, you'll have to activate Focus' content-blocking features within your system-wide iOS settings (launching the app will provide a guide to finish configuration). It's worth noting that Focus only works with Safari. Mozilla says, "This was not our choice—Apple has chosen to make content blocking unavailable to third party browsers on iOS." Here is the Focus GitHub repo and its feedback tool.
IOS

Somebody Just Claimed a $1 Million Bounty For Hacking the iPhone (vice.com) 100

citadrianne writes with news that security startup Zerodium has just paid a group of hackers $1 million for finding a remote jailbreak of an iPhone running iOS 9. Vice reports: "Over the weekend, somebody claimed the $1 million bounty set by the new startup Zerodium, according to its founder Chaouki Bekrar, a notorious merchant of unknown, or zero-day, vulnerabilities. The challenge consisted of finding a way to remotely jailbreak a new iPhone or iPad running the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system iOS (in this case iOS 9.1 and 9.2b), allowing the attacker to install any app he or she wants app with full privileges. The initial exploit, according to the terms of the challenge, had to come through Safari, Chrome, or a text or multimedia message. This essentially meant that a participant needed to find a series, or a chain, of unknown zero-day bugs."
Advertising

Apple Approves, Then Removes In-App Ad Blocker (reuters.com) 85

Mickeycaskill writes: Apple has pulled a number of applications from the App Store, most notably the "Been Choice" ad blocker, because of concerns the methods they employ to rid adverts could compromise sensitive user data. iOS 9 allows for the installation of applications that block adverts in Safari, but other apps like Been Choice go one step further and let users remove adverts from applications – including Apple News. Been Choice routes traffic through a VPN to filter out adverts in some applications, but it this technique has attracted the attention of Apple, which is concerned user data could be exposed. Apple says it is working with developers to get their apps back up and Been is refining its application for resubmission. In any case, Been says users must opt-in for in-app ad blocking and that no data is stored on its servers.

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